testifying in Thailand

testifying in Thailand

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Week 5 - Why I'm spending 11 hours at a desk

What a week. This week I finally understood what every missionary meant when they said 'time flies' because it does! We hit our month mark/half way point and I am already terrified because my mission is 1/18 done! Ah, I love it so much and I just hope I can enjoy every single minute!

Haha what a day. So for the Fourth of July the MTC let us stay up and watch the fireworks but we still had a spiritual fireside and everything about freedom. Considering the 24th is more of an LDS holiday I thought we would have a super spiritual speaker and really focus on the people who sacrificed so many years ago...hahaha I was wrong. We basically had a concert, on Sunday, so the only reason it wasn't a concert was because we weren't allowed to clap. A band called the Nashville Tribute Band came and the MTC choir sang back-up. It was one of the weirdest experiences of my life haha. (Oh! And the choir beat the record of most people singing at the MTC, we hit 1500 missionaries on Sunday) Anyway the songs were not hymns so it was so weird since I haven't heard a real song in a month, but lots of people knew them and let me tell you, they got into it. Haha anyway I am so grateful for my ancestors and the sacrifices they made, I'm sure they would have enjoyed our little rock concert too;) But the closing song they sang was called "The Hardest Thing I Ever Loved to Do" and it was all about his mission. Ah. I loved it, it brought SUCH a spirit. Look it up!

So, we showed up to church on Sunday and President Bertasso (of the MTC) was sitting on the stand! Then it turned out he was releasing our branch president! We were shocked for two reasons. 
1- they have been in the same branch for 4 years and this is the first time they are being moved (with 3 months left)
2- they moved them at our half way point
It was so sad, but they gave incredible talks about the importance of missions and it brought a tangible spirit, I will miss them but they told us they would come visit before we leave!
PS. I played in church on Sunday and afterwards President Bertasso tracked me down after we left and told me I had to play at a devotional! Haha it was kind of creepy but it was extremely kind of him! Anyway so I guess I will most definitely be playing soon.
Also Elder Oakes and Flygare are our new Zone Leaders! Haha we are giving them such a hard time (AKA making talking to them using royal Thai words instead of normal people words)
And our new District Leader is Elder Tuttle (who is Elder Brooke's comp) so it just switched, kind of funny

Our companionship was INCREDIBLE this week! Honestly we did so so so good. We had our very first lesson where we all had even parts and it was so powerful! You never realize what a spirit teaching with unity brings unless it has been missing!

Also our teachers want us to 'get an investigator from Buddhist to baptism' so our very first 'baptism' is this Saturday. Sister Jo's baptismal interview is Friday (and she really has one and they will fail us so we are praying she understood everything) It is so wonderful to actually feel like you can communicate and teach things. We had our first commandments lesson yesterday complete with visuals of the Word of Wisdom and skittles to teach Tithing so we are most definitely 'geing maag' (like a boss in Thai)

I am almost half way done memorizing the First Vision in Thai! I am getting better everyday but my reading isn't progressing as fast as I would like it too. Also I feel like I can talk your ear off about the gospel, but if you mention anything else I freeze.

For example, there are about 5-8 Kon-Thai's at the MTC right now! And whenever I see them I say "hello! How are you" and that is pushing the limits of my conversational Thai. Haha I am terrified to head to fly out (even though it is in 4 weeks) but I have lots more time for studying and praying.

Haha we had many language blunders this week. These are all from people in my district so I'll just say them
Sister Jo: How old is Pres Monson?
Oakes: He is Pepsi. (sounds very similar to 80's)

Robinson mixed up "hell" and "cute"...yeah you can see how that ended up

Nixon: Yes your drugs will be waiting for you in heaven. (mixed up 'drug' and 'grandma', what is it with that word that makes it so hard to remember?? haha)

I love the MTC so much!

On Saturday night Sister Painter gave such a powerful lesson. As in we left and everyone was crying except for 2 Elders. 

She showed us this video of a stake conference in Thailand then just started talking. It got me so so excited! The people were SO happy and so humble and literally gave up everything to join this church. She basically told us that right now it seems hard to imagine the future in Thailand, but that is exactly what we should think of everyday. I sit in a desk for 11 hours praying and studying and it is all so I can communicate with people on the other side of the world. I am doing this for them. No one deserves to live in this world without the hope that the gospel brings. So that is why I am doing this, that is my 'vision'. 

At the end of the lesson Elder Hanks said such a powerful prayer (in Thai) and ended with "And we are grateful that we get to preach Thy gospel in Thailand" Honestly that sums up this week for me, and will most likely sum up my entire mission.

And I am so grateful that I get to learn here 27/7 for 9 weeks. It is truly a blessing. I challenge you all to 'Enjoy the Journey' that God is sending you on, because I promise you decide if you laugh through life or complain! I love you all, have a wonderful week!

Sister Hammon

Practicing numbers!

We wore red for our month mark...I know, I know, district goals. Also Sister Painter and Brother Terrel (our half teacher) randomly wore red too so how cute

Tuttle tuttle tuttle selfie

Haha everyday Sister Nixon cleans the board so it is spotless and one day she came in to find this and it was so funny! Then she looks at me and said "I can't leave it there" and she erased it right after I took this, haha

Poppers to celebrate our month mark!!! (thank you mom :)

OKAY. So the 'Miracle Bottle' is the bottle that I flipped the first time and it has stayed up on the shelf all month. It was our month mark so everyone told me I had to relive my glory days, I stood back AND FLIPPED IT ONTO THE SHELF. I will say it again and again..it's a gift.

Marissa from BYU!!

How cute are these Thai's?! Ah I love them already.

Week 5!

Last picture with Sister Penrod

They switched places

My beautiful visual for teaching Word of Wisdom

Thank you dear mother for sending yummy syrup to replace the cafeteria syrup.

                                 Brother Saunders (part-time teacher) and Sister Painter

District group picture

Us using the poppers to celebrate our one month mark!! Haha right after we started smelling and realized that we might be setting off the fire alarm SO we pulled out every fan we had, but it was so fun!

Elders...Hansen and Kartchner, Hanks and Andersen, Brooke and Tuttle

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Week 4- SURPRISE...It's Elder Bednar!!

This week has been INCREDIBLE. The only thing that could explain it properly is "there is sunshine in my soul today!"

I'm going to start with the most memorable thing...

So, Sunday comes around and Elder Oakes in our district heard a rumor that there was going to be an apostle at the devo that night..we were all super excited. We got there and after choir practice somehow our district miraculously got to sit together on the floor!! (And when I say miraculously, I mean HUGE tender mercy, we haven't gotten floor seats yet let alone with our district) So we sit down making bets about which apostle is going to come and the meeting opens. 

"Elders and Sisters we really have a gift for you tonight...we will be watching Character of Christ for all of the new missionaries who haven't seen it yet" Don't get me wrong, that movie changed my life, but it was a little disappointing considering we were all planning on apostle. Anyway so we watched the movie, and it truly was so much better the second time. AH. Life changing. Anyway so after it finished everyone stood up. I thought they were singing the closing hymn standing so I stayed seated because I was finishing my sentence, then I stand up and see ELDER BEDNAR + WIFE...IN THE FLESH! I couldn't believe it! 

Apparently he likes to come randomly to the MTC twice a year after the movie to answer questions! That was one of those days! For the next 2 hours he had a giant question and answer session with us! We were 40 feet away from an apostle of God telling us how amazing we were! The main thing that stood out to me was this, "the character of Christ has to be spiritually instinctive. It is what we are, not a behavior we possess." I cannot explain how incredible that night was. I still feel like I am on a high from what he said! When he bore his testimony at the end I couldn't help but think about how lucky I am to live in a place where I have seen apostles testify. I will be adding my witness to theirs for the next 18 months and hearing what he had to say made me so excited to do it. THE CHURCH IS SO TRUE.

Phew, now that I could tell you about that here are some other things that happened!

So I have played the flute for years and years and when I got here they announced that you could audition to play at devotionals and other things. I kind of put it off but my sweet mom sent me my flute so I could audition. Tender Mercy: I didn't have anyone to play the piano but someone else auditioning told me he could play and he sight read it perfectly! SUCH A BLESSING. Anyway, the MTC President's wife told me she loved it and that I made it! So I will be playing in the next few weeks sometime. Super excited!

I am getting faster at reading script! It is absolutely miraculous. I cannot believe how I am doing this, but I can! Now we are able to finish a line in probably 3-5 minutes just reading! It was so fun because we were reading 1 Nephi 2-4 as a class and our teacher would translate for us (we can read but we have no idea what we are reading) so we would say the next word and Brother Hartman says "ohhhh what's gonna happen next?! He translated what??" Haha I don't know why but it is hilarious. It really is like we are reading a new book. Another thing that is such a blessing is how 'used to Thai' I am. At first if I wanted to memorize vocab it would take me tons of rehearsal but now I am able to read it a few times and I can remember it. There is honestly nothing like learning a language. It stretches your brain in such different ways than anything else. I am SO blessed, even if this is ridiculously hard;)

Example of hard Thai: learning to tell time, I will leave it at that (see picture)

So a trio is definitely difficult, but I only have noticed that in lessons. It is hard for everyone to speak and leave room for the holy ghost. Sister Robinson is very talkative and in lessons Sister Nixon maybe says 2 things, and I am kind of the middle man--er Sister. Our teacher actually sat us down and told us we needed to fix something because we were straining the spirit. So the next lesson I really stayed quiet and it went well! Sister Robinson lead it a ton but Sister Nixon was able to talk a ton! She noticed how quiet I was so we're really going to work on making it even. I need to humble myself and realize that the Holy Ghost is the real teacher so if I'm not able to say everything I want to it is okay!! It will take some getting used to but I think that is why I am in a trio, God is teaching me how to yield! 

I kind of already did this in Elder Bednar's section but I am so grateful for this gospel. Honestly there is nothing in the world I love more and I consider myself blessed to be able to help my Father in Heaven bring His children to the truth. Missions are hard but you can't grow if life is easy. I challenge you all to really strive and turn outwards this week. Help others more than yourself and God will make up the difference.

I love you all (and yes family, I do miss you even if I don't let on that I do;) Thank you for your support and prayers, I couldn't love it more.

Sister Hammon

It was Elder Hansen's birthday and his mom sent cupcakes from the celestial kingdom

Learning to tell time--AKA the most confusing concept in Thai. There are 6 different sections, sometimes a new section starts over from 1 and other times it doesn't, sometimes you add minute at the end, sometimes you don't, sometimes they count backwards, sometimes it's forwards. SANUK (fun in Thai--also a shoe brand, I'm telling you this langauge is the most random thing)
1-6 AM
6-11 AM
1-3 PM
4-6 PM
7-11 PM

How cute.

Double Asian fingers for WEEK 4!

This picture technically is against the white handbook, but it's super cute (just take out Elder Brooke and we're good)

This is the greatest picture

Also this

Sorry these are all from the temple walk, I got to Sunday and realized I had 2 pictures to send home...


Hahaha English pamphlet VS Thai pamphlet

How cute is this.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Week 3 - Nong-Thai no more!

Hello hello! Now to explain the subject. Our Phii-Thai's (Phii= older/respect, so in the MTC it just means they have been here a transfer longer than you) are now in Thailand!! We were their Nong-Thai's (younger sibling type of word) They left Monday morning at 2:30 and now the two younger districts are the best speaking Thai missionaries in the MTC...haha that's terrifying. But we are learning!

Attention attention everyone, Sister Hammon has officially translated 1.5 verses from Thai script to Romanized Thai! I was seriously so excited I did a missionary appropriate happy dance. We are learning script! It is absolutely crazy and every once in awhile I take a step back and look at the page and realize that I am reading noodles. It is incredible. I am in the middle of translating one of my favorite scriptures, it is 10 lines and I have 3 left! Each line takes about 10 minutes so I've been working for a long time. Something challenging about the language is the spelling. Thai's are very concerned about the beauty of their language, so if they don't think a word looks good enough they will throw in a random symbol that you don't pronounce, but it's just there for fun. They're like silent English letters but way more random. Some elders in my district are phenomenal at translating and it is amazing to see how fast they can pick it up. It's hard because I feel like I'm behind but also wonderful because I can ask them 100 questions and they usually know the answer. I AM LEARNING TO READ NOODLE and I am so blessed that God is helping me because without Him I would be so so lost. 

Random Thai Language Fact: Something super hilarious about Thai is their classifications. They have random groups that you say when using words to clasify them (yeah I don't know why but you just do) anyway! They groups are the most random thing in the world. For example, one classification includes, books, candles, axes and other similar objects. Because obviously those objects have so much in common. 

Super Cool Thai Lang Fact: Big Thai words are just a bunch of little Thai words put together and I love it! For example
Repentance literally translates to "return of heart"
Perfect = "good and ready" haha that one kills me
God/Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, Holy Ghost all have the word "phra" which means royal which I LOVE
Hymn = to "song of prayer"
Happy = "good heart"
and so on, it is so wonderful! 

Funny Language Mistakes:
- During role plays I told an elder in my class that "praying is grandma"....hahah I was atempting to say that "praying is simple/easy" but it definitely did not come out that way
- Someone in our class (she won't tell us who) bore testimony to Sister Painter during a lesson that they killed a dog 
- So "mon" said with the right tone in Thai is "devil" Haha so guess what my name can be if said wrong? Yup, you got it. Sister Ham-Devil at your service. (they actually have to be super careful about how they spell it on my nametag for that exact reason)

Sorry I spent so much time on the language, it consumes my thought day and night so it's fitting that it consumes my emails too! Thai is an absolutely beautiful language and I am so absolutely blessed to have the opportunity to learn it. God is helping me more than I realize and I will never be able to thank Him enough!

1- We taught a lesson to our new investigator Sister Jo (Sister Painter) and it was so incredibly powerful. Our companionship did an amazing job at splitting the time 33/33/33 which we need to work on. We were all blessed with the gift of tongues and it was incredible. When I walk out of a lesson I feel like I know so much Thai and it just boosts my confidence so much! Then someone asks me anything besides a gospel question and I have no idea what language they are speaking, haha I'm getting better everyday! 
2- Our district found out that we get to host on Wednesday!!! I AM SO EXCITED. I'll let you know how it goes :)
3- We had Chick-fil-A for dinner. God truly does love His missionaries.

We have really focused on simplifying this week. Brother Hartman thinks that is one of the most challenging things in the gospel and he's right. But we can tell the power that comes from saying things in a way that primary kids can understand them. It is something I hope to perfect over these next 18 months!
Also we really focused on prayer this week. We need to teach investigators not just how to pray, but that prayer is a LIFELINE. They need that help from God and they won't get it if they don't ask sincerely. Which means that we need that connection in our lives, our prayers are their example! So I challenge you all to make prayer your lifeline, because in the MTC it really is!

Thank you for all your love and support! I love it here, it is very hard but I am surrounded by incredible people who are blessing my life. Thai is coming but extra prayers won't hurt, I promise. I love you all and have an incredible week! 

Much much love,
Sister Ham-Devil

LOVE HER. We are the same person, I swear, so we twinned, but now she is in THAILAND!

It was the week of twinning with matching shirts for the Thai zone

Sister Hammon!!! (they may change the spelling on my tag though!)

Haha long story but Sister Painter gave us flowers and I was taking a picture when an elder walked right behind me but it FREAKED ME OUT haaha it was just funny that we got a picture of it!

Flowers from Sister Painter!

Most loved sister in the MTC! 3 packages in one day!! :)

Right when I finished translating my very first verse!!!!! I know, I know, I'm super talented;)


How great is this picture?

Team Thai:')

Week 3!

All the Thai's! (minus the other young district)

Bye Phii-Thai's...SEE YOU IN 6 WEEKS!

Thai Sisters!

I don't want her to leave

cute cute cute

 honestly cannot explain how we got in these positions

We are pretty gangsta

I will leave the selfies to Elder Tuttle

haha I find this hilarious

Let's just say our district is REALLY into volleyball . . .  this is the second injury from volleyball in our zone!  Crazy, let's just say games are much less intense now . . .