December 20, 2010
This was one of the best weeks of my entire mission. We saw so many amazing things happen that we never expected and found so many people just out of the middle of nowhere and learned so much.
The standard for missionaries is to aim to teach 20 lessons per week. We have not gotten more than about 10. This week we got 24 lessons! It was incredible because first of all, it didn't make any sense how we did it besides following the simple but wise advice of the zone leaders and it also didn't make sense because we found a lot of great people to teach, too.
The Zone Leaders extended a challenge. They said that we could get into someone's house to teach a lesson everyday. We simply have to pray before hand, ask God for help and then go out and teach 10 minute lessons which are basically like extended invites where we get them to feel the spirit. We did this a BUNCH of times. All we did is say: “Hello! We are missionaries who teach about Jesus Christ. Can we sit down and talk for about 10 minutes?”
Thai people almost always accept an invitation to sit down. Granted, they don't open their heart every time but they are given the opportunity to feel the Spirit through that prayer. We met so many people to teach, people who felt the power of prayer. We found one investigator who said he loved prayer because it made him feel peace that he had never felt before. We found that as we teach investigators that prayer is the method by which they can receive revelation and ask God questions, they come to understand the true nature of this gift from Heavenly Father. They feel the power of receiving answers and they feel the changing power of the atonement in their lives.
That brings us to Brother Chaang. We went to see him and he hadn't prayed but he had read daily. We told him he had to pray to understand the scriptures and recommitted him to pray. And then we went back yesterday. Brother Chaang is changing every time we go see him. He talks to us and is so friendly to us. He's smiling more and this last time he said to us. "Elders, I have never read the scriptures regularly before but as I have started reading them daily I have felt the power of them - the power of them to change me. But I can't quite explain it." Sister A laughingly said to him "Dad (when they are together as a family they refer to each other as Dad and Mom), it's called a testimony!" We all laughed and really felt Chaang's growing testimony. He will be ready to be baptized by this next month as we continue to pray and love him.
I love Brother Chaang probably more than I ever expected was possible. I want him to progress so badly because one day, I want to see them sealed in the temple as an eternal family - Sister A's dream fulfilled. The pictures of the temple all over their walls will be symbols of their commitment to God and the covenants they made in the temple. One day, they will go to the temple together and be sealed for time and all eternity.
Elder Thrap found a statement in a notebook here in the house from training in March 2009. It said "A missionary is someone who leaves his family for a short time so someone else can spend eternity with their own family.” There are days where it's hot, we are tired and we aren't entirely into everything but I know that as we remember why we came to Thailand we will have a correct perspective and the correct motives.
There's TOO much to tell from this week: Manob - an investigator who understood everything we taught. A lesson on being true saints and getting rid of the natural man and why we must go to Church. Teaching the boy who comes to Church every week. Really forgetting ourselves and going to work.
I know that if we aren’t humble, we cannot do anything. We must acknowledge the Lord's hand in our lives. We must learn to obey the Lord's will for our lives even if we don't understand. I learned that this week. As we trust in God and do what the Zone Leaders suggest, we will be blessed. It's like painting the blood on our doorsteps. Do it willingly and God will bless you. I love the Lord and I love Thailand.
I love you all dearly and pray for you all daily. Pray for all to be well and pray for us to recognize the hand of God in our lives.
Elder Jacob Newman