October 28, 2014

10/27/14 - Little girls get baptized (with our help)

Wow I can't believe another week has passed and I am writing again!! I felt like just yesterday I was emailing!! So, on my P-day last Tuesday we emailed, ate, and then taught a lesson and stayed at the church till 6:00 pm. We were working with our investigator, Muk, who had a lot of questions. It was great to answer them and then see her do well in her baptismal interview. Earlier in the week we taught the children at their house and I was kind of playing hide and go seek in the forest with them and got attacked by red ants! Oh well! Saturday, we took the girls to the Church so that they could look at the font and get ready for their baptisms. They were nervous because they were scared of the water. We went inside the font and showed them how high the water was going to be. We even practiced in the font (with no water) how they were going to be baptized. That was a first! I've never stood and acted like a priesthood holder performing the baptismal ordinance. After, they had their interviews with much encouragement on our parts since they were so shy to talk to the Elders and the branch President.

Sunday was a day of miracles but not in the way I expected!! Sister Muk called and said she was stuck at her parents’ home that was an hour away and her scooter broke. After that I was so sad…I was praying so hard for a miracle that she would find a way to make it. Little did I know that God had different miracles in store for me. We got to church and the little girls were all there dressed in their Sunday best, ready for baptism. It was wonderful and they looked so cute! THEN a guy we had contacted who said he wasn't going to come showed up and said he wanted a better life! The whole meeting he was studying the Book of Mormon! THEN two random people walked in looking for a church that would give their life more meaning. It was just so amazing because we were struggling to find new investigators this week but God had a plan. I see over and over that when we do all that we can do and try our very best and give 100%, the Lord will do the rest! I love this gospel!

Getting the girls to their baptisms has been an exhausting roller coaster ride but worth every second! At Church this Sunday I sat in between the 6 of them and I felt like a mother trying to help her children, "Stop hitting! Be nice. This is a time to remember Jesus, we want to be reverent.” hahah I guess that was just Heavenly Father’s way of preparing me for my future calling in life! The actual baptism was really exciting since we had to overcome a lot of challenges to get them baptized. They didn't have any baptism clothes that were small enough so their outfits were kind of hanging off of them. And the older one who is 10 years old was SO SCARED OF THE WATER. We helped her down two steps and then she refused to move. It took us 8 minutes before we suggested that she could let her younger sister go first. The 8 year old walked right in and did it in a heart beat! We were relieved but then we had to keep reassuring Belle that she could stand. Finally, I said, "Let's just go in the font together!" So, Sister Carter and I each took one of her hands and in our nice Thai skirts walked down into the font with her. We were soaking but she finally did it and was baptized. It was quite the adventure. I've never had to go inside a filled font before since I got baptized in the Sweetwater River. They were both glowing after the baptism and listening to them sing, I am a Child of God, melted my heart. It was a great day!

I am so grateful for the branch in Sisaket! The members have helped me so much! I am constantly amazed what these members do and give up to help forward the work of salvation! For example, members will take their one day off to spend hours helping drive us to an investigator’s home and teach a lesson with us. Or they will stay at the Church for 8 hours to help the missionaries teach and find out what they can do to improve! They are so amazing and so full of love for the gospel and each other! My heart is filled with so much love for them, a love far beyond my own.

God really knows what we need. I feel confident and understand that God is personally involved in our lives. He is there to help us with what ever we need. It only takes a simple act of faith to believe he is there and then to reach out to him. There is no possible way we could be successful missionaries without Gods help and influence. We are 18 and 19 year old boys and girls going out and asking people to change their entire lives. The Lord will testify of the truth to those who humbly desire to know. God knows that I needed to be in Sisaket at this time. The people here have helped more than I could ever imagine! Wow, I am so grateful to be a missionary!! I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!!! Love you all. Have a great week!

Sister Herrmann

PS. I have decided to follow my companions lead--when dogs attack I now scream my lungs out and the dogs freak and run away! I am going to Bangkok this week for transfer meeting and to renew my VISA. I love everyone’s emails and really miss Cole, Quinn, and Brady! Send pictures of the “Herrmann Family Halloween Party”.

The little girls got BAPTIZED! 
Sister Yoo and Sister Daw. I love them!
We bought matching cat shirts because that is a 'thing' here in Thailand. 
My foot after getting attacked by red ants!

October 21, 2014

10/20/14 - Riding Elephants & Khon Kean

So much has happened this week so I will just summarize. It was such a great week and I learned and grew a lot! Last Monday we went to Surin for pday where they have an awesome elephant farm. You don't see those everyday, right? Well, it was a load of fun. Some wonderful members (they are literally angels) took us and it took about an hour and a half to get there. Sister Carter and I rode on this HUGE elephant. The guy who led us around was so impressed that we could speak Thai. He even let us scoot off of the seat on the top of the elephant’s back and let us ride bareback on its neck! It was an experience of a lifetime and I loved it! After my mission I want to be the person who takes people on elephant rides! SO COOL!!!

There was also this cute elephant show after our ride. Lots of elephants, big and small, came out and did cool tricks. They stood on two feet, played hoola-hoop around their trunks, danced a cute little dance, and all sorts of stuff. They asked for volunteers at one point and Sister Carter and I, along with another Elder, of course, immediately volunteered. We had no idea what they wanted us to do or what was going to happen. They told us to lie down on these mats on our stomachs. I was confused but I did as I was asked. The elephants came out and the first one came up to the Elder and was sniffing him with his trunk and then sneezed in his face. It was so gross, I felt kind of bad. Then it walked over the Elder and came up to me. I was thinking, "Please don't sneeze in my face!" But then it lifted up its foot and started patting my bum! I was so mortified! I look over to my companion and screamed, "The elephant is spanking me!!!!" Everyone in the audience was laughing so hard. It walked over me and did the same thing to my companion. I wanted to disappear at that point. I thought it was over but, no, three other elephants came and did the same thing. Afterwards, Sister Carter and I said, "I don't think that was missionary appropriate.” It was so embarrassing, especially with the Elders looking on!!!" We laughed about it later though. After that, the elephants just carried us around by their trunks which I liked much better.

There were a lot of lessons and miracles during the week. One night my companion and I were eating dinner and this drunk guys came up to us. He said, "Hey, you are so beautiful. Where you come from?" We answered him hesitantly and then he was like, "Woah! You speak so well, how do you speak that well?" We told him it was because we were missionaries and that it was a gift from God. He laughed at that but he surprisingly said, "Really? Well, I want to learn about your church then." He agreed to meet with us the next day and we thought there was no way he would actually show up, BUT he did!!! In the lesson he was just telling us how he had done so many bad things and he felt like there was nothing he could do to take that away. I BURST OUT WITH JOY! I was so happy to declare to him that there is a way, and that way is Jesus Christ! It was such a great lesson. Being able to tell him that he could be clean from his sins and have a happy life and then seeing his reaction to that declaration was priceless!

We are really encouraging our recent convert to baptize his children but he is scared and feels that they aren't ready. But it really has been amazing to see his little girls change. I could definitely see a difference when the gospel of Jesus Christ entered their lives. Their whole countenance changed! I am just praying that their dad will let them get baptized!

We have this one investigator who when we first met her was very sassy and didn't care about anything we told her. Finally she started praying and reading her scriptures and that is when she started changing. Now, she is the most awesome investigator! Seeing her change from where she was is incredible! She came with us to Khon Kean and was helping the WHOLE time! I am so proud of her. It shows that nothing will happen until you act. She wouldn't have changed if she hadn't started reading and praying. It is the key to personal conversion! I love her so much! We continue to work with our other investigators. They are ready for baptism but have some complicated family issues that need to be worked out first.

On Friday we changed our regular routine by exercising at the park! It was so much fun! I think I have never enjoyed running and working out that much! We were asked to make a bunch of brownies for the Khon Kean meeting, so all the relief society sisters got together. We had a recipe and all the ingredients but we didn't have any measuring cups. Thank goodness my second mother took over and said, "I got this!" and just went to town! We practiced a lot for our dance and the next morning at 6AM we loaded a bus and were on our way to Khon Kean 4 hours away!! The bus ride was crazy because the members were singing karaoke--SO LOUD! It was just so great seeing all the other missionaries and having a day to spend with the members! We then went to get our hair and make up done for the performance, and wow, they put my hair up so tight with a huge fake bun on top. It was ridiculous looking!! We then had interviews with President Senior looking like native Thai women! We did our dance which was really fun even though we messed up a lot! The next day we got to the convention center early and Sister Stoker was freaking out because the 2000 brownies were not frosted. So all the missionaries got together and frosted 2000 brownies in 30 minutes!!

That night was very, very special. All the members went home and all the missionaries met in a tiny little church building. Elder Gong told us that he got special permission from Elder Holland to have a special sacrament meeting that night! I’ve never ever had a sacrament meeting where I felt the Spirit that strong in my whole life. I just felt so immensely grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and his sacrifice! He took upon himself every one of our sins individually. I just had the most overwhelming feeling that he loves everyone so much! During the sacrament I was reading Mosiah 2:21-24: 21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants. 
22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.
23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.
24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?

I want to give 10,000% to Christ! I am forever indebted to him. When there are days when I want to give up or my desire is weakened, Christ is who helps me through it. Knowing that he died for me so that I could live again is the greatest blessing and helps me though every trial! I am so grateful for his church! After the sacrament we had a testimony meeting that brought everyone to tears! I am so grateful for the other missionaries’ great examples! I feel so blessed to be serving in this mission!

On Monday we had a mission tour which is where Elder Gong and President Senior had a conference with the missionaries. It was so awesome! He really focused on how the family is so essential! He went though all the lessons we teach as missionaries and talked about how each commandment helps strengthen the family. I suddenly thought about my family. I can't even imagine my family without with commandments of scripture study, prayer, word of wisdom, or law of chastity. The gospel blesses families. It made me so grateful for my family and my parents. It made me so excited to go and teach all of our recent converts and our investigator families! It really was so awesome! That night we got back really late because of bus schedules! Then we had to take a taxi for an hour. No one wanted to sit up in the front and talk to the taxi driver so I did and they all fell asleep! I was happy though because he was really nice!

Overall it was a great week! I am so grateful for the conference because I learned and experienced so much! I am so grateful for my Mission President and his wife. They are so awesome and have helped me become a better missionary! I love this church so much and am so grateful for it. Have a great week everyone and congratulations to Chelsea and Spencer for giving me a new cousin. Welcome to the family, baby Christian!

- Sister Herrmann
Sister Yoo and I are like cheerleaders!
Sister Sann
I love the YW! 
I love Sister Hughes and Sister Packer

October 14, 2014

10/13/14 - Conference was amazing!

I am only on for a few minutes today because I am about to leave to go ride elephants! This week so many great things happened along with disappointing things. The hardest thing ever is seeing investigators or recent converts or less active members take a step in the wrong direction—away from Jesus Christ. It literally rips out my heart. But it is the best when they step in the right direction and grow closer to our Savior! It makes me happier than anything else!!!

The best news is that Sister Rakdii got baptized and she was just beaming!! The whole baptism was so awesome!

Conference was amazing and I learned so much! I am so grateful that I was able to watch it (and in English)! I realized as I listened to the talks that I have so MUCH to improve and work on! I took about 10 pages of notes and felt there was a lot of focus on agency and family. It also made me really appreciate my amazing family and friends.

I love the members here! I really don't want to leave them because there is so much LOVE here and I feel it! We are going to Khon Kaen next weekend to dance and take part in a huge conference and mission tour so I don’t know when I’ll be able to email! We are planning on 4 baptisms on October 26th!

I’ve got to go but know that I love you all and hope you have a great week, especially Chelsea as she has her baby! Remember to pray and study your scriptures and truly take advantage of going to the temple!! I miss the temple so much.

Sister Herrmann
P.S. Please pray for my investigators and that I do OK in the dancing thing this week.

Green Day for my second parents :)
I got these for Cole
My favorite kids!

October 7, 2014

10/6/14 - I love the members here and never want to leave

{If you have not seen this video, check it out now! It shows Tessa being a missionary and speaking Thai in Sisaket! LINK: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=819433018088982&set=vb.335601019805520&type=2&theater }

Hello everyone! I don't have much to say this week since it was pretty normal and nothing too out of the ordinary happened. But it was still such a great week and we taught so many lessons! We just went from one lesson to another! We spent a lot of time with less actives and recent converts! A lot of our visits were at their houses and they literally live out in the boonies so we got a good work out. My heart just aches for them! I just love them so much and just want to help them understand that the gospel is the solution to every problem! They live in so much poverty and work so hard and have forgotten the purpose of this life to prepare to meet God. We have this one less active whose mom knows all about the church and told us she knows God is real and loves the LDS church but won't leave behind her Buddhist ways. It literally kills me! There is lots of heartache as a missionary but also a lot of LOVE.

This week whenever we finished teaching a lessons some person we saw on the street would just randomly show up right as we were about to leave...what a miracle! We had this lesson that was amazing, well they were all amazing, but this one was special! We taught Sister Rakdii about temples and she was so filled with the spirit! She said so boldly, "I am going there, what a blessing it is to have eternal life"! So our investigators that were going to get baptized this week didn't because they had a conflict with a required school activity. It is ok because they will get baptized next week for sure!! Also, we have like 5 investigators that want to be baptized but are 13 so they need to come to church for 3 months before they can get baptized! I love all 15 of my investigators so much! I have come to know that if you forget your self and throw yourself into the work of helping others you become truly happy!!

So at the end of the night we have to call all of our investigators and potentials which takes forever. I have gotten pretty good at calling people and riding my bike at the same time! (Haha, don't worry Dad, I only did that once!) One day we were riding our bikes to go contact and I saw a pig! I jumped off my bike with my helmet still on and started chasing it trying to catch it! All of a sudden a dog comes out of nowhere and started chasing me. I ran away screaming like a crazy person! The people around were laughing so hard! I bet it looked really weird. The dogs here are vicious and they will bite you so I was pretty freaked out!

I really love the members here and never want to leave them!! They have taught me so much about love and service! This week I have been noticing how hard Satan is working to get us all. I was reading in Alma 30:53 about Korihor.  53 But behold, the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said unto me: Go and reclaim this people, for they have all gone astray after an unknown God. And he said unto me: There is no God; yea, and he taught me that which I should say. And I have taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true; and for this cause I withstood the truth, even until I have brought this great curse upon me. The devil deceives us and it is hard to resist because it's what the natural man wants. He deceives us until we believe bad is good and he is so good at making bad things seem good! He knows exactly how to make us justify our actions (D&C 10: 25-27)  25 Yea, he saith unto them: Deceive and lie in wait to catch, that ye may destroy; behold, this is no harm. And thus he flattereth them, and telleth them that it is no sin to lie that they may catch a man in a lie, that they may destroy him.  26 And thus he flattereth them, and leadeth them along until he draggeth their souls down to hell; and thus he causeth them to catch themselves in their own snare.  27 And thus he goeth up and down, to and fro in the earth, seeking to destroy the souls of men.

I started to evaluate my life to see how Satan messes with me. He says, "you did an hour and 55 minutes (instead of 2 hours) of contacting, you’re good!" or "you were up late last night finishing records, so it's ok if you sleep in an extra 5 minutes!" "No harm.." No no no no, we must resist the temptations of the devil or else he will capture our souls slowly but surely! We need to start recognizing the justifications, the natural man, our temptations. Then we need to pray with all our might to overcome those temptations! He is working so hard BUT righteousness overcomes evil. ANYONE can over power the devil with Christ!

I was also studying humility. This attribute is everything.  15 Yea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed—yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble because of their exceeding poverty. It is turning to Christ…relying on him. Trusting his will. If we do not humble ourselves, God will humble us. We need to turn over our pride and give everything to the Lord. I was also studying the talk "The Fourth Missionary". It was so good! We need to align our will with His will! When we want what he wants everything falls into place. Now this is not an easy thing to do, it something you have to work at!

I am so excited for Conference! I have to be honest…I was a little sad about missing watching it with you guys and having all of our traditions but it is OK because I will watch it next week. At Church yesterday we sung, “There is Sunshine in my Soul Today” and it reminded me of when we would sing it while tubing at Lake Powell over the years! Good times!

I love this church so much!! I love my Savior so much! I am so grateful for my mission! I can already see myself changing and growing closer to the Lord. Love you all!

- Sister Tessa Herrmann
I love my new skirt and of course had a mini-photoshoot :)
Chasing a pig
Getting some numbers
Running and inviting... 
Some of my favorite people in the world. I hope to never leave them! 
After dance practice
My hair is getting light
Our favorite Cambo got baptized!