Monday, January 26, 2015

A Goal Not Written is Only a Wish

This week was crazy guys! Crazy, but good. 

Sister Black got transferred and I was really sad, but Sister Ellis and I are still having so much fun! This is her last transfer and we made a bucket list of all the crazy fun things we are going to do (like "jogging" contacting) funny. Oh! And I also convinced her to do the "Cinnamon Challenge", (eat a teaspoon of cinnamon) and when we did it,  I could hear my mom's voice in my head saying, "That is how people die." --We are still alive though. 

Now in Chiang mai we have 2 new elders. SO it is 4 elders and 2 sisters. It's good though!

Grandma! Grandma Cammy! Thanks so so so much for all the packages! I absolutley loved them and everything was so perfect. Everyone is so jealous of my falang food...but don't worry I shared...a little. 

So this week Sister Ellis and I set some goals. One goal we have is to get 4 baptisms this transfer. we wrote it down and stuck it on the wall because, as Dad would say, "A goal not written is only a wish". It is crazy- as soon as we did this, miracles started happening. Firstly, we ran into Mae while contacting. She is our investigator that was so solid but needed to get married to her bf first. Turns out, he forbade her to keep learning with us, but she is still reading and praying and we were able to tell her that although it may take time Heavenly Father is there for her and wants to help her, and will help her. 

Another miraculous thing is this lady from Taiwan, Wendy, walked into the church a week ago wanting to learn how to be happier and get closer to God and Jesus Christ. Sister Black was going to teach her but since she left, we got to teach her...and since she doesn't speak Thai, it's in English!! (Which was definitley a blessing for me, because I can contribute waaay more.)  We had many amazing lessons with her in which she told us her whole life story...and man, her life has been hard. She is an orphan and was told her life would never amount to anything, but she perservered and even has a Phd! She is married and has a son, but about a year ago she got breast cancer, and her cancer is now in stage 3. She said the doctors wanted her to stay in the hospital, but she was like ,"There is no way I am just going to lie down and die, I am so grateful for each day I am given, and I am going to make the most of it." That was really inspiring to me, and she said she is traveling around trying to help people. In Chiang Mai she helps the mountain tribes, mainly the kids, with so many things! She is really so inspiring. She also talked about how, although her life has been very hard, she believes in God and knows Jesus Christ is her Savior. She prays each day to feel peace and to show gratitude for her life. She literally says the most thoughtful prayers ever...prayers in which you know she is talking to someone. She has experienced a lot of persecution in Taiwan for her beliefs, but says she knows these things are true and will never back down. We had comitted her to be baptized this past Sunday, but she is going back toTaiwan this week so she didn't feel ready. She is coming back in the middle of February and bringing her son, so she wants to be baptized then! 

A moment I'd like to share with you all about teaching Wendy was when she told us of a friend she visited in Chiang Mai who tried to commit suicide. She then told us how even though her life has been so difficult, she knows life is worth living and each day is such a gift. She wanted to convince her friend of this but he simply couldn't see it. Wendy then started crying, and I had the prompting to bear my testimony to her of how I don't know what she is going through, and can't understand it...but the Savior can. He has felt all her pains before and he understands, and because he understands she can pray and get the help she needs. This really comforted her and we then watched the restoration video in Chinese and she was like, " I get it now...I am just like Joseph Smith.. I have a question..I will pray like him to know God's will for me."  It was really amazing because she was really confused before. (probs a bit of a language barrier).

Another miracle this week was with Thai language skills. I really feel like I "leveled up" this week. It is definitley still super hard, but I was able to understand an entire FHE lesson and I can say everything I need to say now...maybe not so beautifully...but I can say it!  That was a major blessing for sure. 

Also this week we had 5 investigators at church...and we had expected only one of them!  One guy came just because he, "Woke up and thought about God." 

This other random guy (not one of our 5 people) also walked into church declaring he was, "Narong the Mountain Man",  and that we all can save the earth by dumping out liquids before we put them in the trash. He then looked at my name tag said, "Remington, you look nice" and walked out... hahahahha

I also bought 5 dresses at the best thrift store ever!  They were all long mission perfect dresses!! And for like 30 dollars total. Oh,  and I helped this Thai girl in my ward write her french it was hard to translate from thai to french. One of my really good friends in my ward, Gade, also told me a funny comparison of how becoming a new member is just like Bella's experience in the movie "Twighlight"...I don't really feel like explaining, but suffice it to say it was hilarious. While out contacting, this random couple bought me and Sister Ellis some food...they weren't interested but were super nice and complimented us on our thai!  Corn is a strangely popular treat here in thailand. Seriously, there are stands everywhere!

Lastly, here's a quote from Ezra Taft Benson that I love and is oh so true, 
"When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives."

I love you all!!


SIster Remington 

We contact in this park, and these "Ribbon Acrobats" are everywhere!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Progress Gives Us Joy, But Opposition Gives Us Progress

Dear Family, this week was great! 

We started off by visiting the hill tribes on P-day. We drove up this super windy road to the top of a mountain and I felt like I was going to barf (car sickness) but I simply hung onto the ladder outside of the car and felt way better. Once we got to the top of the mountain we saw some cool little shops and people dressed up in their sweet hill tribe outfits....And some wooden go-cart type things that you could ride down the giant mountain..... The zone leaders were with us and they all wanted to do it, so Sister Black, me, and the ZL's all rode was sooo sketchy but soooo fun! We almost fell off the side of the mountain (I was driving). Anyways, it was really hard to steer b/c you had to use your feet! And the brake didn't really work. oh well though.

 A random man in a bunny suit and lots of random Asian people kept asking to take pictures with us, which I thought was hilarious. 

Another fun thing this week was English class! I got to do this thing called talking time, where you talk in english for 5 minutes with each member of the class (like 30 people). It was so awesome and fun to hear Thai people speak english ...and they all asked me the same question, "Where you come from?"  I would say Canada, and then they ALL referenced the Disney movie, "Frozen". So funny.  Sister T shared a spiritual thought at the end using the Plan of Salvation and....JENGA. Jenga is going to be a great converting tool. haha 

This week we also visited an recent convert in the hospital who had broken her was a little dramatic, because even though she just had a broken arm, she'd been in the hospital for a week!   I now realize that I never want to have to go to the hospital in Thailand....

Sister Ellis was feeling sick this week, but on the day she felt the most sick a miracle happened! We were teaching an investigator at the church and when we finished, we decided that we better go "Inviting"...but as we were walking out, one of our other investigators walked in expecting a lesson, and we hadn't even made an appointment! We taught her and just as we were about to leave...a struggling recent convert walks in, and we teach her! It was so awesome, and then we taught Book of Mormon class to a bunch of RC's. 

In Book of Mormon class everyone takes turns reading from the book of mormon. reading in Thai is super hard, but I decided I would read too this week. I did....and it was a major struggle, and everyone clapped when I got through a verse. haha. 

We didn't have as many lessons as usual this week, so we did a whole lot of inviting. It wasn't so bad though, and one day when I was feeling so so sooo done with it...we found this amazing mountain temple that I'd seen on one of the first days here in Thailand.  I had been wanting to find it for weeks!!! It was a serious miracle, as Sister Ellis and I were just riding our bikes along after inviting and all of a sudden she's like, "stop....Sister Remington I found it!!" I was so happy and it was really cool. 

This week I feel like I really just learned how aware Heavenly Father is of all of us, and how tender mercies are truly, "over his work." When Sister Ellis was sick, and I was a little discouraged...he sent us those things to truly help us! I was also thinking a lot about the Plan of Salvation, and how we all will face opposition in this life...but in order to progress we must face opposition. 

I then thought of this catchy saying: "Progress Gives Us Joy, But Opposition Gives Us Progress." 

Anyways, I love you guys, and sure do miss you all. 

Study the Plan of Salvation. It's so cool! 


Sister Remington

The other day my companion and I went over to some members house (for some reason I didnt quite get- it was in Thai). We drive around for like an hour in the car picking random people up until we have like 12 people in a 6 person car.... we get to the members house and they've made us food...except it was literally STICKS and mushrooms....good good times. This one lady had brought some cake though. And oh man did I want that cake. The lady who's house it was wanted to save it for later, but I guess that I stared at it for so long that she finally cracked the cake open...I was so happy! Especially since I'd been trying to pretend eat the sticks for a while.....

Monday, January 12, 2015

Not Crazy...INSANE!

Hey everyone, as I said in the subject, this week wasn't crazy it was literally so INSANE. 

First of all for P-day last week we went and rode ostriches in Chiang Rai. That was super crazy actually, because I am pretty sure it is the only place in the world where it is legal. There was a sign proclaiming a classic Thai-English translation,"For once time in life." So I am thinking it was a one time kind of deal. haha. So they had 2 ostriches one that was slower, and one that was faster. They asked me which one I wanted, and as I was a little scared I said the slower one. Elder Paxton got on the faster one, and then we were off - riding ostriches around a dirt arena. Then all of a sudden, Elder Paxton's fast ostrich goes CRAZY and starts running around as fast as its little ostrich legs could carry it trying to catch my ostrich and bite me.... I was FREAKED, and my whole district was laughing. At that same time that cowboy movie song started playing, "dun dun dun...duh, duh duh.. and then a whistle/ a whip sound." Idk if anyone can actually decipher what that song was from that, but to say the least, it was like I was living a movie. I don't think I've laughed so hard on my whole mission. 

After that we went and saw the white wat...I'll send pics of both. After our day in Chiang Rai, we needed to head back to Chiang Mai (3 hours away), so we went to the bus station. All the buses were full so we hired this white van type thing to take us back. While we were there this Chinese guy who spoke VERY loudly in the little english he knew, approached us and asked if he could come, as he needed to go back to Chiang Mai as well. We said sure, he paid and we all get in the van. I got in the van last so I was stuck sitting by him....and man that was an adventure. He starts by taking selfies with my district in the back, tells us to call him "China", and then out of the BLUE puts his arm around me and starts taking selfies and telling me my "eyes shine so bright" etc. Elder Black and I tried to explain to him what missionaries do, but as we tried to give him a passalong card he thought that I was giving him my address/phone number!  (no buddy that's the address and phone number of the church.)  So awk, and then the Elders saved me and we all switched seats. 

This week SIster Ellis had to go to Bangkok to a leadership thing so I did a switchoff with Sister Larson in Lampang. It was really good! We had a lesson with a lady kneeling outside her house, and another one with a lady that only spoke Lao in a tree house sitting on a mat on the floor. It was really cool, because even though we both don't speak Thai super well (or speak Lao) (SIster Larson is 6 weeks ahead of me) the lady said when her friend tried to explain to her about Jesus Christ she didn't believe her, but when we explained she believed. Wow that was awesome. 

Okay warning to all this next part of the letter contains gross things, so feel free to skip.
Because Lampang is a really small non-touristy town, the food is a little more sketch. For lunch I'd eaten at this dam sang place, and gotten this chicken and rice thing. After the lesson with that lady I started to feel a little sick. We went to the church and I barfed. We speedily went home where I proceeded to spend literally the next 24 hours straight throwing up. The worst food poisoning of my life. I could not even keep any water down... so bad. Then to make it even worse the power went no AC. I remembered what my mom said to do when I was sick though....and laid on the cool bathroom floor...actually slept there for 5 hours. On the floor. Without a pillow. That's how sick I was. Sister Larson wasn't sick for the first bit, but then at around 11pm she got it too, and we were both dying. We finally started to feel a bit better 24 hours later when our companions came to pick us up. We still hadn't eaten though, and then it started raining, but Sis Ellis and I went back to Chiang Mai on a windy road on a smelly leaky bus and got back at like 1230. Then for the next 2 days I was still pretty sick, so we did missionary work but took it really slow and I got to sleep in. It was rough when I finally told myself I needed to eat again (Saturday) We all went to the dukes and I got a ton of food...bad idea...threw it up. SO.....I've been taking it slow on the food thing.  I lost 12 pounds though, but for anyone looking to lose weight, I would not reccomend food poisoning. Especially Thai food poisoning where it goes on for DAYS. Anyways, sorry for probably two much information about that whole scenario. Also...barfing up rice...not fun. Yesterday at church I explained the whole storybto this lady in my ward and she gave me the advice to, "chew my food better next time." I also talked to this Thai member who spoke PERFECT english. I was amazed and asked him how he'd learned it. To which he replied,"That's so Raven." So great. (A Disney Channel TV show)

Church was good yesterday we had this special fireside put on by the missionaries (Us). And the members loved it! They were so involved and excited! We had a couple members who had been on missions come and share their testimonies about their missions, and then did these role plays where they'd practice sharing the gospel with their friends. My all-time favorite part though was when we had the members write the blessings they'd recieved from the gospel on a big white board at the front of the room. They wrote stuff like, "life change, eternal family, good health, good friends, happiness, opportunity to serve etc." We then had them imagine what it would be like if they didn't have the gospel, and had them erase the "less important" blessings one by one. They didn't want too, but finally did...until the only one left was good health. I thought it was funny how that was the last one left. haha The whole point of it was that lots of people don't have the blessings of the gospel so we need to share it!

The big thing I've been thinking about this week is Agency. Especially Agency with regards to the atonement. It had never really dawned on me before that Christ chose to atone for our sins, and to die for us so that we might be forgiven and live with God again. I never really realized that the single most important event in well...ever, was a concious choice. That made me think about my life and how the most important things in our life don't need to be something we were compelled to do by some force or circumstance beyond our control, but something we chose to do. And these choices we make could turn out being the most important things in our lives. Those things of great worth. As usual,  I don't know if this makes any sense, but ya. My district leader also told us of this acronam he learned a while ago..AANO. Act as agents not objects. 

I love you guys! Have a great week! I miss you all but being here in Thailand is getting better day by day!


Sister Remington 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Hard Things Help Us Grow and Learn

Hey everyone! 

It's super weird having P-day so quickly becuse of the random one we had this last thursday, but from now on they'll be back to normal. Still a lot happened though.

Right now, as I write this, my district and I are all in Chiang Rai, 3 hours away from Chiang Mai. Chiang Rai is kinda ghetto, but its chill because we get to ride ostritchs here today. And maybe see a white wat. 

Friday there was an activity at the church for new years. It was super fun and crazy. The missionaries were in charge of leading the games, so we played games like Red Rover, Pop the Balloon tied to your foot, and whatnot. It was so fun because EVERYONE played and I had all these older ladies trying to attack the balloon on my food. I owned the people in Red Rover. 

 Sister Ellis and I had invited our new investigator วม (May) who we had met while teaching English class tuesday. She's super cool and is just the nicest ever. She went around the party, introducing herself to everyone...and even cleaned up after we ate. I actually felt super bad about that one because we went to go and find her to teach her, and there she was in the kitchen washing all the dishes. 

Before we taught her the ward members had come up with a show... now you have to know this, Thai people love shows..and seem to try and have one at every opportunity. This show involved someone dressed as an angel, superman, the devil, etc. And basically the best way I can describe it was that it was a big interpretive dance to rock music. I thought it was different, to say the least, but Mae loved it! She even cried a bit. We had a great lesson with her, and she wants to get baptized this week so badly. The only problem is she lives with her boyfriend and 3 year old, but they aren't married because her bf is from Burma, and they aren't allowed to get married here or something like that. My Thai isn't quite skilled enough to figure out all the details. She talked to the branch president though, and is going to try and convice her boyfriend to make a trip back to Burma so they can get married. Hopefully it all works out. 

On Saturday none of our investigators showed up for their appointments, so we did a lot of waiting around at the church. We were having a recent convert help us teach the lesson, and when the investigator didn't show up, we ended up teaching her. She is really worried at the moment about what she should do when she finishes university, or if she should go on a mission. We talked to her a bit, and then somehow ended up going to the primary room, and playing her primary songs on the piano and singing along. Because she is an RC (recent convert) she had never even heard the songs, and she LOVED them. Sister Ellis was playing the piano, and Nim and I were singing. She didn't know any of the tunes though, so I sang them myself. And anyone that knows me, knows that singing is not one of my strong suits...especially in a launguage that is very hard to read. However, up until that day I didn't realize how powerful those primary songs are, as she was really touched...and thanked me so much for singing them to her. I felt so grateful to have been able to hear those songs my whole life, and to always be able to reflect on the simple truths. 

One song she loved is the one that Sawyer sang this summer in Waterton..."My Heavenly Father Loves Me." Another one that she wanted us to play over and over again was, "I will go, I will do the things the Lord commands...I know the lord provides a way, he wants me to obey." I just want to share my testimony about those simple things. Our Heavenly Father truly does love us and that's where it starts. First and foremost with love. Heavenly Father also has a plan for us, even if we can't see it all from the onset..the bottom of the high mountain we all have to climb in our lives. However, it is only through seeking His will for us, that he is able to provide a way for us to get to the top...and he does everytime. My friend Destiny recently sent me a quote in a letter that I think is by president Eyring it says, "You can tell you are on the right path when it is almost certainly uphill." Heavenly Father has a vision of who he wants us to be, and sometimes we can only become that by doing hard things. That's how we grow and learn. 

Anyways, that's about all for this week, one other funny/crazy thing that happened was we were doing some planning on Friday... and all of a sudden we hear this super loud music and flashing lights outside our house. We run outside to see what it was, and it was this "Party Truck" with a bunch of people dancing in front of it. It's apparently like a moving party, that drives up super slowly, and people just have a dance party in front of it. I took a picture it was so funny. Never a dull moment in Thailand.

Love you all and miss you,

Sister Remington

The epitome of bad Thai to English translations. If anyone can think of how this even remotley makes sense...they win.

Yes, I actually ate food from here, and then got a bit sick...

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Lanterns - A Dream Come True

Hey everyone, first of all happy new year! And Mom happy Birthday this week! You and Elliott should be getting letters in the mail...soonish..The post office hasn't been open for like a week...

In Thailand Christmas is not a big thing, but New years is crazy! We had a curfew of like 7pm for 3 nights in a row, because the partying begins early. There were lanterns all throughout the sky, just like in the movie Tangled...during the day...and especially throughout the night. There were also fireworks and big balloons that would release little planes and treats, that were set off all throughout the day beginning at like 9AM!

I guess I'll start off by talking more about yesterday...New Years! We did normal missionary stuff, contacting, studying etc for the first part of the day, and then went to this Pizza restaurant as a district, and lit lanterns off at like 7pm! It was soo cool. Most definitley a dream come true!
Then I wrote some birthday letters, and at midnight, we may or may not have peeked outside again to see the CRAZY loud fireworks and tons of lanterns! I thought Chiang Mai was being attacked it was so loud! It was so beautiful though! We also ate tons of junk, and listened to Sis Ellis's song from her BF on repeat. haha

It is P-day today, and we are planning on going ice skating in the mall! I am stoked. Though it may be hard in a skirt.

Some funny stuff I saw this week/happened was:

-While contacting I learned the meaning of grainjay. Thai people are "grainjay." Everyone is literally so nice to you, and feels so bad that they are saying, "no" that they apologize profusely then give you their number just to be nice and say they are so sorry but they are buddhist. Grainjay means not wanting people to feel inconvienenced. Which definitley makes contacting easier. Thus far no one has been mean to me.

-This past Sunday we went to 2 branches, which was really good...but that meant 6 hours of trying to concentrate in Thai. Finally I think my brain gave up and I fell asleep in sacrament meeting. But that's not even the funny part. We were teaching a lesson to a new investigator afterwards and I totally fell asleep...AND FELL OFF MY CHAIR. Everyone just started laughing though, so no harm done. I am just blaming it on the soothing sounds of the Thai language.

-Also during church, probably only Mom and Wyatt will get this, but I heard a Thai girl behind me humming inside her mouth, "Angels We Have Heard on High." AND then I realized...other people really can hear when you do that!

There are so many more funny things but it would take forever to explain. SO suffice it to say, Thailand...never a dull day.

When we aren't teaching lessons/contacting, we put on a couple activities throughout the week for the memebers/investigators. One is english class.This week I also taught english class for the first time. There weren't a ton of people there because of the new year, but it was definitley nice to turn the tables on the understanding.   I coached the pronounciation part and it was so funny...but so cute! Let's just say Thai people have a really hard time with the "Sh" sound. Another one is Book of Mormon class where we read and try to help explain the Book of Mormon to the RC's. This week they made me read a Thai.. and my Thai reading is not the best. The script is still so hard to read...It looks like ้ดหก่าดเหก่าเหา่ดิหกอิืหก่าด้า่หอืหา่อกหา่อ่ิหกอิืกห่า้กห่าด้อ ดนพ ฟแห่า้ this for anyone that is wondering. So I read with some awful pronunciation and super slow, and everyone laughed..but I was glad I did it!

The final actvity is game night. At game night it is basically all YSA, and the games involve like no physical activity. We basically play Stella Ella Olla and Ninja on repeat. SO funny but they love it.

Oh! I totally forgot one of the craziest things of the week was when Sister Black crashed on her bike! Her front tire popped off and she totally endo'd. She was okay, but I think had a bit of a concussion. This is the funny part though..because it was later in the evening on our way home, there weren't many people out, but as soon as she crashed, this group of Thai men from the tattoo shop down the street just swarmed her and put her bike back together in like 3 seconds..while I looked on in amazement. 

Okay, this email has been so long.. but you guys are all the best. I'll close with what I learned this week. One of the coolest things for me was in a lesson with a new investigator reciting the first vision from memory and telling the Joseph Smith story. You could tell the investigator was visibly touched by the spirit and truth of the message. And I think, for the first time in Thai, I could feel it too. It also brought new meaning to that scripture in 2 Neohi 7:7, "for the lord god will help me, therefore shall I not be confounded. Therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed." All throughout that morning I could NOT for the life of me remember the first vision in Thai...but I prayed I would be able to, and in that moment in the lesson I did remember. And I knew it was only through the help of Heavenly Father.

I also was thinking a lot about confidence, and how often the hardest thing in life is to be yourself. Even though by being ourselves, that is where we have the most happiness. However, I had a realization this week that the key to confidence is: to do good for the sake of doing good. To do what you know is right, and not look for acknowledgement, approval, or respect. Stay true to yourself, and you'll be happy and Heavenly Father will help you. This kinda sounds like a cheesy Pinterest quote, and so cliche, but it is true and really helped me this week!

Anyways, have a happy new year everyone!


Sister Remington

In front of a Wat

Sis Black doing some touch ups by a really busy street