Monday, October 20, 2014

Live the Gospel + Keep the Commandments= HAPPY!

Hello familia!

Oh, I love you all so much! I can't believe we're going to be together in a week and a half. It is the most bittersweet thing I have ever experienced. We've been so busy lately with travel, training, investigators, conferences, etc... I haven't had much time to think about the next few weeks. I miss you all so much. I know it's time to be back with my family and friends and move on in life, but I just love Thailand and my mission so much and it's going to be so sad and so happy to say goodbye to the amazing people and work that I love, but then so joyful to see the people I love the most!

So, this was a great week!
Last P-day we went to the top of this mountain. Beautiful view overlooking strawberry and tea fields. Way in the hill tribes. It was a bit of a foggy day so it's kind of hard to see how beautiful it was from my pictures. Such a fun experience!

On Wednesday we went on a switch-off. Sister Ference went to Lampang with Sister Pavadee and I stayed here in Chiang Mai with Sister Maughan. It was a really great day. We had so many lessons and got in some good inviting. Sister Maughan is so awesome. She has an amazing testimony and it was so nice to be able to spend some time with her and get to know her even better. It was definitely a boost for me.

On Thursday and Friday we had mission tour! It was pretty crazy getting prepared for it, but so fun. The zone leaders took care of the catering for it, so they did the real work. We just did little errands for them. So, for this mission tour, we were so blessed to have President and Sister Gong (of the Southeast Asia area) come to speak and teach and instruct along with President and Sister Senior. However, Thursday night we really got a bonus. The Church Historian, his assistant historian, and another historian came to speak to us (Brother Snow, Brother Turley, and Brother Neilson). They're here recording a bit of the church history in Thailand and Burma. So, they stopped by to give us a really awesome fireside. They had a powerpoint of some of the displays of church history items that are now housed on the first floor of the Church History Building. They talked about the items and gave us some inspiring messages. I'm way excited to go check out this exhibit when I get back to Utah. It's permanent so it should be there for a few years at least.

The next morning we had a special meeting with President Gong for district leaders, the zone leaders, and sister training leaders. It was really neat to be able to report to him about our zone and get some counsel. Seriously, how often do you get to meet with a member of the first quorum of the seventy and report on your work and your mission. Absolutely amazing! Pres. Gong also knew all our names by the time the mission tour was over. Such a special experience for me! And everyone! Anyway, after the meeting we had the main mission tour conference. We had wonderful messages from Pres. and Sister Gong about applying the Gospel to change our lives and our investigators' lives, as well as the doctrine of families, stakes, and temples. It was so good! Pres. and Sis. Senior talked about the Restoration and then gave an amazing message about the Atonement. They explained it so clearly and I really felt the Spirit and understood the Atonement better than I ever have before. That was such a needed experience for me. So grateful for Pres. and Sis. Senior's sensitivity to the Spirit and our needs.

At the end, Elder Clarke and I gave our testimonies since we're the ones heading home this transfer. It was not the most smooth thing I have ever given... kinda all over the place. Oh well! haha Anyway, this was such an amazing mission tour! Afterwards we had a brief meeting with just the sisters and Sister Gong and Sister Senior. Sis. Gong had us all write our own "psalms." It was a really neat exercise. I'll share it with you when I get back!

So, that was a huge spiritual boost! AMAZING!

Now I want to tell you about a few investigators that are doing so well!

First is Brother Manid. He's out of town for a wedding, but he is on track to be baptized this weekend! He threw away his monk necklace (people wear monk necklaces as a way to show their faith in Buddhism), and he is faithfully praying, reading his scriptures, and watching Mormon messages. haha 

Secondly, Sister A. is doing awesome! I am not sure if I wrote about her last week or not. So, a couple weeks ago we were contacting at a market and Sister A. came up to Sister Ference wanting to know what we were doing. She was so impressed that we were spending hours outside in the sun just trying to get people to go to church when, according to her, it wouldn't have any benefit to us. Therefore, we must surely have had something important to say. Yes! We do! So, she came to church last week for the first time to see General Conference and we taught her about 4 or 5 times this week, and she came to church yesterday. A. is in her mid- 30's and lives by herself. She sells milk and wine. She has had a really strained relationship with her parents her whole life and she feels bad that she has quite a bit of a temper. Anyway, in our first lesson with her she must have really felt the Spirit because that night she went home and called her parents and apologized to them for everything that she had ever said or done that was hurtful. They forgave her and she felt like a huge burden had been eased. She was basically dancing when she told us about this experience. She felt like God had forgiven her and she felt peace. The next day she was mindfully keeping the word of wisdom and other commandments we had introduced and saw a few small miracles happen that day, which she attributes to God. The next day when she came to meet with us she told us that on the way to the lesson a motorcycle sped by her, splashing water all over her. She said normally she would have been so angry, but she didn't even care one bit. She feels like living the Gospel is helping her control her temper. Can you see what the Gospel is doing for Sister A? She has so many little weaknesses that have upset her her whole life. In the course of just one week she has been able to resolve these problems, and begin to improve herself. That is what following Jesus Christ and applying his Atonement does for people. I can't even describe how happy I am and how much this experience has affected me and strengthened my testimony. Live the gospel + keep the commandments= HAPPY! She will be baptized on this coming Sunday!

This week we also had a 17 year old girl randomly show up to church wanting to learn. Her name is M. She is from Lamphun, but lives her by herself, studying at a pre-college. She absolutely loves our message, church, the members, everything! She is probably the most enthusiastic investigator I have ever taught. Literally every single day this week we have come to the church and she's been there waiting to be taught, even when we haven't set up an appointment! She also brought along a friend named N., who is the same age. They are both learning and preparing to be baptized next month. Since they're under age they have to wait a month to be baptized, otherwise M. probably would have jumped in the font already! Amazing miracles happening here!

On Sunday, Sister Fanta got confirmed a member of the church. She was so happy. I love Fanta so much. Also, Brother Suthep was ordained to the Aaronic priesthood!
Brother Suthep is doing awesome. He said lately he's been experiencing a lot of temptations but he knows that keeping the commandments is the most important thing. So he's choosing to be faithful to God before anything else. What an amazing example.

I just can't get over how truly incredible these people are. Over the course of my mission I have been so blessed to meet so many people that totally, completely change their lives to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They have to sacrifice so many things culturally, in their families, with their friends, etc... However, they know that it's worth it because they have testimonies and see the blessings in their lives. I want to always be like these people! 

Also, yesterday Sister Fay, a less active that wasn't even on the records, was officially "saved." Sister Ference ran into her about a month ago and yesterday she interviewed with the Branch President and we got her records taken care of. She was so happy and said she's here to stay! Cannot even describe the kind of joy and happiness that brings!

God is blessing us so much and I am just so grateful! I love Sister Ference so much. She is such an amazing example to me and am I loving working with her and learning from her. I love my life!

I love you all so much! I hope you have a wonderful week and know that I'm thinking of you!