Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Already Transfer 2!

Sawadii kah khrobkrua! (Hello family!)

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...)

Mother's Day Skype (webcam)

There is no letter from last week from Sister Painter because she spent her time skyping (webcamming) with her family on Mother's Day.

However, I did video her. It is not on my camera though, so I will have to upload it later.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Hello from Udonthani! Week 3 or 4 or something!


Going to try to type fast, a ton happened this week!

First of all, our investigator disappeared... Yeah. He never came home. Like, he is legitamately lost from his family? They have no idea where he is. ... Yeah.
But now we visit a family of a grandma and her 5-6 nieces and nephews, and 3 of them have committed to be baptized! Whoa!!! So we may have 3 this month after all!

So I have officially began to be very tired! I fall asleep everywhere. Like, we were hiding away in the secretary office to plan for the week at the church, and I fell asleep sitting up. So my companion was like, "it's fine! I can finish this!" and so I somehow ended up on our elder's investigator's lap, Moogmeep. She is my age, and TINY! She's like, "SLEEP HERE!" hahah. So I passed out asleep on an investigator. I don't know if that's allowed, but I did it. Whatever. :)

So a profound truth this week: "We always want to run from our problems. The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to face them." No truer words have been said this week.

Speaking of profound-ness: the most incredible thing that has ever happened! Pres. Senior himself came to Udonthani for a district conference with our small group. He told us this: this is different than what we've done before, but I really feel like THIS AREA, Udonthani, needs to change our methods. Then he commissioned us to ONE THING. He told us that our priority now, in order to get a temple, was to RESCUE the members we already have and focus on Melchezedik Priesthood holders. If we can get that, we can get a temple.

I know that is why I was asked to be here NOW. For some reason the next 4 months are very important to rescue certain people and bring them back into the fold-- insomuch that we will be able to get a temple here. It's amazing. Truly amazing.

Also, in news: In August, transfers will change to every 9 WEEKS so that people don't awkwardly overlap in the MTC. How interesting... I'll have like 8 transfers in total.

A funny story with the language: When taking a picture, I told MaaBaum to "Smile grandma!" instead of "smile big!" .... Oops. She laughed so hard. Those darn tones! Why is big and grandma the same word?!? Hahaha.
I also threatened my Cambodian housemate that I would crawl into her room at night-- she told me this: "I'd see you! You're so white!" :p

During Conference with the whole Eeson area, (members, everyoneeee),-- came in to Udon for it-- in order to make a point about raising the Title of Liberty, Pres. Senior literally, during his talk, took off his coat, RIPPED IT IN TWO, and hoisted it in the air!! WHAT! Everyone was so surprised, there was an audible AHHH! Hahahaha. That man sure is flashy with his boldness! I think they got the message. :)

Pres & Sis Senior came and saw our house-- they'd never seen it. In doing so, he even came in our rooms! 3 minutes notice, by the way. So he saw I had like 5 photos on the wall, and he's like, "Family, MTC, temple, who's this? Is this your brother on a mission?" Yeah, it was Jared. I told him it was my significant other to which he and Sis Senior "ooooo"'d! Hahaha. Then I told him, "He finished his mission this month" and he laughed and said, "Oh good! You have some time to get Dear Jane'd!" Then he winked. :p I said, "thanks President." And we all laughed. :p

I ate some leafy thing that tasted like black licorice... interesting. haha

Sis Pannida: "What does 'braking down' mean?"
Me: "Like, so frustrated you are crying?"
[Note, so meant to say Breaking Dawn, the Twilight movie title. :p I find the title "Braking Down' more accurate.... We had a good laugh.]

An apostle and a 70 are coming to Thailand on the 18th!! WHOAA!! We'll find out why soon. I have a feeling it's a big deal. They're making it a big deal.

We'll skype for mother's day on your Sunday :) It'll be MY monday, and it'll be from an internet cafe. :)

I love you all so much!!!!!!
Sis Painter

Friday, May 3, 2013

Week 3 - "Anggy berrs"

Email - Sunday, April 28, 2013 11:01PM AZ time, Monday in Thailand

Hello everyone! I'll try to type fast. I only get an hour to read and write. :) Thank you for all the mail! And pictures! SEND PICTURES!

I would like to start by saying this: Thailand is filled with dogs. It's like a disney movie or something, like Oliver and Company. They stroll in packs and they're big! Like 20 dobermen's (however you spell that) not even exaggerating. But they're all friendly.... mostly.

This week PhiiRuung received the Holy Ghost, and we have 2 more people with a baptism date!! I am so excited for "Off" especially-- she had problems with her husband and they were seemingly going to seperate. But the gospel has changed their lives, and now she is trusting him more, he's being loyal, and their 3 girls are being blessed. It's a miracle. :)

Food continues to be a struggle for me-- I just can't down it! I'll do the rice. But yeeesh, raw fish with eye balls? Chicken body parts that you can distinguish? This may be "too much info" but my struggle this week was digestion. Needless to say, that Jamie Lee Curtis yogurt "Activia" was necessary. Who knew my commercial knowledge would help me one day distinguish which yogurt would help me survive after 5 days of near-death-ness? :p Thank you Jamie Lee Curtis.

As another funny fact: People here love Angry Birds. Everything, and I mean everything, has angry birds on it. "Anggy berr" as they say. :p So cute.

Thai continues to be the hardest thing ever. Prayer prayer prayer. :)

This week we were riding to church, and a tiny old man on a bike called to me: "PRETTY LADY WHERE ARE YOU GOING! I LOVE YOU!" I laughed so hard. Then on the way home, we saw him AGAIN! Same day, different place! Hahaha. He called again, "Hey, heeeey! Wait! To where you go! So beautiful!" Needless to say, I'm glad they only know nice things to say in Thai :P

Another week in Udon. This week I learned a few different things: if you depend on the Holy Ghost to tell you what's happening in a lesson, He'll give you pieces until you figure it out. I have been heavily relying on Him, as well as the atonement of Jesus Christ. You honestly can't know how hard a mission is until you're doing it. It's still hard to fully understand what we're doing because of the language barrier between Sis Pannida and I, but we seem to manage fairly well. In fact, we have 2 more daters this last week. Sis Pannida is teaching me so much. She keeps things simple and lets the investigator study it out themselves in the scriptures and through prayer. We give the basics and the spirit testifies the need to study it out themselves. And somehow He always keeps His word! Each person that takes the time to sincerely study and prayer for themselves truly do get that answer.

We're glad to have Elder and Sis Hart (senior couple) here in our branch, because they are great help to us! They keep us happy and healthy.

As for mission life, I'm adjusting slowly. It really is so hard to be emersed in a tonal language-- I've never done anything like it. But I know with time it'll happen and I'll understand and be able to say what I want to say! Right now the words don't come very fast!

I love you all!!!!! SO MUCH! Write me handwritten letters!
Sis Painter!

 Me and Gaaw, and another member outside our church building
Just making a bonfire in the church parking lot for service, it's fine.

tree hugging -- thought mom would like to see that Thailand can be very green!

 puppies for sale! super cheap here. Like $100.

thai kiddos playing after church

CUTE BABYYYY asian baby!!

 all of us gathered for her birthday
 Off's bday card!

Gaaw's birthday party