Today we spoke with Elder Schulte! It was wonderful to hear his voice and feel his enthusiasm as he shared mission experiences with us. He is so happy serving a mission, and has grown so much! So, I thought I'd share what we talked about.
Wiliam is enjoying his new area, Warin, (waa-rrreen- you have to roll those r's!) He's been there for about 3 weeks. He says that it feels much different from Bang-na which was a busy and loud city. Warin is more rural and quiet. His language ability has improved greatly. Michael asked if he "thought" in Thai yet. That happens when you are truly fluent. William says he is almost to that point. The people there speak a different dialect of Thai, but he said its not a problem to recognize and understand it, so its all good. Much of the population in Warin is poor, although there are some wealthy neighborhoods. He said there are about 100 members in their branch (congregation) and they are really looking forward to their new meetinghouse that will be finished in about 3 weeks. William says that the members of the church there are awesome! There is another companionship of Elders that lives about 20 minutes away and then a set of Sisters that live in another area nearby.
We asked him how they managed to get all their belongings to Warin from Bang-na. I just couldn't imagine carrying a bike, 3 suitcases as well as a backpack and whatever else he's collected and moving it into Bangkok and then on to Warin which is 12 hours away. He said they just bungeed their bikes on to the back of the taxi which took them to the train station. From there they piled all their stuff onto the train. He traveled with a group of missionaries who were also being transferred in the same direction that he was and they rode together till each reached their destination and got off at their intended city. He said he got a saddlebag for his bike which is great because he doesn't have to use his backpack as much.
For his birthday 6/24, he said he'd love mac-n-cheese, snack foods like Pringles, Chex Mix, microwave popcorn, boxes of jello, pudding mixes, jerky and cereal, etc. He said they are able to find many of those things in Thailand but they are really expensive. We've got to get it to Bangkok before June 5th so it will make it to him after the next transfers. Someone in their district picks up all the packages for their area when they head in to Bangkok at transfer time.
He is very grateful for everyone's support and really appreciates the letters and packages that have been sent to him. It's probably pretty evident that I am really proud of my son and getting to talk with him made my Mother's Day very special!
I will include William's address again for those who want to write. He'd love to hear from you!
Elder William Christopher Schulte
Thailand Bangkok Mission
50/829-832 Muang Thong Thani
Chaengwatana Road, T. Ban Mai
A. Pakkret, 11120