August 2, 2010
Hello Dearest Family,
Another Thonburi week. Welcome to the most crowded and most wonderful place in Bangkok. I've never had quite the attachment to an area like I have with this one. Granted, I am attached to all of my areas but I feel so personally invested in this one. I guess it's because before last moves this area didn't exist. Our part of Thonburi hasn't really had missionaries do missionary work this intensely before.
We are in the Thonburi, Khlong Saan, Bangkok Yay area. All of these areas are full of people. Describing how many people there are that live in our section of Thonburi is almost impossible. Apartment complexes that we can't proselytize are all over the place. There are families and individuals along the streets, eating food, playing badminton, enjoying the weather until it rains - when it rains the streets are completely vacant - and enjoying their lives. You see people running on their motorcycles from place to place. You hear the sound of cars no matter where you are. Smoke. Skyline. The smell of Thai peppers, khlongs, treats. Sevens on every corner.
You asked if I ever get to do fun things that are truly Thai. Oh man! I do that every day. Eat Somtum, naam tog, khaw muu yang, with my hands. Eat with a spoon in my right hand a fork in the left. Eat along the street. Go to Seven. Eat pandan custard. Then sit on the ground with investigators. Wai investigators and people we meet. Speak Thai - you can't get more Thai than that. Talk on the phone with my mouth covered. And just being here. When we talk about true Thai, there's so much that comes to mind. But everyday is an adventure. Sometimes we just forget how much of an adventure it is.
As far as this week, we saw some good things but we also saw some disappointing things. So is the life of a missionary. But we must remember that we don't do this for fame or even to be particularly liked, it's because we love the people.
Alrighty, Thonburi tales. So as far as what happened this week. Elder Seymour gets better at Thai EVERY day. It's crazy. To see his progress is amazing. He speaks more clearly every single day. His grammar is getting better. His tones are become nice and clear. He's such a great greenie. He has helped me so much this moves. I really needed a friend to help me open up this area. And luckily I got someone who I would consider to be one of my best friends ever. We've been through a LOT together so I feel that that has brought us close together. I don't know how else to describe it.
This week I went to Bangkhae to teach English with Elder Tom. It was fun and not too stressful. After that I switched off in Bangkhae with Elder Tom. It was a good switch offs. It was funny. I actually met up with the ward mission leader from Chiang Mai, Brother Ped! He moved to Bangkhae to be with his mother and to start life anew in Bangkok. So we went to see his mom and start the teaching process with her because right now she's learning with the Jehovah witnesses. So, I met up with him and found out how Chiang Mai and Elder Jensen are doing. I miss Elder Jensen!
Elder Seymour taught Cherry and Num. They are still progressing, sort of. But they MUST start coming to Church again or they will never be able to get baptized. We set a goal with them to be baptized this last week and committed them to Church. Unfortunately they slept in again this week. I was a little disappointed. I feel disappointed because they are prepared and ready to receive the Gospel, they must just act and do the things that will bring them unto Christ. They are going to have to keep working. Sister Awm, their friend, came to Church this week and Cherry and Num said they would come but they did not yet come. Unfortunately.
But, we press forward and work to find other new investigators. We had some good attitude and our finding went very well. I love going out inviting even if it gets tiring. Sometimes we will get tired but as long as we forget ourselves and go to work, we will find! Finding investigators is an experience in which we rely completely upon our Heavenly Father and pray that they will open the door to the two of us. We must rely on the Savior to help us with the rejection and the appointments that fall through. And then we have experiences that help us realize the power of our Savior.
Yesterday we were exhausted, fasting, inviting in the beating sun. I was so tired and thirsty. We met two potentials we will be visiting today and another one that we taught yesterday. The one we taught yesterday was so kind and he seems sincere. We are trying hard to find families, too. That's who we desire to teach. We want to help the ward have more families so they can have a more complete leadership and a larger support network - building Zion.
I love the Thai people. The love of God. I talk about that every week. But every week I learn a little bit more about it. I come to see God's feelings towards his children. I come to realize that in the end, God is the one in charge, not me. I know that He will watch out for us as we do the things He has asked us to do. I know I came here for a reason. God called me to Thailand. Everyday, I try to remember that. God knew that I could do this. God knew I could speak Thai – maybe - and that I could help His work here in Thailand. God has a calling for all of us, great and small. We so often don't realize how much influence we have in the lives of others. I have grown to love every person who's been in my life. Especially family. I am so grateful to have that support network that everyone here in Thailand craves. I am grateful for the opportunity to love these people and to serve among them. The rain might pour, the heat will beat down upon us but that doesn’t matter.
I want to thank you for your love. Please pray for Cherry and Num. Help them come to Church. Pray for us to keep seeing miracles. Our good attitude and our love can go a long way!
I love you all and miss you all,
Elder Jacob Newman