Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Today I rode an elephant bare back.

It was soooo sweet. I almost fell off...and I was like 10 feet in the
air or something crazy. So it may have hurt and I may have fractured
another toe. But mercifully, we survived the trek through the jungle
in safety:).

This week I saw some of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my life:

1. A waterfall called Nam Tog Mee Waang. It was so pretty. I climbed
up it...well the side of it. And it was so pretty and I knew that God
was real:).

2. A little girl named Leah started reading her scriptures every
day:). She's from America and she's 11 and her dad works for the
American government at the embassy in Chiang Mai so we get a chance to
spend some time with them and try to positilvely influence the 5 kids.
We helped them unpack from moving last week...I've never seen so many
stuffed animals...probably 300 for reals. Anyway after two hours, it
looked great! And we had a few extra minutes so I thought, Yes! Let's
read the Book of Mormon together. So we did and it was so fun! And
she is so smart and understood Alma 24 so well and about burying swords. And she committed to reading the scriptures every day for 10
minutes before she gets to her other books. Then we met up on
Sunday...and she was already to Alma 29 in 3 days:). I loooved it. It
was real beauty.

3. We got lost for 3 hours on our bikes the first week I was here. We
were trying to find an investigator. But got lost instead. And when we
found her, she wasn't interested anyway....But on the way back we
randomly ran into the relief soceity president, SIster Wan. And she
took us to her favorite food cart...which was owned by a man who
needed the gospel and who is ready for it. And now Tui (the food stand
owner/new prepared investigator) cannot wait to take his girlfriend,
soon to be wife, to the temple next year.  Totally worth getting lost
for three hours:). Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways.

4. Best for last. There are two wonderful women named Shuy Thi and Bo
whom I love with my whole heart. Shuy Thi is from Burma so she is
learning Thai and is so diligent and supports her mother and two
siblings by selling fake flowers at a market. Bo is 20 and left home
to come to Chiang Mai and "find herself"...and they both met the
gospel. Shuy Thi had been learning for a few weeks when I got moved
here and Bo got here shortly after I did.

Seeing the gospel change their lives was the most beautiful thing
ever. Shuy Thi has so many fears and anxieties about how to take care
of her family. Bo was lost and felt like her life had no purpose and
like she didn't belong anywhere. But once they learned about the
Atonement and repentance, that they could actually change and be
cleansed and forgiven, and that they have a strong, stable Person to
rely on (the Savior) their entire countenances changed. Bo went from
looking so sad and depressed, to laughing and smiling all the time,
playing with kids and spending lots of time in the Book of Mormon.
Shuy Thi came from lots and lots of tears and stress and questions, to
telling me that all we really have to do to get answers is pray and
read the BOok of Mormon.

The Atonement is so real! Bo and SHuy THi are entirely different
people than they were before they learned how to actually apply the
Atonement, or at least started learning. THey looked beautiful at
their baptism on Saturday...bright white holding red roses:). I'll try
to send a picture.

Heavenly Father gives us so many blessings and so many things to make
us happy. But I can't think of anything happier than knowing the
Savior and seeing the remarkable and lasting influence He has on
others. It is true true beauty.

I love you all.

Sister Roper

Short and Sweet

Can I count it as my first broken bone? Hahahaha. It hurt. But I'm fine now. Can still ride a bike.
Chaing Mai is still amazing. I'm in love with being a missionary. I'm so grateful I have such a wonderful cause to devote all my time and energy and thought to. General Conference was wonderful. I'm so grateful that we have a living prophet who guides this earth. So grateful. I mostly got out of it to rid myself of bad habits and weaknesses and stay closer to the Spirit, not get distracted by unimportant or trivial details, and allow myself to be happy.
I love you all. Thank you for your support!!!


 One of Bre's fav people
 Pday activities (she's in the blue shorts)

Chaig Mai her new area

More Catch up

-Family: Sister Stolworth discovered my "di" voice. She thinks it's hysterical. I'm still so embarrassed and insecure about it...but she requests it on the daily haha. Getting warmed up so I can still do it when I get home! Haha
Uhmmm......this week was great...so many miracles every day i like don't even know what to write about anymore....so maybe I"ll just send pictures....
Simple missionary story tht could happen to any one of us:
We were passing out fliers for English Class at this big sweet outdoor market. ANd I was really smiley and nice and friendly and people always stare at me anyway because i'm white and blonde and then once they figure out i can speak thai it's like i jumped from mars to earth or something....anyway...i started talking to a nice stranger and come to find out he was ready for the gospel! So great. i got so excited and filled with happiness and gratitude that i was right there at that second. ANd had just finished a waffle because if i hadn't finished it yet i woulda been to caught up in the waffle and not in the soul of the man....anyway we talked for a few minutes and i told him about my favorite thing...the BOok of Mormon...and he said he wanted one (whcih of course is like the best gift anyone coudl give...the desire to get a Book of Mormon). So we totally and inconveniently walked through the herd of hundreds of people across the busy street through more herds and crowds and noodle stands and fried rice stands and fruit stands and homemade scarves stands to get to ....our bikes so i could get him a Book of Mormon i'd randomly decided to store in my basket since that morning. He said he was so grateful and I was too! He's not from chiang mai so i will never see him again probably. But i'm so glad that i could have been there when he got the most precious tangible gift he will ever receive.
I love you all!
Sister Roper

Catch Up

Nottt kidding. Totally expected to spend the next three months in Bangkok. But this last week I was pleasantly surprised to called to serve in Chiang Mai!!!!! (pronounced kinda like shang my).Lauren I hope you're freaking out:). Heaven is smiling on me. In huge amounts, seriously. I hfeel so incredibly blessed for many reasons:

-New beautiful neice! Welcome to the  world Avery Jane!!!
-Got word the Ney's baptism went smoothly and that the Spirit was strong;)
-I get to leave busy stinky wonderful but stinky Bangkok and serve in the most beautiful place I've ever seen. SEriously. ANd there's a mountain! It's so green and beautiful and dreamy. ANd this little city is soooo charming and cute and colorful and fillllllled with brick streets and cool touristy places and fruit and delicious food and fun and heavenly weather....sooo cool and just not as humid and oh my. It's a pleasure even to get lost around here. For real.
-I'm living in a house with four sisters! It's sooooo fun. There are four missionary companionships here (two elders and two sisters) because there is o much work to do.
-I'm in a really well-functioning branch of the Church. THe members are loving and strong and willing to help and the leaders understand their roles and responsibilities. It's just such a pleasure.
-My FIRST area with an investigator pool. Usually I get the broken ones or zero ones that gotta get built up. BUt it's sooooo great to work with people who are already progressing. And reading their scriptures and praying and having spiritual experiences and loving coming to church:). Bahhhh!!!! MIssionary work is sooooooo fun.
-I LOVE my companion. Sister Stolworthy. 
-My mission has gotten to be so fun because Heavenly Father is really teaching me how to gve it all to Him. Work my hardest for sure, but then give it to him. LIke President Monson said, "Do your duty at it's best; leave to the Lord all the rest." Wonderful news:)
-FAMILY AND FRIENDS! I AM SO HAPPY!  And oh so very blessed. We are so blessed to have the gospel. It's true! live it and love it!

SIster ROper

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bre has a twin

And come to find out it was a man. Can you believe it? Same color hair and shirt. She said her and her companion were just laughing so so hard they couldn't even talk to him :)

Heaven on Earth

We took a vehicle up the mountains of Chiang Mai, called Doi Sutep. Oh my heavens it was heaven. Literally. We dressed up in outfits customary for mountain dwellers, called chaaw khaw, and took tons of pictures with beauiful trees ad flowers and heavenly wonder. I LOVE CHiang Mai! And I LOVE the three sisters I'm serving with. I seriously have never been so happy on my mission, which i think means in my life, too:). Crazy. Every morning I wake up and am a little scared to oen my eyes....and then once I do, i just get this wave of relief and gratitude that I"m still here, a missionary, in my beloved Thailand.

Wonderful news, family and friends. Your beloved SIster ROper.....ready?......ready?......CRIED yesterday!!! I'm so happy! FOr some reason my tear ducts have dried up on my mission, which makes me so sad because sometimes I feel like crying but I can't so i feel insensitive and emotionless. Two companions now have asked me, "Do you even have emotions?" Oh my. Yes. So i started praying for the ability to cry. And it came! (Well....tears didn't fall...I think they're like paranoid of making contact with my face skin or somthing.....but my eyes got all up and filled with 'em and my voice got a little chokey:)). THis is why:

We had an American visitor come to church yesterday, and she wanted to bear her testimony during church so i translated it for her. And her words were beautiful in and of themselves....and then translating into Thai to help these people that I love so dearly to know the sweet meaning of this sweet sister....anyway she was talkinga bout how her ancestors were pioneers and the different hardships they faced. Her great grandmother took herself and seven children by herself across the plains after her husband was killed in Nauvoo....and things like that. And then she went on to express how all the members here are like the pioneers for Thailand...first and a few second generation members. Setting the stage for hundreds of thousands of their descendants to grow in the gospel and build the Lord's kingdom. Oh my it was so touching. Anyway i was so grateful to be there and to feel like a played a little part in it.

And now babies can go on mission!!!! Woot! Yay for revelation. I hope the rest of General COnference was just as exciting:).

AlsoI love the investigators we are working with. Suni (an older woman whom I"ve never personally taught before) came up to me on Tuesday and said that her husband had told her how to pray and given her a Book of Mormon that we'd given to him (to share). SHe said since she learned, she tried it (prayer) and loved it. She said she's searched and studied lots of things in her life but she still has so many questions and even confusion. But this was the first, compelling, and influential thing that she's come across...it has results she said:). Yep. It does! I couldn't wait to teach her and invite her to be baptized and continue learning and feeling the influence of the Savior in her life. She totally made my day. And I didn't even do anything for her!!!! I love that. I love seeing Heavnely Father's hand in HIs children's life, even when we have very little to do with it.

He is so involved, in every little detail. He is, I know it.

Okay I love you all dearly. THank you for your support and love and prayers. Have a wonderful week!!! 

Sister Roper

Monday, October 8, 2012

Always room for seconds....even on bike crashes

But it's okay....i only have one cut and five bruises. And I still think strate and can spel werds rite.

Sooooooooo for the real experience of the week:::

I've always wanted this to happen on my mission....an investigator who's been investigating for a long time and then a miracle happens to the point when they are able to make the first step into baptism when I get the chance to be there. It happened! Ney has been learning and coming to church weekly since last year. She's read almost through to the end of Alma in the Book of Mormon and she's a very active fellowshipper. But her mom wouldn't let her get baptized. In Thailand, family pressure is HUGE. Most feel they must consult with their families, espcially parents, before they do anything too drastic in their lives...including schooling, friends, dating, and religion. And there are some cases when someone is prevented from learning because of family ties. But there are also situations where they have so much faith that they overcome those obstacles:). Those are the best.  Anyway. This month we went through all our investigators, even formers, and made a list of all those who could realistically be ready for baptism within the month. I suggested Ney. Sister Church looked at me funny. "LIke seven sets of sisters have tried already. Her mom is sooo stubborn." I just said "whatever" or something and said we could be set number eight:). So we prayed prayed prayed prayed. We'd met her mom and taught Ney three times already last month, and her mom wouldnt' yield. But she knew us and liked us...and so there was at least a good start there. 

So we try to meet with Ney for two weeks. Can you believe it? Two weeks and sooo much stuff came up. Like her schooling, or testing, or her mom wasnt' home, or we got out of another appt late, or someone was sick ...or there was a tornado in Thailand randomly (....just kidding that didn't happen. Just monsoons like you've never seen). And I KNEW with my whole soul that it was totally Satan thinking he was the stuff. Trying to get in the way. But whatever , I told him to get out of the way and give up....eventually he did:). The night we finally got to get over to Ney's house...oh my,  like as soon as we parked our bikes and walked in...the Spirit was so strong I felt like my heart was gonna pop out of my chest. Like it was hard to swallow. It was sooo cool. I just knew tonight was the night. Anyway. Ney's mom is ironing. And I've been looking for opportunities to serve so I asked to iron a shirt for her and she laughed and was surprised I knew how (I didn't tell her I stunk at it.....I guess she found out about that eventually anyway)...so that was cool. THen we sat down,  sang and prayed. And then we just started talking about baptism and testimony in the Savior and the important of getting baptized by God's true authority that is on the earth again for the first time since Christ was here and how that is the only way we can return to Heavenly Father and Ney will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and get baptized on September 30? And she said yes....but points over to her mom...who's fixing the shirt I just ironed (lol)...and she looks up and smiles at us and looks down again...and I'm like, "Ning, we've prayed and feel strongly that Ney is ready. Will you allow her to be baptized?" 

She puts the iron down, picks up and examines the shirts to make sure if there were nor more wrinkles..And i'm like over there sweatin...everyone's waiting for the answer.....

Puts the shirt down so she can see our faces.

Throws her arms in the air and says, "OKAY!!"

Hahaha. awesome huh.

Ney's like, "Whaaatttt? really?" And shrieks with joy. It was so awesome.

Basically Heavenly Father is just so much in control. We have no idea of HIs timing or HIs plans sometimes, but we CAN be sure the He knows all things and all things will always work out according to His timing. I love being here for Him:). Oh my EVERY minute is so precious these days. Seriously I can't describe it any other way.


Sister Roper who loves alll of you.