Wednesday, January 26, 2011

You gotta love raw chicken

CONGRATS!!!!!!! I can't believe I’m going to be an uncle. I’m so excited for you Tara and Weston...!

First off about the shoes, I would say only bring two pair of shoes he won't need more than that, and as far as the shoes my favorite ones to wear are my lace-ups. If you tie them loose you can slide your feet in and out way easy so I would say don't stress too much on finding slip-ons.

There's an unwritten rule with the missionaries regarding "informing the mother about injuries" which says you tell her about it after everything is all I have something to tell you mom which really isn't that big of a deal. The other day we were eating lunch at on the side of the road; I order my usual plate of curry chicken on rice. I began eating it and noticed it was different somehow but I couldn't put my finger in it. Finally after almost my whole plate was gone I realized it was because they didn't cook the chicken. Later that day we went to Koomphawapi (our new added area) where there is nothing, and I mean nothing, if you ride your bike normal speed you can go from one side of the city to the other in just over 5 minutes. Anyway that night I was feeling really sick, my stomach was killing me and my head was pounding. I figured it would just go away so I went to bed, I was so cold and couldn't get my body to stop shaking even while I was asleep; Elder Black said I didn't even stop then. Finally I woke up all soar but felt a little better. We went out and worked the next couple of days and finally it started hurting really bad again so I called sister smith and she told me to go to the hospital which I couldn't do till the next day because the city I was in doesn't have doctors or anything and there weren't any trucks or buses leaving the city till the next morning. But hey everything is great now; I'm totally back to normal, only a really bad case of food poisoning. Mom you would die of you saw the things I eat and the places I eat at some of the time...oh how I love this country!

This Sunday we should be having another baptism. It’s the sister of one of the members in the family we just baptized. Her name is Yeem and she is 22 years old. When we were teaching that family she didn't have time for us and so didn't learn. The day the family was baptized I invited her to come see the baptism. She said she felt something very special and instantly wanted to be baptized as well. The power in seeing the ordinances of the priesthood: baptism, sacrament... they really do have a special spirit that you feel as you watch them being performed. The only thing that separates this church from all the other Christian churches is the authority from God we have to perform the ordinances of salvation.

I love you all so much!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Prettiest place on Earth

Killing chickens huh? I’ll admit I’ve had a lot of "city" companions, and killing chickens is always something I bring up just because it blows their minds that we actually do it ourselves. But what can I say "I’m from the country and I like it that way". Its great being companions with Elder Black because he's also a country kid and we've done a lot of the same things. Speaking of Elder Black last night we were coming home from an appointment a little late and were flying down that road incredibly fast when the light ahead of us turned red. I slowed down and stopped but Elder Black didn't, he then t-boned a motorcycle really bad. It was quite a picture seeing him hit because his bike broke into three pieces and he went sailing over the back of the person’s motorcycle and tumbled down the road. I ran out and stopped some cars while screaming like a wild man, elder black hobbled off the road and I grabbed all three pieces of his bike and put them on the side where they wouldn't get hit. For the most part he was okay, other than some good road rash (which kills) and some really bruised hands and knees he's okay. He spent a long time in the shower picking the gravel and dirt out of his wounds. Now we gotta' figure out what to do about his bike.

I told you that we now have another area we're taking over which is so sweet, this week was our first seek there and I’m telling you it is the prettiest place on this earth I’m not even kidding. The house on the other hand is less than beautiful. There is a 12 inch gap between the walls and the roof of the house, all sorts of animals fly or crawl in and the mold and about everything from the outside eventually comes inside. I don’t think the house has even been swept in almost a year, it was so bad, me and Elder Black went in and cleaned it all up. Finding dead birds, lizards, frogs... it was an experience.

Oh by the way Elder Blacks mom served a mission in Ohio the same time dad did. Her name is Chris Accordino. Do you know her?

Love ya

Sunday, January 9, 2011

this is a picture of a Buddhist temple with Mary and Christ in the place of Buddha. and you wonder why every Thai person says "every religion is the same...they all teach to be good". This is what every single dog in Thailand thinks about us.
love ya

stretches of faith

Yes it's true my companion is Black.. or his name is Elder Black from Idaho. It's really crazy being with someone who's been in the mission longer than a month or two, I realized it's been over 6 months I’ve spent training and I loved it so much. It really was a time that I had to focus on being "perfect" in every aspect of missionary work so that the missionaries I trained could see the right way to do it all. It’s changed how I work and it's helped me be a better missionary.

This last week I went on exchanges with Elder Leyva. Right before we taught English at the church we had an appointment with a lady named Lalita who has been learning with the missionaries for a couple of weeks now. We started out by talking about the restoration and about getting answers from prayers. We asked her if she felt like she had gotten an answer which she said no. We asked about how she felt when she prayed and read in the Book of Mormon. I had a very strong impression come to me telling me that she needed to pray right now and get an answer. While the member was talking I whispered to Elder Leyva and he agreed. We taught about the feelings we will feel when God answers our prayers and then told her we were going to pray together right now and we wanted her to pray to know if the Book of Mormon was the word of God and at the end we were doing to just sit there for about 10 seconds and pay attention to our feelings. At this point the spirit was confirming that we were doing the right thing. We knelt down with everyone and she began to pray she said "God I want to be baptized and I want to follow this gospel, please help me find a way to do this and then she ended the prayer in the name of Christ. We all sat there and the spirit filled the room I knew Elder Leyva and I felt it. I asked Lalita how she felt and she said "i don't feel anything" I asked the members and they said they all felt it and had goose bumps everywhere. At this point my mind was going a million miles a minute because I knew we had just tried our faith and she didn't get an answer. I didn't know what to do next then Elder Leyva said "She didn't ask a question". I’ll admit doubt began to creep in, I knew I felt the spirit, I knew the members felt it but for some reason she didn't. I was very doubtful to pray again but I asked her to pray again and ask "Is the Book of Mormon true?” We prayed again and she asked; we all sat there in the silence and I noticed that Lalita was breathing really fast and that the spirit was there even stronger than before. I asked her “how do you feel?” she said “My heart is beating so fast and I feel great.” She then proceeded to feel the member’s hearts to see if they were beating as fast as hers which they were. We promised her that it was the spirit and that God was speaking with her. It was one of the biggest stretches of faith I’ve ever had. Praying to get answers with investigators takes a lot of faith and mine grew so much more. God knows us; he wants to help us, if we allow him into our lives he will let us know he's there.

Tell Brielle congrats on making the dance team!

I love you all,

Ps. there are senior couples here and they don't speak Thai. Grandma and Grandpa would love it as well!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

There is nothing as constant as change

The scripture in Jacob comes to my mind as I think back over this last year "the time passed by as if it were a dream", it's a Bitter-Sweet feeling that I've been getting a lot the last little bit, it's just like you said, Mom, this year a lot of things will happen. I was recently listening to a talk from President Monson and in the talk he shared the quote "There is nothing as constant as change". I guess as part of life changes happen every day, sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad, it's all part of the trial process our Father in Heaven has given us in this life to help us to grow. President Monson urges us to "find joy in the journey NOW". The feelings I’m having and the feeling everyone has felt in life is that time is short, it won't slow down and it's up to us to seize the opportunities God has given to us in life and to make if it the best we can. It's something I’m really beginning to feel at this point of my mission because I’ve gone through a long building process where the Lord has been working with me and now I’m the best I’ve ever been and I pray every day that I can fulfill everything God wants me to with the time I have.

Speaking of changes... I got a call from President Smith informing me that I now have another area to watch over and it's my companionship that will be working there. I’m now covering two areas... yeah let’s just say I didn't sleep last night because of how stressed I was. This area is the smallest in the mission as far as members and I’m now in charge of it. This last Sunday I went there for church to get to know the members and to kinda figure out everything, I can honestly say it was one of the most spiritual sacrament meeting I’ve ever been in, me and my companion in a room with 12 other members sharing our testimonies. As I was sitting there listening to the members share experiences the spirit came to me and I started to think about the role of the spirit in the conversion process before and after baptism. There I was feeling the feeling that I pray every day my investigators will feel while they read and pray. This is the feeling I pray members will feel as they continue living their life according to the gospel and I felt like I needed to help everyone in the room understand what they were feeling. I got up and shared a simple testimony and then asked everyone to notice their feelings, I waited for a minute and then told them it's God giving personal revelation to each of them that the things being spoken are true.

Thanks for the pictures!

I love you all so much


Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy New Year

December 27, 2010
I think I can honestly say that this was one of the greatest Christmas's I’ve ever had! I loved talking to you all and to Weston as well. I can tell a lot of you have changed a lot..for the good of course even though I didn't think it possible to be greater!

I'm so excited for Travis he's in for the greatest two years of his life I seriously am so excited for him. The greatest people in the world, the funnest language, even though there are days you want to rip your hair out because of this oh so lovely language. Thailand isn't as out-there as everyone thinks, you don't need converters or anything like that. It’s true that you can get clothes here for incredibly cheap but it's very hard to find time to do all of that and if you’re not in Bangkok it's way hard to find them. There isn't any deodorant here, anyone who wants to wear it better bring a two year supply. There is so much I could tell you but I don't know what questions they have. If you have any more questions I’d love to help.

I love the scripture in Mosiah 2:41 which talks about how the gospel helps physically and spiritually. I can't even begin to tell about all the experiences I’ve had seeing people’s lives change so much after the gospel becomes a part of their lives. All aspects of their life improve: work, family issues, happiness. You also have the people who for some reason or another decide they don't want it and they stop praying, they stop reading their Scriptures and going to church and all the blessings they once had begin to leave them and they find themselves unhappy, they all of the sudden have too much work and they don't get time with the family... it's clear as day to me and for some reason a lot of them don't see it. We have a family that we just stopped teaching because they thought the gospel isn't something they could live right now. During the time we taught them he said their family never was so happy and close to each other, the fathers work was going great and they had a lot of time together as a family. They never stopped smiling and then a while ago something happened within their extended family which caused them to question the things that God personally told them were true through prayer. Their prayers stopped, they don't read anymore. I asked him to come to the baptism two days ago and he showed up and I began talking to him about life. he said he had lots of problems with his family, all of the sudden he had so much work to do that he wasn't with his family, he was stressed (not inspired of God) and worried. The most noticeable of everything was he didn't smile. Agency is such an amazing thing but sometimes I want to force people to stop shooting themselves in the foot. In 1 Nephi 31:last verse it says this is the "only way" the :only name whereby man can be saved" it's not just talking about after this life, God is willing to save our lives in this life too, but it's up to us to allow him to.

I love this gospel so much it truly has changes me and so many of those around me. I’ve become to feel more like Nephi when he says "God is my Rock and my Salvation...I will trust in him forever...for he will not lead me astray"
I love you all
Ps. that picture is of the Friendship Bridge connecting Thailand with Lao