Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hello family dear!

Well, I'll just go in order of what happened this week!

Last Tuesday we had a really fun English class! One of the senior couples suggested that we do a pioneer themed class since it was Pioneer Day. Sister Carter came up with some great ideas and it was a blast! We taught everyone how to sing "Home on the Range" and I accompanied on the guitar. Then we watched a short movie called "Zion's Camp" and then we taught everyone how to do the line dance to "Cotton Eyed Joe." They got a pretty big kick out of it and loved it! So fun! Took me right back to the good old days at stake dances.

Also, on Wednesday Sister Sawangwong lead a really fun Book of Mormon class. She taught about the Tree of Life from 1 Nephi 8 and we acted it out. She took a pretty potted tree from outside and attached Chupa Chup suckers to it to be the fruit. Then she made an iron rod out of some sort of rope, and created the Great and Spacious Building out of chairs. We read through that chapter and acted it out. Way fun! And, we had a good handful of recent converts there! Sister Niw and Brother Dtin, who we've never before seen in person randomly came!! Yes! So, that was a huge blessing!
Sister Luugnam, Sister Oo, and Sister On were there as well and we got to teach them! I feel like this week we got in contact with more people that we haven't met yet. Some of these people are so hard to contact. With a lot of them I am really confused how they even got baptized in the first place. We have one lady that works at a karaoke bar (which = extreme sketchy place). We stopped by one afternoon to try and meet her since she's never answered her phone and no one really knows her. So, we found her karaoke bar and she wasn't there. They told us we have to come back in the evening... which we were trying to avoid because that's not really a smart place to be going to at night. Anyway, we tried to get some help from the branch mission leader but he firmly told us that there are too many temptations at that place and will not step foot near her shop. So, I'm not totally sure what to do with her. haha We have a handful of other un-contactable, and uninterested people, but we're definitely making some progress, too! I was just really excited to finally meet with Niw, and Dtin. We also had some great lessons with On, Oo, On (different one), Air, At, Neuy, Gam, and Wan. So, we're seeing blessings for sure!

Oh, this was embarrassing: we went to teach Sister On and Sister Air. They both work at a department store and we met up with Sister On. She brought along a lady who I thought was Sister Air (I've only met this girl once and I could not remember what she looks like). We started teaching and I was asking them about commitments we'd given them, their thoughts about things that we taught about the Plan of Salvation, etc... Sister On was so excited to share, but "Air" was silent and seemed really uncomfortable. Then I said, "Okay, Sister Air, can you tell me what you understand about...." and they quickly told me this was NOT Sister Air. I'd gone the entire lesson thinking this was our recent convert, Air, but it was just a random co-worker of Sister On. Made me laugh. She seemed so confused! Oops!

This week we also saw some awesome miracles. We got a referral from the Roi Et sisters. His name is Dtaek. He's in his 30's and is married with a two year old girl. He was way excited to meet with us. On Thursday night he was on his way back into town from Udon and he called us asking if he could meet us at the church. It was about time for us to go back home, but he came and we gave him a brief church tour. He was really excited to come to church on Sunday and bring his family. Well, on Sunday something came up with work so he had to go in for half the day... however, he still showed up to the last 10 minutes of church. I was just really happy that he still decided to come, and we'll be meeting with him this week, of course! We also have another investigator named Phut. So, we'll try to help him as best we can! 

One day we were out walking down the street inviting and we ran into this man that was decked out in some camo outfit with this huge long beard. He identified us as Christians and before I could even really talk to him he began singing "Joy to the World" to us in Thai. haha Later that day we got serenaded again! 

That night we had a sports day at the church and one of the Elders' recent converts, named Phum, came. This guy is obsessed with Michael Jackson and spent a good chunk of the evening teaching me his dance moves. He then told me he can sing, as well and he sang his own rendition of Billy Jean. The best! He's actually pretty good at dancing!

Unfortunately, poor Sister Carter got sick again and we went to the hospital just to rule anything out. She's fine, but she had a pretty bad migraine so she spent some time recovering from that. She's feeling better now, though! She's a trooper!

I feel like this was a really boring email, but it was a good week! We were really blessed with two new investigators, and with the opportunity to meet some new recent converts. I'm also really glad that Sister Carter is feeling better and seems to be on the mend!

Well, I sure love you all so much! Thank you for being the most amazing family in the world! I love you more than I can describe! Have an awesome week!

Liz :)

 Book of Mormon class
 cool frog
 Sports Day
 This is how you figure out multiplication problems in Thailand. 
Have you ever seen something like this before? Crazy.
 Got caught in a huge rainstorm while out inviting.
 Our first morning in KhonKaen. 
We still couldn't get into our house and it was like 4 in the morning.
 I think the nursery destroyed Pooh.
Look at us studious missionaries. haha
Sis. S wanted to get pictures to make a poster for Book of Mormon class.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Caring for new Converts

It's so crazy that Sister Mullen and her group are going home in a couple weeks! I remember when we first got to Mahasarakham together and realizing that we both had such a long ways to go. I feel like their group made a lot of good changes in the mission and became all the awesome trainers and STL's. It's going to be so weird having them gone. So grateful for all that they have done for this mission!

Well, this was a great week! I'll go in order of the events! 

Last Monday was way fun! We had a great FHE out at a member family's house. The Mom's name is Sister Jiw (she's also the Relief Society president), the Dad's name is Brother Twee, and the son's name is Brother Tiw. They're such an awesome family. They invited quite a few members and it was so much fun! We all ate Suggi and I shared a spiritual thought from 2 Nephi. It was a great evening and I really felt the love and unity of these members! Also, it was such a pretty bike ride out to their house. They live on the other side of a huge pond.

So, on Monday I must have sent President Senior a rather panicked sounding letter because he called me later that afternoon and told me not to stress out. haha  He told me that we have a specific assignment to strengthen the newly baptized converts. Later Sister Senior told us that's the reason that they increased the amount of sisters in this area (because most of the recent converts are females). 
This weekend there was a district leadership training in Roi Et and President and Sister Senior were going there to address them. They had to pick up Elder Wu at the Khon Kaen airport so they stopped by to say hi to us, as well! I was so excited! We only got to meet for about forty-five minutes but it was so awesome! President Senior reviewed a lot of things in chapter 10 of Preach My Gospel and then they went and played with some of the members for sports day for a few minutes! Such a boost to meet with them!

This week we had a lot of successes in our inviting and in contacting recent converts. We got to teach two new investigators named Joe and Om. Joe has been going to many different churches and is trying to find truth. When we taught the restoration message he told me that he feels like Joseph Smith- totally confused about what to believe. We promised him that we have his answer and if he is sincere in his prayers and in reading the Book of Mormon, he'll get the confirmation that he needs. So, he came to church on Sunday! Hopefully this week we can meet with him a few times and help him increase his faith and accept our message fully. Sister Om is someone we met at a park. We taught her the restoration lesson and she agreed to come to church. However, she didn't show up and she had her phone turned off on Saturday and Sunday, so I’m not sure what happened there. Also, we had quite a few appointments set up with random people that we contacted off the street that fell through. So, I feel like we saw a lot of miracles this week, but sometimes those miracles don't turn into what we're hoping for. Anyway, it was a good week, we're really hoping that we can help Joe progress!

On Wednesday Elder Lingard led a really great Book of Mormon class. He had us read many verses in the scriptures about putting on the armor of God and then had us draw our own warriors. haha The members loved it! I was way impressed with him- he's only been out for 2 transfers and he lead that whole class and was awesome! I would have been really scared to do that at the point where he is now. He did great!

This week we got to finally meet with Brother At and Sister Ying. They are two recent converts that we've had a hard time getting a hold of. They were both so cute! I felt really happy to finally meet with them. We also have one recent convert named Sister On that works at a department store so we go teach her there. She loves the gospel! She literally talked to us almost non-stop for an hour about all the things she's been learning since she became a member. This lady's solid! Made me so happy.

On Saturday and Sunday Sister Carter was way sick with some sort stomach bug so we were at home most of the day. That's the first time that has ever happened to me on the mission, except for when Sis. Mullen got Dengue fever. However, I got a lot done in that time, that maybe I wouldn't have found time for otherwise. I spent many hours calling all these RC's, sending them text messages, teaching over the phone, etc... I also practiced the piano! I need to get better at sacrament hymns. I tend to play the piano here fairly often for church. Also, I got a lot of cleaning and organizing done. While I was going through some of the shelves I found an old Liahona that had an article on President Monson. I started reading it and I had such a strong confirmation of President Monson's goodness and that he truly is a prophet of God! I love President Monson so much I literally started crying right there! At that same moment Sister Carter came out of the bedroom and I think she was a little confused at why I was sitting on the floor crying over a Liahona! haha  Anyway, it was really weird being at home, but I feel like a lot got done.

Anyway, on Sunday we had two investigators come to church! Brother Joe, and another random girl showed up named Bee. We were extremely low in the number of recent converts at church. But I spent a lot of time contacting every single one. We're going to do all we can to strengthen these people!!

Last week there was a less active lady that wanted a blessing from the elders. Well, she told them her real name and it was 14 syllables long! Elder Heras looked a little panicked because he was the one giving the blessing. I could not stop laughing! She ended up writing it on the whiteboard so he could read it. Thai names!

Also, lately we have this crow outside of our window that likes to make squawking noises like unto the ones that David makes! Every morning I wake up to that crow and it makes me a little homesick.

Well, I'm loving it here. We're working hard and doing all that we can to help our recent converts and to find new investigators.


Sister Stevenson

 Book of Mormon class

 Dinner after sports night

 Making spaghetti for Sunday night District dinner
 The Elders and an ice cream truck
4th of July
Sister Sawangwong thought we were starting a red shirt party (mobbers against the government) Then we explained it was Independence Day haha

Monday, July 14, 2014

Just Press Forward and Give Thanks

Well, this was an awesome week here. It ended a little bit disappointing, but I learned a lot of things this week.

So, the zone's goal for us here in Khon Kaen was to have 9 baptisms by this coming Sunday. So, we have been working like crazy to find people that could come to church yesterday. I was a little bit stressed the whole week, but it was motivating. We spent at least 3 to 4 hours contacting every day. And I feel like Heavenly Father really gave us a lot of miracles and opportunities. We met a lot of people that were interested and a lot of people that said they would come to church. We also made teaching appointments during the week and we met with a few of them. We got three new investigators named Tree, Amnuay, and Tongchai. These three are all really awesome people that are definitely interested. We pretty much spent the entire week street contacting, teaching recent converts, calling EVERYONE, and following up, etc... We've been very careful to be so obedient and to not waste time. I felt like we really worked hard and did just about everything we could to get people to church. As of Saturday night we had about 7 people that had agreed to come to church and that we had confirmed with as well. However, Sunday came around and not a single person showed up. We also had hardly any recent converts there, too. In sacrament meeting I was seriously on the verge of tears. Usually I don't really let things like that get to me. But I think I just felt so frustrated because we had worked so hard and prayed so hard for these people to come. Not only that, but I also feel a lot of pressure to make our goals from the zone. I literally almost started crying, but then I was asked to translate for two English speakers, so that kept my mind off of it. As the meeting started Brother Da walked past me and dropped a big handful of letters into my lap from the Bangkapi members (they'd had a countrywide YSA activity in Pitsanuloog and he'd met them). That was a huge tender mercy from God right there and just what I needed! So grateful! Gave me a huge boost!

After the meetings the elder's investigator got baptized, so that was a highlight. This kid is way cute. He's a teenage boy that designs clothes. 

We unexpectedly got to teach a recent convert that is preparing to go on a mission. She always brings the Spirit with her wherever she goes and is so awesome! After that we taught a less active lady that came to church. She kind of stressed me out. haha But, it was a blessing to talk with her. She's dealing with lots of trials and she wants answers from God now. She said she's been waiting for answers for three months and she thinks it's high time she got some by now. We tried to help this lady understand that sometimes answers take a long time, much longer than just three months and that they don't always come in the way we expect. Also, just because we pray and read the scriptures that doesn't mean our trials are going to disappear. It's how we choose to deal with them that really matters. Anyway, since this lady felt so tried and tested and without answers she went to some dangerous extremes last week. And in the lesson she just kept going on and on about how God is giving her more trials that everybody else. I was kind of tired of hearing it, so I finally cut in and told her to just go home and write down ten things she was grateful for. haha I don't think that is the kind of help she was looking for, but I'll follow up today and see if she did it. 

Anyway, the reason I share that story is because talking with her helped me take a look at myself. I realize that I can get impatient easily, too. For example, yesterday I really wanted a lot of people to come to church, and they didn't. I feel like a lot of times I am one that wants success and I want it now! I think I need to take my own advice and trust in the Lord and His timing and just be grateful. So, good lessons learned this week. I feel happy that I know we sincerely did our best and put in all our effort to make things happen. God gave us a lot of miracles, but in the end, sometimes people just choose to not do what we want them to. But from all this I feel really excited for this coming week.

This morning I was reading the Psalm of Nephi in 2 Nephi 4. I especially liked where he says, "Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions. Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation." I think this is the best advice. When we have set backs, we just need to keep pressing forward even stronger than before and only give thanks and praise to God! So, we're going to hit the streets hard this week and start again! Should be awesome!

Here are a few fun things that happened this week:

I seriously LOVE street contacting! Especially now that I'm in a new area. I love finding new places and talking to everyone. This week we contacted into some fun areas of town. We found some really cool wats and some random lakes too. Sweet!

A few days ago the branch mission leader took us all out to get vegan food. Makes me laugh! Being a vegetarian or vegan in Thailand is the biggest oxymoron I’ve ever heard! It was pretty good, though. And the somtam was amazing!

I'm back in mosquito city! haha For some reason I hardly ever got bit in Bangkapi. Maybe it's an Esan thing. But before we leave the house every day we put on a ton of sunscreen and then top it off with a nice layer of bug spray. Not only that, but in Thailand people tend to burn things a lot. Everywhere. So, my clothes always kind of smell like smoke from air-drying them.  I just feel like I'm on a big camping trip all the time!

Okay, so that's about it for the week. I love you so much!


Liz :)

 This made me laugh. The sign says "For rent." I was so confused what they were renting. Bushes? There must be some sort of dwelling behind all that shrubbery.
Happy Sports Day!

The light burned out in our bathroom. So, Sis. Sawangwong fixed the problem by lighting 
birthday candles and sticking them to the toilet paper dispenser. 
Works pretty well. We may not bother buying a new light bulb!

 Welcoming people to church
  Look at us angels! We're glowing! 
A foggy lens from the heat and humidity.
Unfortunately, whoever took the picture didn't check,
and that's the only picture from the baptism!
This huge beehive at the place we were eating. Hoping that was just for show!