Monday, June 29, 2015

Formula for Happiness- And A Snake

Hey everyone!! 

This week was a bit of a struggle as I got a really bad sinus infection (who knew you could even get sick in Thailand right?) And as a result, this week was a bit of a I will try to remember.

Last week for Family Home Evening, we went to a member's house who used to live in Hawaii. As a result they speak English and ordered us Pizza and KFC (aka the only falang food in mahasarakham) Suffice it to say, we were pretty stoked!! 

I guess that there is also a 7-11. It is a place "where everyone knows my name".  I frequent it daily.  Here's a pic of me in the mirror.

Tuesday, for district meeting,our district leader made us Mexican food (he's Mexican) and we were all soooooooo happy! Here in the Essan area there is ONLY Thai food, so we were so excited to change it up a bit. 

This week we also went to Korat for switch-offs! It was sooo fun. They had no beds so we all had to sleep on the ground on a blanket, but nevertheless it was a part-aaay. I went on a swicth-off with sister Mamea and I learned so much from her! She does all these really cool object lessons when she teaches, and I am definitely going to start doing some of them! 

However this week, when I got back from Korat, I was feeling super sick... and I got a really bad sinus bad that I couldn't talk at all. Sister Nok heard about this and promptly told me to follow her on her motorcycle, and she took me to the drugstore where she bought these bacteria killing cough drops, mint oil (to help me "breathe more conveniently"), and some random tylenol pill things. She is so nice...and all of that stuff actually helped a ton!! #themedicineihadfromcanadadidn'tevenwork 
Sister Nok is seriously so nice, and talks all the tijme about how she is going to prank Dad when you all come to visit (I've told her of the many pranks Dad has played on me over the years).

As I was so sick this week I didn't add to much during the lessons, because talking was such a struggle. I did have this one really cool experience where we taught this eternal investigator, and asked her to be baptized...the whole lesson was really awkward, until I got the feeling to just talk about the temple. Once I did, it all was so much better, and I know that she really felt the spirit and has a desire to go to the temple to be with her family forever some day. 

On Sunday a kinda sad thing happened.  It turns out Mahasarakham must still remain a branch, as they need 2 more Melchizedek Priesthood holders that are full tithe payers in order to become a ward. The Stake President came to tell everyone this. We have enough people, we just have to work on getting them the priesthood!

An interesting highlight this week was a prank Sister Tauteoli played on me. One night after I finished brushing my teeth I went by the stairs to floss, and as I was flossing I am talking with Sister Tauteoli, who was just looking through her camera sitting on the stairs. All of a sudden I look on the ground and see this GIANT snake. I am like, "Oh man...oh man... there is a giant snake...LOOK!!" I then promptly hop on top of the dresser drawers. I look over at Sister Tauteoli and she is so calm, and it turns out the snake is fake and she's videoing me! So hilar. Suprisingly, I was fairly calm about the snake too I guess. 

That's all for this week, but I will end with a thought.   It is from D and C 123
13   "Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—
 14 These should then be attended to with great earnestness."

I read these verses this week as I was feeling a little discouraged with being sick and other things, but as I read them I realized that the work of sharing the gospel, sharing our testimonies of truth is what is worth it in the end. That is what our lives are made for, in essence to be "wasted, and worn out" in the service of others and in sharing those things that have brought us happiness. If any of you feel this week, like your life is being wasted, or you feel worn out by sickness, trial, or change- I invite you to do one thing kind for someone else, to "attend to sharing the good things in your life with great earnestness." I know it will help. And I know our Savior never leaves us alone. 

I love you all.

SIster Rems!
This is Sister Laoli! She is Sister Tautelois new comp, she is so awesome! She was a member in Chiang Mai so I knew her before! This picture shows how tiny she is!
Some monks working on a Wat

Monday, June 22, 2015

Commitment - There Is No Half-Way

Hey everyone!! This email is probably going to be a bit short, as I can hardly remember what happened this week. 

This week we had a few of our investigators drop us (random moves, opposition from family etc), so as a result we spent a lot of time contacting. 
We even contacted the police, and ran into the local elephant. 

This week I want to tell a bit of a funny story. It starts with Brother Sing's family, and how much I like fried chicken. Brother Sing's family works at this market selling fried chicken and other meat. It is always so fun going to the market as they are soo awesome to teach (they notice the miracles living the gospel has brought their family), and they always give us a ton of delicious fried chicken. Anyways, one night we were going home from the market, and Sister Tauteolis' pedal fell off of her bike. I told her it was no problem, and that I could just ride her bike home and we could fix it tomorrow. She was all, "How?" ....I confidently replied that I had my ways. However, once I got on the bike, it was a lot harder than I thought to pedal it with one foot, so I ended up just kind of scootering along and all of these Thai people, and my compsanions, died laughing. However, on the way home we saw a bike shop and stopped to get it fixed. While we were stopped I started eating the fried chicken, and just had a moment where I thought to myslef how funny the whole situation was. That I was standing there, sweating in church clothes, eating fried chicken....outside a random bike shop in Thailand. 

Another pretty funny thing that happened this week was when we went to go visit an LA, and the Jehovah witness missionary people were leaving. WE go in the members home and she trades out their book for the BOM...and says, "I am ready." It was funny.

This week Sister Tauteolis new companion came, and it was one of my favorite members!! Sister Laoli from Chiang Mai! She came at 4 am...and we had to walk to the bus station to get her. When we got there we couldn't find her. So after looking for an hour we called Sister Nok, and she came and rode her motorcycle around until she finally found Sister Laoli by the hospital sitting on her suitcase. The bus had dropped her off in the totally wrong spot!! 

Sister Alley (the STL from Roiet) called this week and asked me for help speaking french to the husband of an investigator of theirs...I tried but I can hardly remember ANY french....I kept wanting to just speak Thai...hopefully it all comes back when I go home! 

This Sunday was good! over the past 2 transfers Sis Mcknight and I have been doing some LA work, and one LA has totallly come back to church and now helps us teach, while the other has read the entire BOM in a month! This sunday also had 92 people at church! It was amazing, and I am pretty sure the most Mahasarakham has ever had (usually we have around 70 at church) .

I want to close with what I learned this week. This week was a bit of a hard week for me, but what I learned in my studies really helped. I started by reading this talk from the Liahona a couple years ago called, "Brother, I am committed." It talks about 2 brothers standing on a cliff, trying to get the courage to jump off. They keep looking over the edge, but feel it is so high. Then all of a brother jumps off while the other one is like "woah, wait." However, the brother jumping off yells, "Brother, I am commited!" The whole talk then goes on to say that there is no 1/2 way in commitment. We are either all in or we are all out. I then thought of all the things I am totally committed to doing no matter what comes my way. I also really liked this scripture in James 1:22, "Be doers of the word, and not hearers only." We have to be doers in all we do and be matter what comes our way! 

I love ya all!

Sister Remington 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Faith Is Always Forward Looking

Hey everyone!! 

This week was pretty eventful, but I will start with what we did for P-day last Monday. President Senior said we have a new rule where we can't go out of our area for P-days anymore, so we have to stay in Mahasarakham, which doesn't have anything to visit. However, we decided to make it a fun P-day! We rode our bikes out to the farms to ask a random people if we could ride their Kwai (water buffalo). Unfortunately, it was an unsuccessful endevour, as one lady taking care of the kwai told me it was to dangerous...and that in all her years of taking care of kwai she had never ridden sad for her (and us). We then went shopping and I bought the most funny and ugly cat galaxy shirt...that I just had a feeling Elliott would think was hilarious and awesome. Here's a pic of the "Water Buffalo that got away":

On Tuesday as we were teaching English, I got really awful food poisoning!  I think it was from eating chicken from this sketchy side-of-the-road place that we eaten at earlier that day. It was pretty funny though, as I felt totally fine, until midway through English, when I had to suddenly run out of the room as I felt so sick. 

Another funny thing that happened this week was when we went to the police station to teach English to all of the police force in Mahasarakham. At first we were supposed to pretend that we didn't know Thai, and then ask the police people for directions in English....It was pretty fun as they were all standing lined up in their official uniforms outside waiting for us, and were a bit confused by our questions. 

As far as teaching goes this week, we traveled really far out to go to some investigators' houses.  We were thrilled at one home (probably 30  min away by bike) (seriously in the middle of nowhere) when we were offered some Magnum ice cream bars!  This was literally so great, as her house was so far away from anything, and then all of a sudden as we are sitting ther teaching her outside, she goes in and grabs some ice cream bars, telling us that her son works for Magnum!  

We also got to teach our one investigator at the school where she works! (She's a teacher) She is from Cameroon, and is soo cool.  Suddenly, all of the Thai students literally swarmed us yelling, "farang, farang, farang." It was sooo funny... lots of them had their scout uniforms on and it was so cute. 

This week was Zone Conference, so we got to travel to Ubon! It was so fun, and we stayed in this super nice hotel!! It was President and Sister Seniors last zone conference and it was soo awesome. I learned so much. President Senior explained a lot about his philosophy of having a "Vision, Goals, and a Process."  Take for example you want to go on a trip to France. Your vision would be going to France and having fun. Your goals would probably be to make X amount of money to get a plane ticket there. Your process would be to get a job and then to save your money. President Senior talked alot about how he appreciates vision and process a lot more than goals, because if you don't reach your goals, sometimes you can feel very disappointed. Or once you reach them, its kind of a, "now what?" kind of thing. He said it is really good to focus on the process instead, as even if some random thing prevented you from reaching a goal, as long as you were successful with the process, you could still be satisfied. Take for example people getting baptized. Often as missionaries we set goals for a specific amount of baptisms we want in a week, a month, a transfer etc, and sometimes those goals don't come to fruition. However, President Senior reminded us that this is the Lord's work, and as long as we are doing the "process" (being obedient, following the Spirit, etc) we can be assured that the Lord is pleased with us, it doesn't matter if we accomplished the goal or not. 

President Senior also showed us this whole chart-excel-system he had made for tracking his goals... and it was soo cool, he literally had a tab with charts and percentages of being done for every area of his life, be it family, music, name it! It was so cool. 

This Sunday I also had the privilege of being at the conference in Ubon where the 3rd stake in Thailand was created!! The Ubon Stake. It is the first Stake outside of Bangkok too. It was amazing to be there as the speakers talked about the miracles that had happened in the last year to have this come to pass. Elder Gon (a 70 over the Asia area), came and did this cool activity where he made all the members stand up based on how long they had been a member for (3 years, 1 week, 10 years etc). When he called out 1 year, I kid you not, like 65 percent of the room stood up!  It is amazing the miracles that have happened in Thailand over the past year. Our Branch in Mahasarakham was made a ward too!!

I just want to close this letter with something I learned this week.  President and Sister Senior talked about how they can look back over their mission, and even though there may have been some hard moments, they have trouble remembering a single one!  I want my mission to be like this.  I also thought a lot this weekend about this statement:
"Faith is Always Forward Looking". Sometimes it is easy to look back and feel like you miss something from the past, or you feel sad about something,  but it doesn't matter, as faith always looks forward to the future with all of the wonderful and amazing things ahead. The best is yet to come!!


Sister Remington 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Fried Chicken Feet and Bareback Elephants

Hey everyone!!! 

Last week on P-day we went to ride elephants!! It was pretty far away in Surin (a 3 hr bus ride)...but worth it!! The elephants walked through the water, and we even got to ride them bareback!

This week was a lot of going to our investigators houses who live like 45 minutes out of Mahasarakham. 

One of our investigators was supposed to be baptized this Sunday....but she said she had to go to the Buddhist temple and do some stuff with her Sister who is opening a new restaurant...  She decided it was probably better to wait a while to be baptized. That was sad, but hopefully we can still continue to work with her! When we went to our investigators house, all of her neighbours wanted to listen as well, so it turned into lesson for 6 people at once, which was awesome...but a bit stressful, as they all really only understand Issan (yay for members translating for us at times). They also made us a bunch of Issan food, which was spread out on a woven mat- sticky rice, rice, blood soup, mushrooms, eggs, fried fish...spicy SPICY papaya salad. It was a good time haha I tried to eat some, but the struggle was a bit real! 

This week a lot of our plans fell through, but in the end we had many investigators at church, so it ended up being alright. We even had a lady walk in!! 

Yesterday at church was fast and testimony meeting and the funniest thing happened:
A women goes up to bear her testimony:
Thai lady: "I am so grateful for the blessings that I have received from paying tithing...I always have more than enough food to eat...and I am a person who can eat ALOT." 
A little Thai kid in the audience then yells: "Then how come you aren't Fat?"
Thai lady: (without breaking) "I've recieved blessings." 

Needless to say I laughed pretty hard. 

Last night we went and visited some of our recent converts at the market, Sister Yu's family and Sister Noy's family as well. They both have stands at the market, so we always teach them there. Sister Yu and Brother Sing have a stand that sells pork and fried chicken. Yesterday they gave us some delicious fried chicken, as well as some fried chicken feet...I tried a bit, but it is not the best... Anyways, the best part of this week was teaching Brother Sing and our other converts and hearing their testimony's of how much the gospel has changed their lives. Even in the short time they have been members (like 2 weeks)  they said everything has gotten better...their family, business, and how they feel about everything. They also are reading the Book of Mormon as a family daily, as well as having family prayers. They all said they feel so much more peace in their lives. Every time we finish teaching them I just feel so happy. The gospel changes lives people. 

My thought for this week is in D and C 112:5:
Contend thou, therefore, morning by morning; and day after day let thy warning voice go forth; and when the night cometh let not the inhabitants of the earth slumber, because of thy speech."

I read this in a zone training this week. I really liked it as it reminded me that although life is not always easy, trials and troubles will come to all, we all need to keep contending..."morning after morning", "day after day"... Sometimes life can feel like a battle...sometimes it can feel hard to get out of bed, to work hard, to accomplish those things on your to-do list....but I know that if we all keep  "contending" and try not to let discouragement get to us...we will recieve help from our Father in Heaven.

Love you all!

Sister Remington  
I promise, I wasn't riding this Mom! 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Let Us Cheerfully Do All Things That Lie In Our Power

Hey everyone!!! 

This email is going to be really short! I am in Surin today (4 hrs away from Mahasarakham) to ride elephants!!

This week was transfers....I didn't get transferred, so S Mcknight and I are still companions.  And the most awesome news is that Sister Tauteoli is back!!!!! She got transferred back to Maha...and we are in a trio again! We will only be in the trio for 3 weeks as Sister Tauteoli is training a cone Thai from Chiang Mai in 3 weeks! Its going to be so fun.

This week a lot of funny things happened, the first being I had to search high, low, and everywhere all over the Issan area to find a hospital that had a vaccine that I needed. (I was almost past the time of getting it.)  The Mahasarakham hospital didn't have it (shocking), so we ended up going to Roi-et (an hour away). Sister Nok (the most awesome member who takes such good care of us here) had arranged for a nurse from the hospital to pick me up and take me there and do it all for me. However, I was skecthed out a bit about explaining it in Thai, as I didn't want to get the wrong vaccine!  I probably said no less than 20 times, "Are you sure it's the right vaccine?" But all is well that ends well, as it has been administered to me....and I am still alive. 

Another funny thing this week was Sister Tauteoli, Mcknight and I went to see a recent convert at his house who had just gotten out of the hospital. At his house he was sitting under this tree. When we went to join him under the tree,  the top of Sister Tauteoli's head brushed a leaf  which had about 2,357,892,473,298 red ants on it, and they all got in her hair!! 

It was so crazy she was running around trying to get them out...but there were so many. She tried to find water to comb them out...but they didn't have any. So she just yells, "I feel like Mahana!!" (extra funny because she is Tongan). Finally we just gave a spiritual thought, although she still had tons of ants in her hair, and then worked on the ant-extraction after. It was soo funny. 

This sunday we had an newly baptized member bring 6 friends to church!!!! Also, 2 of our RC's from last transfer each brought a friend...and they all are interested!!! So exciting. 

I am out of time, for I need to go ride an elephant, but before I go, I want to close with this scripture.  I may have shared it before, but it is so good, and so true every time I read it:  "Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power, and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." D & C 123: 17

I love you guys!!

Sis Rem 
Teaching in the jungle...Sister Nok came with us.