Monday, July 22, 2013

Funerals and Farangs

HELLO everyone! Sawadiikha!

So this week was full of weirdness. Why? Maybe because we had two funerals in the church (one was a member). That's not too weird, right? Wrong. We had the SECOND one because someone at the first one saw the funeral, liked the way it happened, and JUST SO HAPPENED to have a dead body already. Her husband apparently died that morning at 71, she went to her FRIEND'S MOM'S funeral (????) and decided, "Hey, my husband died this morning. I think we should do this again tomorrow!"

So the next day comes, and I get a call at 9am. Hey, we're ACTUALLY going to have a funeral for this guy! .... Needless to say, he's a guy from England (???), his wife shows up in jeans and his body never shows up. (I found out later we was being taken to be cremated, and then buried down the street at the Buddhist graveyard place.)...  But hey, me and Elder Wood did play a smashing violin duet. :p That we somehow put together 6 minutes before.

Then later the lady and my branch president were like, "Hey! Good! You speak english! The English Embassy is on the phone. Tell them this guy died!" ...... I'm like, "uhhhhhhhhhhhhh." So I'm about a millisecond from calling the Embassy in England for them, and luckily Elder Hart came around the corner. But her accent (the lady on the other end) was so cool. That was actually legit.

So anyway, other than that we had a really cool experience! Our mail notification showed up at our house, but it turns out it had been there the whole time and we didnt know, so the package was from June 26th. I felt for some reason we needed to go try and get it anyway. I go to go pick it up, and it was already sent back to Bangkok. Nooooooo!

But on the way home, we literally ran into everyone that we had been trying to help work towards baptism! And then, guess what? We ran into the same guy we've been randomly seeing. He waved at us, and I passed him. The spirit YELLED, "TURN AROUND RIGHT NOW." So both of us did, sat down with him, and he told us how awful a person he was, how much he wanted to change his life, and that he was willing to do whatever it takes to come unto Christ and change his life. We gave him a baptismal date then and there!! Holy cow it was the craziest best lesson ever! We taught him how to pray, and when I finished as the example, he was almost in tears. He couldn't express his feelings (and he kept trying so hard to), but could only say that his heart felt too big for his chest, that he was feeling a little warmth presence in him. That was insane. The spirit has never been so strong!

Sadly though, he doesn't have a phone. So we went back to try and find him for 3 days now. Couldn't find him. He didn't make it to church. And so that's why I'm bummed. What a shining glint of hope. :(

BUT WE'RE GOING ICE SKATING TODAY! :D With the Gumpawapi ("goom-pa-whap-i" lol.) branch, who recently got cut from our district to make a new one. Every morning the Elders go running with their Branch President through the monkey park. Yes. The MONKEY park. And they get chased by monkeys!!!! SCARY MONKEYS!

To answer Jared's question about districts: We had zone conference this week, I believe we have 4 districts. Mine is the biggest with 10 (2 seniors included), and we have the country of Laos as well, and the cities close to the northern portion. Like Gumpawapi, Nongkai, Kongaen, etc. The places in the Eesan. As for size, there's about 2-4 missionaries in the other areas. In Thailand there's really only areas used in the north and Bangkok. Other than that, there is a lot of unoccupied cities in between. It takes about 8 hours to get to Udon from Bangkok by bus, or about an hour by plane. We always take the night bus.

So that was my week-- I'm looking forward to being HAPPY this week. I want to be a happy camper, have fun with the work, and do the best I can. No more being bummed!


Sister Painter

Monday, July 8, 2013


July 8, 2013

So..... I'm still in Udon! My beloved place! But I got a new companion!

Remember how last week I was being trained? ............ This week, I'M A TRAINER! I'm literally on transfer 3, had no follow-up training, and yet I'm being entrusted with a BRAND NEW out-of-the-mtc greenie. I'm a mom!

Her name is Sister Narayanan, and she is from Sacramento, California. But she's 100% born in India! This week went really well-- training is going good!

Anyway, I have only found joy in it so far. It's a lot of hard work, but so amazing. We've already seen blessings. I know I've seen it in my ability to understand and speak with the people. I know it comes with the calling and trust put in the Lord.

My kiddo is doing great-- her desire to love the people and the country is amazing. She's not afraid to talk-- even if they don't understand her just yet. She shows no fear! And she is so willing to do whatever I ask of her. No fear! Just love!

So far she's on track with language and training (except she's too happy in some of her tones, haha). I am so grateful for this opportunity. It means so much to me. I really am just so happy.

As for stories, sorry I don't have a ton of time-- 4 mins! We had to go get her a lot of stuff seeing as it was her first Pday with no bike of her own! BUT, I did take her through a flood that was like 2 feet deep, feet immersed in the water. So fun.

We also cleaned out the whole house! We rearranged everything! It looks so nice!

Our investigators are all doing good. Trying to prepare Chelum for baptism, we'll have to work out his security guard schedule.

Sorry this email is lame. Just wanted to tell you that all of a sudden I have a million responsibilities. This is NUTS! I'm literally training a new missionary! My personal time has flown out the window.

I now know what it's like to be a parent-- do everything for your child, and they have no idea!!

Sis Painter

 Me and my favorite people!! Sis June is moving to Bangkok (she's in the middle in pink with short hair) so this is our farewell photo! They all mean so much to me!
Me, my greenie, Gaew the member, Sis Carter and Sis Phelps
Me & my child
  Sis Jin :) We went to work out in Maa Pawn's rice farm--- this is us planting rice!

My greenie

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Last Week of Training!

June 30, 2013


Somehow this was the last week of training already. And I hit my one year mark. I have less than a year! Also some crazy announcements: the President got revelation that we have to basically stop everything we're doing and make "inviting" for 2 hours our first priority. It's lead to some crazy finds. Like, where are this prepared people coming from? It's been a real push to open my mouth and it will be filled. Somehow I'm going around talking to people. They're understanding me, we're talking. People are giving me contact information-- they want better lives. It's true, even a 1 minute testimony can open a heart to the gospel. Always open your mouth!!

But with that said, I've had to be more smooth than before. Because it's weird to just come up and say: "Have you ever heard of Jesus Christ?" Honestly, people stare like, "Uhm...." and freak out. You have to make a connection first! You have to learn about them! Be friends! Let them trust you and they'll hear your message. I experienced that with a family that was out for a night together in UD Town. I saw them trying to take a picture together. So while my companion was talking to the other set of missionaries, I was like, "Hmmm." and went over and offered to take the picture. At first they were like, "Oh, no, it's fine." But I felt like I should stay. I stayed near but not awkward.

They then decided they needed me. YES. Needless to say, they were like, "WHOA she can speak Thai. You can speak Thai? What the?" Everyone's smiles came on, they were asking me a million questions. And I was answering them! Then a son says: "You don't have to speak Thai. You can speak English." I JUMPED. I was like, "WHOA you speak english!!!" and he says: "I'm from LA. I'm just on vacation to visit my family."

Oh my gosh, I was so surprised. It cracked me up. So there ya go. Its hard to describe the small success it was to be a lone missionary speaking with a FULL family-- over 10 people, young and old, all completely drawn in on you. It was exhilarating.

In other news..... 2 people preparing for baptism!!!!! WOO!

One of which is a man I've literally grown to love so much. She's like 60+ years old and probably the sweetest and most accepting and happiest old man there is. He's a security guard who wears crazy polka dot socks under his uniform boots. His name is Cheluum. I decided if I Grandpa Payne was Thai, maybe he would be like this man. I want nothing else but to see Cheluum get baptized. He's my Thai grandpa.

Other than that, I got sick this week. Merrr. But meds did the trick and I'm back and at it!!!

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! It's hard. It's REALLY hard. But oh, when you find that one old man you were meant to find, it's so sweet.

Love you all! You have no idea what your support means!!!

Sis Painter

One Year Left!

June 23, 2013

Dear Family and Friends!!

I don't mean to alarm anyone (or myself) but I literally have one year left on my mission as of this week. Uhm?? One year, only. I've already been a missionary for the first 1/3. Just shows how fast time flies.

But with that said, I am now on my last week of training. Meaning, this week my task is to be the senior companion. Easier said than done! What a headache! I kept wanting to just KNOW what I should go and do, who we should teach, etc. But it turns out people cancel and you have to remake your plan every single day if things fall through. It's a lot more of a mantle than I realized. I have a lot of respect for Sis Pannida's job. So I've been doing the planning, calling, directions, leading lessons, teaching by myself as if she can't speak Thai, everythingggggg. Needless to say this week came with a few hiccups and rough patches. But, in all sugar-coatedness, FIGHT ON!

As for my birthday! Thanks for all the birthday wishes!!!
I actually got real sick on my birthday (and lasted until this morning, really), so I ended up having to go home and sleep. So... I woke up the next day and my birthday didn't really happen? So I got ice cream the next day and realized, "Hey! It's still my birthday in America!" So I feel just dandy about it.

And the district celebrated my birthday during our wednesday's district meeting with cupcakes and a TERRIBLE rendition of the birthday song. Oh, it hurt the ears. Elders are hilariously.... whack. But they get it from the Thai verson of the happy birthday song, so really, they were just copying what we see allllll the time. So good!! Sis Pannida even took a video. It's worth 1000 words.

So as for weird and crazy things this week:

I literally saw a movie-style crash. But this time is was just a guy and a really fluffy orange dog. But somehow it was still epic and insane! Sparks flew (not romantically but actually quite unrealistically) as he tumbled, and his red motorcycle too. The dog ran away, clearly whimpering and gonna die or something. No doubt the man's arm was broken. His clothes were ripped up. So me and Sis Pannida basically saw the whole thing because we were riding perpendicular to that road and nobody else was around driving. But suddenly a crowd appeared from the not-so-busy-but-suddenly-busy road and I explained to this lady what had happened. She looked up and realizing I was as white as they come, said, "Was it a big dog? ... Whoa! You speak so chut!" It was kinda funny for the dramatic situation. It's the last thing I expected her to say. Kind of comical. The guy was ok, ps!

As for a few other things I saw this week, this is for Jared Hammer: "I'll tell you when I get home." (HAHA! My turn to say it!!)

As for spiritual: the house of 17 people is doing amazing. We stopped by almost by surprise and found them DOING everything we had committed them to do and more. We caught them being faithful without knowing we were coming! BEST THING EVER!

And what I learned most of all as I've had to figure out being the leader, is that people will walk in circles if they don't have a goal in the distance. Utchdorf said it, and I believe it. I highly suggest reading the 1st presidency message from this month.

Also, I don't know how best to describe it, but last night I had a coming-to-understanding and I realize that God actually speaks to his children. He is NOT silent. I know that for a fact. He is in the details of our lives. He knows exactly who we are, and how and when to speak. I testify of that.

"How far is Heaven?
It's not very far.
When you live close to God,
It's right where you are."
-Monson, 1986.

I love you all! Thank you for ALL your support!!!
Sis Painter