Dear Beloved Family,
Another glorious week in Thailand of hard work, joy and all the things that I love about Thailand. The land of smiles lives up to its name everyday. People smile everywhere. And they smile when you smile at them. They are so kind and gentle and loving. And the food continues to be the best. Seriously. You guys just got a taste of it with Brother Saakha! I haven't had anything that I haven't liked so far. Today I had some great papaya salad with sticky rice at Tesco Lotus (does that sound familiar? it apparently started in England. They are ALL OVER Thailand! They are like the Wall Mart of Thailand). The other day I had some pad thai on the street that was delicious also
Was everyone aware that there are Sizzlers in Thailand? We went to this place called the Mall Bangapi shortly after I got here and I saw it and I was VERY confused. But it turns out there are Sizzlers in Thailand. They are what the Thais call "High So (society)" because they are kind of expensive by Thai standards. Several hundred baht if I remember correctly. We haven't been yet but we might get a chance to go one of these days. We will have to see how things go.
Anyway, sorry I haven't managed to get home any pictures yet. I will try to get lots this next week with Elder Shil and I. I want you guys to be able to see the chapel and the apartment and of course Elder Shill. We can't take photos while we are proselytizing so it's harder to get pictures taken. But I will be sure to get some ready for you guys next week. That's so awesome that Elder Holt sent home some pictures along with some of the others. Elder Holt is in Lopburi with all the monkeys! I saw him at zone conference and he showed me the picture of him giving a pass along card to the monkeys. St. Francis of Assisi anyone?
I was so excited to hear about Bro. Saakha. Isn't he awesome? He is seriously so funny. The food I bet was amazing too. And I am so glad that the kids liked it. Bro Saakha chose some good dishes. You should ask him for some recipes for some Isaan food. That's what I have really taken a liking to here. In fact my first night with Elder Shill we had the most delicious meat that's a traditional Isaan dish. It's pork's throat with sticky rice. It was SO good. ลาบ is also way good. I think that's how it's spelled. Sticky rice+Isaan food=manna I think. It's seriously so great. I knew the kids would love him. He's going into special education and it's just perfect for him.
The Church does own land that could possible be used for a temple in the heart of Bangkok. I can't spell it in romanized or Thai though. It's the heart of Bangkok like I said.
We have taken to riding buses more to save money mission wide. That's always an adventure. Thai buses are a little terrifying sometimes but they do get us from place to place. We ride ocassionally but it's more effective to not ride bikes in Bangkok.
So anyway. Onto the week. We saw a lot of good things this week. Despite rumors, we do teach in Thailand. We actually teach quite a bit.
On Thursday we taught a less active uncle and his nephew who haven't been to Church in Bangkapi since they moved from Ubon. We taught them and they came to Church this Sunday. They are both great. A little nervous about the new ward, which is to be expected, but they are great!
On Friday we got a chance to teach a recent convert named Brother Champ (everyone goes by Brother/ Sister and their first name). He's a great guy. He's about our age and joined the Church not too long ago but before Elder Shill or Elder Shill's old companion was here. We also taught a lawyer named Sha(r)p. He's a pretty nice guy and liked what we had to say. We will hopefully be able to meet with him again.
Saturday we got to teach a guy named Prayad. It was a way good lesson and he's doing well. Sunday we were surprised when Brother เอก didn't show up at Church. He had told his parents about his decision to most likely be baptized. It was a hard thing to tell his parents. But he's still doing well. He loved that Elder Holland that we gave him two weeks ago about None Were With Him. Good talk. Very powerful and worked perfectly for him. We also taught our other investigator who's getting closer to baptism named ปอป. He's doing pretty well. He meets with us often and on time. He is gaining faith by the day.
We have also been working on getting more people to English so we can divide the classrooms into basic and advanced. We found a place two weeks ago that would make us these really nice and big signs for 400 baht for two. It was a great deal and they did a great job. We are getting a lot of calls on them! So that should hopefully start to pick up!
Yesterday we taught a Christian who we randomly met getting into a taxi. He's a great guy. He's name is Lxxd (xx= a Thai vowel that has no English equivalent). He will maybe be coming to Church this week. We went for interviews at the mission office. It took a long time but it was pretty good. President Smith is a great guy. I also saw that the mission will be getting a lot of native missionaries in the next couple of moves. Boy how time flies already.
The language is still coming along and it gets a little better everyday. With lots of prayers and faith it gets easier to listen and to talk. I haven't apparently made any tonal mistakes that are too disatrous yet. Vowel mistakes still happen sometimes. You have to be really careful with Thai vowels. But it's still coming. People say I am doing well. I really hope so. I really hope so! =)
How's everyone else doing? Please let all my friends know that I do get all their letters but I haven't had time to write back yet. Tell them that I haven't forgotten about them but that they are still all so great and that I send my love to all of them! The Dear Elders get here pretty fast too. Tell them that their letters bring joy.
Anyway, Thailand is such a spiritually uplifting experiencing everyday. I find myself able to do things that I never thought possible. I find that strength comes when I need it. That words come when I need them. And the people are wonderful. The ward is great. The Thai saints touch my heart everyday. I love everything about Thailand and it brings me such happiness to be here. Everyday I wake up and consider myself lucky that I have been called to be here in Thailand. I love the people, I love testifying of the power of the atonement everyday. I love seeing the change that people have undergone as they have accepted his power in their life!
Furthermore, people can speak that crazy language that Bro. Saakha prayed in! Sometimes I am amazed that we can speak let alone read it! My reading is improving also by the way. That's a BIG blessing.
I love you all and pray for you daily. May God be with you this week! God bless and with love,
Elder Jacob Newman