Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Phone Call

The Mother's Day phone call/skype was amazing. We are so thankful to be able to talk to our missionary and see that he is doing well. He was able to spend 1-1/2 hours talking to everyone in our family gathered around the computer. The only one not in the phone call was Ammon who had to go back to St. George for a baseball meeting and practice because the Dixie baseball team was invited into the NCAA Division 2 Baseball Regionals. We're honored as Dixie has never been invited to play in the regionals since becoming a D2 school but Ammon was so sad to miss talking to Josh. He sent him a nice long email explaining his situation and sending his love for Josh and his love for missionary work. It is so cool that both of our boys served missions in Asian countries.

Everyone was able to spend plenty of time talking about anything and everything. Josh talked about his mission, his investigators, the upcoming change in Mission President, his companion, Elder Tzanis...who we got to meet and say hi to. He said "gooday mate." Josh even told us his release date since he already knows what it will be - April 26, 2013 - a three week extension. He said he has already had 7 companions and 8 transfers. There will be 8 more transfers before coming home, making 16 in all or 18 if you count the time in the MTC.

Josh asked about home, his dog, family, everyone's activities and so much more. It was just amazing to hear him talk, his English has taken on a kind of Thai mixed with Australian accent - Josh thinks maybe his Australian companion's accent is rubbing off. He expressed his desires to get more people baptized and especially to be able to teach males which are harder to come by than females...and the branch desperately needs priesthood holders.

Grandma and Grandpa Southworth were here to celebrate Mother's Day with us and to talk to Josh. They are so grateful to be able to be a part of Josh's mission which will end up being their last grandson to serve a mission.

It's always bittersweet to say goodbye. We look forward to hearing from him again each week with an email and are so excited that we will get one more phonecall/skype before he comes home. Christmas seems so far away right now. Josh is also coming up on 14 months out in the mission field. You are amazing Elder Zitting. Just think, next Mother's Day 2013 he will already be home. Keep up the good work. We love you!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My new area - Rangsit

Here is a little about my new area. Most of the area is actually Pathum Thani which borders Akyutthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand. Pretty cool. Another four elder house. My new companion is Elder Tzanis, he is from Sydney, Austrailia. Way tight. He is tall but not taller than me. He has been in country about three months now. He understands a lot about missionary work probably because he was a Ward Mission Leader before his mission. He has a way dece accent. I hope it rubs off on me. We are in a house with Elder Price, one of my nongs from the MTC and a greenie named Elder Engle. I enjoy working with Elder Tzanis and being senior companion. Like I said he already undertsands how to be a missionary so I am his follow-up trainer but really I don't have to train him at all just have to speak more in lessons and stuff like that but I'm okay with that. I like making the decisions as well. Not that as a junior companion you don't make any decisions but as senior companion you have the last say in most situations. He and I have a lot of the same mindset and the same ideas with everything so it's goin good. His is the fourth country I've had a companion from - America, Canada, Laos and Australia!

First day in Rangsit - street flooded

Jangwatana church in Pakkret - newest in Thailand

My muay thai shorts (thai boxing)

Rangsit doesn't have very many priesthood holders or young men who are able to help us teach during the week but the WML here is a stud. We have a baptismal dater. Her name is Bow who is someone Elder Tzanis and his trainer found two moves ago. She is way awesome. We helped her recognize an answer from the Holy Ghost that she should be baptized and committed her to a date on the 11th of May. We went to the Song Kraan celebration which is the Thai New Year. It was one of the craziest days of my life and the craziest thing missionaries are allowed to do in the entire world. Elder Tzanis and I bought matching Song kraan shirts - basically flowery, hawaiian type shirts and we bought water guns. Pretty much everyone in Bangkok met up and played at a place called Khaaw saan in Asoke. Tons of farangs (white people) everywhere. Everybody runs around and sprays each other with guns, sometimes big bowls of water. It is blazing hot outside so it feels way good but they bring out huge blocks of ice too and mix that in the water as well and throw that around - freezing!

Song Kraan Time

Elder Tzanis and I at Song Kraan

Rangsit house - Elders Engle, Price, Tzanis and me - I am the oldest, weird!

ZL Elder Bender and I

We walked around as a huge group of like 20-30 missionaries and just drenched people head to foot. Words cannot even describe how crazy it was. Some of the most fun I have ever had in my life but kind of glad it is just once a year.

Filling up

Ready to fire

Craziness. That's me in the middle with my hands on my face. The water hurts my eyes. So surprised I didn't lose a contact or drop my sunglasses off my head.

Khawsaan Road - start of Song Kraan

The whole group of us at Khawsaan

That's me at the top left

Had a great interview with Pres. Smith after district meeting. Probably the longest one I've ever had with him. It was way cool. We talked about prayers, our personal prayers and how it affects our investigators prayers. For the first part of my mission I only prayed in Thai in my personal and group prayers, just to practice. A few months ago I started praying in English again and it was way cool. I just feel like we can pour out our heart more and the prayer has more meaning to us if we do it in our native language. Luckily Heavenly Father understands every language! Then in my return email from Pres. Smith he said "looks to me like Rangsit is going to be a bountiful harvest for you and your companion." That got me really excited because I am ready for a bountiful harvest. So ready!! I love being a missionary and all the experiences I have while being out here in the field sharing God's true message to his children. I gain a stronger testimony day after day of the things that we are sharing and it makes me so grateful day after day for the things the Lord has blessed us all with in life like great families, happiness and the true gospel of Jesus Christ. What else do we need? I wish I could email you for hours and tell you about all the things that have happened and are happening in my life. There are little and big things and hilarious things to write about but that's why I have a journal, right?

Transfers went like this...

Transfers were April 11th. I moved! I am still in Bangkok but I am in an area called Rangsit. I was sad to leave Bangkapi, really good investigators there that I am going to miss. Fang and Nat probably the most just because I was there when they were found and saw them strengthen their testimonies and gain a desire to be baptized. Here are pictures from the Bangkopi area that I grew to love so much. Spent my birthday and hump day there. Some members and investigators in Bangkapi ward - Fang is in green. She is getting baptizerd in a few weeks
Bangkapi District
Big spider at the church
Bangkapi church
Bankapi House
D Arch at General Conference
Elder Heslop and I
Sunday night dinner with Elder Jensen and Heslop
A Shorty sign?
A freeway in Bangkapi
Bowling in Bangkapi
Birthday presents from people in Thailand
Birthday dinner with Bro. Egg, the coolest member in Bangkapi
Thank you for all the birthday and Hump Day messages!