February 28, 2011
This was an interesting week. We are going through a lot of changes with our investigators. Aa and Naang are still doing so well. Saturday they didn't meet with us but they should be getting baptized in the next two weeks. The thing that I have noticed about them, as with Brother Chaang, is that the Gospel changed their personalities. Brother Chaang never really showed much interest in anything before he started to sincerely learn the Gospel. But now, when we go see him, he smiles, brings us water, feeds us his special sauce for unripened mangos (a fish sauce of some sort) and then he smiles more. The Gospel changed Naang as she opened her heart and saw the fruits of the Gospel. She loves to tell us about what she reads from the scriptures.
I really like that phrase that you wrote from Valerie Whitehead's farewell, “the atonement is infinite.” The Thai translation adds a new meaning to it that I hadn't really thought of before. The Atonement of Christ has no borders, as we say in Thai. It means that there are no bounds to the power that He has to help and heal us. I believe that we are all a little bit broken. We all have problems, little and big, concerns, obstacles and things that we don't understand. Often the best option for us isn't to simply have God take away these problems, but for us to learn through them. The most amazing part of the atonement is the patience of our Redeemer. Christ was patient in all His sufferings. At those times where we simply feel that we cannot go on or we do not understand why things have worked out the way that they have, we must remember that Christ endured with patience and with love.
We need to live by faith and hope in the power of the atonement with no borders. We see our problems and wonder why God simply doesn't intervene and fix it all. God is our Loving Father in Heaven. Even though we feel confused, burdened, and stressed in our lives, the Savior is always there for us but often leaves us to find the strength within us.
My time is Roi Et is a testimony to this. It has been very stressful because of situations that have occurred. And while I do not understand many things, there is a force that continues to aid me as I try to help Heavenly Father's children know who they are. That's the news of the Gospel - who we really are. Do we remember who we are? Most of our problems in life result from a kind of identity crisis, I suppose you could say. We are children of God. Do we remember that when we feel abandoned? Do we remember that when life gets us down or when we think things are rough? I know that we are all children of God. We aren't any less. And as such, we have an inheritance. God loves us so much. God will always remember us.
It's really really hot here in Roi Et. Luckily we are starting the summer schedule tomorrow. All is going fairly well, though. A bit tired. And still stressed out but that's just a Newman characteristic, I guess. By the way, our new Zone leader is Elder Perich - awesome. I love Elder Perich. We know each other from Thonburi and he's way good and extremely helpful.
So, we are finding a lot of new investigators this week. We’re not sure what's going to happen with Chaysid. We have to figure out some matters with him. And then there are also some new investigators that we are working with - a 22 year old name Jo, some 20 plus year olds named Chad and Gawn, and a cute little family named Jaroen (Dad) and Pongphad (Mom) and their daugther who live about 10 kilos from the Church - riding our bikes to their house at seven o'clock at night was a little bit nerve-wracking, it was extremely dark.
To say this week was strange in other random happenings would be a bit of an understatement - let's put it in a few words. District conference translation for 6 hours, running into a faraang at the Bxng (public park in Roi Et) who tried to take us to the police station - don't worry about that one. And lots of hours of inviting to find new investigators. All in all, it was a memorable and fun week. Elder Merril is great. I really like him a lot. He works hard and is patient. That's the best characteristic to have - patience.
I love you all so much. I know the Gospel has power and will help us in our times of trial!
Love you lots,
Elder Jacob Newman