Thursday, June 25, 2009

Khwaampiti Yindii in the MTC (Joy)

Sawat dee krab family!

I hope that all is going well with all of you. We have had a good aathid (week) here at the MTC which I will report on after I answer some of the questions that you have. It's kind of hard to answer all the questions you have, so forgive me if I skip some. First I will look at the Dear Elder.

I was not diagnosed with swine flu, it appeared to just be a respiratory infection. I am feeling much better now. But two people in my district had Influenza A-swine flu- and now one of them has pneumonia. Mother, per your request I have been taking my Advair everyday.

I just saw a nurse. She took my temperature and tested me but she said it came back negative so I didn't have the swine flu.

We go to the referral center once a week on Mondays at 8:15. I have used my Spanish a LOT. I actually sent a guy to Church this Sunday in Ohio. I will call him on Monday to make sure he went. It's kind of hard because I get my languages all mixed up. In fact, on one call to Puerto Rico, I said kob khun krab rather than gracias at the end of the call. Seriously. It was awesome.

We went to the temple two weeks ago. We go everyweek but we aren't going this week and we won't go to do an endowment next week because it's closed for cleaning but we will get to clean it next week.

Our Thai teacher Bro. Sakhaa is great. But about two weeks ago, we were not showing him the proper respect as he was teaching us how to bear our testimonies in Thai. He was writing phrases on the board and we got onto talking about TV shows and people's girlfriends and stuff. We weren't really paying attention but then I asked him what a word meant and then he gave us a talking to about really focusing on learning Thai. He wasn't angry at all, just dissapointed. In fact, it was a good wake up call I think.

This week at the MTC my companion and I began a rather intense language study plan. We are using our language study time effectively. We read out of the Romanized Preach my Gospel for 10 minutes, then out of the Thai Script one, then we do grammar practice, listening practice/translation practice, and then we try to work on our vocab. We are working hard and praying that God will help us. We work to pray together everyday in Thai and hope that our Father in Heaven will bless us with the ability to learn this language. Our language task this week was introducing ourselves and talking about our families and relating it to the message we have in Thai. Our "investigator" at the TEC was an RM from Thailand. Elder Fowles and I did great. To practice before, we went to something called the TEC, where we got to try out our Thai on the Laotian teacher who doesn't have a district now so he works with our district a bit and the Vietnamese district. We did very well with him too even when he asked about being reincarnated as a tiger. I answered his question quickly. He said he was impressed. Prayer really does help with the language.

We had some good times this week learning the script. I love our native Thai teacher Bro. Sakhaa. He teaches us such great lessons and he is hillarious. He is going into special education at BYU. Right now he's teaching two districts since they are on the lookout for a new Thai teacher.

Everything is going pretty well, I feel well and the food is pretty good. I can only write mail on P-day but I can read everyday. So keep up the letters please. I love to hear from you all and I miss you all dearly. Please pray for me as I strive to continue to have sugkhaphaab (health) dii and as I rian phasaathay (study Thai). Hopefully this letter is long enough. I may begin drafting my letters to you.

Any other news before my time runs up? um.... Well we are having an English fast this Thursday. Wish us luck on that. Elder Fowles and I aren't too worried. So no worries, we can do it! Email questions and I will get back to you next P-day. I used almost all my time. I have like one minute left so I better get going!

Love you all dearly and I am praying for you all,

Elder Jacob Newman

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Attack of the Microbes!

Sawat dee krab from the MTC once again. Wan nii phom ruusug mai dee. Today I don't feel very well. There are two elders in my district who have been put in quarantine for swine flu (which they now decided to just call influenza a...) and I am really sick today so I may be in quarantine before you know it. Though, I don't know if I have swine flu. Usually the first symptom involves getting the feet of swine. But seriously... I went to the doctor and she said to come back at 4 to see if I am still running a higher fever. It's really not a good time to get sick. In Thai, we are starting to learn how to read and write the script so I really don't want to have to miss that. But I would rather feel better How are you all doing? I think from what I understand you can all email me, I just may not have time to email you back. I like to hear the news of home and I am getting all the Dear Elders that you are sending. Thank all my friends on Facebook and on my blog for all their support. Also tell them that if I haven't written them back it is because I have been sick and I haven't had time to write them back today. Also thank SarahJane and Katie for the cookies. They were both delicious!

This week has been pretty good besides being sick. I felt okay until about three days ago. We are all on Tamiflu since our district has two cases of the flu and another elder in our zone has it also. You have to be in quarantine for 5 days. You get to rest, watch Church movies and take it easy. In some ways it would be nice, but I really just wish I were feeling better in general.

This week we had some great lessons and some great experiences. We went to the Teaching Resource Center for the first time on Saturday. Our language task was to talk to everyone so we made contact with a Thai "investigator" (an RM of the late 1990s) and then we taught him and a Thai girl RM the first lesson in English. It went pretty well. We thought we had done horribly but then the native teacher who listened to our language task said that "it was not okay.... it was perfect". When he first said it was not okay, I got this look on my face that was almost petrified. But then Brother Sakhaa finished his thought and I was happy.

We had a talk from Elder Bednar this last week that was pretty good. It was on following the Spirit. It was pretty good actually. He cracked a few jokes and smiled which was quite surprising.

Our entire district is a bit paranoid bout getting the swine flu. It's just a matter of time before we all get sick, however.

Now some more district info. There are 12 Elders in my district with 3 sisters. Then there are about 6 elders and 1 sister in the other (phii Thai) district. They should leave next month sometime I think. The solo sister is companions with the Cambodian sister. The Cambodian sister is the 11th sister to go to Cambodia that's non-native. It's crazy. Our district is really big for a Thai/Asian language district.

So as usual, you are in my prayers and I ask that you pray for my health and ability to learn the language. All will be well with rest, I hope. I hope that I will be able to recover.

Chok dee!

Kwaamrag (Love)

Elder Newman

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

One week down

Jacob has, perhaps foolishly, given me the task of updating this blog for him. Naturally, what this means is that I'll get to redact his letters for all you. So, potentially, you'll be getting kind of a skewed view of his life as a missionary. I feel like I should quote Moroni here. But, really, I think it won't be errors so much as deletion of salutations, closings, and housekeeping. Also, since I'm, clearly, not the only one Jacob is writing to, if you want to send along anything he's written to you for posting, please do.

Nearly one week into the MTC, here's what he has to say for himself:

Anyway, my first few days here have been pretty good. The curb drop off went pretty well I think. It was sad, yes, but it felt nice and natural. It was good that we got as many pictures as we did. My time here has gone by slowly and quickly at the same time. It's a pretty nice place and it's nice to be here. Our district is already really close. We are probably the biggest Thai district that they have ever had here. There are about 12 Elders and 3 sisters in our district alone. Our zone has the other Thai people who have been here for over 6 weeks (we call them P-Thais. Pee (or some similar spelling) is Thai for old/older) and people going to other English speaking missions. It's really a great group of Elders and Sisters. We come from a variety of backgrounds but we share a common love for Phrayeesuu Khrid and his khidtikhun. As you can see, the Thai is coming along well enough. It's pretty hard but it's nice to know that there are a lot of us to get through it together. We are all working really hard to get the language down. From tones to vowels (several of which are hard like XX which sounds like a "U" but only vaguely), we are pressing forward to be able to teach the Thai people. The language is beautiful and so flowing. It's really cool that I can now pray in three languages. We learned how to pray in Thai the first day. Thai addresses God very formally with the royal forms of particular pronouns and verbs. It's quite a mouthful but it's really quite beautiful and sincere.

We have two teachers here at the MTC. One is named Bro. Duvall and the other is actually a native convert of 12 years named Bro. Sakhaa. Bro. Duvall is like me- blonde hair, blue eyes, Thai speaking westerner. They are both good teachers. They both try to speak Thai as much as possible. Bro. Duvall and Bro. Sakhaa give lots of wonderful lessons. Bro. Sakhaa taught us probably the most important thing that we could learn: "It's not about you, it's about them." He told us we have to remember that the people we serve are the people who we are doing this for, we are not doing this for our own personal glory. It was a good lesson to remember. We are in class about 8 hours a day, probably even more. It's a lot of stuff to learn but we are doing pretty well.

The food is pretty good and it's really easy to avoid milk. That was something that surprised me. I haven't had to use hardly any Lactaid so far. Basically you don't really have to try not to get the milk in foods, they just don't make them that way. The food is good and I hope that I can continue to eat well. I haven't had a single dessert since I have been here. But with all the fried foods, it's hard to stay healthy. I did loose weight at first. With the exercise time we get now that should also help to keep it off.

The meetings have been good. We are learning a lot about how to be effective missionaries, etc. Everyone here either looks super young or super old so it's sometimes surprising to realize that they are around my age. I guess you just grow up quickly on your own!
Remind everyone that the Dear Elder service is fantastic and fast. And it brings joy to missionaries who get letters from it. =)

I hope that all is well with the family and that you are all doing well. I love you all very much and you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Phraphuupencaw bless you all,

Elder Jacob Newman

photographic proof

Dear Thailand Bangkok Mission,

You're probably expecting that, come August, you'll be getting someone like this:

But, give it time, and you'll see that's not the case at all. In fact, you're getting someone a bit more like this:

Trust me, you're in for quite a treat.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Elder Newman's Blog- Address and Information

I am going to leave this blog in the hands of my brother to update periodically. This will tell of my many adventures across the seas and while I spend time in Provo at the MTC. I will also post my address here and on Facebook in case you find time to write me. 

Elder Jacob Andrew Newman
Thailand Bangkok Mission
Provo MIssionary Training Center
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604

I will be there for 12 weeks I believe and after that my address will be:

Elder Jacob Andrew Newman 
Thailand Bangkok Mission
50/829-832 Muang Thong Thani
Chaengwatana Road, T. Ban Mai
A. Pakkret, 11120

Also, you may send me mail for free at the MTC and for normal postage rates while on my mission using Dear Elder

I look forward to hearing from you! Please go with my blessings and prayers. I will think of you, my cherished friends, always.