November 15, 2010
Talk about a crazy week this week. I am emailing later than usual because of exchanges with the Zone Leaders which was a bit crazy this past weekend. They came to exchange and do an interview for Wirayud and Arum to get baptized. That's probably the most complicated and intense story of the week.
Wirayud is a great candidate. His wife, Arum, can hardly speak Thai but they both have strong testimonies and are doing really well. They interviewed, however, and it came out that they cannot get baptized because they are not legally married and as of right now cannot be legally married because she is not a Thai citizen even though she was born in Thailand. And the process to change her citizenship is a lengthy and an expensive one that they could probably never afford. We aren't sure exactly what to do. It's still up in the air. I am not entirely sure how to proceed with him.
This week Wirayud also didn't go to Church. Elder Brown and I did exchanges this weekend. At first we thought that something had happened that Wirayud might have felt a bit discouraged about his interview but the after-interview talk went so well and there were smiles and laughs. It turns out that he was talking to his mother in Chiang Mai, he hung up the phone and then she passed away. I was so sad. I literally was shocked to hear this. The timing is extremely difficult. I am not sure exactly why he is going through this right now. We are praying extra hard for him. I love this couple and I hope that everything works out for them.
I liked the part in your email about the testimonies in your ward. Life doesn't work out how we planned. That's the greatest lesson I feel I have learned since coming to RoiEt. I feel that as I have reflected on my mission and all the things that have happened, I have come to see that it hasn't worked out exactly as I had planned. Or anything like I have planned. But I feel that the lesson we all must learn in life is to love the things that come our way. We must make a conscious decision to be happy and to live after the manner of happiness. We can let the actions of others or our circumstances dictate our happiness or we can decide to be a true Saint and find happiness in life. I feel that as I have made this decision, despite challenges, I feel happier and much more confident about life.
As we work with our investigators, I have seen how everything in our lives is about our choices. We must decide what we are going to do and how we are going to respond to our situations. I feel that on my mission I have seen so many times where the right choices have led to happiness. That's what we all must learn to do, heal from the past and move on to the future. Life doesn't work out as we planned. But if it did, would we really progress? Could we be happy? No. Happiness comes from realizing what life is about and what it isn't about. Life isn't about being rich, being well-liked, popular, or any of those things. Life is about becoming like our Savior and repentance.
Repentance is how we find joy. It is a change of thought and a lifelong process. As we take the sacrament, we come to realize the power of the atonement in our lives. This week they used the new Thai translation of the sacrament prayers. I felt the power of them more intimately. I felt the power of the covenant more powerfully. I want to look at my life everyday and find out how I can be better and do the things that I must to bring my life in harmony with His teachings more and more.
Anyway, I love you all so much and pray for you all daily. Thanks for all you do!
Elder Jacob Newman