Monday, January 20, 2014

01-19-13 Contacting. Contacting. Contacting


Contacting. Contacting. Contacting. 

Sister Yim and I with our safety vests and bikes! 

The bike is awesome. It's super cool and new, and it's a brand that the mission used to buy FOR the missionaries before they told them they need to buy their own bikes. It's a good, sturdy bike. I bought lights for it, a basket, a lock, and a little bell. It's super decked out and a good thing too because it gets crazy on the streets when there is traffic. But, Sister Senior tells us to where these fluorescent vests to wear at night so people will REALLY see us. So, I'm safe. The comfy seat is sooooo good. I am so happy that I have it. I am not sore in the least and I have been biking a LOT since I bought it. I have to be careful though and lock up my bike really good in Bangkok. The seat on the bike makes it more susceptible to being stolen since they don't have ANYTHING like it in Thailand. You should have seen the guy when he put it on my bike. He was like, "This is a good seat!! We don't have these here!" 
And yes, I am actually getting muscle! I exercise every morning with my companion and we jog around the church. I do a lot of ab workouts too and then bike everywhere. I feel good. I feel healthy and stronger. 

You can probably tell that I did a lot of contacting this week. Haha. It's true though. We have been hitting the road with our bikes and coming home completely exhausted. God has been good, as always, and gives me the strength to lift up the covers and hop out of bed. I hit my knees to pray and then get ready to exercise. I wonder how my body can handle so much physical exercise in one day... or months. Our bodies are pretty incredible though. I can handle a lot, apparently. We jog around the church for half an hour and then have like a little over a half an hour to hit the shower and get dressed for the day. After studies, we get out of the house and WORK.

Sister Yim and I have been discovering new areas and walking in neighborhoods to find families. No one is out or they are hiding in their houses. We are not sure if we can really "knock on doors" since it's like a thing here not to unless you know the person. Also, they have heavy gates that usually don't have doorbells on them anyway. So, we have been looking in the gates and trying to see if people are on their patios or something. Little success has happened. But sometimes people will open their gate to talk to us more. We even found a pair of talking birds that said, "Sawadii kha!" and Sawadii khap!" It was the cutest thing ever. I took a little video of it. But, alas, I can't send it since the file is too big. You will all have to be patient till I come home! 

A day of contacting by the Klong! I thought the gate was pretty funny... so much for security for your home!

That same day, we walked down this long strip of road and found this lady who could speak English pretty well. She was pretty hard heartened though and said how Elders used to come by everyday and disturb her and her husband. She has been to church and felt like no one was being welcoming to her. In all, we just let her talk until she had her fill. Sister Yim and I did not feel impressed to share our testimonies. It would not have even affected her in the slightest. After she was done, we just said "thanks", smiled and walked away. We also had another adventure that has affected me this week as well. So, we have come across a LOT of Pakistani people who are refugees here. They speak English, they don't know any Thai, and they are barely getting by on the money they had saved up before escaping their country. They have left their homes because of the enormous amount of persecution that has plagued them for being Christian. The Muslim population in Pakistan has done terrible things to them. Killing them, robbing them, bombing their churches and so forth. It's absolutely terrible. And what's worse is that the Church can't help them since they are not "obeying the laws of the land" by being true citizens of Thailand. There is too many legal complexities if we tried to give them any money etc. There are so many of them. And one day, as Sister Yim and I were contacting, we came across a man named Cornelius and his son, Joshua on a busy road. The 13 year old son spoke more English and was translating for his dad, "Please, come to our home," they said. We tried to politely refuse the offer but they insisted. And so, they led us to their very humble home. It was a tiny little two story. One little room, stairs, and the room on top. They had two mattresses on the ground with curtains for privacy. They told us to sit down and their 10 year old son, stricken with polio, lay helplessly on the other mattress. It was such a sad sight. My heart ached as they explained that they didn't have any money to keep up with the son's medical expenses. They needed money. They wanted work. Their cousin also came into the house and said, "I have been in the hospital for three days because my little daughter is sick with a serious fever. They want her there for another week but I don't know how we are going to cover for it. I come home to get clothes for my wife, and I see you two in my home! I know you can't give us money, but you are like two Angels visiting my home. I thank God for His Angels."

All we could tell them was to have faith in God that everything would work out. He answers prayers and only He could help them. I surely hope that they can get the help they need. God will take care of them somehow. 

At one point, we went inviting by the mall on the bridge. We have come to really like inviting there since there are lots more people and more chances of finding an investigator. All of our contacting in neighborhoods have kind of not turned out at all. So, we will be visiting the busier places now. I talked to a guy who spoke English. He said, "I want to go to your church this Sunday! What time does it start?" I was so excited! I told him all about it and he seemed super interested. Unfortunately though, he didn't come to church. :/ In fact, we only had two people come to church this week when 5 said they would come. 

And so is the life of a missionary. 

All is good. We have had so many miracles happen. Little things like having the energy to go up a steep hill (on a bike) with heavy traffic, or having anyone stop and say, "yes, I want to learn more about this." is a miracle. We may have a baptism this week if our investigator, Jaky, can squeeze in the time. He said he isn't free until Sunday, but we will see if he can still meet with us or not. I pray that all will work out. It may be my first baptism! Wish me luck!

Random tid bits:

1. Sister Yim and I ordered papaya salad with one pepper... there was five in there. Hottest dish of my life!

2. Masaman is now my favorite Thai dish. It's delicious. Definite recommend if anyone goes to a Thai restaurant. Not sure if it would be the same though. 

3. I'm not sure if I have mentioned this but, I go to a Muslim food stand a lot and the lady there has now dubbed me as "daughter". It's so cute. She's like my second mom in Thailand. She gives SO much food now for the same price. I think she's trying to fatten me up...

So, that's about it! I hope that all is well with everyone! Keep the faith, share the Gospel, and feed the missionaries! I love you!


Sister Carter

On the klong! (river thing)

Me and my new Thai "genie" pants that I bought a while ago! I love them! 

01-12-13 What I do Mon-Sun


Sawadii kha!    WEEKLY SUMMARY

So, I want to write this letter a little differently. Hopefully it all works out in the end and you can all see how my week really went instead of just giving an overall summary. Just sit tight and read on!

My sunburned arm... I need to be better at rubbing the sunscreen in more!

A pretty evening in Thailand
 Monday: I went on splits with Sister Ladle since my companion and her companion wanted to go to the Zone sports day. I wanted to relax at home from my crazy "senior" week. And so, I was able to run errands and actually send out some letters. I only have Mondays to write hand letters and to send them. But, we get so busy on P-days that I never have the time to do both or either. So, I apologize to any of you that have tried to write me but haven't gotten something in return. I will try to find more time to do so! But, anyway, we just looked around local markets and the mall. I bought some Thai "sabay" (comfy) pants and they are so cool! I will get a picture for you all next week! They are like "genie" pants and they are light enough to sleep in at night. 
Sister Yim and Barton came back home and we started to work again at 6:00 pm. (As usual on P-days) Sister Yim and I went to "Big C" or this huge mall-like place where the train or BTS is. There was little success that night. I got one number from a lady named Lemon who wanted to know more about English than the Gospel. Figures, right? Haha. But, as we were inviting, we just started being creative and saying anything since they weren't listening anyway. I was like, "Hey, do you want Salvation?" or "Hey, do you want to be cleansed from sin? No? That's alright. Thank you for your time!" At one point, I was talking to Sister Yim as we were standing across from each other, trying to hand out pamphlets, and this guy who I hardly looked at, gave me the hand! I was like, "What the heck? Man, I must be so good as to be rejected before I even acknowledge someone!" I thought it was pretty funny though. 

So, this is a cool little picture of a Klong, or like... really bad, stinky water.
 Tuesday: We had District meeting and English meeting as usual. English class was interesting because I thought that I was only going to teach one person in Advanced class. More people showed up though and so, I just carried on as usual. But then, Sister Senior popped her head in and was like, "Hey, can I sit in and listen?" Of course I said yes! I kept going with the lesson until the door flew open and President Senior made a very elegant/dramatic entrance. He sure does have an intense presence about him! Haha. He and his wife made comments here and there and then left to check up on the other classes. I was relieved. I was a little nervous that they were in there watching me teach by myself (with a member as my "companion). It was all good though. 

 And then a member playing a... I don't know what it is, but it was really cool!
 Wednesday: Proaw, our 14 year old investigator came to Seminary!!! She asked us to teach her in the early morning since we were already at the church exercising. It was a very quick, unplanned lesson to say the least. We did a LOT of biking. We biked for four hours around traffic and different streets. We didn't really know how to invite while biking so it was really ineffective. We changed tactics though and went to the church to take a little break. We decided that it's better to bike to a place, lock up the bikes and THEN invite people. Otherwise, it's just wasting time. 

 Thursday-Saturday: More biking, more inviting. We went all over the place and had lots of adventures biking and sweating. There is a lot of traffic sometimes so we have to be careful. We met this guy named Jekey and he is from Cambodia. He can speak Thai and our first lesson with him was really frustrating. He was countering us with all these questions and we couldn't finish our lesson with him because he was taking so much time talking. He wouldn't listen to us and wouldn't let Sister Yim finish her sentences when she spoke. It was frustrating.

Just your average day in Thailand! The man is cooking some fish on the barbecue 
 We worked hard, helped a member with her English HW, got groceries on Saturday and did some more biking. So, you could say that I am getting pretty muscley!! haha! Also, one of the days (I can't remember which) as we were biking home, Sister Yim pulled over so that we could put on our florescent vests on. (for the night time so people can see us) Just as we were going to head off again when a lady came up to us. She wai'd me and asked if I was a Sister Missionary. I was so surprised! It turns out that she was a less active from Chang Mai and she invited us into her home and everything! It was so neat! She is so cute!
Sunday: We picked up the less active to church. Her name is Sister Mai and she almost forgot about church. We walked to her place and invited on the way and even got a number out of it! We got to church and four of the people we contacted and invited to church came! I was so happy! That NEVER happens for us. Sister Yim and I split to do some lessons at the same time and I taught this man named Deng with a Member. It was a little nerve wracking to be doing a lesson by myself but the member was so nice and helpful in helping me understand. Sister Yim taught Jekey (who came, surprisingly! Sister Yim called him at 8:00 am though and basically told him he was coming! haha!) and she said the lesson was a complete 180! He was listening and told the story of how he has a whole in his heart and he could die any day. He is just confused and that's why he was asking so many questions because he wants to get it right. He said that when he met us, he never went that way because it's always too busy and there are a lot of people. But he felt like he should go that way anyway to get home and that's where we met him. After we met him he said that he was having weird dreams that prompted him to accept a lesson with us. He accepted a date for this month and he is going to try to stop drinking beer, coffee, and tea! It's such a miracle! 
We contacted later on and met this cute lady. She was like, "Oh, the missionaries, let them in!" We were like, "What the... no one says that here!" We talked for a while and she's super great at English. Hopefully she will actually accept a real lesson from us. We got her number and she said that she will be coming to English class this week!
For dinner we made spaghetti, lemon bars, and no bake cookies. It was an awesome American feast to end a good week. 

So, I hope that gives you all a more detailed description of what happened. It's pretty neat and I thought I should share more this week. We will see how other weeks go, though. Just know that the Lord is good and He is hastening His work! I love you all!


Sister Carter

and the shoe stand is all the popular shoes that I see around Thailand. They aren't very sturdy and they break super easily though. I haven't gotten any yet but I see a lot of Sister Missionaries where them. 

This is a market we went to go inviting at. I just wanted to capture the business of it all. I wish I could take pictures that will allow you to really see what it's like here. :)

01-05-14 Ups & Downs


Sawadii kha! Sabaydii may kha? 

At the Ancient City with Sisters in my zone/area!!

What a week. It was tough, I am not going to lie. I had to act as "Senior" companion and set up all the appointments/lead lessons/make the big decisions/lead in general. It was a definite learning process and there are things I could work on. But, everyone has things they need to work on, don't they? I think that's been one of the hardest part. I have realized that I am a perfectionist. I set all these high expectations of myself and beat myself up when I fall short. And more than that, I care too much about what people think of me. 

But let me back track a little. Last Monday was pretty great. It was a nice start to my "senior" week. We went to an Ancient City and saw all these cool ancient, artifacts and buildings. They weren't the "real deal" but they were copies of what else was in Thailand. But still, it was pretty awesome. 

On Wednesday, I was with Sister Ladle on splits while my companion and Sister Barton went to go get their bikes to the office. I led us and we had a really cool experience contacting. We got on a Song tow and I felt prompted to stop, and so we got off the moment I got the impression. We walked down Anut 46 (a street I had recently gone down with Sister Yim) and felt prompted again to go down a certain street. We came across this lady and her daughter talking to the grandmother through these bars. The grandmother was in a "home" of sorts and forgot a lot. We were invited to talk with them a little and we were able to share scripture passages with them. They appreciated it and said they lived in a different area. Maybe we had planted some seeds. After, I just felt prompted to talk to this guy. He said his name was "Black" and he wanted to know how to get baptized! We told him about church and he said he would go! After, I was being led left and right and having cool little successes with people. We got five numbers!!

The rest of the week had a lot of ups and downs. A lot of people didn't show up to their appointments including "Black", and I stumbled trying to teach lessons. I messed up a lot of the grammar and words in Thai but our investigators were gracious enough to help me out. I would forget little things or do some little dumb thing here and there. It was embarrassing at times but I just kept pushing through. 

I got my bike though! It's black and yellow. I knew it was love at first sight! haha! I named it Bumblebee... "BB" for short. It's silly, but my bike really is super awesome. And speaking of awesome things, our investigator Biya said that she was ready to be baptized!!! I am so, so, so happy. We have been teaching her and her sister for months now. Her younger sister, Praow, said she wants to be baptized too! Praow will be baptized on Febuary 2nd and Biya said she will definitely be baptized in March! It's such a miracle! I know the Lord had a hand in opening their hearts to the Gospel.

Yesterday, Sunday, was tough. I became too overwhelmed and let it hinder my ability to understand what people were saying in Thai. I stumbled in a lesson and struggled to listen. By the end of the night, I was able to get "balanced key indicators" but I didn't feel too successful by it. I just felt so tired. I prayed to God like a little child and called on Him as though he were my own Father on Earth. I felt His comfort immediately. He never failed on me.

 Sister Yim and I reviewed what I had done well or not. The conclusion was: I worry too much on things that don't matter. The Lord knows what He is doing. There is no way one missionary or hundreds of thousands of missionaries could mess up His work. He is guiding us all and allowing us to grow and make mistakes so that we can learn and move on. I have grown closer to God this week. I learned how to rely on Him more than I have in my life. Yes, there are lots I could work on. Tons of things. But the main thing is to take it one day at a time and breathe. No one is perfect. God loves us all and His Gospel is the only thing that will lead to true joy and happiness. I hope that I will always remember that God and His Son is always by side, watching out for me. They lift me up and give me Spiritual hugs when I need them. 

I love you all so much. Take care!


Sister Carter

I'm on a little boat in the ancient city!!!

Look at these cool boats!!! Awesome, huh? 

Cool boats and artifacts!!

And, a banana tree Sister Ladle and I found when we were contacting!!    

And my bike! It's scary to ride on the streets though!     

12-29-13 Christmas Program


Sawadii Kha! Sabaydii may kha?

So, I have a lot of catching up to do. This past week/last week has been a little crazy. With Christmas season, it's bound to be a little busy. Not with Christmas shopping, of course! Haha! But, the Ward had asked us to be in their Christmas program and it was so much fun. We were all dressed up as... people in Jerusalem? Yeah, I am not really sure what it was. We were just back up singers, basically. 

It was really cool though. On Christmas Eve, I was able to share the Christmas story to my English students. They had no clue what the story even was. So, to share that special, sacred story to them and see the interest and awe in their eyes... I think it was one of the best Christmas eve's. Not only that, but we were able to eat good ol' Thai food as well for dinner! (papaya salad!!)

Christmas day was wonderful as well. We were able to eat lots of Christmas goodies we received from family (thank you fam, btw) And we pigged out as a district on hot chocolate and apple cider as a district. We watched Missionary approved Christmas videos and ate lots of candy canes and chocolate. To top it all off, we went to Sizzlers (yes, there is an actual Sizzlers here!) and I got a nice, juicy, American burger. It was so good! It almost felt like home :)

 Our golden investigator, อ้ม (Oom) hasn't been answering her phone and she didn't come to her appointment last week and to church. So, unfortunately, even with her moving to a different area, (yes, she's moving) we can't baptize her. We are kind of bummed to say the least. She was so good. She was sharing the Gospel with her children and her children's friends. And when we were introducing the Gospel to her daughter and her daughter's friends, she was practically teaching the lessons! It was so amazing. I love her so much. But now we are just super worried. We hope she is okay. But since she didn't come to church, she can't be baptized till she comes twice in a row. And the Elders in the place she's moving to will have to take care of her. After all that mess yesterday, we invited people or "Dan Jonse'd" since we need more people to teach and people to baptize for this coming month. (the mission goal is to get 200 baptisms) I started to talk to everyone and got rejected each time. One lady was super nice but she was Catholic. She was just talking about how she was only Catholic because her dad taught her to be that way. She wasn't interested in learning but she said she might check out the church sometimes, which is promising. We then came up to a questionable looking man. He had a bottle of cold medicine that actually has alcohol and opium in it. He didn't seem too out of it though as we were talking to him. We gave him a date and he said... yes. A lady came up to him as we were talking to him and she was like, "what are you doing talking to these people?" he waved her off and was like, "not now woman!" she hailed a taxi and said, "we need to go!" and he waved her off again as we confirmed the 26th of January as a date for him. So, hey, I think God has a sense of humor sometimes in answering our prayers. I hope that this man we invited WILL be baptized next month. There is always hope. I have faith. 

I am kind of nervous about this week. I will be leading all the appointments and such. I will also be leading lessons and doing everything a Senior companion would. I have been praying really hard so I won't mess up. My companion says that I will be fine. I can't mess up the Lord's work... I don't think He would let me, really. And, the Lord is the only one who can help me now. I will put my whole trust in Him this week. Wish me luck!

Sorry that this post is jumping around everywhere! I don't have TOO much time to write all that I want. There is so much I want to say about Thailand too. Like the fact that it's only 70 degrees here and there are people with coats and scarves on. It's so crazy. And since it's New Years tomorrow, there's hardly anyone on the streets! It's so much quieter on the streets. I sometimes wonder what it's like to be a missionary in America. The church is still growing here and the missionaries do a lot of work that members or the church is supposed to do. We sometimes clean out the bathrooms and replace the toilet paper, or members will call us so that we can open the church. Not that I am complaining or anything. I just wonder sometimes if some of the things we do is "normal". But, hey. Every missionary has their own experiences, so I guess I really can't compare. 

Anyway, if anyone else has any questions about Thailand or... missionary work or whatever, feel free to email me and tell me to put it on here, okay? 

I love you all! I will write a better letter next week, I hope! 

I love you!

Love, Sister Carter

The Ward Christmas party skit with the YW and YM. There are like two YM in total and the rest are all young women! And they put up that cool stage too!