Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving--Thai Missionary Style

Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011 11:40:01 +0700
Subject: Week it doesn't really matter what week im on

Hey Everyone!

How are you doing? How was Thanksgiving? My Thanksgiving was different than I thought it would be. We were supposed to be here in Roi Et for the branch Thanksgiving activity. But on Wednesday, after district meeting, Sister Itow got a call from Elder Komgrit, (he is an assistant), and he told her she had to be in Bangkok on Thursday at 8:00 AM to renew her visa. She and Elder Wagstaff are in the same MTC group and are on the same renewal track for visa. So he asked her to ask if we had to go down, and we did. We spent Wednesday night on a bus down to Bangkok, got there at about 5:30 in the morning, and went to the Phetchaburi building. That's the building where the temple will be one day. But on Thursday, we got there and waited. Then, they renewed their visas, we ate lunch, and got back on a bus to Khon Kaen so we could take a connector to Roi Et.

We had Thanksgiving dinner out of a little Styrofoam box with rice and some chicken that the bus gave us. It really made me grateful for how blessed we always are at Thanksgiving. I'm sure thanksgiving was fantastic at home, but this year, I really am so grateful that I am on a mission. I love you all alot, but I wouldn't trade my opportunity to be serving here for a meal back at home. There is no work that brings more satisfaction than this. Helping my brothers and my sisters learn of their Savior, and come unto Him is amazing. I am so grateful my Father in Heaven has given me this opportunity.

We got to Khon Kaen at about 9:30 and there were no buses, so we slept at the Zone Leader's house. We finally got to Roi Et on Friday morning. Then I finally got to shower!, After that, I went on an exchange to MahaSarakham. It was good. I learned some good things. Then Saturday we exchanged back then went up to Khon Kaen so that we could get an investigator interviewed. Then I came back to Roi Et. So I spent a lot of time on buses this week.

This week we also had two more investigators interviewed for baptism, June and B. They passed! I'm really excited for them. They are going to baptized, along with Air, next Sunday! I have really been so blessed by the Lord. I work in an amazing area, and branch, I have great investigators, an obedient hardworking companion, and I'm having a fun time along the way.

This week, I was looking through Preach My Gospel and reading about my purpose as a missionary. I was reading the statements on missionary work at the end of chapter 1. I loved the quote by President Howard W. Hunter:
"What does the atonement have to do with missionary work? Anytime we experience the blessings of the Atonement in our lives, we cannot help but have a concern for the welfare of others... a great indicator of our personal conversion is the desire to share the gospel with others."

The lessons that I am learning as a missionary are helping my own conversion to the gospel grow. They are helping me convert myself more and more each day to the gospel of Jesus Christ. These are lessons that are shaping me for the rest of my life. And I thank the Lord for the opportunities that He is giving me to grow. His hand truly is in this work, helping each one of His children progress toward their potential as sons and daughters of a Heavenly King. It is my prayer that we will all become more converted to the gospel, and show God that we appreciate what He has given us, and to show the Savior of the world that we are grateful for His eternal sacrafice by sharing the gospel with all around us. I love you all. I love this church, the message of the restoration. I love the Atonement, and the ability we all have to transform through it. Don't take it for granted. Be safe, faithful, obedient, and diligent. I love you all so much!
Elder Todd

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Week--Six Month Mark

Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2011 11:54:47 +0700
Subject: Another week-- gone already

Hey Everyone!

How are you all doing? Things here are just great! I'm actually in shock that this Thursday is already Thanksgiving. I totally forgot about it until yesterday. The branch here announced that this Thursday they are having their วันขอบคฺณพระเจ้า activity on Thursday. Its cool that the word for Thanksgiving, literally translates as "day thank you Lord." But yeah, anyway, I can't believe that November is almost over! It has just gone by so quickly!

This week was just a blur! We did some good things. We got the opportunity to do some service for some members here. It's one thing that Elder Wagstaff and I have found to be a good use of time. It's good because, like we learn in Mosiah 2:17 "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn thatwhen ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God." And, in addition to being able to follow the example of Jesus Christ by serving our fellow men, members are more willing to trust us with their friends.

This week we had a total of four referrals contacted, and we still have four more that we have yet to contact. Referrals really are the best way to do this work. When contacting through a referral, the investigator immediately has a friend in the church, and they can ask any question to that friend. They have a support system that a lot of investigators who are found other ways, don't. So, please if you have anyone to refer to the Missionaries, don't hesitate. Don't be afraid either. If we don't share this message of the gospel with our fellowmen, we are being selfish. We are withholding from them, that which will give them peace and happiness in this life, and eternal life in the world to come.

One thing that I learned in my personal study this week that really is helping me is from Preach My Gospel chapter 1, about my purpose as a missionary. The line that says something along the lines of, "as your understanding of the atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel with all those around you will grow as well." I was thinking about that. I remembered something that Dave said, about how he tried to always think about the atonement. I thought that if we really try to understand the Savior's atonement, that great sacrifice that he did for us, then we will want everyone to be able to come unto Him, and have the promises of the atonement extended to them.

I love the scripture that reminds us, "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more." And D&C 58:42 or Isaiah 1:18 which teach us, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." I am always amazed at the infinite mercy that the Holy One of Israel is always willing to extend. The promise of the atonement is amazing. And I love studying it.

So, we had a good sacrament meeting yesterday. It was one of the highlights of the week. This little kid who is like 9 spoke. He is our landlady's son. Actually, a funny thing is that his real name means "Patriarchal Blessing," and his nickname, everyone here has a nickname, is Jarom. Yeah, they can get away with those names here. His sister is Omni. Anyway, Jarom got up and sung "Called To Serve." It was really good, and he just did it and wasn't really nervous or anything! Then he talked about service.

The Sister's also had a baptism this week! It was a great day for them. It was a little sad for us because we were supposed to have this family come up and be interviewed, but I guess the husband took the car and it was just kind of a mess since they live 80 Kilos outside of the city. Also, Jojo is looking good for his date on the 18 of December. Also we have two new investigators, A and James. They are good, and progressing well!

I'm still loving being in Roi Et! The Zone leaders were down here for an exchange. That was a lot of fun. I was with Elder Kampanat. He is Thai. He is so nice and a way hard-working missionary. He is only on his 9th transfer. I learned a lot from him. He told me the biggesy thing I need to work on, is getting better at Thai. But he said that I speak well enough. I could always improve in all things, though.

Well, I'm loving being here. Elder Wagstaff is awesome! We are just doing great work! Be safe and smart! And write soon!

I love you all. Thank you for your prayers.
Elder Todd

Harvest Season--Roi Et Style

Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2011 14:35:33 +0700
Subject: 14 November 2011

Hey family!
How are you all doing? I'm doing so great! Life is just fantastic right now! I hope you liked the pictures of me with the rice harvesting! It was super fun!

So this week was different than the past few weeks. But in a good way. We took a bus back from Bangkok on Monday night. We left at 10:00 PM and we got to Roi Et at 7:00 AM on Tuesday morning. It wasn't the best nights sleep on a bus, but it's not a big deal. We still got to do some good work. Ever since I got into country it's been tracting, tracting and more tracting. But this week things changed. President Hinckley said that tracting isn't the most effective way of missionary work. The most effective way is through the members of the church. Because when members give the missionaries referrals, that investigator has an immediate support system. They have a friend who they can turn to for support and ask questions. So, Elder Wagstaff came in and we talked about that. We have been focusing more on referrals, and less on going inviting. Its making a difference. We are having better lessons, and we are able to focus on the investigators that we have now. Its been really good. And the best thing is, that now that we are trying for referrals, they are coming! The more we are willing to help out the members, the more willing they are to help us.

Then on Friday Elder Wagstaff and I went up to Udorn Thani for Zone Conference/Mission Tour with Elder Gong from the Asia Area Presidency. It was good, There was a little training for Elder Wagstaff since he is a new district leader. While he was having his training I went on an exchange with Elder Sipperly. It was good. We did get one return appointment.

Then We had Zone Conference on Saturday. It was really cool. Elder Gong came and shook our hands, and asked where we were from. He got to me and said that he knew my family. We talked about Jennifer since she was in his Late Summer Honors class at BYU. He asked how she was. I was so proud to be able to say that she is finishing law school! He asked me to tell you all hello, he also came to me after the conference and asked me again to tell you hello. Those men truly are amazing! He talked to us about the Doctrine of Christ. Then we read through 3 Nephi 11 and looked for references to baptism. It was really good! He also did a question and answer session with us. That was really cool. Also D&C 50:22 about how, as a companionship, after teaching a lesson we should both be edified, along with the investigator.

This week, we have two more investigators with a baptismal date. First, Bupphaa, who we have been teaching since August. She has a goal for the 4th of December. Then last night we taught a first lesson to a boy named JoJo. He is a referral that is 10. We extended him the invitation to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authourity of God. He accepted! I was really happy that he decided to accept!

One bummer this week was my bike got a flat tire. I had to bike on this little green kids bike yesterday that was a members son's. Elder Wagstaff said it looked hilarious to see a big white guy on this tiny little bike. I'll try and get a picture. Then I also lost my planner. I never thought I would need a planner so badly! I love being able to plan every night, and to know what I am going to do each day. Mom, I hope that makes you happy!

Well things are great! I'm loving being with Elder Wagstaff. He is way good at Thai! and the work! I love you all, and hearing from you all. Be safe, and don't do anything stupid!

ELder Todd