Monday, April 21, 2014

04-21-14 Song Kran was SO MUCH FUN !!!

Dear Family,

Sawadii Kha!

First thing is first... Song Kran was SO MUCH FUN!!! I can't even tell you.
We went to Siam Square where we had a massive water gun fight! It was so
crazy and fun! It felt good to laugh and smile and be drenched with cool
water. When I come back I will definitely create a version of Song Kran
with the entire family!

Other cool things happened this week. I was able to be filmed for a
training video for the mission. I was a little hesitant to do it, but I
gave in and decided that it was for the best. I just hope the video doesn't
haunt me for the rest of my mission with my bad acting. Ah! Oh well! It was
still fun.

We visited an Less active this past week. She is super nice and I love that
she teaches her children to be good. But, she also told us that she prayed
to Heavenly Father and got "permission" to not go to church for 10 years.
She works every Sunday and she wants to save up a lot of money so that she
doesn't have to work anymore for the rest of her life. We didn't really
want to argue with her. We just shared a spiritual thought and left. It
made me a little sad but... people have their agency.

One of the highlights of this week is when we ate at this place called
Saam's. Her daughter Coms, was the 13 year old that we recently baptized.
Coms got our order and we asked where her little brother, Camp is. She said
he was upstairs and began to call for him. She said, "Camp! CAMP!!! The
Sisters are here!"
There's a little silence and then we here this voice scream, "SISTERS!" He
came bolting down the stairs with a grin on his face and his hands filled
with crafts he had just made. He told us all about them and I felt so
happy. I had never had someone that happy to see the Sister Missionaries
before. It was so cute.

We originally had four people in mind to be baptized this week. But all but
one was baptized since the rest didn't answer their phone/didn't show up or
weren't ready to be baptized. It's alright though. We had Sister Lin be
baptized and it was so nice! We have known her for quite a while and she
was never able to meet us because of her work. Miraculously, she found the
time this week to learn the rest of the gospel, be interviewed and then
finally be baptized. It was so neat!

Easter was really lovely this year. The Thai Stake really pulled together a
cool show. They played this videa and I loved it!

I hope you enjoyed Easter as much as I did. I learned so much and I had a
wonderful Easter dinner with President and Sister Senior. It was so nice.

I love Easter and what it represents. I am so grateful for the Sacrifice
that Christ made so that we can have eternal life. I am happy that he
overcame death. I know that he lives.


Sister Carter

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

04-13-14 Infamous Song Kran holiday

Sawadii Bi mai! 

Happy Thai New Years everyone! It's so exciting and awesome! Today (yesterday and tomorrow) is the infamous Song Kran water fights. I am so excited! I will tell you all about it next week. But let's just say Song Kran is an awesome holiday where everyone in Thailand has an excuse to dump water and powder all over you. On the way to the internet place there were these men that chased us and smeared powder all over my face and mouth. It was weird...? Fun? I don't know how to feel about it. But I am looking forward to the rest of the day for sure. 

So, this past week... I can't really remember a lot that had happened. On Monday, I watched Seventeen Miracles and was reminded of the sacrifice that people made in the name of the our Lord and Savior. It was a definite needed reminder. Many tears were shed. Haha.

Other than that, one of the only things that stands out to me is General Conference. I was so excited to watch it this week! I have never been this excited to watch General Conference in my life! I remember always watching it every year with no particular interest. I would listen to a talk or two and would always forget who the speaker was. But when I watched the October session last year in the MTC, my whole perspective changed! I hung onto every word that each speaker said. I felt the spirit and I was uplifted. 

This year was no different. I was inspired by the messages delivered with power and authority. I wrote down all the things that stood out to me and I received answers that I was looking for. It's so hard to choose just one talk that I loved the most. I loved Elder Holland's talk about facing adversity with strength and courage. I loved Uchtdorf's talk about gratitude and enjoying all the small things in life. I loved Elder Bednar's talk about the Atonement and the need of the burdens we have in this life to help us keep pushing forward. I learned a lot. I learned that faith is vital in order to do anything in this life. We cannot do anything alone. We were not made to do things alone. We must sometimes stand alone among our peers, but we will always have the Supreme Creator on our side to lift us and guide us in those times. The Atonement is the greatest gift of all. We can always have joy in this life if we recognize all the blessings of Christ's sacrifice and have comfort in the knowledge that He KNOWS us completely and wholly. All in all, it was just an awesome General Conference, I really look forward to October! 

Yesterday, (Sunday) it rained, people were "playing" (water fights) and we weren't allowed to contact for the rest of the Sabbath day. We were at a loss as to what we should do. All of our investigators had bailed on us and everyone else we tried to contact is gone for the holiday. So, we returned home, studied, and then sang Thai hymns! It was so fun. We cleaned up our apartment and we were invited to a small FHE at President and Sister Senior's house. It was a blast! We had an awesome spiritual thought given by President Senior about the Lord's Prayer and how there is so much more to praying than we realize. We played this "air hockey" game with a ping pong. Except, we had to blow the ball into the goal and I laughed hysterically as I saw everyone's mouth puffed up like a balloon. At the end, we watched some slideshows of President's pictures, drank milkshakes, ate cookies and enjoyed each other's company. One of the pictures that President showed was the cat that is always hanging out at the MRT station. Elder Suphan (a Thai Elder) exclaimed (in his English), "I love that cat! It's at Petchburi Station!" Everyone got a kick out of his enthusiasm.
So, a lot of good things happened despite some of the little disappointments we had throughout the week. God is good. I just love being a missionary. It is so rewarding and fun! I am so happy to be in Thailand. Also, I found this video from the General Woman's meeting and it has Thai members in it! I was so happy! AHHH! I recognized the Thai as they were all singing "I am a Child of God". Maybe you can guess which of them are Thai? It's a little tricky! Haha! 

I love you all! I hope you enjoyed conference as much as I did! I love you!


Sister Carter

My new Thai dress that looks like the magic carpet from Aladdin! I love it! And it was only 100 baht! (3 dollars) Score!!!

Me, Sister Sahagun, and Brother Lao-suh (the greatest, cutest, old, Thai man you will ever meet!)
Brother Lao-suh is so funny and kind.  He helps us out all the time!

                                           The cat that likes to sleep above the MRT station outside 

04-06-14 "I am here to help people"

Sawadii kha!

Hello all! I had quite a week and I am excited to share all about it! I feel like there is never enough time in the world so sorry if this all sounds ramble-y and rushed. 

My feet being "eaten" by little fish!  It tickled so much!
There was a meeting for all the leaders (MLC) so I went on a switch off with another Sister while our companions (who are Sister Training Leaders) went to the meeting. It was fun and crazy. We did our studies like normal and then we taught this investigator named Nuchara. Lao-suh (this cute little man who sells Muu ping in front of the church) helped us teach her. But he first pulled in another lady out of no where and said that we needed to teach her too. I was a little confused about it all but I went with it. We taught them both in the church and the lesson was going well. They were both Christian and very familiar with prayer. I thought, "Cool, this will be easy then." I then offered to say the opening prayer and began praying. As I was praying the two ladies began praying with me too! It was so funny and bizarre! They were mumbling really weird stuff and I struggled to finish the prayer without laughing. I then explained that when we pray, we only have one person pray out loud. The lesson went smoothly though and they both accepted dates to be baptized and come to church!

Later that day, I met up with Sister Sahagun and we went contacting right outside the office. We met this guy named Joe and he agreed to meet with us in two hours. We taught him and committed him to quit smoking. He said he would try. He's still struggling a bit but he's super cool. He wanted to meet with us everyday so that he can prepare to be baptized. It was funny when we taught the Law of Chastity and said we can't have homosexual relationships. He said, "Don't worry. I promise to Jesus that I won't do that!" He's awesome. 

On Thursday I went on a switch off with Sister Her! She was my MTC companion! It was so cool to be with her in my area and do active missionary work. I love her and missed her dearly. Even though we hit a few stumbling blocks that day (seven people not showing up to their appointments, being kicked out of a spot we were inviting at, and being the hottest day in the world) we still had fun inviting people and working hard together. In the end we had a successful lesson and I was so happy to see how much we have both improved with our teaching and language skills. 

The next day, we went back to her area in Bong Bua Tong and met our companions at the church. I was a little surprised at the church though. It was the second floor of a Mitsubishi car store! Their baptism font was basically this huge tub like thing. It was so crazy! I forget how spoiled I am to have had served in Church buildings so far. I know that I will get my fair chance of it later on in my mission though. 
After, Sister Sahagun and I were going back home by the BTS (skytrain) and then connecting to the MRT (subway). On the way, we saw this huge crowd of people gathering around something. Everyone was pulling out their cameras and taking pictures/videos. I stopped to find what they were looking at. A guy who spoke English came up to us randomly and explained what was going on, "There's like this girl who is about to commit suicide or something. She's been sitting up there for a long time. I don't know why anyone hasn't pulled her down yet." I then saw the woman who he was talking about. She was wearing this pretty dress with her head bowed low. She was sitting on the edge of the bridge ledge with her feet hanging off. Her bag was hung up on this post nearby and she didn't say anything. I was so scared for her! My heart sank. I was disgusted at how everyone was just crowded around her taking pictures as though she were a rare specimen. Security finally came and were trying to cautiously convince her to come down. She would make movements as though she were threatening them that she would jump at any second if they touched her. An ambulance came and I finally pulled myself away from the scene. I felt nauseous. I hope that she's still alive. 

I pondered this for a while. I finally concluded that this is why I am here. I am here to help people to know the joys of the Gospel to find their purpose here in life. I can't help everyone. I can't save everyone. But I can bear my testimony that God loves them and they are here for a very special reason. We all still have our agency, but I hope somehow that the grace of God will open their hearts and see how precious life is. 

Saturday, we taught a sweet old man named Sugit. He has a strong desire to be baptized and follow the commandments. We talked about the 10 commandments and how we can't wear any phra or worship them. (Buddhist necklaces/idols) He then started playing with the one he wore and said, "Okay, I will take it off." He never did when we were there, but on Sunday he came with a big smile and said, "Look! I took it off like I said I would!" I was so proud of him. I know that must have been such a hard thing for him to do especially since he has worn it for years. He also said a really sweet prayer. He said, "Heavenly Father... I am a good person. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." It was so cute and funny! I love him already! 

Sunday... oh Sunday. I saw a very scarring sight. Let's just say you have to be careful when you see homeless men laying down on benches... wearing a skirt... and no underwear. Yeah, that was particularly not what I expected to see on my mission. I'm over it though. I just think it's funny now. 
We had a super nice Spaghetti dinner provided by Sister Sahagun and myself. The Elders in our group loved it and they all had seconds. It was just so nice to have a sit-down dinner like that with other missionaries. We had a cool Zone training after and I really felt inspired.

So, folks! That's my week. Kind of crazy. Lots of interesting things, but so is life. I am happy that I have the chance to be here as a missionary doing God's work. I know that anything is possible with faith and works. I love you all very much!

Love, Sister Carter 

Before we fasted, we ate at a really yummy pizza place! 
Our District Area dinner with Spaghetti

Bangkok traffic

A funny stray dog on its back!  Don't's not dead

03-30-14 Hospitals & Dentist

Sawadii Kha!

So, I have been kind of cozy at the hospital lately. Don't be alarmed, all is well. I was still struggling with my health. Stomach pains, intestinal pains, diarrhea, the whole shabang. Sister Senior advised that I go to the Bangkok Hospital to sort things out since it had been well over a week of this. I was reluctant and decided I could "toughen it out". Well, I didn't last too long. I submitted and went to the doctors. I was directed to the international wing where I waited to be called on. My doctor was a very nice, Arabic man that was concerned about me. I appreciated his help as he gave me antibiotics and requested a stool sample (awkward) in order to figure out what sort of bug nipped me. All went well. He told me I couldn't eat spicy food or any dairy. I was kind of sad about this. I never realized how much I love milk until I had to stop drinking it entirely for a week. I lost some weight though! 

Anyway, I had two more appointments with him including this morning. He informed me that the bug they found was a rare specimen called Plesiomonas Shigelloides. He didn't even know what it was. But, apparently it can be found in fish according to Sister Senior's research. So, I will stay away from that for a little while. 

Last Tuesday, Brother Wilright (the president of BYU Hawaii) visited us in our district meeting. He talked about Nephi and how we can be leaders, learners and builders. It was nice to have him there to talk to us.

This past Wednesday I ran into two Irish men. They invited us to sit down and talk. They wanted to talk about literature and our thoughts concerning these things. Being as we are missionaries, we don't have time to talk about these sorts of things for a long time. The subject of course turned around to missionary work and what we do. They agreed to come to the church since they were interested in seeing us teach in English. We understood them wrong seeing as they actually wanted to see us teach English to Thai people. When we told them we only teach English on Tuesdays, one of them immediately looked uncomfortable being in the church. His body language just screamed, "I want to get out of here." And what was interesting is that he kept asking us if there was anything we questioned in the church or disagreed with. He then asked for a tour of the church surprisingly. He asked about the picture of Jesus in the Americas on the wall and asked, "So Jesus went to South America?" we proceeded to explain why and then things turned a little messy. He went on and on and on and on about how he is a universalist and he doesn't believe that one religion is "right". There is so much that churches do to "restrict" us and what not and we only are here as missionaries so that we can "have more numbers and be competing with other religions". We stood and patiently listened to him. We didn't try to fight him at all, and only flinched a little when he started cursing. I think he was a little put off by that seeing as we didn't act to "defend" ourselves. He looked a little defeated and said he had to go somewhere right in that instant. Before he left he hastily complimented us and said that he "couldn't argue with our sincerity" and that we are "an attractive bunch of folks. How do you all get such good teeth?"
After he left, I felt a little well... like something was missing. I couldn't put my finger on it. All I knew is that I wanted that man and his friend to be happy. I wanted him to know what true happiness was and not to be weighed with all his concerns about the world. I wish that I could have said something to ease his mind. But, I also think that all he needed at that moment was to rant to someone about all these things. I also realized that I am not here because I am touring or something. I did not sacrifice this time to ask foreign, Asian people to be baptized for nothing. I am not here for the numbers. I am here for these precious souls of God. As this realization was hitting me, I saw the Thai people in a different light. I loved them. I wanted them all to know the Goodness of God. I want to thank that man for helping me realize this. It sounds cheesy but he really helped me to know what true happiness is. And it's right here in Thailand serving the Lord. 

Sister Sahagun thought she had a cavity. She set up an appointment and we went back to the hospital to find the dentist department. That's the funny thing here. People go to the hospital as if they would go to a random doctor's clinic. But it's a big deal if you go to the hospital in America. Anyhow, we waited for a while and it was interesting to see how Thai dentists work. They put this purple mask thing over her face so that all that was showing was her mouth. I wish I got a photo but it was pretty funny. It was like a purple batman mask. 

The Lord really helped us out this week. We didn't know if we would get a "balanced" week with our lack of lessons. Miraculously, people met with us at the last second and we got enough lessons, investigators etc. for the week. It was incredible! We are teaching a few men too! It's so needed since the church is filled with so many women. 

Also... the mission was able to get over 200 baptisms this month. MIRACLE!!!! I am so happy! Thailand is growing!!!! Please pray for a temple here! The people need it so bad!

I love you all! Be strong, be safe, and always fight for our Lord. 


Sister Carter

(Pic: Sister Sahagun and her ingenious idea to put the small jug of water in place with our algae infested water jugs)