Ahhhh being a missionary is the best! I love it, I love it, I love it! On Monday for p-day we went to a dairy farm…why, I have no idea. We milked some cows, watched a horse show etc. We also went to some waterfalls and ended up on this muddy river bank having a picnic in little shacks ... oh wait that was after we stopped at the typical Thai market that had a different smell every step you took. I thought I would have gotten used to it by now but I still cringe when I see people selling pig faces and newly killed/skinned chicken and all other sorts of disgusting things, at least they have lots of pretty fruit to make up for it!
There was the most amazing miracle this week!!! There is this woman named Sister Faa who is the sweetest woman ever. She is a single mom of the most adorable twins. Everyday these scary men in black jackets on motorcycles show up at her house to collect the money that she owes them because of her debt. Every day her debt keeps increasing because she couldn’t pay the total amount all at once. She was so scared to get baptized at first, afraid of not being able to keep some commandments like attending church on Sunday and paying tithing. But despite her fears she committed and got baptized with her 2 kids. Now 3 weeks later, still having the burden of the debt, she met a soldier friend from a few years ago and as they were talking the topic of her debt came up. The soldier said that he would pay it off for her. She called us crying at the miracle that just happened and the huge weight that was going to be lifted off her shoulders. She told us that she would usually give her 2 children 40 bat for school so they could eat. But when her kids came home from school she would see them slipping the 40 bat back into her wallet. She also heard her kids pleading out loud in prayer that their mom could be relieved from this debt. When the kids found out that the debt was gone they both burst into tears of joy and the little boy said, “I think we should pray and thank Heavenly Father." It was such a sweet and tender experience and we were all speechless. Such a perfect example of a faithful woman and children trusting the Lord through their fears. Another time we saw her laying on the floor of her home just lifeless looking. She explained that her ex-boyfriend is usually a really nice man until he gets drunk. Because they live close to each other whenever he gets drunk he finds her and beats her. She described in detail how horrible the physical beatings are. But despite this trial she went on to testify that God has eased her burden once and she knows that he will again in his due time. Talk about serious faith.
One day this week we had about 40 minutes between lessons and I really really wanted to get inspiration from the Spirit of what we should do rather than the default of just sitting and making calls. I thought and thought and finally pulled my companion aside and said a prayer. As I was praying a picture perfect image of an apartment came to my mind. As I went on praying I was able to match a name to the apartment. It was an LA named Sister Aom. We found her address from the MLS record about 4 weeks ago. We have tried going to her house 5 times and every time we try to visit her she isn’t there. Finally her dad told us she basically doesn't live there anyone. So I didn't quite want to go there and waste time BUT there is no such thing as a fake prompting from the Lord. So we hopped on our bikes and headed over. We knocked and 19 year old Aom opened the door!!! We had an amazing lesson with her and she committed to come to church on Sunday. She said she had not been in 4 years and was afraid everyone would judge her, but was willing to try!
On Thursday we had a mission tour in Khon Kean. It is weird because I remember our mission tour at the exact same place and time last year...I swear it was just yesterday! We headed down Wednesday night and got to the hotel around 8. It was fun seeing all my friends! The next morning we had our conference with Elder Funk and his wife from the Seventy! From 7:30 to 3:00 I was enlightened and instructed on how to carry out my missionary service from now until the end of my life! We talked a lot about the importance of obedience. This is something I have come to know deeply on my mission. I can truly say that when I am being obedient I am happier. It is so easy to become selectively obedient in our world. I love what Sister Johnson said, "Keeping the commandments is not a buffet!" We are either in or out. We are either exactly obedient or we are not. It is interesting how Satan works within out comfort zone and little by little he pulls us down. I have seen it happen. I remember in high school I would tell myself, "Ok, I’m going to study my scriptures every night." Then night would come around and I would be exhausted and tell myself, "It’s ok if you just recite Nephi 3:7 in your head and that’s good enough…" Satan knew exactly how to work me--because I wasn’t doing something horrible I felt justified. But now I know better. Every time I get that urge to become lax in obedience I think of the scripture, "If you love me keep my commandments." I want nothing more than for my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ to know that I love them. I do love them so much. But my words are not enough. I need to show them each and every day of my life! I loved mission tour!
(Also during the mission tour they had 4 missionaries (me) come to the front and Elder Funk wanted to read our planners. Most stressful moment of my life! Good thing I love planning and making my planner look cute and complete! All the missionary got updated, really nice new phones. They are so complicated.)
The past couple weeks we have been teaching this cute little khun yai named Daw. She is the one that was Chaluies friend. She is a curious one and loves hearing us share scriptures about how she can become forgiven. Her life situation is a little difficult right now. She has completely stopped drinking coffee and she always says, "It’s a miracle, it’s a miracle!" She and her cute crippled husband are poor มาก. Her date to get baptized was set for Sunday the 18th. But you can’t have a baptism without Satan intervening. She had to pay the bill for her bathroom size house on that Sunday and she was planning on going to a different area of Thailand to get the money. We both had a strong impressing this was all Satan’s doing. We had a good powerful lesson on using our faith. We explained to her that the witness doesn’t come until after the trial. We read 3 Nephi 12: 31-33 telling her that God knows what she needs and if she would just do what he wants first he will help and guide her. After this lesson she said, "Ok...decision made. I’m getting baptized tomorrow." I walked into church at 8:15am and there she was sitting in the chapel with her friend Chaluie, the only two in the chapel. I felt like I was in a movie. Seeing two 75 year old women sitting a chapel completely silent ready to be born again. It was a sweet tender moment for me as I remembered the road that a less active Chaluie and I took to her present strong faith and her friend getting baptized. AHHHH, the church is true!
I could go on and on about the amazing things that have happened this past week but I’m out of time. God is good!! Have a great week, love you all!!
- Sister Herrmann
PS If any of you have time, watch the “12 steps to change” videos. I watched them for companion study and they are very inspiring...just goes to show that through Jesus Christ anything is possible. After watching them I was talking to my companion about her life before she joined the church. She told me about her drug addiction and how her life has totally changed since surrendering everything to God. It is true, with God anything is possible!
PSS This week, I got to cut down some more trees. Haha. I didn’t know I was going to be cutting down trees so I was still in a skirt which was a REALLY bad idea...I now have over 20 red ant bites on my legs.
PSSS Two of our cute investigators are muay thai fighters, which is like thai fighting/boxing. They are fifteen year old girls. Awesome.
PSSSS Brother Bow called us on Monday EXTREMELY happy. Apparently he interviewed for a new job that is off on Saturday and Sunday! He will know next week if he got it!
PSSSSS We have been teaching Pat a lot this week and I think she finally is starting to understand! Her tiny seed of faith is now a bush!! Seeing someone’s faith grow is the best feeling in the world. Last night we ate dinner at her house and I was about to leave and she said, "Sister! WE NEED TO PRAY!!" I was so proud of her!
PSSSSSS Throughout church Fara and Skii were making mustaches out of my hair... as long as it keeps them quiet!