November 25, 2014

11/23/14 - Highs & Lows

Every week there are always miracles and always disappointments! This week leaned a little more towards the disappointments but it is OK because miracles happen and we have to have opposition in all things, right?! This week I am going to write using something I used to do with my family at home called, “highs and lows”!

I will start with the lows so I can end on a high note! Remember the investigator I told you about last week named Nuie who came to our lesson drunk? Well we tried teaching him a bunch of times but he canceled a lot! Finally we got a chance to teach him with Brother Bay (who used to drink too). We tried teaching him but he just wouldn't listen and would say the most random things! At one point he was talking about abortion and how he had an abortion once and then he was all, "Praise the Lord, hallelujah." After the lesson Brother Bay told us that he had a hard time understanding Nuie because he had drunk so much that it had affected his brain...ahh, it is so sad. We had a lot of people cancel on us this week. Our golden investigator, Nuk, said that she got a new job and has to work 24/7. One of our other investigator’s parents forbid her to go to church. We have this other investigator who seemed pretty good but when we brought up the word of wisdom he said, "Oh I can't stop, it is just part of the culture of Thailand. I only drink a little with my friends. I know it is bad for me but I have to because of my friends..." We are working with him and trying to help him!! And the last low would be that one of our less active’s said that her daughter won't come to church because she is a "lady boy" and her siblings tell her she is not allowed there. We obviously told them that she is welcome and can come to church but she is scared of being judged.

OK, now to the HIGHS! We got the best news this Saturday morning about our investigator, Saiya, who is 11 and is so awesome. She wants to get baptized so badly! We taught her the other day and we told her, "You have to get permission from your mom to be baptized." She was so crushed because of her situation. So on Saturday we called President Senior. We explained the situation to him and he gave us special permission for her to get baptized!!!! We were freaking out we were so excited!! We called her right away and scheduled a date for the 30th! She was so happy!!

We also got 3 new investigators who are so awesome! We have a 50 year old guy named Brasut who already has so much faith! Our RC, sister Yoo, brought her friend Ying who is really interested and knew everything already and on Sunday a soon to be RC's little brother wants to learn with us! He is 9 and so cute!!! He has been to church 3 times already and is so fun to teach! We asked him, "Do you believe in Jesus?" He answered and said, "Yes, he is my Savior!" SO CUTE I ALMOST DIED! We have been working a lot with less active's this week and yesterday we had 2 LA's come to church! One has been working with the missionaries since before I came to Thailand and she finally came! I was so happy!

We had a really fun FHE last Monday when the ward got together and just talked and played. They really are my family!! And lastly, I just LOVE how nice these people are. One night I was upset about investigators bailing and we were contacting and I got talking to this one lady. She was so sweet and finally said, “Here, I am going to buy you some corn" and right then and there she gave me 2 corn on the cobs and it literally made my day!

Some funny things happened this week!! I went on a switch off this Friday with Sister Maughn. We were riding our bikes down a dark street at night and all of a sudden this dog starts chasing me and biting at my legs so I screamed which usually makes them go away but this time it didn't work! SO, I accidentally took out Sister Maughn, jumped off my bike and finally the dog went away! AHHH, I felt so bad! She was really nice about it and just laughed. Another funny thing happened when we were teaching our recent convert, Brother Nooy and he had a question about the scriptures. He was reading in 2 Nephi 9 where it says, "the uncircumcised of heart." He asked us what does “uncircumcised” mean. I tried looking it up in the dictionary but it wasn't there. We told him it was a comparison meaning, “a bad person”, but he would not take that so he was stuck on that subject FOREVER! After 10 minutes he finally let it go! It was really funny!!!

This week's studies were really cool, like always!! Don't think I am weird but my companion showed me the meaning for the devil in the bible dictionary. "He is miserable in his situation and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness. He tries to imitate the work of God by transforming himself nigh unto an angel of light. He is also a worker of miracles, by which he deceives many upon the earth. In fact, the scripture says he deceives the whole world. He can cite scripture to make his point seem plausible. All of this is his scheme to make man miserable like himself." Satan is a very sneaky one that is why we have to follow the counsel of the prophets! A little farther on it says, "Protection against the influence of the devil is found by obedience to the commandments and laws of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The message of all the prophets and apostles is that truth, righteousness, and peace shall in the end prevail over error, sin, and war; the faithful shall triumph over all their afflictions, enemies, and shall triumph over the devil. There shall be a complete and lasting victory of righteousness over wickedness on this earth, which will be done by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ." I thought that was so interesting!!

I was also reading a talk about repentance this past week that was so good! A lot of times people think of it as a checklist, "ok, I repented of this and that…looks like I am good!" NOOOOO! In this talk it says, "Repentance must be understood as a fundamental change of direction in life and a transformation of character! It is essential to achieving ones divine potential to becoming the kind of being that can live with God in his heavenly kingdom...Forgiveness of sins however is not the sole object of repentance. Repentance is the pathway to perfecting our obedience therefore development of a Christ like character." After reading this it really changed the way I have been teaching repentance! It has helped investigators see that repentance is more than just forgiveness and essential to our purpose of this life! Last thing that I really loved this week was in 3rd Nephi 16 verse 5-6. "And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them. And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you." I immediately think of the song, "Savior Stay this Night with Me". It brings to mind a scene of us pleading with Christ to comfort and stay--it is one of my favorites! I know there are times when I am having a hard time and at that moment I feel that Christ is right there to lift me up and comfort me.

I am so grateful for this church and the chance I get to share the gospel with everyone! It is such a blessing! Even though sometimes being a missionary is hard, the good ALWAYS outweighs the bad. The miracles are worth the disappointments! There is nothing better than seeing people come unto Christ and be changed through him! Have a good week everyone! Thanks for all your support!

Sister Herrmann

PS Cold season started and it is like the PERFECT weather!

FHE at the Somsaks
Dinner with our RC's
Switch off with Sister Maughn
Sister Saiya- so happy!
Not even half of the medications people have given me for my bug bites

November 18, 2014

11/17/14 - Thai People are the BEST!

This week was full of little miracles! When we started the week we had 0 investigators!! BUT by the end of the week we had 5 new investigators and some with dates to get baptized!! It made me think of the scripture in Alma 37, "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass." This week we didn't do anything super amazing but we did the small little things such as being completely obedient, focusing on our purpose, working hard, praying hard, etc., and because we did that the miracles came!!

This week for p-day we went to this beautiful waterfall! Waterfalls in Thailand are so much better than in Utah! It was so fun but I was dying a little inside because I couldn't play in the water! BUT I was sweating SO much that it looked like I went swimming, haha! We went with a family who has an 18 year old girl in our ward and a bunch of her friends. It was so much fun!!!

We have this new investigator who is very interesting. His name is Nuie and we met him while we were eating at a restaurant. We invited him to church and he showed up!! When we taught him the first time he seemed really good and wanted to get baptized and repent...but the second time he came to the lesson completely drunk. It is so hard trying to teach a drunk person!! At the end of the lesson we were teaching the law of chastity. He was flipping though the pamphlet and stops at a page with a boy and a girl just talking and says (in a drunk sounding voice), "these two... they are in LOVE and can't do anything right now, but when they get married ...they will be too scared to do anything!!” Then he just busts up laughing for 5 minutes! It was really weird and funny but we didn't know what to do so we just ended it! We are working with him and trying to help him! We have this other crazy guy who goes to every activity. When we first met him he told us that he was Jesus and Heavenly Father and the Holy we can't really teach him!!

On Wednesday we decided to “invite” at the college! It was so much fun and reminded me of my college days! There were so many people and most of our recent converts go to that college so it was good to see where they all lived! Talking about RC's, I am so proud of all my recent converts! They are literally amazing!!! Gig and Boo got the gift of the Holy Ghost this week and are just so happy! They come to every activity and love learning with us!! It was so cute, we gave them a framed picture of their baptism and they started to cry!! They always call and say, "Guess what?! I am in 1st Nephi 7 and learned this and this and this!" They are just so wonderful!! Our other RCs are great as well--very active and loving being members of this church! A large number of them want to go on missions!

On Saturday my dream of being an Asian farmer came true! I got to work in the rice fields and harvest rice!! It was a blast and SO HOT!!! We had to use these sharp tools and Elder Mitchell totally sliced his finger open! It was actually really hard work! It reminded me of the scripture in D&C 4, "For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in storethat he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul."
We got this new investigator named Ping. She is from China and speaks English! We taught her in English and it was so cool to speak in my native language!! It was funny though, because I would be talking and Thai words would just pop out of my mouth because I am so used to teaching in Thai! She really wants to get baptized but she says she can't because she has to go back to China and says it is against the law. We are going to work with her and try to figure something out! She is so cute!

I just love these Thai people so much! They are so warm and friendly! I have been here so long that they all know me so as I am riding my bike I am constantly waving to people! They are so willing to help me and just show so much love! For example, someone at the store saw my bug bites and she ran over to me and said, “I have some medicine that would help!” I told her I didn't have money but she gave it to me for free. That type of thing happens all the time! I just love them so much!

Brother Somsak became the NEW branch president!! I am so happy for him! He will do such a great job! My comp and I were assigned to start working on Personal Progress with the Young Women. To start they had us talk about when we did ours and I enjoyed remembering all the fun things I did with Mom. We really emphasize doing it with your mom! It is just hard because a lot of them are the only members of their family. Guess what!!?!? Our whole zone got “balanced”! We have a goal of having 2000 people baptized for the year of 2014 and right now we are at 1700!! YAY!

Well I am off for another great week!! I love the mission! I have so much fun everyday! I am so lucky to be in the Bangkok Thailand mission calling people to repentance!!

- Sister Herrmann

PS Tell grandma and grandpa I love them so much! Also please pray for my investigators and for me that I don’t get homesick

November 11, 2014

11/10/14 - Loygratog (Lantern Festival)

Well I don't have much time to write this week because we are going to a waterfall! As of this week I only have a year left, wow, it really all goes by so fast!! This week we went to Bangkok AGAIN for leadership training! I basically live on those trains and busses! I am pretty sure I have perfected traveling in Thailand! It was really fun to see a lot of the missionaries at the training! Usually just the STL's (Sister Training Leader) and ZL's go in the meeting while their comps study in another room. But of course, they choose me to go into the meeting and translate for senior couple missionaries (who happened to be my last branch president in Sisagate!) Translating was kind of hard because President Senior at one point was talking about accounting and using money terms that were really hard to translate! But it was fun and a lot of good practice!

I am so glad I got the opportunity to be in that meeting! Later in the week the ZL's and STL's had to go around to all the districts in the zone and deliver the message so I got to hear it again and again!! They talked a lot about obedience!! If we are not obedient then it is not the Lord’s way, and if it is not the Lord’s way then the Spirit will leave and miracles will stop. It shows God that we don't really care about him or love him enough to obey him. D&C 50:17-18. Obedience is so important! I have already seen many times on my mission that when we were obedient the Lord blessed us! Sometimes the blessings are not obvious in the moment but they will come! For example, we would be so obedient the whole day and do our 2 hours plus of contacting and not get any numbers but then that night we would get a referral and random people would walk up to us wanting to know more about our church. This has happened countless times! Obedience is key!

We also talked a lot about change! Some people say, "I can't change, that is just the way I am." NO NO NO!!! Saying that rejects the whole plan of salvation. Whether we like it or not we are always going to be changing, we just have to choose which direction! In this life our goal is to become like God. That literally is the purpose of this life to overcome weakness and CHANGE to become more like God! Of course it is not going to happen over night, but if we strive and work for it, we will progress each day in becoming more like God! When I first came on my mission I did this activity where I had to answer three questions imagining my final day in the mission field! 1)What do I want to say I have done as a missionary? 2)What do I want to become? 3)What difference do I want others to see in me? Having had this as a guide has really pushed me to change. I am so grateful that we have this gospel and to know that we can change to be like our God! I see people change everyday! Two of our investigators got baptized this Sunday! When we first met them and started teaching them they said, "I drink tea everyday! My body needs it! I can't stop drinking it! That is just the way I am!!" But as they learned with us and relied on the Lord and really applied the gospel they began to have a desire to follow Christ and become like him! As they put off the natural man and used the atonement they were able to stop and CHANGE! I have seen this so many times! I know that this gospel changes lives for the better! Anyone can change through the enabling power of the atonement! It is so so amazing!!

This week a lot of fun things happened!! We had Loygratog, the lantern festival like in the Disney movie Tangled! There are lots of parades and no school. It was so beautiful!! Of course my camera died when all the good stuff happened but it felt magical, like I was in the movie Tangled!! It was so much fun!!! In Thailand they love “coco yen” which is cold hot chocolate. It is so good! We asked the lady who was serving it to give it to us without tea. But right when I tasted it I spat it out (not seeing a Thai lady sitting on the ground and completely soaked her!) Haha, good thing she was really nice! The drink did have tea in it! NO!

It was a good week! A lot of funny things happened but I don't have time to write them all! I am excited for this upcoming week when get to do some service in the rice fields. Also, our mission has a goal of getting every companionship “balanced” (that is code for numbers of lessons, work with recent converts and less actives, contacting, baptisms, etc) on the 16th! We are going to have to work really hard, I am excited!! I hope you all have a great week!!! Love you all!!

- Sister Herrmann

PS MOM, I GOT THE PACKAGE!!!!! It got here a week after you sent it and since I was in Bangkok for the training I didn’t have to wait until the next transfer meeting. I LOVED IT. I CRIED MY EYES OUT!! It literally couldn’t have been any better! Don't worry, I read the letter and only saw the unwrapped skittles and mashed potatoes and Christmas decorations. I am saving everything else for Christmas!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH loved it so much! I really do miss purple skittles!!

Also, I just want to tell you all, real fast, again, how much I love you and am so grateful for each and every one of you!!! Thank you so much for being good examples to me and being my BFF’S!!!!

FHE badminton with my cheetah pants and ugly cat shirt :) 
FHE eating steak- its very different than American steak :(
With the branch president
Wandering around Bangkok while waiting for our train
Waiting at the biggest train station ever in Bangkok
I got a package and cried of happiness! 
LOYGRATOG SO FUN! Usually at this time of year it is cold, so there are no buys. BUT this year is special and it still is 100000000000 degrees! haha
Picture with the boys who are wearing make-up
Christmas pictures from Cole! I love them!

November 4, 2014

11/3/14 - Crazy stay in Bangkok

Well another week has past and mission time goes by so fast! This week I spent a lot of time in Bangkok (we weren't being transferred but I had to go renew my visa!) Transfers were crazy! President Senior made so many last minute changes; luckily I wasn't one of them! I want to stay in Sisaket forever! It was so cute--one of my surrogate mom's told me after she knew that I was staying, "I prayed so hard that you would stay!" I always tell the members that I am staying in Sisaket for my whole mission! The members and I celebrated that I wasn't leaving! It was really fun to see all my friends at the transfer meeting! Everyone in this mission is just so nice!

After transfers things got crazy when we went to renew our visas. While we were waiting some elders started playing face cards which happens to be illegal in Thailand! So…we got kicked out! We had to stay the night in Bangkok and wait until President Senior talked to the people in charge. We got to stay the night with Sister Brown, my companion in the MTC! It was so good catching up with her! I love her so much!! We finally got the OK to get the Visas renewed the next day. The down side was that we ended up missing our branch Halloween party that we were really looking forward to. Bangkok traffic is insane! We spent countless hours waiting in taxis and song tows and busses! We didn't get home from Bangkok until 2AM Saturday morning!!

This week we had a fun going away party for our branch president! He and his wife are going to serve a mission. We had a Thai style dinner which was so fun with the usual laughing and having the best time ever with the members!

I was locking up the house one day when I felt something on my neck but shrugged it off. Fifteen minutes later my companion and I were eating and I felt something on my back. I told her and she started freaking out because there was a HUGE spider on my back--bigger than an Oreo! We were both freaking out and everyone was staring at us like we were idiots, oh well, good times! I have gotten a lot better with bugs--ants and cockroaches hardly bother me but I’m still working on spiders!

This week we had a crazy thing happen! Tuesday night at 5:30 I was planning on having sister Brim, our recent convert, cut my hair! Earlier that day I got a call and all they said was, "can we just meet at 6?" It sounded just like Sister Brim so I assumed it was her. We showed up at the church and these 2 random girls were there, acting like they knew me and we were friends. Then it all clicked! The person who called me was not Sister Brim. I realized that one of the girls was an old investigator, Sister Gig, who I contacted about 2 months ago! When I first met her all she wanted to talk about was Justin Bieber and America! It ended up working out well because Sister Brim helped us teach them. Now Gig and Boo are really interested. They told me that when they pray their heart gets all fluttery and makes them feel so happy. They want to get baptized! God really does work in mysterious ways.

On Sunday it was Muk's baptism which was so special! Sister Croft and I met Muk about 2 months ago through contacting at the market. She told us that she wanted us to teach her religion in English for her class. She had no interest in the church at all. When we first started teaching her she took it all as a joke, but as time went on the Spirit touched her more and more. She is now a completely different person than when I first met her! The light of Christ just shines through her! After her baptism we talked to her and she started tearing up telling us how amazing she felt when she got baptized! It was such a happy day! That night we sent off Brother Somsak and his wife to go to the temple for the first time! I can't even explain how happy I was for them! The whole branch was there and I was literally bursting with JOY!!! I told Sister Dun (Somsak’s wife) that I will be Sister Ribbons mom for the week!

I love studying the gospel so much, that 2 ½ hours everyday is so great! Usually my favorite studies are the ones that are specifically for my investigators! But this week my studies pushed me to be a better missionary! I have been reading in Helaman and there is one line that really stood out… "thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word." The Thai for unwearyingness is dedication. I want to become more and more dedicated to this work. I want the Lord to be able to say that to me! I want to make my Heavenly Father proud more than anything! I want to be submissive to his will 100%. In the scriptures it says, "if he says unto the earth, move, it is moved." We have to choose to do exactly what God asks! I love how in the scriptures it says, "men are free to choose liberty and eternal life or captivity and death." Being here I have come to really recognize my responsibility as a daughter of God and a representative of Jesus Christ! Choosing the Lord's way is not always to easiest but it is always the best and most rewarding!

Another thing I have been talking a lot about with my comp is Jesus Christ’s atonement! This is one of my favorite topics! It reminded me of Elder Bednar’s talk in conference. He hit it spot on!! I have felt the atonement in my life, I have felt my burdens lifted, and have felt the enabling power to overcome all sorts of faults. There is nothing I want more than to have others feel what I have felt myself. Sometimes people hear this and think that all they have to do is pray and their weakness will go away. But they forget that the grace of God won't work unless we WORK and do our part! I just love the scriptures so much! I learn so much from them every single day. I am so grateful to be a member of this church!!! I just have so much gratitude in my heart for my Savior and Heavenly Father, for my family back home and my family here, my companion, EVERYONE! I just feel so much love.

Well I am ready for another crazy, adventurous, uplifting, inspiring, miracles happening week!! We have to go to Bangkok (6-8 hour bus ride) again for the leadership meeting! Also, this week we have the lantern festival! All good! I love you all! Thanks so much for all your love and support!!

- Sister Herrmann
Party!! Thai Style!! PS- When you cook your own meat- make sure it is all the way cooked. 
Our dinner with the family.
I love Sister Brown!! 
Goodbye Sister Phelps! She was such a good example to me. 
On the bus home from Bangkok! 
Yay Muk!! So proud of her!
Sending her off to Hong Kong!