Monday, February 24, 2014

Happy Monday!

 sorry i'm a little late in writing again today. i hope mom hasn't been calling dad every 30 min. :) don't worry i'm safe and sound. i was at Safari World this morning. it's a magical place. i saw 4 tigers, 300 giraffe (one of which chomped on my shoulder), 5 monkeys in a boxing ring, i bought really expensive ice-cream, touched an elephant, and was kissed by a dolphin. all in one day. i'm set. oh and the taxi drivers tried to rip me off on the way there AND on the way back. good thing i made them feel really stupid when they realized i could actually speak Thai and knew my way around. "200 baht." "no way. we paid 100 baht on the way here. it's not even that far." "....oh...(nervous laugh)."

so this week was transfers meeting. apparently 98% of the missionaries moved. lucky for me and sis. holmes, we are still here in Saphansung. they invited everyone to go to transfers though. i'm really happy about it too, because they announced some pretty big news. In November, Pres. Holland granted permission for us to send in the first missionaries to Myanmar!! THey have actually been there 2 months, but couldn't tell anyone. But it's official now, and everyone can know, which is why i'm telling you. it will be like the missionaries in Laos, where they're not exactly allowed to proselyte, but they teach English class and get investigators through that. so exciting! also, there are two areas that haven't had sisters before, or at least not for a long time, and they just opened them up! Nong Khai and Chiang Rai. Sister Madsen is going to Chiang Rai!! There's crazy things happening in the mission, and i can't wait for March. We're raising the bar again, and hoping to see each companionship have 2 baptisms. the work is picking up, and it really can't be attributed to anything but God. we met a girl named Meaw last week. LAST WEEK. she's baptized now. because she was ready. on Sunday there were so many random investigators that came to church, and 3 of them should be getting baptized this next Sunday. sometimes i think i'm not fit or capable to keep up with God's pace. but then i remember that i am literally just his tool. that's all. so hopefully i don't malfunction and mess it all up. but it can't be messed up. because God's work is perfect. He is perfect. 

love you all!

sis. steele

p.s. aside from all the amazing miracles, we still have 'sit-on-the-curb-and-cry' days. ok that sounds dramatic. but we have this awesome investigator whose husband won't let her get baptized. before we knew this, sis. holmes and i made a pact that we wouldn't eat fried chicken until she got baptized. yeahhhh we should have thought that one through more... i can't decide which one i'm more sad about...the fact that she's not able to get baptized right now, or that i might not be eating fried chicken for the rest of my mission...

Sunday, February 16, 2014

As the World Turns...

Dear readers.
I can't even explain how amazing this week was. We had two miracle baptisms yesterday, and i'll talk about the story of Nui later on. the longer i have been a missionary, the more fully i realize that i literally do nothing. this is all God. if i try and try and try to make miracles happen. i can't. i have something amazing in mind, and than God comes through with something 10x more awesome and i'm just the witness. In reality, He really doesn't NEED us to do His work. It is our privilege to work WITH Him.

before i go onto the story of the week, here's some recent discoveries i've made:

they just started selling super yummy smoothies/shakes at the 7/11. found my new addiction. oh, and i don't know what i'm going to do when i get home and 7/11 doesn't fit my every need like it does here. they're on EVERY corner here.

if i spray myself down with mosquito repellent before i go to bed, the number of mosquito bites i get decreases exponentially. wouldyalookatthat.

there is a mystery dog that comes in front of the gate to our house and poops right in the entry way. so when we walk out every morning there's a fresh pile. i least i think it's a dog...oh dear...

. Last week while we were inviting, we met a young mom and her little girl. She said she had been baptized in another church before, but hadn't come to church in a long time. She said she would come to our church on Sunday. I called her one other time on Saturday to remind her, and sure enough she showed up last Sunday. Her name is Nui, and she is the perfect definition of the 'elect'. And she strengthened my testimony more than she'll ever know. Here's her story...Tuesday: the fist time we taught her. We taught the Restoration, and it made sense to her. She said that a year ago she had a dream about Jesus Christ. In response to that dream, she went and found a Christian church and was baptized, along with her baby girl. After that she didn't really continue going to that church. She felt like it was God's will that she met us in front of Big C and then had the chance to come to our church on Sunday. She said she had been feeling down on life, and that coming to our church made her feel so much better. She wanted to be baptized by the proper authority. By the end of the lesson she was asking us what laws/rules we have in order to be baptized. We explained the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity. Wednesday: We met with her for a second time, and taught her everything else she needed to learn. She wants to go to the Celestial Kingdom, and knows that baptism is the way. We explained that she would need to be married to her boyfriend or live in separate houses. She said that they both wanted to be married, but his mom has never approved, so they never were. She was determined to talk to him again about it, but asked what she should do if it wasn't successful. I asked her if she believed God would provide a way, and she said yes. She talked to her boyfriend that day. Thursday: We watched the 'Restoration' movie with her. She said she and her boyfriend were going to get married the next morning. Friday: She was married on Valentine's Day. Saturday: She was interviewed for baptism, and passed. Sunday: She was baptized. And her face showed that she was the happiest she had been in a while. Her testimony afterward was the best part. She said that she had been baptized before, but it wasn't the same. This time was so much better, and she knows it was correct. Before she was introduced to this church, she felt discouraged, sad, and down in her life. When she came to church, she knew everything would be ok. She said that before she talked to her boyfriend about getting married, she prayed for God's help. For some reason, this time around, his mom had no problem with them getting married, and said if that's what she needed to do in order to be baptized, then she should do it. She knew that was a direct answer to her prayers. When she said that she got married on Valentine's Day, everyone in the chapel cheered and clapped...She knows she is in the right way now. ..... I have known this girl for a week. But I love her. Because God loves her. This is what His work is all about.

Naturally, I have lots more to say, but I've already gone on long enough. So until next time...

Sister Steele
Nui and Gaw's baptism.  Nui is in front of Sister Steele and Gaw is to the left.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Despite all the people that know us and hate us (because there's some people that we have literally contacted upwards of 10 times and asked them to come wash their sins away), there are a few very friendly people on the market street. specifically the two guys that sell fried chicken. they're twins actually, and i still can't really tell them apart. they love us though, which means that every time we go to buy fried chicken...they say, "Promotion! you get a free cup!" which is the best thing ever. because it's the best fried chicken i've ever tasted. but then it totally defeats all the self-control i had mustered up just to ask for ONE cup of fried chicken. I was trying to cut back on my crazy eating habits, and then they go and ruin it by giving me a free cup. so then naturally i had to finish all of it. so yeah. them and the toast lady. she's super nice too. we told her we can't spend money on sundays, so she gave us free toast. and coco yen. which is like frozen hot chocolate.

random things that i've left out of my last letters: we've become part of the choir. they're practicing some easter songs to perform in April for the stake. So we practice as a ward, and then we practice with other wards every once in a while. before we got involved, i wish we would have known a few things...1. it takes SO much time. well...i guess only a few hours out of our sunday. but still. 2. everyone here is a little less than musically inclined. i try to sing as loud as i can so people around me can hear the tune, but i still can't hear myself. 3. it's really hard to read notes and thai words at the same time. 3. when i say we became part of the choir, we also have to plunk out the parts for everyone on the piano too. soooo there's not really a way out at this point. 

yesterday was amazing! 

 We're happy, we're working hard, and seeing miracles. Last Sunday we had an English student show up to church for the first time. It was fast and testimony meeting, and there seemed to be a central theme of prayer. I looked over at one point and she was crying. She told me she wanted to have a good experience like everyone else had had with prayer. I told her she definitely could. And then I talked to her about baptism. She said it was something that she wanted, but that she needed time to study first...but then she thought for a second and then said, "Or should I get baptized first and then study?" Yes, that one. I told her we would teach her everything she needed to know, and then she could be baptized the following Sunday. We would help her to continue to study and learn after she was baptized too. Baptism is just the beginning. We met with her on Tuesday and Saturday, and taught her EVERYTHING. She definitely had doubts, questions, fears, etc. about changing her religion, which was all she knew for her 40+ years of life. But she knew baptism was important, and she was willing to do it. The experience I had on Sunday at the baptismal program was different than any of the others I've had so far on my mission. Usually we join the other members and get to see the person go down into the water, and come back up. This time we were helping this sweet lady prepare to go into the font. There were two other girls getting baptized that day too, so we were just waiting with them in the bathroom, until it was there turn to enter through the back of the font and go down the stairs into the water. I know it was just any ordinary bathroom, but the Spirit was there. Being behind the scenes, we got to see them right before they were baptized, and right after they came out of the font back into the bathroom, dripping wet, a little cold, but SO happy. The woman that we sent into the baptismal font was a different person than the woman who came out of it. By our own standards, we may have thought she wasn't "converted" enough to be baptized, or that she needed a little more time. But when I saw her come out of the water, something had changed in her. I know that baptism is a new birth, and that these people are becoming new creatures in Christ.

Have a wonderful week!

Sis. Steele
Sister Steele in the Ancient City
Wanpen's baptism

Sister Holmes and Sister Steele--Ancient City

Monday, February 3, 2014

Better Late Than Never...

I know mom's probably waiting anxiously by the computer because i didn't email at my regular time. sorry! i was at the ANCIENT CITY. we just barley got back. It's in Samutbragan, and it's just a huge "city", basically a park with lots of different replicas of ancient places/temples that you can visit all over Thailand. So basically i just went and saw all there is to see in Thailand today, all in one place! so i'm set. we went with the elders in our district and some other sisters in our zone, and i'm pretty sure we all got sunburned, while spending a few hours riding around on bikes that were much to small for us. today was a great day though, much better than grocery shopping and lunch at KFC.

yesterday was an interesting day because we all had to be in before dark because it was election day. we made pancakes and watched 17 miracles.

anyway...I can't believe it's been a year already! When I look back to MTC times it seems like FOREVER ago, but then at the same time, it definitely does not seem like a whole year has passed since i put on the black name tag.  This week I went on a few switch-offs in other areas in our zone, because after MLC we're supposed to spread the zone training around so that the whole mission is on the same page. Every time I go to another area I see how awesome this whole zone is, and it makes me kinda wish i just had all the time in the world serve in every single area. the people here are amazing. everywhere you go.
these amazing people also include the crazy man on the market street. i think i told you about him before. we saw him again today but i didn't recognize him because he cut his hair and shaved his beard. so when he started following me and singing a song very loudly in my ear, i was like, "oh great, there's two of them." but then i realized it was the same guy, just changed his facial hair. i didn't know whether to be scared or laugh...he followed us into the 7/11 too and was just babbling crazy things while we went around buying this and that.

Also, exciting news: we had 164 baptisms in the month of JANUARY. That has NEVER happened in the history of this mission. So every time i'm out inviting people to be baptized ALL DAY LONG, and getting a hand shoved in my face, and meeting people that aren't exactly "pleasant", I remember that one day President Monson will announce that there will be a temple in Thailand. And i can't wait for that day. because the people here deserve it. It's the vision that we have as a mission, the members want it so bad, but God wants it even more. He wants a house in Thailand. Even in a predominantly Buddhist country, Jesus Christ's name will be known, and there will be a temple in Bangkok! Can't wait for that day!

love you all!

sis. steele