testifying in Thailand

testifying in Thailand

Monday, February 27, 2017

Week 36 - Sister Hammon and Her Broken Bike

     So for the past 4-ish months we have been in Thailand's "cold season" which basically just means it is a comfortable temperature but a little on the hot side. This past week we started to enter into Thailand's "hot season." Let's just say it will be an exciting few months!!! (Bike riding in 37 degrees C/100 degrees F is quite the adventure) So I will keep you updated on my survival.

     Haha so were were racing to teach Sister Pan before English Class on Tuesday and I switched gears too fast--well actually I don't really know what I did, but all of a sudden my back tire locked. LOCKED. I started laughing so hard as we looked at what happened (see picture) The gear lock on my bike had completely twisted up and reverted in on itself. Hahaha only I could break a bike that bad. Luckily we were close to a member's house so we went there with the members that were planning on helping us teach Pan and we all gathered around my poor bike trying to fix it. Oh man, everyone said, "how did you do this??" Hahaha it was so funny! In the end after being stranded for about 2 hours I borrowed one of our Bishop's bikes because mine needs to get a 1000 baht fix... go me! Anyway I promise there is a reason I am telling you this story! *this is the moment that you all realize that a gospel analogy is coming*

      So again, since I am a missionary, I have a gospel view on everything in life. As Sister Dem and I were working on the bike our hands became covered in grease. They stayed like that for a solid hour or two while we kept trying to fix it. It was so annoying to me because I couldn't really touch anything besides my bike or it would become stained. FINALLY we got some water and started scrubbing, but sadly it did nothing. Absolutely nothing, except spread the grease around on our hands. I was so shocked, I thought the water would help for sure. Right after that, the member offered us some soap so we could get it off. It still took some scrubbing, but our hands were finally made clean.
     Just like the thick layer of grease, the sins in our life can be annoying and seem to stain everything. Sometimes we think we can just live with it, but in reality we cannot move on in life until we take care of it. We will try to use 'water' to get off, but in the end the only way we can be clean again is through soap--or the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It still takes work and it isn't immediate, but it can be done. This little insight made me so grateful for the sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and for the ability that we all have to be freed from the filth of sin. Especially being here in Thailand, everyone always says that Buddhism is enough for them. But what they don't understand is that there is no other way, only through Jesus Christ can they achieve true happiness
     Challenge: use the Atonement to its fullest this week and stay away from the grease in life!

    I truly love this place with my entire heart. Recently the elders have been witnessing SO MANY MIRACLES and Sister Dem and I are just trying to keep up! Haha we can't figure out what we need to change because we are trying our hardest, but just aren't seeing the results we should be. Thankfully, we both understand that all we can do is our best and the rest is up to the Lord! Honestly so grateful for a companion like her. We are able to have so much fun together even when our 7th back up plan falls through (true story haha) Pray for the work in Sisaket please!

ร้ก มาก มาก
Sister Hammon

PS. MIRACLES ARE HAPPENING!!! After 22 weeks, the government allowed the Saints in Laos to partake of the sacrament!!!! President just sent an email to let us all know--truly the work is hastening! 

RED BIKE: that is correct, the lock thing is at the bottom
MY ORANGE BIKE: the lock thing is flipped completely around, almost to the top!

Hahaha I honestly don’t know how I did it.

How many people does it take to fix Sister Hammon’s bike?

Hahaha after our 7th back up plan failed 
we got banana chocolate shakes for our dinner hour—best decision ever.

This is a huge joke—so a member gave me this pink floral skirt 
and wanted me to wear it that day (while I had a floral shirt on already) 
so Sister Den decided the best thing to do was go full floral.  
Don’t know why but we were both rolling on our beds laughing. haha 
Oh I love her.

So I found Boise State…in Sisaket, Thailand!  Haha  Oh the things you find…

Inviting at this GORGEOUS park in Roiet 
(I need to serve in this area because it is AMAZING)

My companion for a day—Sister Tag from Bangkok!

I wanted to see this cute little pavilion (is that what it is called in English? I can’t remember) Anyway while we were there we contacted this woman who was so interested and we were able to reach her bout 20 minutes! Miracles in Roiet!

Random giant golden statue thing…welcome to Thailand

Whenever kids see me that all scream “hello” at the top of their lungs in their cute Thai accent…ah it is the most adorable thing in the world

So I have a mini dictionary I carry around with me everywhere, then Elder Gundry saw it and said, “Sister Hammon, I think you need to raise your vision” and he pulled out this GIANT dictionary he has carried around for over a year. That is dedication my friends.

8026 The stack of books is just for my language study…
haha it keeps on growing even after the MTC

Monday, February 20, 2017

Week 35 - 1 Baptism + 2 New Investigators = 1 Happy Companionship

What a week of MIRACLES. As you can see by the title, not only did Sister Douk (แม่ ตู๊ก) get baptized but we were able to contact 2 new investigators as well! (You bet Sister Dem and I took a solid minute to do a happy dance, because these are the first new investigators we have had in WEEKS)

     So, I'm the English Leader and last minute we decided that since Valentines Day was on Tuesday (teach free English class) it would be a great chance to have the members get to know the students that come every week! It was definitely last minute but it was a testimony to me that if you really set your heart on something (and work your tail off) you can make anything happen.
     Thanks to the AMAZING members here in Sisaket (I love them with my whole heart) and our tiny district planning all day, we pulled off an INCREDIBLE activity at night! We had SO many non members and they had a chance to meet all the members and see how great they are, ahhh. It was the best, my heart was so happy! We basically made valentines and played BINGO but they thought it was the greatest activity haha, it's all about simplicity right?

     So I have explained a little about her but I'll do a recap. She is the mother of one of our recent converts and she has more faith than anyone I have ever taught. It was a long road getting her to baptism, but she kept pressing forward and yesterday was able to enter the waters of baptism. As a missionary almost everything we work for is helping people change their lives so they are worthy to make a promise with God that they will follow Him and Jesus Christ their entire life, and when we actually get the opportunity to see it happen...ah. There really are no words other than Alma's, "Now have we not great reason to rejoice?" 
     After the baptism, she was able to share her thoughts and she said, "When I went down in the water I felt like I was dying, because I came up and felt like I was born again. I am a new person. Everything inside of me that was bad has now left and I feel so good." The sweetness of that moment cannot be explained but I will forever love that sweet sweet woman. All that's next is helping her husband learn with the missionaries and seeing that adorable family sealed in the BANGKOK TEMPLE in a few short years!

I just want to challenge all of you to think back to the day you were baptized (if you're not baptized yet consider this a challenge to ask yourself why you haven't taken that step yet) and remember that feeling. I feel like so many of us (myself included) have forgotten how sacred and special that day was because it happened when we were so young. Seeing an adult experience it is so special because they fully comprehend the power of the spirit and oh how blessed we are. I love this work, I love the people in Thailand and I love the Lord!

ร้ก มาก มาก
Sister Hammon

PS. Sister Cordon (of the Primary General Presidency) came to Thailand and not only gave me a shout out in her talk, but she quoted part of my last email! So basically I am 'mission famous' now haha...even if I turned bright red listening to her read it

PPS. I just found out that someone Sister Bilavanh and I started teaching (Sister Maow) in Bang Na is now getting baptized next week!!! Ah, the joy keeps on coming :)

Baptism day!!!

That’s her cute grandson. (He has this adorable ancient Thai hairstyle.) 
And she told us he is going to be a missionary someday :)

Sister Douk with her daughter!!! (first member in her family)

Happy happy happy 😃

Haha the heart shape was the Elder’s idea but everyone loved it!

Valentines BINGO!

So many people and so much food!

Haha the Bishop ate like 15 slices of watermelon and he just kept going!

Entrance Fee 20 baht (57 cents)

If you knew me before the mission you knew I had this obsession with otters….
this may have been the best p-day of my mission (and it happened by accident!)


Seriously I can’t get over how cute the little guy is

 Happy birthday Elder Gundry! 
(notice Elder Mac's face--his first time at a sketchy หมูกะทะ and he was a little scared)

A day in the mission field in Thailand

Monday, February 13, 2017

Week 34 - NEW COMPANION- Always always always a Khon Thai!

SURPRISE! I got a new companion this week and to be frank, I adore her. 

So! Transfers in the Esan are nothing short of an adventure. We got the transfer call Tuesday night and by Wednesday night we had all of Sister Panjaree's stuff packed and we were on a bus heading to Bangkok! 

-10 hour bus ride to Bangkok
-1 hour taxi ride from bus station to mission office (always an adventure with a bike + luggage...bribes are necessary for the taxi driver to take us with that much stuff haha!)
-2 hour pit-stop at the mission office to pick up new companion and talk to everyone before the AP's kick everyone out
-1 hour taxi ride from mission office to bus station
-2 hour wait at bus station 
-10 bus ride back to SISAKET!

So by Thursday night I had spent basically 20ish/24 hours in a vehicle--whew thank goodness transfers are 6 weeks apart haha.

     I. Love. Her. She is 24, a college graduate (engineering), happy, ready to work and THAI! Could I have asked for anyone better? I keep joking with President that he doesn't think I can speak Thai yet because he keeps putting me with Khon Thais but it is SUCH A BLESSING. I have had FOUR companions to learn the language and culture from when most missionaries in Thailand only get 1 their entire mission! Not gonna lie, I really want to keep this streak and never be placed with a falang--I'll start praying;)

     ANYWAY I'm the senior companion but we have both been out the same amount of time, which is the best. We both feel like we don't really know anything/aren't amazing missionaries yet, but we have determination to TRY so with everything we do it is with the attitude of "let's go for it!" AH! This transfer will be miracle filled, mark my words.

     Also Sister Dem has only been a member 2 years so it makes her desire to be here SO STRONG. She is the only member in her family and so her testimony is rock solid. The members here in Thailand are incredible. Yes, there are some who are เฉยเฉย (go with the flow/don't really care) but they fade in comparison to others that literally dedicate their lives to the church! In Thailand most members are the only Christians in a family of Buddhists and face some persecution for their beliefs. They are surrounded by old temptations because Buddhism is literally in this country's culture, and yet they still believe and still follow their Savior Jesus Christ. I look up to and am able to learn so much from them. Honestly it is a blessing to serve these incredible incredible people.
New companion Sister Dem!!  : )

So this past week has been crazy. The work in Sisaket has slowed way down and it has left Sister Dem and I to reevaluate everything and try our best to turn it around! Again, we both feel super inexperienced but it has been a testimony to me that we are not the ones working here, it is the Lord. Yesterday in church we may have found 2 people to get baptized this transfer! (Pan, who I have mentioned earlier, and a random walk-in) MIRACLES. It was so crazy to know that in just a few days, God has blessed us for our work/determination. Made me think of this quote I found from President Hinckley:

"I hope you will simply do what you can do in the best way you know. If you do so you will witness miracles come to pass."

This could not be more applicable to us! I feel so weird trying to lead the area while being the senior companion as a falang but when we tried our best, God sent the miracles. Goodness I am so grateful for a Father in Heaven that understands our circumstances. He doesn't care about numbers or statistics, but people (including his missionaries) So very blessed this week. 

Love you all, don't forget to 'do what you can do' this week, the miracles will come, I promise.

Much much love,
Sister Hammon

Farewell dinner for Sister Panjaree at the home of Sister Doug. 


Sister Dee caught this picture of me while we were going to serve. 
This is right outside our apartment.

We had a sudden death service project the other day—
had to cut down this mango tree that has millions of red fire ants living it it.  
They.  Were.  Everywhere.

They were all over you biting you everywhere and in your shoes and socks
 and on your neck, in your hair—EVERYWHERE. Hahaha ohhhh man, memories.

So. Many. Ants.

Love service with members here because you serve for 2 hours 
then they feed you until your stomach is about to burst.

Also, I don’t know if I have mentioned this before 
but almost 80% of meals here are eaten on the floor—
this is great for my financial future 
because I will never have to buy furniture. (sarcasm people)

This is SO SPECIAL! So the Bishop’s daughters both got their mission calls. 
In Thailand it so SO special if you can go somewhere English speaking and 95% of the the Khon Thai either go to Australia or Thailand..
But these two BOTH got called to ENGLAND!!!!! 
London and Birmingham leaving the same day!!!! It was SO SPECIAL!

So. Much. Food. Dinner at the Bishop’s house on Sunday!

Will never tire of these sunsets.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Week 33 - The Paint Job at the Hospital

Honestly one of my very favorite days happened this last week, and it all happened because of SERVICE. Just a quick background before I explain.

So my mission president is amazing and set out this plan for us to try to do every single day:

S- serve
C- contacting (on the street talking to random people)
R- RC (working with recent converts)
A- activate (trying to help less active members)
M- members (visit/have members help you teach)

I love this pattern because it gives us a small outline of what we need to accomplish everyday, and it helps us stay focused!

     So with the new schedule set out by the church we now have so much free time in the morning! Thailand has a very morning based culture, so this is amazing for our entire mission. The first day of the new schedule change, we left our apartment earlier than ever (8:30) and set out to go street contacting! We had a plan to go to this one market but we both 'randomly' decided to go to a different market instead.
     We showed up at the market right by the hospital and started the day with an AMAZING contact with a man who truly seemed interested. After that I was so excited and was honestly talking to everyone with ears. We started walking past the hospital and I saw a man painting up ahead and went up to go contact him! While I was talking, Sister Panjaree offered to help him start painting. (You have to know that if you offer to help a random Thai person they will ALWAYS say "it's okay I can do it myself") But he didn't say that! So obviously we knew we had an in! He was reluctant, "You'll get so dirty" but we picked up the rollers and started painting! 
     The hospital in Sisaket is right by a pretty busy road and a large market so hundreds and hundreds of people passed us by. At first we just went along, quietly painting, but then people started to notice. (Seeing a falang girl in a skirt painting next to an older Thai man is not something you can miss fairly easily) And people freaked out! They thought it was the COOLEST thing they have ever seen. I have never gotten so many compliments in my life! After about 20 minutes the police chief found out and got every officer to come take pictures; tons of random strangers were taking pictures of us; we were given so many gifts! Face masks and gloves and Pepsi and 2 watermelons and Coke and Green Tea (that one was our favorite) and more! Honestly it was incredible, and I felt so happy!
     What I realized is that in that hour and a half that we spent painting we taught the Thai people more about Jesus Christ than we could have ever taught them talking about our doctrines. They learned that we are truly here to serve and my heart was bursting with joy that I was able to truly represent my Savior as I sat in the burning sun wearing a skirt, painting the outside of a Thai hospital. It was an experience that I will cherish my entire life. We didn't get a new investigator out of it, but I know we made a difference. And that is what missions are all about. :)
     Also, if we hadn't have followed the counsel of our incredible leaders, this would have never happened. Truly every aspect of this work is inspired, and I am grateful everyday to be apart of it.

The paint job!

Also I did it without ruining my skirt so perks to me

One thing that is AMAZING about Thailand is that literally everyone and their dog ride motorcycles. This makes it VERY convenient for missionaries on bikes to contact, literally all day everyday. Also the stop lights in Thailand have a countdown (convinced this is so missionaries know how much time they have to convert someone) Haha so every time I get to a stop light, I look at the time I have left, take it as a challenge, and try to get the person next to me interested. Sometimes we have 30 seconds, others 6 seconds but usually it's around 17. Here are how most of these go:
 "Hi how are you? That's great, you're a child of God, we have a church *insert address here*, here's a pass along card, okay bye!"
Talking to random strangers about Jesus, it's the best.

First of all, pray for my mission president. He now not only has to do conferences every transfer but he looks after 3 countries, 2 of which are not open to the church. He basically meets with attorneys, interviews missionaries, holds a zone conference, meets with more attorneys, speaks in stake conferences, interviews more missionaries and travels ALL DAY EVERYDAY. (This mission is so hard because everything is so spread out, some stake presidents cover a 9 hour area span...)

Anyway President Johnson is incredible and I am convinced he is one of the 3 Nephites because I am fairly certain he doesn't need sleep or food. But he is amazing and we learn so much from him. This last week he really focused on setting our sights straight ahead so we don't get swept by the current (used a super cool canoe analogy) It really made me question/reevaluate how centered on Christ I am and what I need to do to change.

This week I want to challenge you to do 1 of the following:
     -SERVE! It will honestly make you so happy I promise. Serve someone random or someone not so random
     -Reevaluate you life and determine what you can do to better focus on the Savior
I promise as you do these things you will be blessed--so do it! Thank you for everything! Transfers are this week but I don't think there will be any major changes, have a wonderful week!

Much much love,
ฃิสเตอร์ แฮมมอน

Ubon Zone! (smallest in the mission)

The ONLY 4 sisters in the entire zone haha

Got to talk to my old MTC buddies :’)

So remember the frog from a few weeks ago…we moved apartments and it somehow CAMED WITH US! Hahaha that was an adventure.

Catching frog part 2

Traditional Thai house around here

Huge tender mercy—this is a poisonous centipede that almost crawled on my head!  
Luckily I saw it first haha!

A very, VERY accurate description of our district (please notice the frog is there too)

When we go anywhere—Elder Gundry is practically jogging, 
and Elder Mac and I are racing to keep up

Then there’s may companion…slowly making her way to catch up to us haha

Haha so Sister Panjaree was way sick and had to take this medication. 
Turns out is has stuff to make you sleep and we didn’t know that 
until she basically passed out in our weekly planning.  haha so funny

Everyone admire my planner, okay that’s all



It was glorious.

Love love love Thai fruit. I am now addicted to pineapple. Have to eat it daily.

FIRST MEXICAN FOOD I WHO KNOWS HOW LONG—THE BEST IN THAILAND. It does not exist here but I almost cried tears of joy when I had my first bite.

Definitely paid 230 baht for this. It was so worth it.