testifying in Thailand

testifying in Thailand

Monday, September 26, 2016

Week 14 - Just Keep Swimming...literally

Hello hello! This week was full of WATER. Aka--Bana Na. We had continuous rain from Monday to Saturday! And what happens with rain? Floods! Haha and I mean floods. As in treading through water to my knees. BUT! There were many lessons learned and it was such a good week!

So it was about day 3 of flooding and every street we went down that day was flooded. It takes a lot longer to get places and is just a hassle. Anyway, earlier in the day for my personal study I read a talk from the Liahona. A dad had a theme with his daughter. Every time something hard happened he would tell her "just keep swimming" from Finding Nemo. This phrase became very significant when she was a missionary! So as I was treading through the water around 3:15. I was exhausted and really felt discouraged. That's when I heard a little voice in my head say, "hey, just keep swimming"--or "just keep treading through water." I laughed a little to myself and kept on going. Sometimes days are long and life is tough--but I promise that if we just keep swimming, things always work out. So that is my challenge for you all! You may not have a flooded city-but if you keep going, the water will eventually drain:)

This week we had a ton of super funny moments, so here we go:

1. We were waiting for a song thaew (taxi truck) and I saw this old man struggling to get off of a motorcycle. Sister Fuai and I ran over to help. It took 4 people but we successfully got the man off of the motorcycle without dying. We kept talking to him afterwards and we introduced ourselves. After I said my name he replied, "Ahh yes, I met your husband earlier today." Hahaha either there is another person with the last name of "Hammon" or this man was completely crazy. Either way I had a good laugh.

2. We were contacting/waiting for a bus when a woman came up to us trying to give us some Buddhist paper. We started telling her who we were when she stopped us and started saying something. I was completely lost so I just nodded and smiled until she left. Turns out she was telling us how sorry she was that we have been overtaken with poison in our blood. Haha no wonder I didn't understand, somehow "poison" doesn't seem like a crucial vocab word to study.

3. SONG THAEW TRAGEDY (this is a good one)
So we ride song thaews every day. They are basically a covered truck with two rows of seats. You flag one down when you want a ride and press a button when you're ready to get down. They are super cheap and super efficient so we LOVE them. So it was Sunday and we were going to church with a less active member. We were about to pass the church so Sister Fuai went to press the button and it didn't work. I quickly went to push the button on my side because I didn't want us to pass the church. I was in mid squat/standing position when the driver slammed on the brakes. Lets just say I flew! To my horror I landed on a Thai grandma's lap as well as about 2 other people. Everyone on the song thaewtao burst into laughter. I was mortified. My first reflex was to start apologizing in English, then I changed to Thai and just kept repeating "sorrry sorry sorry!" Haha she was laughing so hard. For the rest of the day whenever the less active member saw me she just started laughing. Oh my goodness. I still turn red just thinking about it--but it was honestly hilarious.

So every greenie in Thailand has a period of time where they are still adjusting to the food...I'm still in that period of time. We had just eaten dinner and were about to teach Mali in McDonalds, when I started feeling so sick. I told Sister Fuai so we went a little early so I could sit for a little bit. I was having a hard time focusing and really just needed to lay down. It was about 8:15 PM so we would be finished after this lesson. I really didn't think I could make it through the lesson because I felt so sick. She said a prayer that I would feel better and I said one myself. Mali started walking up and I still felt awful, and I was so worried for the lesson. Then she came and sat down. Immediately, IMMEDIATELY I felt completely fine. It was one of the strangest experiences of my life. I couldn't believe it. We then taught our lesson and it was SO GOOD. I was able to talk a lot and understood almost everything! The spirit was so strong and we really felt like we connected with her. The lesson ended and the moment she left I started feeling sick again. This was a MIRACLE. There is absolutely no logical explanation for what happened, but I know that God wanted me to teach that lesson so He made it possible. I just want to testify that we belong to a God of miracles. "God has not ceased to be a God of miracles," we just need to see them. (Mormon 9:15) I am so grateful that I get to be a part of this work and see miracles every single day. This is His work and He does it His way! 

Life is so good. There are always challenges but challenges always end with joy and peace..I know it:) Have an incredible week!

รัก มาก มาก,
Sister Hammon

 Flooding Day 2...spot the Elder...

 We don't have bikes so we are secretly very jealous of them.

 This is not a river.  This is Bang Na's highway.

 Flooding Day 1

 This just made me smile as I thought of my dad trying to bike through this.

 This is our beautiful beach front property.

 Notice the water level showing how high the water reached.

 When it floods all the fish come out from the sewers (yeah it's kind of disgusting) 
and all the kids try to catch the fish.  (Notice the children down the ally)

We had this banner that said "Merry Christmas" 
so I taped "Happy Birthday over it!
 It was SO SWEET and so funny! So we were finishing our studying and we heard this banging on our door. It was actually kind of freaky. We asked who it was and there was no response but the banging started again. Sister Fuai slowly opened the door and it was the elders! Haha they made microwave cake for her birthday! (My thumb is in there so we are being 100% obedient don't worry;)
 Yay for birthdays and hallway parties!
How cute is she?

Just THE GREATEST member in Bang Na.  We matched so a picture was necessary.

 Haha the sketchiest buffet in the world.  
They have raw meat on plates and you cook it right there!

 Yes, these are the people that I am surrounded by daily. Ask us how mature we are.

 So grateful I have a Thai trainer to teach me the language.  
Who knew there were so many forms of "I"...

 This dog may seem adorable..but he is secretly the devil (a terrifying creature)
 Having much success.
Preaching he gospel to every creature part 2.
 Super cute kids at one of our less active's house.
If you ride a bike you have to wear this vest at night that screams "I AM A MORMON" 
and I think it is super funny.
Bangkok traffic.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Week 13 - Her Greatest Gift

Hello hello to you all, this week has been such a roller coaster but it's ending on a high so life is wonderful!

This week I really got a glimpse of how much the Lord has helped me in learning Thai! There is a member in our ward who is from the Philippines (speaks English and Tagalog) but is married to a Thai woman. He has lived here for about a year and tries to study everyday. We went over to visit them this week. He can speak in Thai a little bit (and so much more than most people who move here) however, when compared to missionaries it is astonishing. I am not saying we are smarter than him in any means, but I was able to see that through the power of the Spirit from God, how I am able to speak more Thai than him after being here for just 3 short weeks. I just want to testify that it is not me learning Thai, but Heavenly Father slowly blessing me with the gift to speak to these people.

11 TO 3
So Saturday was an interesting day. We originally had 6 appointments scheduled, but there were many, many cancellations. Let's just say that we ended up trying to visit 11 people and we only ended up teaching 3. Haha we just laughed through the entire thing. Every time we walked up to a house and found out they weren't home Sister Fuai would turn to me and say, "welcome to missionary life." It was a hard day but ended on a high note because we got to visit a super strong member so hey, everyday is a good day!

MALI - Her Greatest Gift
Mali is our investigator (on my first Sunday here she was our investigator at church if you want a) and let's just say she is amazing. She is a refugee from Cambodia who speaks Thai but can't read in Cambodian or Thai. She was a brand new investigator right before I came so I have been able to teach her through most of her conversion! I have seen her change so much just in 3 weeks, she is happier, she dresses nicer and she LOVES members and missionaries. So last week she came to our FHE activity (because she is amazing) and we always start with a spiritual thought. The question was posed, "what is the greatest gift you have ever been given?" We went around the room--answers ranged from a fish as a birthday gift to sentimental gifts from family, then it was Mali's turn. She said that her greatest gift was from God, because God sent Sister Fuai and Sister Hammon to teach her about the church. At that point I almost started crying. Everything I have had to do to get here seems so tiny when the benefits of the gospel are so apparent. I love this work. It may be hard, but I am being an instrument in God's hand to bless the lives of His children, and I don't think there could be a greater joy.

Update- Mali wants to be baptized but needs to follow a few commandments first, but she gets so much better every single day! The only thing really holding us back from baptism after the commandments is the legal side of things. She is a refugee, but she doesn't have any paperwork... we are talking with ward members who can help, but we think if she gets a passport she can get baptized! So please pray for her that it may all happen without delay! 

What can I say...this was probably one of the funnest, most uplifting days I have ever had! We woke up bright and early at 5:30 to make it there on time and the day began. We had the opportunity to learn from President and Sister Johnson, and they are incredible, incredible people. We are so blessed to learn from them. He really focused on faith and used an amazing analogy of bamboo and how it grows (it grows under the earth for about 4 years, then in a matter of 90 days it grows 200 feet!) He told us that by pushing our faith outward we could accomplish miracles. Ah. So amazing. At the end of the learning portion he had us all write down 3 things we could change. Someone mentioned how "It's easier to do nothing and not change, than to work hard and change." Which made me think of a quote from President Monson, "May we ever choose the harder right than the easier wrong." So I am challenging you all today to CHANGE! Find something in your life that you don't like and make the effort to change it for the better. It is hard, but oh so worth it. 

Anyway we ended around 4:30 and I was confused how the rest of the day would go...turns out all we do after the conference is over is PLAY GAMES. How amazing is that?! So we played musical chairs of death (which included running across a field while toilet paper is being thrown at you)--also, side note. When we played this there were a few Thai guys looking over the fence at us and I can only imagine what they were thinking as they saw about 30 falangs throwing toilet paper at each other while others ran around a circle of chairs. Gotta love it. Anyway while we were playing it started raining really hard (because Thailand) but we just stayed out in the rain! We played dodge ball in the pouring rain for about an hour and it will forever be one of my favorite memories from my mission. Not just because I got to throw toilet paper at my mission president, but because everyone there was so full of joy and we were all united under the gospel. So SO FUN. Also I had my first Mexican food since the MTC...blessed.

Anyway this email was long so congratulations to everyone that finished it, remember to change and have a WONDERFUL week!

Much much love, 
Sister Hammon

Bangkok East Zone Conference September 19, 2016

Musical Chairs of Death after zone conference

Since we went to the mission office in Asok, we had to load up on phrakampi (scriptures).
We carried this all the way back to Bang Na and when we went through the security check at the train station the man was super skeptical.  I told him it was full of books, but he wanted me to open it.  When he did and saw 45 copies of the Book of Mormon his only response was "oh"  Haha it was so funny!

Showing up to district meeting in style ... with coconuts.
I have decided to broaden my horizons with street contacting. 
"Would you like a pass-along card?"

This is a member's house.  You turn off a street and bam--nature!
Its was gorgeous.

The fattest animal I think I have ever seen in my life!
The poor thing can't even walk.
Haha.  I guess they don't believe in the whole
"You eat a watermelon seed, a watermelon grows in your stomach."

I have a lot of food pictures this week but that's okay because FOOD.
This is basically just fried chicken with rice, but it is divine.  Also the sauce on the side is SO GOOD.

Basically just deep-fried dough with the most amazing sauce stuff.
I don't know but I eat way too much of it. So delicious.

More food.  I found grapes and it was a happy day indeed!

The best fried rice in all of Thailand.  No question.

This little guy is called 'Dragon's Egg' for obvious reasons.  IT IS SO COOL!
It looks just like an egg.  Seriously, I can't get over this fruit.

We had to go to Asoke (center of Bangkok) for our president interviews and we ate this SUPER high so [fancy] mall.  Each floor was a different city (Rome, London, Istanbul, etc) and the floor with the food was San Francisco.

Sister Fuai had her 9 month mark!
I made her wear this around the apartment so ya it was a party.
Sister Fuai's TIM TAM SLAM for her 9 month mark!
(I will explain Tim Tam Slam when I have my first baptism this upcoming week!)

This is Sister Fuai's friend from her home ward.  
She was visiting Bang Na and offered to help us.
So cute and she puts in her mission papers this month!

I cannot explain it, but the sky looks different over here.  
Our MTC teachers warned us of this but I didn't believe them.  
I know I sound crazy but it seems like it is farther away from the ground and dome-like.
We got matching skirts!  How adorable.