Today we had a very different schedule because we were trying to do a lot of other errands to get ready for the week. Basically, the goal is to be as efficient as possible. I made a really big sticky note of all the things I want to share so hopefully, I'll get it all in.
Real quick, Mom, I went through the list of letters you sent me and I checked dates and everything and I got them all. I also got the GRANOLA BARS! Sooo good :-) This Thursday is transfers so I'll get the other packages you sent! :-) Thank you, thank you, thank you! I also got the bookmarks and custom made cards you sent! Those are so cute!! I almost want to keep them and not send them to people. Hehe. So I read through all your letters! I’m excited for Trina that she got to the spelling bee finals!!! Work hard squirt! Everyday, I learn new vocabulary too over here! I even have a mini spelling bee of my own. In Thai, there are 20+ vowels and so my companion will test me the way mom tests you and then she'll correct any mistakes. It makes learning fun! Good luck! I know you'll do great and work hard to meet your goals!! I'll be cheering for you from Thailand! :-)
I'm so excited that Auntie Sheila is here in Thailand! I really wish that I would have the opportunity to see her and give her a Book of Mormon... I thought about giving our number to you so you could e-mail it to her but this week I've been thinking a lot about obedience. And according to the white handbook, we are not supposed to give out our number. I'll ask President Smith in my email so that maybe, in the future, that can happen but as for now, I know that if I obey with exactness and if I'm meant to see Auntie Sheila here in Thailand, then Heavenly Father will make it happen.
So, overall this week was harder than most but it was very, very rewarding. Bon, our investigator passed her baptism interview!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She's seriously so amazing! She's noticed how much the gospel is changing her life that she invited her sister to come and learn too and now both of them are getting baptized on the same date!!!! IT’S AMAZING! It's my favorite way to start the day. We have been teaching Bon at the library and three weeks ago, she wanted us to come and teach her everyday; so for the last... actually, it's been a month now we've been going to the library every day and for this last week, we've been able to teach the two of them with Zhouli (member who introduced Bon to the gospel). I love all three of them. Her sister's name is Bam and she's my age. She came to English class last week and during the class, we met with all the new people for 5 minutes and shared with them a quick spiritual thought and our purpose here as missionaries. So she spoke with Elder Thompson and she told him, she was ready to change religions. The Lord has prepared her. You can just tell by the way she keeps her commitments and her willing heart. Oh, and I found out that Zhouli had read the Book of Mormon 5 times and she's about to finish her 6th time!!! She was baptized in February of this year!! I don't think I've even read the Book of Mormon twice in one year. But each one of them is such great example to me of faith and obedience. The two of them will be baptized on June 23rd!! :-) p.s. Bon's date moved back because she wanted to get baptized with her sister. Oh and when we were teaching them one day, her mom came over and said we want to learn as well but we are going to have the girls learn first. WHOLE FAMILY BAPTISM PARTY!! WOOT, WOOT! So great!
I realized that in the last few weeks I've mentioned a lot about Bon so I want to share stories of other investigators we are working with. We have been teaching a lady named 'Fon'... (I don't know how to spell their names in English so these are my best guesses) but she is 42ish and her husband is Doon (37ish) and they have a little girl named Jup Jeep and she's about 7 year old. We started teaching all three of them together but know we are just teaching Fon. She is already Christian and we met here while we were out inviting so she was interested to learn more about the Church. One of the members has been fellowshipping her the whole time we have been teaching her. This week we have to work on her progress towards baptism because originally they had a date to be baptized on June 30th but at this point they won't make it because they have not been coming to Church. That and because this week they said that they want to wait till they learn more then make the decision to be baptized. It was really hard but I'm happy this is the way it worked out. My companion and I talked about it and we want to make sure that she is learning with us because she wants to come closer to Christ and to repent and be baptized. We think the husband would be super golden, but he doesn't have the Christian background as strong as she does. He is SUPER nice and he leads us out at night with his bike/lights because it's usually dark by then. We just need an opportunity for him to sit down and feel the spirit and I'm sure he'll do great!
Lolee is the other investigator I wanted to tell you about. She is 15 and she is half Thai and half German/American. We teach her in English, which I really appreciate, ha. Joke. I love Thai because it sounds like English now.... or has become more...normal? I'm not sure what word I'm looking for. Speaking of English: I've been called to be the English leader in our district; I'm excited. I basically help organize and make sure English class runs on Tuesday nights. So anyways, Lolee has been through a LOT!! I'm not sure how she handles it all because she is so young but she is very smart and mature for her age. She opened up to us the other night about something very personal and we have this rule about teaching minors; basically, we need a parent to be there. So she needed someone to talk to because it's a matter of life and death so we didn't break rules but just sat outside of the church and talked to her... all four of us, sisters. We shared Alma 7 with her and that the Atonement can heal her. I wanted so badly for her to understand that she isn't going through her trials alone and the Gospel, especially the Atonement, is what's going to help her most. She been meeting with the missionaries since last September so she knows all the lessons and she comes to church every week. For her, it's a matter of applying what she learns. I call her everyday and share what I learned or just say, “hi” because she is really sweet and deserves to have so much more that what she has now.
Well, I've learned a lot of little lessons this week and one thing I've been coming back to frequently, is faith and obedience. During personal study, sometimes I wonder, “Why do we... pay tithing, read scriptures, go to the temple, kneel in prayer etc.” It's because we are commanded to and when we do it, it's an act of faith. I see the different levels of faith in each of our investigators and I'm starting to understand a little more why this is the first principle of the gospel. It's just so foundational. <--- is that not a word?
Time is almost up and I would just encourage our family to go to the temple once a month together. I thought about the temple this past week and I miss it a lot. There is no temple here in Thailand and the members are so eager and save so much so that several years later, they can just go at least once. In Provo, there will soon be two and I know I didn't always go when I had the chance and need to repent because we draw so much power from heaven by going to the Lord's house. That and it's just a special place to be away from the cares of the world and look to the eternity. That's one of the reasons I love Sundays here, I was reading a talk about the Sacrament by President Packer and he talked about a time for self-inspection. I like the way he described it because here in the field we are always talking about BIQ's (baptismal interview questions) so we can check the progress of investigators towards baptism. So as members, sacrament is our form of checking our progress towards eternal life.
I studied this a little more this morning and maybe I'm stretching it, but I know that we are renewed each week through the sacrament and through the Atonement of Christ.
I LOVE YOU ALL!!!
p.s. mom I sent you a letter and one to Grandma .. did you get mine and did they? If not I've written you one that I will send out this week.
Oh, and I'm still reading with the family .. I'm in Alma 2 ... Where are you all"?! :)
Ah, really cool experience with Sister Bon I'll have to share next week