August 24, 2011

Second P-Day

Friends and family,
Everything is good for us here. 
So, I'd like to explain a little bit how things work here.  Every day we get up at 6:30 and have breakfast, ?aahaan chaaw.  From day to day our schedule varys, but we usually have class twice a day.  Class is usually taught by Sister Wongwiraphab, our native teacher.  There are other teachers.  Brother Olsen has been here for a while, Brother Jenkins came in and last I saw him he now has a teacher tag, so he may start teaching us as well.  Brother Miles has been here for a while, he does something else in the MTC, but he taught us last night along with another visitor who appears to be another teacher in training.  Class is held in Thai, but spiritual and missionary stuff is in English (may chaab sister wangwiraphab phuud paasaa angrit).  It's terrific either way.  The last few times have basically been all English, which is frustrating, my little Thai is getting shaky.  We've been learning script.  Me and Elder Staten both have worked together, I've taught him everything I know, and we practice reading and writing.  I'm starting to get the hang of it.  Working with Brother McConkie last night was wonderful, I think  that I really am improving.  Right now I've got enough ability that I've made my vocab flashcards all in script. 
In our district of 3 elders and one sister, we split up into two teaching companionships (yes, one is a Elder+Sister).  We are on the new program which is a lot more immersion.  Lately not so much, as class is in English, but especially the first few days there wasn't any English.  The second day we taught in Thai.  Our progressing invesigator was Pe, he was so good.  I learned so much about being a missionary and teaching, expecially from a lesson that went for about an hour.  The spirit told us before we went in that our plan wasn't right, and that was so true.  It was a very hard lesson, but was a very spiritual lesson for Pe (see Mosiah 2:41).  We got down on ourselves about how our plan was shot, we couldn't answer questions, etc.  At the same time, I was able ot speak more Thai than I've ever been able to.  Gift of Tongues.  Pe was a great experience, but he's no lonnger our invesigator. It was really disappointing when we stopped having him as an investigator (probably some logistics issue with Brother Miles who was Pe).  
Pe is a real person, who Brother Miles taught.  He's a member in Ubon Rachathani, currently in college.  We didn't teah the real Pe, but our teaching experiene was real.  It's the Lord's way to prepare us, and it is as real as can be.  I forgot that our investigator was actually a member, because it's so real.  Now we have two progressing investigators, Tuktaa and Big.  It's interresting teaching Buddishts, we really work on the first section of the first lesson.  Tuktaa was very, very Thai, that was a very different lesson.  It took a while, as there were some misunderstandings, in language and in thought.  We never taught Pe on a mat.  Sometimes me and Elder Staten pull out the mat in our classroom during study time and sit on that.  It's so much fun.
I get along with my companions quite well.  Me and Elder Staten are pretty close.  He's the new zone leader!  Once the Phii Thays leave, the four of us will be zoneleaders, district leader, and coordinating sister.  Any permission we need for something is easy enough to get.  Since all the other missionaries in our branch are English, the Thais end up being in leadership roles since we are here so long.  The Lord seems to really be careful who he picks to go where.  I just love the Thay districts.  The Cambodians are cool, as are the Hmong.  The Mandarins in the room next door are crazy!  They are always singing and such.  The Spanish elders are more fun loving.  And the English Elders are a mixed bag.  It's fun to see how the Lord calls people.  He certainly chose a mission that is just what I need.
I'm out of time, if anyone has any questions please write!
Elder Robert Buss

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