September 30, 2015

9/28/15 - Search, Ponder, and Pray!

To be honest this week was one of the most stressful weeks of my mission...but in a good way! As you know our district had a goal to get 16 baptisms this transfer. Prior to this past week we had 9 people get baptized and needed 7 more to reach our goal. I know that missionary work is not about the numbers but when you set a prayerful goal and work with all your heart, might, mind, and strength to achieve it... miracles happen. So this week was full of teaching, making sure they were ready and helping our investigators get interviewed. We also had a switch-off where my companion and I took a 4 hour bus ride to Roi Et for a day and a half. It was great as we got to go with Sister Nethercott and Sister Brown who are some of my best friends in the mission! AND on Saturday we had a very unusual wedding that took almost half the day. I am going to skip to the big day, Sunday--it is kind of like a football game or a dance recital in that we practice and prepare all week for the big game or performance!

I woke up and started on calls right away!! Our investigator, Dik, who was going to get baptized couldn't come because she was sick and Grandma Dim didn't feel ready so we moved both of their dates back a week. Her daughter, Fara still really wanted to get baptized. Baw, after interviewing AND passing and changing his whole work schedule, working till 2 AM so he could come to church and get baptized ended up not answering his phone... I called him 100 times. We were so sad because he was so ready!! We went to go wake Pat up and found a member to pick up Fara. Fara brought a friend who told me in the middle of sacrament meeting, "Sister, I really want to be baptized!" We found out that she had been to church many times AND had learned all the lessons before. We decide to interview her and she was so ready! So in the end my companionship was going to have 3 and the Elders were going to have 4. We took them out of class early, got them dressed, took pictures, and they all filed out of the chapel and filled up the entire hallway. And then they got baptized, and it was so beautiful and amazing! There were so many people and Brother Mit, who was baptizing for the first time, baptized Faa (the Elder’s investigator) super slow and she had to hold her breath for longer than normal! The Bishop and other members were telling Brother Mit how to best baptize. The other baptisms went really smoothly. And everyone always comes out of the water so happy! The Elders had a family (Faa and her kids) and a guy they met at McDonald's get baptized. Their testimonies were amazing. Pad talked about how so many missionaries and members have invited her to come visit the church since she lives so close but she never wanted to. And then she said something happened and faith in Christ grew in her and she's not sure how it happened, but she believes. It was so nice to have the ordinances completed and get to hear everyone's stories and testimonies. I love them so much and Heavenly Father helped us to be able to reach our goal. Here are their names: Nikki, Yo, Nung, San, Faa, Oy, Eve, Miw, Kanoon, Yogi, First, Gan, Sawong, Pad, Fala, Sagii. They are all amazing people and it has been absolutely wonderful to see all of them come unto Christ and to know the joy that will come from taking that step! It really has been such a miracle!

Last P-day we went to some waterfalls and convinced the people to let us in for 20 baht instead of 400 baht- speaking Thai comes in handy ;). At the waterfall I TOTALLY biffed it and hurt my leg. The waterfalls and scenery were BEAUTIFUL, Thailand is so amazing! Oh and we also made 2 new friends from France! One day we were inviting people and there were elephants just walking down the street. So cool!

A family we are teaching got in a car accident. We were over at their home teaching and the kids were all complaining that they were so hungry! Finally, the mom told us that because she got in a car accident she wasn’t able to go to work and because she didn't go to work she had no money to feed her 4 kids. I couldn't believe my ears. I immediately called the bishop to see if we could use some of the fast offering money to buy them some food. He agreed. We ran over with the kids to get some chicken and rice from a street vendor. We brought it back to the house and left it with them. They were so relieved and grateful and happy. It was a very humbling experience.

I have been studying a lot about personal revelation. I have been wanting to know how to get revelation from the Heavenly Father that I could clearly recognize--like those whom I read about in the scriptures! As I studied a primary song came to mind, "Search, Ponder, and Pray." After singing this song a couple times I went back to the scriptures and realized that all who receive personal revelation SEARCH, PONDER, and PRAY! So that’s what I am trying to do and I realize that searching, pondering and praying takes effort--all the energy of our heart. The Savior promises that if we seek we will receive. I have learned that if anyone is seeking an answer or light and it hasn't come yet, to NOT give up!! It WILL come. We have a promise from God who is bound by his word. If we do our part, it will come. "The more we incline our hearts and minds toward God, the more heavenly light distills upon our souls. And each time we willingly and earnestly seek that light, we indicate to God our readiness to receive more light. Gradually, things that before seemed hazy, dark, and remote become clear, bright, and familiar to us."

Well I am on my LAST transfer this week! Wish me luck! LOVE YOU ALL!
- Sister Herrmann

September 21, 2015

9/21/15 - Paa Swong, Gan, Pad, Wune, Baw, Shampoo, Tonggon, Wit, Wiwat,Tong, Mit, Yogi, & Miw

This week flew by!! Last P-day ended up being horrible but fun in the end. We got lost about 10 times, walked 5 miles because we didn't take our bikes and the lady we had planned to have FHE with told us to just go home because we were so lost AGAIN. And to top it all off, that night my companion’s hair was so snarly she had three huge clumps that we were unable to brush out! The hair wasn't salvageable so I had to cut her hair!! (The next day we went to a salon for a professional cut and now it is adorable!!)

Tuesday it was raining really hard and the rain lasted all day and I was freezing cold. I have never been so cold in my life in Thailand! When it rains Thai people freak out and turn off their phones and basically hide so we had to go out and find them!! We went to Paa Swong’s house because he was getting baptized that night. While we were there he said the prayer all by himself and said more than just "baptism"!!!!! We were so proud of him!! We had district meeting which is always fun. We play the game jeopardy with Thai vocab and spelling and my competitive side comes out. By the end of the game my companion and I were blocking each other out to try to win. I think next week I will be the one to come up with the questions and not play!

PAA SWONG GOT BAPTIZED--best night ever! It was pouring rain so we went to pick him up. He changed into his white clothes (he reminded me of a cute temple worker) and by the time he was ready he was EXHAUSTED and had to sit down for a couple minutes. I think the reason I LOVE Paa so much is because he reminds me so much of my grandpa Herrmann and my dad. They have the exact same sense of humor. It has been so fun teaching him. When he went into the water Sister Jo and I were so nervous that he was going to drown or something because his knees are so bad and he can't really bend them. I was praying in my heart the whole time that things would go smoothly. Brother O (the one baptizing) said the prayer and then wrapped up Paa Swong in his arms and immersed him the water and it couldn't have gone any better! Paa couldn't have been happier. He had a huge smile on his face. His smile gets me--he doesn't have very many teeth. He is such a cute little grandpa, it was a great night

Wednesday we headed to Ubon for zone conference! We got to the bus station on time but the bus showed up 2 hours late because of the rain. It was a 6 hour bus ride so we spent a lot of time studying and talking on the bus. It was SOOOOO fun to see and be with all the missionaries!!! We played a bunch of “minute to win it” games and ate ice cream and headed back to the hotel!! Sister Brown made sure that our rooms were connected…yeah, bad idea. We talked and talked and talked which was fun but we were so tired the next day!

Thursday was the actual zone conference. It was SUCH a good conference. I learned so much! We talked a lot about what we can be doing right now, today, to be able to accomplish our transfer goals. The last zone conference before a missionary goes home they give their “dying” testimony. So that meant that Sister Nethercott, Sister Brown and I bore our testimonies. I was kind of nervous but when I got up to speak my whole mission just replayed in my mind. I decided to bare testimony of my Savior, Jesus Christ, because He has been the center of my mission. That night everyone in my zone rode on the same bus which was really fun. Korat was the last stop and we got in at 2 AM. I was asleep the last 2 hours and when I woke up I had a HUGE bump on my lip (see last picture). I was freaking out a little because it was so huge!! I am guessing it was some sort of bug bite. It went away by the next night.

Friday and Saturday we went back to work. HARD WORK! We taught a lot of investigators and LA's! We went to visit Pad, the cute girl who works at the hair salon right by the church. She was working on writing down some sentences in English to prepare for a job interview where she has to introduce herself in English, so we helped her with that. Then Gan came early and brought her "parents". So we split, taught Pad the commandments and taught Gan and her parents who were awesome. They are Protestant as of a year ago. They said they are not satisfied with their current church and are very concerned about their salvation. They wanted to know what they had to do to gain salvation. It was super cool to teach them! Later we went to find LA’s. Then we taught Wune, and she is amazing. She is one of the girls from English class. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and it was such a spiritual lesson and she believed everything, and especially loved the part about the temple. We also taught her the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity and the Sabbath Day. She said she would quit drinking coffee and talk to her boss that night about getting work off on Sundays. She said she believed in Christ and she really was willing to do everything to obey the commandments and get baptized. When we asked her about her prayers, she said she had never had very many friends and that when she prayed she felt like God was really listening to her, and it was so nice to talk to somebody who could understand her. She is so sweet. She ended up staying for game night, which was super fun. We played the fruit game and then Brother Baw came and we taught him. He seemed a lot more willing to take charge of his work situation and really do something about it. And then in his prayer he asked God to help him get work off to be able to be baptized.

Saturday morning we visited Shampoo, an LA, and taught her husband and mostly talked about God and Jesus Christ. Then we went and visited Paa Swong and taught about the Holy Ghost. He was mostly concerned that he had a white shirt but not a tie to wear to church. We told him we would give him one. We taught Tonggon at Jenny's house. We finished teaching the Plan of Salvation but he did not believe what we were saying. We taught that because Jesus Christ was resurrected, we all will be resurrected as well. And he said, "No, Jesus Christ was the only one that was resurrected. It is not possible for anyone else to get resurrected. We're all just going to die." We read verses in 2 Nephi 9 and Mosiah 16 about the resurrection, and he rejected them. So that was fun. Then we went and stopped by Lee's work and talked about the temple. We went LA hunting and found a former missionary and one of his friends, who both work on Sundays. It was weird because this former missionary seemed totally content to not go to church and just work instead. How did that happen? We also visited Wiwat, and his mom wasn't there! It was a miracle. We were able to teach him and give him a BOM and we told him we would meet him at the end of the street to take him to church the next morning. He was so worried he would forget the time because he didn't have a watch. I took mine off and gave it to him and he was so excited for the plan to go to church! We went out to dinner with a member and then our appointment was pushed back an hour. So we made calls and then sat on the hammock that Brother Tong had set up really high in the palm trees. I got to follow up with Wit, the investigator, and he had watched the restoration video and told me the whole story. Then he said he had more spiritual experiences he wanted to share with us. He said he felt really stressed about work and school and all these things in his life. And then we talked about obstacles to his baptism, and talked about how salvation isn't easy, and it wasn't easy for Joseph Smith and it wasn't easy for Jesus Christ. At the end, I asked him if he believed in Christ, and he said yes. And then I asked if he believed this church was the true church. And he said yes. It was so cool to see how Wit has progressed! Then we taught Boss, a man who had learned everything with missionaries a while ago and then his phone broke so we had no way to contact him. Then we ran into him on the street last week. He has read to Alma in the BOM, he still has not smoked a single cigarette since he learned about the Word of Wisdom, and wants to be baptized. His problem is working on Sundays, so we talked a lot about that.

Sunday was a crazy day! We went to pick Brother Wiwat up in the morning and we saw him walking out of his house with his head down holding the BOM and watch in his hands, and his mother right behind him. She made him give it back and then started beating her chest and pointing and yelling at us threatening to get us kicked out of Thailand. And then she dragged Wiwat back to the house so he couldn't come to church. It was so sad. We went to church and Pad came running down the street to be able to make it on time. Yo, Gan's friend, also came. Gan and Brother Sawong got confirmed. And then in the middle of the second hour, a member motions us out of the class and there is this huge family in the hallway. A grandma, a mom, and 5 kids. And they explained that one of their neighbors, who isn't even a member, suggested they go to church, and that they had come 3 times already to this church but every time it wasn't open. And then they came today. We shepherded the kids into primary and then brought the two women with us to Relief Society. Brother Baw came for Priesthood and so we helped him get to his class. That was his first time at church! After church, we went over to the family's house, and before we even taught them anything, they explained how they had recently felt that they wanted to be Christian and that they wanted to be cleansed from sin. And we sat there in awe. We taught them the gospel, very simply, and about the Word of Wisdom. We asked them if they wanted to be baptized next Sunday and they were so enthusiastic about it. I'm not sure if I've ever met more prepared people. And the kids are SO cute. We then went over to their neighbor's house, because one of the kids was theirs, and taught the Plan of Salvation. We then taught Pad and helped her with her English. We taught the Plan of Salvation and she liked it. Then she told us that she believes in Christ and has the desire to change and be baptized, not because of us or anything we teach, and not because she is experiencing suffering and needs help, but because something within her just believes and wants to change to be Christian. So that was awesome! And then we taught Baw and confirmed his date for this Sunday. We taught Mit & First and Yogi & Miw at Miw's house. It felt like a really amazing gospel conversation instead of us teaching them. We talked a lot about the blessings they received when they were confirmed and how God has a plan for us. And Miw said that she never believed that, but now she really does think that God has a plan for her family. All of her insights into the gospel are spot on and it is so cool because she is experiencing it for herself. And then she prayed at the end, and it was the most humble prayer. She expressed so much gratitude to her Heavenly Father and then asked God to bless me and Sister Jo and our families. She asked for nothing for herself, just for others. I was so inspired by her example of praying the way Jesus taught us how to pray. She is a completely different person.

What an awesome week! I am loving it! And there is so much to do this next week to help all of these people learn and be baptized!

Whenever people challenge my testimony, I come to realize how strongly I believe in the thing about which I am testifying. So I would like to bear my testimony of the resurrection. I absolutely know that Jesus Christ allowed Himself to be slain on the cross to complete the Atonement, and that after 3 days, He was resurrected, His body and spirit coming together, glorious and perfected. And I know, that in some way, incomprehensible to us, that His resurrection brought about the resurrection of all mankind. Because He died and lives again, we all will live again in perfected bodies after we die, and we all have the opportunity to have eternal life with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know this is true!
“And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.
But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.
He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.”

PS I have become obsessed with my helmet. It is like my seatbelt or my life jacket. I always have to have it on!!! haha! Have a great week everyone!! LOVE YOU ALL!
- Sister Herrmann
Cutting my companion's hair
Coco yens
This is how you ride your bike through flooded streets
Zone Conference
Shampoo's house
Brother Wiwat (with my watch and the BOM)
Our cute new investigators
My huge FAT LIP! Pictures don't do it justice! 

September 16, 2015

9/14/15 - Be BOLD

This week has been one of the best weeks of my mission and I know it is because we worked so hard. There wasn't a spare moment that we weren't talking to, biking to, or calling someone to teach them about Jesus Christ! I have never felt so happy! I feel so honored to be a part of all these miracles that God is performing here!

We have started scheduling ALL our meals with members so that we don't waste time while eating! Best idea ever!! The members seem to enjoy this time with missionaries. We ate lunch with this 60 year old woman who just wants to serve God! She literally has nothing and feels like she has a hard time serving because she doesn't have any type of transportation to go visit people or help the missionaries. She told us she had a bike but didn't know how to ride it. A thought popped in my head, "Teach her!" We went outside and lowered the seat on our bike, put a helmet on her and guided the bike as she rode. I wish you could have seen her ride which boosted her confidence. A woman who has NOTHING now feels that she has everything because she has a way to go serve her God.

We are always biking to find LA's or investigators which means stopping every 2 seconds and inviting someone on the street or in a store or in a house or even on a motorcycle at a stoplight. We have met so many amazing people by doing this! There was this man right next to the church that I invited every time we passed the church on our bikes. We finally got him to come look at the church. We took him to the baptismal font and the first thing he said was, "When can I get baptized?" Having him enter the church and feel the spirit there made all the difference! This biking inviting thing also includes kicking the biting dogs, lots of U-turns and a permanent helmet head. Since using MLS we have found lots of LA's and that many members have moved! We found this LA who was completely drunk because his mom just passed away. But because of her death he remembered the plan of salvation and this all happened right as we found him. I feel like this week we used our time really effectively not wasting a minute of Gods time. I LOVE IT :)

We have a recent convert in our ward named Jenny who is about 45 years old. She truly understand the scripture, "For behold, this is my work and my glory — to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” She has brought us over 30 referrals. She shares the gospel with EVERYONE! She is the one who introduced Sister Miw. We visited Sister Miw this week and I can see that her countenance is 100% changed. She was happy and her hopes were high. We walked out of our lesson amazed! We are also teaching this man who is doing construction work on Sister Jenny's house! At first we felt like he wasn’t interested at all--just someone that Jenny forced to meet with us. But one day we taught him at the church and he opened up with so many questions! It was awesome! Jenny also introduced Paa Swong. She saw him at a market struggling to walk and went over to help him. She figured he was really lonely and decided to go to his house. That night she called us over to teach him and he has been learning. We went to his house everyday this past week. He is so funny. One day after a lesson I put a picture of Jesus in the pocket of his shirt which was on a hanger. I asked if he liked the picture of Jesus and he said with a little smirk "ไม่...หล่อเกินไป" which is basically "no...he is TOO handsome!" I also learned that a little simple rule in the white handbook has benefit!! We were at his house and needed to have a girl with us to teach. We were standing outside of his house and a girl walks by and I yelled, “Sister stop here!!" We pulled a random woman into our lesson who is now starting to investigator the church! On Saturday Paa was being interviewed while Sister Jo and Elder Joy and I were outside teaching all the families around his neighborhood. We met this one family who met with the missionaries about a year ago! There are like 10 of them and the dad was so close to joining but couldn't quite smoking. He eventually started working on Sundays and stopped investigating! BUT he wants to start again. He wants to stop smoking so badly. We testified to him over and over again that through Christ anything was possible. He said one of the most powerful prayers I have heard on my mission.

Wednesday night we had 20 minutes before Book of Mormon Class and both had a feeling we should walk down the street. We met 2 girls working at a hair salon. They told us they saw us every day and saw the church but were never courageous enough to go in. So right then we took them inside the church. Every day since we have been going to her little place and teaching her. ALSO after that Book of Mormon class 2 of the girls who came to English class the night before came to the church. I thought they wanted to learn more English but she said, “I want to learn more about Jesus, when I may meet with you next?" We have started teaching her as well.

We have been teaching Sister Gan this past month and she got baptized this past Sunday! SO SPECIAL! She is such an amazing woman. She has faced so much opposition in getting baptized. She went from drinking coffee everyday all day to completely stopping where she feels like throwing up when she smells it. She moved out of her boyfriend’s house of 7 years. She skipped her big work thing in Bangkok because she NEEDED to get baptized. She told right before she got baptized that God comes first no matter the situation. Her testimony after was SO cute! She kept saying that it was the best day of her life and that she honestly feels reborn.

Remember the LA Sister Chluie that we have been working with? She has been so amazing! We went and visited her and somehow the topic of her family came up. They are ALL members. We soon came to learn that she is extremely stressed about their salvation! We got all their names and addresses down and are determined to help them. Her closing prayer was just a plea for her loved ones, for her family to be whole again. It was a really tender moment :)

AHHH I could go on and on about how many amazing things are going on here. We are teaching so many amazing people! This past week I have tried to be as bold as possible and do exactly what the spirit tells me even if it doesn't make sense or I look stupid! I never thought my shy little self would follow a prompting to stop, walk over to a man (helmet and all) and tell him to throw away his cigarettes! "I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear."

YAY for the atonement of Jesus Christ!!!

I am so sad to hear that Grandpa Herrmann has died. I am so grateful that I was able to talk to him. I know that I will seem him again and that the atonement and resurrection are real. Love you all! Have a great week!

- Sister Herrmann

Here is a 15 second video that Tessa sent- she just loves Thailand! Link: