People will sometimes identify me with Buzz Lightyear. I still don't have a name tag in Thai, so it makes sense. Thai doesn't have a z sound. (It's fun to teach people to make different sounds, in English class I've helped with x, z, v, ch/sh, and not putting vowels in between different consonant clusters.) It's always really confusing, since they really mess up the name, I don't recognize it. I'm catching on.
One of the first things Elder Komgrit, an AP, said is that I have a naadek, and that all the Thai people would say so. Basically it means I have a face like a child, I look really young. He was right. I get asked how old I am a lot, even members are suspicious. I have been told that I have a naadek by tons of people.
People don't always believe you can speak Thai. It's funny when you are the one speaking Thai, and they are speaking English. Today everyone would speak English. We went to Wat Arun, which was cool, but way touristy. The shops were tourist shops, with haggling and everything I would expect from a place that sees a lot of tourists. We couldn't get in free by speaking Thai, we did try though. When Elder Seymour spoke Thai he got his water for 10฿, the usual. I overheard a lady ask in English, she payed double. When I asked how much one wallet was, he said 500, in English. I wasn't taking that price or that language, but he just didn't believe that I could speak Thai a huge amount more than his English. So, I haggled in Thai, and got it for less than half that. Duh. One shop keeper didn't question the Thai. It often helps if you use an phrase from Paasaa Esaan, the eastern dialect. I only know a few things, but it's fun to say, and khon Thais think it's fun too. They tend to believe you actually can say more than hello and how much is this. She was fun to talk with. I can't speak that well, but by talking I learn a lot faster, plus it keeps my brain thinking about Thai.
Lots more than toothpaste is whitening. No tanning beds, there are ads for whitening products. We had a health meeting, one of the Elders asked if they were safe. The church doctor (who resides in Hong Kong), was confused about why someone would ask. It's a legitimate question, lots of stuff is meant to make you have fairer skin.
Our area is sort of two areas in one, there is also Chonburi. We don't actively seek for investigators there, but we get referrals that live there a lot, and have a couple progressing investigators there right now, as well as some members. To get there we take a taxi to Central Bangnaa, then take a shuttle van for about an hour, then get on a bus for over an hour. It generally takes 2-3 hours. I've found ways to make the trip more productive. I can read my scriptures, veiw Thailand, talk with people, study Thai, talk with people, plan, or nap. When it's dark out I mostly nap. We went three times this last week, it was insane. We got two new investigators there, both are Christian already, so I will also use scriptures from the Bible. I try to find ways to make my actions also teach the same lesson, I make the claim that the Bible and the Book of Mormon complement each other, and I use them in such a way with her to prove I really mean it. She gave me a mini Thai New Testament, so I can just carry it along with my mini English New Testament, it's really convenient.
I've really been reaping the fruits of my previous and current studies this week. I generally am the one to share scriptures, and the Zone Leaders are encouraging us to share more scriptures, which is really great. I've changed how I spend part of my personal study time to be better at it, but I really am glad for what I did before coming. I spent a lot of time studying the scriptures, let alone all the classes and my time in Jerusalem. It's really wonderful to get to use that gift from God to help others.
I also have become one sister's Go to man for doctrinal questions. It's really good language practice, she is really helpful in correcting mistakes, teaching me new words and knows a lot of English too. She is really helpful in lessons, she loves coming with us. She also lives in Chonburi, so if we have a male member with us too, we can save time, she offers to drive us part of the way. Anyways, I have answered questions on so many subjects that a lot of people seem to have questions on, as church doesn't answer them very well, such as Old Testament stories, the significance of Israel, Jews, (you probably already realize that these are really fun questions for me, and really stretch my Thai), Patriachal blessings, the Temple, etc. It's great that she will correct my grammar mistakes, it's easier to learn more words, but grammar is more of a matter of practice, it's how to use those words. I also have to use a lot of scriptures to explain, as well as for the words I'm lacking, so I get to practice sharing scriptures as well.
My last thought for this week is about one of our investigators. He's doing really well, we've tought everything, and the change is obvious in his life. I'm just at the tail end of it. He's quit smoking and drinking and changed his work to be able to come to church. He's happy, and is really excited to be baptised for all the right reasons. We tried to move his date up, but did didn't want to, he wanted to keep the commandments for a longer period of time before hand. He really is awesome. It's so cool to see how someone can truly be converted. Another one of our investigators changed his work without us saying anything so that he can come to church. I'm sure he'll also make it to baptism. The members are all really being more helpful, we have tons of people to contact, whether they be former investigators, potential investigators, or referrals. So much work to do, I love it.
Have a great week!
Elder Robert Buss
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