Sunday, April 15, 2012

Transfer 7--Chiang Rai

Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2012 11:35:26 +0700
Subject: Transfer 7...

Hey Family!

How are you doing? Well, first of all. I got transferred as Brother Khai told you. I am up in Chiang Rai, the furthest North province of Thailand. For that reason, this area has a special nickname from president Smith. 

So first of all, on Tuesday morning, Elder Davis and I got a call from President Smith. He extended calls to us. Elder Davis got called to be a trainer, so I knew that I was out of Thonburi. It was sad to leave those investigators and those members there. They are all so sweet and dear to me. The members are awesome! I'm going to miss them for sure. But then president spoke to me and told me where I was going. Chiang Rai!

Chiang Rai is its own district, and it only has 2 missionaries. My companion and myself. The next closest area is Chiang Mai where the Zone Leaders are. Elder Wagstaff is one of my Zone leaders and it's fun to get to talk to him during nightly phone calls. But back to Thursday at transfer meeting, president called my name and said, "Elder Todd, exhaltation."  They call Chiang Rai "exhaltation" because it's the "highest degree" in Thailand. It's the very top. It's fun to have those nicknames. Roi Et's nicknames were 101 and LA. Thonburi didn't have one, but other places do. 

So I'm up here with my new companion, Elder Susi. He just finished training and is starting his third transfer. It's way wierd, I feel like I was JUST in his spot. But the time is flying. I can't even believe it. 

Not much really happened at the beginning of this week before leaving Thonburi. Tuesday, we taught Enghlish class. Then we packed up all of our things, and taught a few investigators. Then on Wenesday, we had to go renew our visas. We waited from 8:30 to noon at the visa office. Then at noon they were just over halfway to our numbers and they said theywere going to break for an hour for lunch. That was just frustrating to all of us who were there. I felt especially bad for E. McDonald. It was his last day in the mission field and he had to spend it waiting for hours for his companion to renew his visa. He was my Zoneleader my first two transfers. He was so good, and I really looked up to him. We had a good chat, he gave me some advice for coming up to Chiang Rai. He was in a similar situation when he was starting his 7th transfer just like me. It was really good. He gave me a lot of encouragement. Then on thursday we had transfer meeting. Our bus for Chiang Rai didn't leave until 9:40, and Elder Susi had to go renew his visa, so the assistants had me come with them to take the missionaries who were going home to the president's house. It was really interesting to be with them. They had a really solid group, and they all couldn't believe that I still get to be in Thailand for a year plus. It made me so grateful for the time that I have remaining. 
Then Elder Susi and I waited at the bus station for about four hours. We had to be there super early becasue during Songkran they might give away our seats. Then we left Bangkok at about 10 pm and got to Chiang Rai at about 11 am on the following morning. 

We went and got some of those sweet flower shirts and squirt guns to play Songkran, and went out. It was nuts! Just people throwing water and baby powder, and flour. It's all squirt guns and buckets of water, no water balloons, which is probably safer. But wow--so many people were just drunk! I felt bad for them. We met this British guy who was talking to us. He said, "It took me a little bit to warm up to playing with the water. Actually about three beers, but you don't drink do you? You know Jesus drank." Then he stopped talking to me. I was just thinking, so many people love trying to get the church with that. But they don't understand. Oh well. We had to be home by 6 pm the last three days because it's so dangerous during the festival with all of the drunk people driving. So we studied in the evenings. Then on Saturday and Sunday we went out to do our best to get some work done. We went tracting. It was really difficult. We only taught two lessons in those two days. No one was home and sober. 

But church was good. The branch is small, and meets in a rented building.  The Branch President seems really good! I'm really excited the members here seem great! I'm going well, and just loving this great latter-day work! I hope you are all well! I love you so much!

Elder Todd
Onward and upward!

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