Monday, August 9, 2010

The Joy of Thonburi

August 9, 2010

Dearest Family,

Ahh.. The joy of Thonburi. How I love it here, from the branch and the development of our area to the love that I feel from the members. I love so many of the members here in Thonburi. They have strong testimonies, know their role, and desire to help.

This week was another great week. We got to teach a lot actually! I was rather surprised how much we ended up teaching. I hope the pattern will continue. Inviting in Thonburi is a bit interesting. Inviting here - as in street contacting/tracting - is an art. People in Bangkok are hurried. They don't have lots of time. They are always running on buses, song taews, saam laws, and all kinds of other transportation devices. There are not many "neighborhoods" in Thonburi. The typical Thai soys are full of buildings where people are working - sometimes out of their homes. In contrast, Thonburi is full of tall buildings where people live in condos, apartments, rooms for rent. These people are often tricky to get to if only because they don't live the traditional Thai way of life where you live on the soy and your life is right outside your front door.

I love the Thai way of life. Thais don't have doors or porches like we do. Their houses are almost more like garages if we were to compare them to America. Their doors are always open unless it rains. Thai people in Bangkok don't like the rain. And this time of year it's the rainy season. When it rains, it pours. No joke. I have never seen so much rain in my life.

Sadly Cherry and Num aren't progressing. They are so busy with work they can't really meet with us or attend Church. But Sister Awm is coming to Church and is going to keep helping them see the importance of what is going on. They want to come to Church. They want to learn. They know it's true, they must just act. That's the thing I have learned. Knowledge alone isn't enough. It takes action. We must act if we want to taste the fruit of the gospel. We must struggle sometimes. The path towards Zion isn't always an easy one, but it's a worthwhile journey.

As I learned from Elder Uchtdorf's talk on patience, patience is a journey. We must keep pressing forward on the path towards eternal life and sanctification through our patience. God has his timetable. And it’s a hard thing to accept sometimes. I wanted to see so much happen in Thonburi right away. I wanted investigators instantly. I wanted things to work out like they were working out when I left Chiang Mai - an area that was doing well despite challenges - an area that had weeks where we found new investigators almost everyday. But Thonburi just takes patience. We are building the foundation to help this branch in the future. There may be challenges but I refuse to let challenges stand in my way. With God, we can do all things. We must remember that the children of God are out there, waiting. I know that as we keep working, all things are possible. We are seeing miracles as we simply put our trust in Him. Action. That's the key. Hard work.

The mission motto of the Thailand Bangkok Mission is something I recite everyday with Elder Seymour. Faith is the power. Obedience is the price. Love is the motivation. Preach my Gospel is the way. The Spirit is the key. Christ is the reason. That last one always gets to me. He's the reason. We must testify of His atonement.

If we talk about turning points in my life, I can see countless places where my life changed a little bit. But I remember times when I felt a definite change. The greatest changing point however was when I realized who my best friend really was - Jesus Christ. He was always there for me no matter how much I hurt or messed up. I've never felt the love of him greater than when I felt it as my life began to change. I love the Lord Jesus Christ. I am not ashamed to wear his name badge or to testify of Him because He changed my life. Cheesy? Maybe. Real? Yes. Christ changed my life in such a profound way. I found true happiness and the real direction in my life. I went to BYU, went on a mission. Things always work out. Somehow. Wow!

This week was great. Elder Seymour's awesome. We're working hard. And I love it. I have lots of things on my mind right now but I know that families are forever and that you all are amazing. I know this work is so worth it.

I love you all,


Elder Jacob Newman

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