Sawadii khap! For those of you that are back home, it must be nice
having cooler weather now. As for me, Thailand is still really hot and
I'm still sweating out here basically everyday haha. This past week's
been different than usual. If you guys don't know what happened here
in this country, you can look up recent news for Thailand. The entire
country is in a period of "mourning" or "showing respect" so people
have been wearing black or white and will be for awhile. However,
missionary work will still continue!
Elder Escher and I have been having a hard time with investigator work
this week. One of our investigators that had a baptismal date, Brother
T, decided that he wasn't going to be an investigator anymore. He's
someone that doesn't want to have just one religion in his life. He
wants to come closer to God more in his own way. I was upset to let
him go since he was really interested in our church and he was also
pretty close to getting baptized, but everyone has their agency in
life to choose what they want. Some of our other investigators our
having some problems as well but I know that if they overcome them, it
can increase their faith for sure.
One thing that I've realized since being in this area is that you have
to get through harder times on the mission in order to get to good
things that will happen in the future. I'm glad that I've figured this
out haha. Why didn't anyone tell me this when I was a greenie?? That
would've been nice to know a loooong time ago. I know that challenges
can help us become better people. God loves us and Jesus is the
Christ. Hope you all have a great week!
used the hammer a bit haha
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Hey everyone! It's been another week in ประเทศไทย. There's been some changes since we just had transfers on Thursday. I'm staying here in Bangkapi for another transfer with Elder Escher! It wasn't a surprise since I haven't been here for that long but this transfer, we're adding in a new companionship of elders. Both of them are living in our house for now so it's really packed with all six elders in a small townhouse haha. They're looking for a new place to stay, but their house will be further away from us in a different part of the area.
On Saturday night, our water basically went out so we couldn't take showers or use the sink (keep in mind how we have six elders living together right now). Usually when something like this happens, its because the water bill wasn't paid for and so the water gets shut off. We thought this was the case but on the following morning, one of the elders flipped one of the switches by the front door.... and believe it or not, the water was back to normal again! I didn't even think that that was the problem and I thought we had to pay the water bill before we could get our water back to normal but seriously? We suffered through that just cause the switch wasn't on?
I was able to watch General Conference this past weekend. I loved having the opportunity to sustain Thomas S. Monson as a prophet. I know he is called of God. One of my favorite talks from conference was by Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita. He talked about being ambitious for Christ. He shared an experience of a missionary who was having problems with his leg situation and he asked this elder "Elder Cowan, you were called to the Japan Nagoya Mission, where you would have to ride a bike. Did you tell this to your stake president?" The elder said "No, I didn’t. I determined that if that is where the Lord called me, I would go to the gym and train my body to be able to ride a bike." That to me is being ambitious for Christ. We don't have to have the same experience as this elder in order to do so, but we can still choose to be ambitious for Christ in our own lives through love and service and obedience. I know this church is true. I know that God and his Son, Jesus Christ live and love us.
Hi family and friends! Well the transfer is coming to an end soon and we find out who moves probably tomorrow. This was a good transfer for me because I felt like I learned a lot of important lessons. Before my mission, I didn't really know what my mission was going to be like. I was excited to go to Thailand when I had my call but I never would've guessed my mission to have been what it has. Serving here in Thailand has been one of the biggest blessings in my life.
Brother Art was baptized yesterday! Woohoo! I wrote about how we found him before but just for a recap, we found Brother Art one day while he was outside in an apartment area. When we were inviting that day we didn't know where we'd end up but we eventually saw him and had the Restoration lesson. Brother Art is probably one of the most prepared persons I have ever met. He was already a Christian so he had a good background about Jesus. He's had such an open heart with the things we've taught him and he knows that our church has been restored. He just got a job at the 7-11 close by so sometimes I see him there haha. I know that I was an instrument for the Lord in helping Brother Art get baptized in the true church. This is the Lord's work and sometimes it's just so obvious that I can't deny it.
I wanted to share another cool experience from this past week. Elder Escher and I have been working with a new member named Sister J. She's in her forties and lives on her own. She loves the Bible but she doesn't know that the Book of Mormon is true. She has problems with it. We've been meeting with her about once a week and lately we've been teaching other things since teaching about the Book of Mormon isn't always helpful (she might fight against what we say about it or something). This past week, we had a really powerful lesson with her. In the lesson, I got on the topic of temples and she made it clear that she didn't have a testimony of them. During our lesson, I showed her a video about temples. She came across that video before but didn't watch it all. She told me that like two days before, she saved a picture of the temple on her phone. I think she might have thought it was pretty or something. She feels like Heavenly Father is working with her kind of like a fishing line being reeled in being cast out and being reeled in type of thing. I know it wasn't a coincidence that I brought up temples that day. Near the end of the lesson, her eyes were getting watery and the Spirit was very strong. I asked her something like if she was going to open her heart now and accept what we teach and she said yes. It was so awesome! I know that Heavenly Father loves Sister J. I know it. I know that I am just an instrument in the hands of the Lord to do His work. I had no idea the lesson would turn out that way it did but I'm glad it did because I know it made in impact on Sister J.
I'd like to finish by bearing my testimony. I know that this church is true. I know God lives and loves us. He loves the Thai people, all of them. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. I know this work is real.
Hello family and friends. It's been such a great week! This week especially, we've been teaching more lessons with our investigators than we usually do since getting to this area. The Lord has been blessing us and I love it. Even though it's been raining almost everyday and I get so exhausted at times, it's been such a blessing to help others come to know the gospel. Being a missionary has helped me better understand the importance of it.
Yesterday, we had a baptism for our investigator, Brother Jaab! It was so awesome. There were a lot of people for the baptismal program and we had special musical numbers and I could feel the spirit pretty strong. We've been mostly teaching Brother Jaab over camera through a phone or computer since there aren't missionaries in the area he lives in right now. However, from our very first lesson to now, I can tell that he's changed so much. Repentance was a pretty important thing for him and I know that he was baptized with a change of heart.
We have a really solid investigator pool right now. The kid we met with last week, Brother Art, has been progressing so much. He's 16 years old. He actually got baptized from the Protestant church already but he's been open to our message of the Restoration. He's been reading the Book of Mormon and he's prayed about it as well. He doesn't feel like he's really received an answer yet but I know it'll come. He came to church yesterday and got to stay for the baptismal program. I think it was really good for him. He feels like we're more of a family than the other church he went to. We're working with a guy named Brother Gang. We met with Brother Gang at his workplace by the church. He's a pretty strong Buddhist. He's been open to learning about the gospel and he's already read past 1 Nephi 10. He came to church yesterday and also got to stay for the baptismal program. He feels like his heart is conflicted since he's Buddhist and he's been learning about this new religion to him but I think he likes it. He's very interested. I shared with him Moroni 7:13 since I thought it would be helpful for him. It says "But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God." He's a good guy. I'll let you guys know how he's doing next week. We're still working with Brother Puum. His biggest problem right now is work. He works a lot. We have some others as well so we've staying pretty busy with our investigators.
I know that miracles are happening here in Thailand. There are people in this country that are prepared to accept the Restored gospel and it's been such a blessing to be able to see this on my mission. I know that God loves us. He loves us so much more than we love Him. I know the church is true. The Book of Mormon was translated by the power of God through Joseph Smith. I hope you all have a great week! True happiness comes from living the gospel so live it to the best you can!
This first picture is of me and my companion with Brother Thang. He's the cutest little chubby kid ever and when he waddles a bit when he walks haha
Before the baptism for Brother Jaab
Sawadii khap everyone! This past week has been so good! The work has been picking up even more now and I love it. Something about staying busy just makes things more enjoyable here. Being able to train has been such a cool experience for me. Elder Escher is a great missionary. As a trainer, I sometimes feel inadequate since I don't always have the best solutions to things but I know that the Lord wants me to be one and I don't want to let Him down.
I want to share with you guys an experience I had a few days ago. Yesterday in zone conference, we went over how miracles come after faith and I was able to see that this week. On Friday, Elder Escher and I had some time to go contacting in our area before we were to go to the mission office to do interviews with President Johnson. We prayed so we could be guided during our contacting session and afterwards, we just started walking without knowing where we would really go. It was pretty hot that day and the sun was blazing on us but we just kept on going. We ended up at a neighborhood of apartment buildings. I remember coming to one of the buildings not knowing whether or not to keep contacting in the direction in front of the building or behind it. Knowing it was either one or the other, I wanted to go where the Lord wanted me to go. I chose behind the building. Behind that building, we contacted a man named Nu that was willing to meet with us again in the future. A little while after that, we came across a teenager named Art. We were able to sit down with him and teach him the Restoration. He was a nice kid and he prayed at the end of our lesson as well. I usually contact by handing out cards that our mission has but on that day, I decided to carry an extra copy of the Book of Mormon with me. I gave him the copy I had with me after our lesson.
Who am I out of all people to have been guided by the Lord as I was? I'm just a 20 year old from Arizona. Like I said, it was hot and humid and I didn't know where we'd end up but in Ether 12:12, it says "For if there be no faith among the children of men, God can do know miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith". I'm grateful that the Lord guided us that day and I know that it was because of our faith that we were able to see miracles. I have never done something so hard in my life as serve a mission but it's been the most rewarding thing I have ever experienced. I know God lives. This work is real.
Sawadii khap everyone! I've been getting used to Bangkok life now and I think busy streets and tons of people around are things I'm just gonna have to deal with. This past week's been interesting. Elder Smith and I woke up Saturday morning feeling really sick. I tried to do studies in the morning, but it was pretty hard so I ended up sleeping for basically the rest of the morning and staying home for most of that day. It was rough. I'm feeling better now but I'm still a little sick and hopefully I don't slow down the work too much this upcoming week.
As for the area, here in Bangkapi, things are a lot more orderly than my last area which has been such a blessing. I loved Surin, but it's just different here. For one, we have a full bishopric in this ward and on top of that, there are a LOT of strong members as well with RMs and people that work for the church and member families etc. etc. I guess serving in my last couple of areas has made me more grateful for functioning wards!
Yesterday at church, I was able to meet a 10 year old girl named Sister Baam. She's friends with some of the members in the ward but she's not a member herself. Even though she's just a child, Elder Escher and I had the opportunity to teach her later that afternoon. She's met with missionaries before and she already had a Book of Mormon and she's read a lot of it as well! We ended up going over the Restoration lesson with her and afterwards, we talked about baptism. Since she's under 18, she has to have parent permission in order to get baptized. Her dad isn't really on board for her to get baptized right now but Elder Escher and I are going to meet with him this Tuesday and who knows, maybe he'll end up changing his mind and get baptized himself. I could tell Sister Baam showed a genuine interest in the gospel and in the church, especially for being 10 years old. I'm amazed at how much faith Sister Baam's already exercised and I know that this gospel will help bless her life as she grows up.
Other than Sister Baam, we're still working with our investigator named Brother Jaab. We've been teaching him over skype and line since he lives out of our area so things have been working out alright that way. He reads and he prays and he's pretty nice to us as well. He'll be baptized in a couple of weeks if he's ready.
I love this church so much and I'm grateful that I get to be a part of it. I love being able to help build the kingdom. I love you guys.
A view of some of Bangkok
Switch-off with Elder Tuttle. Sorry if it looks like I'm putting up the middle finger, I promise I wasn't.