August 25, 2010
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,
Elder Jacob Newman