Tuesday, January 28, 2014

“I’ve just met Elder Wood, how chaaaaaaaarming!”

A British man said that to me this week after he had walked past Elder Wood. It made me laugh. Our whole district says it now all the time.

This week! I can't even remember what happened. It was both really really loooooooooong but also really really fast. I don't know how that can happen.

On Monday for p-day we went to Doi Suthep. It's this amazing temple up on top of a mountain forever away. It is all gold and it was so wonderful. There are amazing views of all of Chiang Mai from the mountain. Also it was chilly up there. Just sayin.

On Tuesday we had 6 missionaries standing in front of the church in a sort of welcoming line to invite people to come inside and look around. It was super fun. We were talking to anyone who came by. Elder Wood would say, "Do you know about baptism?" And then I would say, "It's how you are cleansed from sin!" And then Elder Cox would say, "Come into the church!" And then Sisters Woodbury, Slaugh, and Ng were all right at the gate to help people come in. We got a couple of good contacts and it was great. That was when I met the British guy who had just met Elder Wood, how charming!

On Thursday, Bombay passed his baptismal interview!!!!! YAY! He was so cute—he came out and was all, "I've repented enough to get baptized!" That kid. Our district seriously loves him.

This week we got lost a lot of times, which was fun. I didn't realize that when you whitewash into a new area, you need to schedule in time for getting lost. When we got here, I was so focused on getting to work that I didn't really take the time to think about getting to know Chiang Mai that well. I just needed to know how to get where I needed to go and that was about it. But now I'm realizing that getting lost is actually really important. It's also a great stress reliever, riding your bike to get to where you need to be and seeing all the amazing things. Sister Woodbury and I accidentally found a really amazing wat (temple) this week. I'll include a photo.

I also have been trying really hard to change my personal studies. I love personal study every morning. It's funny how much you miss things like the Harold B. Lee Library as a missionary. Anyway. Personal study is a great chance for me to not only learn how to help others increase their faith in Christ, but to increase my own faith. I have been trying to change my studies so that I can be more effective and get more out of what I read and study every day.

One of the things I loved was actually from this morning in Mosiah 2. King Benjamin gathers his people all together to share with them his dying thoughts. Over and over again, he bore testimony of how living the commandments will bring happiness and joy and blessings. God is only able to bless us when His Spirit can be with us. If we do not keep the commandments, we are cutting ourselves off from thousands of blessings because we aren't allowing the Spirit to be with us. It is when we are obedient that we can have the blessings that God is waiting to give us.

On Saturday we had 5 baptisms in Chiang Mai. It was awesome. It was only slightly stressful...we found a pair of pants for Bombay to borrow from a member whose son was baptized recently, but when she got to the church, they were like 15 sizes too small. Haha. The elders rode their bikes as fast as they could to Central (aka the mall) and bought a pair for Bombay and for their investigator who didn't have white pants either while Sister Woodbury and I stayed at the church with Elders Wood and Cox and tried to take care of everyone while we waited. It was crazy, but all turned out well. It was such a great baptismal service, everyone bore their testimonies and they were all so cute (“I feel like I am full of light,” “I feel like I could run forever,” “I promise to keep the commandments”). I loved it.

And that was our week! Lots of work, lots of helping people, lots of laughing, lots of fun.

Oh, some other pranks that took place. We made brownies that were delicious, but we also made a second batch full of salt. We all ate the good ones together and gave the salty ones to the elders to take home. Whoops? We also switched the phone numbers in Elder Nirut's phone so that everyone in our district was mixed up. That was funny and took him a while to figure out. We'll see what happens next...

All is well in Chiang Mai. I love you, family!!!!!!

Sister Hughes

Sister Woodbury, Bombay and me.
Bombay and his dad, Rak.
Also a photo of him with a rose after he was baptized. BAHHH those cheeks!!!
Me and Marie, my French friend : )
Sometimes Sister Dao forces us to eat dinner with her. Ha ha.
Sometimes when you get lost . . . these are the things you find.

Doi Suthep!! SO GORGEOUS

Monday, January 20, 2014

“This mind is like the Library of Congress, Khun Slaugh...”—Elder Wheeler

The sisters of Chiang Mai always match on accident. : )

Hi family! 
The week went by so fast. So so fast. We worked hard every day and were so exhausted by the time we got home. It was great.
Lots happened:

Last Monday we went to FHE at a member's house. We were following the elders on our bikes down the highway, but since we are in Thailand, we of course got stuck in traffic and were separated from Elder Wheeler and Elder Nirut. They told us we would be going straight for a "long time" before we turned so we just kept going...and going...and going...and couldn't find them. So we got a really long ways out of Chiang Mai and decided to call Elder Nirut. He was like, "You didn't see us turn?" I was like, "You didn't wait for us at the street where you turned?" and then we were both like "Dohhhhhhhhh" so we had to back track and they had to come find us. It was pretty hilarious, but Sister Woodbury and I got a good workout in. Haha.

On Tuesday we got to district meeting and Elder Campbell was there. Surprise! He is now one of the APs. It was just like being in Saphaan Suung again. Except we were in Chiang Mai and it wasn't really like Saphaan Suung at all...so really it was just like serving with Elder Campbell again. Haha. We also got 4 really awesome investigators on Tuesday. YEAH. Two of them told us they felt like they "finally found God" and two of them were telling us that they felt like they were finally finding answers in Christianity that they never have had. They felt like it was going to help them overcome their problems in life. :)

Wednesday was a day of epic proportions. In our district, we have been playing pranks on each other. It's been lots of fun. They're all harmless and very dumb, but we love them. I have a wonderful supply of stickers (thank you mom, thank you Auntie Carrie) that I have been using every couple of days. We like to put stickers on the elders’ bikes. Especially the sparkly flower ones. Anyway, on Wednesday night, we had a choir practice. We left choir and Elder Wheeler, on the way out, says, "Hey Sister Slaugh, keep your chin up." The elders hung her bike in a tree at the church and locked it up. Elder Wheeler had remembered Sister Slaugh's combination from when they served together in Bangkapi. He said, "This mind is like the Library of Congress, Khun Slaugh..." (Khun is a polite title, like Miss.) We're still trying to figure out how to get them back.

Friday we had our sports night again, it was just as epic as last week. We had a huge game of soccer going and it was awesome.

Saturday. We met with one of our investigators named Bombay. He is 9 years old and the son of a recently baptized member. He is crazy with a 2 second attention span. Picture Russell from Up! and you've got Bombay. He's so stinkin funny. We taught him about Enos and prayer. He said he wants to be the prophet some day if he can wrestle with God like Enos did. I think he almost got it... :)

Yesterday we were one lesson short from being a balanced companionship. In our mission, President Senior has set a standard of excellence of what each companionship should be achieving, key indicator-wise. We literally needed one more member lesson and we had 20 minutes left to get it in. We prayed for a miracle and hit the street outside the church. Sure enough, there was a girl who wanted to come in and see what the church was like. We found a member who helped us teach her about baptism and give her a tour. She will be coming back on Tuesday afternoon to meet with us again, and we FINALLY got balanced key indicators for the first time this transfer. It's little miracles like that that help me remember that God loves me and He loves all of his children. :)

Also, please pray for one of our investigators, Lolee! She is an amazing amazing person! Keeping her in your prayers would be a big help :)

I love being a missionary. Life in Chiang Mai is great.

I will end with a quote from Up! because I can't get it out of my head.

"I was hiding under your porch because I love you."

Sister Hughes.

Me and Yim. She is going on her mission to San Diego!! We're switching homes : ) She is my favorite person ever.
Family Home Evening with Sister Ying. 
English class in which we taught two monks that "Mike Wazowski is round, not fat." 
Elder Campbell served in Chiang Mai a year ago and knew Bombay. He was so excited about Bombay getting baptized that he did this in the missionary office at our church building. haha.
Sister Slaugh and her bike in a tree. Whoops.
Me and SisterWoodbury lost on the highway . . . haha
Eating a cricket. It was actually really good!

Monday, January 13, 2014

“Well good thing I have mattresses!” —Sister Slaugh

Dear family,

Life has gotten so much better this week. I decided to stop being stressed and to have fun while working and everything would eventually fall into place. And I quickly realized that was the best way to go. Because not only did Sister Woodbury and I start finding investigators...we also started working with a less active member who works at a bakery and feeds us chocolate lava cakes. Blessings, people. Blessings.

Last Monday on p-day we went to the zoo. I fed a giraffe. I saw an aquarium. There was a rose garden. There was a llama...that wouldn't acknowledge my existence and broke my heart. There were mountain goats and funny little penguins and lots of jungle. It was a good day.

Tuesday we had district meeting. I so enjoy our district leader, Elder Nirut. He is from Chonburi, Thailand and speaks English like he's from America. He also happens to be one of the funniest people I have ever met and every night when we have to follow-up with him over the phone, it turns into one big laughing fest. So district meeting was good. We talked a lot about unity and working together—all ten of us. We also taught English and we got to watch clips from “Tangled” for a listening activity. I wasn't upset about this at all. 

Wednesday Sister Reedy and Sister Packard (who are serving in Lampang) were here for switch-offs, but only with Sister Slaugh and Sister Ng. 6 sisters in one house who all love “Nacho Libre” is pretty crazy. It was way fun, and on Wednesday night we ate at a restaurant called The Dukes, which is this awesome American restaurant. I truly believe that I will become very fat in Chiang Mai. And you know, I don't really feel too sad about that. 

Thursday more or less happened...there was a lot of contacting.

Friday! We have started a new Sports Night here in Chiang Mai for investigators and members to get together and get to know each other better. It's way fun. We had basketball, volleyball (I was so happy I was going to cry), soccer, ping-pong, badminton, and I also learned some other fun games (like Rabbit, a traditional Thai children’s game that involves hopping around on one leg and looking like an idiot and it's very very fun). So Friday was good. Sister Woodbury and I also found a Cold Stone while we were contacting and there happened to be no line so it wasn't like I couldn't get some. I haven't seen, let alone eaten, Cold Stone ice cream in over 9 months so that was happy.

Saturday - we received instruction to have food storage because of the political craziness in Thailand right now. (BTW, if anyone is concerned, we're all safe. The only way I have been affected is that I am not allowed to wear red or yellow...which is conveniently half my wardrobe, so you know.) So we got food storage set up because our house didn't have one yet. We also did lots and lots of contacting. Lots of it. 

SUNDAY! The craziest day in the world. Sundays are always the busiest day as a missionary. Sometimes I feel like I run church haha. You need to make sure people are coming, once they're there you need to make sure they're comfortable, you need to translate into 9824985729837 languages (just kidding, only French and English) and sometimes you're needed for translation in 3 rooms at once and your companion has only been in country for 3 weeks and then two people walk-in so you get to talk to them, too, so that's a fun situation. Then, there is always food and visiting after church is over and you can breathe again after that. Haha. 

Yesterday was our miracle day, despite all the craziness that happened. I feel like God always holds out his miracles until the day that I am the most stressed, just to see if I'll keep working, and then He graces me with them. It's pretty wonderful. Not only did we have two walk-ins at church, along with lots of really promising contacts from our contacting yesterday, but we also started working with a less active who works at a bakery on Sundays. We went to go see him and he fed us chocolate lava cakes. I feel this was just as much a miracle as all our new investigators.

This week we will be very busy. It's really exciting. Sister Woodbury was saying, "YAY! We finally get to teach people!" Haha. It will be really exciting for her to be able to really sit down and teach people now. She's a pro at contacting already. Yesterday she was getting numbers from people all on her own! Now she gets to teach them :) Yay! 

So that was our week. Long, but with lots of good things starting to happen. It's pretty awesome. 

I love you!!!

Sister Hughes


Sister Slaugh: "You need electricity to cook pasta."
Me: "Or fire!"
Sister Slaugh: "Well, good thing I have mattresses! Oops, I mean matches!"

The llama who wouldn't give me the time of day.
Kaw Soy. My favorite food it's so gooooooooooood.
THE BEST PAINTING EVER DONE; given to me by a recent convert. Another reason why yesterday was SO GREAT.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy 2257! I mean...2014

The statue we found while lost.

In Thailand, there is a different year system. It's based off of when Buddha was born, not Christ. So...I am living in the future. WEIRD.

+   This week was interesting, that's for sure. It was New Year's Eve. New Year's is a bigger deal in Thailand than just about anything else in the whole wide world. For me, it consisted of a lot of Chinese tourists who couldn't speak Thai, a lot of fireworks and Roman Candles (at all hours of the day, not a joke), and lots and lots of lanterns being set off at dusk. It was like Tangled. Only better because it was real. I can't get over the lanterns.

+   Chiang Mai is a really great city to get lost in, which Sister Woodbury and I tend to do a lot. But it's all good, after I get lost once, I remember the real way to get around haha :) The other day we accidentally found this massive wat...we made a wrong turn trying to find Chiang Mai University and boop! There was this ENORMOUS golden Buddha statue. I don't mind getting lost here. You find a lot of cool things.

+   So here's the real update on Chiang Mai. Sister Woodbury and I are really struggling to find investigators right now. We have been hittting the streets really hard and...yeah. But we have faith that we will find people. Sometimes it just takes time. This week in my personal study, I found a really great pattern in the scriptures. Every day I have been reading from both the Book of Mormon and the New Testament. I like reading in the New Testament because it is such a good way to study the life of the Savior - what He taught, how He taught, where He taught. And one thing He says all the time is that all things are possible to those who believe, and all things are possible to them who trust in God. So there we have it folks, that is also the recipe for finding investigators.

FAITH + TRUST + HARD WORK = results :)
(it also doesn't hurt to pray for miracles.)

+   There is a woman in my branch in Chiang Mai who is from Paris. She and I were actually in the same ward together in St. Merri! I have been translating for her each week, and it has been a really big blessing for both of us, I think.
     This Sunday was fast Sunday. She looked at me part way through the meeting and said, "Would you be able to translate my testimony to Thai?" I told her I would. We stood up at the podium together and it was such a wonderful experience. She expressed her love for the Savior and her knowledge that we are all children of God. We are all divine. It was pretty wonderful because everything she said was what I would have said if I had stood up to bear my testimony on my own. It was a wonderful sort of double testimony.

+   This week Sister Woodbury and I also sticker coded our keys because we have about 25 and we don't know what they go to yet. So we've been putting stickers on the ones we use. For example: Church gate = yellow leaf, House gate = pink mushroom, House door = golden hedgehog, Bike lock = green snail, and so on and so forth. It's fun. We don't talk about locks any more. We just say, "Oh, we need to unlock the pink mushroom to get through the golden hedgehog." Good times on a mission.

+   This week I've also been thinking about why I'm on a mission. I mean, I know why I came on a mission. But what is keeping me out here? Here are my two reasons that I came up with.

1. It's all true.
2. 2 Nephi 26:27

So that's about it for this week. Sorry it's a pretty short update...BUT I am happy and I am working hard and Sister Woodbury and I love Chiang Mai. 

Until next week,

Sister Hughes!

- - - - - - - - - -


As we are falling asleep, Dan in Real Life popped into my head and I said, "This corn...is an angel." Turns out Sister Woodbury loves Dan in Real Life, too, and we laughed for about ten minutes. 

British Man to his son at a restaurant: "Did it taste of Korean spices?"

Sister Ng to me: "I'm sorry if I'm staring at your face, it's just like you're really pretty. I want to draw your face. The folds in your eyes just...work out."

E. Cox: The gospel must be taught to the gentiles.
E. Wood: Well Thais are gentiles. Actually, everyone but the Jews are gentiles.
E. Cox: Well, that's not exactly true, according to Josephus...

It's been an entertaining week in the quotes section.

Pray for Shamuu. He's barely hanging on.  : )
This is Chiang Mai.