Monday, February 23, 2015


1. Sister Yanisa and I know how important prayer is. Sometimes we pray while thai squatting.

2. Me and Gato, the six-year-old son of our favorite family.

So this week I've started doing this thing called the Superman Prayer. It's where I tell Heavenly Father that I'm not superman but I need to be able to do superhuman things on any given day. And man does Heavenly Father just qualify me beyond anything I can do on my own! Especially this week, Yanisa and I have both been sick. And my voice was in and out on Saturday and Sunday. How can you be a "challenging and testifying missionary" if you can't open your mouth and preach? Use sign language?

Well, I don't know thai sign language, and Heavenly Father doesn't need me to learn that right now, so he provided a way and opened my mouth/vocal cords so I could say and do everything I needed to do despite feeling pretty crappy all week. He always provides a way when we trust Him. And our weaknesses are just a really awesome opportunity to take the Lord's hand and start walking on water.

This week was as great as every other week here. We somehow managed to get lost in our area (I've been here for four months, Sister Yanisa for three and se's a native to Bangkok), we had a lesson with our Laotian investigators and brought a Laotian Elder to help us teach (through speakerphone haha). We learned that one of our investigators hasn't really been getting anything we've been teaching him and so we need to start over and teach him everything even though we've already taught him a lot...but instead of getting mad, Sister Yanisa and I felt grateful that we finally figured out why he wasn't progressing. It was like a breath of fresh air. A new start.

And it poured rain a few times. No faster or better way to make my day than to make it rain. Heavenly Father knows me so well!

When one of our investigators, Sister W, got baptized this weekend, she got up and bore her testimony after. Most people stumble through their first testimony because they're just overwhelmed from the day or they don't know how to yet, but Sister W just said that she was grateful to her Heavenly Father for the opportunity to turn a new leaf and expressed her desires to remain steadfast. I almost cried. Proud tears. I'm so proud. And I didn't even do anything to help teach her! She flipping taught herself. All of it. One time a week or two ago we were talking about a concept in the gospel and she just burst into tears. At first I was worried something was wrong, but it quickly became apparent that she was just feeling the Spirit really, really strongly. After that, she progressed so quickly! God has prepared the hearts of His children here and is leading us to them (or them to us!).

3. Baptism! Sister W, a laotian sister, and all the people who have helped teach her/fellowship her. I've never seen anyone make friends in the church as quickly and easily as Sister W. She is so cute!

I feel really repetitive, but this is truly the greatest work we can be involved in. I love being a missionary so much, especially here in this choice corner of the world. Helping people enter the waters of baptism is such a special privilege. I love life!
I love you all!
Sister Z.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Oh I know, I'm no Superman...

1. Me and Sister Yanisa helping out at the Valentine's day activity here.

2. Had lunch with Sister Lam in Asoke this week! Comp reunion!

Every once in a while I take a step back and look at the work we're doing here, and it amazes me what we're doing. There's not a day that goes by that I don't thank my Heavenly Father for the support and strength I receive on a daily, hourly basis, because if I didn't have His help I swear I would be crushed from the pressure of all the things I have to do.

Sometimes my life feels like an episode of Scrubs and I'm JD, the awkward white kid who usually has no idea what they're doing, and Sister Yanisa is Turk, the best friend who has style and is in with all the members and the way to do missionary work. Seriously, I'm learning so much from her about how to love and serve completely. We'll be waiting for ten minutes for something and Yanisa will say "let's go clean the bathrooms!" and we'll spend ten minutes doing something productive. Never a dull moment here! The members here just love both of us, always giving us free food and snacks and making us fat and bringing us their friends and family members...and telling us not to move. We've tried to explain that it's not our call, but...with all the members here praying for us to not move, maybe we'll just be here together for longer. I wouldn't mind :)

The advantage of being with your companion for more than one transfer is you stop needing to coordinate everything and you just go and do what needs to be done. We are so unified in our efforts to help our recent converts, less actives, and investigators...we get so much done and it's like a weird equation where 1+1=over 9000 because the work we put in should not equal the results and miracles we're seeing here. The x factor in missionary work is always love, when it's there, we see our efforts multiplied.

We had an activity at church this week that we did instead of regular scripture was a temple/family history fireside! We asked different people in the wards to present on the importance of temple ordinances and family history work. We even got everyone there to start doing their own family tree sheet and now we're working with our family history consultants here to get everyone FamilySearch accounts. We didn't think we'd have many people there...but we had 28 total (not including missionaries), half of whom were recent converts and two of whom were investigators who were family members! It was an amazing, spiritual activity and I'm so grateful it was such a big hit. It made an impact on me and I hope it made as strong of an impact on the members. Preparing for the temple starts with us!

We also spent a lot of time this week helping members set up for the stake Valentine's activity, a youth dinner and YSA dance! The members in the wards here are so creative and we had a lot of fun building a 4 meter replica Eiffel Tower Arc de Triomphe together. We stuck around long enough to see the final product with lights and balloons...these members know how to put on a party! I'm going on four months here and I've just loved every second, I could be here for the rest of my mission if I needed to because this area is just so big and the longer I'm here the more I fall in love with the members. We're family.

3. The Arc de Triomphe replica

God's plan is perfect. It's just all about families and love and there isn't a rule or commandment that we've been given that won't improve the quality of our lives and bring us happiness, TRUE happiness, that lasts beyond this life.

I love you all!
Sister Z.

Monday, February 9, 2015

We Dream the Same Dream, We Want the Same Thing

1. I can't control myself when I see dairy products.

2. Sometimes we get lucky and find lots of Dr Pepper, which is really a tender mercy because it just doesn't exist here (or "Mr. Pepper" as Sister Yanisa calls it because she can never remember what it's called and why I love it so much). Oh, the little things :)

3. How can I get homesick when there are so many cows here? ;)

We're all on the same team here! Maybe sometimes we forget that. In the end, we're all children of our Heavenly Father and we all just need to love and take care of each other.

We went to a member's house to do some family history work again this week, and I found a bunch of family names that I had no idea existed! All my great grandpa's siblings on one side. A whole family! While I was working and finding name after name, I felt very strongly that I was not the only who wanted to find these names -- that there were people on both sides of the veil trying to do the work. And I felt the support of my family members on both sides of the veil in the work I'm doing here on a daily basis. And man did that feel cool.

This week, I've seen the hand of the Lord working through me and qualifying me to be able to do and say more than I ever could on my own. Heavenly Father is infinitely patient and loving with ALL of us. He's picked me up more times than I can count this week alone. No matter how lonely it gets striving to do the right thing, I know I'm never alone because He's only ever a prayer away! I'm grateful that this period, while difficult, is really strengthening my relationship with the Lord. We've had many experiences that have helped me see the hand of the Lord ever more clearly, but one day this week sums it all up:

So we called up one of the recent converts, Brother F, to bring us to the house of another member, Brother B, because we hadn't seen Brother B in several weeks. When we got to B's house, he was there with a nonmember friend who comes to church sometimes. It was kind of awkward at first...almost like Brother B didn't want us there. He's had chicken pox and hasn't left the house in a few weeks. But we each shared a scripture with and testified, and told him how we loved and missed him. After we did so, he opened up and talked about the things that really bugging him, like the fact that he hasn't been able to get a job. That allowed us to testify more and extend commitments that were more personalized to him, instead of just "come back to church." We, along with Brother F, B, and the nonmember friend were all edified by the lesson.

Then, as we were walking back, we ran into Brother B's uncle, an older gentleman named Brother J, who apparently used to live in a ward south of us but now has become less active. He stopped because he recognized that we were missionaries (I wouldn't have recognized him otherwise) and he immediately began to tell us about his friend who he wanted us to teach. (This Sunday, Brother J showed up bright and early, shook my hand, and dragged me and Sister Yanisa to the foyer where he'd brought his friend. He's now a new investigator!)

THEN we went back to Central with F, where he introduced us to his friend, whom we invited to learn. He wasn't interested, but as we talked and testified about Jesus Christ, I KNOW he felt at least a bit of the Spirit...because I did. As we awkwardly walked away from them, we ducked into a store and nearly ran into...Brother J! Who got baptized in November and then has faded in and out of activity because he doesn't know anyone at church. We met him and his wife (we didn't know he had a wife) and his two month-old baby (didn't know about her, either). It was so good to see him because he hadn't been responding to calls and we hadn't been able to see/meet with him since the time he was confirmed.

So in total, this effort to find one member turned into a day of testifying, and we testified to EIGHT people who were either recent converts, less-actives, or non-members (or some combination of those three). This isn't about the numbers, though -- this is still a one-by-one endeavor.  And it's a process. It won't happen overnight, but it'll happen. What really struck me about that day was that we hadn't planned on ducking into a store, and we hadn't planned on walking back the way we did...but we just did, and the Lord put people in our path (or put us in the path of those who needed us). The temple is on its way!

Love, Sister Z.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Finding Joy in Finding!

1. Sometimes we get a little carried away cleaning the church. :)

2. I just really like donuts (and this one has a cow on it :))

This week has been all about FINDING. It all started when I was looking at my vision for this transfer, which is, that I will learn to enjoy contacting! Because that hasn't always been my favorite thing to do. So I spent all my personal study this week studying about finding in Preach My Gospel and the scriptures. And the result is...I LOVE CONTACTING. It's now one of my favorite things to do (along with baptizing, retaining, activating, and teaching).

And then Heavenly Father just decided to bless me with a ton of opportunities to practice the principles I learned this week. As we were contacting this week on a switch-off in Bangkhae, we met two women who were very interested and had many questions about baptism and why it was important. I was able to bear testimony about the restoration of the priesthood and gospel in the short three minutes we talked, and it felt so good...and the two women felt it too. When we testify, God can speak through us to those who we are finding.

We also happened to get in a taxi with a man who knew who we were...he'd taken missionaries places in the past...I was able to have a good 5-minute conversation about his family and him...he wasn't interested, but it was a sign to me that the Lord is preparing people and using us to help prepare those around us so that in 1, 5, 10 or 20-plus years, their hearts will finally be opened and they will let the light of the gospel in.

And this week we've had the unique opportunity to work with some of the English/International members in the Chaengwattana International ward here to learn about family history so we can help our recent thai converts to get started on their family history work. And let me just say, the Spirit of Elijah is REAL. I felt so excited as I started to work on my own family tree and was able to find people who need ordinances done in the temple. Finding isn't limited to street contacting...there are people already being taught on the other side of the veil who are ready to accept God's plan and be baptized...they just need someone to find them!

I promise that God's plan is perfect. He loves each of us so much and wants us to experience the happiness that comes from being baptized and living with our families for eternity.

Love, Sister Z.