Sawat Dee Krab Family!
Phom wang waa thuugsing dee kab khaw! That's a pretty bad romanization of I hope that everything is with with you all. This week has been a pretty good week at the MTC. We have been learning a lot and speaking a lot in Thai. The first highlight of the week is that our Phii Thais officially left the MTC yesterday. We will be getting younger Thais (I can't spell this out in Thai on the computer but it sounds something like nawng Thais) in two weeks. We also heard that there is a Laotian Elder coming who will be going to California. It's crazy to think that we will see our Phii Thais in six weeks. Everyone from around the mission always goes to Bangkok for transfers, no matter where they are. That means a LONG train ride for anyone in the Isaan or the Chiang Mai area.
I heard the fireworks but didn't really see any. They let us go see them but both Elder Fowles and I preferred to go to sleep/study, etc. We had a fireside before that though that was... pretty good? Very cheesy but very memorable. They had a presentation of various people who contribitued to the restoration in some sense, be it political, religious, etc. They were the staff of the MTC dressed up and then they presented it on screen. They also had music and we sang some songs too. On one of the songs, an angel from on high, they did not put the music on the screens and the first verse only about 13% of the missionaries were singing. I knew the first verse just because of David but I didn't know the other verses. They had to get a shot of the teleprompter. One of the Thais that I was sitting next too, the Phiithai that I talked to the most, Sister O'Neil, also thought it was cheesily awesome. (By the way, Elder Ritchie must have been a phiithai of our phiithais.)
It's so weird to think that we are now the oldest Thais at the MTC. I was thinking about this and it's odd that next Wednesday we will be at the exact point that our Phiithais were at when we came. That's insane! Frankly the fact that we can even begin to learn this language is pretty crazy. Bro Sakhaa calls it an "alien language". His English is really good and he's in a masters of Special Ed program at BYU. He always tells us to make sure that our tones are good because he reminds us that tones are just as important as the letters. He remembers on his mission in Canada when he made an unfortunate mistake with vowels. He accidently told a women that he had a special "massage" rather then "message" for her. Reminds me of the story of the David's friend Esther in Thailand when she told an investigator that God slapped rather than answered Joseph Smith. I am curious about that now because I know what the word for answer is.
We are learning a lot of Thai now. It's pretty crazy. We also started this awesome game on Saturday that I am a huge fan of. We call it Khun or Phii (both mean Mr) Somsag. The object of the person who is Phii Somsag is to speak as much Thai as possible throughout the day. But also you want to trick people into thinking that you are Phii Somsag. So everyone speaks a lot of Thai. The next day we vote anyonymously to see who people thought Phii Somsag was. This may or may not be the real Phii Somsag. Then this person can choose the next Phii Somsag. I haven't been Phii Somsag yet but I am hoping to trick some people into thinking I am. On Sunday, I said more in Thai than I did in English. Yesterday was pretty much the same story. Today I am also saying a lot in Thai. It's really encouraged us to speak this wonderful language. Really, Thai is so beautiful. I love the fact that when I talk Thai, it almost feels like I am singing a song. I really enjoy it a lot. Sometimes it's hard to understand but that just comes with the new language territory.
Today I am going to make a call back for a Spanish Speaker in the Referral Center. He is having a hard time and I sent him the missionaries but in the mean time I want to be able to teach him a little bit. He was really interested, it was awesome. I do a lot of Spanish in the RC but sometimes it's hard because I am tempted to slip into Thai. But it's really great.
Other than that this week has been really good. I have been pretty focused and I have receieved some really encouraging comments from Bro. Sakhaa, the native. He says my Thai is really good. Thank heavens, seriously, for prayer. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to learn this crazy alien language! =) I am so grateful to be here. I am growing to love the Thai people more everyday. Please continue to pray for me. I pray for you all everyday.
Tell my friends that I love them all and that I will try to get back to them as soon as possible!
With much love and hope for you all,
Elder Jacob Newman
p.s.- Miss you all!