March 7, 2011
This was an adventurous week. Many things happened and we taught lots of lessons. I was rather shocked that we managed to turn out about 19 lessons and got many good new investigators.
This week was Boon Phaweed in Roi Et, a major festival where they eat spaghetti like-noodles and cover them in different kinds of sauces. They give it out for free all over the city - all you can eat. There were a ton of people at the Bxng (public park) and a lot of dancing and loud Isaan music. (The music almost always has a banjo-like sound to it.)
As far as other good news, Sister Dawgrag is opening her restaurant at her house which is diagonally across from our house and we are so excited. She makes the best Thai food ever. Seriously, I can't really eat at other taam sang places. Taam sang is like according to your order, Thai fast food places. You have things like sweet and sour pork, chicken, fried rice, basil dishes, all kinds of delicious things. She makes sweet and sour chicken or pork with apples and pineapple. Delicious!
We made the 10 kilo bike ride to Chaeron's house again this week. It was dark. It took us about an hour but it went all right, much better than last time. We taught this cute family with Brother Loersan and they are adorable. It's Chaeron - father, Phongpad - wife, On – daughter, Off - Son. Yes. Their names are On and Off but they are pronounced with tones. They are so cute. They sit, keep commitments and listen to the things we say. They are so interested and they love Father Loersan (we call him dad just like we call everyone mom and dad and big brother out here in Thailand). They are progressing really well!
Aa and Naang are also doing great. They told us that they have a better relationship because of the Gospel. Same with Chaeron - they said that they never really have done much as a family like this where they all sit down and talk. They love it and they are learning really well, genuinely interested and attentive.
Chaysid is a bit on the backburner because of some unexpected issues, sensitive information! But we also got a random call from an investigator in the past named Tay who is a friend of Brother Ball and he's doing pretty well, he's really determined to learn.
We went into another neighborhood where the dogs wanted to get to us. Okay, Thailand has lots of dogs but I have never seen that many brave dogs in one street! They tried to jump on us - that day we didn't really find any investigators there though.
What I learned this week is that we can't forget who we are. There are lots of people out there who will tell you who they think you are. But I feel impressed to say that the world is a poor judge of character. We are all children of God and as such we have a divine potential. The Gospel blesses us at all times and God wants us to find peace which he promises on his time, not on our time.
I will miss Roi Et a lot. There's a lot of hard memories here but there are so many amazing memories that I have here - from the miracle of Brother Chaang to the miracle of myself, I have grown here and I love these people more than I thought ever possible. It's nice to think that I have fathers and mothers and older siblings in Thailand that all care for me and know that I am doing my best. And add to that a true family that loves me for who I am. I love you all so much.
I know my mission has changed my life. I am not perfect; the Savior doesn't ask me to be perfect in an instance. He knows my trials and my tribulations. He knows the pains in my life because he felt my pains. That's the power of the Gospel. All religions teach us to be good but not all religions teach us to live up to our potential. You are a son of God. You are a daughter of God. And so your needs are great. You will live with him again.
I remember reading the words of Orson F. Whitney about the atonement. He watched as Christ knelt in the garden, his heart reached out to him. And then, in an instant, the scene changed to where Christ was about to ascend into heaven and he cried to Christ, begging him to take him with him. But Christ said "No, these have done their work. You must stay and do yours". Orson replied "Promise I will come to you at the end." Christ replied "That will depend entirely upon you" I know that one day we will kneel before the Savior and hopefully he will say to us "You did your best. That's all I asked. I didn't ask you to give more than you could. I asked you to give all that you have and I make up the rest." And he will. “I will not forget thee. I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands and my walls are before you.” He lives.
Elder Jacob Newman