Monday, October 28, 2013

“Hello, babeey!”

That was Pa Gua, talking to Sister Tia’s baby the other day. It was so cute.

Sister Zaugg and I with all of our crackers.
So this week was pretty interesting! There were a couple set backs—getting sick—but a lot of really good things are happening in our area.

So Monday after we emailed, Sister Zaugg and I decided to go back home so I could take a nap because I couldn’t breathe...or talk...and after my nap I felt even worse and had a fever, so we ended up staying in that night. Ugh, and Tuesday, too. Feeling sick as a missionary is so frustrating, because you feel guilty lying in bed. All you want to do is go out and work! But by Tuesday evening, I was feeling well enough to go to a really, really important appointment with our investigator, Jeep.

Jeep is the cutest girl on the face of the planet. I love her to pieces. She has grown so much since we started teaching her three months ago, but she has felt really hesitant about getting baptized. On Tuesday we sat down with Jeep and two of her friends who are already members and we just talked about baptism. We asked her about her fears. Then we talked about all the blessings that would be hers if she were to get baptized. We made a t-chart with her so she could see that her fears compared to blessings were really very few, and the blessings could go on forever if we all wanted to keep listing them. She realized that night that she really does want to be baptized. It was such a miracle lesson. After the lesson, I went back to bed. Haha. 

Wednesday I was feeling better, so we went to a ton of appointments. It was a really good day. We visited a recent convert who lives with her mom and owns a little tiny nail salon in her living room. She has no money...but she has a little glass jar on display that she wrote “Tithing Money” on. The faith of these wonderful people just amazes me. We shared with her D&C 121: 8-10 about how our trials and afflictions will be but a small moment. She loved the message. She was so cute, and after we shared our lesson with her, she did our nails for us. Mine are so pink and girly and sparkly, I can’t even handle it. It’s so great.

On Thursday, Sister Zaugg and I were both sick from something we ate. So that was fun. We bought lots of crackers to eat. We saw Sister Ploy that day at the church and I was in the bathroom when she walked in. Sister Zaugg was right outside sipping a Sprite while sitting on the floor. Ploy was all “What is it?” When we told her we were both sick, she couldn't stop laughing. It was classic. 

On Friday, we ran into Elder Barfuss and Elder De la Garza eating lunch at the same little place we always eat at. Halfway through our meal, I looked over and I saw that Elder Barfuss’ face was bright red and he had a little pile of peppers sitting next to his plate. I asked him how many peppers he got in his somtam...turns out he ordered 20. He was crying. It was hilarious. We also got lost in a super sketchy part of Bangkok after my dentist appointment...out taxi driver was taking us to the train station but turns out he didn’t know where he was going. So he was all, “Just walk down this street a little bit and you’ll find the train station you want.” We looked down the street and saw lots of interesting people and lots of neon lights. We didn’t go there. We found a tuk tuk driver who took us where we were really supposed to be. Turns out it was about 20 minutes from where our taxi driver left us. Haha. That was an adventure.

On Saturday, we started teaching this woman that we contacted into who wanted to know where we go after we die. We taught her the plan of salvation and her husband joined us. They have 3 kids. A FAMILY! That's all :)

Also this weekend, Kaw got baptized!!! AHHHHHHHH! This kid is seriously awesome. He was already Christian, but felt like his church wasn’t quite doing it for him. So he got on a motorcycle taxi one Sunday morning and said “Take me to a Christian church.” The Motocy driver took him to our church. Kaw knew he wanted to be baptized after minutes of talking with Elder Barfuss and Elder Angkham. Because he is only 14, he was supposed to wait for 3 months before he could get baptized. After being an investigator for like 3 weeks, he had finished the Book of Mormon. He loves missionary work. He has a missionary daily planner that he uses every day and sets goals for the number of people he wants to talk with about the church. He is also always eating something, which I find very humorous, since his nickname “Kaw” means “food.” :) So on Tuesday night, Elder Barfuss called President Senior and asked for permission to baptize Kaw early. Kaw was so ready. So yesterday after church, our favorite little guy got baptized. It was so awesome. 

This morning we had zone sports day at our building. We played ping pong with Pa Gua and I got to see Elder Black, who I haven’t seen since we got into country so that was fun. He got his appendix out. Crazy huh? Also, lots of other fun people in Bangkok that I adore. We’re going to get lunch after we email with all of the Sisters in our zone. It’s going to be super. : )

I love you!

Sister Hughes/Hugh/Hungry/Choo/Q
Baby Ay, Sister Tia’s daughter. SMILING! I died.
Sniper shot of Pa Gua playing golf outside the church.


Elder Barfuss crying after he ate some somtam with 20—yes, TWENTY—peppers in it. Crazy.

Yellow watermelon. Tasted just like red.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sisters, can you make some brownieeeeeeeees?

Me and Sister Wiganda in the floods of Bangkok.

Hello from Saphaan Suung!! I'm still in the Promised Land with all of my favorite people and I couldn't be happier. :)

This week was really good. On Tuesday night, Elder Hunsaker casually walked past us in the church at English and said "Oh hey, Sister Weed, you're moving." Initially I was shocked. Both Sister Weed and I had thought I would be the one to move. Besides being shocked that I was staying, and sad that Sister Weed was moving, I was really really really happy. SO happy. I love this area and these people more than I can really comprehend.

On Wednesday we had the most epic day of all days. Sister Weed finished packing and then we had district meeting for the last time. Our district was split in half at transfers, so we are now the Saphaan Suung District— just the 6 missionaries in our ward. Sister Wiganda, one of the Thai sisters from Srinakharin, was also ending her mission, so we met together as sisters before district meeting and had lunch all together and then waded through the floods to the church. At district meeting we did tim tam slams, it was no big deal. We were all just really happy. Haha. :)

That evening, just as we were leaving to go contacting, we got a call from aweosme Pa Gua, who had organized an entire dinner for all the missionaries who were leaving (Sister Weed, Elder Hunsaker, and Elder Angkham). He said, "Seeeeeesters, wee will beeee eating deeeeeener at four thirteeeeeee, can you make some brownieeeeeeeees?" We laughed and agreed, so we made some brownies and then had a huge family home evening sort of activity with a bunch of members and investigators. It was really, really sweet. 

When I had originally thought I would be the one leaving, I had decided to give Ploy my Thai Bible. She had told me countless times that she wanted a Bible because she wants to learn everything. (I'll talk about her conversion in just a minute because I realized a few things this past week, and it's a total miracle.) So I used my language study time to write her a whole letter on some pretty paper and I taped it in the front of the Bible and had it all ready to go...and then I found out I wasn't moving. But then, just before we left for the dinner at the church on Wednesday, Sister Weed asked if I wouldn't mind giving Ploy the Bible that day. She wanted to see Ploy when she received it. So we took the Bible to the church and found Ploy. We pulled her into a room and I told her to close her eyes and hold out her hands. We put the Bible in her hands and when she opened her eyes, she couldn't believe it. She sobbed and sobbed. Sister Weed and I cried, too. We just stood in a little circle together crying for a minute or two. When Sister Ploy stopped crying, she gave me the stink eye and said, "Sister Hughes, I'm supposed to be sad about Sister Weed leaving. Why did you do this to me?" Then we all were laughing. I'm so glad we had that moment with Sister Weed before she left.

So Sister Ploy. When we first got to the area, Sister Weed and I were worried about her. She had accepted a baptismal date, but at the time, she was a little more converted to her missionaries than to the gospel. And because Sister Weed and I were so new and white-washing and were kind of dumb, we had forgotten that we are supposed to make daily contact with our investigators. It was one of those greenie mistakes that we have long since fixed, but at the time, we had no idea. Anyway. So we met with her frequently, but we didn't make daily contact with her. And since she got baptized, she has just shot off, spiritually. And thinking back on the whole situation, I really think that she needed Sister Weed and I—because we didn't know to make daily contact with her. She progressed from being baptized for her love of the missionaries to being baptized because she had time to keep learning and loving the Gospel more and knowing its truth. It's kind of the craziest, backwards miracle, but a miracle nonetheless. Even though Sister Weed and I didn't do something we were supposed to do, Sister Ploy still let the gospel into her life and change her. God works in mysterious ways, is all I can say about that. 

So then on Thursday, we had transfers meeting. Sister Weed and I felt sick all morning haha—just because we didn't know what was going to happen, who were going to be our companions, etc etc etc. But it was also super fun because I got to see everyone from the MTC and a bunch of other people that I love that I don't get to see all that often. So in transfers meeting, Sister Weed and I were sitting there feeling sicker and sicker and sicker and then it was announced that I would be companions with Sister Zaugg! She and I were in the MTC together for just a little bit and it's even funnier because when we were in the MTC, everyone told us we were twins. We have a lot of really awesome goals and I have so much I can learn from her. She is such a great missionary. We're both really excited for this transfer and can feel that good things are going to happen. :)

This week Sister Zaugg and I were wrangled into singing in this Christmas Choir! Yesterday at church, President Suchaad turned around and asked us if we would be willing to sing in a Christmas Choir. We didn't really know what that entailed, but I am SO glad we said yes. It is going to be such a cool experience. Basically, in December, the stake puts on a Christmas Story performance; the story of when Christ is born. President Suchaad is directing the music. We will be performing in December, right before the transfer ends. It's going to be so cool. We also are super excited because it's a really great way to work with the members.

Speaking of which, Brother Ice, are you reading this? :) Haha. I found out Brother Ice and Sister Isrin read my blog each week. So consider this a special shout out!

So that's about it for this week! Things are going really well, and Sister Zaugg and I are super excited to be serving together. We're going to see miracles, that's for sure!

Sister Hughes

Highlight of the Week

Being in 7/11 and talking to a woman whose chihuahua waiied me and Sister Zaugg. That happened.

Sisters Jeep, Weed, Ploy and me

Sisters Jim, Hughes and Weed

CRAZY moon over Bangkok the other night.

I have a terrible cold. Me with my constant nose companion and my new companion Sister Zaugg.

Hello Kitty!

Monday, October 14, 2013

“Seesters, he saw it in the peeeeectures.”

Me with the Elders’ investigator's little sister who is THE cutest girl in the whole wide world.
Her name is Boy, and believe it or not, she's 10. 

Of course that title quote is from Pa Gua, and I will explain it later.

Our week was so good!

We had a companion exchange all day Tuesday and Thursday. I stayed here in Saphaan Suung with Sister Yim, who is the cutest thing around. She is from Hawaii and found the gospel while she was going to school at Boston University. She and her two brothers joined the church at the same time...but they didn’t all plan to. One of her brothers was living in Indiana. When she called home to tell her dad she was getting baptized, he said, “Have you been talking to your brother?” She said she hadn’t. She didn’t even know he had been taking the missionary discussions! Her dad just laughed and said “Well then, must be true.” Cool, huh? :)

Anyway, we did a lot of great stuff. We went contacting at a university that was pretty awesome. We also got 3 referrals from Annu, from India, who has been coming to church for about a month now. She was like “Here, meet all my friends, they want to come to church too!” Miracles, am I right? We also taught our investigator named Jeep, who has soooo many questions. She wrote down about 15 questions and gave them to me to look over for our next lesson. We met with her again and we taught her the first lesson again. I told her I would answer her questions, but not directly—she would have to find them for herself. After the lesson, she told me I was a really good teacher. Nothing beats the feeling of your investigator telling you that you are a good teacher. :)

On Wednesday, we also saw Sister Tia, and her poor baby was sick. Sister Yim asked her if she wanted the baby to have a blessing, and of course the answer was yes. After a wild goose chase over the phone (which was incredibly amusing, by the way) it was eventually determined that no one knew who Sister Tia’s home teachers were, so Pa Gua came to the rescue and gave the blessing with Elder Campbell and Elder Hunsaker. Good times in Saphaan Suung. That night when Sister Weed and I were reunited, we spent our dinner quoting the awesome Pa Gua for Sister Yim and her companion (Sister Slaugh!! Yeah!!).

On Thursday I met Jon and Liz Jagard’s friend, Nam! In real life! I’m pretty sure she is the cutest person I have ever seen ever and I can’t wait to get to know her better. She isn’t in my area, but she does live in my zone! I hope this next transfer I get to stay here and plant some more seeds. She’s such a good person.

On Friday we went into Asoke (West Bangkok, super duper fancy and stuff) for my dentist appointment. It was so fancy I thought I was going to die. I was also pleased because at the dentist’s office they played Moonriver, so that was a plus. On our way home, traffic was so bad that we decided to not take a taxi. And thus begins the story of how Sister Hughes and Sister Weed were dragged around central Bangkok at night in a tuktuk at high speeds by a crazy Thai man. He said “I’ll get you to the train station faster than any taxi...I can squeeze between cars!” Most of it was entirely illegal, I’m sure. And at one point we were driving on the wrong side of the road. Somehow, Sister Weed and I lived. We then took a train, and then from the train station took a taxi home. It took us 2 1/2 hours. And it was faster than a straight shot taxi. Thai traffic, man. Am I right or what? 

On Saturday we watched Conference at the church. We had a room for all of the English speakers: the missionaries, Sister Becky and her family, and Sister Isrin and her family (the French speakers). It was super wonderful. We also taught Na, our lawyer investigator who had seen the temple. He is great. He keeps all of his commitments and can tell us Nephi’s entire family history without having to look in his Book of Mormon. He knows it’s true. The only problem is that he can’t get to church on Sundays because he is taking tests to advance his law degree. We’re working on that, though. Don’t you worry. When we talked a little bit more about Adam and Eve today, he told us he had seen a film about them. We didn’t recongize the word he used for “film” so Pa Gua piped up and in English announced, “Seesters, he saw it in the peeeeectures.” Made my day. 

Yesterday we finished the rest of conference. EVERY single talk was SOOOOO good. I want to listen to them all again but I’ll just have to wait for the Ensign to come out so I can read them. I’ll just have to be patient, I guess. :) After conference, we all got to go back to President Suchaad’s house for TACO NIGHT. Best night of the transfer, always. Haha. 

President Suchaad told us about how he and his wife were sealed in the temple. They started saving money to go to LA because that was the closest temple when they joined the church. Unfortunately, the US embassy denied their visas. So they waited for 15 years, saving money. When the temple in Tokyo was built, they bought tickets with a travel group to go to Japan. It was cheaper that way, and it was a perfect plan to fly with the group and then not do the tour— and just go to the temple. But the weekend before their trip, the travel company called and canceled the tour because not enough people signed up to go. They waited another 10 years before the Manila temple was built. They saved up their money and got there 3 days after the temple was dedicated, only to find that it was closed. (I'm not sure why it was closed right after it was dedicated...but it was. Anyway.) They called the temple president and explained their situation, who then called President Hinckley. President Hinckley gave them special permission to go through the temple and be sealed as a family, even though the temple was closed. They were the first couple to go through the Manila Temple. Crazy, huh? Those people. I am so amazed by them and their faith. 

So that was the week! And guess what, my camera is working again so PICTURES! :) 

LOVE YOU!!!!!!

Stuck in a flood.

Coconut ice cream in a coconut.

Me and Nam.

Eating with Nam.

Tuktuk at night . . .  crazy business.


Me and Sister Yim all sweaty nasty after a day of sweating and stuff.

Sparkle pants.

Brother Ice, Elder Campbell, Elder Hunsaker, Elder Angkjam, Elder Barfuss, me, and Sister Weed.

Monday, October 7, 2013

“Sisters...does God allow women to play soccer?”

Visa renewal. Sister du Pleissis, Sister Phelps, Sister Hughes

Hi family!
Emails are working this week and I actually get to talk to you  :)

This week was awesome! 

I learned a lot of things—like your life actually falls apart if you don’t have a planner. Sister Weed and I found ourselves in a terrible situation in which we didn’t have any missionary daily planners. Our planners last for 6 weeks, but this transfer is 9 weeks long. And we had to wait to get planners sent to us from the office. OY. It was a long week of living off of post-it notes (thank the heavens for post-its or my life would have really been in shambles...). But now we have planners and the world is all right again. :)

This week I also learned how to navigate floodwaters without looking at where I’m walking—mostly because I didn’t want to see what I was walking through haha. I’m a pro now, in case anyone was wondering.

Let’s see...what else did we learn this week...I loved reading in the Doctrine and Covenants about obedience. I have been trying to prepare myself for General Conference (which we will watch this weekend—we wait for the Thai translation to come out so we watch at the same time as the members, but we watch it in English) and wondering what I need to do. As I was reading about obedience in D&C 93, I was reminded that as we are obedient to God’s commandments, we are promised further light and truth. How cool is that? That is why investigators really gain a testimony after they start living the commandments. When we show God that we are willing to do what He asks us—even though our faith is not perfect—He promises to make it perfect.

We have a new elder serving in our ward. Elder Creer was moved to Ubon (in the Eeson) and Elder Hunsaker came in. He’s American but grew up in Tokyo. Turns out Clark Tenney taught him Japanese. Small world. 

Sometimes when we go contacting, Sister Weed and I will go to the train station and ride into the airport to talk with people. We have found it a good opportunity to talk to Americans or other English speakers in Thailand. We don’t do it often...but when we do, we have really great lessons with people. Sister Weed and I had a particularly inspiring lesson with a Jewish man from Tel-Aviv. He told us he was so impressed by our ability to speak Thai and by our willingness to give up 18 months to share what we believe, despite his self-declared “hatred” of all religions, including his own. He looked at me and asked, “So you really believe all that stuff about Jesus, huh?” I looked right back at him and said, “I more than believe. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that He lives.” He was moved. We gave him a pass along card and he agreed to look at the website. It was very cool. 

On Friday we had sports night. Elder Barfuss played a lot of soccer...which made him very red and sweaty. Bam, who is already sort of scared of him (he interviewed her for baptism) told me he was fierce and literally buried herself into my side any time he came near. Haha. It was so funny and also endearing.

This past week, a recent convert has come with us to help teach. Her name is Benny, and every time I see her I want to sing “Benny and the Jets.” She is so so good. She is almost 60 but looks like she’s about 30. She has this crazy dyed red hair and always wears army boots (even when she plays soccer on Sports Night). We were teaching about the Sabbath Day to an investigator this week and Sister Benny was helping us explain that we do all we can on Saturday to prepare for Sunday. She has such a heart of gold. On Sports night, she walked up to us and in a hushed voice said, “Sisters...does God allow women to play soccer?” We all laughed and told her we are. She’s the best. 

Some other favorite moments from this week was when Pa Samran entered the room we were teaching in at the church and announced “Entering into the future” in English. I have no idea what he was trying to say—and I doubt he knew exactly what he was saying—but it was golden.

The work goes on in Saphaan Suung and I love all of the people here soooooooooo much. We have transfers in a week and a half, so we’ll see what President says about whether I get to stay or whether I get to move on and meet new amazing people. Love you!!

Love, Sister Hughes

Here are photos from Bam’s baptism:

The whole group

Bam in front of the church : )