This past week was challenging.
Throughout it, we felt that the work was slow with plans falling through, and not teaching as much as we wanted to...
BUT, by the end of the week, we realized just how much we had accomplished and just how much the Lord has filled each and every day with miracles!
Elder Stevens's "aunt" and "uncle" came to visit him last pday!
We all got to tag along and were treated to delicious Shabushi :)
They spoiled us with snacks and even got us any toiletries we needed!
Being able to get some facewash that I had put off because I was broke was truly a miracle and huge blessing from Heavenly Father!
After that, we spent pday playing an intense game of Monopoly...
On Monday evening, we had FHE at MEE Gope's with Brother Oh and Sister Ddu's family.
Early on that day, we ran into Guide who didn't go to work that day and so we invited him to come to FHE with us!
What a miracle and blessing that was!
The Elders burned some ties! A belated celebration for their six months, and year marks.
On Tuesday, at district meeting, we had a special guest :P
That afternoon, I had the most delicious meal I had ever had.
PA Tongpoon, and MEE Somboon invited us for lunch.
Their simple preparation of chicken and some pork, and hard boiled eggs was delightful!
They didn't have much at all, but being able to feed us was a joy to them.
My companion and I ate silently because it was hard to find the words to speak.
We were struggling to fight back our tears.
Sister Ward and I just had the overwhelming feeling of just how lonely PA was.
From the bits and pieces we gathered, we think MEE might have Alzheimers and is sick often.
I could just feel how much of a good person PA was...and just how much patience and love he has.
It broke our hearts to see him so alone.
We did our best to share a spiritual message to help him not fear death and have more faith in God's plan and left with slightly heavy hearts, tummies filled with the single most wonderful meal we had ever had, and a renewed gratitude for the Plan of Salvation.
Beautiful moments continued on throughout that day.
We were able to teach MEE Bao with Sister Ddu, and although her husband came by towards the end of our lesson trying to thwart our beliefs, MEE Bao seemed to have a silent conviction of the truthfulness of the Gospel, and her desire to learn more showed in her countenance.
After that, we ran into Brother Gosone, who is one of the councilors in the bishopric.
We had never had the chance to sit down and get to know him before, and were delighted to know that he had some time he could spend with us.
As we read Alma 5 together, and discussed what we had learned, there was no doubting why he had been called into a leadership position.
I was so very grateful for the opportunity to learn from his firm testimony and understanding of the gospel!
On Wednesday morning, we spent to Brother Ddong's house to surprise Guide on his birthday.
Brother Ddong has taken in Guide, Goi and Ddon under his roof as these youth/young adults don't have anywhere else to go.
Guide left home when he was 12 and has been on his own ever since.
What a big hearted man Brother Ddong is!
When Guide finally woke up, and stepped outside his tent shirtless, he gave a groan and mid-stretch, turned around to see us, four missionaries looking at him!
He gave a yelp and dove for some sheets!!
We had never seen anyone so surprised before!!
Once he found a shirt, we wished him a happy birthday and gave him the cake and card that we made.
He was positively beaming and in shock :)
I'm not sure if anyone has ever celebrated his birthday with him quite like how we did.
Although his hard life situation may have matured him a little faster than average, a kid of only 16 years old, definitely needs more love.
Another blessing from visiting Guide on his birthday was that we got the chance to talk to Goi who has been really busy with work and not able to meet with us.
When I approached her and asked if it was okay for us to stop by the next morning and teach her more, she replied, "Yes! Because the Jehovah's Witnesses came by and invited me to learn with them, but I already threw away their pamphlets!"
I was a little taken aback, but grateful to witness Goi's faith and testimony of our church starting to grow!
Fun facts about Brother Ddong:
He is a 36 year old, single man who breeds shrimp for a living.
He has thousands of very large shrimp that he breeds and sells.
The best part about it is that he is allergic to them and cannot eat them!
Brother Ddong also likes to make these strange drinks...
The one he made for us that morning had strawberries, corn, protein shake, raw fish, cilantro among other strange things....
This past week, Sister Ward were so tired, we literally had no control over our sleepiness!
On Wednesday afternoon, MEE Gope helped us teach Yaay Gulap and her daugher/Sister Rungtip's mother who are not yet members.
It was MEE Gope's turn for the 40 Day Fast and this family was her answer!
Both MEE Gope's daughter and Sister Rungtip are missionaries serving in the Thailand Bangkok Mission right now, and they even started at the same time!
So, it was powerful for MEE Gope to invite Sister Rungtip's mother and grandmother to baptism.
At first, there was a lot laughter and goofing around as MEE Gope was excited to visit their home for the first time, and for them to see each other again for the first time in a long while.
I was a little worried because MEE Gope seemed to be pressuring these two women to be being baptized, but then she started bearing the most heartfelt, powerful testimony about the blessings of the gospel!!
MEE Gope helped us teach Yaay again on Saturday, and the more I listened to her conversion story and testimony, the more my love for this faithful woman grew.
I have so much respect for MEE Gope for having the faith to face her trials and for trusting the Lord to take care of her and her family.
Later that day, we went on an adventure and visited two Sisters who have been members for about 40 years.
Just being near them, and seeing the light of Christ shine from them was a blessing.
Sister Ward and I were so grateful for the opportunity to learn from these long time faithful saints!
Fluffy things always adds a little ray of sunshine into Sister Kwak's day!
Tender Mercies from our loving Father in Heaven through Angels!
We went to go have lunch at MEE Ddeo's little restaurant with the full intent to pay for our food and help her business, but she refused to take payment from us! :')
Finding the joy and fun in the little things :)
On Thursday, Brother Aut from Sisaket called.
Brother Aut and Sister Booyi have never been the first to call me because they understand that I am only allowed to call them on PDAYs and have always waited for me to call them in case I was busy.
So, it was a shock to see a call from them. I cautiously picked up and Brother Aut asked me to talk to his wife.
Sister Booyi was in tears as she explained that she was in the hospital and it almost sounded like she was saying her farewells to me as she told me that she would get better and wait for me to visit her in Sisaket.
I said a prayer for her through the phone and encourage her to remain strong.
The next day, I was feeling pretty worried and fasted for their family.
It didn't feel right to pray for her to be healed, but it felt more right to pray for this family to have the faith to endure this trial in their life, and to accept the Lord's will, and for the doctors to at least figure out what was wrong.
After a long day of fasting and praying, I was pretty tired and still a little worried because I didn't know how Sister Booyi and her family were doing.
But, I still felt peace in my heart and trusted that the Lord knew best.
With that, I could still find the fun in the small things like a toy car that I drove around the church parking lot during sports night!
Interesting Sighting 1:
Interesting Sighting 2:
A miracle filled SUNDAY!
Our investigator Pa Wichay came back after being way for the past two Sundays and we were able finally able to commit him to a baptismal date!
We also had Guy (a former investigator), Sister Giao's son come and sit in sacrament without us having invited him :D
We also had Goi there for all three hours, and a drop in investigator, May, who says a friend introduced her to the church!
I was sick after church and wanted nothing more than to just go home and sleep it off, but had lessons to teach.
Sister Ward I switched off with Sister Ni and Sister Nang and taught two investigator lessons. I prayed for the strength to be able to teach the lesson and boy am I glad I sat through it because Pa Wichay is now a dater!
In the evening, we went over to teach Goi at Brother Ddong's home and he made us sushi (Thai style)!
When we taught Goi on Thursday morning, we committed her to some hard things.
1) quit work on Sundays
2) either move out or get married to her boyfriend
On Saturday evening, we ran into each other at the church and she beamed as she told us of her desire to be baptized!
She wanted to be baptized the very next day!!
We told her that she needed to make sure she was keeping all the commandments first in order to show her desire to be faithful to the Lord, and she agreed to do so, positively glowing the whole time!!
Her sincere desire to accept and follow the gospel is truly inspiring!
I am learning a lot from her incredible example :)