January 10 2011
Oh wow. What a week. It's a little crazy how fast time flies by. I am doing really well! This area has been the best as far as investigators. It has been so much fun. RoiEt is a favorite place for so many reasons. Who would ever think that a small, podunk, Isaan town could yield investigators like this? Apparently God does and did. I have to say RoiEt is the first place where I feel like I have seen the most critical point in someone's conversion, Brother Chaang’s. Brother Chaang, in very surprising news will be getting baptized this week. Brother Chaang, like President Sutheb told us, changed in the flip of a hand.
Oh, Brother Chaang! This last lesson he asked amazing, fantastic questions. He smiles more than I have ever seen him smile. He repents daily. He reads the scriptures everyday. It's so... unbelievable. I don't know if words can adequately describe how much he has changed. Their life as a family is so different now too. There's more honesty, happiness, unity in their family. Sister A's long time goal of going to the temple is going to become a reality.
Brother Chaang is ready to be baptized before his date. It all came down to getting Khaaw Glawng baptized first. This will complete their family. It's been quite an amazing process. The first time I met Brother Chaang it was so different. He sat in his chair, learned the lessons because he felt forced to. Then yesterday it came full circle almost. Brother Chaang comes out with his Book of Mormon with his bookmark and his pen that he uses to mark up the scriptures. He came to church dressed up in a shirt and tie rather than a t-shirt and jeans. He stayed for all three hours for the first time ever and he liked what he learned in Church. I don't know how this is possible. We talked with President Sutheb who was equally shocked. I think everyone is shocked because they doubted he would/could ever change. We can't forget that people can and will change. We have to have faith in the changing power of the atonement.
Did I mention that I was excited for Brother Chaang. I have probably only said that about 1,000,000 times in the past two days. The thing that changed Brother Chaang was reading the scriptures. Anyone who reads the scriptures cannot deny their power. The scriptures have power to change us from natural men into true saints. The word "Saint" in Thai means a holy person with a suffix that implies authority or power. The atonement of Jesus Christ is so clearly taught in the scriptures. These doctrines will change us into people who have power to overcome the temptations of the devil and power to do the things that are right. I know that Christ has the power to change us. We aren't perfect and we will never be perfect until Christ will make us so. But we must realize that our past mistakes must not block us for our happiness at the present time. The Lord desires us to be happy. We can do all things that the Lord wants us to do as we trust in him.
Nxng is still struggling a bit. We had a way intense lesson about repentance and keeping the Sabbath day holy. At one point, Nxng related that keeping the Sabbath day holy is "something in our hearts" - meaning that if we don't go but we have intentions to go it's the same. Unfortunately, this attitude is not exactly the way things work. We talked about how he must repent with all his heart.
Manob sacrificed to come to Church. We promised a miracle. He was down to 1000 baht. We aren't sure how it worked out yet. We are going to have to see what happened with him. Manob is going to have to move out of his place because the rent is too expensive. He's starting to see that keeping the commandments is the best choice.
Phaybuun didn't come to Church. We met Phaybuun off of a 10 minute lesson and he's way good, but we are going to continue to work with him to get him to Church. He literally gave up drinking within one day. We went to teach him once and he was drunk. We committed him to live the word of wisdom and he said: Elder, before you go can we pray together? I need help with this. How we must remember to pray! We can't deny the fact that prayer has power. When we do, we deny the power of God.
Party continues to be awesome. He reads a chapter of scripture a day. What 15 year old does that? He also is keeping the commandments and going to Church every week. He wants to be a missionary and have the priesthood. So awesome.
Aa and his family haven't been free lately, I am not sure what's going on with them. And Pong and Num we ended up dropping. It was a bit of an interesting drop lesson. Elder Thrap asked one inspired question and boom! The concerns, problems and reasons why he needs some time to think about these things came out. What he came down to is that he believes in Heavenly Father but he's not ready to follow him or to keep the commandments. He's just not quite ready.
This week we had a harder time finding new investigators so we don't have too much to report on that front. Getting into Thai people's houses is so fun though! Oh wait! There was the man we taught (Saamaad) who we taught but couldn't meet again because of his crazy schedule. But he called us and thanked us for teaching him how to pray. So random. And so we are going to see what we can work out with him.
I love you all so much. Sometimes I feel so distant from all of you. It's not that I don't miss you or think of you often, I just feel so distant sometimes. But I think of you and love you all so very much. May the Lord bless you all. Pray that all will be well here in RoiEt. I pray for you all daily.
Love you lots,
Elder Jacob Newman