Wednesday, February 5, 2014

02-02-14 "Trust the Spirit"

Sawadii Kha! Sabaydii may kha? 

This week went by so very fast. It must have been one of the fastest weeks of my life. I can't believe that I am back emailing already. It's been an adventure though. I have learned valuable lessons and God has granted us more miracles. 

I wasn't feeling very good for a few days. And by "a few days" I mean 4 days of having an upset stomach with weird bouts of fever. I kept pushing through it and didn't allow myself to rest all that much. But finally my companion, Sister Yim, taught me a lot. I basically learned that if I want to do God's work, I have to be considerate of my health also. I can't just keep pushing and expect to be healed all of a sudden. I have to take care of myself. And so, on Wednesday, I slept for most of the day. I drank some gatorade and some soothing herbal medicine for my stomach. By the end of the night, I was feeling a lot better and jumped right back into the work. We contacted like normal and continued on with lessons. Don't worry though, I really am better now. And I will stand up for my health when I really need it. God doesn't want a dead-beat servant anyway, haha! 

I have also been having recent doubts of my abilities. It's been a struggle to try to lead the lessons now. Sometimes there are awkward silences because I am struggling to understand what they said in the first place. Other times, I just try to say something that I hope went along the lines of what the investigator just said. I know it's bad to do it that way, but I can't help but get worked up a bit. I am so worried of looking stupid and saying the wrong things. I don't want to mess things up. People's salvation are on the line, right? But, I have been humbled by the Lord again and again. I now realize that it's not even me at all. I have to get over myself. The only teacher that should be teaching is the Spirit. That is the only way that any lesson will be successful. And even if I say stupid stuff and completely bash the grammar... this is the Lord's work. I can't mess it up. He won't let me. I also remembered something the Zone leaders had once said in a training meeting: "Don't even try to flatter yourself. This isn't you. None of your skills or talents are converting these people. It's the Lord and His Spirit." 

So, yeah, this humbling thing is sure nipping me in the butt. That's what life is for though, right? If I wasn't learning or growing there wouldn't be any point in being here. It stings sometimes but it's necessary. I have learned so much from it. I feel like a better person. And yet, there is so much I can improve on. 

In other news, we have our old investigator Oom come back! She is having a hard time though but we are right here to help her out. She still hasn't gotten baptized in the new area she moved to. So, we are going to help her prepare her for baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Also, one of our investigators, Biya, hasn't been feeling well. She has had really bad problems with her stomach so we suggested that she receive a blessing. The spirit was strong as we testified that she should not feel bad for asking for a blessing. The Priesthood is there to bless the lives of others. It is there to help us all.When she received the blessing, she said felt so much better. 

On Saturday, we went to the hospital to see a sister of a member that helps us a lot. The sister was not a member and she had never had a lesson with the missionaries before. The Elders came as well since Sister Maam wanted her sister to receive a blessing. We explained to the sister that faith is necessary for the blessing to work. She cannot simply receive it and not believe that it will work. It would be pointless. As she lay there helplessly she expressed honestly, "I believe. I believe in God." And so, the Elders placed their hands on her head and sealed a blessing of healing to her. I am so grateful for their worthiness to give such blessings to people in need. It truly is a gift from God. 

After, we went to the Pizza Company before we started our fast. It was such a nice break from all the Thai food I eat everyday. It was truly satisfying to say the least! haha! I miss American food. 

You know, the longer I am here, the more I miss how things are at home. The church is still young in Thailand. It does not run as smoothly as it does in America. There are so many little things that I miss about the church at home. I took a lot of things for granted. Yes, it is the same church of God, but the programs are still so fresh and new to the people. Even basic programs like home teaching, and visiting teaching is not practiced often. But... that is why we are here. We are here to help strengthen the church and build the kingdom of God. That is all that He requires of us missionaries here. He will take care of the rest, and all will come together. 

On Saturday, Sister Yim and I also took time out to clean the baptismal font for our investigators on Sunday. It was fun to get the mop out and clean the small little font where such a sacred ordinance takes place. And the next day (yesterday) we had two baptisms take place. Our investigators, เทพ, (Tabe) and แพรว (Praow) were baptized! After four months of being in Thailand, I finally understand the "joy" the scriptures talk about when we bring souls unto God. It was so neat. Praow went first and the water was too low! We waited for three minutes for it to fill up and we all sang "I am a Child of God". She ended up forgetting her dry clothes outside and ran out sopping wet while Tabe was being baptized. Haha! And then Tabe had to be baptized three times because his foot kept popping up out of the water. By the third time, Elder Merkley (the one performing the baptism) just let him "fall" into the water. haha! But when Tabe came out of the bathroom, dry and ready, the first thing he said was, "Awesome!" 

I can't believe that Tabe has only been learning for about two weeks. His desire was strong and he was so ready to be baptized. God surely prepared him for this time. He came up to me and just kept saying, "Thank you!" But, it wasn't me at all! It was all Heavenly Father for sure! God has also prepared our investigators, Zaphia and "M". They are a young couple that aren't married but Zaphia wants to be baptized sooo bad! She keeps asking about it and loves church so much. She is so gorgeous too! She came to church in a beautiful long skirt. And even though her mother is Muslim, her dad gave her permission to learn and to join whatever church she wanted. We taught her about the plan of salvation and she couldn't keep her mind off of going to the celestial kingdom! They are both willing to keep the law of chastity and word of wisdom as well. God is so good. 

I hope everyone is having a good week! Be happy and stay faithful. I love you!


Sister Carter

P.S. Happy Birthday Uncle Quinn!!!! 
Brother Bird is such a goofy guy, but he did a great job at baptizing Proaw! 

So, whenever people are taking pictures, EVERYONE has to jump in! Thai people LOVE taking pictures! 

Praow, Sister Yim and I posing before her baptism! After three months, she's ready!

Brother Bird is such a goofy guy, but he did a great job at baptizing Proaw! 

A lady in the mall owns this dog. She pushes it in a stroller and puts a diaper on it! So fuzzy!!

Elder Winsor had his birthday this week! We all went to Swensons and he ate the "Earthquake" which is EIGHT scoops of ice cream! He ate it all!
My ice cream was so yummy! It was a nice break from all the hard work this week!

01-26-14 "God is good. He is a miracle worker."


Sawadii kha! Sabaydii may kha! 

This week has gone by so fast. The other week seemed to trudge by so slowly because we did not have that many lessons throughout the week. But, God has surely provided His miracles this week.

Me in front of a really fancy Thai house. 
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We met a man named Chuchad. He is very intellectual and knows pretty much everything about every religion except ours. He recites scripture off the bat and even recites some Hebrew... recitations. It's pretty crazy and a little overwhelming at first because of his vast knowledge of the Bible. He works as a Physics tutor and teacher and he's just a very knowledgeable person. But the one thing he doesn't know about is the truthfulness of the Gospel and the Book of Mormon. The second meeting we had with him, he had marked up the Book of Mormon really good. He kept comparing it to the Bible and all these other things. He said that he isn't one to rely on feelings and would rather rely on his knowledge. But the thing is, you need to open your heart if you want to know of the truthfulness of the Gospel. It is only through the Spirit that we can testify and know that these things are true. If he only wants the knowledge of the church and does not progress, we will have to unfortunately drop him. But if the spirit in the lessons touch his heart and he wants to change for good... we shall surely be there. 

Recently though, we have been doing a LOT of contacting. It's a standard to "invite" people for 2 consecutive hours and we end up doing like 4 hours or something since we don't have that many investigators to teach in the day. It's really exhausting. We would bike A LOT and I would be scared to death as taxis and motorcycles would cut me off. And then we went back to walking and taking the small "buses" or truck things called song tows. Anyhow, we have recently been inviting in front of the mall called Sea Con. There are a lot of people there so it's more ideal to "sift" through the people. It's been a goal to find the "elect" and not create the "elect". Meaning, if they don't seem interested at all right off the bat, don't try to push for their number etc. It's not worth our time. Especially when we set appointments with them and they totally phit (bail) on us! If they are interested, then cool! So, anyway...

We were on this bridge leading to the mall and we were going back and forth going up to EVERYONE. The reactions people have are sometimes really funny. We'll be like, "hey, are you familiar with baptism?" they'll shrug their shoulders, do a little nervous laugh and walk away. Or I get the hand. Or they will say, "May pen lay" (It's alright). Or say "I'm Buddhist!" Which to that... I'm like thinking, "Well yes! 99 percent of Thailand is Buddhist. I know." Or they'll say, "May mii weela!" Or, I don't have the time. Yep. So is the life of a missionary. There was one man who I approached and did my speal about the church and baptism. I said, "You can have true happiness!" he still said no. He walked away and then came back to my companion! He said, "That other girl approached me and said something about true happiness...I am usually really busy and I didn't think I was all that interested. But, then something stopped me and said that this would be a good thing!" 

Now we are teaching him and he is so sweet! His name is เทพ (Tabe) which means "Angel". He is amazing and already keeping the commandments! It's truly a miracle! And he has accepted a date to be baptized! He is so good! I hope everything works out... I don't know if he understands the true importance of the Gospel though since he talked about encouraging his son to be a Buddhist monk... not good. Understanding will come in time. That's the important thing. We keep bumping into him a lot and one time he said, "Hey, I am going to Seven, do you want to come?" We did and he ended up buying us these drinks for us. It was so sweet. The members are taking really well to him too!
We were treated by our investigator and got Thai drinks from Seven!

I thought we would have a baptism this week, Jaky... but it didn't happen. Our investigator could not show up to his interview because he was sick. He stopped answering his calls and his friend would answer for him. We thought that he was avoiding us! He talked to the Elders though and he was set on being baptized on the 2nd of January. He didn't come to church because he was really sick. So, this next week for sure we will probably have two or three baptisms!!! I will let you all know, of course. 

This week, we didn't know if we would have "balanced key indicators". Meaning, we have to have a total of 10 lessons with a member or Recent convert/Less active lessons, two new investigators for the week, 2 people with a baptism date, 2 progressing investigators and 2 people who would come to church that week. We had everything except we weren't sure if we would have anyone come to church. Half the people we contacted this week lived in different areas and we had to give them up as referrals to different missionaries. We weren't sure if anyone would come to church! But then, Tabe said he would go! (even though he said he wasn't sure). And then a couple in our ward brought a friend to church! And then I got a call during sacrament from an unknown number. I went outside to answer and it was Zaphia! I had met her last week and she said she was interested in learning more and free on Saturdays. When I had called her last Friday she didn't sound very promising since she said she wasn't sure if we could ever meet in the upcoming week. She called and said that she was there at church! She even brought her boyfriend! I was so amazed. I couldn't believe it. From having no people say they could come, to 4! It was so incredible! Zaphia was so sweet too! I asked her if she liked church and she asked in the lesson, "So... how can I become Christian? I want to be baptized!" Perfect. She and her boyfriend (who she is living with... oops) live in a different area but we are going to still teach them since it's more convenient for them since he works here. 

Overall, God is good. He is a miracle worker. 

This week too, we have been watching this inspiring video that the mission made. It has the song "When you Believe" from The Prince of Egypt and clips of all these missionaries baptizing people in Thailand. It was so inspiring! At one point, they have a voice clip of Elder Holland that I would like to share. It's from his talk: "Lord I Believe"

"These things I declare to you with the conviction Peter called the “more sure word of prophecy.”16 What was once a tiny seed of belief for me has grown into the tree of life, so if your faith is a little tested in this or any season, I invite you to lean on mine. I know this work is God’s very truth, and I know that only at our peril would we allow doubt or devils to sway us from its path. Hope on. Journey on. Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe."

I would like to invite everyone to exercise their faith on the Lord and not give up hope. Help hasten His work and help the missionaries in your ward. They need it. This is His work, and His Glory. Anything is possible. 

Also, I would like to share these little videos from I love the Bible videos and the Mormon messages. I know I have mentioned this before, but I will say it again. Please watch them! They are so good! 

Yeah, there's a lot... but there are more! If any of you get the chance, shoot me an email and tell me what you thought :)

I love you all so much. Stay safe. Be happy. 


Sister Carter