December 12, 2010 So the really good news of the week is Boot. I already told most of you. She is incredible. Her baptism will be on Sunday! She is single and she has an American boyfriend who is coming to visit soon. So of course we were really worried about the law of chastity - shouldn't have worried. We taught it yesterday and there was no hesitation when she said she would keep it. She is really an incredible woman with a ton of faith. She has already finished the BOM - well before her baptism. She is a miracle. She just walked into church a little over a month ago and announced she wanted to join. There is a phrase in Preach My Gospel - it says Heavenly Father will help you find people who are prepared - "He will lead you to them or will lead them to you" or something along those lines. So true. Heavenly Father is really awesome, in case you were all wondering. So what else to tell you... I must admit this week was pretty boring aside from Boot. Oh just kidding... we got a way sweet new investigator this week. Her name is Ja - We invited her and went back to teach her the next day and she is awesome. She works at some sort of Christian place - so she is really familiar with Christianity and even reads the New Testament every day. But she hasn't officially become Christian. Perfect. We taught her the Restoration and she was all over it. I am excited to teach her again this Wednesday. She will be my last lesson in Srinakarin. Weird. I love this place -- it will be hard to leave. So far, I've just convinced myself I am staying for a really long time. But, next time I talk to you, it will be to your face! Yay! So anyways, let me take a moment and tell you all that I love your guts. And your faces. And everything about you. Get ready for some serious fun here in the land of smiles. And traffic. And heat. And people driving motorcycles with their two year old's hanging on for dear life. And delicious food. And really, really good pineapple. I hope you are excited. It will be a blast with me as your guide. Practice your Thai - you know lots of people that speak it. Hunt down some of my old companions or something. And practice your bowing. Don't worry. I will teach you how to do that. I LOVE you. See you next week! Sister Webb
December 6, 2010 So I am sitting in the internet cafe next to a big window right now. Guess who just walked by? Boot! And guess what she was holding in her arm! The Book of Mormon. I love my life. She didn't see us. But that was a fun little sighting. She is doing really well. She only has 100 pages left in the Book of Mormon. She wants to finish it before her baptism. Her date is still set for the 19th. As for members that I really love - I think I have told you about Ma Nong before - she is like the second mother of all of us here. This week I love her really a lot. Even more than usual. She is so adorable. We went over to her house for dinner last night and we met her dog - she is the one that has a dog named Beauty that she renamed ugly and wants it to die. So now I finally know what Beauty looks like. She really is kind of funny looking. But it turns out that we spent like 20 minutes talking about this funny little dog and Ma Nong loves the heck out of it. It was really cute. I am very excited for all of you to meet Ma Nong when you come. She actually speaks quite a bit of English. Every time she calls me she says "Hi Sweetie!" She is so adorable. As for other investigators, there aren't really a lot. But there are a couple. We taught one last week - Woon - I don't remember if I told you about her. We taught her again last night and it went really well. She is one of those people that is very open about life - very willing to tell you everything she has ever thought or said. Yesterday she told us that she has been having some family problems and fighting with her husband. After one fight, she started to pray in her heart - she said "If God is really there, and Jesus is real, then please help me calm down." She said after that she felt a lot more peaceful. Then she asked for help with her family - help with her husband. The next day he bought her a present and was a completely different person. So now we have her undivided attention. Of course she went off on a spiel about how she thinks she can worship Jesus and Buddha and that she can't get rid of Buddhism. But we will let her budding faith take care of that soon. People honestly believe that Jesus and Buddha can coexist - that Christians will be received by Jesus in Christian Heaven when they die and Buddhists will go to Buddhist heaven - that it is up to us which one we want to go to. It is pretty crazy and doesn't really make sense to me, but that is a prevailing train of thought here. But we have only taught this woman twice so we will work on that.
November 28, 2010 So this week was a lot of fun. Lots of different and interesting things to do here. First of all, Sister Eyestone is still sitting in the chair next to me. We are setting a record - 2 and a half moves together with out a threesome. We didn't get a new companion. We don't know what Pres. Smith is going to do when I finish - and apparently neither does he. We asked him and he said "I only know what I'm doing tomorrow. We'll cross that hurdle when we get there." So who knows. After moves meeting was THANKSGIVING DINNER! Yay for Americans that live in Bangkok! Yay! It was amazing. We went to a family's house that lives in this super fancy neighborhood that everyone calls little America - you go in and everyone is white and driving around in cars that have the steering wheel on the left side. It is crazy. Pretty much all the white families that go to church in the international ward live in this neighborhood. We walked into the house and it was like America - little Americana decorations everywhere and everything that would make a house American. The dinner was American too -- and delicious! All the fixings of American food!! The family was adorable - the dad works for the embassy and they have four kids - one of which is attending BYU right now. It was really fun. I had a pretty embarassing moment at one point. The 16 year old daughter mentioned that she had to write an essay for school the next day (no Thanksgiving break in Thailand) and we asked her what it was about - she said Palm Oil farms in Indonesia. I heard Paul Moyle farms - like it was a person. So I wanted to know more about this Paul Moyle because I had never heard of him before. I asked if he was still alive. She looked really confused for a second and then her and the 13 year old boy started laughing really hard. Of course after that they had to tell everyone. By the end I had lost all credibility as someone who had a functioning brain. I couldn't convince them that I am really not an idiot. After that though, I was beginning to question that myself. So that was fun. Luckily the next day Sister Eyestone made a pretty big blunder herself - she answered the phone when the zone leaders called and said "Hi this is Sister Webb". So now we are both firmly in the spastic/idiotic range. Apparently we are so unified we have started to lose our individual identities. That is true unity. We should be a poster companionship for the church, if you ask me.
November 21, 2010 We did get a pretty cool new investigator this week - her name is Tuey and her daughter is Oom. We just met them inviting. We went back and taught them and they were pretty interested. We have a lot of brand new investigators right now - people that we have only taught once. We will see where they end up going. It is just really hard to get people progressing off an invite - you talk to them on the street for five seconds and they give you your number and then you show up and have all this stuff you want them to do and it isn't really what they were expecting. So it can be a little tougher to get them up and running. But some of them start moving. We will have to see. We are having a grand old time running around and inviting streets that we have already invited 50 times. That happens when your area is the size of a pinprick. Sister Eyestone and I pretty much know each other backwards and forwards. I think I know more about her than I do about myself. She is a ton of fun. She is now officially my longest companion - she just outlasted Sister Meyers from the MTC. We figured it out and she has been my companion for 1/4 of my time in Thailand. I would LOVE it if she stayed with me ... we'll see. So we had a great week here! We are excited about one of our investigators - Boot. I have mentioned her before. She wandered into the church a couple of weeks ago with one of her friends. She is doing really well. And really well is an understatement. We taught her last week and she said she couldn't come to church because she was going out of town. We were bummed but understood. Then she walked through the door yesterday - she postponed her vacation just so she could come to church. Then we taught her after church and she already has a rock solid testimony of the Book of Mormon - I asked her if she could feel a difference in her life from before and after reading it and she said it was like light and dark. Well, I love you all to pieces. Really. Sister Webb
November 14, 2010 So we had a good week here in Srinakarin. Let me tell me about my new philosophy for my mission. We don't have a lot of investigators. Or at least we didn't at the beginning of last week. So one morning I say to myself, "self, it looks like there aren't going to be any baptisms before you die" So I ponder that thought. Well, honestly it was a little sad, but i think to myself that we have been working hard and freakish things keep happening to our investigators, so it is not like I am super down on myself. So then I tell myself, Well, I have another six weeks before I die. I am going to tell as many freaking people as possible that families can be together forever. After that, I am not going to worry - I am going to stop worrying about number of lessons we teach and how many investigators are progressing. Obviously I still want them too, but I am not going to worry about it. So that is my new philosophy. Armed with that in mind, we hit the streets. Turns out it works. We got six potential investigators two days in a row - the normal is 2 or 3. Yesterday was epic - we taught five lessons and got six new investigators, including a cute little family where the dad was glued on our every word and excited to try family prayer. Other new investigators included two older women, a young mother who seemed quite willing to try something new to find "true happiness", and a friend of two investigators that we were already teaching. It was a sweet day. We taught all day. I told you about Boot last week - she walked into church with her friend Taw. They are both great but Boot is really really great. She has prayed every day, read the scriptures every day, and was at church again yesterday and already joking with the members. She feels right at home at church. She readily accepted a baptismal date - she was really cute - I was like "Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and get baptized" you know - the whole spiel and she was like "I don't have any white clothes". I take that as a yes. After we explained that we provide the white clothes she was all over it. Her friend Taw is a little slower but we have her to thank for all of them being at church.Yesterday she told us that she has passed by our church hundreds of time - daily - and that she never thought she would go in. Then one day she decided to go to church. Seriously. That was it. Then they were two Sundays ago. Yesterday they brought a friend and another little girl. They said they are working on Boot's older brother and trying to get him to go. Seriously - they are referral machines. So anyways, we had a really good week - lots of new investigators. A couple of new investigators from last week showed some signs of progression - have started praying and reading. We are working on getting them to church - the perennial problem. Have a great week! I love you all!
November 7, 2010 We have had a great week this week! We actually taught the gospel a little bit. That was great stuff. Lets start with our sweet new investigator - a lady named Wanna. We invited her last week and it was one of those really easy invites - hi we are missionaries. Do you want to learn more? Yes. Ok. Can we come back on Tuesday? Yes. Ok. Sounds lovely. So we went back on Tuesday and this lady is adorable. She is in her 40s and single and she lives with and takes care of an older couple. She was all over the first lesson - so in the second we committed her to baptism and she accepted. She is awesome. We might have a bit of a problem with church of course. She takes care of these old people who have doctors appointments like every 2 minutes. So yesterday she had to take them to the eye doctor but she said she can go next week. Anyways - she is pretty cool. We are excited about her. We also had another cool experience that day - we were inviting and a girl said that her friend really wanted to be Christian - and that she would be at her house the next day. So we went back the next day not really knowing what to expect. We honestly weren't really expecting anything, to be honest. But she was there and really excited. She is a Burmese refugee but she speaks Thai. She has believed in Christ for a really long time but hasn't known how to become a Christian. After all this excitement we found out that she actually doesn't live in our area. Bummer. But we gave a really sweet referral to the Asoke Elders. Lucky Ducks. Yesterday at church we had three "walk-ins" - people just wanting to check it out. That happens a lot here because the church is out on a huge street - prime location. These three are AWESOME! We taught them last night and I am really excited about them. They are relatives of some sort and live in the same house together. One had their little grandson with them. Their names are Taew and Boot. I really think they will go somewhere - Taew said that she has been invited by missionaries several times but had never let them come back or gone to church, but then when her friend (Boot) said she wanted to go to a Christian church, she knew right where one was because the missionaries had told her. Sounds like they are being prepared to me :) Neck was also at church - she is so sporadic. She is the funniest lady. I love her. I just wish she was a little more consistent. We got some sweet new investigators - One of them is a lady that has been learning with the sisters on and off for a long time. She is really awesome. She is from Laos and has a problem with her visa so she couldn't get baptized but I guess that is going to be all cleared up in January. She still has some other stuff to work through but she is really cute and I already love her a lot. Her name is Toy. After that we taught some other new investigators. One wasn't really interested, but the others were good. The last ones were a mother and daughter that I really like - they seem pretty interested. So Saturday was a really good day.
The new Thai BOM came out yesterday - it is really sweet. They have a triple combination all nice and gilded. The new translation is interesting. They used words that no one knows. Trying to make it more formal I guess. It will be an interesting transition. We all have to re-memorize D&C 4 and the first vision - they both changed a lot. The new book is a lot nicer - the font is a lot easier to read. So that is nice. Everyone at church was freaking out yesterday. Fun day.
We got two really sweet new investigators this week - a mother and daughter. The mom is named Pim and the daughter is Mook. Pim said that she has always wanted to be Christian because she loves watching movies about Jesus but has never been sure where to go or how to become Christian. We can help with that. Really we can. She is already "soft committed" to baptism - meaning she said she would get baptized but doesn't have a date yet, and is firmly committed to church - she practically committed herself - she was like - I have always wanted to go - and now that I know you, I won't be scared to go. So we are excited about them. As for other investigators - Nok and her family are still doing well. Well, Nok is doing well. The rest of the family is falling off a bit. Last time we taught, I asked if Nok believed in God. She said that ever since she had started reading the BOM, she believed - that she could feel Him while she read. And she said "So now I can say that for sure - I believe in God." It was really cool. The dad and son haven't been praying. The dad is kind of in and out of lessons - the little twins make it hard for everyone to stay focused. They didn't come to church again yesterday. Bummer. We are working on that - Nok is really worried because the twins are still breast feeding and they are a little hard to handle because there are two of them. So it is understandable. We are meeting them again tonight. Yay. We also got another sweet new investigator yesterday - a lady called in the middle of the week and wanted to know what time our church was. She came yesterday and we talked to her for awhile after and she said that she wants to know the "details" of our church and that she wants to come every week. She really liked it. She has been Christian for a year and just moved to Bangkok from the Isan. She lives with her younger sister. Her name is Ann by the way. We were going to teach her after church but then her sister called and said that she had forgotten her keys so Ann had to leave and go let her in the house. Bummer. That is ok because we are meeting her tonight. Yay! So she is awesome too. We figure we can get her baptized pretty quick. : ) So as for sweet news of the week. They are opening VIETNAM to missionary work. Can you even believe it? They are going to start sending young missionaries there - but only people who are of Vietnamese descent. And it will be like Mongolia - they can't proselyte. They will just work through the members to get referrals and teach English. But I think that is pretty sweet. One of my zone leaders is 100% Vietnamese and so when Elder Perkins came for a mission tour he told him about it - said that if he had gone on a mission a year and a half later he would have gone to Vietnam. I think that is pretty crazy. Who would have ever thought that we would get missionaries into Vietnam? The Gospel is true people! And it is moving forward!
October 25, 2010 So this week was pretty interesting. Our little family is doing ok. We taught just the mom and the son last week and it was a really good lesson. We taught the restoration and you could tell she was feeling it. She also told ust that she loves the scriptures - that when she read at first she didn't understand but then she prayed and she understood - she was like - I can't explain it - I just get it. It was cool. She even has a favorite scripture- the one about the iron rod being the word of God and leading to the tree of life. I have never had a Thai pick up on that symbolism on their own - she is good. And she loves the scriptures and she prays every day. The son is awesome too - he loved church last week and really wanted to go again this week. They said they would be there but then didn't go. I don't know why. We are teaching them tonight so we will see. The dad wasn't there last time we taught and the 17 year old daughter wouldn't sit down - she was taking care of the little twins. But we can get them. Nok (the mom) really is doing awesome. Other than that, the week consisted of a lot of inviting. We got dropped by most of our new investigators - one girl who was promising said that her parents wouldn't let her learn. Another is moving, and a whole host of other excuses. Kind of discouraging. But that's ok! We just invited a lot! We got a lot of potential investigators but we are having a hard time turning them into real investigators. We did get one yesterday - a cute lady with two really cute little kids. When we were inviting her, I asked her if we could get her number and she was kind of thinking about it and her little 7 year old son started giving it to me right away. He is really cute. He was all over the lesson - wanted to look at all the pictures of Jesus that we had. Yesterday was the primary program! Yay! It was adorable! The primary in our ward has five kids - three of which are from one family. They had a cute little girl conduct and they sang songs and they all gave talks. It was the cutest thing ever because you could tell their parents wrote the talks for them - they would get up and be like "I am grateful that the bishop has asked me to speak today". One little boy, who is six, bore his testimony and started bawling. It was the cutest thing ever. When they sang the songs, they all had their own songbook and they had a cd that played the music and they would all get ahead of the music and you could barely hear them because they were buried in their songbooks. I wish I could convey how adorable it was. Just know that it really was adorable and it made me really happy. One of the girls just turned 12 so now we are down to 4 kids in the primary. Well, occasionally these two African kids show up - no one really knows where they come from or who there parents are - they just come and go to primary and run around wreaking havoc. Pretty funny.
This week we got a couple of new investigators. We had some success inviting. One lady was really cute - when we went back to visit her for the second time she told us that she thought she could only pray once a day and she was nervous that she would mess up so she didn't pray. After we clarified that, she said she was going to pray "many times a day" to practice. It was really cute. She pulled out a Jesus pamphlet someone had given her years ago - illustrated stories from the New Testament. I actually really liked it. It wasn't from our church but it looked like it did a pretty good job and stuck to the King James Version. She loves studying about Jesus but is still Buddhist. Her name is Soy by the way. She is adorable. There was also a girl that called off a pass along card - she is 15 and said that she lived right by the church and had been given a pass along card and wanted the BOM. That was pretty cool. We tried to get her family to sit down but they wouldn't - which was a bummer because it will be hard to teach just a 15 year old girl. But we can work on them. She was a really cute girl. The other good news of the week is that our little family is doing really well. They had family prayer every day! They always have the 11 year old boy say it so they had him say the opening prayer for the lesson. It was hilarious. He recited verbatim the "how to pray" section in the restoration pamphlet. I was impressed - he had it all memorized. I liked the part where he said "Ask Heavenly Father about things you are wondering or things you are confused about." Pretty funny. Apparently I really need to be more clear when I teach prayer. They are just so used to reading something for their prayer. I figure Heavenly Father is just happy that they are talking to Him. The mom of the family has read 20 pages in the Book of Mormon - we were talking about all the different people just to help her understand and I was talking about the family - "there are two good brothers and two not so good brothers" and she was like "yeah! Those two older ones are so annoying." It was cute. You can tell they have been reading when they are able to pull out the name Lehi on their own. We are excited about this family - it looks like they could be going places. I didn't move this last transfer. I am excited. This area is awesome. We don't have a lot of investigators but the members are really fun (like the ones in the photo) and I have some really good friends and so I wanted to stay here. There are some awesome members here in Srinakarin that I just love with all of my little heart. I love you all! Have a great week!
10/10/10 We have a new companion for a week. The Thai missionaries arrived from the MTC last week - one week before moves, so all the sisters in Bangkok now have threesomes for one week. Our new friend is named Sister Supansaa. She actually went to BYU Hawaii for the last year and a half so she speaks English WAY better than I speak Thai. She is a lot of fun. Basically I forgot how nice it is to not be the only one talking. She speaks Thai, you see, so she talks some too. So nice. I don't want to give her up. But we only have her until next Wednesday - when she will get her actual trainer and move somewhere. Her sister served a mission here and just finished about four months ago. They have an awesome family - all members, all have served missions, and all have been to the temple. Pretty rare in Thailand. Her family converted when she was two. We have an investigator named Lek who we had a good week with this week. We went to go see her and she said she had been praying every day. She is a taxi driver and she said that she has been having a hard time finding enough work and that she prayed and got more customers. She is adorable. She talks really fast and honestly I only understand about 50% of what she says to me. But I try really hard and hope that if it is something really important the Spirit will tell me. She calls me Tiffy. I have no idea why. I am not really sure how you get Tiffy out of Sister Webb. But I like it. I have always wanted a nick name and I have never really had one. So I guess Tiffy works. She was praying at the end of a lesson and she said "Thanks that tiffy and 'What's your name again?' (At this point she was looking at Sister Eyestone, talking to her in the middle of the prayer) but then she just said "and tiffy's friend could come here today." She is hilarious. I love when people panic in the middle of the prayer - they will be praying and then they will look at you and say "I don't know what to say" or "how do you close again" or "what is your name again"? It is pretty funny. It is so new to them. Anyways - the lesson with her was good. We taught the restoration and I asked her what affect it would have on her life if it was true - she was like "well, I guess I would have to follow these teachings". Why yes. Yes you would. It is always good when someone understands that - sometimes they are just like - I will have more good in my life and I can start worshipping Christ after I finish worshipping Buddha. No! That is not how it works silly! We had a really good week of inviting and new investigators. We started teaching a family of six! It was awesome - we invited the mom and she said that she would talk to her husband and see if he was interested. I kind of thought that meant no - it usually does - but she gave us her phone number so I called her and asked her and she said that her husband was interested too and that we could come over. When we got there, the whole family was there! She has four kids - two of whom are really small twins that are really cute. They also had a niece and nephew there. The dad was probably the most interested of them all - and that is half the battle. It is a very patriarchal society - so if the dad learns, they all learn. It was awesome - but still very early - we have only taught them once. We are going back tonight. We had an appointment yesterday but she called and moved it to tonight - also a good sign that she is willing to call us instead of just not being there. They are a really cute family and I really want them to get baptized. I will keep you updated. The little boys walked out with us and they were ahead of us practicing prayer - it was really cute.
October 4, 2010 We can start the week's email by saying that I have never been so wet in my entire life. This week the weather has settled into a quite predictable pattern. And that is that it rains every evening. VERY HARD. Let me tell you a story. Last week we had companion exchanges. I am an idiot and left my umbrella in the basket of the bike I was borrowing. So I am wandering around on Wednesday, heading towards an appointment but we are walking and inviting on the way. We are looking at the ominous looking clouds and Sister Eyestone says "But I think it is moving the other way". Literally two seconds later, drops start to fall. Then it is raining so hard that we can't really see. This is all while we are out in the wide open with one umbrella between the two of us. Sister Eyestone is wearing a white shirt. So she wins the privilege of using the tiny umbrella. We try really hard to get to a seven to buy an umbrella but by the time we get there it is completely pointless. It is literally like I just got out of the bathtub. As we were walking, Sister Eyestone says "I think it is lightening up". Why does she say such things? Right as she was finishing her sentence, there was a huge crack of thunder that made me scream. Yes. I screamed. Just a little bit. But it was REALLY LOUD. So anyways, we finally get to a 7 and I buy an umbrella and then the rain stops. Gotta love life. So apart from being wet almost all of the time, it has been an interesting week. Ma Nit still seems to be pretty golden. We taught her on Friday and watched the Restoration DVD. Ma Nong was helping us teach. Ma Nit said that she felt confused like Joseph Smith - that she had joined Christianity and then gone to her old church and they were dancing and doing all sorts of weird stuff and she was like "this isn't right! This isn't how it is supposed to be!" So she made appointments with other churches but all these things started popping up to stop her from going there and the whole time she was driving past our church every day and she felt like she should go in. Then when she walked in she felt like it was the right place to be. We asked her to pray about Joseph Smith and she said "I already know - it is true." We asked her to pray for confirmation. She said she would. She is awesome. When we are teaching she will be like "can I say something?" She is adorable. She is very excited because her baptismal date is in November and that is the month she was born. So she is doing well. Other notable events - we were inviting yesterday and we came upon a group of people who were about to go somewhere. There was a lady standing off to the side holding a baby. So the natural course of action would be to go to the lady with a baby - you know - families and all that. So I say to Sister Eyestone "lets pick off the one with a baby". (Yes my language sounds suspiciously like hunting when we are inviting). So we start walking towards her. She sees us coming and turns around and goes inside - doesn't want to talk to us. The funny thing was that when she turned around, it turns out that she was holding a dog. I think my brain has been fried from sun exposure. I REALLY thought that she was holding a baby. I valiantly tried to invite the other people that were right there but I was on the verge of laughing the whole time so I don't think it was very effective. We had a good laugh about that one. I am kind of glad she walked away - if I would have started inviting her and THEN realized that it was a dog and not a baby, I would never have made it through the invite with out losing it. Also in the area of awkward inviting - we saw a girl sweeping inside her gate. We walked up and said hello and she literally dropped the broom and RAN into the house. We thought it was pretty funny. Apparently we are quite terrifying. She was well trained in what to do if she saw strangers. But she was probably 16 years old - a little old to be running away, I think. Gotta love inviting! So much fun!
Tabitha, Jill, and Marie -- formerly known as Sister Richins, Sister Christensen, and Sister Livingston
September 27, 2010 สบายดีไหม? AKA How are you? This week was another interesting one. We are trying to rebuild our investigator pool. It tanked a couple of weeks ago, like I told you. This week we had a golden thrown into our laps, however. Her name is Nit. We call her Ma Nit. This time I think it is a real one. I know I say we find 'goldens' a lot and then you never hear about them again. Do you remember all those pass along card stories Sister Chambers and I would make up? I am sure this was one of those - one of our pass along cards found its way into her hands. Actually I don't even know where the pass along card came from. I am just glad that she ended up with it. We got a call from the Bangna sisters who said that the office had called them with a lady that had called from a pass along card. Turns out the office made a mistake and she lives in Srinakarin. So we get the referral. Let me tell you how often people call the number on the back of the pass along card. NEVER. This is the first time in my entire mission that I have gotten a referral like that from the office. So Sister Urisa calls and says - this lady wants you to call her right now. So I do. And I make an appointment with her, not realizing what I have just been given. She accepted a baptismal date faster than you could even imagine. She kept saying: "Can I just say something?" Then she would tell part of her story and how she knew that it was guidance from Heavenly Father and that she was so excited to be there and that she wanted to get baptized. It was crazy. I was kind of flabbergasted. Is that a word? Is that how you spell that word? I think so. She came to church yesterday which makes her an official baptismal dater! Yay! She loved church. We are also working with her family! We had an epic week with Ma and Pa. We went to teach them on Saturday and ended up teaching for 3 1/2 hours. All their concerns came spilling out - how Ma is worried about being able to go to church because of Maeng, their grandson, and how Pa is still not sure he believes because he has some sort of health problem and he is praying but it isn't getting better. We pretty much just talked through their concerns - but most of it was just "your life won't ever be perfect - you won't ever not have any concerns. You just have to trust and go forward." We thought it ended in a good place but then they weren't at church yesterday. Huge bummer. We are going to drop them tonight - tell them that we will be here when they are ready ... But that we aren't going to teach them anymore. They broke my little heart, I tell you what. But anyways, we are putting them in God's and their own hands now - we have taught it all and given them all we've got. It is up to them now.
September 20, 2010 Well, it was an interesting week, to be sure. It all started out with the alligator farm on Tuesday. Let me tell you - that was fun. We started by going to an alligator wrestling show. But the name was deceiving. There wasn't really any wrestling involved. They more just wandered around and dragged the alligators by their tails. So that wasn't that great. But then we went to an elephant show and the elephant came right up to us and we got to feed him peanuts and touch him and play with him. It was awesome. There were like 3 people there because it was a Tuesday in the middle of the day - that makes it nice. Then we went and fed crocodiles dead chickens on a string. That was the best part. I told you about it in the picture explanations. The price of admission was well worth it for just that. One elder found a dead fish next to a pond and picked it up and put it in a bag and fed it to the alligators. Weirdo. Then we took pictures with tigers and saw an albino alligator. Pretty sweet. After that we all went to lunch and ice cream. All in all a very fun p-day.
On Wednesday we discovered that one of our new investigators is going places in life. She accepted a baptismal date - practically committed herself. She has already read up to Jacob in the Book of Mormon. She is awesome. Her name is Kwan. But then she didn't come to church yesterday the little punk! We will have to figure out what happened on that one. But she is really sweet. She loves to say my name - she will say it before every sentence. She will be like "Sister Webb, I don't think I pray the right way. Sister Webb, are you coming today?" It is really funny. She can't remember Sister Eyestone's name because that one is a little harder so she just says mine. She is really cute. Just have to get her to church.
We got a sweet new investigator last night. We invited her on Saturday and we were introducing the BOM and we were like "we give it out for free" and she said "So what if I am interested?" I took that as a sign of interest. We went back and taught her last night. She is really cute. She lives in a tiny speck of a house with her husband and two young children. We couldn't get her husband to sit down. He was working - he fixes taxis so he was right outside and could hear the lesson I think but wouldn't sit down. She is a taxi driver - she drives from 4 am to 4 pm every day. Crazy. We went to teach and she was like "I want to know why Jesus died". That is a question a lot of people have - they see pictures of him on the cross and they know it is important but they aren't quite sure why. So we answered her question using the BOM. It was sweet. She really likes the BOM already. That was a good way to finish out the week.
Well I love you all dearly! Have a great week! Sister Webb
September 13, 2010 On Saturday we were out inviting and a lady invited us in to teach a short lesson and gathered her family - her husband and two kids. She has three kids but one wasn't there. The husband fed us some sort of strange food with gooey stuff in the middle of a leaf. I really don't want to know what it was. But it wasn't entirely nasty. Anyways, they are a really cute family. On first lessons we usually only use about 10 minutes and introduce the concept of covenants - baptism and then how that can lead to being with your family forever when you make covenants in the temple. The mom was all over it. The kids were kind of paying attention - the daughter had heard that Christianity had an ordinance to wash away sins so she piped in for a minute. The dad listened but I don't know how interested he really is. We asked the mom to say the closing prayer though and it was amazing. She said "Heavenly Father, please help me be with my kids forever. In the name of Jesus Christ amen." Then she had a smile on her face that I can't even describe. It was so cool. Another cool new investigator is named Goon. Yes I am serious. That is her name. As in that story where the good fairy comes and turns little bunny foo foo into a goon. I got quite a kick out of it, to be sure. Anyways, we went to the first lesson and she told us that she thought Christianity and Islam were the same church. What?!?!?!?!!! I have never had someone think that before. But I asked her what she knew about Christianity and she was like "I know you have a month of fasting" and I was like, "actually, that is Islam" and she was like "aren't they the same church?" "Why no - no they are not." We got that one cleared up pretty quick. Random fact about Thailand - monks are out and about early in the morning - they wander around and people give them donations of food and money and such things. Usually we don't see them a lot because we are not out in the mornings. But I am sitting right next to a window and watching them all walk by in their bright orange robes. It is pretty cool. They don't wear shoes. They must have some pretty sweet callouses. The other day there was a monk walking by and I reached into my bag because I needed some pass along cards and he thought I was getting a donation for him. So he stopped and was like Thank you! Just picture the awkwardness of that situation. I can't give a monk money! I can't give anybody money! Much less a monk! So you have a Christian missionary staring at a Buddhist monk who thinks that the missionary is about to give him money. Finally I just said "Sorry - I don't have anything" and he kept walking. I hope there weren't a lot of people that saw that one. Awkward! For future reference - never stick your hand in your bag when there is a monk walking by. Unless you are intending to give him money. Just some tips on Thai culture.
Goodbye Sister Pet Training Sister Eyestone from Orem, Utah
September 5, 2010 Hello my dear family! How are all of you doing this lovely day? As you all already know, I am sitting here with my ลูก! (AKA child). Training is an interesting adventure, I tell you what. So far we are having tons of fun. Right after she got here everyone decided to be busy so we have been inviting a lot. Yesterday was a really good inviting day - one lady let us in her house to talk to her and we got two phone numbers of people with families - one lady has FOUR kids. Jackpot. Hopefully they will actually let us come back. Inviting is different with a brand new missionary - it is mostly just me talking. Ok so it is all just me talking. So it is a lot harder. But I am working on it. So more on my ลูก! (By the way, that is pronounced like Loog, if you wanted to say it out loud.) She is from Orem. She went to Mountain View High School and we graduated the same year. I have actually watched her play basketball - apparently Skyline played Mountain View in the State championships our senior year. And I was there watching and she was playing. So I have already seen her I just don't really remember. Skyline won that game. She is still a bit bitter about that but we have managed to be friends despite that bit of history :) She speaks Thai really well. She has five little sisters. How fun is that? Six kids and they are all girls and she is the oldest. She really is hilarious. We laugh a lot. As for investigators. Ma and Pa: (By the way, their names are Ma Rujira and Pa Santi - we just call them Ma and Pa for short). They are doing AWESOME! They both came to church again yesterday, along with three grandsons. Ma wants to get baptized really soon. We think that we are going to be able to baptize them before she gets eye surgery. So if all goes well, that will be in the coming weeks. They both just kind of leaped forward in the past couple of weeks and are now ready and willing to get baptized. I know that Ma is fine with getting baptized with out the family - that won't be a problem. We are just waiting on the final word from her doctor on when the surgery will be. They are so adorable. They come to church and spend most of the time chasing their crazy grandson around. But they are there and adorable and all dressed up in their Sunday best! We are teaching them tonight. That will be fun. Suki is still doing well. She couldn't come to church yesterday but we had a really good lesson about the Plan of Salvation with her last week. We were talking about living with families forever - I talked about Lauren, it was really cool. She recently lost a brother and her husband. And so we were both crying. She said that if she didn't have God to help, she couldn't do it - exactly how I feel. So that was really great. Love you all! Sister Webb
August 29, 2010 In case you have been counting, I have now explained 8 of the nine investigators at church. The last one's name is Saeng. She wandered into the church a couple weeks ago because she was curious. We have taught her a couple times now. She is very open but I wouldn't say she is on the fast track to baptism or anything like that. She is still more curious than anything. But she was at church yesterday! Huge step. We had a good lesson with her last week when we taught with the Bishop's wife. The Bishop's wife was awesome when Saeng came to church - she was all excited and went straight for her. Come to think of it, all the members were awesome yesterday. All of our investigators had friends. It was a great day. Another cool thing about church was that Suki and Daranee, two of our investigators, are now bosom buddies. Everyone thought that they are mother and daughter. They had never met before. They just really hit it off. They were tucked in a corner the whole day talking to each other about their life stories. Suki ended up taking Daranee home. So basically our investigators are fellowshipping our investigators. Pretty sweet.
We met with Suki - the woman that met us on a Song Taew and invited herself. We watched the Restoration DVD with her and talked about praying to find an answer and she started tearing up - she said "So I can just ask Heavenly Father if this is the right path?" Why yes. Yes you can. The member that was helping us teach was awesome - she told about when she got an answer about Joseph Smith - how it was at 2:00 am and she was all by herself and she was praying and suddenly she just knew. The member was crying, Suki was crying, it was all great. She was one of the millions of investigators at church yesterday. She is adorable. I really love her. Well, my friends, it has been quite a week. I think I can honestly say that yesterday was the best day of my mission. To have two families at church and progressing and then some other surprise investigators and then to hear about the miracles that got them there. Amazing! We were giddy all day.
August 24, 2010 We were out inviting and stopped to rest because Sister Pet was a little wiped out. We are just sitting in front of someone's house and thought we would take a picture. That person came home while we were sitting there. It was pretty awkward. We taught a new investigator named You. Yes that is really her name. Could lead to some confusion. Stick with me. We invited her forever ago and she has been hard to get a hold of but another one of those that we just felt we needed to keep trying. When we got there we started talking about prayer and we said that when we pray we can ask questions - like if there is a God. And she said "I want to know so bad! I want to know if He is real." She has had some spiritual experiences in the past and so is ridiculously open and pretty much already believes in God - just wants to make sure. She has a day off on Sundays :) We are excited about her. She is already asking for advice on how to share it with her family - they all made fun of her when she said that she was going to meet with us but she wants them to accept it. She talks like she is already a member. She was really cute. We are really excited about her. We taught a really cool investigator named Book. She was awesome - this was the second time to teach her and she was like "why would God send us here if we lived with Him before and we were probably happy and then we have to come on this earth and have trials? We talked about it a lot. We weren't able to really satisfy her. She just didn't want to accept that it would be better after this life - but we are working on it. She was really sweet - she just really wants to know. Thursday- We picked up Sister Pet and she officially moved back home.She isn't back to full speed working yet - Pres. Smith gave permission for us to leave her in theapartment alone. But it is fun to have her back around. We have officially forbidden her from speaking Thai with us - we are trying to get her ready to go to New Zealand. It is really funny. She hates English and says some really funny things. After we picked her up we took her straight to two appointments. We taught a new investigator named May - she is Christian and is really cute. Her husband is African though so if he ends up interested as well we have to give her to the international elders. Darnit. After that we went and taught a mother and daughter named Ice and Ooy. This was really cool because we invited them on my first day in Sriankarin. They have been hard to get a hold of and have canceled some appointments but there was always something pushing us to keep trying. They were really cool. It was a great first lesson and they committed to come to church next week. They were heading out of town for Ice's birthday so couldn't come last Sunday but they said they would come next week. They were just really cute - when we prayed Ooy said that she got goosebumps when we prayed. Yay! Spirit! So that was a good day - three new investigators. It is a lovely Wednesday morning and I am sitting in my favorite internet cafe watching quite a large storm roll in. Quite fun. I forgive you all for not being at home. I guess you are all over the world - kind of fun that I am writing four people and two are in Ireland, one is in Puerto Rico, and one is in LOGAN . . . . AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. That is the scariest one because I am pretty sure that Carlie still needs a babysitter but now all of the sudden she lives on her own and does things by herself. That is weird มาก. (aka very weird). Anyways, I hope that are all having a great time in your respective hemispheres. Here in the Northeastern hemisphere, it rains an awful lot. But that is good because it has cooled down a little bit. Love you all! Sister Webb
Sister Pet isn't in New Zealand yet -- she got appendicitis and had to have surgery. She is at the President's house recuperating. She is doing really well. Something that was not fun: me trying to discuss medical things and billing in Thai. I don't know how to say things like surgery and appendix, and I don't know how to say emergency room and all these things. I don't know how to explain that the Church will pay medical expenses but she doesn't have a little card because she is actually about to head to New Zealand, etc. etc.(don't worry - now I do)
In the hospital, 'worrying' about Sister Pet
As for our investigators, Pon is still our best. She was at church yesterday and we taught her afterward. In her prayer she was like "This morning I didn't want to come to church. Thank you for helping me overcome myself and come to church anyways." I love prayers like that. She is so awesome. She has a solid baptismal date set and is progressing well towards it. We are also still teaching Neck. She came to church yesterday too but had to leave after Sacrament meeting so we didn't get a chance to teach her. She is still doing well though. We have a new investigator that looks like she could go places - her name is Mad. We have only taught her twice and she was at church yesterday with her 4 year old son. He really wanted to go home and watch cartoons but she stayed for the full three hours. She is adorable. Her husband doesn't like Christianity and is resisting but she still really wants to learn. I think she really feels that it is important - that it is something and she needs to pay attention - you know? Hopefully her husband will soften up a little bit. We also have a promising new little family. We met the mom a couple Sundays ago while we were out inviting. We handed her a pass along card and talked to her a little bit but she was kind of staring blankly at us. We wrapped up and were walking away when she said "God bless you" which means that she is a Christian - Christians say that to other Christians. So we stop and talk to her some more and she told us that she had converted to Christianity a while back but hadn't been to church in a long time. She agreed to give us her phone number but was kind of reluctant so we weren't too sure about it. But she let us come meet with her last week. Then we met with her again yesterday and it was an awesome lesson. We read in 3 Nephi about building our house upon a rock and compared it to the family. She was like "I know Jesus wants me to make my family strong. How do I do it? Tell me what to do." Well actually, we can help with that. We talked about family prayer and going to church as a family. Then we asked her if we could come back and meet with her whole family. She said her husband is Buddhist and she didn't know if he would want to. But she said she would talk to him and that we could definitely meet with her two kids. The cool thing is that she has a 15 year old daughter and an 11 year old son. That is the exact same as a family in the ward that just got baptized a couple of months ago. And their sons go to the same school! Isn't that crazy! They would just be perfect friends! I am praying like crazy that her husband will let us meet with him too. We will see. As for other extremely exciting news!!! Phii Ruay is getting baptized! I know that is like the fourth time you have heard that. I am not really sure about the details. But I think it is pretty legitimate. We have no idea what happened. We are just freaking out. She is getting baptized on August 22. I am freaking out. I am so excited. I hope it goes through this time. Her daughter Bookie is getting baptized too. Yay! If anyone ever wonders, God knows what He is doing. Don't mess with Him.
Well all you cuties, this is all for the week. As you can see, it was a bit of a ride. But lots of fun. I love you all. Have a great week.
August 8, 2010 Well family, I think the emails are going to get a little bit repetitive. We do the same thing every week. I could pretty much copy and paste last weeks email because this week was pretty much the same. Lots of inviting, more stories about what happened to the pass along cards after we left, etc. etc. etc. I will try to think of things that are unique to this week. We found some success inviting criminals. There was a chain gang (they weren't actually chained - they were just criminals working on some sort of street project) and we started talking to some of them. One guy actually seemed really interested. Sister Pet tells him how to find out more - he doesn't have a phone becuase he is in jail! So we gave him the address of the office and said he could write a letter. I hope he does. That chain gang was all up and down the street. They all just stared at us incredulously as we worked our way up and down the streets and gave them all pass along cards. It was pretty fun. I decided that I enjoy inviting criminals. As for investigators, This week we managed to get some people to church. Pon, the lady that I have told you about, was at church yesterday. Her mom wanted her to move to Udon (which is really far away, in case you were wondering) but she didn't go so she is still going to be learning with us. I am excited about her - I really think she will get baptized. And she is related to a big family in the ward and so she will have support. Always a good thing. I think I have also told you about Ma and Pa - the grandparents of that huge family that we are teaching. We had a good lesson with them this week. We watched the Restoration DVD and asked them to pray really hard about Joseph Smith - they just don't really have a testimony yet. Pa came to church yesterday. We are still working on Ma. Their grandson is slightly crazy so the primary teachers are having a hard time with him, which makes it hard for Ma to come to church, but we have got a member working on that one so we hope we can figure something out soon. We also had Phii Ngek. I could never in a million years get you to say that name right by writing it in English. Just pronounce it like Neck and it will be close enough. She has come to church two weeks in a row now and is progressing really well. We taught the atonement yesterday and she was glued to every word. She really loved it. We had a member helping us teach her once and the member said that you can ask a question and then open the BOM to find your answer. She got all excited - like "can you do that? When you open it, do you look at the right page or the left page? The top or the bottom?" She is adorable. That is it for our progressing investigators. We have a couple new ones but honestly it doesn't look they are going to go very far. With the exception of one - There is a lady named Lek that we started teaching this week and we went back yesterday and she has already read 50 pages in the BOM. She is Christian already but seems very open to what we are teaching and willing to try it out. I have started to notice one of my favorite "Thai-isms" - meaning funny things that Thai people do that make me happy. They are deathly afraid of rain. If they get even a little bit wet, the next day they will be deathly ill and not able to go anywhere because they got wet. So if it is raining just a little bit, they will put plastic grocery sacks on their heads. It is the funniest thing ever. They just run around with these sacks on their heads and go about their normal lives. I hope no one suffocates. I think that is probably a safety hazard. But as I have observed in the time that I have been here, safety is not exactly a #1 priority. I love you all to pieces!
August 1, 2010 Well, It has been an interesting week. I have never invited so much in my entire life. That includes Asoke. We have been having a lot of fun though. We have a big map of our area and we have started throwing a marker at it and then going to wherever the marker hits and inviting all day. Quite an adventure. We haven't had a bunch of success. We were able to sit down and teach a couple lessons but most of those people have already been crossed off. We are just waiting for the families to start pouring in. With all of this inviting, we have got to find someone to teach sooner or later, right? We are still teaching Pon - the lady I told you about last week. We set a baptismal date with her this week. She is really awesome. But then she didn't come to church yesterday because she is having some family problems and didn't feel like it. Oh boy. Can you just throw me off a balcony? We are going to have to work on that one. She is still a pretty brand new investigator so I will forgive her this once. But that was a bummer. I think she will be fine though. We had some promising investigators fall through. We met a lady on Tuesday that let us come in her house and teach her a little lesson and said we could come back on Sunday and teach her and her husband. She is from Myanmar. We were really excited about her but then she called and said that her husband has a problem with Christianity and wouldn't let her see us again. Bummer. But don't think I am discouraged. I am actually not - I feel great. We are just inviting and inviting some more and figure that something will happen soon. It just means that this email might be a little bit boring and a little bit shorter because you can only talk about inviting for so long. Sister Chambers and Sister Pet are an awful lot of fun. (p.s. Sister Pet is still here.) I just want you understand this little human being. She is hilarious and makes for interesting days. We are considering sabotaging her visa so she has to stay with us. President Smith would be really mad though. We found out that she is only the second Thai ever to serve in New Zealand. The first Thai was the branch mission leader in Din Daeng so I know him too. She is also only the second missionary to go out from her branch. So she is pretty awesome. She makes fun of our Thai all the time so we are excited for when she goes to New Zealand and can't speak English. Sweet justice. I just wish I was there to see it. As for close encounters of the week, Sister Pet very nearly got eaten by a dog. There aren't a ton of vicious dogs here - we haven't really had any problems. But the other day we were walking down this narrow little street and we had just gotten rejected by four people in a row and then this dog comes out of nowhere and goes for Sister Pet's leg. Thanks, Satan, for kicking us while we were down. Luckily Sister Chambers hit it with her Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon has many uses on a mission. The dog didn't get sister Pet but we were all a little freaked out. That same day, we were talking to a guy who said it sounded interesting but he didn't want the BOM because he was lazy. You could tell Sister Chambers was getting really agitated. After we finally gave up on the guy and walked away, she was like - "you guys need to hold me back. I just wanted to smack him with my BOM and ask "Do you love your family or not?" I think that captures the feeling that we feel a lot - we just get a little frustrated when people don't see what is staring them in the face. When people reject us, we like to make up stories about the seeds that we have planted. They usually go something like this: "He just threw it (meaning the pass along card) in the garbage can but his neighbor is going to come and pick it up and look at it and think it is a pretty picture so they will take it home and put it on their mirror and then their daughter will see it and call the phone number and the missionaries will teach her and she won't be interested but they will invite her neighbor who will learn the gospel and get baptized and become an area seventy after being the first stake president of the second stake in Thailand." It keeps us going. One of these days, it will happen, I am sure. I am just waiting for the general conference forty-fifty years down the road when one of the apostles shares his conversion story - he was handed a pass along by Sister Webb and Sister Chambers! And they didn't even know it but he was converted a year later when he found the card sitting on his car seat. Yay! :-) Love you all! Sara
As you all already know, I am now in Srinakarnin. It is the third craziest Bangkok area. (After Asoke Din Daeng) so now I pretty much have the worst that Bangkok has to offer covered. But it is definitely far behind Asoke and Din Daeng - much quieter and easier to escape the madness. So far I love it. I just wish we had a couple more investigators - we have been inviting literally all day every day. But it is already starting to pay off. On Saturday we were at this big park and we invited a cute little family and they said they would come to church. Yeah right. But then they did! It was crazy! We almost fell out of our chairs. They wandered in at like 10:30. It is a real live family - a mom and a dad and an 8 year old girl. They were only there for 30 minutes, but the dad really liked Sunday School - they were talking about that quote from David O. McKay - No success can compensate for failure in the home. So it was perfect. We have an appointment with them on Thursday and they told everyone at church that they would see them next week. It was so awesome. Miracles I tell you. We got a whole bunch of other potential investigators but most of them aren't looking like they are going to go anywhere. But hey - some day we will have a nice little investigator pool, I am sure. The ward here is great - There have been a ton of baptisms lately (that is the reason there aren't tons of investigators - they all got baptized). There were two whole families - one with two kids and one with three. So it is a great area. Everyone in the ward is really nice. I had a great time at church yesterday. Other than that cute little family that came to church yesterday, we are teaching a big family of nine people. But a lot of them aren't really progressing. The grandpa was the only one who came to church yesterday. I have taught the grandpa and grandma once but we are teaching all of them tonight. So I haven't met most of them. They are cute people. We are also teaching a woman named Pon. She is amazing. She is the cousin of family of members in the ward. She has already come to church twice and brought three of her friends to learn last time. She seems like she is really sincere and really wants to get baptized. She is probably our strongest investigator. Those are the only people we are teaching right now. So more on my companion - she is from Hooper, Utah. She is in her second moves and was trained by Sister Livingston. She went to Freemont High School and graduated the year after me. She is an early education major and is going to Weber. Carlie and her would get along. She is adorable. We laugh a lot and have a lot in common - We walk all day every day. She is the fifth of six kids - her little brother just got a mission call to Germany. She actually reminds me a lot of McKensie Smith in the way she talks and laughs - and their smiles are similar. It kinds of freaks me out sometimes. She is a great missionary - she is able to stay motivated through hours of inviting. She is a good example for me - I tend to get a little pooped after about 5 - 6 hours of walking around getting rejected. But she is awesome. I love her.
Chanita - The most golden investigator to ever walk the planet!
She is already teaching our other investigators. What the? I don't even know where she came from. But I just love every time we teach her because she is AMAZING! GOLDEN! How many times can I say it? We had dinner with her last night and the Rempps and another investigator named Som. Chanita said the closing prayer after we taught a little lesson and she sobbed through the whole thing - she loves this church and loves the way it makes her feel. The other investigator is someone we have only taught once. She was sobbing too. Hooked her already :) There is no going back for either of them now.
July 19, 2009 Ok. So now for the Baptisms. I will give you the play by play. We woke up on Sunday morning and found out that the font in Din Daeng is outside and needs to be cleaned out. Oops. So we left really early and went to clean out the font. I was literally drenched in sweat and water. Nice way to go to church. Oh well. Then we couldn't figure out how to turn the water on and we were starting to freak out a little bit because we thought it was going to take 3-4 hours to fill. Luckily the elders came and turned it on and it only takes one hour to fill. So that turned out fine. We had tons of investigators at church because Pim brought a lot of her neighbors to watch the baptism and her grandma, who isn't a member, was there as well. After church, we had lunch. Then Pim changed. Cute. She had to get baptized three times. But I think she liked it - it draws out the experience. After Pim's baptism, we ran over to Asoke for the rest of church over there. New and Kim's baptisms were beautiful and very well prepared. I was very impressed by the Asoke ward - it is a stable, long established, well run ward. They had the baptism programs all printed out and passed it around in Relief Society so that everyone could sign it. Great idea. Nothing like that in Din Daeng. Then the baptism was well attented and went very smoothly. When Kim got baptized, she kind of freaked out a little - the water wasn't quite high enough and she kind of got scared when he was dunking her and made a funny little noise. It was really cute. But she got under the water. So that is good. They bore great testimonies after -
Ok. This week has been quite awesome. Lets start with the expected and then we will move to the unexpected. Remember Chanita - the lady who wandered into church last week and said she had promised God that she would get to know him? Yeah - she is just as amazing as we were hoping. When we taught her for the first time, we explained what the Holy Ghost felt like and she got all excited and said that that was how she felt at Church in America even though she couldn't understand. She said that she stopped feeling it for awhile and then felt it again when she walked into our Church building. She hung on every word of the lesson and then said the closing prayer. When she finished, you could tell she was feeling it. I just said "how does it feel?" and she started bawling. She told us that it was the first time that she had ever prayed in her own language and from her heart. She cried for a good while. It was a really cool moment. Of course Sister Larson and I were crying as well. It was just one of those moments that makes life make sense - you know? She came to church again yesterday - stayed for all 3 hours and loved it. She loves that senior couple (the Rempps) and so hung around them a lot. The branch was really good to her as well - she had a lot of friends right off the bat. It was really cool. We were excited to see that.
Other good but not really unexpected news - Pim passed her baptismal interview. She is so ready. She picked her grandpa to baptize her and the primary teachers to be the speakers. She was so nervous before her interview. It was really cute. But we weren't worried at all. Like I said - if she failed, no one should ever pass. She truly has a testimony. So she is getting baptized on the 18th - right on schedule. Now for the unexpected good news. Remember New and Kim? They are getting baptized on the 18th as well. We talked to Pres. Smith about them in interviews and he said that the Bishop needed to talk to their parents and show them the young women program and tell their parents that New and Kim are expected to be at church every week. So we tell Kim this and she brings her dad to church yesterday. Her dad loved it - Sacrament Meeting was PERFECT - it was about being honest, fulfilling our different duties, and being all around good people - like any dad would like to teach his daughters. He talked to the Bishop and gave permission. The elders were all over him trying to get him to learn but he doesn't actually live in Bangkok - he lives somewhere else and comes in town when he has business here. Kind of a weird situation. But it was perfect! Everything fell into place. We called Elder Teppitack and he came and interviewed them that night. They have been ready to get baptized forever and now that we have permission we don't want to wait. They are excited and ready to go. So unless anything happens, they are getting baptized as well. (But we all know many things can happen. So pray hard.) We are just really happy for them - Isn't it kind of funny that I have baptized three people my whole mission and now I am in this limbo area for 6 weeks and am going to baptize three people? Obviously I don't really care about the numbers, it is just funny/cool - it is obvious why we needed to be here, however random it is.
- we were walking past a guy and he invited us to drink beer with him (a typical experience) so we weren't going to talk to him - I set a pass along card on the table and was going to walk away but he stopped us and said that he was a member. We didn't really believe him - I mean he was drinking beer. But he went through his whole story - that he had been baptized 15 years ago and he told us about the missionaries who had taught him and everything. He said that he had been active for 11 years but then moved to Bangkok, married a nonmember, and fell away. He said that he wanted to go to church but didn't think he was a member anymore - we assured him that he was. He also said that he wanted to confess his sins. It was just a cool experience. Pres. Smith said that there are 15,000 members in Thailand and there are 5,000 that we have no idea where they are. I bet this guy was one of them - they move and we lose track of them. But Heavenly Father is looking out for this guy. He said he is going to come to church next week. We gave his number to the elders. Cool experience. I hope he is there next week.
July 4, 2010 Hello everybody! It has been a great week here in the belly of the beast. I will tell you about all the investigators that you are familiar with. Pim is still our superstar in every way. She is getting interviewed for baptism on Friday. If she doesn't pass, no one in the history of the earth should have ever passed a baptismal interview. All we have left to teach is tithing and fasting, both of which she already knows. She is hilarious - she learned about fasting in primary so now it is the answer to every question. We were teaching about the Sabbath day and we were like "So what should we do on the Sabbath?" "FAST!" Ok - yes - we fast the first Sunday of the month - good answer. What else should we do? "FAST!" She just really likes fasting for some reason. So we are excited to actually teach fasting tomorrow. Her little friends learn with us too - they are hilarious. When we ask them to read a scripture, they all read it together - very loudly and with a beat. We just try really hard not to laugh. We figure it is a good thing - all the neighbors can hear the word of God whether they want to or not. It is also really funny because the grandpa is OBSESSED with making sure that we have a glass full of ice and Pepsi. The lesson will be going along and it will get interrupted because our ice has melted a tiny bit and he has to make sure the cup is full. He is a great guy but we are really sick of the ice interrupting the lesson. :-) We are excited for her baptism. She is too - she tells everyone her baptismal date. We are trying to get the mom of the other two girls interested - she said that she is going to come to the baptism. We had a really good showing at church yesterday - 8 people. Do you remember Laa? We have only taught her once because then she left town. She is back now and came to church yesterday. She is adorable. We are excited to teach her again. The elders love her too so there shouldn't be a problem when they pick her up after we leave. She is the one that is a referral from America and is trying to get back to America. We are trying to help with that. We also had Lek - a 19 year old investigator who wandered into church last week. She only went to RS but that is a step in the right direction. In RS we somehow got roped into a musical number - the teacher wanted to sing some random song about every man being free to choose and it isn't in the hymnbook so we got to sing it for everyone. It was completely random and really funny. Luckily our investigators were all there to watch us make idiots out of ourselves. Good times.
So this week has been interesting. We have officially become inviting maniacs. It is pretty much all we do. We go out in the morning and we have a stack of pass along cards. We walk down the street and hand them to anyone who will take them. About half of people will take it out of your hand. We stop and talk to people who are sitting or standing for about 15 seconds before they get bored of you and hop on a bus or just stop looking at you. (When they turn around and stare in the other direction, we take the hint.) We have calculated that we have given out about 2,000 pass along cards this week. There was one morning when we were really excited because we invited ALL morning and talked to hundreds of people and only a couple were mean to us. They all rejected us but most were really nice so we counted it as a great morning. We have gotten a few potential investigators out of all the inviting - but just three or four. But that is ok - because at the end of the day we feel good because we talked to masses of humanity and did our best. When we first got here we had a hard time with talking with everyone because they were all on the move - but we are getting better and talking to more people. It is actually kind of fun. Thailand is literally breaking records all over the place. Last week the mission found 417 new investigators (that means that they were potential investigators, had an appointment with an opening and closing prayer, gave a commitment, and have a return appt.). When Pres. Smith first got here, that number was in the 70's-80's every week. The work is really exploding. The new schedule forced everyone to invite all morning and now we are getting good at it - and it is paying off. We are trying hard to find a family to teach. We did find one but of course they didn't live in our area. That is ok - we gave a good referral to those Elders. I suspect that baptism records are being broken too - I am sure we will find out at zone conference.
June 13, 2010 It has been an interesting week. Lots of things to get used to here in the beast. But it has been good ... really good.
Our really good news of the week is that we found our superstar investigator. It seems that there is always a superstar that is ahead of everyone else. This time she is 11 years old. She is the granddaughter of a member. She has been coming to primary for months now but of course the elders didn't give her the time of day because she is a girl and 11 years old. We have started teaching her and she already has a rock solid testimony and a baptismal date for the last Sunday of the moves. She is adorable. Her name is Pim. We teach her twice a week and she is our high light. We are teaching her tonight about the Plan of Salvation and Sister Larson made these sweet little visual aids - it should be pretty fun. We met a lady from Taiwan on the street the other day. She can't speak Thai but she speaks English. We brought her a mandarin Book of Mormon and she kind of freaked out - she was like "I have this already!" A friend gave it to her in college. She even went to a Mormon church after she broke up with a boyfriend and said she felt peace there. She said that in Taiwan everyone knows who the Mormons are. It was really cool. She said that she is coming to church this week. But because she can't speak Thai we had to give her to the International elders. But that is ok - we would have just had to hand her over when we moved anyways. I just think that Heavenly Father has been preparing her for awhile.
June 13, 2010 OK. So you know how I said I didn't think I was going to move? Turns out I lied. I am not in Korat. In fact, I am in ASOK. That might not mean much to you. Maybe its nickname will help you picture it. It is "The belly of the beast". The beast being Bangkok. I have gone from outside of Bangkok my whole mission to the belly of the beast. It is crazy. Completely crazy. I am in total culture shock. This is the area that got closed because it is the center of where all the protesting was going on. So we are opening it. Here is the other fun bit of news - President has already told us that he will be closing our area at the end of this moves to the Sisters again - so we are in this limbo area. He told us that we are here to find investigators for the Elders. So that means inviting all day long. So far our system is that we just pass out English fliers and if anyone stops to ask a question about it or even slows down, we hit them with a gospel invite. We stick pass along cards inside the English flier though. So basically we just pass out pass along cards and talk to the occasional passer by who slows down for a second and a half. We also hit bus stops - people are stationary there - but you still have to be quick - the bus comes at any second. We have found a couple potential investigators that we have appointments with this week. We will see how that goes. We tried to meet a whole bunch of people at church but I can only remember like one person's name. They are all way excited that there are sisters here. Too bad it is only for six weeks. Right now I am just in culture shock and kind of longing for my bed in my sleepy little neighborhood in Korat. Give me a couple weeks and I will be used to it. It is crazy that I am where all the stuff happened last month - you would never know by wandering around and just looking. It is completely normal - we have been right where all the protests were going on and now it is just life as normal. It is like it never happened. We still haven't seen the buildings that got blown up - they are the only trace of what happened here a month ago. I can do this! I love you all! Sister Webb