testifying in Thailand

testifying in Thailand

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 23 - Kentucky Fried Thanksgiving

Hello to you all and HAPPY THANKSGIVING! (last week!)
Our district is only 50% American but that did not stop us from celebrating with a delicious meal of KFC! Haha Elder Bradner and I had a good time introducing this holiday to our companions, even if it is a super difficult holiday to explain. Also I was on the look out all day for falangs to tell them "happy thanksgiving" and I saw a total of 3...who were from Australia, New Zealand and England. So needless to say you are the only people I get to wish a happy thanksgiving!

MAAW (แมว)
In our mission, President Johnson emphasizes service, so every single day we are supposed to take the time to serve someone. A few weeks ago we had a service project at a member's house on Saturday. The next day the member was not only so grateful for the work we did in her yard, but she brought a friend! (Sister Maaw--age 45ish) We have been able to teach her and at first she seemed almost skeptical, but the spirit has worked wonders. We had a lesson with her this last week and when we started teaching she got out a paper and started taking notes. She has such a genuine desire to learn and our lesson was powerful. We taught the Plan of Salvation and as she was saying the closing prayer she said, "I am grateful that the sisters could teach me about this plan" and I was overcome with the spirit as a quote came to my mind, "this is the truth" (President Monson's last conference address). I was so grateful for the knowledge of His plan. 

For as long as I can remember I have known that my family will be together forever, and coming to Thailand I realized how much I took that knowledge for granted. We know why we are here, we know the purpose of life! How can we not want to share that with every person we see?? Ah. This gospel is so perfect and I am so grateful my Heavenly Father is helping me see that more and more on this mission. My challenge for you today is to say a prayer of gratitude not only for our Heavenly Father's plan but to have a KNOWLEDGE of His plan...I promise as you do this you will begin to realize just how blessed we are.

Yesterday we had a giant stake conference! Every member of the church in Bangkok gathered in a hotel to watch the 4th stake in Thailand be organized!!! It was amazing. Everyone was so happy and so full of joy! We had a miracle happen and had 6 people attend who we invited! (recent converts, less active members and investigators!) This was such a big deal considering we had to go so far away...we had 4 people go with Sister Bilavanh and I and it was so funny! I felt like a mother duck as I walked through the busy streets of Bangkok leading 5 others. I definitely turned around to count heads as we walked to make sure I didn't lose anyone...this mission is apparently preparing me for my future career as a preschool teacher. Thailand is GROWING! President Johnson has a goal of 8 stakes before he leaves (another year and a half) so everything we do is aiming towards that goal! 

Have a wonderful week and enjoy the freezing cold! (I am saying that because I am currently in a small internet ron sweating bullets) 

ร้ก มาก มาก
Sister Hammon
 A Kentucky Fried Thanksgiving!!!

First Thanksgiving!  (I sound like a proud parent with a baby)

 Haha  Take a second to realize how longingly he looks at that piece of chicken

He definitely thought this was a video

 For p-day last week someone told us of this Naval Museum we could go to and climb inside planes! We had about 6 missionaries go and we showed up and they were so confused why falangs were there.  Apparently it is a museum but NO ONE ever goes to it. Haha. Super sketchy but we were let in for free so no complaints. (Even though the plane out front was the only one we saw all day.)
Companionship unity.

Sorry. It's a blurry picture but this was the museum!  haha We understood why no one every goes after we had a visit!
 Don't ask me why this is in a Naval Museum

 Dinner at our Ward Mission Leader's house...he doesn't have any walls and has this giant pond where he raises fish then eats them. Haha  It was so cool!
 Elder Tun apparently loves fish because he tried forever to get a picture of one.
 We are secretly very jealous of their bikes.
 For the family:  I FOUND COOPER!
 Haha  I didn't want to show this to my mom and grandma, but the story is too crazy not to tell. This house is 4 houses away from where we teach every day and last week the owner came home to find a missing cat and a GIANT SNAKE on his door! (aka his cat was a goner.) A member took this picture because we didn't see it that day. CRAZY!


 This is Mai's apartment (and her dad's) They put up all of our pass along cards to decorate! LOVE THEM!
 This dog was too cute not to take its picture.
We had a random power outage and within a minute I had my headlight on my head...I am my father's daughter! (hahah this picture is for you dad!)
 Love love love Thailand

 I think we have too much fun together

 Stake Conference
 'my ducklings' haha

Central Bangkok!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 22 - Graduated Greenie-hood! and Loi Krathong Festival

Attention, attention ladies and gentleman...you are now hearing from a REAL missionary! (AKA-- I am no longer in training!) I still feel like I don't know what I'm doing, but I think I will feel like that my entire mission haha. Life is also AMAZING because Sister Bilavanh and I are companions for 1 more transfer--which includes Christmas together! We were so excited!!!! 

So Sister Bilavanh and I are both staying in Bang Na for 1 more transfer, however, Elder Brown got transferred. It was such a blessing to have another greenie with me in this area. We were able to both be completely confused together and sympathize so it's weird to not have him here. BUT we got a new elder--Elder Tun....WHO IS FROM MYANMAR! That means in our district we have the following:
-Elder Tun (ONLY elder from Myanmar in the entire mission)
-Sister Bilavanh (ONLY sister from Laos in the entire mission)
-2 Americans
WE HAVE THE COOLEST DISTRICT. I am seriously so excited. Elder Tun's testimony is rock solid. They don't have a Book of Mormon in Burmese yet so all of the members there live by FAITH. He also had to learn Thai through English..both second languages for him. Basically he is a champion. 

We currently have a good solid number of investigators, but most of them can only meet once a week and lots of them can't commit to anything. We are filling our days with contacting and teaching but we really want to see the work pick up!

Brother Ni
We met him about a week ago, contacting at night. We actually had passed him on the street. He was sitting on the curb smoking, and I turned around and just offered him a pass along card. Turns out he was interested! We have taught him twice. The first time we gave him the Book of Mormon. Our second lesson he had read to 2 Nephi 28! (over 100 pages!) Honestly a miracle put in our path! Hopefully we can see some progress with him!

"Thank you for doing this."
Last night we had a little extra time before Sunday dinner so we were trying to contact, but there was no one on the streets! We stood around (not wanting to go super far from our apartment because we only had 20 minutes) and I was feeling kind of worthless since we weren't getting anything done. Then we started talking to someone--and he spoke English! He was from Pakistan and has been to our church before. We talked with him. He wasn't interested, but we had a good time just talking. At the end of the conversation he said something that really made my day, "Thank you for doing this. Going around, spreading a good message. I really admire all of you doing this, you make a difference." Lately not many people have been open to our message, and hearing a stranger tell me that I was making a difference really was a blessing. God knows when we need a boost, and He will always send help!

My challenge this week has to do with this story. I want to challenge all of you to go out of your way to THANK someone for something that they do/have done. I do missionary work every day but getting a small 'thank you' from a stranger made such an impact on my day. So--think about who you think could use a 'thank you' and go and be their 'boost'! (Also I don't think this was a coincidence that this experience happened the week of Thanksgiving!)

Thank you all so much for the love and support! Eat extra rolls and turkey for me--but the food here makes up for 1 missed meal!

Much much love,
Sister Hammon

1 more transfer with Sister Bilavanh!

This is my name in Burmese! (Thank you Elder Tun)

We had a SUPER fun ward activity at this park on Saturday!  SO PRETTY!

A member had us start a fire in her yard for service...if you think Thailand is hot just throw a bonfire in there.  You will quickly realize it could be MUCH hotter.
She also gave us giant rice hats...I felt like a real Khon Thai :')

 Ended the day with a rooftop soccer match...also I was told not to smile, hence the face.

This is a bus of monks....Thailand

Loi Krathong is a festival celebrated annually throughout southwestern Tai cultures.  The name could be translated as "to float a basket," and comes from the tradition of making krathong or buoyant, decorated baskets, which are then floated on a river. 

 It's our little mini candle boat thing! So pretty!

 They sold these EVERYWHERE the night of the festival.

This is the closest thing to the Fourth of July in Thailand...you put candles on the water to give thanks to the water/river.  Yeah, I don't really understand it but it was so pretty! Also kind of sad because this year there were hardly any boats on the water due to the passing of the King.

Hahaha this picture still makes me laugh...I am behind the man who wouldn't stop walking in front of us while we were trying to take the picture.

As my final day of training I recorded myself reciting Doctrine and Covenants 4 in Thai!  Yayyy!

Here is a link to the video:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/9vnuxkqqovaf5od/MVI_6683.MOV?dl=0

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 21 - A 50 Year Anniversary Calls for My FIRST BAPTISM!

What. A. Week.

50th Anniversary of the LDS Church in Thailand
This last Saturday hundreds of people (900+) gathered in northern Bangkok for the 50th anniversary of the LDS church in Thailand! So many missionaries from years ago came back, bringing their families. Because of the King's passing there are not to be any celebrations for 30 days...our anniversary fell within those 30 days so it was more of a funeral for their dear King instead of a joyful celebration. I have definitely begun to understand the meaning of "mourn with those that mourn" during these days of grief for the Thai people. They are heartbroken and when they see others try to understand, it means so much to them. It was so neat to see so many returned missionaries come back to the country they love, and so fun to hear about how it used to be. Forty-nine years ago there were 2 members and today there are over 20,000! The field is white in Thailand and the missionaries are ready to harvest!

So we see monks walking around a lot and we are encouraged to be very respectful to them because when the people see you respect them then they will respect you. The other day we had to travel pretty far to visit someone, so we were waiting for a taxi..it was taking forever when I finally thought I saw one. Turns out it was full, but there was a monk sitting in the front seat. I 'wi-ed' him to be respectful and he was so nice! He rolled down the window and started chatting with us...then offered us a ride and said he would tell the driver to drop us off first! We had to say no, but still! Only in Thailand would a Buddhist Monk offer Mormon missionaries a ride in his taxi...goodness I love this place. 

What a special special day. Yesterday Brother Kwanchai was able to baptize his daughter Mai, our investigator of 5 weeks! She was so excited and after the baptism when I asked her how she felt she replied, "clean" with a smile on her face...that night we were able to spend time with members and had a fun game together. When I was writing in my journal at the end of the day I couldn't believe how happily content I was. I was able to see someone I have come to love take the first step in following her Savior Jesus Christ. I was able to have so much fun with members who were strangers to me as of 3 months ago. My heart was full. When I read this quote from True to the Faith it described my emotions perfectly--

"You will find that the true key to happiness is to labor for the happiness of others."

This couldn't be more true. When we turn our hearts to others, we turn our hearts to God, and therefore find true happiness in life. The main reason I wanted to go on a mission was because I wanted to spread happiness--I know that without the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life I could not be this happy, and I want to share that with everyone because no one deserves to live life without a knowledge of their Savior. However, I have found that as I have put all of my energy into 'spreading happiness' I have only become more happy myself. This mission is a time for me to put all of my effort into serving others, and I couldn't be more grateful for this opportunity. I love this work and I love my Savior.

My challenge for you all this week is 'labor for the happiness of others'..just try it out, because if you do it right, you won't want to stop.

ร้ก มาก มาก (Much much love),
Sister Hammon

 50th Anniversary!

 I do not think I could love these people more...praying that I am not transferred this week.
We took a really cool picture with a drone of everyone making a '50' in Thai numerals.
(Drone photo not available yet.)

 FIRST BAPTISM with Brother Kwanchai and his daughter Mai!

 A picture in Thailand is not complete unless the peace sign is thrown.
 haha this was after we attempted a jumping picture...
Happy happy happy

 TIM TAM SLAM! Haha so it is tradition in the Thailand Bangkok Mission to Tim Tam Slam whenever you have a baptism! This is when you take a chocolate cookie, bite the two ends, and drink the milk from the container the cookies come in. Tim Tams aren't a thing in America so when I did this for the first time my eyes were opened.
 This is probably the greatest tradition this mission has.
I take it back, this is probably the greatest tradition any mission has.

Ended the day with a rooftop soccer match...also I was told not to smile so hence the face.

 District ice cream run!

Look how little this apple is! They have them everywhere!

Food craving for the week^^^

I have honestly come to love this place.