Oh my goodness, I have so much to tell you I might send picture next week but I want to send them today too. Please know that I love you and want to know how all of you are. I read about your lives at home and I'm happy for your success and love hearing all the stories. Thank you all for your letters and words of encouragement. The office elders know me only because I'm "that one sister that gets a lot of mail." :P In fact, we went to the office today and I decided I'd help serve them so I sorted all the mail into boxes to send out to the areas. It was fun! We went to the office because Sister Skalla went to get a blessing. She is getting her tonsils removed on Wednesday. She is such an amazing missionary and we will be praying fervently for her.
Anyway, I love Chiang Mai but I have truly grown to love Bang Khae and Bangkok in general. Every p-day is so fun getting together with a group of sisters. We share our stories and the BangNa sisters (Sister Skalla and Sister Wallace) had a baptism yesterday!!!! So great!
Okay, so this week we totally got doors slammed in our faces. It happened a few weeks ago but this week I remember to tell you. Oh my, it was just like a scene in a movie. A lady opened the door, took a look at us, next she shook her head and then slammed the door. No words even escaped my mouth. I stood there with my mouth opened, words about to escape and Sister Monterrosa just looked at me and I think the look on my face just made her laugh. It was so sad but we moved on to the next doors. This had become a common occurrence. People are so "busy" here and this is salvation they are turning down. But like we say, Heavenly Father is just working with them a little bit more before we are going to be allowed in.
Sadly, they are currently building a beer bar and coffee place in front of the church. I’m so livid when we found out. Okay, maybe not as livid but really? A beer place...now when we explain to investigators where the church is, it'll be something like, "are you familiar with the bar called The Portrait? Yeah, our church is right behind it." Goodness.
On a more positive note, about Sister AA, I don't know what to say other than she's amazing. She cleaned the church by HERSELF for 9 hours and then left treats for members and the missionaries to eat. You've seen a picture of our church right? It's HUGE and she did it by herself all day and she cleaned it thoroughly. We are going to make her something this week in appreciation for her service.
The work is so good! I love doing it everyday and serving with Sister Monterrosa everyday. We have so much fun and because members in the branch don't have a flute, we sing all day. Love it so much. We just serenade the people on songtaw (I think I showed you a picture of one last week—it’s the red car) rides. Anyway, we only taught 35 lessons today but the one thing that I learned from Elder Thompson (my district leader in Chiang Mai) is to testify of Christ everyday. I made a goal that I will invite every person we teach to be baptized and bear testimony of the Savior everyday. I've learned so much and I've been so blessed.
This area has been a challenge for me and there are other aspects that have frustrated me a little bit but I literally feel the Savior carrying me through each and everyday. I wear his name on a badge, my name next to his and it reminds me everyday to be a reflection of the Savior. To act and bless others the way he would. So you know, everyday just being as happy as I can no matter what the weather, circumstance or having doors slammed in our faces. I pretty much LOVE being a missionary.
Transfers are happening next week and I'm super bummed because the probability of Sister Monterrosa moving and I'll get a new companion is very high. She's been in this area for 6 months (4 moves). I really wish I'd have two more transfers with her, but Heavenly Father and other people need her awesomeness elsewhere. I'm also trying to finish the Book of Mormon in Thai by next Thursday (transfers). Right now, I'm in Alma 33. I think I can do it and it’s soooooo nice that Sister Rosa (that’s what the members here call her because they have a hard time saying her whole name) gives me encouragement and lets me read to her. Such patience! :D
Our investigators are amazing! Heavenly Father just helped lead us to them this week. We went inviting after teaching one of our progressers and a lady lets us in and after we tell her who we are and what we do she said, "I want to change religion." SO COOL! So we invited her to be baptized and she has a goal for September. Currently, she works on Sunday (which is the most common challenge with just about ALL our investigators) so we are trying to encourage her to change her work schedule so she can come to church. Right now, we have just 7 people with baptismal dates. This week, our goal is to increase that number to 10. Sister Rosa has such faith so I am positive we can do it. This area is gonna be blooming! We'll make sure of it.
Anyways. I'm going to send some pictures but I just wanted to quickly share something I learned this morning.
In Alma 11-15, it's the story of Alma, Almulek and Zeezrom. So in verse 21 of chapter 11 it says, "Zeezrom was a man who was expert in the devices of the devil that he might destroy that which was good." So I learned a few things here: 1) He's an expert at evil...that's intense! 2) The word choice in the scriptures and in “Peach My Gospel” always strike me; when it uses the word destroy I just think of this huge wrecking ball taking out a building or something blowing up. Then the story goes on that Alma and Almulek were taken captive and they take all sorts of nonsense from the prison guards. They were slapped across the face and they took it, why? Because they are on the Lord's errand and they haven't finished their work; but when it's time, through their faith they loosened their bands and the prison walls fell.
FAITH! Something President Senior talks to us about, a lot! Then my favorite part is in chapter 15 verses 21 - 22 it says, "Zeezrom leaped upon his feet and began to walk and this was done to the great astonishment of all the people...Alma baptized Zeezrom unto the Lord." The moral of the story, like Elder Holland said in his talk during the last conference, “no matter how far you've traveled, it is never too far if the Lord of the Vineyard says so and as long as his arms of mercy are extended. ANYONE can repent. I love having seen and seeing this right now in Thailand. The Atonement covers all and God is merciful. What a blessing it is that all of us get to repent each day. We all need to quickly and sincerely.
Well, I LOVE YOU ALL.
Have an amazing week!