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