Monday, August 26, 2013

Thailand Week 2, 25 Aug 2013

Hey Mom and Dad and Nate and Natalie and Matthew and everyone else!  

I learned how to use time a bit better for emailing this time so I should be able to get a better email out!  Sorry the last one was kind of lame.  So lets see...Last Thursday there was a training meeting for all the missionaries in leadership positions up in Chiang Mai.  That doesn't include me, but it includes Sister Mack, Sister Stewart who both train, and elder Hunsaker who is a district leader and my trainer!  So I got to tag along with the three of them up to Chian Mai!  It's a 6 hour bus ride to get there. Not the funnest.  The way there we just talked so it wasn't bad.  I did studies with Elder Winsor (he was in the group ahead of me)  while they had their training.  We studied and then went and tried to contact for an hour.  Not my most favorite thing but it wasn't bad and I'm glad we tried to do something good.  Then we all went to dinner at The Dukes.  Which is like an Applebees haha.  But better!  They just sell farang (foreigner) food.  So I got a little taste of America with my giant burger, fries, and a big brownie!  Then we rode another bus home. (we spent the first night in Chiang Mai) and it was a later one.  We got back to Pilok at like 11:00.  I couldn't sleep at all and it was kind of miserable.  

Other fun parts of the week were our FHE activity, which ended up being water pong (Thais don't know any different), another activity where we played a game like signs but with fruit names in Thai.  I didn't know hardly any of them.  I was blueberry, which is blooberyyy.  haha so that wasn't too hard.  We taught some lessons and did some stuff with the members. Saturday was good.  We had a fun sports day in the morning, then studies, and an intense day of teaching.  We taught three lessons and then at the river found 'Y' so we talked to him a little bit too.  We taught 'I' the entire restoration lesson.  It was pretty focused but he took it well!  His baptism date is on Saturday so we're trying to teach everything fast.  We're doing all the commandments today.  Hopefully none of them are a problem!  I'm not super worried, he's awesome.  Then at night we had a rough hour or so of contacting.  At least it was for me. Most people in Thailand are nice, but not everyone.  Sunday was really good though.  We walked in and there were like 10 white girls all sitting there, which was a surprise haha.  They all teach English in a town nearby and will be here until December so that's cool.  But we had a few investigators come to church!  This one girl walked into the church saturday and was interested, not particularly for a spiritual reason but we taught her! In English too!  She speaks pretty much perfect English.  That was actually kinda weird.  Then we hung around to teach 'I' again, this time we did the whole Plan of Salvation and Gospel of Jesus Christ in one!  So much in one lesson!  But he seemed good!  One thing that really helps is having a member there to help.  We had a member at every lesson this week I think.  Oh and we taught another lesson!  We had a member bring his little sister to church!  He's getting ready to receive the Melchizedek priesthood.  His sister isn't a member though so we taught her and it was an awesome lesson!  Their aunt teaches Thai at BYU and she was there too!  We were teaching her and I got the impression that we should talk about baptism, I whispered to Elder Hunsaker and he was on the exact same page.  She accepted a baptism date!  Now we have 3 people with baptism dates!  It's so cool to see how missionary work works!  

Some days we contact for the whole two hours that President Senior asked for and don't find a whole lot.  But then one day we got back to the church and my bike was totally flat.  On the way walking home we met someone who wanted to learn!  We haven't gotten a chance to teach her yet but I'm excited for it!  The best contacting ever was yesterday night.  We went to this river here where people run and whatever and we drew the whole plan of Salvation out in chalk on the wall.  We wrote questions like "Did we have life before this?" at each step.  We ended up with 41 people answering!  And some really good people who want to learn!

Life here is pretty good.  We eat out almost everyday.  We have Sunday dinner and breakfast, the members all eat lunch together, and for the most part the rest is eating out.  We get really good Thai food for like 30 Baht. Which is a dollar.  A bottle of water at 7/11 is like 50 cents.  Supposedly you run out of the money they give you pretty often towards the end of the month, but then I'll just withdraw some from my debit card. I'll try to not draw out too much!  But could you make sure that it has enough all the time?  I don't think it'll ever be a problem.   One thing I need is mudflaps for my bike.  When it rains, which it does a lot, sometimes dirt gets flipped up and I have a couple shirts with little brown spots that don't wash out.  The store we got my bike at didn't have them.  Any tips on getting that out?  We have a washer in our house and just hang dry everything.  I'm pretty good at making PBandJ and ramen noodles.  I made scrambled eggs once!  We have a toaster a rice cooker, and a sandwhich maker too.  I'll get more creative as time goes on. 

That's fun you got to go to Eklutna!  You should've jumped off the dam!   We climbed up on the wall and ran and jumped into the side that is opposite the lake.  It's so fun!  
That's about all I have for this week!  I'm not good at pictues yet.  There's nothing too exotic here but maybe my next transfer will have elephants and stuff!  

I love you all and miss you tons!  Thanks for the support everyone gives me!
-Love Elder Josh Keller

The Plan of Salvation

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thailand Week 1, 18 Aug 2013

So I have unlimited time sort of but I don't want to be here too long so I'm just gonna do some stuff really quick!

-Flight was good!
-Typhoon was sketchy but we made it
-Hong Kong has drinks with chunks of aloe in it, super weird
-Thailand is hot and humid and sweaty
-My mission president and his wife are awesome
-Thai food is so good
-Being a missionary is exhausting
-I'm in Phitsanulok
-There's a good youth membership here
-Elder Hunsaker has been here a year and he's my awesome companion/trainer
-He makes me talk to people all by myself...
-I've gotten the chance to ask two people to be baptized and they both have dates!
-It's even harder to stay awake in church when you cant understand what the lesson is
-My house has a ping pong table!
-There are geckos!!
-No elephants yet!
-I got a flat tire already and had to get it replaced!
-Don't run over glass bottles with your bike.
-Talking to Thai people is so scary
-They talk fast and quiet
-I love you all!
-Sorry I'll do better with pictures and everything next week!

Love Elder Keller

Friday, August 16, 2013

Arrival in Thailand, 14 Aug 2013

 Josh arrived in Thailand!!

Josh with President and Sister Senior
22 new Thailand Missionaries

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

MTC Week 8, 7 Aug 2013

Hey Family! 

How is everything?  I hope all is well at home!  This might not be the longest letter, we're a little short on time.  We got the opportunity to clean the Provo Temple today!  It's been closed since the third week we got here for maintenance and remodeling and everything.   We got to go three times but that was it.  It was nice to get to go again.  The elders worked at the front of the building cleaning all the windows and big glass doors near the front desk and outside.  The sisters cleaned the crystal chandeliers.  They said that they don't really let the men ever handle those because we have a tendency to be a little less careful with things...I can't really blame them.  Afterwards we got to take a little tour of the Temple because it was all shut down for service.  We got to see a sealing room, the celestial room, the bride's room, and some other things.  the brides room was really cool, it had a big cool chandelier.  The lady with us told us when they put that together the girl doing it was so sad because a couple pieces had been lost, but that she later found them stuck in the instruction manual.  And they had all the pieces and just the right sizes.  The Lord really does bless us. 

We got our travel plans last week!! Let's just say we weren't the most focused district in class that day.  We leave the 12th of August.  We take the Frontrunner (some train thing) to the airport Monday night.  We report at the travel office at 5:15.  Once at the airport we board our first flight to LAX.  That's only like an hour flight.  After that we take the longest flight of the bunch from LA to Hong Kong. That's going to be a's like a 15 hour flight...with no movies or anything.  I'll just study Thai and read the scriptures or something.  Hooray....   They tell us to try and sleep when we would according to Thailand time.  They're 13 hours ahead of us over there.  After Hong Kong we fly over to Bangkok.  Altogether I think it's like 18-20 hours of flying.  All 22 of the Thai missionaries are flying in the same group.  I'm not sure when the best time to call is.  Probably at either Salt lake or in LA.  I'll plan on calling Mom's cell so just keep that by you! 

I'm kinda worried about my weight for suitcases. That carry on will definitely help.  It itself is pretty light so that's good.  I was so close to 50 on both of the suitcases I brought here, I've gone through some shampoo and a few other things so hopefully there won't be trouble.  If there is I'll have to plan on sending some stuff home.  The first things to go will probably be a pair of shoes or something I don't need or can find there.  I don't think I'll be able to keep all the piano music you sent weighs a lot!  If I end up having to send it home I'll keep some pages and send the others home!  Natalie did such a good job with the cover it's awesome!  Thanks so much for getting those two bags for me!  I love the shoulder bag and the duffel bag will work perfectly.  I've used it a few times here and its the perfect size.  Hopefully it doesn't get mugged off of me in Thailand...

We're all nervous for Thailand.  But at the same time I'm so excited!  There's so much I don't know, but our amazing teachers have done so much for us and taught us so much!  And of course we'll have the Lord on our side to make up all the difference if we're trying our best.  I'm nervous about who my senior trainer will be.  Some people start off with a native Thai person.  That would be hard, but at the same time you would have to pick up on the language so fast.  It would be a good thing in the end I think. 

Thanks for the pictures in the package!  I love them!  I might have to send some of those home too...but I''ll save as many as I can!  I wish that there wasn't a weight limit...that would be so much easier.  I'm not sure how mail works in Thailand.  I've heard that letters take 3-4 weeks and packages are sometimes a failure.  But emails will always work!  Next time you hear from me I'll be all the way around the world!  Seriously its pretty much a straight shot! 

It's weird to think that everyone is starting up school so soon!  It seems like a different world.  It kind of is haha.  I've felt pretty loved this week with three packages haha.  There's no way I'm eating all of this food...but Amanda did send me a little coloring book that I'll definitely do on the plane haha.  Our teachers are changing the lessons a little bit to help us really prepare for Thailand.  Friday we have "infield orientation" for like 6 hours.  Hopefully that's fun!  It could be a long day if its all boring stuff.

I love you so much and I'm so grateful for the influence everyone has had in my life.  I know that Heavenly Father has our best interests in mind and that when we're following promptings and obeying the spirit we'll always come out on top with His help. I love and miss you! Until next time! 
-Elder Josh Keller

Friday, August 2, 2013

MTC Week 7, 31 July 2013

Hi family!!!

How is everyone?  From what I read in the Dear Elders and everything it sounds like you're having tons of fun!  I hope you don't get all hiked and camped out before I get back! But you can get done painting the fence and stuff like that if you want. ;)  I promise I wouldn't mind.  Actually we do weekly service here so I'm getting my fair share of work in too.  This last week I cleaned drinking fountains and the computer labs.  At least it wasn't bathrooms!  Or scrubbing walls. My district members have told me that that's the worst one.  In two weeks I'll be leaving these cold brick walls and camel fur blankets.  Who knows if I'll be living somewhere better or not haha. Probably not. One elder that left the group ahead of us wrote someone and said he's living kinda near the ocean and their house is a little moldy and has lots of cockroaches.  So there's a good chance I'm gonna miss the cold brick walls keeping everything out.  But I doubt I'll miss the camel fur blanket, I really don't think I'm going to want it in Thailand.  I hope I get used to the heat fast!  I don't really have a choice.

This is our last normal week here in the MTC.  Next week we have a different schedule with infield orientation and some other stuff.  I haven't really looked at the schedule though.  We finished our last grammar principle the other day!  From now on we'll either be learning other things our teachers want to teach that aren't in the book, or just reviewing.  I need a lot of review.  When you look at the book it's easy to remember everything, but actualy using it, I forget it a lot.  We had a testimony meeting in Thai the other day that proved that to me.  It was just in front of Brother Olsen and the other people in my district but I was still so nervous.  It's going to be so nerve racking doing it in front of a whole Thailand ward!  Lots of prayers will be said.

But all things aside, I'm super excited to get going.  Our teachers have told us that we're way ahead of where they were and that the learning curve is higher nowadays.  So I know we'll be prepared.  We don't really know a lot of words to just get around all day.  Like words for all the things you could deal with in a day.  I'm going to be relying on my senior companion a lot that's for sure.

So I just read through my journal to see what I should talk about this week and it was pretty boring.  Not a lot of exciting things happened this week.  There were some good parts though.  In TRC we had another good experience.  We taught the same person as last week just without his friend.  He seemed more calm this time and actually a little sad.  We didn't have a specific topic this week so we just picked to teach the first lesson in PMG chapter 3.  It starts with stuff like God is our loving Heavenly Father and stuff.  The one section that had the most affect I think was "The Gospel Blesses Families".  We asked him how his family was and he said that they don't always get along and have a lot of unity.  We read some scriptures and promised him that keeping the commandments brings a happier atmosphere.  The rest of our lesson went pretty good too! I'm not sure what specifically helped him, but it turns out he was trained by our teacher Brother Thrap.  He told Brother Thrap that we helped him receive personal revelation about how to help his family be happier.  It feels good to know that you really are helping people. Some times its hard to see the real goal in the MTC. 

The other thing that happened this week was the musical number we sang in sacrament meeting.  Everyone said it was pretty good actually.  A couple people also said they couldn't hear me haha, I'm not surprised at all. I can't sing very loudly and still almost try to sound decent.  Elder Beatty didn't sing because he had a sore throat.  We sang that version of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" that we have the music for.  Sister Bentley played it really well.  She's the one that decided we would all do it.  But I'm actually glad we did it.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Crazy to hear those words from me huh?

In our district we actually have four peopel who's birthdays are in the MTC.  So we got some gifts together and stuff.  It was also Brother Booth's birthday too!  We went a little more all out for him.  Elder Watkins had this big baseball cake that he got for his birthday but never ate.  So we brought that in to him and also picked a bunch of random stuff from the book store.  Crump and Watkins put a bunch of little notes on them all.

Our devotional last night was pretty good.  They talked a lot about how important a mission is.   Spiritual Thought:  A mission is hard, and bringing people to the Gospel is hard, because of the price that Christ had to pay for our salvation.  We each will go through a few minutes of Gethsemane and take a few steps towards Calvary while we do our part to help bring to pass the work of salvation amongst the children of God.  It gave me a whole new perspective on missionary work and Christ's Atonement.

That's about it for excitement.  Oh!! Just like 30 minutes ago I saw Jacob Curtis in the cafeteria!  He just got here this morning!  He's way excited to be here.  I'm not sure what room or anything he's in.  There's a chane he'll be in my residence hall.  There are quite a few english speakers in there and I think we're between groups right now.  I'll keep my fingers crossed. 

We went and talked to the immunizations office today because we never got the second part of our Japanese Insefilidus (?) shots but the sisters did.  It's a good thing we went!  They had forgotten about us!  We could have died!!  We go in on Friday to get them really quick.  We should get our travel plans on Friday too!  I got a letter from the Mission Pres, I'll forward it too you.  It talks all about our trip and what to have in the carryon and whatever.  I'm so excited to get to go to Thailand!  I love you all and I miss everyone so much!  Until next Wednesday! 
Love Elder Josh Keller

MTC Week 6, 24 July 2013

Hey Family!

How is everything?  Things are going pretty good here.  This has been a good week as far as everything goes.  Not too much to complain about.

Last Saturday we had to teach in TRC, which is where we do a home teaching sort of lesson to either native speaking members, or more often, returned missionaries.  It was the first time we had to plan for a 40 minute lesson and deliver the whole thing.  I was pretty nervous.  Especially because last week Elder Vance had a bad time with the two guys we got.  They were pretty good friends I think and they would kinda laugh sometimes, and the one was kinda dramatic.  Actually I really liked the lesson!  We definitely had the Spirit there. I could feel it working on me and Elder Watkins, but also the two people we taught.  When we started teaching they got quieter and you could tell that they knew we were teaching the truth and that we were doing it seriously.  In the end we had a way good lesson and an awesome experience.  Sunday wasn't too bad.  I'm the District Leader now until we leave on the 12th.  It doesn't mean a whole lot.  I have to lead like 2 meetings a week, get the mail, and go to leadership training on Sundays.  It's not that exciting.  The highlight of that day was our district review about the devotional.  We did it with the Laotians because there are only 4 of them  (at least a couple are going to open the Lao speaking mission in Oakland California!).  There's one Lao Elder, Elder Adam, who had a really strong testimony but is always timid.  Sister Jackson got up and said that she was following a prompting and with the Spirit told him how strong his testimony is and that if he will take hold of it and share it with the world he can change so many people's lives.  The Spirit was so strong and emotional.  She wasn't the last person to give and emotional testimony and by the end we could really feel the Spirit. 

Monday was pretty typical.  Service, study, lunch, gym, the usual.  Elder Vance and I did upper body stuff and I can feel it now... Tuesday, yesterday, was one of the best days I've had here.  It was Elder Watkin's birthday, and for his birthday we got to leave the MTC!!  Actually he had to go to the dentist to fix a chipped tooth.  But it was still fun!  He even thinks so haha.  We drove like 5 minutes in an MTC shuttle to the office.  Everyone we saw was way nice and asked about our missions.  The dentists worked really fast too.  While we were there we got to listen to some real music on the radio!  I mean...I sat and plugged my ears the whole time...  Over all it was smooth and it was a different experience to be missionaries outside of the MTC.  Even though we were practically on BYU campus. 

By the way, Elder Crump and Sister Jackson both went to the University of Utah and loved it there!  They say that it's a cool place because it's such a good school and because there are so many different kinds of people you can see there.  They have a good biomedical engineering program there, so I'm really tempted to look into it and see what could happen. 

Okay back to Tuesday.  So we went to the dentist, then came back and we were already done with our one block of classes that day.  The devotional takes up the time in the evening.  So all we came back to was studying and gym!  Not a bad day!  The devotional was good, and we had another devotional review.  This was good too.  The Spirit was there, but instead of a crying sort of feeling, everyone just felt happy and you could feel the love everyone had in the room.  I was so surprised at how much more comfortable and calm that Elder seemed already.  Elder Reid, also Laotian, bore his testimony on how happy he is that he knows that through the atonement he can be with his family forever, and how grateful he is that he gets to spread that knowledge and joy to others.  He is always such a happy person, and I can definitely feel it rub off onto me.

So after that we went back into our residence and had a sort of party for Elder Watkins.  His family sent some really good food and drinks so we just sat around eating until our stomachs hurt for a while and just talked and laughed.  So Elder Smith has a sister who is a couple years or so younger than us and Elder Watkins is always teasing him about how he's going to marry his sister someday.  Elder Smith takes it like a champ.  So Elder Smith decided for his birthday he's going to get his sister to write Elder Watkins a letter.  It was so funny!  She played it off so well.  She wrote all about how much she loves him and is so proud of him for what he's doing.  and that she's looking forward to there eternal lives together.  Then on the back she wrote the real letter haha.  It was such fun and good night! 

So I have 3 more weeks here then we head to Thailand.  I'm so nervous!  Thai is a way hard language and I don't feel ready yet.  I'm just hoping I have a good senior companion.  Our teachers do so much to prepare us in every way.  They're really amazing people.  So I've heard that letters take about 3 weeks to Thailand.  Maybe you want to send some now so I'll have them when I get there. ;) 

I love you all and I'm so grateful for all the support!
Love Elder Keller

MTC Week 5, 17 July 2013

Hey Family!

We're starting our sixth week here at the MTC!  It's weird to think that some people leave after this long.  I definitely don't feel ready to leave yet.  We're just barely learning how to do everything!  There's so much to learn I don't know how I could be ready by now.  I guess that's why they stick us here for 9 weeks.  I'm so glad it's not 12 anymore...I don't know how I'd feel knowing I'm only halfway there.  

We've had a pretty routine but good week.  Probably the most exciting thing was our TRC on Saturday.  TRC stands for Teaching Resource Center, it's pretty much a home teaching type of visit with members who speak Thai.  It's pretty much 100% return missionaries that have served in Thailand.  At least...until Saturday.  We were standing around waiting for them to tell us which rooms to go into and one of the TRC coordinator guys was walking around with a group of Asian girls. We got so scared!  Teaching our teachers is hard enough!  But teaching native Thai speakers?? We were a little nervous to say the least.  Our first group was white people.  We were so relieved.  But then we switched to a Thai speaker and it kinda went downhill.  We started the lesson and tried to talk to her and she was so hard to understand!  It made me rethink everything I thought I knew about Thai!  After at least every other sentence she had to go into English to explain what she said.  They talked way fast and didn't even sound like what we were learning.  Turns out it kind of wasn't though..They're from Udon Thani and they have kind of a different dialect there than what we've been mostly learning.  So that made us feel better.  On one of the little evaluation cards one of the questions is "How did you feel about the lesson?"  Our Thai speaker wrote "Good, because they tried."  Such a confident booster right?  We couldn't even read it.  She had bad handwriting and script is hard anyways, so we asked one of the teachers haha.

We're trying to immerse ourselves in the Thai culture here, and one of the biggest differences is the way they use the bathroom.  For the most part they just have squatter toilets with a hole in the ground, and then use a sprayer that's kind of like the pull out faucet from a kitchen sink.  Elder Watkins has been to that area because  his brother served in Malaysia or something so he has some experience.  We decided that we should practice at least a little before we get there.  Watkins walked in one day and said "guys I did the Asian Squat"   We were kind of confused, but it turns out it works pretty good to just squat on the toilet seat.  You'd be surprised how much more natural it is to squat than to sit.  We're ready for Thailand.

Last night's devotional was good.  The speaker was President Hinckley's son, Richard Hinckley, and he gave a really good talk.  It focused a lot on how to be an effective missionary and the tools that we have.  Especially now that they're thinking about opening face book and tablets in more missions.  Also, there's a rumor going around about a missionary dress code update?  Have you heard about that?  What I hear is that Light grey suits and pants are approved, skinny ties are cut, ties can't be pink, and they don't want missionaries using backpacks because they're harder to get out of it someone is taking it from you or something.  So we have to get one strap bags or something?  Who knows for sure, I bet it all depends a little bit on your mission president too.

How is everything at home?  Is Matt still the greatest defender in the world? Nate and Natalie seem to play more all around!  Oh Natalie!  We just found out that Sister Jackson, one of the sisters in my district is amazing at the violin!  She played a musical number in sacrament and it sounded so good.  I'm glad Nathan finally got to go hike hatcher's Pass!  I'm jealous.  Did you guys swim?  Even though there's ice?  You should have!  I've never wanted to swim more than when we're walking around the temple in suits and its 100 degrees outside. The big fountains look so tempting.  Last time we went there were a couple guys with crosses protesting the church.  One of them asked, "Who can forgive sin?" haha easy question...Jesus!  I guess some missionaries took pictures with them?  They announced that that doesn't look good and it will probably get on the internet in some way.

I just read your email Mom!  I'm sorry about your elbow Nate!  That's a bummer!  But hey, you can get a bunch of girls to sign your cast ;)  You and Malynn will have to swap stories.  I've been playing volleyball for gym lately, it's really fun when there are people who are good enough to make it happen.  Sometimes you just kinda stand there because it doesn't go back and forth a whole lot.  When it's like that I usually go run and lift or something.  It's 12:11 and it's already been a successful PDay.  Laundry is done, emails are almost done, we took a nap, I read my chapters for today in the Book of Mormon, (we read about Moroni outwitting the Lamanites and Zahemenya? getting scalped), I polished my shoes, organized my closet, I even made shelves out of old boxes we had from packages.  And we have 6 more hours!  Elder Watkins and I are teaching tonight at 6:30 so we'll have to take some times to prepare for that but I'm not worried, we do pretty good with our lessons by now.
Dip netting sounds fun!  I'm glad you guys got some fish!  They have salmon here sometimes but its not as good as at home.  I got to sit next to Elder Isaac Light at the devotional last night, he's one of the guys that went to South that I knew.  He's going somewhere in Brazil, but I'm not sure where.

Spiritual thought: Moroni bore testimony to the Lamanite army that through their faith they were empowered and the Lord delivered them in war.  He said that through faith they will be saved and raised the Title of Liberty to the Nation to remind the Nephites what they fight for.  We don't fight with swords and arrows but we fight all the same, and I know that through faith we will be guided and protected.

Dad thanks for all the spiritual thoughts in your letters!  I love reading them and feeling the Spirit!  I love you and Mom so much, I really appreciate how much you have done for me all these years.  I love you Mom.  I love you Dad.
I'll talk to you again next week!  I love and miss you all! 
Love Elder Josh Keller

MTC Week 4, 10 July 2013

Hey Mom! 

How are you?  It sounds like you guys are all having tons of fun!  I hope you still like camping and bike riding by the time I get back!  I hope I still like bike riding by the time I get back.  Thanks for the package!!  It's awesome!  The photo album is great too! I like the pictures you picked out.  I have soooo much food now....Amanda sent me two boxes just full of treats and now I got the treats from you too!  Our room is so full of food we could just not go to lunch everyday.  We'd get super sick of skittles and oreos though haha.  And thanks for the other stuff in there too!  This is my fourth week at the MTC!  Only five more to go!  Wow that doesn't exactly sound like its gonna go by super fast. Hopefully it does.  I keep getting to see Daniel Poletti around, and Johnny Neu comes in today too!  Along with a guy from South High that I've met a few times before.  Mat Johnson took off to the field on Monday, I almost didn't get to see him!  He was at the West campus in the dorms.  It sounds like their dorms are so much nice than ours, but apparently we have better food.  That came as a surprise to us haha.  One of the best things here is the oatmeal because you can't really mess that up.  Elders Watkins and Crump are always super excited to get thier oatmeal.  They have two vats filled with either oatmeal, cracked wheat, or cream of wheat.  Today it was just cream of wheat and cracked wheat.  Crump is convinced its because he took a bite of his oatmeal yesterday before he remembered to pray haha.  

Thank you so much for the postcards!  They were so fun to get!  They all asked me if i've seen the Northern Lights and thought it was way cool.  Matt I bet you've already beat Poke Park 2!  The music from the first one is ingrained in my head.  Natalie there was a sister who played her violin with the choir at the devotional last night and it made me think of you! You're going to be so good by the time I get back!  I had a bit of an accomplishment at that devotional.  I got a solid thirty minute nap in.  I was kind of impressed with myself considering the seats at the Marriot center are so bad...I tried to stay awake it just didn't work out. We're such a close district that a lot of times we end up talking or whatever instead of getting to bed on time.  Elder Beatty actually bought ear plugs haha.  For gym I've been going up to the track and running and doing some of the lifting machines they have up there.  Nathan I bet you would like to play basketball.  Or probably soccer, you'd be one of the better players out there if you came right now haha.  We did our laundry early again so now its 10:22 and we have the whole day (until 6) ahead of us.  

The Fourth of July was fun! We had a little devotional, watched 17 Miracles, and then they let us try and look through the wall of trees and buildings that surrounds the MTC to try and see the fireworks from the Stadium of Fire program.  That night we were allowed to be up past our bed time haha.  Then I think it was monday there was a thunderstorm!  It was so cool!  They all thought it was weird that I was so excited but we don't get that in Alaska.  It worked out perfectly, we didn't have a teacher for the first hour of our class block for some reason.  So some of us took a walk in the pouring rain.  We came back soaked but it was worth it haha.  The thunder and lightning was awesome. 

Elder Watkins and I are getting good at teaching!  With the language and the spirit.  Our teacher even took us out after a lesson and said he was impressed.  He plays our investigator and asked us questions about Christ and the Atonement that we hadn't planned on teaching, he said we did good with it.  

Spiritual thought:  We watched a talk by Elder Bednar about feeling the Spirit.  He talked about how some people worry about if its the Spirit or just our own thoughts.  He said "Just quit worrying about it!"  He said that as long as we are faithfully serving and worthy to receive guidance that often times we will and not even realize it.  I read a scripture that said the Holy Ghost Dwells in out hearts, not just visits.  I really liked that message, expecially on a mission.  We're cruising through the Book of Mormom.  Last night I read about Alma and Amulek and how they brought the prison down on all the evil men who were taunting them.  I loved how Zeezrom was able to be forgiven and healed, the Atonement is so powerful.  

I bought a second memory card for like 8 bucks!  It's smaller but still a good size.  I'll send the one with pictures on it home and use this one in the meantime, then we can swap.  I'm not sure that will work so well in Thailand but we'll figure that out. Some of the other Elder's moms are using missionary mom or something to find each other and they're looking at eachother's blogs and pictures, maybe you can find some of the people in my district!  Elder Jacob Smith, Elder J. Brett Crump, Elder Josh Beatty, Elder Landon Watkins (my companion), and Elder Kendall Vance.  As far as needs go I think I'm covered!  But I do have a request!  Could you make copies of some of the piano music I used to play?  Especially the Come Come Ye Saints and any others you feel like sending.  I'm not sure what the best way to send them is but whatever you figure out will be awesome I'm sure!  I'm running short on time, but I love you all and I'm so glad to hear from all of you!  Congratulations Mom and Dad!  I love you and I'm so greatful for all that you've done for me!

Love Elder Josh Keller

MTC Week 3, 3 July 2013

Hi mom!

How are you?  Everything is going pretty good here.  Since the temple is closed we had nothing to do in the mornings.  We decided to wake up at like 6:30 and go do our laundry early so it would be out of the way.  Its 9:17 and we're all done!  We don't have to do anything else until 6!  Its such a good feeling to have some real free time.  I'm starting to figure out laundry.  I wash all my whites and colors and then take out my quick dry shirts to dry the colors.  I washed my pants today, the ones we bought at REI,  I hope I did it right.  I just washed them regularly and then let them hang to dry.  Another thing about being out before 10 in the morning is that its not hot yet!  We have gym at like 2:30 on tuesdays and it gets way hot...I'm surprised I haven't sunburned myself yet.  

So about the pictures, turns out my camera acts as a card reader so that problem should be taken care of, the problem is a lot of the computers don't allow you to attach pictures to your emails, I'm not sure why.  We're in a different building today that we heard was better, hopefully they're right.  I haven't tried it yet.  At the world leadership training they had a coupole weeks ago they said that we're going to be doing a lot more with internet and technology.  It sounds like we'll be able to have a facebook account and maybe a blog while we're in the field!  That would be awesome and such a good way to communicate with people.  It would be a new account of course, but anyone could friend request it I bet. 

We're really starting to get into the Thai now.  We're weening ourselves off of the romanized Thai that looks more like english, and into the crazy swirly script stuff.  I can read most of it, but it takes like 3 minutes a word sometimes.  We have to look for consonants and then look all around the consonant (up, down, left, right, sometimes all four plus an accent) to figure out one syllable.  The tones are hard to figure out too.  We teach our third leasson to this one investigator (Our teacher brother Olsen)  tonight about the plan of salvation.  Me and elder Watkins are starting to really figure out how to teach with the Spirit and be able to adapt what we wanted to say mid lesson.  My district is full of cool guys.  Elder Watkins (my companion) is now our DL and Elders Crump and Beatty are the ZLs.  We have lots of fun.  Elder Crump got Cafe Rio dropped off one night and it was so good.  I wish we had one in Alaska.  The food here feels pretty boring sometimes.  And it gives everyone crasy gas.  Elder Smith has been blessed with the gift of farts.  He can fart on command.  The other night he farted 111 times in a row no joke.  

So I'm starting to figure out what sorts of things I need here.  I'll just list it off.  I rolled my ankle the other day so that ankle sleeve would be nice.  Another pair of shorts and a shirt, the shirt doesn't have to be like a athletic shirt, just so I have another one to wear around.  I'm kinda bored of my ties...If you could send a bunch of mine at home that would be awesome!  There's a microwave downstairs so we could totally make easy mac or popcorn if we wanted to.  Since there are 6 people in our room there are two of us without a desk.  Could you send some sort of light that I could hang from the bunk above me or something?  The flashlight is kinda hard to use and write at the same time. Oh and I lost my hair gel...I don't know how..maybe I left it on the bathroom counter?  I don't know where it is, could you send me more of the same stuff?  The red axe gel?  Thanks!

I love hearing from you guys and all the little things that go on at home!  I wish I could go watch Nathan and Natalie and Matthew go tear it up playing soccer!  Soccer here is fun but not that intense really.  Keep the letters coming!  It makes my day to hear from you guys.  Spiritual thought: at our devotional last night one of the speakers said we need to keep the gospel inside of us at all times.  I'm learning how true that is.  If we have the gospel with us and as our focus everything else that is hard will be a little bit easier.  I love you all!

Love Elder Joshua Keller