Monday, June 30, 2014

Life's "Practically Perfect in Every Way" --Sister Poppins

Helloooooo familia that I love! I'M IN KHON KAEN!!!! Literally a dream come true and answered prayers!! I am so beyond happy you can't even imagine! My new companion is that "lucky duck" Sister Carter! Originally there were 4 elders and 2 sisters. Now they've switched up to have 4 sisters and 2 elders. Sister Carter and Sister Broeder were originally companions, but they got split up and I am now companions with Sister Carter, and Sister Broeder is companions with Sister Sawangwong!! We live in the same house! This has turned out so perfectly and even better than I ever imagined! Not only that, but Elder Heras is my DL again, and his comp is Elder Lingard. He keeps joking that he just can't get rid of me and Sister Sawangwong. haha So, I am so excited! It's only been a couple of days and I love it all so much already. It's way fun living in a 4 sister house. Never had that before and I love it. These girls are so awesome! 

Last Monday was the best birthday EVER! I just love my Bangkapi family so much. They made it so special for me and I felt so much love. On Monday we went to Ikea and it was a blast. We ate Swedish food for lunch and took pictures in all the display rooms. Then I bought 70% dark chocolate. Perfect day. That evening we had family home evening at Sister O's house. It was her one year anniversary as a member of the church, and her birthday as well. So, it was an extra special celebration. So many people came and, as you saw, they gave me the special treatment. I got the cake and your amazing birthday video! That was the funnest thing ever! I wish I could keep that somehow. But I had Jane show it to me a few times again before I left Bangkapi. THANK YOU SO MUCH!  I just absolutely loved seeing you and the ward family! So, it seriously was the most perfect birthday. I can't even write how extremely happy I was that day just being surrounded by these amazing people that I love so much, and getting a surprise visit from my own family as well. Best day ever! :)

And to add to this amazing day, Sister Nok from Mahasarakham randomly called me to wish me happy birthday!! Of course, her number was not saved in the phone, so at first I had no idea who was singing happy birthday to me, but I soon figured it out. I was so excited to hear her! I love Sister Nok so much. She really took care of us out there in Mahasarakham and she had a really strong influence on me. So, it was amazing to talk to her. She said that Cream and her mom, Yui are still way active and strong. Amazing! She also said she plans on going to next transfer meeting to meet with me, Sister Crockett, and Sister Mullen! At the time I didn't know where I was going to be transferred to, and she told me to pray really hard and then call Pres. Senior and ask him to send me to either Roi Et or Khon Kaen. haha We were just joking... but I got sent here regardless! I cannot wait to go to Mahasarakham!!

Okay, so Wednesday was our big good-bye day at Bangkapi. After Book of Mormon class and ward council meeting finished we all took a million pictures together, and it sounds like you probably got to see most of them! haha Mom, that adorable picture that you saw on Facebook was drawn by Sister Su for me. Is that the sweetest thing ever?? I have it tucked away safely in my journal! So, it was so great to spend a couple last minutes with everyone before we all headed out the next day.

Thursday was transfers and it was so much fun! Before the meeting started all the missionaries that had made it to Bangkok by lunchtime went to Que Pasa together. Afterwards, transfer meeting started. Lots of changes made!  They reduced Bangkapi in half. They took out Elders from Lad Phrao, as well as another Bangkapi companionship. So, there's just Sister Peterson and Sister Barton, and Elder Heiner (DL) and his new comp. I think with moving the church they can't really feasibly have church in Lad Phrao anymore. So, that was interesting. E. Black is now DL in Udon, E. Heras is here with me in Khon Kaen, E. Proctor is in Bangkae, E. Gage is in Sakhonnakon and E. Gettavong is in Samut Prakan. Also, Sister Steele and Sister Sahagun opened up a sister area for Thonburi! They are going to be the power companionship! Sister Mullen is going to finish her mission in Gamphengphet and Sister Crockett is in Roi Et. She's my STL. Sis. Narayanan is in Bangbuathong!

So, lots of exciting changes!

So, the last few days have been quite the adventure. There was quite a bit of chaos just getting to Khon Kaen, but we made it safely! Since there used to be 4 elders and 2 sisters before, and it's switched, we also switched houses! So, we are living in a super nice house almost next door to the church! Wahoo! This may be the nicest house in the mission, but I'm positive it's been left in the worst condition. We literally spent at least half of Friday throwing away junk from the last elders and scrubbing the house down. Now I know... be wary if you ever inherit an elder’s house! Anyway, it's squeaky clean now and so nice. There are 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, and living area and a kitchen. There's also a large yard area- perfect for working out!  Unfortunately, the previous elders never paid their bills so they shut off our water the first day we were here and we had to go Thai style for a few days. haha We filled buckets with water from the church's hose and used that to bathe. Once they finally turned our water back on, it only came out green for about a day. But, it's all back to normal now. I'll admit, these are exactly the things that I love. So, it's been fun moving and getting everything squared away!

So, in the last month or so, there were 30 baptisms in Khon Kaen which is just amazing and unheard of for this area. So exciting! However, none of them have received the after baptism lessons, and we don't really have detailed records of them, so we've been trying to coordinate with each other and the members to figure out who all of these new members are. Especially after church yesterday when only about 15 or less of them showed up. So, I think a really big part of our work here in Khon Kaen is going to be helping these recent converts become strong in the church. We've got quite the task ahead of us, but it's going to be fun. We were able to meet with three of the RC's yesterday, and have appts. scheduled for this week as well. We also got two referrals! Which is great because we have no investigators. Seeing miracles already. Contacting here has already proved to be much more successful than it ever was in Sarakham. I'm way excited to be here and give it my all. 

Also, this made me laugh. A couple of nights ago Sister Nok called our phone, expecting to talk with Elder Chambers (he was here before me and we have his phone... which used to be our Sarakham phone) and when I answered she freaked out! haha Excited to see her at some point!

So, at our house there is much wildlife. Inside the house we have this lizard called a Tukee that no one can catch. It looks like a gecko and Thai people are way scared of them. They make a funny noise and they are really cool looking. Anyway we really need to find it and get rid of it, but a few nights ago I heard it and then I started dreaming about iguanas. Just a random fyi.

The branch here had 47 people at church yesterday, but just last month they had 70 + with all the recent converts. Going to do all we can to get that back up to where it should be. The Branch President is named P. Thongsuk and he is great. There's really awesome leadership in this branch. 

I'm beyond excited to be back in the Esan and feel so extremely blessed. I love you all so much!


Sister Stevenson

Bottom of Form

 IKEA displays
 Waiting for a taxi
 Making birthday dinner with Sister Janti
 Birthday dinner!

 Birthday card from the members, created by Bro. Atorn
 Last district lunch together
 This is called a mancut in Thai or a mangosteen in English.
Favorite fruit here.
 Que Pasa!
 Last picture together. I miss youuuuu Sister Peterson!
 Our house. We occupy the first floor.
 Inside our house
 Inviting with Sister Carter
 walking the elephant
 This dog is named Dengmo (means watermelon) and it loves Sister Carter. 
It goes with us everywhere. You know how I love dogs.
 Back on the bike! Could not be happier!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Just a Sunday drive to Bangkaen...with the whole Bangkapi ward!

This was a great week!

Last Monday we went to Asoke to Siam Paragon to meet up with Sister Peterson's friend, Ploy. This girl is super cute! She's studying at the university and loves to eat! haha She took us to a really delicious Japanese restaurant and then we shopped around a bit. We had the chance to teach a little bit about the Word of Wisdom, and repentance also. It was a really great time. Afterwards, we stopped by the office because P. Senior wanted to hear how it went. It was so fun to talk with him! I love the Seniors so much! So, it was an awesome P-day.

So, last week I think I talked about Sister D. She really wanted to get baptized, and all of a sudden she has this burning desire to become a scriptorian. She even asked if she could be a nun for our church, like Whoopie Goldberg... haha. Had to clear a few things up there.

On Thursday the International Sisters came to Bangkapi to teach a referral from our area. Sister DuPlessis, Sister Barber, and Sister Lam are serving in Inter right now. They are so cute! It was just way fun to see them. They're doing great.

On Friday we had a fun little outing with Sister Su. This lady is way funny. She will go to church in Lad Phrao occasionally. She loves missionaries! And more than that she loves to talk! It was the easiest dinner outing ever because she literally just talked the whole time and we listened and nodded our heads! Sister Peterson has some cute pictures of her family that she's laminated and takes with her everywhere.Well, Sister Su caught sight of those while Sister Peterson was going through her bag and could not get over them.  We were pretty sure she was not going to give them back! haha Love it! Anyway, the Lad Phrao elders came, as well as one of their investigators and a less active member. We went to this really pretty park by a pond that has a big fountain kind of like the ones at Vegas, except smaller. We ate somtam, larb, and fruit and enjoyed a slight breeze with a fresh (or not so fresh) spray from the pond/khlong. So sabai. 

On Saturday Sister Muu prepared lunch for all of us missionaries! How sweet is that! It was way fun and way delicious! Sister Muu has been a member for over a year now and went to the temple about a month ago. Her daughter, Mink (not our recent convert) has sent in her mission papers already. Awesome! After lunch we went with Sister Eve and Sister Eye to go visit Sister Ooy! It was good to see her. She's sweet and it was nice to visit. She's obsessed with Korea and loves to take care of falangs and take them traveling. She's offered her house to us when we come back to Thailand! 

Saturday evening we were really blessed to meet with a lot of our recent converts. We had a lesson that fell through with one of our investigators, so we ended up teaching Sister Nat (who had come to help us teach). She is having a lot of struggles in her life. However, I'm way impressed with the faith she has in God and Jesus Christ. She has such a strong testimony and I know that will pull her through all the challenges she's facing. Inspiring to me!
Sister Nadia is doing really well! She and Sister Boat are best friends and go do everything together. It just makes me so happy that these two are so close and so strong in the gospel. Amazing!

Sunday was quite the fun adventure! Since church started at 1:00, we did our inviting in the morning. It was way more effective than I thought it would be! After that we went to the Bangkapi church to teach Sister Nang. 

Sister Du randomly somehow got work off and came to church yesterday. And it was a good thing, too, because a 9 year old girl she contacted into when she was helping us last week showed up to church. We can't really be in charge of children, so the mom asked Sister Du to watch over her for the day. The little girl's name is Emroy. She's actually Cambodian, but speaks Thai really well. She looks like she's 6 years old but acts like she's 15. I have a feeling this girl has really had to fend for herself most of her life. Anyway, this girl LOVED church and wants to be baptized. Hopefully her parents will be interested so she can be baptized in a few months!

Also, we had a new investigator come to church, named Jack. He's probably in his late 30's. He showed up at the Bangkapi church at 11 to catch a ride on the song tao to church. He was probably a little bit worried about what he was getting himself into. haha But he had a really great time and made friends quickly. Once we got to the Bankaen church, we had about an hour before the meetings started so we taught him with help from Brother Dug. Brother Dug is an AMAZING teacher! He really brought the Spirit into the lesson and applied everything we were teaching right to Brother Jack's life. Jack felt the Spirit and accepted a baptismal date for next Sunday!!! What a miracle! I was so excited all day long! This guy is solid! He also got to stay for the baptism of one of the Elder's investigators after church. Just an amazing day all around! 

Mom, I loved your description of our sketchy transportation. It was so fun, though. Everyone was so happy on that song tao. It was a joyful day for sure! Also, the Bangkaen church is way cute. It has two levels and feels super cozy for some reason. Loved it! The baptism was really special because it was Brother Wisit's sister getting baptized. Brother Wisit is the WML, who was a previous Bishop. Way strong family and super happy day that his little sister is finally getting baptized. As usual, we all took pictures together in front of the church. As I was running to get in the picture I accidentally knocked the Bishop's side mirror off of his car... haha Everyone got a kick out of that and E. Black had to fix it for me. Oops!

We are feeling very blessed right now. It's crazy that transfers are already here. This last one flew by. I have loved Bangkapi soooooo much and I am going to miss it like crazy. The members here are just amazing and I love that you sort of got to know them a little bit. I love Sister Peterson so much and I'm sad that our time together is done. She's just awesome and I feel so blessed that I got to be companions with her. I'm just glad we both go the Y! It'll be so fun when we all get back!

I love you so much! Thanks for the awesome birthday wishes! Today we're going to celebrate by teaching a lesson at 12, and then going to Ikea in Banga!! Tonight is Sister O's 1 year mark as a member, so we're going to her house for dinner! Great day!


Sister Lizzy! :)

 On our way to Bangkaen! 
This is our temporary church building while Bangkapi's church gets remodeled.
 Hello Bangkok!

 Taco bus!
 With Bishop Namwong
 Lunch before district meeting
 Lunch in a fancy little pagoda

 With Sister Su
 Happy Birthday to me!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Two stakes in Thailand! Woot! Woot!

Hello family!

Dad and Grandpa: HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! I love you so much! I hope you have been having a great day today! I've been thinking about you all weekend! :)

Well, it's been a great week here! We'll start with the most exciting news.

Yesterday was Stake Conference. It was held at the Amari Watergate Hotel in Asoke. Way fancy and so much fun! It was just so cool to see so many Thai Saints gathered together. I really felt the Spirit in the meetings. So, at the stake conference Elder Wu, Elder and Sister Wilson, and Elder and Sister Gong were in attendance because, as of yesterday..... Thailand now has TWO stakes!! Amazing! This is something that we've all been working toward for a long time now (and previous missionaries way far back) because it means we're that much closer to having a temple. So, there is now the Bangkok Stake (which includes Bangkapi) and the Bangkok North Stake. They also created the Bangkok West district. So, things are moving along! It was a really awesome, exciting day! Before the conference started President and Sister Senior, as well as Elder and Sister Wilson, conducted a new member meeting. So, it was way fun to go to that with our recent converts. They gave them encouragement, shared their own conversion stories, and warned them of what they will be up against in the future. Keep the faith!

So, yesterday was just amazing! It was also soooo fun because we got to meet with so many missionaries. I got to chat a little bit with Sister Sawangwong and Sister Narayanan! Love those two so much! Miss them like crazy!

Saturday night was the Stake Conference Adult Session and they asked us missionaries to go. It was a really great evening. We heard from the Wilsons and the original stake president, and other leaders. It was a really uplifting evening. They had a choir that did some really nice arrangements. Sister Steele accompanied them on her violin. Wow! She's way good!

On Sunday we had two investigators show up to the conference. They are investigators that we are not teaching anymore, but randomly showed up! So, we're going to try to meet with them tomorrow.

Yesterday evening we had a miracle. So, I think rainy season is starting to set it because it was quite the downpour yesterday evening. We still had not gone inviting yet because of stake conference and teaching appointments, so we decided to go to Fashion Island on the bridge that crosses over the highway to contact. After about an hour on the bridge a former investigator ran up the stairs to greet us, Sister Du! She helped us invite for the following hour and she said she wants to get baptized. We have an appointment with her today.  Praying hard for her and so grateful that she wants to be baptized!

This week we had a really great lesson with Sister P. She told us that before she was a member of the church she would do things that she new she shouldn't because it was wrong, but did anyway. After becoming a member and receiving the Holy Ghost she said that now she sometimes still has those desires, but the Holy Ghost helps her choose the right thing. That was just so awesome to me. She follows the Holy Ghost and eventually that will lead her to a point where she doesn't have those desires. I really felt the Spirit in her lesson and I think she felt really good about sharing how she's improved her life so much! Amazing!

Oh, this was so fun! On Wednesday Brother Goodman came to our Book of Mormon class! It was so fun to chat with him. He's here doing interviews to compile a history of the church in Thailand! Sweet!

Also, this week I finally finished the New Testament! I love that Book so much! Reading about Christ's ministry and also about the apostles really has increased my testimony and my understanding about Gospel principles and the history of that time period. It's been so much fun and I've gotten so much out of it. All I can say is that the Second Coming is coming. John's given us the warnings now let's get ourselves ready for it! Maybe I'll start the Old Testament now. Sister Peterson is reading the Old Testament and she shares what she's reading with me every day. She said it's helping her organize in her mind all the Bible stories we always hear about, and I really like the insights she gets from them. So, maybe I don't need to read it... she's reading it and getting the important meaning from it for me! haha

Next week are transfers! That is crazy. I feel like Bangkapi is my mission. haha I'm going to be sad to leave, but I think I'm getting ready for a change. I'm going to be sad leaving Sister Peterson, too. She's a really awesome missionary and she's been so fun to have as a companion. I've been lucky to have two transfers with her!

Oh, I noticed on facebook that one of my investigators from Mahasarakham got baptized!!! Sister PingPong (sister Bong's daughter if you can remember). So so so happy! She looked so pretty in the pictures!

I love you all so much! 


Sister Stevenson
 This is a dessert off the street that I like. 
It's a crepe with pandan flavoring, sesame seeds and stringy sugar.
 These are typical lunches

 Birthday Boxes! Thank you so much!
Who's enjoying the World Cup? Thailand is rooting on Brazil big time! 
 Food displays here are so appetizing.
 Going to Stake Conference!

 Sister Pavadee and Sister Narayanan
Bangkapi bunch
 Time to make some somtam! Sister Bim showed us how.
We put 40 peppers in it. Soooo spicy.
Sister Boat! Love this girl!

Monday, June 9, 2014


Hello familia!

Well, we did not go to Safari World because there ended up being a zone sports day. And the members all told us it wasn't worth going because they jack the price way up for farangs. So we are currently emailing from Saphaan Suung. We got in a good game of soccer and some tennis. It reminded me why, even when I joined the tennis team in high school, I never once actually competed. haha I'm pretty bad. But it was a really fun morning!

So, last Monday we had a really fun FHE at Sister Janti's house. I just love this lady so much. She was baptized a little over a year ago and she is so solid. She is a friend to everyone and is always serving EVERYONE. It was a really fun FHE, we brought a few Laotian family members with us and it was a grand time. Isaan food galore! I miss the Isaan! 

On Tuesday we showed up to the church for our coordination meeting with the Bishop and there was a whole Hummer full of soldiers at the church. I was a little nervous as to what that was all about, but it turns out they dropped by to let us know that they are here to protect our church and members and if anyone needs any help we can call them. So, we've got our little body guards. Haven't seen them since.

I love our Bishop so much! He is so dedicated and so involved. He also has the funniest sense of humor. I just love meeting with อธิการ! So, this was our last Sunday in the Bangkapi church building for the next two months or so. The Bishop has arranged for a bus to come pick people up at the church on Sundays at 11 am and then drive us to Bangkaen for our service which starts at 1 pm. It's going to definitely create challenges; however, I won't really be here for much of it because this coming week we have Stake Conference in Asoke!!! I am sooooo excited! I'm worried about getting investigators there, but we'll do our best. 

Also, I was talking with a falang high council member who is friends with Brother Goodman (former mission president here and my BYU mish prep teacher) and he will be in Thailand that weekend! So, I really hope I run into him, how fun would that be!
So this week is stake conference, next week we'll be in Bangkaen, and then after that I'll probably be transferred.

We got a handful of new investigators that were progressing fairly well, but all of a sudden they are busy and cannot meet. We had a good number of people that were supposed to go to church and not a single one showed up. We did have a couple random people show up, though, and we taught them. We taught this one man named J. I'm not sure he's quite there all the way, but it made for a pretty entertaining lesson. The members sure got a kick out of it. haha Anyway, he loved church, we're going to do all we can to help him progress!  We also had this one man named P. who accepted a baptismal date during the week; however, he didn't show up to church and has not been answering his phone. Not sure what happened there.

Anyway, we've gotten in some good street contacting so hopefully that will lead to something.

Okay, so Friday was AMAZING! We had Zone Conference at the Chaengwattana chapel with the Bangkok North Zone as well! It was the best! I also got to see Sister Narayanan and she is doing so well! Yay!

The themes of Zone Conference were The Godhead, Remembering, and Repentance.
President Senior talked about how we need to help our investigators understand the character of God better. He explained that we are teaching about a God that wants to be known, that weeps when we weep, rejoices with us, etc... Basically, if our investigators really understand our Heavenly Father and have a testimony of Him, why would they ever want to sleep in on a Sunday morning, break commandments, etc... So, we've been really focusing on applying this in our lessons. I feel like we've definitely had the Spirit in our lessons more and they understand better how much God loves them and wants them to be happy.

Also, Elder Khanakham (now area 70!) came and spoke to us on "real growth" and working with leaders in the branches and wards. It was really helpful.

Sister Senior talked about "remembering." She explained that all through the scriptures we see people that "raise an Ebenezer" in gratitude to God for His help. In our own lives we need to consciously notice God's hand and write it down!

President Senior also talked about repentance and it helped me to look at it in a new light. Basically, repentance is the process of becoming like God. It implies that there are divine laws, that we all sin, and that there is a benefit for us to repent. Sin is anything that deviates us from the process of becoming like God. However, forgiveness is not the sole purpose of repentance. Repentance is the pathway to perfecting our obedience and therefore developing Christlike attributes that will let us return in a condition that we can dwell with God. Repentance is not only for serious sins. It's to help us to progress and improve ourselves. That's what this life is all about! So, I'm trying to teach repentance better. It's been really fun to teach, and I think our investigators and recent converts really get it! I feel like people need to realize that repentance is something that brings relief, but also gives us so much hope and helps us progress! It's awesome!

So, amazing zone conference! I loved it! I just love President and Sister Senior so much. They are the best! They know just what we need and are so loving and encouraging. It's such a boost getting to meet with them.

Okay, Saturday was way fun because we had a missionary day with the youth! There were about 10 or so kids that showed up. We put them into companionships and assigned them each an investigator or less active member to teach (which we pretended to be). We taught them how personal/ companionship study works. After studies we split off and they taught us. They did so well and they were way excited! Afterwards, we took them out inviting at Fashion Island (I think they got tired of that pretty fast haha) and then came back to the church for lunch that the YW president prepared. It was so fun! I just love those kids. One of the YW made name tags for everyone and they were so excited. These are a solid group of kids and I think they are going to be awesome leaders of the church here in Thailand!

Oh, I have to tell you about this dessert we had afterward. By far the strangest dessert I've had since I've been here. So, they take cubes of bread and stick it in a bowl. Then they put in a whole bunch of ice cubes and pour sugary flavored syrup over it and then add a touch of sweetened condensed milk. Give that some thought. 

On Saturday we also got to talk with Sister Mink (recent convert that lives in Jantaburi). We've had a hard time getting a hold of her, but she finally has a phone now. She is doing so well and is keeping the commandments! Yay! So happy!

Okay, well, those are the main events of the week! It's been a really great one! I love you all sooooo much!


Sister Stevenson