Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lucky, A Christmas Party and Other Random Circumstances

December 2, 1009

Dearest Family!

This week has been a good week really. It seems like we have had so many random happenings this week, as usual but it's all a great time! The weather here in Thailand is so nice right now! And Thailand, of course, continues to be the happiest place on earth (a title previously held by Disneyland). The Thai continues to come. This week I felt a lot more comfortable with the Thai even if I was a bit confused yesterday in a lesson about the Word of Wisdom. Granted, if I don't know the words in English for specific drinks that we might not even have in America it's probably a given that I don't know them in Thai. But everything is going really well, we've seen some great stuff this week that really reconfirms the fact that we are guided.

Thailand's fruit is incredible. I have been eating a lot more fruit lately. Seriously, it cannot be compared. It's so sweet and delicious. The other day I had coconut for the first time in Thailand. It was amazing. Pineapple is good here in Thailand, who would have ever guessed? But it's only good fresh here. It's not really good on pizza or anything like that still. Speaking of pizza- here's a funny fact about Thailand. They eat ketchup on their pizza here! Everything to eat here really is so great. Thailand has food everywhere that you really couldn't find in the USA. Some of my favorite things include muu ping (which is like toasted pork and you eat it with sticky rice), the fruit, and anything with spice. The spice is the best part of it all.

If Thai food isn't spicy it's not nearly as interesting. The spice brings out all kinds of flavor that you can't get otherwise. People who refuse to eat spicy, refuse to enjoy the best parts of the food! Little Thai children eat really spicy too! It's pretty crazy. If you go to the Isaan it can get up to 20 peppers pretty quickly and it's pretty normal. Most Thai people don't even count really, they just throw a bunch into the pestal and mortar and grind away.

We are having a Christmas party, which we will be invovled in the planning of. We are setting up something that talks about what Christmas is about. It should be interesting to help the ward out to get things set up. I didn't ever realize how much planning activities take.

Onward we go! Let's talk about some great stuff that happened this week. The lesson of the week is: God pours down miracles even on the days where all your appointments fall through. This Thursday we had our long planning session and we had plans to do a lot of great things this week. Of course, plans always fall through but sometimes we get a chance to learn instead.

On Thursday and Tuesday of this week we taught Lucky. Lucky is a lesson in and of himself. A sister that was in my district when I first came here told us that one of the most important lessons we can learn as missionaries in Thailand is not that we are called to prepare people to receive the Gospel but that there are people who are READY to receive it. Lucky is just such a case. Every time we visit with Lucky, I feel as if he has been prepared for years and years. His knowledge and testimony of the Gospel is tremendous and almost impossible to describe. He really has so much knowledge about how things work and so much desire to serve/attend Church. The best thing about Lucky is his sense of humor. He says so many things that make us laugh and that cause us to think. He knows the Book of Mormon SO well. He is working to sacrifice to make sure that he can get Sundays off to go to Church. He desires baptism so badly and desires to serve Jesus Christ. Lucky has been such a blessing in my life, to see his faith and see his courage to do that which he knows to be right. It's amazing to see how people change and to see how God really does work in the lives of people.

We also got to see Brother Boon. Brother Boon is another person who really has changed my life in such a profound way. He is coming back on his own and he desires to keep the commandments, to have the faith and testimony and to do that which he knows to be right. He has strong desires to serve. He has a love for the teachings of Christ. He is an amazing example to me. I cannot wait to see what happens with him! He will be such an asset to the ward and to the Church in the future. And to think that after 14 years of inactivity, he decided to come back. I often wonder how many members there are in Thailand just like him, who maybe want to come back but don't know how. It all started when the sisters went to seek out his 11 year old nephew who was on the 24 month list. It goes to show you that at times we may often think that people are lost, but God's eyes truly are on the sparrow.

Friday and Saturday were days where our appointments fell through! So we spent a lot of time inviting. We didn't really see anything from that but we kept trying. The same thing happened on Monday for the first bit of the day. We had been inviting since about 1:00 in the afternoon with no one who was interested when we decided to go to a park that we had been to many times before. At first, there was no one interested at all. Then a miracle happened. Elder Olinger went up to talk to someone who was exercising while I stayed close by reading a sign in Thai, practicing my reading skills. While I was reading, I was approached by someone who was shocked and delighted that I could read Thai. He spoke very good English and was very nice. I told him what I was doing in Thailand and then all of the sudden he expressed a great desire to come to learn English with us and to also learn about Christianity. His name was Nu. And while we have not yet had a chance to meet with him or to see him at English, since this just happened on Monday, it was a miracle. And also, it turned out the guy that Elder Olinger had talked to was interested too. I think those days were definitely learning days. I realized that no matter how much rejection we get, there's always hope waiting around the corner.

We got to meet Bawb at his house. He's not really progressing that much but we are going to keep working with him and see if we can get his wife involved in the teaching. We are praying that he will open his heart and that his wife will too. We met his two year old son who is adorable! We feel that as we put our trust in God, we can and will see miracles with him.

Prayad is still doing great! He told us yesterday that he has been talking to all of his children to let them know that he is going to join the Church. We were very surprised by this, to say the least. But he really does get it. He really loves the scriptures and has a testimony. He loves meeting with us and he has changed so much since the first day that we met him. He should be getting baptized next moves. And sadly, I don't know that I will be here for his or Lucky's baptism but I am so grateful to think that I have played a small role in their teaching.

So what do I learn? I learn that often we have to have the harder days. That sometimes we will feel frustrated and inadequate, but in the end, that's not what's really important. What's really important is the one soul that can be touched. It reminds me of the story that Christ tells about seeking after the one lamb. There are many lambs in Thailand. There are many days where we will not have any appointments that go through, that we won't have anything happened as planned, and yet, something always happens to remind us that it is worth it. And that's the best part of it all! Of course it's hard, but it's the most worthwhile thing possible. To see the joy that can be brought into the lives of the Thai people through the atonement of Jesus Christ is incredible. To see that God lives everyday, that's the best lesson we could ever learn. And to see how much God really does love His children, that's a fact that I cannot deny.

I love this place more and more everyday. It's just so fun to be here. It's so fun to talk to people, to learn about their lives and to see how life is different for everyone but to also see how God can help everyone. We all really have the same needs when it comes right down to it. We all desire that love and that compassion that comes from Jesus Christ and God. I know that love changes us everyday. And what a great opportunity to be in Thailand to experience that changing power.

Thailand is a special place with a special people. Of course, I say that every week but every week is a greater confirmation of that. I think one great thing that I learn from them is the true meaning of charity and love. They really do have that gift from God. They will do anything to help you, no matter what the circumstances.

Anyway, I hope that all is well with you my beloved family. I pray for you all and hope that all is well. Please send my love and thanks to all for their support. I feel so blessed by everyone.


Elder Jacob Newman

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