Tuesday, December 17, 2013

11-25-13 Stomach bug

Hello to Sister Carter's Family,

This is Sister Bentley, I live at the house with Sister Carter. She and Sister Yim caught a stomach bug today and have been unable to leave the house. They asked me to send a quick email to let you know that they are happy and doing well. They are so sad that they can't send emails today but they will be back again next week and will have more to report.

Your daughter is doing great. She is so cute and I have been so grateful to get to know her these past few weeks. She's working hard and learning so much. 

Thank you for all that you do for her!

Monday, November 18, 2013

11-17-13 It's been really hard in Thailand lately.

Hello Everyone, 

There is a cool video that a member shared in relief society this last Sunday. It's about this man who gives money and food to a boy who was trying to steal medicine for his sick mom. That man, years later gets sick and his doctor ends up being that boy that he helped a long time ago. It's super sweet and I would love for everyone to watch it. 

Questions about Thailand: 

1. Are you riding bikes? If so how is that?  
-No, I don't ride bikes in my area, but I do ride sawng tows and those can be a little crazy. It's really cool though to see men stand up and let the women and older men sit down. They can be super crowded and they fly over speed bumps like crazy sometimes!  

2. What is your favorite food there?
-I like a lot of food here. I love Khaw mon gai, phad briaw wan, phad thai, and lots more! It's all good!

3. How many members are there in Thailand now and how many missionaries?
-I am not sure about the member count but a lot of them are inactive. I do know that there are about 80 companionships and so about 160 missionaries. It's pretty great! Thailand is really growing though, that's for sure. There are about 60 members who come to our ward every Sunday :) 

The picture is of  เบ๊ยร์ (L to right) me, and her little sister แพรา who started taking the lessons from us. I love them both so very, very much. I know they will be baptized one day. :)

So these pictures are when my companion and I went down a glong. It's a really gross stream full of trash and junk.

 It smells but it was cool to see these random cows and greenery. :)

These pics are when we went to this really neat Korean bbq place on Saturday night before we fasted again. it was super cool to cook your own food and such. 

These are pics of members and the missionaries with an investigator who was getting baptized last Sunday. We were super happy for her! 

The lantern festival was yesterday as well. It was interesting to see all these little flower shaped lanterns with candles floating in the water. Lots of people were lighting off fireworks and little firecrackers that exploded in the water. It was SO loud! And at one point where we were all standing on the bridge, watching the lanterns float in the water, a bat flew right across my neck! It scared me so bad! Haha! But hey, only in Thailand, right? :)

But, the bat thing... yeah, that was scary. It was like, all of a sudden I felt this huge thing flapping against the back of my neck like it was caught or something! It was huge! Haha. But the lantern festival was pretty cool. The lanterns represent all the bad feelings or bad things you hold in your heart and they try to float them away. I wasn't too sure about it.

I know these pics are dark, but they are of the lantern festival. There is a pic of the wat (Buddhist temple) in there too. It was super cool!  

It's been really hard in Thailand lately. 

At least, it's just been very spiritually draining. This month, the mission has had a goal for every companionship to get someone to baptism. We committed to the goal and worked so very hard every day. We would be working in the hot sun and talking to everyone in our path about baptism (since this is the approach they have asked us to do) and we have been striving for obedience. We have prayed and fasted for three Sundays in a row. All of our investigators don't feel ready to be baptized quite yet so we didn't know who to really work on. We had confirmation that we should work on a certain investigator, เบ๊ยร์, and so we prayed and prayed for her. 
She has been taught for a little over two months and has never gone to church. She has school and when we talk about baptism, she says that she is never ready. She got into a motorcycle accident and she really hurt her leg. She was limping and all scratched up! :( But, the Elders gave her a blessing during one of our lessons.The experience was so powerful and spiritual. She said that she would come to church (a miracle!) and so I asked her the baptism question... and she just shook her head and said she still wasn't ready. My heart sank. But there was still hope! If she came to church, she might feel differently. But she only came the third hour... which means that even if she did feel ready, she couldn't be baptized this month. It's a mission standard that all of our investigators must come to church twice in a row before they are baptized. Her coming the third hour didn't count. So even if she comes next Sunday on time, we can't get her to be baptized (if she wanted) on the 30th of November (our plan). We were so disappointed. I was so confused. I had so much faith. I just don't know what went wrong. The mission President called and reassured me that the true goal of the Mission was actually unity--not baptism. And it's true. Everyone pulled in to help us. The zone leaders, the district leader, the Sister Training leader, and the other Sisters living with us ALL tried to help us. And yet, even after all that, we still didn't get a baptism. It's okay though. Everyone has been gifted with their agency, and we cannot pray for that to go away. So, I am still sad and very drained but I still know that God is good. He will bless us still. I will think positively and keep pushing forward. 

The past week has still been a little hard but also very inspiring and enlightening. I have been having a hard time adjusting to missionary life and feeling lonely in the work. Which is silly to say but it's just what I was feeling. We went on a switch off and Sister Orchard (the Sister Training Leader) came to be my companion. I was a little nervous to be leading the area by myself. But I felt a little reassured by the spirit that everything would be okay. We weren't able to teach two of our investigators because of the switch off but I know that God knew that I needed it. Sister Orchard was such an angel. She reassured me a lot and said a lot of inspiring things to me. I was able to see from a new perspective and my goal is to think more positively and to pray for more charity in my heart. We got a little lost because I forgot how to get to a certain less active's house, but in the end, we found our way and were able to make it to the appointment. I talked on the phone all day with people and was able to communicate just enough in broken Thai to make appointments and such. I was so happy! Yeah, I have been "talking on the phone" since almost the beginning. I am still not very good at it and a lot of the times people hang up on me because they can't understand what I am saying! 
Our appointment at 4:00 pm was late by 45 minutes and we had to push our traveling time back to end the switch off. And when we got into a taxi, Sister Orchard realized she didn't have her stuff! We had to go back and get it and then get into another taxi. There was SO much traffic and there was a misunderstanding with an appointment I had made so that Sister Yim and I could make. Our investigator came super early and I was still in traffic in Srinakharin! It was a little crazy but everything worked out in the end. So, even after all that, I would still say that it was one of my favorite days on the mission. I learned so much. And afterwards, my companion even said that she noticed that I was a lot happier. I am happy for that. 

This last Sunday, they had a primary program. Whenever they have one in the states, I love seeing all the many children singing and being little goofballs. But there were only six little children in the entire ward who came up to the stand. They were all so very beautiful. I was tearing up at the sweet sight. Here these little Thai children were singing up on the stand singing songs that I know from my own childhood in a beautiful, foreign tongue. They were all so good in reading their lines and one little one had lost her place. You couldn't quite see her since the podium doesn't move up and down. You could only see the top of her head and she was struggling to find her place. Her father quickly and loving went up and helped her. It was just so sweet. I love Thailand. 

Anyhow, I hope you all are safe and sound. Keep up the missionary work. Pray for Thailand! It's an amazing place! I love it here with all my heart. I wish all of you could only see for yourselves. 
I love you all! Thank you for writing to me!


ฆิสเคอร์ คาร์ทอร์

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

11-10-13 Tigers, Crocodiles, and Elephants, oh my! (long post so scroll all the way down)

Sawadii kha! Sabaydii may kha? Pen yangray baang?

Hello, hello! This week was very crazy and hectic. Oh, I don't even know where to start! I guess I'll begin with last P-day:


It was sooo much fun! Oh, it was just so cool. I got to take pictures feeding a baby tiger! It was so cute, but it kept digging its claws into my skin. Ouch! I'm totally fine though. 

 Me holding a baby tiger!!! So awesome!

 And those tigers are HUGE!!!
We watched the crocodile show where two guys just kept pulling crocodiles out of the water by their tails! They stuck their hands and heads into its open mouth. People threw a lot of baht (money) at them and they put it in a crocodile's mouth! It was cool to watch how they collected the money out of its mouth piece by piece. It was just so fun. And afterward, I was able to go and feed a crocodile. They give you this long pole with string attached to a big fish head. Those Crocodiles sure snapped it up quick! There were so many of them in the water sitting so still. It was a little scary.
Here are the crazy Crocodile guys at the Crocodile show! It was so cool and fun! 

Here is a You Tube video of the crocodile show that my mom found online. 

These are the crocodiles in the water! You can barely see them sometimes! 

Me about to feed the crocodiles!

There were a lot of other animals to see and visit. It was like a little zoo! One animal that we saw (I am not sure what it's called) but apparently, it smells like popcorn? Yeah, it's pretty weird. it's like a huge lemur-sloth-rat looking thing. It was very interesting to say the least. And then... I saw elephants!!!! I mean, of course there would be elephants! It's Thailand!!! But, I was so happy to see them! All of them (including the baby elephant) were swaying back and forth like they were dancing! It was the cutest thing I have ever seen. And all of them reached out with their trunks to smell me and touch me. Ah! I love elephants! 
But the greatest thing was when I fulfilled one of my life's goals: riding on an elephant!  I was so, so, so happy! I felt like a Princess! Haha! I was so high off the ground though, it was a little scary. The elephant show after was so cute too! Elephants were sitting, standing, and walking on two feet! It was just so cool. 

Cool pic of an orangutan,...

white tiger, and... 
...can we talk about how stinking fantastic these bears look? Look at them! I can't help but laugh!!!

The animals in the cage is the ones that apparently smell like popcorn. Yep. 

And pics of the elephants! My fav!!!

The Elephant show! Look how cool that is with that elephant walking on two feet! So amazing!

You can tell that I really love elephants, huh? :D 

                                          Sister Yim and I at the Crocodile farm! So silly! Haha! 

         A little gecko that plopped on Elder Murkley's head and climbed to the back of his shirt! Funny, huh?
                                           Here is a pic of a funny bear at the crocodile farm 

                                             All us sisters that went to the Crocodile farm!

The rest of the week has been interesting. I have been struggling. It's been rough to recognize my weaknesses with the language and other personal flaws. I realize that I have not been myself entirely around my companion or anyone here in Thailand. I am so afraid that people will see a bad missionary instead of a vessel of the Lord that I strive to be. I know I shouldn't beat myself up and stress too much. It's a work in progress and I know that I have a lot of growth to do. I am relying on the Lord so much. Like, this morning, doubts were filling my mind about having to lead an area or lead a lesson, or train someone after my training. As all this was distracting me, a voice cut in suddenly and said, "Peace, be still."
 I was a little shocked! Yet, I couldn't help but feel peace and warmth flood through me. I know that anything is possible through the Lord. I know that He is a God of miracles. This is His work, not mine. I am simply on His time, helping Him gather His sheep. I can't stress. It'll ruin me. 

Also, with this month being "Bovember" (baptism November: every companionship in the mission's goal is to get a baptism this month), it's been hard not to doubt. Faang has to work in another city for four months. I was so sad. He is so happy and takes notes while we teach! He's just so good! And our other Investigator is so ready, I just know it. But she has school on Sundays and can't keep the Sabbath day Holy. It just makes me really sad. And her sister seems so happy when she goes to church! But she can't be baptized quite yet because she's only 14 and has to go to church for a long time to receive baptism. Our only other investigator won't keep the Sabbath day either but I have faith in him. I don't know if he's ready or not but I have trust in the Lord that everything will work out. Sister Yim and I fasted again this last Sunday. We will probably fast again this Sunday as well. I know that if we are obedient and faithful, miracles will happen. 

The Zone leaders came this week and had a meeting about contacting and getting baptisms. It was nice to see how they contacted people on the street. They literally just stand in front of a 7/11 and ask if they are familiar with baptism, explain what it is and ask if they want to be baptized! It's super intense, but it definitely sifts through the people that are interested or not. And then they had this inspiring video with some missionaries from this mission contacting and doing missionary work. The song, "When you Believe" from the Prince of Egypt was on as well

I loved the spirit that I felt and I have faith in Thailand!! At the end, they took our mission name: Thailand Bangkok Mission, and used the initials of each word to say: The Best Mission. And it's so true! I know that everyone says they have the best mission... but seriously, I can't even put into words how great it is here. People are so humble, so nice, and so warm here. If you need help, they will go out of their way to help you. They are genuine and wonderful. And if you say that you're hungry, they will feed you! Haha! I love it here. 

We tried doing the "intense" way of contacting. I went up to everyone in my path asking the same question and got rejected time and time again. It's a little tiring but it's actually kind of fun. People are usually kind of scared and weirded out when I approach them though. But, in the end, we did get a number out of it and some people were actually really nice when I approached them. So, it's all good! If I just keep talking to everyone then I will get better at the language! :)

Answering questions about Thailand: (Anyone can email any questions they have and I will answer them!!)

                 (L to R) Sister Yim, Me, Maanong, Sister Steel, and Sister Mon. I look super white! Haha! 
     The woman posing with the hat is Maanong. Oh, I love that woman so much. She is an absolute angel. She        is just super sweet! 

                          I found a Ronald McDonald that was wai-ing! I couldn't resist taking a picture!

                                          1. What is the weirdest thing you have eaten?
-Well, it's kind of hard to say. There's not that many strange things that I've eaten. Everything has tasted so good! But, I guess so far, I would have to say that it's been a Thai dessert. I don't know what it's called or what it is, really. It looks SO strange though. Like, it's just globs of funky, doughy... things in murky, purplish coconut water? Yeah, it's weird. But it tastes SO, SO good! I loved it! 

2. Do I see white people?
-Yes, actually, I do! I see white people from time to time walking down the streets. It's very strange though. I look up and think, "what is that white guy doing here?" haha!

3. Who is the funniest person that I've met?
-That's a hard question. I meet "funny" people here all the time. But, recently, it's been this drunk guy. Haha. Yeah, we said, "Sawadii kha!" as he came our way and he jumped back a few feet! His eyes were super wide and Sister Yim was like, "It's okay, don't be afraid!" we couldn't understand anything he was saying and he was just plain out weird/funny. I don't know if that answers that question... 

4. How is the language coming?
-Slowly but surely. I read out loud with my companion for 30 minutes everyday in Thai. It's been helping a lot. I get so stuck on a verse though since I need to work on my tones more. Most of the time when I talk on the phone or in lessons, they can't understand anything that I am saying! It's a little frustrating but it'll come in time. I am starting to understand a little more each day. I still feel so lost and clueless at times. 

Fun fact of the day:
So, apparently it's totally okay to pick your nose here. It's so weird. They don't think it's gross at all. 

Alright, I will wrap it up from here! I love you all! I hope that all is well! Keep up the letters/emails! I love them! 


ฆิสเคอร์ คาร์ทอร์ 

11-03-13 I love it here so much!


Sawadii Kha! Sabaydii may kha?

Things are doing well in Thailand. I love it here so much. The members are SO nice and I love that they are all so friendly and love to laugh. Like, this last Sunday, the members wanted all the missionaries to practice for their Christmas Program. So, everyone just sat on the floor and made lots of jokes and teased me about my lack of Thai skills. It was all in fun though. It's just so cool to see all these adults sitting cross legged, laughing, teasing, and singing Christmas songs in English. Haha!

 It's hard though because it's a mission goal to have every companionship to have a baptism this month. I know the Lord can help us and he can provide miracles, but at this very moment, none of our progressing investigators are ready and or they don't feel ready. Like, Biya, she likes learning about the Gospel and she has the faith but she doesn't think she's ready and doesn't see why she should be baptized right now. But her little sister decided to join the lessons which is suuuper awesome! She is so sweet, and I love her already. We have to get permission from her parents to teach her since she is only 14. So, we will see how that works out. Our investigator Faang really likes learning too and he takes notes when we teach! It's so cool! And, we always have to have a member with us when we teach since he can't understand our Thai. He originally speaks Chinese, so hearing farangs (foreigners) talk slow Thai is like someone learning English and trying to understand an Australian accent. So, every time we speak, a member clarifies what we say and he's like, "okay, okay, okay. Let me see if I have this down right..." and he tries to make sense of everything we say! He's so cool. But he keeps saying that he isn't ready and that he doesn't want to upset his grandparents by breaking tradition. So... we shall see. And the dater we have for baptism doesn't seem ready since he doesn't come to church regularly. He understands everything and he said he "wants" to get baptized but I don't know. Oh, and Goong (the lady I thought was homeless) totally pitted on us. (didn't show up to an appointment) and I felt bad for the member we invited to help us teach. She sat there for an hour with us :( 

I have been having a hard time lately though. I am struggling with the language and the prospect of leading an area in a few short weeks. It's so daunting! Ah! But, somehow I will make it through. I know that the Lord will provide for me if I do the work and have an immense amount of faith. Anything is possible. Right now, I am trying to memorize all the "milestones" I have to do every week for training. It's a little hard but I am determined to have it all memorized! 

So, yesterday, (Sunday) we had plans to teach an investigator and a less active. Neither showed up to church and so that was a little disappointing. We were also fasting that day for a baptism this month and so I was feeling weak and faint from not drinking enough water and not eating any food. Don't worry though! I was totally fine. It was just so nice to eat something after not eating dinner or breakfast! The first thing I ate was a bowl of fresh corn with butter, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. It was SO good! And then they had this whole bustle of coconuts and they cut one up for me. It was the tastiest coconut I have ever had. It had SO much coconut water in it! It's so good. The fruit here in general is just super good. 
But, later, we were called by a member to meet with her. She didn't tell us why or anything so we were a little confused. We ended up at a less active's house and they fed us SO much! It was all super good, but we had had plans to make dinner from the food we bought the day before. Haha! We still made food for the Elders (since we all eat together on Sunday nights) and for Atigan (Bishop), his wife and Maanong. They all helped out and it was such a nice, wonderful Sunday evening. 

I am so excited though! I am going to go to the Crocodile farm today and it's going to be a blast! I will write about it next week! :) 

I love you all so much! 


Sister คาร์ทอร์

These are of the Song tows I ride on everyday. They are super crazy since they fly over speed bumps and anything else in the road! I love it though. 
The food is of some super yummy sticky rice and mango I got from this sweet lady. She was selling them to me and I was standing in the sun and she said, "Come here! Don't stand in the sun! Stand in the shade!" Ah, I love Thai people!

10-27-13 Have faith! Believe in Miracles!


Sawadii Kha! Sabaydii may?

It is so amazing here in Srinakarin. There are such nice people that are willing to help me. The members are suuuper awesome. Female members I know (or don't know) will come up to me and just hold my hand and hold onto my arm as we walk and talk. Sis Maanon does that a lot. She says that I look like a Princess! haha! And that I look like Princess Fiona from Shrek and Susan from Narnia. She cooks for us every Sunday and it is soooo delicious. When all the new missionaries in the area got up in sacrament to bear their testimonies and introduce themselves, I sat next to Maanon who was on the stands for her talk and she instantly put her arms around me. I love her so much.

There is a man who sits out in front of our apartment on a chair with a little flyswatter in hand. He is so sweet. I think he is one of the managers of the apartment. I don't know his name but we say hello to him everyday and he smiles with a sweet, toothless mouth.  We asked him how to get to somewhere but he wasn't sure. He got up to check with someone but they didn't know either. We went up to our room and a few minutes later there was a knock on the door. He went all the way to find us and give us proper instructions on how to get there! So nice!

We have new progressing investigators! Faang is Chinese but he speaks Thai. He said that he feels sooo good when he goes to church but he doesn't want to break his culture by being baptized :( I have faith though. We met Goong (means shrimp... yeah, Thai people have odd nicknames) at night when we were inviting. I thought she was homeless because she was so dirty and she was counting money from a hat. She has a dog that follows her around and her Thai is slurry so its hard to understand her. She didn't have a number but we found her again for her appointment last Friday! It was a miracle. We asked these guys at the place we initially met her and it turns out that it was a bar! Haha! And they knew her! and one actually led us to her since she worked right behind the bar. She remembered us and we gave the first lesson at the bar! It was kind of weird but I strangely felt good about the experience. Her friends were teasing her from behind but I just thought to myself: "these people need Christ too."

So, hopefully things will work out. Sorry if some of this doesn't make sense. I am typing with one hand since I strained my left hand while playing chair ball with the zone today. An Elder barreled me over but it's okay. I got a blessing and everything! I have faith that I will be healed. 

It's been overall crazy and amazing. I don't ride a bike, but we ride song tows. They are a little crazy and super packed sometimes. When I can't sit down, I hold on to dear life on the railings above. It's a wild adventure for sure! 

 Sis Yim, my trainer is so sweet and patient. We are suuuper obedient and timely to everything. I force myself to talk to people when she asks me and I have been better at it. :) I have been memorizing all that I need to and I am slowly understanding people more. We sang to people with the Elders one night (since they are super awesome at singing) and there was a funny drunk lady who kept guessing where I was from. "Holland?" she asked. I shook my head and she guessed America and she went off about how she loves American faces! It was so funny. And the best thing about it is that I understood a lot of what she said! Haha!

Teaching English on Tuesdays is really fun. Thankfully I have been put in the advanced class and I speak only English in the class. I love chatting with everyone and helping them with their pronunciation (especially the "r" and"l" sounds) and grammar. We introduced them to tongue twisters and it was funny to have people say it as fast as they could. We gave a spiritual thought at the end about the Word of Wisdom since were teaching about health. After, we gave a lesson to a girl who wanted to learn more! So cool.

So, Attigan (bishop) wants all the missionaries to do a skit for Christmas. I can't wait! Iam super excited, it's going to be so fun!

There is so much more I wish I could talk about! I have so little time left though. But, I will say that the food here is soooo good and soooo cheap! (like a dollar for a plate!) I am learning to tolerate and love spicy food too! Like, if it's not a little spicy, it tastes bland to me. Never thought that would happen! Haha! 

Anyway, I love you all so much! Have faith! Believe in Miracles!


Sister Carter 

(Pics: tiny bananas at the high so mall!!! Sis Bentley and I are showing them off!)
And Sis Yim is holding a member's puppy at FHE! Don't worry... we washed our hands after! Dogs are super dirty and gross!

                             Tiny bananas at the high so mall!!! Sis Bentley and I are showing them off!

Sis Yim is holding a member's puppy at FHE! Don't worry... we washed our hands after! Dogs are super dirty and gross!

Acool building I found... its for kindergarten!!! So High so!! The picture is of the king and queen.
The picture is of the king and queen/ the kindergarten place in the background! It's so weird. We have a mix of rich and super poor here... 

And the other pic is of a whole entire street dedicated to dog grooming!!! So blaag! (weird)