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!