Dear Family and Friends,
It’s been two transfers in Ayuttaya. I’ve been here the same amount of time as I was in Bang Na. But unlike greeniehood, I’m staying another transfer! Sister ทัก is dying! It’s the worst birthday present, but I’ll take all of our adventures as a priceless birthday gift. My next companion will be Sister Pratt…and she’s also dying next transfer. So unless they’re planning on white washing, I’m betting I’m going to be here for four transfers (6 months). And with that in mind, I have to wonder, why am I in Ayuttaya? Six months (presumably) is a fairly good chunk of my mission.
I guess the best way to put this is a story. We live next door to a little family. We’ve invited them a few times to church or english class, but they’re not too interested. But there’s a little girl in this family. She loves to smile and say hi to us. She loves talking to us and asking us why we like to bike every day (we do love it 😉 ) One day, we came back in the afternoon to study and this little girl was playing outside with friends. As soon as she saw us, she excitedly said “It’s my falang friend!” She hurriedly biked beside us along the road and was so excited to welcome us home. And that’s when it hit me. This little girl will grow up next door to sister missionaries her whole life. Even when I leave eventually, sister missionaries will always be there. In a way, it’s a prayer I have, a little hope, that one day, she’ll remember those sister missionaries. I’m confident that we make differences and have influence, beyond our comprehension. In some ways, I wish I could have what Mrs. deWinter in Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier spoke of, a little bottle that you could open, like a scent, that you could relive that moment or memory. As the mission goes, I wish I could hold onto it more, because it goes by too fast.
We decided to walk and invite one morning. We found a little “sooy” or road, and invited a grandmother and some of her grand kids. The first time we talked to them, the little boys were all so open and excited to learn. Most of them were eight or nine. We went back a few days later, and there was a granddaughter there. She was so open-hearted, listening as we talked about the Plan of Salvation. It’s one of the best experiences, to see someone learn about something so powerful yet simple, like the Plan of Salvation or the Restoration, because it opens up the ability to let the spirit beyond the barriers I have. It gives the knowledge that we can change, we do have a Heavenly Father who loves us, and that there is a purpose to life. There is real power in truth. Reading Ether this week, I love how Moroni declares one of many purposes that the Book of Mormon serves.
Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved. Ether 8:26
Truth, the truth that the gospel preaches of, has the power to resist evil, and progress in life. It’s a literal protection.
With the new transfer coming up, I decided to make some goals. And it started with reading Moroni 7. Moroni 7 is an amazing chapter on hope. In when there’s uncertainty in life for anyone, hope, and hope in Christ, and that includes trust, protects us. In reading and studying this chapter extensively, I’ll briefly sum up what I learned. We have to be willing to have hope. It takes humility to have hope. It takes trust, without doubt. When we develop that in ourselves, we want everyone else to have that. With a new goal in mind, I decided to start Personal Progress again. As a missionary, it’s a really cool experience to do, because I’m remembering what my impressions were when I first read these scriptures for the assignments. And I’m seeing how I’ve grown, and how they apply differently now.
I wish I could mention every person I talk to, but I’ll just mention Sister กาญจนี (Ganjani). We went to eat lunch at her house again because she wanted to talk to the first Ayuttaya sisters, and her house is even more flooded than last time! But she still laughs and we got a plastic canoe to row throughout the houses and river. Maybe I’m here for her.
Love you all!
Madeleine (Sister Powley)