Monday, April 29, 2013

April 29, 2013

dearest family,

first of all, congrats to migwig and shaun! MARRIAGE!! :) so happy for them.

funny language story for the week: i was calling a member to confirm for our appointment for the day, and hello is 'sawadii kha!' and apparently i had a slip of the tongue and said 'sawadii khii' (literal translation: basically i said hello s***). cool. hahahaha the sisters overheard it and were laughing at me for a while. i don't think i'll ever live that one down. sis. wiganda told everyone in our ward about it too.'s super normal to talk about 'thongsia' here (diarrhea) because everyone has it because of the food. people will say it all the time, say it over the pulpit in sacrament meeting, etc. anyway, this week the food finally got to my digestive system, and sorry if this is TMI, you're just gonna have to embrace the thai culture for a minute. we were riding on the songtaw, and we still had a ways to go, when i realized i probably wasn't gonna make it to the house we were going to. i had to made the thing stop at the church (because thongsia tends to hit you at the most inconvenient times. and when it's time to's time to go). anyway, everything was ok. and that's all i'll say about that.

this week we were street contacting and sis. madsen and i were told to go out and find people by ourselves. Just go talk to people! which meant we wouldn't have anyone with us who knew the language. so...i was rejected by 5 people in a row, and the first guy i talked to actually jumped away from me. i think he was probably scared of the tall white girl who was walking toward him with jesus pamphlet. so that was a bummer. but then the next person i talked to, i went up and said hello how are you in thai, and she said, oh i don't speak thai. and i was like, Good! neither do I! so she was from the phillipines and was here working. she said she would like to come to church and english class. i felt like elder calhoon on the best 2 years...the one person that finally wants to listen speaks English! woooo! haha. another cool experience i had this week was on the songtaw (not the thonsia..i'd like to forget about that one). but i was sitting next to a man, and i kept thinking i should talk to him. but i was scared because i didn't think he would understand me. but finally i got up enough courage and asked him his name. we talked for a while and i gave him a pamphlet and an english class flier, and his contact info! and i was so glad i decided to talk to him instead of looking down at the floor the whole time like i wanted to do. So yesterday (Sunday) we had 2 baptisms! it was so cool to see this cute little couple baptized! we got to be the musical number for the program, and we sang 'if the savior stood beside me'. one of our investigators (sis. Nuun) said that she felt really good watching them get baptized, and half of her heart wants to be baptized, but she's scared. basically she's just super stubborn. she said she would be baptized on july 6, her bday. but sis. itri and I are determined to have her ready before then, because we'll probably leave this are before then! and she's totally ready! she just needs to take that leap of faith.

Favorite scripture of the week: Alma 26: 12-16. i'm loving this missionary work stuff. but sometimes it's hard. and discouraging. and as hard as i try, i can't do this by myself. 'i know that in my own strength i am nothing, but in His strength i can do all things'. i know that's true! By small and simple means, God will bring to pass great and marvelous MIRACLES.

i ate thai pizza the other day. grossest thing i've had since i've been here. basically a bun with half a cup of mayonnaise on it, with some nasty crab chunks. ew i wanna throw up just thinking about it. but of course, we tell the members that everything we eat is yummy!!! mango sticky rice: new comfort food. i eat so much of it! well i should probably go now. love you all!

sis steele
 Couple baptized this past week

They sell Halls cough drops like candy!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 21, 2013
hey hey hey!

This week has gone by slow and fast at the same time. i always think of everything i want to write home about during the week and then once i sit down in front of the computer it all escapes me! first of all, thank you to sarah morrow and the sweet couple from wallsburg, because they gave me my first batch of real live mail here in thailand! i love hearing sarah's stories about asher! anyway, after last pday, i was having a rough few days...and i don't know why. probably because...oh yeah i can't speak thai ahha. and i think being away from home hadn't really sunk in until i finally reached thailand. so i had a few days of moping, but then i got so busy that i forgot about it! it's really true that if you lose yourself in the service of others, you'll really never have to worry about yourself. the first tiny miracle i had this week was on tuesday night (we teach English class once a week every tuesday). I got to teach the introduction course for any of the brand new people that are just registering. so i taught with sis. wiganda (by the way i LOVE her, she's hilarious, and she's thai so it's really helpful to have her around and listen to her speak and everything). She told the lady (Fon) all about the registration process, and then I got to teach her how to pray, because we pray at the beginning and ending of each English class. I had already talked to her a little before in my broken Thai, so we were pretty much best friends by then, naturally. I taught her how to pray, showed her how to pray, and then we asked her if she would try praying for herself. As she started praying, immediately the spirit came into the room, and i had to try so hard not to cry! I got to hear her speak to her Heavenly Father for the first time in her life, and it was so awesome. Everything that I had been worried about or struggling with didn't really matter right then. so cool!! Hopefully we'll get to start teaching her, because she has Saturday's and Sunday's off, which is REALLY rare in Thailand, becuase usually everyone works, which is the main thing that holds them back from baptism. Anyway, my second tiny miracle for the week: teaching Sis. Nuun. She's been investigating for a long time, but still isn't sure about her belief in Jesus Christ and doesn't believe in prophets. As we taught her, i testified of the BOM, and the importance of reading it every day, and then asking God if it's true. During that whole lesson, i actually understood her! i had been so frustrated with never knowing what's going on, but i saw a tender mercy from God in helping me to understand one little lesson that day. We also taught Ping that day, and her mom is a recent convert in our ward. Ping is 17, and probably the shyest person i have ever met. it's really hard to get her to open up in lessons. but we taught her how to pray and asked her to read the BOM. 

So yesterday was our first real Sunday here, and the four of us (new missionaries in the are) bore our testimonies in sacrament meeting, and we were also the musical number. So basically we were the stars of sacrament meeting haha. we sang 'a child's prayer', and then broke into parts with one part english, one part thai....yeahhhh maybe not a great idea. i think it was really hard to understand, and our tune was a little off, but i think all thai people are tone-deaf so it's all good. anyway, sunday was good, and my head was about to explode after our meetings were over because of all that was going on that i didn't understand. in RS we did the little thing where you break into groups and talk about things. usually i'm right by sis. Itri or Sis. Wiganda, so they can tell me what's going on in English. but i got put in a group by myself. so the RS pres. was in my group and asked me what i thought about what she had just read....and i didn't even know what the topic was haha. luckily one of the investigators in my group knew english pretty well so she helped me. haha the poor RS pres...put into a group with 2 investigators and the missionary that doesn't know what's going on. we had a great group! after church we taught Ping and she had been praying and reading every day! She committed to be baptized on May 19th! I'm so happy for her. We wanted to teach Sis. Nuun too, but she told us she couldn't because she had a headache and she's lazy...she's a fiesty one. we eat every sunday with the members after church. so i'm well fed. the other night, the bishop gave us TONS of mango sticky rice. SO GOOD. and my stomach hurt after because i ate so much. but don't worry, because as far as i know i haven't gained any weight yet...knock on wood. i was bragging to sis. Madsen yesterday that i hadn't gotten one mosquito bite since i'd been here, and it was about 2 min. later that i got  aHUGE one on my arm, that i have not scratched at all...and it's still huge. We still don't have our house completely set up...still waiting on desks, dressers, etc. WE FINALLY got a fridge and a washer, so we don't have to keep all of our food in the church fridge now. although we still spend a lot of time at the church, getting water, cooking, etc. soooo our church may or may not be haunted. i guess it's kinda had a history of that in the past. we had a few weird encounters, so we had the elders bless it when we had district meeting. now it's kind of a running joke that we have a phii (ghost) in our church. i think he's a friendly ghost though (i just have to tell myself that to keep myself from peeing my pants, because i've always been a paranoid child..)

Funny story for the week: we call our ward mission leader (bro. aam) every night to report about our day. So one night Sis. Itri had me call. i looked through her phone and found his name, and asked sis. Wiganda if it said 'Bro. Aam'. she said yes. So i called him and he answered, etc. I reported everything we did that day, asked him some questions, and he kept responding in thai...and i was confused becuase he had just talked to sis. madsen in english. i kept telling him i didn't understnad, but he just kept going. finally i gave the phone to sis. Itri and when she hung up she said, 'oh yeah that was bro. aam, but it was a different bro. aam from the iisaan (the countryside of thailand). hahahaha. so i basically just told bro. aam what i did that entire day. in english. and he didn't understand a word. idk why he didn't just hang up on me. anyway, that was pretty funny because i'm pretty sure i spent about 10 min. with him on the phone. 

well, that's probably all for this week. i know that my stories/experiences may not mean to you what they mean to me, because you can't place a name with a face, and you don't exactly know the places or people that i'm talking about. but i hope you know that these experiences and these people mean EVERYTHING to me! they are REAL people, and i get to learn with them, grow with them, and see them become the people that they can be with Christ. There are two of our investigators (Bro. Aay, and Sis. Lin) that have been investigating for 2 years, and have had a lot of obstacles stand in their way. They are getting baptized this Sunday! And i can already see that they are different people. i love them. And i know it's not just Buddhist people in Thailand that can change because of Christ. His Atonement is for ALL of God's children. So---since i'm in missionary mode, i wanted to challenge you read the BOM every day, and if there are things that you're wondering or questioning, ASK God. He'll answer you. because a Father answers His children. 

I love you much.

peace and blessings. sis. steele

April 16, 2013

It's crazy to think that it was only just a week ago that I talked to all of you on the phone from the airport. it has seemed like a few months have passed, and it's definitely crazy to be here in Thailand! Well, i really don't have much time, because my first computer froze on me, so then i had to switch and start ALL over on everything, including my letter to the president, so that was frustrating. so here i am with about 26 min left so i'll see how much of my new Thai life i can tell you about. i'd like to just give you a run down of every single day since i last talked to you because sooo much has happened!
So the traveling here part was good. I talked to a lady named Donna Nelson (ironic because i have a friend named Dawna Nelson) on the flight from SLC to LA. We talked the entire time, and eventually i tried to give her my BOM, and she said she'd accept it, but then she said i better give it to someone that it would benefit. she was super nice about it, but she didn't have any interest in religion at all. she said she would add me on FB though, and i got her contact info. so i guess that's a start. Strike one for the BOM though. haha. in the LA airport me and Dorles were talking to a couple from China and we ended up giving them a BOM. woo! they could barely speak english and we couldn't speak Mandarin so i'm not sure how much they really understood...but they have a BOM now. so that's good. the flight from LA to Hong Kong was LONNNNGGGGG. and i didn't sleep well. and there's no leg room, and by the end of that flight i was gross and didn't look presentable to meet my mission president. oh well.
the 29 of us got to the airport and eventually pres. senior and his wife got there, and there was one of the senior missionaries video taping EVERYTHING we did. we felt like zoo animals the whole day. "hey we're the biggest group of thai missionaries ever. watch us eat, talk, sing, etc." anyway, we took a train to the mission home, and one of the office elders was talking to a thai girl on the train, and he asked if any of us wanted to practice Thai. so i volunteered. i basically couldn't say hardly anything, but she gave me her email address and i gave her an English lesson flier (that's what we do every Tuesday is teach English) and that's where a lot of investigators come from. The rest of the day was long, and they kept taking pictures of our group, i think one is gonna be in the Liahona?? That's what they said. We had the Dan Jones experience, where we went out and placed a BOM. Pretty sure the construction guy had no idea what I was talking about. ohhhh man this is fun. we were all dragging and falling asleep by the end of the day because we'd been up for about 2 days straight at that point.
we stayed in a hotel that night in Bangkok and then went to the church for new missionaries meeting and then transfers meeting. oh my i wish i could just tell you everything in detail because i'm skipping over so much but there's so little time. so i'll skip to transfers meeting. they lined all the new missionaries up and walked us into the room where all the other thai missionaries were waiting in the audience. It was seriously like a ceremony, because everyone was cheering and clapping for us as we filed in. i felt pretty special haha. so i bet you're wanting to know who my trainer (or m33) is. Guess what. JEN ITRI IS MY TRAINER!!! hahaha it's so great!! what are the chances?! the one friend that I had serving in Thailand and she ends up being my trainer. oh man i'm so excited. she only has one transer left after me. and every single sister in thailand had to train except for two of them because we had so many sisters coming in! anyway, dad, i saw sis. Yeo and she came up and gave me a hug and took a pic of us both. all of the trainers seem great!
my area is Srinakarin, it's part of Bangkok. and it's been closed for a while, so we are opening up the area! there's only 4 sisters in the area and no elders. apparently it's been closed for a while because there were problems with elders and the members...and now they're opening it again. so most of our time has been spent setting u[p our house (which we got the night of transfers meeting) and we're still living out of suitcases. sis. itri and i live with sis. madsen who is new too, and sis. wiganda, who is a khon thai (Thai person) and she's awesome! sooo basically we're a foursome and we do everything together because we're setting up the area. We LOVE our ward. we got to watch general conference with them and they are ALWAYS feeding us. even though i can't communicate with them a whole bunch, i still feel like i've formed relationships.
so let me tell you about Son Khran (not sure how to spell it) basically it's just the new year of Thailand. And the whole country shuts down and has a huge water fight for 3 days. no big deal. we got to 'play Son Khran' as they call it, on Saturday and Monday (pday) and basically jsut had a HUGE water fight with strangers on the street for 6 hours straight. And they come by with chalky powder stuff and just wipe it all over your face. SO FUN! We got to teach a sweet little taxi driver the letters of the alphabet and the numbers in English, and he's probably goin to be a new investigator. I get to teach English tonight, so we'll see how that goes. I love it here. It's definitely the hardest thing I've ever done, but nothing worth having comes easy. sometimes it's easy to feel like i have nothing when i'm not able to communicate. personality is kind of lost, ability to speak is lost, and i'm in a whole different country with tons of people i don't know. but i know i'm not just in  a companionship, i'm still in a trio! because God will not leave me comfortless, He will come to me. He came with me to Thailand, and He will come with me whereer I may go. Learning the language will come with time, and i fell like i've already learned so much, especially becasue sis. itri and sis. wiganda are always speaking thai to eachother. i hope all is going well at home, and hopefully i'll have more time to expound next time. Love you all!

Sis. Steele

Friday, April 12, 2013

April 10, 2013

Dear Brother and Sister Steele:

We are happy to report that your daughter arrived safely in Bangkok.  She is in good spirits and is anxious to begin laboring in the Lord’s vineyard in Thailand.  I love her enthusiasm and spirit.  She will be an amazing missionary. Your daughter will be oriented today by the Office Couple Elder and Sister Jones, the Mission Assistants and also by Sister Senior and me.  She will experience her first opportunity to meet people on the street in a “Dan Jones” street contacting experience later today.    Later in the evening, this group will be joining my wife and me for dinner at the Mission Home.

Your missionary will receive her first assignment tomorrow morning.  Preparation day will be on Monday and she will be able to email you each week.  I am sure she will have much to share regarding her experiences with Thailand, missionary activities and her first Sunday in her assigned area.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions during your missionary’s service.


President and Sister Senior

Em's group after just arriving in Thailand

Sister Steele arriving in Thailand--Meeting Pres. & Sister Senior

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April 2, 2013

This is the last time i will say HELLO! from the MTC.
So we got our flight plans on Thursday of last week!!!! wowwww this is now real. actually it still doesn't feel real and it probably won't until i'm on the plane. the elder that i always have competitons with challenged me to another competition. we're trying to place a BOM before we get to Thailand. we'll see how this goes. if the opportunity comes up, i;'ll cease the day. but i'm not going to attack everyone in the airport and make them listen to me. haha. so i don't have very much time on this computer, but i have to tell you about a few things this week. the MTC experience wouldn't be complete without one day of 'English fasting'. So on Thursday, our whole district decided we were going to speak Thai all day long. wow that was pretty exhausting. I was actually surprised with how much i could say. and then i was also surprised with how much i couldn't say. i know a lot of gospel terms, but if i want to tell someone about my hobbies, or how to get to my house...i have no idea. haha i guess that just showed me i need to work on more vocab. so anyway, our thai day was good, and we all did pretty well...until we were at dinner and our DL gave us our flight plans...then all Thai went out the window. soooo we made it til 5pm and the rest of the day we pretty much couldn't focus at all. there's 3 groups of us on different flights, because there's so many of us. i'm in the biggest group with 17, and they split our companionship up:(. but i think we meet up again in Hong Kong, so that's ok. our teachers tell us we have a lot of time to study on the plane...but let's be real. i think we'll all be too excited to do anythign productive.
let's see. Oh! Easter was AMAZING. they told us before hand that our choir was preparing a special musical number and that it was going to be a very 'special program'. so then i totally convinced myself that the prophet was coming. yep. i started a rumor that the prophet was coming, because they were planting flowers and fertilizing the trees, so naturally he had to be coming to talk to us. hahaha. well he didn't come, but the presiding bishop, Bishjop Causse came and spoke to us about LOVE. and it was SO good. i think that of all things, this gospel is about LOVE. and our specail program really was special. i had the chance to be a part of a sacrament meeting with over 3000 missionaries, all partaking of the sacrament at once, 100 elders serving the sacrament, all of us renewing sacred covenants, promising to remember Christ, and celebrating our Savior on the day that He was resurrected and overcame death. the spirit was SO strong. it really was the most amzing experience, and i'm so lucky to have been a part of it. it kind of made me think of what it will be like when the Savior comes to the earth, and all the Saints gather together and we all get to have one big sacrament meeting together. it just reminds me of how important the sacrament is. and how thankful I am for my Savior. Easter really was wonderful, and even though the prophet didn't come (haha), we got to hear from Sheri Dew that night! so that was great. and overall, it was just an awesome day, and a day that i grew even more close to Chirst.
So i leave on Monday, at 4:30, and our flight leaves at 8pm. i've been feeling a lot of emotions lately. i'm scared out of my mind. i'm more excited than ever. i'm sad to be leaving those that i lvoe here. i'm so excited to be meeting people i will love in Thailand. so far, my mission has been SO MUCH MORE than i ever expected it to be, and i haven't even really started yet! and that's why, even though it's a little sad to leave my comfort zone here, i know what's ahead of me, and it only makes me happy. i can fast forward in my head and see myself in Thailand, having good times and bad, but never remembering the bad. The worst days are the best days to turn to the Lord. this gospel is true. i know it. i know that God is my Father, that Jesus is my Savior, and that this gospel brings the purest happiness i've ever experienced. i came out here because God told me to, and because i love Him. and I felt indebt to my Savior, so I wanted to serve Him. But as i've been out here, my motives have changed a bit. I am out here because i love God, and I LOVE His children. ALL of them. this is not about me, but about God and His children. and as i've served so far, i've only found more reasons to be in debt to my Savior, because He strengthens me every day. "for I know in my own strength I am weak, but I can do ALL things in God, who strengthens me."
I love you all, and the next time you hear from me will be from THAILAND!!!! whoa.
Love, Sis. Steele
p.s. if you're ever having a hard day, just imagine a T-rex trying to make a bed...