What a week. I cannot believe that Christmas was just last week because the past 7 days have felt like a solid month! I AM IN SISAKET!
SISAKET (Pronounced: See Sa Gait)
-11 hour bus ride from Bangkok (the poorest province in Thailand)
-Located in the ESAN! (basically like the South in America, rural, fully of happy people and has a different dialect of language and different type of food)
-Has not seen a falang girl in 7-8 months (I was proposed to by a stranger the other day)
-Has the greatest ward in Thailand
-Has super sketchy apartments so the sisters sleep in a HOTEL (super small but we get free toast everyday so it's all good)
-Is pretty small (about 3 7/11's) so we bike everywhere
So I have been here for 4 days, and I love this place. With my entire heart. After the congested Bangkok, getting out in the Esan is like taking a breath of fresh air! (I saw my first stars yesterday for the first time in 4 months!)
I cannot explain to you how incredible these members are. The Bishop has been a member for 2 years and missionary work runs through his blood. He loves the ward more than anything and he and his family do everything they can to help the ward grow! I swear they basically live at the church because they are there so often.
Also members love missionaries. LOVE THEM. My first day we were at a service project and a member found the missionaries, sat us down at a table and proceeded to feed us the most delicious food while everyone else was serving haha. Since then this has happened multiple times! They love helping and I honestly feel like royalty here. Also I will definitely leave Sisaket fatter than when I came because the food here is SO GOOD and members feed you until you can't move. It's the best.
We have 4 missionaries for the entire province and my companion is Sister Panjalee from Chaing Mai! So far I am 3 for 3 having native companions and SO BLESSED! I technically have been out longer on my mission but she didn't go to the MTC so she has been in country longer. We don't really have a senior companion and her personality is more of the following type so it kind of feels like I'm senior companion...pray for me.
Elder Gundry is the most obedient, kind hearted soul you will ever meet and he is training Elder Mac who is FRESH out of the MTC. (this is Elder Gundry's fourth time training--that is what type of missionary he is) Our district is SO READY to work miracles. This ward is so ready to help and we are so ready to work.
So having 3 native companions has many benefits, one of which includes having members think I am ending my mission in Sisaket because they thought my Thai was that good! THE GIFT OF TONGUES IS REAL and I will testify of that until the day I die.
I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS TRANSFER! Right now I just feel this drive! I am finally at a point where there isn't a huge language barrier, the ward is a missionary gold mine and my district is ready to WORK. I cannot explain to you how happy I feel. Truly the key to happiness as a missionary is WORK.
Sorry this is super long, the small details are mostly for my mom/grandma, but my challenge comes from my experience with transfers. I found out Tuesday night that I would be leaving Bang Na. I was so excited to get to see a new part of Thailand, but the next day saying goodbye tore my heart out. On the bus ride to Sisaket I was feeling so nervous, but I pulled out my Book of Mormon and turned right to Alma 37:36, "and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord." Immediately I felt complete peace. Wherever you go this week let it be IN THE LORD. And I promise everything will work out. I love you all, I love Thailand, and I love the Lord.
Much much love,
(the ward here loves nicknames so this will be my name for the next while)
New companion! Sister Panjalee (pronounced ban ja lee)
She is from Chaing Mai (the northern beautiful part of Thailand)
Elder Mac and I both had to get bikes. I CAN FINALLY BIKE!
First day and we were asked to sing for a bunch of kids, super cute!
Also this is the Elder's house...yeah. Just let that sink in. It is massive!
Every Friday is game night!
The Relief Society President is scary good at ping pong
New Years Party! (The bishop is the one bending down in the back)
Fried squid--welcome to the Esan!
Fried squid. Surprisingly delicious.
Our beautiful church!
This dog looks like it is having a panic attach haha
She was so excited a falang sister came to Sasaket she requested a picture!
I love Thai kids. The end.
CLEAR SKIES IN THE ESAN
On the way to the Bishop's house.
The bishop's house! He has the missionaries over every week for Sunday night dinner!
Kind of an awkward picture but I am SO excited to finally have a bike!
View outside our room!
Sisaket (borders Cambodia)