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.
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