Sunday, February 26, 2012

Transfers on Tuesday--Will he stay or will he go?

Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 13:56:37 +0700


How are you all doing? I'm doing well here and I'm healthy.

Sorry this is later than usual, but we had a zone sports day this morning at Lumphini Park. It was really fun and we got to play ultimate frisbee together. But it was really hot.

Lumphini is a really cool place. I think it is where President Hinckley dedicated Thailand. There are Komodo Dragons all over the place. They just live there and hang out. Kinda crazy. I remember what a big deal it was when the Hogle Zoo had one of them. But they just roam free in Bangkok.

After Lumphini Park, Elder Inthavong wanted to buy a watch at Pratunam. This is a really big market. So we went there and got some watches. They have so much stuff there. They sell stuff that factories don't sell or knock offs. There are tons of Harrods bags. The Anglophiles in our family should love that.

This week was good though. On Friday we went to the mission office because I had to get a work permit. This will take the place of my visa so I don't have to go renew every 90 days. Instead, I am legal for a year without renewing. So that will be really nice.

I was able to get my packages there. Thank you so much for all the love you sent me through the mail.

Not a whole lot happened this week. I was on an exchange in Bang Khae from Monday night until District meeting on Wednesday. It's so wierd, our district leader is going home on Thursday. I'm so glad that I still have so much time left, but I don't like how fast it is going. I'm really enjoying the experience. It's truly a once in a lifetime opportunity that I hope everysingle young man takes advantage of.

We have this one investigator who is Christian. His name is Banjeud. He is pretty solid. He knows his bible so well! It's crazy. He was talking to me about Joseph and Potihper's wife and how Joseph did the right thing and that kind of stuff. I was so surprised how well he knows his Bible. I'm just glad that I have been reading the Old Testament so I could talk to him about it.

Then we have this other investigator. Her name is Main. She is good. She really wants to get a testimony before she does anything with baptism. She is afraid of getting baptized and then falling back into Buddhist traditions. I just keep thinking how important faith is. It is power. It is the power to make things happen in our lives. Gene R. Cook gave a really good talk on Faith in The Lord Jesus Chirst at BYU in the 80's I think. I would encourage you all to read that if you get the chance.

One thing that has been on my mind this week is testimony. It's so important for us to share our testimonies with others so that they can grow. It's part of imparting of our substance to all men. Then, as we do that, the Lord blesses us with more. I challenge you all to be more bold in sharing your testimony with others this week.

Yesterday one of the senior missionaries came to the ward here and I got to help translate for him. It was really cool, and testified to me of the gift of tongues. There really is no other way that I could be able to translate, or even speak Thai if it weren't for the power of God helping me. I know that the gifts of the spirit are very real, and we should always strive for them.

Well, sorry there isn't a whole lot this week. I forgot to write down everything that I wanted to say. I'll try and make next week better. I love you all so much! Be safe smart and faithful.

Love ,
Elder Todd

20th Birthday in Thonburi

Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2012 11:44:06 +0700

Hey Everybody! How are you all doing?

I'm doing great! Now that I'm 20, my body is old and slow now, but I'm great! ยินดีด้วย! haha

This week was a good week. More difficult for sure, but we made it through.

We had some interesting experiences. On Monday night, we were passing out fliers for our English Class. It was the day before Valentine's Day and there was a lot of stuff such as roses, candy, etc. being sold on the street. I don't know if it's because I'm a missionary or what, but what I saw reminded me of what President Monson talked about last conference.

He told us that the world's standards and our standards are growing apart more and more. The talk is titled, "Stand in Holy Places." (I think that's what it was called). It was the Sunday Morning session in October 2011. I would encourage everyone to go back and read it, or to listen to it on
President Monson reminds us to stand in holy places. In all things that we do, he says, we must stand in holy places.

I love a statement by C.S. Lewis, I've probably shared it before but he said, "Our leisure, even our play is a matter of serious concern. Every second, every square inch is claimed by God, and counter claimed by Satan." It's so true. Every day we make choices that will bring us closer to God or not. If they don't, they pull us away from Him.

We must pray always to the father. "Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. (3 Nephi 18:18)" Always watch and pray often. I love you all and hope that we can all find joy in repentance daily.

That's what i got to do on my 20th birthday. I got to cry repentance to the people of Thailand. I was teaching a lady with Elder Chamberlain (we were on an exchange) and we were talking about I don't remember what, but I just felt prompted to say that everyone needs to repent. It doesn't matter who you are. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 6:2?)." I walked away tihnking, "what better way to spend my birthday than sharing the precious gem of the gospel of repentance with the world?"
Indeed the firstfruits of repentance are baptism by water, then by fire, and the Holy Ghost. I love this gospel so much. Repentance is a beautiful gift from God.

This week was good. This email is going to be short. I'm sorry, but there's not a whole lot new, and that includes new investigators. Please pray that we will be able to find those that the Lord is preparing here.

On Saturday the ward had a great activity. The Bishop is really solid. I'm super impressed with him. He is so focused on getting people to the temple. I think he has talked about that almost every week. You all live relatively close, so please go if you can. Make time for the Lord.

Next week will be better.

Be safe and smart.
Elder Todd

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Busy in Thonburi

Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 11:38:34

Hey everybody!

I got a bunch of letters in the mail last week, thank you all for your support and love.

I realize that in my e-mails I don't often share funny experiences or little stories. And if that disappoints some of you, I am sorry. They happen. But, they aren't that important to me. I'm learning lessons that are changing me for the better. I feel like this experience is turning me into who the Lord needs me to be.

I love a quote from Brigham Young. He taught, "If you go on a mission to preach the Gospel with lightness and frivolity in your hearts, looking for this and that, and to learn what is in the world, you will go and return in vain. Let your minds be centered on your missions."
I am so grateful for these two years, and know that if I serve the Lord with all my heart, then this will bless me through the eternities. But I will still try and share my experiences with you because I love you all.

This week, I got sick. The office couple, who is in charge of mission medical when Sister Smith goes out of town, told me to go to the hospital to check it out. Two or so weeks ago, my district leader had an appendectomy, and they were afraid the same thing might happen with me. No worries though, I'm fine. But I did get an ultra sound. That was a super weird experience. The good news is my liver, spleen, kidneys and stuff all look to be healthy. So don't worry, I'll be fine.

We got to go help Dan, the ambassador's son, practice English. Dan was in a sports accident a few years ago, and isn't quite 100%. But his family doesn't wan't him to lose his ability to speak English, so the Elders go visit with him. This arrangement was actually set up by President Hinckley several years back. I'm sure it still helps us retain our visas and so forth. It's fun. We can talk about anything he wants, except for food or religion. So that's what we do for our working hours on preparation day. We also pass out English fliers and maybe teach a lesson if we have one set up.

I had a really cool opportunity with one of the recent converts. He was helping us teach an investigator. While we were waiting for the investigator to show up, he asked me about the name of the church. Why it wasn't just officially "Mormon" or somthing short? I thought of the words of the Savior, "And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses' name then it be Moses' church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it be that they are built upon my gospel (3 Nephi 27:8)."

This experience confirmed to me even more that before, that this is the Lord's true church. I know that this is His church. And this is His work. I am grateful every day for the opportunity He has given me to labor here in Thonburi for His children. He loves them all so much. The recent convert who I shared that experience with had met the missionaries earlier in his life. He didn't accept then, but he did later. God didn't want to lose him, because of the love of a father for a child.

Today I was reading in the Book of Mormon, and I came across a passage that impacted me very strongly. Helaman 3:34-35. "And they were lifted up in pride even to the persecution of many of their brethren. Now this was a great evil, which did cause the more humble part of the people to suffer great persecutions, and to wade through much affliction. Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yeilding their hearts unto God." Verse 34 is about the people, and verse 35 is about the people of the church. I think its so interesting that in the midst of their persecution and great evil, the faithful did wax stronger and stronger in the things that mattered most.

50 years ago, society's and the church's standards weren't too different. But now they gap is widening, and will continue to do so until the advent of the Savior's second coming. It's the time for us to choose. During today's adverse conditions, we can choose to give up in dispair and yield to persecutions, or we can wax stronger and stronger. It is my prayer that we will all wax stronger and stronger in our Faith in Jesus Christ. We can never have enough.

Well, our investigators are progressing. We have 3, but they're moving slowly. But if that's what it takes for them to truly be converted, it's what is necessary. It's better than baptizing someone quickly and watching them leave the church. Pray for the Thai people. Pray for the children of God throughout the world. Please continue to pray for the missionaries. Your prayers are felt and needed. Thank you for them.

I love you all.
Elder Todd

Faithful to the end

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Baptisms in Thon Buri

We got a great letter this week from Elder Todd. He lives in Thon Buri. His companion is Elder Inthavong from Laos. They live in a small apartment on the 13th floor in the most congested part of Bangkok. Bud says the food is great, the people are great and the work is moving forward!

Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2012 11:54:03

Hey everybody!

So first off, about Dan Gardner getting his mission call to Thailand. Thats so awesome! I'm so happy for him!! This place is so great! And I know he will love it!

This week ended off great. We had two investigators baptized and confirmed. It's always really nice and rewarding to get people through the gate, and onto the path that leads to eternal life. But there is never time for us to relax. After a baptism, we just take a deep breath, and go back to work. It's how we try to follow the example of the Savior. When He completed a task he didn't take a break. When He accomplished the atonement, what did He do? He went to the Spirit World to go teach the people there. He had EVERY reason to rest. He did the hardest thing that could ever, and has ever been done. But He pressed on. His, is an example to me of the service that we all must give to our Great Creator.

One scripture that I found this week that I really liked is in the Bible. It's 1 Kings 8:61 "Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day." This life is a difficult time. We all have trials, and we all have tests that the Lord God of Israel has given us. But if our hearts are perfect, or whole, or complete in our God, we can overcome them all.

Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy said "Burdens provide opportunities to practive virtues that contribute to eventual perfection." None of us is perfect, nor will be while in this mortal probation. But through trusting in God, and having fatih in the Savior, Jesus the Christ, we can all be perfected one day. In the meantime, we will have to face trials. I love this quote because it gives us knowledge of how we need to look at our trials.No matter how dark the night or day, we can press forward knowing that a loving Father in heaven has prepared this trial for us! That this mortal experience is tailor-made to help us become the beings that he sees us capable of becoming.

Also this week the Zone Leaders, Elder Gudmundsen and Elder Siriphan, came and taught it. Their lesson was on the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon has been on my mind a lot lately. Preach My Gospel tells us, "The Book of Mormon, combined with the spirit, is your most powerful tool in conversion."
I would go so far as to say it's the most powerful tool in retention and continued faithfulness in the church. It's just what Elder Holland called it, "Saftey for the Soul."

No one, can come to know that this church is true if they do not read the Book of Mormon. Likewise, no one who has read the book of Mormon, from title page to the final words of Moroni can deny the divinity of this book, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Every single person who reads the Book of Mormon, with real intent, truly wanting to know if this is the way to find "peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come," will know by the power of the Spirit of God that "this is the way, and there is not other way nor name given under heaven whereby a man can be saved."

I love the Book of Mormon so much. It is written so beautifully, and plainly, that even little children can understand key concepts in it. I testify that it truly is the word of God. It's His guidebook for us in this life. It is full of words of counsel for each one of us, no matter what our life situation is. I invite you all to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. I promise that it will bring a peace and direction into your life that will help us in these last days. Just like Paul told Timothy "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come (2 Timothy 3:1)." The Book of Mormon will help us in these perilous times. Please please please read it every single day. "For the kingdom of heaven is nigh at hand (Alma 10:20)."

Well, I love you all. Be safe and choose the right. Look unto Christ in every thought. Doubt not. Fear not.

Love always,
Elder Todd

Faithful and True.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A new friend in Thon Buri

This week, the Todds received this photo from a new friend in Thon Buri. His name is Aiyakanon KHAI Thammaros and he goes by Khai. This young man is a native Thai who has been home from a mission of his own for about a year. Khai served for two years in the Utah, Salt Lake City South mission and now works alongside the missionaries who are serving in Thailand, his homeland.
He emailed our family and said the nicest things about Elder Todd. How fun to have a new friend all the way across the world who is also friends with our favorite missionary. Isn't technology incredible? This photo of Elder Todd, Khai, and Elder Inthavong (Bud's companion), was emailed on the day it was taken... so we really enjoyed a "same day" pic of our Elder. Thanks Khai!

Eyes of Charity

Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2012 11:39:28 +0700

Hey everybody!

The first thing I want to do this week is share a scripture that I have really enjoyed as I have been reading my Old Testament. It's in 1 Samuel 20:17.
"And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul."
Johnathan is truly an amazing person. His father, Saul, wanted him to betray David and to kill him. But time and time again, Jonathan refused! He was just as qualified to be king of Israel as David was. He was just as brave and just as courageous as David. But when it came down to it, David was the Lord's annointed one. So Jonathan stood beside him, and swore that he would be a faithful friend. Jonathan had charity for David. He loved David as he loved his own soul.

That is something that I am focusing on this week. As a missionary, I get to interact with many different people; members, companions, investigators. And everyone is different. But if we have charity, the pure love of Christ, we can do all things which are expedient unto the Lord. Mom's words echo in my mind, "kill them with kindness."
We have to focus on kindness, and be peacemakers in the world. The Savior said in the Sermon on the mount, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." (Matt 5:9)

Apparently back when President Hinckley was the prophet, he came to Thailand and visited the Ambassador. The ambassador has a son who got injured in a sports accident, so President Hinckley arranged for the elders in Thonburi (where I am) to go visit the injured son every Monday night to practice English with him. The arrangement is still continuing. I got to go and it was fun! I go with either our District leader Elder Nelson, or his companion Elder Chamberlain (my mtc group) because the teachers are supposed to be two American Elders. It's way cool, and a really special experience to go there.

This week we also had zone conference. It was really good! I love hearing president Smith speak. He always has such good stuff for us! He said Roi Et is getting ready to split into two branches. Then, if they can get Korat to split too, there could be a stake out there soon! I'm so happy! I hope it happens.

He also talked about two more stakes being created in Bangkok! There isn't really a time frame for that, but it's what were looking at. I guess Cambodia just submitted for two stakes. As a country, it was opened after Thailand, but will have two staked before Thailand. That's kind of sad, but the work must go forth!

I forgot my study journal so I'll write more via snail mail about Zone Conference.

We also had two investigators pass their baptismal interviews. They're getting baptized on Saturday! That will be wasy sweet! I really like it here. The bishop is great. He is really pushing for the members to go to the temple. That's one thing I miss--the temple. But the time will come!

Well, that's all today! I love you!

Elder Todd
P.S. Read and pray daily, and be safe!