Monday, November 24, 2014

He who says he can, and he who says he can't, are both usually right.

1. Our baptism! Elder Smith, Sister Aae (our newest Lao investigator), Sister Khiaw, Sister Ellis and me!

2. The view from Sister Somjit's apartment after our lesson. I love Thailand!

3. Only in Thailand do we find a wild herd of zebra statues on the street.

This week. Well. There were lots of good things happened this week, but the most recent event was at 1:30am this morning when I woke up to violent food poisoning. For almost three hours. Well, I guess I'm a real Thailand missionary now that I've had food poisoning. Fun stuff. ;)

The highlight here in Don Muang this week would have to be our baptism. Let me tell you about Sister Khiaw. She is a beautiful Laotian working here in Thailand with some of her friends. We met her because she was dragged to church by her neighbor Sister Him, an old Cambodian woman who we just love. She came up to us and said "Sisters, I brought you new investigators!" And one of them was Sister Khiaw. While she almost forced to come to church that first day, she had sincere interest in the church and in baptism. She had trouble reading the Thai materials we had for her, but we got a hold of some Laotian scriptures and she started progressing like CRAZY. Being baptized was the natural next step for her, we barely had to ask her if she wanted it...we knew.

The Lord promises that if we are faithful to covenants and obedient, He will open the windows of heaven such that there will not be room to receive the blessings he will pour out upon us. And He did that for us by blessing us with Sister Khiaw. We've also been teaching Sister Somjit, who is best friends with Sister Khiaw, and last week Somjit invited us to her home to teach her husband, too, and asked if missionaries could teach her mom in Laos...and then on Sunday Khiaw brought a new friend to church. All because of this one Cambodian sister in our international ward! We have a ton of Laotian investigators...enough that we're going to start skyping with the Elders in Laos to have them help teach the lessons!

This work happens one by one. One person at a time. When people come to understand the blessings of the gospel and the covenants they can make with our Heavenly Father, it is only natural for them to want to share it with their families and friends. We never had to ask Sister Him to invite her friends to church, and we never had to ask Somjit or Khiaw if their families wanted to was only natural to them that they all wanted to share the joy the gospel had already brought them with the people they love most.

Missionary work isn't scary. Sometimes, the thought of going out and asking complete strangers if they want to go to church isn't the most appealing thought in the world. This work is hard and it takes everything we have to give to it. But it's not scary, because we're just inviting people to share in the happiness that has changed our lives. That's it.

Our email time just flies by every week...definitely not enough time to talk about all the miracles and funny and embarrassing things that happen on a daily basis here. The worst is that in Bangkok, there are a ton of Americans and Europeans, and sometimes I accidentally invite them to be baptized in Thai instead of English...I'm so much more comfortable sharing the gospel in Thai, haha. I had to give a short testimony/talk in the international ward this week and it was pretty weird. But way good. The Church is true no matter what language you can express it in.

Love you all! Have a week! :)
Sister Z.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Big City, Big City Nights

1. Our zone after we climbed the mountain and came back down! You can't see, but we were all soaked in sweat. Literally. Soaked. I had sweat dripping off my face and arms the whole hike.

2. Monkeys!

3. A sweet view just over halfway up the mountain.

Sorry I didn't email last week! We took a two-hour trip to Lopburi that ended up taking four hours to get back we didn't really get to emailing. The good news is that we had an insanely awesome adventure in Lopburi! It's known as the Monkey City...and I got some sweet pictures with monkeys. They were only slightly terrifying.

These weeks are just flying by, man! We're already almost halfway through the transfer and I still feel like I just barely got here.

SO the main reason we went to Lopburi, actually, was to do this hike. It's 3,800 stairs up this mountain in the middle of nowhere. At the top of the mountain is an old Buddhist temple. It was SUCH a hard hike. I'm definitely not used to altitude of any kind. But at long last, we made it to the top! And then we had a zone devotional at the top of the mountain about our vision.

Here in Thailand, we have a vision. A vision for a Temple. And everything we do, is to help us in reaching that vision. We do this work one by the one, the way the Savior worked. When the Savior healed, he healed each person individually. He touched the eyes of the blind, the ears of the deaf...He gave each person what they needed, in the way they needed it. We try to replicate that with every member and every investigator we come in contact with. Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ, and every day when I come home I'm just so grateful for the privilege I have to take care of God's children.

I love the big city. I love the fresh fruit stands everywhere. I love riding crazy buses and going on adventures in our area to find people. I can't tell you how tired I am and how sore my feet are. I miss biking (never thought I'd say that) and sometimes being a missionary means weird health issues that can't be resolved. But more than everything that happens, I am aware of the Lord's hand in my life and especially the lives of all His children around me.

One thing our zone leaders said is that this Temple that we're working so hard's not OUR vision. It's the Lord's vision. And when we match our will with the Lord's...we can't fail. This isn't our work. It's the Lord's work! And it will never be stopped. It will roll forth as the stone cut from the mountain without hands. I'm just so grateful I get to be a part of this work.

Have a great week everyone! I love you all!

ps. Watch this video. This is our video-theme for the month as a mission as we work harder than ever to be unified and do work! It's so motivating...I love it!

Monday, November 3, 2014

One night in Bangkok makes a hard (girl) humble....

It's November. I've been a missionary for five months. I've finally finished my two months of MTC training and three months of in-field training. And it's been BRUTAL. I can't tell you how many tears I've shed, how badly I've wanted to go home, how much I've prayed and how many times I've asked God why He has forsaken this land and these people.

I remember my first night in Bangkok. I was jet-lagged and in waaaay over my head. I remember trying to write in my journal about everything and just nodding off in the middle of a word. I remember looking out the window of the train we were on and praying for God to bless these people of Thailand because this is my home now. I remember walking the streets the first day inviting just hours after we landed and wondering how the heck I was going to make a difference here.

I've been so humbled here. I thought I was good before the mission. I thought I knew how to work hard and sacrifice everything...and all these last five months as a missionary have taught me is that I don't know how to do any of that. But as much as it hurts to be humbled, it's a good kind of pain. It's a refining process.

So, transfers were this week! And we found out Tuesday night that the three of us were going to white-wash out of Kalasin, and that our four Elders from Maha-Sarakham were going to come to Kalasin! So we were sad to leave, but excited to know that our members would be in such good hands with our elders. We helped them move into Kalasin and then we all seven of us came down to Bangkok for transfer meeting. It was soooo good to see everyone from my district again! We all had to come down to do our Visas, and a lot of us were moving/getting new companions.

1. Me and Sister Herrmann after our temporary switch-off doing visa work!

2. The clouds here are crazy. I love it.

I ended up being called to Don Muang, which is an area in the Bangkok North Zone that services a thai ward (Don Muang) a thai branch (Pakkret) and an international english-speaking ward (Chaengwattana). We serve THREE UNITS here. Talk about different! And now I'm companions with Sister Ellis! She trained Sister Brown, so I've only heard good things about her and since being companions with her I can only say that they're all true. She is one of the sweetest people I've ever met, so caring and loving for me and for the work and we work together so well! I'm excited for the next six weeks.

3. Companionship picture after church on Sunday. Me and Sister Ellis!

We had two baptisms yesterday -- the two sets of elders here each had one. And I felt the Spirit so strongly confirming that this is not a God-forsaken land. God is here, it's just hard to see him sometimes. But He's here. He hasn't abandoned us or these people. And we're going to see miracles here in Don Muang because of Him.

Sorry this email was kinda all over the place again. This week was insane with moving and visas and packing and unpacking. Still doesn't feel real that I'm in Bangkok and not Kalasin anymore! Oh well. Have a great week everyone!

4. Selfie with ZEBRA CAKES aka my favorite treats of all time that don't exist in Thailand. Shoutout to my mom for being the best mom ever and shoutout to Sister Speas' stepmom for bringing them. Thank you soo so so so much!