Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas in Thailand

December 27, 2010

Hello Everyone!

Talk about an interesting Christmas here in Thailand. It definitely didn't feel like Christmas at all except for the fact there was a party at the Church. We ended up at the Church a lot of the day because Khaaw Glawng was baptized yesterday! I had to type the program in Thai which took me forever.

The Christmas program really focused on the birth of Jesus Christ. The nativity that the branch did was very good. One of our investigators, a 15 year old named Party, was an angel in it.

I thought about how little even Thai members know about Christ's ministry and life and especially his birth as they presented the Nativity. Sister Waruni talked about it a bit in her talk on Sunday. She said she didn't know much of anything about Christmas but this year she learned so much and felt an increased sense of gratitude.

In Thailand at Christmas there is little or no sign of Jesus Christ at all. The only thing you will see is signs that say "Merry X-mas" or something like that. Christmas is a normal day in Thailand. People still go to work, still go about their normal days.

We also went around singing carols to members. We visited a lot of members who help us here in Roi Et. It was really fun to go and have those special memories with people like Sister Jan, Brother Siriwit, Brother Loesaan, Sister Jampii, and many other wonderful members in Roi Et.

Khaaw Glawng was interviewed on Thursday for baptism. He’s been ready for a long time but we were trying to get his dad, Chaang, in the picture. Chaang is an interesting case. In the past: 1) He never read the scriptures on his own and 2) He never prayed in his own free time. He told us yesterday, “I was so anti” but that his heart has changed a lot. The first day I met Chaang, I knew he was being forced to learn by Sister A. But then something really amazing happened. We had a lesson where Elder Thrap and I told him he had to keep commitments in order to know the things that we were telling him were true. He started to keep commitments. And he's never been the same since. Chaang had been a very indifferent investigator. As we have been teaching him for this time around, he smiles, he asks questions, he's involved in the lesson, he's marking the scriptures in his free time and he's praying with his family.

I have learned that we must have faith that our investigators can change. If Heavenly Father can change Chaang, he can change any heart. Their family is happier, there's more peace in their home. Yesterday Chaang told us that he wants to go to the temple to get married and that he wants to be baptized. He loved Khaaw Glawng's service. He came to the priesthood hour for the first time ever. Everyone was shocked. We have to have faith that the Gospel can change people. We have to have faith in the converting and transforming power of the Gospel. Brother Chaang will be ready for his date as he continues to do the things that will open his heart. He's a miracle in action.

Party, one of our younger investigators, came to the baptism, which he loved. The last time we taught him, he told us that he wanted to be ordained to the priesthood and that he wanted to be an "Elder". He also said he wanted to be baptized. We are going to keep working with him. He's a champ at keeping commitments and he's really changed a lot since he started learning the Gospel. He's a great young man.

Manob is still struggling a bit with his food not selling well. He sells very close to Sister Dawgrag and they are friends. Manob was a referral from her. He hasn't come to Church yet because of his financial situation. He understands well but needs help coming to Church.

Nxng came to Church for all three hours this week! That was a really great step for him. I feel that he will be ready for baptism this January. He's doing really well and is progressing quite a bit more than we anticipated. He has developed some good intentions as he has learned the Gospel more and more and he will make a good member of the Church.

Aa is still struggling to come to Church. His wife had the special experience of seeing her father in a dream as she prayed every night. She brought this up as we taught them last week. I feel like they are such an adorable family - Aa, Naang, Nam Khaang (Dew as in dew on the grass) - and they just need to understand how coming to Church will help them and they will come here fairly soon.

We met another new investigator named Phaybuun on a 10 minute lesson. We went back to see him and he had kept commitments and loved it. It was amazing, he understood so well. We will be going back to see him for a third time tonight. It was such a short lesson at first but enough that he was very interested.

Pawng came to Church! This is his third time as an investigator and the second time he's investigated with his wife. He showed up at Church even though we had to cancel our appointment with him on Saturday night.

I know that the Lord loves these people here in Thailand. As I get closer to getting home, I don't really want to think about it because it just makes me too sad. I love Thailand too much. I am addicted to Thailand and I love these people and the opportunity to teach the Gospel so much. I will never forget what I have learned here as I have seen the power of the atonement in my life and in the lives of others.

I love you all so dearly and pray for you all daily!


Elder Jacob Newman

Monday, December 20, 2010

One of the Best Weeks of my Entire Mission!

December 20, 2010

Dearest Family,

This was one of the best weeks of my entire mission. We saw so many amazing things happen that we never expected and found so many people just out of the middle of nowhere and learned so much.

The standard for missionaries is to aim to teach 20 lessons per week. We have not gotten more than about 10. This week we got 24 lessons! It was incredible because first of all, it didn't make any sense how we did it besides following the simple but wise advice of the zone leaders and it also didn't make sense because we found a lot of great people to teach, too.

The Zone Leaders extended a challenge. They said that we could get into someone's house to teach a lesson everyday. We simply have to pray before hand, ask God for help and then go out and teach 10 minute lessons which are basically like extended invites where we get them to feel the spirit. We did this a BUNCH of times. All we did is say: “Hello! We are missionaries who teach about Jesus Christ. Can we sit down and talk for about 10 minutes?”

Thai people almost always accept an invitation to sit down. Granted, they don't open their heart every time but they are given the opportunity to feel the Spirit through that prayer. We met so many people to teach, people who felt the power of prayer. We found one investigator who said he loved prayer because it made him feel peace that he had never felt before. We found that as we teach investigators that prayer is the method by which they can receive revelation and ask God questions, they come to understand the true nature of this gift from Heavenly Father. They feel the power of receiving answers and they feel the changing power of the atonement in their lives.

That brings us to Brother Chaang. We went to see him and he hadn't prayed but he had read daily. We told him he had to pray to understand the scriptures and recommitted him to pray. And then we went back yesterday. Brother Chaang is changing every time we go see him. He talks to us and is so friendly to us. He's smiling more and this last time he said to us. "Elders, I have never read the scriptures regularly before but as I have started reading them daily I have felt the power of them - the power of them to change me. But I can't quite explain it." Sister A laughingly said to him "Dad (when they are together as a family they refer to each other as Dad and Mom), it's called a testimony!" We all laughed and really felt Chaang's growing testimony. He will be ready to be baptized by this next month as we continue to pray and love him.

I love Brother Chaang probably more than I ever expected was possible. I want him to progress so badly because one day, I want to see them sealed in the temple as an eternal family - Sister A's dream fulfilled. The pictures of the temple all over their walls will be symbols of their commitment to God and the covenants they made in the temple. One day, they will go to the temple together and be sealed for time and all eternity.

Elder Thrap found a statement in a notebook here in the house from training in March 2009. It said "A missionary is someone who leaves his family for a short time so someone else can spend eternity with their own family.” There are days where it's hot, we are tired and we aren't entirely into everything but I know that as we remember why we came to Thailand we will have a correct perspective and the correct motives.

There's TOO much to tell from this week: Manob - an investigator who understood everything we taught. A lesson on being true saints and getting rid of the natural man and why we must go to Church. Teaching the boy who comes to Church every week. Really forgetting ourselves and going to work.

I know that if we aren’t humble, we cannot do anything. We must acknowledge the Lord's hand in our lives. We must learn to obey the Lord's will for our lives even if we don't understand. I learned that this week. As we trust in God and do what the Zone Leaders suggest, we will be blessed. It's like painting the blood on our doorsteps. Do it willingly and God will bless you. I love the Lord and I love Thailand.

I love you all dearly and pray for you all daily. Pray for all to be well and pray for us to recognize the hand of God in our lives.


Elder Jacob Newman

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Church in RoiEt Has Many Families and Couples

December 13, 2010

Dearest Family,

In the last two weeks we have taught more lessons than I have taught in a long time. It's crazy. Elder Thrap is a good influence. He has a hardworking, dedicated, organized personality and I have been working to emulate that more. His Thai is getting really good, he's becoming braver and less scared of talking to people and he's always willing to try new things. It's the joy of having a greenie.

We’re teaching a referral from President Sutheb, Ah, who is doing really well. We’re working to get his wife involved. He noticed in President Sutheb's life an increase of peace, direction and family happiness. Sutheb and Waruni are wonderful examples of members of the Church. They understand the doctrine, the way the Church should work and have a desire to help the Church grow in Thailand. The Sisters are teaching his older sister. It's a family affair. President Sutheb was referred by his older brother and his older brother's family is still active, even though his brother has since passed away.

The Church here in RoiEt has so many families and couples. That sets RoiEt apart from my other areas besides Chiang Mai – the number of full member families. I love to see Sister A's family coming to church together, even though Chaang isn't a member yet. Little Khaaw Glong is so adorable. He speaks really quietly and is always so polite. He's a tiny little guy, about nine years old and he looks so handsome with his shirt and tie. Then there's his older Brother Faang who passes the sacrament and Sister A and Brother Chaang.

Chaang is a bit stubborn. Yesterday as we taught him I thought about the things that I have seen with him. I compared his desire to get an answer from God and to follow God with him buying a can of coke. Chaang can't expect God to give him a 10 baht coke when he's only given God about two baht worth of effort. I asked Chaang how much he thinks he had given God and he admitted about two baht. We talked about repentance with him. We asked him if he is willing to begin to repent. He said that he didn't understand. The word repentance in Thai means "to return (to) heart". Chaang began to ask questions. How do I repent? What will it do for me?

Repentance is one of the greatest blessings that God gives to His children. We all make mistakes and these mistakes stop us from moving forward. The mistakes of the past leave us feeling like we can't move forward. But as we learn the Gospel and the steps of repentance, we understand that when we sin, we simply forget who we are. We forget we are children of God and that we don't always need to make the same mistakes over and over again. God wants us to see that. And I want Brother Chaang to see that so clearly. The reason he's been an investigator forever is because he hasn’t known how to find faith in Christ. He hasn’t known why he needed or wanted to have faith in Christ.

As we repent, we develop faith in Jesus Christ. Repentance brings the power of godliness into our lives. We need to think of this as we go to Church to renew our covenants with God. The word for covenant in Thai has an interesting connotation. The first part of the word is a common root in Thai that is often used to show connection between two parties (relationship, for example) the word covenant in Thai literally means to bind and promise. When we make a covenant with God, we are bound to Him. Does it mean we are always going to be perfect? No! If we were there would be no need for covenants and there would be no progression. Our covenants are the means by which we grow closer to God and enjoy the power of godliness in our lives. As we make covenants with God, whether at the sacrament table, or in the temple, we are in essence, inviting the power of godliness to come into our lives and to be with us always. We are humans, so we will make mistakes, but the covenants that we make with God call us to a higher plane of existence and discipleship.

As far as for Chaang, he's not quite ready to make this covenant with God. We are going to have to push his baptism back a bit, but I know that he will receive that answer. He must give God the full 10 baht. Once he does, he will know that God lives and loves him.

Wirayud is struggling a bit because of work. He hasn't been to Church regularly lately and he went to Chiang Rai this weekend. He hasn't been reading the scriptures regularly and he's been asking us why his life seems more difficult now. I don't think he quite understands why we read the scriptures.

Lessons learned this week:

1. Patience - God needs us to be humble for Him to change our lives. We must not have pride and instead learn to accept his timing. It will all work out. I know that we must have patience if we want happiness.
2. Repentance - We must repent daily and find ways that we can be better.
3. Love - Charity. We must see people as they are and we must learn to love those we serve.

I love the opportunity to be training again. I love this time here in RoiEt. I feel extremely happy and very grateful for the blessings that God has given me. I am so grateful for the blessings of the Gospel and the power of God in our lives.

I love you all dearly and know that God loves you too. Please take care of yourselves and I pray for you all daily.


Elder Jacob Newman

Monday, December 6, 2010

Greetings from RoiEt

December 6. 2010

Dear Family,

Greetings from another week in RoiEt - the first full week here with my wonderful son, Elder Thrap! He can speak Thai very clearly. He teaches well, asks excellent questions and inspires thought in our investigators’ hearts. He's knowledgeable of the scriptures and has a great desire to be here.

You asked me if I could understand everything when people speak Isaan. That's an ironic question. Yesterday it was apparently "Let's all speak to Elder Newman in Isaan and see how much he understands day." Unfortunately I can pick up the gist of it and a lot of times I understand all of it but I can’t hold a deep conversation in it. Seriously, EVERYONE was speaking to me in Isaan at Church.

Yesterday was Thai Father's day. It's the King's birthday. As I thought about that, I reflected on all the things that my Dad has done for us. Thank you for your sacrifice and your support of all of us. Thanks for making all of us feel loved and special. I love you lots. Happy Thai Fathers’ Day! I miss you.

Then I thought about our Heavenly Father. Thailand doesn't know Heavenly Father. They don't understand that we have a Father in Heaven who is the creator of our Spirits. I love this Father so much. I love the fact that he is always so willing to help me even when I make about a million mistakes a day. Heavenly Father's design for his children is one of happiness. He's a perfect Father. And to explain about the love of this parent to the Thai people is an amazing thing.

I remember one day in Thonburi we had had a difficult week. I looked at the map of Bangkok on our wall. I turned to Elder Iverson and asked, “Do you see this map? How many people on here do you think love God?" As a missionary we come to feel like I imagine God might feel. Everyday we wake up and see millions of people that we love but who don't love us or don't pay attention to us. That is love. Love is sacrifice. It suffereth long. Love will never fail. This love has the power to change our investigators.

This week we taught Brother Chaang (Elephant) and he's a bit stubborn. He's been an investigator for three years. He told us he doesn't know Jesus Christ. I ask him if he had ever read the Book of Mormon regularly. He said no. I told him, he must read the evidence of Christ. Through Christ we are spiritually born and we find the peace and joy that we seek in this life. For the first time in Chaang's history of an investigator who has been so indifferent, he said the words dedicated. In Thai this word is to set up your heart. Elder Thrap and I are praying so hard that he will continue to open his heart and let in our Father in Heaven, our Savior and the transforming power of the Gospel. We are all working to become like Him and to transform our lives. God loves us all so much. Even though we make many mistakes and aren't perfect.

I love Chaang and his family. I want this family to be prepared to be sealed in the temple and to have the peace that I know the Gospel will bring into their lives. I know that this is possible as we pray, teach by the Spirit and help Brother Chaang to come closer to the Savior.

Wirayud and his wife, Arum, will be legally married by May. I am not sure what to do with them in the meantime... They came to Church for the first week in two weeks. We may just teach them once a week until they can get baptized.

We also saw former investigators named Bawng and Num who are both struggling. They don't have peace. Peace comes from keeping the commandments. It's just as simple as that. That doesn't mean that our lives will always be serene and still but we will know what to do because as we keep the commandments we know who we really are.

Don't ever let anyone else define you. Let Him define you. You are a child of God with endless potential and with the power to become like Him. These people here in RoiEt are all his children. Imagine the power that has. The supreme creator of universes, the Lord of all creation has his eye upon all of us. He helps me everyday as I strive to overcome temptation and sorrow as we journey in this life.

I love the Lord and I love Thailand. I know that I was called here for a reason. I am so grateful for all that God has given me. Particularly my family here in Thailand - for all the fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters, grandmothers and grandfathers that I meet every day. And especially my family in America - our eternal family. I love you all so much. This Christmas time I think of how the Savior's birth and sacrifice makes eternal families a reality. I know that family can be together forever. That's such an amazing thought. And it's possible because of Jesus Christ.

I love you all and pray for you daily,

With Love,

Elder Jacob Newman

Monday, November 29, 2010

Elder Newman and Elder Thrap

My New Companion, Elder Thrap, is Fantastic!

November 29, 2010

Dearest Family,

How are you all doing today? I am having an absolutely marvelous time here in RoiEt this week because we have seen so many miracles since Elder Thrap came here to RoiEt. It's so fun to have a companion that is as fantastic as he is. Let me tell the story from the beginning.

First of all, this week was a bit crazy. Tuesday morning Elder Pimsuwan and I were having companionship study when we got a call from President Smith. He said, “Elder Newman I am going to ask you to train again.” I was shocked because I've been in RoiEt for six weeks and I had already trained! Elder Pimsuwan was moving and he joked that he would be going to International with a Thai companion.

We finished up our time together and I thought about what I learned from him. The greatest lesson I learned from him was the power of repentance. He once told me that repentance isn't just about correcting sin but it's also about making the good things in our lives better. We all have challenges in life and we all need to rely on the Lord in order to overcome these challenges, but sometimes we neglect the aspect of repentance from the side of making good things even better. Our desire to press forward and to become more like the Savior is a journey of repentance. In Thai the word for repentance is return heart. I like to think of repentance as us returning to the heart that Christ and Heavenly Father have given us. The new heart that we took upon us as we were baptized. The new heart that we can have every week as we take the sacrament and every day as we keep those sacred covenants of baptism. I know that the Lord wants us to repent. I learned so much from Elder Pimsuwan and I was so grateful to be his companion.

We got packed for moves meeting and Sister Waruni and President Sutheb drove us and the Mahasarakham Elders to Khon Kaen. I love Sister Waruni and President Sutheb. I call Sister Waruni mom and she calls me son. It's so awesome to think that even in a small town in the middle of Thailand there are members like this who sacrifice so much for the Church. They have been members for less than 5 years and he is the branch president and she is in the primary. One of their daughters is learning at BYU Hawaii. Another daughter is not yet a member and is working in Bangkok.

We got to moves meeting after a very unrestful bus ride and I waited for my new companion to come. His name is Elder Thrap! He speaks Thai VERY clearly and is so diligent in everything he does. And Elder Pimsuwan... This is the biggest news for him. He is in International with a Thai companion. Everyone was so shocked at moves meeting. It was the talk of the meeting.

The bus ride back to RoiEt took forever because the bus had a problem with the brakes. But, when we got back everything started going crazy well. It's amazing - I have so many stories from this past week. I don't know if I'll have time to tell them all!

In biggest news - Sister A's husband, Chaang (elephant), is on the track I feel. We taught him yesterday and for the FIRST time since I have been here, he started taking a more active role in the lesson and he prayed for us. He's never accepted the commitment to pray for us. I invited him to pray at the end and he got on his knees and prayed. It was a great lesson where we used 2nd Nephi 32: 8-9 to explain why we must pray, since he hadn't prayed since we met him. And we left him a chapter to read. He's doing really well. His attitude changed SO much since the last time we met him. I think it was the fact we were bold with him and invited him to prepare to be baptized in this short period of time. Please pray that Chaang will progress and that he will feel the power of the gospel in his life. Please pray that Sister A will be a good example and that their son, Khaaw Glawng will also progress!

We also met with Wirayud who is struggling and is having a lot of temptations come into his life at this time. Please pray that he will be able to do those things that are right and realize that he call still progress for baptism. He didn't go to Church yesterday due to an emergency.

As far as for other happenings I will summarize:
1. Meeting adorable families at the public park who we will hopefully get a chance to teach.
2. Meeting a former investigator who attended Church about 20 times.
3. Meeting a potential who was extremely willing for us to go visit him.
4. Meeting someone in the park who had been baptized in another Christian church. He used the word baptism. I was shocked. No time people know that word really because it's a borrowing from English.

This week, I saw how the power of faith, obedience and sacrifice will make our lives holier and how we can see many miracles as we open our eyes. The best option is to choose the right and choose to live after the manner of happiness. That's the way our lives must be. We have challenges but as we work to conquer the giants in our lives, we gain a new perspective and life becomes what it should be - a matter of joy. Sometimes we get too caught up in the things that aren't important. I know that as we focus on the Savior and the things that are important, it is then, and only then, that we can have the peace and happiness that we wish to have.

I love you all dearly and pray for you all daily. Thank you for all you do! It's exciting to train again. This time it's not as stressful - probably cause of the fact that we have a place to live!


Elder Jacob Newman

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Isaan Zone Conference November 2010

RoiEt Branch is big and really strong

November 22, 2010

Hello Family

I hope that you are all well. This past week went by extremely quickly. I can't even believe it. I feel a little more tired but pretty healthy. Riding my bike all over, talking to everyone and being out in the sun all day is pretty tiring. I probably won’t be going to Bangkok this week. I don’t need to renew my visa until next moves.

We didn’t have a cell phone for a few weeks. It was because of an odd experience. We were going to visit an investigator and were waiting for Brother Jan (Brother Moon). Elder Pimsuwan and I were so tired that we closed our eyes for a minute. We think someone came and stole it from the back of Elder Pimsuwan's backpack. We didn't notice until we got to the investigator’s house. By then it was too late. So we called the office. They said they would get on it. It was a bit frustrating.

RoiEt is quite the branch. It's big and really strong. The thing that surprises me the most about RoiEt is the number of endowed members. The branch president and his wife, Sister Waruni and President Sutheb are the best ever. They are so humble and they love the Lord. They have only been members for about 4 years. Sister Waruni said that she had never heard the word God before the missionaries talked to her. Our ward mission leader is Father Khiaw (green). Here in the Isaan the word brother and sister aren't used as often as the typical Thai pronouns, Father, Mother, older sibling. Father and Mother are two words that they use in the Isaan a lot. In Bangkok you have to be really close to use those words.

This last week we had Zone Conference. It was a really good time. They talked about the new scriptures. I feel that these new scriptures will change so much for Thailand. Understanding of the scriptures is crucial to our understanding of the gospel. We talked about attending Church and helping investigators keep the Sabbath day holy. We talked about why we go to Church. Here in Thailand they really emphasize renewing of the covenant with God on Sunday. I really like it. I feel it's the correct attitude to go to Church with. We all do things that make our Father in Heaven sad but every week we can come to Church and change our lives. Change ourselves.

I love Thailand. I love Thai people so much. It's amazing to think about how much God loves all his children and desires them all to come to know him. But we are just so stubborn sometimes. It reminds me of Sister Laantaa in Nongkhai (inactive) who said that we are too stubborn sometimes to receive the good things God gives to us. We really are simply too stubborn. I love this opportunity to become less stubborn. But we have to repent and learn everyday.

This week we saw how sometimes our investigators do things that we don't understand. We had a few investigators move to another province without telling us until the day before. We are trying to figure out what to do with them. At this time we are working to find new investigators. We are finding some and we are hoping to work more with the branch to work with part member families.

I love you all so deeply and pray for you all daily!

Elder Jacob Newman

Monday, November 15, 2010

Life Doesn't Work Out How We Plan

November 15, 2010

Dearest Family,

Talk about a crazy week this week. I am emailing later than usual because of exchanges with the Zone Leaders which was a bit crazy this past weekend. They came to exchange and do an interview for Wirayud and Arum to get baptized. That's probably the most complicated and intense story of the week.

Wirayud is a great candidate. His wife, Arum, can hardly speak Thai but they both have strong testimonies and are doing really well. They interviewed, however, and it came out that they cannot get baptized because they are not legally married and as of right now cannot be legally married because she is not a Thai citizen even though she was born in Thailand. And the process to change her citizenship is a lengthy and an expensive one that they could probably never afford. We aren't sure exactly what to do. It's still up in the air. I am not entirely sure how to proceed with him.

This week Wirayud also didn't go to Church. Elder Brown and I did exchanges this weekend. At first we thought that something had happened that Wirayud might have felt a bit discouraged about his interview but the after-interview talk went so well and there were smiles and laughs. It turns out that he was talking to his mother in Chiang Mai, he hung up the phone and then she passed away. I was so sad. I literally was shocked to hear this. The timing is extremely difficult. I am not sure exactly why he is going through this right now. We are praying extra hard for him. I love this couple and I hope that everything works out for them.

I liked the part in your email about the testimonies in your ward. Life doesn't work out how we planned. That's the greatest lesson I feel I have learned since coming to RoiEt. I feel that as I have reflected on my mission and all the things that have happened, I have come to see that it hasn't worked out exactly as I had planned. Or anything like I have planned. But I feel that the lesson we all must learn in life is to love the things that come our way. We must make a conscious decision to be happy and to live after the manner of happiness. We can let the actions of others or our circumstances dictate our happiness or we can decide to be a true Saint and find happiness in life. I feel that as I have made this decision, despite challenges, I feel happier and much more confident about life.

As we work with our investigators, I have seen how everything in our lives is about our choices. We must decide what we are going to do and how we are going to respond to our situations. I feel that on my mission I have seen so many times where the right choices have led to happiness. That's what we all must learn to do, heal from the past and move on to the future. Life doesn't work out as we planned. But if it did, would we really progress? Could we be happy? No. Happiness comes from realizing what life is about and what it isn't about. Life isn't about being rich, being well-liked, popular, or any of those things. Life is about becoming like our Savior and repentance.

Repentance is how we find joy. It is a change of thought and a lifelong process. As we take the sacrament, we come to realize the power of the atonement in our lives. This week they used the new Thai translation of the sacrament prayers. I felt the power of them more intimately. I felt the power of the covenant more powerfully. I want to look at my life everyday and find out how I can be better and do the things that I must to bring my life in harmony with His teachings more and more.

Anyway, I love you all so much and pray for you all daily. Thanks for all you do!


Elder Jacob Newman

Monday, November 8, 2010

Elder Newman in a Special Training Meeting

I Feel Very Happy Here in Roi Et

November 8, 2010

Dearest Family,

This week seems to have gone by fast. On my birthday, we had district meeting and the Sisters surprised me with a slice of cake from 7-11. Then we taught English and had pizza to finish off the night. It was a good day and it was fun to be with Elder Phimsuwan for my birthday. The mission gives cookies to those who have birthdays at Zone Conferences. I got them at the special training. They were amazingly delicious.

Besides that, this week was pretty normal. We continued to work with our current investigators but some of them were unable to meet with us. Wirayud is doing really well. He still doesn't quite understand why he needs to pray about the Book of Mormon or the restoration which is making me a bit nervous as his baptism approaches here in the next two weeks. I haven't planned a baptism in a long time. The last one I planned was Sister Jiab's in Nongkhai because Ploy's baptism in Chiang Mai took place shortly after I left and in Thonburi our investigators weren't quite to that point.

I feel so grateful to see the change that has taken place in Wirayud. He told us of this change as he expressed his feelings that his relationship in his family has improved. His wife cannot really speak Thai but she has great desires to be baptized. Wirayud is from Chiang Mai and speaks Thai very well even though it's not his native language - his native language is a hill tribe language. Elder Phimsuwan and his companion met them at the public park one day, shortly before it was going to rain. They had had a day that wasn't too great and then they met this really fantastic investigator. God really does watch out for us.

So much in our lives is up to our decisions. That's something I really learned this week. We have a decision if we want to follow Jesus Christ. We have a decision if we want to have happiness in our lives. The Gospel doesn't make decisions for us but it gives us the light and understanding needed to help us make decisions. That's why we love the Gospel - because we know how to make choices that will be the best for us. I really love this opportunity to see the world so clearly. We see people as they really are, not as they seem. We see how the choices we make to do the simple things have such an impact on our lives.

I feel very happy here in Roi Et! I feel very blessed to be here with a good companion with some good investigators. I am grateful that the Lord is teaching me everyday to be a little better. We all have questions. Sometimes God doesn't answer our questions in an instant. Rather, God takes time. And teaches us. I am learning how to learn from God. We all are learning how to learn from Him. The best moments in which we learn are the moments when we admit that we don't understand and ask him to help us understand the things that are happening around us. And then God will open our eyes and help us to see the things that are truly important. God can help us to move mountains in our lives. We, however, have to get the shovel ready and dig. God helps us because He loves us. But we must always remember that we have an obligation to do our part.

I love the Gospel because it gives us such a clear perspective on the ways things are. And the way things should be. Don’t ever let the actions of others around us allow us to lose our perspective. We must remember that the actions of others are unimportant in the grand scheme of life. What is important is our reaction to those actions. We have a decision to do the right thing. The choice is ours.

I love the Lord and I love you all so very much. I pray for you all daily and hope you are all doing well.


Elder Jacob Newman

Thanks for the Birthday Wishes!

November 1, 2010

Dearest Family,

First of all thank you all for the warm birthday wishes. It seems so crazy to think back about the last three birthdays that I have had. My birthday at BYU, my roommates surprised me with cookies. Last year my birthday happened to be a Thai festival where they float little boats with candles on the water and so my trainer and I ate Korean barbecue. And now this year, I find myself in my fifth (read it fifth!) area with a fantastic companion Elder Phimsuwan. I am so grateful for all the blessings I have received here in Thailand. I feel that the best birthday presents that I have received are the blessings of good health, good friends, and most importantly good family.

I honestly don't know where I would be without family. Family is one of the most important things in our lives. No matter what changes, no matter how far apart we are, we know that our families can be together forever. Our family will always be our friends no matter what happens in the lives of others around us. I love that Gospel principle. The Gospel teaches us how families can build relationships that aren't simply meant to last in this life, but meant for eternity.

This week we learned a lot of lessons. I feel the greatest lesson we learned was the power of repentance. Repentance is a change of attitude and outlook on the world. I saw that as our investigators, who are amazing right now, repented and applied the teachings of the Gospel, their lives became better. Wirayud and his wife who can't speak Thai have a desire to follow the Savior and live like him more everyday. Chamnaan and Jai want to change their lives also. This weekend we saw so many miracles with meeting new investigators. God really led us to a lot of people who have a lot of potential. I feel that as we repent and come closer to the Savior, we will see that we find joy in repentance. We must have a mighty change of heart. As we draw closer to the Savior and learn to follow him more closely, we will receive blessings.

God really loves his children. He watches out for all of us, everyone. I know that he does care. My birthday here in Thailand will be amazing. I wouldn't spend it any other way. I love the fact that I can share the Gospel with all of these people. Thailand has changed my life. I talked about this the other day with Elder Phimsuwan. The day that I finish my mission will probably be the saddest day in my life. I have grown to love a place that I never knew I could love this way. Even through all the struggles and disappointments that we all experience in our missions, we grow to love a place, a people and a time that we never knew we could. I love this place. Every day is worth the price. Of course, I always sound so serious but I mean it!

Anyway, I love you all so dearly and pray for you all daily. May God bless you all. Again thanks for the birthday wishes - so weird that I am already 21. Almost.

Elder Jacob Newman

Monday, October 25, 2010

Things Are Going Well in RoiEt Thailand

October 25, 2010

Dearest Family,

Here in RoiEt - the 101, LA or whatever other nickname you want to call it - things are going pretty well. We recently went through a period where we dropped almost all of our investigators so we are doing a lot of finding. Elder Phimsuwan continues to be great. We get along really well and communicate well together. It's funny - my English and my Thai are getting so messed up now. Since we speak in Thai almost all the time - except for times when I teach him English phrases - my brain sometimes goes between English and Thai with no real difference in between the two. It's a bit of a challenge to get things out correctly in either language. Elder Phimsuwan speaks English very well. He just rarely will speak English with me. I love working with him. He's a lot of fun and it's really interesting to get the Thai perspective on everything.

My district includes our companionship and a companionship of Sisters in RoiEt. (It's definitely the most backcountry of the Sisters’ areas.) And, there is a companionship in a nearby place called Mahasarakham. RoiEt and Mahasarakham are pretty similar in climate and make-up from what I understand. We do switch-offs at least once a transfer.

The flooding is big news around here. All day long we hear the radio and the TV on the streets talking about flooding throughout the Isaan and the Bangkok area. There's been a lot of rain here but RoiEt has avoided the worst of it. The water, however, is really high in the rivers. The Church is working on relief efforts in Korat since Korat seems to have been hit pretty hard. The rest of the Isaan is also experiencing some problems.

This week it's the end of the Buddhist lent (Phansaa) and so a lot of people go other places on vacation. So, the streets have been really empty and there haven't been many people to talk to. We are trying to focus on finding new investigators, specifically families and people who will keep commitments. At this time, the investigators that we do have are very good. We have the adorable family of Chamnaan and Jai who have many children, are already Christian and love coming to Church. We taught them this last week and after many months of being investigators set a baptismal date with them. They are planning on being baptized on December 5th 2010. We also got to meet with the amazing Wirayut this week. He's a great investigator. Ironically, he and his wife are both tribal people from Chiang Mai. He can speak Thai and Northern very well but she, Arun, can't speak or understand Thai very much. They are reading the Book of Mormon and are really dedicated to learning more about the gospel. He told us that he can't wait to tell his friends about this in Chiang Mai. He loves the Book of Mormon.

The branch here is much bigger than I am used to. It is full of children and families. We live right across from a member family - Sister Dograg and her husband, Brother Wichian, and their children Omni and Jarom. Omni, the daughter, is about 12 and the son, Jarom, is about 9. They have been members for a long time. The branch is full of members who are long-time converts. The Branch President, however, is a recent convert. He is one of the most humble and soft-spoken, kind men I have ever met. President Sutheb and his wife, Sister Waruni, are amazing assets. They smile, love the members and really want to help the Branch. Lately, there's been an emphasized push on Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching. They are working so hard to help the members catch the vision. Visiting and Home Teaching are the heart of the Church. Without this, our membership will not be strong and will not have the pleasing word of God. Members, especially recent converts, need the help of members to understand doctrine, to build friendships and to continue on the path towards righteousness. That's another lesson I have learned - to not neglect Home or Visiting Teaching.

I love the Thai people. That's the motivation to do missionary work. Elder Day related a great story before he went home. He told of a less active member in Nongkhai. One day the missionaries went to help him gather rice. In the process of gathering rice you have to be careful to not waste a lot of rice since you have to use a sieve of some sort to gather it. He told Elder Day, “Be careful son, every grain has value.” Isn't that so true? No matter who we are, where we are, what we've been in the past or what we are becoming, we all have value in the sight of God. The world tries to tell us otherwise. Many people will tell us that we don't have value. But every grain has value. I know this to be true because I experience it everyday. So often, we merely look upon the outside value of things. We look upon the things that the world can see. But as we ponder upon the reality of human existence, we realize that there is far more to us than what the eye can see or the ear can hear. So often, in the rush of everything, I think we all, especially myself, forget about that. We must remember. We must have patience and love and charity. I love the things I've learned here in Thailand. Sacrifice brings forth blessings untold.

I love you all so very very much. More than words can tell. And I pray for you all daily. Please be happy, healthy and enjoy things!

Love you lots,

Elder Jacob Newman

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wow! What a change from Thonburi

October 18, 2010

Dearest Family,

Wow! What a change and a half from Thonburi. Here I am in Roi Et (or it's well-known nickname LA), a place that feels about as far as you can get from the Thonburi side of Bangkok.

This past week I fell a little sick. It was probably just a cold or something like that but I am not entirely sure. I was resting in bed on Monday to get on top of it. Elder Iverson came in and said that President Smith was on the phone for me. I thought I wasn't moving for sure, but President Smith told me I would be going district leader with a change of pace.

I started packing. We had our last day at English and our last district meeting. The three moves in Thonburi went by so fast. It seemed like yesterday I was getting off the taxi with Elder Seymour, both of us confused and really tired. The night before moves the bishop had us over to dinner. It was a great Isaan meal that Sister Cherry bought for us. It was delicious and a rather ironic sign of things to come.

When I arrived at moves meeting, I didn't recognize many of the missionaries. Sixty percent of the mission is in their fifth transfer or under. I did see Elder Pimsuwan, formerly Brother Bun, who I knew in Chiang Mai. We smiled and talked. He said, “Hey, my companion's finishing his mission you could come and be the district leader in Roi Et.” I didn't think that was likely. But, President Smith announced it and Elder Pimsuwan and I had a panic attack pretty much. I have wanted a Thai companion and now not only did I get a Thai companion but I got Elder Pimsuwan, who's so amazing!

Here's some background on Elder Pimsuwan. He's actually a third generation member. His grandfather, Brother Somchay, was the second member of the Church in Chiang Mai. Before his life as a member, he had no religion but he was converted and he had two daughters who also were in the Church with him. One of those daughters is Sister Ju, Elder Pimsuwan’s aunt, a translator for the Church and mother of Brother Tua (Now Elder Siriphan) and Sister Ooy, Elder Pimsuwan’s mother. All of these two families are active members in Chiang Mai. Brother Ped, our ward mission leader in Chiang Mai is Elder Pimsuwan's uncle and Elder Pimsuwan’s dad, Brother Supagid, is literally the funniest person on the face of the earth. I love both of these two awesome, amazing families. The ironic thing is that they both are very tight friends with Bishop Arun and Sister Cherry, who worked and lived in Chiang Mai for a time. I was so excited to think that I am working with someone who is such a pioneer in Thailand. These families are the face of the Church in Thailand. They represent the sacrifice of Thai members over the past 40 years.

Speaking of Chiang Mai, here's a little miracle. While I was serving there, a member wanted us to friendship her brother and her sister-in-law to see if they would learn with the Elders. Well, we tried to friendship them - we bought stuff that they sold - delicious egg rolls and spaghetti - and we went to their house for family home evening once. We tried our hardest, but it didn't seem like anything really came of them. Sister Young approached me at moves meeting and said - do you remember Paa (aunt) Noy? She said that you went to her house for spaghetti one time and that you bought a mat from her. It all came back. Sister Young held up her camera. There she was, Paa Noy and her husband, both dressed in white, the newest members of the Chiang Mai branch.

So Roi Et. Wow! Talk about a change. Roi Et feels more like the Isaan than Nongkhai did to me. There are somtum and grilled chicken restaurants everywhere. Roi Et has a lot of really nice houses and Isaan is spoken on the street. I can understand a lot more of the Isaan than I could last time. Everyone, however, will speak to you in Thai. The night we got to Kawngaen, which is where the zone leaders are, the Branch President, Sutheb, and his wife sister Waruni came to pick us up. They are converts of about four years and so incredibly strong. The branch here is simply amazing. It's a HUGE branch. Yesterday there were about 70 people at Church and they all said that there were so few people at Church. Usually about 100 people is fairly typical for this branch. The leadership is experienced, very dedicated and there is a beautiful building.

Roi Et doesn't have a lot of people on the streets, but it has lots of priesthood (at least 15 active Melchizedek priesthood leaders) and a good structure to work with. Right now we are also teaching several families which is awesome! Yesterday one of our investigator families came to Church and they are doing fairly well. They still need to understand the restoration - they are Christians already - but once they grasp that, I feel like they will make excellent members. The branch here has so many long time members and so many memorable characters.

Our house is pretty nice. It's right next to the house of a return missionary, Sister Dograg. She and her husband are long time members of the Church. She feeds the Elders and the Sisters every Sunday night. Last night it was sweet and sour chicken, tom yum gung (a shrimp soup) and naam tog (spicy pork Isaan food.) It was delicious.

Roi Et is a small place. But a place that I feel I will come to love. I love the opportunity to share about our Father in Heaven with these people. So many people just don't know about Him. I feel excited to share the knowledge that I have gained about Him as I have been a missionary. The knowledge that He lives and loves me and that He cares about the one. I know there are people here in Roi Et, and everywhere in the world, who need the knowledge of this Father in Heaven. I am ready to work hard and to see the miracles that God will provide for us here. I can't wait to see what happens.

Love you all lots and pray for you daily!

Elder Jacob Newman

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chapel in Roi Et

Elder Newman has been transferred to Roi Et in northeastern Thailand. His new companion is Elder Pimsuwan.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Elder Newman in Training Session

General Conference in Thonburi

October 11, 2010

Dearest Family,

I am not sure if this is my last week in Thonburi or not. This transfers is a very crazy one. Elder Day's huge group of at least 15 is going to be finishing their missions here pretty soon. It's such a weird thought that not too long ago, I was with Elder Day in Chiang Mai and he was just on his 12th moves. And now here he is finishing his mission. Elder Hunt, an AP is finishing too. There's going to be some pretty major changes in leadership and in trainers. The mission is getting so young now that people have to go senior companion younger and younger. I will be curious to see how this next moves works out.

Thonburi this week is doing alright. We saw four investigators at Church - Sutheb and Plaa along with Bo and Oo. They all attended sessions of Conference. It was pretty amazing that they all came. Sutheb is still having some struggles with keeping commitments - especially reading but he's pressing forward slowly but surely. Bo is doing really well. We taught her a lesson this week where she took notes as we taught. I've never had an investigator do that before. She was intensely taking notes as we reviewed prophets and talked a little bit about General Conference.

General Conference was a good experience. I can understand more than I could last time I watched it in Thai but it just doesn't get the same meaning across really. The translations sometimes are hard because the speakers will vary from their intended course. Also ten hours of listening to really high Thai language with crazy vocabulary is a bit tiring. But the speakers were really good. I loved Elder Uchtdorf's talk about the pace of modern life and Elder Eyring's talk. Conference is a really nice time to be with the members, too. Granted, the turn out usually isn't that fantastic but this year we had quite a few investigators who showed up.

I don't know how to describe my intense love for Thonburi. I have never had an area quite like it. The ward is doing better since we've been here. I feel like somehow we give them more hope for a future where Thailand can have that temple. I love missionary work, even if it is a lot of rejection and even if it's particularly difficult sometimes. There are miracles and God doesn't want us to forget that.

In reality, why does God allow us to have challenges? How can an infinite, all-loving God allow us as humans to suffer? The answer is simple: love. God loves us more than we can imagine. God lets us experience trials because He loves us and desires to have an intimate role in our lives. God loves us so much that He sent His Son to feel all that. Have we ever thought of trials as a form of love? Instead of asking why, which we are all so prone to do, we must ask how. We must ask how we can press forward with faith until we see the light. I know that

Thonburi has been a challenge in many ways - from being sick my first week and fainting in an elevator and hours of inviting and lots of rejection. But would I trade Thonburi for anything? Never. Thonburi is too deserving. The ward is too deserving of any kind of help that it can get. Thonburi has been stressful, yes, but I hope I don't move this moves because I want to spend as much time as I can helping this place to develop and grow. I will do all it takes to help this ward because it's not just their ward, it's my ward. Granted, I have my home ward in Utah, but Thonburi has become my ward in so many ways. I look around and see them as my siblings. And then I think about leaving them, and I almost can't stand the thought. Thonburi will always have a special place in my heart. And one day when I come back here, I will shout for joy that I had a chance to come back and see all these wonderful members.

As part of the Thailand Bangkok mission we have a motto. "Faith is the power. Obedience is the price. Love is the motivation. Preach My Gospel is the key. Christ is the reason." I have never felt this theme so strongly until Thonburi. The sacrifice of a mission is a pleasure for all those who decide to sacrifice. The power of sacrifice is indescribable. This power has the ability to change the world. Thonburi has changed my life forever. I will never forget the sacrifice, the miracle of Thonburi. Even if I don't move, I must express these feelings.

All is well. I love you all so much and pray for you daily.

With Love,

Elder Jacob Newman

Friday, October 8, 2010

Greetings From a Rainy, Wet Southeastern Asia

October 4, 2010

Dearest Family,

Greetings from a rainy, wet and humid South Eastern Asia Monday! It seems so crazy that another six months has passed - another conference is upon us. It seems like yesterday I was watching Conference in English in Chiang Mai. But that was actually six months ago. How fast time seems to fly while you are here in Thailand. My time in Thonburi has gone by so quickly. I cannot believe that transfers will soon be upon us (they started calling them transfers - weird right?) and that my time in Thonburi might be at an end. I don't think it's quite over yet though. I think I will be here for this last moves. I feel there's still some things left to do and some things that I still need to resolve.

Thonburi is a place that I will never forget. I don't know what to say about it exactly. Yesterday Sister Cherry gave me friendship book entry that almost made me cry. She started it off and said the words that I wanted to hear. She said first of all "We have to thank Heavenly Father that you were sent here to Thonburi. You helped our ward so much." She told me many other things that were just the answers that I needed. I don't know how she knew what I needed to hear from her family but she knew exactly what I wanted to think of my time in Thonburi as. I felt so touched to think that our Father in Heaven knew exactly why I needed to be here.

I might be the in the last set of second Elders that will be here in Thonburi until they decide to try it again in the future, but I feel grateful for this opportunity to have served here. This side of Bangkok isn't visited terribly often unless people are going to go to Wad Arun, but if I ever come back to Thailand, this will be my first stop for sure. The strong feelings that we associate with the places we love the most never leave us.

Elder Iverson told me yesterday that I am stuck on the members. And it's true. I love the members here so much. I feel such a strong connection - it's so ironic how our lives are so guided like that. The bishop's family is great friends with Brother Ped's and Sister Ju's family in Chiang Mai and know all the members in Chiang Mai since they lived there. And it's so amazing to think that I had the chance to come here in the middle of Bangkok to find some of the lost sheep.

You asked about a typical Sacrament Meeting in Thonburi. There is the teacher, deacon, bishopric member, chorister and relief society first counselor in the same family who show up every day - Brother Johnny and Sister Taeng and their family. Then there's the bishop's family - Cherry, Bishop, Kiwi, Navy, Ivy - so adorable, seriously. And then there's the other regular members - Sister Pranom who cleans the chapels in Bangkok with her two young adult sons, Sister Ganjana and her daughter Nina, Sister Fon and Brother Poniwad - a long, long time member - Brother Long, I could name them all. Usually there are about two speakers or three sometimes. The bishop takes a lot of time to speak. He's CES and a great speaker. I love him! Sacrament meeting is simple.

Our chapel is on Jaran 22, right behind it is a wad and it's also next to a coffin making factory. It's deep in a soy that's a typical Thonburi soy.

Interpreting for the deaf lady is extremely difficult and very tiring but it's been a good experience and it's improved my comprehension a lot. She's a very nice Sister.

Brother Sutheb keeps having conflicts with Church but he's doing better, he's starting to live some commandments that have been a struggle for him in the past. I can see the change within him as we have taught him over the past couple of months. He will only continue to progress as he comes to Church and expresses his faith. I have seen him give up a lot things and express a true desire to repent. He will continue to progress as he strives to exercise faith in the Savior.

We met with a referral from a member named Wan. She will take some time to understand what we are teaching but she will gradually understand more and more as we emphasize the teachings that will help her to come to know her Heavenly Father.

And we also had a wonderful experience with Bo, a referral from a new member in Stop's ward. She is living here in Thonburi and was Christian in the past but expressed that she hadn't been too church-going until she graduated. Then she started going to church and went many places but none of them felt right exactly. So she came to our church and she feels great about it. We taught her a first lesson about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. She seems ready to accept the Gospel.

Besides that we walked a lot. And by a lot, I mean a ton. We contacted a lot and found some people who have potential. Elder Panom and I did switch offs this week which was bittersweet almost. It's our last time switching off since he will be moving. I have grown to love Elder Panom and his wonderful influence. He has such an amazing conversion story that I almost can't believe it. I feel as if his influence will be invaluable for the Church in Thailand in the future. Lots of contacting - that's Thonburi. City contacting since the soys have lots of people but it's very unclear where everyone lives.

I know that God loves us. Even when we feel like maybe no one knows or cares, there's always someone who cares. God has an infinite role in our lives. He sent me to Thonburi perhaps to learn some lessons or perhaps to develop patience. Or perhaps to become more like our Savior. No matter what the purpose - to help the deaf lady perhaps - I know I came here for a reason. God lives. Jesus is the Christ. The Gospel has power and we are all a part of it. Remember that God loves us all!


Elder Jacob Newman

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Am a Thonburite

September 27, 2010

Dearest Family,

Yesterday I sat at Church and I thought how I consider Thonburi to be my home. When I first came to Thonburi, I never thought I would get so attached to such a tiny branch with so few members. I never knew how much I could love a ward until I came to this little struggling ward on the Thonburi side of Bangkok. The other day I saw a shirt that said "I am a Thonburite - คนฝั่ง Thon - I can't find the letter I need to spell Thon correctly. But I thought of my time here in Thonburi. In my heart, I will always be a Thonburite. I love this side of the river. I love Thonburi. From every member, who might as well be adopted siblings, parents, aunts and uncles to me, to the sheer love I have for the area, I love Thonburi so much. It's a place of miracles and a place that I will always love.

We did exchanges with the Zone Leaders this week, I was with Elder McConkie. It was a good time. We were together for two days. We got a chance to find a really good new investigator named Athiwad. He has a lot of potential and he was met in the most random way - down a soy full of disinterested people, this man said hello to us in English and at first I wasn't sure if he would be interested, but he turned out to be the most interested person we met that day. He almost went to Church yesterday but he didn't have anyone to watch his house so he couldn't go. We taught him. As we taught him, he said "In the past I have been a bad person but I want to change" That's what the gospel about. The Gospel is about the change of self - into a true saint and disciple of Jesus Christ. And sometimes as we teach the Gospel, we find that the ones who change the most aren't our investigators, but rather us.

Thonburi hasn't had a ton of investigators that have learned for long periods of time. But as I have taught those I have, I have realized how we must evaluate our priorities in life. I have learned that I must stay close to our Father in Heaven. In the end, all things will fall apart and fade, the only things that don't fade are the truths that we cherish. As I sat there and heard this man say that he wanted to repent, I thought of how Our Father in Heaven wanted so much for his child to talk to him. That's what God really wants from our prayers - is us simply talking with him - a lesson I learned from Brother Nuy in Nongkhai. Imagine this - God has waited for thirty or forty years to talk to some of his children. For some of his children, they never get the chance to talk to him at all. Imagine the feelings of a tender parent who never gets to talk to their child. We must learn to simply talk with God.

The sad thing about yesterday was is that Sutheb missed Church for the second week in a row. This week, he revealed some concerns that I didn't see coming. We are going to have to be praying that he will have a desire to sincerely follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. I know that he was prepared to meet us but he will take some work to fully repent. He's not an easy investigator. But I love him and he has a desire to be converted. He will take some time. The great things about yesterday include but are not limited to, a referral from a member from Bangkhen and an appointment to meet with a referral from the members of our own ward.

The referral from Bangkhen seems awesome. Her name is Bo and she is really interested and is going to be coming to Church this next week. I feel so happy to know that God is watching out for us. She lives by Wong Wian Yay. I have been down those soys so often but I have never run into her before. The soys in Thonburi are hard to describe. They are narrow and they are very full of people but it's a mystery where all these people live.

President Smith is very good. I like him a lot and I think he's doing a great job. He wants to help all the branches in the country to grow. He gave a talk about sharing the gospel in Thonburi that I think has caused some good action by the members. Our ward mission leader was pushed to action.

Anyway, this next week should be good. I love Thonburi with all my heart and there's going to be lots of good things happening here. I love seeing how the ward is slowing but surely changing. It will take time but I know that one day I will be able to come back and see the difference! One day Thonburi will have two wards and this side of the river will have a stake!

Love you all lots and pray for you daily,

Elder Jacob Newman

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thonburi Is Picking Up

September 20, 2010

Hello Dearest Family,

You asked what Thai houses are like. Let me give you a brief description of the Bishop’s house. They live on one of the major soys in the north of Thonburi in an area called Baangphlad. It's called Chaeronsanitwong 75. This street is hard to describe exactly. Imagine constant traffic along a narrow soy - motorbikes, pedestrians, cars, taxis, and everything in between. Imagine countless food vendors selling everything from treats to rice while all around you there are people selling their wares and living the Thai life. They live on an outlet of this major street. You go into their house and take off your shoes, entering into almost a mud room base floor. Then you go up the steps into their family room and kitchen. The family room is the first thing you see. It has a bench, computer, television and two sofa chairs. Then their kitchen is to your right if you are facing towards the street they live on. You go up a step into the kitchen area. I think there is another floor. They live in fairly typical middle to upper-middle class Thai circumstances.

Their family is the most adorable and faithful family ever - I love Sister Cherry, Bishop Arun, Ivy, Navy and Davy. They all really love the gospel. He's the head of Church education in Thailand, a return missionary and a lifelong member. Sister Cherry is a convert. She told us her story: The missionaries came to see her neighbor, who wasn't interested but she said, "I was interested. I was baptized. My neighbor wasn't."

A couple of weeks ago Sister Cherry gave the most touching talk on family history. Family history in Thailand is extremely difficult if only due to the sheer lack of records. She talked about how she saw miracles as she worked to seal her family. The first time she went to the temple, she and her husband were sealed and she described her experience as she was sealed for her parents. At this point, tears filled her eyes. She said, "I can't describe the feeling that I felt as I knelt there; knowing that we could see each other again even though they died when I was young." I loved that talk and I love this ward with all my heart. This ward has some of the best Thailand has to offer.

Thonburi is picking up, slowly but surely. This week Sutheb didn't make it to Church since he was sick, but, we actually got two different investigators to Church. Tuy and Naet have good potential. Tuy enjoys reading the Book of Mormon. Naet is fascinated by the idea of being cleansed from sin. Their mother is also involved but she can't attend Church at this point. We are trying to help them understand that the feelings they feel as they pray are unique and special feelings from their Father in Heaven. I feel as if this family has some real potential to progress but only time will tell. We are going to continue to work to help them understand the most basic of all principles - who we are.

I have taken a new approach when I invite people - I tell people that God has an inheritance for them, an inheritance that as a son or daughter of Him we have a right to inherit. We come from the hand of God. And while sometimes we can't see or hear or feel Him, we still know that He loves us. If life worked out perfectly, would we learn anything? If life worked out just as we planned, what would the purpose of life be? We must have experiences in our life where we are tested and tried. I have come to realize what the real purpose of prayer is. The purpose of prayer isn't only to ask for blessings or to thank God, but to have an intimate and personal relationship with the Creator of all things. When we talk to God, we can just talk. We don't have to worry about what He will think because God loves us. God is our Father and we are His children.

I can't believe it's almost been three moves since I've been in Thonburi. Elder Iverson and I get along very well and it's been great here in Thonburi! I don't know what the future will hold. I know, however, that there was a reason I came to Thonburi. As far as the things I have learned, I would never trade Thonburi for anything. We often talk about the measure of success. The ultimate measure of our success lies not in what the world sees but in what God sees. God sees when we try. God sees when we love the people.

Right now it's raining really hard outside. Thonburi rains a lot. When I think of Thonburi days, I will think of lots of walking, talking lots of Thai, and smiling. I will think of Thai custard, laab burgers, introducing Elder Seymour to new foods and lots of hard work. Opening a new area is an endeavor for sure. I didn't expect it to work out the way it has but now I feel as if I have learned so much from it. I know that the Lord sent me here for some purpose.

I hope you all stay close to our Father in Heaven and that you remember how much the Savior loves us.

Love you all lots and pray for you daily. Thanks for all your prayers,

Elder Jacob Newman

Sunday, September 19, 2010

This Week Was Amazing

September 14, 2010

Dearest Family,

Yesterday we had a special conference with Elder Perkins that was really quite fantastic. There were a lot of great talks by President and Sister Smith along with President and Sister Perkins. I really enjoyed it a lot. They are changing the method of teaching at the MTC, so we are all learning about the new focuses. The new changes to the system will be good and will help us to help people feel the power of the gospel in their lives.

This week we saw some really great progress here in Thonburi. Thonburi has been my favorite area. Sure I loved all my areas, but Thonburi will always have a special place in my heart. From the members - the hilarious Sister Uy who works at the Marriott resort here in Thonburi, the bishop's amazing family - Sister Cherry and all, Brother Johnny's awesome family who runs a lot of the branch and Sister Ganjana who always seems to make us smile. From Brother Poniwat who has been a member since Thonburi opened for missionary work pretty much to Brother Bunchay a man who has Chinese ancestry who was converted, this ward has a lot of wonderful members that I will never forget. It's here that I really came to see what's important in life.

This week was amazing. We had some days that were really hard but Sunday made up for everything. We saw Sutheb a lot and he's progressing really quite well. He's been reading daily, he understands why we must go to Church and he loves learning about the teachings of Christ. He came to Church this week with his girlfriend and the members were great to them. Of course, it's always a bit awkward at first but they respect him and think he's a great guy. He's developing stronger and stronger faith in our Heavenly Father and in Christ. He's reading the Book of Mormon consistently and tells us how much he loves it when we come to teach. His girlfriend has come with him these past two weeks and she's now an investigator also. He wasn't the typical golden investigator. He didn't keep our first appointment and at first I wasn't sure about his desires. But anyone who comes to Church, reads daily, and introduces his friends is someone who has desire. He knows who he is.

We also saw another not-yet sort of kind of investigator at Church named Waan who is friends with Sister Ganjana. She has a desire to learn but is uncertain about learning with the Elders yet. It's a bit of an odd situation.
This week we ended up teaching a lot and seeing lots of great people. This is an amazing place. There's something so magical about Thonburi. The streets are really crowded, overflowing with people going to work, the market or selling their wares. The soys are narrow and full of people and there's a lot of rushing going on. But I have come to love this part of Bangkok so much.
Yesterday we had a testimony meeting at Zone Conference. I thought about my time in Thonburi and while it's been definitely not what I was anticipating, it's been probably the biggest blessing of my mission. We are starting to see things happen. Thonburi will be having investigators at Church for the foreseeable future. Thonburi before this was one struggling area, a ward on the verge of being a branch, but as we have tried our hardest, we are starting to see a kind of turnaround here. Granted, Thonburi won't be fixed in a day. Perhaps not even a year, but someday Thonburi won't be just one ward - it will be two. One day this side of Bangkok will be its own stake. We must have faith in God's timing for everything. Just because we don't see results instantly doesn't mean we shouldn't keep a positive outlook. If we keep a positive outlook and have faith, we can and will see miracles. We must continue to rely on the Savior and our Father in Heaven to see those miracles. Often the miracles are the simple things - the time the Thai grandmother smiles at you or the times people are so nice about your language. Sometimes God just tells us wait. Preparation precedes the miracle.
Also a little piece of advice: Always do your home and visiting teaching. That's a lesson I've learned very well in Thailand but particularly in Thonburi. We all need nourishment by the good word of God.
I love you all and pray for you daily. I know that God is watching out for all of us. He really does care and loves all of us.
Elder Jacob Newman

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Crazy Moves Meeting Week

September 6, 2010

Dearest Family,

What a crazy moves meeting week. I never thought my experience in Thonburi would turn out the way that it has. Needless to say, it's been such a blessing in my life. From meeting the Bishop's wonderful family and all these other AWESOME Thai members in Bangkok to coming to love this branch as if it were my home ward. I feel as if my greatest growth in Thailand has taken place here. The things that are important become so clear and the things that don't matter become rather obvious. I love the Lord so much more. I love the Thai people so much more. My patience has grown. My love for the work has grown. My Thai has grown But, most of all I came to see how life is a wonderful experience. It's what we make of it. If we make it hard, it will be hard. But if we learn that God has a purpose for us that we may not understand, we will be able to look back upon our lives and see the hand of God.

I arrived at moves meeting with Elder Seymour. We had a tricky week with switch offs in Bangkhae and with lots of appointments that didn't go through. But we arrived and sat down. Moves meeting gave us some good inspiration and we heard the news that they are opening a new Elders’ area in Asoke and one in Srinakarin also. Two “heart of Bangkok” areas - well one is suburban Bangkok and the other is VERY urban. And then I found out that I got Elder Iverson from Elder Seymour's group for my new companion. He's super skillful. His Thai is SO good, he's a hard worker and he has a great attitude. We get along really well.

Elder Seymour went to... get this... Yashothorn, about as rural as you can get. It's SO tiny. He's been riding his bike a ton. His new companion is my nong thai at the MTC Elder Phetvixay. He seems to be enjoying it - I had to talk to him to get a few things figured out this past week. He will be hearing a lot of Isaan rather than the typical Bangkok Thai he's used to but he will do great. He taught me so much. I will miss him so much.

I feel a change in the air of Thonburi. This past week we saw too many good things to be real. We saw Sutheb at Church. Not alone but with his girlfriend. He came to Church on time and really loved it. He's been praying and reading daily. This last time we visited him we committed him to think about when he would like to be baptized. He's eager. He told me he believes in the Savior. He always tells us that we were sent to find him. The day we met him was one of those days that I wasn't sure what to do. I was walking down a soy with Elder Seymour, feeling so frustrated. I almost passed him up because he didn't seem that interested. But then I really listened to what he had to say. He was crying out for something. He longed for something more than he could see. And for some reason, we were blessed enough to find him.

The other Elders’ investigators, Sister Buen (Apple), Sister Taan (Sugar), and Brother Ding all got baptized. It was a wonderful service, the first service in Thonburi in a long time. About 50 people showed up to Church this week because of it! I was overjoyed. The ward is seeing progress. The ward is so lucky to have this family in their midst. The husband is not yet in the picture at Church but I imagine time will pass and progress with occur.

As far as Thonburi, I love this place. I can't quite adequately explain my love for Thonburi and for Thailand. I say it every week though, so everyone thinks I sound repetitive. I can't imagine my life without Thailand. I came here for a reason. Thailand has changed my life in such a profound way. To see the Gospel grow here in Thailand has been an amazing experience. It's like a seed. We can't expect a seed to harvest fruit overnight - that's absurd. However we can expect spurts and gradual constant growth. Thai people are ready for the Gospel, we just have to go out there and help them find themselves.

I love Thonburi because I see thousands of people everyday who are my siblings. Even just the way we talk to one another, we're all related. Big brothers, mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, grandparents everywhere. I loved seeing how this week, we had an opportunity to teach people and to help them feel the power of prayer, the love of the Savior. Yesterday we went into a place where people make shoes for 12 hours a day. We sat down waiting for an investigator to be ready to talk to us. A woman who was gluing patterns for shoes told us that her husband recently died. I told her about the plan of salvation and prayers. I have never seen such a fire in someone eyes. She, however, isn't quite ready to learn due to her work schedule. But I know she will never forget when those two really white faraangs who could speak Thai told her that she could and will meet her husband again.

I feel the love of the Savior. I know that the Savior loves us and needs us to help Him. He died for us. He really did. I feel that power so often especially as I walk down the streets trying to find those people who will listen to us. He isn't just a myth or a fable. He lives. I don't know that I can emphasize that enough. And because He lives, we don't have to worry. Life is hard. But we can do it. No matter what comes our way, as long as we have the Savior things will work out. Things never work out the way we anticipated but they always work out the best way. And when we look back we will know why.

I love the Gospel and I love the Savior. Being a missionary isn't easy but it's the right thing to do and it's the most profound experience of my life. Your life will never be the same if you serve a mission. I love Thailand and I love my calling to be here.

May God bless you all. I love you and pray for you daily. We are seeing something miraculous here. Just give us some time.


Elder Jacob Newman

Monday, August 30, 2010

Elder Seymour and Elder Newman at Wat Arun


What a Week!

August 30, 2010

Dearest Family,

What a week! I have never been so tired during my mission. This deal with the meeting they had in Bangkok made things crazy. But the week was really great. Thonburi is the most worthwhile area I have ever been in. We've seen miracles as we have worked together to try to help this ward and area grow. We are going to start working more closely with the Bishop.

I can't believe how fast the time is passing. It seems just like yesterday I was a greenie in Bangkapi, just yesterday I was hearing Laotian on the streets, just yesterday I was in Chiang Mai eating Khaaw Soy. And then to hear about Brother Sakhaa coming back to Thailand. I can't wait to be able to actually see him should he be here in Thailand. I want to be able to speak Thai with him now that I can speak Thai. He has been such an influence in my life. I love him for teaching me that missionary work is about this - the Thai people. It isn't about the glory, the fame, the ability or the skill. What missionary work comes down to is helping our brothers and sisters understand their potential as humans. We are preparing for the eternal inheritance which God has prepared for us since before we existed as we know it. When we were with God, God prepared a marvelous plan that would allow us to reach our potential. God knew our potential and wanted to help us reach it. The Thai people have that potential. We all have that potential within us. We are not simply another human. We are children of God. Brother Sakhaa helped me understand. I think before I met him, I sort of understood. But I didn't understand on the level that he taught me.

You asked me if I always study the Gospel in Thai or spend some time in English. I study the gospel in English always. Although I will sometimes open the Thai for clarification. Often the Thai translation will help us understand more. That’s because of the pronouns. We can tell very clearly when God is talking to us because he will use a certain pronoun (the royal we) and he will use the word for you that is only used by royalty.

You also asked what it means when people say that Asoke is the “Belly of the Beast.” Wow. How to describe Asoke? Take my images of Thonburi that I've given you before and multiply its intensity by about 10. It's called that because it's all skyscrapers, full of people and really western. Siam Paragon. All kinds of hotels, fancy foods, but mostly just tons and tons of people. The BTS (Skytrain) and MRT (Underground) are SO crowded. There are so many people all over the place but they all live in the suburbs of Bangkok - Bangkapi, Bangkhae, etc. Asoke is the heart of Bangkok. It's a crazy place! It's where one of the first chapels in Thailand was and it's also where the translator of the Book of Mormon lives. I would love to meet her. Her name is Mother Sri (the r is never pronounced in Thai if it is after an S, it's simply a spelling thing.)

Elder Seymour's Thai has made massive strides! He speaks Thai so skillfully now. And he reads and writes so well too! I have been working on Thai with him 24/7. As we invite, I literally will teach him Thai principles all the time. I don't know what I will do when I can't talk about Thai with him all the time. And my Thai this moves has shot off because explaining things to him has helped me understand SO much more!

My time in Thonburi has taught me that as children of God, we must be taken care of and loved. As members of the Church, the road will not be easy, nor will it be simple. But in reality, the road towards eternity isn't meant to be that way. If it were easy, it just wouldn't be worthwhile. Thonburi has millions of people just waiting to hear the news about being children of God, about that divine potential.

This week as we taught a new investigator, Sutheb shared with us how he prayed daily, read the scriptures daily and desired to come to Church. He wants to see his potential as a child of God. I asked him a question. “Uncle, do you want to a regular person? An ordinary person?” When he said no, I told him that through the gospel, we become something greater than regular, we can become something extraordinary. We can become the kind of person who has happiness, the kind of person who has the right perspective about life and the kind of person who is like the Savior Jesus Christ. We have the potential to inherit that divine inheritance from our Heavenly King. In Thai it's just so perfect, because the word for child of God is the word for prince and princesses. I love that. God in Thai is the heavenly king. Thai expresses the love we have for him as our King. I love Him. Heavenly Father loves us all and He wants us all to be happy. God doesn't want us to be miserable. If he wanted us to be miserable, He wouldn't be a very good father. It's just at times as children we think we know what's best for us. But in reality, our Father in Heaven - He knows. Sometimes we must learn the things that are most important. Is money important? Not as important as family. Not as important as the anchor of the Gospel.

We are seeing a turn around in Thonburi. Next week the other Elders’ investigators are getting baptized. Sister Apple (Buen), Sugar (Naamtaan) and Ding, a family minus their father - who's not interested yet - are all getting baptized. The first baptism in Thonburi in possibly over two years. It's a miracle! She's a miracle and is a great investigator. It's all a matter of time.

I love you all. Thank you for all your support!


Elder Jacob Newman

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

This Week Was Crazier Than Most

August 25, 2010

Dearest Family,

Welcome to another Thonburi week. This week was crazier than most. There was a major training meeting in Bangkok for all leaders. So our schedule was MESSED up. Switch-offs. Changing preparation day. Everything is crazy and up in the air. Right now, today is our preparation day. We went to Din Daeng to do "switch-offs" only to be told that we were actually going to be returning home the next day rather than doing switch-offs. The meeting involves only leaders in the mission - District Leader, Zone Leader, etc. So, I didn't go. But with switch-offs and people staying at our house, it's been a mess. Somewhat fun but mostly tiring! I am very tired. But today we are going to see a VERY beautiful wad so that will be good. It's called Wad Arun. Anyway, besides that all is pretty well.

This week I had the realization that my mission hasn't turned out exactly the way that I had expected it to turn out. I think of it as a journey of self development and discovery. From the villages of Bangkok, to the Isaan rice fields and up บนดอย (That's upon the mountains in Northern - bon doy), and back to the heart of metropolitan Bangkok. I didn't really expect to have the experiences that I've had. I didn't expect to be given the challenges that I have been given. And yet in the end, I wouldn't trade it. Sometimes in the heat of the moment, we might question our challenges. But when it comes down to it, life is about strength. Strength is something we must find deep within ourselves from our Father in Heaven. And sometimes we might only simply be an influence in a minor way.

Since my time in Thonburi, I've seen a lot of disappointments. I've seen a lot of heartache. And I've felt a lot of feelings. But if there's anything I learn from Thonburi, it's that God watches out for us. Even if sometimes, we don't fully understand. As we walk down the soys, passing houses full of people, as we walk down streets crowded with street vendors who haven't made more than three dollars that day, we see human suffering. And our suffering, our pains and sorrows seem minuscule. Thonburi needs this help. Thonburi needs the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our effort is paving the way for future miracles. We will see miracles here in Thonburi.

Thonburi has won a spot in my heart. From the sheer amount that I have tried to help this area work to the number of hours I have spent talking to people in soys and on the streets, I know Thonburi better than I know Salt Lake City. I've never had an area that I have known as well as Thonburi. I could literally map out exactly how it is, how the soys work and what the soys are like.

Sacrifice. That's what a mission is about. It's not about baptisms, glory, fame, honor. It's not a matter of how good we are at Thai or how skillful we are. In the end, it's about sacrifice and the sacrifice of self. We don't look at this sacrifice as a burden, but we think of how sacrifice is a process of purification. Sacrifice is the process by which men become like God. Sacrifice is the means by which we see His power upon the earth. Sacrifice is the power by which salvation was wrought. Our lives must become more like that of the Savior.

Zone Conference this past week was very good. I enjoyed it. I don't have any particular thing I want to share. It was great to be there with everyone. Also, the food made by the member who calls everyone "luug" (child) was awesome and delicious.

This week in Thonburi I heard an amazing phrase. We were walking down a soy. For my entire mission, I have wanted to walk down a soy and find someone. I think this past week we might have found that someone. At first I almost didn't invite him but then I did. He then said something to me that I will not forget. คุณเป็นบุตรของ God that came to find me. He said you are the son of God that came to find me. I felt impressed and touched. After all the days of hard finding. After all the time that I tried to do my best, someone said this to me. Even if nothing had come of this investigator, I would have still been touched to know that God was in this happening. His name is Sutheb. Theb is the word for angel. He speaks English wonderfully well. We've taught him two times and he shows potential.

Besides that, Cherry and Num are not able to be contacted at this time. Sadly, I don't know what happened with them. They have testimonies. They just need to act on them.

As far as other happenings in Thonburi. English class is awesome here. I will miss all of my students when I move. Also we went to the Bishop's house for their adorable one-year old's party for a little bit. There was laab and khanom jiin. It was way good. I love the bishop and Sister Cherry. They are a wonderful family and a wonderful example of gospel living.

Thonburi is a place that I will always remember. Not because of the amount of investigators. But because of the power of God that I have felt here. I love this place with all my heart. I've grown so close to the members. I've tried to help them the best I can. And I hope that I, one day, will see the results of our efforts.

I know that Christ lives. Last night we read third Nephi 11 in class for English. Everyone got quiet. The room had been so rowdy. Then, we read of the sacred ministry of the risen Christ and his invitation for the people to come and feel the wounds in his hands and in his sides. I love the Lord. I know the Thai people need Him.

I love you all and pray for you all,

With Love,

Elder Jacob Newman

Monday, August 16, 2010

Thonburi Weeks

August 16, 2010

Dearest Family,

It's so crazy to think about how things past so quickly. My time in Thailand. One year in country this last week. Wow! That was a crazy moment. And here I am training in the heart of Bangkok. Was this in my plans? Nope. Is it the best thing ever? Yes.

Welcome to Thonburi weeks. I am so attached to Thonburi. Actually, this week was great. I didn't feel as stressed out and while I still feel tired - that's mostly from the Bangkok air and environment. But this week we saw some great progress along with another switch-offs with the Zone Leaders. I got a chance to see the other side of Bangkok. Talk about the city!

The Asoke Zone Leaders’ area is HUGE. We rode the BTS from place to place. Imagine a jungle of concrete. Imagine some of the most beautiful and fancy buildings you've seen - from Siam Paragon - literally called the Pride of Bangkok - to the tallest building in Bangkok. Neighborhoods are overshadowed by hundreds of skyscrapers. The Thai Bangkok city life is very evident - people who work and live in the same place - running little 7-11 like places, living with their families and living with their extended relations. Imagine all of this with subways, the BTS, boats and everything in between to get around. Their area is huge and has SO many people. Like Thonburi, however, it takes creativity to get to these people. Asoke would be a very fun place to be should I get to serve there someday.

As far as the rest of the week in Thonburi - we saw some awesome things for Mother's Day in Thailand. Happy Thai Mother's day by the way, Mother! Thai Mother's day is a big deal! Fireworks, parties, it's a holiday and there's people everywhere at the Sanaam Luang. It was an interesting and very cultural experience. I really thought about how much Thai people value family. I think I've mentioned this before but people work so hard for their families here. Taxis will go out and work for 12 to 14 hours to support their family. They come from the Isaan to work so that their kids can learn at better schools and hopefully have a better future than that of their parents. Usually both parents work to support their children in learning. Family is everything to Thai people. They work long hours and in an ironic sense they can't be there for the people they sacrifice so much for because they are working for them.

Long hours. Sweat. Sacrifice. I have seen the sacrifice of so many Thai members. Just imagine the translator of the Book of Mormon - she sacrificed everything for the Church. Imagine the average members who often sacrifice personal comforts to serve in the Church. Take Bishop Arun for example. He has been a bishop most of his married life because the Church just needs him. The Church in Thailand needs every soul - especially the Thonburi ward whose active membership is fairly low. It needs every soul to help run the ward! One person cannot do it alone. We need to help one another.

This week we met lots of new investigators who have some potential. From Mod (Ant) who told us that we were representatives of the Lord, to a family - Michael (except said Michun because Thais can't say l's at the end of words) and Taa - to a few others who have some potential, I really feel as if Thonburi is going to see progression. At this time we still can't contact Cherry and Num and neither can their friend, Sister Awm. They have testimonies, they just need to act. It's very heartbreaking for me to see how they have been unable to act on their faith. They will be baptized, I feel, we must just have patience.

Patience. That's the greatest lesson from Thonburi. Patience is not just simply waiting - patience is action. Patience brings us closer to the Lord and causes us to reflect on what we must do in order to be closer to him. I know that all these things, all these challenges in Thonburi haven't been because God doesn't care. In fact, God cares so intimately. The challenges of Thonburi were given to me because God knew I could do it and knew that for some reason I needed to come here. Maybe it was only to open the area to pave the way for future success. But no matter what it is, I know that God is watching out for us. I know that He cares for us so powerfully.

Anyway, this week was awesome. I know I'm learning a lot. Please pray that the Spirit will guide us and that we won't get too wet! Thank you so much for all your support. I love you all and pray for you daily. Never forget the gem that the Gospel is!

With Love,

Elder Jacob Newman