August 17, 2011

Hello World!

It's been an awesome week here.  I'm in a threesome + 1.  My companions are Elders Staten and Mateos.  Sister Knutson is solo, we accompany her for most everything.  So our whole district is one group.  They are all awesome.
The Phii Thais are also awesome (Older Thais in Thai).  There are twelve of them, they leave in just under three weeks.  They help us practice the language, have explained to us how things work, and are super helpful.  The two Thai districts are really something else.  We have quite the group.  By and large, we have a lot of education and brains.  Economics, Biology, Physics, Forensics, Doctors.  One, two, three years, degree already.  Everyone is so good, it's really inspiring.  The Phii Thays gave us these pocket notebooks for vocabulary that are so incredibly useful.  Anytime I learn a new word from them I write it down, or if there is a word, such as Banana that I use a lot, I write it down and look it up.  (We eat a lot of Bananas, and it sounds like it could be a Thai word if it had some tones.)
So about the language:  once I was dropped off and processed, I was left in our classroom.  Sister Wongwiraphab only was speaking Thai, and nobody else was there yet.  I managed to get through the computer orientation, and then went back and started learning.  She will write the Thai word and the English word on the board for us.  We can pray in Thai, bear testimony, and talk a bit.  It's really amazing how much we've learned so fast.  It really is the Gift of Tongues.  Tones are tricky.  Remebering what tone to use for the words isn't always easy, and it changes the meaning drastically if you do the wrong tone.  We've had some funny mistakes.  I bore testimony that the scriptures love us, Elder Staten knows that God loves to fly his kite, and Elder Mateos asked if he was allowed to need to pee.  It's fun.  I'd show off in this email, but I can't write it out so that you would be able to read it. 
Our second day here we started to teach Pay, our investigator.  We've taught him twice since then.  Last time went incredibly well.  Me and Elder Mateos are paired for teaching, we had planned out our lesson, studied as much as we could to be able to teach, and prepared things that he could read in Thai.  The Spirit must have guided our plans, the lesson went without a hitch.  We taught him more about God and prayer, he prayed, (we taught him how last lesson), we read the Book of Mormon with him, and challenged him to pray to know of it's truthfulness - all in Thai!  I never thought that we could give a half hour lesson in Thai already, and we can't.  We owe it all to the Spirit.  We bring the Spirit, and He teaches what we cannot.  Our little knowledge of the language has taught me that It's not us who are teaching.
Everything is going really, really well.  I love the language, the lessons, the people.  Life is just awesome.  There are a lot of rules to keep, much more than on the mission.  I have found that obedience is ok, but meaning it, not just doing it makes all the difference.  Robots can go through the motions, people can do it with all their heart.  That's what God wants from all of us.
Elder Buss
P.S.  I can use Thai in hard copy mail.  I don't have much time to email, so if you want to hear from me, use  It is a lot easier on my end, and is free.  Plus I'd really like to hear from everybody.

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