Monday, February 23, 2015

Take courage, this way's not easy, but worth it in the end.

Hey everyone!! 

First of all I got your package and letters from Hawaii this week!! The "Babies of Hawaii" calendar was a HUGE hit with my district. We all died laughing looking at the pictures. Sister Ellis also loved the card you guys sent her. 

This week was hard and good! 

Last P-day we went and got Sister Ellis's wedding dress made and went to the "fish spa". I was a little scared to do the fish spa thing for the third time, as before I left on my mission I read somewhere that you can get diseases from it.  I figured I had been safe the first 2 times, and didn't want to risk it a third time. Although I succumbed to peer pressured, and agreed to go, I put my feet in the water but kept shaking off all the fish. The owner lady saw that I was doing this and said I was killing the I had to pay a little extra....haha. 

This week at Book of Mormon class we built a ship out of tables. It actually looked really legit. We even had a mast and flag. Everyone decided that I should be Nephi, so they tied me up to the mast, and all started teasing me (everyone else was Laman/Lemuel). We were all dying laughing as I yelled super loud "glopjay conechuaray." (repent/evil people). Good times. 

Some other funny moments of this week:
This week it started to get really hot, and we all started to run out of money because it is nearing the end of the month. Because of these facts, Sister Ellis and I decided to go on a long bike ride to get some super cheap (20 baht) Somtam at an LA's restaurant. We arrive after biking for 1/2 hr...and its closed. We were so sweaty and so hungry that we decided to find some other food nearby. The only thing around us was some cold fried chicken this lady was selling on the side of the road. So we both got a piece. After eating that (and me hoping I wouldn't get food poisoning again) we were still hungry. This random dude then points us to another somtam place. For those of you who aren't familiar with is a SUPER spicy papaya, tomato, and carrot salad with shrimp. 
Anyways, we get to the restaurant and Sis Ellis orders hers. I then order mine telling the lady not to make it spicy, and not to put any MSG or shrimp in it either. After I said that, the lady gave me a funny look and said, "It won't even taste like anything then", but she proceeds to make it. When she gives it to me, I take a bite and start to sweat/cry because it was literally so SPICY!  The lady had taken matters into her own hands and added  FIVE peppers to it, then told me it just tastes better this way.  As I was still really hungry, I took matters into my own hands, and grabbed the pitcher of water from the table and rinsed the peppers off! The lady laughed at me, other people in the restaurant laughed at me, but least I could finally eat it!  After this whole event we went inviting in the mall, and I SAW A FROZEN YOGURT PLACE. I was so stoked and obviously got some. It was the first time I had eaten it since being on my mission! What a good day. 

This week Sister Ellis and I did a lot of inviting. We invited in a park where people were doing "acro-yoga." (Which is a weird thing.) Anyways, we made lots of appointments with people that we had met inviting,  but they all broke their appointments. So my faith in inviting was kinda low. After leaving the church ( yet another person hadn't shown up)  we went inviting again. The last guy I invited said he really wanted to come to church and would bring friends. I was like, "whaaat". It was a huge miracle. On Sunday he didn't end up coming, so again I had low faith in inviting. But then in relief society I went and sat by this lady, and she turned to me and said, "Hey!!  It's you!  You invited me to come to church a month ago, but I haven't had time off work until now." I was like...."whaaat!?!?" So amazing.  We then taught her a lesson, and she is awesome. She is going to bring her kids next week. Heavenly Father was really looking out for me. 

This week we also taught our "former monk" investigator.  I think he may be a teacher in some vegetarian Buddhist religion, and is basically the nicest person ever. He comes to the appointment and gives us some food saying, "To love is to give away, just like Jesus did." He's so nice. That same day Cat (the lady that I helped teach that got baptized last transfer) said she prays for each of us missionaries individually every day. It was so cute. I can't believe how much I love her. 

Two more random things before I finish:

A film crew came and visited our Relief Society and took a video that will be shown in the Women's General Conference session in make sure you look for me in it!! 

The other random thing is that the branch is having everyone do a time capsule. I am so stoked! They are going to open it in 10 years, and promised they'd send my stuff to me in Canada. 

Anyways, here's a poem I wrote this week...This is the email segment i'll call, "Auburn hasn't written a poem since she was 10, but decided to do it just for fun." 

There is a mountain not far off
But rather close at hand.
Rocks like spires twist to the sky, and 
At its base I stand.

Vast boulders seem to block the way
To the summit...a great height
One step forward and then I climb,
Climb with all my might. 

Time drags slowly onward,
As I move along the trail.
I see a storm encroaching, and I think, 
"I very well could fail."

The way's not easy, not a bit, 
And I trip and fall.
Over and over and over again 
Until I hear a call:

"Take courage. This way's not easy, 
But worth it in the end-
Stand back up, keep walking...
Go just around the bend."

My heart heavy, faith low, 
I start to wish I had not begun.
But I get up, walk forward...
And then I see the Son.

He takes my hand and helps me 
Take those final steps.
The smile on his face seems to say, 
"My child you did your best."

"The way was not easy,
Your spirits often low.
But you listened and heard my voice-
that led you here you know."

I gaze at glorious vistas, 
Once hidden from my view
With gratitude for the savior, 
I know my journey's through. 

I love you all! 
Have a great week!
Sis Rems 

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Baptism, A Wedding, And A Spider In My Somtam

Hey everyone!

This week was crazy and good as usual. 

I never know where to start in these emails, so bear with me if they are always super random. I guess I'll just try to go chronologically through the week. 

Last week for P-day we went to this Hmong village waaaay up in the mountains. It was so cool.  We climbed up to this market on the mountain, bargained with people, shot crossbows, and dressed up in authentic Hmong tribe clothes! It was really cool. At some point we might go visit the long-neck tribe too. 

This week Sister Ellis and I also went on a really long bike ride looking for some Somtam to eat. (in other words: we got lost).  We finally found some and THERE WAS A SPIDER IN MINE !  Oh well....there is a saying among the missionaries here that goes like this, "If there isn't an ant in the Khaw Neo, is it even real Khaw Neo?"

This week for district meeting, Elder Christensen did the BEST lesson.  It was a scavenger hunt, representing life on earth. We started off in the church and Elder Christensen was not even there, but has left directions to look in the scriptures, and that we can "pray", aka call him, if we have any questions. So we start the hunt, and are led all around the church finding stuff behind paintings, in the oven, etc. until finally, after like an hour, we are led to this park alll the way across town! It was a really pretty park with giant trees, statues, etc...but still no Elder Christensen. We call him and ask for another clue, and he tells us we have to find someone to serve...and also he tells us not to get distracted. So we help this guy sweep some leaves and pick up sticks for a while (Dad- all the yard work I have done over the years came in very handy. haha). And then we got some ice cream (yes, we got distracted). But finally we are led to this beautiful maze in the park...and there in the middle is Elder Christensen...who had been sitting in the hot sun with his comp for 2 hours. It was kinda funny, because we then talked about what we had learned on our journey.  People talked about service, perseverance etc, but what really stuck out to me was when ELder Christensen said, "Imagine I am your Father in Heaven, imagine how excited I was when you "prayed" (called me) because I had just been waiting here for you guys, and wanted to know what you were up too." It was a cool moment for me to realize just how much our Heavenly Father wants to hear from us and wants to help us, but He can't if we don't call-  He can't if we don't pray. 

This week we also taught a former monk that I contacted in a park, and that was a cool experience. He was so happy and smiley while we were teaching him, and said he would pray to see if this is all true. One of my favorite things about teaching people is teaching them how to pray, and letting them know that they don't just have to take my word for it, but that they should pray and ask God if these things are true. I always promise that if they do this with real intent, that they will get an answer...and I know they will receive answers to their prayers, because I have. 

On Saturday one of the girls from the hill tribes got married at the church. That was a cool wedding!  She'd asked the missionaries to do a "special musical number", and asked Sister Ellis to play the song for her entrance. I was in charge of flipping the pages for Sister Ellis and also signaling her to come in to the church on the right measure of music. Man that was stressful as there were like 200 people there, but it went well! The musical number was pretty good too, though we all know how I am at singing.   Just imagine this picture: 4 elders, me, and 2 female ward members singing in front of the 200 wedding guests....IN THAI!  It was a pretty funny event - not gunna lie. It was also cool to see the wedding party in the traditional northern tribe clothes. When they got married they didn't even kiss!!! Thai people NEVER kiss in public or even sit with their husbands/boyfriends at church, because it is apparently bad manners. I am also never allowed to lift anything heavy, because they think girls can't do things like that here....a little weird, but hey I'm not complaining!

On Sunday Ging got baptized!!  It was really cool to see just how excited and ready she was for it. This last week I was thinking a lot about the Lord's timing, and how some things, in comparing myself to others, hadn't been working out exactly how I thought they should. But when Ging got baptized, after 4 months of taking the lessons, and her older sister got baptized in Chang Rai on the same was more evident that this is the Lord's work, and one day we will know why everything happened the way it did, but until then we just have to live by faith. I also rediscovered this scripture in Hebrews 10:

 32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;

 33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.

 34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfullythe spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

 35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done thewill of God, ye might receive the promise.

 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

 38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

This just made me remember to never draw back. Things always work out the way they are meant too if we put our trust in God and do those things we know we should. 

I love you guys!  

I noticed this week that Thai people have an obsession with France...there are crepe stands, Eiffel Tower stuff, and French cafes everywhere!  (Remind you of anyone else ;) ) I love Thailand! 


Sister Rem

PS - oh!  I also totally forgot to say...I translated for the first time in Primary and Young Womens, and man it was funny. I'd be translating something and then the teacher was on to another part by the time I finished saying it in English/ I basically made up my own lessons...

(A less awkward district photo.)

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Don't Take Anything Personally...Seriously Don't!

Hi guys!

I am having a hard time remembering the details of what happened this week, but I did learn a lot.  The number one lesson was - DONT TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY...SERIOUSLY DON'T !!

This week, that was the resounding theme for sure, as people just said the craziest stuff to me. I won't repeat everything, but for example:  Someone told me I was fat....I had a big nose...that my hair looks waaay better curly...and the classic- why are you on a mission if this isn't even true- you could have way more fun if you weren't....etc. These were all comments by Thai people and other randoms.  At first I was like, "Ouch, what the heck, none of this is even true - where is this even coming from? Because usually they are like, "You are so pretty, I love your nose, your hair, you are so skinny...and my fav, You look like a Disney Princess." And no one is ever mean to me when inviting them to hear about the Gospel. 
But then I realized, all of these comments, bad or good...said by anyone are really not about me in the slightest. Whenever someone makes a comment it has nothing to do with you...even if it seems totally personal...but it has everything to do with their opinions, motives, and upbringing. 
I also remembered all the times when I have said thoughtless things, and how I hurt other's feelings as well. Anyways, this entire rant came down to this realization: The only opinions that should matter are Heavenly Father's, and your own, because if you let the opinions of others hurt you....well your life is going to be full of hurt, because people loveee sharing their opinions. 

This week I went on a switch off with Sister Larson...and it was way better than the one where I barfed for 3 days. This time it was in Chiang Mai so I got to lead. We went inviting all over Chiang Mai, to malls across the highway, to parks etc...and I only got slightly lost. We called all of our former investigators too....and heard the "welcome to callback service", (a funny thai english voice) a lot. We also had lessons with a bunch of RC's, which all went really well...which is an amazing miracle b/c we are both greenies. We also had an awesome lesson with Ging, and comitted her to get baptized this Sunday ! She's totally ready, and even had her permission slip signed and everything! (she's 17). The last set of Sisters her in Chaing Mai taught her too, but before now her parents have always forbidden her to get baptized. But in the last couple weeks amazing stuff happened, where her older sister started taking the lessons in Chiang Rai...and now is getting baptized the same day as her. Everyone pray it all works out! 

This week we also had some special training.  It was so cool and is really going to change this mission. In this mission we have this thing called 'balanced' where each week you are supposed to have 2 daters, 2 at church, 2 new investigators, and 10 RCLA/member lessons. But now they are adding to this 2 refferals and 2 part member family lessons. This is because last year 2000 people were baptized in Thailand, and now getting a temple here is so close!  This year President Senior said the Lord wants 4000 baptisms, in order to prepare for the temple here, and we are going to do that by teaching the gospel to all the RC's from last years families. So they set these goals for the mission:
-Next week to have everyone balanced
-March: 2 baptisms per companionship
-April-3 baptisms per companionship
-May: 4 baptisms per companionship. 

This made me really excited, as I realized that I will be able to help prepare for the temple here in Thailand.  It really is an amazing opportunity, and I know that Thailand needs me and my diligence. This will also make it more about families, and families being together forever through the temple that will come in the next couple of years.

Some of my favorite things said in this training where:
-"Remember the hope you have, for this mission, for this country."
-"We have to keep pace with the Lord."
-"If you do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

I know that it won't always be easy...but it will happen. 

Before I close, I would like to leave you all with some random info about this week and Thailand:

-Thailand is obsessed with France
-Thanks so much for the package Mom and Grandma Cammy! I love the shoes!!!!!
-I went to a flower was sweet, and people took a bunch of pictures with us...
-Thai people never kiss in public
-A giant tour group came to church yesterday...but unfortunately they were all from really far away. 
-I ate twice at this pancake place this week.

Love you guys!

Sister Remington 


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Monday, February 2, 2015

It's the Climb

Hey guys,
This week we had President and Sister Senior come and do a training with us! It was so good! They told us they wanted us to testify more when inviting, so we did! Inviting is definitley not my favorite thing, but this week Sister Ellis and I decided to go to Chiang Mai University with 2 younger Sisters (Tat and Ban, ages 17 and 18), and it was so cool. They had so much faith, and subsequently, instead of getting the 2-3 phone numbers we usually do in an hour and a half...we got 18. It really inspired me! 

This week we helped a lady in the ward move all her stuff from her old hair salon to a new one. It was really funny because all the Elders came too, and the Thai people wouldn't let me and Sister Ellis move anything!  (They would also take a break like every 20 minutes to eat.) Every time I tried to move something, I was told not we kinda just sat there.  haha

This week, 4 of the lights in our house broke so I had to shower in the dark with a flashlight.  That was fun...  I also got told at church this week that it isn't Thai fashion to wear a sweater over a skirt not even a cardigan apparently..oops! 

Also this week, I ate a lot of bugs in my food.... 
Apparently in this mission they call it:   "The 3 stages of eating Thai food"

Stage 1:  You see bugs in the food, are super grossed out and throw it all out.

Stage 2:  You pick out the bugs, then eat the food.

Stage 3:  You eat the bugs along with the food. 

I think I am on stage 2 now- haha

Saturday we were supposed to have 2 lessons, one of which I had set up on my own...however both of them broke their appointments.  It was a little discouraging because we didn't have very many lessons this week, but then on Sunday a miracle happened. After leading the music in Relief Society (which I get asked to do each week even though I have no clue how too haha) 2 investigators walk in! One is this guy that went to church a year ago and hasn't been back until now! The other one was a girl we were teaching that we thought wasn't really interested. However, we taught them both after church, I taught the girl with Sister Tat and it was my first lesson that I lead alone...I was really scared, but somehow all my Thai and everything worked out! Prayers are answered people, because you better believe I was praying a ton!!! hahaha 
Both of our lessons went really well and the guy is going to get baptized on the 17th, and the girl recieved an answer that the church is true!

Last week for pday I convinced my district to ride their bikes up this really steep mountain, so that we could all ride down really fast. We rode like half-way up and it was so hard! We found this really cool National Park though! There were sweet waterfalls everywhere, and then the bike ride down was so fun...sooo fast!

Today we woke up at 3:30 am so that we could see the sunrise at the highest point in Thailand! Its called Doi Intenon and it was sooo cool! We also saw a sweet waterfall, and I bought some really cool woven shoes at a market! 

While hiking up to the top of the waterfall today, I was thinking about how this week had been a little discouraging for a few reasons, but that in the end tender mercies really are over all of Heavenly Father's works, and He had really helped me. The bottom of the waterfalll was so cool, and so was the view along the way. However, I was suprised that when I got to the top all there was, was a parking lot!  The view had been so much cooler along the way! This made me think about my mission and life in general, that sometimes we just want to get to the top of the mountain...thinking, that is where all the great stuff will happen...but it is not so, often as difficult as it can be to see, the most beautiful moments are along the way. 
I love you all and miss you!


Sister Remington