Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Hey everyone!
I can't believe it's already p-day again. Weeks just fly by and it's crazy that I've been here 3 weeks now. Time is really warped. This week has been REALLY good. hard too. But good. It's weird because I'lll have discouraging moments where I know my Thai is terrible or that I'll observe teaching in English and then think...how am I supposed to say all that in Thai? But i forget those moments super fast because overall, every day is amazing. this week has been a prayer/spirit theme. my companions and i have been teaching an "investigator" which is really our teacher, and we had taught him one lesson so far, and it went ok. as we prepared the next lesson, things didn't really feel right, and we couldn't really move anywhere. Our other teacher taught us a lesson on How to plan a lesson. Yay that was really helpful. We realized we really needed to think of the committments he needed to make before planning everything out. we adjusted what we had, and PRAYED. a lot. sidenote: i've prayed more than i have in my entire life. i pray 15+ times a day vocally, and then lots and lots more in my head. we prayed really hard to have the spirit in our lesson. right before we went in i forgot everyting i was gonna say...and we were trying to do it without any notes this time. we said one more quick prayer before we went into the room, and as we said the opening prayer of the lesson, i remembered what i was gonna say! we started our lesson, and something just felt different. we were teaching about faith, and i asked him if he knew what wind was. i asked him how he knew waht wind was. He can't see it, but he can feel it (thank you "walk to remember" :)) yeahhh i knew it was kinda cheesy but oh well. and then i told him it was the same with God. we can't see him but we feel his love, and that's what faith was. Then my companion started talking...and...was he crying??! yeah. he was. we shared a really cool scripture with him too. he committed to continue to keep the WOW (which was a problem),  praying to know if God was real and if he knew he was real he would prepare for baptism! At the end of the lesson, he asked if he could break character for a minute and talk to us as the teacher. he said that it was a great lesson, but not because our Thai was perfect, but because the atmosphere was perfect. The Spirit speaks all languages. I can't speak Thai, and I probably won't for a long time. I don't know waht these people need, but God does. Prayer and the Holy Ghost = SO IMPORTANT! anyway, we were pretty much high-fiving eachother for the rest of the day. it was a boost we really needed, since the lesson the night before didn't go too well. Oh, and we started teaching at the TRC on Saturday. Real live volunteers come in so we can teach them. WHOA. haha. most of them are just RM's that served in THailand. We teach them as members though, so it's kind of different than teaching an investigator. It went well though.
So here's for the random facts of the week:
Music and the Spoken word. What a gem. haha sometimes I fall asleep...but usually it's good. probably because we never get any other types of music. This week I got a letter from my friend Jen Itri. She's serving in Thailand right now! and she was in my ward freshman and sophomore year. I always meant to write her about my call before I left, but never got the chance. anyway, it was great to hear from her! and good to know taht there are good things to come...she told me that the language would come so not to worry. that's comforting:) I've seen Christina Augustin here a lot lately! She's going to the PHilippines. Dad, you'd be proud to know taht I am not the most directionally challenged person on the planet. One of my companions is worse haha. She's always heading off in random directions, or just waits to see where SIs. Yim and I will go. We call her Dory (from finding nemo). Because she's spacy, but in the best way possible haha. One time we were walking to gym and she realized she had her pants on inside out. HAHAHAH I couldn't stop laughing. We get to go on a temple walk every Sunday. It's nice to get out of the MTC bubble, but EVERY missionary goes, so it's super crowded adn hard to get a picture with your district taht isn't being photo-bombed.  My companions found out about my singing in the mouth trick. then i had to do it for my district. the word spread and now they want me to sing in tonight's devotional.....just joking. that would be blasphemous.
Will someone let me know if i'm being boring? because I don't want my letters to be boring. so the song that we sang in choir is "A marvelous work is about to come forth".  This truly is a marvelous work! not a day goes by that I don't thank God that He has given me the opportunity to be a missionary. I can't even imagine myself not being here. Every time I feel inadequate as far as the language goes, I just remember that it's been 3 weeks, and I'm already reading in THAI. and that instead of 3 hours of lesson planning, it takes 30 min. now. and we can give a lesson without any notes. I remember that every morning before I came here, I would wake up and be super tired and grumpy, and think, how am i going to wake up every single day at 6:30? waking up is not even a problem for me right now. somehow I have strength that i didn't know that i had. I know that this gospel is so real, so true, and so individual. God has a plan for each and every one of his children, including me. it's easy to feel like 1 in 8000 here, and that i'm just one more missionary that God has to worry about. but i don't feel like that. Every day I know that God loves me and that He is giving me everything He has. "Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" My time is almost up...but i jsut want to say thank you for the prayers. i feel them EVERY day. not an exaggeration. I love you all!
Sister Steele

Ready to do laundry!
Emily & her cousin, Mitch

Official Missionary Nametag

The District

A three-some companionship
Sister Yim, Sister Steele, & Sister McDermott

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Week 2

Hi family! and friends,
Oh boy...where to start. This week was really good, and I really feel like I'm starting to get the hang of the whole MTC schedule thing. Things are still busy. Really busy. but days have startd to go by faster and i absolutely love everyone in my district! There's this one elder (every district has to have one of those weird ones you know) and he's seriously the funniest ever. He's just really quirky and makes really entertaining and interesting comments. One lesson he just randomly said, "You know, in 25 out of 50 states you can marry your first cousin." and the teacher was like, "Why would you know something like that??" Hahaha. It reminded me of Tanner's comments or the random facts he spouts out and everyone wonders where it came from. Anyway, that Elder just keeps me laughing.
A little more about my companions. Sis. Yim is 24 and a convert of 2 years. she's AMAZING. she really wants to be exactly obedient. She and I are really the SAME person, not kidding. We're both grumpy when we wake up from naps and wake up really early in the morning, we both like to exercise (my other companion doesn't), we both shower at night, we both love quoting movies, and we both say weird things..except she says things like, "OH MONKEYS." or "OH BOLLUCKS." ??? I don't know where she came from. SHe's so weird and I love it. Sis. McDermott is funny too. She LOVES candy. and she's always eating it right before we go to bed. She doesn't believe in exercise so that's hard since we're in a threesome. We have to do splits when we want to run and she doesn't haha.
Today was p-day (obviously) and was MUCH better than last p-day. I had a massive headache last week and it was just so busy and not relaxing at all. But today we decided to wake up early and go to the temple in the morning so we would have more time for other things (since the laundry room is a madhouse). We left the MTC at 5:30 and our WHOLE district showed up. Those cute little elders. It was so AMAZING for all of us to go and do a session, and I absolutely loved it. WE ate in the temple cafeteria after, which I had no idea even existed. And it's delicious by the way. After that we braved the laundry room...with the thousands of other people. Oh sidenote: they said we will probably hit 8000 missionaries here in tje MTC within the next 90 days. THere are 2700 here righty now. OH MY GOODNESS. SO AWESOME! and talk about crowded cafeteria lines. that should be fun.
Choir is one of my favorite things. Bro. Eggett is funny and he tellls stories too, so it's a nice time to take a break from THAI, which I'll talk about later, don't worry. We had a devo on Sundy which are my favorite. And guess who it was. Pres. Littlefield and his wife! From our stake! THey did a really good job. Soooo Thai is...coming. It's probably my greatest struggle here, but it's an adventure. I feel sometimes like my brain has hit its capacity, but then other times like I'm starting to get things. I have a longggg way to go. We just started learning the alphabet and it's REALLY HARD. It takes me about 30 min. to read a paragraph. not an exaggeration. We taught an "investigator" a lesson on the word of wisdom the other day, and I guess I told him to read vs. 8-21 of sec. 89, instead of 18-21. Sooo he was reading pretty much the whole lesson. oops. hahahah it was so funny though because he told us after in class and we all couldn't stop laughing. and i've pretty much got praying down. but one time I was praying with my companions and i guess I said "we request to thank the to feel the Holy spirit," and then I realized my mistake halfway through, and then said "CRAP" and then we couldn't finish the prayer because we were laughing so hard. oh man, learning a language is good. good good good.
hmmmm.. what else to i need to tell you. well we actually had somthing yummy on sunday. Chicken cordon blue. No idea if I spelled that right. It sounds like you're having a fun time with Manu's dad. Oh and mom and dad happy late anniversary!!! and valentines day! and YES I did get the package! sorry in my hurry i forgot to mention it last itme. but my whole district loved all the candy and such. because I couldn't eat it all, so my companionship made everyone valentines and brought treats. so we had a good Vday. Oh and my friend from my Casa dea ward taught one of our calsses this week. He was just a sub. But it was good to see him. Oh and I ran into Lauren Anderson the other day too. It's weird becauase while everyone else is running into friends from highschool as missionaries, I'm running into my friends that actually WORK at the MTC now. I've seen SO many of them. I saw Davey RUnnels today. It's so weird haha.
Every Sunday we're all asked to prepare a 5 min talk on a certain subject, and they randomly pick two peoaple to give their talks. So it's really nerve racking. I haven't been picked yet, but i've learned a lot from my prepared talks! I love the spirit here. One thing that Elder Holland says is that as a missionary, we need to be our first convert. Everything that we want to take our investigator through, we need to go through first. And I can see that happening to me. I know there is nothing more powerful than the Spirit of God. We watched the Joseph Smith movie on Sunday, and no matter how many times I watch it, I ALWAYS know. Becasue I feel it. Joseph Smith was a man called of God, to restore the fullness of Christ's church to the earth. And I get to go share it with people! Sorry if this is really long. I should probably go practice speaking Thai now. Oh and by the way, I have now mastered how to tell someone that I need to find a bathroom. All is well.
I love you all, and I pray for you every day, all day. God lives. He loves us. And I know I have a Savior that is enjoying this journey with me. ANd I love it. Chog dii!!
sis. Steele.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 12, 2013 First Letter!

Sawad dii kha!
 Have I only been here a week? It feels like a month. It's crazy to think that just one week ago I was at the temple with mom and dad and today I went with my district. Time...is funny in the MTC. Days go slow and weeks go fast. Or so they tell me. Ok so first of all, sorry if my typing isn't awesome. I'm going fast and I might not capitalize everything. Second of all sorry if my spelling or grammar is weird, because i've found that even after just one week of Thai, my English is slipping in weird ways. haha. plus this keyboard is not so great. my companion agrees. and my hands are freezing right now. and i'm kind of on a time limit. So anyway, my p-days are tuesday. so every tuesay you'll get a lovely email from me and i know it will most definitely be the highlight of your day. or week. There is soooo much that has happened that i don't even know where to start. i think i'll just break it down by days. but first i just want to say that I LOVE IT HERE! yes, i've felt every emotion that is possible to feel in a few short days, and overwhelming would be an understatement, but i have absolutely loved every minute of it!
The nice elder with red hair led me to a sister that helped me know where to go and such. there's a bright orange sticker dot that they put on my nametag to signify that it was my first day. We call it the dork dot. And I saved mine haha i can't wait to welcome all the newcomers tomorrow just like everyone did to me last week. so i'm in a trio companion, and i have so many stories about different connections with the sisters in my district. We have 15 in our district, and there are two Thai districts. 29 of us came in on Wednesday, which is the BIGGEST number that Thailand has ever seen! So cool. and Sister Stewart is in my district. the one we saw at the temple. She was supposed to come in Dece3mber, so the girl she was supposed to be companions with is now our coordinating sister, and she's been without a companion (solo sister this whole time). So I'm with Sis. McDermott and SIs. Yim, who are both AMAZING. Seriously i am so thankful we were put together. It felt like we were already best friend from day one. Sis. McDermott I had heard about, from Karen Kleinman and Kate Patterson from my CAsa Dea ward. Sis. McDERMot had spent 3 months in THailand so she knows bits and pieces of the language, which really helps. SIs. Yim is Chinese, but from Hawaii. She's hilarious. We both love Pitch Perfect so we're always quoting it. Very missionary like, right? haha. Whenever we're working on Thai and someone says something wrong, we just say "That's not a real word, but keep trying. Youuuu willll gett thereee"  In an Austrailian accent like fat Amy. My companions and I are a lot a like, and we all agreed that our friends tell us we're the weirdest people they know. so that's good. they appreciate my hand flipping and weird noises. and they liked my disney song whistling during chores. So we're definitely having fun! Apart from all the good, Wednesday was a bit overwhelming, but I definitely wouldn't say it was my worst day here, it actually wasn't even that bad. Oh, and I've seen Mitch, excuse me, Elder Steele. We're not supposed to say "guys" either. THat's been almost impossible haha. Pretty much every day here. We see eachother in the cafeteria because our meals are at about the same time.
Every day all day I am running running running. The schedule here is packed full, and the only time I have to not think about Thai is at lunch, where I can sit and get to know people. In english. Thursday was a lot more overwhelming, but just because the Thai was a lot more intense. Fact: learnign to speak Thai will be/has been the hardest thing I have done. But in ways that I didn't really expect. I retain info really well, and let me tell you teh gift of tongues is REAL. I have only been here a week and I already know soooo much. The tones are reallly hard. I could be reading things exactly right, but if you don't say them with the right tone it means something different, or nothing at all. We were taught how to pray on Thursday, and also how to teach someone to pray, and we were told that we would be teaching our first "investigator" on Friday...in Thai. oh dear. Something that I was thinking on Thursday was that even though it is super hard, i've never felt incapable or alone. I KNOW it will come. eventually. I've prayed more htan I have ever prayed. And it's so cool because my evening prayers are something that I look forward to SOOO much. I get to talk to God for 15 min. and it's still not long enough. It's amazing how much I rely on the Lord. ANd he always comes through.
Probably the most discouraging day. But still not bad. I'll have you know that i have not cried once while i've been here! you should be proud of me haha i guess my emotions have kinda flipped. which I think is a huge blessing. Honestly I think my companions and I really keep each other going. it's great. So we taught our first lesson on Friday and it went ok, but we could hardly understand ANYTHINg that the investigator was saying. We usually jsut go from a script that we've worked on for hours and hours to translate from English to Thai. It's really humbling actually. And once we finish one lesson, it's back to the classrom to work on the next one. It's actually really cool because w'ere just teaching really simple truths. becasue that's all we can say. Like, "Jesus Christ is God's Son." and " God loves you". Plus, a lot of the people we will teach know absolutely nothing about God or don't believe in him. Gym time is great, I've been playing volleyball or running with Sis. Yim. It's really nice to have some time to clear my head and burn off the oh so wonderful MTC food. Which is not oh so wonderful, by the way. I'm already kinda sick of it, but every once in a while it will be alright. I usually eat a wrap for lunch. Those are pretty good.
We taught another lesson, we were super busy as usual, etc. One thing that I learned: even with the HUGE language barrier, you can still feel the spirit.
Best day EVER. Spirit was so strong! And Adam, Bro. Eggett is the choir director, did you know that?! So yes, mums, I joined the choir, along with the other 800 new sisters ahaha. But really. there were 800 new missionaries that came in on Wednesday! I hope we get to sing at Conference! We got a lot of personal study time on Sunday, which is only for scriptures or gospel stuff. It was nice to have a break from all the THai. We had a devotional that night and I felt the spirti so strongly, especially when we sang Praise to the Man. I KNOW this is true! We watched a video of a talk by Elder Holland: Be missionaries Forever. And he said something taht I loved: Why is this so hard?? Why is missionary work so hard? Why is life so hard? It's because Salvation is not cheap. It wasn't easy for Christ, so it's not easy for us. Love that.
We did service aka chores. cleaning etc. I'm running out of time.
Pday, go to temple.
I lvoe you all so much! also, mom if you could talk to Andrea about getting my exercise capris. Not spandex, but ones that we looked at at Sports Authority or something.
I know without a doubt that I made the right decision in serving a mission. I wondered sometimes before I left, but now I am 10000% sure that I'm where I need to be. And Elder Holland also said taht this is an experience that I will only get once. Right now, right here. I am SO thankful to be here. I know this gospel is true and that it brings happiness. I hope you got the pics, and did you even get teh letter I sent earlier??? PS mom thanks so much for Dear Eldering so often. Mail is like candy here, and they hand it out every day. So even if it feels like you're writing too often, you're probably not ;)
Chog dii!

Sister Steele

All smiles before the "curbside" drop off...

Goodbye hug for Waldo