November 1, 2010
First of all thank you all for the warm birthday wishes. It seems so crazy to think back about the last three birthdays that I have had. My birthday at BYU, my roommates surprised me with cookies. Last year my birthday happened to be a Thai festival where they float little boats with candles on the water and so my trainer and I ate Korean barbecue. And now this year, I find myself in my fifth (read it fifth!) area with a fantastic companion Elder Phimsuwan. I am so grateful for all the blessings I have received here in Thailand. I feel that the best birthday presents that I have received are the blessings of good health, good friends, and most importantly good family.
I honestly don't know where I would be without family. Family is one of the most important things in our lives. No matter what changes, no matter how far apart we are, we know that our families can be together forever. Our family will always be our friends no matter what happens in the lives of others around us. I love that Gospel principle. The Gospel teaches us how families can build relationships that aren't simply meant to last in this life, but meant for eternity.
This week we learned a lot of lessons. I feel the greatest lesson we learned was the power of repentance. Repentance is a change of attitude and outlook on the world. I saw that as our investigators, who are amazing right now, repented and applied the teachings of the Gospel, their lives became better. Wirayud and his wife who can't speak Thai have a desire to follow the Savior and live like him more everyday. Chamnaan and Jai want to change their lives also. This weekend we saw so many miracles with meeting new investigators. God really led us to a lot of people who have a lot of potential. I feel that as we repent and come closer to the Savior, we will see that we find joy in repentance. We must have a mighty change of heart. As we draw closer to the Savior and learn to follow him more closely, we will receive blessings.
God really loves his children. He watches out for all of us, everyone. I know that he does care. My birthday here in Thailand will be amazing. I wouldn't spend it any other way. I love the fact that I can share the Gospel with all of these people. Thailand has changed my life. I talked about this the other day with Elder Phimsuwan. The day that I finish my mission will probably be the saddest day in my life. I have grown to love a place that I never knew I could love this way. Even through all the struggles and disappointments that we all experience in our missions, we grow to love a place, a people and a time that we never knew we could. I love this place. Every day is worth the price. Of course, I always sound so serious but I mean it!
Anyway, I love you all so dearly and pray for you all daily. May God bless you all. Again thanks for the birthday wishes - so weird that I am already 21. Almost.
Elder Jacob Newman