Week 5

IT’S SNOWING!!! The delayed weather gave us a little white surprise this morning after we left the temple.   We do not necessarily love it while wearing skirts but it’s fun to look at and of course, we tend to sing Christmas hymns.

Time is going by so fast!!  From your last letter, I read that Trina got a hair cut and she had a dentist appointment.  (Which before I forget, Mom; you'll be so proud of me, I've been brushing, gargling [sp] and FLOSSING every night.)  My teeth are still good and I take my vitamins every morning.  Hehe just thought I'd share.  

So, every Saturday, we go to TRC also known as the Training Resource Center, where volunteers (usually return missionaries but we like to call them “real people”) come so we can teach them.   This week was hilarious!  Especially, Elder Simonson (you'll recognize him in the pictures I’ll send cause he always take my camera and takes pictures of himself.   He's kinda a goober but we love him).  We had all prepared and said our prayers as companions.  We have 8 people in our district and last Saturday, we were scheduled the same time as our Phiithays (the older district ... who are now in THAILAND!!! :-] :-] ).  So, as we were filing out to go “knock on the doors,” Elder Simonson says, 'Doesn't this feel like Monsters Inc.?!'  I think Travis might understand it a little better and it might be one of those “you had to be there moment,” but it was so funny and it just gave us all big smiles right before we went to go teach.  I love our district.  Everyone is so supportive and fun to work with.

So mom as far as playing the flute, the MTC has some that you check out for an hour and so my flute is still at home ... under the bed.

There are a lot of jokes this week; rather things that made us smile [a lot].   I love the card you sent (especially the cookies one... my companions and I laughed so hard at the cover, which I'll explain in a minute.) The butterfly thing startled me, but I loved that as well!  Okay, so a few weeks back we were all sitting in class and Sister Stolworthy said, “It smells like cookies.” Just to be funny then, Elder Simonson said, “I farted.”   Since that day, any time an Elder lets one go (they don't do it on purpose, but they are boys and I guess it happens)... which is so gross because we are in the classroom all day we'll just say “who made a cookie?”  So when we saw your card, it was just so funny because that day was especially worse than others.   I think the Elders have a hard time with the food here.   Hehe

Yesterday, Elder Yuen got a letter from his non-member friend.  Before he left on his mission, Elder Yuen’s friend asked, “what's the oil valve you have on your keychain?”  Elder Yuen didn't have time to respond back so when he read his friends letter yesterday his friend asked, "Oh, do you put olive oil on your salad?”  -- Fun, fun times here at the MTC!   In 5 short weeks we will join our Phiithays in the field!!!

Okay so, each week as I make personal goals and companion goals, I try to evaluate what I could do better and what I need to learn to help the people in Thailand be really converted to this gospel and feel of our love.   I love the hour of personal study because I gain so much that I probably wouldn't have picked up if I didn't come on the Lord's mission that he planned for me.   So this week it seemed to all come together a bit more.   I really just needed a firm direction from Heavenly Father about what he wants me to become as a missionary and in the years to come.  Because, of course, this is not just 18 months of my life but rather it is the foundation for the rest of my life.   On Sunday, one of the mission presidents and his wife spoke at the fireside and it was an interactive type of talk.  Like what President Bell does during Stake conference sometimes.   So the question is, "How do I want to be remembered by the people in the mission: companions, leaders, the people etc.?"   Again, it's so amazing how things will all come into place according to the Lord's time.   Sundays here are amazing--it's just a spiritual boost for the week and I feel like I am recharged for the next 6 days ahead.   Well, I love everyday here, so it make me so excited to get to the field because I think if I can love the MTC as much as I do, I think I will love Thailand beyond words can express.  But always one day at a time, finding the tender mercies and blessings Heavenly Father is raining... or snowing down on us ;-)  Anyways, I thought about the question and I think it might be a cop-out but I felt it was right because the Spirit told me several hours earlier during personal study.   During personal study I researched each topic in chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel (PMG): Christ-like attribute.   While sitting in the fireside, I thought I want to be remembered as a missionary who was able to portray every quality in PMG Chapter 6, following that the Scripture 3 Nephi 27:27 was brought to my mind.   And that's exactly it--I want to be just like Christ.  President and Sister Myers who spoke, radiated happiness.  You can just see it in their faces, the way they spoke and from their stories.   I hope that as I learn more about Christ and his qualities and characteristics, I’ll start to make them my own and also part of my life.   It made me realize that I lack a lot and my first step this week is humility.   I'm not going to be able to do anything without relying on the Lord.  No way can I learn this language or teach with the Spirit if I am not being exactly obedient and trusting all I have in Christ.   I recognize and am soooooo grateful for the help He has already given me in these 5 weeks and has given me all of my life so far.  It's amazing to know how much love that is, and that He cares for each one of us, to help us and to be loved by Him.   Everyone deserves that: the people in Thailand do, you; my family all do.  

Well the time is spent and I will send you a surprise shortly! 
Enjoy the snow and be safe driving and walking to places you go!!!
You are always in my prayers and my heart!!

Love Sister Yeo

p.s.  I laughed a little when you said Dad knocks the wall to my bedroom in the morning to wake Trina up and that you can hear the bathroom water running.   Hahaha I can definitely relate!  Not just when I was home but here at the MTC... we are across from the bathroom and we hear the flushing and slamming doors.   Isn't it great?!! :-) LOVE YOU!!! Thank you so much for your letters.  Mom, you're the only one that writes me frequently and I absolutely LOVE it!!! BEST MOM EVER!!! :-)


Week 4

Can you believe I've been in the MTC for almost a month?  I found a way from one of the elder to "freeze" time while reading your email so Dad since that is easier for you send them my way. :-)   Mom, thank you as always for all your letters, your words of encouragement and love.   How are things for everyone?  Mom how was your lesson in Relief Society?!  [I’ve been so busy that] Tuesday is the only day of the week that I have time to think about all of you in more detail.   I imagine everyone is going to school/work [as usual].   Mom, you're still busy running errands and taking care of the family?   Oh, man do I miss home cooked food.   There was finally snow!!   How are things with your callings and the new bishopric etc.?
It's kind of funny because “real life” seems to be fading from me.   My life [now] is learning the gospel, feel the spirit and share that with others.   Yesterday was a holiday right?  It doesn't even feel like there are real holidays anymore because the MTC is a whole different world!  This past week was a hard one because “Yes, Dad” I do in moments have cabin fever but before I came to the MTC I reminded myself about it and wrote it down that the experience I have here in the MTC will be what I make of it.  So I'll share ours (my khuu's [companions] and I have done to make it fun).  Good news: I am no longer sick.   Last Wednesday I was feeling 100%!   Thank you mom for the Teddy bear and please thank Trina for me for the card (I'll also send her a letter later this week) and “Thank you” for the necklace. :-) :-) I love it and wear it everyday!  Since I was sick for a few days, I felt like I “hit a wall,” so to speak.   It has been about 4 weeks and I had to ask myself, “What have I learned so far in the MTC about the gospel, about Thai and about myself?”    I had to re-evaluate and construct some new goals that would really push and stretch me to be my best.   I love this gospel so much because when I took those questions to the Lord and asked Him what He wants me to become and how I can be a better missionary for Him; of course, He gave me an answer.  

Last week, Elder Don Clark of the 70 came to speak with us and basically outlined 5 things that we, as missionaries should remember:
1. Love
2. Prayer and fasting
3. The Holy Ghost
4. Work Hard
5. Family. 
I have so many favorite thoughts and feelings from that talk and some of the few were from the Holy Ghost and family.  Every day, trying to be exactly obedient can be hard, especially, because we need to do it as a companionship.   But he shared a story of an Elder who had companions who didn't feel the same way he did about obedience so when the mission president talked with each one of them, he asked this Elder what’s different for him.  He said that even if his companions aren't ready to go in the morning or did not up at the right time, he was.   I'm not sure how to explain that but basically in his heart He was ready and He knew that the Lord knew that.   Then, about family, I loved what he said because I read later from a talk in relief society that just confirmed that.  He said that if we [or I] serve in the way that I am suppose to be serving, the Lord would bless us [me] at home, and of course to share with you what I am learning.   I hope that I am keeping up my end on that.   He said that if your companions or people you know are not getting mail, to have your family write them because your family will always love you and always write you.   This week during branch council I learned of an Elder that has not been getting mail and it made me so sad because he was so sad about it.   So like I mentioned earlier, the MTC experience will be what we make it.  During companionship inventory I asked them if we could write encouragement notes to our Elders to help them feel loved and just to serve one another.    It has been so much fun!   I am so grateful for my khuus and how we get along so well.

Another thing we did to find joy in each day is going on an “adventure” within the MTC.  Some of my companions get more cabin fever than I do, so yesterday we ventured up to the 5th floor of our language building (exciting already.... I know) and we found their study area has a huge window.   There we can see campus; Dad I can see your office and the general area of home!  We also saw the mountains!!   It was very refreshing because I felt like I learned so much in an open lighted area.   Our floor is a little dark and has no windows so it kinda does feel like prison. j/k j/k.   We don't get out much. Haha... On our way to the temple this morning we always kid around and say, “we're free.”  Or if we see volunteers, we check out the girls and their outfits and say “real people clothes!”  Hehe.  It funny what a mission does to you because during mealtime, my khuus and I sit and check out the other sisters and say “Ooo I like her skirt or her outfit is cute etc.”
As far as the language is concerned, it is going well.  Everyday I make little objectives to reach my big goal.   Before the mission, when I was in the YSA ward, I used the “spiritual push ups” we had to prepare me so that when I came here to the MTC, I could just hit the ground running.  Now I want to do the same thing here in the MTC so when I get to Thailand, I can hit the ground running and be that angel in someone's life.   It was very overwhelming--the things we have to learn, especially about this culture, language and script but I am reminded by the spirit, and from teaching and the phii thay's (the older district ... who are leaving next week!) that I can't eat an elephant all at one time; just one bite at a time.   So I've been trying to think about the Thai people in everything that I do, the way they sit, they way they eat, how the gospel can help them, how scriptures that I read and apply can bless someone.   The time will go by fast ... I just know it!  So I ask the Lord every day for the strength and energy to do His work.  To refine my weaknesses and if I lean on Him and TRUST Him, I will do just whatever and everything I can to help someone else feel and know what I have.

I don't know how to type my testimony in script (cause it sooo hard and there is NO punctuation; so you'll have to wait for a paper letter version but the Romanized version is essentially the same.

“Sidtee ruu waa phraphuubencaw ben phrapidaabonsawaan.   Sidtee ruu waa phrayeesuukrid ben phuuchuayhayrood khoon raw.   Sidtee ruu waa phrakamphii mormoon ben khwaamcing.  Sidtee ruu waa thaa raw tamtaam phrabanyad raw goo mii phrawinyaan boorisud chuay raw nay chiiwidd yuu.   Nay phranam khoong phrayeesuukrid, Amen.”

I didn't realize that would be hard to write in Romanized too :P   Mom and Dad, thank you for all you've done for me.   The things I learn and feel here would not have happened if it weren’t for your examples and teachings and always loving and having faith in me.   You have given me so much and I hope that one day I can give that back.   I'm still learning and I make mistakes but I know and feel that you love me.  You are the best.   Travis, Trina and I are lucky to have such great parents who know the importance of the gospel and testimony.

Love you all!!!!!!!!
Sister Yeo


Week Three (Ups and Downs)

Dearest Family!!


The one holiday I was never fond of but I’m still being happy today.   Thank you all so very much for the valentines. :-) It came in at a time when I needed it.   Well, to be honest this was the hardest week to go through yet.   Last Tuesday, we had another great devotional from Elder Richard Edgley who talked about the importance of exact obedience.  He also talked about my favorite scripture; but actually this time D&C 18: 11 stood out to me.   It’s the second verse on my plaque and I never thought of it in the way that he described.   He shared a story about how he baptized a sister and years later her daughter came to greet him and said that he baptized her mother.  He went on to say that he could project how many generations were and will be blessed by that one baptism.   It’s hard to fully express how that touched me that night but I’m so glad that the spirit taught me because I had such an appreciation for the missionaries that came to YOUR doors mom and dad.  Even though I will probably never know them, I am grateful that they followed the spirit to come and teach you and that you mom and dad had the faith to accept the message and act on it; cause I know I wouldn't be here on a mission if you didn't.  

So Thursday's highlight was welcoming in another district.   I'll keep this day short because I really loved Sunday and want to share that day with you.  The new district is all Elders and man, was that different!   I forget that these young men are 19 years old and so you can only imagine the humor that came along with that.   But we  (the zone leaders and I) conducted the meeting while the branch presidency had personal interviews with the missionaries.   I was so touched because at the close of the meeting, he said to all the new elders, "If you ever want to know what kind of missionary to be, look at these three."   I was so grateful for his nice words but also felt the responsibility that statement came with.  In general, the world looks to us missionaries and what we do and say so.  I think it’s important to always be doing what is truly representative of Christ.   I realized I skipped over Wednesday but it was class and eating and sitting basically; always amazing lessons and personal revelation. 
Friday and Saturday just tanked.  

On Thursday when I got my immunization shots, they gave me typhoid and polio in my right arm and the Japanese encephalitis in the left.   My arms were sore on Thursday, I felt a little sniffle by Thursday night because the Elders have been sick this week and such.  So lo and behold, I woke up sick on Friday.   It was awful!  My upper body ached; especially my arms and I had a headache and a stuffy nose.   That morning was hard to get through.   I told myself countless time throughout the day, to put on a smile and do my best.   Don't worry mom, I am better now ... almost. :-)   Every morning I had / have a bowl of cereal and two cups of orange juice.   By the end of the day, I’ve had about 6 cups of OJ. :P For lunch I have soup ... lots of soup and just eat whatever for dinner; whatever meaning what they serve. 

So I'm taking care of myself and so are my sweet companions.  I've had medication regularly and about half a bag of cough drops.   Friday was still a good day.  MOM and DAD (and Trav and Trina!) I LOVE YOU!! YOU ARE AMAZING!!  My district was so impressed with how you wrapped my package with the blanket.   I needed it on Friday; it was just a miserable day and I felt like my body was literally going to fall apart.   I started feeling better Friday night but Saturday morning wasn't promising.  I was worse.  So after doing our Saturday Service we came back to residency and I crashed.   I felt bad for my Khuus (companions) because I slept through personal study time and gym.   I physically couldn't get out of bed, but I slept with the green blanket and my purple bear Trina sent me and it had the fragrance of home.  I loved it!   I think I just had a fever but I wouldn't want any other missionary to have what I had cause It was NOT fun!!  Plus the mail room closes at 2 p.m. on Saturdays so no mail :-(  

It’s ok though because when I thought about it, I realized that I’m worrying too much about myself and I'm letting a small thing like being sick be a road block for me.  The lesson on Saturday night was hard to work through because physically I couldn't hack it but then, I remember the people in Thailand.  Someone out there needs me, they're struggling through things much worse than a cold and if I'm not prepared to share the message of the gospel with them; I'm going to be so sad that I missed out on an opportunity to tell another soul that God knows they're worth it and He loves them.   Also found the blessing I was given when I was set apart and the reminder that Christ went through everything and even more.  So I prayed a lot this past week about several different things.  I'm also so glad to have the companions that I have.  At times I do get a little frustrated (to be honest) but when I was sick this weekend, they made sure they knew how I was feeling.  Sister Stolworthy is amazing because I think I had this look like I needed a hug on Saturday and without even saying anything, she just knew and was right there giving me one.  :-)  

So all sickness was about gone yesterday morning.  Faith in trails!  Yay.  I know Heavenly Father is mindful of what I need and he blessed me my whole life with the most wonderful angel; yes, you mom!   I loved your gift!  It hangs above my bed and I'm going to the copy-center today to shrink that talk and stick it in my scriptures.   On Sunday nights, we watch different films and this past Sunday, we watched one from Elder Bednar who came to the MTC this last Christmas and he talked about the Character of Christ.   I wished you could have been here to hear it because I was so moved by it and really motivated to do what he challenged us to do.   He talked about Characteristics of Christ and he said that moral qualities are "strongly developed, strikingly displayed and consistently lived."  

He shared an amazing story about a woman who lost her only daughter but when she found out about the two other mothers whose daughters were in the same accident and injured badly, she was concerned for them.   It was amazing how she turned outward in love towards the other mothers when most of the time we have a tendency to turn inward and focus on our sorrow.   So in the last minute I have, I loved what he said about journal writing.   That sometimes, when we hear talks, we tend to re-write what is being said.   He said that we should focus on how we feel and record that because chances are the talk being given will be published elsewhere but you won't remember how you felt in that exact moment.  What has stuck with me from this talk is the power of conversion.  I've been learning ever since I came to the MTC that I need to be converted.   I need to have true conversion and know what that feels like before I try to teach people in Thailand about it.    

He said that a testimony is not enough!   It is the foundation but it is not the final destination and that conversion is to be consistently true to what you know.   We all have to pay the price for our conversion and Alma 23:5-6 is worth studying.  :-)  I wrote in my notes that night, to forget myself, and get to work.    Every day we teach and even if they are just our teachers doing role-play; they are role-playing as real people who have been taught in Thailand.   All my thoughts are about them now.   I don't know them yet, but I love them already.   Like you said mom, I want to be that angel for someone over there.

I love you all very much and I hope you have a great day filled with love.   

Love always,
Sister Yeo

p.s. Your valentines might be coming randomly throughout the week.  Oh, and can you tell Trav I never got his letter.

p.s.s.  Many of my fiends sent me stuff but I don't have their addresses so please convey my “thanks” for are Aaron Barrus, Chelsey McCarty and Abby Holyok.    Also, can you do me a favor and tell Sam I said “hi.”  I haven't heard from her since the first week--so yeah.  

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO; ALL YOUR LOVE AND SUPPORT!! I know I have such an amazing family!! Love you to pieces!! :D :D :D :D :D  


Pictures From Week 1 And 2

Week Two (Of Awesomeness) At The MTC

Dearest Family,

I always have so much to tell you and it has only been 7 days but those have been very busy, learning, and fun 7 days.   Because of time limits I’m going to get to it and please excuse my grammar because my brain now thinks and spells in Thai.   I will also send a written letter home later today!

After P-day ended last week we had the most amazing opportunity/experience for our weekly devotional.   Last Tuesday was the 50th Anniversary of the Missionary Training Center.  In Celebration, Elder Holland and Elder Nelson came to speak to us as well and offered a dedicatory prayer for 5 new buildings here on the MTC campus.   It was amazing (for lack of a better word to describe it).   The spirit is always here but when our current apostles entered the room; you just feel it.   The whole time I was just so happy, my cheeks hurt from smiling so much.   Elder Holland opened the meeting and bore a brief but meaningful and powerful testimony of missionary work and told us that we as missionaries need to do our best to fulfill our callings.   He said, "you are, the only word that comes to mind is, obligated to do your best to be the Lord missionaries."   I love Elder Holland!  I still remember when he came to our stake conference and we had the chance to meet and shake hands with him.  

Elder Nelson also gave a very thoughtful message about the legacy of missionary work.   He said that each of us is taking our places in history as we sit [here] tonight.   He shared several stories about missionaries and the legacy they left behind.   He shared one about Heber C Kimball, Harriet Nye (who was the first sister missionary) Dan Jones and others.  I thought of Travis and when he was in Taiwan, how he had the chance to stand on top of a box in the middle of the busy markets and share the same message we will be sharing in Thailand and is being shared all over the world.   One of my favorite thoughts he [Elder Nelson] shared was about a plaque that is in the main lobby on the MTC.  It says, “Where thou art, act thy part.”  I thought about that a lot in the last week and that is a message for everyone.   No matter where we stand in life, we need to be in our circle of honor doing our part; its not just on a mission or when we are in church, etc.   He finished with a dedicatory prayer and it was like he was speaking with Heavenly Father and not just a rote prayer.   It was great!!

Following every devotional we have a review with our district and a member of our branch presidency.   It is a great way to end the night because we share what stood out to us most and bear testimonies to one another.  My district is awesome and so is our zone.  We have a few nuts but everyone loves everyone and there is a lot a respect for one another.  

Wednesday was fast, or at least it seemed that way.   We have a usual schedule of breakfast, class, language study, lunch, TALL, gym, dinner and more class.   That's basically our lives for the next 2 months. :-)  Every once in a while we get cool little workshops and Wednesday we discussed prayer and how we can help our investigators learn and use prayer for personal revelation.   One thing I shared in the workshop was what we need to do once we pray.   I know when I use to ask for things I would wait for something to happen instead of working to find the answer.   That lesson hit me a lot this week.   I have a firm testimony of prayers, they have always been answered but as I've learned this week, sometimes prayers don't come in a way we expect and a lot of the time we need to “diligently seek” our answers.   [Side-note] This last Sunday, being fast Sunday and all, I fasted and prayed for a very specific question.   As I sat in our leadership branch council meeting an hour later the answer came so subtly to me.   When I finally caught on, in my head I thought 'WHOA!  Think about that for one more minute before you leave the room,” THAT's my answer.    I was so grateful and you know that definitely went in my journal. ;-)

Well Wednesday's are special days because it means ... new missionaries!!! As a coordinating sister I went with our zone leaders (Elder Federico and Elder Wright) to welcome them and gave them an orientation.   (There is a picture on the memory card you can look at with the three of us).   Even though at that point I had been here at the MTC for a week, I felt like this is why Heavenly Father wanted me in this calling to help me love everyone, and of course I do.  Currently our zone is the biggest it has ever been.   We have over 40 missionaries!  Our District A is leaving us this week but tomorrow night we are welcoming in 10 new Elders.   2 are going to Japan and the other 8 will be serving in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.   Tomorrow will be another fun day, but they all are!   Well I have five minutes to tell you about so much more so it will be a lot of spelling spacing mistakes.  *Sorry*

A Thursday highlight was a lesson I sat in on with our Phii Thais (the older district).  My companions went to the Residency so I stayed with Sister Chan to listen to their lesson.  I was immersed with 10 minutes of the Spirit.   It's amazing how fast you can feel it, once you've learned to recognize it.   Like Travis said at our last meal together “learn the language of the spirit” and it has help and comforted me so much.  The rest of our day was fun and my companions and I laugh and study so well together I honestly couldn't have asked for better companions and the fact that I get 2 is fantastic!

Friday we found out that the investigator we have been teaching our first week is actually our teacher for the class.  Sister Wongwiraphab (took us several tries to pronounce that right) but she is so great! I love her and she has helped in so many aspects.   My favorite time of my day is when we do personal study because that is the time I get to use the tools that my teachers have given me and apply them.  Basically our teachers teach us how to learn and to do it effectively.   Then we are required to do our part and study it out.  It's been a little frustrating for those in my district who don't understand the concepts so they make noise and are distracting during personal study time but I know that's another lesson for me to be patient and to lovingly encourage them to make the most of their time. 

Thank you mom and dad for teaching me the value of learning and focusing on study.   The language is so easy or at least I think it is.  Our teacher gave the first lesson in Thai and it was amazing that I understood it all.   The gift of the spirit is wonderful!  Then, when I gave the first lesson in Thai for others in the class I was even more amazed.  Again mom and dad, I learned from the best, the value of learning.  And it's not even our time; it's the Lord's time.  Last night when I was thinking of thing I wanted to share with you today, I just wanted to assure you that I am doing great and I love it here.   The MTC is seriously on lock-down.  No one can get in and no one can get out, no other time in my life, unless I teach here, will I get to be here learning and having devotionals, etc.   It’s a blessing to be here and learn from so many good examples.  

Well I will need to send the report for Sunday's mission conference in a written letter because I am always three minutes over.  :P
I love you all!

Sister Yeo