Sunday, August 15, 2010

If anyone ever wonders, God knows what He is doing.

Wat Prae Gaew with Sister Pet and Sister Chambers
August 15, 2010
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.
Sister Webb

Let's see what did we do this week? Oh, yeah, we INVITED!

Taking cover in the daily rainstorm
Playing in the rain
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!
Sister Webb

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Book of Mormon has many uses.

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

Inviting, inviting and more inviting. Did I mention we do a lot of inviting!?

July 25, 2010
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.

I LOVE it here!!

Three beautiful baptisms and golden investigators

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 -
Pim's Baptism

New and Kim's baptismal interview

Monday, August 2, 2010

A week of miracles!

July 11, 2010
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.