September 14, 2010
Yesterday we had a special conference with Elder Perkins that was really quite fantastic. There were a lot of great talks by President and Sister Smith along with President and Sister Perkins. I really enjoyed it a lot. They are changing the method of teaching at the MTC, so we are all learning about the new focuses. The new changes to the system will be good and will help us to help people feel the power of the gospel in their lives.
This week we saw some really great progress here in Thonburi. Thonburi has been my favorite area. Sure I loved all my areas, but Thonburi will always have a special place in my heart. From the members - the hilarious Sister Uy who works at the Marriott resort here in Thonburi, the bishop's amazing family - Sister Cherry and all, Brother Johnny's awesome family who runs a lot of the branch and Sister Ganjana who always seems to make us smile. From Brother Poniwat who has been a member since Thonburi opened for missionary work pretty much to Brother Bunchay a man who has Chinese ancestry who was converted, this ward has a lot of wonderful members that I will never forget. It's here that I really came to see what's important in life.
This week was amazing. We had some days that were really hard but Sunday made up for everything. We saw Sutheb a lot and he's progressing really quite well. He's been reading daily, he understands why we must go to Church and he loves learning about the teachings of Christ. He came to Church this week with his girlfriend and the members were great to them. Of course, it's always a bit awkward at first but they respect him and think he's a great guy. He's developing stronger and stronger faith in our Heavenly Father and in Christ. He's reading the Book of Mormon consistently and tells us how much he loves it when we come to teach. His girlfriend has come with him these past two weeks and she's now an investigator also. He wasn't the typical golden investigator. He didn't keep our first appointment and at first I wasn't sure about his desires. But anyone who comes to Church, reads daily, and introduces his friends is someone who has desire. He knows who he is.
We also saw another not-yet sort of kind of investigator at Church named Waan who is friends with Sister Ganjana. She has a desire to learn but is uncertain about learning with the Elders yet. It's a bit of an odd situation.
This week we ended up teaching a lot and seeing lots of great people. This is an amazing place. There's something so magical about Thonburi. The streets are really crowded, overflowing with people going to work, the market or selling their wares. The soys are narrow and full of people and there's a lot of rushing going on. But I have come to love this part of Bangkok so much.
Yesterday we had a testimony meeting at Zone Conference. I thought about my time in Thonburi and while it's been definitely not what I was anticipating, it's been probably the biggest blessing of my mission. We are starting to see things happen. Thonburi will be having investigators at Church for the foreseeable future. Thonburi before this was one struggling area, a ward on the verge of being a branch, but as we have tried our hardest, we are starting to see a kind of turnaround here. Granted, Thonburi won't be fixed in a day. Perhaps not even a year, but someday Thonburi won't be just one ward - it will be two. One day this side of Bangkok will be its own stake. We must have faith in God's timing for everything. Just because we don't see results instantly doesn't mean we shouldn't keep a positive outlook. If we keep a positive outlook and have faith, we can and will see miracles. We must continue to rely on the Savior and our Father in Heaven to see those miracles. Often the miracles are the simple things - the time the Thai grandmother smiles at you or the times people are so nice about your language. Sometimes God just tells us wait. Preparation precedes the miracle.
Also a little piece of advice: Always do your home and visiting teaching. That's a lesson I've learned very well in Thailand but particularly in Thonburi. We all need nourishment by the good word of God.
I love you all and pray for you daily. I know that God is watching out for all of us. He really does care and loves all of us.
Elder Jacob Newman