October 11, 2010
I am not sure if this is my last week in Thonburi or not. This transfers is a very crazy one. Elder Day's huge group of at least 15 is going to be finishing their missions here pretty soon. It's such a weird thought that not too long ago, I was with Elder Day in Chiang Mai and he was just on his 12th moves. And now here he is finishing his mission. Elder Hunt, an AP is finishing too. There's going to be some pretty major changes in leadership and in trainers. The mission is getting so young now that people have to go senior companion younger and younger. I will be curious to see how this next moves works out.
Thonburi this week is doing alright. We saw four investigators at Church - Sutheb and Plaa along with Bo and Oo. They all attended sessions of Conference. It was pretty amazing that they all came. Sutheb is still having some struggles with keeping commitments - especially reading but he's pressing forward slowly but surely. Bo is doing really well. We taught her a lesson this week where she took notes as we taught. I've never had an investigator do that before. She was intensely taking notes as we reviewed prophets and talked a little bit about General Conference.
General Conference was a good experience. I can understand more than I could last time I watched it in Thai but it just doesn't get the same meaning across really. The translations sometimes are hard because the speakers will vary from their intended course. Also ten hours of listening to really high Thai language with crazy vocabulary is a bit tiring. But the speakers were really good. I loved Elder Uchtdorf's talk about the pace of modern life and Elder Eyring's talk. Conference is a really nice time to be with the members, too. Granted, the turn out usually isn't that fantastic but this year we had quite a few investigators who showed up.
I don't know how to describe my intense love for Thonburi. I have never had an area quite like it. The ward is doing better since we've been here. I feel like somehow we give them more hope for a future where Thailand can have that temple. I love missionary work, even if it is a lot of rejection and even if it's particularly difficult sometimes. There are miracles and God doesn't want us to forget that.
In reality, why does God allow us to have challenges? How can an infinite, all-loving God allow us as humans to suffer? The answer is simple: love. God loves us more than we can imagine. God lets us experience trials because He loves us and desires to have an intimate role in our lives. God loves us so much that He sent His Son to feel all that. Have we ever thought of trials as a form of love? Instead of asking why, which we are all so prone to do, we must ask how. We must ask how we can press forward with faith until we see the light. I know that
Thonburi has been a challenge in many ways - from being sick my first week and fainting in an elevator and hours of inviting and lots of rejection. But would I trade Thonburi for anything? Never. Thonburi is too deserving. The ward is too deserving of any kind of help that it can get. Thonburi has been stressful, yes, but I hope I don't move this moves because I want to spend as much time as I can helping this place to develop and grow. I will do all it takes to help this ward because it's not just their ward, it's my ward. Granted, I have my home ward in Utah, but Thonburi has become my ward in so many ways. I look around and see them as my siblings. And then I think about leaving them, and I almost can't stand the thought. Thonburi will always have a special place in my heart. And one day when I come back here, I will shout for joy that I had a chance to come back and see all these wonderful members.
As part of the Thailand Bangkok mission we have a motto. "Faith is the power. Obedience is the price. Love is the motivation. Preach My Gospel is the key. Christ is the reason." I have never felt this theme so strongly until Thonburi. The sacrifice of a mission is a pleasure for all those who decide to sacrifice. The power of sacrifice is indescribable. This power has the ability to change the world. Thonburi has changed my life forever. I will never forget the sacrifice, the miracle of Thonburi. Even if I don't move, I must express these feelings.
All is well. I love you all so much and pray for you daily.
Elder Jacob Newman