September 9, 2015

8/7/15 - #FilledtheFont

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY IN THAILAND! This week we #filledthefont and #foundthesheep!!! We had baptisms this Saturday where 4 of our investigators and one of the elders’ investigators got baptized!!!! YAY!!! {More details about the baptisms a few paragraphs down}. We were also able to get the MLS to work which gave us a list of 900 members and their addresses! (I have become really good at finding addresses here in Korat!!) We had one of the most awkward moments when an investigator brought out her sacred worship rock which she said could talk and eat and is like a God. We had the misfortune to break into a less active member’s home with permission only to find out that it was the wrong house! We have also had the most tender and sweet moments this week! For example, I got to call a bunch of my RC's in past areas and they told me all about their new callings and their prayer and scripture study progression! I have never felt so proud!

Monday was a super fun P-Day. We had several members go with us to Cow Yhay, which is an area about an hour away with lots of mountains and fun stuff to do. We stopped by a river and there were several pools with the clearest water I had ever seen. We made a makeshift seatbelt so we could sit in the back of the truck and the scenery was incredible. We stopped by a farm and river market and met the cutest elephant. And the funniest looking water buffalo. We rode back and had an FHE with Sister Mug and lots of other members. We helped make and eat a lot of Kanombangbing which is thick, toasted white bread with melted butter, sweetened condensed milk, and sugar. It is a very popular treat here. We talked about the Book of Mormon and I loved hearing all of their testimonies.

One day this week we were trying to find an LA's house which was #487. I was determined to find it!! We found #486 and #488 but were lost as to #487. We stopped, said a little prayer, and then right as we said amen, a man across the street walks out and says, "The Mormons!" We found him!!! He brought out a picture of his baptism and his baptismal certificate and told us he prays everyday but can't go to church because his mom forbids him from going (this man is about 40 yo). His mom then woke up and ran over to us and started yelling at us, telling us that he couldn't be a traitor to their Buddhist ancestors and that she hates Mormons, blah blah blah. We just stood there. The son kept trying to talk but she wouldn't let him. We tried to give him a Book of Mormon but she wouldn't let us. My patience was leaving quickly. This poor man just wanted to go to church and read the book of Mormon. Finally, I had just had it with this lady controlling her son and taking away his agency, so I said a prayer in my heart to have more charity and love. In that moment I got the impression to just express the love of God has for both of them. I bore my testimony and told them that God loved them so much and will always watch over them. The mom was not happy but the man had tears streaming down his face. Even though we didn't solve the problem I think he felt and remembered that God still loved him. He said that the simple visit and testimony meant so much to him!

It rained a lot this week which meant flooded streets and biking in the rain! On Friday the rain was really coming down and we were going to an LA's house and were SOAKED. I thought of Elder Holland's talk telling us, "Don't you dare miss a minute of your mission! I don't care if it's raining, I don't care if it's hot, I don't care if you’re sad or tired, don't miss a minute!" So we continued to Cat's house but the rain got so intense it felt like darts on our skin so we pulled over to a little shop and started talking to the worker while we waited for the rain to go down a bit. He ended up being interested. He could not take his eyes off the picture of Christ. We were teaching at the house of 2 returned missionaries the other day. They had brought 2 friends for us to teach, one was a Buddhist who didn't know who Christ was and only spoke Thai, and the other was a Roman Catholic who spoke Tagalog. The RM’s said, "Ok, start teaching!" Haha, sweet. That day we got to teach two people from completely different faith backgrounds in 2 different languages! Heavenly Father just loves to challenge me!

Saturday was a really special day! We had 5 baptisms with 5 different people performing the ordinance—10 people dressed all in white, the bishop wanted as many as possible involved! After taking the pictures barefoot in the grass, we all went into the chapel, again barefoot, because they just barely cleaned it that morning and didn't want us to get it dirty. The service was great. Jenny was a speaker and started saying this prayer/talk instead. It was pretty funny! Seeing each one of those sisters enter into the font and become completely clean from all sin was probably one of the best sights I have ever seen! The spirit was so strong as each one of them became covenant daughters of God! It really was such an amazing experience to be a part of!! My testimony has grown as I have watched each one of these girls come unto Christ and become changed through him! Lots of tears of JOY. I cannot possibly described the feeling of overwhelming love as I watched Yogi come into the water with Brother O. Sister First was next, and she got dunked pretty hard by Brother Tong, so she came up coughing a little bit, with this huge smile on her face. Then Nicky and Kanoon got baptized.

And then Miw came into the water. And my mind couldn't help but think about her conversion story and all the time I spent with her. I thought about how she was very closed off to the gospel at first and laughed when we asked her to go to church. But after a change of heart she said, "My family needs this Gospel more than anything." Sister Miw is a single mom and works every day. and I could see how much she needed the hope that comes from the gospel. I remember one day we were at her house to teach her but she wasn't home from work yet. I thought of my sisters and how they hate coming home to fussy kids and a dirty house so we decided to start cleaning her house, getting the centipedes and spiders off the floor, and wiping up food, etc. When she walked into her house a huge smile came across her face. This was the first time I had ever seen her smile! It is crazy how simple acts of service can go so far! I thought about how badly she wanted to get baptized to be free of her past and have hope for a happier life. I thought about how many months it had taken her to learn and all of the obstacles that came up and her very real and challenging journey to come to know Christ.  I thought about how long the interview process had taken for her. But she made it and went down into the water and came up a new person! Every person in that room could feel the spirit of that sacred ordinance. 

We walked out of the room and the bathrooms were a little chaotic with so many people trying to get dried off and changed. We sang hymns and then they all filed back onto the stand. Sister Nicky got up and bore her testimony, then Yogi. She had a smile from ear to ear and told everyone how incredibly happy she was. Sister First was too scared, and then Sister Miw got up. She was crying and could barely get the words out at the end. It was such a heartfelt testimony. I wish you could have heard her. It was miraculous to see such a huge change in her and how strong her faith has become. I wish I could bottle up how I felt during the baptism and give it all to you, because it was so incredible. The Spirit just filled us up and we felt so much love for each one of them.

Every week I have the reoccurring goal of having more CHARITY! I have realized that when we have charity all the other attributes of Christ follow! When we are being chartable we are being selfless, we are patient because we love God and the people, we obey…the list just goes on. This is something that will be a goal for me every day of my life. "And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace."

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! There is so much happiness in coming unto Christ. I have seen His love and His redeeming power and grace absolutely change lives. Including my own. His Atonement in REAL and available to ALL. Well I am off for another AMAZING week in Thailand! Have a good week! I love you ALL!!!!!!

-Sister Herrmann
Eating Suki like a Thai  :)
Cutting a coconut

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