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.