Dear Family and Friends,
Well, because Sister ทัก จบed (“finished” in Thai) her mission, that leaves me to lead an area and all the works. I’ll admit, I cried on the train, but I got a phone call from Sister จาญจนี (the sweetest little member in this branch) telling me she bought me a cake for my birthday and wanted to give it to me. She then said “I love you นะ (na)” and the next day, texted me “happy birthday” as well. Her calling me reminded me that I’m still needed in Ayuttaya, even if I’m still trying to find out why. With Sister Pratt coming in, we made some goals and one of mine is to make a strong connection with someone, whether that be with a recent convert that we find, or a member, even a less active. I just want to leave this area knowing I’ve made some difference, even in one person’s life.
I feel as if every few transfers, I take a very literal leap of faith. But every time I do, life works out. Somehow, I grow and I step up a little more. Leading the area became that leap of faith. The good news is that I haven’t gotten lost! I’m miraculously remembering the way,and even are finding some miracles down little sooys (roads) I’ve never been. But leading an area comes with some twists and turns, but luckily “the laughing gene,” as my mom says, is coming in handy. Thursday was my birthday (officially), and although it didn’t feel like a “birthday”, it felt like I turned 20. I showed Sister Pratt all of our investigators’ records and lessons that have been taught and then went English inviting in a fun market.
Friday was an adventure. We met สำรวย (samruoy), our little old lady who can’t walk. She held our hands and waved as we biked away. That same day, we biked to our blind investigators massage place. First of all, I was just happy I didn’t get lost! As we neared their neighborhood, we noticed some…flood water. As we kept biking, it got…deeper. You know, only knee height (walking, that is). We just kept walking and laughing super hard. We finally arrived to see them massaging these people and we awkwardly just sat there for a little bit. As we kept talking to them they said “yea, we’re Buddhist.” We left, laughing really hard again, this time deciding to bike, instead of walk, through this gross water. Probably as a prompting, we decided to bike to an LA’s house. We arrived to see her trying to pile all of her rice, meat, and cooking things on a cart to take to the market to sell her food. We helped her set up and a bunch of other sellers asked “where did you find these falangs?”
Then Saturday happened. We met more members, more investigators, and went to Supanburi (which has it’s own language…fun fact). We met a cute little fourteen year old, เกด (Gade) and she helps her aunt who’s a member, with her restaurant. She loves drawing and she drew me as we talked a little bit about the Book of Mormon. She’s really open and we’re going back next Saturday (where we’re also going to learn how to cook Thai food from her aunt). This is where the day got…interesting. After visiting the Branch President, reevaluating goals, we got chased by some dogs and then got to a stop light. The plan was to invite in a night market. But as we were waiting, a huge tour bus came up behind us. We moved and the bus started turning. I thought I had moved enough but Sister Pratt said “Sister Powley, you might get hit by that bus. Sister Powley, you might get hit by that bus. Sister Powley you just got hit by that bus”. I got hit by a bus. As the bus finished turning, the end of it hit my back tire and totally popped it. I stayed upright and the metal structure of the wheel was fine, but we had to get a tuk-tuk to get off the island. So, that’s a claim-to-fame right there. We’ve been laughing about it for the past few days.
Sister Pratt is amazing! She’s also finishing her mission here and she’s so nice and happy! She’s got great perspective on the mission and is always encouraging. She calls me a princess, which is also pretty funny! It’s going to be a good transfer! Lot’s of hope! I could write so much.
In light of leading an area and remaining in Ayuttaya, I happened to be studying in 1 Nephi and loved chapter 10, verse 8. There’s a phrase that I felt applied to, I guess, the purpose of every missionary in their area. “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight; That’s our purpose. We go in our personal little wildernesses and prepare, plant seeds, and make the path clear for others to learn. And something that caught my attention, especially with this principle, was in 1 Nephi 8. Nephi starts this chapter with “gathering seeds”. I think of the vision of the Tree of Life as a turning point, a decision making point, for Lehi’s family. What are the seeds in our lives? What are we gathering that will sustain us in the journey of life? And I guess I have a little challenge for anyone reading this. I decided to read how Lehi sees this vision. What order do things become revealed to him? What actions is he taking? If you read it with that perspective, you might see the vision in a different way.
Here’s to another adventurous and miraculous transfer!
I love you all!
Madeleine (Sister Powley)