testifying in Thailand

testifying in Thailand

Monday, November 20, 2017

Week 74 - Grateful Grateful Grateful

This week was absolutely incredible for a number of reasons...
1) I got to go back and visit my FIRST AREA!!!!
2) The woman I mentioned in my last email who took the Word of Wisdom with such humility accepted a date for baptism!
3) Don Muang is EXPLODING with miracles all around!
4) A blessed American brought my companion and I Captain Crunch 
5) I successfully survived another round of terrible food poisoning! (in the middle of stake conference may I add)

BACK TO BANGNA (first area)
This past week I got to go on switch off's in my first greenie area and it was such a tender mercy! I got to see all of the old members there AND my first few converts. Ahh. My heart was so full. I have so many pictures but my camera is being weird so they'll be sent next week. 
It was so weird to be back where I was a year ago. I felt like I have changed but everything there was the same--same fruit sellers, security guards and motorcycle taxis but so much has happened in this past year. Time is a crazy thing. Also super fun to talk to the members there when I can actually speak Thai now! BEST DAY EVER. 

BANG MII (investigator)
She's the one I told you about last week and oh my word is she prepared. We have meet so much this past week and I have learned SO much from her. She is so eager and willing to change her life it is inspiring...and baptism was accepted! Planning on early December and I could not be more excited for her. I KNOW she will be the strongest convert.

Basically life is full of miracles and Captain Crunch. I love being a missionary so much. Have I mentioned how incredible President Johnson is? (This week he missed his only son's wedding because he is here serving US.) The Book of Mormon is the word of God. Stake conference is so inspired. Life is so good. 

Sorry this email is super jumbily, we just got back from traveling to an ancient city, so so sad my camera isn't working but I have a few pictures Sister McDonnell took!

I LOVE YOU ALL! I was just told this week is Thanksgiving and I had a mini freakout how fast it came but have the best holiday ever, and let me know what beautiful blessings you have been given! (I gave you a list of 1-5 in this email so write yours down this week for the cliche challenge. I know but it's all I've got today) 

Much much love,
Sister Hammon

 Switchoffs in Bangna


Ancient City of Ayuttaya



[Mom received this text from some tourists in Bangkok--at 3am. So worth the wake up.]






Sunday, November 12, 2017

Week 73 - A Change in Missionary Work!

Wow. What a week...this week was full of training from Elder Evans (Asia Area Presidency) and there were some big changes that he wants to put into action NOW. So a lot to process!!

CHANGE IN INVITING
So in Bangkok there are MILLIONS of people, and in our mission it is our tradition/culture to TALK TO EVERYONE. We always have an inviting card in our hand (picture of Christ) and every single person we walk by we say something like, "do you know who Jesus Christ is?"/"Do you want to learn about Christ?"/"Do you want to come to church?" The first time I saw it I thought it was like a salesman, but the crazy thing is, people actually stop! Because the number of people we pass by is so high we actually find interested people. So anyway, most of my mission hasn't been like this (because I was in the Esan) but the last 3 weeks in Don Muang have been. Then Elder Evans suggested a better way.

He began by teaching the sacredness of the Savior and His name and by dropping this sentence on all of us, "if I were you I would be very careful when using His name casually" ...The whole room was dead silent because we all knew we had all been doing it wrong. He continued and taught us in Preach my Gospel about talking WITH people and not TO them and committed us all to change. It was a big shocker for sure, but it is something that we need to take in humility and fix. I feel lucky I haven't been doing this for too long but also sad I don't have a huge amount of time to apply it. So the Thailand Bangkok Mission is in for some major adjustments these next few weeks. He wants us to limit street contacting and said in the future the first presidency may even ban it among certain missions! Big shocker, because we spend so much of our time doing that, it's just life now. He wants us to focus on the members and referrals instead of making contacting our go-to. 

He wants us to be 'bold, but not overbearing' (Alma 37:12) and ended by saying, "it takes courage to bounce from person to person on the street, but it takes faith to do it the Lord's way" For years the TBM has had the courage, but lacked in the faith. Now we're ready to change!

Anyway that probably doesn't mean much to any of you, but it turned our world upside down. We have tried our best to modify it and will continue, but I know this will bless Thailand, Myanmar and Laos...because this will help us get our temple!!

WORD OF WISDOM SHOCKER
One fast story, we have this new investigator who is adorable, but unfortunately works in Phuket dancing at a bar...sad.(honestly you would never guess from looking at her) So we went into investigator class on Sunday and surprise, the topic was the word of wisdom (which we knew she had a problem with) The teacher was fairly blunt and I was praying she would accept it (we've only taught her once) Anyway after the class I was talking to her and she said..."You know, I could get another job. There has to be a way out...and you said God would help right?" My heart swelled with gratitude. She is so prepared. I was just so thankful she took this with humility and eagerness to change and for the spirit for warming her heart to the idea.

So basically the summary of this letter is that we all make mistakes, and usually don't even realize it. But if we take things with all humility we will progress in this life instead of getting offended and turning our head away. I once heard someone say 'if someone says something about you and it's not true ignore it...but if it is true, change it"  That one statement could prevent thousands of people from leaving the church, if we focus our attention upward rather than looking around we would accomplish miracles. Our investigator could have easily gotten offended/thought our commandments were too restricting and never entered into the church building again (I have seen it before) BUT SHE DIDN'T. And how much richer will her life be because of it?!
 Take criticism as an opportunity to grow and life becomes a whole lot more enjoyable. :)

Thank you for everything, love you lots and pray for Thailand as we all go about this change! Bangkok Temple HERE WE COME.

Much much love,
ซีสเตอร์ แฮมมอน

Combined Zone Conference with Elder and Sister Evans

Playing flute at Zone Conference

THIS IS THE LADY WHO STAYED IN BOUNTIFUL!!! We went to her house and she made us the most delicious food!!! In her broken English she said, “mormons nice to us, so we nice to mormons”  Ah oh my goodness I love her.

 hahahah generation picture!!!Me, my daughter (standing) and my newly born GRANDDAUGHTER!

Better, more normal picture

Switch off’s!

Vietnamese food is now my favorite

Look at her mini missionary tag!!!

She said if the book is close enough to her brain it would just start absorbing

Monday, November 6, 2017

Week 72 - Someone Knows What 'Utah' Is!

I AM KHON THAI
So something that happened this week reassured me that I have now become a Thai person. We walked out in the morning and I was freezing! There was a small wind and it was overcast and all day I was dying (especially because I have no warm clothes) Anyway so finally I asked a member what the temperature was and I almost cried when I heard....it was 73 degrees.73. Degrees. And I was cold.....This is a problem. I have gone full out Thai over here. 

Anyway so besides that this week was good! Still trying our hardest to get our area back and running and it has been quite the adventure with lots of miracles and lots of not-so miracles, but it's been good. Definitely kept  us both on our toes.

FIRST SWITCH OFF//CRAZIEST RUN IN
We also had our first switch off this last week. It was interesting because we still don't know our area all that well, so planning a double day was rough. I switched off with Sister Powley, who is adorable, but we had a grand day! Haha by 10 AM all of our appointments had canceled/not shown up. I was trying not to freak out and was praying SO HARD that things would all work out. I kept saying, "it's okay, this is obviously God's plan!" but I was really doubting it inside/feeling way bad our day fell through.

We ended up getting 2 last minute/miracle appointments which changed everything around...and the craziest part:

One of our last minute markets was near a market, so after we visited them we went over to the market for a split second to invite. I was literally talking to every single person within eye sight "Hey do you know who Jesus is? Hey do you want to learn about Jesus" (normal Bangkok inviting) Anyway so one woman passed me by then stopped, I turned around to keep talking to her. She told me she has lived in America before (pretty common) and I asked were, "Utah" (NOT COMMON AT ALL--UNHEARD OF! No one knows what Utah is, let alone has lived there!!) SO after I freaked out telling her I was from Utah, I asked where and what she said made my draw drop, "Bountiful." WHAT. I died. I have NEVER met a single Khon Thai to know what Utah is, let alone live in MY CITY! Needless to say I was dying asking her all these questions, turns out she lived with a host family right by Dicks Market (literally a 4 minute drive from my house) She's an older woman and was so sweet, she just kept hugging me telling me I need to come over and meet her family! So we have an appointment to visit her family this week. Crazy as it is, even though she has lived in Bountiful Utah she has never learned of Jesus Christ, so we are so excited to visit her and teach her all about this miraculous message:)

But seriously. What are the odds. One of the craziest run-ins on my mission. 

LANTERN FESTIVAL
Also this week was the Loigratong Festival again (where you do the Tangled lanterns/candles on the water) This year I got a lot more out of it because I learned that part of the festival is to send away the bad and welcome the good. This can be so applicable in our lives as we choose our faults/areas of weakness and decide that we no longer want them in our lives..that is when true conversion happens/everyone's personal 'Challenge to Become' (a phenomenal talk by Elder Oaks, everyone go read it!)

I love you all very very much. Hope you have a dandy week. I don't know about you, but since Thailand has no Thanksgiving, the Christmas season has official begun!! Sister McDonnell and I have listened to nothing but Christmas music the past few days..so excited!
Also Elder Evans is visiting us this week, so we are so excited! Another week full of training!

รักมากมากเลย
Sister Hammon

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  Love, your Don Muang Elders

Best district picture I think I have ever taken

First switch off!

Best decision of the week: studying on the balcony

Loigratong year 2!

Not my Tangled moment, but kind of close


Me and my cute companion

This cute member made me this skirt and requested a picture. So adorable!

MLC! - Mission Leadership Council

Monday, October 30, 2017

Week 71 - "You are working so hard!" -Random Thai Guy

Crazy, crazy week! So I don't know if you remember but a year ago the King of Thailand passed away and it began the year of mourning. Well this last week we hit the year mark and it was crazy. All black all over again, and missionaries basically had a lock down day where we had planning/meetings all day to stay off the streets. But our days of black are (most likely) officially done tomorrow! Cannot believe it has already been a year

We had so many miracles this week but this is one of my favorites:
     White washing has been an adventure, filled with lots of canceled appointments haha. One day was a day basically all spent contacting on the streets. We went in front of a big mall and tried to contact a bunch of people there. We stayed for 45 minutes then decided to go somewhere else because we weren't having a ton of success.
     We moved locations to a neighborhood of giant apartment buildings and started talking to everyone, when a man from behind us came up and started talking. He started by saying, "wait, I just saw you, were you not at the mall a few minutes ago?" We answered him and he said, "wow, I sat and watched you for a long time. You were working so hard to talk to everyone even though no one would listen to you....why?"
     We then were able to have the most incredible talk/lesson with this random man about our purpose and why we came on missions. Honestly it was the biggest tender mercy of the day, being able to testify of the importance of this work. AH. I love being a missionary, even when the days are long and hard at the end of the day I know why I'm here! We also were telling him how it wasn't a coincidence that he happened to see us at the mall, then at his apartment within an hour, but it was God directing our paths. HE IS IN THE DETAILS!
     ALSO the random guy might be our investigator if he meets with us again! MIRACLES! 

Another example of God being in the details:
     We had an appointment with a man investigator (so we need another woman to teach with) we called everyone and no one could come! We kept praying, then left for the appointment. On the way right after I got off the bus I went straight up to a woman and flat out asked her if we could give her a tour of the church....she said YES! (WHAT?! It was the craziest miracle!) So not only were we obedient, but we got a new investigator!! I know that it was not 'random' that we got off the bus at the exact moment we passed her by and that it was not simply a 'coincidence;!! LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. Miracles everywhere:)

I love life. Pray for Don Muang and for Thailand, we gotta get this temple up and running! Challenge for the week is to notice His hand in the details... "The Lord’s hand is guiding you. By “divine design,” He is in the small details of your life as well as the major milestones" (Elder Rasband)

Much much love,
ซีสเตอร์ แฮม

PS. So in Thailand everyone loves nicknames...so they all call me Sister Ham (it's way cute) but lots of the time they call me 'hamburger' by mistake which is funny. But now I am companions with Sister McDonnell...oh man the food puns that we get are endless. Sister Hamburger and McDonalds at your service. Would you like fries with that?

BLACK.  This was our lockdown day.

We found a pretty cool wat!

Chairs = Transfers Left

Monday, October 23, 2017

Week 70 - Back in BANGKOK! So. Many. People.

I forgot how crazy life in the city is. Literally hundreds of people pass you every second of every day and they all live all around Bangkok and not everyone is from the same small town.

DON MUANG
So if I were to compare it, Roiet was like a small town in Idaho with not much going on....Asoke (where the office is/where the temple will be) is the downtown New York City....DON MUANG (where I am, northern Bangkok) is the Washington DC. It's a little fancier than Asoke, but still crazy busy and full of a bunch of government workers. 
The ward here is on FIRE. The wards in Bangkok are a lot more structured because they have been around for longer, so in our ward we have the Stake President, a bunch of some of the first members in Thailand AND a member of the Area Seventy. I am SO excited to be able to serve here! We also meet in the biggest chapel in Thailand. DON MUANG IS SO CRAZY!

Annnnyway it took a few days but I am loving it. The initial move was shocking. I have been in the countryside of Esan for the past 10 months, loving every second of it. A move to one of the busiest areas in Bangkok was a big adjustment. I was walking around a huge city getting rejected left and right (people in Bangkok are a lot more fast-paced and harsh compared to the Esan) and my thoughts all day were, "Sister Hammon you are not in the Esan anymore" I was struggling and very countryside homesick...but that night we got back to do studies and I read something that I am convinced was written for me. (Moroni 9:6)
"And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently"
That is it. It doesn't matter that the Bangkok people won't stop and talk to you like the Esan people would...but all that matters is that I TALK TO EVERYONE and labor diligently for these incredible people. 

FIRST DAY MIRACLES
So whitewashing is crazy considering you don't even know where your apartment is, let alone where the church is BUT we survived! Our first miracle happened our first day. We had just found our apartment and getting out of the taxi when we got a call from an unknown number. I was trying to get all the stuff out while talking to this random person on the phone. She called explaining she was sorry she didn't meet us yesterday. I laughed and told her how okay it was (considering it wasn't us she canceled on) but she told us that she would come on Sunday! Annnnd she came!! Her name is June and she is seriously the greatest! Yay for first day miracles!

Still kind of crazy considering neither of us know almost anything about the area, but there is no question that God's hand has been in every action we have made these past few days. I am loving being in such a crazy busy place...BANGKOK. Love you all, keep up the prayers for Northern Bangkok, it is currently exploding and I am so blessed to be apart of it! Also read the Book of Mormon. It is honestly the most incredible book. I finished it again this week and WOW. It is SO TRUE. Love you all and have a grand week! :)

รักมากมากเลย
Sister Hammon

Bye Roiet! 😔

Bangkok!
[The population of Bangkok is 8.281 million people]

Back to Bangkok! Food off the streets and
 running out of inviting cards every 2 seconds.

Likin’ the views from our amazing apartment!

Our massive church

My cute new companion! Sister McDonnell!







Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Week 69 - The Harvest of RICE--er I mean SOULS

Time is going by fast and I it is starting to scare me, but these last 10 days have been INCREDIBLE.

Background: One of the main missionary scriptures in Doctrine and Covenants invites missionaries to "thrust in their sickle with all their might" because the field is "ready to harvest." President Johnson recently told us that our 'sickle' is The Book of Mormon, and if we want any harvest we need to USE IT! So...

HARVEST OF RICE
Last Monday we were able to harvest rice!! Brother Gawi knew someone who needed help and it was definitely not a sacrifice on our part to help out. It was such a crazy amazing experience I will never forget. So many missionary analogies, but my favorite had to do with the SICKLE that President Johnson taught us. Without the sickle the harvest could not be accomplished... and that kept running through my mind the entire time (and comparing it to the Book of Mormon)

POWER OF THE BOOK
     The next day we had a second lesson planned with a man named Oouin (อ้วน) I originally invited him outside of a small market and at first I thought he was a little creepy (because he was a little drunk) but the first lesson was good and we were excited to meet him again. 
     He showed up looking very well put together in a collared shirt tucked in which was weird, but we didn't think too much of it. We started the lesson with following up on his Book of Mormon reading and what he told us almost made my mouth drop..."I read the assigned chapters you gave me twice. I felt really good reading them and felt like I should stop drinking alcohol, so I did." We had not mentioned anything about the law of health but he did it entirely on his own!! He kept explaining that since he stopped drinking (he used to drink 5-6 bottles a day) he and his wife have stopped fighting and he has more money to buy the things he needs. 
     He readily accepted a date for baptism saying he would do anything to be a member of this church and to feel this way all the time.... There is NO other explanation for his quitting alcohol other than one thing--THE BOOK OF MORMON. It is the sickle of the Restoration. I testify of its power and spirit, and I have witnessed firsthand the change that it can make in the lives of anyone who opens its pages. We are so beyond blessed to have this book in our lives and it is my hope and prayer that we may follow President Monson's invitation and use its strength each and everyday of our lives.

79 YEAR OLD GEM
Just a last minute story..on switch offs last week we had planned to visit a cute family (kind of less active) that lives pretty far away. We almost didn't go, but I felt like we should, so we swung by last minute...and what a blessing! We found THE CUTEST older woman. She was the members' grandma and had just moved in to their house the day before! She has always been scared of ghosts and weird things like that, but we were able to sit down and teach her that she was indeed a child of God and that He loved her. The spirit was so strong, and in that moment I felt the purest love for her.

Now for the sad news...I just found out I will be leaving Roiet! My heart was torn out of my chest when I found this out...Sadly I won't be here to watch these incredible people progress, but God is taking me back to BANGKOK! Haven't been there since last year so it'll be an adventure. I'm 'whitewashing' (meaning my new companion and I will both be new to the area) and it will be a crazy few weeks but here it goes!

I love Roiet...way sad to leave. The saying is true that when you are a missionary the goodbyes just get harder...ah. I love these people. 
The next email you get from me will be from Don Muang in northern Bangkok--here we go!

Much much love,
Sister Hammon

Our 79 year old gem

Man I love this place

Required getup for any rice harvester

I am officially a rice harvester…look at my sickle


Grains of rice


 Hahaha this picture…Brother Gawi forced me to go on the side of the road 
and try to catch him a fish…I failed

Memorial for the King

Monday, October 9, 2017

Week 68 - Spiritual Tsunami of Spiritual-ness

If I were to describe this week I would compare myself to a person walking along the beach of mission life, when all of a sudden a giant tsunami of spiritual knowledge, encouragement, and incredible-ness hits me so hard I drown in commitments/goals/personal revelation. (That is drown in a good way)

Explanation: 

Tuesday: Normal miracle-filled day
Wednesday: MLC training from President in Bangkok
Thursday: Personal Interview with President in Ubon
Friday: Zone Conference in Ubon
Saturday: General Conference
Sunday: Baptism AND General Conference

By the last Sunday meeting my mind was so full to the brim of personal goals and revelation I didn't know what to do with myself haha BUT IT WAS ALL INCREDIBLE THINGS. 
I loved how many of the apostles added their witness to President Monson's challenge 6 months ago and how they all told of their experience with reading the Book of Mormon. And how seriously they took the prophet's word into their daily lives. I just hope that I can continue to take his challenge and see the blessings in my life like they did.

BAPTISM of JEET (จิต) and NUE (่หนู)
These two are my absolute favorite!!! Brother Gawi (the one who held the umbrella for me) got baptized about 3 months ago right before I came and is the best member missionary! I have been working with his friends ever since I got to Roiet (3 months) and there was a period where we definitely thought they were not getting baptized... but we really studied hard for their needs and eventually the things they needed to know were revealed unto us (miracles) and yesterday was an incredible day! Brother Gawi baptized them (his very first) and he was so nervous he stared at me the entire time while I mouthed the words to the prayer..ahh I love that man. But they were baptized and they couldn't be happier! (even if the pictures show otherwise...#nosmiles) 

LAST MINUTE MIRACLES
So due to our crazy week of spiritual-ness it meant fewer than 2 working days in our area this week, but nonetheless, God prepares the way for us when we don't have the chance and we somehow achieved mission excellency this week! (we were working right up until 8:59 Sunday night to do that!) To quote Elder Hallstrom from conference, 
"...Defining a miracle as 'a beneficial event brought about through divine power that mortals do not understand'...Today I testify of miracles.' " 
It is so true! When we see the everyday miracles that God has placed in our lives we open the possibility to receive so many more and to open the widows of heaven upon our lives.

I love being a missionary. Despite crazy weeks like this past one there is no other time in life like this! I testify that Christ lives and His words can be found in the recent conference that we all watched--go back and review talks then apply them in your life to experience the true power behind it!

รักมากเลย
Sister Hammon

Plane travelllll

MLC!


Zone Conference!

Sisters in the Roiet Zone!

Roiet district

I love/miss Sister Dem so much!

Our cute recent converts 😃 

Good day for Roiet district!


My FAVORITE member always helps us teach but she doesn’t have a motorcycle
 so this is our form of transportation to get to lessons.