Well the reason there wasn't an email last week is because of something I learned as a child from my mom and from watching the movie Bambi an excessive number of times: "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."
But thank goodness I have a lot of good things to say about this week!
Well, actually, it was a really hard week. The big thing that makes every single day a battle is the temperature. it's like in the upper 30s centigrade, which is something that I didn't think I could handle physically. I'm still alive and hydrated, but I think I'm going crazy a little bit. Or a lot. I can't remember what snow feels like....
Even Africa apparently doesn't get this hot. sigh.
And if this weren't enough, we had almost no investigators up until the last week. Which means lots of contacting in the hot weather. But the thing is, thai people are smart, and they don't go outside when it's hot. So we're standing outside, contacting...and no one is outside.
Thank goodness there's a Dairy Queen around every corner. Soft-serve ice cream is my life.
BUT there are so many things going right around here, too. And most of them have to do with Laos. Since I got here, I've taught a total of 11 Laotian investigators, but only two of them have currently been baptized. Why so many investigators? Because there's something about the Laotian people...when they find the gospel, all they want to do is share it. With their spouses, their siblings, parents, cousins, neighbors...and that's how I've taught 11 Laotians. Every single one of them was a referral of some kind. And right now we're teaching three of the cutest people with their cousin, who just joined the church last month, Sister W. We met with Sister W this week by herself to review some of the lessons and, as usual, she ended up teaching us. She (and her family here) work CRAZY schedules and two jobs. Typically, afternoons are their times to sleep, which is kind of inconvenient because our church meeting starts at 1pm. And if that weren't enough, Sister W has two kids under the age of 3 who are living in Laos, away from her and her husband, and she doesn't get to call/skype them or see them hardly ever but she stays here to provide for them. Talk about selfless sacrifice!
And then on Thursday night when we were teaching her, she said, "you know, it's hard to go to church on Sundays because it's our only day off and we only get to sleep for a few hours before we go back to work...but really, it's a commandment from God so it's a blessing, and even if I have to go without sleep every Sunday, it's worth it."
I cried. Just started tearing up in the middle of the lesson and she and my companion definitely wondered what was wrong with me. I have not seen faith like this anywhere before...there is something special about the people of Laos. They are humble and faithful and willing to sacrifice whatever they need to for their families, and now for God. They're the ones teaching us.
If we could all just be a little bit more like Sister W...this world would be a little more like heaven.
And if this weren't awesome enough, we woke up at 330am on Sunday morning to a THUNDERSTORM because our power was out and it was unbearably hot in our apartment. Desperate, we went outside...and it was COLD. Okay, so I'm guessing it was probably around 68 fahrenheit....but it was COLD. Legitimately cold. And through my unconscious half-awake state of mind and the fact that I could barely keep my eyes open, I recognized that it was a miracle that in the middle of the hot season, God sent me my favorite kind of weather, a cold thunderstorm. Yeah, God knows us. He knows our favorite food and weather and our limits and the thoughts and desires of our hearts.
Thank goodness we always have someone who gets us perfectly!
1. Ayutthaya is the ancient capital of Thailand and features many old ruins, temples, and a "floating market" on a river.
2. Me and Sister Black! Not my companion, but one of my best friends in this mission.
3. We basically spent the whole day taking pictures.
4. It's so hot that we can stick inviting cards to our foreheads. As if Mormons weren't weird enough...
5. Saw Sister Brown and Sister Herrmann from my MTC group this week when we took our companions to do work permits! Turns out we're all doing great, working hard, and doing incredible things in our areas! I feel so blessed to call these missionaries my sisters.
6. A bunch of people from the Pakkret branch who have become my family in the last five months here.
7. Not the most flattering picture of me, but I thought this just summed up our district/life so well. The woman getting baptized is the wife of a recent convert (he's the one who baptized her) and it was just the CUTEST thing because this work is ALLL about FAMILIES! And then there's me and Sister T being crazy off to the side. Our motto is, "if we're not having fun every day, we're doing something wrong." And this is a flipping joyful work!