Monday, July 29, 2013

I Like to Ride My Bicycle


this week has actually gone by pretty fast, which is kinda weird. i think it's because we're finally starting to find our way around this place, and it's getting more natural and normal to go day to day and be productive, rather than spending half our time riding our bikes around and being lost. although that still happens haha.

one thing about being in the issan (eastern Thailand) is that people live a lot further away, and sometimes appointments will take an hour or more by bus to get there. we visited a member in our branch this week with the elders, and we ended up getting caught in a huge rainstorm. we had to walk a little while to her house, so by the time we got there we were soaked. her house is also her hair salon, so she offered to dry mine and sis. stack's hair...which then turned into her washing our hair, drying it, and straightening it, and then braiding it....and THEN Elder Willamas wanted to get his haircut. hahaha so we spent a nice time with her getting all pampered. and the whole time i was just laughing because i knew we were just gonna have to go right back out into the rain. anyway, i was a little worried because it took so long, and we had to cancel another appointment that we didn't make it back in time for. but then right before we were about to leave her house, she introduced us to her friend that wants to learn about the gospel, but she just hasn't had an opportunity yet. the Lord works in mysterious ways.

highlights of the week:

Bro. Nok, the LA that came back to church last week, has been giving us referrals all over the place. he introduced us to a family that he knew, and we are now teaching the dad and his daughter. she called us the night after we had our first lesson and asked us to remind her how to pray, because she was about to pray before she went to bed...ah! so cute! she's 12.

the branch pres. called me on thurs. night and asked if i would speak for 10 min. at the ward activity on friday...about thai..i really didn't know whether to laugh or cry. i was pretty sure if i said every single word i knew in thai it would never fill up 10 min. anyway, somehow it all went well...hopefully everyone understood what i was saying...and i will never ever forget the word for 'pioneer' in Thai.

my bike FINALLY came from Bangkok. i bought sis. itri's from her so they had to send it from the office. anyway, after the first day of using it both tires are flat. wooooooo. i love my life.

the dogs here are pretty fiesty at night. and because my bike was out of service, we had to walk home last night, and there was a dog that was waiting for us in the alley way, growling and acting like it would attack us any minute. as we were walking past it i was literally praying out loud, while sis. stack was laughing so hard she started crying. we are safe and sound so don't worry.

i'm so grateful to be doing what i'm doing right now. i couldn't imagine it any other way. even though i'm exhausted day in and day out, and even though i am COMPLETELY inadequate, God continues to amaze me. i am thankful that the gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to CHANGE people. the 'enabling power of the Atonement' is something that is said a lot, and we never really quite fully understand it. but i know i've felt it. EVERY day. because there have definitely been days when i think i just can't do it. there is no way. and every time i'm about to break, God sweeps in and saves me with one of His tender mercies. He will never let us fall!

well...i'm probably gonna go find someone who can fix my bike now. รักคุฌมๅกๆ

ชิสเฅอร์ สฅิว 

Monday, July 22, 2013

If you see my bike, I'll be there...


wowwww it's been a crazy week. and by crazy i mean i'm really starting to realize how tiring missionary work is. i think it's mostly because we have to ride our bikes everywhere, and by the end of each day, i'm exhausted and can barely stay awake for planning haha. we always joke that we'll never be as ugly as we are on our missions...yet people will never think we're more beautiful than they do now hahaha. i know i'm a disgusting mess all day long, but people here are always so nice. they tell us we're beautiful all the time, and even if they're lying, it's nice to hear haha. that's something i'll miss for sure.

i've decided that every area in Thailand is like a different mission. the branch, the work, the area, etc. we've had a hard time finding investigators lately, but we've been doing a LOT of work with less active members. President Senior and his wife came one morning and we had our morning studies with Sis. Senior. They challenged us to reach 15 reactivations of priesthood holders in our branch. by the end of august. the branch has given us a list of people to work with, and who we should focus on. i'm not gonna lie, it's super hard for us, especially being sisters, because we have to have another female member with us when we go visit. but we worked our little buns off this week and we were able to contact a lot of people. and even though i've been discouraged a lot of this week about trying to pull these people back to church, we had a really cool experience with bro. Nok.

We went to his house in the afternoon and he was so happy to meet with us. he's been a member for 3 years but only comes to church every month or so. we shared a little message with him, and normally i would've been like, ok that's good, let's go. but i felt like we should stay and talk a little longer. as he got talking, he said that he had been meeting with the Jehovah's witness missionaries. and that he'd been going to their church the past few weeks. in my head i was cursing the Jehovah's witnesses, and thinking all was lost. but as he continued to talk, he talked about how he felt when he decided to be baptized, and that he knew the book of mormon was true. he knew that all of it was true, and he could not deny it. he said that when he decided to be baptized he felt the spirit so strongly, and he and the elders were crying. as he told us this he started crying, and said he felt like he was feeling now. by then, we were all crying, and the spirit was so strong. and me telling this story really doesn't even do it justice...ah! it was so awesome. he promised us that he would come to church on sunday, and he did. and he gave us a referral for a whole family that he knows! i learned a lot from this experience: 1. it had nothing to do with us. at all. i literally did nothing. it was all the spirit. 2. if you help people to rekindle their testimonies, the spirit will be there, and there's nothing more powerful. 3. if you put forth all that you have, and lay it all on the table, God will provide. We worked so hard this week, and i felt like nothing was coming of it. until that happened, and i knew it was a tender mercy from God. even if we bring but one soul unto repentance, great shall be the joy. It's so TRUE!!

i love you all,
Sis. steele

Road Warrior!

Sis Steele and Sis Stack in a duk duk

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mission Time is Warped!


sometimes weeks here fly by. but most of the time i look back to last monday and i can't even believe that it's only been a week...because it feels like a year! and sorry that i never capitalize anything, or use 'I'. tanner keeps telling me i need to type properly, but sorry doonis i'm too lazy.

anyway, oh man i don't even know where to start with this week! we're still trying to get things rolling in this area. the branch here is phenomenal. i wouldn't be surprised if they became a ward soon. last sunday after church the RS pres pulled us into her car and just drove us around to visit less active members. that doesn't happen in Bangkok. i was amazed. this week she took half of her day to show us around the area a little more, and she took us to a park called Bung, and it's so beautiful. hopefully i'll send a pic. we went there to go inviting, and we hadn't been able to find it earlier, so she had us follow her on our bikes. i expected her to leave after, but she walked around with us and talked to people with us. WHATTT. she is so incredible! the people here make me want to be not only a good missionary, but a better member when i get back. i had NO idea how much went into missionary work before I came, and i had no idea how closely you need to work with the members.

so...we pretty much get lost on the daily. actually i would say that it stresses me out more than the language does. hahaha. and i know dad is just rolling his eyes at me now :) if i knew where everyone lived, and could understand directions, i would feel completely adequate. but i don't have either of those advantages, so we're getting to know this area the LONG way. we got lost for about 1 1/2 hours the other day trying to find an RC's house. i must have called her back and forth 10 times, handed the phone to random strangers to interpret, etc. until we FINALLY found her house. so that's been fun. and now sis. stack and i both have sunburned arms from biking all over tarnation. by the way, sis. stack is AWESOME, and she's from Salt Lake. she actually volunteered at Primary Children's too! i think we must have bumped into each other a few times. we work really well together. even though i've only been here 12 weeks, and she's only been here 12 days, we seem to make things work:)

highlights/exciting events of this week:

sis. itri's bike was supposed to be sent to me, but it still hasn't come, so i've been using the elder's bikes. andddd i totally blew the back tire of one of them. oops. the poor elders. they've been so patient with me hahaha.

i dream in thai now

we taught two cute little girls a few times this week. i get 40 mosquito bites every time we go to their house because they live right on a swamp, but i love them so much. they took notes when we taught them how to pray. 

sorry that my letters are sometimes pretty long. you don't have to read everything if you don't feel like it. but i know i'm gonna want all of these when i get back, because i never ever ever want to forget the experiences i'm having and the miracles i am seeing every day. there's no way this gospel isn't true. how lucky i am to be able to share it with these wonderful people.

love you all more than you know.....SIS STEELE!!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

well it's been a crazy few days.

i was pretty sure I would move from Srinakarin, and I was right. I didn't really expect it to be as hard as it was though. i LOVEEEEE everything about that place!! a lot of the members from the ward got together on wednesday nigght, our last night there (we found out on tuesday we would be moving. sis. madsen and i would move, and the other sisters stay. we had a last little hoorah with everyone on wednesday, and they all wanted me to play some songs on the violin again. haha i don't know what they're going to do for musical numbers or a piano player now that sis. madsen and i are gone. anyway, i can't even explain how i feel. Srinakarin will always have my heart. and i'm for sure going back to visit. it's already in my post-mission plans don't worry. plus, i was kinda sad to miss sis. nuun's baptism, but we were clever and had her try on baptismal clothes before i left, and we all took pics together. she was baptized yesterday!!!! wooooo! 

ssoooo let me tell you about transfers meeting. we left at 5:30 am to get there on time, and we had breakfast there and everything. we were all kind of just waiting around for studies to start, and then sis. madsen and i were handed a phone and told that the AP's would be calling and wanted to talk to us. ok....
so...basically, at 7:30 am the day of transfers, the AP's called and told us we had been called as trainers. to be honest, my heart sank. HOW in the HEAVENS am i going to train on transfer 3? i just barely finished being a greenie. sis. madsen and i were the only ones in the room, and we immediately knelt down and prayed. we're not experienced. we're inadequate. we're going to areas that haven't had sisters for a while. we can't do this. but as we prayed, i knew it wasn't just President Senior that called us to do this. God is calling the weakest of weak to do His work. mostly i think i was just worried about the directions part. because i'm directionally challenged haha. haha no i was actually most worried that i still can't speak thai ha. so anyway, i have a luug! a child. a trainee, a greenie, whatever you would like to call it. and her name is Sis. Stack! and she's so awesome. we have definitely been through a lot together in the past few days. it's been HARD. to say the least. but we have seen miracles. because we have to rely on God. He's quite literally all we have right now. We're in Korat, which is the gateway between Bangkok and the Issan. (about 4 hours east of Bangkok.) It's so beautiful! and the ward here is amazing! the members are really taking care of us. and we get to ride bikes now! and i've almost died 3 times! and i've gotten tons of mosquito bites! on sunday they had me play the piano in RS, and...i completely butchered it. and the whole time mom's voice was in my head..."one day you'll be the only one that can play the piano in your ward on your mission..." oh how i wished i would have believed that and actually practiced more hymns.

anyway, i just want to testify of the atonement. i know it's real. because it's the only thing keeping me sane right now. i have literally been at breaking points in the past few days. where do i go? what are they saying? how in the heck do i work this budget thing? how do i ride a bike with a skirt on? all of my stupid cares in the world, and feeling like there's a cinderblock on my heart. He can take that all away. I'm thankful for this opportunity to rely COMPLETELY on the Lord and my Savior. love you all so much, keep the prayers comin!

sis. steele

Ploy, an investigator, and Sis Steele

Emily and Sister Nuun.  She was transferred right before Sis. Nuun's baptism! 

Park in Srinakarin--Emily's first area

Monday, July 1, 2013


hello dearest friends and fam.

Just a few random happenings of the week:
one of our investigators teaches singing lessons, so every time we go to her house...we get to sing kareoke with her. usually disney songs. it's WONDERFUL. because you all know how much i love my Disney. i may have already told you about this kareoke business in another letter. if so, just ignore this section:)

it's possible to eat an entire bag of peanut butter m&m's in 48 hours...don't ask me how i found that out. sometimes you and your companion just need something to munch on while watching...THE DISTRICT. (if you've never watched it you're totally missing out) haha

because of the previous comment, you may have noticed that in some of my pictures i look fatter than when i left. that's probably because my camera makes me look......nope it's probably because i really am getting fatter. oops.

ahhhh i can't believe how fast time is flying. transfers are coming up this thursday, and this time I'm almost positive that i'll move. we should find out today, so we can start packing/preparing, etc. i have mixed feelings. mostly i'm just anxious and i wanna know what will happen. remember my old companion sis. mcdermott?? Dorles? she's gonna be training next transfer!!! on transfer 3. it's because we have so many sister missionaries coming in, so they have to resort to asking us dummies that have only been here for 3 months to help train. it's possible we could be doing follow up training too. so i have no idea what will happen. part of me really wants to stay here, and part of me wants to venture out and go to another area. but i LOVE every single bit of my time here in Srinakarin. I love the people, and i'm going to miss them so much if i move. they are some of my greatest friends, and i have learned so much from them. yesterday may have been my last sunday here, and i don't even like to think about that. we did another special musical number, because it was possibily the last sunday for two of us. (even though we do the musical number EVERY time ahha). and i basically just roughed out the song from 17 miracles (savior, redeemer), while the other sisters sang the lyrics to Joseph Smith's first Prayer. lots of the members were crying, and the spirit was so strong.

another happy spot of the week: Sis. Nuun interviewed for baptism on Saturday. she has been investigating for over a year, and she has changed so much just in the 3 months we've been working with her. the interview didn't take as long as normal, so we were really worried when she walked out. but then our district leader walked out and gave us the thumbs up. SHE PASSED!!! and she is getting baptized this Sunday!! soooo there's a possibility that i won't even get to see her get baptized :( but it doesn't matter. just knowing that she passed the interview means that God knows she's ready at this point in her life to be baptized. i'm so happy for her!!

There comes a point in everyone's life, where they need God. Because He is all you have. And if you trust Him, He will make life not only possible, but fulfilling. This week I have noticed a need for Jesus Christ in my life. More than I ever have really. He's really the only one that feels what I'm feeling. He's the only one that has gone where I've gone,. and can come with me to wherever I might go. and i am SO thankful that I never have to be alone. He knows us better than we know ourselves.

i'll let you know next week where i'm at, who my new comp. is, etc. such fun! ugh i hate this anticipation. toodles!

sis. emily steele