Thursday, July 24, 2014

know your purpose, be bold, expect miracles!

Sooo...another week. Man are these flying now. Sister Nethercott shared with me a diagram this week that has a long line representing our lives on Earth and another line that is almost equally long that represents our time here in the MTC. Looking back, it feels like forever, but looking forward, it feels like no time at all, because we only have two weeks left here in the states!

Due to unusual circumstances with part of the district, there was a companion transfer for myself, Sister Herrmann, Sister Brown and Sister Nethercott. My new khuu is Sister Nethercott, and Sister Herrmann is with Sister Brown. I love Sister Herrmann and have learned a lot from her! She is a dedicated missionary and knows how to focus on really getting to know the investigator and helping relate the gospel to them with their personal challenges. She also has a love for the Doctrine and Covenants I've never seen, and it's inspired me to study and appreciate that book more. She's extremely gifted with the language and knows how to focus and study effectively. I've been blessed to be her companion for the last six weeks (the length of a normal transfer).

As awesome as Sister Herrmann is, I am thrilled to have Sister Nethercott as my khuu! We sat down at our first companion study to talk about our language goals for the next few weeks and discovered that we share all the same goals! We went right to work and we've accomplished so much in just the last three days. We've already memorized our missionary purpose and half of the hymn "Called to Serve" in Thai, and this week we're diving into memorizing the First Vision in Thai and one or two other scripture passages. We've been so productive, and I've already learned so much from Sister Nethercott about how to be a better missionary.

Because we are missionaries, everything we do here is done in the name of Jesus Christ -- prayers, testimonies, invitations, studying...everything. This week, we had a devotional about remembering the sacredness of that name and not letting our prayers, which end in his name, to become repetitive or commonplace. It helped me evaluate how I pray and make efforts to make my prayers more meaningful. Since learning how to pray in Thai, my prayers have become more powerful and more sincere since I have to really think about what I'm saying. It's a huge blessing to be set apart to learn and speak a foreign language.

As mentioned last week, this week we said goodbye to the Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Hmong missionaries in our zone. It was exciting but also sad, because we've all gotten really close in the last six weeks. Tomorrow, the two Lao-speaking Elders fly out and after that we will be the oldest people in the zone! We had 18 new Thai-speaking missionaries come in last week, though, so that was awesome. They remind me so much of our district when we first got here, all wide-eyed and trying to contain the insane amount of new knowledge being crammed in their heads. They're gonna be so great. We're now majority Thai-speaking in our zone, with two other districts of Cantonese-speakers. So, huge shoutout to the Lao Elders, because they're leaving this week. They've been the zone leaders for the last three weeks, and man do we love them. For those who don't know, Laotian and Thai are pretty similar -- if you know one, you can understand the other pretty well. Lao is actually a little easier than Thai in some ways, so we've picked up some Lao and the Lao Elders have helped us speak/read Thai better. We love them and wish them the best of luck in Sacramento, California!

With the Lao Elders leaving, our new zone leaders are Elder Curtis and Elder Hinkson. As goofy and immature as they can sometimes be (and as loud as Elder Curtis laughs sometimes), they have the Spirit and power of God with them and as I watched them on Sunday go up to the stand and take on their new responsibilities, I was struck with how grateful I am to be in this district to see the growth and change in everyone. It feels like forever for all that's happened, but it's been no time at all for all the growth that's taken place in everyone. It's been especially apparent in the Elders, but everyone in my district is so spiritually mature and has such an understanding and love for this work and it is inspiring.

With all the Nong-Thais (new thai missionaries) we've had some extra substitute teachers stepping in and helping every once in a while. We love them all dearly! Brother Sanchez (who's actually the official Lao teacher but knows Thai, Lao, Hmong, Spanish, and Arabic) was teaching us this week and Elder Hinkson asked him in Thai if Brother Sanchez can translate between all those languages "on the fly." What Elder Hinkson meant to say was "Khun blaah on the fly?" (the "a" sound in "blaah" is pronounced like the A in apple, and it means "to translate") but what he actually said was "Khun bleh on the fly?" and "bleh" means fish and putting "khun" before a noun makes it beloved, so what Elder Hinkson actually said to Brother Sanchez was "Beloved fish on the fly." We haven't stopped calling Elder Hinkson "beloved fish" yet.

Aside from the companion swap, the highlight of the week was probably getting our Thai nametags! Shoutout to Sister Nethercott for asking around and being determined in getting them for us a week earlier than we otherwise would have. We're not allowed to wear them here because we're an English-speaking training center so people need to be able to read our nametags, but they're so cool.

Extra shoutout to the Elders down the hall from us who are going to Madagascar speaking Malagasy! They're so much fun and we love bearing our testimonies to each other in Thai and Malagasy.
I love you all! Have a wonderful week!

1. Sister Nethercott, myself, Elders Hinkson and Curtis (new zone leaders) and Elder Parsons and Griffin (old zone leaders/Lao Elders).
2. Thai nametag! Looks pretty funky, huh?
Sister Zoller

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