Monday, April 27, 2015

Dances with Scarves

Hey everyone! 
Today we are going to this place called Mugh-tahan. It's the province that borders Laos, so you can look across the river and see Laos. Hopefully I'll have a couple of minutes to email again later today. 

This week we had an investigator, named Sister Yu, get baptized! She is so cute and was so ready. We taught her a couple times this past week and in one of her prayers she said, "Heavenly Father, you have shown me so many good things and miracles each and every day,  you have me asking....what is going to happen today?" Her whole family came to her baptism too, so hopefully we can start teaching them this week. 

Okay- I should have started this email by explaining Sunday a little bit, because it was crazy! Mahasarakham is the only "all sister missionary" area in the mission. So it is just me, my companion, and the 2 other sisters I live with that organize everything. So this Sunday I was running back and forth translating, playing the piano (SUPER badly mom...I haven't played in 6 months), and cleaning and filling up the baptismal font. Then right before the baptism, some ward members wanted to do a special musical number so they got us to practice...right then and there!  (While the people that were going to be baptized, and the other ward members, waited for 20 minutes in the other room.) Thailand is not like's super chill, thus very unorganized.  We then had to teach the guy baptizing how to baptize, as there were only 3 priesthood holders there. I was a little stressed. Probably the best comparison of Mahasarakham would be that it is the Cotswolds of Thailand, mixed with Black Diamond, Alberta.  

After church, some members picked us up and drove us all around Mahasarakham visiting less active people, and a few potential members here are seriously awesome. 

Some random facts from this week:

- I killed a centepide (a poisonous one) with a coconut. 

-For Family Home Evening, we played this game where you ask questions and if you answer incorrectly, you get baby powder smeared all over your face. 

-Our district meeting is one hour away by bicycle. That's where the closest elders live. 

-This week was the hottest week of the year in Thailand...and I can definitely attest to that!  I now am basically as tan as a Thai person. 

The funniest thing that happened this week was when one of the recent convert's sister, Gwang, invited us over to her house. She said that she had a ton of investigators for us to teach!  So, we go over there, and it turns out that it is actually an activity for the university (here in Mahasarakham) to learn about self-sufficiency and personal development. There were probably 100 people there, and they were NOT expecting to hear from the missionaries. They did however enjoy taking pictures with "falangs". (white people) Anyways, there was this tent-like thing with everyone in it and a make shift stage.  Sister Gwang had us come up "onstage" and introduce ourselves and then sing a song.... it was embarassing, as there were only three of us! #Icantsing   After that, we sat down and they started teaching all the students (and older people there) how to exercise  with scarves or fabric. They turned on this thai music and were all doing these funny exercise moves. Apparently SIster Mckinght and I were doing a pretty good job, because they called us up to the front to show everyone....sooooo embarasing. 

However, after that we got to teach 5 investigators and 2 of them have baptismal dates, so it wasn't all embarrassing craziness. 

When we teach investigators here, we ride our bikes out to their houses which are very far away. We always sit and teach on a mat on the ground (I am so bad at sitting crosslegged for long periods of time). Although most of the people we teach understand Thai, they prefer to speak Issan, which is super hard to follow, and some of the older people we are teaching only speak Issan, so they don't quite get what we are saying....the struggle. It's alll fun and a great adventure though! Whenever we ride our bikes out to these smaller communities to teach people, we hear people yelling, "falangs...falangs." It is pretty funny.

To close my email, I just want to briefly talk about the Atonement. I had this quote all ready to share, but I forgot it at home so in brief it basically says, "The Atonement can strengthen can strengthen our desire to serve, as well as our personal capacities." I felt like I hadn't ever quite thought about the atonement like that...that it can give us a greater desire to act and to serve, as well as strengthening our natural capacities. Basically it seems that the Atonement is for everything we lack.  We just need to ask for that help from our Heavemly Father, and I promise that if we do...we will be given it. 

Sister Remington 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Transferred to Mahasarakham and Survived Songkran

Hey everyone! 

This week I was transferred to Mahasarakham! So far, I like it. It is this tiny town in the Issan area of Thailand...and is basically the opposite of Chiang Mai in every way.  It looks like what I imagined Thailand to look like. There are lots of dirt roads, people living in tin or straw houses, and bike riding for hours to visit people.  It is super fun!!! The members are mostly older (where in Chiang Mai there were a lot of youth) and are really great. They give us referrals all the time! 

My new companion is Sister Mckinight and I really like her.  She's from Orem, Utah, is 19, and only 6 weeks ahead of me on her mission. So it is really fun to just figure stuff out together. She loves ballet...and is an awesome ballerina. She also went to BYU last year too and knew Cassidy cool. 

Okay... now to tell about Songkran! 

IT....WAS...INSANE.... BUT...SO...FUN! 

For everyone that doesn't know, Songkran is a crazy waterfight. Everything is closed, and everyone puts on Hawaiian shirts and has water fights for 3 days. There are no rules. You can totally own anyone with a garbage can of water, baby powder, water gun, or whatever!  It doesn't even matter if you have a cell phone or anything else that needs to stay dry...people still get you. In Chiang Mai it started super early (it is the craziest spot in all of Thailand) and people lined the streets...dousing cars and motorcycles and everyone that passed by. And for good reason too...IT IS SO HOT OUTSIDE- LIKE 4O DEGREES CELCIUS!  I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT HOT WAS UNTIL THE LAST COUPLE WEEKS, but it's chill.   Anyways...there was also huge crowds dancing, big stages, and foam pits everywhere! We all played with the church members and it was awesome. Then we had to go to transfers in was so hard to get to transfers, because as you can imagine, the roads were crammed with people! We made our train just in the nick of time, and Sister Cat ran to give me a note and gift...literally 2 minutes before the train pulled out. 

I'll really miss Chiang Mai, but I am glad to be here! 

Since this is my first transfer, I realized that my luggage is SUPER heavy #somanylanguagebooks, soI may be mailing some stuff home on a slow cheap boat that will take like 6 months. 

So far working here in Mahasarakham has been great! Sister Mcknight is such a hard worker, and I love it! We have been visiting and teaching entire families! I'll share the story of 2 days ago, we went to visit the non-member husband of an RC. We get to their house and sit on a mat on the ground outside. We get ready to teach, and then everyone starts speaking Isaan...which is not like Thai in the slightest! So ya... just when I thought I'd gotten away from the northern language of Chiang Mai, there is another new Issan language to figure out! It is totally chill though, as most people speak Thai also, and know that we don't speak Issan. 

What else...oh, my companion said that to compare the areas of Thailand to america, that Chiang Mai would be like California, and the Issan is a mix of the southern states and Idaho.  Bangkok is just like any big city....I think this is accurate. 

Okay,  I just want to close with a quote I like from conference. I can't remember if I shared it last week or not, but it goes like this, "Our actions are the evidence of our belief and the substance of our faith." I've been thinking about that a lot this week... that we are all on a quest to become better, to become who we want to be...and more like our Father in Heaven. If we simply hope to change...without doing anything, it won't work. We need to use the atonement to be better and to, "Act and the power will come."

Love you all!

Sis Rem 

Monday, April 13, 2015

"Twas I.....But Tis Not I"

Hey everyone! 

First of all, 2 exciting things....
1) I am moving!! 
2) Jupe-Jang-got baptized.. to explain the week:

This week began with the classic bus ride to Bangkok, P-Loog, and then back to Chiang Mai so Sis Lam and the zone leaders could do training. SO that means, 2 nights of sleeping on buses. It was actually really funny, although I may have just been sleep-deprived. Thai buses are really different, because firstly, they blast music videos, and secondly they stop every hour or two at a ghetto side-of-the-road restaurant to take a break, which makes getting places take SO long. 

When we finally got back to Chiang Mai, I was sooo tired and hungry that I decided to call and order Mcdonalds. (Delivered to the house.) This was the first time (and probably the last time) I have done this. (yes Wyatt, be jealous). It was a real STRUGGLE to explain where I lived in Thai, 
"It's by the wat."
"which wat?"
"the gold one."


Anyways, the next day we met with Jupe-Jang again and she expressed her desire to still get baptized! She said she just got scared about bearing her testimony in front of a lot of people, which is why she ran out. We then decided to set up a smaller baptism for her on a weekday...and it was great! Some of her closer friends came, and in the final hymn, "Nearer my God to thee", She had tears in her eyes. It was so cool to see her change so much over these past few months. To go from being being so happy. I really do love her! 

This week WE GOT INVITED TO EAT AT A MEMBERS HOUSE (if you are wondering why the all's because this doesn't happen a lot in Thailand). They made us homeade pizza (I was sooo happy), and we talked about how Thai people are the original hipsters and the new temple in Thailand! It was so fun.

This is my "goodbye lantern" from the members. 

A really cool miracle that happened this week:

Sis Lam and I were contacting at a mall near the airport, asking people if they wanted to go to church. I had asked like 100's of people who had all said no...when all of a sudden this guy that had just said no, turned around and come back saying... "Actually, YES." I was kinda taken aback, but gave him all the info. The next day we were contacting in a different mall, and when we finished we ran into him again. He came up to me and asked, "do you remember me? I am definitely coming to church" .... SO cool. 

We also got a phone call this week....I am Moving!! I will know where  on Thursday.  Sis Lam and I are all packed up and ready to go to Bangkok today, as she is finished her mission! Lots of people aren't going down to transfers as it is Songkran..the giant water fight AND the most dangerous time in Thailand. I am kinda nervous to move, but also excited! I will really miss the members here though...they are all coming to send us off/cry/give us presents...I love them. 

Today before we leave for Bangkok, I get to play Songkran!! It is gunna be crazy! It started yesterday and there were all these people trying to own me with water and hoses on my bike and "crazies" dancing in giant foam pits. Apparently it can get kinda sketchy. 

I loved conference this week! I wrote questions down before...and got answers to all of them!  I loved the talk about changing through the atonement, and how we can all become better. How when we strive to change we can say, "Twas I...but tis not I." Mom, I also loved the french guy's knew I would.


Sister Remington!

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Worst Week To The Best Week


Please tell me you watched General Conference live...because....Thailand is getting a temple!!!!!!!!!!! 

Missions are so hard, but I am so grateful that I am here in Thailand at this time! There is no better time...for the next year  I get to tell people about the blessings they can recieve from the temple!!! That there families can be happy like mine and be together for ever. 

Let me now tell you all how the subject line of my email came to be. 

SO this week started off pretty well. We did super funny (on the fly) skits in english class where we were all speaking in different accents.  Everyone thought my British accent was HILARIOUS. After english class we ate with some RC's and saw fireworks....the week started off well. 

However, as the days went on, all of our appointments fell through but one, so instead, we contacted for hours upon hours all over Chiang Mai without a lot of success. Suffice it to say we were excited for Sunday because Jupe-Jang was going to get baptized! She had completed all of her interviews and was totally ready. We were also excited because we had 4 other investigators who were all ready to be baptized next week, but then one by one, crazy obstacles came up...I could hardly believe it. 3 of the investigators with a date for next week are cousins and they were 100 percent ready to be baptized next week. We were so excited as they are so strong!  Towards the end of the lesson, one of them gets a call telling them that they all have been accepted this random christian school starting in May...for free.... and it's far away from any church.  They then came to the consensus that it would probably be better for them to wait a year to get baptized, so that they could keep the Sabbath day holy. 

I was really sad, but was still super excited to see Jupe-Jang and Ooy get baptized. However, Sister ooy came to church and told us that because of Sonkran (the huge water fight) she is unable to get Sunday off work . I felt so awful, but was still getting things all ready for Jupe-Jang to be baptized....howver, she got scared about sharing her testimony and ran out of the church right before the service started. She called us feeling horrible saying she was really shy. She didn't come back to church after that either.  A few tears may have leaked out of my eyes yesterday...

However, there was a really cool thing that happened in testimony read and listen closely. In testimony meeting this man visiting from China got up, and bore his testimony in English (someone translated it to Thai), and said that this was his first time bearing his testimony in English. He said he has been a member in Hong Kong since the age of 19, and now lives right across the street from the temple there. He said he sees many Thai people come to Hong Kong to do their work in the temple, but he knows that not everyone has this opportunity because of high traveling expenses. He said that this was his first time in Thailand, and he was just here for 3 days. The first day he was here he went to Maya, and saw 2 missionaries inviting people there. The second day he went to this giant market, with thousands upon thousands of people.  As he was sitting in the market getting a foot massage, he said among the mass of people he saw this girl.  All he could see was this one girl.  She had a light around her, and was telling everyone about Christ. He said he knew in that moment that the Lord is hastening his work. I had chills, but still felt a little discouraged and unbelieving that the work really was hastening.  After the meeting I went up to him and thanked him for his testimony. His face filled with shock and he said, "You are that girl!  You are that missionary!  Thank you!"  My heart felt such peace at that moment, as I knew that Heavenly Father is looking after me.  Even when times are tough, people are always watching, and our actions, no matter how little, make a difference. It reminded me of that scripture, "Be ye not weary in well doing...for you are laying the foundation of a great work." 

After Church we went home and showered because we had to take the overnight bus to Bangkok for Sis Lam's meeting.  As I was walking out of our apartment, I smacked my head really hard on the ceiling, and had to kill 4 cockroaches. Suffice it to say I was still pitying myself a little. We got on the bus and went to sleep. I prayed really hard to understand why that day had been so hard, and then went to sleep. At 12am (midnight) Elder Black gets a call from the Ap's , who were watching conference live, (we don't get to watch it until next week) telling us that a temple has been announced for construction in Thailand!! We were all so happy and so this is what the missionaries in Thailand, (us and past missionaries) have been working for...for as long as there has been missionaries here. This temple will bless the lives of millions upon millions. Not just those in Thailand, but also Laos, Burma, Cambodia, India, and Vietnam. This will now be the closest temple for all of south-east Asia. It is truly a miracle. The last couple of months we have been working to get all the members their temple recommends, as having a certain number of temple recommend holders is one of the qualifications for a temple.  We finally achieved it, and then the temple was announced. I now know,  and firmly believe that as the Chinese man said in sacrament meeting, "The Lord is hastening his work," and I am lucky and extremely privileged to be a part of it. I am so excited that I get to tell people that they can receive the blessings of a temple here in Thailand. 

So I have written a lot, but I just want to leave you all with this. The adversary is real, whenever something really good is about to can get harder. Faith is stretched, trials occur...but we must not falter...we have to press on and trust in the Lord, because he always has a plan...a reason. He wants to bless us. And He will. 

I love you all,

Sister Remington