Monday, July 11, 2011

Josh's Address

Just a note to anyone who would like to send Josh a letter. His MTC address is no longer in use. All mail needs to be sent directly to Thailand using the address on the right under his picture.

He would welcome any and all correspondence from people back home. Postage is a little more when going overseas. You need an international stamp that can be purchased at any post office.

Thank you for your love and prayers not only for our missionary but for all the missionaries who are serving throughout the world. They are an army of righteous young men and women with strong testimonies and desires to do good for their fellowmen. We love missionaries.

Thank you,
His Family

Three weeks in Thailand

Sawadii Khrab! (pronounced saw-wa-dee-kah)

Week 1:

Wow what a week. I am here. The flight went well. Didn't sleep much to Tokyo but actually slept most of the time to Bangkok. It actually didn't seem that long but I was tired. Japan was really cool. I was by the window seat so I could see a lot of it flying in. It was way pretty. I used the Japanese that Ammon gave me but I don't think they understood me.

When I walked off the plane in Bangkok I felt a huge heat rush. Even in Tokyo I could just feel the humidity like I was in a pool or something. After 5 days in Thailand I was more used to it. They drive on the other side of the road. That was weird and its scary because people drive so fast. I'm not really sure that there are traffic rules. Riding bikes through it is even more scary. We slept in the mission home the first two nights. Went right to bed when we got there the first night. Had transfer meeting on Thursday and found out where I was going. I am in Udon Thani, a city in the northeast of Thailand, not very far from Laos. My companion is Elder Martins from Alberta, Canada. He seems great and I think we will get along really well. We live in a really nice house with two other Elders. One of them is a Khon Thai (native Thai) and he speaks English fairly well.

I'm glad I like rice because I have it for every meal. Yesterday at church I had crickets. Pretty good. There is a McDonald's with a menu pretty much like back home. Also a Pizza Company and Subway. They sell Hi-chews here. I bought a bunch of those. Saw lots of monkeys and dogs. The dogs look pretty sad because they are strays. Made me miss my dog, Shortstop.

Had an opportunity to go on splits with almost everyone in our district. One of them is Elder Char, one of my P-Thai's from the MTC. He and I went inviting one night - both greenies but it was awesome. We knew we didn't know everything but we just went for it and actually ended up teaching a few people who could become potential investigators. Teaching Thai people is so fun because they love falangs (foreigners). My legs definitely have gotten a work out from sitting criss cross on the floor so much. I think I'll get used to it.

Week 2:

I feel like I am learning more and more each week which is good. We had eight baptismal dates given this week between me and Elder Martins. Teaching is really hard but I am getting more and more comfortable with it every week. Did splits in Khon Kaen and Nong Khai. There was a pretty scary looking spider at a house in Khon Kaen. Elder Martins and I gave out four baptismal commitments in two days. In Nong Khai there were lots of interesting old ruins and statues of Buddha and stuff. I got some pictures. We handed out English eegasons by waiting at stop lights and handing them out to everyone on their scooters. Pretty much everyone rides scooters and vespa's here.

It is extremely difficult for me to understand some people. It doesn't help that I was born (my first area) in the Issan, which is the northeast of Thailand. They have different words for everything and it isn't really even Thai sometimes. But everyone tells me that if I can understand Issan, then I can definitely understand Thai.

A little about Udon. It is fairly old and most everyone is really poor. The members are so humble and willing to give you anything. We ride our bikes almost everywhere except sometimes we ride duke dukes which are little motorcycles with seats on the back that we hop onto and are really cheap. I hear they only have those in the Issan.

Week 3:

Thank you for all of your emails. I love reading about everything that is going on back home. Some of our baptismal dates went down a little bit. This is Thailand and most of them decided they didn't want to learn any more this week. We ask them what they think the purpose of life is - most of them don't really care about religion. They say they are Buddhist but honestly we know more about their religion than they do (haha). This week will just have to be another week of finding people that actually want change in their lives.

It is blazing hot every day and always humid. We had a way narly rain storm last night. Probably the craziest I've ever seen in my life. The lightning was lighting up the whole sky. The power actually went out for a while too.

Healthwise I am feeling fine. I do have bug spray because there are bugs everywhere. Our mission president called everyone and made sure that they put bug spray on everyday. One Elder got sick from a misquito bite and he had kangked fever or something like that. He had to go to the hospital including one elder from my MTC district. The weather is definitely different from anything I have ever felt before but I am getting used to it more and more everyday.

We don't usually ever make food at home except on Sunday's when we have to. I usually get Elder Benjamin to do it because he is a good cook. We go to the same few places that are the best in Udon to eat for lunch and dinner everyday. There is a wide variety of things to eat like sushi and an all you can eat buffet like there is back home. The only thing that I have eaten here that I couldn't handle was Somtam. It was really good, just so hot. Some of the food burns my taste buds off but I eat it anyway.

Kind of disappointing like I said because most of our baptismal dates just blew us off but that is usual. We just have to wait for the people that are really prepared. I know they are out there. So we have been doing a lot of inviting the last few days. That is basically all we can do. Not a lot of good investigators come from inviting. Most of them come from referrals. I know that if we work hard and try our hardest the Lord will bless us and we will find people to baptize.

Thank you for your prayers. Have a wonderful week.