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