Friday, August 2, 2013

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

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