Date: Sun, 7 Aug 2011 21:15:58 -0700
Subject: Hello from the 101!
SO, I'm in Thailand safe and sound. I'm in my first Area... Roi Et! It's a city about 6 to 8 hours away from Bangkok. It's in the eastern part of the country, but not that close to Laos and Cambodia. These first few days have been quite interesting. It's so weird to be so far away from home. It's weird to think that right now, I am half a world away from you. I'm trying to figure out how to set my watch from Utah time. It's 9:50 pm in Utah on Sunday right now. It's 10:50 AM here on Monday. We are 13 hours ahead of you.
Our house is nice. I feel very blessed. My trainer is Elder Ackerman (Super fruity smoothies.. its like Jamba Juice). He has been out about a year and a half. I think he said that he goes home in March. Thats really crazy that someone is going home that soon.
When I first stepped off of the airplane I thought, "wow this is hot." But then we stepped outside of the airport and I think all of us were soaked. It was pretty gross.
We got in about midnight on Tuesday and went straight to President Smith's house and went to bed. The next day we went to the office got our passports and stuff all taken care of and had intervies with President Smith. Then we did the "Dan Jones" where we had to go out with an older missionary and place a book of Mormon. We went to the Thai version of "the projects" basically, and we knocked some doors. They got slammed in our faces. I was actually really sruprised. But then we got into a door. We talked with a man for about 30 minutes. He talked about how he wanted to quit smoking and stuff. It was awesome!
Thursday we had transfer meeting. We were assigned our companions and then we waited around Bangkok for people to get their visas. There were some issues, but everything got worked out. We then left on a bus with our whole zone and went to our areas.
The area I'm in seems to be doing well! We have a family of three getting baptized this Saturday, then two girls scheduled for next Saturday and 3 more the following Saturday! How sweet is that? It really makes me happy, except we don't have any other investigators. So, we need to find some. I know that the Lord has prepared people here. We just need to find them.
It's been hard because Elder Ackerman has had a fever the last couple of days. But hopefully things are on the up and up! We went 'inviting' in a couple of neighborhoods yesterday. We talked to 3 people, but they didn't seem too interested. Bummer right? I keep hearing that referals are the best way. We are hoping to get one tonight.
Dogs are EVERYWHERE! Its disgusting. They are some of the ugliest dogs too. And if we get bitten, we have to get a rabies shot. We take 0 chances. So please pray that I'll never get bitten. Seriously.
Thailand is much different than I thought it would be. I still don't feel like I'm in Asia. I feel more like I'm in Arizona or California (somewhere HOT). The only difference is, I'm surrounded by Asians all speaking a different language. I guess it just goes to show that people around the world are pretty similar. We're all children of God. We all have some desire for guidance or religion. Sometimes, though, we just don't know where to find it. I feel like that's a lot of what I need to help people do here in Thailand.
Church yesterday was so great! I think that it's so amazing that the sacrament has the exact same meaning, no matter what langugae it's in, and no matter what country you're in when you partake of it. (Even if it is North Carolina, Jennifer and John). The branch here had 93 people in attendance yesterday! I feel like that's a pretty good number of people. It's really great to see the work of the Lord in action now. I'm sure that in these next 21 months, I will see many peoples' lives change for the better. And it's all because of the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. What a blessing it is to have that in our lives. The atonement is perhaps the greatest resource that we have. We can use it for ANYTHING. Christ is there, outside the door waiting for us to open the door, and let Him in.
Thank you so much for all of your emails! I have the best family in the world! Please feel free to send actual letters and not just emails. They're nice because then I can keep them with me. Letters in the mail take about 10 days to get here, and then they get sent from the office to our house every Wednesday. If you ever need to send a package, they go to the mission home and we pick them up at transfer meeting.
Well, I hope all is well! Jen and John, I am glad that you made it to North Carolina safely! Eat some Carolina BBQ for me please. Cate and Dave, enjoy your new place to live! Brookie and La, get ready for a busy year! FOCUS. Study hard. I know you will because you're Todds. Dad, I hope all is well with work, and I wish you the very best. Mom, I hope yw is better now that camp is over. Enjoy your time in Cali.
I love you all more than words can express! You're always in my prayers.