Monday, September 27, 2010

I Am a Thonburite

September 27, 2010

Dearest Family,

Yesterday I sat at Church and I thought how I consider Thonburi to be my home. When I first came to Thonburi, I never thought I would get so attached to such a tiny branch with so few members. I never knew how much I could love a ward until I came to this little struggling ward on the Thonburi side of Bangkok. The other day I saw a shirt that said "I am a Thonburite - คนฝั่ง Thon - I can't find the letter I need to spell Thon correctly. But I thought of my time here in Thonburi. In my heart, I will always be a Thonburite. I love this side of the river. I love Thonburi. From every member, who might as well be adopted siblings, parents, aunts and uncles to me, to the sheer love I have for the area, I love Thonburi so much. It's a place of miracles and a place that I will always love.

We did exchanges with the Zone Leaders this week, I was with Elder McConkie. It was a good time. We were together for two days. We got a chance to find a really good new investigator named Athiwad. He has a lot of potential and he was met in the most random way - down a soy full of disinterested people, this man said hello to us in English and at first I wasn't sure if he would be interested, but he turned out to be the most interested person we met that day. He almost went to Church yesterday but he didn't have anyone to watch his house so he couldn't go. We taught him. As we taught him, he said "In the past I have been a bad person but I want to change" That's what the gospel about. The Gospel is about the change of self - into a true saint and disciple of Jesus Christ. And sometimes as we teach the Gospel, we find that the ones who change the most aren't our investigators, but rather us.

Thonburi hasn't had a ton of investigators that have learned for long periods of time. But as I have taught those I have, I have realized how we must evaluate our priorities in life. I have learned that I must stay close to our Father in Heaven. In the end, all things will fall apart and fade, the only things that don't fade are the truths that we cherish. As I sat there and heard this man say that he wanted to repent, I thought of how Our Father in Heaven wanted so much for his child to talk to him. That's what God really wants from our prayers - is us simply talking with him - a lesson I learned from Brother Nuy in Nongkhai. Imagine this - God has waited for thirty or forty years to talk to some of his children. For some of his children, they never get the chance to talk to him at all. Imagine the feelings of a tender parent who never gets to talk to their child. We must learn to simply talk with God.

The sad thing about yesterday was is that Sutheb missed Church for the second week in a row. This week, he revealed some concerns that I didn't see coming. We are going to have to be praying that he will have a desire to sincerely follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. I know that he was prepared to meet us but he will take some work to fully repent. He's not an easy investigator. But I love him and he has a desire to be converted. He will take some time. The great things about yesterday include but are not limited to, a referral from a member from Bangkhen and an appointment to meet with a referral from the members of our own ward.

The referral from Bangkhen seems awesome. Her name is Bo and she is really interested and is going to be coming to Church this next week. I feel so happy to know that God is watching out for us. She lives by Wong Wian Yay. I have been down those soys so often but I have never run into her before. The soys in Thonburi are hard to describe. They are narrow and they are very full of people but it's a mystery where all these people live.

President Smith is very good. I like him a lot and I think he's doing a great job. He wants to help all the branches in the country to grow. He gave a talk about sharing the gospel in Thonburi that I think has caused some good action by the members. Our ward mission leader was pushed to action.

Anyway, this next week should be good. I love Thonburi with all my heart and there's going to be lots of good things happening here. I love seeing how the ward is slowing but surely changing. It will take time but I know that one day I will be able to come back and see the difference! One day Thonburi will have two wards and this side of the river will have a stake!

Love you all lots and pray for you daily,

Elder Jacob Newman

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