June 28, 2010
What a beautiful day in a beautiful place! Thonburi of course! Today I feel infinitely better and ready to get out there and take on the world. This last week was definitely a bit of a struggle, to say the least. But this upcoming week should be fantastic, I am hoping and praying. With the hospital and all kinds of other issues going on, our lives were a bit hectic there for a bit. But this week, I really came to rely upon the Savior more.
When I was driving in the car to the hospital, I thought how scary it was to be going to the hospital in Thailand. I didn't know what to expect. But even though I was in pain, I felt at peace about everything. I don't really get why things happen the way they do - it was an interesting start to a moves that I will never forget. From opening an area with a greenie to fainting in an elevator to trying our hardest to get around Thonburi, I feel like this moves I have grown so much and come to rely on God more than I ever have in the past.
The Zone Leaders talked to me on the phone and expressed their confidence in me and in my ability to open this area. Sure it's a bit of a whirlwind but I know we can do it. I am determined to work my hardest to find those people who I was sent here to find. President Smith expects a lot for Thonburi. Thonburi is the most populated area in Bangkok and yet is only getting about 40 people out to Church a week. We want to see that change to help the members and to help the kingdom of God grow. The membership wants to help but it's a task that we all can't do alone. We are all striving together to help the Savior's work.
This week I found myself somewhat tired from all the inviting. I didn't feel like many people were listening. But then of course, once we feel like that something amazing happens. We were inviting one day and I smiled at this old man who was making shoes with his wife. We exchanged a few words and eventually he gave us the number for his house and said we could come back the next day. Unfortunately the number didn't work but I decided we should still go to the appointment because he said we could. At first he was suspicious, not really knowing what to think of us. Then I said a prayer. He said two words in Thai right after I finished the prayer: ขนลุก which means that he got goose bumps. He said, “I can feel something. I can feel something that I have never felt before.” He proceeded to explain why he even let me talk to him in the first place. He said that his life has been hard - the economy has taken his shoe business from a thriving industry to where he has to live with his children in order to make ends meet. He felt so alone and so discouraged. He said when he saw me he talked to me because I had a smile on my face and it seemed genuine. I thought about it. That day was a harder day - I felt a little discouraged that no one was listening to us but I was still very sincerely happy. I didn't think that this smile would open him up. He said he wondered how I could be happy when the world was so hard. I told him of his Father and of the love He has for him, a son of God. I know God loves all His children. I felt the Spirit strongly as Elder Seymour and I taught him. He was willing to accept another appointment and to pray in his free time.
The same miraculous Saturday night we met with a couple. I had called this potential twice. The first time he was sick and the second time he didn't answer. But this time we managed to get an appointment with him on that Saturday. He and his wife listened as we talked about families. They have two children. He doesn't quite get the role of religion in his life but we are going to be seeing him again this week. They listened intently as we told them of the eternal possibilities of family.
And finally we had one more appointment with a man named Somchay. At first I was a bit suspicious of this investigator since he didn't seem too interested. Little did I know that he would fall in love with our teachings. The first time we met he said he "ชอบมากเลย!" Which translates roughly as "I like this a lot!" Then he explained that he has been to church before and likes Christianity. We have another appointment with him today.
God really showed us how things work. I discovered that if I just keep working and helping this branch and helping these people even when it's hard and tiring that it's so worth it! And that's why I loved this week because it showed me how worth it it really is. To be with a greenie is such a refreshing experience too. He sees the world of Thailand with awe and wonder and is so excited and ready to help Thai people come to know their Savior. I love working with Elder Seymour. He has the Spirit, his Thai is getting better all the time and he is working so hard. I love this opportunity to be his trainer. I feel like a lot of times he trains me and I am his trainee. He teaches through his love, hard work and smile. His patience too. He has a lot of patience with me and with the work here in Thonburi.
I love Thonburi and I love Thailand. There's so much that happens everyday I can't record it all in words. Words cannot adequately express the spiritual and the physical experiences. The feelings I get as I teach Thai people and as I do this work cannot be explained. I think a mission is about learning that the world isn't about you. The world doesn't revolve around my needs or my comfort. There are people out there who need help. There are people who need the love of God. And that's why we do this. I love this work and this people. I can't express it adequately. And so I don't. That's the limitation of words. Please pray for us daily that we will really help this area and that we will find people who are prepared.
Elder Jacob Newman