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


December 20, 2010
Hello and Merry Christmas to you all

I can't even believe the Christmas spirit here with all the snow, homemade caramel and all other delicious snacks everywhere. Everyone walks around bundled up in their coats and gloves... ha ha! Ok it's not quite like that as a matter of fact there is no such thing as Santa here and Christmas isn't even celebrated here but that's okay because all I want is to talk to you all on the phone!!!!!! As far as the number you need to call it's 01166815575719. Call me 6:00pm Christmas night (my time).

Life really is so good right now. We live in a four elder house with the greatest missionaries ever (Elder Hanni, Me, Potter, Leyva). It’s outrageous how much fun it is. We’ve also seen a lot of progression in the district; almost every companionship will have a baptism this month, which is great. I had a cool experience while interviewing a kid named Max. Interviewing always scared me because I didn't want to pass someone who wasn't ready and then have them fall away from the church, I remember the first time I interviewed, I could hardly sleep or eat anything, but I’ve done it a bit now and it's not so stressful for me. Anyway back to Max; I interviewed him a week ago and I didn't feel like he was ready yet. I saw him again this week for another interview. He came in to the room and we knelt down to pray and the spirit instantly told me "he's ready", usually it takes a few minutes of hearing their testimony and stuff but this time I knew even before the interview that he was going to pass. We read from the scriptures for a while and shared our testimonies. It really was a great experience. I wish there were some way to capture experiences like this in a device so that I could play it over and over throughout my life.

Sorry this is short, todays a bit crazy, I love you all
Ps. I haven't gotten the package yet, they keep them at the office until transfers meeting so I’ll get it around January 6th ish

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010


December 13, 2010
Yeah, Elder Hess is in my district and he's is such a stud! He got here and in two weeks the area more than doubled in teaching, new investigators and people preparing to be baptized. He really is one of the hardest working missionaries!

As far as an update on the suit...I haven't had time to get it looked at by anyone and i don't know if i trust any of the shops that I would take it to. I will probably bring it home and try and get it looked at by someone who I know knows what he's doing=)

THEY GOT BAPTIZED!!!! Mode's family just got baptized and let me tell you it was one of the greatest days of my life! like all baptisms in Thailand, everyone wants to be "Mr. Helpful" or "Mr. in change," so our poor investigators had the whole ward telling them what to do: "pictures first", "hurry and get dressed", "come in this room with me while we wait for everyone to set up the chairs", "Go upstairs the meeting is going to start"... The branch president is very new (he's been Branch president for a week) so I was trying to help him figure it all out and help him figure out the speakers, the songs, and who was going to pray. It’s enough to drive a man insane but through it all we got everything ready and they were baptized. and after it all the greatest part is that each of our investigators got to stand up and share their testimony's, it's an experience unlike any other, I wish so badly you all could have felt the spirit and the love in that room. They have a date to go to the Temple in a couple of years after their baby is able to travel; oh my, this truly is the greatest work in the whole world.

We had a breakfast, cooked by the Elders, in the home town of Brother Sakhaa this week. Thank goodness you taught me how to cook. We cooked pancakes, French toast, and eggs for everyone. The really surprising thing was that people didn't know how to eat them; we had to teach them how to put jam on the pancakes and stuff. It was great and the members loved it.
I love you so much and can't wait to talk to you in a couple of weeks

Miracles for putting God first

December 6, 2010
Yes, that word from Brother Saakah makes perfect sense and I’ve been really close to his house a good number of times. I honestly love that man to death, he really changed my mission and the things he taught me I still use and teach every day to missionaries.

Mode's family is doing great! The other day they were interviewed and will be baptized this Sunday, I can't wait to send you pictures of them. I have never met a family with more faith and willingness to change. I've always loved teaching people the week before they are baptized because I review the baptismal questions with them and get to ask about their testimonies. They are always the most spiritual lessons, you get to see how God really did change their lives and it's an eye-opener for them, as well, because they realize just how strongly they believe in the foundational principles of the gospel: God is our father in heaven; his son, Jesus Christ, is our Redeemer and savior; Joseph Smith is a prophet and restored the church through the power of God... oh how I love this gospel it's so so true, and I love teaching it so others.

We have another investigator who has had so many miracles happen in his life. We first meet him about three weeks ago and oh what a state he was in. He didn't have a job because nobody would hire him; he would go drink over 20 times every day and smoked more than the average chimney. We sat down with him and told him what we had to offer and he said he was willing to change. We’ve seen him a lot sense then and he is a total different person now. He doesn't smoke or drink. this last week he told us he found out he had to go be a monk for a while (it's a thing every boy must do in Buddhism to provide a better life for their parents in the next life) he told me that and I told him "God doesn't want you to do that..." he then told me his family wasn't going to pay for his house anymore and in one month he would be kicked out and would have nowhere to live unless he became a monk. The spirit told me a couple of things and prompted me to make him a promise, "I promise you that if you make up your mind that you won't be a Monk and pray and ask God for help in finding a job that God will prepare a way for you to financially sustain yourself so that you can be baptized" the next day we went to see him and found out that he had found a job where he made good money (8 American dollars) and would be able to afford housing and food and would have every Sunday off. He shared his testimony that God prepared the way for him and he's willing to be baptized.

I'm beginning to realize how little time I really have here in this country I’ve learned to love so much. It’s humbling and motivating! I feel like I’m working better then I ever have and am so grateful for the 6 months I have left.

I love you all so much

Oh, that's your suit?

November 29, 2010
I’m sorry to hear about your back, I hope its feeling better! What happened? Were you and Krista playing some tai-bo when it happened?

Well this week we had some changes in my district and there are three new missionaries who are awesome and I’m way excited to work with them. The work here in our area is still going really great and we have a lot of people progressing very well right now. This weekend we have a family of 4 who will be interviewed for baptism who are the cutest family in all of Thailand. They have been ready for a long time but the father used to be a smoker and would occasionally relapse. the father (mode) is a cook for a living, and ohhh what a cook: American food, Thai food, Italian food... he works at a hotel and serves food to people it's a bit expensive but it's the only American anything (other than McDonald's) there is here. In the past he was actually the chief of the King and lived in the palace.

Yesterday me and Elder Hanni arrived at the church and went in to change our suits which we leave inside a closet at the church every week. a member came up to me and gave me my name tag which usually hangs on my suit and i asked him "was this by chance attached to a suit?" he looked startled and asked "oh that's your suit?" he took us into another closet where he keeps his stuff and pulled out what used to be my nice clean wrinkle free suit. I kindly thanked him for giving it back to me and then walked off. He found my suit and wanted it so he took my name tag off of it and took it to a Laundromat and had them throw it into a washing machine. Well it's now a giant bunch of wrinkles. I’m going to try and get it fixed somehow, I’m still now sure how but I’m hoping there is some way to fix it.

Mom you might not want to read this...the craziest thing happened last week, I said a little bit about it in my last email but I’ll tell you more in this one. There is a centipede here in Thailand that is one of the most poisonous in the world. It actually is more poisonous them a cobra. Well there I was one morning in the shower when I feel something on my side, not really thinking about it I just tried to brush it off only to get poked by something, I looked down and saw this centipede on me and I freaked. I knocked it off of me and then it started chasing me finally after a long battle I managed to get it into the toilet and flush it away. Luckily the poke I got was from one of its big legs and not its pincers.

Well I’m out of time. I love you all

Missionary work on the other side

November 22, 2010
Tara HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I can't even believe you’re so old. You’re almost old enough to get married! =0

This last week I added a new crazy-food to my list. We went to this food place on the side of the road and they had this new food that sounded a bit sketchy. At first I thought it was veil and I thought I’d give it a try. When it came to me and I saw it I instantly knew it was something else and I knew I wouldn't be able to eat it if i asked what it was, so we began to eat it. After a bite or two I couldn't eat any more. I went home and looked it up in my dictionary and realized I was eating a cow fetus...uhhh yeah.. I wouldn't recommend it if you ever get the chance!

We had a lesson this week with one of our families we are teaching whose mother died two weeks ago. It’s been a while sense we've been able to see them and finally this week we had an opportunity to see them again. They began telling us about how they were doing and then the father (Sutichai) said he had something to tell us. He said "in my mother’s final minutes with us she was laying on the bed and we were all around her she began going in and out of consciousness when she said "someone was coming to get me". I asked her who it was and she said "its two young white men", "Is it Elder" I asked and she didn't answer. Right after that she passed on to the other side." at that point me and my companion felt the spirit telling us, testify! We told her it's the missionaries on the other side coming to teach her and to prepare her to accept this gospel. It was a great and very spiritual experience for us all. I've been studying a lot about the plan of salvation and I’m so grateful for the knowledge that has been reveled through prophets that helps give us hope and faith for the future.

This week we had district conference here in Udon. Elder Chen from the seventy came and the districts from Laos and from a lot of eastern Thailand. Me and another elder (Elder Brown) were asked to translate. We were translating from Thai and Lao over to English. Let me tell you what, when you’re translating for a seventy and a person gets up speaking strait Lao, a language that I’ve never studied before other than hearing it on the street it's a bit nerve-racking but we got through it all just fine. The whole meeting was focused on Temples: how to prepare to go, the blessings we receive, and how to prepare if we want to have one in Thailand. It’s something that I know will happen in not to many years and I’m so excited for these blessings that my brothers and sisters Here in Thailand will receive from it.

Thanks you all so much for everything, I love you all so much

Ps. no i don't have a tape player and can't find one.

Hey, you Mormon

November 15, 2010
Ever sense I came here I’ve realized one thing...Thailand grows tons of rice and I mean tons. Everywhere I go I’m surrounded by fields upon fields of rice, and this week I was able to go and help harvest a couple of fields. I can't even believe how long it's been sense I’ve done any kind of physically tiring work, I thought I was going to die. I went and bought a straw cowboy hat for the occasion which was awesome! It's exactly like the movies: you use this scythe thing that cuts the stocks of the rice, after a couple of days of laying in the field the rice is dry and they gather it into this big machine thing that spins it and separates it from the stock. It’s so cool to see and even cooler to do. I’ll send you pictures later.

We met this new investigator this week that is going to be quite a case. Like normal he's a drinker, but this man is exceptionally bad he sits down to "drink" 24 times per day. He drinks so much that his whole body shakes all of the time. This last week after we taught him he walked about 3 miles to come to church which was very impressive. Alcohol is something that really just takes over people’s lives and it really does control them. It’s so so so big here; people begin drinking as young as 12-13 and smoking even younger than that. It’s such a sad thing to see these people whose agency is being controlled by a drink, it's something that just blows my mind and I don't understand why anyone would even think about doing it.

Speaking about drinking, this week we were riding our bikes down a road when we passed this bar for white people. I noticed one of the guys as someone we talked to a few days earlier, he was on the porch so we stopped and said hi to him. We were having a great conversation when all the rest of the white men saw us. One man came over and got right in my face and said "hey you moron, oh i mean Mormon...I guess they’re the same thing..." anyway he began to really just make fun of us and our beliefs. They kept asking us questions about doctrinal things, finally I said "sir, I’m more than willing to talk about religion but yelling and arguing is going to do nothing, I would love to share what we know to be true but I won't stand here and argue with you" one of the man said he was sorry and the "ring-leader" left for a minute. We kept talking for a minute and then the "ring-leader" came back and began giving his false accusations and arguing. I turned to my companion and said we were leaving; after that we shook hands with our friend and I offered my hand to the other 5-6 man and every one of them laughed at me started making fun of me. I walked away from that experience surprisingly grateful, the first scripture that came to my head was D&C 122:7-9 when the Lord is telling Joseph Smith that he doesn't have it so bad, and that he needs to press on. I began to think about how in the future when those man stand before God to be judged they will be sad and will regret a lot of their decisions in this life, I honestly felt like I did everything I could to help them in that situation and they rejected it. I really hate seeing that because I know of the happiness they could have and about the purpose they can't see for themselves. I just hope they get another chance to accept it.

Sorry I'm out of time, I love you all

I have a Brother!!!

November 8, 2010
Thank you so much for the pictures, I'll admit it's so weird, the whole marriage thing is almost like a dream to me, I almost can't believe it I mean seriously...I have a brother...yeah I mean weird. He really does sound like a stud and I can't wait to meet him. Tara and he look so happy in their pictures. Oh and can I just say Londyn...I don't even recognize you, you really have changed so much, Kennady as well, it's blowing my mind.

For the past while my district has struggled a lot. About the only thing on my mind is what I can do to help them catch fire and truly understand their purpose as missionaries, which is to baptize. I'm the kind of person who has a hard time giving constructive criticism and because of that that sometimes I don't call people to repentance no how they work, but something I’ve really thought about is something Elder Perkins of the 70 said. He talked about the mantle of a missionary and he himself said when the mantle is put on his shoulders he becomes a different person. That is something I’ve really had to work on but as president Packer said "failure to give correction when correction is due is to think only of one’s self" this goes with investigators as well as missionaries. I’ve had many times that I’ve had to be very strait forward and let someone know that they need to change. In every case I give correction to missionaries it's surprising to me how strongly I feel the spirit, last night we had a companionship get some very low numbers and I told them it was not acceptable but as we talked about it we were both edified and felt the spirit. It’s so great that I’ve really been receiving help with the things I’m struggling at, the Lord is always there to help us progress and grow.

We are teaching this family right now, the father’s name is "mode". It’s the sweetest family ever; the father is preparing to be baptized on the 28th of this month and a couple weeks after that he will be baptizing his whole family. Every time I go over to their house I’m blown away with the faith and desire I see. This past week they brought their brand new baby and gave it a name at church. It was so powerful, and their testimony was increased so much.
I love you all so much.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Livin' the Dream

November 1, 2010
This letter is going to be shorter than normal because President Smith clarified some of the mission rules and the whole mission has been taking too much time; meaning the letters from now on will be shorter.

I can't believe Tara is married. I really am so excited for her though. I can't wait to see all the pictures of it.

It’s now winter time here in Thailand and I'll admit some days I freeze to death. The really sad thing is that one day I finally had to know how hot it was so I took a thermometer outside and it said it was 97 degrees. 97 degrees and I’m freezing, what has happened to me I’m freezing in way hot weather. One thing for sure I’m going to die when I get home.

Well I’ve been thinking a lot about when I’m going to come home: whether I come home early for school or stay the whole time and miss a semester of school. In the training we had this past week I wrote down a question and asked the spirit to help me find the answer throughout the training, by the end I decided that I’m going to stay, I won't be coming home early for school. The fact is this mission is the greatest thing ever and I know I’ve got a lot of work still to do before I go home. With all the responsibilities I’ve got right now I feel like I’m learning so much: I plan so much better, work so much harder and the knowledge that my area is supposed to be the example of the district makes me work even harder. I really do feel so blessed with all the Lord has given me, sometimes I can't even believe how good I’ve got it: Greatest Family, greatest mission, funnest language, greatest companion, and to top it all off I’m doing the work of God.

I think I’ve finally hit the point on my mission where ALL mail from EVERYBODY at home has stopped which is a bit sad when the mail comes but in all reality I don't have time to reply anyway. All in all life is good and I’m livin' the dream.

I love you all so much

Ps. I didn't get to see any of the pictures you sent me. The computer doesn’t let me open them. If you attach them to the email then I can see them just fine.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

busy, busy, busy

Hey Family
Do you remember how I told you that while I was in Korat that I was over 180lbs? Well I’m afraid your son will not be coming home at that weight, I’ll admit my goal for a while was 190 lbs. before I went home but then I became district leader and ever sense that I’ve been losing lots of weight. It’s such a sad things seeing myself slowly loose it all. I don't have time to eat at night because I’m on the phone with everybody and I’m traveling and exchanging with everybody. It’s a blast though.

This week will be way way way out of the norm. it so happens that I’ve got some training down in another province for three days, after which President Smith asked me to go interview some people for baptism in another province, the really crazy part is that I’ll be traveling all by myself. I haven't been alone for a year and a half and I’ll admit I’m scared out of my mind, I don't know how to function as a one man show. Ahhhhh!!!!

There has been some really bad flooding here in Thailand the past week and one of my last areas (Korat) is in the middle of it all. The flood is traveling through the eastern part of Thailand and is creating a lot of damage. People are being moved out and travel is outrageous. The good news is that Udon doesn't have a problem with it at all, so your little boy is safe.

As you can imagine the past little bit you have all been on my mind a lot with all the marriage stuff and other stuff back home. I honestly can't even believe how blessed I am to have all of you. I’m so excited every week hearing about how happy everybody is and in some cases how giddy everyone is. It really is a great comfort as a missionary seeing your family being taken care of back home, God isn't just taking care of me but also my family. I’ve realized more than ever how grateful I am for the great parents we have. In second Nephi 4:5 Lehi is talking to his family and he says "behold I know that if ye are brought up in the way ye should go, ye will not depart from it"... I’m grateful for parents that are still bringing us up in the right way. Oh remember, remember that their always right, those parents of ours=)

Elder Hanni and I will be exchanging companions almost the whole week due to the trainings and other stuff which is sad to say, this kid is one of the funnest people I know, we laugh all day even though I get him to eat all sorts of things and throw him into such crazy situations. He’s so "chill" about everything which is what I need with all the stuff I’ve got going on. We’re doing companionship exchanges and tonight Elder Hanni is teaching the law of Chastity (him and a member) to a 14 year old kid while his companion is teaching another lesson. He’s so nervous but I know he'll do great. Today for companionship study we reviewed all the vocabulary and reviewed how to teach it so he's ready now. He really is such a great missionary and his language is really good. He’s one of those companions you hope and pray you will get one day.
Well I’m out of time, I love you all

Ps. seriously, don't worry about sending me something for Christmas. American candy is way too sweet for me and occasionally makes me sick, and there is nothing else I need. Thanks though

Monday, October 18, 2010

Seeing Thailand the first time all over again

October 18, 2010
You would not believe all the changes that have happened the last week and the responsibility level I have now.

Yes I moved out of my last area and whitewashed (both of the elders here left and we came in) a place called Udon which is in the north-eastern part of Thailand. I’m also training another missionary named Elder Hanni who is from Sandi Utah. He’s such a stud and we're having a great time biking around lost all day trying to figure everything out. The zone leaders in this area moved to another area and I was put in their place as a District Leader. I'm now over most of the old zone as the district leader. All the missionaries in my District have been in Thailand under 6 months and I’m supposed to train them all. It's not like way huge, I’m only over four companionship's, but it's a lot and I mean a lot. The areas in my whole district are really struggling right now and I’m trying to help everyone as best I can. It's great though because my calling is taking so much of my brain power right now that I totally forget about myself (one less person to worry about=)) I really do love it, and know that this is really going to change me even more. I know I’m being compelled to be humble and have to trust in the lord for everything.

Leaving my last area was actually a good experience. I had the opportunity to give people "last words of wisdom" before leaving, I think it was hard for some of our investigators but during the conversations it strengthened their faith and desire. It’s like always in life "change" brings about reflection and makes us think. Sometimes when things become "normal" all of the time there is no progression made, and the time begins to be wasted. The whole purpose of Gods plan is change: we come to this life as imperfect beings and our goal is to become like Christ. Our investigators sometimes get to be such good friends that it becomes a fun visit when we come over instead of a learning experience. Missionaries change but the Gospel doesn't, when the gospel is the only thing not changing it forces them to take hold of it and once they do that they begin to know just how much they need it. Oh, missionary work is so good.

Training is so great, and Elder Hanni is such a great missionary; it great being able to introduce him to all the crazy food. This Sunday we had pig intestines and rotten fish salad, I said "eat it first and then I’ll tell you what it is". I forget just how crazy this beautiful place called Thailand is after being here so long, but now I’m again seeing all the weird bugs and plants again and appreciating all the beauty even more. I’ll have to send you pictures next week.

I love you all

Trust in God

October 11, 2010
Hey family,
Just for the record. When Elder Packer got done with his talk on Homosexuality I hardly could keep myself from jumping out of my chair and shouting for joy. The fact is back home you don't see it as much, but over here homosexuality is HUGE and I mean huge. I love when people just throw it down!!! The fact is people who have a problem with it need to learn respect for God and the prophet. The fact is, this is God’s work and getting all offended isn't helping that person in the least, THIS IS GODS WORK and the opinions of man are nothing. there are a lot of people who say "God just gave me the wrong body"...WOW wait a minute, the most all powerful being in the universe who knows everything, and has all power messed up...uhhh I don't think so! This isn't a church of "oops I made a mistake".

On a happier note; Londyn, Happy Birthday! I can’t believe you’re already 15. You can now start to drive...what that's so crazy I can't believe it. I hope you had a great birthday. Love you Londyn.

This past week I had an awesome experience. There is a lady in our ward who is from Burma who said she had a friend she wanted us to teach. We went to her friend’s house with this member and found out they couldn't really speak Thai. I told the member that I would talk and have her translate. We began teaching and after a while they asked a question and the member began to answer in Burmese and I’ll be darned, I understood a lot of it, I mean enough that I knew what she was telling them and understood her concerns. I was understanding Burmese, how crazy is that.

Right now I’m training two greenies. Elder Shipley is still here but a new Thai elder came in and will be with us for a week. Let me tell you what, the stress of training two missionaries is killer. I’m trying to give them equal teaching time, inviting time and still teaching main doctrines, it's a bit of a challenge but a blast. It’s also funny hearing them argue about things trying to use each others language and finally giving up out of frustration. I wish you could see some of it=)

I’ve been thinking a lot about conference and about the main topics that were talked about. I’m very impressed with President Monson's last talk: he only expressed gratitude. I felt it was a perfect ending. The topic "trust in God" was all through everyone’s talks and what a better way to end then thanking him for all the blessings he has granted. Conference is such a different experience when you’re a missionary because your thoughts are always on investigators and what you can do to help them, then when they go to conference you constantly hear the answers to their questions and you pray that somehow they heard it too. When there are things you’re looking for in the different talks it changes how intently you listen to the speakers, and is a great opportunity for personal revelation.

The pictures at the temple and of the family are great I love them. I can't even believe I almost have a brother. And from what I know he sounds like a freakin stallion of a guy, I really can't wait to meet him.

I love you all so much

How do I know if it's the spirit or just me?

October 4, 2010
I really can’t even believe all that is going on back home with everybody getting married; I’m so not a part of it that it almost sounds like a fairy tale. Good luck with it all. Don't forget pictures.

One of the questions I’ve had throughout my whole mission has been "how do I know if it's the spirit or just me" there are so many promises throughout the scriptures regarding the spirit leading out steps, but I’ve always felt like I wasn't sure. This has been my focus for the last forever and I feel like I’m finally figuring out how the spirit works with me. It’s almost indescribable the feelings: they are so small and soft and yet so powerful. Just last night Elder Shipley and I were out inviting when elder Shipley turned down a road and then stopped then turned to me and said "should we go down this road'? I then responded by saying "do you FEEL like we should?" we decided it wasn't the road we were supposed to go down so we continued to walk. Then we walked down another road and I just knew we needed to go down it. On that road we got two return appointments with two people. Elder Shipley then turned to me and said "how do you know..." we then had a great discussion on how the spirit leads us in teaching and in finding. The rest of that night we were focused on finding with the spirit and we found more people that night then we had all week. It’s amazing how big of a hand the Lord plays in this work. I just wish I was able to follow Him better. I still get promptings that I don't follow and it drives me crazy every time I decide I’m so nervous or lazy to do something, sometimes I feel like Nephi when he talks about being tied down by his sins and weaknesses. I feel like the past three months have been the greatest months of my mission and I’ve finally learned how to follow when God calls, I love this work so much I’ve never understood life so much or what life is all about. It’s something I can't explain and I probably don't make any sense but hey, I gave it a shot.

I'm finally getting to that point when I’ll probably be moving really soon. It's a bitter-sweet feeling knowing I’m leaving so many people I love, but also knowing God is sending me somewhere else to help Him do His work. The fact is we have a few people who are so close to baptism and I hope so badly I get to see them walk down into the font. As of now we have a lady named Phan planning on getting baptized on the 24 and then we have a family shortly after that (Wip and Rad), and then the father of another family (Tee). This area is doing so well. It’s such a Blessing having Elder Shipley because of the hard worker he is, and his willingness to give it all to the work. I’m beginning to be hit with the realization that I don't have a ton of time left which just makes me want to do everything that much better and work that much harder, I really hope I don't kill Elder Shipley with how hard we work.

Sorry this is short, school is out and every little kid in Thailand is on a computer which leaves me and Elder Shipley going all over the place trying to find two computers next to each other, which h leaves us with not much time.

I love you

Monday, September 27, 2010

Things are just GREAT!!!!

This week was AWESOME!!! Our focus for the past forever has been to get 20 lessons in a week this is a goal that President Smith has set as the standard of Excellence. We’ve been really close for a while and this week we finally hit it. Along with that we had one investigator for every four members at church this week (11). We now are teaching 5 families on top of everyone else we are teaching and we've got four people preparing to be baptized. The blessings of the Lord are so easy to see. The fact is when you truly give it all to Him and forget about self comfort and embarrassment the lord is able to do miraculous things. We have become one of the best areas in the mission.
I had an experience last night that really has affected me in so many ways. Our investigator Tee has been progressing very well, his family has been coming to church and the whole works but he has been frustrated over the fact that he doesn't feel like he's gotten an answer about the Book of Mormon yet. I called him about church the other day and I sensed something was wrong, the next day at church I felt something, the spirit told me there was something I needed to help him with. Just last night we went to see him with another member in our ward. We sat down and his son came over and we drew pictures and spelt words and stuff for a little bit and then we began teaching. He started talking about how he really liked this gospel and then he said my younger sister (who lives in America) told me some stuff about your church...I’ve been on some web sites and found some stuff that you didn't tell me about... he went off about how Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and many others has multiple wives. After he was done he looked at us and said "Do your members at church even know about this...why didn't you tell me?” As you can imagine I was praying for help and guidance. The member just looked at him and said "Don't you worry, Elder Parkinson knows" then they both looked at me. I felt the spirit direct me with some thoughts, we began talking about Abraham and his wives and how it's been something practiced from the beginning, according to the will of God. The spirit completely took over from there I couldn't believe the thoughts that were coming into my mind and the scriptures I was remembering.
After we addressed that issue he said ok I understand but I have one more question. "You've been promising me I would get an answer from the very beginning...why haven’t I gotten it..." he went on about a lot of stuff for a while until one point when he said "Elder how do I know you’re not lying to've come here and told me stuff, you've promised me stuff and it hasn't happened? How do I know you’re not paid to come here and tell me all of this stuff?" This hit me like a load of bricks when he said "How do I know you’re not lying to me?” Then again the spirit took over and I knew I needed to let him know again, that I knew. I’ve never born a more powerful testimony in my life I’ve never wanted something so bad, ever. With everything I had inside of me I wanted him to know I knew these things were true. The spirit really hit everyone to the core. After a while he said this will take some time to think about... after that we returned home for the evening. I went into our dressing room and fell on my knees in tears, I’ve never cried so hard in my life. I’ve never wanted anything so badly. I expressed gratitude for the help we had received and then begged for help on Tee's behalf. It’s an experience I feel is too sacred to express, but with what I can say, I was led to know that God sent us to him and that Tee was in God’s hands.
I now have come to understand what the son of Mosiah said "We could not bear that any soul should perish, yea the very thought did cause them to quake and tremble". The fact is that no matter how much we love Gods children, God loves them more and at times of need he will not leave then comfortless or unaided.
I feel like the past month or so I’ve really changed a lot. I’ve always been the "grit and bear it" type of person. The fact is my whole life I’ve been taught how to work and I really do work hard, I’ve been blessed with a dad who is the hardest worker I’ve ever seen; someone who gives it all and takes nothing for reward. This last little while I feel like I’ve become closer to you, Dad, the first half of the mission I worked because I knew it was the Lords time and that it was my duty to work as hard I was physically able regardless of broken ankles, hemorrhoids, and all of the other crazy ailments, I gave my hardest to the Lord but I was missing something. Love. I've now learned how to give it all but this time I give my heart too. When the lord says I want your whole heart, might, mind and strength, and we are able to give it to him it's like the lord promised "my angels will be round about you to bear you up". This is the work of angels, God is at the head guiding us all, it's up to us to take hold of the rod and follow.
I love you all
Ps. thanks for all the info about school; I’ll let you know pretty soon what I decide.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Must be time for moving

I'll admit I about went through the roof with excitement when I got the letter from Christena as well. I was also having a bit if a stressful day and it really helped me as well. It’s so crazy to see how my whole family, all my cousins and everyone I know is changing so much, every time I get pictures I’m just blown away.

This area when I first got here was really low and it's been a long process of learning the hard way how not to do things but through the tender mercies of the lord I think I’m finally learning how to be an affective instrument in the hands of the Lord. Our area has been exploding the past month or so. We have seen so much growth as far as lessons and people at church. As has been the pattern in the past it means it's about time for me to move but we'll see.

Jesse (the transvestite) is progressing really well, it's been a really hard thing for her but she really has a desire to change. I’ve never had to be so bold in my life. I’ve learned to teach in a way to leave out all questions: "this is how it is". OH something else I wanted to tell you about one of her prayers. I knew she was a man but she didn't know I did. One day she said something about how she had something that if she were to tell me she would have to kill me. A couple weeks later after we talked about her uniqueness she was praying and said "I know I said that if I told Elder Parkinson about my problem I would have to kill him but I promise I won't smoother him with my pillow..." the reason I think it is so funny is because she is more girly than any other girl I’ve ever meet. Maybe it's one of those things you have to be there for. Teaching Buri and Tee about the commandments has been so much fun and now every one of them has a baptismal date in the next couple of months. I seriously can't even describe the miracles I see every day and the help we have received from the lord.

Thanks for the info about collage; it's something that has been on my mind a bit due to the fact that School is one of the next big decisions for me. I’ve been thinking about what to study. Do you know what kind of classes they have at the BYU extension in Salt Lake and the Utah State extension in Brigham City regarding law, and engineering?

About the suit, it's all done and at the house. It only takes a couple of days but it would be one of those things you would want to do when you came over here. You get to go fabric shopping and after that you take it to a shop on the street and a couple of days later it's done.

Well I’m out of time; I love you all so much

Monday, September 13, 2010

Great Success

September 13, 2010
Hey Brittan happy birthday...I can't believe your already 17...ahhhh! You are all getting way to old way to fast. Just you take it east as far as the boys are concerned.

Elder Shipley and I had one of the funniest experiences this week. We were out inviting when we came across this old man. Elder Shipley went over and started talking to him. He wouldn't even look at us, which is typical as Dad well knows so we decided to just give him a pass along card. Elder Shipley kept talking to him. His neighbor saw us and informed us that he was deaf. We talked to him for a good minute and he didn't have any idea we were there.

Oh the miracles that have happened over the last week. Our area is exploding. We really have been blessed to have the success we are having. We are teaching like crazy, we have lots of people progressing toward baptism, and we have a lot of people at church. This last Sunday we had ward conference which involved the stake leaders. One of our investigators (tee) has been really struggling getting answers and having the faith to change. In Priesthood the stake president got up and posed a question "all other churches, regardless of who, profess that they have the do we know?" people started saying we can pray, he then say "I’ve meet with tons of preachers who say when they pray they feel something as well, and take it as an answer from God" this made everyone really think. Finally he said "prayer isn't requires studying in the scriptures as well and following God before we get an answer". Tee then raised his hand which shocked me to death. He began to express his concerns and questions. Everyone in the room turned all their attention to him and answered him in a loving powerful way that cleared up his concerns. The spirit was so strong. I can't express the gratitude I felt after trying for two months help him find these answers, I think about him all day and what I can do to help him. When I finally saw it "click" for him I couldn't keep the tears of gratitude from flowing.

People tell us "you would be of more worth if you gave up on religion and just taught us knowledge", the fact is this is the greatest knowledge anyone could ever have. With a knowledge of God our vision expands to what life really is and what God has in store for us, it's something textbooks can't teach, professors of religion can't prove but if we want to know it is through the spirit that we will know "the truth of all things"

I love you all

Ps. I just went and got a custom suit and some custom pants cut today and could use some more personal money to pay for it. After everything the pants were 11 dollars and the suit was about 60 dollars. Dad I’m telling you, you should totally consider having me get you some.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Great mission stories

It’s great to hear from you all, this letter will be a bit short because of all the letters I wrote to all of you all but I’ll begin.

I’ll start by telling you about Buri. Every time we meet him I see miracles. He is a guard and has to work all night every night and all day Sunday. Basically any time the business isn't open he has to be there. This week we taught about the Sabbath day and how going to church is a commandment. I knew this would be really hard for him but it's a leap of faith that will only make him stronger. We started teaching him and talked about what church was and then he asked me when it was. I said every Sunday morning at 9:00 till 12:00. I just sat there and waited. It was quiet and finally he said "I think I can do it". This shocked me because people never say that to us, going to church is one of the hardest things for people but he didn't have a problem with it. He keeps saying "I want to live with Jesus again and I’ll do what I need to to go there.

Another great experience we had this week while teaching was with a man named Tee. he's been learning for about 2 months and the last couple of week he's changed and doesn't seem to be doing as well as he was. We met with him the other day. I was determined to find out what his problem was so I started asking a long train of questions in order to understand him. I was trying to ask questions according to the spirit when I felt a prompting to tell him the story about how we meet him. I began telling him about how on the night we found him we were planning on seeing someone else but we went to their house and they weren't there, I strongly felt that there was someone else we needed to find, right after that we came across his street and he invited us in for a lesson. I flat out told him "God sent us here to find you and give you this message; he wants you to live with him again and knows this gospel is the only way". One thing I have learned the past little bit is what Boldness is. With all the boldness and love I had I bore testimony, and promised blessings. By the time I stopped we were both crying (tee and I). It was a great experience for me because the more I talked the more love I felt for him and I understood more about how God loves each and every one of his children. I love his gospel so much

I love you all

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oh my what a suprise=(‏

As this last week came to an end and as I thought about all that had happened I was brought to tears. The blessings of the Lord are so easy to see when we pay attention. This week I had almost three days of training focusing on a new program coming out for missionaries which will help us perfect our teaching. It was such a great experience and I learned so many things that I have been able to apply. As part of this training we talked a lot about the doctrine of Christ and how we must use it as missionaries. President Smith asked us to start the Book of Mormon over and mark every time Doctrine of Christ is mentioned. It has been so eye opening, it's no wonder the Book of Mormon combined with the spirit is the most powerful tool we have as missionaries, this book truly is from God and has every single piece of what we need to gain salvation.

Funniest thing happened this week. During all the trainings there were three missionaries that came and stayed at our house. After planning we were all up stairs and some people were playing the guitar when someone asked me "does it smell funny?", I opened the door to downstairs and it sure did...instantly I knew our house was flooding (it had been raining really hard that day). I went down stairs to find our kitchen and bathroom full of sewer water. On further examination I found that the sewers were all so full that the water and every other not so delightful thing that goes down in the sewer came up into our house. When I say everything I mean we had everything floating in our kitchen. The house smelt so bad. We saw there was nothing we could do so I gave up and went to bed. The next morning it had stopped and the water was gone for the most part. Oh the joys=)

I’ve got to tell you about one of our investigators we meet last week. His name is Buri and he's a guard at some business thing. We went inviting one night, our plan was to go to a neighborhood so we biked there but on the way I had a really strong impression so go down this road. I was shocked because of the force of the prompting. We got off our bikes and started talking to everyone we saw in order to find who we were supposed to. After a while we I saw a man off the street a little ways but I knew I was to talk to everyone so I walked up to him and he let us sit down and teach him. To make a long story short we came back a couple days later and he had read over 150 pages in the Book of Mormon. We had an incredible lesson where I asked him a train of questions leading him to say "God is speaking to me, wow..." after that we read a scripture in Mosiah 2:41 (I think). After we read it he said "I want to live with God again, and I’m willing to follow all his commandments". Great experience!! This week we will begin trying his faith by teaching the commandments. God really does prepare people for this message.
I love you all so much

Ps. I had a question about school: of I go to school at Weber state during the summer, is there a chance of transferring to BYU in the fall? Or if I went to Weber state for summer and fall could I transfer down to BYU in the spring? I’m trying to think about what the best options are for school.

The Book of Mormon is true

August 25, 2010
Well, what a week you have been having with engagements, pictures, meeting your future son in laws parents. I only wonder the stress you are all having back home!
So what's going on with Brielle and that hair school stuff? Is she still planning on going to collage this year or will that be next year? Right now where is everybody going to school, will it still be at home or will it all be at other places? How’s the economy back home, and the lawn business stuff????

This week has been the most stressful of my mission because of lots of things but one of the most stressful things for me right now is because of one of our investigators. A while ago we started teaching a girl named Jesse who is about 25 and is dating a return missionary, she’s known about the church for a long time and wants to be baptized so that they can get married in the temple. We met with her the first time and I felt really weird, I thought it was just because we were teaching a girl and that's always awkward. She looked kinda funny but I couldn't put my finger on it. We taught her for a while and preparing her to be baptized. The other day something hit me right before we taught her..."she" is a man. This is something very very common in Thailand. Men will go through surgery and change themselves, and I’m really good at picking them out, mainly because I’ve had trouble with them my whole mission. We went into the lesson and I started looking for the signs: hands, adams apple, jaw... anyway we know it's for sure that it's a man. The really hard part is that she genuinely wants to be baptized and to go through the temple but as a transvestite you are not allowed to go through the temple. I’m really not knowing how to address this but this week end we'll be teaching the law of chastity and it's all going to come out. I’m trying to think of how to deal with the situation in order to address the issue but also to help her know that Her Father in Heaven still wants her to be baptized and loves her very much. Please pray for me, the balance between boldness and love will be really hard in the next lesson.
This week there was a special training for the leaders of the mission on a newish program for missionaries on how to teach more effectively. Yesterday was the first day and President Smith took us on a tour of the scriptures and showed us how we as missionaries must really adapt to meet needs and using the Book of Mormon more effectively in teaching and so many other topics. It really was eye opening to me and makes me so excited to begin teaching again after the training. This last little bit my testimony about the Book of Mormon has grown so much, it's something I really am willing to put all my trust into, I know this book changes lives. I’m in a country where society has been corrupted by the "wicked traditions of their fathers" and the Book of Mormon shakes the foundations of beliefs they have stood on for thousands of years, and opens the door allowing them to walk out into the light. This work is the greatest thing anyone could ever do as a 19 year old boy. It not only changes the individuals around you but it changes you and by the end you understand life in fullness and can begin to see the eternal prospective of just what existence is all about!

I love you all

Monday, August 16, 2010

Another Brother, But the Book of Mormon is true!!!

August 16, 2010
I’m found at a loss for words... weird I know, Tyrel not talking! I really didn't know how I would handle the news when it came but it's not as hard as I thought it would be. I really am so excited for Tara and for the adventures that lay ahead. I’ve always been the protective brother that beat up all the little twerps that messed with my sisters, I always knew one day they would start getting married but I always hoped I would be home for it. I can't describe my feelings but I really am excited.

This week has been a bundle of emotions. I really don't know how I’m taking it. I’m so happy for Tara but it's weird to think about how different things will be. There’s the familiar saying "nothing is as constant as change" with it is the purpose of life, we change we adapt and we become what it is that God would have us become, and Tara wouldn't be able to do that without Weston. I’ve always been the only brother and son and now I’m not, before the mission I was (along with the studly father I have) the protector and now Tara's got another man. so first dad, then grandpa...guess who he still hasn't gotten permission from...take a minute and think...he's far far away...rides a bike every day...he's getting fatter every day...yeah that's right ME! I want to hear from my (almost) new brother!!!

About Elder McKonkie: he's doing great. He’s out working like normal and is a greater missionary every day. I’m so impressed by that kid, and his desire to serve. He’s one of the greatest missionaries I’ve ever seen.

Londyn I’m so sorry that life is a bit rough right now and that you can't do a whole lot because of your arm. I pray for you every day. Hey you could try and write me a letter with your left eh!

This week started with a Zone Conference on the Book of Mormon. President Smith took us on a tour of the scriptures pointing out the doctrine of the Book of Mormon, it was so eye opening. After that we watched Elder Holland’s talk on the Book of Mormon. By the end we were all so pumped with the spirit and excited to share. It really is something I have grown to love so much. I’ve just started the Book of Mormon over and discovered in just the first chapter the doctrine we learn is incredible: we learn of prophets, prayer, scriptures, authority, visions, God and so much more. When the prophet Joseph Smith says on the title page of the book of Mormon "a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book" it's so evident. I've come to realize there are a couple ways Investigators read the Book of Mormon as well as members of the church: there is just reading, and there is discovering the personal guidance from a Father in Heaven for the eternal progression of his children. I go out every day with only a book in my hand and I do everything I can to become a "disturber and annoyer of Satan’s kingdom". In this life people trust in a lot of different things: we see money, popularity, knowledge, looks... but I go out my door every day with a very tight budget, sometimes only my companion as a friend, I haven't been to college, and I’m nothing to look at but there is something I have that provides more comfort, and power then that all..It’s the gospel which is all contained in a single 531page book.
I love you all

Monday, August 9, 2010

Focus on Family

Well as you all know (maybe) it's the hurricane season over here and we've been having the typical hard rains but this week we had the hardest one I’ve ever seen. We were out inviting and I saw a storm coming in, it looked like a heavy one but it we were still going to invite through it. We started talking to a couple people and after a few minutes I looked at the sky and noticed the clouds coming in really fast and very low. My good sense kicked in and we headed for home. We were pretty far away from our bikes so we started walking back. The rain started to fall so hard that it was hard to see and by the time we were back to our bikes the wind was really hard to bike against. We got home as branches started falling of trees. To this day I don't really know what it was but the storm was really strong. It wasn't terribly dangerous but it was a way cool experience.

One of the funnest things that we get every day is people talking behind our backs assuming that we don't know what their saying. A couple days ago we were traveling to the office for interviews when we stopped to eat this scone thing. The man was making our stuff when this other Thai guy came up and started talking about us to the other guy about how the guy should make us wait for our food and stuff. He kept going until it was all I could do not to laugh, I noticed that his zipper was down so I interrupted them while they were talking and told him that his zipper was down. His face was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. He found out we spoke his language and embarrassed him in front of tons of people. Everyone busted up laughing. I wish I had it on video.

As far as a report on the work here; President Smith has changed a lot of how we work here. We are teaching only families now. It’s really great and I love it but it's changed a lot of how we work. We’ve been dropping lots and lots of people but we do have a couple of families that are amazing and are progressing really well. I’ve really began so see even more how much this work focuses on families and how the family environment is so perfect for applying gospel principles.

Well I’m about out of time so I’d better go; I love you all so much


Monday, August 2, 2010

This week was a week of weeks. On Tuesday night at our English class we got a call from Elder McKonkie's greenie companion saying that Elder McKonkie had just gotten into a huge accident and was bleeding really bad. The zone leaders took off and we took over teaching that night. A long story made short: he was riding his bike and hit a hole covered with water. While falling his handlebars twisted and stabbed into his upper leg cutting some really big veins. After a long process he was able to get to the hospital and received a blessing. After trying to make his body stable for a while they began surgery and through miracle after miracle they stopped the blood and he was ok. They said in the body there are 9 pints of blood and before he got to the hospital he had lost 5. I can't even begin to tell about how the hand of God was guiding the whole thing. I was able to stay in the hospital with him for about two days while he was recovering, and now he's back home. I still can't even believe the positive attitude of Elder McKonkie through the whole thing, that kid is such a stud.

Well this week another "out of the ordinary" thing happened. I got a call from one of our investigators, with a depressed voice he asked "elder can you talk for a minute" of course I said yes. I was expecting him to say he wasn’t interested or something but instead he said "I just broke up with my girlfriend" then he started to cry. uhhhhh...I didn't know how to start I hadn't been in this situation sense I was back home. I did what I could to help him but it's hard to do anything as a missionary to help him. We didn't give advice on stuff like that so it was kinda hard...after I hung up me and elder Shipley just laughed forever. The whole situation was hilarious (except for the fact that he broke up =)

Right now we are teaching this family of five and there so sweet. The father’s name is "tea" and the mothers name is "muy". We’ve been able to teach them twice and they are planning on coming to church next week. We were able to teach them about the restoration this past week. It was Elder Shipleys second lesson, and he was way excited. Before the lesson we talked about what we would teach and we decided we wanted to save the last part of the lesson to just testify and explain how this has helped up individually. The lesson went really well and the spirit was very strong. Toward the end I began to testify and then turned and looked at Elder Shipley (indicating that it was his turn) for a second he stuttered and didn't know what to say buy then he merely said "I know..." and the room filled with the spirit. He testified with such power and the family just loved it. It’s such a testimony to me that it is the spirit that teaches and not the Elder. I’ve come to realize it doesn't matter how good we speak or what we do, if we are pressing forward trusting in the Lord for guidance we have no fears, the purposed of the Lord will be fulfilled.

I love you all, sorry this is short I just got back from taking another Elder to the hospital for some shots and now I don't have time


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Nothing like American Candy

July 26, 2010
Man life is great! I’m training an Elder named Elder Shipley, he's from New Jersey and is a stallion. Every single day I try and throw him out of his comfort zone over and over in order to show him how capable he really is and it's been great for the both of us. Sometimes as a new missionary you don't see how well you can speak and what kind of situations you can handle. It’s great! He’s so willing and eager to grow and work hard. I’ll admit my goal for this first week was "work him to the ground" there wasn't a second of "slow down" or "take a brake". We worked like crazy and we have both seen the hand of God every day, we count our miracles every night and are blown away at the ways we are being led. We get along really well it's so much fun to almost re-live my greenie days: eating all the crazy food, making it so spicy on purpose, and all the rest!
people say that on normal days we use only about one tenth of our brain power (could be false, I don't know) but as a trainer I feel like I’m forced to use a lot more than that, it's always saying "what can I do". It's helped me change my thoughts from "me" to "them", I think it's something that has really helped me understand my purpose as a missionary more and helped me want to work even harder.
Oh I got the package, thanks for everything it's great but I don't know if I’ll have a chance to use the blue suspenders. Every time I eat American candy I forget how good it is. I loved the book with the letters from everyone.
Well I’m out of time; tell Grandpa I’m praying for him and London too.
I love you all

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


The baptism went great. It’s such a great feeling after teaching someone for so long and then seeing them enter into the one covenant that allows them into Gods kingdom. As I sat there after the baptism listening to Golf’s testimony my thoughts were being directed by the Spirit which is an amazing experience. I started thinking about how this baptism means I’ll be able to be with Golf and Ton for all of eternity. I think sometimes we don't entirely understand the implications of what we do in this church. When we say eternal life it's so much more then we can even remember. Sometimes I get into the mindset of "endure" till the end of the day, or till dinner but if we truly understand that everything we do has results. The people I have been able to see baptized will be with me in the next life and the happiness there is so much more then what we are able to feel here. Fear and doubt are merely tools of the adversary trying to make it hard for us to achieve our greatest potential and help others achieve theirs.

A couple days ago late at night a huge rain storm came in. We were trying to sleep but an occasional thunder or lightning would wake us up. There would first be a big burst of light followed by a huge bang that sometimes made the house shake a bit. There was one part of the night where I was laying awake thinking about my Area and what to do to help out investigators when the loudest bang and biggest flash of light exploded outside our window. It was so powerful that my whole body just hurt for a few seconds, it was the craziest feeling ever. I laid there and said "wow" and Elder Mitchell said he felt it too. Some of the thunder storms here are pretty intense.

President Smith called me yesterday calling me to be a trainer to a new missionary who is at this time flying over from America. I’ll admit I’m a bit nervous but way excited. I don’t know what happened, just a few months ago I was the new missionary and now I’m in change of teaching him Thai and about all their customs and how to be a missionary. Everything I’ve ever accomplished on my mission was only accomplished through the help of the Lord and I know this will be the same; I can’t do it on my own

Sounds like you had a great experience with that Baptist family, one of the funnest things about being a missionary is all the crazy questions you get asked and then trying to answer them using the scriptures.

I love you so much

PS. my card can't take out money from my account unless it's in checking. If you could switch that over it would be great.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Forgot to post last week

July 5, 2010
Well I just got back from being lost in the middle of Bangkok (man that's a big place) but it so happened that I found a tie shop and got 16 ties for about 6 dollars. The prices here in Thailand still kill me. I know I’m going to be blown away when I get home and have to pay more than one dollar for a full meal. But I think I’ll get over it =)
GUESS WHAT??????? This Sunday we are going to be having a baptism. His name is Don he's about 30 ish and is the most prepared investigator I’ve ever had. He knows the gospel better than most members. He always is talking in church and participating in class he says "Well if I want to learn I need to be involved". I’m telling you this man is teaching me as well, I now talk a lot more in church=) he really is sacrificing a lot to be in this church, his family are all catholic and are really high up in the church and don't like what he's doing. I wish you could hear his testimony and just talk with him. I’ll send you pictures.
This last week has been a real challenge for us. But it has really helped me appreciate hard times and challenges in life. We read in the scriptures that we are given challenges to make us strong. I think this week has been one of growth for us; we did everything we could to work as hard as we could but day after day appointment after appointment fell through and our "results" were really bad. In all reality I wasn’t stressed about it because I know Gods in charge and that his will will be done. This Sunday we had 6 investigators at church which is something we've never done before. Oh the blessings. I just love this gospel and the fact that Gods work will not come to naught (d&C 3;1)
Sorry this is short, it seems that the longer I’m here the less time I have. I love you all

Dog Gone

July 12, 2010
Sounds like a fun week, and as usual...busy! It sounds like it was a great experience for everyone; I hope I’ll be able to see it when I get home.
Colton is home! Man can you go up and smack him in the chest and tell him Hi for me!
The baptism this week went great! We had lots of people who came to see it. It so happened that after the font was filled there was a leak through a small pipe that we didn't know about. After listening to all the talks we all went over to the baptismal font opened the door and the water was gone. Everyone looked at me and I just smiled right back. To make a small story short we used buckets and in 10 minutes it was all back in order and Ton was baptized. After that he bore his testimony in front of everyone. He talked about how he found this church on his own through the internet; he talked about his conversion story and about how his life had been changed through this gospel. It was one of the most powerful testimonies I’ve ever heard. He already wants a calling and to help bring others into the church. This next week we have another baptism as well. His name is Golf; he's 19 years old and wants to convert the world to the gospel. He just got interviewed and is way excited. People come here and visit our ward and everyone thinks he's a member. I’ll send you pictures next week.

So this week we went on switch offs with the zone leaders which was awesome. We were out inviting down in some small streets when we turned down into this very small neighborhood. Okay I need to add something really quick. I’ve never seen more dogs on the streets in my life then here in Thailand. It doesn't matter where you look there are DOGS EVERYWHERE!!! Ok back to the story... I was with a Thai elder and we were talking about stuff when I saw a hole in a gate and I heard a bark. This is something I hear all day long and it's nothing unusual but for some reason all of the sudden I knew we needed to leave. The thought came into my head and a split second later I was walking backwards pushing my companion when a dog came flying out of the hole towards me. I have a small handbag I carry so I pulled it off my shoulder and brought it down on the head of the dog right as it lunged for me. This only made it madder. The Elder I was with didn't have anything so I jumped in front of him when five more dogs came out. I didn't know what I was going to do. The dogs here work like wolves sometimes to kill other dogs and stuff, so as you can imagine I was a bit on the scared side. So me and my handbag were fighting off these dogs for a while, while we were trying to back out of that neighborhood. Finally they gave up and left after they took my dictionary from my bag but we both escaped without a scratch. I couldn't believe it. If we would have kept walking we would have been stuck in that neighborhood up against a wall and probably wouldn't have been able to get out. It’s so great that God watches over his missionaries.

It's also the rainy season again here in Thailand and this last week we were just about to leave the house when it started to rain really hard. We just sighed and walked out into it. After a few minutes the streets were all flooded. We didn't have an appointment to we went inviting. While we were riding out bikes as our feet dipped in and out of the water passing people with water to their knees. But even in the midst of that all we were able to meet some people and get some return appointments. It’s such a wild experience inviting while it's flooding, but man is it ever fun.
Well I’d better go. I love you all
Ps. I’ll send pictures next week

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Oh that I were an angel

June 28, 2010
This week was an exciting one. I guess I’ll start with zone conference. President Smith gave an amazing talk on the Atonement. It was so powerful and inspiring. That’s something I’ve studied so much and still grasp so little of it. I have no Doubt that if people truly understood the Atonement and just what Christ went through and how much it was focused on each and every one of us, people would do everything possible in this life to follow the Savior. It's so hard to see less actives and people I meet on the street every day who really just don't understand what this life is all about, sometimes I feel like Alma when he said "Oh that I were an angel and could have the wish of mine heart...that I might declare repentance with the voice of angels..." I want so badly to show every single person the things they individually chose before this life: Christ, eternal life, heavenly direction. There are sometimes I’m talking to someone and it just kills me inside that they just can't see it. In the book "Our Search for Happiness" Elder Ballard spoke about the word "Remember", this is exactly what I spend every effort doing, helping people remember what they’re here for, who really can help them and where that all can go... when people say this is the greatest work on earth, it truly is. I honestly can’t describe in words how much I love this work and the opportunity I have to give ALL to others and my Father in Heaven.

This week we were in a meeting at the church when a huge explosion went off outside and the whole building shook. After a while we went out to see what happened. Someone had placed a bomb in a building about 50 yards from the church. When it went off there was a big gas tank that exploded with it. There was a huge cloud of fire. It ended up blowing up part of a building and killing some people. When we went to see what happened we found a man who had been in the middle of it all. I’m not going to describe it but he was as close to dead as you could be. The Police finally showed up took care of the man though.

The true test of your language ability is talking to little kids, if they can understand you and you can understand their overly fast speech then your okay. Every Tuesday we teach English at the church. There is a member who teaches the little kids and we usually teach the advanced class. This past week that member wasn’t able to make it so the Zone leaders taught the advanced class and we were given the little kid class. I knew I was in for it when I walked into a room of about 30+ little kids under the age of 12. I went in scared to death. When I walked in and they were running everywhere and talking as loud as they could. To make a long story short Elder Michell and I had one of the greatest times teaching ever. The kids were so funny there were times I couldn't stop laughing. This has been the matter of the mission. I end up doing things that are a bit scary and afterwards I love it to death. I just can't say it enough...I LOVE THIS WORK!!!!!
Well I’m out of time. I love you all
Ps. easy, easy... no dating for another 8 or so months...

Monday, June 21, 2010

More snakes, Cool!!!

June 21, 2010
This week was great and I’m loving the new callings. I’m in charge of four elders one of which is a Thai missionary so every week I have to give training in Thai which is way fun. This past week we meet with the bishop and discussed the ward and what we could do to help it grow. This week elder Mitchell and I have been asked to give talks at a special fireside on missionary work. There’s a lot going on but I love it.

This week we have seen a lot of great progression in our area and next week should be even better. I feel so blessed, we have two investigators who will be baptized in the next month and both of them are so awesome. I just talked to one of them last night on the phone and he said I want to bring a friend to our next appointment because I want a temple here in Thailand so bad and I know if I bring my friends we will get one faster. They understand so well. I really am so amazed. Their names are: golf and don.

This week we had a meeting with some of the stake leaders and our ward. I’ve never really had a temper but this week while in that meeting we had members start lying about us to the stake leaders right in front of our faces about how we do everything wrong and aren't doing things the way we should. I was sitting there knowing that everything they were saying was false and I wanted to really defend ourselves. One of the hardest things to hear someone tell me is that I’m lazy and don't work. I wanted to say so many things, the fact is we work hard and I mean dang hard, I’ve never worked harder on anything in my whole life. But I realized that arguing would only make more problems so we just sat there and took it all. Afterwards I informed them we would try harder in those areas and left it at that. The Lord really helped me in that situation. Oh the blessings of a missionary

We went to teach a man we meet on the street last week at his house. We had a great lesson, he broke down while talking about his life and his past and how he wanted to change it. Something you never see here in Thailand is anyone crying especially a man. This was an awesome experience. We showed him exactly what would help him and bore powerful testimony. Isn’t the gospel great, in the sense that it can change lives of grief and pain into one of happiness. It’s such a blessing to see this happen every day.

This week we also went to see one of our investigators who is a snake trainer or something like that. I asked "can I see your snakes?" and he got all excited and said "of course". It was an experience. It first started when he opened a box a little bit so I could see in. I could see part of a snake but couldn't see it very well. He said get closer and take a look. I leaned over the box and when my face was only about a foot away from the box this big cobra jumped up with its head all swollen only about a foot away from my face. I moved faster than I’ve ever moved before. It started striking but didn't get me. Then he said he had some tame snakes that weighed about 140 pounds. We opened up the box and got it out to play with it, this was the biggest python I’ve ever seen. Then he said he had another one that he wanted to show us. We opened it and this other snake almost as big as the first one started striking at us. It was so CRAZY!!! I will have you know that the one I almost hit a couple weeks ago was close to the same size as these ones. I’m going to attach some videos for you.

Well I must go. I love you all

Ps Don't worry I didn't get bit. In all reality it came close. That really big snake trying to bite the guy went after me too, but obviously I'm still alive... it was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love ya

Monday, June 14, 2010


More Pictures


June 14, 2010
Life back home sounds great. I’m so glad everything is going just peachy! I’m glad it's been decided no one will be getting married till I get home, just make sure you remember that. if you need to write it down and put it on the fridge, the mirrors, the front door, the table and everything else then so be it =)

Well it's true, I’ve moved out of my last area into a place in the upper part of Bangkok called Bankean. President Smith just called me to be a senior companion and a district leader, no pressure right! It’s great though I love it to death. My new companion -Elder Michel and I are just loving the work here. The ward is very small (maybe 30 people). We’ve got some great investigators we're teaching right now who are planning on getting baptized next month. I’ll admit, being the senior companion is a bit different then I’ve experienced before. I’m now the one in the lessons that speaks when no one knows what to say, it was always great before because if I ever got stuck before I would just turn to my companion and he would handle the situation or answer the question that I didn't understand. I really do love it though, my language ability is growing so much, and it's only going to get better. I don't know what it is about another language but it's one of the funnest things I’ve ever done. It’s incredible all the things a language can do and all the fun you can have. In Thai there are three level of speech. There is a royal level: God the king... there is the formal level: government officials, how you talk if you’re giving a talk and then the common language which is just your every day on the street language. It’s so fun because you can be talking about the same thing but depending on who you’re talking to you have to use one of three words. And sometimes of you use the wrong's not appropriate =) but all in all life is great, in all reality it couldn't be better.

The big focus of the church right now in Thailand is preparing for a Temple. It’s something that is very important for the members. The closest temple is in Hong Kong and it takes a lot of time and money to get there. There has been a lot of training for the leaders of the church here and there is some great progression being made. President Smith wants me to build up this ward again, at one point there were lots of members that slowly disappeared. I can't wait to see the progression here.

Well I don't have a lot of time right now. I love you all so much. You’re the greatest

Ps. that's great about Rachel and Josh getting their mission calls. Tell them congrats for me

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The rest of the story

I’ll tell you what I told Tara about the snake: the snake story ends like this: when we were both about two feet from each other I pulled one of those moves you see in the cartoons where they start running but don't move for a minute and then they speed off. As soon as I saw the snake (HUGE AND FAST) I put my feet on the ground and started running backwards while I was still on my bike. The snake probably was scared to death and decided against whatever he had planned. Needless to say he sped off as fast as he could move which was pretty dang fast! It didn't bite me or give me a hug =) if only you knew the animals in my back yard (insert evil chuckle here) but we won't talk about those =)

There is a very good chance this is my last week here in Korat. I’ll admit I don't want to go in the least but if I’m needed somewhere else I’m more than willing to go. The members here are so great. There is one guy named dam (meaning "black") who helps us teach a lot and has a way sweet family who are way active in the gospel. I want to go on and on about all the members but it would take forever to tell you all about them.

You won't even believe what I found this past week! Last week Elder Dearden had to go down to Bangkok to extend his visa. While we were down there another elder told us about a store that had strait up American food. We went there and I found some Teddy Grahams. I wanted to grab as many boxes as I could hold, sit on the ground in the corner and just cry with joy. It’s true the price was out of the roof and going without a couple meals might be the result but I got a box of chocolate ones, and boy are they delicious.

Addressing your question of coming home. I have two options on a date to go home. There’s the middle of June and the middle of May. The group I came in with are leaving at both times. The things I’m considering is finding work, possibly taking collage classes before fall semester. It’s something that doesn't need to be decided for a few more months and I really don't know yet what I should do. If you have any thoughts or suggestions let me know.

Right now we have two people who are really close to baptism, their names are Bom and Somneuk. They have both been coming to church for a while and are doing really well. This past week Bom said he wanted to be baptized on the 27th of this month. Somneuk is giving up smoking and drinking right now but it really shouldn't be too long for him either.
I love you all, keep it up.