Monday, December 15, 2014

This time I'm ready to run

1. Me, Gato, Sister Ellis and Sister Phraew. Sister Phraew's son Gato is the CUTEST little kid ever (aside from my little brother of course ;)). I love the members here so much.

2. Usually we decorate our planners every transfer...I got a little carried away with my planner this transfer and covered it in a Hobbit picture my older sister sent me. Shoutout to you Belle!

3. Selfie with Yanisa. Love this girl to bits.

Last week started with a spectacular nerf gun fight and transfer calls, which involved Elder Lingard, our district leader, shooting all the missionaries who were leaving the area in an ultra-dramatic "execution." He shot Elder Cutler, our zone leader who has only a transfer left on his mission, then Elder Anderson, Elder Lingard's companion, then Sister Ellis, which we knew because we knew we wouldn't be together more than a transfer...and then he pointed the gun at me.


--and then he shot himself instead.

The good news: I'm still here in Don Muang!!!

The bad news: I lost four people out of a six-person district that I loved to pieces.

The best news: my new companion is Sister Yanisa!!! We have literally been joking about being companions almost every week since we went on a switchoff in Korat together but I never thought it would happen, at least not for a few more months, because we're the same age in the mission (around 6 months). But for whatever reason, Prez felt like we needed to be together. in an International English ward. when I'm sick and can't work like I want to. But you know what? We're gonna tear this place up this transfer. We already are!

Teaching lessons with someone who speaks this language, it's the best thing ever. We teach SO WELL and ahh it's just the greatest even though sometimes I feel like I'm trying to catch up the whole time. My thai has gotten so much better just in the last four days...I'm excited to see where the next six weeks will take me :)

Just yesterday, we went caroling in Bangkhen, which is the area right next to ours here in Bangkok. It was humid and hot but loads of fun. Thai members of the church know how to help missionaries contact! Nothing attracts more people than a bunch of white people and thai people singing hymns in thai together, and it brings the Spirit like crazy, too. I love, love LOVE working here. We had Stake Conference earlier that day, too...It's so cool that we get to be part of a stake! The Bangkok North Stake is full of incredible Saints who know how to work and know how to share the gospel with everyone around them. When you're truly converted, you don't need to be asked to help teach, you don't need to be asked to share the gospel with your friends. You just do it. It comes naturally.

This work happens one by one. We work one by one just like the Savior.
Life is good. I love being a missionary. This work is baller!
Sister Z.

Monday, December 8, 2014

With His love to guide the way, we will carry on

1. Baptism!

2. Celebrating my 6-month mark with ice cream :)

So...we're on transfer week again! hopefully we'll get a call sooner than later to avoid some of the chaos that was last transfer...but frankly I think it'll be just as chaotic as it always is. I love the culture of this mission and the missionaries...I know Heavenly Father wanted me here, in this mission, with the people I've had a chance to serve with.

Tuesday was Zone Conference! We went caroling at the BTS (Bangkok Transit Service...or something like that) station...which is Thailand's hi-so fancy equivalent of the el train in Chicago...we had people taking pictures and videos of us left and right. I imagine we made quite a stir, but more than that, I hope we brought some of the Spirit with us and that that spirit stayed in the hearts of those who heard us.

At Zone Conference, President Senior shared with us one of their family Christmas traditions: they take Matthew 25: 34-40: "For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me." And then they cut up the phrases and stick them in a bag and every person in the family takes a slip of paper and that's their Christmas challenge to be like the Savior, to feed the hungry or visit the sick. And President extended that challenge to all of us this season.

So. I've been sick for about two months now. This is a bad thing. But through a lot of the pain and sickness I've had to deal with, I've been able to see the Lord's hand in my life, and I've experience so many acts of selflessness and kindness. I went on a switchoff to Bangkhen last Wednesday with Sister Downs, whom I adore. It was a super fun day, but I was in so much pain that I had to lay on a makeshift-bed for almost three hours at the church building because I was dizzy and nauseous and in pain. And Elder Hill, along with Elder Bush, my nong, bought me food and refused to accept me paying them back. And then they visited with me when they could have been running around contacting like every missionary usually does in this mission. They chose to spend their dinner hour talking to me and helping me get my focus off the pain. These Elders have already fulfilled their challenge to serve others like the Savior, and I am so touched and grateful for the missionaries in this mission. I believe it was President Thomas S. Monson who said that we will never be able to measure or estimate our ability to do good

And then on Sunday, I was freezing cold and so was everyone else, but my district leader, Elder Lingard, gave me his suit-coat to wear, even though he probably needed it more with his thin Arizona blood...and I wore his coat the whole day. He and all the Elders in my district here have been so nice to me in the midst of pain that has been making me feel like a very crappy missionary. And of course I can't forget my companion, Sister Ellis. There isn't much anyone can do to help me feel better, and it's been hard for her to not be able to help, but she's wonderful and supportive and at least helps me feel better about my ability to work (or lack thereof).

And we had a baptism! This time, a nine-year-old boy. He has the attention span of a squirrel but he loves reading the Book of Mormon. He's way cute. He was a miracle investigator and a miracle baptism...his grandma just got baptized last week and he wanted to get baptized so bad..and he's already best friends with all the boys in primary in that ward.

As for the rest of the week...well, it's crazy here. We invited a homeless guy to church and he ended up coming! Shocker. That almost never happens. We ended up giving him to the Elders because we weren't sure if he was being creepy or not. Turns out he's awesome. He wants to get baptized! on Sunday, the Elders walked in on him making his own cigarettes in the bathroom. They had to dispose of the pot themselves. And then they taught him the Word of Wisdom. #classic

I love being a missionary!
Sister Z.

Monday, December 1, 2014

He is the Gift

1. Most of the missionaries in our stake for our Christmas program on Saturday! It was so much fun having hundreds of members together eating and celebrating Christmas with songs and Mormon messages.

2. Our Thanksgiving dinner! We had more people and more food than this, but this is the only group picture from the event. It was lots of fun, and even more fun to be able to share it with some people who needed some extra TLC from the missionaries this week.

3. Companion picture in front of the Christmas tree. :) We may not have pine trees here but Thai people know how to make do with paper and cardboard :)

Man, I feel like I just wrote my weekly letter from last week. Time is flying! This transfer is coming to a close so fast...and Christmas is nearly upon us!

This week I learned a lot of humility. We wouldn't have made balanced [the term used when missionaries reach their weekly/monthly goals for sharing the gospel] had our Elders not given us...a baptism. It's one thing to be on the giving end of something like that...we do it because we care more about unity and helping our fellow missionaries than keeping achievements for ourselves. But to be on the receiving end of that act of selflessness is really, really humbling. The sense of debt and gratitude I feel reminds me of how I feel about the Atonement and everything that Jesus Christ has done for all of us. His sacrifice makes it possible for us to return to live with him and our Heavenly Father after this life. We'd never be able to do any of that without him!

And we had our Christmas party! The wards here have been preparing and decorating for weeks now and it was an event not to be missed. Hundreds of members from our Bangkok North Stake came together to eat and participate in our Christmas program, which featured singing, cheesy acting, and Mormon messages, including the new video "He is the Gift" ( which was also released in Thai! It meant sooo much to me to be able to watch it with Thai subtitles instead of English. I love this video. It brings everything back to Christ. Christ is the reason I'm out here. He's the reason we celebrate these holidays, and He is the reason we can have joy every day of our lives, not just in times of plenty but in times of hardship. This mission has taught me so much about my relationship with my Savior and I'm so grateful for Him, especially this season and especially as a missionary.

Have a week! Happy Thanksgiving!
Sister Z.