There is a dialect here called the Isan language. The people who speak it understand proper Thai, but they don't speak very clearly. I already know some of it though, because I've heard other missionaries speak it. So I'm not terribly lost. And for the most part they speak Thai.
Our ward is quite small - there were 30 people at church on Sunday. Apparently, there's a whole neighborhood full of less active members. OH! And guess who now has a bike! Yup. I meant to take a picture of it, or me on it, (or something), but I never got around to it....... also, it rained really hard last night, so maybe I was completely soaked, you will get pictures of that.
My new companion is Sister Downs. She is one transfer older then me, and at 4 ft 11 inches she is officially shorter than Sister Somboonnit. She is also the oldest missionary (missionwise) in our district. It's insane. So Elder Arne, (who is one transfer younger than me), is our district leader. I don't know if I mentioned him before, he was "born" in Bang Khea right after me, and then he is also training, so we have a greenie here too. It's so fun.
Let it publicly be known, I apologize to mother for not learning the hymns. Guess who played piano for church on Sunday.... maybe I only played the right hand, because I was sight reading most of it. Yup, apparently they called a piano player, and now she's less active. ): woof.
So, I'll walk you a little through transfers, because they are a ton of fun. So for transfers, everyone that's moving, or has a companion that's moving, came to the church in Jang Watana, and we waited for the meeting to start. (I was feeling way sad, because I love my companions. Our trinity worked so well.) Then we loudly greeted the new missionaries, and powerpointed it up to see who was going where. Then I spent about 12 hours on a bus to get to Nong Khai. I was exhausted. And now I'm here! And it is so different here than in Bangkok. It's green and beautiful. Also, right now we don't have a ton of investigators, so we invite every day basically.
I've only been here a little while, but I can already tell I will love this branch. There are great people here. I can also see that it has its faults, but I hope with God's help I can leave this branch better then I found it. That's all I got for today!
Culture: butt-patting in the Isan= friendly. I will need to get used to this. Mostly old ladies will do it. But still....... It will take time.
Spiritual: Joseph Smith taught: “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things.” He truly lived by that. He gave up everything for God, even his life. We do not have to go that extreme, but we do sacrifice. And yet is it really a sacrifice? We pay tithing, and God blesses us. We keep the Sabbath holy and don't work on Sunday or at least come to church, and we have added spirituality, and the Holy Ghost. We don't drink tea or coffee, and God blesses us with health. Some times these blessings are not terribly apparent. Plenty of people have followed the word of wisdom since birth, (or when they found out), and yet they still get sick. Where's God's blessing then? It's there. "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." John 14;18. When we "sacrifice" and show God we love him by keeping His commandments, we will be blessed.
Love you all!