testifying in Thailand

testifying in Thailand

Monday, August 29, 2016

Week 10- Life without subtitles--AKA KHON THAI TRAINER!

Hello hello from THAILAND! The past week has been the biggest whirlwind but I am here! My companion and I, Sister Fuaingarad, are serving in Bang Na (Southeastern Bangkok) and we love it!! :)

So! We got to Thailand around 2 AM (flights were delayed) then got to bed around 4 and woke up at 6:30. The first few days were informational and then we met our companions and were on our way. So I like to consider myself a positive person and when we left for our area that day I was beaming with excitement. As the day went on things got...hard. There were new sights and smells and tastes and languages and I was so lost. I just kind of followed my companion around. We taught 2 lessons and I had no idea what was happening. I couldn't really eat because of nerves and I couldn't keep any food down. From the second we left the mission office to bed that night we didn't speak any English. Overall it was probably the hardest day of my life.

We got back to our apartment and for the first time in my life I had a terrible feeling like I wouldn't be able to finish my mission. I think some of my most sincere prayers were said that day because I was practically in tears for every single one. The next day I still couldn't keep any food down and I was so weak and tired and yeah. Then we had personal study. I just want to testify that God knows each and every one of us. During that personal study I prayed SO hard. I basically told Him that I could not do this, and right when I hit rock bottom, I was lifted up through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I read in Alma about having patience and I read from Preach my Gospel that said something like "God suffers when we suffer and rejoices when we rejoice." I felt so much peace. After that it has still been hard but I know that I can do this because God is right there with me! AH! This gospel is so perfect sometimes I just can't wrap my head around it. Anyway in the end I just want to testify that I know, no matter what you are going through, God will ease your burdens! All you need to do is reach out.

Alright, enough with that sad stuff, lets move on because I LOVE THAILAND

So when we had the meeting where we were assigned companions we walked in and saw all white elders and mostly Thai sisters! Haha I don't know why but I did not think I would be getting a Thai trainer and then SURPRISE! I cannot tell you how much I love her. She is one of the sweetest most patient souls I have ever met, which is SO amazing. She is learning English and speaks a little, so our language study is her helping me with Thai and me helping her with English! Having a Thai trainer is THE BEST. It was VERY hard at first but my Thai is getting so much better! I speak Thai about 97% of the time which helps me so so so much! I have seen some other missionaries who don't have native companions and I can already see the benefits in my Thai and it has been 4 days. SO BLESSED.


First of all the people are the nicest people I have ever met! I say sawadii to everyone and bow to them and they will give me the biggest smiles, and they always wi back. If you talk to them about religion they almost always take the pass along card and at least pretend to be interested so how amazing is that?! I didn't realize just how nice they were until I found an American! I started talking to him and lets just say Americans are the worst. Haha they are so prideful and arrogant and closed off. Anyway after that encounter I decided that God sent me to Thailand because I can love these people so much!

All you need to know is that I get SO much better with each day #blessingsofaThaitrainer

-Yes it is hot. Very hot. But so many people told me I would die of heat the second I stepped off the plane, so I am actually underwhelmed with the heat (but then again it is the cold season now)
-They LOVE falangs. (white people) And they love English. We hand out so many English class cards and people are always so interested! Oh and kids especially love falangs. There was this bus of school kids driving by and they saw me and ALL started waving and saying "hello" with a Thai accent in a super high voice. It was probably the cutest thing that has ever happened yet. So yeah, I'm a pretty big deal here;)
-They love my hair..I think it is because it is curly but everyone always wants to touch it (also one person told me I was Hermonie so that made my day 1000 times better)
-They are SO kind. If an old women can't get off the truck everyone will stand up and try to help her. Also they always say hi back to me with a smile, ALWAYS!
-They don't really believe in soap. Or toilet paper. But no worries my friends, they invented hand sanitizer and tissues for a reason.
-7/11 stores...everywhere

So we have a small meeting house (and I mean small) in Bang Na, but our real church is an hour away (train, taxi truck, and walk) Yesterday I was able to go to church for the first time and Thailand and all I can say is that the members here are family! They spend every second of every day focused on being LDS. They travel an hour to church and when they get there they stay...all day. As in every Sunday there is a pot luck because no one wants to leave. (Free food for us so hey, it benefits everyone;) Really though there is such a power when you walk in that church. They people here usually are the only members in their family and they cling to each other because once they were baptized, they were each others family. This gospel brings everyone together and there is so much love in that church.

So yeah! Sorry this email was kind of jumpy and random but I had so much information to spit out but I love it here! I don't usually have a full grasp of what is happening but I have been so blessed and I feel God's love every single day and I have such a desire to share this happiness with everyone! I love you all, thank you for your support pray for the Thailand Bangkok Mission!

Much much love,

Sister Hammon
Ban Na flooded the night before I got there!  
It was about shin deep and it made walking places very fun haha.

First day was WATERful...haha

How cute are we?

Falang MAAG;)

It is also super expensive.  This was $1.25.
"insert sarcasm here"

 My sweet companion knew I couldn't keep food down
so the next day she let me eat more American food.
How cute is she?!

The home of the ancestor spirits.
They have them on most larger properties.

For those of you who watch Parks and Rec...
Lil' Sebastion is not dead, but lives in Thailand.

 Bang Na

Hahaha so she is obsessed with this Korean band
and I think it is hilarious.

 The church!  It's about an hour away from Bang Na 
so the members who come are SO STRONG.
 My first investigator to church ever!

This is for you mom,
so you can see my apartment!

Added by her mom:  I am thrilled that she was allowed to bring her flute.
I can't seem to get this to load, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Week 9 - Arrival in Thailand!

Sister Hammon arrived in Bangkok Thailand!  

From her mom:  On Monday morning I had a wonderful 50 minute conversation with her.  She was nervous but very excited to fly to Thailand.  1000 missionaries were leaving the MTC and flying out during the next 3 days (Monday-Wednesday).  She got up at 3 in the morning to ride the MTC bus to the Provo Frontrunner.  Then they rode to SLC and caught Trax to the airport.  They were instructed to get on a double decker, put the seats up on the lower level where they stacked all their luggage and then ride in the upper level.  Can you imagine all those missionaries?  Must have been crazy.  She flew to Los Angeles and then took a 14 hour flight to Hong Kong and then another 3 hour flight to Thailand.  She arrived in Bangkok around midnight Tuesday (noon our time). 

This if from the email I received from her mission president:

We are happy to report that your daughter arrived safely in Bangkok late last night, clearing passport control early this morning. She spent what was left of the evening in a hotel room with her companion, where she will also stay this evening. She is in good spirits and is anxious to begin laboring in the Lord's vineyard in Thailand. We are thrilled to have her as a missionary in the Thailand Bangkok Mission family.
Sister Carolyn Hammon will join other newly arrived missionaries, together with Sister Johnson and me and the Assistants to the President, at Lumpini Park for a morning devotional. Lumpini Park is the site where then Elder Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the land of Thailand for the preaching of the Gospel in 1966. Sister Hammon will have the opportunity to dedicate and consecrate herself to this most wonderful work.  The new missionaries will be trained by Sister Johnson and me, and later oriented by the Office Couple, Elder and Sister Grange, and the Assistants to the President. New missionaries will have their first experience street contacting in the area followed by dinner at the Mission Home.
Your daughter will receive her first assignment tomorrow morning. Preparation day will be on Monday and she will be able to email you each week.  I am sure she will have much to share regarding her experiences in Thailand, missionary activities and her first Sunday in her assigned area. Your expressions of encouragement and spiritually uplifting email correspondence will be of great support.

Dear Brother and Sister Hammon,
We are pleased tell you that your wonderful daughter, Sister Hammon has been welcomed by the Thailand Bangkok Mission and has been assigned to serve in the Bangnaa, Bangkok East Zone of the Thailand Bangkok Mission.

The missionaries arrived happy, healthy and well prepared from their MTC experience.  Sister Johnson and I hosted the group in our home and we were able to share experiences and a fine meal together while feeling the strength and conviction of their testimony. They are very valiant and carry with them a strong spirit and desire to serve our Heavenly Father.

I have sought the direction of the Lord and have chosen one of our finest missionaries, Sister Budsayamas Fuai-ngarach to be Sister Hammon's  training companion.  I believe this companion will help your daughter to get a great start as a missionary and to experience the joy and vision of missionary service.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Week 8 - Last week in America! (And a happy birthday to Elder Andersen)

I really can't believe that this is my last email from the MTC. It feels like ages ago that I came in but I still don't feel old enough to be leaving!

Last Tuesday we had a visit from Elder Andersen...on his birthday! He had about 3000 birthday wishes when we sang to him so how could that not be the best day ever? It was streamed to 6 MTC's worldwide and it was incredible! He talked a lot about believing in miracles and how there are "elect" people waiting in every city, you just have to have the faith that they are there. This week has been a lot of faith building in devotionals and with our teachers. I am SO excited to head out and find the elect and I couldn't feel more blessed that I have the opportunity to do so!

I can't really explain just how blessed I am to be in the district I am in with the teachers that we have. I LOVE them. We are Sister Painter's last MTC group ever, so she has been breaking all sorts of rules to spend more time with us/make us happy (She definitely brought us Beto's but you didn't hear it from me) Brother Hartman and her are SO inspirational that I can't help but want to fly to Thailand right after one of their lessons. They gave an amazing lesson on faith and Brother Hartman shared a story with one of his areas. Originally it hadn't had a baptism in months, but he was fairly new and someone told him he was so lucky to be going to that are because they had so much success! Immediately the area exploded! Him and his companion each got over 100 phone numbers in one week and had around 6 baptisms each from that batch. "We believed it was that, so it became that." I sincerely believe that what we believe is what we achieve, so I am challenging you all to believe in something you thought you could never do, because if a mission teaches you anything it is that you can do hard things.

Again, it is getting better everyday! I really focused on reading this week and I have definitely seen the benefits because of it. I can read a lot faster (even if it isn't always correct) So when you read in Thai you are sounding everything out super slow, and words are usually pretty long, so when you get to a word it goes like this (I'll do it in English so you can understand) "Hea ven l-- OH! I know this one!! It's Heavenly Father!" And then you get super excited and move on to the next 20 words you don't understand. It's basically like a puzzle that you don't have all the pieces to but when you do find a piece you feel like a champion. Especially when you sound out a harder word that you understand! At that point you really just deserve a gold medal.

We got our flight plans on Friday! On Monday at 4:30 AM we leave. SLC to LA, LA to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to BANGKOK! We will get there Tuesday around midnight Thailand time. Today we have been trying to pack and get things finalized. We just weighed our books and they weigh....30 POUNDS! Haha our entire district is freaking out about the weight, especially because our carry on can only be 15 pounds. WE ARE SO EXCITED! It feels surreal, but I couldn't be more ready to hit Thailand running. My language is simple but "through small and simple things are great things brought to pass" So bring it Thailand, I'm ready! (This is the part of the email where you picture that scene in Emperor's New Groove where he says "BRING IT ONNNNN" really loud as they fall down off a waterfall, I am currently Cuzco)

Thank you all for the love and support. This will be a crazy adventure but I am so lucky to have so many people standing behind me! I love you all and the next time you hear from me I will be in Thailand!! (and the only white person within 30 miles)

Much much love,
Sister Hammon

flight plans!!! 
 Sister Painter brought us Beto's!
 How cute are we?
Elder Oakes prays in the weirdest positions so I decided we needed to capture it 
 We finally got our picture of us with the Consul General..man that fag looks good, there are NO wrinkles!T
So the program the church has to learn languages is T.A.L.L. and when you go to the lab you have to write on the board, we came back (the shortest in the class) to find this...
 We played a game where we had to politely give things away and we all decided Brother Hartman needed all of our belongings

 Thai plus some Cambodian
 ​One of our last Tuttle Selfies :(H
 SHE BROUGHT US BETO'S! "It's my last week, what are they going to do? Fire me?"
30 pounds...of books.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Week 7- Met the Thailand General Consul AND no longer in a trio!

What. A. Week! 

So first just really fast, I am no longer in a trio because the only sister Nong Thai that came in last week has been fast tracked! She is now companions with Sister Nixon and Sister Robinson and I are a regular companionship now (as of yesterday) Sister Choulomany is half Thai and half Lao so she has spoken Thai a little in her house. Her accent is AMAZING but she doesn't know all the gospel vocab and she can't read script, but she is catching on so fast! She has only been her 6 days and we are the ones asking her questions..crazy!

So on Wednesday a man came in and said "tomorrow your district is having a prep meeting for your meeting with the General Consul"....haha what? Anyway so the next day we took out study time and had a 75 minute prep meeting for the real meeting the next day! Basically the state of Utah invited him to visit and the MTC invited him to meet a group of youth learning the language of his home country and he accepted! There has never been anyone that high to come visit for Thailand and it has been 5-6 years since the last visit! He is in charge of EVERY Visa to go in and out of Thailand--including missionaries. So there was a very long list of do's and don'ts. One thing we had to do was make our room absolutely spotless. I spent 20 minutes ironing the Thai flag because the man said it had to be perfect. 20 minutes. I can now cross "iron a flag" off my bucket list though so it worked out;) 

Another thing. When we heard about this we thought it was going to be every Thai district--wrong. It was just ours! "We have only heard good things about this district which is good, because with some districts we can't have anyone come because they wouldn't treat them with enough respect. You definitely have a special spirit going on here." AH! So that just proves how amazing my district is, I am very very blessed. 
When the General Consul came for his actual visit it was in a word: anticlimactic. We were prepared for an hour meeting of him asking us questions in Thai and us going over a lesson to show him how we learn and then asking him questions about his country. It was really 15 minutes and he did not understand the concept of missionaries-which I found super funny. He said and I quote, "You really don't need to study the language at all, the people will help you get to places you want to see." Haha so maybe he thinks we are going to be tourists, but hey, hopefully he felt the spirit at least a little bit! Also we had the president of the MTC and his wife there, along with Elder Clarke of the Seventy! (Although he didn't introduce himself) Haha an elder from the district said, "that moment when the Seventy isn't the coolest person in the room." Anyway the visit was nice-he got into politics which we were told not to bring up so we just kind of sat and nodded. So yeah! Fairly uneventful--except for the fact that we now have his business card in case we don't get our Visas! Woo!

Yes.  I am ironing a flag.

Fancy  (Or in Thai you would say "high society")

So as of last Wednesday we have just under 3000 missionaries in the MTC! So cool right? Seeing that many young adults sacrificing their time to serve the Lord? Yeah.. those aren't the thoughts that come to my mind when I wait 35 minutes for a chicken sandwich. Haha one night last week no more missionaries were allowed in the cafeteria because they had hit capacity! So we ate some crackers from our dorm and called it good. Also they have ran out of food a bunch! So yes, it is wonderful experience let me tell you;) I have loved it here, but 7 weeks is enough time to really experience the MTC--13 DAYS! I can't even believe it. We get our flight plans on Friday!!! 

In honor of the Olympics officially starting I just wanted to announce that Southeast Asia (Thai/Cambodian) beat the Frozen Chosen (Finnish/Danish/Swedish)!! I was told that it was quite the battle...it was pretty big news around here so we're pretty proud of our elders holding up our reputation.

We did our first English Fast (can't speak English -- Thai only) on Saturday and it was fun! It was challenging because you had to talk a lot slower than your mind worked, but it helped so much! Now every morning from 6:30-12:20 (lunch) we do an English Fast! We have to prep after all because in 2 weeks we will be 100% Thai 100% of the time! Ah! We are very excited!

Also one of the highlights of the week was Sister Painter's idea to have an activity to help with our 'shopping' terms. We had a mini store with only Baht and we had to haggle with the elders at the front. Sister Painter went around picking up random things from around the class to buy, but by the end of it we were buying/selling everything! (see picture) I bought 7 MTC swipe cards, Elder Flygare bought almost everyone's name tag, Oakes had 4 watches, Tuttle bought everyone's tie and my favorite was Elder Hansen..he bought my bag. Haha apparently it was for sale but yeah. In the picture we took we all look like hobos because..well you can see for yourself.
 District Store!
 Not our best look.  Please note the missing name tags, ties and watches.
I think I got the best loot.

hahahaha -- This killed me (get it -- DeBaht -- Thai currency)

Lately our lessons have really been focused on being completely ready to enter Thailand. Brother Hartman and Sister Painter gave a phenomenal lesson on how magnificent missions truly are and it got me so so excited! They also mentioned how the government only allows 150 Visas to foreign missionaries and just how lucky we are to be numbered among the 150. Sister Painter ended with this quote, "When you're in Thailand LIVE. See life in the vivid color it comes in." So that is my challenge for all of you this week. See life in a new, better way. See the good and ignore the bad because that makes life that much better. I love this gospel and I couldn't love being a missionary more. 

Have a wonderful week and thank you so very much for the love and support you have showed me!

Much much love,
Sister Hammon

How we all feel at the end of the day sometimes

The Elders worship Brother Hartman. 
They seriously follow him around like baby ducks and it is hilarious.

Hugging Brother Hartman for luck before finals (I'm telling you, they worship him)

Yeah I don't know what happened.

Week 7! Almost there!

Some Thai and some Cambodian missionaries!

Our VERY favorite sisters!
 I knew the one I am next to at BYU and Sister Robinson grew up with her companion! 
How crazy is that?? This was their last day and now they are across the world!