Monday, March 11, 2013

Week 3- "Oh, so you have the Urim & Thummim"

HELLO!! Sawat diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.
This week has been super fast and super fun-- Thai is coming and coming. In fact, my teachers are kind of taken offguard how well we are all of a sudden able to read script. I AM TAKEN OFFGUARD. The Lord will hasten His work? Uhm, literally. Somehow we are getting cut to 9 weeks and each we are somehow learning at a faster rate than the 12-week kiddos have. Not bragging, I'm just seriously floored by the promise that we'd be able to do this. The Lord knows how to teach Thai!!
But some REALLY cool stuff we learned this week came from hearing how the Thai Book of Mormon was 1st translated to Thai from English. A little Mormon Thai lady was well-educated and worked for the King, and she was called to translate it, and in doing so, an apostle told my teacher's mission president that she was assisted by the 3 Nephites-- So cool. Also, she didn't know the word for priesthood and really struggled over it. She prayed that she would know what it was, and she woke up one morning, and ON THE CEILING, the name was in Thai, written on the ceiling. Later it was gone! So that's how she did it! I am convinced the people of Thailand are SUPPOSED to have the Book of Mormon, because you learn so much about the gospel by hearing the Thai simple translation.
Nephi's name in Thai is "Nii-fay"--- literal translation? 'This Light'. AMAZING.
As for script-- it is so bizarre, and yet so simple at the same time, and yet so complicated on the other hand. A dilemma, if you will, for the human brain. I have a little card with all my consonants and vowels I've been memorizing, and when a very 'high class' consonant comes along, I have to look it up to know what sound it makes. It's kind of like having the Urim and Thummim. All we need now is a batch of helium balloons-- because reading Thai is like Papa Smurf 'having another piece to the puzzle!!!'
Thai reads like a giant Twitter hashtag. So when you read it, it's kind of like this (you never know when one word ends and another begins:) #andwhenIatethefruitofthetreethanitwasdelicious

me & my "khuu" (companion)
Also, Thai makes no Tense. And by that I mean, present tense is all they have-- you just use context clues and sometimes throw in another word like "before" or "after" or "one day" to make it a different tense. But in general, you would say: "Joseph Smith is Prophet." to mean he WAS a prophet. To clarify you'd have to say: "Mxa 1800's, cooseb samid pen saadsada." (When 1800's, Joseph Smith is a prophet.) I actually love caveman english-- so much easier than conjugating verbs-- you never have to! "You read know if true, yes no?" Yep.
Funny stories:
Bro. Burgess, my teacher, was looking at me funny and said, "Have you seen Homeward Bound?"
to which I said, "Literally 300 times as a kid!"
And he said, "If you had an animal doppleganger, I would think you would be 'Sassy' that cat!!"
I looked at him like, "Are you serious?! That's what we still call my sister to this day!!!"
So there you go, I'm Sassy the cat here at the MTC. It could be worse, I could be Rabbit from Winnie the Pooh like Elder Quinn, or Brother Bear like Elder Pyne (he literally looks like a bear.)
Elder Wheeler, our district leader, was translating names in Thai script and asked Bro. McConkie (our other teacher) if his first name was right. McConkie started sounding it out: "Kaley---" to which Elder Wheeler hushed him and said, " NO NO! NOT THAT ONE!!" and McConkie said, "Wait, who is she?!" Hahaha. Oh Elders.
I was translating for 2 Elders speaking to our teacher while they tried to teach how to endure to the end. Our teacher was only allowed to speak English and I had to translate it into Thai to tell the Elders. We got to a point where the Elders didn't know what to teach, so they pulled out a scripture. It was going fine until my teacher read: "And you will have less desire to injure one another...." to which, the Elders asked in Thai: "Did you like that?" ....we literally cried laughing. Worst lesson ever. It was hilarious.
Lastly, we get tired as missionaries so it's hard to tell when we're napping or being productive. So Elder Anderson (or 100% Korean from Sandy, UT), had his head down on his desk. Bro. McConkie (teacher) came and pet his head, after which Elder Anderson raised his head 30 seconds later and said, "I was praying." Bro. McConkie felt so bad but he couldn't not laugh. We still can't tell the difference when Anderson prays.
(Pretending to eat the temple...)
"My milkshake brings... nothing to the yard."
"When a feline dies, it cannot be reincatnated."
(Accidentally matching with Sister Steele)
My District:
Elders: Wheeler, Anderson, Pyne, Steiner, Jensen, Chambers, DeLagarza, Bartholomew
Sisters: Me, Stewart, Steele, McDermott, Yim (Hawaiian convert)
(Me & all the sisters! Me, Stewart, Yim, McDermott, and Steele)
Anyway, I just want to tell you all how much I love being a missionary. Yes, there are hilarious moments where I say: "Can we come and teach again? .... Today? Right now?" (Didn't mean to say that.) but I know the Lord prepares a way for his missionaries to teach somehow. Above all else, I have been studying the Book of Mormon to a capacity that I never have before, and it is full and ripe with SO MUCH to learn about Jesus Christ. I've been marking the places in the scriptures where it tells the characteristics and nature of the Son of God-- and I have never felt more sure than He could love us enough to die for us. The Book of Mormon is the evidence that God cares about ALL His children and the time is NOW that we need to hear what He has to say. Jesus Christ is coming again, and we must be ready to give Him a big hug and thank Him for everything He has ever done for us-- that includes preparing ourselves to be clean and free from the guilt we as humans accumulate by human error. I know that through Jesus Christ, we can be guilt-free, and happier than we have ever been.
There is nowhere I would rather be than learning how I can bring people to know what I do. When we teach the gospel to those that have never heard of a God, we have to explain as simply as we would to a child-- and oddly enough, those messages are the most profound:
"Phraphuubenjaw song ben phrabida kccn raw-- phrabida kccn winyaan kccn raw. le' thaa raw tham samrab phraong phiichay, lxag rab baptidsama, raw klab bon sawan kab phrabida bon sawan day-- khray rag raw maag maag."
God is our literal Father-- the Father of our spirits. And if we become like His Son, Jesus Christ, by repenting and being baptized as Christ did, we can return to our Heavenly Father who loves us so dearly.
I know that Joseph Smith saw Him. I know that one day, so will we. Press forward in faith, nothing wavering, and you will.
I love you all! Write this little missionary!
Sister Painter
Okay I love you all!!!!!
Write me!!!!!!! Dearelders/Handwritten are amazing!

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