Monday, September 30, 2013

Thailand Week 7, 29 Sept 2013

So this week had pretty much one thing that tops it all.  Random transfers meeting!!!!  So we got back to our area Monday, and had one normal day.  Then Tuesday morning Elder Hunsaker gets a call from the zone leaders and he moved!!  He packed up everything that day (he has an impressive 60+ ties) and we were in Bangkok the next day by 2 in the afternoon. It was a pretty sad day.  My new companion is Elder Lucas who was actually MTC comps with Elder Hunsaker!  They're totally different people its crazy.  Me and Elder Lucas work well together, but we're still getting used to everything.  The first few days weren't all that exciting. We did a lot of sitting around and introducing all the people we teach and everything.  This week we'll really be able to start cracking down and getting to work!!  I'm excited for it! I've missed doing work the past little bit!  

So yeah that was the highlight of my week for sure.  We did get absolutely drenched one day too.  We road home in like 4 inches of rain in some places.  But it was coming from sports so we were thankfully in p-day clothes.  Elder Lucas' shoes are on their way though so he had to wear wet church shoes all day.

Oh and we got to eat at a member's house!  That was a first haha.  I know Mat and Johnny do that all the time but it's a little rare here, haha.  This sister went to BYU and worked at cafe rio or something so we had waaay good tacos, it was nice to be different from the typical Thai food.  

So yeah that's my week!  I love you all and can't wait to hear from you! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Thailand Week 6, 22 Sept 2013

Hey everyone!! 
This week was fun!! 
We had a pretty typical week.  Wednesday at our activity we had like 30 people!!  I think it's because they did interviews with the Branch President at the same time but whatever it was way fun!!  

Then Thursday we went and got on a bus up to Chiang Mai for district conference and zone conference!!

I wonder how many people get on a bus for six hours to get to their zone head quarters.  Probably not that many.  It was a way good weekend.  The bus isn't all that fun but I don't mind it.  I got to watch the mummy movie with the dragon king. Whichever one that was. It was in Thai though haha.  On the buses you can't get away from it, its on the speakers, so President says make it language study.   I didn't pick hardly anything out haha.  Listening is way hard!  

Friday we had our zone conference with all the missionaries in our zone.  Which includes Phitsanulok (me), Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Lam Pang.  So like 25 missionaries.  It was so fun!!  We talked about conversion and making a lasting conversion so that the church can really progress. That's our goal right now, building up the church so we can have more wards and stakes.  We're not too far from qualifying for a temple!!  How awesome would that be!!  They already know where it will be too!
My team won our activity at zone conference too so now I have 200 baht to Swensens, this way good ice cream place waiting to be used.  Saturday we had nothing planned to do.  We hung out for a while and talked to some members.  There are really cool people in the church here!  Then like 8 of us went and did a really cool contacting activity!!  We did chalk again!! Surprised right?  We went to the park and drew a HUUUUGE plan of salvation!! Like so big we would walk people through the whole thing. You could fit like 6 people on earth.  So many people came to that place too. With like 15 missionaries working we got like 100 people through it in like 3 hours.  It was a way good experience and super fun to work with all the missionaries!! Then we went to the best white person food place in Thailand and I got a huge plate of fried chicken and a big piece of cheese cake.  Sooo good.

Sunday we had our district conference. We had like 25 people from Phitsanulok come!!  Which is good considering it's 6 hours away.  There were members of the 70 there!!  Oh and Elder Vance and I got a chance to teach with one of them!

This was cool.  This guy from Sweden that is living in Thailand for a while has had some experiences in his life that are obviously promptings from the Holy Ghost and Heavenly Father helping him out.  Once he got a prompting to check some soldiers and ended up saving them from -40 degree weather as a soldier in Sweden.  But he's kinda pushed these experiences away because he doesn't understand them.  Then the day before he had another crazy thing happen, some fire he was lighting did something crazy and started spinning or something.  It made him rethink those other experiences and he came into church wanting to talk about them to someone. Elder Vance, Elder Fung (70) and I got to talk to him!!  You could definitely see the spirit working on him as he came to terms with Heavenly Father and was assured that he is real and he does interact with us.  He couldn't come to the meetings but hopefully he learns again soon!  The Lord definitely does prepare people!  

After that we ate tons of food that the members all provided and headed back here.  I'm excited to get back to work in Phitsanulok!  I love it here!

Love Elder Josh Keller

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thailand Week 5, 15 Sept 2013

Hey Everyone!  So here's how my week went!  It had some pretty fun days!  

Monday was pretty typical for a P-day.  I was pretty productive though!  I shined my shoes, wrote a letter, read some in Jesus the Christ, watched the testaments, it's nice just to have time to relax.  We had probably a record number of phone calls though.  All of which I had to answer because Elder Hunsaker was asleep haha. It didn't always go so well.  Thai is so hard over the phone.

Tuesday we had a cool experience contacting.  We had some appointments planned but as I'm getting really used to here almost all of them fell through and people just didn't show up.  So we went and did some contacting to fill time.  Not the funnest thing.  While we were there we got this call from someone we contacted Sunday when we drew with chalk and she said "Hey I see you".  So we got to talk to her again and set up a new appointment!  That was a cool blessing.

Wednesday was definitely a new experience.  We had the zone leaders come down from Chiang Mai for the day.  Elders Harley and Xayavong.  They're both awesome missionaries.  We went on splits with them for the whole day pretty much.  I got to split with elder Xayavong.  Oh and guess what?  He's a missionary from Laos!  We spoke in Thai pretty much the whole time. He's pretty good at English, especially for the missionary stuff.  He's a way good Elder.  We went and talked to a few people and visited one of the sister's investigators with them.  It was a really good experience. 

Thursday wasn't anything too special.  Actually wait it was my 1 month mark in country!!  I've officially been in Thailand for a month now!! We do our long planning session for the week on Thursdays so we always get good food before.  This week was pizza. Oh man it was so good.  We also got to teach Brother J a lesson about the Melchizedek priesthood and we watched the Mormon Message called "Sanctify Yourselves" about an 18 year old football coach for a young team.  One player got struck by lightning during practice and while the other coaches (2 EMTs) did CPR he gave a silent blessing.  They both have served missions since then!  The priesthood has such real power.

Friday was a good day.  We taught a lot.  Which resulted in us doing like a 15 minute crazy dash through the streets of Pitsanulok following brother Gap on his motorcycle weaving through some cars and stuff.  Then we did the same thing right after that to get to the next appointment.  It can get pretty crazy here sometimes.

Saturday we rode a bus out of the city to see a couple recent converts that live out there.  It's crazy how fast it goes from a city to rice patties and big green jungle trees.  I'll post some pictures.  Once we got there we rode to the members house on a crazy cart thing. It's like what Nacho Libre drives.  It has a dirt bike for the back where the driver sits and then a two wheeled cart for the front.  It was a way cool experience,  even if we did get absolutely drenched walking to one of the houses in a rainstorm.  

Sunday was pretty normal. Church, teaching, yeah.

All in all a pretty good week!  

We have zone conference and district conference to look forward to this week!  I'm the music chorister at zone conference.  What the heck?  It was a pretty random assignment haha.  There are 10 "how to Begin teaching" points in Preach My Gospel that we have to memorize along with Doctrine and Covenants section 4. They randomly pick some people to recite them in front of everyone at zone conference...kinda scary haha.  It'll be fun to spend a couple days up in Chiang Mai.

ผมรักครอบครัว That means I love you family!  Thai is getting easier, but it's still hard.  There are so many things that I can't do still.  In Thailand people are blunt and don't really filter things as much so I've gotten "oh you don't speak Thai very well yet".  Or there's this one sister that we called and she was like "why did you make me talk to the greeny??"  haha It's funny though. 

Mom you wouldn't like eating here. It's way good but it doesn't look the cleanest haha.  It's almost always outside with flies everywhere haha.  At the store all the meat is just out on ice sitting there.  But I'm not sick yet!
One thing about being a missionary is you don't ever hear music, so sometimes when we're in stores they play good songs.  I got pretty lucky one day!  (I don't know if I should be excited about this or not haha). But I got to hear "Hard to love", "Burn it down" by Linkin Park and "the Good Life" by One Republic.  Score!  

I'm loving everything and doing good! 
Love Elder Josh Keller

Monday, September 9, 2013

Thailand Week 4, 8 Sept 2013

Hey everyone!  
This week was actually pretty boring.  Well not boring, but nothing super crazy happened.  Monday we had our activity, Tuesday we did English class. That was actually way fun.  It was an end of the unit kind of thing so we put in the Joseph Smith movie in English for them to watch.  I liked it more than most of them I think haha.  Wednesday we didn't have a whole lot to do.  Thai people don't feel bad cancelling lessons or just not showing up.  Usually the later.  So we spent quite a bit of time just sitting at the church waiting for people who didn't come.  

But the ones that do come make it all worth it!  We have a few investigators and they're awesome.  It's so fun to teach.  It's when I can understand most of what's going on because it's all the vocab I've practiced haha.  I did finally see a monkey!  Sorta.  We were contacting and we saw a cage a little bit down a side street.  It was like 3 feet cubed and there was a monkey in it!  It was kinda sad actually.   Some guy threw some water at it.  But yeah that was my monkey experience.  

Oh Monday was pretty fun!  We went to the central mall thing to watch a member do a dance thing there.  He's one of the best dancers in Thailand so it was way cool.  We ended up just hanging out there all day because his time got changed but it was cool.  In McDonald's there were a couple girls that had done exchanges in Utah and could speak perfect English!  They asked to take a picture with us to send to their host families!  It was a cool coincidence.

We've done a lot of contacting this week.  President Senior has requested 2 hours a day of contacting.  And I'm sure in other missions that's nothing but I'm still getting used to it.  I'm getting better though.  Elder Hunsaker is all about starting off in a weird way or something.  Almost like a pick up line.  It works though.  You just have to break the ice.  It's still something that part of me just doesn't like at all though.  We have Thai Book of Mormons that we hand out, but we don't do any house knocking.  Just street contacting.  

I don't really have any good pictures from this week...
Our chalk drawings were awesome though!  Some of the Sisters are way good artists.  We had the tree of life, Enos, Nephi building the boat, King Benjamin, and Abinadi.  I got like 7 phone numbers from it! Having people answer the questions really helps open up the conversation.

Sunday was pretty good!  I didn't understand everything and dozed a bit in sacrament meeting.  But our investigator that got baptized last week got the priesthood!  And another young member got to give it to him! 

Oh and a member asked me if I could give him a priesthood blessing.  It was so nerve wracking to have to do it in Thai.  I read the quoted parts in Thai and tried my best to make sense with the blessing part haha.  

One thing I'm still not good at is sitting cross legged. It hurts my hips and knees so bad.  Sometimes we teach lessons all like that or do an activity that way.  The older missionaries say it gets better but I'm still waiting for that...

Thailand is such a cool place!  Every day I feel less and less like someone who doesn't belong here.  It really helps with everything.  I'll hit my one month in country mark this week!  That's such a crazy thought!  It already feels like this is just what I do.  Time is weird on a mission.  

I just finished reading 2 Nephi and have started Jacob.  The end of 2 Nephi is so intense and powerful.  And then Jacob talked about how he had to preach to the people to fulfill his responsibility to our Heavenly Father as one with knowledge and a calling in the gospel.  It reminded me of what I'm doing and how there are people that need to hear the gospel.  

I love and miss you all so much!  I hope everything stays good at home!  

Love Elder Josh Keller

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Thailand Week 3, 1 Sept 2013

Hey family!  

How is everything?  Phitsanulok doesn't have all the cool Thailandy stuff like some other areas.  I haven't seen a single elephant.  But I have seen a Gecko!  I caught a tiny one in our house and when I tried to take a picture the flash went off right in it's's probably blinded for life now.  We haven't had too many crawly things.  We had one cockroach crawl out of the bathroom drain but he didn't last long.  That gecko you saw at the fair looks like what they call  Dook-aeh.  They're really scared of them because they'll bite you and don't let go until you kill them is what I've heard.  I haven't seen one yet but they're common in some parts I think.  They get like 15 inches long I think.  

This week was kinda boring but we did do some really fun stuff!  Tuesday we got to teach the advanced English class and this week's topic was on slang.  We had some fun haha.  There are now a bunch of Thai kids that know the words boss, dope, swag, peace, yo, dawg, and some others.  They also learned that a lot of the songs you hear use words that aren't nice too...

We helped some member serve a friend too, we sanded some metal gates to get rust off and then painted those and some stools.  It was like 100 degrees.

Wednesday I can't remember anything.

Thursday our investigator 'I' passed his interview for baptism!  So that was awesome!

Friday we didn't do anything too special.

Saturday was the baptism!  It was so good!  Another member baptized him and we also had a member confirm him on Sunday.  The baptism was way good and he had such a good testimony he bore after it.  

Sundays aren't really days of rest for a missionary   The only difference is that I spend three hours sitting and trying to understand.  Without a whole lot of luck most of the time.  I dosed off a bit during testimonies yesterday.  
So yeah that's pretty much it!  

Mom if you ever send a package just know that we get it every 9 weeks at transfers meeting.  And Elder Hunsaker recommends getting the "just add water" kind of things like mashed potatoes or something.  And I can print stuff here at these computer places!  So If you get piano music and send it as an email or something I can get it!  Could you send the pirates of the carribean, the "all creatures of our god and king", and also there's this member that can play the skyrim theme and it's way cool.  Don't work to hard or pay a lot but if you could find that, that would be awesome.  Oh and I bet you'd like "Requiem for a dream"  It's way good but Elder Hunsaker has it already.  Oh! and 'In Dreams' from the Lord of the Rings!  

How's everyone doing at home!  It sounds like everything is going good!  Mom I think if I asked people and tried to figure out their religion I would get Buddhist like 90% of the time haha.  Literally.  There are statues everywhere.  I'm really learning to appreciate you cooking and cleaning and doing laundry.  We have a washer in the house so it's not that hard really, and we hang everything.  We get real food because we eat out almost every meal.  And we just don't clean that often.  There's a bunch of little ants that crawl in through the window by my desk and I should figure out what they're going for.

Dad you would love to come here and see everything just because it's such a different and interesting culture!  Everything here is just not the same.  

I love you all and can't wait to hear from you again!
Love Elder Josh Keller