Monday, November 21, 2011

The Elephant Festival




Just me and Elder Dixon riding on an elephant - not a big deal!


Ceremony

Have you ever seen so many elephants at one time?

Look at the baby elephants



Heyyy everybody, thank you for the letters, emails and everything...much appreciated! A great week, probably one of the best on my mission so far. I think this is what a missionary week should be like - lots of hard work...and having fun!!

We had a great Zone Conference in Ubon. Elder Gong from the Quorum of the Seventy was there. He is in the Asia area presidency. He and his wife and also Pres and Sister Smith had great words of wisdom. I always love hearing from them. I am lucky to be a missionary in the Thailand Bangkok Mission. We have the coolest mission pres and mission presidents wife ever! We went over lots of things in the conference, had little breaks, a Q and A session where they asked us missionaries questions then we got to ask them questions. That was way cool. Had a great testimony meeting at the end then headed back to Surin. The AP right now is Thai and from Surin, Elder Komgrit. He is awesome - one of the first missionaries to ever serve from Surin and he is one of the best in the mission.

Saturday we went to the elephant festival. On Friday, we were riding our bikes to go get the mail and saw a bunch of elephants so we took some pictures of those as well. SO MANY DANG ELEPHANTS! Elder Dixon and I decided we don't think there is anything more cool in the world than seeing a whole bunch of elephants. Right now it is my new favorite animal. The actual festival was probably one of the coolest things I have ever seen in my life. We went with a member and two senior couples came up from Bangkok to see it too. The elephants did all sorts of stuff like tug of war, soccer, and tricks. I am pretty lucky to be in Surin right now I think.

Can't believe it is almost Thanksgiving. We can't decide if we want to make our own little meal or just go somewhere to eat something cool. Everyone at home eat lots of good food and don't drop the pies (haha inside family joke).

Remember to trust in God in all you do and everything is possible.

I'm trusting that this elephant won't bite me




Look at the sweet Christmas sweaters Elder Dixon and I got!

A Great Transfer

Missionary work has resumed being fun and successful. It helps having a companion that you can talk to and work with. I have learned to have compassion on Elder Intervong because of his upbringing and the things his family has had to go through. I also learned to make sticky rice from him. Last Monday he and I went to Buriram and I stayed there for three days working with the DL, Elder Piyanat, who went to Lone Peak and I knew him in middle school. Elder Intervong went down to Bangkok. Much of it is still flooded and not safe so all the missionaries are just working in the parts which aren't flooded.

Had a cool experience in Buriram. We taught a German guy named Henry who speaks German, Thai and English. He is awesome. He moved to Thailand but has been searching for his purpose as to why he was led to come to Thailand...until he met the Elders. He has been through a lot in his life and shared a few of his experiences that have caused him to have a testimony of God and Jesus Christ. After our lesson last Wednesdsay he gave one of the most sincere prayers I have heard since I have been on my mission.

On Thursday our new companions got there. My new comp is Elder Dixon from Medord Oregon. He is my first American companion since the MTC. He is legit. We are working hard and having fun wile we do it. Today after we email we are going to go eat, then find a basketball court and go play for a while. We made a homemade dinner of french fries, fried chicken and sticky rice because no meal is complete without rice in Asia. Elder Dixon and I are excited for Thanksgiving and plan to make our own little feast.

We are working with a guy named Tong who is about 60 years old and is great. He is recovering from a foot problem and has to go to the hospital every morning so he hasn't been able to come to church. We gave him a blessing to help his foot heal and he promises that when he can he will come to church every Sunday.

We just found out we will be able to skype for Christmas. That will be super cool and we found a real nice internet shop today with big nice chairs and cameras so that is probably where we will go on Christmas.

Sticky rice, chicken and fries meal

Anyone care for pig heads

shrimp

or frogs?

As for me, no thank you. I prefer this traditional American breakfast we made -

Real legit!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Transfer that Didn't Happen

A Pretty Lake

Me Teaching English

October 30, 2011
It's been a little crazy here. I was supposed to have a transfer but everyone is stuck for the next few weeks because of the Bangkok flooding. From what I hear it is getting worse. I guess a damn broke up towards Ayutthaya and Lopburi in northern Bangkok. All of the missionaries in northern Bangkok had to take airplanes last week to other parts of northern Thailand where it's safer. The elders in southern Bangkok are serving as community service missionaries by helping those who have been affected by the flood. So we have two new elders in our Surin house - Elder Christensen and Elder Chamberlain. They are cool. Because no vehicles can enter Bangkok there were no transfers meeting last week and it is looking like it will be another few weeks until the next moves meeting. It is so cool to be in a four elder house again for the time being. I have been switching off with Elder Christensen, not my companion from the MTC, a different one.

We were doing a lot of walking because the elders had to leave everything at their house, just put it all upstairs so it wouldn't get wet. We were walking everywhere the first few days but then we got two bikes from the branch, so that was nice.

Thank you for the pictures from home. I LOVED IT!

A Buddhist Temple

November 6, 2011
I have now been on my mission for SEVEN MONTHS! Amazing how the time is passing. I am ready to move on from this moves, it has been long and I am ready for something new. I got a big list of all the missionaries in the mission and where they are going. There is no time to have a moves meeting this transfer because of all the hecic chaos going on in Bangkok but from what I can see from the list of people on the list my new ZL will be Elder McDonald from our stake. Sweet! My new companion will be Elder Dixon and we will be in Surin. I don't know anything about him. My current companion is moving so I have to go somewhere and wait for my new companion I think. I will find out when I call the AP's.

The two elders I had here last week left on Monday. One of them got sick and had to go to the hospital. If there is anything I have learned this transfer it is PATIENCE. Everything that happens is the Lord's will and I have learned to be patient and wait for things to work out according to His will. I have learned a ton from this transfer with Elder Intervong. President Smith said this to me about this transfer, "I have endured well. The things I have learned over the past few weeks will give me the confidence and knowledge that I can overcome any challenge. Sometimes the best lessons learned are the hard lessons, such as, learning how to work effectively with someone that comes from such a radically different background."

Gib's baptism was on the 5th. It went well. She is great. Honestly did not have one problem with her while teaching. GOLDEN. She will be a great addition to this Surin Branch and it's semi-growing young women program.

There is a huge elephent festival for 11 days here in Surin starting on the 10th. I will send you pictures of elephants for sure. I have heard there are 1000 or so elephants, the most elephants all together at the same time in the entire world! We are allowed to go to it for one or two days. This festival happens once a year. Speaking of animals, Thai people eat weird food. I have been offered a frog, a dog, and a rat......Nooooo thank you!

Gib's Baptism - Elder Intervong, Gib, President Daay, Me


Surin - The City of Elephants

Monday, November 14, 2011

Life in Surin

October 2011 General Conference - look at the dedicated members in the Surin Branch

My house in Surin

The sweet ping pong table in my house

Study and eating room

The Surin Branch

Eating a big hambuger after zone training

About My Second Transfer

October 17, 2011

Another week here in Surin. I have been feeling better. This last Thursday was Zone training in Ubon. It was way good. We had to get up at 4 in the morning and get on a bus. It took about 4 hours to get there. The training was all on "how to begin teaching" points in chapter 10 of Preach My Gospel. Great stuff.

I saw the coolest elephant in the world this last week - 55 years old, absolutely humongous. I didn't have my camera though so I will work on getting a picture with that elephant before I leave Surin. I think I am getting more used to bugs and stuff. There was a big cockroach on my leg in a lesson the other day and I didn't even hyerventilate. I just flicked it off like a man. Gross though. There are always big snakes that come out of a pond by our house too. This week it has rained super hard here. It doesn't flood by our house, thank goodness, but it does in front of the church. Other places around Thailand have flooded pretty bad I heard. Everyone says Surin never floods like others places for some reason. Udorn didn't really flood either.

Gift (or Gib as Thai people say it because there is no "ft" sound in Thai) will be baptized on November 5th. She is great. No problems. We also have An but he will most likely not make his baptismal date on the 5th because he can never meet with us. My companion and I are going to fast and pray for him to get the faith to stop drinking and get ready to be baptized. We also have the two Cambodian investigators that will be ready for a baptismal date here very soon. They also have two new friends that came from Cambodia this last week but they can't speak Thai. Lots of members here in Surin can speak Cambodian as Surin is the closest city to Cambodia in Thailand so we bring them to teach with us a lot. It works out good.

October 24, 2011

This has been a hard transfer. I am hoping I get an American companion. Haven't had one since the MTC but whatever Pres. Smith does is best I know. I would love to be companions with someone around my mission group age. That would be legit. Anyway, this week has been alright I guess. Switched off with the ZL's this week which is always fun and I love learning from the older missionaries and leaders of the mission and seeing the way they do things and different ways to have success. Good to find some things that I am doing well on and some things that I can constantly be improving on to become a better missionary. Most of all it was fun. There are occasions, few and far between, where I can honestly say that I have had fun this transfer. It really is hard sometimes and I am ready to have fun again.

This week I have been reading in the book "Making the Most of Your Mission" by John D. Whetten. I haven't read it since before my mission. Some of the things he wrote in this book were things I thought were new to Preach My Gospel - NOT! Just a testimony builder that this work will never change. God will never change and so missionary work will never change. There will always be new ideas and things to help missionary work be more successful but just getting out there knocking on doors and carrying the light of Christ everywhere we go will always be the same. It is awesome to know that the same things I am doing on my mission right now are things that Dad, Ammon, Emily, Nic, Paul and Adam did when they were missionaries. The work does not change.

I have been reading the BOM for personal study as well as the PMG. Almost done with my third time through the BOM on my mission. Pres. Smith gave us a cool way to mark our scriptures that I have been doing. First time go through the BOM marking all the names of Christ. Second time through mark the doctrine or gospel of Christ. Third time through marking the words of Christ. Fourth time through marking Christlike attributes. I enjoy it. It is funny when I think of how lazy I must have been before my mission when it took me months nad months to finish the BOM one time.

Answers to questions: Bangkok flooding - the worst they have had in 50 years. All of the members here have said it is pretty bad. My laundry - we have a washer right outside our back door. There are no such things as dryers in Thailand - wait, there are actually, it's called the sun.

Happy birthday to Jonah and Nat this month. Don't party too hard without me.
P.S. Some mail in the mailbox would be real nice!!!

Love you all,
Elder Zitting

Monday, October 10, 2011

Six Months...

Helloooooooo! I haven't been feeling the greatest the past week or so with headaches, stomachache and then my whole body was aching. There was a nurse in our branch yesterday that gave me some medicine. I feel better, just very weak - probably because I haven't eaten in over 40 hours. I will go eat right after this.

Watched all 5 sessions of general conference on Saturday and Sunday. That was way cool even though it was all in Thai, but the singing is in English! haha. The translators talk really fast. I can't comprehend what they are saying when they talk that fast. I try though and from what I could understand the talks were really good. I loved Elder Holland's in Priesthood. I don't think I have ever heard a talk from him that I haven't liked.

So Kyle Wright's comin to T-Land! So tighttttttttttt. Best mission in the world. That is way cool. He will be a great missionary if he works as hard for the Lord as he worked during baseball season! Great to hear about everyone that is getting ready to go into the MTC.

Got to go on switch-offs this week with our District Leader, Elder Piyanat in Buriram. He is Thai and way sweet. His companion is Elder Revelli, from my MTC group. He went to Lone Peak. We knew each other in middle school so that is pretty cool. Got to play some ping pong finally. We have a ping pong table at out house, but I never get to play it with anyone. I hope my next companion can play, get a legit game goin. Elder Piyanat is pretty good.

Had a little bit of a scare this week with our visas. We are barely in this country right now. Really the only reason we are allowed in this country is because we teach English every Tuesday. Sometimes it is harder to renew our visas than other times, it's the government. This week we had to take pictures of us teaching English and send them to the mission office to be able to renew our visas in the future.

As far as investigators and missionary work here in Surin, we still have An, Gift, and Tong as baptismal daters. An has been really hard to make an appointment with so it is really hard to prepare him for baptism. This week we have training meeting in Ubon where the whole zone will meet and ZL's. President Smith will do training.

Thank you all for your love and support in everything. Love always.
Elder Zitting

Monday, September 26, 2011

New area, new companion, letters and pictures from the last three weeks in Surin

Our church in Surin (sorry you have to turn your head to see it correctly)


Ronald McDonald praying


Street after rain in Surin




September 12, 2011

I was moved to Surin, the city of Elephants. I had heard while on my way down on the movers bus that I was going to stay in the Isaan (northeast part of Thailand). My new companion was a complete shock. It is Elder Intervong from Laos. He can speak Thail fluently and speaks very little English. It is a complete 360 from what I was in - a house with four elders who all speak English and laugh at my jokes and stuff to a two elder house with someone who can't understand my language very well let alone my jokes. He seems like a nice guy though.

We had a baptism. A girl named Noker who is 15. I never had the opportunity to teach her but it was really cool to see her get baptized. We currently have some baptismal dates and I am looking forward to this next week to teach them. I have seen lots of elephants since I have been here. I will make sure to take some pictures of them to send you.

Love you,
Elder Zitting

Baptism of Noker. Our branch Pres. Daay baptized her.


Pretty clouds in the sky in Surin.



We caught these little crabs and ate them. They were pretty good!





Last district in Udorn - Elders Olive, Char, me, Martins, Bender, Doria and Sisters Alisa and Yinn



September 19, 2011

Thank you for all of your wonderful emails and letters. They are always so much appreciated. Thank you for all the words of support and help that you are willing to give me all the time. This transfer has not been the easiest but I am trying to take it day by day. I have gotten a little more used to the things that my companion does differently from the first two months that I have been here. I appreciate the experiences of your own that you have shared that will definitely help me as I am going through the same kinds of things that some of you did as you served your missions. I know this is where the Lord wants me and there are things that I need to learn here and that is why I have been placed in this situation.

I got to go to Buriram for District meeting last week. That was fun to see some Elders that I could speak to in English. I had the opportunity to switch off with the AP's last Wednesday as well. One of them, Elder Campbell finishes his mission next month. We went to visit a family that he baptized when he served here about a year ago. That was a cool experience. It is a great family of six that have made a huge difference in the church here.

We have a new investigator, a girl named Gift who is a referral from the girl we just baptized. She is great and should get baptized here soon. We also have two Cambodian people we are teaching named Niang and Nuan. One of them can actually speak English. They have a strong desire to be baptized and another guy named An.

The food here in Surin is delicious. I have found probably the best Dum Sung and Pad Thai place I have eaten at here in T-land. Dum Sung is just your normal rice with chicken or pork and stuff like that. Pad Thai is noodles with other stuff in it, I don't really know, but it is way yummy!

Love you all!
Elder Joshua Benjamin Zitting

Chapel in Udorn



Me and Pres. Sxa (Tiger) - best member in T-land


Me and Harry, from Vietnam, here for school. I taught him last moves, he wants to get baptized so bad but his parents won't let him until he is done with school in three years.


Me and Bro. Jack - coolest member in Udorn. Helped us teach alot.


Elders Char, Me, Olive and Doria after English class last moves.




September 26, 2011

I love emails and letters. I love hearing about everything that is going on out there in the far away country of America. Still weird when I think about it. Kind of seems like the world just stops while I am over here because I have no clue what is going on most of the time. So thank you all for filling me in and confirming that the world is still spinning over in North America as well.

This week has been good. Inviting is a little different here in Surin. I can't really talk to everyone like I think it is supposed to be done, so then we don't get as many lessons and have less people to teach. Teaching is slower, lessons are longer. In Udorn everything was fast and efficient. Here we are averaging 8 lessons a week, none with members. Not good. In Udorn we got 20 at least every week if not 25. Still we have two baptismal dates, Gift and An. Getting more used to the branch and everything though. There are some great members here as there are in this whole country. The members that actually go to church are really strong and they give us food. Thai people are so generous, especially when it comes to eating. That is usually the first thing people say after they say Sawadii. Gin khaaw rxx yang? Have you eaten yet? Love it.

Okay Famiy. Loved Ones. Friends and Everyone. Thank you for everything. You're all fantastic. I pray for you all everyday. I know that the Lord is willing to answer your prayers when you sincerely get down on your knees and ask. I have found that to be true even more so since I have been on my mission. He listens!

Love you all,
Elder Zitting

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Five Month Mark







Hello everyone! Another good week here in Thailand. We found a really good new family to teach, they are awesome. Right now we have three baptismal dates and lots of others we are teaching. One of them...wow, talk about a golden investigator. He just takes everything we tell him and already has so much faith. One thing our mission has been focusing on is helping our investigators to have strong testimonies before they are baptized. Thailand needs strong members of the church and too many fall way after being baptized. That seems to be a problem here.

I really realized this week that the Lord will bless you when you do all you can and more. When you think you are trying your hardest you really can try so much harder and that is when the Lord will bless you with people to teach and baptize. All of the stories you hear of missionaries just knocking one more house or trying a little harder is when they find that one person that ends up being amazing. I have been trying to implement that in my work with Elder Martins and I think we are seeing the results.




I can't believe I've been out almost 5 months already. That is crazy. Feels like it has blown by, but I have already learned so much and can't wait for the rest of it. I used to think of two years as the longest thing ever but really, some days it doesn't seem like it is going to be long enough. That is why I try to make the most of each day and try my hardest. It is hard sometimes though.

This week was Zone Conference in Khon Kaen. My zone leaders Elders Baker and McDonald (from our stake) assigned me to say D&C 4 in front of everyone. I fumbled a little bit with the language but eventually got it all out correctly.

Pres. Smith said that either Elder Martins or myself will be moving from Udon this next transfer. I hope it's not me. I can see the progress that this Branch has made since I have been here and I can see so many great things happening. I also had the opportunity to listen to some older missionaries who are done here in the next few weeks. It was great to hear how their missions have changed their lives in every way possible.





I thought you would like these pictures. I love Thailand and I love you all. Have a fantastic week!

Elder Zitting