Hello My Beloved Family!
How are you all doing today? I am doing fairly well today. All continues to be glorious here in Thailand despite a few sad changes. Elder Shill leaving was a really hard day for me. But I am so happy to know that he gets to see his family and gets to go to BYU! He was such a great example to me and I will never forget my Dad (that's what we call trainers here in Thailand Moms and Dads.... except in Thai of course).
I was surprised to hear that my new companion would be Elder Olinger, who only has two moves left here in Thailand. Elder Olinger is a great guy from Kansas. He just came from the Isaan and this is going to be the place where he finishes up his mission. This moves is really short because of a Church policy that makes it so that missionaries cannot be away from home for three Christmases. So we have moves meeting a week earlier than usual and then we get the new missionaries the next week. So that will be interesting. It's quite a change to get a new companion but it's been fun so far. I have tried a lot of new foods and have gotten to try more fruit and the likes. It's been really fun!
Anyway, onto some good lesson/great things this week.
First of all, let's talk about some great happenings. I love the fact that I was reminded this week of how small and simple things can make great differences. Earlier this week, we were walking down the street because some of our appointments fell through. I heard a small Thai woman say to me, "Elder?" It turned out that she was a member from the Isaan who had moved to Bangkok and wasn't sure where to go to Church. She was very excited to know that there was a Church nearby that she could attend. The chance of us running into her was very slim. It was truly a miracle. The next day, we had about 15 minutes left and we were right by our house. I decided that we should go and try to invite just a little bit more. It just so happened that we ran into a member’s friend who we have been working with. He was sitting at the bus stop. We took some time to talk to him and we ask him to pray. He said he would give it a shot. These things don't just happen by coincidence. I have no doubt that on those days where perhaps things were a bit more discouraging, God sent little miracles, little seeds of hope to keep me going. Often we will have appointments fall through, face rejection and heartache, but through the midst of it all, there is always something just around the corner waiting to give us that hope.
Another great happening: One of our investigators Max set a baptisimal date! We watched the restoration with him and he told us he has a testmiony of Joseph Smith. He believes that he was prophet of God. The Spirit was so strong. I really felt the power of God as we extended an invitation for him to think about baptism and then he proceeded to set a date.
I think we so often go through life and look at the hardships that we face. I know that those times when I have faced a difficult time here in Thailand, I have come to realize how much Jesus Christ really loves us. Despite the fact that we face hardships as we strive to help our Thai siblings come unto Christ, I have come to realize that Christ really lives. That this really is His work. One missionary who finished his mission with Elder Shill is named Elder Miles. Elder Miles made a really touching point as he gave what's called a jobber (finisher of mission) training. He said "The times when missionary work got hard were when I forgot my Father in Heaven." I think I have decided that to be a focusing point for the rest of my mission. Though hardships may come, as long as we remember our Father in Heaven, everything will work out. I love this thought with all my heart. I love the fact that I have a loving Father in Heaven who will help me.
Now of course that sounded a little dreary maybe, but all is really going so well! I love Thailand with all my heart. I love the people, I love the culture, the food, the music. Everything is SO great.
I love you all, miracles happen everyday.
Elder Jacob Newman