Monday, June 30, 2014

whoaaa....we're halfway there...

Another week! so technically we're not halfway through yet, we won't be until this thursday, but exactly five weeks from today we'll be flying out to Thailand! Bomb diggity.
This week we started learning how to read and write Thai script. We started on Tuesday and were basically left to our own devices to study and teach ourselves how to do it. It's AWESOME. I'm so dang slow but I can usually figure words out relatively quickly. I freaking love learning Thai.
On Tuesday evening we had our usual devotional but it was special because this week was the Mission President Seminar where all the new mission presidents come and get trained by the apostles and first presidency. At our devotional, there were six apostles sitting at the front! Elders Oaks, Christoffersen, Anderson, Bednar, Ballard, and Nelson. Elder Christoffersen was the only one to speak, but it was so powerful to feel the spirit of all those apostles in the same room as us! Elder Christoffersen talked about the worth of souls. What is the worth of a human soul? "The worth of a human soul is its capacity to become like God." There are no ordinary people in this world! He went on to say that if the worth of souls is great in the sight of God, it must be worthless in the eyes of Satan. Satan will do everything he can to make us feel worthless and ordinary. Recognize that when you feel that way, those feelings are not from God.
Most days we sit in class and have Thai spewed at us for 8 or more hours a day, but on Thursdays we have an hour and a half to do service in the MTC, usually by helping out with some of the more menial cleaning tasks. We love it because it's physical and we don't have to be sitting in class, but last week was more awesome than usual because we got to put up flags at the MTC! The sisters in our district put up 31 flags in the front and side of the MTC, from Peru to India to Canada to South Africa. And of course Thailand!
On our temple walk we ran into one of the sisters we know from Thailand. While the rest of the sisters in my district were talking to her, I started up a conversation with her companion, Hermana Ferro, and quickly learned she's from Peru and barely speaks English. Sister Nethercott and I talked to her for probably an hour and a half in Spanish and the rest of the night we were speaking "Spaiglish" (which is Spanish, Thai, and English). So fun. Hermana Ferro is speaking Spanish and English on her mission but there are four sisters in her district and they are native-speaking Korean, Thai, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish. They can't communicate in any language other than English and most of them didn't know but a few words before they got here. I was so impressed with the sisters dedication to learning the language and persevering despite the enormous trial of the communication barrier. I know I can't imagine not being able to express my thoughts and ideas in English to my district. There are so many sacrifices made by missionaries to be here; we give everything we have and were before the mission to be who God wants us to be. "Greatness comes as you forget yourself and lose yourself in service to God."

I always feel like I never really mention any stories in my weekly letters but that's because it's the small moments in life that often bring the biggest memories. In the MTC, it's so easy to see the impact of a random act of service like opening a door for someone. I thrive on little moments like that here, like being able to work out every morning in the weight gym or biking a new record. When I start worrying about my ability to be a missionary and suddenly Elder Hilton will make some sassy comment and Elder Okimoto will start laughing and then we all start laughing. When Sister Herrmann and I are sitting in a lesson and suddenly our investigator makes a major personal breakthrough and starts feeling what we're saying instead of just listening. When we talk about favorite movies and somehow Elder Curtis and I end up leading a rendition of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," or when we're all super frustrated with studying and suddenly our whole district is on the floor laughing about something really stupid or immature. In the words of a random note I got this week, "everything is gonna be alright. :)"

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