Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week 12 It's a natural disaster! More floods to come!

Date: Mon, 31 October, 2011
Subject: Week 12

Hey Family!
So this was my twelfth week in country! I can't believe it! I feel like i'm in such a crazy time warp where I feel like I JUST got to Thailand, but at the same time I Feel like I have been here forever. I love it though! It's so great.

The work is hard, but so rewarding and so worth it! There are definetly some funny things that happen. For example just about 10 minutes ago we were biking over to the interenet shop where we come to email. I got distracted by some kids playing in the street and didn't see a parked scooter and I crashed into it. It was pretty embarassing, but funny at the same time. I guess I just need to pay attention more! No?

Well, this week was good. We are still safe from the floods in the city, but once you get 10 Kilos out of the city I guess the floods are pretty high. We actually got two elders moved to our district from the evacuated Pakkret zone. Elders Ahlstrom and Stott! They are up in Mahasarakham, like 45 minutes away, but we get to see them at district meetings on Wednesday, so thats very fun! We are wondering if we will get some more up here in roi et. It would be very fun! And we have the room.

It's sad to see pictures in newspapers from the floods. But I guess that it's not the actual flooding that is causing the elders to be pulled out. It's the lack of clean water. No shower water, and no drinking water are causing a major problem. We are fine up here in Roi Et so don't worry.

This week was a pretty good week. The sisters had a baptism. Actually the guy who got baptized, Singha, is awesome! He cold turkeyed smoking, alcohol, drugs, and coffee and hasn't releapsed. That was like 3 plus weeks ago. It just goes to show, that through faith and prayer anything is possible!

We got some new investigators that seem pretty good too! There are these two girls B and Mammoth. B is protestant, but hasn't been baptized with any denomination yet. They say that they are friends but they might be girlfriends, so we'll just have to teach them the law of chastity. Then, last night we were teaching our investigator Bubphaa. She had two customers at her store, and they stayed for the lesson. They belong to a Christian church here, but that church publishes anti-LDS pamphleyts and things. They bring to pass the promise that Moroni made to Joseph Smith that his name would be had for good and evil among all nations kindreds tounges and people.

We also had a big service project out in a neighborhood where we teach that happens to have a bunch of the members from Roi Et, Mahasarakham, and Khon Kaen. The district president was there too! We painted a wall out in front of the school. It was fun. I felt like I was painting back at the H rock a little bit, except this time, we were using paint rollers and brushes instead of socks and brooms! It's all very fun! I'll send some pictures for sure!

Other than that this week was a pretty average week of just teaching and finding. We unfortunately had some investigators drop us. Pawn is one of them. It's sad because she was progressing well until she went out of town and decided she doesn't have time for us anymore.

One scripture that I have come to love this week is Alma 44:3. Read it and ponder Captian Moroni's words of faith. Also I recieved a lot of help from Ether 2:17
" 17 And they were built after a manner that they were exceedingly atight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish."
So this verse is a little redundant, no? But I really like it becuse of what it meant for the people of the brother of Jared. The Lord was going to bring them to the promise land in these barges that we "tight like unto a dish." The Lord new that the journey wouldn't be an easy one so he had the Brother of Jared prepare the barges for rough, tempestuous seas. Sometimes in life, we face those kinds of trials. But the Lord will never give us a trial greater than we can endure. Sometimes, He will come rescue us. Other times, he lets us ride out the trial on our own. He will only let us ride them out on our own if He has prepared us. By doing so He shows His faith in us. He believes in us. He knows that we can do these things. And we can. If we will turn to Him, and rely on the Holy on of Israel to be our support. Never forget that. Have faith and look to Him always, and in ALL things. Be quick to observe the blessings you receive from Him. Then thank Him for those blessings, and I promise you that He will pour out more blessings upon your head.

I love you all! Be safe and smart. But most of all be faithful!
Elder Todd

Week 11. Floods in Bangkok

Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2011 11:30:26 +0700
Subject: Week 11

Hey everybody!

So I'm guessing you are all hearing about the floods. We haven't really been affected in Roi Et until this week when we found out that transfers, which should be happening on Thursday, will not be happening until further notice. This transfer was a 7 week transfer to begin with, they're usually six weeks. So with the continuation, this becomes a very long transfer. But no big deal.

Things in Roi Et are great! It's a nice day today, not a cloud in the sky. Probably in the low 80's so a little on the warm side. One of the members said to me the other day, "Welcome to 'cold' season." Haha I told her that it snowed in Salt Lake last week (that's what Brooke said), and that would feel comfortable to me. She thought I was crazy! The members here are so great! It's awesome to see the faith of the saints of God everywhere in the world. Church is a little different here because of some cultural things, like the members always eat together after church. But the sacrament is the same, and the spirit of the Lord is the same. That's the beauty of the restored gospel.

Well, this week was a pretty good week. Teaching-wise, it was better than last week, even with two of our investigators going out of town. It was interesting to see, a lot of people have had relatives who were born here but moved to Bangkok. Now they're coming back because of the floods. The floods really are creating a mess here. Mahasarakham is getting two new elders from the Pakkret Zone, so they will have 4 elders there, upping our district from 6 to 8. The whole Pakkret Zone and half of the Asoke Zone are out of commission as far as I understand. Its pretty crazy!

Speaking of Sarakham, I went on another exchange up there this last weeks. It wasn't too bad. Sometimes I feel like exchanges are really inconvenient because they take you away from your investigators. I love all of the people that we are teaching. It can be a little frustrating at times, but it's good.

Last night we taught our investigator Bubphaa. She is good. We have been teaching her for over two months now. She knows the gospel is true, but she won't accept a baptismal date! She has some concerns that she feels like she needs to take care of before she can repent. But she doesn't feel like she can be open and honest with her mom yet. We talked about the purpose of this life, how its a time to prepare to meet God. I opened to Alma 13:27 about not procrastinating the day of your repentance. We walked away feeling that she had a greater desire to repent. Each day I am grateful as I write in my journal. I am able to look back and see how the Lord has used me to help His children come unto Him. There are so many tender mercies that I know are blessings from the Lord. Whether they be barely making a green light on the way rushing to an appointment, or finding new investigators-- they are ever present. Ifeel so grateful that I get to be in the mission field experiencing those tender mercies first-hand.

In life we all face difficulties. A mission is a very interesting thing. I feel like it's a microcosm of life, and that everything is more condensed and exaggerated. The good times are so good, and the hard times are very trying. But the good times, the miracles, the mericies of the Lord are so amazing that all of the sorrow and sadness of the hard times are swallowed up in the joy of those moments. In Third Nephi 22:7 the Lord tells us " For a small moment have I aforsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee." Remember that, and D&C 121.

Well i'm safe and well. I pray for you all and love you lots! Keep up the good work! I loved hearing from you this weeks!
Elder Todd

Sunday, October 16, 2011

New badges and a little missionary service!

Week 10

Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2011 11:38:49 +0700
Subject: Week 10

Dear Family

How are you all? It was great to get some emails from you and hear you're all alive and that the floods aren't affecting you. They aren't affecting me either. The Easaan (that's the eastern region of the country) is more elevated than Bangkok, the South, the north, and the central part. So we're good.

We've had some rainy days this past week, but nothing too bad. The biggest downside of the rain is that it deters people from coming to church, lessons, and English class. We have a couple that we are teaching and they live in the middle of their rice Field. There is only a dirt road out to it, and so when it rains, its very very difficult to get cars, motorcycles, or bikes out to it. So we can't tech them. Plus its like 15-17 Kilometers from the city. But its okay, becuase we always have a trial right before we recieve a blessing!

So nothing really happened with our investigators this week. We had lots of lessons cancel, and only a few at church. But were going to push through. We had a really good weekly planning session this week, and we feel good about this week. We both want to finish strong because it is the last full week of the transfer.

This week we had Zone Training up in Khon Kean. The Assistants were there, and the Zone Leaders, Elder McDonald and Elder Hardy, gave the training. It was really good. It was on the "How to Begin teaching" section in Preach My Gospel. Those 10 points are amazing.

President Packer had those points come to him in the night. He wrote them all down and gave them to the people to put them in Preach My Gospel. The people put them in, but in paragraph form. When President Packer saw that, he said, "No, no, it needs to be bullet points." Those points are so helpful in beginning teaching, and even in lessons that follow. I know that they are revelation from God, so that we can help His children come unto Him, and recieve the saving ordinances, the first being baptism. The training was really good.

After the training, I went on an exchange with Elder McDonald. He is from Pleasant Grove. We were talking and guess what? He goes to Pacific Beach every year, and he knows about TACO SURF! His granparents have a condo in the blue tower right on the beach that we can see from the G's.

Speaking of them, I got GranAnns letter that she had to resend. The original address looked fine. It was so great to hear from her! I hope all is well with her and Grandpa Bud.

Anyway, E. McDonald and I were going to do some service at Khon Kaen University with some of his investigators. On the way over, we were using some of the "how to begin teaching points" with the taxi driver and it was awesome. We helped cut up ginger roots for a cancer medicine.

E. McDonald is really good at Thai. We talked about it. He told me about his experience reading the Book of Mormon in Thai. He said he did, and literally the next day after finishing, his understanding improved so much. I believe it. The Book of Mormon can work miracles in investigators lives, so why not in the lives of missionaries? I did the math. If I read 10 pages a day in Thai, I will finish on December 31. So that's my goal.

We were teaching some of his investigators, and it was really fun. He gave me a lot of parts in the lessons and let me teach some of the laws, and doctrines. Its great! One of the members helping us said to me that I speak Thai well, but with english grammar. It's a problem. Right now I'm just translating in my head. But I think as I read the Book of Mormon and read correct Thai, then I will learn grammar better. It will help a lot along with studying it and practicing. It's like what Elder Holland said about not bringing my own tounge.

Well that's about it for this week. Hopefully we get more of our investigators progressing. I love you all. Choose the Right, read your scriptures every day and pray. I promise you will recieve help form the Lord in every aspect of you life.

Elder Todd

Sunday, October 9, 2011

#1 General Conference in Thailand

Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2011 11:25:01 +0700
Subject: week 9

Hey everybody!

How are you doing? This week was an amazing week! Especially because of general conference! It was amazing! Sister Itow didn't want to watch it in Thai so she got it on a flash drive in English so we were all able to watch it in English.

It was weird to me during the Saturday afternoon session when it hit me that I was in Thailand watching General Conference. I was learning the same thing that you all learned last week. I don't think that I have ever gotten so much out of conference. It makes me want to be a better person all around. Elder Holland, and Elder Christofferson, and President Uchtdorf's Saturday afternoon were some amazing talks! But really, they all were.

Well, this week was a pretty good week here actually. We taught some good lessons to our progressing investigators. Unfortunately, because some investigators won't keep commitments, they aren't counted as progressors. It's hard to see people who have started on the path to true happiness choose to not keep going, or to see them choose to slow down.

One thing that I have realized this week, is how much our own attitude and our own choices affect everything. We have a lot more power than we think we do. As we were reminded in conference, only we can choose for ourselves. 2 Nephi 2:27 is one of my favorite scriptures on agency. Sometimes peoples' agency can be very frustrating. But during those times, I take a step back, and remember that I have my own agency. And I remember the tremendous blessing that comes with it. I realize, with that blessing also comes great responsibility.

I feel as if more and more in the world, the lie is being told, that we won't be held accountable for our own actions. THIS IS A LIE. In the end, every man, woman, and child will be held accountable for each and everything that he or she did in their lives. Whether it be choosing to be obedient, choosing Christ, choosing eternal life, living with God in His presence forever, or choosing eternal misery. It is up to us if we choose happiness or to put ourselves into captivity, and the chains of sin.

To some investigators, and even to many members of the church, it may seem like God has given us so many commandments, and they bind us down. In reality, it's the opposite. God gives us commandments to set us free. God is all about giving us freedom, giving us our agency. That's what we fought for in the premortal life. Satan, all he wants to do is bind us down. To trap us in the gulf of never ending sorrow. To lead us into crooked paths. If we start down those paths, we can always return. The sooner, the easier, and the better. But, choose this day to serve the Lord (Josh 24:15). Pray continually for the Lord to help you avoid those crooked paths. Let your heart be continually drawn out in prayer unto your eternal father.

We invited Tan to conference. He said he could come. I was so excited for him to come hear the words of the prophet! But then on sunday morning, about twenty minutes before, he called and said he didn't have a way he could come. I was really sad. He is so good! I feel like he has the desire to be baptized, to come forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witness unto the church that he has repented of his sins.(D&C 20:37) He wants to come read his scriptures at the chuch, but when he can come, we aren't free to open it up. We have been teaching him there, and I think he likes the spirit he feels there.

Pawn was out of town this week and doesn't know when she will be back. We started teaching these poeple who live out in the middle of a rice paddy. They are a member referral. They were actually expecting us t come to them. Its good because they came to us, but since they are old, and rooted in Buddhist ways, it will probably take some time.

This week i was on an exhcange with Elder Christensen. We were here in Roi Et. We taught some good lessons. We were inviting in a neighborhood, and there is a house that has a big "Beware of Dog" sign. The gate was open and I was a little hesitant. The lady who lived there was standing outside. So we started talking to her. We taught her and her 18 year-old son about prayer. It was really good! She was saying she was actually looking to change religions. At the end of the lesson, they each said their own prayer. The son asked if God lived, then we he was done, he waited and we didn't even tell him to do that! It just shows that the Lord is prepearing people everywhere for His gospel. No matter who you are, no matter where you are going in the world, I promise that you can baptize people. I know that the Lord will prepare people. You may just be starting the planting of the seed, but I know that every missionary in the world, who is obedient, who tries, and who is diligent, does some good to build the Kingdom of God on the Earth, preparatory to the Second coming of the Messiah.

Well, All is well here! I hope you are all well! Do your part in wherever you may be in the vineyard. The gospel is true. i promise you that. I love you.
Elder ทอดด์

Monday, October 3, 2011

October 3, 2011

Date: Mon, 3 Oct 2011 11:12:41 +0700


Hey everybody! How are you all doing? How was General Conference? I'm really jealous that you all got to watch it! I bet it was so good! That's nuts that they are turning the Provo Tabernacle into another Provo Temple! They could really use it! So, I guess it was kind of "a blessing in the skies" that the Tabernacle was damaged. I'm really excited to get to watch conference, even if it is in Thai.

We were teaching an investigator about the Restoration yesterday, and we were talking about Joseph Smith and how he was a prophet, and then about President Monson being a prophet. Then I was like, "hey you can come on Saturday and Sunday and hear the words of the living prophet!" It was way sweet! I hope she will come! She seems pretty good. She prays everyday, but she said that she is having a hard time finding the time to read the Book of Mormon. I know that a lot of people feel like they have that problem. Before my mission, there were some days I felt like i didn't have time. But I know that if we will make the time to read the Book of Mormon every day, the Lord will bless us more than we will know.

This week was an alright week work-wise. I went up to Mahasarakham with Elder Jensen. It was good to go on an exchange because I learned some good things. But we didn't get much done. Part of that was because one of the bikes broke and we had to go get an estimate on it. That was kind of a hassle.

We had a really good district meeting on Wednesday. One of our Zone Leaders, Elder Hardy (He was a loadmaster on an AC-130 gunship) gave us a really good training on "We invite, they commit, we follow up." It was all about making commitments, and inviting investigators to act.

Elder Ackerman and I have also had the opportunity to be involved with some service at the former branch president's house. He just got released a week or two ago because he has to get surgery. He's helped us so much. He takes us to catch the bus to go to transfers meeting, and he helps us teach a couple times a week. So, when he asked for help, we were happy to serve him. We have been doing some yard work for him. It feels really good to be able to do some manual labor. It's good to just get in and work hard. It reminded me a lot of my days at Birch Creek Ranch.

So with our investigator เเทน(Tan), we have a little issue. He works on Sunday, and can't come to church. We are going to have to move his baptismal date. Its a shame, because he really has the willingness to change his life, and to be baptized. But he says he can't change his work schedule. We had a really good lesson this week on the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. We have been practicing teaching those quite a bit. A lot of people here have a problem with the abortions part. If they get an abortion, help, or suggest it, they have to meet with President Smith or one of his counselors before they can be baptized. I wonder how big of a problem it is in the U.S.

Yesterday we had a really great experience with one of our investigators. He lives 60 kilometers away, which is about an hour and a half car ride. He called us yesterday morning and said that he wasn't sure if he could make it to church because his house was flooded, and it was pouring rain. Well, we got to the church, and just before Sacrament meeting started he walked in. He had gotten on his motorcycle and driven the whole way in the pouring rain just so he could come to Sacrament meeting. He had to leave right after so that he could go home and makes sure that his family was ok. I thought of the sacrifices that he had to make to come to church, and I know that the Lord is blessing him for that.

This week I have learned some really great things in my studies. The first comes from Alma 32, one of the great chapters on faith. I read in verses 40 and 41 about a tree of everlasting life. It made me think of the seed, and the experiment we are to do with the seed, which is the word of God. That seed, when planted and nourished, will end up being our own tree of life. We must continue to try the experiment over and over in order to nourish it.

The next thing was in Alma 5:26-29. I was studying about humility, and I thought of the Savior. I thought to myself, He was the most humble man ever to walk this earth. Part of me wonders if for that reason, he is the greatest of all. I think its very possible. Humility is a crucial starting point for everything in the church. We must be humble enough to start to experiment to see if these things are true. Then will our faith grow.

Well, all is well here with me! I hope that you are all doing well! I'm excited for conference, and I hope you all learned something because I know that there was something for each individual person who listened to conference.

Be Safe! Be smart! I love you all!
Elder Todd