Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This Was A Challenging Week

February 7, 2011

Dearest Family,

Here in Roi Et, life rolls on as I approach my 14th moves in Thailand. It's so crazy to think how close I am to finishing my mission. Of course, it's somewhat exciting. But to be entirely honest, it's terrifying. I will miss about 1,000,000 things about Thailand, from soy dogs, coke in a bag, pharmacies on every street corner, places to buy food every 10 feet, elephants in the streets, Thai people, their language, Isaan eating mats, Bangkok nights, to everything else that's amazing about Thailand. I don't know how I feel about going back to America where I am afraid I will not be able to speak Thai every day all day long and talk to people about the Gospel all day in Thai. So it's a mixed feeling.

This past weekend we went to teach Brother Chaang with Sister Waruni and President Sutheb. I feel like they are my Thai parents. They call me their son and I call her Mom. I call him Prathaan though. Although, he might as well be dad. It's so amazing to have such an intimate connection with these people.

Our investigators were a particular challenge this week but we are working our hardest and trying our best.

Brother Phaybuun is being a little stubborn lately. He still hasn't attended Church regularly and he hasn't kept appointments lately. His baptismal date was scheduled for this week but he didn't do his part. He has only attended Church one time and he hasn't really been too diligent in keeping commitments. It's very unfortunate to see how he knows the Gospel will bless him but he doesn't act on that knowledge fully.

Brother Manob is desperately poor. He is so in debt that he has to continue to go into debt further and further to stay alive. He sells rice and noodles - a typical Thai restaurant - that sells for about 25 - 30 baht per plate. So, his life isn't going too well at this time. He feels like he can't close on Sundays because he has five debt collectors who will come to hunt him down daily - asking for funds that he just can't provide a lot of times. He still prays and reads but going to Church is a challenge. This weekend he went to Bangkok to ask to borrow more money from his older Sister.

Brother Aa, Sister Naang and Sister Naamkhaang are all struggling to get to Church and to keep the Sabbath day holy. This week they will need to attend Church in order to make their baptismal date. They are keeping other commitments very well, but Church seems to be a problem for them.

Chaysid is doing very well. He told us that the scriptures have power and that he views the Book of Mormon as a sacred book. He's a bit hard to read sometimes but he keeps commitments and has come to sacrament meeting weekly. He likes meeting with us and likes to read the scriptures. I don't know if I said this but he has also had a broken leg for the past 6 months that still hasn't healed so he's fairly homebound. But he still makes it out to Church every week. This last Sunday, he was our only investigator at Church, unfortunately.

We recently met a new investigator named Breeze and he's doing really well. This Sunday he came to Church, but didn't make it in time for the sacrament and so he came back when we were eating lunch and we taught him for the third time. He has a lot of problems in his life and wants to find peace.

Brother Nxng, however, did not come to Church on time for his confirmation and only stayed at Church for 15 minutes. This week was definitely a week of trials, as Wirayud also was still in Chiang Mai and didn't get confirmed either.

Basically, the thing that I learned this week is that not everything works out as we plan. As we live our lives according to the Gospel, we aren't guaranteed to be happy all the time but we are guaranteed that we will know where true happiness comes from and that we must live our lives in accordance with Gospel standards. Often choosing the right comes at great personal sacrifice and while it's always the right thing to do it isn't the easiest or the most pain free thing to do. The question is “are we going to live a life that is comfortable or are we going to live a life that is right?”

I love the Lord and love His work. It isn’t easy but we must press onward and be true in the faith. Missionary work isn’t always fun but it’s always worth it.

Love you all so much and pray for you daily.

Elder Jacob Newman

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