Monday, August 31, 2015

Stories from the Streets of Surin (DOGS), President Sxa, and sticking my toes in the waters

So this week huh... pretty eventful if I do say so myself. I'll start off and end on spiritual notes..

Yeah so I got to baptize the older man in the middle dressed in white next to me. His super cool. This was actually the first investigator lesson that I had taught and I had taught him about the Law of Tithing and Fasting + Fast Offerings (All different rules that our church follows, when we follow these rules we get blessings. and who doesn't want to be blessed. hit up Yeah so we were like stoking. super excited cause he said he wanted to be baptized. and we had a date for him. and then like he didn't understand what I had taught then maybe my thai isn't that great hahah. But because of his not understanding we had to move his baptismal date back a week :(....okay so we go and check up on him. but he doesn't have a phone. and we saw him at church but he rushed to leave cause he wasn't feeling that great so we didn't set an appointment (note to missionaries. always set an appointment) so yeah. basically he went off the grid for a whole week. that made us really this guy is amazing and he loved everything that we had shared with him. we would go and check every day but he was never home, we left notes on his door...nothing. rough life huh...yeah. So we prayed super hard to be able to see him and teach him. Fast forward after lots of praying and days passed. Its Saturday morning. We just finished study and took a quick bathroom/water break. We get a call. We answer the phone. IT'S HIM. Super relaxed and totally nonchalant he says "Yeah sorry, I had to go out of town to work, but I understand everything now, can we meet today?" And we had 7 appointments that day but decided hey. If he is ready, why should we stand in his way. So we rush over, review for his baptismal interview, gets interviewed and then he chose me to baptize him! Weehaa. What a rush. What a miracle. The church is true. Gotta love Thai people.

So yeah 7 appointments in one day planned. key word there is planned. We had a huge list of around 180 numbers that we had accumulated, from our own contacting and then left from Elder Sayavong's previous companion. Set aside some time to call all these numbers, called them, made appointments, got 20 people to commit to come to church...and then...Yeah. Rough day. 6 appointments cancel, none of the people committed came to church. But we had the miracle of baptism, and how great is the worth of a SINGLE SOUL in the eye of God.

What did I eat this week...To be honest...idk....I don't ask very many question. I just chew and swallow and try not to make a disgusting face no matter what the food tastes like. So what I did know that I ate this week...

DURIAN. This stuff smells horrible, but seriously. the taste is just amazing. I just need to work on getting past the smell...Its nasty. Great tasting, nasty smell. Durian.

Bamboo and fish paste. So every Sunday the branch has a potluck and the food is always rather interesting with lots of vegetables (Hey mom! I'm eating more vegetables than I ever thought I would, aren't you proud?) Yeah so I took a bit of what I think was some sort of fried rice dish, and it had a hidden pepper....and the church was out of fresh drinking water so uh...yeah I just sat there and looked at the food and started to sweat a ton! Then I saw this stringy thing that looked like dough, asked a member, they said something i didn't understand, asked another missionary and he said "bamboo." So I ate it to try get out the spicy heat from the pepper. Then another member points and says that the bamboo is for the fish paste. So I tried the fish paste. Idk how to compare it to anything else Ive eaten. Its like.....idk. Imagine drinking a pasty version of the water at kewalos/point panics. Yeah...very interesting, salty, a bit nasty, but I held my composure, swallowed, and definitely impressed the members. oh yeah.

COAGULATED PIGS BLOOD. Its like jelly. but not really....yeah...pigs blood should not be coagulated. just saying. don't. Blood belongs in the animal and I don't think it should be eaten.

Chicken parts! Yeah chicken feet are good. 

And a whole bunch of other stuff that idk what it is, but the food is spicy and made my mouth burn. sweet yeah? oh and because of poor planning I've been eating mo moon or something. its basically ramen with lime, yeah eaten that stuff for breakfast for the past 8 days cause i forgot to buy more food for the whole time.....yup.

Oh and for those that know president SXA. Yeah I met him, had dinner, he's awesome, Really random, lots of crazy stories from him about all sorts of things. Such an interesting member, but he is so cool.

Teaching English
So every Tuesday we teach English. I feel like I should actually be a student in this class hahah, teaching English to people that only speak Thai. now I understand how my teachers in the MTC felt when they taught the district Thai. Oh my. Yeah. Lots of patience with the blank looks on the students faces. But its fun, and its goes alright. I taught about nouns. Easy stuff. I think. You know, I'm not too sure if they actually understood or if they were just nodding their heads and saying yes...hmm....

These animals are not the fluffy dogs in Hawaii. I'm confident they all have rabies. There are a few that live around our house. Its sorta gross. So you would think getting chased by a dog gets old right? NOPE, I STILL FREAK OUT EVERY TIME I SEE A BLACK DOG CHASE ME. Ive also perfected a form of cycling similar to how triathletes enter the transition zone. I build up a lot of speed and lift one leg over on to the other side of the bike away from the dog so the dog has no chance of biting me. Am i being overly cautious, yes, but I don't want to be bitten. Yeah. Chased by dogs almost every day. not a fan. I think they smell fear. Or maybe they notice my lack of a dark tan like a Khon Thai. But I absolutely love Thailand, this is such a great place with such amazing people!

Yeah so in closing. Hm. Last chapter in 4 Nephi. Studied this and just loved it. Go and read it. Its in the Book of Mormon. So yeah, synopsis. The God we have now is the same Heavenly Father, yesterday, today, and forever. If He did miracles back in the old days, then why would He cease to do miracles today. Miracles are real, you just need to open your eyes. Each day we have, each experience we go through there are miracles at play. Miracles don't always mean a huge experience like Moses splitting the Red Sea, sometimes it's the small things like the fact that those drivers were alert enough to step on the breaks and not hit me and my companion. Its the little things in life, don't forget them.

Have a good week!

Elder แอลลิส
Forward Ever. Stopping Never.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

So you know that awkward friend at the party? Thats me in Thailand

Providing 6 hours of service planting rice
That awkward friend that you really love and brought to the party but he had no idea whats going on cause these people although nice aren't really his friends (yet). So like he sits there lost and not sure what to do but has a huge smile on face cause the party is awesome. Yeah that's me not understanding whats going on but loving every second

12:00 am. I'm in a bus going across Bangkok, walk around a sketchy street corner into a hotel. Yup. Thailand.
Next day, wake up, casually here that another bomb has been found in Bangkok....looks like we won't be proselyting in that area today.

Wooow! and then TRANSFERS! Yeah, so my trainer is Elder Sayavong, a Khon Lao that learned how to speak English, Thai, and Japanese all within the last year and a half. Hes a really amazing elder with such a strong testimony and hes willing to really carry the companionship. He has me teach quite a bit and then ends up clarifying what I had said after my 2nd or 3rd attempt at explaining....things will work out. one day I will get the hang of this language

Lets see so I've got a few stories. So we are at the transfer meeting in Bangkok, and I get assigned to an area called Surin which is an 7 hour bus ride away. Pretty intense. So we catch a bus at 8:30 pm and yeah. Chillin on a bus, the even give us food like an airplane but the bus food is way better! Sweet yeah? And then its like 3 am. Still have no idea what I'm doing here in Thailand...really confused, jet lagged cause i have no idea of what time it is but grateful to be safe in Thailand. so in this confusion I somehow got into a tuk tuk at 3:30 am heading back to our house. Which is way sweet cause it has a few rooms with ac. Yeah water isn't the best to drink. but it'll be alright cause we have all our filtered water.

And I saw an elephant crossing the street and a bunch of water buffalo just chilling next to the road. Oh I'm not in Hawaii or Utah anymore...

I guess you can all tell that I'm still a bit sabson (confused) and overwhelmed because I have next to no train of thought going on right now. not sure if anything is making sense...but I'm just gonna roll with it.

So my signature. yeah at first i couldn't find the right vowel but now typing on this thai keyboard i have. but I'm lazy and wont change it. and also the way i have it on the bottom of the email is the same way my missionary tags I got in Thailand are spelled! and another note on this spelling. I've been told that my name sounds a lot like a girls.....cause when the Thai people sound it out it sounds like "Alice" so then there's that....They also think my name sounds like Elvis. oh well

Lets see. What else. We had a baptism this Sunday and will have a few more next Sunday, these are really great people that absolutely love the gospel. I love the investigators and all the people in Thailand even though I have almost no idea of what they're saying to me! Awesome right?!

So I also worked in a rice field planting rice for like 6 hours. now I'm super sun burnt, but my dark tan is starting to return. Oh you know I'm super stoked to be tan again. but not excited for the weird shirt tan.... Also does anyone know how dangerous leeches are? cause apparently I picked a few off my leg when i was working in the field.... jk. i don't think there were leechers in the field. at least that's what our investigator had said....

And Thailand literally has like every single type of weather. Like I bought a bike then that night we had to bike back home in like a torrential downpour (sorry mom, i have yet to treat the mud stains on my shirt, but maybe ill go and buy fenders today) Then the next day we had to bike out to a super far away house to teach someone and I was drenched in sweat. oh this is great. which brings me to the conclusion....

If I didn't believe that this gospel is true, why would I go through all of this? Running out of time but yeah. I know what I'm doing is a righteous and sacred work and there is nothing else I would want to do right now. Serving the people of Thailand is such a blessing. Quick thing for all you to study/look at.1 Corinthians 9. Love this chapter and I feel like it has really helped me want to have a desire to learn and be more like the Thai people. When you truly live like them you gain an appreciation and understanding like none other.

Oh. and I've eaten a lot of food that I don't really know what it was. But hey, I'm alive, not feeling too sick, haven't thrown up, and my stomach is doing pretty good. Go figure. But maybe I shouldn't go and push my luck.
Street vendor food is good stuff, take it easy, have a blessed week, choose the right, and shout out to all my friends and family that keep on getting engaged while I'm away. I guess you all just didn't want me at the weddings huh? (jk, love you all and wish you the best of luck).

Oh and in my area they speak Cambodian, Thai, Burmese, and this dialect called Essan. Yeah. I really have no idea what I'm doing, but it'll be alright. SUU SUU SUU! (fight fight fight)

Elder แลลิส
Forward Ever. Stopping Never.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Safe Arrival... Letter from Mission President

Just wanted to share a couple of items that we received the other day and today... From Elder Ellis' Mission President and his wife.
President Johnson and Sister Johnson and the newest set of Thailand, Bangkok Mission Elders
"We are happy to report that your son arrived safely in Bangkok late last night, clearing passport control early this morning." 
"He is in good spirits and is anxious to begin laboring in the Lord's vineyard in Thailand. We are thrilled to have him as a missionary in the Thailand Bangkok Mission family."
"Your son will receive his first assignment tomorrow morning. Preparation day will be on Monday and he will be able to email you each week.  I am sure he will much to share regarding his experiences in Thailand, missionary activities and his first Sunday in his assigned area."
Today we received the following...
Surin, Ubon is in Eastern part of Thailand
"Elder Ellis has been welcomed by the Thailand Bangkok Mission at their first transfer meeting and has been assigned to serve in the Surin, Ubon Zone of the Thailand Bangkok Mission." 
" of our finest missionaries, Elder Sayavong to be Elder Ellis's  training companion.  I believe this companionship will help your son to get a great start as a missionary and to experience the joy and vision of missionary service."
We also found a pretty interesting video on YouTube that shows someone traveling from Bangkok to Surin.

Mahalo for all that continue to write and uplift Elder Ellis while he is on his mission, for updated contact information... Please see the [Contact me] button above.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Pictures... and a sound clip of Elder Ellis speaking Thai

Elder Ellis and his District pictured with the Consul General of Thailand, The Honorable Jesda Katavetin.

Somethings are just you know...better left unexplained. Like this 7ft tall statue we made of our teacher. 

Keep it real. Push limits. Do something new.

Three of our teachers are in the picture. The girl, the guy in the right armpit of the statue and the khon thai. They're pretty cool.

Elder แลลิส
(My name still isn't spelled right...)

Prior to leaving to Thailand Elder Ellis called home from the Airport... hear a quick sound clip of him speaking Thai.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Wow last week's email was melodramatic, Im using the wrong vowel in my signature, last P day in the MTC, And funny stories about the new thai elders

Wow. looking back on last weeks letter. that's pretty boring. I'm pretty sure it was just the weather. Yeah.

Now its sunny, and we've got the last rivalry soccer match against the Cantonese elders then I'm just a few plane rides to Bangkok.

So yeah. I cant find the other vowel on the i used the one that looks like it sorta. But hey, you wouldn't know that if I didn't tell you. or maybe you would cause you somehow learned Thai in like a week.

He spoke ONE word of english to us....its a good thing that we've studied Thai for the past 8 weeks. But yeah, what an experience, meeting the very man that signs off on our visas. He was really nice and it was so cool that he had brought his whole family. We talked a bit about cultural and he had shared some advice that a lot of Thai people will listen and say "okay" to whatever we say just because we are foreigners then have no intention of following through on commitments cause they simply dont understand. yeah. Im actually txxnten mag mag cing cing cang leeweyyy samrab pay phratteeed thai (stoked for going to Thailand)

Last P day (preparation day) in the MTC
The next time you all hear from me, I'll be in THAILAND. Idk. maybe this is the last time you'll hear from me. who knows. What if I get sent somewhere in the countryside. Pretty sure it won't be the last time. Just saying. But if it is. Nah nahnah, ill be sending another picture sometime. eventually. probably in like 2 weeks cause I gotta wake up at 3:30 to catch a flight.  yeah.....

Tuesday's Devotional
We heard from President Russel M Nelson, he had focused on the importance that each life we touch is important and that when we share our experiences we are putting our initials on other peoples hearts by imprinting upon them our own experiences. Yup. Sweet stuff...

Which got me thinking about like "lending a helping hand" So each time you help someone think about this. think about all the people that helped you before. That's a lot of people that got you to that point chaymay? (right?) Yeah so think about each person that helped you and then all the people that had helped them before. Yeah thats a lot of people. Like im talking millions of people are helping you help that person. Wow. Awesome. I know right. Sugoi! Yiam! Hulo! idk what other languages to use....But yeah, help people cause you've been prepared to help and what seems like a single helping hand is like a million helping hands. Just saying.

So funny stories hmmmm...
We got the new Thai missionaries, great bunch, all guys. One of them got so excited for ice cream he jumped up and clicked his heels...then he split his pants. yeah. Don't get too excited about ice cream or else you'll split your pants too.
On the topic of ice cream, I have limited myself to only 3 bowls or less. What a healthy lifestyle. And i also measure time by the days when we get ice cream (Wednesday/Sunday) cause literally i cant keep track of time. 9 weeks of doing the same thing. you'd be going a bit crazy too.

Oh sriracha 
This stuff is amazing. Yes I drown just about all the bland tasting food in this amazing condiment. Yup. Thailand I'm ready ( not prepared for the aftermath of Thai food).

I wrote this letter way earlier. but we just beat the Cantonese in our Championship rivalry game. it was way sweet. With two minutes left in the game they scored and we were tied, but then all of a sudden we did a quick turn around and then won the game. hmm. yup. We all had a lot of fun and left the 9 week rivalry with big smiles. its awesome. feeling good. and the elevation still kills me when I try to workout.

Weehaa, in a week I'll be in Thailand!

Elder ลลิส

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

What a interesting week, Alma 7:23, and another Hawaiian leaves the MTC

Elder Ellis with Elder McMillan who leaves tomorrow (Aug. 4th, 2015), off Fort Collins, Colorado. 
Another Hawaiian going out to serve.
Here's an email just saying I'm still alive!

Its been a busy hard week. But there are a million things that could be worse, focus on the good. Work to change what you can, then work with others to change what you don't think you can. Work hard, be diligent, things do get better. But yeah focus on the happiness, and what you can do to feel even happier, then somehow by some way things will work out.

Focusing on the negative and just thinking so much on what you didn't/can't do is not a recipe for success. Think happy, be happy, but keep in balance the struggles. Always try to improve because in the end all that you can do is be the best you there is in the world. And all I hope for is that the person you are today is better than the person you were yesterday.

Alma 7:23. Motto for the week, kaanodthon. Phom toongkan odthon mag mag. (Endure)

Yeah, its a bit short, not too much stuff happened, lots of studying, lots of practicing Thai, and it's also raining in Provo. Rainy days got me feeling nice and slooowww.

Also check out the signature! Thai script!

Elder แลลิส

Peace out Homie... Elder Ellis with Elder Fong who will be serving in Chicago.