testifying in Thailand

testifying in Thailand

Monday, December 11, 2017

Week 77 - Bangkok North Presents....A JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM

The lights dimmed, the candles were lit, places were taken and a journey was had...this past week our stake put on a giant production of A JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM and it was the most memorable thing.

The entire church was decorated for the event, each room being a different scene on the journey to Bethlehem and to the birth of the Savior. I was in the angel and shepherds room and it was SO fun! This event was made to help people understand more about the holiday and tie it in to the actual meaning....CHRIST.

Leading up to the event we advertised EVERYWHERE, handed out hundreds of invitations and even got permission to go caroling at a giant mall in our area! And as a result we had over ONE THOUSAND people come through! We did our 4 minute presentation 39 times and got free dinner so it was a successful night! 

In our room the shepherds sang 'Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" and gave a cool talk about how the humble shepherds were some of the first to hear of the birth of Jesus Christ and the miracle that that was...then we angels sang 'Far Far Away on Judea's Plains' and the spirit filled the room, every time. My favorite is the chorus as it reads:
Glory to God, glory to God, glory to God in the highest, peace on earth good will to men
I was so happy to be able to proclaim this to all these random people, GLORY TO GOD because He sent Peace (our Savior) to this earth! I love Christmas so very much. It helps me remember who I need to be putting in the center of my life and the miracle that His life truly was. As I sang that with a bunch of other people/missionaries the spirit testified to me that this actually happened. Christ the Messiah was born in Bethlehem and at the time we all were REJOICING in heaven that a Savior was born. How glorious is this message??

Merry Christmas from your angelic friends.

If you want to see a crazy dramatic video advertising for this event follow this link! An amazing member in my ward made it, so enjoy:)   [Sister Hammon appears about 45 seconds into the 3 minute video]


I am so happy. I don't think a smile has left my face since December started because it's CHRISTMAS TIME. Truly is the best time ever, especially to be a missionary in Thailand. I know that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, and God so loved US, so He sent His Son.

Don't forget to participate in Light the World! Take this opportunity to serve everyone you can, spread the joy around a little bit and have an incredible week!! Love you all very very much! and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Much much love,
Sister Hammon

PS. BIGGEST miracle of the week, our 14 year old investigator finally got permission from her parents to get baptized! Biggest answer to prayers for that little girl, ah I love her. Pray for our other investigators, they are dying to get baptized on Christmas but waiting for parents' permission.

 Caroling at the Mall

MLC…last one 😔

MERRY CHRISTMAS…Love, the Pakkret District

Finally got a picture in front of the mission office…
but in a few years this will be a TEMPLE!

Don’t forget to come to English class!

I have another granddaughter!  They came for switch offs
so a generation picture was required

So every Wednesday the school kids wear their scouting uniform and it reminds me of the movie ‘Up’ so I finally got a picture of it.  So cute!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Week 76 - Love that Crosses Boundaries

MERRY DECEMBER!!!

Best news I have of the week: last year there were 0 Christmas decorations here (due to the death of the King), but the year of mourning is officially over and I have seen Christmas decorations!!! Most of them say 'Happy New Year' but still the best thing ever. Christmas in a Buddhist country is the greatest.

FASTING BRINGS MIRACLES
     This past Sunday was the most incredible fast Sunday of my mission. The morning started off slow. We had 3 canceled appointments, but 40 minutes before church came the first miracle! We are teaching a small family, mother and 2 young children (13 and 9 years old) and they are adorable. Usually the mom will drop off her kids at church while she goes to work. We have tried to invite her to get the day off but she always refused saying that she just wanted her kids to go to church so they would be good people, but she didn't need it. But yesterday as she dropped off her kids we noticed she was wearing a skirt...she walked up and said, "okay sisters, today I'm staying." We were SO HAPPY! Turns out she requested at her work to get Sundays off and she got it!! Her heart is slowly changing and I am so excited for her.
     Second miracle. Sacrament meeting was about to start and one of our investigators walked in last minute with 2 people I didn't recognize...turns out HE BROUGHT FRIENDS! A grandmother and her granddaughter! He said he feels good at church and wants them to feel good too. So adorable. Anyway he actually had to leave a little early, so he turned to me and said, "sister you will take care of them for me right?" It was just so cute to see him care about his friends so much that he wanted them to love church too:) Ah this gospel is so glorious.
 
INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATORS
     So recently we have found ourselves having a bunch of investigators that are not from Thailand. We are teaching a group of girls (member referrals) from Laos. They speak Thai fairly well, but it's weird that in some ways we (falangs) speak better than they do... We helped them pray for the first time the other day and one of them started crying..it was her first time talking to God and she was obviously overwhelmed with the spirit. So very special!
     Also we got more member referrals and one was to teach the cutest little family you have ever seen. They are also refugees, from Vietnam, but they are Hmong! SO ADORABLE. (I sent a picture) Miracle on top of miracle is that the father has been taught by the missionaries before (5 plus years ago) It is way hard to teach them. It's fairly inconvenient that I'm not fluent in the language of Hmong...should have listened to my Anthropology teacher my freshman year at BYU, ANYWAY we get by with simple Thai and relying on the Hmong pamphlets we have. Every time we leave their house after a lesson the mom and grandma do not miss an opportunity to hug us and tell us they love us. It is the cutest thing in the world. My heart is so full after each and every lesson! Goodness I love them.

Something I have come to learn and love on my mission is the standardization of the gospel. No matter who you are, or where you live, or what language you speak, this gospel will bless you. I have seen it over and over again. As long as someone humbly turns their life to Christ, miracles will come. And it is glorious! I am just so blessed that I have been able to witness this firsthand and feel God's love for all of them! I love being a missionary. I love loving other people. And I love getting to know other cultures. No matter who you are, you are a child of God and He loves you:)

"No matter where you live, no matter how humble your circumstances, how meager your employment, how limited your abilities, how ordinary your appearance, or how little your calling in the Church may appear to you, you are not invisible to your Heavenly Father. He loves you." (Uchtdorf)

Thank you for everything. I am SO excited for this week. Our ward is doing a massive presentation of 'Road to Bethlehem' and should have around 1500 visitors enter the church! Look it up, should be so incredible! Don't forget to LIGHT THE WORLD and love others (challenge for the week) Christmastime is the best time ahhhh so much joy:) BYE love you all!

Also I decided to make a list of all the names people have called me when they try to pronounce 'Hammon' so here you go:

รักมาดมากเลย
Sister Hammon
Sister Ham
Sister Mormon
Sister Almond
Sister Hamburger
Sister Ham and Cheese
Sister Doraemon (Thai cartoon)
Sister Ammon (from the scriptures)

Anyway those are all I can remember for now...have the best week!

The cutest Hmong family we started teaching!!

Back in Bang Na—MY FIRST CONVERT! 
So crazy she’s not even considered a ‘recent convert’ any more, 
ahh I love her so much.

When I went back to Bang Na I got to see the TRIIO!!!! (AKA my favorite people)

THE OCEAN


We have the coolest mission

Climbed up to a wat on the top of a mountain.  Best. View. Ever.



Hike down the mountain




Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Week 75 - Refuge from the Storm

This honestly has been the craziest past 10 days of my mission...

1. First of all...We were in a trio working 2 areas! Sister Pherson's companion left for home a little earlier than transfers so she joined with us and it was so fun but crazy with traveling back and forth for sure!

2. WE GOT PHONES. That's right. We are now a technology supported mission so at MLC they handed out the first smart phones and yeah. I have this way fancy Samsung that I don't know how to use so there's that. Super weird, our whole mission is going to change like crazy but for now it's just a few of the missionaries that have it until they get everyone up and running.

3. THANKSGIVING! So crazy miracles, we were invited to 2 separate Thanksgiving's!!! The first was a legit American Thanksgivng full of turkey (wow my mouth forgot what that tastes like) potatoes and pie. We died. I was so full I didn't eat until lunch the next day. America. It has glorious food. (but Thai food may definitely be better in some ways) The second was Pakistani style and I'll explain a little more about that in this email.

4. Since I have sent photos last a ton has happened! We went to : a sketchy Thai amusement park, a super crazy ancient city, and an ISLAND! (been on my mission bucket list and today I finally crossed it off! Sister Ham was happy all day let me tell ya)

5. Transfer calls! Sister McDonnell and I are STAYING in Don Muang and we are SO EXCITED! No one has to move and we can keep on moving forward for the magical month of December. Christmas is in full swing at our apartment let me tell you. 

I love being a missionary. So much. The crazy hectic life is just the best and makes time fly. But I'll talk a little more about our Pakistani dinner we had.

THE ASHERS
     A cool thing about serving in this area/this church is that there is an English ward! There are a lot of international families here for business so at 1 o'clock all the white people show up to church! Kinda crazy, being thrown back for Utah when all the massive families show up but it's way fun. Anyway there are also a large group of African, Chinese, Indian and Pakistani people that attend too, which is where the Asher's come in. 

     They are a family of 5 (their kids are teenagers) who fled to Thailand to escape persecution in Pakistan. To put it simply they are refugees. They have been investigating the church for almost a year, attending church every day for almost 8 months waiting for authorization to get baptized. Because of the legal complexities with refugees the church requires a lot of dedication from them before they are allowed to become members sometimes waiting up to a year and a half of church attendance before baptism is permitted. This family has unshaken faith. And the adore the missionaries. So they invited us all over for a Thanksgiving feast!
     We walked into their humble home that day and the spirit overwhelmed me. There was such love and peace felt within the walls of that small apartment. And they fed us like kings. So much [delicious] food for all of us!! And as we ate I began to hear their story...
In Pakistan they were incredibly wealthy. The father explained that when he was younger his parents wouldn't let him walk more then a few hundred yards before telling him to take a motor bike to keep from tiring. We saw pictures of their house, which was a mansion, their wedding, extremely extravagant, and their clothes..basically everything screaming wealth. Then the persecution started due to their Christianity. Their grandfather was found, murdered on the streets, and their lives were being sought after. So they did all that they could. And fled. Here. (about 5 years ago) 
     They explained the awful transition of having nothing. No home. No food. Nothing. But slowly by surely they made their way up. Then they met the missionaries. They were introduced to the ward and that brings you to today. They told us of their constant trial of faith and the reliance they have on Heavenly Father to make it through this. They are currently here illegally, praying daily for God's hand to help them receive Visas so they can stay or they will have to be uprooted again. The ward is helping and doing their best. After they fed us a feast we asked how they could help, and the mother simply said, "pray for us." 
I know that recently the leaders of the church have encouraged us to help these people. To get out and hear their story. That night my eyes were opened. My heart broke for this faithful little family as they experienced what Christ experienced. They did nothing wrong themselves and yet they find themselves in this situation. I finally was able to hear an experience firsthand. I cried when I hugged their dear mother as she asked that we pray for them and keep being incredible servants of God. And I feel like I was called to repentance at where my faith is...because as I heard them tell me their story, I realized I have work to do. 

I know this may sound like just another story, but this night changed me...I will never forget that feeling in their house, the love I felt for them and the love they gave me. It changed me. 

My challenge for you today is to get out and do what our leaders have told us to. Go find someone and hear their story. The Asher's are no longer strangers to me, but close close friends. I don't know what can be done in America, but I know there is something. All they need is a refuge, a friend, knowledge of their Savior.
"The Lord has instructed us that the stakes of Zion are to be “a defense” and “a refuge from the storm.” We have found refuge. Let us come out from our safe places and share with them, from our abundance, hope for a brighter future, faith in God and in our fellowman, and love that sees beyond cultural and ideological differences to the glorious truth that we are all children of our Heavenly Father." (Elder Kearon)

We have what they need. And it is our responsibility to share it.
I love you all, this experience changed me and I hope you can feel the spirit testifying to let you know it's all true. Please pray for the Ashers. 

Much much love,
ซีสเตอร์ แฮมมอน

The Ashers 😃 (minus 1 taking the picture)

Pakistani Thanksgiving!

AMERICA

My face when I get American food for the first time in ages





When the food is your Thai name

HAM for Sister HAM! Hahaha I laughed so hard!!


Switch offs!

THAILAND!

Sketchy Thai theme park…check!

Preview to beach pictures!

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