October 28, 2009
Thank you for all the warm birthday wishes! They brought joy and happiness to my heart. I was very happy to hear that everyone is doing so well and that all is going well back in America. Sometimes I forget that I am 8,000+ miles away because Thailand became home really, really quickly. I am so used to the smell of the khlongs that run through Bangkapi, the hustle and bustle of people, the sound of buses, taxis, and fruit trucks. Everyplace you go, you see people selling food or peddling wares. And also on every soi (streets that run off of major roads), there are businesses galore. We live right next to a beauty salon that's owned by our landlords. There are places to make copies, little grocery stores and all kinds of things. I will be sure to get more pictures while we are out and about today so you can see what life is like. To find where I am, see if you can find Nawamin on Google Earth. It's a fairly major road. I would spell it in Thai but I don't know that you can read it.
Thanks again for all the birthday wishes, we will be sure to do something fun I have no doubt of it. But it will be good!
There are a lot of insects in Thailand. One day a couple of weeks ago we found a HUGE centipede that was bout 6-10 inches long. I saw it while Elder Shill and our Thai companion were in the kitchen. It was really gross and way big. Sometimes we have spiders and ants are everywhere in Thailand but besides that, that's about it. Nothing too crazy really.
This week we managed to teach Egg, who will be getting baptized on the 8th. He has a great testimony and really has changed so much because of the gospel. He understands so well and has a great desire to be baptized, he will be a great member, I have no doubt of it. We taught a lesson on the priesthood yesterday with a member named Brother Prxg and another member who I have talked about before, Brother Champ. Brother Champ actually came with his friend Sister Yoke who was helping to teach the sisters and he just joined us in the lesson. Champ and Prxg are both so skillful with teaching that Elder Shill and I ended up not really teaching the lesson at all. We shared verses from scriptures and bore our testimonies. It was great! Egg is ready to interview for baptism and he will do great.
We also taught Brother Golf's friend, Max, who is SWEET! He understands so well. When we taught him the plan of salvation, he literally taught himself some parts. He understood the need for a Savior perfectly. Absolutely perfectly. And it was a great time. He doesn't feel ready to be baptized, however. At least not yet. There are some things in his life that make him feel like he is not ready yet. But he is great! He is willing to meet 2-3 times a week which is REALLY good. We have very few people who are willing to do that as early on as he is. We only have one other investigator who is willing to do that, meet 2-3 times a week.
Prayad is the above mentioned investigator. He loves the scriptures, prays with sincerity, and is gaining faith. He reads everyday in the Book of Mormon and prays for help. It's so amazing to the see the change within him. He has changed immensely since the first day I met him. A new light has entered his life and he feels different. In fact, we went to visit with his grandkids there and he asked them to listen and fold their arms when we prayed. It was so adorable! He's doing great. He's come to Church three weeks in a row now. He even went to Stake Conference in Bangkhen which is pretty far away.
Our other investigator Bawb is doing well but still a little too neutral on most topics. He likes praying and reading scriptures if he has time but isn't super engaged into it. Although, at our last lesson with him, he was very chatty. We will be working on getting him to Church in the near future.
We have just been having a good time here in Thailand. We see the mercies of God everyday as we try our hardest to put ourselves out there. The Thai people smile and may not always be interested but there are people out there who are changed by the gospel. I see it everyday. I see how the knowledge of eternal families can change the perspective of the world. The knowledge that Jesus Christ came to this earth to feel of the suffering of all mankind can change and help everyone. I have grown to have such a strong testimony of that on the days where it seems harder. Every time the journey becomes difficult, I think we can reflect back upon our Savior and see how he truly did descend below all things. We are not greater than He. He helps us everyday as we reach out to the Thai people. And everyday we have an opportunity to help the Children of God grow closer to Him. I love this opportunity to give of myself and to show my love for the Thai people. Jesus Christ truly is the Savior of all mankind. I cannot deny that as I see how He changes Thai people. And how He changes me everyday. I have come to see the divine nature of missionary work. We truly have been given the errand of angels. And while we are not perfect and we make mistakes, often, we can rest assured that our Savior and our Father in Heaven always have their arms opened to receive us and help us along.
The language is still coming along. I feel like I improve a little bit everyday. And I feel that it has really caused me to rely on God more and more. While I don't speak the language perfectly, I know that that will improve as I work hard and put my trust in God. I have no doubt of that. It's such a blessing to speak one of the most beautiful languages in the world. It's a language that expresses relationships better than any other that I know of! In fact, that reminds me of how we went to a new converts house for lunch with our ward mission leader Brother Mon and the Sisters in our district. She calls all of us her luugs and we call her our mother. Thai expresses relationships like that all the time. The pronoun system is way complex. So technically when speaking to her we could respond with using luug as a pronoun referring to I or she could use it to refer to us. It's so awesome.
The food continues to be amazing as always. And I continue to have way good health! I have no doubt that is a result of many prayers from a good family at home! Thanks for all the birthday wishes again. I am so grateful for all that you do for me and all the ways that you support me. Thailand is amazing of course still. And I love every second of it!
I love you all. Thank you all again.
Elder Jacob Newman