May 6, 2013


Well, this last week we've not gotten a lot farther.  My email last week may be misleading, but it was one of the best weeks I've had in a number of ways.  We really were able to get things moving.  Now I face a few main issues - keeping us full of meaningful things to do, and helping Elder Pyne speak Thai.  It's a slow process for both, as we slowly build up our teaching pool.

Elder Pyne has lost a bit of his early glow, having come to face with the challenges of being new to everything.  Learning always takes time, and I've found a lot of language gaps.  Thai is a major obstacle for him, he has yet to get the concept of tones.  Then there are the normal word swaps, and mispronunciation.  One of my favorites was when he said he was 41 years old.  I have no idea how that came out of his mouth, but we worked on counting for a while after that.  Today we had a lesson on how to figure out the tone of a written word.  It's one of the hardest parts about reading, as it involves many variables (Class of the initial consonant, tone markers, live/dead syllables (there is a system for these too), and vowel length).  As I unfolded it to him, he looked totally stunned.  He has a hard enough time saying tones, let alone reading them.  It's amazing that we can get used to it so fast that it is automatic.

Being district leader is different here.  I've had an opportunity to work closely with other Elders, and the influence and respect I have is pretty high.  I have gone from asking about everything to having them ask me about the same things.  I've learned how to really settle into an area, and my ideas are received really fast.  I'm not sure how it happened.

Sunday was super stressful, but I was able to go and work for a long time - we went on some exchanges, I was home in time to get something to eat.  The other Elders seem to have had a wonderful day.  I commissioned them (after receiving authority) to take the sacrament to a LA, they had a wonderful experience.  He can't really get around anywhere, he paid months of tithing to me when I first saw him.  That was neat.  Meanwhile I was busy home teaching with our bishop.  He's awesome.  I feel bad that he has to help out with so much.  He really holds everything together.  Planning the day was super hard and stressful, as we had to coordinate so much.

I'm so glad for my chance to serve here.  There is a lot to learn and to do.  I'm especially grateful for our savior, and his ever powerful atonement that makes everything work out in out lives.

Elder Robert Buss

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