Today I learned an important lesson. That no matter how much you think you got life figured out. YOU NEVER DO.
This last week and a half or so has been the most exhausting, rewarding, heart wrenching, beautiful, emotional week and a half of my whole mission. But regardless of what has happened, I am comforted by the words that Sister Larson sent to me in an email....I believe she was quoting Elder Ballard from last conference..
"God's plan is in place. He is at the helm."
When we humble ourselves and realize who is REALLY at the helm of our lives. We can take comfort that every single experience we have is ALWAYS for our good. "...and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou...that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." (D&C 122:7)
I am not going to go into detail about what exactly I experienced this last week but I do hope that you will still feel the weight of my testimony.
I testify that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God. That He single handedly atoned for ALL the sins of the world, and that He also atoned for ALL the trials and infirmities of every single individual on this earth. I KNOW that He did. And I know that through sincere repentance, we can change our lives. No. We cannot change our circumstances, but we can change our perspective. Pain can become peace. And heartache can become healing. BECAUSE of Him. The Power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ IS enough. "And as many should look upon that serpent should live, even so as many as should look upon the Son of God with faith, having a contrite spirit, might live, even unto that life which is eternal" (Helaman 8:15)
Don't let the impossibility of all of this prevent you from believing. Just believe, and I promise you, you will experience a joy that you never could've ever imagined. REAL peace. REAL joy.
Lastly, I testify that God is our very Eternal Father in Heaven. He loves us. And He is more aware of us than we are aware of ourselves. He knows every thought, and He knows every intent of our hearts. So trust Him. He loves you. (D&C 6:16)
I know that through sincere prayer we can communicate with Him, and receive very real answers to those prayers.
I love my Savior, and my Father. More than I can even express.
And I says these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Still smiling!!!!! Still happy!!!!! <3
P.S. In case you are reading this and don't know. I จบ (finish my mission) in 7 days!! What???? I fly out Wednesday, April 20th.....>.<
Sister Rungthip and I at the Water (สงกรานต์) Festival Ward Party!
Me and an investigator receiving blessings! It's a cultural ritual.
FOUR of our investigators were baptized and confirmed in the last week here in Roi Et. My heart is so full. I could not stop smiling as I watched from the piano bench (thanks to Sister Larson going home, I now play the piano on Sundays...555..). I watched as each of them received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I couldn't have asked for a better Fast Sunday. This week was just wonderful! Sister Joy, Pia, Q, and Angel are the newest members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints here in Roi Et. I love them. :)
Also, had my last MLC in Asoke this last Thursday! It feels so long ago. But I remember it being incredible. I wish I had more time to write about it but we are short for time today. We went to Surin and rode elephants again!! And I got to see members from Sisaket for the last time. Huge shout out to them! <3
I am so excited for CONFERENCE!! We will watch it this weekend on Saturday and Sunday.
And also this week we are having a ZONE CONFERENCE. So all the missionaries in the Ubon and Roi et Zones will be here on Wednesday for interviews! So excited!
Then NEXT WEEK, is the huge สงกรานต์ festival in Thailand. The Ward is having a huge Ward Party on the 13th, Then our P-day will be the 14th!
Time is flying by so fast!! I can't even believe it.
I feel so blessed..
I am just so happy like always. Which is so incredible. I LOVE MY COMPANION. So much. Sister Rungthip is seriously going to change the WORLD, here in Thailand. She is just the most amazing missionary. I feel so lucky to have served my last 3 months with her!
Everything is happy, everything is in order, we are just working like always!
I hope conference inspired you this week! Love you all!
Favorite Quote/paraphrase from Sister Johnson at MLC:
"If you don't love someone, serve them until you do!"
1. Angel and Q got baptized on Saturday and then got the HG with Joy and Pia on Sunday! :)
2. Flying home from MLC!
3. Family History Fireside in Roi Et! I love these members!!!!!!!! <3
It has been 3 months since Sister Yang first met these two! I love them so much. They growth over these last 3 months has been incredible, and the fact that they got baptized on EASTER makes is so much better! Best EASTER EVER!
Also, this week we had a fun Ward Easter Party....Elder Smith dressed up as a bunny....555+ and we taught everyone how to play Red Rover! So funny. The best part was the first hour of the party though, where we taught everyone the real meaning of Easter. That our Savior Jesus Christ was Resurrected. Elder Webb did a wonderful violin solo musical number, and we watched all of the Because of Him videos that the church has put out. Including the new one from this year, "Hallelujah". The spirit was so strong and it ended up just going so well.
This has been the best Easter I have ever had by far.
Here is what my motto for Easter has been.... MOSIAH 16:15
"Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father. Amen."
I have seen so many blessing from teaching towards Easter and towards the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ this Easter season. I am going to make that a permanent change in my teaching. Not just during Easter but focusing more on the Atonement all year round...I want to "always remember him", so that I can "ALWAYS have his spirit" to me with me.
This next will we are going to Bangkok again for MLC on Thursday! My last one of my mission, and then next Thursday April 7th, will be my last Zone Conference. So crazy to think. It doesn't even feel like it. I honestly feel nothing. 555+ I just feel happy like always, and just at peace with life. Everything will workout, it always does. But that doesn't mean you don't have to TRY.
I love the quote from President Johnson in his email today.
"I firmly believe any two missionaries can have a good companionship if both are willing to try. So try."
Amen!!! Apply that to every aspect of your life and you will be happy. Because it is in the "TRYING" that that peaceful reassurance comes from. And it is when you feel that peaceful reassurance that you don't stress out over the little things, because you have hope in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that one day everything will make sense.
I hope everyone has a great time TRYING this week! :)
Both Sister Rungthip and I are staying together here in Roi Et! It's actually our dying wish! I am so excited. I love her SO much. She is THE most incredible missionary. And now she can keep teaching me อีสาน !!!!!! เว่าลาวได๋บ่ กได๋แล่วเด้อ
Today was on of the best days of my mission...
So for P-Day we drove to a tiny หมู่บ้าน out in the middle of nowhere and jumped into a giant muddy hole to catch fish with our bare hands. THEN we took those fish, cooked them over hot coals, and had an อีสาน feast! I was covered in mud from head to toe, and just the happiest little kid you ever did see! ^.^
This last week was so wonderful. After we got back from Bangkok, we had another switch off with the two other sisters from Ubon! It was a ton of fun. I switched off with Sister Strickland! She is from New Zealand. But her family is from a small island called Nuei, which is really close to Tonga! She is SO cute! I think I forgot to take pictures though. Her brother served a mission in Fiji! :)
As for our investigators, right now we are working with 5 daters for this month!!
1. Sister Joy (13 yrs) - date: Mar. 20th
2. Sister Pia (13 yrs) - date: Mar. 20th
3. Sister Angel (16 yrs) - date: Mar. 20th
4. Sister Cue (18 yrs) - date: Mar. 27th
5. Sister Pound (18 yrs) - date: Mar. 27th
They are all so great. We are trying to work with their families as well though. Because as you can see they are all pretty young. They all really do have such great faith though. I can honestly say that they are the reason I am so grateful I am not moving. So many miracles with each and every one of them. We have a few other progressing investigators as well. Like I keep saying. The work is just exploding! We also have about 5-7 RC's that our companionship is working with, and unfortunately a huge handful of LA's. But something I am impressed with is the retention of the new RC's these days. Retention in Thailand is getting so much better as we work to strengthen the wards. Most of these LA's we are working with are long time members that just recently went in-active. For the most part, everything is going smoothly. This is SUCH a great area!
So for this next transfer, I am still STL, and the new STL with me is Sister Blaylock. Sister Ong's ลูก!! I met her once when she was a greenie in Asoke. Back in May last year. I remember that she plays basketball, and that she is friends with the Jackson Twins from Camas. Because they played on the same intramural team at BYU-Idaho! Crazy small world right?? I can't remember where she is from but I think Utah?? I am so excited to be STL's with her over the Roi-Et and Ubon zones!! Seriously this next transfer is going to be so much fun! Also, the only other person moving is Elder Bunker! He is going to Chiang Mai, and Elder Webb (yes from my MTC district who I served with in Sisaket) is going to be ZL here in Roi Et!! Crazyyyyy we are serving in the same district AGAIN, for the third time...555+
Last but not least. Sister LARSON is dying!!!!!! She literally flies home on Tuesday. I am going to miss her so much. We have been STL's together these last 4.5 months and I wouldn't have had it any other way. I LOVE THAT CRAZY GIRL! Luckily she will be at BYU in AUG so we will see each other, but I honestly cannot thank her enough. Huge shout out to her for her amazing testimony and hard work these last 18 months! สู้ๆ ต่อไป
I hope everyone has a great week, and remembers to checkout the Easter Initiative by the church called: "Hallelujah" the link is on Mormon.org or LDS.org, I am assuming? It come's out March 13th!!
Oh and if anyone is still confused as to what I am doing here in Thailand I think
D&C 42:6-8 says it pretty well!
"6 And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voice as with the sound of a trump, declaring my word like unto angels of God.
7 And ye shall go forth baptizing with water, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
8 And from this place ye shall go forth into the regions westward; and insasmuch as ye shall find them that will receive you ye shall build up my church in ever region-"
That pretty much says it all. My favorite part of that section is and "...ye shall find them that will receive you..." I am not here to force people to change religions. I am here to find the elect. Those already prepared by Christ to come unto him.
Our Missionary Purpose:
"Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel by Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End."
That is why I am here! And my motive is all for the "love of God, and all men."
I am here because I love these people and I know that through Jesus Christ they can have a deeper understanding of who they are and their purpose in this life.
I know Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World.
I hope everyone will find a way to understand that phrase just a little more this week.
They drained most the water before we went fishing
So this transfer is already almost over!!! Next Monday is transfer day.
So I potentially might be in Bangkok this Saturday and Sunday if I move.
Honestly, this transfer flew by....transfer calls come this week and all I can keep thinking is how much I want to stay and จบ in Roi Et. But who knows...
This last week was pretty crazy. Left for Bangkok on Tuesday for MLC and got back Friday. We made a stop in Korat to do training there and I got to go visit my companions family! Which was so much fun and a really good experience.
Then we did training in Roi Et on Saturday. Which went really well. That Eternity Moment that me and Larson are obsessed with happened again. Sunday also was so great. Fast Sundays are always the best! We went and visited the 95 year old member again on Sunday and this time I got a picture!! He is Grandpa Dean!!!!!!!!! 555+
Tonight we leave for Bangkok again because I have to renew my visa tomorrow morning in Bangkok. So that's kinda inconvenient for the last week of the transfer.
But I'm not even mad! Because life is just good. Working doesn't even feel like work, and life is just beautiful. Nothing is more fulfilling than helping others come unto Christ.
He is the Savior of the world. I can't wait for EASTER!
Easter is one of my favorite times of year.
Also, on March 13th the Church is doing another initiative for Easter. As missionaries, we get to watch it before it comes out. It's so good too. So keep your eyes open for that.
Favorite Verse this week:
John 5:39 - "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."
Don't forget to pray and read this week! Everyday, everyday, everyday!!
Not alot to report, but just know that I am happy! I got to switch off with my child! Sister Sihabut (On friday) and Sister Kwak (On Wed), who is Sister Hayes child!!
Oh and Friday was Sister Rungthips birthday! So shout out to her! She is such a great companion! I love being companions with a khon Thai. Everything is just so happy! This week we go back to Bangkok for MLC. Taking a plane again! Sister Larson dies in 2 weeks and she is freaking out! 555+ I love her. Hope everything is great back home!
Love Sister Burbank
Quote of the day:
C.S. Lewis - "We can say we believe in Christ as we believe in the sun at noon day, not that we can see it, but that by it, we can see everything else."
Switch off with these cute people!
Sister Coates, Me, Sister Kwak (FROM CANADA), and Sister Larson.
Birthday dinner at this amazing members restaurant!!
So this week consisted of ZONE TRAINING, SWITCH OFF's, and BROADCASTS from Apostle Elder Gary E Stevenson. I can honestly say that it was one of my favorite weeks of my mission. But I feel like I honestly say that every week. 555+
Everything is just so good!!
ETERNITY MOMENTS are real. Sister Larson and I are convinced that you can't explain them in words, so I won't even try. But just know that these glimpses of ETERNITY are real. And I love them. One of them was experienced when I watched Sister Phosawad's (A khon Thai Sister serving here in Roi Et) grandmother give the closing prayer to the Celebrating 50 years of the church in Thailand Broadcast that replaced our Sacrament meeting yesterday. She is a miracle. When President Johnson was a young missionary he taught her, and now look what has come of it....that women's granddaughter is serving a mission. Incredible. We also got to listen to not only a member of the Twelve, but the Asia Area President, Elder Gong, and the member of the Seventy, Elder Khanakham (who lives in Thailand). And many more. Everything was so incredible.
Also had Zone Training this last Thursday.
Elder Bunker, Elder Chamberlain, Sister Larson and I were all in charge of doing it. Ended up going pretty well actually! The theme of MLC was the "WHY" of being a missionary.
What are our motives for doing what we do?
Matt 22:36-40 - Because we love God....
It's as simple as having love for God and our fellow men. That is why we do what we do.
That is why we are members, that is why we are missionaries.
All for the love of God!
I hope all of you find a way you can express that love for God more fully this week.
As Elder Holland reminds us, "that the crowning characteristic of love is always LOYALTY."
How can we be more loyal to God?
I know that when we express our love for God and our fellow men, our hearts will increase in capacity to feel God's love for us. Which is the greatest of all the gifts of God.
I love you all. I love my Father in Heaven. I love my Savior.
Have a great week!
1&2. So this last WED and FRI we had switch-offs...since Sister Larson and I are now the STL's over two zones, we have 10 Sisters (5 companionships) we have to do 24 hour switch offs with this transfer. Which means that we had to do 2 this week...On WED we switched with the Korat Sisters, Sister Macknight and Sister Larson went together (both finish their missions March 15th), and I went with Sister Budsayamad (a khon Thai greenie from Sakon Nakhon)....leaving Sister Rungthip and Sister Phosawad (both greenies) to be companions. Because all three sisters are still in training we all had to stay and study until 12pm. They all called me their แม่ (mom) in the mission. 555+ Even though I think all of them are actually older than me in real life. I love them so much though. We have so much fun together. I love how many khon Sister missionaries are coming in now!!! Represent!
So this last week I celebrated Valentines Day by getting shocked with a whole lot of trunky news.
After flying down to Bangkok on Tuesday night we had a wonderful MLC on Wednesday with President and Sister Johnson. Then they invited a few Sisters over to their house for dinner which was incredible. I did not want to leave...it felt so good to be with them.
Then Thursday I had what President called a "Not being Trunky but being WISE" meeting. Essentially, every missionary that is dying on April 22, 2016 was there to discuss and talk about life after the mission. The meeting went from 9am-1pm....talk about exhausting!! 555+ But honestly it wasn't at all and it really didn't even make me trunky. I just felt at peace the whole time, because right now on my mission I have this constant peacefully feeling all the time. I can't explain it but if I was going to try I would say something like...floating. It feels like I am floating. Anyways, the real reason it probably just because it still feels so far away and I am never actually going to believe there is a life after the mission. But like all of my mission friends in the last 3 months has faced....it's REAL...and it comes so much faster than you'd ever hope or expect. So I guess you could say I am grateful for President and his desire to prepare us for whatever we apparently need to prepare for. With that being said....I was so happy to finally get back to Roi Et, Friday morning. Being out of your area is one of the worst things about being a missionary. So it felt good to be back.
Saturday was SO much fun. For the Bishop's birthday we went and and helped do yardwork for all of his neighbors. That's how he wanted to celebrate. He is one of the most humble people I know. Honestly, he never ceases to amaze me. He just radiates with the spirit. My goal in life is to somehow become like that. We even met the cutest little old lady doing it and now we have a plan to go do FHE at her house tonight. So cute.
Sunday was incredible. VALENTINES DAY. Sister A got the Gift of the Holy Ghost in sacrament meeting which was just incredible. She is the cutest thing ever. Also went and visited a bunch of old members who cannot come to church because of health etc. It felt so good and I was so impressed with each member as they have kept their faith strong even though they can't physically go to church anymore. One man was 94 years old, and reminded me of Grandpa Dean. He literally is the Thai version of Grandpa Dean. He has an old bicycle and everything. If he had it his way he would still be biking to church like he always did, not missing a single Sunday, but ever since he fell his kids wont let him bike anymore. They aren't members. He still is so healthy though! I was just shocked when I found out how old he was. I asked probably 10 times to repeat it because I just wouldn't believe it. He can read, walk, dance, sing, all of it! And trust me he proved it too. 555+ I just love him. And this work....most people find fulfillment or fun in partying and drinking with friends but who needs to party when you can go visit and listen to a 94 year old man sing "Nearer My God to Thee" in Thai from memory? Honestly..555+ I would never wish my life any other way.
Charity is the only form of real happiness.
I hope all of you had a wonderful week.
Happy Valentines Day!! I can't think of a better way to spend it than by serving my God and His super น่ารัก children.
Valentines Day Activity Saturday night!! I love these people!! The little boy (Ford) in the left hand corner is my Valentine :)
Musical chairs...so simple but so fun.
Teaching khon Thai's how to line dance at the activity.......555+ Never laughed so hard in my life.
Elder Bunker with B. Arm....Seriously the funniest people I have ever met....
This week was full of just incredible experiences. From witnessing the first steps of complete unity within our stake when it comes to missionary work to having our incredible investigator Sister A pass her interview. She is getting baptized next Sunday!!! B. Uan is still going strong but we had to move his baptismal date for later this month. He is working at helping his wife become converted first now too! And he wants to wait for her! She lives in Bangkok so it's a little long distance but it feels right. Families! We also have Sister Joy and Sister Bia on date for Feb. 14th and they are the family of Sister Pop who just got baptized! Then we have Sister เอย which I can't spell in English who is on date for the 28th of Feb!
Miracle: They all came to church on Sunday! So we got to teach them all! It was such a great day. And B. Uan even brought his 10 year old son who is visiting from Bangkok, He has two kids, BM (10 yr. son) and Benz (daughter)....Needless to say he loves cars. 555+
We also visited Sister Wai our 93 year old investigator on Sunday. Unfortunately she didn't make it to church today but when we stopped and visited she seemed to be doing okay. We prayed with her and let her sleep. The Bishop and his wife took us. So nice of them. Sister Yang and I are seriously so tight with the Bishop and his wife here. We get along so well! 555+
Then the Bishop and his wife wanted to take us out to the Stake Presidents house for his mom's funeral because this last weekend she passed away. It was such an interesting experience because it was a Buddhist funeral because the Stake President's mom was still Buddhist, but because of the perspective we have the spirit could still be felt as we sang a few hymns and prayed with them. It was one of the coolest experiences on my mission and really strengthened my testimony of the Plan of Salvation. I have been to Buddhist funerals before but having the Stake President there and having it be his mother, made the feeling different. I was so impressed. I love and respect that family so much!
Honestly, this was just such a spiritually packed week! We had zone conference this last Friday too! So we got to see President and Sister Johnson which is always a pleasure.
Rina DIES (goes home) on Friday!!!!!!!!!!! What the WHAT?!
Where has time gone?
We get transfer calls today....I hope I stay.
I don't know what is going to happen. We will see.
Thank you to everyone who writes me!! Honestly. I feel bad I can't respond to everyone. But just so you know I really do love reading your emails. It brightens my day so much!
Love you all and remember who you are! :)
(P.S. Isaiah 53-54 - I am obsessed with these chapters right now...check 'em out!)
Proof that I was cold.....Thank you แม่นิน for the headband!
After she passed her interview!!!! I love her...
Seriously...I am so tall...555+
Roi Et Zone conference!!
Bishop and his wife chilling after church. Watching Sister A's daughter while she interviews for baptism. :) I love this family!! Sister A and her husband are going to be great members.
Sister A and Garfield... they are such a miracle. We found them while we were contacting one day out in Tawaburi. Which is a 12km bike ride from the church. God works in mysterious ways!
These missionaries cramming into one tiny thai kitchen. 5555+
So today consisted of waking up at 6am. Driving two hours to Surin to ride elephants in the absolutely freezing weather....And feeding monkeys at a random Buddhist temple along the way. I will send more pictures in another email. But needless to say today was pretty productive. 555+
As for this week....well I can honestly say it was one of the weirdest weeks of my mission. Not that anything particularly weird or different happened, it just felt like it. Starting with Thursday we watched the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast (the first one in over a decade) which was fantastic. Then moving onto Friday morning. I slept on my neck wrong and ended up being crippled all of Friday and Saturday and a little of Sunday. I still worked, but it was like 8th grade all over again. I couldn't turn my neck to the left at all. And moving it at all would hurt. It was super weird and annoying, but got some good laughs out of it. Teaching investigators I had to turn my whole body to look at them and then turn my body all the way back to look at my companion. I actually just took the phrase "missionary robot" to a whole new level. Everything all healed pretty much now though. So that's good. Missed Dad a lot that is for sure though. 555+ I wouldn't even know where to start looking for a Chiropractor in Roi et. Within these last paralyzed few days, we did see a lot of miracles. Actually one miracle might be a product of me getting my neck hurt. The Lord works in mysterious ways. So on Friday we had a switch off with the Maha sisters. We planned that I was going to switch off with Sister Jo and Sister Yang was going to go with Sister Phosawad. But with the turn of events. I ended up studying with Sister Phosawad until 12 while Sister Yang and Sister Jo went out and worked. Because of the last minute switch Sister Yang and Jo ended up inviting at the park right by our house and met a man named B. Uan. Who has been learning with the missionaries in Khon Kaen and Asoke before he moved to Roi Et. Because Sister Yang was at the park just at the right time she was able to show him where the church was and teach him that night! He agreed to pray about baptism and whether he should get baptized on Jan. 31st. He said he would do it! Sunday he comes to church and says he got an answer...so he is getting baptized next week!!!!! Seriously. The craziest experience ever....
Miracle after miracle after miracle.....I just can't even describe to you the kind of energy that is flowing in Roi Et right now. We all love it here, and are just happy. The work is progressing so smoothly and we are working with members more closely than ever before. I just love it here!!! I don't want to leave EVER!
A scripture I am obsessed with this week is Alma's testimony of the Savior, Jesus Christ in
Alma 5:48 - I say unto you, that I know of myself that whatsoever I shall say unto you, concerning that which is to come, is true; and I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ shall come, yea, the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world, yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name.
His conviction inspires me. I love that idea of steadfastly believing on His name. The word for obedience in Thai is เซื่อฝั่ง which is literally the word for "believe" เซื่อ and the word "listen" ฝั่ง put together. I love that perspective on obedience. That it is more than just a passive belief but a desire to listen as well. I believe that is what Alma meant when he said that we must steadfastly believe on His name. Meaning we must be firmly fixed in our faith in Him. I know that faith in the Savior is a principle of action and power. "And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me." (Moroni 7:33) Christ lives. And His power is real.
I hope all of you have a great week. Last week was 91 degrees. This week is 45 degrees. We are freezing over here!!! 555+
Love you all! Let me know if I can do anything for you! :)
We love elephants.
Me and Yang!
Our cute little freezing elephant driver man.... SO cute.
All we do is ride ride ride.....into the water (Even though its like 45 degrees outside...I don't even kidding. ITS FREEZING)