Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We're not in Kansas anymore

To start out I'll answer some of your questions about mail.
I only have an hour to write and read emails. I would love
to get one from the family but as far as personal letters
could you send them through "snail mail"? Sorry I know it's
expensive but I'm afraid I won't have time to read them all
and write you too.

"We"re not in Kansas anymore"

I LOVE THAILAND!!! After getting to the airport it was way
confusing but we got everything figured out. when I walked
outside I about died because of the heat, it felt like I
walked into the bathroom on Sunday mornings after four
people have showered, wet and hot!! But it's great, I really
don't mind the heat that much, although I constantly look
like I just put my head into a bucket of water. GA-ROSE!!!

I got my new companion (Elder Whrite), and I love him, he
is the greatest! We get along so well together. After
knowing him for a couple minutes we were joking with each
other and getting along like we had been best friends for
years. He is good at the language too, and has helped me so
much. We're serving in a city in Ubon, it's right by Laos
and Cambodia where their "Thai" is a mix of all three of
the countries, yeah...crazy!!

The culture shock from being here is crazy let me show you
through a story. We were going to a lesson and we weren't
sure where it was. We went out to a swampy road for a long
time. Finally we stopped and I looked off the road down
into the trees and I saw what looked like a tree house.
There were two little kids running around without shoes,
and they only had a shirt that was huge. We walked down the
slope on a plank, and into the "house". This house was the
size of our front room in our house, and had a family of 5
living in it. We were sitting on the floor teaching when
the little girl started coming over to me, tripping over
holes in the floor where they couldn't afford to put wood.
When she got to me she started handing me magazines full of
porn, i couldn't believe it, and as I looked around I
realized it was all over the floor. This was a real eye
opener to me. How blessed we are to have a house with more
then two walls, built with more then broken down boxes.
They take baths in a pond full of dead animals and mold.

I had another experience. We're not allowed to give money
to people because of stuff that has happened. I was eating
dinner when I felt something on my arm, i looked around to
see a small old lady who could hardly stand up wearing the
same thing she had been wearing for months. she held out a
cup to me. I didn't know how to say what I wanted to in Thai
so i just said "I don't have money". she stepped back and
looked me up and down; first at my $150 shoes, then my $250
suit, she said "yes you do...your American" I didn't know
what to say, I didn't have any words in Thai I could say to
explain what I felt, I just looked her in the eyes praying
that somehow the message would be communicated to her, then
I turned around and didn't even want to eat. She sat there
for awhile just looking at me, and then dropped her head,
turned around and started very slowly trying to walk away.
What an emotional experience that was for me.

Well on a lighter note. The rule still stands "don't you
dare talk to, wave, or look at girls. We don't want people
to think we came over here to get a wife or anything else
white males come over here to do. It's pathetic how every
white male is the "hottest" thing they've ever seen. I hate
it when they flirt with me, AHHHHH!!!

I've never understood why anyone would come home from their
mission, but over the past week I've seen why. This has been
the hardest time of my life: emotionally and physically. i
can't talk to anyone; people who are our "friends" make fun
of me every chance they get because I don't understand. I'll
be talking to someone and they will just turn around and
leave because I can't speak Thai very well. It's really
comforting to know that the Savior of us all has
experienced all this before. He successfully overcame
before, and because of that he can help us do the same.

I love this gospel, I love the trust the Lord has put in
me because of the calling I have. I will serve with all
that I have despite hardship.

I love you all so much,
Elder Parkinson

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