Wednesday, October 23, 2013

" All doubts melted away"

Sawadii Kha! Sabaydii may? Wanii pen yangray? 

So, I am in Thailand. No big deal, right? 

No, I am sooooo excited! I wish I could elaborate how awesome it is to be here. No joke, it. is. amazing. I was super nervous on the plane. It was such a long trip and I had a hard time sleeping more often than not. They tried feeding us dinner on the plane at 3:00 am and I was like, "What? I just want to sleep!" haha! Oh, and it was pretty dang neat to see Gordon Ramsey in LAX... just saying. 

I can't believe I was in China! It's just so cool! I mean, I guess the airport in Hong Kong doesn't really count by all technicality but, I still count it. It was a two hour flight from there to Thailand and it was the shortest plane ride of my life. I was basically freaking out. In a bad way. I was doubting my ability as a missionary and my capacity to speak Thai. It was kind of bad. But as we were descending and I could see glimpses of the land I would be serving in... all doubts melted away. I was filled with joy and love and awe. I can't describe half of what I felt, really. I almost cried with joy! The rest of the day was really long. We met President and Sister Senior and they are SO wonderful. I can't wait to get to know them more. We Dan Jonse'd the first day (handing out Books of Mormon to people) and I was able to be paired up with Sister Phelps from my Stake! It was so nice to see her and meet with her. She is such a sweetheart. We passed a Book of Mormon to a man sitting at a Bus stop and I was able to bear my testimony of it! I was so happy!

Transfer meeting was a blur. I was so tired and taking everything in that I can't really remember important details. All I know is that I was able to meet my trainer, Sister Yim and be called to serve Srinakarin (in East Bangkok). We got to our apartment and it's so High So! (super nice by Thai standards) Our apartment is nice and clean with a normal bathroom and AC. I live with two other Sisters, Sister Barton and Sister Bentley. They are wonderful and nice. I love them all so much. Sister Yim lived in Hawaii and she is of Chinese decent. (even though she looks Hawaiian) A lot of people think that she's a khon thai, or a Thai person. We tried to exchange my money but the banks here are super picky about American money. We will try again today to exchange it. Anyway, the malls here look like American malls almost. They are so modern and nice! But then you step outside and see all the craziness of Thailand. It's kind of dirty and run down in a lot of areas but it's still super awesome. 
Sister Yim and I study and keep our clothes and stuff in this room and sleep in the other room with the other sisters
We got back to the apartment and I felt a little overwhelmed by all the things I have to memorize in Thai. And then on top of that, I smacked my face into the clear, glass door in our apartment. Haha! I laugh now, but it was super embarrassing. 

The days after were kind of a blur as well. Today is P-day (Monday here and Sunday in the US) and so I am trying hard to think of all that happened four days ago...

We have two new Elders in the district! Elder Codling (from my MTC district!) and Elder Murkeley are so awesome. Elder Murkeley is our District Leader and he is super nice and awesome. He is so geng (skilled) at approaching people and being super friendly to them. We helped them move into an apartment since we never had Elders in the area before. I have had so much fun meeting all the members and different people here in Thailand. They are so kind and loving and very forgiving of my Thai. They are always so surprised when I say hello and wai to them. Farangs (foreigners/white people) never really approach Thai people let alone speak their language. I scared this poor lady I was sitting next to at this bus stop. She was in her own world when I said, "sawadii kha!" she jumped and practically screamed! Oh my goodness! I felt so bad! But, I was able to talk to her a little about the Gospel. Ugh... it is so hard to approach people and commit them to baptism. Our zone leaders want us to contact people on the street and basically ask them the baptism commitment straight off the bat. Apparently it works? My trainer and I will be giving it a shot this week and see how things go. We are trying to live by strict obedience to the rules and to the Lord. I have actually come up to 6 people or more in total and asking them about baptism and such. They are always surprised and a little apprehensive about my approach. I haven't had success yet but I know the Lord will bless me. 

I have been really striving to be positive. My motto recently is "no excuses!". I can't keep giving myself reasons not to approach people. I am a missionary and I am accountable for teaching these people the gospel. So, NOW more than ever, I have been praying to my Lord above. I have felt His love for me and for the people I see everyday in Thailand. 

I love you all so very much! I pray for you and hope that you are all happy and well. Please don't forget about your missionaries. We need all the help we can get! 

I love you,

Sister Carter

These pictures are of a bridge we found when we were exploring the area and "Dan Jones-ing" (approaching people about baptisims/trying to find more investigators) 

more make shift bruges

glass on wall

Do you see what is on the wall? They are so smart! They put broken glass bottles and glued them on the wall so no one would climb over! Yep... this is Thailand!

 The toad I almost stepped on yesterday!

A view from my patio 

The Church from the roof of my apartment



Well, this is Srinakarin! It's pretty great! I love it here!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I'm in the AIR !

So I'm on my way to Thailand right now.  I was able to call my parents while at the Salt Lake Airport and also at the Los Angles airport.  While at LAX I was standing in line and guess who was behind me?...  Gordon Ramsay... pretty cool!  I always liked watching his cooking shows.   It was good to hear from my family and I'm excited to be traveling with 16 other missionaries who are all going to THAILAND!

There was a woman in the airport that noticed we were all wearing badges.  She asked us what we were doing and we told her we were missionaries and were traveling to Thailand to serve the people and share a message of Christ with them.  She seemed pretty impressed with us and thanked us for being such good examples.  She then insisted on buying us all dinner at the airport.   One of the missionaries accepted the money but I don't think we were supposed to.  In any case, it was nice that there are people out there that are kind and generous.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

I leave for Thailand on Monday October 14th !

Sawadii kha! Sabaydii may? 

I found Elder Edwards and snagged him for a picture. I wanted at least one before I left. This was after the first session of Sunday Conference.
Hello all! I hope that all of you are doing well. I've had such a great week this week. It's so crazy that I have been here for almost 9 weeks now. It's been so long, but too short. I received my travel plans this last Thursday! Ah! I was so excited (being my only mail that day and being the best mail I've ever received in the MTC)! Oh my goodness! There's a picture of my travel plans that I took, I don't know if you can read it that well. It basically says that I will be flying out of Salt Lake City at 6:10 pm and arriving at LAX at 7:05 pm. From there I will leave to Hong Kong at 11:55 pm and arrive there at 5:45 am on the 16th (they are a day ahead). It's really weird that I will be going "in time" and skipping the 15th of October completely. I will gain it back when I come home though. I will leave for Thailand at 8:15 am and arrive approximately 10:00 am. So, that's my traveling plans in a nut shell. I will be traveling with all the Thai speakers in my zone, being only two districts and a total of 17 of us altogether. It's super exciting to be able to travel with people that I have grown very close to. It'll be a long, vigorous plane ride but it'll be so worth it when I arrive in Thailand!

Speaking of which, this is my official last P-day in the MTC. I am stoked! I'm considered one of the "old people" now in the MTC, haha! I've been here that long! (about 2 months!) It used to be really weird seeing people come in and leave before you do. Like all the English speakers just come in and out, in and out before I can even blink. And all of us 9 week people look at them thinking, "one day... one day!" And that "one day" is now approaching. It's great. I can finally stand in Relief Society this Sunday when they ask who is going to be leaving this week! I've been so looking forward to that. :) 

General Conference was amazing. If any of you have not seen it, read it, or heard it in any shape or form, I would advise you to watch it. There was some fantastic things that were said, and I hope that I never forget it. I mean, even the Prophet said that this was the best conference he has ever attended! I think that should speak volumes to you, because it sure did me. I loved Edward Dube's talk of looking forward into the future and continuing to serve the Lord. I think many are tempted to think, "Oh, I have done enough, I don't need to do anymore." but... there's so much more to do! The work is NEVER done. His words really inspired me.  
Click here to listen to Elder Dube's talk

 I also loved President Uchtdorf's talk, and Elder Holland, and so many more! They were all so amazing. I can't even express how much I appreciated and loved everyone's words. I also think that Missionary work is definitely being brought to attention in General Conference. The Prophet has called us all to hasten the Lord's work. Now, more than ever, we need everyone's all into bringing people the best message in this entire world: the gospel of Jesus Christ. We missionaries NEED you. We cannot do it alone. So please... don't forget your brothers and sisters! :)

The devotional this last Sunday after Conference was amazing! We had the privilege of having Vocal Point come to the MTC to speak/sing to us. Their voices were of Heaven! And their messages were so inspiring. I am so blessed to be able to listen to all the beautiful hymns that they sang. They truly sang from the heart. I loved it when they did "hymn shares" where after the first verse, they would invite everyone to sing along with them. All of our voices echoing in that gym brought this wonderful sense of peace and love from the Spirit. I have been so blessed. 

We had John Madsen (a former 70) talk to us this last Tuesday. I loved how his message was about the Atonement of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He had quoted, "The atonement is not apart of the Gospel... the Atonement IS the Gospel." I feel that this is so true. Everything else that we teach is simply an appendage to the Atonement. It was Christ's greatest act in all of his Life and ministry. We should all learn of Him and be more like Him. Only through Him can we be saved. I know I emphasize a lot about Christ, but why shouldn't I? I strive to learn and grow through Him. I know that without Him, my message would fall flat to everyone's ears. I am nothing without my Savior. 

I hope you all watched some Mormon Messages this week. 

They truly are inspired, and will make your day. I love you all so very much. Keep up the faith, and do not forget your Lord and Redeemer.


Sister Carter

The Provo temple, one of the last times I will see a temple for a year and a half.

Me sitting in class. 

 I let Elder Hartman get a hold of my camera... he took a lot of funny pictures! This is a pic of Elder Wolfly through the peep hole of our classroom door. 

Brother Burgess, Me, and Sister Her. Brother Burgess hates taking pictures! He's so funny though.

This is my teacher, Brother Todd. He was reluctant to take pictures, so I told him I would take a quick one from my seat.
 Elder Hartman snuck his way into a picture with Brother Todd

This is my third teacher, Brother Shippley. He didn't want to take a picture so I got a quick shot of him with a little bit of pleading. :) 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

"I KNOW that Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet of the Lord"

Sawadii Kha! Sabaydii may? 
I can't believe that I have just one more full week next week and then I will be off on the 14th! It's so exciting! Brother Burgess showed us all these neat pictures of Thailand and I kept getting more and more excited to go. I know that I will have an amazing experience. 

I have had an amazing week. As many of you know, I was able to participate in the General Relief Society Choir. And oh my goodness! What an experience. It was so incredible to be able to sing praises unto the Lord before the whole world. I sang my heart out, I tell you. I was so, so happy to be there as a Sister Missionary to the Lord. 

All us Sisters in front of the Conference Center

Here I am singing with the wonderful sisters from the MTC choir!

Sister Maughan, Peterson and I on the bus to Salt Lake!

But on the way there, I got a little car sick from riding on the bus because it had been so long since I have been in a car! Haha! It wasn't that bad though. I just thought it was a little funny. And looking through the window and seeing everyone in their cars and in the streets, going about their business, I felt a sense of peace and love for all the faces I saw. I thought to myself, "Here are all these people living their normal lives. I wonder how many of them know how much they are loved by their Heavenly Father and Dear Older Brother." It was a very neat feeling to know that as a set-apart missionary, I was caring so much for all these strangers I'd pass by. I hope that I always remember this feeling. 

We made it to the Conference Center! Yay!
When I got to the Conference Center, I was in awe. My heart skipped a beat at the sheer mass of the building. I know I had been there before, but to be sitting on the stands where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir would normally be sitting was such a humbling experience. I was just so happy. And then they announced that our Beloved Prophet was going to be speaking to us... I about bust my smile, I was that happy! I couldn't believe how blessed I was to be able to be in the presence of the Prophet and that I could hear his words from a few feet away. And when he walked in the room, I immediately knew it was him before I could even see him. His spirit had filled the entire congregation and my heart was filled with love. It just added to my testimony that I KNOW that Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet of the Lord. I didn't have to see him to know that he was a Prophet. But the feelings that I felt when I did see him only sealed my testimony further. 
Overall, the entire experience is one that I hope I never forget. I am so happy that many of you were able to watch it and see me on the screen. I hope that you felt the spirit as I did when I sang my heart and soul on that stand. 

This week, I have been realizing a lot of things about myself. I remember being very critical and negative in certain aspects of life or the Gospel. I rationalized a lot and I always tried to think more "logically" than anything else. I told myself that I would be teaching a lot of Buddhist people with solid cultural backgrounds. It would be hard to convince anyone that the Gospel that I would be offering to them was better than what they had. I told myself not to expect any baptisms or miracles for that matter. But now, I look back and shake my head at how foolish that sounds. I was so blind and frankly, a little stupid. I realize that it will be hard, there's no doubt about that. But I feel my heart and mind soften to the Lord and the Spirit. I realize now that I have every reason to hope and to expect many miracles on my mission whether they be big or small. The Lord is hastening His work for a reason. I need to trust him and have every optimism and love for the people I will be serving. I will be more hopeful and more faithful in that aspects. Yes, there will be disappointments. But more importantly, there will be miracles. And no one will ever convince me otherwise. I will not heed to negativity about the Thai people any longer. They are God's children, and He has prepared some for me to bring them to Him. I will try to put logic aside and listen and earn the promptings of the Spirit. Only then can the Lord use me upon His will. 

Recently, Brother Burgess did this activity where people would sit in the "love chair" and everyone would say all the things they admired about the person. The whole experience was so nice. I felt the Lord's love as I freely expressed my love for all those in my district. And when it was my turn, I was surprised by all the nice things they had said about me. I felt like they were exaggerating at times and I felt a little embarrassed by all the praise. I think what surprised me the most is when people talked about how they love how I smile a lot. I hadn't noticed that I did. Usually at home, I am told to smile more! Haha! I guess it's just a testimony to me that this Gospel will bring nothing but joy to us, and I have been feeling more joy than I ever have before. I feel loved. I am so blessed to have the teachers, district, and companion that I have. All are inspired of the Lord and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

This last Wednesday, I was able to meet Elder Edwards and Sister Reed when they arrived in the MTC. It's so nice to see people that I know here. I see Elder Brewer often and I am so happy that my friends are serving the Lord like I am. I feel like a mission is one of the best decisions of my life so far. I do not regret it in the least. And I hope that any of you who read this and are considering a mission... Do it. Please, I promise that you will learn so much and the Lord will be pleased at your sacrifice. I know that I am not on the field yet but I don't have to be to know that this is the Lord's errand. I can't wait to be in Thailand. 

I have been struggling with the language this past week as well. I have felt my frustrations rise at the lack of understanding and the level that others are at that I am lacking in. While many can read and write Thai decently, I can only read it somewhat okay. I can't even begin to write Thai without looking it up and seeing how it's spelled. So, it has been a bit of a difficulty to say the least when I feel so inadequate. When we were all told to read aloud from the Thai scriptures as a group, I began to feel so flustered and on the spot. I paused a lot and I felt really dumb that I was the only one that needed a lot of help reading. I felt like a child. But, afterwards, I had cooled off and prayed so fervently unto the Lord. I pleaded and cried so much. I just didn't want to feel the way that I was. I wanted to be better. I have the desire to learn Thai in all its aspects. So, why didn't I get it? Wasn't my desire righteous? But as I prayed, I felt his arms around me in comfort and one thing stuck out in my mind, "Trust me." I couldn't hold back the tears. I needed to trust my Heavenly Father. I need to seek him out in all that I do. And so, before I read Thai or I am about to study it, I pray fervently to have it retained in my mind. It is coming along but I have felt all the difference. 

I love you all so much. I pray for you and I think of you. Please help your missionaries out. Please open your mouths to your neighbors or co-workers or classmates. It doesn't matter where they come from or what they are doing, it matters where they are going. More often than not, I wouldn't think my friends would want to hear the Gospel or accept it because of their lifestyle. But, I know now that there is no level where the Lord cannot reach them. He loves everyone, and He wants them back in His presence. 

I love you.


Sister Carter

P.S. I would invite you all to watch Mormon Messages. They are so inspiring and I love them so much! I have too many favorites! But I really love the Earthly Father, Heavenly Father, the Love My Mother, A Mother's Hope, Enduring Love, and Road to Damascus! At least watch those! They are so good :)

The empty conference center

Me in front of the tabernacle, I am so excited!

Sister Thain, Peterson, Barber and I 

Sister Peterson, Me and Sis Thain up on the stands! SO cool! The organ was so loud and awesome!

A shot of all the sisters in their seats, there are so many of us!
( L to R) Me, Sister Maughan, and Sister Peterson posing before we go through the Make up and hair check on Choir day. (Sister her didn't make it in the choir :( I was so sad!)

(L to R) Sister Peterson, Me, and Sister Maughan. Sister Peterson (we have three sister Peterson's in our zone) is totally photo-bombing us. It's so funny!

(L to R) Sister Peterson, Sister Ellis, Sister Barber (all going to Thailand, they are in a different district) and Sister Thain and Sister Peterson (going to Cambodia)

All the girls in my zone that went to the General Relief Society Choir

Sister Maughan, Peterson and I on the bus to Salt Lake!

 Zone Sisters on the bus! I'm way in the back! Haha

The beautiful sight of the Salt Lake temple after the meeting. Such a gorgeous sight after a wonderful meeting

Elder Wolfley and Elder Hartman being goofs

Elder Madsen, Wolfley and Hartman posing again. They crack me up! Ah, I have great Elders :)

Silly shot! (L to R) Sis Her, me, Sis Peterson, and Maughan not paying attention and cracking up at the Elders.

Elder Batey (going to Thailand, in my zone) He's one of the funniest Elders in my zone! He's being weird eating his Beef Jerky

This is Elder Gage and his classic "Elder Gage Pose". (going to Thailand, in my zone) 

 Elder Hartman messing around and throwing a bouncy ball. Elder Batey is being funny/weird as usual and the rest aren't paying attention. I love them all!

 All us sisters in the Marriot Center for the last time. We used to do devotionals here but now we do them in the gym now.