Thursday, April 11, 2013

Last Day in Thailand

Preparing to come home. I'm at the mission home and it is now the last evening I will spend here on my mission. I am going to miss this place. It's weird that this is my last day. I sold my bike to a member that offered me 2000 baht, so I took it. The office can buy them from us for about 1500-3000 but a member wanted it for her son and it will be nice for me to not have to take it on the bus back to Bangkok. Taking it around everywhere is a pain. I am never riding a bike again after my mission by the way! haha.

Besides the most important reason I came here, to find and teach the Thai people about God and His plan for them which I love doing, there are many other things I will miss. Here are a few of them -

Playing ping pong. I have always loved playing ping pong and was lucky to have a table in two of my houses on my mission - Surin and Phitsanulok. Some of the churches I've served in have ping pong tables too - Bangkapi and Sakon. It's pretty fun. Elder Wood is probably the best at ping pong of any of my comps, actually Elder Campbell was pretty good too. I would say that is the sport that a lot of Thai's are good at, even the girls that hit it around are pretty good.


Good lookin' fish like these at a street vendor in Nakhon Sawan...uh risky.


Playing basketball every Saturday morning with the branch. Gonna miss this alot!!!


Service projects - Here we painted a school.


Swensen's ice cream of course.


Sweet gifts from sweet people here in Thailand -


I know the church is true. I know God is our Father in heaven and He loves us and I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I know that God has a plan for all his children and that this life is the time for us to prepare to meet Him again. I love this work and I love all of you. Thank you for your faith and prayers in my behalf these last two years.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Last Week

I can't believe I will be going home in a few days.  The run down for the week is this - on Tuesday we leave  Phitsanulok and head to Bangkok. Have a P-day on Wednesday, pick up my suit and buy anything I need before I go. Transfers meeting will be Thursday. We all know where I will be transferred to... Then I'm not sure what we do after that. I will have to get my interview with President Senior. That will probably be happening on Thursday and I am guessing we will be staying in a hotel because the new mission home in Asoke is not nearly as big as the old one was, the one that President Smith lived in and is where I stayed when I first came here. There 18 of us dying missionaries. That's a crew.



This is my flight schedule:  Friday morning at 6:00 a.m. Bangkok time we fly to Tokyo, change planes and fly to San Francisco arriving on Friday at 9:00 a.m.  A short flight right? Wrong. It will be a 17 hour flight. With the time change it will be 9:00 a.m. in San Francisco, but in Bangkok it's 11:00 p.m. Then I have a short flight from San Fran to Salt Lake City, Uuuutttttaaaaahhhhhhh. My arrival is 1:54 p.m. In Bangkok that's 2:54 a.m. Saturday morning, meaning I will be very, very tired. Let's hope I can get some sleep on my flight's home.

Please come to the airport to pick me up. I don't want to be the missionary whose family and friends forgot about him! haha.  I am so excited to see all of you!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

21st Birthday and Two Year Mark

 

This last week was fun. I had my birthday, on the 4th, and hit my two year mark, the 6th. The sisters in the district and some members told me we were going to the church to practice for the special musical number we would sing on Sunday but really they blindfolded me and sang happy birthday. It was way nice of them to make me a cake and some people even gave me presents! I ate McDonald's (big mac) and Shabu Shi (Japanese buffet) for dinner. Yum. For the two year mark we went to Swensen's and ate ice cream.




This is my last time at Swensen's...sad. I love that place.


I got this elephant tie from Sister Mink and the Toblerone from Elder and Sister Harris.


A great birthday!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Goodbye to My Grey Suit

I am homeward bound for America in four days. Time to say goodbye to this suit. It lasted the whole two years well.


I wrote my last email yesterday to my family. That is weird but I am ok with it. I am so excited to see everyone this week. It still hasn't hit me 100% that I am going home but I will believe it when it happens. Today is my last full proselyting day as a missionary. Hope it's a good one.


We hit our mark. We had 80 people at church on Sunday. I am satisfied and it makes me feel good that we reached the goal. It also feels good to be able to leave this place while it is on the rise, still growing and I expect it to keep rising and growing. I will be cheering on all of the branches that I have served in these last two years when I am in America wishing that I could go back and help them out more. I am super sad I could only be here in Phitsanulok for 9 weeks. This place was great. So dang hot, but great. The members are awesome and I was able to fulfill my purpose of inviting others to come unto Christ while I was here.

My white handbook, or so they call it, now blue -


A picture that my comp, Elder Wood, drew of our P-lok district -


All of us posing like the drawing...Sister Campos, Zatarain, Church, Hassan, Elder and Sister Harris, Elder Wood and myself -


Slightly different pose -


New English signs -



Some not so normal graffiti signs for Thailand -



Thursday, March 28, 2013

I'm going to miss this place.....


I am actually starting to feel that my mission is coming to an end, which is weird. It still hasn't hit me completely, and I don't think it really will until I step on the airplane that will take me home. I'm tired in some ways, in other ways there are still lots of things that I want to learn and accomplish before I leave. I will fulfill my purpose as a missionary up until I'm done.

This is the ping pong table in our house. I've had ping pong tables in a few of the houses I've lived in here in Thailand. It's great to have a little down time playing ping pong. I still dominate in ping pong. I haven't lost it!


Pictured below are the Harris', a missionary couple in our district, myself and Elder Campbell, my comp on transfer 15. The Harris' are great. We had a guy named Kay walk into the church because he had been having problems in his life. He saw Jesus Christ on our church and thought that we could help him. So we taught him the gospel and he accepted to be baptized. The Harris' were at the church when he came in. They have decided they will go to the church every day from 3-5 p.m. just in case there are walk-ins that want to learn about the church. There is a super easy way to find investigators - you don't, they find you!



The samtam truck....

 

My last Planner...


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Visiting Sukhothai with the District

WELCOME TO SUKHOTHAI!
 
 

We had transfers this week and I am still here in P-lok, my dying area. My new companion is Elder Wood from Utah. Just over a year ago this branch only had two elders and about 35 people coming to church a week. Now we have 8 missionaries and had 79 at church yesterday, one away from that 80 number that we need to get a building. If the Branch President himself had been there for church it wouldn't been 80. Well get 'em next week. They've quadrupled the number of missionaries and more than doubled the attendance at church. I guess they'll just keep sending missionaries until they stay over the 80 mark to get a church. This is the only district I have ever seen with more sisters than elders. I guess we're just special.
 

The Lord has definitely got his eye on this area and the surrounding ones where the church used to be functioning. The branch is really responding well to the energy and excitement that two more missionaries have brought to the branch. I'm way glad that I'll be in this branch that is functioning great up to end my mission. We went to Sukhothai for a day looking up members who were on the member record. There were about five and there may be others who aren't on the record. All the records from 15-20 years ago when there were missionaries here are who knows where. Missionaries will be put in this area in the near future so we looked at a place for the Elder's apartment and a possible church location.

This is the building that could be a potential church building.



When missionaries are assigned to this new area they will have very little to work with. The Elders will be the Branch President, conduct, bless, pass the sacrament, pray, speak, teach and everything else you do at church. It sounds like fun. The Elders who get to open this area again for real are super lucky. That will have a great experience. Maybe I should extend my mission to three years....? Just kidding. We will be going to Nakhon Sawan next week. There are about the same number of members on the record there.



I attended my last Zone Conference. Thursday night we went to Chiang Mai for Zone Conference and District (Stake Conference). President and Sister Senior attended both. President is a stud. I am so amazed at how he can strengthen and encourage people around him and help them feel special and an important part of the church. I don't know how he has time to prepare all the talks and things he has to do in his busy schedule around the three countries in our mission. He definitely has a marvelous gift from God he has developed and used to the fullest in his life for his good and the good of others.


I bore my dying missionary testimony, as every missionary does at their last Zone Conference. I talked about the experiences I have had that I will remember all my life, the miracles I have seen, the knowledge I have gained in the last two years and the influence it has had on me. I couldn't be more happy that I came on a mission to serve our Lord Jesus Christ and preach His gospel to our Heavenly Father's children. It is hard, but it's worth it.




Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Baptism of Oy


 
This last week was a good one because Oy was baptized. She is a very prepared person and I am blessed to have taught her. We actually taught her everything in four days/four lessons. That is definitely the fastest I have ever taught someone but it is because she understands well from her diligent personal study in the Book of Mormon. It is miraculous how much you can understand if you actually read and feast upon the words of Christ. I wish every investigator had the same desire to find truth as she did. She will be a great member. There are a lot of members around her age who will help in fellowshipping and keeping her strong in the church. She also brought five friends to church. Wow, five new investigators from her is amazing. I love it when people come into the church and have that fire to share the gospel with all of their friends and want them to feel the way they feel. The key is keeping that fire.


Thank you so much for your prayers and faith everyone. It means a lot to me to know that I have people across the world that have supported me these two years and continue to do so. I know that serving a mission affects a lot of people, not just the person who is serving and I am grateful for that and for the opportunity I have had to be a part of our Lord's work.

My last transfer is this Thursday and it will be 4 weeks, not the usual 6, as I come home one month from TODAY. I'm pretty sure I will be staying here in P-lok as President Senior has told me that in this next transfer we will begin moving on the new action plan in this district.

New scriptures - love them.


THE NEW ACTION PLAN - to open a new district (of branches) here in Thailand and this is the area that they have in mind. They want to make this area the district center and have to get another four branches to make it a district. They have a few areas to the south and north of here (Nakhon Sawan, Sukhothai and Phetchburi), all of which have had missionaries in the past but not for years and years and sadly the church has died out there. But because the Lord is hastening his work we are to find those members who are still there, get the church going again and prepare the way for missionaries to serve there in a couple of months. This is unlike anything I have ever done my entire mission and I'm super excited to do it. We will be spending a few days a week in those areas reestablishing the church.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The old capital of Thailand

 
 
This is Sukhothai. There are lots of ancient ruins here that are so amazing.
  
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
The street lit up with lanterns.

 
These pictures are of Southern Thailand. I will have to see this area when I come back to Thailand some time. It looks so beautiful.
 

 

I love this country. I have grown to love the Thai people. I look forward to coming back here sometime to see the people that I have helped to get baptized and see them go through the temple.