Tuesday, December 27, 2011

สุขสันต์ วันคริสต์มาส!!!!!

Merry Christmas:)! And I love you all so much.OH OH OH OH MY GOODNESS!!! It was so wonderful to talk to my family. Everyone who is reading this email is SOOOO lucky to know them:). I was so fullll of happiness. Haha literally, it was like exhausting. I went home and took my first nap since becoming a missionary, I was so worn out from joy. Thank you Jamie, Chris, Kayden, Trace, Brooks, Jed, Shan, Jonah, Josh, Jen, Presley, Landon, Jess, Zailey, Jordan, Haylie, Bethany, Momma and Daddy:). And the pleasant surprise of Emmalee and Brady and Mauri and Luana and Grandma and Grandpa! It was wonderful to see all of you and feel of your love:).

Well Christmas was certainly WONDERFUL. Everyone says mission Christmases are special and meaningful in a different way, and it is so true. I felt so much more gratitude, sincere gratitude, that I have a Savior, and that He DID come to earth, and that He came to earth to help me (and everyone) return to Heavenly Father, Who loves us and misses us so much. When the maximum decoration around the city of Roiet consists of one random shops with a ornament-less Christmas tree painted on its windows, it was easy to not focus on the commercialized Christmas (which is fun and pleasant and exciting, but which I'm grateful to have experience Christmas without it). It's been fun to ask people the past few days what they know about Christmas, and then to share the real meaning with them; but it's also been heartbreaking to hear a handful of them say that Christmas is just the way "farangs" (foreigners) celebrate the new year.

Nephi and the angel set it straight:Angel: "Knowest thou the condescension of God?"Nephi: "And I looked and beheld a virgin, bearing a child in her arms."Angel: "Behold the Lamb of God, yea even the Son of the Eternal Father....Behold the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore it is the most desirable above all things."We are so blessed and lucky and blessed to know this, the thing that is "most desirable above all things," the knowledge of the Savior. I've never realized, until this year, how powerful that meaning is: the Son of God, the Only One, chose to come to earth, to subject Himself to mortality, for us. It was indeed a very special and meaningful Christmas. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to have spent it here.
I hope it was beautiful and perfect and filled with the Spirit for each of you:).
Love love LOVE LOVE LOVE,Sister Roper

Pics of Christmas time in Thailand

New favorite thing

I've discovered a new favorite-thing-to-do in the last...hmmm three months or so: melting the ice off of people. I think it might be like a gift or something haha. Okay so the story goes like this: The beautiful church building in Roiet it located in the heart of our small little city, so there are lots of little restaurants and shops and ice cream carts and internet cafes and even neighborhoods and parks in close proximity. Sister Itow, the wise woman, always used to say that there were people in the church's neighborhood, and that they were there for a reason....which I generally agreed with...except for one case. Nok and Bert (as in Robert, but I call him Bert because it seems way more Thai to me than Robert and he's Thai and doesn't even speak English so it'd be weird to call him Robert lol) own a copy place that sits immediately across from the church. So...naturally we went and talked to them pretty shortly after I got to Roiet.
But the first time of "talking to them" consisted of us walking over, smiling, saying hello, asking them a few questions to which we got ZERO in way of response...just blank stares as Nok continued pressing buttons on the copy machine and Bert stapled book 78 of 456. Blank stares as in: uhmm....turn around and walk away and we can go on pretending like this never happened since you're already a little on the embarrassed side" hahaha. It was actually pretty funny. We ended by giving them a pass along card..and yep....walking back to the church, chuckling.
But....the gospel changes people:).Gradually, after probably about six more weeks of waving when we passed or making copies here and there or using their names when we said hello every day....they started waving back (much to our surprise).
Then we randomly and totally spirit-led-ly (because neither Sister Itow nor I would have really chosen to) ended up teaching Nok how to pray one night when she had no customers....and then we met with her a few more times and sang for her each time and we gave Nok a Book of Mormon and gave her 3 Nephi 11 (a chapter about the Savior visiting the America after He was resurrected) to read...next thing we new she'd made it through 3 Nephi all the way to Mormon 4 hahaha....(It's pretty funny bc she's all familiar the Nephites and Lamanites and how they destroy each other...but doesn't even know who Nephi and Laman are hahaha definitely an original way to read the Book of Mormon) and they watch for us every night:).

Oh my goodness the gospel is sooo awesome and sooo powerful. When we taught her about prophets, she was like, "What? There's a prophet on the earth today? Where is he and how can I find out what he says???" Aaaah. Perfect questions:).The best part was after we left that night (she still isn't too friendly or warm at all, but she smiles at us like "you crazy kids who up and decided to figure out a way to touch my heart" as she pulls her rusty door shut) we went to the church for a few minutes to unlock our bikes and ride home, as we passed by her house, we heard the Thai translator translating President Monson's address last conference through her door:). I danced and screamed and rejoiced silently (it was hard) in the street before mounting my bike to go home. Sister Maxwell, Sister King, and I totally love them and how the gospel changes people and softens hearts:). Oh my Merry Christmas! I love you all! I am so happy to be here in this very city in this very country on this very side of the world for Christmas:).-Have a lovely, warm, love-filled, friendly birthday, dearest Aimee darling:) I miss and LOOOOVE you.-Sister Itow---I'm under direction to write you a "long sincere letter...much more personal" so sorry haha no emails just yet.
But...just know I'm writing you today at our crickety-painted brown kitchen table (which now has a Christmas tree and cinnamon potpourri from my wonderful mom) a long detailed letter an dtha ti love the guts out of you and you look gorgeous in the pics my sisters sent and keeppppp writing me
Love,Sister Roper

Sunday, December 18, 2011

More pics :)

Their apartment 'Christmas style.' One of Bre's favorite members...

Bre's district....before transfers a week ago :) Her trainer Sister Itow was finished with her mission so Bre got 2 new companions! Threesomes are rare but when their is an odd number of sisters what do you get?

December 12th

Family!!! I got the package from Mom and Dad! The wedding pictures are stunning. Everyone looks so happy and wonderful and Haylie, wow what a gorgeous bride:). Jordan you looked cute:). You're getting wrinkles on your eyes because you smile and laugh somuch. I'm obsessed with them so don't stop. KAYDEN THANK YOU FOR ALL THE SNOWFLAKES!! I love that you wrote to bre love kayden on every single one! And mom the fudge is delicious:). My companions thank you:). And the tree is up on our kitchen table and SIster King had some lights and tinsel and our house is just a cute little ball of Christmas joy:). Oh my mom I love that cinnamon scent stuff. Smells WONDERFUL and like home:). I can't wait to open all the notes on the tree and presents on Christmas. Thank you!!! I sent off a package to Josher last week, and Jamie should be meeting with Sister Itow tomorrow....so everyone will get their Christmas love from me and Thailand!!-

Oh my goodness. Everyone is sooo freezing? ME TOO!!!! It's like 60 here at night and I diiieee. And drink hot cocoa as soon as i get home:) haha. I think my body is acclimated to hoooot weather. But just know that we are all suffering the cold together hahahaha

Well family and friends who I love so much! Hi hi hi! Awesome wonderful fun crazy week. We went down to transfers, I dropped off Sister Itow (and did what any responsible new missionary would do upon parting with her trainer...cried like a baby lol), and picked up TWO companions in replacement. Wow! I'm in a threesome and it's great. Sister Maxwell harks from AZ (yes, she's a wildcat, Beth and Shan), and we figured out that when I went to visit Beth last December, we both were part of a big group of institute kids who went to look at this famous neighborhood of Christmas lights. Haha...small world. Sister Maxwell is really great; she's so sweet and loving and she knows way more Thai than SIster King and I do but she helps us in a really patient way. Sister King and I were in the MTC together, so I already knew her! And loved her:). She is sooo relaxed which is great for me...because I'm not sure I'd exactly describe myself as such....I feel so fortunate to have such wonderful companions. We are already working really hard and enjoying it all the same.

Missionary work is lots of work and energy and sweat and sometimes tears...but so FUNNNNN all the while:). I'd prayed really hard to just be filled with charity for my new companion (little did I know it would be companions) and Heavenly Father was very generous:), as usual. Can I tell you how much I love being a missionary? Okay. I love it 8907 pounds of papaya, 879 feet of buddha height, 7896 cartons of lactasoy soy milk, 4567 ants, 768 bottles of mosquito repellant, 67 hours of riding buses blasting Thai music and arctic air at 4 in the morning so we wake up before we hit Bangkok, and back:). This week we were in a few lessons where we told the people we are teaching how much we love them, or the Book of Mormon or the Savior. Oftentimes the Spirit just got so strong I feltlike I could cut it with a knife. Expressing love invites the Spirit because God is love. I love that idea:).

Okay I love all of you so so very much. Show your love to someone today:)

Love,Sister Roper

Sunday, December 4, 2011

December 4th

Hello family and friends who I love with all my heart!

Things are going so well on the other side of the world. I love being a missionary more and more every day, and I am so grateful. This week is going to be a bit different...we are going down to Bangkok for transfer meeting...and my trainer is headed back home to Dansville, California. I am really going to miss Sister Itow. She is a wonderful, faithful, fun, spirited missionary and person and has certainly become one of my closest friends. I am sooo grateful Heavenly Father put us together so we could weather Dengue, bike crashes, new missionary hiccups together, and also so we could learn and grow together. My new companion (I'll find out who it is on Thursday) is going to be wonderful and I can't wait for all the adventures and growth we are going to experience together. But say a prayer for me on Thursday, if you remember, because I'll probably by shedding a tear or fourteen:).

NamKang, a wonderful almost 20-year-old who recently got baptized, told us she wants to go on a mission next year!!! Oh my it was the happiest moment of the week:). Isn't that so wonderful??? I can't wait for her to build the kingdom in this wonderful, growing country...so we can get a temple sooner!! She's a sweet sweet girl and I love her so much. It's so great how the gospel and a mutual love for the Savior can bring people of all walks of life so close. I love the people in this mission and country.

Remember Sing? He's the Sam-Law (taxi thing) driver who got baptized a few months ago, who gave up smoking and drinking pretty heavily in one day and who is already an enthusiastic missionary member? So we got in his Sam-Law this week and it was plastered with pictures of baptism or the Savior or the Book of Mormon! It was so fun! We laughed because it was so cute and funny and awesome and inspiring. He even had his baptism program laminated and posted up for all of Roiet citizens seeking transportation to see. He is not ashamed of the changes he's made in his life and of what he knows is true. I love him and I love how he's on fire with the gospel!

Okay so this week there were some moments when my brain was telling me I should be discouraged or mad or impatient or grumpy or some other negative emotion. So I tried real hard to pray pray pray it off. And eventually I came across this scripture: "For God loveth a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7). That's what I want to be:). Life and missions and life are so much easier when you give your heart to Heavenly Father, cheerfully. And you give of yourself cheerfully. Because otherwise doing good things does us no good. So....smile and give cheerfully today:). And always.Okay I love love love you all and miss you too!!

Love, Sister Roper
Hello family and friends who I love!!!

I had an interesting Thanksgiving. The Assistants called on Wednesday and said we needed to come down to Bangkok to renew Sister Itow's visa (even though she only has two weeks left, lol). So after 10 hours on an overnight bus, we slept at a church for a few hours, went to the visa place, she raised her hands, and we got back on a bus. 20 hours of transportation for a 20 second raise of the hand! Oh well:). While waiting for the bus, we stopped at this huge really hi-so mall in Bangkok and had Mexican food...on Thanksgiving! Haha something I've certainly never done before:) but fun nonetheless.
Being in Bangkok totally reminded me of DC and made me miss my DC friends (so hello and I love you to all of you:) and DC...and all the travel was pretty tiring I missed my area and doing missionary work. So it felt soooo good to finally have a chance to talk to a taxi driver about God and prayer. Time was so short and I had missed talking about the gospel so much that I just bore testimony and like pled with him (in a friendly way) to pray and talk to his Heavenly Father. His reaction was sincere and I hope so much that he tried it once we got out at the bus stop. Sharing the gospel makes me so happy. It is so refreshing and wonderful. Sister Itow is on her way out. I am going to cry, I know it, even though I'm not really a crier:). She has been a wonderful trainer and such a good example of a good, faithful missionary: she trusts Heavenly Father and talks to Him often and sincerely; she loves the people we teach and wants them to taste the sweetness of the gospel; she loves and values the Book of Mormon and promised herself to read it every day the rest of her life; she is trustworthy and wanted to help me succeed in every way. We can all learn from her example:). So there's a little tribute to my wonderful trainer. I hope to one day be the missionary she was.
Okay I love you all so much and can't tell you how much I love the gospel and Thai and Thai and the Book of Mormon and gospel and Thai and prayer and praying and my trainer and being a missionary and my family family family and being in Thailand.And I love love LOVE all of you. Thank you soo much for your prayers and love.
Love,Sister Roper

Monday, November 21, 2011

O Happy Day

Happy Thanksgiving

In lieu of Thanksgiving, I am going to count some of my many blessings (and you can do it, too. It's like aloe vera/advil/midol/benadryl/windex....a solution for any woe or sadness or ill-will or heavy heart):-

Sister Maliwan (she got baptized back in September, the day after we got out of the hospital) has a daughter named Nooy who is really shy and scared of people and quiet. Usually when we visit Sister Maliwan, Nooy stays as far away as possible, so we just kind of let her do her thing and smile at her when she makes occasional eye contact (before the hiding).

Anyway, this week we felt like we should make an effort to go to the home just for her, and teach her. It took a few minutes and a few tries and coaxing...and she still didn't really budge, she was hand-washing laundry like a champ. So I pulled out a hymnbook and we started singing to her:). And she smiled and eventually came in. Since then, wonderful things have happened. She is so excited to see us when we come (though she doesn't say too much), and she came to church (!!!!!!) which was a pleasant surprise to us (actually, I was ecstatic, but I couldn't show it because I was playing the opening hymn when I glanced to the audience and saw her hiding behind a hymnbook...but she smiled when she saw me looking at her), and she's let us teach her every day since, and ....the best one....she read a scripture, just one, about Jesus and we could tell she felt so happy that she could read it outloud to us. I'm not sure how much of it she understood, but I know she felt the Spirit and she is thinking about Jesus Christ and hopefully realizing how much He loves her:). I love her so much and am sooo grateful for her. And the way the Spirit and music and the Book of Mormon make miracles happen:).-

A wonderful girl named NamKang got baptized yesterday. Her parents got baptized almost a year ago and have been praying so hard for her to be willing to learn about the gospel and accept it as well. She was living in Bangkok and when the floods hit, she came up to Roi-et (one benefit of the flooding...) and had an open heart:). It was so wonderful and fun to see her family all complete and baptized...and saving money to go the temple!! -We are doing companionship exchanges this week and I get to regroup with Sister Carper, my companion from the MTC. I'm really excited to see her and learn with her! I get to show her around Roi-et, which is the coolest, most colorful, and quaintest (in a Thai way) city ever. -I ate a fish this week. Like a small skinny little fish that was fried...without breading though so you could still see the bones and eyes and scales. I couldn't believe it. Haha.-I realized again this morning that I can benefit from the things I am teaching also. I often tell people that Heavenly Father listens when we pray and that He wants us to pray to Him. And I teach about the Savior a lot, and how He can forgive our sins and lift our burdens. But sometimes I forget that that's true for me, too, not just for the wonderful people I get to teach. Heavenly Father wants to help me, too:). And I'm grateful, so grateful for this experience; I am finding new meaning to Zenos' parable of the olive-tree; "And it came to pass that he pruned it and digged about it and nourished it according to his word" (Jacob 5:5). Sometimes the "pruning" and "digging" hurts and stings. But I know with all my heart and soul and heart that it's always followed by "nourishing" and healing and love from Heavenly Father and the Savior.

Jamie, thank you for the sweet sweet card. I read it over and over again. You are such a great example to me. For everyone else's benefit, I'm going to quote a little bit of it:). Hope that's okay. "The eternal nature of bringing souls to Christ is so much more meaningful and powerful than anything. There is no better, safer, happier place than serving the Lord 24/7."

Thank you all for your love and support and confidence in me. I don't deserve it, but I promise I am trying my hardest every day to serve Heavenly Father with all my heart, might, mind, and strength.

Love love love you all!
Sister Roper

Ooops forgot to send it last week :)

Well family and friends.

This week was colorful and fun and ...so Thai! I feel like I'm becoming a khon Thai through and through (well, at least as close as I can get with pink cheeks and blonde hair), and I am sooo grateful:).
Here's an outline:
1. Loy Gratone
2. Giaw-ing Khaw (Harvesting rice, for reals, I did it)
3. Fish. I ate it....oh my be excited.
4. Patooooons.

1. Okay so there is a Buddhist holiday that, from the outsides, is pretty cool-looking, and from the inside (like the meaning behind it) is pretty ...hmmm-ish. It's called Loy Gratone and people make floating flower arrangements with a candle in the middle, light them, and float them on rivers or lakes or some other accessible body of water. It when they light and release, it represents a remission of sins....not exactly how it works, but still pretty cool to see. People get super dressed up and schools teach their students songs and dances and they perform at the Beng, or this beautiful, huge park in the middle of Roi-et. And they also light those floating lantern things like on "Tangled"! They're real! I thought they were just a Disney fantasy, but you really can light a fire in the middle of paper and it will float away to Neverneverland!! So cool and pretty and cultural.

2.We just got back from harvesting rice! We drove out to a member's field, wore scarves and big hats, got a 26 second training on how to use sickles (kiaws) and then went to work! So fun and hot and scratchy and fun. I kept thinking of Doctrine and Covenants Section 4: "For the field is white, all ready to harvest":) which I finally got all memorized in Thai last week. It was fun doing physical harvesting, instead of just spiritual (though, as fun as it was, spiritual still wins).

3. Yes. It's true. And twice! Sister Itow's birthday was last week so two member families took us out to eat at really elegant restaurants...and they said I didn't like fish because I hadn't tried THIS kind (I've heard that before haha but I still gave it shot). So yes! I've eaten fish. And guess what...I liked it. Surprise surprise surprise. (It really is surprising).

4. Older Thai women wrap big pieces of fabric called "patoons" around their waists when they're cleaning or doing housework. But the fabric is pretty so Sister Itow and I both wanted to buy and wear them as skirts...like to church and stuff. So we did! And the members loved it and our neighbors laughed. We heard everything from, "You can only get away with that because you're farangs!" to "You are leaders of fashion." Haha. So hopefully it's somewhere in the middle.

We had zone conference yesterday and Elder Gong, a member of the 70 came to speak. It was really wonderful and motivating. I love President and Sister Smith so much. Their love for Thailand is so solid and real and tangible and contagious. I got to do the musical number (thanks for your help sisters!! and Natalie!), and I played a piano arrangement of "Our Savior's Love." It was nice:) and I was grateful to have the chance to play. We traveled to a city called Udon and stayed in a really nice hotel....I felt wayyy too pampered when I saw that the shower was seperate from the toilet (in our house, they're in the same room, or closet, or small compartment....or whatever you want to call it) and when I took a shower that stayed hot the whole time...and last but not least...when our room had carpet in it! The most special part of my week, though (despite all the excitement...and a hot shower) was when a beautiful girl named NamKhang received an answer that the Book of Mormon is true. She'd been reading and praying and reading and praying but still wasn't sure. We promised her lots that she would know it was true when she continued to pray and read and have real intent and faith that Heavenly Father would answer her prayer. I prayed so hard, like every part of my soul, like I was tired after praying, that she would receive an answer that she could recognize. And like they always do, her answer came:). And we could tell as soon as we walked into the room that day. She was lighter and her face was beaming and she couldn't wait to learn more and share her testimony. I loooove watching people's testimony grow...You can always tell it's there and that it's growing when they want to share it, simply, sincerely, and powerfully. The Book of Mormon is so true. And it changes lives more than anything or anyone or anyanything else can. I love the Book of Mormon. I trust it more than anything else I can touch with my hands.

And as always, I love love love all of you!

Until next week:)Sister Roper

Monday, November 14, 2011

Even More Pics

they say a picture is worth a thousand words right? Well this is all we got this week so enjoy :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tut Tut looks likes lizards...

Family and friends who I love love so much!!! I hope all is well and that this Halloween is the happiest:).

Okayyyy.....subject line, for starters: We're sitting on a patio teaching about how the gospel blessed families, and then out of now where we heard a shuffle on the tin roof above our heads and before we knew it, two lizards fell from the ceiling....onto Sister Itow's head, then lap, then feet:). So moral of the story is that Thailand rains things other than...rain.Sing got baptized yesterday:). He's the man who drives the Sam Law and who is missing a tooth and who couldn't read very well until he started reading the Book of Mormon and he got it three weeks ago and is already through Mosiah and loves reading it because of all the happiness and love he feels. Yep, I'd say the Book is pretty consistent about bringing those feelings:). Anyway. In a manner of days, he gave up drinking whiskey every night, smoking, coffee, tea, a few girlfriends (even though he has a wife in Bangkok and two kids), and working 7 days a week...oh yes, and Buddha. It was so cool. It's like Heavenly Father gave me tickets to a really good show.. and I just got to watch it and love it and feel sooo humbled and grateful for it.

So Sing loves sharing the gospel. He's made drastic changes to his life since accepting to learn about the gospel..and then accepting to accept it. He's brought us to lots of his friends to teach and it's soo fun. So we had just begun teaching a few of them last week, a mom, son, and daughter on their patio, and Sing rolls up with a Sam Law (3 wheeled open air taxi thing that he drives for employment) full of more people--three khon thais and one farang (foreigner). When I counted heads, at first I was really excited. But as they got out and approached us, I started getting pretty nervous and uneasy-feeling. I was hoping they'd just politely pull up chairs and listen, but instead the farang stepped onto the patio kinda boisterously and said, "Mormon?" I paused, turned my attention away from this family and to him, and said, "Yes." "Speak English, do ya?" said the man."Yes. And you do too, apparently.""And you're Mormon? You here to talk about Jesus? That's good. But if you're here to talk about Joseph Smith? That's not good. You don't try to teach anyone here about Joseph Smith. That stuff's not good. He's not good." He was pompous and tall and thought he was the...something....But I didn't haha....

I guess in my head I reached a crossroad, with three options (is that possible in a crossroad?). One- I could smile and slacken my posture and turn the time over to my trainer because I trust her and I'm still new at Thai and being a missionary and that would just be easier. But I was sitting closest in proximity to him and since I'd been speaking the moment he approached, he addressed his comments toward me. Plus....I already felt pretty itchy toward him and it's hard for me to feel itchy without doing something about the itch...so naturally option one was out.

Two-I could let the fear slash anger he was trying to plant in my heart fill up the rest of my body-including my face-and say something snide back to him. But I knew this fear would show and the investigators (who--THANK GOODNESS--didn't understand English) would know I was concerned and then this man would be in control of the situation and the Spirit might leave. or three. I could...do what eventually happened...I remembered somewhere in the 2.1 seconds that I was a representative of Christ, that there is power and strentgh and truth and safety in that calling. I remembered Whose side I was on, and that I already knew the end result:).So I decided to make it seem like he was saying good things and that I was happy to make his acquaintance (thought both were far from the truth...oops) because, unfortunately for this man, no one but Sister Itow and I could understand what he was saying. So the only indicator of what he was saying was our response...I smiled and him, pretty big, and said, "Oh! Great. What is your name?" I don't remember it...but he answered willingly and tried to spit out more fire. Then I asked him, with a smile mind you, where he was from."Holland..... And you can speak about Jesus all you want but khon thais shouldn't know anything about Joseph Smith...." But before he could finish (oops again) I asked, and the answer to this question was the best thing I heard all day. "And...do you understand Thai?"".....No."

Then I smiled even bigger but this smile was sincere haha. "Okay. Well we are in the middle of a lesson, and I am now going to proceed with it. So do your best to understand, okay? Okay. Great." He kinda kept talking, trying to prevent us from teaching. But I just faced the fam again and kept going. The Spirit stayed and the lesson ended up being a peaceful one. It was so rad though because I learned just so clearly how much Satan wants to thwart everything I am doing, everything we are doing as missionaries....but also how weak he is. And how wonderful and victorious Heavenly Father is. This man crawled away like a little cockroach after 5-6 minutes (after saying coldly, "I'll be back to clear this up with you.") I think the Spirit just made it clear that he was very unwelcome. Say a prayer for him! (And a prayer of thanks that he can't speak Thai:).

It was awesome.Okay....things are great. You are all all so great and I love you all, I'm sure of it.

Love, Sister Roper

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

More pics :)

At a training with some other sisters. We made these investigators a cake for their bday and they loved it! They'd never had cake before.

Us fishing :) Isn't Thailand pretty? Brother Sing. At the beginning he was the furthest person from joining that I had met now he is getting baptized on Sunday! He is our daily chauffeur. He reads the Book of Mormon all the time while waiting for customers.

We teach English once a week and of course I love it!

Isn't it gorgeous!

In a sam law (open air taxi )

Lunch...besides the brown square thing that is the blood thing.

Hello Hello

Hello friends and family who I love so so much!! I hope all is well and that everyone has Halloween costumes picked out and are eating caramel apples sometime in the next ten days. No Halloween over here, but that's okay:). So celebrate it for me!!

We're teaching a girl named Miu (me-you), and she...we learned this week...loves inviting her friends to hear about the gospel. We mentioned on Tuesday that we'd return on Wednesday and she could take us to her neighbor's house after the lesson so we could find a new family to teach! We crossed our fingers (and prayed, of course) that they would be there the next day. So Wednesday rolled around and we taught Miu the beginning of the Plan of Salvation (basically, Heavenly Father's plan for us to have the most joy in this life and be able to return to Him in the next life). When the lesson was over, she jumped up excitedly and took us to her neighbors. (We were still praying they'd be there....) And when we arrived, the whole neighborhood was there:). Mostly youth at first, waiting for us, but as soon as we talked to one of the dad's and were welcomed into his home, people just kept pouring in the door:). It was sooo cool. We sang "I am a Child of God" and taught lots of people how to pray that night. I'm excited for this week to go back and teach a handful of them again:).
I love love love this gospel. This week I felt more than ever the sadness and weight that comes when people choose to reject the message of the Savior. It's baffling and heartbreaking to me to think that anyone could not lay hold upon the message of Christ and do all they can to become more and more like Him. I love my Savior so much and will defend Him and His gospel to the very very very very end. I am so blessed to know Him and love Him and learn and teach about Him every single day.

Love you all so much and always,Sister Roper

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Crickets taste grossy......

First things first:-I only skimmed your emails because of the time constraints (I'm printing them out and will read them later), so I may not respond thoroughly to everything that was said. I'm sorry! Time is short:/

My favorite members are raising crickets so they can sell to people....to eat!!!!! Grossy but so true. But guess what they are saving money for? To go to the Salt Lake Temple!! Isn't that sweet? I love that and them. And the good things that come from crickets.We taught a few brothers this week who really love sports...and they're parents didn't even know that when they named them! Which is surprising...bc guess what their names are? Golf and Ping Pong. In a Thai accent:). I loooove Thai names here. They rock. Thai's have a really name and then a nickname that could be anything from golf to chicken to fat. It's a fun part of their culture. This week we had an investigator who gave up smoking and drinking cold turkey so he could get baptized in three weeks. Cold turkey. He through all his alcohol away without us even asking him to. And he bought mints to eat when he craves a cig. Without us asking him to! I'm so proud of him. It's evidence that the gospel and reading the Book of Mormon naturally and gradually change, CHANGE, a person. When the person is sincere and humble. This man looks brighter and shinier and happier and lighter every day we meet him.Shannie I love your questions:). Uhmmm yes I still loooove my companion. And will my whole life. Just the thought of her leaving me and this country makes me want to cry. This is my favorite thing she does (one of them): I'll be about to fall asleep after lights out and she'll say, "Tell me a story about...hmmm...who haven't I heard about lately...Landon." Or Shan, or "Rick", or Beth or whomever. And so I think of one and tell her and she listens so well. It makes me feel so much love for my family. She already knows all of you pretty well:). And we'll be together until the beg. of Dec.
This week I learned lots about faith. I feel like every day here is like a...hmmm...a pack of dehydrated food...because in one little pack you can have roast beef AND carrots AND celery AND onions AND rice AND probably other stuff we don't know about that enables the dehydration....because in one day I feel lots of different things: so excited, a little stressed, the Spirit really strong, kinda frustrated, a little down, soo grateful, realization that is super humbling.....and the list goes on. It's like condensed life!! Haha that's what it feels like. I'm grateful for the little "trials" that are really opportunities.Gene R. Cook said that "the Lord will try you...at all stages of development in your life. He will try you again and again until YOU know that YOU are able."Doesn't that rock? Heavenly Father loves us so much that he wants us to be perfect. So He makes it possible through His Son and His Son's gospel. And all we experience in life is to refine us. And so that WE know that WE are able...because He alreadly knows we are:). I love Him, I love His Son. I love this gospel. I love the little black piece of plastic on my shirt that says I am lucky enough to represent Them. And as always, I love love LOVE all of you!!Sister Roper

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A few more Pics!!

Yep this is the Book of Mormon................next to a bag of tobacco!
This is where we live!
Me on my first day :)

Conference Rocks!!

Oh my I LOOOOOVE my family and friends!!! Thank you all for you letters, prayers, and support. I feel them every day and could not be a missionary without you!! I pray for all of you and hope all is well.

Okay this week was amazing! We were so busy and we taught a lot, but like Josh said, quality is way more important than quantity, so we tried to make every lesson and person very important. We pray sooo many times a day. Oh my goodness I'm sooo grateful for the constancy of Heavenly Father...that we can ALWAYS pray to Him. Always. Always! We pray before and after lessons and during lessons, out loud and in our hearts, and while we are riding places so devil dogs don't eat us and buses don't eat us either...and over food and before we talk to that man across the street selling vegetables and when our lock on our door finally opens and before we leave the house and so there won't be bugs in my bed and so that we'll have positive attitudes and faith and excitement for each opportunity. Oh man. Lots of prayers.

We finally got to watch General Conference yesterday. It was basically 8 hours of straight writing! Oh my goodness so much guidance and good direction from the prophet and apostles!! One of the most striking messages I took from it was to truly trust in Heavenly Father. So....here's a little story.....

After Conference was over on Sunday, we'd planned to go see one of our investigators who is getting baptized in a few weeks. My brain wanted to, the transportation and timing was more convenient than usual and we had lots of things we could have talked about. I'd already called and scheduled it even....But....I felt like we shouldn't go! Like there was something else we should do but I didn't know what. And I kinda fought the feeling for a second (in my head) and felt a little frustrated because I didn't understand....Then I thought, "Hello? Did you not just learn about trusting in Heavenly Father? And doing what the Spirit prompts you to do even if you don't agree or understand?" So I could do nothing else but keep stepping forward and pray for faith...and cancel the appt and ask my companion what we should do next.

Then SHE got a prompting that didn't make sense. She said, "Let's go home." And I thought it was a crazy idea (in my brain, because that's where you usually think) because we had a few good, open, working hours and we needed one more new investigator to reach our goal for the week. But even though my brain thought she was crazy, I felt good about the idea. So we jumped on our bikes and pedaled home...not really knowing why.

Then.....!!!!!!!......when we got home, our neighbors (who we'd tried to teach once before but they weren't all home very often) were outside and they waved to us friendly-ly (?) and we both immediately knew what was supposed to happen. So we ran inside, dropped our stuff, prayed and went back.
"Are you free right now?"
"Yes! We'll get chairs!" --That was unexpected. And awesome.
So we got to teach a family of four! And they were all so receptive and interested and asking questions. Then at the end, after teaching them about Heavenly Father and how to pray, we knelt:). And the father prayed out loud for everyone. And we all felt the Spirit. And Sister Itow and I went home and prayed and again and just thanked Heavenly Father for letting us be a part of that experience, of inviting the Spirit into their home and lives so He could teach them after we left.

I felt like I had a front row seat! Like I just watch it all unfold before my eyes! And just witnessing it just made me want to trust Heavenly Father even more! It confirmed to me how much Heavenly Father knows and loves His children so much more than we will ever, ever know or understand.

Yeah. It was sweet.

The only exciting thing (exciting in an exotic, maybe not too delicious but still cool way) I ate this week was...some members served us rice (of course, EVERYTHING we eat here is with rice; it like comes with the plate) and there were little black dots in it and I just thought they were part of the harvested rice or whatever. So I proceeded with eating it...anyway the very last bite I looked a little closer and it was a teeny beetle. Haha and I'd already eaten like 16 or 16.5 or something in them. Haha. Whatever. Protein?? Haha. Oh and then there's this delicious soup that sometimes has like a squishy block of dark brown stuff for flavor, but my companino said not to eat it...turns out it's against the rules to eat it because guess what it is.....yep. Bloody blood blood. Other than that, we ate with a few members and the Thai food was sooo delicious. I accidently ate a "prik" (mixed in with another dish) which is just like a tiny, red pepper that is suuuper hot...and my whole body was on fire for like three minutes. Haha
Okayyy I love you all!!!!

Sister Roper

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A few pics!!

thai people share food, it's respectful. So this is us drinking some fresh coconut milk. This is my first lesson. This is the woman who got baptized Maliwan. She was picking coconuts and cutting them up in her front yard :) Very Thai

The older girl is Somo and is getting baptised soon. Her little sister is Emmy The view from an investigators house.........so pretty

Sister Itow and me

Baptism!!! Isn't she glowing!!

Yep, an elephant in the middle of the street :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bre is all Better! So here is a letter!

Hello all,
Some fun/random/unique/colorful things about Thailand:

-EVERYONE drives a scooter or motorcycle. It's kinda funny. There aren't really traffic rules, so it's an adventure every time we're on the road on our bikes. And we drive on the opposite side of the road, which still sometimes racks my brain.
-There are trucks that drive around with really loud announcements/commercials on them. And sometimes I imitate them and my companion laughs at me.
-This week since I've been feeling better and just more comfortable with everything, I guess my "true colors" or whatever are coming out. So my companion said something I usually hear around week three (from co-workers, new roommates, people I'm serving in a calling with....) she said, "Sister Roper, It's like you came out of a musical. Living with you is like living in a musical!" Haha it was funny.
-For example, in Thailand it's not really polite to go up to a house or really be too pushy on people's properties so you stand in the street outside their gate and say, "Sawatdii Kah!!" And hope they come out. And one of the people we are teaching, a kinda stubborn man, was taking a while to come to the door. So I started singing to him in Thai and my companion was laughing so hard. I was like (in Thai, of course). "Me-sack (his name), it's time to come outside! Outside outside outside. Because we are here, the sister missionaries are here, and we want to teach you about happy things. Come listen to us, we love you." All in song. And Thai. I think I was probably tired, too:).
-I keep my toothbrush in the fridge so ants don't get it.
-There are lots of bugs here. Yep:). Lots of salamanders and frogs, too, though. I haven't seen anything too frightening. Like no spiders the size of my face or whatever.
-Thailand (in America) is referred to as the "Land of Smiles" and it really is. People are soooo so friendly and for the most part very polite. They turn to you and listen to you when you talk. And they smile and laugh a lot. It's really a pleasure to talk to people, even if it is sometimes nerve-racking.
-Thai people want their skin to be really white. So of course they are super amazed by my utter whiteness. Sometimes people just come up to me and like touch my arms and say my skin is so beautiful...so funny. And always surprising because in America everyone wants to be tan! They have creams and soaps that make their skin whiter.
-Thai ice cream is really light and delicious. We eat at little open markets or open restaurants every day. I'm still pretty shy with trying new things...so no crazy food stories yet. There may never be any so sorry....:) The food really is delicious, though, the good stuff:). There are so many veggies and fruits I've never seen before and they are delicious. I really love fried rice and bananas.

Typical lesson (this all happened):
-Sit on the floor with our feet tucked underneath us (my legs and knees get pretty sore, to the point I feel like they're gonna fall off but they haven't yet....so that's good)
-The wonderful people we are teaching bring out a huge plate of pineapple---oh my so delicious
-There's like a huge dragonfly or some kind of unidentifiable flying object on the wall and I can see a lizard really wanting said unidentifiable flying object....and then the two end up having a face off. And usually the lizard wins. It's awesome.
-The front door is open and during the lessons dogs will walk past, or cows, or people with fishing poles
-I will try speaking lots of Thai and oftentimes say something and their faces go completely blank. And then sometimes they look at me like I just popped out of a cartoon or something..This white, crazy creature trying to speak their language:) and then I smile and laugh and turn to my companion and she explains what i was trying to say:). And then we all laugh together. It's pretty fun.
-Sometimes we'll be teaching and it will get a little windy and then we know the rain is coming and then for a few minutes you can't even hear yourself talk or think because the rain is so loud and so strong! I'll send pictures next week.

Quick shout out:
CONFERENCCCCCEEE!!!! All of you who had the chance to watch General Conference (where the living prophet and apostles speak to us and broadcast it throughout the world from Salt Lake) are so lucky. We are watching it this weekend. I am glad and sure it was wonderful!!!

This week was wonderful, as usual. Thank you, again, EVERYONE, for all your prayers and fasting and everything while we were sick. We are back to work and walking fast, again:). Which is a relief.

I learned lots of things while I was sick and in the hospy. I learned a few lessons that I don't think I could have learned anywhere else or in any other way. I learned about prayer. That prayer is something we can and should do all the time. ALL the time. All of it. I feel so blessed and lucky and loved that I can pray anytime, anywhere. And I think there have been lots of times in my life when I have taken this tremendous opportunity for granted. How many blessings I wasted!

Mom said to pray because Heavenly Father is there even if you can't feel Him really close. That's true. So true. When we keep praying and stepping forward, even when life is a little darker, it will always result in drawing closer to Heavenly Father. I love Him so much and want to be so close to Him. Pray:). Just do it. It changes hearts and lives and perspectives and so many things. Prayer is one of the first things we teach. We teach people how to do it and then we tell them about how wonderful Heavenly Father is. That He already knows us and weeps when we weep and rejoices when we rejoice. And He wants us to talk to Him. And sometimes they just get really quiet because that's not something they've heard before. I loooove then asking them to pray. To talk to their Heavenly Father, their very own Father, for the first time ever. And they get real quiet and talk really soft and I love it. And the Spirit is so strong. Because prayer brings the Spirit like nothing else can.

The gospel is true. Talk to Heavenly Father because He wants you to.

Okay I love love LOVE you all

Sister Roper

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bre is feeling better!!

All I can say is, never get Dengue. I don't really want to give many more details than that because it truly is an awful, awful disease and you don't want to think about it any more than i want to write about it.

Second thing is, if you do, try to tap into the amazing support group of love and prayers and thoughts and encouragement that I've been blessed with:). I love and appreciate all of you sooo very much. And I felt your support last week and still feel it.

Yes, I'm all out of the hospital. My arms are pretty poked up and purple-y and I am still very exhausted, but I feel so so much better. It takes a while to bounce back from so we are taking it pretty slow. It was kinda of funny. Our results for lessons taught, new investigators...everything last week was 0 ...except for the most important...a baptism!! I got to see the first baptism in Thailand on Saturday! Ma Maliwan looked like an angel. She's old but still was like running to the water once it was time. She'd been waiting a long time for the truth:).

My house has a few frogs. I named the first one Samuel. And then I found a lizard and named him George.

Oh yes. I got in a bike crash. How? I don't know. Other than Jordan would be laughing his pants off because of how clumsy I am:). I wish I could have videotaped it.

Okay. I love you all so very much! I am sorry for the brevity. The church is true!!!!

Sister Roper

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Just keep praying....

Hello again,
We just hung up from speaking with Bre. I wish I could say she sounded better but she didn't. Her speech is still slow and her voice weak. Her fever returned yesterday, which I understand is part of this illness. She's eaten a few bites of toast but that's about it. She said she's realized what a picky eater she is. But the good news is the muscle aches are lessening. She does sound discouraged. The Elders came to dinner tonight and said the first two weeks on a mission are tough enough, when you add a foreign country, new home, new companion, new language, new food, a bike crash and dengue fever... no wonder she's a bit down.

She expressed sincere gratitude to everyone for your prayers and love and we thank you as well. Please continue to pray for her. I wish I was there to take care of her with homemade chicken soup. I'm sending a package with things she enjoys to eat to carry her for awhile.
Hopefully, we'll all get a positive email in the next week or so. Thank you everyone.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Keep praying.....

Hello everyone,

As you are probably aware, Breanne has been in the hospital in Roiet for a couple of days with dengue fever. Yesterday was a terrible painful day and we were pretty concerned. We just spoke with her again tonight and she sounds a bit stronger. Her headache and fever comes and goes (strange illness) but her blood count is low which they're watching closely. I know all the prayers are a strength to her. She said the members come to visit them and are very kind. She's a little limited with language except for members so she loves them. She hasn't eaten in 5 days and cannot yet stomach the Thai food. It's not like what we buy here. She finally asked for American toast and they brought her a piece while we were on the phone. We'll see if she can keep it down.

She is grateful for the prayers and said this is a trial of their faith, that satan has been working on them to discourage them. Her mission president came to see them and gave them a blessing with counsel to share the Gospel with those who care for them. That will require the strength to have a real conversation, not just a few words so we're looking forward to when this can happen. We'll keep you updated on details. She expressed her love and gratitude for all of your prayers. Again, thank you so much.

Bre's Thailand Address
Sister Breanne Roper
50/829-832 Muang Thong Thani
Chaengwatena Road, A Pakkret
Nonthaburi 11120 Thailand

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Keep on Praying...

Hello everyone,

We just got off the phone with Bre. She sounds so weak and very tired. She hasn't eaten for several days. Her companion can't hold anything down so Bre has chosen not to try. She had a bad fever but she thinks it's breaking. She said she hurts all over, especially her head. We told her the mission president was coming to see her this afternoon (it's 13 hours ahead of us in Roiet). She said "....he...is?....I....look....terrible." She's on an IV and true to her nature, asked Dad what was in it and what did it do, where did it go... She was able to share a story she was happy about.

Saturday she crashed her bike in the middle of the road and banged up her knee pretty bad. It was bleeding and two girls stopped, put her bike in the back of their truck and took her and her comp home. She said "my knee was killing me and bleeding but I couldn't pass up the chance to teach them so I told them I crashed my bike so that I could share a message about Jesus Christ with you." They couldn't listen at the time but took her card with her information on it. Later on a man called her and said "two girls helped you today after you crashed your bike and you said you would teach them about Jesus Christ?" She said yes. He said "they aren't interested but I am, will you teach me?" So Bre is excited to get well and help teach him with the Elders. If I know her, she'll share the Gospel with as many Dr.'s and nurses as she can once she can talk more clearly and quickly.

We told her to rest and get well, not worry about anything, just try and slow down. She said "it's....hard....to....slow....down." She's still Bre....sick as can be but still Bre. Thank you all for your prayers.

Please Pray for Breanne!!

Hello everyone,
We did not receive a letter from Breanne this week but tonight we did receive a phone call from her mission president in Bangkok. He called to tell us she and her companion are in the hospital with Dengue Fever. He said there's a good description of it on wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dengue_fever which I have read and it doesn't sound fun at all. But with proper care - it should not be life threatening. Our son in law Jed had it on his mission in Paraguay and said it was very painful, lasted a week and he lost 30 pounds.

Bre and her companion are on IV's and receiving good care. Thailand doesn't like to mess with this disease so they act fast, for which I am grateful. I have a testimony of the power of collective faith and prayers so if you would remember her and her companion in your prayers, I'm sure this illness will be more brief and less severe, God willing. Thank you so much.

Love mom

Thursday, September 15, 2011

She has Arrived!!!

Hello from Pratheed Thay:). I can't really believe it either, trust me.

Okay...In 100 words or fewer:

Get off the plane in Thailand and thought, "Oh my goodness I'm in Thailand." It was welcoming and warm and wonderful.

Meet President and Sister Smith, who are sooo loving and awesome and qualified to be presidents over a mission as large as this one. Sister Brown greeted the twelve, groggy new missionaries with a huge hug and a beautiful, aromatic bracelet of roses and jasmine flowers that she hooked onto our name tags....Stayed in the beautiful and spacious mission home and ate my first legitimate and delicious and spicy and rice-y and colorful and flavorful and cultural Thai food. Yummmm.... The next day we went to the transfer meeting where about about 40 missionaries switched areas and companions and the twelve of us greenies met our trainers.

Sister Itow (like Eed-oh) is....oh man how do I put it into words....she's evidence that Heavenly Father knows and loves me! She is a fantastic trainer. SUCH a hard worker, and Daddy--she even walks fast!! I have already learned so much about believing in yourself and having faith in Heavenly Father because missionary work is HIS work and He wants us to succeed. She lets me do a lot of things...like she lets me talk even though my Thai is spotty, and if I have ideas of ways to find people who want to learn more about the gospel, she's so willing to take my suggestions and support me and be encouraging. And when I say something funny in Thai, she smiles and then says, "We'll work on that later." She's similar to Megan Runyan--who is the perfect kind of personality to mesh with mine and be super productive. We get along super well and I'm her last companion before she goes back home to California, and she told me I was a blessing to her. Nice, huh! We got assigned to Roiet (Like roy-ette) which, in the words of Sister Itow, is the most Thailand part of Thailand. It is a relatively small city in the Easan (the eastern part of Thailand, and it sounds like "eeh-sahn"), and it's pretty rural on the outskirts of the city. Next month we get to harvest rice!! I can't wait.

Story time:

Okay. Jamie, remember on your mission when you were teaching that man who wanted to stop drinking and didn't think he could so you asked him if you could help him by pouring his beer down the drain? I had a similar experience this week.

Misaak (Me-sock) has been learning with the missionaries for years and reading the Book of Mormon and praying for quite a while alot. But he has a smoking problem and feels like he's not ready to be baptized. The second time I met him, we talked about how to overcome obstacles (like smoking). Then I felt like I should just straight up ask him for his cigs. So I did! And Sister Itow turned to me and her face was like, "Really?" and then it changed to, "Why didn't I think of that?" Haha. So yeah. I stuck out my hand and all I could really say was, "This is my hand. Can you please give me your tobacco?" Haha. And his eyes opened pretty wide and we were quiet for a sec, and then without saying anything he nodded his head, left the room, and came back with three bags of it (because he makes his own cigs). And gave them to me....Hahaha that was a weird feeling. Having three bags of tobacco in my bag right next to my Book of Mormon.

Then on Sunday I bore my testimony in church (the branch is amazing, btw. Around 100 members who are all converts but most of them are so strong and have so much faith) and while I'm up there stumbling through, I just looked out and saw 100 beautiful smiles. Thai people are sooo soo polite and kind and loving. Anyway...so mid-testimony-bearing, I see something small and red moving on the microphone, which is like 2.7 inches from my face....so naturally my eyes are drawn to it....which makes me look like those cartoons with little kids eating an ice cream cone and then a bee lands on it and their faces become cross-eyed-wonders when they look at it....hahaha that was me. It was a big fire ant on the mic. So I smiled at it and kept talking.....It's one of many bug friends I've made in the last six days:).

Okay...last story and explanation of the subject. Last night I was contacting in a park and saying, "We teach English every Tuesday at six o clock machine," when I was really trying to say "Six thirty" but thirty and machine are really close in Thai. Sister Itow laughed so hard and had to correct me and then the Thai people we were talking to laughed, too. And we were all laughing six o' clock machines at that point.

Okay in a nutshell....Roiet rocks and so does being a missionary. The times when I am happiest are the times when I am talking to someone about the gospel. This message is true and I love it when they can feel it.

Love you all all all all,

Sister Roper

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Adios (I don't talk Thai) Provo!

I'm pretty excited to step off the plane and straight up wonder where all the oxygen went. I can't wait to hit the streets of Bangkok and go look for people who are looking for truth and light and happiness and direction. Which can all be found in the beautiful gospel and message that I can't wait to share, to stumble through, probably:).

Today I woke up and thought, "Really? This is the day? It's really here?" And I thought of how blessed I am with this opportunity to spend every second of my time thinking and breathing and teaching the gospel. I can't wait to meet my trainer (my first companion, who will have at least a few months of missionary and Thai experience). I've been praying for her all week and ever since I got my mission call, really. And I already love her so much because of how much she is going to help me learn. I'm going to try my hardest to be the dream companion that I want to have: which basically is just a crazy hard worker. I think that even if we are really different personality-wise, we can work anything out with the Savior's help. But if I had to pick, I would pick someone who wants to work. Who walks fast and prays hard and just works every second of everyday, 630 to 1030. I'm excited to bear my testimony to a real khon Thai (Thai person) and to realize how hard I'm going to have to work to understand what they're saying:).

Everyone asks if we're nervous. Hmmmm....in some ways, I guess. It's going to be such a different culture and climate and level of spice and flavor and color and humidity level and mindset and language and everything. But that's why I came on a mission. My companion told me last night something really nice. She said she seriously considered going home several times in the first few weeks. But that she stayed because she saw how much I loved being a missionary and how excited I was about it. And she wanted to have that same excitement. So we worked together and prayed and tried and struggled and grew and learned and now she is more excited than she has ever felt, and she is here, still a missionary, which is even more important.

This week was a great last week. First and foremost, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (one of the twelve apostles who leads the Church) came and spoke to the 2500 of us. He told a story about a sister missionary who had just been killed that morning in a car accident. It was so sad and so moving. It hit me just because I'm a sister and because I'm a missionary. But she was doing a great work and she and her family will be blessed for her service and her life. He went on to talk about how important our calling as missionaries is. It is a sacred calling and a special calling and we have a responsibility and an authority, even, to represent the Savior. He said that we always need to represent the Church and Christ and that nothing in our conduct or thoughts should ever detract from the name we bear on our chests. He also said that He prays for us. And that the prophet, Thomas S. Monson, prays for us. Isn't that neat? He said we were the most prayed-for group of people on the face of the earth. And I felt so loved and I think that it is true. So thank you for your prayers. I can feel them every day.

We got asked to be "hosts" this week, which means that we are the greeters for the missionaries that came in this week. We help them with luggage, pictures, finding class, getting books.

Every part of me, every ounce every cell every atom, is just burning, it feels like. I feel like I'm just burning inside with excitement and love for what the next 16 months has in store. I know this church is true. I know it and I love it. I know Christ is my Savior. I know that with His help and my efforts, we can all overcome weaknesses and sins and heartaches. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, a real one with real authority from Heavenly Father. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that we can return to Heavenly Father someday. I can't wait to share this truth. It's what I love the very very most.

So I was the leader over the sisters in my branch, and when they released me or whatever, the branch presidency said, "Why did you come on a mission? You could be finishing school and happily married by now?" And I said, "Oh man! Because Heavenly Father let me! Because I love this gospel and all I want to do is share it and I am healthy and able and know He'll help me." And they thanked me and said, "We'll never get another Sister Roper." Isn't that sweet? I loved them so so much. (Momma don't send that part out to the mass forward.)

I can't wait to hear your voices


Sister Roper

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I"m an Aunt!!

Yayyyyy!! Josher and Jen! I'm so happy for both of you! I love little Presley already. And I knew that that was her name, anyway. I could feel it in my bones. Are you just adoring her? Ohhh!!! I love the pictures and news. Congratulations from the bottom of my heart. Yindii Duay!!!

I feel so loved and so blessed, once again, for a few reasons. To name a few: I got to go to the temple today for the last time for sixteen months. We spent three and a half hours there, and I felt so much love from Heavenly Father. It is such a wonderful, perfect place. Another reason: I leave for Thailand in six days:). Another reason: I have treats and love and letters coming out my ears. I have the best family and friends and the world and you are all far too good to me. Thank you for the packages and love and encouragement.

Okay. So the most exciting part of this week was hands down getting flight plans. I don't know why a piece of paper that tells me my flight itinerary brought so much excitement to my soul....but let me tell you what...it totally did. We all were sitting in class and our District Leader pulled out an envelope with all our flight plans and we all freaked and he placed them on our desks, all face down, counted to three....and BAM! In 1.7 seconds, it became 88 times more real that we are going to be in the field on September 5. 7th actually after the time changes and travel time.

We leave Monday at 10 pm. To San Fran. To Honk Kong (which I hear is a pretty rad airport) to Thailand, to arrive at 10 am. I'm so so so very excited. I love the Thai language and I feel as though I've learned almost everything I can here. I have sooo far to go, though, so Thailand will be great for me. I am expecting quite a humbling first few weeks. But humility is when we're the most teachable. So that means I will just learn lots more. Which is totally up my ally.

I'm not sad to leave the MTC, as much as I've loved it. The group of 11 missionaries that I've lived with and learned with for the past 9 weeks have taught me so much and we've all grown a lot together. I think the most trying and equally the most rewarding part has been learning how to communicate with and love my companion. Josh said that if I love all my comps but one, I failed that part of my mission. So I determined that every single companionship would be one I loved.

Okay. So the most exciting part of this week was hands down getting flight plans. I don't know why a piece of paper that tells me my flight itinerary brought so much excitement to my soul....but let me tell you what...it totally did. We all were sitting in class and our District Leader pulled out an envelope with all our flight plans and we all freaked and he placed them on our desks, all face down, counted to three....and BAM! In 1.7 seconds, it became 88 times more real that we are going to be in the field on September 5. 7th actually after the time changes and travel time.

We leave Monday at 10 pm. To San Fran. To Honk Kong (which I hear is a pretty rad airport) to Thailand, to arrive at 10 am. I'm so so so very excited. I love the Thai language and I feel as though I've learned almost everything I can here. I have sooo far to go, though, so Thailand will be great for me. I am expecting quite a humbling first few weeks. But humility is when we're the most teachable. So that means I will just learn lots more. Which is totally up my ally.

I'm not sad to leave the MTC, as much as I've loved it. The group of 11 missionaries that I've lived with and learned with for the past 9 weeks have taught me so much and we've all grown a lot together. I think the most trying and equally the most rewarding part has been learning how to communicate with and love my companion. Josh said that if I love all my comps but one, I failed that part of my mission. So I determined that every single companionship would be one I loved.

Sister Roper

Sunday, August 28, 2011

An Excerpt....

Bre is writing 'longhand' to a few of us each week and including different experiences with every one so we can then share with each other. Below is an experience she shared with Shan...

We didn't really know what to teach Phii Phen (who is our teacher acting as someone she taught in Thailand. Our teacher rocks and is Thai, so he speaks amazingly well and knows more about Thailand) so we prayed and felt great about the lesson plan on the P of S. Because Phii Phen is a mom with 3 kids and a husband who works a lot and they're all Buddhist and Phii Phen doesn't really feel appreciated.

Then we get in there. And beforehand, we prayed that if Heavenly Father wanted us to teach something different that we would do it and that more than anything we just wanted to follow the spirit and for Phii Phen to feel the Spirit.

So we went in and because of her questions and needs, we ended up teaching about baptism. We bore our testimonies of how much Heavenly Father and the Savior loved her and knew her. We taught about how after baptism, she'd receive the Holy Ghost, and we helped her recognize that she felt the Spirit. She said she felt it when we came and when she read and prayed but not at any other times.So we told her all the blessings that come with the gift. Anyway, she started crying when we asked her to be baptised so that means our teacher was touched by the lesson. It felt so good and the Spirit was so strong and I felt like the smallest person in the world because of how big the Spirit was. As in, hmmmm, you know the drain thing around the perimeter of our roof and the occasional pipe that comes down and releases the water from the sky? I felt like that. Just small and not important except for the teeny function of helping Phen feel the power of the Spirit. We ended that lesson feeling so blessed that we could be bystanders and watch the Spirit change Phii Phen. I realized that after 1.5 years, I won't be an amazing teacher like I expected/hoped. But, I will have learned better and better how perfect and powerful of a teacher the Spirit is.


Thirteen days:

Thirteen days, friends and fams. Thirteen days! It's a wonderful feeling. Some fabulous things happened this week, and I can't wait to tell you all briefly about them.

Okay in brief. There is a sister named Sister Sellers in my hall. Over the last four or five years, she has lost her hearing bit by bit, until the week before her mission she lost it almost 100%. I know a teeny tenny bit of sign language so I've been talking to her and communicating with her a little, and we've become friends. She is so sweet. She has huge curly curly hair and I love it. And she's really confident and friendly. The other night I was sitting outside my door reading a letter and she came up to me and started talking (she lip reads and still talks pretty well, it just sounds a little different but it is still very understandable). And she told me about how she is learning how to act out the lessons. And she did a little bit for me and it was so cool. And then she told me about her love for music. And how she can't hear the piano anymore. So she goes up to the piano and pushes her ear up to it and closes her eyes and feels the vibrations and imagines what it might sound like. Oh man. That misted my eyes for sure. It was the sweetest thing, because she acted so grateful that she was still able to just do that.

Anyway. I learned from her example. She bears her testimony with her hands but even more with her eyes and face. I felt so grateful for the incredible blessings we all have. I am so blessed to be on this mission. I don't deserve everything I am learning and experiencing and feeling. I am so blessed to have the chance to go to a place and teach something as precious and fundamental as the existence of God. The next year and a half are going to be so beautiful.

Goal suggestion: learn how to bear your testimony with your eyes.

I love you all,

Sister Roper

Saturday, August 27, 2011

His Grace is Sufficient

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Almost Free!!!

Start the countdown. It's real. Only two weeks left. And six days....but close:). Can you believe it??? Oh my heavens. I can't. I was at dinner the other day and someone asked us how long we had left, and I don't really keep track, so I just said, "Hmmm, I don't know. A few weeks I think...." And the sister next to me said, "Three weeks from today." And it totally hit me and I got all excited and made some kind of overjoyed exclamation and got all red in the face and excited. Sooo nuts.

Last week we got new Thai missionaries! Three elders and one sister. It is soooo fun and so good for us as a district to have a few people to wrap our arms around and welcome into the Thai family. It's so fun teaching them words and answering questions. I love watching the missionaries in my district who've been here for six weeks help the younger ones. They (the older) are realizing how much they actually have learned over the last month and a half and they're realizing more and more every day the reality of the gift of tongues.

Okay, my weekly baseball story (I have to get my fill here because they don't know what baseball is in Thailand). So the Thais played the Cambodians this week (they're the classroom down from us and they also have twelve missionaries, except eleven elders and only one sister...she totally rocks). And of course beforehand we were kinda trash talking or whatever. And okay, I admit, they beat us by three runs. But whatever. Our language is harder. Haha.

Elder Whitaker, the elder from Kanosh (sp?), a little town in Southern Utah (holler, Jed!!), is such a cowboy and so American and so Republican and so hilarious. Anyway so then we have Elder Thacker, who is Australian and super sarcastic and kind of the opposite of Elder Whitaker. But they're buds, despite the differences. At dinner the other day, I asked ET how he liked his hot dog and the conversation proceeded as follos:
ET: "Ahh it'd be bettuh if it had some tomato sauce on it."
Me: "What? Sickers. Do they have straight up tomato sauce here that you can just drench your food in?"
ET: "Haven't you ever put tomato sauce on your food?"
E Whitaker to me: "He means Ketchup," and leaning over to Elder Thacker he said, "You're in America. It's Ketchup, not tomato sauce."
ET: "Calm down, cowboy."

Hahahahahahaha I laughed so hard at them. I love my district.

This letter is getting quite long. Hope you're all still with me! One last thing. I learned this week that I'm allowed to be patient with myself. And so are you, and everyone else in the world. It's not really something I'm good at yet, but at least I realized that it's true. I learned that when I am being impatient with myself, it's because I'm trusting in myself too much. I'm assuming I can and am supposed to accomplish things and accomplish them effectively on my own. But having patience means that I realize I am going to fall short not matter how hard I try. And that I must rely on the Savior and His grace. Ether 12:27 has taken on a new meaning. "If men come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness. And I give unto men weakness that they may be humble, for my grace is sufficient for all men who come unto me." I am so grateful for grace. I love this gospel so so so very much. And you. I love you all, too.

Love, Sister Roper

Friday, August 12, 2011

3 weeks and counting

I think I'm starting to fall in love with a mission. And I am so happy. This whole month I have loved and and learned so much every day, but there have also been some times when I think, "Oh it'll be kind of nice to do the old things I used to love doing. Like go running alone or take three hours cooking an awesome dinner or talk on the phone with people I love..." or whatever. I wouldn't dwell on it, but sometimes thoughts like that would sneak into my head. But there was a point this week when I thought, "I don't want to do anything else other than this. I love it. I love the way it works." I'm so grateful. I hope it magnifies when I walk off the plane in Thailand.

Thai is still coming. It is so much fun. This week I was reading the scriptures in script! It takes a bit longer and I have to look up lots of words, but it's exciting that it's readable now, those crazy curly symbols. Sister Carper suggested we memorize Joseph Smith's First Vision in Thai, so we did! And we've been using it when we teach about the restoration in Thai.

It's so fun to speak Thai all the time. I really love SYLing. Josh said in his letter of love before my mission: "If you don't speak the language, you won't learn how to speak the language. Duh." Haha. So true, though! But it is a pleasure to do it! Thai's not very hard. There aren't lots of exceptions or anything so it's easy to memorize things. We were playing volleyball with some Korean missionaries (Americans going to Korea) and we were speaking some Thai, like "Good job" or "Hurry!" or whatever. And the Koreans kept asking us what everything meant. At one point, one of our elders said (in English), "You rock!!" And one of them was like, "What does that mean? Probably something like, you stink, or something, right?" Hahaha we all laughed and said, "That was in English!"

This week I have learned so much about the power of the Book of Mormon. Power. I've mentioned this before, but teaching is one of the most challenging things I've ever had to figure out. And I think it might take the rest of my mission and the rest of my life to really master it, but I think some things are starting to click. We teach "investigators" (who are really our teachers acting the part of Thai people they taught in Thailand) almost every day in Thai, so we get lots of experience preparing and executing lessons. We learned very early on how crucial the Spirit is to teaching. "If ye have not the Spirit, ye shall not teach" couldn't be more true, regardless of how much we know or even how strongly we believe in something. This week we tried something a bit new. Instead of just assigning a chapter to read, we opened up the Book of Mormon and read WITH the investigator, together, out loud. Oh man. This book is so true. It speaks for itself. It testifies of the Savior as the Savior. It invites the Spirit so realistically and so powerfully. It's impossible to deny and I will never deny it. I love this book, so so much. It has given me all I believe about the Savior and anything else important. If you haven't read it, start today:). You'll never never regret it.

Okay. I loooove you all!
Sister Roper