testifying in Thailand

testifying in Thailand

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Week 65 - Travel, Travel, Travel

Hello hello! This email may be short, I got the flu shot a few days ago and now my body hates me...but I'm still living so we're all good! 

TRAVEL, TRAVEL, TRAVEL
This week was was so crazy! Tuesday night we flew down to Bangkok for MLC which was all of Wednesday. I LOVE MLC. Honestly one of the greatest meetings, President Johnson is incredible and motivates to improve entirely through love. 
We spent another night in Bangkok then flew out to Udorn the next morning at 4 AM (a city right on the border of Laos, Northern Eastern Thailand) to do a switch off! All I can say is MIRACLES. They are a trio so I switch offed with 2 sisters, and at the beginning of the day I felt prompted to have them pick a group they wanted to focus on while inviting. They both chose Priesthood holders, so we said a prayer we would find 4 priesthood holders and we went out on our way.
The weirdest thing. We ONLY saw men...it was the biggest craziest miracle ever! We went to a big famous lake in Udorn and for 3 hours we invited and only found potential priesthood holders! It was INCREDIBLE. Truly God hears and answers prayers as long as we do our part.

If I learned anything this week it is that:
1) God hears and answers prayers...every single one
2) Plan travel is the greatest thing that man has ever invented 

Haha after we landed in Bangkok after our 45 minute flight from Roiet one of the elders said, "did you know it takes the same amount of time to fly from Roiet to Bangkok as it does for a Bangkok missionary to get to their apartment from the church" hahaha ohhh Bangkok traffic. Can't say I miss it. 

LOVE YOU ALL, God knows you and loves you and WILL hear and answer every righteous prayer...try it. 

Much much love,
Sister Hammon

Mission Leader Conference!


This cute little girl turned 8 this week!

There was a ward youth activity of making pizza…since we are falling we automatically got volunteered to stay in the kitchen all night and bake them.  haha  
That was an adventure for sure!

Yes, that is a horse in the back of a truck…..Thailand

Switch off in Udorn! (these ducks are famous)

Haha my new favorite thing to do is call people out when they’re smoking and 
tell them they can quit!

Hello there Bangkok!

Remember when I told you my favorite Book of Mormon got taken by a monsoon?  Proof.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Week 64 - Baptism of Grandma ตุ๊ and the Watered Garden

So biggest update of the week, my new companion is an AUSSIE! She's hilarious and is so excited to be in Roiet because she has been stuck in Bangkok the last few months. Her name is Sister Morganti and it'll be weird because she ends her mission before me...so that may mean I'll be staying in Roiet until I "die" (in mission terms) but we will see! We are SO excited to get Roiet going again, or as Sister Morganti says, "we're gonna get this place bumpin!" Haha it'll be a good transfer or two for sure!

Roiet slowly but surely bringing forth miracle after miracle...miracle #1 BAPTISM OF ยาย ตุ๊! (Grandma Doou)
     So the beginning of last transfer Sister Chris [Christensen] and I were inviting in a neighborhood kind of out of the way...she stopped to invite this way old woman and I waited for her a little ahead (just assuming she would say no) when Sister Chris called me back, "she said she'll listen!" So we went back and started talking to her, when her friend walked in (da da daaaa Grandma Doou in the flesh!) So we taught both of them. We would visit them a few times a week and she LOVED us. She's the one who gave us Swiss chocolate and so much yummy food (like our real grandma!) 
     We were a little worried that she was learning more for the social aspect than for the gospel aspect, then one day we asked her what had changed in her life since she had learned with us and she told us that since she had started praying and going to church all the loneliness she felt in her life (from her kids moving away) had left and been replaced with peace and joy!! It was such a neat experience :) And as of yesterday she is officially a baptized member of the church!! She was BEAMING yesterday, and all the old women in the ward were freaking out because they love her so much. Definitely a highlight day.

As I was reading in Old Testament this week I found a verse that made me think of this situation... When I saw the first older woman I just assumed that she wouldn't be interested, because I didn't see potential in her...in Isaiah 1:30 it says, "and as a garden that hath no water." When I first met them I didn't take the time to envision their potential (or take the time to see what the garden would be like with water) But as we pray to see things through God's eyes we will see potential in every garden//child of God. Grateful Sister Chris had the faith to see that potential even when mine was lacking! MIRACLES. (That's my challenge, see potential in everyone as a child of God!)

Being a missionary is the absolute best. Even when you get lost and have to take/bike a 24 kilo detour, or when your favorite copy of the Book of Mormon gets caught in a monsoon, or when your language study time is taken over by killing all the insects in your apartment, or when the ward chorister picks "Gently Raise the Sacred Strain" and the only people singing in the congregation are the falangs...it's all part of the experience you know?:) Ahhhh love life so much! 

Have the best week everrrr. I love you all, this week for us is filled with flying across the country for meetings and switch offs so it'll be crazy busy! Choose the right and don't do drugs :)

Much much love,
ฃิสเตอร์ แฮมมอน

Grandma Doou! Absolutely adorable and basically my Thai grandma

A good Sunday in Roiet!
Thailand!

Saying bye to Sister Christensen

My Aussie companion Sister Morganti is a hoot!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Week 63 - Broken Commandments and Diamond Lessons

The problem with mid-week p-days is that so much happens I don't know what to write about so my emails are super random but I'll give it a shot! 

First of all, Sister Christensen is leaving tomorrow! She is heading to Bangkok and I am getting an Australian companion! Woohoo, so that'll be a blast. I also get to stay in the Esan! I seriously should be breaking some kind of record. I haven't served in Bangkok for almost a year! I'm way excited for the upcoming transfer. They are also adding 2 more elders in our area! (Our mission has been short 45 missionaries for months now, but a big group of greenies is coming in so we are all so excited!)

BROKEN COMMANDMENT
So on switch off's the other day we went to eat at a less active member's restaurant. After the meal we sat and talked with her and helped wash dishes to serve her. We left and it was pretty late but we went and taught an investigator too, when half way through the lesson I realized something. We hadn't paid for dinner! SO that was an adventure. We ended the lesson, biked 5 kilos to the restaurant, found out it was closed, kind of slightly broke in and left money and a note, then raced back to beat the clock before 9. So yes. That is the story of when I broke the commandments on my mission, but it was hilarious and we had a good time. The member also hasn't answered any of our calls since that day so let's pray she doesn't hate us! haha!

DIAMOND LESSONS
So yesterday we were able to meet with 2 adorable investigators Hong (หงส์) and Juli (จุลี) (who don't know each other) but they came at the same time so we taught them the Restoration together. I don't know what it was, but the spirit was SO incredibly strong. We compared the Priesthood power with a light and the person holding the light being the prophet. We explained that the time after Christ's death the light slowly disappeared from the earth causing everyone to walk in darkness -- until one boy said a prayer that changed everything. When we explained about Joseph Smith one of the girls stopped and said, "well is there a prophet today or is the light gone again?" I have never had anyone think that far ahead or understand the concept so well! Teaching Buddhist people about prophets is difficult because they don't really have anything that compares to prophets in their religion and have never heard of the term. But it was the most incredible experience to be able to tell her that YES there is a prophet today and YES there is still a light, a light that he holds to guide us all in this world today. I am oh so grateful for President Thomas S. Monson. Being able to testify of him and his authority is something I will never tire of.

Recently as I have been doing the normal things for missionary work I have taken a step back and thought, 'wow, this is honestly remarkable.' For just about everything. The fact that I can speak this crazy language, connect with people who know nothing about Christianity, read a book filled with noodle (AKA Thai script), meet people and help them develop faith in Christ, go contacting all day and love it, etc...I love being a missionary. And my thoughts were turned to this quote from President Uchtdorf:

It seems to be human nature: as we become more familiar with something, even something miraculous and awe-inspiring, we lose our sense of awe and treat it as commonplace. We tread a path covered with diamonds, but we can scarcely distinguish them from ordinary pebbles.

For the last little while I think this has described me perfectly. I am living an awe-inspiring life, but I don't treat it that way. So! My challenge for you (and me) is to look at the life you live and discover the awe! Don't become dis-enchanted by miracles and see the diamonds placed all around you! 

I love being a missionary. I love my Savior. I am so grateful for modern day prophets and for Joseph Smith for restoring this precious light to the earth once more. 

รักมากมาก
ซิสเตอร์ แฮมมอน

Making grilled cheese with fire to help a less active member!
Switch offs!

Rectifying our stolen dinner

This is Elder Wannasri and here’s a picture to show you how happy he is all the time

We found the biggest snail I have ever seen in my life so we named him Herman. The end.

Herman

So for p-day last week we drove up to a market by Laos! It is divided by this river so we both thought we should take a swim to see what the other side is like!

A beautiful sunset in Thailand

Monday, August 28, 2017

Week 62 - 1 Year of Life in THAILAND!

     Soooo this last week I officially hit my year mark in country!! For a solid year I have been in this crazy, beautiful, interesting, hilarious, surprising, INCREDIBLE country and all I know is God knows me better than I knows myself by calling me to Thailand.. It's full of weird smells, delicious food, gorgeous scenery, really weird smells...full of floods and heat waves galore, diseased ridden dogs/mosquitoes, 67 million Buddhists and 150 missionaries of Jesus Christ---and I am oh so blessed to be one of those missionaries. All I can say is I love this place with my whole heart!!:)

Heyyy my cute greenie Sister Henry (the one who is pro at singing) made this video which is absolutely adorable so take a look:)

ZONE CONFERENCE!
     This week we had zone conference here in Roiet which was so fun! We had all the sisters in our zone camp out in our apartment/castle which was a grand old time. Then President and Sister Johnson blew us away with spiritual enlightenment so it was the absolute greatest few days ever. My favorite thing was something Sister Johnson taught us about diligence--
"The faith to build must always be followed by the diligence to maintain" She compared it to this floating reed island in Peru and and we compared it to building our investigators and personal testimonies. It's not a one day thing, but a lifetime thing. LOVE them so much!

ROIET OFFICE SISTERS
     So this week our Bishop gave us (4 missionaries) an assignment to go through all the people who have been baptized in the past 2 years and make a super specific record for them so we could give it to the ward council and help all the new members. We are really trying to get the Bishop to trust us so we took on that assignment... Let's just say I have never felt more gratitude for ward clerks in my entire life. It took HOURS of work looking all this random information (and us writing it all in Thai wooohoo party--Thai addresses are super fun let me tell you) My previous office-records-clerks-self resurfaced and I determined to make this the greatest binder the bishop had ever seen. Anyway, in the end we got the binder finished and I know it will be a huge blessing to the ward. 
     But it was a huge testimony to me that God truly does number his children one by one. Being in a mission where the church is so new I have a newfound appreciation for all the people who magnify their callings. MIRACLES HAPPEN. Seeing others not do that is so sad, so don't let anyone down. Magnify your calling to the best of your ability and God will use you to work miracles, I promise!

Sorry this email is kind of random, just know I love Thailand, I love being a missionary and life is just good. Have a grand week, magnify your calling, maintain your faith and smile! It'll do you some good:)

รักมากเลย,
Sister Ham 
(basically what everyone in Thailand calls me)

Some of our very favorite Roiet members:)

My investigator asked me to carry her pet squirrel back to her house…Thailand

My year in country dinner—sticky rice and pork on a stick (BEST THING EVER)

Also a note—I FINALLY finished the Book of Mormon in Thai on my year mark! It is 700+ pages, the sentences have no spaces in them and the pages are bigger than normal.  The gift of tongues is real!

Favorite place to go inviting

We were roped into going to a funeral. 
The falangs didn’t get the memo that no smiling was allowed.

Roiet Office Sisters…the chocolate milk was the only thing that kept me going
Blessings upon our ward mission leader #freemeiji 

Our giant zone conference sleepover!

Zone conference!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Week 61 - Saved by Saturday

So this week..it was good! As we were reviewing what happened we realized just how many sad things happened, but they were so sad they are almost laughable! Haha so here is a list of some events that happened:

     -We were reviewing the baptismal interview questions with Brother Boonsong (supposed to get baptized this week) when he told us that he couldn't get baptized this week because he has to be a MONK. In Thailand it is the responsibility of the son to become a monk so the parents will be secured a place in heaven, and his other brother died, so now he HAS to. The church supports it so it keeps good relations with his family and he can get baptized after he finishes (around October) but yeah! Haha so no more baptism this week, but it's okay!
     -Some of our favorite investigators invited us over for family home evening this upcoming Monday and we were so excited! We visited them and taught the 10 commandments (a sketchy lesson considering everyone and their dog worships idols) After we finished teaching they told us that they had to cancel our next family home evening appointment because on Monday they were going to be worshiping/making offerings at the wat...so yeah. We'll have to review that lesson haha.
     -I was on switch offs and after having 4 canceled appointments we finally were meeting with an investigator and while my companion was in the middle of teaching about Joseph Smith our investigator says, "Excuse me, I'm just really tired, can you leave" Hahaha she said my face was priceless because my jaw dropped a little but I looked back and said, "Sure, we'll see you at church on Sunday!" Then we prayed and left. Hahaha life of missionaries. 
     -While on the same switch off ^^ a sister was riding my bike and apparently it kind of just fell apart..AGAIN. So I think that is a record. Sister Hammon and the broken bike part 3!

     SO! Our week wasn't going as well as we planned, but LUCKILY we were saved by a Saturday! Right after Brother Boonsong told us about his monk-ship a member asked us if we had a free hour to run over to a nearby school and say hi to the kids in English. We followed the member on some sketchy roads to a school in the middle of nowhere and had the biggest tender mercy!!! 
     We were able to teach the cutest kids how to sing "I Am a Child of God" As I heard all the cute little kids singing my heart was SO FULL. The spirit was so strong and the kids were all so happy to see us. I know that each of them were able to feel a piece of God's love that day and it was DEFINITELY a needed boost for us:)
     So that was Saturday morning, and Saturday night we were able to go to a BAPTISM! So for the past few weeks we have been teaching a woman named Sister Bla, and she has SO much faith! She works in Roiet but on the weekends she goes home to a tiny town called Yasothorn. The best thing for her to do is to learn with us in Roiet on the weekdays, but go to church in Yaso, but since we taught her, President gave us permission to go and see her baptism! 
     It was SO special! It turns out that her uncle was the old branch president in Yaso when she was a kid and so she had heard of the church. Then her family moved to Roiet and 20 years later she ran into the missionaries and remembered going to church as a kid and the rest is history! She was so willing to do all that was asked, all she needed was an invitation. I promise prepared people are out there! The baptismal service was so special. The ward honestly took her in as family. Such a perfect end to a rough week!

I promise we are both doing so well here in Roiet! I told all those stories more to explain more about the culture and help you laugh than to make you pity us haha! We're good, just normal missionary life. A quote that really helps in any situation like this is Elder Holland's classic, "The great thing about the gospel is that we get credit for trying, even when we don't always succeed." I know that sometimes we thing what we are doing is pointless, but in the end all that matters is that we tried! I love you all, and have an incredible week! (and that's my challenge for the week)

รักมากเลย
Sister Hammon

Baptism of Sister Bla!
(notice the sketchy hot tub/baptismal for in the back)

Biggest wat in the the Esan!

COOLEST THING EVER. 
We sat on this boat/raft thing and had dinner while all the members swam!


Love Thailand… 😃

Waterfall!

GUESS WHO I GOT TO SWITCH OFF WITH?! SISTER DEMMM! 
I missed her SO MUCH!


Sister Hammon and the broken bike part 293847

The kids from the school!

I am a Child of God is written on the board.  How cute is this??


Monday, August 14, 2017

Week 60 - 29 Kilos, 9 Mothers, 1 Mother's Day!

Hello hello สวัสดีดีดีดีดี!

This week has been so good and fast and exhausting and amazing! I'm just going to write about Saturday though because we are going to a waterfall soon, so here we go!

MOTHER'S DAY
     So in Thailand Mother's Day is August 12th and it was the best! The Thai culture is so respectful and one of the main signs of respect is the 'wai' (when you put your hands together in front of your chin to say hello) It is tradition for mother's day that everyone will go visit their mom and 'wai' them. They kneel in front and the mother speaks blessings upon them (have happiness, good health, etc.) and then the kid does the same to the mother. Sister Christensen and I decided to make the best out of that opportunity and wai as many mothers as we could, so we did! We visited 4 people that were not mothers, but the rest of the day was biking ALL over Roiet to visit these women (investigators, members and less active members) We biked a total of 29 kilos (which is nothing to my brother prepping to bike 206 miles in a day, but for missionaries wearing a long skirt in 95 degree weather it was a lot) and visited 9 mothers!
     It was so special! Lots of the women we visited wouldn't have anyone visit them than day (their children didn't make the trip home, or their children passed away earlier) and I honestly feel like we brought the greatest gift in the world (the spirit and a wai given to them) It was so special to see these mothers light up (and definitely made me miss my mom!)
     By the end of the day we were exhausted but it was SO worth it to see the happy faces after we left. Some of these woman would not have had any visits that day which breaks my heart because you just know how much they love their children. Elder Holland said, "No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child." 
I love my mom and I love how respectful and amazing the Thai culture is..mom you'd better be expecting a wai next mother's day! Challenge: love your mom!

Love you all, have a great week! Brother Boonsong has officially quit smoking (but didn't come to church so baptism is postponed :( Pray for miracles, Roiet could use some!

Much much love,
Sister Hammon

A wai to our investigator! (her kids all live out of the country)



After 29 kilos of biking…


Thanks for the super cool picture Sister Christensen!

LOVE doing visits with the youth!

Switch offs with the sisters in SISAKET!  Miss it so much!

“Super cool wat” we went to last week

The church in Roiet

Thanks for the American candy mom.  He loved it!  Look at his face!

The GORGEOUS town cent in Roiet. So great for inviting!

LOOK AT THESE PUPPIES

Literally wanted to cry they were so cute

Our ward mission leader brings the missionaries CHOCOLATE MILK every Sunday…miracles have not ceased (it is SO expensive here)

Nothing but rice fields :)