Monday, July 27, 2015
This week was a bit of a struggle, but 2 really funny/not funny things happened.
The first thing: When I was emailing last Monday my bike fell over and the derailer broke. This is a very important bike part. As it was P-day, we still really wanted to go to the driving range and also try to ride Kwais in Roi-et, so I scooted my bike with my feet and "ran-rode" it to the bus station. So many random Thai people were killing themselves laughing at me.
Later, with the aid of Sister Nok, a LA member came to help me fix it! He looked at it and said, "We have to order a new part, and it is going to take a while". Then, he proceeded to take my bike apart and tried to make it work with this other chain and no gears, but in the end...it didn't work. Durring this interaction I realized that, although I thought I knew Thai, I have nooo bike vocabulary, so it was a real struggle to explain the problem.
Here's my phone call to get bike help:
Me: It is like that thing that makes it pedal....it's broken.
Sis Nok: The chain? The tire?
Me: No...that one thing that, ya know, lets you ride your bike.
Sis Nok: I am sending Brother T over.
Anyways, it eventually got fixed thanks to Sister Nok and the other really helpful member, Brother T.
Here is a pic of Sister Nok to the rescue (and my companion)
Story number two: This week I went to Roi-et to try and figure out why all of my hair is falling out. We visited with the senior couple there, the Stokers, and I was relieved to find out that it was a common problem with ALL of the sister missionaries in Thailand. Sister Stoker said that she had the same problem until she went to some doctor (I think he was a strange medicine man) across from the giant Buddah statue, and he gave her some things to fix it. She said it worked for her in three weeks, so we decided, hey, why not try it! She told us exactly what to get from him, so I wasn't worried. However, when we got there and the "doctor" (medicine man) asks for our birthdays, and looks them up in some "health book". Then he feels our fingers and asks me if I have a pain in my back? I was thinking this was all so hokey, so I said, "NO!", but in truth I did, but wasn't going to tell him! ....Anyways he gave us some stuff to take for our hair-loss problem, and we are really hoping it will work soon! It was all sooo funny, and the whole time I kept thinking, "this is soooo out of a movie right now."
What else...this week I went on a switch off to Roi-et. It was soo fun!! With the new focus of President Johnson, we spent a lot of time visiting some LA's! We printed off all the addresses and then went to the post office to find out where they lived. It didn't help that much, so in the end basically random Thai people just took us around to where these people lived. Thai people are so nice. I think this new focus will bring a lot of teaching opportunities!
Sunday at church was awesome!! Brother Sing blessed the Sacrament for the first time, and got called as a Sunday school teacher! I was sooo happy. Also Brother Seth gave his first talk in Church and did such an awesome job!! I couldn't stop smiling the entire sacrament meeting.
My thought from this week comes from the song my little sister, Sawyer, sang in church this past Sunday. My Dad sent me a recording of it and it was sooo good, and today this verse feels really relevant.
These lyrics come from the 3rd verse of the song, "If the Savior Stood Beside Me."
He is always near me,
Monday, July 20, 2015
This week felt like it went by really fast!
I would like to start this letter by wishing Sawyer a happy birthday this week!! 12!!!!!! I hope it is great :)
This week we found a really nice new house to move in to. Our house leaks like CRAZY when it rains...and is infested with ants and lizards and rats. My companion hears the rats run around the room at night from her top bunk. Anyways, our new house is so nice.... and we get to move in 2 weeks! I am excited.
Also this week I learned just how much people here DO NOT LIKE RAIN. Which makes sense, as basically everytime it rains, everything floods like CRAZY! Anyways, when it rains people turn off their cell phones, go inside, and don't like to come to church or make any appointments. It is kinda funny to call people when it rains, as sometimes they will answer the phone and just yell , "Phone-doak!!!!!!!!!!!!!"(rain) and then hang up.....Good times. Here we are riding in the rain standing in front of a freshly planted rice field.
This week I had two really cool experiences.
The first happened on P-day when we decided to go visit a less active member at her food place. We got some soup and then talked to her a little bit about repentance and the atonement. I thought I wanted to share the scripture with her about how "as often as you repent you are forgiven". I looked up the scripture, and gave it to her to read. As she was reading the scripture, I realized I had given her the wrong scripture to read, and that this one was all about how we need to forgive everyone. I just let her continue, and after she read the scripture she paused and teared up a little. It turned out that this scripture had addressed her struggle totally and completely. After that I felt prompted to talk about the temple, and that all her problems would seem smaller if she just tried to focus on her ultimate goal, which is to go to the temple. Everyone then shared all these experiences about forgiveness, and how sometimes it is hard to forgive others when they have wronged us, but in the end we have to. We have to forgive in order to be happy! I learned a lot from the experience of, "looking up the wrong scripture". I saw that Heavenly Father's hand is in our lives, and he will work to help us get what we need.
This week President Johnson came to visit all the areas. He came to visit Mahasarakham, and then interviewed the four sister missionaries here. In my interview he asked a lot of questions like, "what have you learned from your mission? How has your mission changed you? What is your vision for the rest of your mission?" It gave me a lot to reflect upon, as in that moment I knew I'd definitely changed on my mission...but not a lot came to mind. It seems like it has been a lot of daily little things, rather than some big thing. Anyways, because I am Auburn.....I immediately went home and made a list of everything I have learned so far on my mission from each area, each companion, etc.... and then I knew, just like I knew with that "wrong scripture" experience, that the Lord has had a plan for me on my mission, and He has helped me learn the things I need. I also wrote a vision for the rest of my mission, as I realize I can't postpone all the learning and the growth to the end....if I am going to start, I might as well start on the end vision now!!
The Johnson's also talked a lot about how the Texas Healy's said to take care of me, and how when they came to Thailand they found my picture on the big board of missionaries. Sister Johnson is so nice, and told me if there is anything I need, ever, to ask her and she'll help me.
Anyways, I love ya guys!
I'm going to ride some Kwais and do a little golfing.
Monday, July 13, 2015
This week was transfers! We got the call that I am staying here in the same area, and Sister Mcknight and Sister Tauteoli are moving. I sure will miss them. I honestly feel like I will be lifelong friends with them both!!
I got a new companion! Her name is Sister Hoffman. She is from Wyoming and is almost 21. She's been in Thailand around 4 months, and her brother served his mission in Calgary, Canada!! I took her to Brammmmmssss restaurant - shout out to Truman!
This week at transfers I also collected some packages that have been in Bangkok for a couple of months I think. I got one from Emily (you rock ems), Megan (oh my goodness I died of excitement at that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup cereal), 2 from Grandma Cammy (some awesome candy and girl scout cookies that I, and everyone in my house is currently enjoying), and a package from Grandma Remington (some awesome Canadian food that we all love as well), and 2 from you Mom and Dad! Thank you so much everyone!!
It was also really funny to travel with my new companions luggage, and ALL of those packages for 7 hours on the bus back to Mahasarakham. The bus and taxi drivers kept giving me the funniest looks like, "where did you get all of this stuff?"
Speaking of the trip back to Maha- I am really glad we made it all in one piece, as I was the one who organized it.... Accidentally, I got us on this REALLY crappy bus with LOUD music videos that played all night long, and tons of random stops in the middle of the night to "eat food". Oops.
Some other funny things that happened this week were:
1) Sister Mcknight and I (before transfers) were riding our bike down the street here in Mahasarakham, and all of a sudden, right next to us, there is a car on fire! The people in the car rush to get out and then the car bursts into even more flames. The Thai people all around were frantically motioning us to keep moving, to keep riding! It was crazy.
2) I was printing some photos last p-day at the Internet cafe, when this older women comes up to me and starts "ordering" some photos from me in Thai...apparently she thought I was Thai. Coincidentally, I was told by multiple ward members in the past week that I look like I am half Thai! #Must-be-the-tan
3) For English class we needed to think of a game to end the class, so I harnessed my skills from Dad and came up with this game I called "English Musical Chairs". The other sisters and I set up chairs, and in place of music, we just started talking extremely fast in English, and when the students heard us say the "buzzword" (an english word we had chosen before) they had to sit down. It was sooo funny.
On Sunday we had a baptism! Brother Luhan!! He gave a really nice testimony, and showed so much faith in coming to church (it takes him like 45 min and he comes at 7:30am!!)
It was crazy organizing his baptism, as there is a drainage problem with the font, and the water wasn't working for a long time, but in the end it was great!! Miracles happened as we taught him the final lessons this past week. We drove out there and he was interviewed over the phone by our district leader, but just as he was done interviewing, the phone had no service. The second awesome thing that happened was with his wife. She had some really neat experiences, and I was able to testify to her of just how much Christ knows her and loves her. I know the same is true for everyone reading this as well. It doesn't matter where we are, or who we are...Christ's love is the same.
I will close this email with a thought. This week on the bus back to Maha I read this book full of "Presidents Letters" that President Senior had written over his time here in Thailand. One in particular said just what I needed to hear. It quotes the Hymn, "The Time is Far Spent"
The time is far spent; there is little remaining
To publish glad tidings by sea and by land.
Then hasten, ye heralds; go forward proclaiming:
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven's at hand,
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven's at hand.
Shrink not from your duty, however unpleasant,
But follow the Savior, your pattern and friend.
Our little afflictions, tho painful at present,
Ere long, with the righteous, in glory will end,
Ere long, with the righteous, in glory will end.
What, tho, if the favor of Ahman possessing,
This world's bitter hate you are called to endure?
The angels are waiting to crown you with blessings!
Go forward, be faithful, the promise is sure.
Go forward, be faithful, the promise is sure.
Be fixed in your purpose, for Satan will try you;
The weight of your calling he perfectly knows.
Your path may be thorny, but Jesus is nigh you;
His arm is sufficient, tho demons oppose.
His arm is sufficient, tho demons oppose.
I loved reading this and I know that it is true. The time on my mission, now half over, is far spent and I need to make the most of every day! Sometimes missions are difficult. Life is difficult. Changes occur and obstacles arise, but I know that if we are "fixed in our purpose", we can make it through our trials, and come out triumphant.
I know that prayerfully following the Gospel of Christ is the only way to achieve true happiness and contentment in this life. I know that sharing this with others is sooo important!!!
I love you all!!
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
This week I am half-way done with my mission!!! SO crazy. Time is weird. Only another 9 months left! Crazy.
This week here in Mahasarakham was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo hot. I don't even think I have mentioned how hot it is in Thailand in an email before, but this week is definitely the hottest I have ever felt. It was like 40 degrees...Celcius...that's right...celcius. Every time I rode my bike I thought I was being barbecued. Luckily, KFC (Korean fried chicken) has ice cream. Unfortunately, it's corn flavored. Anyways...
This week I learned a cool culture fact about Thailand. My whole mission I have been wondering why all the houses are so colorful, and finally a member told me that each day of the week has a different color that corresponds to it. So for example, if you are born on a Saturday you will usually paint your house purple, if you are born on a Sunday, red. This is for good luck. I finally realized why whenever I asked Thai people their birthdays they would be like, "Wednesday".
Another interesting thing that happened this week, was driving an hour from the Essan zone to Khon Khen to meet President and Sister Johnson our new mission president! They are so awesome. Lots of the sisters (including me) got to sing, "We Will Bring the World His Truth". We all wore our Thai skirts (I borrowed one from Sister McKnight). They both then gave the best talks and showed us a bunch of pictures from their lives. President Johnson served a mission in Thailand around 35-ish years ago, and he knows Thai! I am really excited to have them as mission presidents. Sister Johnson is great, she was talking about her husband and said, "If you marry a good man you share him with the World. If you marry a bum...he's all yours." She said her husband is a good man. After the talks we also got the chance to shake their hands and talk to them quickly, and after that.....THE SENIOR COUPLE MISSIONARIES HAD MADE COOKIES. You may ask why that is all in caps, and it is because I haven't had a homemade cookie in 3 months. It was really good.
This week was a bit difficult, as we were having a really hard time getting any of our investigators to meet with us. But nevertheless we worked hard and taught most of the RC's and LA's we are working with.
This Sunday Brother Sing and Brother Seth (2 of our RC's from last transfer) were able to get the Aaronic Priesthood. I was so happy. Soon they will be able to get the Melchizedek Priesthood too :)
In Saturday night Sister McKnight and I went to go visit and teach Brother Sing's family at the market. We taught Brother Swim about tithing and fasting, and after the lesson told him that we were getting transfer calls on Monday and might be moving. We told him we didn't know for sure, and that we would let them know...but he was so sad. He kept telling us how much he'd miss us, and then called over the rest of the family, who then kept expressing their gratitude for me and Sister Mcknight. I wanted to cry. We kept assuring them that we didn't know yet if we were moving and that we'd let them know. Still it was amazing to feel that I had helped this family...even a little bit. They were so grateful. I am glad daily that I chose to come on a mission, and meet amazing people like this.
My thought for this week comes in part from my younger sister Elliott. This week I was re-reading a letter she had sent me in the MTC where she was talking about how she gained her testimony and her great desire to be a missionary now, and in the future. She said, "I am so happy now, and all I want to do is share my testimony with everyone. I can't wait until I get too, not until I have to....but until I get too." These words struck me this week as I realized yet again what a great opportunity and an exciting opportunity it is to share the gospel with everyone! Half-way through my mission now, I feel like there are days I have felt a bit desensitized to that fact, but reading that letter made me remember how happy and exciting it is!
I also read Alma 28 this week:
I loved these scriptures this week. There is so much joy in being a missionary.
The second thing I learned this week was about humility. Sometimes investigators don't show up. appointments fall through, days are hot, and frustration occurs. Life is obviously not always easy; often there seem to be problems and challenges. I was thinking a little about this Sunday as I played the prelude music for sacrament. I came upon the song, Be Thou Humble. The lyrics go like this:
" Be thou humble in thy weakness, and the Lord thy God shall lead thee,