December 6. 2010
Greetings from another week in RoiEt - the first full week here with my wonderful son, Elder Thrap! He can speak Thai very clearly. He teaches well, asks excellent questions and inspires thought in our investigators’ hearts. He's knowledgeable of the scriptures and has a great desire to be here.
You asked me if I could understand everything when people speak Isaan. That's an ironic question. Yesterday it was apparently "Let's all speak to Elder Newman in Isaan and see how much he understands day." Unfortunately I can pick up the gist of it and a lot of times I understand all of it but I can’t hold a deep conversation in it. Seriously, EVERYONE was speaking to me in Isaan at Church.
Yesterday was Thai Father's day. It's the King's birthday. As I thought about that, I reflected on all the things that my Dad has done for us. Thank you for your sacrifice and your support of all of us. Thanks for making all of us feel loved and special. I love you lots. Happy Thai Fathers’ Day! I miss you.
Then I thought about our Heavenly Father. Thailand doesn't know Heavenly Father. They don't understand that we have a Father in Heaven who is the creator of our Spirits. I love this Father so much. I love the fact that he is always so willing to help me even when I make about a million mistakes a day. Heavenly Father's design for his children is one of happiness. He's a perfect Father. And to explain about the love of this parent to the Thai people is an amazing thing.
I remember one day in Thonburi we had had a difficult week. I looked at the map of Bangkok on our wall. I turned to Elder Iverson and asked, “Do you see this map? How many people on here do you think love God?" As a missionary we come to feel like I imagine God might feel. Everyday we wake up and see millions of people that we love but who don't love us or don't pay attention to us. That is love. Love is sacrifice. It suffereth long. Love will never fail. This love has the power to change our investigators.
This week we taught Brother Chaang (Elephant) and he's a bit stubborn. He's been an investigator for three years. He told us he doesn't know Jesus Christ. I ask him if he had ever read the Book of Mormon regularly. He said no. I told him, he must read the evidence of Christ. Through Christ we are spiritually born and we find the peace and joy that we seek in this life. For the first time in Chaang's history of an investigator who has been so indifferent, he said the words dedicated. In Thai this word is to set up your heart. Elder Thrap and I are praying so hard that he will continue to open his heart and let in our Father in Heaven, our Savior and the transforming power of the Gospel. We are all working to become like Him and to transform our lives. God loves us all so much. Even though we make many mistakes and aren't perfect.
I love Chaang and his family. I want this family to be prepared to be sealed in the temple and to have the peace that I know the Gospel will bring into their lives. I know that this is possible as we pray, teach by the Spirit and help Brother Chaang to come closer to the Savior.
Wirayud and his wife, Arum, will be legally married by May. I am not sure what to do with them in the meantime... They came to Church for the first week in two weeks. We may just teach them once a week until they can get baptized.
We also saw former investigators named Bawng and Num who are both struggling. They don't have peace. Peace comes from keeping the commandments. It's just as simple as that. That doesn't mean that our lives will always be serene and still but we will know what to do because as we keep the commandments we know who we really are.
Don't ever let anyone else define you. Let Him define you. You are a child of God with endless potential and with the power to become like Him. These people here in RoiEt are all his children. Imagine the power that has. The supreme creator of universes, the Lord of all creation has his eye upon all of us. He helps me everyday as I strive to overcome temptation and sorrow as we journey in this life.
I love the Lord and I love Thailand. I know that I was called here for a reason. I am so grateful for all that God has given me. Particularly my family here in Thailand - for all the fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters, grandmothers and grandfathers that I meet every day. And especially my family in America - our eternal family. I love you all so much. This Christmas time I think of how the Savior's birth and sacrifice makes eternal families a reality. I know that family can be together forever. That's such an amazing thought. And it's possible because of Jesus Christ.
I love you all and pray for you daily,
Elder Jacob Newman