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.
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,