Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Bangkapi Christmas...and a cat 'n run

Hola Khrccbkhrua!

Wow, it was amazing to see your faces and talk with you last week! I agree, best Christmas gift ever! You all look so great and I absolutely loved that time to talk with you!
This week has been great! Not a ton has happened since Wednesday, but there are a few notable things!

So, after Christmas P-day ended we had yet another ward Christmas party for the singles. It was really fun. Someone read from Luke 2, they had a fake fire playing on the TV, we sang Christmas songs, and then played some games. It was a great Christmas, definitely one I'll remember! So strange to be away from home and not have the whole big build up to Christmas, but the celebrations we had were really special and I really felt the Christmas spirit with the ward members here. And of course the Skype chat!! Cannot top that!!

As far as investigators go: We have three that are progressing really well!

The first is N. She is about 25 and was found off of a street contact and is progressing so well! She's learned just about everything and she really has a testimony. Unfortunately, her mom booked her a plane ticket home for the 3rd of January to return for a couple months.She tried to change the date of the ticket for later so that she could be baptized on the fifth. However, her mom couldn't change it. So, she'll have to wait until she returns (prob in February) to be baptized. There are no churches down in the south where she's from. I'm sad she's leaving, but we'll keep in good contact over the phone while she's gone. I think she'll stay strong!

Our second investigator is NL. She has a baptismal date for the fifth and she is learning well! She's already Christian and is already familiar with a lot of things we teach. She's accepted everything well and is on schedule to be baptized!

Our third investigator is named B. She's 20 years old and attending college. Super cute! She has learned almost everything and is excited to be baptized on the 5th as well!

It's really exciting! The elders also have an investigator ready to be baptized on the fifth so that will be an awesome day!

Also, yesterday we had 4, yes FOUR, investigators at church! I was so happy that they all came and had a great experience. I have never ever had four investigators at church! This was a miracle for sure! Also, yesterday when we went inviting we were able to talk with a lot of people and get a lot of numbers. Yesterday was just really great! Oh, while we were inviting I saw a falang so I went to go talk to him. He's this retired man from Texas who's lived here for a really long time. I tried to tell him about our message, but I literally could not do it! Every time I would start to explain something it would come out in Thai. I'm pretty sure when I get home from my mission I'm not going to be able to help the missionaries because I won't know what to say in English! haha It's just funny- I never thought it would actually be hard to teach in my own language. But I guess since we learn to be missionaries in Thai it makes sense. But it made me laugh. He was not interested, probably because he couldn't understand what on earth I was talking about. However, he told me he has some great devout Mormon friends in Salt Lake but has lost touch with them and wondered if I knew them! haha The world of Mormonism is small, but I'm afraid it is not that small! He told me they lived on Smiley street. Is anyone familiar with Smiley street? 

Anyway, I am really blessed to be serving here in Bangkapi and I LOVE IT!!!!! I love the ward, I love my companion, I love our investigators, and I love this work! I have really felt the spirit a lot lately and it's really helped my testimony grow!

I love you all so much!

Liz :)

p.s. This week Sister Sawangwong ran over a cat with her bike. Cat was fine. I could not stop laughing, I've never seen that happen before!

 Parrots at The Mall
 Christmas Party
 A member in the ward made me the sweetest little pop-up Christmas card. He's the humblest guy and helps the missionaries a lot. I was so touched that I almost started crying in correlation meeting again!
 Sister Ploy
 Dinner with the Elders
 We got new name tags! Wahoo! English and Thai!
 Sister Boat
 How do you like our new Sabai pants?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Angels We Have Heard in Thai

Hello Family!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS! So, I'm going to try and write down a few things before we SKYPE!!

The last week and a half has been a whirlwind and I don't even know where to start! So, you already know I'm in the big BKK! Wahoo! And I have a Thai companion named Sister Sawangwong who just finished being trained. She's the best. She's from Ubon.

I'll back-track a bit, though. On Tuesday night we headed out for BKK. The Elders bought our tickets, and for some reason they got the 6:45 pm ticket, which means we got to BKK at about 2 am... haha So, we found a taxi to take us to the transfer meeting church. One of the missionaries in that area was apparently supposed to come open the church for us, however, they wouldn't answer our calls. So, we sat on the lawn in front of the Changwattna church building for 2 or 3 hours and played games. We had a few confused police men come and talk to us, and we assured them we were fine and we weren't doing anything sketchy. Just sitting alongside the highway with all our suticases at 3 am... not iffy at all. haha

Anyway, we finally got in around 4 am and then slept on the couch cushions. It made for a fun little adventure! But we were all pretty tired!

However, transfers was SOOOOO fun! There were so many people there! I got to see so many friends. Got to talk with Sister Mullen for a long time too. She's doing so great! Big news: they opened up Gamphengphet to missionaries. Sister M's family is from there, she was so excited and so happy!

So, I got assigned to Bangkapi in Bangkok and I am beyond excited! I was kind of nervous to leave the Esan. It's all I've experienced so far, but I absolutely love Bangkok! I don't think I've ever been so happy! I've been here one week and we've already seen so many miracles. But I'll get to all that later.

Sister Sawangwong is awesome! She's 22 years old, from Ubon, and adorable. She is quite a hoot and is really fun. She was trained here in Bangkapi, so it's really great because she already knows the ward and everybody. Yes, Bangkapi is a ward! And a very high-functioning one, too. The bishop is way with it and the ward members are way helpful. I think I started crying a bit when we had our first correlation meeting! It was so organized and productive. I was completely blown away. 

Also, the Bishop has a daughter that lives in Moab. I'll have to get more info on that.

Anyway, in Bangkabi there are 6 elders (they just added in another pair). One set of them also looks after Lad Phrao. They are all great!

Going inviting and contacting here is sooooo fun because there are sooooo many people! I've never been able to get so many telephone numbers from people before. It's amazing. One lady that I talked to is coming to church! That has never happened before.

Okay, Saturday we had a super fun Christmas party! They definitely go all out here. They had a stage set up for the ward members to perform music while we all ate. We had a whole bunch of little skits, and then a live nativity. I got roped into being an angel and had to sing with 4 other angels... haha. Too bad I don't know the words to "Angels we Have Heard on High" in Thai. It was way fun, though!

Okay, so get this. On Sunday this 16 or 17 year old girl randomly walks into church. We meet her and she told us she just wanted to know more about our church. She's Christian already. She stayed for all three hours, lunch, and then the Elder's baptism. Afterwards we taught her and she accepted a date to be baptized on the 5th of next month! Miracle! I didn't know things like that could happen! We've met with her several times since and she's doing great.

Also, we have dater named Nadia. She loves the gospel! She's returning to her home in the south panhandle for a few months, though. So, we want her to be baptized on the 5th. She's leaving on the 3rd, but she thinks she may be able to change her flight. Praying that happens!

Yesterday a random investigator that hadn't been progressing called and said she wanted to learn that day. So, we met with her and gave her a date for the 19th of Jan to be baptized. She accepted and said she's coming to church! 

Ahhhhhh! This is more action in one week than I have seen in the last 6 months! This place is awesome and God is really blessing us!

Oh, this made me laugh. We went to church in Bangkapi, and Lad Phrao, also. Lad Phrao is just a unit right now with about 20 people and it is trying to become a branch. Anyway, someone forgot the bread. So we used chocolate oreos for the sacrament. Never seen that before. Tasty! haha

On Monday we got to go to Asoke with all the Bangkok missionaries for a Christmas lunch/ party with President and Sister Senior! Sooooo much fun! We took a boat down a sewege canal to get there. Pretty stinky but super fun. We had an amazing lunch at a really hi-so hotel and then went to the Asoke chapel for some thoughts from the Seniors. Then we decorated Christmas cookies! Amazing! After we went Christmas caroling with the ward! 

I love you! TTYsoon!


 Last tim tam slam together as a district.
 Our last Monday together. Froze to death! haha
 Bye Bye Sister Bung.
 View from apartment in Mahasarakham.
 Waiting on the lawn at 2 am...
 Sister Mullen!
My new Khuu! Sister Sawangwong.
 New apartment...with desks!
 Thai instrument

 Bus to Lad Phrai
 Christmas party!
 An introduction room at our Christmas party.

We had fake snow for everyone to enjoy. It was a hit!
 Khlong monsters
 Buffet at the Grand Hyatt

Monday, December 16, 2013

Lessons from Mahasarakham

Hello KrccbKhrua!


We'll probably know about who's being transferred sometime today or tomorrow. Hopefully today because transfers is actually on Wednesday instead of Thursday so that President Senior can go to all the zones and visit all the missionaries before Christmas. So, we'll probably be heading down to BKK tomorrow sometime! And we don't have the official word, but I'm 99.99999% sure I'll be moving.

So, today we had the first rainstorm this transfer! Crazy considering we never used to dry off from all the rain during rainy season!  And as much as I hate to admit it, I think I am becoming wimpy to cold weather. Today I stepped outside to go do my laundry and it was soooo cold! Surely this is the coldest it's ever been since I've been here! When I looked at the thermometer outside our door it was 65 degrees. Normally 65 degrees= shorts weather back at home. Today we are both wearing cardigans and raincoats.

So, this was a great week!

Last week I talked about our English investigators  that are reading the Book of Mormon. On Tuesday they came to class and U. had read all of 1 Nephi and F. had read 1 Nephi 2 (what we assigned)! Also, another girl from English class, K., had read the first 30 pages! Amazing! Miracles! 

Sister Bu is doing great!! She came to church this week! Best feeling ever! She's really loving that we are learning to crochet from her. My bag thing looks hideous but she is always so excited when we bring in our projects to ask questions and get help. 

So, On Wednesday we had training from the Zone Leaders. President's goal is for all the companionships to have a "White Christmas" meaning 2 weeks of balanced key indicators, as well as one baptism and one save. In the month of "Bovember" the goal was to have 86 baptisms, we way over-shot that by getting 110. So, President's goal for January is for the mission to have 200 baptisms! Completely unheard of but sooooo exciting! That means each companionship needs to have two baptisms. I'm really nervous but way excited! Going to do everything I possibly can to achieve these goals!!

Okay, so we introduced "spoons" at FHE. It was a hit! Advice to soon-to-be missionaries: bring games! We somehow are always in charge of the games and I am running out of ideas. (At least in Thailand there always has to be a game!!)

Anyway, on Friday I went on a switch-off with Sister Packard to Roi Et. It was way fun! There is a set of Elders and the Zone Leaders in Roi Et. A lady in the ward had a big lunch for us 6 missionaries and it was so fun. I felt bad Sister Painter missed out on it. After that we were able to teach quite a few lessons, which really gave me hope. I feel like it's been so long since I've really taught lessons. All our investigators are eternal investigators and we're having a bit of a time finding new ones. So, it was way fun! We also did a bit of inviting and went and got Swensens. Fun day! Sister Packard is awesome. She came in 6 weeks after me. She's way on top of it and super cute with people. She's also a master bike rider. She forgot to put on her neon vest, so while she was biking she pulled it out of her purse and put it on, never touching the handlebars. Impressed มาก! haha We had a great time!

I realized when I got back, though, how much I'm going to miss Sister Crockett! I just love her to death! We've had such a fun transfer together. I've decided it really doesn't matter where you are, if you have an awesome companion every day is great. She's such a great teacher and is so encouraging all the time. I love listening to her teach. I also feel like we are way in sync when it comes to teaching, we just worked well together. She's so sweet and so much fun. I don't want to leave! We decided that we should both just be transferred to Chiang Mai together! haha

Yesterday I made the rounds and went and visited a ton of people since I'll be moving. I'm going to miss these amazing people so much! What a blessing to have served here and to know these people.

I was thinking back on my time here in Mahasarkham and what I've learned. I am still mulling it all over in my mind but here are a few things:

1. Hard consistent work... even though many times nothing seems to come from it, just going out and working as hard as you can helps you still feel fulfilled.
2. Noticing the small little miracles in every day. God helps us in so many ways, but sometimes it takes a real careful eye to notice them. We see miracles every day!
3. Pretend like everything you're about to go do is fun! haha Sometimes you just don't want to get out of bed and face the day, but if you just tell yourself it's going to be fun, well, it usually is! 
4. Have faith in the Lord's will and timing. Lots of times I feel like things should have happened that didn't. However, when I know that I've done everything I know how to do and that I tried my very best, then I feel okay and trust that the Lord will do things in His own time.
5. Don't be afraid to be bold! We have the best message in the world and there's no reason to be shy about it or to worry what people will think. Help people make the necessary changes in their lives, even if it's going to be hard for them!!
6. Make sure your companion is your best friend.
7. Pray for miracles every day and expect them to happen... because they do!!
8. Don't take things too seriously and just enjoy the crazy things that happen daily (hourly).

I know there's more, but those are just off the top of my head. I should have brought my journal!

Anyway, ต่อไป, yesterday the Wrights had us over for dinner. Fajitas and lemonade with pumpkin cookies for dessert. In heaven! Afterwards we played a game and then shared a little spiritual thought. I really felt the Spirit there and was grateful for that.


I love you all sooooo much! Next time we talk, it'll be FACE TO FACE!!


Liz :) 

Last day at church :(

There is a reason people use recipes when baking...
Gotta hurry and make some more progress on this before we go see Bu. haha

 Sisters Rung, Tongmay, Nok
 Sister O
Bye bye Bia
 Sister Bu
Sister Ud

Monday, December 9, 2013

Miracles and Mubahs

 Hello familia!!

 It was a great week with lots of miracles! We were way blessed!

On Tuesday at English class we had a handful of new students. That in itself is a miracle. However, it was even more miraculous that after class one of the students came up to me and asked for her own copy of the Book of Mormon! There was also a new lady who was way attentive when we gave the spiritual thought at the end of the English lesson, and she marked on her registration form that she was interested to learn from the missionaries about the purpose of life. So, I am excited to see what comes of these new English students! So awesome!

Earlier this week we had a great lesson with B! Sister Ooy was working with her and she helped us teach. I don't even really remember what the lesson was, but Sister Ooy shared her own conversion story and talked about some of the concerns she'd had before she was baptized. She, like B, felt obligated with certain Buddhist traditions, but also really had a testimony of what the missionaries were teaching. She told about how she had prayed and studied and received the answer that she needed to be baptized. Her testimony was really powerful and it really hit Sister B because she accepted a baptismal date for the 15th of this month! Huge miracle and amazing blessing! We had a super sincere fast for her this week and we're really hoping that pulls through. I am a little worried because she ended up not going to church yesterday because things came up with work, but I'm praying really hard that she'll be baptized on Sunday!

We also have had some great visits and lessons with Sister Bu. Lately she's been way into crocheting and every time we come over she shows us something new she's made. She's been wanting to teach us, so she got us yarn and a hook and taught us how to crochet. I'll attach a picture of my masterpiece. haha Let's just say crocheting is not my strength. But it's fun and it made Bu so happy! So, we're crocheting away like crazy over here!

Dad- Happy Thai Father's Day! The 5th was the King's Birthday, so it was father’s day! I love you so much and am so grateful for you! Happy Father's day to Grandpa as well! I love you both so much!

Okay, this was another awesome miracle this week! Last Tuesday at English class two of our students, U and F (15 year old girls) were staring at the Book of Mormon reading chart that's posted in the hallway. Sis Crockett noticed them and went and talked to them about the Book of Mormon and gave them each one, then set up an appointment to read with them. So, Saturday morning we met at the church to read. We hadn't been able to find a member to come to the lesson with us, but when we showed up at the church a sister from the branch was randomly sitting there reading her Book of Mormon! Miracle! So, she helped us teach. Basically we each took turns going around the circle and reading a verse from 1 Nephi 1. We tried to apply things we'd learned from Zone Training a couple weeks ago about using this chapter to teach principles of the restoration. After each verse we'd talk about what they understood, what they liked, etc... and then pointed out things and explained principles. It was a way awesome experience. I really felt the Spirit and I think U and F did, as well. F had a lot of questions about baptism that we answered and then accepted a date to be baptized! Amazing! 

Heavenly Father is really truly blessing us and we are getting the guidance that we need! I got such a boost from this last week!

So, some interesting/ funny/ weird things that happened this week:

We were out contacting and we saw a falang down the street. So I went up to him and said hello and asked him how he was doing. He obviously could barely speak English and he was German, so I said, "Sprechen zie deutch?" Mistake. He then proceeded to go on for 3 or 4 minutes in German and I had no idea what he was talking about. The only words I caught were Vietman, cigarettes, and mafia. Not even joking. Made my day!

A few minutes after that a Thai man rode up on his motorcycle and stopped to talk. He shook Sister Crockett's hand and as he was speaking a huge string of drool dropped from his mouth into his lap. He went on as if nothing had happened. So gross and so funny. I'm glad he wasn't talking to me because I couldn't stop laughing!

Yesterday we were out contacting at a banog and as we were walking down the street a little dog came out and started barking at us. I don't worry about the little ones so we kept walking and as we passed it the dog literally started slithering towards us. It was on its belly and used its arms and legs to army crawl toward us. And it was going fast too! It was the weirdest thing I've ever seen and it kept following Sister Crockett! So funny!

Last night we had dinner at Sister Ooy's house with the Elders which was way nice. After that the Elders wanted to take us to find a mubah (wart hog/wild boar thing) that they'd seen near sister Ooy's house earlier that day. We ended up going on this crazy bike ride through the middle of nowhere in the dark only to find no mubah and not even any tracks. I still think they were lying! haha Gave us a little adventure on our way home, though!

Anyway, it's been a super awesome amazing week!

Thanks for being such an amazing family and working so hard! I appreciate you and love you all soooooo much!



 The long and winding road...
 Let us in! We have an important message!
 Christmas lights! Well, it was actually for some monk gathering thing, 
but I'm going to pretend they are Christmas lights.
 Biggest thing of bamboo I've ever seen.

 Dinner at Sister Ooy's
 Can you see the Mubah tracks?

My crocheting. Not sure what it's going to be.
 Fancy new shades!
 Odd new fruit from an English student
 Sister Cham's rice stalks
 The machine that separates the rice from the plant
 Me singing "Happy Anniversary/Happy Birthday to you!"
 A wad close to our home.
Yo! Merry Christmas!