Monday, August 5, 2013

Baby Pee and Osteoporosis...and MISSIONARY WORK!

August 4, 2013

Dear Family!!

I didn't realize so much happened this week until I was making a list of things to write about. It's a stinkin long list! So here we go! As the title implies, this week had more exciting "WHAT THE" moments! Stay tuned!

So, first things first. Let's address the elephant in the room (sadly, that is just a phrase. I still haven't seen another elephant. IS THIS THAILAND OR NOT.) .... okay, but really. The strangeness of the title of my email: let's address the baby pee.

So I learned a valuable lesson this week. Even if you aren't sure if someone is about to hand you a baby, be aware that they are PROBABLY about to hand you a baby!! Which, as you may know, is against the missionary white hand book. I am not allowed to hold babies! BUT, in a split moment of confusion, she was handing over a baby and if I didn't take it, that baby was going to be dropped! So I'm like, "Ahhhck ahah, OK. 2 seconds just 2 seconds for this photo." because I am now literally holding this baby while she swipes out her iPhone. Needless to say: in my moment of disobedience, this baby acted as a fireman spray hose and pee'd ALL DOWN ME. Like, I have never seen so much force or magnitude as was in this jet-stream. What a power house. By the way, her name is Champoo which means the color pink. The members were cracking up because apparently the baby was SO HAPPY. Note, this baby is the same baby that I saw on its first day on earth. So she's 2 months old now. Photo to come... right before the accident. :p

Keep the rules and you'll stay pee-free. Also, God's sense of humor is pretty legit. So I now know what lesson I'll be teaching my children one day....

In good news, the mom of Champoo wants us to come back and see her! I think she's ready to finally start taking the lessons! She's the daughter of a faithful member who has never been interested in learning with the missionaries, but she invited us to come! Yay!

So now on to Osteoporosis. Now I'm considered an old woman: my knees have been KILLIN' for about 2 weeks. I had lifted my bike seat up to see if extending my leg more could make me go faster. Turns out, that was a bad idea and I pulled some tendons and now every time I ride, I'm dyin'. So they sent me to the doctor to see if I had pulled something in my right knee. Got an x-ray, all is well bone-wise except the tendons. Turns out tendons don't like all the bike riding I do 24/7, especially after overstretching. So he says: "I usually just give this to very old people." and he gave me osteoporosis drink mix for each morning. I am officially an old woman. (Sorry if anyone who reads this has osteoporosis... it's nothing personal.... :p )

So with that said, a member went to take us to see a referral right after church. I've never met this member before, so I didn't have her phone number. Anyway, she ends up BOLTING going 50 miles an hour on her motorcycle. And we're on our bikes. And now I'm a grandma, so, heaven knows she lost us miles back! With no phone number. Yeah. So that was a hilarious moment yesterday when we realize we have no idea where she went. Vastly underestimated our super-human-biking powers.

Moving on.

We had a baptism for Naam (Water) and Phii. Way wonderful (and they're supposed to be in our branch. That's what happens when the area is all white-washed but you and you're the only one who knows the boundaries of the areas...oh well! It's perfect where they are for now.) They came up feeling completely clean and at peace! Love these testimonies!

Belle (my investigator and dater) decided all of a sudden that she wanted to be baptized this weekend. I was like, "What what?" because her date is the 24th, not the 1st! haha. But anyway, we're working to find a date in the middle that we can get her ready on her own time. She finally came to church for the whole time this week! She said she was so happy!

My stress levels have been a LOT lower since I've been breathing and not letting my heart go crazy. So life is good, I'm working hard, and I'm finally getting a real perspective of what I'm out here to do since we started switching up what we do to find people and serve others. Way successful: we even made balanced key indicators this week (to all missionaries who have just returned, you'll know what this is.) AKA we used our time effectively and people are progressing! And we made the goal of excellence as well! Let's do it again!

Oh, and remember how I can't make a successful cookie dough by myself? That statement still stands. BUT I WAS SET UP FOR NO SUCCESS. I was told that we had flour in the house. And so when I went to use it, I was like, "Hm. Flour smells slightly different in Thailand." But everything came out solidly looking like cookie dough. I was like, "YES. I AM AWESOME."

Until I tried it! It was nasty! I was like, "What the heck! This is perfect, why is this not perfect?!?" But in my pride I kept eating it, just to prove that I could do make a decent cookie dough. (wrong.) And so Sister Carter comes back from exchanges and told me she was so sorry that she set me up to fail. All we had was CORNSTARCH.


Sigh. Okay, next time, I swearrrr it'll be perfect. Because I got the order down pat. No juice, and no rocks. It was a perfect solid, it was just.... cornstarch. Not flour. Yikes.

So we put the dough in the waffle iron and ate a couple "biscuit" like things. Not bad. :p

I also learned how to make my own peanut butter! It is SO much cheaper here to buy a giant bag of peanuts and blend them yourself. I make a TASTY peanut butter. That's a shout out to Jared Hammer-- who did not have ANY peanut butter in Armenia. Hahah.

Last week I found marshmellows and sticks in our house (thank you Elders, who bought them from english class.) So I decided we should go make smores at my convert kids house! So we showed up and made a fire with them and roasted them. So fun. They loved it!

English Class this week was hilarious. I taught about going to school. So naturally I felt important that they knew what school items were called in English (something they'd actually use in the future, like 'backpack, pencil' etc, that is on a ton of things they buy here.) So I had them draw themselves going to school and what they'd need. Then I made it a competition. Whoever could label the most stuff on their drawing in english got a mondo prize next week. People started getting super creative. Also, a lot of very asian drawings. Soooo funny. One gorup of 3 boys had pictures that looked like Dragon Ball Z. It was precious. (And then later this week, one of those boys BAPTIZED the other boy! It was beyond adorable. They'd best friends, and one just got baptized LAST month!)

We served a lot this week too-- we went to the Amnuay's house (the 3 kids' grandma) and showed up with buckets. She couldn't refuse us then!! So we came in cleaned her walls, EVERYTHING was covered in 5 layers of dirt. I de-cobb-webb'd the whole place, and she had no idea everything was so white. I told her that when a home is clean, you can feel the spirit so much more. She looked at me and said, "I feel like I am at peace in here, that I can finally breathe!!" and she was so grateful that we just came and did it. She said she has been rejecting missionaries when they ask to help anything, but only because that's the culture. So I was so glad I followed the prompting to show up in dirty clothes with cleaning products. She invited us right in with gratitude and ended up getting us a coke for our help! (That's a lot for them!) It was so fun to scrub up the wood and watch my little 13yr old convert giggle and scream at how white it looked in comparison.

Also, we helped a member dish out food at the college cafeteria. She LOVED having us there, and when I sat down with her to share a message (she's a less active because she's stuck at work and the guy that usually takes her shift on Sundays disappeared for 2 months now, leaving her there and unable to come to church.) When I was sitting down with her and the other 3 missionaries (all 3 greenies on exchanges), she was overwhelmed with the spirit and she was more emotional than any Thai I have seen yet. She told me she holds a picture of Christ in her wallet, and then showed it to me. She says she sees that picture clear in her mind all the time. She ended up getting up to get a tissue, but first threw her arms around me. I was surprised and overwhelmed as well by her love of Christ. Then as we were going to leave later, she looked at me, tears in her eyes and said: "My family, and your family, will be forever grateful that you came here."

I have never been hit so hard by something said in Thai.

So this week, here I go again, even more dedicated. If for nobody than this one tiny tiny Thai woman in a cafeteria rice shop.

I'm headed on exchanges (first time I will have ever worked out of my area!!) to Sakon Nakhon to help out there from Wednesday til Friday morning. I'll be with an MTC missionary from my group, Sister Broeder. Here we go! So we'll be having a 5 companionship switcharoo here in Khongaen before we head over to her area!

Your Sister Missionary, Sister Painter!


1. Roasting marshmallows with Bin (4 yrs old) for FHE over a fire we made
2. Shyfully displaying their Dragon Ball Z type art skills in English class learning vocab for school products. Hahahaha
3. People eat those. They are dead now... but we saw some SKINNED and still squirming around and hopping! Uhmmm EWW.

1. We're planning on bringing Koolaid to the workers this week and inviting them to church. There's like 20 that are working on these homes out our back window.
2. A tiny Thai lady who I helped lift some GIANT fish into her ice cooler at the market. I LOVE this picture. Because it shows how happy they are working!!
3. This week Gaew is going on her mission to SLC, Utah! So here's her with a ton of the branchs' kids!

1. Me and Belle, our investigator! :) So cute!
2. Me accidentally being handed this baby. At least I LOOK calm. Sister Narayanan's face shows that the baby was about to explode.... Don't hold babies on your mission!!
3. Not a really cute photo (I dont look happy for real) but here is Naam and Phii! After baptism!!

The Priesthood's Power

July 28, 2013

Hello family!!

This week started out with ice skating! As a fun fact-- Thailand hasn't mastered it yet here in Udon. HAHA. In fact, it was definitely half melted, and if you fell (which I didn't--booyah) you literally fell in a lake. Or in Makayla's terms, a puddle. (Because Makayla's "spill depth perception, as we all know, is WAY off.) Haha. Love you Mak-Daddy.

So a few awesome things this week! Boss (Sis Jin's son) got his mission call! He's joining our mission here in Thailand in a few months! WOOOOO!

Also, a couple of my favorite girls got baptized this week! They were two of the very first people I met in Thailand. Story came with the picture I sent!

We have two daters again! Belle finally understands that our church is important because we're the only ones with the priesthood of God in order to do those saving ordinances like Baptism. With that knowledge, her whole mind is opened! WOO!

Other than that, we finally had a good find! Someone who is willing and and ready to meet with us, learn, and change! We had a second lesson with him (where he was actually EXPECTING US TO COME! WOO!) and he requested that we went to the church. So we did, and we (me and Sis Narayanan as well as Sis Bii and Sis Yuuy, two members) all headed over with him. Turns out it was much easier for him to talk to us there, because he was able to tell us how he was feeling about his relationship with his parents and their expectations for him without them being there to butt in like last time. He's 29 years old now and he feels like he both has to take care of them and gets pushed around like a kid and he isn't able to progress in life, feel confident, etc.

I can honestly say the spirit was SO STRONG in that lesson. Yuuy and Bii were even raving about it afterwords. I finally had a lesson where I literally felt the Holy Ghost testify through me. We had already talked about the priesthood before in the first lesson a little. But this time I felt like he needed to know who he was and that he was more than who he thought. He told me he so wanted to have the priesthood. But furthermore, I saw it in his eyes.

He came to us first thinking the church would help his temporal problems. I'm so glad Yuuy was there, because her experience was exactly the same. She understands now that there is more to conversion than feeling like if we get baptized and do this and this, we're entitled to fortune and happiness and yada yada. That is just not so. You know what the church does for us? It gives us spiritual strength! Everything we get from it is of a spiritual nature! The things that are IMPORTANT. The things you will actually carry with you, like family, love, hope: all the spiritual gifts.

And having that spiritual strength leads to a brightness of hope and a greater attitude-- making your temporal, worldly problems seemingly insignificant.

By the end of our lesson, a man who came searching for a way to better his worldly state, left hungering for something greater. His name is Knot.

And I so can't wait to see him be baptized one day.

Also goes to show, we need the strength of members!!!

Sister Painter