Monday, July 5, 2010

Thonburi Is an Adventure

July 5, 2010

Dearest Family,

Wow. What a week. Figuring out Thonburi is an adventure and a half that's for sure. I am just barely starting to get it a little bit. But it's still so confusing. Thailand street systems and the sheer crowdedness of Thonburi are insane. As we walk along the streets there are literally people everywhere. Imagine this scene - the streets are full of motorcycles that you can hire to drive you places, there are noodle stands, restaurants to order taam sang food - rice, vegetables and meat in different kinds of combinations - Isaan places, people selling shoes, knickknacks, students, construction workers, dogs, smoke, heat, the smell of fried treats, rotting fruit and the nearby khlong - Thai waterway. And all around us, everywhere - there are children of God. All created by the same person. Elder Seymour commented on that as we were by Rachaphat Thonburi - a university in Thonburi. There were countless students and fruit vendors, people everywhere. The heat and the pressure on the soys are somehow exhilarating. Wow - from jamming into the crowded buses to getting stuck in taxis in traffic jams.

Anyway, this week was great. We saw lots of great things. Lots of disappointments, but in the end, we are out here hitting the pavement and putting in our hours of hard work because this is the best work ever! Sure it's hard and it's hot but wow it's fun and amazing to see people change and see how even one thing can change the whole day. It's sad to see when people don't see the importance of our message - that families can be together forever - but I know that as we simply put forth our efforts we can and will see miracles. I have faith. And I know my companion, who is the best, does too.

Tuesday was zone conference. They are focusing on teaching families more. I agree that the only way Thailand will progress is to bring families into the Church. Getting into the door of families is much harder but so worth it. So as we invite, we like to ask people to sit down as a family. Please pray that we will continue to meet families who are ready to prepare to have the gospel. I know that teaching families we can help Thailand have the temple that the members want so badly. I know this is possible because God gave us families. I feel so grateful for a family that loves me. Do we realize what we have? Do we realize how lucky we are to have one another? I love you all so much and I want to help the Thai people to have what we have: The Gospel and the knowledge that we can be together forever, no matter what might happen around us.

English is picking up in Thonburi. I'm English leader and I love it. Please pray that we will get investigators from English. I love, love teaching English. Wow. It's just so fun. And in Thonburi there are so many people who want to learn English.

As far as the rest of the week - our appointments fell through - a lot. And by a lot, I mean a ton. And we ended up looking for people to teach. I felt a bit frustrated that no one seemed to be getting it. So we fasted for more investigators this Saturday. The whole mission did actually.

And then something quite miraculous happened. I arrived at Church and greeted a sister that I had never seen before. Her name is Sister Awm. Sister Awm hasn't come to Church too much because of her work. But today she came. And she brought two investigators. They turned out to live in our area. They are named Cherry and Num. They are looking for the true Church. They have been to many Churches but haven't found the Church that's right. They came to Church for all three hours. Smiled broadly and loved every minute. We are going to be meeting with them this week. This was an answer to prayers. Please hope and pray that they work out and that we will be able to teach them and help them. It was truly a miracle. Member referrals in Thailand are rare. And this couple sounds and feels amazing.

Then the Olsons showed up after sacrament meeting. Sister Cherry said that there was an investigator waiting for me at the front of the Church. It was the Olsons. A surprise? Yes. Especially on a day where there were 5 investigators at Church - a milestone for Thonburi that hasn't had more than 1 investigator at Church in forever. They got videos and pictures of me. They were so nice. I translated for them. They were nice and it was great to see them. They love Thailand. They sounded like they had a good time in Phukket. It was fun to see them and to see their reactions to Thailand.

Alrighty. That's it for today. I do want to say that I love you all very much and I am so grateful for this time to be a missionary here in Thailand. I am so grateful for the Thai people and their hearts. Please pray for us. I pray for you all daily and love you all so much. Please be safe and happy and healthy. Rely on God and always remember the power of the atonement is so real.

Love lots,

Elder Jacob Newman

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