September 6, 2010
What a crazy moves meeting week. I never thought my experience in Thonburi would turn out the way that it has. Needless to say, it's been such a blessing in my life. From meeting the Bishop's wonderful family and all these other AWESOME Thai members in Bangkok to coming to love this branch as if it were my home ward. I feel as if my greatest growth in Thailand has taken place here. The things that are important become so clear and the things that don't matter become rather obvious. I love the Lord so much more. I love the Thai people so much more. My patience has grown. My love for the work has grown. My Thai has grown But, most of all I came to see how life is a wonderful experience. It's what we make of it. If we make it hard, it will be hard. But if we learn that God has a purpose for us that we may not understand, we will be able to look back upon our lives and see the hand of God.
I arrived at moves meeting with Elder Seymour. We had a tricky week with switch offs in Bangkhae and with lots of appointments that didn't go through. But we arrived and sat down. Moves meeting gave us some good inspiration and we heard the news that they are opening a new Elders’ area in Asoke and one in Srinakarin also. Two “heart of Bangkok” areas - well one is suburban Bangkok and the other is VERY urban. And then I found out that I got Elder Iverson from Elder Seymour's group for my new companion. He's super skillful. His Thai is SO good, he's a hard worker and he has a great attitude. We get along really well.
Elder Seymour went to... get this... Yashothorn, about as rural as you can get. It's SO tiny. He's been riding his bike a ton. His new companion is my nong thai at the MTC Elder Phetvixay. He seems to be enjoying it - I had to talk to him to get a few things figured out this past week. He will be hearing a lot of Isaan rather than the typical Bangkok Thai he's used to but he will do great. He taught me so much. I will miss him so much.
I feel a change in the air of Thonburi. This past week we saw too many good things to be real. We saw Sutheb at Church. Not alone but with his girlfriend. He came to Church on time and really loved it. He's been praying and reading daily. This last time we visited him we committed him to think about when he would like to be baptized. He's eager. He told me he believes in the Savior. He always tells us that we were sent to find him. The day we met him was one of those days that I wasn't sure what to do. I was walking down a soy with Elder Seymour, feeling so frustrated. I almost passed him up because he didn't seem that interested. But then I really listened to what he had to say. He was crying out for something. He longed for something more than he could see. And for some reason, we were blessed enough to find him.
The other Elders’ investigators, Sister Buen (Apple), Sister Taan (Sugar), and Brother Ding all got baptized. It was a wonderful service, the first service in Thonburi in a long time. About 50 people showed up to Church this week because of it! I was overjoyed. The ward is seeing progress. The ward is so lucky to have this family in their midst. The husband is not yet in the picture at Church but I imagine time will pass and progress with occur.
As far as Thonburi, I love this place. I can't quite adequately explain my love for Thonburi and for Thailand. I say it every week though, so everyone thinks I sound repetitive. I can't imagine my life without Thailand. I came here for a reason. Thailand has changed my life in such a profound way. To see the Gospel grow here in Thailand has been an amazing experience. It's like a seed. We can't expect a seed to harvest fruit overnight - that's absurd. However we can expect spurts and gradual constant growth. Thai people are ready for the Gospel, we just have to go out there and help them find themselves.
I love Thonburi because I see thousands of people everyday who are my siblings. Even just the way we talk to one another, we're all related. Big brothers, mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, grandparents everywhere. I loved seeing how this week, we had an opportunity to teach people and to help them feel the power of prayer, the love of the Savior. Yesterday we went into a place where people make shoes for 12 hours a day. We sat down waiting for an investigator to be ready to talk to us. A woman who was gluing patterns for shoes told us that her husband recently died. I told her about the plan of salvation and prayers. I have never seen such a fire in someone eyes. She, however, isn't quite ready to learn due to her work schedule. But I know she will never forget when those two really white faraangs who could speak Thai told her that she could and will meet her husband again.
I feel the love of the Savior. I know that the Savior loves us and needs us to help Him. He died for us. He really did. I feel that power so often especially as I walk down the streets trying to find those people who will listen to us. He isn't just a myth or a fable. He lives. I don't know that I can emphasize that enough. And because He lives, we don't have to worry. Life is hard. But we can do it. No matter what comes our way, as long as we have the Savior things will work out. Things never work out the way we anticipated but they always work out the best way. And when we look back we will know why.
I love the Gospel and I love the Savior. Being a missionary isn't easy but it's the right thing to do and it's the most profound experience of my life. Your life will never be the same if you serve a mission. I love Thailand and I love my calling to be here.
May God bless you all. I love you and pray for you daily. We are seeing something miraculous here. Just give us some time.
Elder Jacob Newman