Monday, September 28, 2015

1, 2, TREE, FULL and Elder Ellis in Surin Land: "Green Ties and Green Eyes"

Surin Country side
Yeeheee, this week went by too fast. There's truly never enough time in the week to do everything. so much work to be done. so little time. Weeha. 
Sometimes we eat whole watermelons... Apartment study room.
Prayer is powerful. If you feel like you're getting into a routine and that your prayers aren't as genuine anymore pray for specifics. Count your blessings, name them one by one. Literally. Don't just say you're thankful for blessings, list those specifics. Give gratitude for everything. Love this life, love the challenges, love it. We've got one life, why not have a BLESSED time yeah? So second challenge. Be specific in your prayers, it's a game changer. You can never be too specific and our Heavenly Father loves hearing from YOU!
Bus stations... cause we travel by bus everywhere.
So yeah, we teach English. My companion's first language is Laotian. It's a great time. He was teaching about the "th" sound and said "Khon Lao and Khon Thai's have this problem where when they count they say 1 2 tree full, instead of 1 2 3 4." Thought that was absolutely hilarious. Sounds just like pidgin (Hawaii's second language, the order for official languages goes Hawaiian, Pidgin, then English...just saying)

Some free exercising in the park before sports night.
Elder Ellis in Surin Land. The members find it funny that my name sounds like Alice. Henceforth the name. Yeah. but onward to more stories about Surin. It rained. A lot. and by a lot I mean a lot. I think the roads flooded maybe 4 times this past week. The rains came down and the floods went up (on a monday...then again...and again...and again) Goes from 0-flooded way too quick. We can be teaching a lesson in the church and itll be sunny, then next thing we know 1 hour later, its downpouring and flooded. Go figure. Thailand is sweet. I love it. I don't even miss bodysurfing cause biking through the rain is that much fun!

Isaiah chapters in the Book of Thai.
Isaiah. Smart prophet, absolutely amazing with the metaphors and such. Now translate it into Thai. Yeah double the confusion hahah, good fun. Big words in the scriptures- see D&C 123:5 and let me know how much you understand.

Transfers this week
Getting bike tire fixed in the middle of nowhere...
So the joke here is that me (the greenie/unexperienced missionary) will be the only one out of the 4 elders in Surin to stay. Yeah. You'll hear from me next week. It'll be veryyyy interesting. Cause I'm still a bit lost hahaha. I seriously love this place and love these people in Surin. It's not a big city and it has quite a bit of countryside (see attached picture we bike out here pretty often because a lot of our Less active members and investigators are out in the countryside. It's beautiful) These people have so much love. There's so much we can all learn from the charity and love of the Thai people.

Spiritual Thoughts hmm....
Article of Faith 13-Articles of Faith are basic understandings of what our Church believes in. This one. Wow. Just so much power and strength in it.  
13 We believe in being honest, true, chastebenevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuouslovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
Our new inviting cards, they basically teach the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ in a small little pamphlet, Pretty amazing.
I just want to challenge all of you (members, nonmembers, random people that stumble upon this blog) to go and try heed these words. Seek after and try to become more honest, true, chaste, etc. Do it. Your life WILL get better. It's the truth. But hey, don't take my word for it. Try it yourself. This may actually be the reason that I'm so happy pretty much all the time. I love this scripture. Like with all my heart. I seek after these things. I try my best to become and take on these attributes as best as I can each and every day. Give it your all, and just try to be a better person today then you were yesterday and pretty soon the impossible is within reason.

Also I'm teaching the Elders in the house Pidgin (Hawaiian Creole English). In honor of this... Have a good week! And shooooooots!

Elder แลลิส
Forward Ever. Stopping Never.

Monday, September 21, 2015

There's no such thing as baby steps & Guess who forgot their river crossing attire?

There's no such thing as baby steps. This is real life. The time to prepare for right now has passed. Steps are steps. And who are we to judge or name someone else's progress because it's different from our own. Just a thought given to me by my companion. There's no way to really teach and help a child learn to walk. You could give them a walker, but that is just a crutch, an aid. The child needs to experiment and learn for themselves and find something that works. If they find out that walking along the side of a couch works, then awesome. Amazing because the child continues to experiment and had found that out for themselves. It seems harsh, maybe a bit heartless that you aren't helping the child. But if you did, would their be any progress in within the child? Probably very little. It's like the same reason butterflies push themselves out of their cocoons, they need to go through that trial and experience that struggle because their wings need whatever that fluid is to be pushed into every part. If you "help" the butterfly and pull it out of the cocoon, really you just inhibited it. Yeah. Not too sure where this thought is going, I think it sounded better in my head. But this is how missionary training has been so far. This is a great exercise in learning to trust in God and in being guided to the Spirit. Nothing AMAZING comes easy.

Okay lets hear some awesome stuff...

Do as the Thais do-aka fit as much stuff into your bag (I fit a 40 pack of ramen, a few bags of oatmeal and milo, and 2 loaves of bread into my bag. It was amazing, and on sale. Or fit as many people as you can on a moped. This weeks record that I saw? 7 people. One moped. Im talking a full family here. No van necessary. No seatbelts either....

So the rain. Hm. Yeah. Yeah. I never remembered to wear any of my stuff. So weehaa who had soaking wet shoes this week? THIS ELDER. I mean its only bad at first. Just dont stop biking in the water or else you fall over and get even more wet....Oh and always buy ponchos that have long sleeves. Ponchos with the sleeves, thats the way to go when you're biking. So yeah. Ponchos are very important, umbrellas stand no chance in Thailand. What else about the rain? Its wet. Its cold, roads flood. And sometimes they flood so that two days later when every things is already "dry" there are still areas flooded. And you still get soaking wet when its sunny. Yup.

LANGUAGE! Surin is weird and on the border with Cambodia. People here speak their own thing. Its not really Essan, not really Thai, not too much Lao, surprisingly quite a bit of Cambodian apparently, and this all means I still don't understand but hey. I focus on the Thai I know and am currently learning and I think it'll work out. I'll be fine, it's just an interesting thought because I ask my companion what a person said and he'll just tell me its not important because its not even Thai. Go figure.

Fish Friday-Every Friday so far, I've bought a fish, and that's my dinner. I love it, and I always forget to take a picture of the fish.....sorry

SHINING MY SHOES-Every time I shine my shoes, they end up getting wrecked. Like biking through flooded streets or like even just giving service and then i step in this quicksand/mud mixture. Maybe its a sign...

Also Asian candy. It is just so amazing. You know the Hi chew candy is legit when it comes in the silver metal wrappers and not the regular white plastic stuff, its the little things that count.

Spiritual thoughts...
D&C 64:31-34
2 Nephi 31:13-21

Like I said, I want you all to go and just try read these scriptures. See what you can get from them. Each person will get something different, and I can guarantee that you will receive some kind of guidance if you seek with sincerity the help from the Lord. 

Take it easy, have a blessed week, here's a picture of something that I ate. Mind over matter.

Elder เอลลิส
Forward Ever. Stopping Never.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Shhhh....Just Eat, Practice Precedes Performance

If you know where I got this title from, you're actually awesome because Korean food is awesome. And its a food truck. And its in Provo. Ok, moving on...

So I also forgot to include that elephants walked over me. So scary. So fun. Too bad we forgot to take a picture while it was happening haha oh well

This past Sunday was my companion's birthday. I don't know about you, but he's feeling twenty twooo. And we also visited one of our investigators at work and she gave him the balloon flower. Which he proceeded to attach to his bike and we went inviting with the flower attached. He's legit. Gotta love it. Oh yeah.

So investigators this week. We've got a few rather interesting people. There's a group of investigators really interesting in learning English for free, but then again they live 60 km away...and speak this other language, pasay suay? soy? soi?, not sure how to spell it. But their Thai is rather limited and we had a hard time understanding them, we shall see where that goes.

Hm. Thai volleyball with your feet game. ตะกร้อ. Ta-go (takraw). Google it, its legit, i have no idea how to play it, but im bringing this game and its gonna be huge in Hawaii.

So food this week, its a continuation of interesting things just ordering the same thing as my companion. I have no idea what he orders and he's a Khon Lao. So he doesn't not have a western taste. I haven't eaten American food in quite some time. The most American I get is like toast or some oatmeal in the morning. Everything else is street vendor food. Nothing too exciting, I've begun trying each of those interesting Asian lays flavors. This week was lobster, rather amazing if I do say so myself. And then there are the fruits, oh glorious fruits. I have no idea what their names are, most of them look like lychee, some don't have a seed. Small yellowish/green skin, amazing. So sweet. Then there's the passion fruit. Khon Thais don't seem to have a tolerance for sour things. But I love it, Just eating them like...fruit. I love fruit. Oh and then there was this interesting dish. It was peppers, some fruit, and something else that made it sour. And I think some fish sauce? It was confusing. You eat and chew the fruit piece and your mouth starts to burn and then pucker up. All at the same time. Confusing. I love it

Oh and 7-11 has manapua. or char siu bao. Haven't tried them yet but everyone has said they're pretty good. One day.

Practice Precedes Performance
So I read a talk and this was the title, definitely find this talk if you can! Sorry I can't remember exactly where it is. But just think how true that statement is. Everything we do is practice for the performance. You can't just expect to go out and be perfect right away. It takes practice. It takes time, and most importantly. Patience. Patience is the key, being patient with your progress (Remember focus on the positives and improve those negatives). You can't expect to do everything perfectly. I can't expect to speak Thai at the same level as my companion. He's been in Thailand for almost two years. Iv'e studied Thai for around 3 months. Patience. Patience is always the key.

Ok and a quick scripture
"Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees."

Each of us have responsibilities and strengths. And at the same time we also have an abundance of weaknesses. We must go forth with our strengths and strengthen and lift up those in need. I mean, this is pretty straightforward. Press forward in faith, constantly doing good. Do I need to explain more?

Elder แลลิส
Forward Ever. Stopping Never.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Accidents, Miracles, and Elephants

Elder Ellisʻ name tag
Road in Surin
Yeah I almost got hit by another car. I promise it wasn't my fault. Thai drivers are pretty scary. Its a good thing that the driver was so alert and the car also looked brand new. I guess the driver didn't want an awesome imprint of my body on their hood. Maybe they heard about the last person that hit me with a car.

Oh and then I almost ran into an ELEPHANT. Yeah it was late at night, I was tired, we were rushing to get back home and I wasn't paying attention to a large dark object that was about to cross the street. out of the path of the elephant. #swerve

So miracles. Huh are miracles dead? NOPE. Miracles are real people. Like this week, Surin is a bit rough, you go out, talk to people, see if theyre interested in learning about Jesus and then they just totally don't show up to appointments. So after a day of all your appointments cancelling, you feel pretty junk. Therefore, what do we do? Pray. Pray. And pray. So hard. So much, on bent knees, so completely humbled. So before I go on, I'll explain how we set these goals to go and try and teach a certain amount of people and go and find so much new people. And we were at the middle of the week. Not close to our goals. Yeah we were a bit sad....
Street contacting at the Open Market

But what do we do? Not give up of course. The next few days we are just working like crazy, going hard. Calling people. I don't even understand these people. Half the time I think theyre speaking like a different language (Side note, a lot of these people I talk with have all these random dialects. Like there's some norther dialect which now explains why every time I talk with these two members I have no idea what they're saying. then there are accents. So much confusion, so much fun. oh yeah.) Yeah so continuing on, we are just fired up. Cause we know that if we give up, we won't be recipients of any divine help. So we fight on. And get 8 new investigators. Our investigators brought friends, and then those friends were super interested, and then we got someone set up for a baptismal date next week #1weekmiracles and then just out of nowhere, all our appointments start working and we have people calling us saying that they need us to come and teach their family, that something just feels right. Then we had a less active member call us and say she wanted to meet with us. Intense stuff. Miracles. Miracles. Miracles.

So on to food, fermented eggs, more things I don't know about, and the way I order food.
So Fermented eggs. They arent my favorite, theyre alright. I also always order the same thing as my companion cause I have no idea what to eat. And he gets all these spicy things. So I eat spicy food now. Yum.

Ok yeah, so short letter ish cause I don't have much time and we rode elephants today yeah. The elephants went in the water, we got a bit wet. It was legit.

Read it, gotta love it, good stuff. Yum. Feast on those awesome words.
Alma 36:35-37

Love you all, have fun in school, study hard! Or work hard if you aren't in school....

Elder แอลลิส
Forward Ever. Stopping Never.