Monday, February 24, 2014

Blessings in Burma!!!

So, your sleuthing is correct! I am staying in Bangkapi with Sister Sawangwong! She's been here for a long time, but it was definitely an inspired move.  We have a few investigators that we are both really attached to and want to be here for their baptism. It really worked out perfectly because we found out that Sis. S will be moving at the mini-transfer in about three weeks when the new Thai missionaries come in. So, we will only be companions for three more weeks together. But our investigators will be baptized before then. When I found out she was staying, I felt so much peace and I knew it was right. I know that Heavenly Father knows what is best for our companionships and for our investigators!  

I loved the quotes you sent to me from some of the sisters! They are all so awesome! Seriously, this mission has amazing sisters and elders! It made me realize I should probably make my emails a little more inspiring! haha 

But I really understand how Sister Hughes is feeling. I feel like a mission has a lot of hard circumstances just with trying to find people to teach, rejection, problems with investigators, etc. However, I feel like the biggest struggle really has been what sister Hughes described-- realizing how extremely human you are. I feel like this transfer, especially, I have discovered so many weaknesses in myself. I always felt like I was one that had things pretty well under control. I realized I had things I needed to work on, but I felt happy with where I was at. As a missionary, and especially the last transfer, I think God decided it was high time He helped me take a good look at myself. I found out a lot of things I don't really like that I need to seriously improve. It has been a really great thing, because I think Heavenly Father wanted to cut me down just a little bit so that I could realize how far I need to go. 

Do you remember the talk given by an apostle about the currant bush? In it he talks about a little bush that the gardener chopped down, even though it was seemingly growing well. When the bush asked why the gardener cut down his branches the gardener replied that by cutting him down, the bush would then be able to flourish and grow more than the bush itself expected. I feel like missions do that to you. Even though I felt pretty good with my progress as a missionary and in life in general, I feel like this transfer brought me to a low point so that I could realize what I needed to work on and then grow from there. The thing with God, though, is that even when he humbles you a bit, He still loves you so much. This transfer I have felt God's love more than ever before, for both me, my companion, and our investigators. It's been a huge testimony builder for me, and it's given me the motivation to do the very best that I can to be the best person I can be. So, that is my sermon on my personal progress!

Okay, this week was great!

On Tuesday we had our last district meeting together with Elders Pyne, Jensen, and Calderon. It was fun! Sis. S made pad thai for us all! Arooooy!

On Wednesday Sister Orchard and her trainee came to stay the night. Sis. Orchard finished her mission, so she came to BKK early for interviews, etc... It was fun to have them here.

Anyway, Thursday was transfer meeting and we all got invited to go, whether or not we were moving! And I'm glad because it was probably the most exciting transfer meeting I've been to! First of all, as always, it was soooo fun to see everyone! I got to talk to Sister Mullen, Crockett and Narayanan for a long time. They're all doing great! Sis. N wants to come to BYU when we get back and be roommates together! How fun would that be!

So, first exciting news: There are now Sister areas open in Chiang Rai, Nong Kai, and Bangbuathong! Sister Crockett and Sister Madsen are opening up Chiang Rai! Sooooooo sweet! That is where I want to go next! haha Also, President opened up a sister area in Gamphengpet and sent Sister Mullen to be the first sister there!!!!! (that's where her family is from!) Soooooo excited for her! 
And, lastly: BURMA IS OPEN TO MISSIONARIES! (Myanmar) Amazing! President sent the first two missionaries to Burma! Soooo crazy awesome!
Also, President took sisters out of Mahasarakham and Galasin and just left one pair of elders at each place.

So, that was one awesome exciting transfer meeting! We now have Elder Black, Elder Wolfley, and Elder Gettavong! They are an awesome bunch. I'm so excited to have E. Black in our district. And E. Gettavong is from Laos. He has a pretty awesome story! E. Wolfley is in E. Hartman's group- he's great! I am just so impressed with all of our missionaries. This is going to be a great transfer!

Friday was way fun because we had a sisters meeting in Asoke with Sister Senior. We had some wonderful talks from a few sisters, including Sis. Sawangwong, as well as from Sister and President Senior. Very uplifting and way fun to see everyone. Afterwards we went into the gym and they had decorated it super cute and springy. We had chicken croissant sandwiches with delicious salads. Soooo much fun!

Okay, as far as investigators go:

On Sunday Brother Dtam and Sister Opal were baptized!  I contacted into Dtam at Fashion Island. He came to church the next day. We taught him all last week and then he was baptized yesterday. He was definitely one that was prepared and ready. He was already Christian, so he had a real firm base in gospel knowledge. He is a soldier and has had a lot of haunting experiences but has a strong testimony in God that has helped him get through tough situations. He loves to serve others and is really sweet. Opal has been coming to church for the last month or so. She's 16 so she had to come 4 times before she was baptized. She was so happy! She's adorable. Her mom also came to support and it was a great day!

We are being so blessed here in Bangkapi! We are being blessed with amazing investigators that are ready to be baptized. I am also learning so much about myself and trying to improve. Sis S. and I are really happy that we have these next three weeks together. It's inspired and a blessing! 

I love you all soooooo much! Have an awesome week!


Liz :)

 Sister Narayanan!!!
 Sister Mullen!!!
 It's a missionary tradition to go eat at Que Pasa
after every transfer meeting. Finally went this time!
Muy Sabroso!
 Lunch at the Sister's meeting.
 This was in the bathroom. So cute!

 Sister Opal and Brother Dtam

This is called the Earthquake.
Elder Clarke and Sister Sawangwong ate that whole thing!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Just singing on a bridge, what a wonderful feeling...

Well, this week was great in Bangkapi. It's our last full week together here. It's been an amazing time here and we've seen so many miracles. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to serve here. I feel like I'll probably stay one more transfer, but you never know!  

This week we had many interesting things happen. First of all, last week I contacted into a man on a bridge by Fashion Island. He literally came running up the stairs asking if he could be baptized. It was the craziest thing!

We also have a new investigator named jxnjxn. She's a referral from the Bankae elders. She grew up in a Chinese household here in Thailand and she teaches Chinese for a living. She's about 25  and is way cute. She's busy with testing this week, but we'll be able to finish up teaching her next week and then she'll be baptized on the 2nd of March.

On Sunday another man that we contacted showed up to church. His name is Dtam. He's Christian already, but he loved church. He was able to see the baptisms yesterday, and afterward we taught him. He accepted a baptismal date for this coming Sunday! 

Also, Chompu, Pat, and Opal are progressing well. They all have dates for this Sunday, so I'm praying it all pulls through. Really exciting!

Yesterday three of the elders' investigators were baptized! Also, Brother Somgiad was confirmed. Happy day! At baptisms, we missionaries are always asked to give a musical number, which we never end up having time to prepare beforehand. Every single time we'll literally be walking up to the stand and one of us will choose a song. This time it didn't go so well! haha One of the Elders chose "Improve the Shining Moments." The piano at the church has a setting to play hymns by itself and unfortunately it was set at warp speed. We completely slaughtered the song because none of us could read the words in Thai fast enough. Biggest fail of a musical number ever, but I think it provided some entertainment.

This week I had some fun experiences contacting on a bridge by a big mall. First, this Nigerian man came up to me and asked what I was talking about. I explained about baptism. He told me that he was too young to stop sinning at the moment, but maybe in the future. Then I met a Taiwanese lady who invited me to church. After that an Islamic man came up to me and said, "Trust me, when we don't meet in Heaven it will be because you didn't follow Allah!" A little later a guy from Cameroon asked if he could have my number. I gave him the general church number, and he said, "No! Your personal number. I like you!" Last of all this huge guy walked by with the craziest hairdo I've ever seen! He had shaved the sides of his head, but left the top long enough to put into a ponytail. Then he stuck this big plastic toy snake in it. I was so distracted I forgot to talk to him. haha Lots of fun contacting this week!

Also, President Senior has asked that we missionaries start a Book of Mormon class every week for our recent converts. We had our first one on Wednesday and it went well- the elders taught. We'll teach it this week.

So, those are the main events of this week! Thursday is transfers. I love serving here and I want to stay! I really hope I do because we have so many awesome investigators that are going to be baptized soon.

I love you all so much and hope you have an amazing week!!!

Liz :)

 Hey, I found my new hobby!
 I'm also in a movie!
 Thanks to Elder Hartman's mom, we got pancakes!
 Singing on the bridge
 Cupcakes! Happy Valentines Day!
 Sister Jane loved the cupcakes!

Sister Nok, she just got baptized last week!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Elephants, tigers and Liz, Oh My!

Dear family,

Mom, THANK YOU SOOOO much for the Valentine’s Day package!  We've already decorated the apartment and we're going to make cupcakes this Friday! I loved the card, too. It's so funny, I thought people here would like lizards because they're all over the place. But people are scared of them- even the little ones. People always laugh and think I'm weird when they ask me what my favorite animal is and I say it's a lizard. However, after this week, I may have a new favorite, or at least a close second: ELEPHANTS!!!! 

DANIEL, this week I rode an elephant!!! I’ll get to that in a second, though.

Yesterday was an amazing day because Brother Somgiad was baptized! He's our 70 year old investigator that is so awesome! He is one that willingly keeps commitments, loves to come to EVERY activity at church, and loves people in general. I'm pretty sure he knows everyone in the whole ward by now. haha He's definitely one of the "elect" that we're being encouraged to find. So, yesterday he was baptized, which we weren't expecting. On Friday we taught him all the remaining commandments that he hadn't yet learned. He originally had a date for the 16th but he was unsure because he had a whole bunch of concerns with work that were weighing on his mind. I promised him that if he got baptized and then received the gift of the Holy Ghost his problems would only get better and he'd have the help that he needs to deal with all those issues. I told him that he'd learned everything and that he was ready to be baptized. I invited him to interview for baptism and he agreed! So, then I had to go run and find E. Clarke to interview him. haha He passed and he was way happy. He said he felt peaceful and was happy he decided to be baptized. I feel like the Holy Ghost was definitely helping him realize that he was ready for baptism. 

It was such a special day yesterday because two of the Elders' investigators got baptized as well. So we had three in all, they were all very happy. We also had 20 investigators at church among our district!! Unheard of for me! Seven of our investigators came to church. That was a complete miracle because it was completely unexpected. We are very, very grateful! So, to say the least, yesterday we were way blessed! Gave us all a huge boost!

So, that, of course, was the highlight of the week!

Second highlight: I RODE AN ELEPHANT! Last Monday our district went to the crocodile farm. We saw a crocodile show, an elephant show, and then rode an elephant, as well! It was way fun! 

After the zoo we decided to go to the ocean as well! First time I've gone since I've been in Thailand! We went to this pier in SamutBragan that has a TON of seagulls. Really pretty! That was probably my favorite p-day ever! Also, Dad, on the way back from the ocean I was sitting on the bus next to a Korean guy. I said hello and thank you to him. That's all I could remember! haha Except kimchee... but that was not relevant at  the time. I need to learn some more Korean phrases!

Our investigators are all doing well!

Sister Pat has a baptismal date for the 23rd and she is really progressing well. It really is amazing to see people accept the Gospel. Makes me so happy! This was funny, though: on Saturday we had a lesson with her. On Friday Sis. Sawangwong had assigned her to read 3 Nephi 11 about Christ visiting the Americas. She mixed up the books because when she asked her what she thought about the reading Sister Pat said, "Well, I read it all, but I don't really understand it." When she opened the scriptures we realized that she had read Alma 11, which is where the Nephite coinage is set forth. I literally could not stop laughing after that. Poor lady was probably so confused as to why we assigned her to read about the Nephite's money system! haha Made my day!

Sister Ch. is doing really well. She's ready to be baptized, she's just worried about telling her parents. Luckily Sister Jane and Fone helped us teach and they shared their own similar experiences with her. I think it helped a lot. I seriously am so impressed with the recent converts in this ward. They are so with it and so willing to help. They know the doctrine and they live it! I love it! They really are inspiring!

We got quite a few new investigators from street contacting. Haven't taught a lot yet, I'll let you know next week.


Love, Liz :)

Welcome to the Crocodile Farm!
Crocodile show

 Water monitor. These things are all over the place. They live in the klongs.
 Here's my elephant!
 Leave it to the Elders to not actually get the elephant in the picture. haha

 Albino peacock!

 It's a real tiger! ahhh!
 Welcome to the ocean!!!