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

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Week 6

Family and friends!!!!

Okay on P-Day we don't have gym, but it's okay because my heart rate shoots up when I'm emailing you because time is so limited and the computer will kick me off if I run out of time and there are like 7 billion things I have to say and I just get all excited and it totally counts as my exercise for the day:).

So the Phii Thays (the district of 8 elders who'd been here for six weeks when we arrived) left to Thailand yesterday....Closest to tears I've come since I came to the MTC. Everyone was crying but me. I think something happened to my tear ducts....Anyways it was so sad and so happy and so sad. And it made it seem so much more realistic that I am on a mission and going to Thailand in five weeks from tomorrow. We are only here for 9.5 weeks...they're kicking us out early because we should be here for 12. But I'm not complaining. So we played baseball the week before they left for old times' sake. And there were a few home runs...but not by me. Bases loaded and I was one of the load-ees (...what??? haha) and the elder who hit the home run totally caught up with me before I even got home. Hahahaha so funny. Daddy we maybe need to work on baseball when I get back...because they kept telling me to "stay square" while I was batting but I didn't know what that meant. But I at least made it to first each time. Yay!!

Oh yes and sleep talking...I woke up the other morning and two of the sisters in my room were laughing and kinda talking soft and I thought, "Shoot, what did I say last night?" Haha. And so I asked. Sister Carper said, "Uhm, Sister Roper, thanks so much for the lesson on repentance last night! I learn so much from you, even when you're sleeping!" Oh my goodness. I was in denial for 28 seconds until Sister Monterrosa, another sister in our room said she's heard me too. I guess I said something like, "Repentance is a really important thing to do....Now how do you feel about repenting?" Or something. Hahaha oh my goodness. I took it as a sign that I need to do some more repenting, which can never hurt:). My only question do you stop sleep-talking??? May ruu. (I don't know).

Everything is great as always. My district is getting more and more unified. The six elders and six sisters all get along real well and always find out interesting things about each other, like the other day Elder Whitaker taught me about irrigation and different kinds of rotating ones and ones you have to sleep under at night so you can move them.... And Sister Carper said "Hallelujer" last week and I about died laughing.

I love Thai more than ever. I can't wait to get rocked in Thailand for a few months, though, where the people don't speak as slowly and clearly as our teachers. I bore my testimony to Sister Cluff this week and her eyes got a little misty:). She's the best. She brought me lemon bars and pb bars and she always gives me a huge mom hug. I love those.

This week I've been learning a bit about charity, the pure love of Christ. And how sometimes we have to sacrifice what we want to say to someone or do to someone in order to receive the gift of charity. I learned that it's a commandment, not just a nice suggestion. 2 Nephi 26:30 says, "The Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they have charity they were nothing." It's important to lead with charity, in a companionship, in a district, in anything. John Gooden, some important coach apparently, said, "It's better to lead with a banner than to chase with a whip." The greatest, the GREATEST motivator in life is love. It is so, so true. I love love:). And the millions of good things that come from it.

So....I know we are all capable of finding and setting our own goals. But may I suggest one for this week: pray for charity. And then operationalize how to receive it. Find something to love about someone you don't like. Or even remind someone you love that you love them. It is a gift that only comes when we ask for it and work for it. D&C 11:10:).

Okay I love you all. Thank you for being easy to love:). And for finding something to love about me.


Sister Roper