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


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.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Life in Phitsanulok

Phitsanulok - pronounced Pits a new lowg with a g sound at the end. Not at all like it looks huh? Thai is a lard language. I have been very blessed to be a missionary here. I have realized that it is basically the only way to learn a language. I have met tons of peole in Thailand who have learned Thai but they struggle no matter how many years and years they study. They can't speak as good as a missionary can. The Lord definitely blesses missionary's with the gift of tongues. Learning Thai has made me realize how hard learning  a language really is and I admire everyone who learns a foreign language.

So, wow, I come home in 35 days from today. That's crazy. How long will it take me to realize that I am not a full-time missionary anymore, or not in Thailand or that everyone can speak English there or that I don't have to wake up at 6:30 everyday or go to bed at 10:30 every night? Probably going to take me a while I think. We'll see. But for now I still have another month to enjoy the life of having all of those things, because I know that I will miss them.

This is my house in P-lok. It's quite nice.

Elder Campbell and I at the baptism we had last week with the Sister's investigator.

Elder Campbell and I have about five investigators who could be baptized here in the next few weeks if they would just make the decision to and do the one or two things that they need to to be baptized. It is frustrating when people get so close to baptism and there is just one commandment that they say they can't keep or have a hard time with. We keep telling them all the blessings they will receive if they do keep that commandment and get baptized. Then we pray real hard, give them their agency and let them choose for themselves.

One of our investigators, Oy, is doing super great. She is a referral from a member who is known for giving a lot of referrals but rarely do they work out. We went for it and taught this lady when she came to church last week. She is already Christian and wanted to see what we had at this church. She has had a lot of problems in her life and feels like she needs a miracle from the Lord to help her. She was told bad things about the Mormon church by the members of her past church but she came on Sunday and learned for herself. She needed a miracle and the church she came from told her it was impossible. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she has had several great spiritual experiences that the Lord is giving her to know the truth because of her faith. She feels like this is the right path for her and she has read what the Book of Mormon has to say about God being a God of miracles. We shared a couple of passages with her such as 2 Nephi 26:13 and 27:23; Mosiah 3:5 and 8:18; 3 Nephi 29:7 and 4 Nephi 1:5 to name a few.

God is definitely a God of miracles and never changes. If we show our faith to him we will see marvelous things happen that we never thought possible.

Our Church

Phitsanulok church attendance is bigger than it ever has been. We are getting closer to the 80 number that will get the attention of the Lord here to bless these people with a new church building. We are still looking forward to going to the surrounding areas and getting branches reestablished there. We'll see when that happens. I told President Senior I am ready whenever he is and whenever the Lord says go, I'll go!

There is a member here in this branch that will be going to learn at Dixie this summer, that's pretty cool. I've met very few people in Thailand who even know about Dixie, so that will be a very cool experience for her for sure!

My bike and I...
I am going to miss this beautiful country.

Good food at Duke's

The biggest burger I have had in two years.

How about a little coke with that burger?

Good food - Khaw Soi, a northern Thai special. Oh, all the good food here, mmmmm, I am definitely going to miss it.

Here are some real delicacies - bugs. Yumm. Okay, maybe I won't miss eating these.

This little friend I might miss -