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

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