Dear Khrawbkrua (a very poor romanization of family),
I hope that all is going well with you this week. My week has been pretty good. The weeks/days start to blur together when you are at the MTC as long as we are but we have had a good week.
Here at the MTC there are four people per room. We are getting a new set of roommates this Wednesday. That will have be the third set of English speaking roommates that we have had. I weighed my carryon the night before our last set left because I remember and figured that I had time to do it. My carryon weighs 10 lbs by itself. I think it would be good to take, I definately agree but I don't know how much it will weigh once it has all the stuff that I need in it. I have a tendency to think that it will be pretty heavy. But I don't know yet. We will start packing and we will have to see. I figure that a lot of the stuff I can just get rid of that were just for the MTC that take up a lot of weight. Plus I am not going to take all my books with me to Thailand (all the books I have here). I probably won't take my romanized Preach my Gospel, which weighs quite a bit anyway. Although the Thai for Missionaries book is probably the biggest Language for MIssionaries book ever I think. It's also a little outdated, talking about memorizing discussions and the likes. But it's a good book and will be heavy. So we will see. Go ahead and send two more shirts when you get a chance. I figure that will help me keep P-day and workout clothes in better shape as I rotate using them.
I haven't heard anything about the 24th. I would assume that they might do something but then again, if you're not from Utah, it might be a bit strange. I would imagine that some services will be closed.
Everyone does love Thailand. It's crazy how many people here at the MTC have been to Thailand. One day I went up to someone random to testify to them and she said that she had been to Thailand with her family. Random. But pretty neat. I was also surprised to see how many stories there are in the Church Magazines about Thailand. In fact, in Nov of 2008 in the Friend there was one about a little girl in Thailand who's a Church member.
Which reminds me of an odd ancedote Bro. Sakhaa told us about. Before he was a memeber of the Church, he remembers a girl in his class in elementary school who would carry around a green book and sing chan mii krawbkhrua yuu nay loog nii, phuagkhaw.... I have a family here on earth...Pretty random that he would know someone who was a member of the Church if you ask me. He said he would make fun of her because she would sing that.
Anyway, this week we have been pressing forward with the Thai. We taught the First Lesson for a second time on Saturday. We had two returned sister missionaries. One got back at Christmas time and one got back the week before. The one who got back at Christmas sounded like a Thai. No joke. Bro. Sakhaa wondered if she were half Thai because she spoke so Thai like. The other one had very good Thai too. She had served in the Isaan, a bit unusual for sisters, and so her Thai was partially Laotian influenced. [Thai and Laotian however are about 95-97 percent mutually intelligable. I can understand almost about as much Thai as I can Laotian. Laotian is just less tonal. Also their government a while back, a long while back, decided to eliminate duplicate letters from their alphabet so now their alphabet has less letters than even English. But if you don't have to worry about tones, you don't have to even have the different classes of letters (high, middle, low)]. Elder Fowles and I taught them more like a conversation rather than the whole first lesson. In Thailand, it is very rare that you ever teach someone the entire first lesson anyway. You pretty much work for a LONG time to establish the fact that God exists. The recently returned missionary girl told us the classic Thai line during the language task, which was to buy clothes and invite them hear about the Gospeol, that we will hear all the time that goes something to the effect of "thug sadsaanaacag sawn phuukhon pen khon dii" (All Churches/Religions teach people to be good). Both of our investigators knew our teachers and at least one had been taught by Brother Duval, our RM teacher. They said their favorite part about Thailand was, without doubt, the food. They said, you will get sick, but they said it's not too bad. From what I gather, if you are careful you will be fine. I have no doubt of that.
During the lesson, we couldn't understand everything they said but we could understand about 80%. Bro Sakhaa thinks we are doing really well. He claims that we could have gone to Thailand 4 weeks ago, which I think is... VERY generous. I don't feel very ready to speak the language because we know so little, but immersion is the key I guess right? I try to speak Thai as much as possible outside the classroom because obviously we will be in Thailand in 3 weeks. That's a very weird thought. Our flight leaves at night and it's a doozy of a long time to get there. We fly to LA then to Taiwan and then to Thailand. We should be getting our flight plans late next week.
Did I already tell you guys that the reason Thailand doesn't have a temple is because of hometeaching? Hometeaching is non existant in Thailand. They don't really know how it works because of the number of members and the distance between members in Thailand. Sad day. But President Hinckley said he thinks that there will be a temple there someday. The faithful in Thailand are really faithful.
Love you all and love you for your prayers, miss you too!
Elder Jacob Newman