Monday, April 22, 2013

Week 2 - First Baptism!

Sunday, April 21, 2013 (in the US) (Monday in Thailand) - email


Sawadiikah from Udonthani, week 2! Life is crazy here. Somehow I understand what Sister Pannida says MOST of the time, and I'm trying my hardest to understand the members better. Depending on voices and speed, it's hard to tell a lot of the time!
me and my companion, Sister Pannida
So about my week: FIRST BAPTISM!! Totally amazing. I almost teared up when she stepped into the water. PhiiRuung was baptized yesterday, and a member boy who has the Melchezidek priesthood baptized her-- he had never done it before! He was so kind and gracious about it. What a sight. His name is Mac and he's prepping for a mission!
Phii Ruung was baptized!
 and one with me and my companion and PhiiRuung yesterday at the baptism
We went to a market to get some food for breakfast the other day-- those markets are insane. People sit atop their spots and sell WHATEVER people will eat! Pig heads even. But I personally like the juice makers-- they make the BEST juice slush drinks ever, straight from real fruit thrown in the juicer machine blender thing. And there are people who make fried donuts wedge things, 1 BHT each--- totally buy like 15 of them. That's 50 cents for 15 donuts. YEAH.
There's one with me and my new trusted steed, Chang Chang (elephant in Thai)
I got my bike, chang chang (elephant), and after some adjustments I can ride without having a back-ache. The put in a higher handlebar and now it's a good time! Traffic is still insane. But it's definitely better than
Bangkok by about 1000 times.

We went to an ice cream buffet and I had 3 bowls-- for $1.50 USB. YEAH. Everything is so cheap here. So cheap! In fact, can somebody get me Jenn Lee's email and home address (permanent one)? I have something for her! Everything here is cheap except bikes. hahaha Its so funny what some people wear because they dont know english and shirts are cheap. In fact, a lady wore a playboy shirt to church yesterday because of the cute bunny. Life is funny here.

a marketplace we went to get some food! crazy stuff there, like pig heads!
We handed out english cards in the market, that was real fun and less scary. Everyone likes to receive stuff from Falangs! (white people. haha)  
Yes, there are elders who live almost next door to us-- they take good care of us. There are 4 that live there. The two other sisters live with us, Weed (*mtc roomie) and her Cambodian comp. Sis. Nuon. No monkeys, but there are a ton in Guumpawhoppii, where we're going to serve this weekend. No crocodiles or elephants either.

I'm in Udonthani, it's on the top part of the ghetto, where people speak Eeson. We visited a member's husband, Paa-yoo, and he wasn't very receptive and just wanted to drink and watch TV. They live in what is not much better than our backyard town we made as kids. They had a campfire going and they have a few chairs and crates. But by the end Paayoo opened up and prayed with us, and I was asked to give the closing prayer. Because he speaks Eeson, I had NO CLUE what he had said the WHOLE time (different language) and the whole time I had been thinking about his chickens and her babies that were chilling under the TV (that's how poor they are here.) No idea why. So I felt like I should pray... about his chicks... Yeah. I did. So I did it. We're biking home and I asked Sis Pannida if she understood my prayer. She said yes-- "I can't believe you understood Eeson!" and I said, "....what?" Turns out he had talked all about his chicks, and I remembered the word for baby chickens from Bro Burgess in the MTC. Wow. The Holy Ghost really does inspire what to say.

Why did I eat the maggot? SHE HANDED IT TO ME! I couldn't be rude! 
Trying to bloom where I'm planted. Udonthani NEEDS flowers.

We had a zone activity where we went bowling-- I'm still not "Gang" (skilled.)

Our goal here is to get Thailand a temple. If Thailand gets one, ALL of southeast asia can come-- Bangkok is CENTRAL! Pres. Senior said the next 4 months are apparently crucial-- they will make or break the future of the church here. I guess we know why I'm here when I am now!!!

Loveeeee with all my heart,
Sis. Painter
literally a cricket shop... to eat.

Zone activity -- bowling!

one with me and our English class sign in front of the church building. :)

one with me and NongYuuy (she took it of us, that's why I'm so big! She's prepping for a mission too I think.)


April 16, 2013 (In the US) - email

Hello everyone!

There is a lot to say and not a lot of time to say it. :) This week was insaneeeee. And by insane, I really mean insane. Are you familiar with Rio de Janeiro's Carnival? Thailand has it-- only it is a 4 day water fight. And they never get bored of it. All day. 4 Days. SONKRANG.

Anyway, We flew for a million hours on a plane that was all in cantonese, funny dinners, and good old fashion "non sleepable" areas. It was fine until hour... 14? Yeah. Anyway, it was actually less awful than I make it out to be. :) Just being funny. But when we got in, I had gotten sick from the last hour of flight, so I didn't so much like that part!

Day 1 in Thailand was superrr hot! We got picked up by Pres and Sis Senior (President is a total goof and a nice nice nice person) and they took us back to the mission home. We got our blood drawn for work permits (we teach english) and then we went to do our first Dan Jones experience-- handing out a book of mormon in bangkok. After that semi-discouragement (haha) we had dinner, and I swear I was falling asleep sitting up. I fell asleep like 5 times. Elder Bartholomew and I looked over at each other, did a peace sign, and decided at the same time that we looked like zombies. So after some more info, we all got sent to a nice hotel in Bangkok. Super nice. I stayed in a room with Sis Mullen and that was fun. :) I fell asleep at like 8pm (about 2 seconds after I put my head down) with my book of mormon still in my hand. I didnt even have time to open it I was so tired.

Next morning we all go to the stake center to get our transfers! Traffic IS CRAZYYYY. People should literally crash at every moment, and somehow they don't! I have never seen braver drivers, closer encounters, and zero screaming. Everyone just watches out for everyone else and everything somehow works perfectly. Also, the roads are flip-flopped here. There are a ton of Tuug-tuug's (you ride in the back wagon of a supe'd up motorcycle cart) and motorbikes. People fit up to 4-5 adults on a single tiny motorbike sometimes. Very asian. ;)

Anyway, I got my companion, Sister Pannida! She's training me. Somehow. Because you know what's both funny and impossible? She doesn't speak english. She is a Thai herself, from the area we're currently serving in, and she understands little English, and speaks less. Life is funny. But you know what? I'm emersed in Thai with her, so I'm forced to learn it so I can communicate. So I feel like the Thai is coming faster for me than for other people because thats all I get, but I don't care to compare. I just want to understand. Because if I'm going to learn what we're doing, why we're doing it, etc. I have to be able to communicate and understand. So sometimes she doesn't know how to explain something to me, doesn't know the translation of thai words in english, etc. It's hard.. really hard. But rewarding. I just feel like my training process is so much different than everyone else's at this point simply because... well...  a language barrier! But somehow I actually understand about 65% of everything she says. It's incredible. So I think of what Pres Senior said at training meeting. He said that these were the best trainers, but he didn't pick them. In fact, there are some that he wouldn't have be trainers-- but God chose them. So for some reason, I need Sis. Pannida for the next 11 more weeks, and she needs me. I'm trusting. And honestly, I figured out a huge reason the first day we began communicating. What she wants to teach me, I need to learn! It's a miracle how things work. God is in the details.

So I got some questions to answer: So where is your new area? What does Thailand smell like?  Is the language  just  blowing by you or can you catch some of it?

I am currently in Udon, Thailand. (Udonthani) and it's the other half of Thailand I talked about on the phone: the EESON. It's very very very very poor. Like I can't believe the living conditions. Squatty potties are only the beginning. But honestly, I knew I was coming here. Something told me I was coming to the Eeson. And here I am. The other half of my group was put in Bangkok. The rest of us were scattered amongst other locations far out. I spent 15 hours in a bus to get here. #so-fun

There were monkeys all around in one city we passed. Some cute, some scary. Reminds me of Rio.... hardcore. They're sneaks.

So the first real day I was here, we went to a branch activity for Sonkrang. It was so crazy and fun. There's a culture thing here where you get this flowered water and put it in the hands of the elders, and they put it back on you and give you blessings. It was sweet. We (Sis Weed and I, my roommate from MTC) made fast and close friends with some of the teenage girls-- they all speak some English. In fact, one is so good, she's going to Temple Square speaking english for a mission in August! That's Kaaw (Gow) for you. Her mom is basically our mom. They take us everywhere we need to go, because I'm buying my bike today.

I got fried and sunburnt that first activity day, so  naturally my best pal has been aloe vera. I apply it religiously. At the party, I was told I looked like a model a few times. That was funny. :p Everyone loves my pastey skin and twiggy legs.

For Sonkrang, everyone gets in the back of trucks, and go down the boulevard to throw water with giant buckets. To make it worse, that buy HUGE HUGE HUGE bricks of ice to make the water burn when it hits you. It's so mean! Haha. So while we walk down the street (we are allowed to play Sonkrang while the festival goes except Sunday) I was douced more than anyone because I'm the "Falang"! (Foreigner) Whenever someone sees a Falang, they freak out and get so excited here. Then they practice whatever English they know-- I get a lot of "Happy Birthday"! and "HALLOOOO!" hahaha. They're so friendly.

We taught our one investigator yesterday. I couldn't say much, but both me and the investigator (Phii Ruung) were in tears. She's GETTING BAPTIZED THIS WEEK! Yeah, can't believe it? First week and I'm having a baptism? What a way to start...
They're very loving and touchy people, so on the way out she had hands all over this missionary. Very kind, but will take getting used to!

I understand more and more each day, but holy cow, trying to understand Thai is hard. Everyone's voices seem to change the words. :p Everyone things I know, if I don't hear them right, I don't understand them! Haha.

So Thai food-- everyone says it is to die for! And you know what? I must literally want to live or something. I actually don't... like Thai food. NOBODY GET OFFENDED. I just don't like it! I feel so bad! I eat all they give me, but I just don't like the taste of most everything! And the appearance of it either. I feel so bad! Some is good, but honestly my livelihood at our apartment is PB&J's. I can't do the too spicy, and some just honestly gross me out. I ate a worm maggot the other day. And also, there are a lot of baskets of cooked crickets going around.... and health codes are unheard of. Raw meat, just chillin' in the 90 degree air. :p I'll learn to like it. I promise. But I refuse to tell a soul I don't! So I pretend I do. ;P Just not a fan.

Thailand has a lot of different smells because of vendors. But not an overarching aroma out here in the Udon. So that's good.

All of the language blows by me, but I pick up more and more. But really it depends on the speaker thus far. I understand a lot of what Sis. Pannida says. :) But yes, Thai is so hard. Tones are insane. Reading is the hardest!

Lots of stray dogs.Weather is warm, but I thought it'd be hotter. Our house is actually very nice. It's like IKEA almost. So nice. I am so pleasantly surprised.

Life is good here. Hard, but good. I learn more every day! Now that Sonkrang is over, it's safe to walk the streets dryly again!

Love you so much!!!!!!!! Writing me here in Thailand is perfectly safe. I get all the mail. :)
Sis. Painter!

Thursday, April 11, 2013


April 8, 2013
(Last email from Monica in the MTC)

Sawadii Kha Family & Friends! Leaving TODAY!
I leave the MTC at about 4:30pm. We're running our last errands. Sadly I didn't have Tom's phone number, so I gave Post Mart dad's phone number to tell Tom the box number or whatever. I also sent the address of the place-- it's really close to BYU. :) And it's free. Awesome. Be sure someone goes and gets it-- it's got a LOT of stuff I don't want to lose! Like.... my MTC memories!! Haha. Please and thank you.
My itinerary is still the same, in theory, so I will be calling later tonight, some time after 5:30pm. AKA, don't get mad if I call late while I'm in LA. But it's possible I may call in SLC because my companion Sister Crockett needs to call then. So it's very possible I could be calling you around 6:30pm but before 8pm. Then after 9pm or so, I think. We land in LA at about 8:50pm. So I will do my very best to get a good time span in there. Then I leave LA around 11:30pm. So Between 5-7:30 and 9-11:30pm are the sweet spots for calling.
I'll probably call with some quarters first, calling dad's cell phone, and then when I know where you guys are, tell me which phone to call. :) If Missa can't be at home, I'll call her seperate.
 My whole group of Thai's going today

I can't believe I'm actually leaving. 9 weeks in here and I am pretty itching to get out there and go. I'm actually not super nervous, I'm just excited. Hoping to make a good first impression on my mission president. So hopefully I get some sleep on the flight. I'm expecting to  be a little exhausted with jet lag but I'll do my best to "suu suu!" (fight fight!)
Anyway, not a lot to report other than that. EXCEPT CONFERENCE WEEKEND WAS AWESOME!
Talk about the best way to leave the MTC. It was amazing. I was so touched by all the talks-- didn't even get sleepy once. Also, VOCAL POINT came to the MTC last night and performed their religious songs. It was so cool. What are the odds of that? Jared will be jealous when he finds out.
I think what I've learned as an overarching lesson is this: God and Jesus Christ are real. (Simple, but true.) God answers prayers, and neither of them ever let us down. If we center our lives on what they would have us do, we will always have reason to rejoice.
Rejoice on friends and family! Trust God, Love Him, and Obey Him!
Also, I decided I am really going to miss my district from the MTC. It's true that you make life-long friends on a mission. I've got a swarm of little brothers we need to adopt.
Your Thai-- Sister Painter

 My beloved Bro. Burgess, my teacher!

"Sister" Game the Elders made for us-- do random challenges. Very funny

 District photo!

My crazy elders having a pizza eating contest. Bartholomew won with 10 slices. Yikes. He didn't eat breakfast the next day.
 Me with them

Our group with Bro. McConkie (our teacher and Bruce R's grandson)

Sister Painter arrived safely in Bangkok


10 April 2013

Dear Brother and Sister Painter:

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
Thailand Bangkok Mission

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Week 8/9: FOR THAILAND!!

April 2, 2013


Gonna try and write as fast as humanly possible-- I take too long sending you guys pictures. I sent a picture of my flight plans record, I'll attach it again here. It'll make more sense looking at the paper than me trying to write it out, but I'll try really quick:(flight info may change slightly, but in theory this is all correct and I will be calling Monday evening!)
SLC 7:50pm (could call before then maybe)---> LAX April 8 arrive at 8:50pm in LA
leave LAX at 11:55 --> HONG KONG (arrive at 5:45am)
HONG KONG (8:55am) ---> BANGKOK (10:40am)
We bounce through time zones so I am pretty sure one flight is gonna be like almost 15 hours. Yuck! Anyway, review the flight itinerary photo, it'll make more sense than me just now.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE PACKAGE!!!! I got it the day before Easter! Tell Mom that I cannot believe how good she did. All the crocs are perfect, they fit perfect, the clothes were the exact ones I was thinking of.... SHE DID GOOD!! I love her!
On Easter, it was crazy because we had a 3000+ missionary sacrament meeting and we all got the sacrament at the same time. It was like Jesus breaking bread and fishes for 5000. It was so cool-- I'll definitely never experience something like that again!

Melissa asked about conference-- I think I should be in between two sessions on Saturday, but it could be Sunday. It's a broadcast in between. Look for me!
When Jared gets home, I think he would definitely enjoy riding rollercoasters. You have my approval-- take good care of him! And somebody dearelder him and tell him that I met Elder Wahl's little brother! He's coming to Thailand with me! Insane. Elder Wahl told me at breakfast that his brother knew me, and I was like, "What?" Turns out he just got home from Armenia!! No wonder "Wahl" sounded familiar!! My street credit in Armenia lives on!!

 I have less than 500 days to make a difference-- crazy! In theory I will be home July 16, 2014. That's crazy. CRAZY. What's crazier? I'm speaking thai somehow-- really bad sounding Thai, but by then, I'LL SPEAK THAI!!
Call Uncle Tom and tell him that I need a favor. I'll be sending 2 boxes to 'Postmark' when I leave where he can pick them up here in Provo for free. I should have one more PDAY they give us to email you again with more info, but Postmark should be able to just call him and tell him they have it. He just has to pick it up within 2 days or something and it's free. If not it's $2.00. Hahhaha. Anyway, I'll be sending home a LOT of Thai materials, letters, and winter clothes. So call him and let him know I need his help to go pick it up-- it'll probably be sent out the Monday I leave, because I don't load up on the bus until 4:30pm.
FUNNY STORY OF THE WEEK (that I can think of, I'm laughing 24/7):
So I gained 10 lbs. I'm just gonna put that out there. So one day I put on a skirt and think, "YIKES. There is no way this is comfortable the way it is." So what do I do? The sewing teacher in me sees a solution. So I undo a seam, TAKE OUT THE ELASTIC, and sew it back up. It's now the most comfortable, favorite skirt I have. #yesIgained10lbs #not-ashamed
Elder Hunt and I (he got knee surgery a couple weeks ago, so now he's our gimp. He got pushed back now to heal up here. BUMMER)

I do have a question:
Do you remember what Pres. Salmon's blessing said? I remember a few things, but not a lot.
Sorry this email is lame. I had to read through some stuff from my MISSION PRESIDENT. Yes, I have one. I'm a missionary. Whoa.
I get to email again before I leave, so yay! It'll be better next time. Sorry this one is so business-y.
GOT MY THAI NAMETAG! :) Yes, I can read it!

As a last statement: CROCS ARE THE BEST THING INVENTED. SO COMFORTABLE. (I never thought I would ever say that. In Lauren Myrick's words: "Cute crocs! Said nobody ever." But actually, the pairs you sent are adorable, practical and perfect-- just like my MOM!!)
Sister THAI SPEAKIN' Painter

Me and all the Sisters leaving with me, thai flag

Me and my girls!

Elder Martin (our new Elder from last week) and I-- we get along well! haha

Last district photo!!!

Me & Elder Pyne "Pooh Bear" (also, Missa, this is 'Josh' from Drake and Josh!)

Me & my 2 favorite Cambodians in our zone (they loved my Viper stories)

Show Marjorie this pic! Thats me and Sis. Sahagun!

Me & my companion!! Just lovin' each other.