Monday, October 27, 2014

Thank you, Thailand

Dear family and friends,

Well, like you said, this is most definitely surreal. I cannot believe this is the last email home! I miss you all so much and cannot wait to see you!

I would LOVE to go to the temple! Yes pleassssse! It's been so so so long!
I'm definitely going to spend a lot of time on the plane writing down my thoughts. I’ve been slowly doing that, but I want to have it all in one place in my journal. Oh, I talked to other people in my group and they are flying into Seattle as well. So, I won't be the only one. Also, Sister Narayanan got accepted to BYU!!! So we'll be rooming together!! Soooooo excited!

Well, this was a great week! We had a lot of great experiences with investigators this week that were meaningful.

So, first of all Brother Md. and Sister A. did not end up getting baptized this week.  Both had an unexpected concern with the Word of Wisdom which came up in their interviews. Our district leader, Elder Klein, did an amazing job at discussing their concerns and helping them understand how to apply repentance and be on course and totally ready to be baptized next week. They both came out of their interviews uplifted and encouraged. I'm so grateful for Elder Klein and the time and care he took to help these two. I think it will only increase their testimonies of repentance and they will be so solid!  Can't wait to hear about their baptisms next week! It has been such a blessing for me to teach these two amazing people and learn from their examples.

This week Sister M. met with us a few times. She has lots of really great questions and loves to not only keep commitments, but go the extra mile to study things out for herself. She is from a town about an hour away, but lives here by herself. In Thailand parents will send their kids away to better schools in different towns when they're in high school. It's not too uncommon. Anyway, her mom was in town to visit on Saturday so she brought her to the church. We were so excited to meet her. She is adorable. So, we gave her Mom a church tour and just explained a little bit about our church, what we do, what we believe, etc... At the end, she started crying because she was so happy that her daughter was going to a safe place with good friends. She really felt the Spirit and peace that's in the church and she knew that her daughter was being taken care of. It was a really special experience. Sister M. is going to be baptized on the 9th of November!

This week we also got to meet with Brother Oat! He has not come to church in a long time because he picked up a job on Sunday. His phone is off a lot of the time, so he's hard to contact. On Saturday he randomly called us, asking if he could come meet us! Yes! He's really got this amazing faith in God and in Christ. It was so uplifting to hear it. I just wish he would try a lot harder to come to church. Praying for him! So happy I got to see him once more before we leave.

Also, Brother Suthep is doing so well! He has this uncontainable testimony that he just has to share with us, whether over the phone or in person! I really loved one thing he shared: he said that he has a lot of friends at work that try to tempt him to do things against the commandments. Whenever this happens he told us that he just gets up, excuses himself, and goes outside to get away from them. He runs from sin! I love it so much! Such a great example!

Yesterday was a wonderful day at church! We had many new investigators come, including a man that had learned with the missionaries 7+ years ago. He was so happy to be back at church! We invited him off the street and he came! Lots of miracles! It was also a little sad to start saying my goodbyes. However, we were so busy that I wasn't too focused on that. That's one thing, you're working like crazy until the day you leave, so that was a blessing!

Later in the evening we had district dinner. The Elders cooked spaghetti, and then we all brought our musical instruments, including my guitar, a ukelele, and a drum, and made some music. haha Afterwards the district all gave some nice parting words to me. I just love this district so much. It has been really extra special working with everybody here. The Elders and Sister Ference are so dedicated and hardworking and full of love for this work. They have been the most amazing examples to me and have helped me end my mission on such a high note! I love every single one of them so much and am really going to miss them. They really feel like family. The missionaries in this mission are simply outstanding and I feel so privileged to work with them! I am going to miss Sister Ference so much!! Luckily, she will be home in about a month! She has been such a  good, good friend and so full of love and support and patience. She's going to do awesome things in the meantime.

I just can't believe that this is the last email. There's so much that I just can't wait to tell you when I get home! You can't capture everything in an email, but I want to just share a few of the many things I've learned over the course of my mission.

*First of all, I know that God is real and that he prepares people to receive the Gospel. He works miracles! I have seen this time and time again to the point that I have no room for doubt. It's been absolutely incredible to meet random people on the street that are completely ready, and longing to change their lives to follow Jesus Christ, despite cultural, family, and tradition opposition. They are amazing examples to me.

*I know that God loves us and hears our prayers. I have had this confirmed to me so many times as I've prayed, heard others pray, and as I read my scriptures!

*I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I've come to understand the importance of His Atonement more clearly than ever before as I've tried to overcome weaknesses and become a better person. I understand better how important personal progression is in this life. That's why we're here! To be happy and to progress so that we can be ready to enter God's presence after we die. It can only happen through the Atonement and I understand that much better than I ever did before.

*I understand how to apply the Gospel principles in my life much better, as well! I love this Gospel so much and I know that by following Christ's teachings and keeping God's commandments we are truly happy. I understand how importance daily repentance is. No one is perfect, and although we may not commit big sins, we do make small errors every day.  Repentance is not just for sinners, but it's for everyone! We all have weaknesses in our personalities that need to be improved and strengthened. We also are all at different stages. Through the Atonement and repentance those necessary changes are made. I know that's true!! I've seen it work in investigators as well as myself! 

*I know the scriptures are true!

*I know that obedience and hard work not only brings miracles, but also peace of mind and true happiness.

*I can do things that I don't necessarily want to do (such as street contacting) until I actually enjoy them!

*I have more confidence.

*I trust in God and know that He's guiding me.

*I want to be more like Thai people, full of love, self-sacrificing, never take things too seriously, always ready to share and help others.

*I actually can live in a hot climate, not complain, and even almost like it!

*I LOVE spicy food! The more the better!

*All I need is mascara and I feel beautiful! haha

*I have a clear perspective of my purpose in life. I want to be a devoted and committed servant of the Lord always. The things I've learned on my mission are going to direct the course of my life. I want to be someone that always stands for the right and spreads the Gospel light wherever I go!

There are so many things that I've learned/am learning but it's hard to organize it all, or even put it all into words. All I want to say is that being a missionary has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. I have seen miraculous changes in the people that I have worked with that have completely strengthened my testimony. However, I have seen quite a change in myself as well. I have a new view on life and on the Gospel principles. I have new desires and goals and I now have more direction in my life! I just have so much love for my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ who have allowed me to be a part of this work to learn and grow. I am so grateful for all my amazing family and friends that have given me nothing but love, support and encouragement. I love the Thai people and I'm so, so thankful for all that they have taught me and for this incredible time that I have had to share with them. I love you all so much and cannot wait to see you! I'm running out of time, otherwise I would probably have at least 20 more pages to write!

I love you all so much! See ya in a few days! (what?? Yes, a few days!)


Liz :)