Tuesday, August 20, 2013

First Week in Thailand

Elder Landon J Watkins Week 10
Thailand Week 1

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hey Everyone!

How are things going!? I finally made it to Thailand! I'll see if I can't go in chronological order from a while back. I can't remember much in the MTC until the day we left, so I'll just cut that out, nothing crazy, cool happened or anything so that’s good. Um... so the day we left was pretty crazy we went to the temple on the east and finished reading the BoM and prayed about it, which was way cool I just felt the spirit so strong after praying; no doubt in my mind knowing it’s true, it is just awesome to reconfirm that even though I already did know. Elder Crump and I went and gave our favorite bookstore worker her birthday gift since we forgot to do that on Saturday, but luckily she didn't work then so we give her gift and she loved it; it was way funny. Brother Olsen came and showed us a bunch of pictures and we had a district testimony meeting which was awesome and made me sad to have to leave Brother Olsen; I love that guy, he is awesome.

The District with Brother Olsen before they headed out.
The bookstore girl with their birthday gift for her...I bet she will miss these two boys!
After that we finished up our packing and then Elder Crump and I had to say goodbye to our Bulgarian friends. We shared our testimonies in Thai and they shared theirs in Bulgarian and then it was off to the travel office.  We got on a shuttle and went to the frontrunner road that to the trax at N. Temple and then road traxs to the airport. I just took charge and led myself ha-ha and got through security first and there was Nate, Josh, and Kris waiting for me there. That was awesome to talk to them and Nate especially. Then called the Mom and Dad for a while, which was awesome. Then flew to LA hung out there for a little and called home again.
He didn't mention the Bulgarian friends were girls...
All packed and ready to go!
Then the flight to Hong Kong is where things got interesting. First, I got an amazing seat in the first row of Economy seats and I had tons of leg room and two little Asian girls by me and they didn't take up any space. I got such good sleep on there too, which was great. Cathay Pacific was a really nice flight, the food was decent and the seats were really comfortable it was way better than our flights to Japan and Singapore and stuff. So after waking up like an hour or so later into our 14 hour flight we got some crazy turbulence and the guy walking back from the bathroom fell on his face and punched Elder Beatty in the chest in the process, which was way funny ha-ha. Then we had to buckle up, because we were like in the Typhoon and stuff; then this one guy was literally complaining and raging the whole flight to the flight attendants from start to finish and it was so annoying, but funny to laugh at ha-ha. Then we go to land and we couldn't so we flew back up and circled around, luckily we got in the second time if not the Flight attendant said we would have gone and landed in Taipei, which would have been cool too.
Hong Kong Airport
Island outside of Hong Kong from my plane window.
Bangkok Airport
After that it was just over 2 hours to Thailand from there we got picked up went to the mission home; blood work done and just met the Mission Pres and all the good stuff. Then we slept in a hotel which was way nice except the bed I had to sleep on was like an elevated floor and it destroyed my back ha-ha; but I'm recovered now. Then we had transfer meetings in the morning! I got Elder Michael Unsworth from West Valley, Utah. He is so awesome we have tons in common both played a lot of the same video games; he loves sports just like me it is so great we always have stuff to talk about.

View from our Hotel room in Bangkok
The Mission Home

My Trainer...Elder Unsworth in the middle
We have been traveling a ton the first few days. He is in the LDS band choir for a concert that was on Friday. So Thursday we just hung around at the church in Pak Kret for his choir practice and I just studied it up; it was fine and way relaxing. Then we got home pretty late because my area is about 2 hours north of Bangkok by train, so we got home pretty late. I'm serving in Ayutthaya which is towards the Middle of Thailand. There are about 35-40 active members at church everything which is definitely one of the smaller branches in the mission. There are tons of less actives so a lot of our work will be with them. My first friend is the branch is Brother Nong who is a convert of 2 years and guess who taught him; Brother Thrap, one of my teachers in the MTC so that's cool. He is way strong in the church and he was also in the band. So Friday morning we just studied, then had to travel back to Pak kret for choir practice and preparing for the concert that night. So I just talked to bunch of people coming to the concert while my comp practiced and I was with Elder Smith who is also in my house along with Elder Ohmer. So the LDS band which is just a bunch of members around Thailand opened for this band from Utah called Beyond 5. I was leading people to the concert when they came in and they had a poster or cardboard pop up of the band and all the people that came in thought I was one of the band members which was pretty funny.

Beyond 5 Concert
The food here is so amazing we live pretty close to a mall so we just go there and they have a huge food court for Thai food and then all the American food places are below like McDonalds, KFC and Dairy Queen. We go up to the Thai places usually and everything is sooooo cheap. Then after the concert we road home and got home at like 11. We studied the next morning then had to take Elder Koller who was in the hospital with Elder Chambers to Lopori which is about 2 hours north of us and deliver him to his new area which took like our whole day. That was the city of monkeys too, so there are just monkeys everywhere. After we came back and bought my bike. I got a killer deal my comp said. My bike is way nice and I got rain guards reflector stand and helmet for like free, my bike was 9500 baht and I ended up paying 10100. I think that is about 315 dollars so I still have about 2000 baht left over because I took out 12000. It was way good because my comp said he had to pay about 480 US dollars for his and mine is nicer, so I got a killer deal. After we just got dinner bought food for dinner on Sunday then just hung out of home.

Monkey Village in Lopori
Me on my "killer deal" of a bike!
Our house is way nice. You'll never believe it, we got a ping pong table in it! Lets goooooooo!! How awesome is that! Ha-ha and even better my comp likes Chris Smoove too ha-ha, which is great. Then next was Sunday. I got to meet a bunch of the members, which is crazy! I introduced myself and shared my testimony in sacrament and I did a pretty good job! The members say I'm way good at the language.so that was a little confiidence booster. It is hard to understand. We taught the YM/YW for Sunday school and there is like 2 YM and 1 or 2 YW. So then we taught YM after. It's hard because I can't say everything I want, but I trying to say as much as possible, just practicing you know. Then after that we had our 1 hour mingle and eating of lunch, the members all bring food and you just eat. Then we had a 2 hour family search training thing. Brother McGeorge who used to be in the 70’s who has live in Thailand for 6 years now. He doesn't speak Thai, but he married a Thai women in our branch, so his wife and daughter are both fluent in Thai and English. 

Also, we have a senior couple in our area Elder and Sister Sowards. Elder Sowards is currently the branch president and he served his mission in Thailand years ago, but it is still cool. After that it was just Elder Unsworth, Brother Nong, and I hanging out at the church while Elder Un did some things for an hour. I played a bunch of songs on the piano or tried to ha-ha and talked to Brother Nong a ton, practicing my Thai, he is 25 and way awesome. He is pretty good at English because he learned it from movies, mostly. We have English class every Tuesday to teach people also. After that we just did weekly planning which was cool. Today we are going to be riding elephants, which is way awesome and I'm excited for that! We have my first lesson tonight so we will see how that goes! Brother Nong is going to help us also! That's about it for this week love you all!

Elder Watkins

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