Monday, September 30, 2013

A Week of Miracles, Beauty, and Dead Things

Hi family!

Interesting title, right? So I'll tell you about all the crazy things I saw first, and then I'll tell you about the amazing miracles that happened this week. Because they’re awesome. 

But first of all I can't believe it’s fall back home. I want the leaves to change colors! This morning I was renewing my visa and I got to wear a sweater inside because it was air I figure that was about as much fall and winter as I will get around here haha.

Ok, so on to the dead things. This week I saw (in no particular order) 1) dead pigs. My neighbor decided to turn his garage into a part-time butcher’s shop, nights only. So Sister Weed and I walked past on our way home the other night and there were just like 10 pig heads sitting on a folding table. Awesome. 2) a dead kitten. Just sitting on the sidewalk. It smelled bad. 3) a dead gecko in the church. We were cleaning the baptismal font and I found it in an electric box. It was literally just a skeleton with the weird little suction cups on its toes. 4) I was brave and killed a cockroach this week. 5) lots of smooshed frogs.

This week, in no particular order, I was told: 1) I was beautiful, 2) I was sexy (yes, that one came from dear Crazy Gaew, the bishop’s wife...and she wouldn’t let it drop for a good 20 minutes), 3) I was surrounded by a heavenly light, and 4) I was “Forever Young.” It’s amazing what actually wearing a little make-up does for your self-esteem. Hahaha.

So that’s it for dead things and beauty. Now on to the miracles :)

THIS SATURDAY BAM GOT BAPTIZED. MY GUUUUUUUUURL! She is seriously the cutest thing that ever existed. It was such a good day. I was trying to figure out how to explain her and how she just accepted the gospel so readily, because I still don’t quite understand it myself. But I read a talk this week by Elder Holland that helped me get it. He said that when you bear testimony, it will bring back an echo of things your investigators already know. Bam heard that echo from our very first lesson. She defied all the odds, because let’s face it, 13 year olds aren’t always excited to go to church for 3 hours on Sunday. But she is. And she is the happiest I’ve ever seen her, and I am so happy for her :)

This week I gained a real testimony that the Lord is preparing people to receive the gospel in Thailand. On Tuesday in English, I saw a man who had never come to class before. He seemed to really enjoy the spiritual thought when we closed, and I had the overwhelming impression that I needed to talk to him. I was tired, there were 6 million other things I needed to do, and I wasn’t feeling super confident in my Thai that day. But the Lord brings the blessings when you go one step farther than you think you can, and because I talked to him, we now have a golden investigator who is getting baptized in mid October. In our first lesson, he told us he had never seen the missionaries before and that he’s never seen a miracle, either. He came to Bam’s baptism on Saturday and was so excited about it. When we were talking after, he said, “Mine is coming soon! I am so happy!” He told us about how he feels goosebumps when he prays or reads the Book of Mormon. It’s so great. He understands everything we have taught him so well. After the baptism, we taught him again and in his closing prayer, he said “help me to have eternal life through the temple.” He was referencing a phrase that the bishop used in his remarks at Bam’s baptism. He talked about how through the temple and through being sealed to her eternal companion, Bam would be able to receive eternal life if she lived worthily. When Na (our investigator) closed his prayer, he looked at us and said, “Sisters...what’s a temple? I see a building in my’s tall and has three spires...” Sister Weed and I just looked at each other and raised our eyebrows. I pulled out the photo of the Salt Lake temple that I have in my bag and showed him. He looked at it and almost started to cry. “Sisters. That is the building I saw in my mind.” We all had goosebumps. It was amazing.

So yes, the work is good and solid, my visa is renewed for another 3 months, and I am happy and well and surrounded by a heavenly light. :)

So much love,

Sister...I don’t know. Haha. Hughes. :)
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(Sorry, my card reader must not be working? No photos again...I'll do my best to have some next week!)

Monday, September 23, 2013

“Sorry, I locked the door cause I was scared of the cannibals.” “It’s okay. I'm scared of the snails.”

That was Sister Weed and me this week...I’m the one scared of the snails. Classic.

HEY ครอบครัว!

This week’s edition will be exciting—lots of good stuff is going down in East Bangkok :)

On Tuesday we had Zone Conference!! It was way fun; we combined the Bangkok East and West Zones. That means that Sister Slaugh, Elder Astle, Elder Passey, and I were all back together for a few hours. And we got to eat burritos at lunch. It was a definitely a disaster waiting to happen because we talked so much, but it was also the highlight of the week. Haha. I love my MTC people.

But of course, that wasn’t the only reason I loved Zone Conference. We learned about how close we are to having more stakes in Thailand. And how essential they are to getting a temple. We also were encouraged over and over and over again to BE CREATIVE. Things in Thailand have been done the same way for too long, and it’s time to try some new things. So this brings me to my next point:

To anyone who has done missionary work—as a full-time missionary or otherwise—I have a favor to ask:

What have you found effective in sharing the gospel? When you were contacting, what worked? What crazy things have you tried? 

It doesn’t matter where you are in the world. I want to know! Who’s to say what worked in Europe and South America can’t work in Thailand? I mean, we may as well give everything a try, right?

So send me an email! Or comment on this blog and my mom will send me the info. You are all so great! :)

This week I’ve really been working on how to explain Christ to someone who doesn’t have a Christian background. I think it’s going to be a mission-long adventure. I’m enjoying it quite a bit.

On Thursday we went to go visit Sister Tia again. She is so sweet. Her little house feels like home now. I love going to visit her. This week we were sharing about the 10 Commandments. Because she is Cambodian, her scriptures are in Khmer. She wanted to follow along with us in her scriptures, but she didn’t know where Mosiah was. We tried explaining where it was but we just aren’t good enough at Thai yet haha. She plopped her Book of Mormon in my hands and said “Sister Choo, can you find it?” (For some reason, she has started calling me Sister Choo and I’m not really sure why? And everyone else has started calling me Sister Q. And I point to my nametag and think “You all can read this better than I can, it’s supposed to say Hugh...” Hahaha such is the life of an American in Thailand.) So I cracked open the Khmer Book of Mormon and started searching. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen what Cambodian looks like, but it’s CRAZY. They have over 100 consonants and they are all made to look EXACTLY the same. But I prayed really hard and I found it :) Miracles, people! Miracles!

We also taught a lesson this week with Pa Gua. He was our member present. I love teaching with him because he understands the gospel soooooo well and he calls literally everyone “child” no matter how old they are which cracks me up. But he said something pretty profound to our investigator who feels like she will be abandoning Buddhism by praying. We tried to help her understand that without prayer, she wouldn’t know if the Gospel was true. Pa Gua looked at her and said, “You said yourself you feel like you don’t understand why you’re here and Buddhism isn’t providing you the answers. Before I joined this church, I was Buddhist, too. But I found out that Buddhism is like pre-school. When I learned about the Gospel of Christ, I was suddenly at a university.” HOW COOL IS HE. I LOVE THAT GUY.

An Elder Angkham quote from the week was “He want to be baptism very soon.” :)

On Sunday, I wore the pink shirt mom sent me. Up until that point, I didn’t have aaaaaaaaanything pink to wear as a missionary. I don’t know why, but I don’t have anything pink with me in Thailand. Haha. Anyway, I wore it to church and literally EVERY single person at church told me I looked pretty. And then we went contacting at a park and everyone there told me I was pretty, too. Also, all the little girls at church wanted to be my best friend. So I think I figured out how to make people like you in Thailand—wear pink and be cutesy. Works every time.

And speaking of contacting, at the park we were at, we talked to a TON of people. But everyone we talked to was from Cambodia. What?! That has never happened to us before. Literally everyone was from there. I was able to use what little Cambodian I learned in the MTC to talk to them (which basically means I knew how to say hello and goodbye, but it was still cool.) And I guess a thing for the girls is to have diamonds implanted on their eyeteeth? Haha. It’s funny how I haven’t been in Asia for all that long, but I am now able to distinguish who is from what country by their faces or what they are wearing. It’s pretty cool. So what I got out of yesterday is that I need to wear more pink and learn to speak Khmer. Haha.

So it’s been a good week! Sister Weed and I are having a great time inviting people to come unto Christ. Keep Thailand in your prayers—it’s time to get this country a temple! :) 

Love you!!

Sister Choo / Sister Q / Sister Hungry (I don’t know who I am anymore...haha)


Elder Campbell telling theeee most hilarious story about how in his last area, there were two kittens stuck inside the wall of the chapel, “So then this cat, I don’t know how it got in, there are no openings, we have no idea, but this mom cat, she got in the wall and laid these two baby eggs...” Maybe you had to be there, but it was pretty ridiculous.

Monday, September 16, 2013


I'M CURRENTLY SITTING IN AN INTERNET PLACE  that has American music BLARING. I have listened to that new Pitbull and JLo song and we are now listening to Ke$ha. Definitely not MoTab, am I right or what? It’s kind of exciting.

This week was really good!! 

Tuesdays are one of my favorite days of the week. I love teaching English class. We play games to help people learn the language and it’s so fun. I love teaching words you won’t find in a dictionary— not like hardcore slang or anything, but things that people say every day that you wouldn’t learn in a formal English class. Things like “What in the world?” and “uh-huh” and “uh-uh” and “oops” and “holy cow!” haha. People find those so entertaining. Anyway, English class was a little harder this week...people weren’t too interested in focusing on the lesson. It was raining so hard outside. (The world here literally shuts down when it rains.) I gave our spiritual thought in Thai, and when the lesson was over, I was so relieved. Sister Weed and I were packing up when one of the older men who learns in our class came up to me, and in halting English, he said “Sister, you have made good progress in Thai.” It was so heartwarming and I felt better about everything in the world. :)

We also randomly found two new investigators this week. They just kinda came out of nowhere...I literally don’t know how we found them. All I know is that on Wednesday we started teaching both of them. Haha. Both women are Christian already! That doesn’t happen often here...except for recently. All of the missionaries in our ward are currently teaching Christians. What? It’s pretty cool, but also challenging because we’re trying to figure out how to best do that. Anyway, both were awesome experiences. I love teaching the first lesson and looking people in the eye and saying “This is true. You can find out for yourself if you pray. Try it.” It never fails to be an awesome experience.

On Saturday, we taught Bam about the Ten Commandments. Because she is under 18, we need to have an adult with us. But our adult cancelled on we were pretty desperate. There was a Relief Society activity going on there at the church, but we felt guilty asking someone to help us and pull them away from their activity. And then President Suchaad walked into the church. He was there because his wife is the RS president. We asked him if he had a few spare minutes and he did. So we had the opportunity to teach with him, which is kind of a wonderful deal. Because how many people can say they have taught the gospel with one of the first converts in Thailand who later helped translate the Book of Mormon into Thai? It was so neat. He’s such a good teacher and he knows and loves the gospel. I learned a lot about teaching from him.

One thing I love about Sundays is the singing. Thai singing is different than English singing. My theory is that you can’t sing with tones but that is how it is. It’s such a joy for me to sit there and listen to everyone. The meeting was really wonderful—a lot of spiritually motivating talks about how to prepare for the blessing of having a temple in Thailand. It was the kind of meeting that you think about for weeks afterwards because it was just so good. Everyone just needs to have faith stronger than rain. (Like I said, when it rains, the world shuts down and people don’t go to church.) And we need to be brave and just share the gospel. It’s a goal that is attainable. We currently have one stake in all of Thailand, but we are sooooooo close to having a second in Bangkok, a third in the Eson, and a fourth in the North. I think everyone felt motivated. The closing song was “Families Can Be Together Forever.” It was so awesome; I understood every word we sang, and it beautifully underscored the importance of having a temple in Thailand so perfectly. It was just so awesome.

So that’s about it for this week! Today Sister Weed and I are hitting up Swenson’s—we haven’t done that for about 3 weeks now! We're really slacking on our ice cream consumption. Time to fix that. Haha. 

Also...I’m sorry there won't be any photos this week...the computer I’m using won’t let me attach photos :/ 


ซิสเฅอร์ ฮิซส์
Sister Hughes

Quote of the Week:

Ray—an eternal investigator who is always at the church—in very broken English telling Sister Weed and I that “” That was pretty trippy.

Monday, September 9, 2013

“15 Never Comes, Seeeeester! She Never Comes!”

I'll explain the title of this email in a minute.

Ok fam. So first thing’s first.

So this week was pretty major for the Animal Watch. On Monday we went to Samuprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo. I thought it was just going to be the world’s largest crocodile farm (which it was). But what I failed to realize is that it would ALSO be a zoo. Of other animals. Meaning I...

So there you have it for Animal Watch. It was pretty great.

Now for the rest of the week!

This week was good, we spent a loooot of time working with the members here in the Saphaan Suung WARD. That’s right. On Sunday my crazy little branch was made into a WARD. It was such a good moment :) 

On Wednesday, we decided to call Sister Bun, who has been sick for a while. We love her and help her a ton with Primary. So we called her to see how she was doing. She was thankfully feeling better. At the end of the call, I asked her if she needed help with anything and she said YES! That is music to a missionary’s ears. So we put on our grubbies and went to help her clean her mom’s house. It was such a crazy time. Sister Weed cleaned out the bathroom...the brave soul...and I cleaned the bedroom / living room area. It was quite the adventure sorting through all kinds of weird, half-used Thai medicines and such. Oh and it was so hot. We were so sweaty. At one point, I went to the sink to rinse out my rag and I looked at myself in the mirror. I was covered in sweat, literally everywhere, and lots of dust and dirt. And grime. And Bun’s mother was yelling in the background and Cartoon Network was on loud (translated into Thai) and it was such a crazy moment. And I saw myself and thought, “Hey. I'm a missionary. For reals.” And I couldn’t help but smile. Because this is the best kind of stuff in the world. 

This week I also learned how to play ping pong from Pa Gua. Oh, that was quite the time. You see, we were at the church waiting for an appointment, and he and Pa Samran were there, as well, playing ping pong as usual. Elder Barfuss and Elder Angkham showed up, too, and soon everyone was playing ping-pong. Pa Gua asked me if I was going to play and I told him I would, but I wasn’t good. That was when he announced, “I will train you. This is how the national team trains, Seester.” So then we proceeded to play back and forth until I could hit the ball 10 times in a row. And then he wanted me to get to 15, which proved near impossible. He then made Elder Barfuss train me because Pa lost his patience with my lack of skills. Haha. So then pooooooor Elder Barfuss had to practice with me until I could get 15 hits in a row. Oh, that boy was so patient with me. haha. It took almost 30 minutes, but I finally made it. Pa was laughing the whole time and kept yelling in English, “15 never comes Seeester, she never comes!” Oy. My life.

On Saturday we had Sports Day at the church. That was all kinds of fun. It was a big day because I am finally good enough at Thai to make jokes and the members now think I am funny because I am funny and not because I can't speak Thai. :) Sister Weed and I have also officially been hired to bake all treats for every branch I MEAN WARD activity, so that’s exciting. I made some traditional Utah jello cake, it was a big hit. No one in Thailand knew was it was. I told them to eat it and they would love it. They all looked at me skeptically. But they saw the light and they all wanted the recipe. Haha. Also, the best part of the day was seeing a group of old Thai men try and do yoga. So that was fun. We also met a member who lives in our area but goes to the international ward named Cecile. She is from France. She joined the church there in the 60s (I think? I can't quite remember) and knew the Book of Mormon was true after just 20 minutes of talking to the missionaries. She was willing to give up literally everything to join the church. She is so so good. She and her husband want to have us over for dinner soon. They have no children; she told us that she adopts all missionaries because they have no “mama” with them. She looked at me and very seriously told me in her French accent, “Tell your American mother that you now have a French mother, too.” Haha, oh, she was so good :)

Sunday was such a great day. SAPHAAN SUUNG IS NOW A WARD! It’s exciting. Everyone was so happy. We had so many people at church. Which means we had SO MUCH FOOD at church. Haha. We eat dinner all together after church every week so it was exciting to look in the kitchen and see all that food. Sister Tia, the woman with the two sweet little children we take pictures of, came to church this week. Out of nowhere. We weren't expecting her to come because when we saw her this week, her baby was sick and she was worried about bringing little Aom to church. But she told us yesterday, she prayed, and the baby was well enough to come to sacrament meeting. It was such a good thing. Also, I was sitting with them and my favorite thing in the whoooole entire world was when Sister Tia would call her daughter “Sister Oy.” Never have I ever smiled so big in my life. 

Plus, this week was Beyonce’s birthday, so it was great. (Actually, it wasn’t. But Sister Weed’s brother is named Bryson and it was HIS birthday...but when I glanced at her planner, I thought it said Beyonce. I was like “Girl, you're obsessed!” Haha. So we fake celebrated by buying Pepsi cans with Beyonce’s face on them.)

Overall, it was such a good week. There is so much joy in serving people. I love it. And I love being a missionary. :) 

I love you!!!

Sister Hungry



 ช้าง. CHANG. (How you say elephant in Thai)



Sisters at the Croc Farm

Pa's trying to do yoga

Welcome to Bangkok. :)