Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Songkran!!

Dear Family,

I don't have a whole ton to say this week...the country has pretty much shut down because of SONGKRAN! The famous Thailand water fights that are currently happening all over the country!! Hooray! It is a celebration to start out the hot season. Today we get to go out and play in all the water. Our whole district bought these really horrible Hawaiian shirts for dirt-cheap and will be wearing them as we fight. It should be great :) The fights will last through tomorrow (and maybe even Wednesday?) long as the Thais want to keep them going.

So this last week was probably one of the hardest weeks of my mission. It was just downright difficult mentally and I was physically exhausted. On Friday, Sister Ladle and I were contacting at Central Chaengwattana and I was having one of those "I can't do this any longer" moments. I didn't want to face another rejection. I didn't want to face another person telling me that they didn't have sins and were perfect. I didn't want to face someone saying, "I am Buddha" in broken English. I just wanted to sit and eat an ice cream cone and watch the butterflies. Haha. 

So then I remembered something Elder Cox once told me. Ah, the good ol' Lampang days. One day we were contacting as a district and the rejection was rough. No one would give us the time of day. Elder Cox turned to me and said, "Wanna know what my contacting song is? ‘Living on a Prayer’ by Bon Jovi." I thought that was funny, but then I really really liked it. So I remembered to pray.

I asked Heavenly Father to help be be able to do His work and to help it not be quite so hot. I told Him that I really wanted a break, or maybe just a new investigator. I just wanted some love. So then I squared my shoulders and got back to work.

Now I'm going to illustrate a new principle that I have learned over the course of my time as a missionary. It is called "God is a God of Surprise." If you think about it, you never learn anything the way you think you will. Sometimes our blessings are in disguise and we can't see the blessings that are right in front of us. We're like babies who are actually surprised during a game of peek-a-boo. Because babies have not yet developed a lot of their senses and understandings, they cannot fathom that their parent's face is right behind their hands. Because it is not directly in their line of vision, it doesn't exist. I feel like that baby, sometimes. The blessing isn't right in front of me so I don't understand that it exists until later when my sense of perception becomes stronger. And that's where the surprise comes in.

So there I was, contacting, feeling like that little baby. No new investigators were appearing anywhere. No one was listening to me, and there was no breeze to ease the heat. I took a really nasty rejection and turned away and there it was on the ground. My surprise blessing. A bus ticket. 

For P-Day fun, I am making an art project out of old bus tickets. I have been collecting them off the ground as I see them, but haven't really been able to find any as of late. Until I started getting rejected on Friday.

So the pattern went. One bad rejection, one bus ticket. One bad rejection, one bus ticket. One REALLY bad rejection, two bus tickets. It seemed so funny that I would keep finding those bus tickets right after getting rejected...oh. And then it all clicked. These were my little surprise blessings. Heavenly Father didn't send me 5 new investigators or anything. But He did send me just enough to keep me going. Just enough to know that He knows me very personally (a bus ticket! what a silly blessing) and is aware of my needs. It was the best surprise blessing I've had in a long, long time. 

So there it is, family. God is a God of Surprise. And He is really, really kind. I know that He loves each of us personally and is sending us blessings that He has prepared for us individually. Sometimes the blessings are obvious, but I think that most times, they are surprises. I'm so grateful that He loves me enough to send me bus tickets. I'm grateful He loves me enough to send His Son, Jesus Christ to atone for my sins and make up for all my shortcomings. There's a lot of love in this gospel and I want everyone to experience the surprise of it. 

I love you!!

Sister Hughes


"It was 3 in the morning, so I played Monopoly by myself. ...I lost." -Elder Christensen in reference to his freshman year at Kennesaw State.

PS Sorry there aren't any photos this week...didn't want to risk any of my electronics getting soaked out on the street! I'll send double next week :)

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