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 Chinese...so 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 baptized...it 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. "