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. 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 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

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