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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Church and Teaching

I am sorry that I have neglected my duty of writing in this blog. I say that because Whitney keeps getting after me for not writing like I should be. Sorry guys, I've just never been much of a blogger. Anyways, I believe that my assignment was to write about church last Sunday, and I will also update ya'll on how teaching at the Imperial Nursery is going.

So, last Sunday we all woke up bright and early to be at the train station at 6:50 A.M. The five of us plus Ake speed-walked to the station, where we got our tickets and hurried onto the train. We were headed to the city Phitsanulok, a city bigger than Phitchit, with an LDS branch of about 50 members. The train ride was only about 45 minutes, so it was a lot like riding Trax to Salt Lake. Once we got there, Ake arranged for a driver to come pick us up and then he took us out to breakfast. We explained to him afterward that we would rather not have anyone spend money on us on Sunday, so this coming week we will be prepared with our own food. The breakfast was the usual rice with stuff on it. I think it was eggplant and egg stuff (Good news: Tang is letting us eat our own breakfast everyday now. Instead of eating rice porridge with hairy pork stuff for breakfast, we now will get jam, toast, fruit.. things that aren't quite as foreign to us. This is a good thing).

After breakfast, we met the missionaries and then went into the small church building. I have never felt more welcome to be in church than I did here. The people were all very friendly. They all greeted us in the usual Thai fashion and if they knew any English whatsoever, then they would try to talk to us. There were a few members that spoke English really well. During Sacrament Meeting, Whitney and I were sitting next to Ake. He was able to translate a lot of the meeting for us. Even without his translation, there was an incredible feeling there. The members have very strong testimonies that we had the ability to feel and not just hear. Something about the first talk just blew us away. Whitney and I both felt like crying, regardless of the fact that we didn't understand the language. It was an amazing thing to see that the Church is the same everywhere.

Ake also helped to translate Sunday School for us. The man who was teaching had us introduce ourselves and even called on us individually to answer questions throughout the lesson. Ake would translate the question for us and then he would also translate our answer for the other members. I was surprised that they went out of their way to help us feel more included and get us to participate. They also wanted us to participate a lot in Relief Society, although it was harder without Ake sitting next to me. They had us help with music a little bit, and have already asked us to play the piano for Sacrament Meeting next week. Laura and I will be taking turns playing the piano whenever they ask us to play.

After church, we had a lot of time to kill before our train would leave to take us home. Ake mostly just had the driver take us to random Buddhist temples in the city. Ake gets a little bit excited about us taking pictures, so he had us take lots that day.

One temple included lots of blinged-out roosters.

We made it home and relaxed the rest of the day. It was a wonderful Sunday.

We also just finished our first week of teaching. It has been a challenge to come up with ideas of what to teach. I have basically come to the conclusion that I will have to plan out three lessons for each day, because each age group is completely different from each other. The youngest group will sometimes just sit there and stare at us, oftentimes bursting into tears at any given moment (this happens to be my assigned group). Another group will speak in Thai a lot and refuse to sit for too long. The oldest group are three boys, and we definitely get the most responses out of them. All of them are cute and fun to teach. It has just been different teaching a group that young. We have a fun and exciting summer to look forward to, that's for sure.

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