This week we went to Bangkok and met Elder Neil A Anderson and Elder Whitney Clayton! Yeah! They came! We also got word that Sis Monson passed away-- that is sad but expected here for a while. It was neat to have Elder Clayton come to KhonKaen, and she how tall he was above all my members and investigators. It took like 30 minutes for him to exit because this is a huge opportunity for the Thai's to remember a spiritual experience and a servant of the Lord coming, so EVERYONE wanted photos with him. I have some cool ones I'll send. :)
Congrats to Katie on her mission call!! Pass on my love to her! I just got my mail this weekend and I got a invite to her graduation as well as a letter from Grandma and the cousins. Congratulations Katers! Thanks everyone for the letter!
I got to see all my MTC friends this weekend. I honestly almost cried I couldn't believe they were real! I saw Sis Stewart and touched her arm to make sure I was really seeing her! Suchhh a great reunion. I know this mission is going to be amazing every time I transfer, because I have a friend in EVERY area! I came in with 30 people! How could I not! :) All of them this weekend were like, either superrrr happy, sunburnt, lost weight, or wide-eye'd. Haha. So great to see them!!
I had a really great week with Sis Pannida last week-- we're getting so close. I just love her. The language barrier is barely there, because somehow I understand her. I don't know how. When she speaks, I get it. Someone else says it? Yeah, no clue. :p But really, I know God is blessing me. I know it. And I just love her! We have so much fun together now that I'm understanding her. She and Sis Nuon (Cambodian) think everything I say is so funny. They are never afraid to speak Thai with me because they believe I'll understand. That is a huge honor.
I know it would be impossible without some divine aid. Just this morning, our brand new investigator asked me how long I had been in Thailand. I told her "1 Month"-- she said, "1 year?" not sure if she heard me right, because that couldn't be right. I shook my head, "Just one month." She was incredulous. She is a GOLDEN investigator and she was prepared for us for years, I just know it. You know what else? She speaks really good english. So guess what? This morning I taught my first lesson in english. Wow, so much more fluent. :p Sis Pannida didn't understand many questions, so she would turn to me, and I would answer. I never thought THAT would happen....
But anyway, I promise I am not bragging about language. I know that I have no idea what's going on a LOT of the time. But I know God does, so somehow, as his little American servant, I get to taste of his goodness and get the ability to share it. :) ... In thai. Somehow. "I glory not in myself, but in my God. For in his strength I can do all things." -Alma 26 -- I'm a firm believer in that.
We have 3 baptisms this weekend on May 25! :) I am so excited. Maa-Dig and Nong-Khayhon as well as Nong-aahn. So excited.
It's been pouring lately-- Thailand flash floods are a real thing. And when it does, lizards come out to get the moth-things that predict the weather. So hundreds of lizards are running along the street catching bugs. It's crazy. Where am I, the Congo?
So dogs. Yeah, I'll talk about them every week. Because they are everywhereeee. And members have tons. Thai's especially like puppies-- tiny puppies. So I'm sending a picture of me with a dog the size of my hand named "iPhone'". :p Fitting.
So the trick to feeling happy? Anyone curious to know what it is? I'll tell you. Positivity, Adaption, and Willingness. That's it. Choose to be happy, find something to be happy about-- and you will be.
We'll be getting a new Elder in our district on Thursday. :) The choices are Hunt, Wahl, or Calderon... who will it be? It's weird to think it's been 6 weeks already.
This week was kinda of funny. In a weird... New Orleans kind of way. :p Hahah. Like, all of a sudden everyone is afraid of ghosts? And talking a ton about ghosts? Like the members are convinced a ghost lives in the church building, and they have "iPhone photo proof". ... Haha. So yeah, we had to hush that this last week.
But a really cool experience with planning. I was in charge of planning for the kids that are getting baptized. I randomly felt like Faith and Repentance should come AFTER teaching the commandments. That's out of order. ... Hmm, okay, follow that thought. We went to their house a week or so after planning it, and there are 17 people who live in that house, in and out. We were going to go to Bangkok that afternoon but felt it important to teach the kids that day instead and than go that night. We did, and we met a man named PhiiNuuii, the son of the lady who owns the house. We'd never seen or heard of him before. He's a returned missionary as of 10 years ago, but fell away about 2 years after he finished his mission in Thailand. He told us he had been a missionary, and then a spark came to his eye. He went and got a box. It was filled with photos... from his mission. We went through every one with him. He relived his mission that afternoon. When we were done visiting, we invited him to teach the kids instead of us. He said he "didn't know how anymore". Sis Pannida told him she had faith in him. He accepted. He works on sundays and he said he wouldn't go to church, but we showed him all the new pamphlets we have. He wanted all of them... "just to brush up." He took about 12 pamphlets. Wow.
I want him to find his light again. He looks so happy in his mission photos. And when he showed us, I saw it in him again. I won't lose track of him.
Let me quote you something from my journal:
"I'm having fun. I'm being myself. I feel loved and appreciated. I feel special and needed. I feel happy."
This mission is the hardest thing I think I will ever do-- but I'm slowly easing in to a realization that it's an opportunity to do something I could never do alone. And I'm finding joy in the journey.
I love you all-- you are the best support I could ask for.
Sister Monica Painter
(Note: the way Moni uploads photos sometimes is weird due to the computers she uses, so this week's didn't work...)