Monday, August 31, 2015

Prayers Are Always Answered

Hey everyone!!!! 

This week was so good!! I love it here in Lampang. I love the area, the district, my companion. Life is good. 

This week for P-day we went to go see some waterfalls, and a wat on the top of a mountain! We left earlyish this morning...and oh man, here's the scary story:

So a member offered to take us (so nice as it was an hour away), but he drove CRAZILY. I literally thought I was going to die. He was going like 120 up this giant canyon, dodging in and out of cars, and his car kept bottoming out and hitting the ground. My district and I exchanged looks of terror more than once. Finally we arrived at this beautiful waterfall, but then had to take this crazy pickup truck straight up the side of the mountain.....which we had to sit in the back of and hold on for dear life. We then get off and hiked straight up to the most beautiful Buddhist temple ever! I'll send pictures... that will explain. 

Anyways, this week was really good... I am having trouble remembering what happened...but I promise it was really good. We had a fun game night at the park on tuesday and played the classic Thai games of "ninja" and "do you love your neighbor."...yeah. 

We had some interesting experiences with a few interesting people here, but I'll save those stories for another time. 

This week we saw a lot of miracles. Whitewashing in, we didn't have very many investigators, but this week we were able to find some from contacting!! One of them brought his wife to church, and they all have dates to be baptized! We were also really blessed to see some LA's we visited come to church!

Sister Carrillo is really fun as a companion, and we have started running some mornings (T25 the other ones). When we run I feel like I am going to die, I am so out of shape....anyways its a good time. 

Okay, I promise I will write more next week, but I will close with a thought. One day this week I felt really worried... it was about a really little thing, but nonetheless I was worried. I was on my bike, biking around trying to contact and find LA's etc and I just was praying - praying to ask Heavenly Father to help me find the answer...that day. On that bike ride I felt comforted, and then later that day, something one of our RC's (who is 10) said comforted my worries. It was after the lesson was over, and just a passing comment, but I realized..."hey, that was an answer to my prayer." I guess where I am going with this is that prayer works. When we pray in faith, and not just say meaningless words, but pray like we are actually talking to someone, our Father, our prayers will be answered. They may not always be answered in a big way, and sometimes it takes some pondering to realize what the answer was to our prayer...but they are always answered. 

I love you guys.

Sister Remington  

Monday, August 24, 2015

I've Moved to Lampang- Back To The Mountains!

Hey everyone!!!!!!!! 

Woah SO much has happened since I last emailed. Like SO much. 

First off I will start with the fact that I moved areas!! I am now in Lampang, so I am in the north part of Thailand again, about an hour away from my first area,  Chiang Mai! There are mountains all around and the weather isn't so hot...I love it!! 

You may remember that Lampang is the place I went on a switch off as a greenie and got the WORST food poisoning of my life!  When I got transferred there, everyone in the mission seemed to have heard that story because they all thought it was pretty funny that I am here. 

I LOVE IT HERE!!! MY NEW COMPANION IS AWESOME. Her name is Sister Carillo, she's 19 and is from Meridian, Idaho and we get along so well! She's been in Thailand only about 4 months! We are already having so much fun! My district is awesome too, and (PLOT TWIST).... we all whitewashed into Lampang. Whitewashing means that they moved the 4 old missionaries that were here away, and moved us four in....which is fun but a bit scary. We all literally know nothing about this area, where to go, or any of the members. So far everyone has been super nice and helpful!! All we have to go off of is a book with some pictures and sticky notes.  I know we will all get to know this area soon, and see a lot of good stuff happen. 

Okay, let me back up now. Flash back to last Sunday...Elder Holland came and spoke to the Thai members, and it was an amazing talk! All the missionaries got to go to Bangkok to hear it. Something that I liked from his talk was that he spoke a lot about missionaries. He spoke of going to visit Palmyra, and seeing a Thai sister missionary there giving tours. He thought of how far away she was from home, and as such took his grandchildren back for 3 tours, all because he wanted her to practice teaching, he wanted her to have a good mission experience. He then asked that all the Thai members do the same...that they provide people for us to teach, and help this work go forth. He said he knows that the Thai people are praying for their sons, daughters and family members on missions, and that our families...far away in America, Canada or herever they may be are praying for us too, praying that we will have a good experience and love our missions. I just know that you guys pray for me and I just want you to know that it makes a HUGE difference. 

Elder Holland also shared this quote, "What we've been given...we need to give away. What's been handed to us, we need to hand to others." I really liked that as I realize more and more on my mission how much I have been given, and how important it is to share with others. 

A really happy moment happened this week. It was at transfer meeting in Bangkok, and I saw a member from Chiang Mai who I hadn't seen since I was a greenie. She told me she had gotten her mission call to England! She then thanked me for helping her so much, saying I was a person who had helped her decide to go on a mission. She explained to me that she was so worried about her life around 9 months ago, and couldn't decide what she should be doing...if she should go on a mission, school etc. She said one night Sister Ellis and I were talking to her, and she couldn't decided what to do.. Sister Ellis gave good advice, and I said what I could at the time in the Thai I knew...but then I went into another room and brought out a Liahona Magazine and gave her an article about making decisions. I totally remembered doing that...going into the library in Chiang Mai and trying to find an article about making decisions, opened to one (I don't think I'd read it) and then gave it to her. She explained to me that it was the article that helped her decide to go..and that she's shared it with other people, and she said it has helped them decide to be missionaries too. It was such a happy moment to hear this, as sometimes when you start your mission it is easy to feel like you didn't help very many people, but that is never true...God will always use YOU, and what you matter how little will be enough to help. 

Leaving Mahasarakham was sooooo sad. I will miss all the members and RC's there soo much. It has been hard not to worry about them as we whitewashed out, but I trust all will be okay. Sister Dew drew me some awesome pictures of me (which I will send)...and Sister Nok gave me the cutest bird earrings (as nok means bird) to put on if I miss her...which I will! It literally felt like Sister Nok was my best friend in Thailand...she helped me so much in so many ways that I can't even explain. Suffice it to say a few tears were shed. 

What else is there to say...I feel like so much has happened!! Oh yeah! Last Sunday some members from the US that live in Thailand invited us over for dinner and it was sooo good! They are the same people that made that "pirating" commercial that is all over the know the one that's like, "You wouldn't steal a car, you wouldn't steal a tv...pirating is stealing." Wyatt will know what I am talking about. Anyways...the food was sooo good! It was probably my 2nd time I have had homemade food on my mission (that's american). 

Lampang has been great so far, yesterday at church the members were so nice and helpful! I am excited to figure things out a bit more here. In fact the first day we were here..we were studying (our house is like by this river in kind of a jungle), and two random ladies (maybe the landlords?) peaked their heads in our window and start talking to us...asking us how things are going! So hilar. 

Okay...I just want to close with a thought.  It is a bit of what Elder Holland talked about. He told this story of a boy going to a birthday party who saved up all his money to buy a present for his friend..he wrapped it up carefully and gave it to his friend..who immediately rejected it saying, "I don't want this!" Elder Holland then related it to how if we reject a gift, "we reject the giver." Our lives are a gift, the gospel is a gift, and the atonement is a gift...we need to accept and use these things with gratitude and that we don't reject the giver who is Jesus Christ. I love this work...and I love you all!!


Sister Remington 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Be The Person You Know You Should Be!

Hey everyone!!

Saturday (today) is p-day, because Elder Holland came!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So awesome!!!!

We took a very long, (but also fun) 9 hour bus ride from Mahasarakham to see him. Let's just say it was only suppposed to be 7 hours....but there is sooo much traffic in Bangkok. 

Anyways, I only have very limited time to email, so I promise I will write a ton more about this experience next P-day. Suffice it to say...he came, and it was inspiring. 

The whole entire mission came together to watch (from Laos and Myanmar too) and it was AMAZING. We all got to go shake his hand and took a big group picture. Then we proceeded into the chapel where he addressed us all. He first started by saying how he had interviewed us all through our handshake, and how he knew how we were doing. It was cool.

Elder Holland said so many things that were meaningful to me, especially when he talked about his mission. He said his mission means everything to him, and he wants it to mean everything to us. He said every choice he's made and every good thing in his life has occurred because of his mission. One thing that really touched me was when he said, "I have thought of my mission every day since." Elder Holland said he has thought of some lesson or scripture EACH DAY SINCE HIS MISSION, and he then said something that made me realize (even more so), just how important this work is. He said that even when we are parents, "We will be engaged in the salvation of a Human Soul." This is the most important thing there is.

Then I felt the spirit so strongly when he said this intensely from the pulpit, "This is your chance....Don't you miss it.  Don't look back with regret.  I don't care if you are happy or sad.  If things are going well or not.  I don't care.  This is your apostalic moment. Don't miss it." 
When he said that I realized I will never get this chance again...I need to make sure I am letting this mission change me, as well as others around me. Elder Holland said, "You can plead with people to change their life, but you won't change yours?" I want to make sure when I go home my life is changed. A lot of his talk made me realize that when I go home, I don't want to be that same person, I want to make sure my mission changed me. Elder Holland just put it so well when he said, "This mission is real can't ever go can't go back to what you were. What you were wasn't good enough...strong enough...spiritual enough." 

Suffice it to say, I am recommitting now.  I want to make sure I let my mission change me by embracing this amazing opportunity, for all that it is, and not letting myself hang motionless in those moments of trial, boredom, or discouragement. This gospel is real, it is true...and EVERYONE needs to hear it. 

At the end of his talk Elder Holland left us with his blessing saying to stay on this trajectory and never look back, and to give this mission all we've got. Life goes really fast (an obvious statement), but I feel like I have realized that so much more on my mission. Each day is only a finite amount of time, and we need to give it our all. Whether you are on a mission, at home, or at school, I encourage you all to give it your all. Be the person you know you should be...the person you truly want to be. 

I know that God lives and knows us all. He knows every little struggle we face, and each moment of happiness as well. This gospel is true. Lives are changed by it, but also importantly our OWN individual lives are made happy and are changed by this knowledge.


Sister Remington 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Keep It Simple - Use A Pencil

Hey everyone!

This week's email may be short because this week felt fast and I can hardly remember what happened!! 

FIRST OFF my next P-day will be Saturday because Elder Holland is coming to the mission this Saturday and Sunday. SO I will not be emailing next Monday. All the missionaries in Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos are leaving their areas Friday to make the trip to Bangkok (in my case a 7 hr bus ride #classic). I am soooo stoked to hear Elder Holland speak! He is speaking to just the missionaries on Saturday, and then on Sunday he will speak to all the Thai members. People from Chiang Mai say they are going to come on man, am I excited!! 

This week Sister Nok made us some delicious Thai food for dinner Wednesday night. She says it is the first time she has made food in a very long time, but she wanted me to try her cooking. Guys, Sister Nok is awesome. I have probably spent almost everyday with her here in Mahasarakham, as she LOVES to help the missionaries...and she is so good at it too. I ask her questions about missionary work all the time! haha 

The rain has been crazy here crazy in fact that when I was talking to one member she said the rain in her house is up to her shins! I was like, "how do you sleep?" And she said, "Oh, my bed is on a tall frame, Sister Rem, and I don't mind the water because sometimes a family of ducks will come swim in our house and they are so cute." 

This week we taught an investigator we met contacting at some shops. She is from Indonesia and has lived in Thailand for 5 years (she married someone Thai). She is already Christian and has been to our church a couple of times. She is curious as to why our church seems so different. We explained the restoration in Thai (which is funny as it is everyone's second language), and it just didn't quite make sense. We were confused as to why it hadn't gone so well, but decided to come back a couple days later with an Indonesian Book of Mormon (which we had ordered). All I can say is that the Book of Mormon changes everything!  We explained a bit about the restoration again, and just testified about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. We also had her look up and read a bunch of scriptures in Indonesian. Every time she would read a scripture she would tell us how much she loved it, and you could just feel the truth of it. We went away from this lesson realizing how simple things are. When we explain simply (as she doesn't know gospel terms) and use the Book of Mormon... all makes sense and is clear. Another thing I know is that Heavenly Father wants us to 
hear things in the language of our hearts. 

This brings me to my thought of the week. Here is a quote from a talk I read in my personal study, "When Astronauts began to go to space they quickly learned that ballpoint pens do not work in space. Immediately scientists and inventors went to work on the problem. Millions of dollars and many hours were spent trying to fix the problem until they finally came up with a pen that could write anywhere, and on any surface. But what did the astronauts do in the meantime when the problem was being fixed?? They simply used a pencil." I laughed a little while reading this, but then thought how much this applied to me. Sometimes we all rush around a little to much, trying to make things so complicated...trying to find complex solutions to simple problems. Life is not meant to be so hard and complex. Sometimes our troubles are not worked out all at once, issues we face may drag on...but in the meantime we can just use a "pencil"...we can simply do what we know, and trust that all will work out. I know that the Lord is in this work and in our lives. He is at the Helm and is leading us. 

I love you guys!

Sister Rem 

Monday, August 3, 2015

We Need Opposition in Order to Grow...and Some Rain!

Hey everyone!!

This week it rained a ton, but one awesome thing happened to start off the week.  One night when Sis Hoffman and I were eating dinner, one of our investigators, Sister Oum, called to she is ready to get baptized on Sunday, and asked what she needed to do!  We were all like...well we just have to come and teach you a bit more first. She was soo excited as were we! She has been praying about being able to get baptized for the past 2 months, and finally she overcame the obstacles! I sure love her. Her husband is a member who just recently came back to church and they have a little girl. I am so happy to see their whole family in the gospel! 

On Tuesday we had district meeting at the dinosaur park in Galasin (one hour away from here. It's where our district leader lives). It was really fun, but it did start pouring rain!!!!! 

Another awesome thing about this week was that we moved into the new house!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is sooo nice, but boy the 'struggle was real' moving all that stuff from the old house. Luckily, we had a ton of great members to help us! 

One funny thing was in Book of Mormon class this week (which I translated into Thai for the class) a bat had gotten in to the room. One second we were talking about the scriptures, and the next there was this GIANT bat swooping around trying to fly at my face. Apparently I looked a little scared and everyone laughed and laughed. Then Sister Laoli just grabbed the bat with her shoes and threw it outside like a professional exterminator. Then all was well again.  

Another funny thing that happened this week was that taught in the Essan language! Or at least tried too.... One of our investigators Sister Noy, only speaks Essan and doesn't really understand Thai. In the lessons the members were usually just translating everything we said, but I was getting kinda sick of that and thought...."If I can understand Essan, why don't I just try and speak it." I did...and I think she understood at least 70 percent better...yay!! 

This week the ward also had a service project to do some service at an recent convert's house. So many people went, and I was happy.

On Sunday, Sister Noy and SIster Oum got baptized!! It was such a happy day...they were both so willing to make this commitment, and had so much faith that they knew the gospel would bless their lives.

Elder Holland is coming to the mission in 2 weeks and man, am I excited!

Lately I have been learning a lot about Charity...well let me back up a little, this learning about charity all started with me studying Christlike attributes. 

When I was in the MTC I was studying faith, and praying for faith...and what I got was a test of faith. When I was in Chiang Mai I studied hope, and I received an opportunity to practice hope. Here in Mahasarakham I have been studying about Charity, and what I have received is lots of opportunities to practice Charity. I have also learned that you sure get what you pray for!  I have also learned that we need opposition in order to practice these things, to become more like Christ. As of late I have been thinking about a conference talk that has helped me a ton on my mission. It is from the October 2014 General Conference, and is called, "Standing in Front of the Throne of God with Confidence"...or something like that. It is by Elder Klebingat. Anyways, there is one part in that article that resonates with me every time I face an obstacle. It is that every time we face a challenge we need to say in essence, "I know what this is Lord...a time to prove myself," and then partner with the Lord to endure well to the end. Life is a test and it is meant to be so. Thinking about life like this helps me to realize that all is but a moment and all shall pass, and as such, we need to make the most of it and always strive to learn and grow. 

I love you all!!

Sister Remington