Dr. Pepper in Thailand:)

Hello everyone!
It has been an eventful week!! okay, okay. Maybe not the most eventful. We spent most of it, or what felt like most of it, on a bus traveling but that’s okay!!
Awesome moments/miracles/funny stories from the week:
1. After English class I was talking to a student who was not a member and she asked if she could take all the pamphlets. Of course we give them all to her and ask if she’s interested to learn more. We talk for a little bit and then asked for her number. Well, she said she had already given it to Elder McKay. I was a little disheartened (not at the success of the Elders but I had really liked this girl and wanted to teach her) when a member jumped in and was like, oh you should let the sisters teach you!! And that’s how we got her number:) The elders didn’t mind at all. She is so great. When we taught her the plan of salvation, she had so many great questions. We are so excited to teach her again:)
2. We went to Makro (a grocery store) because we really wanted to eat PB and J and cereal for dinner. So we bought a huge bag of cereal and milk and peanut butter and jelly and apples and we check out only to realize Makro does not give you grocery bags….and we had biked all the way there. So we bought a reusable bag and then put the cereal in there and then put the peanut butter in my backpack and the jelly and milk in Sister Hoffman’s bike basket and I carried the loaf of bread in my hands while we biked. It was pretty funny:)
3. We had switch offs this week with the STLs! Well….Our STLs serve about 5-6 hours away by bus…so we left Wednesday afternoon, got there around 9 Wed night, planned, slept then had a switch off until about 3 pm the next day (so basically on Thursday we studied, then ate lunch, then had one appointment) and got back on a bus!
4. Monday was Zone Conference. I  LOVED it. We have zone conference with the Lao Elders too since we are so close to Laos. I loved everyone there and the spiritual upliftment, encouragement and training we received from our Zone Leaders, Assistants to the President and President and Sister Johnson. It was an amazing day. Unfortunately we didn’t finish zone conference and interviews until 8 at night and all the busses to Sakon Nakhon had stopped running (we were in Udon, about 4 hours by bus or 2  hours by car away). But we went to the bus stop anyway! And lo and behold a truck was there! And the truck driver let all 6 missionaries squish into the cab of his car and he took us all the way to Sakon Nakhon! We were so glad we made it or else we wouldn’t have had a p-day. We would have had to have traveled on Pday. We see miracles every single day!!
I am running out of time but I just want to add a few more things!
1. Next week…I have some bitter sweet news…..We are going to go ride elephants next pday!!! I am SO excited! But….and here is the sad news.. in order to ride elephants, we will not really have time to email because it is so far away:( We might find a time but most likely not. So you probably won’t hear from me next week:((
I know that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve Him. Everyday I grow closer to Him and I can feel the difference. When I look back, I can see how blessed I am for all I have gone through, good and bad. God truly does love all of us. And He wants all His children to know that.
When I am stressed it’s because I am trying to make this MY work, not the Savior’s work. When I focus on Him and on my purpose and not on my own inadequacies or fears, I feel greater power and peace. That applies to everyone in their respective callings whether it be mother, father, daughter, son, student, relief society president, nursery leader, Bishop, missionary, anything. Focus on the Savior and everything will be okay:) I promise.
I love you all!! Until we meet again!
Sister Casper

 




At Zone Conference a member made us hamburgers!!! And paid a lot to have real authentic Dr. Pepper and Root Beer. It was awesome.

This is my companion Sister Hoffman. We LOVE Thailand! She goes home in 3 weeks though:(( Photo creds to Sister Casper.

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!

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I really don’t have any time today:( So I am super sorry this’ll be a really short email! But there are pictures so it’s okay!
First of all: My sister got married this week!! I am so sad I couldn’t be there but it’s okay:) I am so grateful for her wonderful example. She looked beautiful!! And if someone wants to photoshop me into this “sibling family” picture, that’d be great;)
Second of all: Life is so great:) I love Thailand. We had three members bring friends to church on Sunday. I am so proud of their desire to share this gospel with their friends and family.
Third of all: I know my Savior lives. I know He loves me and that He loves all of you too. I know God will help us with everything in our life if we just turn to Him. I’m learning how important that is:)
Fourth of all: Sometimes Branch Presidents like to throw out random songs during sacrament meeting and make you play them even if you’ve never ever played it. Let me just say, praying really works. If it’s important to us, it’s important to God:) Also, I wish I had listened to my piano teachers and mom more and practiced a lot before my mission haha.
Fifth of all: I love being a missionary. I love waking up at 6:30 am and riding my bike for miles on end and hunting spiders in our house. I love teaching God’s children. I love being able to sacrifice all that I am and all that I have for Him and for the building up of this kingdom right now. I can’t say everything is perfect in the life of a missionary and I am CERTAINLY not a perfect missionary or person but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are building up the kingdom of God and doing His will. And trying. Sincerely trying.
Thank you for everything, everyone:)
Enjoy the pictures:)
Sorry I’m getting fat. Don’t judge. Rice=Fat and rice is all they eat;)
Love,
Sister Casper

“Be obedient in applying and reapplying”

Hello my family!!!

So that is our newest mission rule. “Be obedient in applying and reapplying” bug spray. The mosquitoes are crazy here. My companion was afraid I had dengue fever because I have 20+ mosquito bites and I got sick last week. BUT no worries! Just a cold and unrelated mosquito bites haha. Everything is all good here:) But now we try and reapply as OFTEN as possible. But sometimes I feel like we just sweat it all off and get bitten anyway. And our mission president came out and said sisters in this mission can’t wear pants BUT he gave each of us money to go buy 3 long skirts and bug spray so it’s a good compromise:) 

So right now we don’t have a ton of investigators because we have 6 missionaries for a pretty small area and everyone gives their referrals to the Elders (everyone loves a good Elder in Thailand;)) haha BUT we are making ourselves busy visiting less actives and even strong members who need help sharing the gospel themselves or just extra กำลังใจ (motivation). This week we talked with แม่จิน who is super active and is always helping the missionaries yet even she had a need that we as missionaries could help with! She was too scared to talk to her son about the gospel and we just had the opportunity to testify that God would help her and the spirit was so strong. Everyone has a need that can be filled by bearing heartfelt testimony of gospel truths. So many times this week we just visited strong members of the ward and left with the spirit flooding our hearts. Often we didn’t realize their need but the Lord knew it and directed us towards them. He truly does love all of His children. ive really been pondering about what makes someone become less active this week. I used to just think it was because they were lazy or got offended (I know, not very nice thoughts:( ) but now I’m realizing there are many more reasons some people stop coming to church, one such being (as PMG states): “when we as investigators become members of the church, we are surprised to discover that we have entered into a completely foreign world….at first the trip is exciting, our mistakes even amusing, then it becomes frustrating….and it’s at these stages of frustration and anger that we leave” I’d never really thought all of our customs, traditions, vocabulary are strange but to a new convert, they can be down right scary if we don’t welcome and invite them and nurture them continually in a loving way.
Also! I’m already getting a watch tan! Goals! Also! I have the sweetest companion! She sacrifices so much for me. This week I realized she has been using the bad mattress AND the bad chair so I wouldn’t have to. She is amazing and so selfless. She inspires me.
I love how much the ward members want to help here!! One person had a million referrals for us and we just followed her on our bikes to house after house until one of them was finally home. I loved her enthusiasm even if the first few referrals fell through.
So my kickstand on my bike was acting a little funky this week and I asked Elder McKay to take a look at it and he does and says nothing’s wrong but as he’s backing way he says “Whoa! Sister! This is super dangerous!!” He then proceeds to fix my wheel which apparently could have popped off any time I was riding it and we ride on some pretty big roads. God protects us. I know He does. I am grateful for the prompting to have the Elders look at my bike.
One of my favorite miracles from this week! One night we were having companionship prayer and I was praying and I was just listing people who needed help asking God to grant their specific needs (help Sister ___ read the scriptures every day, etc, etc) when a name popped into my head. Normally I wouldn’t just say it but I felt like I should so I simply said “bless Sister กลอย” and that’s it. After the prayer my companion and I laughed a little bit because of the awkwardness of me just throwing in a name there and not praying for anything specific (and I also had only met her once so it’s weird that I even remembered her name). Anyway, the next day we get to church and everyone is talking about Sister กลอย! We found out that day she was actually in the hospital with an infection we had not known about. We went and visited her and shared with her that we knew God truly loved her and watched out for her. We had the prompting to pray for her before even knowing anything about her circumstance! I know God looks out for each and every one of us and often blesses us through the service of other people.
Us and แม่จิน!!! Love her. She’s like our mom.

It was a pretty view…until I took a picture of me in front of it. (I’m on my bike trying not to fall off)

Just chilling with crocodiles. The worker would have let me go in but the member who took us wouldn’t because she was too scared for me. The Elders got to go in though:( I really wanted to but didn’t want to upset แม่จิน:)

That’s all for today!!
I love you all!!! Help your missionaries in your ward!! It truly is a blessing to have members who desire to help the missionaries (especially the sisters;))
Sister Casper (and yes many people call me sister phii nooy naarag which means cute little ghost haha)

ลูกครึ่ง!!!!

Hola Hola Hola!!!

Mom, Dad, I think you need to retake that genealogy DNA test because Thai people swear I’m ลูกครึ่ง which means half Thai. I literally cannot meet a person without them asking if I’m half Thai. Apparently I just have a face that looks very Thai like….I guess the whiteness of my skin doesn’t deter them. Anyway, it’s just funny because my go to answer after they ask me if I’m ลูกครึ่ง is no!!! I’m 100 percent ฝรั่ง (falang) which means foreign (AKA white). Also, it’s hilarious because in Thailand, when Thai people see a ฝรั่ง they’ll yell “ฝรั่ง ฝรั่ง Hello Hello Hello!”. My companion was like if we were in America and we saw a Mexican and said “Mexican! Mexican! Hola! Hola! Hola!” we would break so many societal rules and people would not like us but here in Thailand they do it all the time haha.

ANYWAY! In other EXCITING news!! I was transferred!!! Greenies aren’t usually transferred out of their greenie areas until after they’ve completed training (or two transfers) here so many missionaries were surprised when 6 out of the 9 from my MTC district were moved to different areas or got new trainers after just one transfer. But I guess the Lord just needed us in different places. I for one am already seeing the blessings of my new area and companion. I am so grateful for my first area, transfer, companion and everything I learned but I am also grateful for this new opportunity and new challenges.
A few factoids I’m sure you are all interested to know:
I am now in Sakon Nakhon which is a 10 hours bus ride from my last area! Whereas before I was in Bangkok, now I’m closer to Laos.
One of my many miracles from this week was that after an all night bus ride [and these are not first class busses] we arrived in my new area at 6:30 am and immediately started our missionary day, sticking to the schedule and working hard despite our lack of sleep. That was one of the best days of my mission. I don’t know if I can explain why but when you sacrifice for the work, obey and just keep making every moment count, the joy and blessings are immeasurable.
My new companion is Sister Hoffman! She’s from Wyoming and this is actually her last transfer but I have already decided she is not allowed to go back home because I love her too much. She is THE BEST. She works hard and loves everyone she meets. She’s also HILARIOUS. She’s taught me so much already about perseverance and charity and obedience but also that fresh fruit probably makes your hair grow faster and that I need to remember to take my helmet off when we get to places or I’ll look super weird (yes I’ve already forgotten to take my helmet off but just once)
OH! That reminds me! I’m in a biking area!! What?! I didn’t have a bike and since this was super sudden, the wonderful Sister Johnson is letting me use her bike since she’s serving in Bangkok right now and doesn’t need it. I LOVE biking. I’m sure everyone by now has fainted with surprise. Yes, this girl who has never actually gone on a real bike ride (unless around the neighborhood cul-de-sac counts) is biking and loves it so much. Riding in a skirt is hard though…and monsoon season is coming up so I’ll let you know how I feel about biking in about a month when I’m soaked to the bone while I ride;) But for now, I just love the feeling of wearing my missionary badge and helmet and biking in my skirt through the streets of Thailand:)
Sakon Nakhon is how I had imagined Thailand would be. Very rural, very cute, very hot:) Some of the people just live in shacks of wood and sheet metal. Yet they have the biggest smiles. The members here are already like family. They practically adopt the missionaries as their own so I am never short of hugs or food or love. Which reminds me; I am now serving with Elder Feist, Elder Daily, Elder Walker and Elder McKay. Elder Walker and Elder McKay pretended they didn’t know english my whole first day with them but they felt so guilty by the end of the day they spilled haha. They are all super great, dedicated missionaries.
My first Sunday (*sorry I have so much to say today. I’m super super happy. I’m literally just bouncing in the bright orange chair of this little internet place as I type*) in Sakon Nakhon was amazing. God answers prayers. He really does. So only Elder Feist and Elder Daily can play the piano and only a few songs so of course they assigned me to play today to give the members a break from the same songs. Well usually the missionary gets to pick the song they want to play but the Branch President picked some songs he really wanted to sing and was like, I know you can play these. Haha. Right before the meeting started I just prayed that the Lord would allow me to play to bring in the spirit for that Sacrament meeting. And it went so well. I promise, if you want to play the piano well, just be a missionary. Another missionary attested to me too that he feels like he’s so much better at playing the piano on his mission even though he has less time to practice. After that I had to speak in church for the first time! And again the Spirit just filled my mouth. I know it wasn’t me. It was the spirit speaking through me. After that in Relief Society I had to translate………That was…an adventure…Sister Christensen and Elder Christensen ( a senior couple) are visiting Sakon Nakhon and my companion was already translating in RS for someone else and Sister Christensen sat down next to me and I had to just go for it. It was a good practice experience. I really couldn’t explain much but I think we both got a decent gist so it was okay:)
We have a really cute investigator right now whose older sister is a member. Her name is Sister May. But her parents won’t let her get baptized and she’s not 20 yet (which is when you are recognized as an adult in Thailand) so we are just teaching her, showing love to her and praying her parents’ hearts will open because she is so ready for baptism. She knows everything and loves it. We actually don’t have any other investigators besides a couple that are so ready for baptism too but are having an issue (because of the complexity of getting married in Thailand) getting married so they can’t get baptized yet. But they are super faithful and are praying everything will work out. So we are praying for new investigators this week!
I know God is cognizant of each and every single one of you. He wants to answer your prayers. This week I read in the Liahona about a mom and her little girl. The mom had to leave the room for a second and told her little girl not to touch the iron because it was super hot and would hurt her. When the mom returned the little girl was hiding behind the couch crying. She refused to tell her mom what had happened but eventually she admitted that she touched the iron. The mom immediately rushed her to the kitchen to rinse her little girl’s burn with cold water. From this experience the mom realized that God gives us these commandments for a reason, to protect us. Often though, we don’t realize the danger and sin anyway, ending up hurt and in pain. Like the little girl we hide, ashamed and afraid our Father in Heaven will be mad, ashamed, and won’t forgive us. We are too young, like the little girl, to fix the wounds ourselves. But like the loving mother, our Father in Heaven and His son, Jesus Christ, want to heal our wounds. When we make a mistake we need to go to them and show them our wounds, our pain, so that they can apply the healing balm of the Atonement. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and all that is possible through Him. I am grateful for this time on earth to experience trials and pains and joys and happiness, to make mistakes, and to repent and come closer to my Father in Heaven.
Keep smiling everyone:)
Love,
Sister แคสเปอร์
New Jersey represent!!!
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Thai Fruit is DELICIOUS

“Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees.
The further sky, the greater length.
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.”
I wrote a poem too: “Roses are red, violets are blue, I am a missionary, and you can be too!!”
Oh I’m so clever.
Anyway, seriously, please just go love the little missionaries serving in your areas and give them huge hugs (Parker, this is not permission to go hug the sister missionaries). And help them with the work wherever possible!!
This week was absolutely fantastically supercalifragilistically superbly impossibly awesome! (haha and in case any of you were wondering, I do teach my Thai companion these completely useful and real English words).
We prayed extremely hard and 5 of our investigators came to church on Sunday!!! Sister อี๋ว (pronounced “ew”) is the cutest thing ever. She even answered questions in Relief Society! We love her so much. Unfortunately her place of work is kind of going under so she might move back to where her family lives and there are no missionaries in that area:( She said she wants to keep praying and reading the scriptures though. I know God will provide for her. We are also teaching a mother and her daughter and when we taught them the plan of salvation and asked if they wanted to live together forever their reaction was priceless: Mom: “do you want to live with me forever? Or are you already bored of mom?” Daughter: *teasingly pinches her mom’s cheek* “aww of course not” I miss my own family so much but I am so grateful to be here teaching more families about how they can be together forever.
So in Thailand it is extremely rude to kick the back of someone’s foot. It shows extreme disrespect. So I’m kind of naturally clumsy….I may or may not have broken a pot, a clock, and a shelf my first semester of college…and anyway, while walking I accidentally kicked the back of Brother Cruz’s and then Brother Ice’s shoes twice. They’re my age and don’t care as much especially knowing it was an accident and that I was sincerely sorry but I was just like, okay I give up on this walking thing haha.
Sorry this email is so short. There were so many miracles and amazing experiences from this week. I love each and every one of you.
This week the plan of salvation has popped up in my studies so much. An eternal perspective on life is so so so important. We are God’s children sent to this earth to be tested for only a small moment before we return back to God again. Let us all strive to be the best we can be in this short mortal existence. Let us focus on who we are and whose we are:)
Here’s a fun conversation from a few weeks ago:
Elder Wager: sometimes Sister Casper’s smiles get weaker and weaker throughout the day haha
Sister Casper: But I’m still smiling!!
Elder Blad: yeah but is that smile coming from the inside or the outside because if it’s coming from the outside it isn’t really real?
Sister Casper: Maybe, but sometimes when you can’t smile from the inside, start from the outside and the inside will follow suit:)
I truly believe that. If you aren’t happy or feeling very loving towards someone, smile, serve, sing, etc and I promise you will begin to actually feel happiness and charity.
Also I need to know what a group of kittens is called. A gaggle? A flock? A meow? Please respond. This is urgent as the other day a “group” of kittens followed me and my companion down the street and it was the cutest thing ever but I have no word to describe it. Thank you.
And if you have a favorite picture of Jesus send it to me through email:)! Sometimes I feel weird just bearing my testimony every week when I know so many of you have amazing, strong testimonies yourself so feel free to share it with me!:) I’d love it. And pictures of you and your family and your dog and your house. I love seeing pictures.
Love,
Sister Casper