December 9, 2014

12/8/14 - Last week in Sisaket- I am so sad!

This week was Zone Conference! We traveled 4 hours to Khon Kean Tuesday morning and helped the missionaries in their area. It was a lot of fun because sister Nethercott and Grover from the MTC were there! That night we slept on the hard tile so we didn't really sleep well! Wednesday was Zone Conference and it was so much FUN! We went to a market and sang Christmas carols and then ate AMERICAN FOOD!! I didn't realize how much I missed cheese! For Zone Conference we focused on the Savior and his life. We did a lot of activities, sang songs, bore testimony, etc. It was a night filled with the Christmas spirit!

That night Sister Carter, Elder Watkins, Elder Mitchell and I were taking a duk duk to the bus station and the most awkward thing ever happened!! The wind was making my skirt a huge bubble and I noticed and was commenting how funny it was when all of a sudden my skirt flew up showing my garments! I grabbed it down as fast as possible but the look on those poor Elders face was priceless! AHH so embarrassing!! That night we went from a duk duk to a bug to a taxi and got home at 2 AM. We didn't get much sleep that night so the next day we were all kind of out of it!

Simon our investigator from Africa got baptized! It was amazing! He lives 40 minutes away from the Church which costs about 400 bat in transportation which is really expensive in Thailand! We had a couple lessons over the phone and he told us that his parents were Catholic. He was so confused because his thoughts from reading the Bible and Catholicism didn't match up. He was so willing to keep the commandments! Whenever we would ask him if he had any problems with the commandments he would say, "Well, if it is a commandment of God, of course, I am going to keep it." He had so much faith and is so good!!! It has been quite the adventure teaching him in English! I use a lot of thai-glish! It is so hard to teach in English! When he got baptized he was so happy! In his testimony he said that he knew he had to be baptized by immersion and be a part of this church to make it back to Heavenly Father! It was a good day! I am so grateful that I got the opportunity to teach him.

So this week on Friday it was FATHERS’ DAY, aka the King’s birthday! It is one of the biggest holidays here. Everyone wears yellow and celebrates the king and fathers in general! I felt so bad because we needed someone to take us to Simon’s house and the only person who was free was the Brother Somsak, the branch president! Later we found out that after helping us, he helped both sets of elders! So basically he took his whole day off and fathers’ day to help the missionaries!!

We had lots of little parties with the members which was really fun. We were served fish which was gross. They literally catch the fish, cut them open, gut them, and put them on the grill. It was a lot of fun being with what feels like family. We also had a get together Sunday night. They told me that wherever I go in Thailand to always remember where I was born…Sisagate. And that I have many moms and dads there supporting and loving me. I was on the edge of tears. I am going to miss them so much

This week I read 3 talks that really inspired me to be a better missionary and person in general. I read "What Have I Done for Someone Today", "The Character of Christ", and "The Mansion". All these talks have the exact same topic of “giving”. I think everyone knows that service and turning outward is very important but sometimes in the moment of pain and trials it is hard to turn away the natural man. In the Character of Christ it says, "Character is in the power to discern the sufferings of others when we ourselves are suffering; in the ability to detect the hunger of others when we are hungry and in the power to reach out and extend compassion for the spiritual agony of others when we are in the mists of our own spiritual distress. This character is demonstrated by looking and reaching outward when the natural man and instinctive response is to be self absorbed and turn inward." While reading, my thoughts veered to our savior, Jesus Christ. I have been studying about his life and his amazing selfless character. I think of the words in Matthew, "But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Christ did all those things. When he was suffering more than anyone can imagine he was praying for the well being of others, seeking comfort and peace for those who needed it much less than he. Even when he was suffering, his first thought was how to help others. Obviously this Christ-like service can't come through sheer willpower. In the talk it says, "As we are dependent upon the mercy and grace of God, we are enabled to reach outward when the natural tendency is for us to turn inward." I have come to realize selfless service is a gift that you can inherent through the atonement of Christ.

As we are serving and giving of ourselves we have to make sure we are not doing so for ourselves. I read the story, “The Mansion”, about a man named John Weightman who is rich and is always "giving". But in his heart it was for his own gain in the world. At the end of the story he has a dream about getting his mansion in heaven. Others had big nice ones but when he saw his it was a small shack. He was so confused. He tried telling the keeper about all the service he did and the keeper said, “We know you did all that stuff. They were not ill done. But they were all marked and used as foundation for the name and mansion of John Weightman in the world." Later he asks, "What could I have done better? What is it that counts here?” The keeper said, "Only that which is truly given, which is done for the love of doing it, only those plans in which the welfare of others is the master thought, only those labors in which the sacrifice is greater than the reward, only those gifts in which the giver forgets himself." I love that statement so much! It is good for self evaluation. Having studied this has made me see how I can sincerely turn outward better. I have also learned so much about this through the examples of the Thai people. They are constantly giving to truly help others! I am so grateful for their example and love they have shown me! Thinking about leaving this branch literally kills me!

Well in the spirit in Christmas I challenge all of you to turn outwards and follow the example of our Savior. Ask yourselves every day,
"Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed."

I love you all! Have an amazing week! Keep me in your prayers as it is going to be a stressful week with transfers and MLC! Thanks for all the love and support!!

- Sister Herrmann
PS. I got 10 new mosquito bites on my feet!
Eating at a fancy hotel at Khon Kean
With the sisters in Khon Kean
In a songtow
Muay and Toffy. This is the last time I will see them :(
Walking with my horsy to church :)
We match! 
Mama Boom
Maa Daw!
Simon got baptized! 
So sad- my last Sunday with Ribbon
Baptisms galore!
I love my children! 
My maaaa! She is the best! 
Last time seeing my good friend Benz!
All of my moms & dads! 

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