Monday, January 25, 2016

The Gold Standard For Fillings in Thailand Is Gold, and Sifting Through the "Voices" Around Us.

Hey everyone! 

As you can see from the title of this was one crazy week!! (But when is it not here).

This week started with this awesome member, Sister Sunny, taking us to see a cool wat and dress up in Thai costumes. We took a boat to the wat and it was so fun and pretty. All the Thai people were laughing at us dressed up in Thai costumes and wanted to take pictures with us. It was hilar... 

This week I also saw Sister Carrillo when Sister Coates went to get her visa renewed! (you get it renewed twice as a missionary, once as a greenie and once when you are about done). It was so fun to talk to her and hear all about Lampang.  And, strangely enough, on the way to the visa place, the taxi driver ran over sooo many orange traffic cones on the was funny!

Okay as you can see from the subject of this email... we went to the hospital twice this week. The first time was to get my cavity filled. My mouth had been hurting a lot (guess I've eaten too much candy) so I finally decided to rip the fear band-aid off and go to the a third world country. I was so scared and praying so hard that it would all be okay... and it was! My dentist was super nice, knew English, and was friends with members from the International Ward. She looked at my mouth and apparently I have like 3 cavities, but she only filled one.  It was close to the nerve.  At first she was like, "The standard for fillings here in Thailand is gold, but we will do white on you." I'm  so glad she said something, and it seems like she did a good job!  The only slightly sketchy thing was that her assistant's gloves seemed a little dirty.... (Hopefully that was just all in my head haha.) 

The second hospital experience was with Sister Coates.  She hadn't been feeling very well for a while, and in short had all the symptoms of Dengue Fever (a mosquito sickness, which in Thai translates to bloody fever....scary.)  But we got her checked out and she apparently doesn't have it. If she still feels badly in a couple of days we will go back. The doctor said there is a chance he missed it. 

Anyways, this week we also got to see this worldwide missionary broadcast! It was so cool to watch.  Missionaries all over the world watched it. The missionary department guy who started the meeting said, "Missionaries in Thailand, Tokyo and Tonga will watch this broadcast when they wake up." So that was cool to hear, and made me realize what I always forget...I really am a day ahead of all of you!

So this week I have been thinking a lot about voices, and how there are voices everywhere. The voice of the world, the voice of good, the voice of evil, the voice that tells you to be lazy, the voice that tells you that you aren't good enough, the voice of peace, and the voice of God. There are so many different voices in the world and the trick is finding out which one to listen too. Sometimes things you think are good can be deceiving, and the truth is hard to find... unless you listen to the right voice...the voice of God that comes through the Spirit with prayer. 

This week, a recent convert we work with is facing a lot of opposition from her family, who does not want her to go to this church. They told her a lot of things that were hard to hear, and told her they would distance themselves from her unless she decided to "quit". It was hard to hear this experience as she has so much faith.  She wants to follow Heavenly Father, but she also loves her family. We testified to her that if she follows Heavenly Father that all really will work out. And it is true - it will. The path of living the gospel and following the voice of God, may not always be the easiest in the moment, but in the end it is the only way to true peace and lasting happiness. When we testified of these things to her there was a peace that seemed to come, and she said she would pray about what to do. I know often times that we can only figure out what the truth is through prayer. So I guess that is what I want to tell all of you... if you feel stressed, worried, lonely, sick, or wondering what you should do... I invite you to tune out all of those voices of the world and come to Heavenly Father in prayer, because he will tell you what to do - every time, and a quiet and peaceful assurance will come into your life. 

Love you all!

Sister Remington

P.S. Mom, I got your Christmas card this week and it is soo hilarious! 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Strive to Please God, Thai Basketball, and Nightly Concerts

Hey everyone!! 

Okay! I feel like the weeks are going so fast, but this week was good! I will start off with the funny stories: 

Brownies in the Elevator:
This week Sister Coates and I set up this FHE where we went to help teach some members how to make brownies at Sister Granges house (one of the senior missionaries). It was really fun, and a lot of the members (it seemed) had never used a mixer before, as shown from the brownie batter all over the wall!  haha That's not the story though. The story comes in when we were about to leave. We had to go pa little early, as we had an appointment at the church, so Sister Grange gave us this metal tin to put some nearly cooked brownies in, as well as some plastic forks. Hurrying to our appointment, we head in to the elevator and proceed to eat the brownies on our journey down 22 floors. Then the elevator stops and this British lady gets in.  Sister Coates offers her some brownies, but then the lady disapprovingly remarks, "No thanks, I wouldn't want to spoil my appetite." We all laugh, and then as we get out of the elevator Sister Coates turns to me and says, "We were fulfilling every single stereotype of Americans right then by eating those brownies in that elevator." We laughed so hard! As I write this I realize this probably won't be that funny to you all, maybe you just had to be there.
The Concert
This story happened like every day this week. So we live in this apartment building which backs onto this giant concrete parking lot where they hold a lot of big concerts. Many nights when we are doing our nightly planning (or are going to bed) we hear loud music and cheering. Sometimes it is really funny when the cheering coincides with something we say.... it's like we have a soundtrack to our life. Anyways, one night as I was going to bed, I could hardly sleep as all I could hear was someone shouting (in english), "Put your hands up, put your hands up...okay everyone, scream!!!!!" Suffice it to say that isn't exactly the most peaceful sound to hear when you are trying to sleep. haha

This week I also was able to go on a switch off with Sister Donlaya, she is a cone Thai and is so cool! She served in Mahasarakham too so we had lots to talk about!! 

What else... oh yeah! So lately we have been doing sports night at the church on Fridays, and we usually play basketball. Lots of Thai people have never played basketball so it is hilarious and awesome! This week we were playing, they were all traveling and stuffing (fouling) us soo much we decided to teach them the rules. Once we did that it was even funnier, as they really got into it! 

While teaching a recent convert this week he told us of a cool experience. He said the last couple of weeks or so he had been feeling discouraged and stressed with all he had to do.  He was sitting at work (he is a graphic designer) and he had this thought come into his head saying, "You should think about all the good things that have come into your life because of the gospel." So he did and after that felt so happy and peaceful. If I remember correctly, he also connected it to how we can remember Christ always, not only by just remembering him and his sacrifice for us, but by remembering all the good that has come to us because of living the gospel. Count your blessings. 

My spiritual thought for this week actually comes a bit from last week as well. So last week after I gave my talk in church we sang the song, "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go." I had never thought much about this song, but I remember thinking how I loved the words, "I will be who you want me to be."   Later that day, the lady who picks the music came up to me and said how amazed she is that each week, the music she selects goes exactly with the speakers talks in church. She realized how it is really led by the Spirit. The next day in my studies I was reading this talk, and it quoted that song where it says:

 There's surely somewhere a lowly place
In earth's harvest fields so wide
Where I may labor through life's short day
For Jesus, the Crucified.
So trusting my all to thy tender care,
And knowing thou lovest me,
I'll do thy will with a heart sincere:
I'll be what you want me to be.

I love this. It made me realize that Christ loves us, and because of this we can assuredly and sincerely do His will, thus being what he wants us to be. Like they said in General Conference, "our way is always lacking and limited."  The lesson I feel has been reemphasized to me a lot lately is - not to do so much what I think is best, and what will bring others happiness, but to do the will of God and strive to please Him, not other people. That is where true happiness and confidence comes from. 

Love you all!

Sister Remington 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Your Joyful Future Comes Alive When You Do More Than Just Exist

Hey everyone!!

I feel like I can't even remember what happened this week, but pday is back on Monday, so I will get back to my normal letter routine next week. 

This week we basically just had a bunch of meetings...Sister Coates had a "mission completion" meeting with President and Sister Johnson and everyone in her group (as they all finish next transfer) so there was that, and also there was MLC which is the meeting with President Johnson and the AP's and all the other mission leaders to train us on where they want the mission to be going. That meeting was really good and inspiring, but we did find out some sad news -THERE WILL BE NO MORE TRANSFER MEETINGS!  At first I was sad, but then they showed us this video where an apostle instructs mission leaders not to gather big groups of missionaries for transfer meetings, so from now on we will just get a call and get sent to our next area and/or next companion. 

Anyways, one awesome thing Sister Johnson said in MLC that I really liked was that Heavenly Father really knows our name, our circumstances, and where we are going. She gave the example of Joseph Smith's first vision and how when that happened he was called by name. This is such a simple thing but when she said this, I  realized even more how much God does know us. 

This week I went on a switch off with Sister Bagley! She is awesome. She already graduated from BYU in some nifty computer program thing so she was giving me a ton of good advice about BYU and life. 

What else...we ate at some Pakistani people's house from the International Ward. They have been investigators for 2 years and are super nice! They gave us some Pakistani food....which was...interesting. 

Oh!!! On Sunday I gave a talk in the International Ward! And it was all in English!  I was sooo scared while preparing to give my talk, because when I was practicing, it all kept coming out in thai, and I couldn't remember some of the english gospel vocab. My talk was on how to accept Christ as your saviour.  I was really nervous before, but as I got up I prayed for help, and in the end I hardly even looked at my notes! 

Well for this week I want to leave you with this thought. Lately, I have been thinking a bit about how I can more fully keep my goals and resolutions. And when I was studying today I came across these quotes:

 “God sent you here to prepare for a future greater than anything you can imagine. That future, a day at a time, comes alive when you do more than just exist; it comes alive when you live your life to fill the measure of your creation. This invites the Lord into your life, and you begin to let His will become yours."

"Because you are His child, He knows who you can become. He knows your fears and your dreams. He relishes your potential. He waits for you to come to Him in prayer. Because you are His child, you not only need Him, but He also needs you. Those sitting around you right now in this meeting need you. The world needs you, and your divine nature allows you to be His trusted disciple to all His children. Once we begin to see the divinity in ourselves, we can see it in others."

I love both of these thoughts; they are so true.  As we strive day to day to do more than just simply "exist" we will be preparing to reach our divine potential. At first when I read this I was thinking, "hey, if we are always trying to reach our potential we will never live in the moment."  But I thought about it and realized that as we strive to be better and better each and every day, that is when the moment is good and we are happy, because we are progressing. 

As for the  second quote, just the fact that Heavenly Father needs me, and others around me need me filled me with joy. On my mission every time I have testified to someone that the Lord needs them and their specific talents, I have felt the Spirit confirm my words, however I never realized that those words included me too! I know the Lord needs me and my talents, and I know that it is the same for all of you as well.  The Lord needs you, and the people around you need you too! We all have a divine potential. 


Sister Remington 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

We Must DECIDE To Be Happy Along The Way

Hey everybody it is weird to have Pdays so close together! I am just glad I will email you all mondays from now on :) 

Well, not too much has happened since I last emailed, but... for Pday on New Year's we went Ice Skating!! It was so fun to skate around and I felt like it actually was winter for a minute. I also forgot how much I like ice skating. The skates were sooo dull so I couldn't really do any tricks, but I did teach a few people in my district some moves. Also, some random Russian girl came up to me and said, "You skate so well, can you teach me how to increase my speed?" I laughed and said, "Yes, of course." As it turns out, we end up inviting her to church, and she accepts! Heavenly Father really does use your talents in his work. I never thought ice skating would come in handy in Thailand, but I guess it just goes to show that you never know!

This week some really nice investigators from the Bangkapi area of Bangkok took us out to lunch. They've known the missionaries for almost 2 years now and they are so nice!! They are always taking the missionaries out to eat, and taking them places on Pday. They don't have any desire to be baptized, but they just love the missionaries and love spending time with them. They told me they hoped I would remember that when someone does something kind for you, if in the future you have the opportunity, you need to do something kind for someone else. They love the service the missionaries are doing here in Thailand, and told us to never forget the lessons we have learned serving others this year. It was such a cool experience to meet them!

I also had some cool experiences meeting some refugees this week! 

Okay, so now for my thought this week. This one is about reaching our full potentials. Sometimes in life it is easy to think that we will never be happy or content until we reach our full potential,  but in reality, we are always working,  and getting better.  Our Heavenly Father is happy with our progress, no matter how small. This life, and even the next, is all about going, "Ever Upwards". It is all about deciding to be happy along the way. 

"Thus unto eternal perfection, the honest and faithful will go." (some line from a hymn)

love you guys!!

Sister Remington 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

I Wouldn't Trade 2015 For Anything!

Hey everyone!!

 Happy New Year, or in Thai สวัสดีปีใหม่!!!!

It was so good to Skype you guys last week.. and before I forget I will be having Pday again this Monday!  From now on my Pday will be on Mondays. It is just weirdly Friday today because it is New Years Day. Also..I am so sorry for my grammar and whatnot in my emails.. I read them over and I feel like they hardly make sense anymore- I guess that's what speaking Thai for a year does to you! haha  

This week was pretty good!! Bangkok was sooo quiet, everyone had gone to a different Province to visit their family... nonetheless it was great!! We found somewhere to eat salad that tastes just like home too! It is so awesome!! I feel like I haven't eaten vegetables in so long.

Being in the International Ward here has been so funny! I have seen random people at church on Sunday from Canada almost every week! This week I saw Mike Walker and his family, as well as Sister Lam (one of my old companions who was back visiting Thailand). It was soo good to see her!! I will send a picture :) 

We also got the opportunity this week to teach a Chinese investigator! It was the funniest and greatest lesson. A Chinese member helped us teach, the only thing was that she only spoke Thai and the lesson was like this weird roundabout of us telling him a bit in English (he could understand some English), telling the member in Thai, who would then translate it into Chinese so he could understand better. It was really confusing and I think we all got confused as sometimes we would speak the wrong language to each other hahaha. Sister Coates and I tried to learn some Chinese words to throw in there, but we couldn't pronounce any of them so it just ended up sounding like we were saying "seashell' and things like that. Good times.

This week Sister Noon also got baptized! We have been working with her for a couple months now and she is the greatest... she really just gets it and was so excited to be was a really special experience. She has the purest faith. 

One of the main things that I want to talk about this week was some experiences working with less active members of the church. 

The first one happened at the beginning of the week. we went to visit this less active member at her house with a sister from the ward (Sister Lek).  Before we taught, Sister Lek had asked if she could prepare a spiritual thought. We willingly accepted, and told her we would just support her testimony and let her teach. As Sister Lek taught, she read from the Liahona, and then told her she had been praying about what to share, and that she had felt impressed to speak about family history and temple work. She then asked this member,"Have you ever been to the temple? And do you have any ancestors who need their temple work done?" At first this member looked surprised that Sister Lek had prayed about what to share with her, but then she said yes!! And proceeded to go to her attic and get out all of these temple name and sealing cards she had taken with her to the temple 10 years ago!  The Spirit was so strong as we saw those names, and we just knew that this was really what Heavenly Father wanted her to know, and that He wants her to prepare to return to the temple. This member cried tears of joy. 

The second experience happened yesterday. Sister Coates and I went to visit this one LA, who had apparently been pretty unreceptive to the missionaries in the past, and would just talk and talk in the lessons contradicting everything they were saying. However, we felt that if we had the Spirit with us and prayed for perfect love that it would be a good lesson. It started off just as we had assumed, difficult, but then after we said the opening prayer, everything changed and as we taught, the Spirit seemed to fill the room and we could really feel it confirming the things we were saying. This member listened and said she wanted to prepare to go to the temple. This lesson just really confirmed to me, that when we pray for the Spirit and to be filled with Christ's perfect love it really will be given to us. I love lessons like this. After, you just feel so happy, peaceful, and you know why being a be a missionary makes you feel so great. 

Anyways, this New Years I was reflecting on this year and how my entire 2015 was spent in Thailand as a missionary. It was a year of wonderful, happy, sad, miraculous and learning experiences. I wouldn't trade it for anything. As I reflected on all the experiences I have had this year I realized a lot of what I had learned was definitely not what I expected to learn when I began, but it was what I needed to learn... and it was better than I could have expected. Something I have been really thinking about lately is that Heavenly Fathers plan is always better - He knows why we need certain experiences, blessings and hardships in our lives, because he is preparing us for a great and glorious future. A Pinterest quote I once read said something to the effect of, "I am so excited for all the good things to come." And I really am! I know faith is always forward looking and that there are great experiences in store for me and all of you this 2016! I want to leave you all with this quote from one of my favorite talks by Elder Holland, 

"So, as a new year starts and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone, nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives. "


Sister Remington