Sunday, June 2, 2013

Farewell Party for Sister Ning

 I just had to add these unusual but beautiful streetlights in Ayutthaya. Those are elephants with tusks-- in the center section. Ayutthaya is an ancient city with many ruins throughout. It once was the capital of Thailand. It also hosts elephant performances daily.

Today was Sister Ning's last Sunday in Ayutthaya. She is moving back to her home village to care for her aging mother. I had no idea what a huge event it would be to say goodbye to her. Sister Saw bought 150 roses for $5 to make bouquets to adorn the chapel. She also brought a cake with a farewell message.

We started the event with our usual after-meetings luncheon. After the luncheon, everything was cleaned up and food put away. Then it was time for ward council meeting and everyone not on the council rehearsed a favorite Thai farewell song.

An hour later, council meeting was over and the roast began. Everyone stepped up one by one to make a short speech and have their picture taken with Sister Ning.
L-F Sisters Wen, Wasana, Gunjanee, Ning, Saw, Prachoob, Sowards
Sister Ning took it all in stride and enjoyed it.
We sang the song--with many tears shed, and then Elder Engle played a beautiful rendition of I Know That My Redeemer Lives on the violin.

To my surprise, the food was brought out again. It appeared as a whole 'nother meal with three whole fishes cooked and ready to serve. Amazing. I commented to Elder Trabing about this all-afternoon tradition. He told me they would probably visit two more hours and then prepare another meal at 6 PM. I have a lot to learn about Thai customs.

Sorry to say we had to head back to Bangkok and miss the rest of the fun--and the cake. Next week the Sisters will wear their traditional Thai dresses. They will bring something for me to wear, too. I'm looking forward to it.

A comment on the photo of the Sisters--Notice the poster above Sister Ning's head they made in her honor--the whole bulletin board. And I've never thought of myself as a tall person, but I look gianormous with these sisters. I love them all. They promised they would find a yay-yay (very large) Thai dress for me to wear next Sunday.  Can't wait!

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