June 20, 2011
The past two years have passed by in a flash. Seriously. I cannot believe that it was over two years ago I found out that I would be coming to Thailand to serve as a missionary, speaking Thai and helping non-Christians come to know the Savior. To say it has been an honor would be an understatement. Of course, like all human experiences, it isn't without its trials, challenges, and heartaches, but in the end, it is a small price to pay to thank the Savior.
I feel that since I have come to Thailand, I have seen how we all are really the same. We all love our families. We all need some things that we just don't seem to find sometimes. And one of the best pieces of news is that families can be together forever. This isn't just for us as an immediate family but extends to my family in Thailand. Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Aunt, Uncle. That's what Thai is about - family. That's what the Gospel is about. Family. I love my family so much. And I will miss my Thai family so much. But this isn't the end of my association with Thailand. This is simply the beginning. I am eager to continue to speak, read and write Thai and interact with Thais for the rest of my life. There is some purpose that I don't understand as to why I was sent here to Thailand. But I do know that I will be forever grateful that I met all of the people that I have.
Sure there were days where we walked out in the heat and got nothing. But then there were the times where we saw the smile on Sister Naang's face when she said she feels that our Father in Heaven comes down and sits beside her as she prays. Or the time where Sister A said she was told to wait before going to the temple so that Chaang could be baptized. Or the time where you just felt so discouraged in Thonburi but Sister Cherry writes you a wonderful friendship book page.
Love is sacrifice. Love is forgiveness. Love is power. Whatever we do, we must do it in love. I love Thailand. Saying goodbye isn't the easiest thing, but at this time it is the right thing. I will do my best to finish out strong and to remember my purpose. And then it's onto a new phase of life. Centered on the Savior. And I am eager to always have the heart of a Thai. I will always be Thai in my heart.
So this week we saw Angelo and Poy. They are doing well but they aren't able to come to Church yet. It seems like there are all kinds of obstacles in the way. But they are doing fairly well.
This week we also went out to Ganthalag. The people out there are drying up pretty fast. The unfortunate thing is that one of them decided not to learn anymore because he feels like he can't keep the word of wisdom. Another couple decided to stop learning because of the wife. Some people are falling out but we are going to keep working with them.
We are also working with Sister Oy. She is Sister Grxsanna's daughter. No one has really ever taught her by herself. We asked her who God was and she didn't understand. We are going to work with her. It reminds me of the scripture about how Christ allowed the crowd to feel the wounds one by one. And that's what she needs. We all need to feel the Gospel one by one. That's how it's taught. One by one. Little by little. And that's how we will have to teach her. Sister Grxsanna sits there with her glasses and the scriptures that she has to hide from her husband and teaches us. She teaches by the Spirit. She teaches us that we are all children of God. She calls us "child" and we learn together with Brother Ice. And we have many experiences that we share together.
Yesterday at Church, Sister Grxsanna secretly gave me a hug. She looked so sad as we parted. I remember her baptism. She was so ready and so beautiful in her white gown. I will never forget how excited she was to be baptized.
And then Sanya and Bunmii are still just doing great as new members of the Church. They are helping their friends in Ganthalag to come to know the Gospel also.
Alrighty dearest family. I love you all to pieces. That's all I have for today. But please remember. The Gospel is true. My time in Thailand has changed my life and will continue to shape my life for the rest of my days. I love the Lord, our Father in Heaven, the Gospel and the power of the scriptures and the simplicity of the Gospel. Pray for charity, the greatest of all of God's gifts and we will see the power of the Lord in our lives.
Elder Jacob Newman