so i guess to answer some questions:
the flight was wayyy long like over 20 hours of flying hahaha, but for some reason it really wasnt that bad. i was able to sleep a lot of the way over. lax was cool being able to talk to the fam for a little bit, and then it was off to hong kong. we flew in there at night so we couldnt see anything but the lights and so the view was pretty sweet. then in the airport it seemed pretty much the same as LAX except the ratio of white to asian people was flipped haha. and the loud speaker was just loud asian sounds haha. then the final little flight over to thailand was nice. it all went by way fast. there were soooo many people traveling into thailand that were in the passport line to get into the country it was crazy. we stood in line for like almost as long as the flight just trying to get through customs haha, but surprisingly it wasnt too hot our stuffy or humid or anything- apparently it was one of the nicest days of the year (weather wise) to welcome us to thailand- it was super surreal seeing president senior as we finally got through the airport he is such a stud! wow this all seems like sucha a long time ago...
of course on the bus to bangkok from the airport we got to use our thai and talk to people about jesus- fortunately i sat next to this couple from new cacedonia or something and they didnt speak thai haha so i used my english.
our first day in thailand was filled with food, getting our blood drawn, inviting people on the streets of bangkok (which was super fun once you get over the imminent rejection 90% of the time) and hanging out with the president and sister senior. president senior keeps telling me to "ask my dad about it" whenever he tells some crazy story about his mission in japan haha- but president senior is so awesome. in the mission perfect obedience and hard work is expected- so everyone does it- and so i guess thats a change thats come about in this mission the last few years- and now the seniors are really focusing on not just getting thailand a temple (because thats gonna happen soon anyways) but really preparing the people and the hearts of the people for a temple through family history work, focusing on the family, and strengthening members and wards as a whole. they didnt feed us super spicy food when we first got there but there was a big pot of some pretty nasty soupy looking thing which i figured im on a mission now so i might as well just start eating all the gross stuff too- and it was actually SO good haha. thai food is amazing, ive had some pretty gross stuff and felt like i was eating straight raw something- but it hasnt been too bad yet.
we stayed in a pretty nice little place in bangkok that night and in the morning went to the huge transfers meeting. driving in bangkok is literally chaos. not only is everything going on on the opposite sides of the roads- theres just bikers and pedestrians and people driving the wrong way all over the place haha. One of the APs right now was driving and forunately hes a native so he was pretty skilled at weaving thru all the chaos.
transfers was such a blast hahah it kinda felt like the hunger games or something before we walked into the meeting bc all the missionaries were like cheering and clapping super loud as we ( the new missionaries) were about to walk in hahaha and we walked in side by side with our companion. it was intense. its weird now not seeing all the missionaries i was used to seeing 24/7 and having a new companion but i love it out here sooo much more. my new companion is elder calderon- hes mexican and from orlando florida but he is such a stud. I told pres senior i want the hardest working trainer (bc travis told me i could do that i guess haha) and pres said he already knew who i would be with but i seriously feel so lucky this guy is so awesome. He shreds and on the skateboard but more importantly just has such a strong testimony and devotion to this work- but at the same time is super like relaxed almost while we are working so hard- idk how to explain it but it makes missionary work waayyy more fun. being here in my first area (phitsanulok) is super crazy- its hard to really understand anyone but i have in fact gotten a few "wooooow phuud phassa thai gheng maag!" which means im super skilled at thai hahah which just isnt true but most foreigners dont speak it at all so yeah.
so first crazy experience in thailand and really a miracle. actually before i share it, i think one thing that has surprised me the most here about being a missionary is how like laid back it is in the sense that we all got our new assignments to whatever area- and then they just expect us to figure out how to get to our apartment through public transportation, members, etc. i would be living on the street somewhere in thailand if it wasnt for my companion who can fortunately speak thai haha. so anyways our crazy miracle we had- so we took a taxi with all our stuff (bags and calderon's bike) to the bus station in bangkok and once we got there we had to wait for another missionary to get to the bus station bc we were gonna drop him off with his new companions in an area near pitsanulok- but he had to renew his visa or something so he had to do that for a few hours. so were waiting at the bus station for a few hours and then get a call, and he said we need to come back and pick him up bc he had no way to get to the bus station from the church which is like an hour drive. its getting pretty late, its like 6, and we have no way to get him- so the sisters that were traveling with us said they would watch all the stuff while we figure out how to get this elder. Elder calderon gets up and starts walking and says alright say a prayer- were gonna go to the back alley of this bus station and find someone who has a pick up that could get us a ride there and back (and everyone back behind this bus station is way sketch). so i pray pretty sketched about our situation and we start walking, and calderon of course picks the sketchy two extremely dirty dudes tatted up and smoking and starts talking in thai. i guess long story short we end up getting a ride, everything works out, and the guys actually turned out to be pretty nice, and im alive. so we take the 5 hour bus ride up to phitsanulok which left at 10pm and arrived at like 3 in the morning, fortunately i slept most the way, and then got there and its like pitch black outside. My first experience with how awesome the members are here was sister nancy who came and picked us up from the bus station and took us to our apartment- shes been so awesome getting us around places these last couple days. we love driving with her bc shes got this sweet classic little old light blue pickup with two seats in it, so we just sit in the truckbed while we are mobbin on the streets of thailand hahaha its been way fun.
so the next morning after barely getting any sleep we wake up at 630 and just get to work like a normal day haha. next miracle from God was the evidence that when your in his service he really does give you the strength and energy to accomplish the things he commands us. i have no idea how i stayed up that whole next day, and the next, and next, and just made the transition so smoothly. going to bed at night is amazing though. our small little house is pretty nice for the area i think. definitely different than america but it has AC which is life saving.
So we do a lot of contacting at Big C which is like a mix of a walmart and a mall- and our first day i think i was surprised how much success we had just asking people to come to Christ's church, or asking them if they wanted to be clean from sin. haha its like so bold but so effective here. i think overall we had 9 investigators at church this sunday (and we whitewashed into this area meaning neither i nor calderon had been here- and there were 0 progressing investigators). we also have two sets of sisters in the branch that we are serving in as well. Our church is like a 4 story building smooshed in between all these other random houses and stuff-so its small but really nice for a branch. even though i can hardly speak and understand the members here are so cool and accepting. our branch has 2 missionaries serving right now which is cool. pretty much all of our lessons we have with investigators we bring a member too- definitely super helpful.
another miracle we had this week was when after my companions bike tire had popped on i think it was saturday, we were literally walking for atleast 2 hours following the awful directions of thai people around town to try and fix his bike. fortunately we made good use of our time and found some new potential investigators while we were walking around. but the miracle came when we had gone down a bunch of streets, following the directions we were given by people, and calderon had mentioned how even though you dont understand why we are doing something, or dont know what the outcome will be- just continue to work hard and move forward and the lord will always provide. and so we ended up meeting our golden investigator pha noy, this cute old man that repairs bikes, and he had told us that he has been waiting for missionaries to come teach him- hes been praying for years and has been wanting to go to church but didnt know when or where. he is getting baptized next week.
ummm so a typical day is filled with studies in the morning, lunch at this super dank and cheap place we found near our house, then the day is either contacting, appointments, or doing little things like getting my bike or whatever. but what i really like is really no matter what we are doing or where we are going we are always contacting. so like when we are going from our apartment to the church to meet with a member, we talk to everyone on the way over and invite them to church or ask if they want to be cleansed from sin, or learn about jesus, etc. so our day is just so full of contacting and finding people and teaching people i love it. thinking of our missionaries serving in california- i think the key to finding people to teach is talking to EVERYONE. God has prepared people who are waiting to learn the gospel, and he is preparing people all the time. So talk to EVERYONE and when people reject you or just kinda laugh which happens a lot here, just smile and keep going haha because that just means they arent ready for the gospel- but find those who are- and you can only do that through inviting everyone. so anyways as you can tell its been super fun these last few days- but super super tiring. ive got some wierd bug bites showing up on my body too haha so i put up my mosquito net around my bed last night and hopefully that solves the problem.
im healthy so far, im happy, i dont need anything but the love from home im already getting<3
We dont have a missionary leader in our branch, and our branch presidents name is.... hahahah uhhh i forgot haha its hard to remember names here, and i just call him phrathaan (president) anyways. hes thai and super nice. oh yeah my companion got called to be the counselor in the branch presidency and i got called to be a counselor in the elders quorum presidency which is sketchy for me bc our elders quorum president is a white guy (elder calderon and i still havent figured out why he is living out here in phitsanulok all by himself haha hes pretty kooky) and he speaks less thai than i do. he gave a lesson this sunday and it was a little strange- but the class wouldnt have understood ANY of it if my companion wasnt there to translate pretty much the whole lesson haha. we have been given all sorts of random responsibilities in home teaching and other random things, so they are keepin us pretty busy. were gonna turn this branch into a ward though and get a stake in the changmai zone. then comes the thailand temple ayyyyye. thailand has a super good vision and goals so it makes the work so much more fun when everyone is pumped about it even the members.
so as for thailand as a whole it is WAY different here. im in a small city and so its not quite the beautiful thailand you see on google images. in most parts its pretty chaotic like bangkok but just not the huge buildings. everything is pretty run down to be honest. theres so many loving people here though. i dont really know how to explain it but i like it here. im super excited to work here and serve the people here.
the thai is coming along slowly but surely. calderon continues to give me more responsibilities to help me become a more useful companion haha, like making calls to set up appointments and what not. i embarass myself most of the time but just gotta laugh it off and keep working haha, its fun, and i got such an aamzing trainer im stoked. he actually is dying this transfer, but has a super good attitude about working hard til the end, and trying to make a difference in this small branch we are in. (that means he ends his mission haha ^)
love you all so much! i know that jesus christ lives and loves everyone. God's hand is in all things, and i know he has a plan for each of us. Be bold and work hard! i love hearing about your fun experiences with the new puppy momma haha, so proud of you;) much love from thailand