Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 11:38:34
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.
Faithful to the end