February 21, 2011
This last week was a bit of an emotional roller coaster. It all started out with the announcement about transfers. Elder Thrap was moved to Ayutthaya (the ancient city). I didn't get to see him off in Bangkok and I wasn't expecting that I would still be here in Roi Et.
The day Elder Thrap left was particularly challenging. The ride to Mahasarakham, which was proceeded by the members sending Elder Thrap off with an activity at the Church (Think Thai dancing, roses, an excellent talk by Sister A about the atonement.), was a hard ride. All the way there I thought of the first day Elder Thrap came to Roi Et. He changed my mission forever. Our time together wasn't the easiest time of my mission but it was a time where I felt so appreciated and loved by my companion.
We got to Sarakham and I taught Elder Thrap the last word I would teach him as his companion - the word for us to say goodbye - laa. We laa gan (say goodybe to one another). After hugs and pictures, he drove away. I will miss him.
As far as other news... This week we had Aa at Church but Naang fell ill so she couldn't attend. They are doing so well. They read the scriptures like champions and really feel the difference the Gospel is making in their lives. They are doing their best to keep their commitments. Chaysid is doing pretty good but we aren't exactly sure what his story is with only attending the first hour of Church.
As far as Manob, for right now he has to be set aside. Unfortunately he took up smoking again and isn't really reading the scriptures. I felt very sad about this but he needs a bit of a break. And then of course there is Phaybuun, he isn't doing too well either. His legal issue with his girlfriend is so complex and is taking a lot of time. So our investigator pool is dwindling a bit. But we are out to find new investigators and that's what we will do.
Every area goes through patterns. Roi Et just got out of a super great period and now it's the testing period. Sometimes it's hot and tiring but there's nothing better than trying. That's all God expects is that we try.
My new companion, Elder Merril, is a transfer four missionary who speaks Thai very clearly and is an extremely hard worker. Also bold. It's been pretty great so far. Elder Merril is very funny and has a fun personality. it will be a good six weeks together. He's helping me be less stressed out and take things at a slower pace all while working hard. He sings well, is funny and way sabaai.
So trials. I know that God gives us challenges because He loves us. In the crisis of the moment, that is the hardest thing to say. We may not understand why we have to go through a certain trial. And sometimes trials continue for a long period of time. But often the learning isn't found in the end of the trial but in the heat of it. What we can obtain from the Gospel is hope. Hope is the courage to face the future despite the fact that we have fears. Fear is a natural reaction because we can't control so many things.
I know that as we love God and love our fellow men and just try our best, everything will work out. Our lives won't be comfortable just because we keep the commandments. The right thing isn't always the easiest thing to do. But it is the right thing to do.
I know that God lives and loves us. Even on those days where's it's really hot and we aren't finding anyone. God doesn't forget us in the midst of trial and affliction, but some of the answers we are just meant to find for ourselves. Keeping the commandments, reading the scriptures daily, praying daily and living our lives in harmony with the Gospel will bring us hope. The source of hope is Jesus Christ.
I know the Gospel is true. God loves us and wants us to be happy.
Love you all dearly and deeply,
Elder Jacob Newman