Thursday, March 28, 2013

March 26, 2013

oh hello friends and family.
Hi my name is emily and i'm going to Thailand in 2 WEEKS!!! what?! we should be getting our travel plans at the end of this week i think. time is so warped here and i can't believe i'm leaving so soooooon!
This week has been great! and hopefully i have a few good stories for you too. well i guess i'll start with today, since it's fresh on my mind. we woke up super early (again) to go to the temple. This time it was just me, sis. yim, and sis. dorles (McDermott--but she totally goes by Dorles now because my nicknames rock.) anyway, the temple was awesome as usual. and i saw Dr. Ogden again, so he better tell dad hi for me. i see lots of dad's buddies in the temple, and then i see lots of rachel's buddies at the MTC as missionaries, and then i see lots of my buddies that are teachers at the MTC. Doonis doesn't have any buddies so it's ok. hahaha jk Doonis i love you. well the weather has been the typical utah weather, and one day we were studying outside in the sun, and the next it was snowing all day. oh and by the way, let me know if you're getting my pictures or not.
so there were a bunch of new missionaries that came in on wednesday, and every time new missionaries come in, they need 'host missionaries' to get them settled, get there books, show them where their residence and classoom is, etc. So me and my companions decided we wanted to try being a host missionary at least once while we were here. dorles and i were a little worried about our ability to guide someone around, knowing that we're both directionally challenged. but acutally, that ended up being the least of my worries, and i didn't get lost once! yay! 7 weeks in the MTC, i sure hope i know my way around haha. so anyway, i hosted my first sister, who was going to Billings Montana. order of events: We're supposed to grab their luggage from the elders, take them to their residence hall to drop it off, go to the bookstore to get their books and packets and everything, and then take them to their classroom. so we're walking to her residence hall, made it there ok, dropped off her stuff, found her classroom, everything was great, and i was feeling pretty proud of myself. right as i got back in line to meet my next new sister that i would host, i realized that the last sister had been really fast, and i was wondering why....and then i realized i TOTALLY forgot to take her to the bookstore to get her books. and then i forgot where her classroom was so i couldn't go back and get her, and basically i just felt like a complete idiot. i'm pretty sure i ruined her first day in the MTC, and here teacher was probably like, " where's all your books?" and she was probably like, " dumb host forgot to take me to get them." ohhhhh mannnn i'm dumb. hopefully she got it all resolved haha. so my next sister was a little more quiet, and seemed more emotional. no i did not forget the bookstore this time, which was good because she was speaking portugese. so i took her everywhere she needed to go, but then we got to the classroom and she told me she hadn't eaten all day. and they don't feed you til dinner on your first then i felt super bad for being a bad host x2. i told here where the vending machines were, and explained the situation to her teacher, who refused to speak english to me (dumb bum) and then i left the building. once I got outside i realized i had her key card in my hand still. and it has money on it. which she needed in order to go to the vending machines. by that point i was convinced that i am less intelligent than when i came in here. so i ran back and found her frantically looking for her key card, and then i gave it back to her, and walked away hahahha. and more hosting for me. i haaaaaadddd a baddddd experience (name that movie). oh! but there was one good thing that came out of hosting. as we were meeting with all the host sisters, i saw a sister that totally looked like she was from Fiji, and i started talking to her and it turns out she was! her name is Sis. Nawatu, and she knew Ateca and Margie Elder!!! she was in Navatyamba when we visited and played in the river and stuff. SMALL WORLD. we just talked for a long time about people we knew, etc. She's going to the Phillipines!
I have just a few random funny things that happened this week. well in between classes we had a break to get a drink, go bathroom, etc. So i was in the bathroom (sorry, tmi), and you can here everything that's going on outside. and in the hallway i heard the song 'slippery fish'....hahahaha. some missionaries were singing it in french, which made it that much more funny. it brought me back to my preschool days! Next random story: there's an elder in my district (actually he's my favorite) that can gleek on purpose. gross. he's always trying to gleek on everyone. and it just reminded my of rachel and her spit bubbles. I still remember the time that she was blowing them on Chelsea Kocherhans during sunday school and she thought they were coming from the ceiling. hahaha and then chelsea was the one who got kicked out of class for being disruptive....ohhhhh good times. i ate rancid pineapple here. MTC food=yummo. it tasted like it had been soaked in sprite or something. that's what they're feeding us here at the MTC wahoo!
i've decided that i'm super excited to finally go to Thailand, and to teach REAL people about the gospel! But i'm also gonna be a little sad to leave here. because i have made some pretty great friends. and that's an understatement. i feel like i left my family to come on a mission, made a new family here, and now i have to leave them too. but luckily we'll get to see everyone once in a while and zone conferences and stuff. I love every single person in my district, and i know i sound pretty cliche. but there's a lot of power that comes with experiencing spiritual experiences together, making spiritual changes together, and learning from each other every day. i feel SO blessed! i can't say it enought. i've learned that God is SO in charge of EVERYTHING. I know that all the experiences I've had up until this point in my life have prepared me to serve a mission in Bangkok, Thailand, at this specific time. God knows each of us personally and it's evident in the way that he guides us and directs us. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father saw more in me than I ever saw in myself. Oh and sidenote: i'm memorizing my favorite scripture in Thai! (Ether 12:6). Oh and Grandma Steele sent me the BEST cupcakes in the world. they were gone in a day. and my teacher keeps asking me if i have more of them. :)
Thank you all for your love, prayers, and support. i feel it.
peace and blessins....sis. steele.
Emily's threesome companionship with the new "Thai" sisters

Emily in the snow...after the day of sunshine

Saturday, March 23, 2013

March 19, 2013

OK sometimes the mail system is screwy here so i don't get updates until days later, or after i write this email, and then i have to wait a WHOLE week until i get to respond. so last pday i got the news about Mauritius that night! and it pretty much killed me to wait this long to say WOOOOOOO! yayayazyayyayayay i'm so excited. and jealous. but i get to go to thailand so that's ok. as long as we can go back and i can come. also, i got the package a few days ago and it made my day! everything i needed and more. and i absolutely loved the recordings haha. Grandma Steele's had me smiling and laughing for a while, and it was so cute. I'm glad she had a "scrumptious lunch" with her buddies :)
Well I tried to send some pictures but this computer was being dumb so you may get some later...if i can find an open computer. This week has gone by soooo slowwww compared to other weeks. It's probably just because I've been sick, but i think i'm finally on the upswing, so that's good. highlight of the week: SUNSHINE! even though it may be only 60 degrees outside, we try to study in sun every chance we get. It does a lot of good for my mood, and it just makes me really excited that i'm going to the land of sunshine, because i'm grumpy in the winter. i'm already starting to get a lovely farmer's tan, it should be pretty great when I get back. so the MTC is bursting at the seams, as usual, and last pday we didn't even get into choir, due to the HUGE amount of over-eager sisters to get there an hour early and take up all the spots. but we got a really good seat in the front, so i guess it wasn't so bad. today we heard that there's going to be someone "special" coming, and in choir we've been practicing a number that was arranged specificallly for the person coming, so i'm bound and determined to beat the crowds and get there early for devo tonight, even if i'm one of those over-eager sisters that gets there early...i'll probably just sit and write letters or something since it's still my pday.
so we've been learning a lot about thailand lately, and it rains pretty much ALL the time there! i'm not a big fan of rain, but i'm actually kind of excited to be biking in the rain, in the sun, getting soaked and loving it. oh and murm and durd, i'm super jealous of you eating thai food once a month because you tell me about all these yummy things and i'm sitting here eating MTC food. it makes me sooo excited to get to Thailand and eat! and EAT some more. apparently it's super cheap. oh and mom the dessert you're talking about is called mango sticky rice and they have it at Thai Drift too. my favorite. There's on Thai sister here in the whole MTC and she's going to Austrailia Mandarin speaking! We see her all the time since she's in the same building, and whenever she talks to us in THai we just stare at her like poor little greenies (because we have NO idea what she's saying hahaha). But my Dorles and I (SIs. McDErmott) were talking to her at gym yesterday  and she told us her conversion story in Thai, and I was actually surprised by how much I understood! she the sweetest girl and she probably comes up to my waist...yep. i'm gonna the white giant in Thailand. haha but most of our sister missionaries in our district are actually pretty tall, which makes me feel better. another thing i learned about thailand: potties are usually holes in the ground. i think i already knew this because i looked back in my journal to see what i had written about it when we went there, and the only thing i had put was that it was HOT and HUMID and that the bathroom we used was a hole  in the ground. Oh...and no toilet paper. Just a little squirter thing. that should be interesting. oh and apparently Thai's are very open with what they call thccngsia (diarrhea). They're not too ashamed of talking about their bodily functions i guess. haha funny story: yesterday i think a few of us ate something whacky, because we weren't feeling too good. me and my companions walked into the classroom and we were the only ones in there after dinner before everyone came in. i said that i felt like i could go puke in a toilet, and sis. yim said she felt like she could go bomb. and then i said, oh--my bowels have already been doing weird things today...and then i turned around and my teacher bro. mcckonkie had just come in the room...hahahaha well he now knows much more about me than he probably ever wanted to. haha wow. sorry i'm going on and on.
today has been amazing so far. we woke up as a district at 5am to get to a 6am session, and then had breakfast at the temple cafetriea. sis. yim had to activate her temple recommend, and Bro. Jensen (Lauryn Jensen's dad) helped us with that, and he recognized me from before. and then we were about to leave and he told us that next week when we came, we should stay in our temple clothes and come find him and he would give us a tour of the temple! he said to make sure it was just us 3 but that he would take us around places nobody else got to go! well i can't wait til next pday haha. we get our travel plans in 10 days!!! wowwww i can't believe it's so close. i'm so excited but it's gonna be sad to leave all my friends here. we've gotten really close to the cambodian sisters too, because they're in our zone. New Thai's should be coming in tomorrow! I can't wait! we're finally gonna be the older ones (phii thai's). oh and i forgot to mention that i finished memorizing the Joseph Smith account of the first vision in Thai this week! it takes me a long time to say it, but it's something that really comes in handy. it was our district goal and i was racing another elder in my district to see who could get it memorized first haha.
sorry this letter is long, i don't blame you if you started skimming. but i just wanted to let you know that i have a testimony of the Atonement. Whenever i've taken my last step, and feel like i can't go anymore, He carries me. I've definitely seen it this week like i've never seen it before. He gives me a peace and hope that I can't find anywhere else. and i can't wait to share that with people!
love sister STEELE

Emily's district at Provo Temple
Former missionaries left surprises in a Narnia Hole

The goods found in a "Narnia Hole!"

Sister Davies, who just left for Thailand

Sis Yim, Sis Steele, & Sis McDermott

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Just to clarify, Emily refers to Black Mamba, which  is a nickname Tanner sometimes uses for himself...something to do with being a teenager, I'm assuming!

Dear murm, durd, addis, a be be, dooonis, manuel, walders, and anyone else who will read this:
I'm super short on time so this might be kinda quick. I just wanted to do a short recap of the week, which has been SUPER fast. I can't believe I leave to Thailand in a month! Well, this week has been a little rough, but overall very good still. An elder in our district went home on Wednesay, so it really took a toll on our district. We had a hard day, and it's gradually gotten better. It seems like that was forever ago...whoa. I really admire him for his courage in making a hard choice. We loved him so much and I pray for him daily. He's planning on coming back and I know he'll be a great missionary when he does. Sunday was a good day, as Sundays always are here. You know how I said they randomly pick two people to give the talk on Sunday? Well it was my lucky day!! I didn't expect it at all, until we were taking the sacrament. Then my heart started pounding and I had a feeling that I should pray for the Spirit. haha oh dear. that's when I knew I would speak. So after the sacrament  was over he stood up and annojunced my name and another elder. The topic was on enduring to the end. I tried to focus more on HOW we endure. I really like what it says in Mosiah 24...can't remember which verse right now. But it says that we should submit ourselves "cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord." And I shared a quote that I found in a letter mom had written me that was still in my scriptures.."life isn't about waiting for the storms to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain." Love that. So my talk went well, and all of the nccng thai's (younger thai's) sang God be with you til we meet again" to the phii thai's (older thai's) because they left to Thailand YESTERDAY!! so crazy! It's weird to think we'll be with them in a month, because they had been here 13 weeks! wow. I definitely learned a lot this week, and I wanted to make a list of things I here they are:
1. They've started to change lots of men's bathrooms into girl's bathrooms because of the HUGE amount of sisters  coming in. You can tell the bathrooms were built for a small amount of sisters because there's only one stall per women's restroom and there's maybe 3 per building.
2. Some girls in our district were talking to the MTC president and he said that in June, when it really starts to flood, they will probably have a whole separate MTC campus and start moving people to Wyview.
3. Sometimes I still catch myself starting off my prayer with "Financial Services, this is Emily..." hahahaha
4. I'm gonna have to throw my perfectionism out the window. No room for perfectionism while learning Thai.
5. I hate the showers here with all my heart. They aren't made for normal sized people
6. I'm reallly weird. I yelled "DOOOONSAVEEEEN" today and my companion looked at me like I was crazy.
7. I learned what FOMO means: Fear of Missing Out. Sometimes I have that.
8. I know how to say hello in 10 different languages. Maybe more!
9. Making a goal of 'no sweets' is bad. I've eaten more sweets since I made that goal haha.
10. iPods automatically switch to the correct time (daylight savings) We didn't know that so my companion switched hers an hour ahead and set the alarm. THen it switched by itself, so we ended up waking up at 4:30am on Sunday. JOYYYY
11. The movie Legacy is funny. Great. But funny, and wonderful acting. MTC humor will take what it can get...and we had a lot of interesting reactions to all the romantic scenes. We are so deprived hahaha.
12. Without God, I am nothing.
13. I am so thankful for the support that I have. I can feel the prayers coming my way, and people I don't even know write me letters. If you could tell Sam to tell Dorena Glen? I believe? THANKYOU for writing me. She is such a sweetheart. She's from Wallsburg and writes to ALL the missionaries she knows of.
14. You can feel the spirit even in a role play. I've seen it multiple times
15.I LOVE Mormon messages!
16. I loved it when mom forwarded me Mitch's experience in tracting. It made me realize that these are REAL people, and I'll get to teach them SO soon!
17. It's possible to get sick twice in 2 weeks. Who woulda thought! I had to sleep in yesterday and today because I felt like death.
18. I am forever grateful for the Black Mamba. so apparently you can put the 'sender name' on Dear Elder as anything you want. So I got one the other day from the Black Mamba. It was the worst day out of the week and I was feeling pretty down. I went home and read that letter and it was so short and simple and plain, but I laughed so hard that I cried, and it totally turned my whole night around. I don't believe in accidents in God's world. I know that that letter was so timely, and it really lifted me up. So I want the Black Mamba to know that his letter was an answer to my prayers. THe Lord truly works tender mercies in our lives. He knows me and loves me and knows what I need and when I need it, and it is so comforting to know that he is so involved in the little aspects of our lives. I know that He feels that way about all of His children.
The gospel is SO TRUE.
Love you all,  Sister Steele

Friday, March 8, 2013

Dearest khrccbkhrua, (family...too bad this keyboard can't type in Thai script.)
I've been here for a month now! THis calls for celebration. My district is having a little fiesta later today because we all have loads of goodies that our families have sent us. So we're gonna combine the goods and share our spoils. One elder had his fmaily send him chips and salsa and soda. I've been sharing my candy little by little, but I still have a whole stash under my bed, so don't worry. I think mom is trying to fatten me up. One of my companions (Sis. McDermott) absolutely LOVES candy and is eating it all the time. So she likes to take it off my hands if I can't eat it all. SIs. Yim and I give her a hard time about some of her habits (not believing in exercise and not brushing her teeth). One night she said, "I do brush my teeth...but then I just eat candy after..." HAHAHA. that doesn't count Sis. McDermott. She's always keeping us laughing. I think that's probably the number one thing that has made my mission what it is so far. My companions really get me through a lot. It's awesome to me that as hard as a mission can be, it's also so much fun. Sometimes I wonder if I should be laughing as much as I do. Because we definitely have a lot of fun in our district.
Did I tell you that we had started teaching at th eTRC last week? Well we did. aNd we taught there again this Saturday, and will from here on out. It's actually one of my favorite things. We're basically just teaching members, and it's fun to talk to them and get to know them. Yeahhhh my Thai might not be so easy to understand, but they're usually really encouraging. I absolutely love my teachers. I really believe that we have the best teachers ever! One is super happy and good for our morale, and the other is Bruce R. Mackonkie's grandson. Enough said. Every lesson we have from him is so amazing and I learn something new each time. He's really good at motivating us too. Both of our fake investigators accepted baptism this week...WOO! I can't wait til these are real people in Thailand haha. The Phii Thais (older Thai's that have been here for about 12 weeks now) are leaving next week to Thailand. I'm so excitd for them. The next group comes in later this month I think. It will be weird for us to be the Phii Thai's...I don't exactly feel ready. But then I think of how far we've come in a month...God is amazing. We are going to sing 'God be with you til we meet again' in Sacrament meeting for our Phii Thai's. In Thai. YAY. It's really funny because our classes have evolved into ALL Thai now, so we sing out of the Thai hymn books, but we can't read script fast enough yet to keep up with the music, so must of the time our whole class is mumbling the tune, while the teacher sings the words, and then once we hit words like "Ah-leee--luuuu-yahhh" we all sing really loud. Because it's the same in English and Thai. hahahaha. it will come, it will come, it will come.
So this week was interesting because my whole companionship was sick. really sick. eh, it wasn't too bad i guess. I got a bad cold from someone in our district, and it turned into a sinus infection, and then i was pretty much delirious. sis. yim and sis. McDermott got it worse than i did, and at one point sis. yim had to go to the health center off campus to pick up some meds (sudafed i think). so naturally, we all had to tag along, which meant we got to escape the MTC for about a half hour! we were super happy about that, even though we only took about 50 steps down the street, but it was still nice to see the real world for a bit haha. sis. yim's still on the upswing, but i'm pretty much better now. germs spread like wild fire in here, so it's being passed around like crazy. oh have i mentioned how much i hate the laundry room. well i hate the laundry room A LOT. mostly because Tuesdays are the most common days to have p=days apparently, so there are people sitting on floors, tables, etc. and today it took us a good 3 hours to do laundry. being in that room stresses me out so i try to avoid doing laundry until i absolutely have to, and for those of you that know me well know that that's pretty typical for me anyway haha.
I'm trying to thnk of anything amazing that happened this week...sadly my letters might start getting less and less eventful, because all the weeks start to blend together. Oh--sis. Mcdermott was wearing her coat upside down today, and forgot her name tag. which is a BIG no-no here at the MTC. ALWAYS wear your nametag we're told. hahaha that girl is funny. Oh! Elder Ballard came and spoke at our Tuesday night devotional! It was awesome! It sounds like everyone is doing well at home, and that's really good to hear. I'm glad you're all having fun up at the cabin, and that Manu got to drive the snowmobile without crashing it or tipping it over...haha. Hearing about Ethan and Alisha's mission calls was awesome too! I am SO excited for them. I love being a missionary. Well, I'll probably think of so much more to say once I end this letter, because that's what always happens, but that pretty much sums up my week. Something that I learned this week: we are all literally sons and daughters of God. LITERALLY. I think it's amzing that I can call GOD my Father in Heaven. I had to take a little assessment on the white handbook (missionary rules) this week, and one question was "who do you turn to first when having problems on your mission", and like a dummy, i clicked on "my companion" becasue I didn't scroll down far enough to see all the options. On my feedback screen, the "right" answer was "Heavenly Father". It was something so little but it really made me think. No matter what, whatever circumstance, whatever page of life, we always have an all-powerful, all-knowing, unconditonally loving Father in Heaven. He knows how to help us better than anyone else we might turn to. If I ever feel alone in months to come, I hope I can remember that. That even when I have a tough companion, or can't communicate with ANYONE, or feel alone and scared, I can turn to my Father in Heaven, and I KNOW He will make my weaknesses strong. I am thankful that He sees something in me, more than I ever saw in myself. I am thankful that He has allowed me to be here, to be part of His work. If I ever feel like I can't do this task at hand, His response is, "I created you. I made you specifically for this job, and I know you can do it, so don't tell me that you can't." With God, all things are possible. If it wasn't possible, He wouldn't have sent us here, because He won't give us anything we can't handle. And now I'm rambling, so it's time to go get my clothes out of the dryer!
I love you all! Tell Walders hi for me!
Sis. Steele