August 26, 2015

8/24/15 - KORAT!

Shout out to the best dog ever, Moki, who is now in doggy heaven. I am going to miss her so much but I know she is not suffering anymore and is much happier. I also heard about my friend Rachel who passed away last night after her heroic battle with brain cancer. I am so sad but happy that she is free. I will miss her.

Well, I got transferred to Korat!! It has been a crazy and fun week and really busy with packing and goodbyes and hellos. Brother Ken got baptized! He was baptized on Saturday and he couldn't be happier! I am so happy for him! Talk about life changing!

The 3 days I have been in Korat have been amazing! President told me that Korat needed me but I am 100% sure that I NEED Korat! My companion is Sister Jo from Colorado. She has been out about 10 months and is amazing and such a hard worker, which makes missionary work so much more fun! The members are all so welcoming and nice and the work is just heavy which I LOVE! We have LOTS of investigators and people to work with. This place is going to BLOW UP (spiritually)!

We have taught a bunch of lessons where the Spirit was SO strong. I feel like every lesson we teach has been blessed and we walk out feeling one step closer to heaven. We have had so many miracles, I don't even know where to start! There are so many prepared people here in Korat. My heart just keeps expanding with love! We have this investigator named Gan who came searching for the church. We found out she drinks coffee regularly and so we challenged her to fast to help her stop and the first thing she said was, "Can I start my fast tonight? I want to quite as fast as possible if it is a commandment of God!" There is this neighborhood here that is just filled with investigators. We went and visited a bunch of them and randomly saw an investigator who didn't answer her phone. She took us to her house and at first she was sad and tired looking but by the end of the lesson the Spirit completely changed her. You could see it in her eyes that she wanted nothing more than the atonement to change her life. In her prayer she thanked God that we were in the right place at the right time. There is this amazing RC who is in her 50's and is basically a missionary. She invites everyone to church. She called us Saturday and wanted us to come visit this 70 year old man she met at the market. We went over to his house and taught him, Jenny, and also invited the motorcycle driver to join us. The room was just filled with the Spirit. When we bore our testimony of Jesus Christ the motorcycle guy looks over at me and whispers, "REALLY?!?!... wow." We are also teaching this cute man who is paralyzed from the waist down because he wants to know why we are so happy. I could go on and on about how many amazing things are happing here in Korat but it would take me all day!

When I got to Korat I thought I was really out of shape because I was going so slow on my bike. One day I got off my bike to check it and my tire was completely flat. I pumped it up but 2 hours later it was flat again. It was about 7PM and we HAD to go visit someone. I pumped it up again but on the way home from that lesson it was completely flat. We had to get home before 9! I planned to just go pump it up real fast but when I got to the bike place the guy started taking my bike apart and fixing it. It was a scary place but as I sat there with my helmet in my hands sitting on the stool, I started teaching the man fixing my bike about Jesus Christ. Wearing Christ’s name on my chest, I felt we were blessed with his power as we sat there surrounded by drunk scary people. We made it home at 9PM!

This week I was studying a lot about the life of Peter! In the bible dictionary it says Peter was one of the greatest of men. It is true that the New Testament recounts some mortal weaknesses, but it also illustrates that he overcame them and was made strong by his faith in Jesus Christ. Even Peter, the great prophet, had weaknesses. I realized that we are all on the path to perfection. So how do we progress, change, and move toward that goal more every day? It is through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement but along with that faith we must act. Perfection and change don't come if we just sit and believe. We have to do something, "By grace we are saved after all we can do", "faith without works is dead". So this week my companion and I have set a vision of what we want this transfer to be and from there set a bunch of goals to help us achieve our vision. I know that if we have a plan of action to progress, change, and help others, miracles happen! I have seen it so many times! If we fall short we apply the atonement, repent, and get up and work at it again. There is never a “too late”. There is no sin, weakness, failure that is too big for the grace of God. So we need to use it!!!! Use the gift that Christ has given us. Set the vision of what we want to do, what we want to become and then go and DO!

Have a good week everyone!
Sister Herrmann

PS Lots of bombs going off in Thailand. #prayforthailand
PSS I was told by many my house here is haunted. I think Heavenly Father wants me to overcome my fears!

Teaching English class! Im really going to miss those kids!
Gooodbye Ubon!
Sister Jo!

August 18, 2015

8/17/15 - Elder Holland!!

This week was full of ups and downs with LOTS of pondering. On Wednesday we went to help in the rice fields again but this time it was a lot more strenuous! There were so many times I wanted to give up and go in and get a drink of water but I didn't! It was a good lesson of enduring to the end! When we were done in the fields, the lady we were helping wanted us to cut down some of her trees. The elders started working at it and then I realized that I am not a weak woman who was just going to sit on the side and watch! So I got up in the tree with the hatchet and started hacking away! I didn't realize how hard or fun it would be!! What wasn't fun was the HUGE blisters on my hand afterwards, and the 35 new mosquito bites!!!

Brother Ken is doing so well! He is getting baptized this Tuesday! He went from smoking 30 to 0 cigarettes a day. On Thursday he walked up to me and said, "SISTER I did it! I can get baptized now! I did it!!!" He is so excited to get baptized. I have never seen someone this ecstatic to get baptized before!

We were in Bangkok for a good portion of the week due to Elder Holland’s visit. I can honestly say his message changed and inspired me to be a better missionary. Whenever he was in the room the Spirit was so strong. On Saturday he met with the missionaries and there was one quote that really hit me. "You are engaged in the salvation of a human soul...there is nothing more important and you will never get this chance again so DON'T MISS IT, don't you dare miss one minute of this mission! I don't care whether it rains, I don't care whether it’s hot, I don't care whether you’ve got bikes, taxis or buses, I don't care whether you are happy or sad, I don't care if things are going entirely well in your life or whether they're not, THIS IT YOUR CHANCE! Don't miss it. Don't you ever go home and look back with regrets, not on your apostolic moment." His passionate delivery of this message at this moment in my mission is exactly what I needed to hear. I am NOT going to miss it!

Sunday was a really awesome day as well! All the STL's and ZL's had to go early to usher which consisted of swasdeekaa'ing 2000 people! I got to see SO many people I LOVE! Everywhere I turned there was someone I knew to hug and catch up with! Elder Holland’s talk was UNREAL. I had tears just streaming down my face. He is a powerful man. He was so impressed with Thailand and the members’ faith. I am so proud of Thailand. I love this country. He talked about a lot of things but at the very end he talked about 3rd Nephi, Chapter 17 (which happens to be one of my favorites!)

5 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.
6 And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you.
7 Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.
8 For I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you.
9 And it came to pass that when he had thus spoken, all the multitude, with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their blind, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him.

Elder Holland paraphrased it a little and with tears said, "don't go... stay a little longer.” He pointed out that the Nephites didn't say one word but the Lord knew the desires of their hearts, begging him to not leave them. This had to have been after many many hours of Christ teaching them. Christ had many things to do. He had to go report back to his father AND visit the other tribes BUT he stayed. Elder Holland reminded us that his mercy is on us. He will toss all his other stuff aside to bless and help us. What a loving God we have. We ended with singing, “How Firm a Foundation”. As they sang the third verse I looked at Elder Holland and just saw him crying, and I understood why. Oh how great the mercy of our Lord.

"Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand."

At the end of the meeting I sat there. Everyone was walking around me talking, catching up, and I just sat there wanting that Spirit to stay with me a little longer. I will forever be inspired by Elder Holland’s words as he visited Thailand. IT was exactly what our mission needed, and more than that, it was exactly what I needed.

Love you all,
Sister Herrmann

PS All the missionaries are safe from the bomb that went off on Monday night in Bangkok
Cutting down a tree! 
Me and Sister Hayes after our crying session about how amazing our fathers are. 
Most of our MTC group all together one last time! 
Dinner at Maa & Paas with some random Elders. 

August 12, 2015

8/10/15 - The field is white already to harvest

สวัสดีทุกๆคน! First off I want to make a shout out to my big brother and best friend, Spencer, who got married to my new sister Darby this past weekend! I couldn't be happier for him! LOVE YOU GUYS!

The Lords hand was everywhere this week! There is nothing better than being a missionary in the Thailand Bangkok mission! I love living here! I am just going to jump right into the miracles! On Tuesday afternoon, in between teaching, a homeless man walked into the church. At first we thought he just wanted a job, food, a place to stay, etc. Right after this thought another thought popped into my head and it was a scripture, D&C 35:15… “and the poor and the meek shall have the gospel preached unto them, and they shall be looking forth for the time of my coming, for it is nigh at hand." I decided to sit down and teach him. I found out that he moved to the New York City when he was 2 years old. After growing up he went to college. Later he decided to come back to Thailand. After arriving here he had a stroke which paralyzed his whole left side. He was fired from his job and couldn’t find work because of his disability. He moved to Ubon because his girlfriend told him she could help him but once he got here that fell through as well. So he prayed and was lead to our church. As he was telling me this story my heart just ached for this man. He then asked me, "Sister Herrmann, why would God lead me here when there is nothing here for me?" I answered with 100% confidence, "Brother, you are here to learn the true restored gospel, be baptized and changed." From that point on it wasn't me talking but the Spirit. I sat there on the couch and explained the plan of salvation and the restoration in my native language with more power than ever before! I finally understood what people meant when they would say, "I wasn't the one talking." We gave him lots of commitments and sent him off. Two days later he showed up at the church and looked completely different! His hair was cut, the smell was gone etc. He said, "SISTER! I have good news! I prayed with real intent just like you said and on the way home my buddy called me and said I could live with him! ALSO, I think you were right, this church is the reason why I am here in Ubon. After praying about Joseph Smith I got the feeling that you talked about, the one that is happy and good!" After hearing his response I felt the overwhelming feeling that I was doing what the Lord wanted me to do. When we offered him a baptismal date he shivered, closed his eyes and said, "YES! That's all I want!" His enthusiasm to follow the commandments and Jesus Christ is contagious. I love seeing people’s lives being changed by Jesus Christ and the gospel.

MLC was great! I hit my year mark in country which was fun because I was with all my sisters from the MTC! On Friday we went to the BOONIES as a district and helped a member plant some rice! (Last year in Sisaket I got to gather the rice and this year in Ubon I got to plant it!) There was nothing but a narrow dirt road and just miles and miles of rice field and WILDERNESS. I came to find out it was EXTREMELY hard work. We had to get the rice plant and stick it WAY down into the ground. Then they turned the water on and we had to do it through the water. Of course it was the HOTTEST day of the month! We came home sweaty, dirty, sunburn and satisfied! I thought of the scripture in D&C 6:3 the whole time, "Behold, the field is white already to harvest; therefore, whoso desired to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God." I now understand this scripture both figuratively and literally!

Saturday we had a fun Mother’s day activity and the members from Sisaket came down for a meeting! I got to spend the day with the Sosmak family AKA my family! Sundays are the most stressful day of the week because the only thing you think of is, "Where are my investigators? Are they feeling the Spirit? Do they have friends?" Remember that "accident" family we visited the other week? THEY CAME TO CHURCH! ALSO Sister Nok is so cute, she drives 2 hours every week to pick up her parents (who are really OLD) and take them to church. That is a dedicated member who knows her purpose. All our investigators came and stayed all 3 hours. MIRACLE!

The most special experience of the week was visiting Brother Udom. We have been trying to visit him for the past couple weeks but no one has been able to take us because he lives far away. He is an LA who has been a member for about 30 years. One Saturday he called and asked if we were coming. We told him we couldn't and then the guilt trip came, "Ok sisters…but what do I do with all the food I prepared for you? I spent all day yesterday working in the rice field so that I could feed you." My heart just about ripped in two!!! I turned to my companion and said, "I don't care if we have to walk there, we are going!" We called basically every member in the ward and finally found one who could take us! When we arrived to his shack the Spirit was so strong. I wish I could replay it. He lives in the middle of nowhere, has no money, no job, nothing. Right when we started talking his eyes filled with tears and he told us that in the past he had felt like God had forgotten him. But as he saw us he said, "I feel like God has NOT forgotten me. For the first time in years I know God is still watching over me and loves me because he sent his servants to me." I was a wreck after this. I never thought something as a simple visit could have such an impact on someone. Another eye opening experience for me. "I [will] not forget thee, O house of Israel. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me."

I studied so many great things this week and learned so much through my experiences, studies, and in MLC. I learned how important our desires are. I learned about being a Christ-like missionary and much more. This week I also studied the fourth missionary talk, AMAZING. To sum it up this is what I learned in the words of C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity, "Give me all. I don't want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work: I want You, all of you. I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man, but to kill it. No half-measures will do. I don't want to only prune a branch here and another there; rather, I want the whole tree out. Hand it all over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them all over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart."

I read Matthew 26:39,"And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”Because Christ loved the Father he did whatever was asked of him. That is his call to us too. If we truly love the lord, we will do what he asks.  The Church is true. God’s love is real.

Have a good week people that I love so dearly! This week is going to be a little crazy because I get to MEET ELDER HOLLAND!!! I am so excited to learn from him!

- Sister Herrmann

PS My next P-day will be on Saturday, not Monday. LOVE YOU!