Being a Missionary is the best!! I miss being in Tucson with my friends and family and missionaries but this experience is definitely worth it!
This week started off super well when I got to see my dear friend Sister Shimizu She served in Tucson with me for a short time and now has honorably completed her Mission and works at the copy center at the MTC! It was great getting to talk with her again, she's such an inspiration. We exchanged photos and then I found out it was against MTC rules to take a one-on-one photo with a member of the opposite gender. Whoops. I hope she doesn't get in trouble for that!!
We started learning how to write in Thai! I'm a slow learner so I made a goal to learn two new characters each day. (I think there's something like 40 characters in the Thai script.) So far I have 6 memorized but it'll come along fast!
Last Friday was kind of a setback. Our teachers pretend to be investigators for us so we can have practice teaching lessons in Thai. Friday morning one of our teachers pulled my companions and me out of class and told us our "investigator" (the one she was pretending to be) wasn't going to meet with us anymore because we were too scary. She said this was supposed to be like a real experience. She explained we seem to demanding when teaching and don't seem to care about the investigator. What she meant is there are different tones to speak in when speaking Thai and the way we were speaking it sounded like we were angry or bossy instead of kind and loving. That made us feel bad because we were honestly trying our hardest, just not good enough. :)
We had a devotional this week where the Apostle Russell M. Nelson came to speak with us! He taught us that True repentance is synonymous with full conversion. Our investigators shouldn't be baptized without careful preparation. I loved how he mentioned that there are several members of Wards that we should work closely with: namely the Bishop and our best friend the Ward Mission Leader! I loved being a Ward Mission Leader more than anything. It's a whole different game being a Missionary. Planning lessons rather than going to lessons and bearing our testimonies in them is a totally different experience but it's coming along slowly but surely!
I also really love my teachers. One day I was having a really bad day, and my teacher Brother Shipley saw this occurrence. When class was over and I was on my way out the door he grabbed me by the elbow and told me: "Phom rag khun." (I love you.) I told him "khab khun khab." (Thank you.) Not letting go of my elbow he said again "Phom rag khun." I could feel this overwhelming compassion and care coming from him. My teachers are always so kind and thoughtful. They're all younger than me, too! I'm amazed at how wise they are. I think the oldest one is Pii Boy, and he's only 23. They all got back from their missions to Thailand within the last year or so!
Saturday morning we had TRC (Teaching Resource Center.) It was our first time, and it was really fun! It's basically teaching to people in Thai who aren't our Teachers pretending to be investigators. They were also returned missionaries and they are volunteers to come to help us practice our Thai. Our first lesson was with a girl named Carly who was Sister Painters MTC companion! The second lesson was with a guy named Gus... I think... and he was Pii Boy's MTC companion!
The food here at the MTC isn't the best, but it's still pretty good considering the cafeteria staff needs to cook food for thousands of Missionaries! I'm also so happy that we get to exercise in the gym for 50 minutes each day. Last week at gym my legs started hurting oddly enough while I was running after about a mile. Then my leg got a bubble in it. The nurse said that I should stop running and take it easy, so hopefully that will fix it. The bubble went away though my legs aren't quite back to normal. So in the meantime I will just get fat. :) But some prayers would be helpful too! :)
Today our older Pii Thais are leaving to go to Thailand! They're all so very nervous but worried about how well they will do. I'm confident they will do fantastic. I'm looking forward to learning the language as well as them!
Thank you all for writing letters to me! I found out DearElder.com requires some info about me in order to get letters to me. This info they require is my Unit Number (#81) and My Estimated Departure Date () from the Provo MTC.
Have a great week and do something special to make someone feel special! Even if it's a stranger!
Elder Mark Wager
0128 - District 30B in their natural habitat
0130 - Red-color matching nerds!
0153 - Residence Life!