Monday, March 26, 2012

Chasing Thai Buses

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 11:53:30From:
Hey Everyone!

Can you believe that it's time for General Conference again?! It feels like I was just watching it in the clerk's office in Roi Et yesterday. But, here it is again. I'm so excited!

We will probably get it in English because the church in Thonburi has wi-fi and Brother Khai likes watching it in English better than Thai. (He served his mission in SLC). I wouldn't put it past him. No matter how beatuiful conference is in other languages, there is nothing like hearing the prophet's own voice and hearing the way he tells his stories. I think this conference will be so great! I'm a little sad because we still won't get ot see it in Thailand until the 8th of April (Easter), but at least we get to watch it! That's so great! I can't wait for the counsel that is to come!

This week was really good. I went on exchanges with Elder Chamberlain from my MTC group in Bang Khae. That was really fun. We invited for a while. It was really cool. We prayed made a goal to teach two families, and two adult males. Then we went out. One of the first guys we invited was okay. He didn't want to learn more. Then there was this guy sitting on his porch. We invited him, and he said we could sit down with his family of four. So we taught them. He said he was 100 % Buddhist, and that he couldn't change even if he wanted to, because his parents were buddhist, and his grandparents before them. That was kind of a bummer. Then we kept going and we met this lady with her two little kids. Right as we started talking to her, her husband got home. I was thinking, "This is too perfect." I was right. It was. Her husband woulnd't sit down, so we couldn't teach her. So we kept going. We were able to teach this one guy. But he isn't free at this time to learn. So maybe in the future. Then we were getting ready to go visit one of Elder Chamberlain's investigators, and this little kid who had been following us around all afternoon came and said his parents were home and asked us if we would go teach them. So of course we went. His parents were kind of "whatever" about our message, but the boy really wants to change religions. It just was a testimony to me that we must all become as little children.  I have no doubt that the Lord needed that family to hear the message of His everlasting gospel. I am just thankful that I could be an instrument in His hand, to help Him fulfill His great and eternal purposes.

Other invesetigators: Bancued is doing great. He is interviewing for baptism on Thursday. It's been so cool to see him begin to humble himself even more. He has interviewed three times before, but this time it feels different. He even bought new, nice clothes for the interview. It was awesome. And he was so excited to show us. We had a really good lesson with him on Saturday. We were talking about the atonement, and I felt Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-19 come into my head. So, I shared that passage. As we read those verses, I had the sure feeling come into my soul, that Jesus is the Christ; That His infinite Atonement is very real. And that His arms are open to reach all of us. For we are all sinners, and all of us need His divine grace to save us. At the end of the lesson Banceud thanked God in his prayer for a good lesson. That's the first time he has ever done that that I can remember.  It's so cool to see the Spirit really working in the lives of my brothers and sisters.

Wallop is doing well too. He is reading and praying daily.  That was something that was a struggle for him when I first got here. He would read and pray sometimes, but not always. But he is doing a great job.  Now, he just needs to overcome his smoking addiction, and come to church. He is going to talk to his boss to get Sundays off. He is so great. He's really a humble guy.

One funny/scary thing happened yesterday. We were on the bus going to visit on of the sisters in our ward to get a referral. We were with one brother, Ding. We got to a bus stop and Ding said that it was the stop for us to exit, so I got off the bus. However, he and elder Davis didn't get off on time. I had this sense of alarm sink into my heart as I watched the bus start pulling away. Then, I started chasing that sucker down! I had it in my sights the whole time, and Elder Davis and Brother Ding got off at the next stop and we were reunited. Elder Davis was a little shaken by it, and Brother Ding just thought is was hilarious to see me chasing down the bus! It must have been a sight.

Well, The work is going forth. No one can stop it. Truly no one.  It's true, and it's the only true and living church on the face of the earth. Of that I promise you all. Enjoy conference this week. Hopefully there are some new temples announced. I know the one everyone here is hoping for!

Elder Todd

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Faith in Thonburi

Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2012 15:43:53 +0700


Wow that took a long time to type.  How are you all doing? I'm just doing great here in ธนบุรี (Thonburi)!   I love this area a lot, and am having a lot of good experiences here! 

This last week was solid! We had a good day on Tuesday teaching English class. We had a few new investigators show up. We have upwards of 20 people coming to English class regularly. It's really fun to teach, and is helping me to speak English more clearly. That should make you happy mom. It's really a good finding tool. 

Here in Thailand, the most effective ways that new investigators are found and baptized are: 1. Referrals. 2.English class, and 3. Personal contacting a.k.a. tracting. 
The first two are great, and yield a lot better results that the latter. The very best way to find investigators is through referrals. President Hinckley's talk, "Feed My Sheep" teaches us that. There are several excerpts from that talk in Preach My Gospel. I bet it's a wonderful talk if we read the whole thing.  

Bancued is doing well. He didn't have any more ghosts visit him, or anything like that.  He's also reading more and more in his Book of Mormon. He is Christian already, and loves the Bible. He has been baptized before, but it was by a different church so it wasn't a proper baptism. No authority. He told us that at his first "baptism, " all of the people there just got in a queue and then they were put underwater.  There was no prayer, no calling them by name, or anything like that. It was definitely lacking. We are so lucky to be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are blessed that our church has the authourity and power of God to administer in His sacred ordinances. We should never take the power of the Priesthood for granted.
We also have our investigator named Wallop. He is doing a lot better! He is reading and praying daily! It's so great to see him to start keeping commitments, and see him progress in the Gospel. I love seeing the Lord working with His children in what He knows is the best way! It really illustrates His perfect love for each of His children. We truly are begotten sons and daughters unto God. And He looks over us each and everyday. 

Yesterday, we had an old member show up to the church. He hadn't been to church in years. He got baptized years ago, and was ordained an Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood. But other things had blurred his vision of what matters most. Just like the travelers in the vision of the tree of life, the mists of darkness arose and obscured his vision. But, a loving Heavenly Father knew exactly where he was and knew exactly how to help him. So He brought him back to the church. It's so amazing to see that. I know that Heavenly Father has more love for each of us than we can even comprehend. And He is ALWAYS mindful of us. He is always willing to help us come back unto Him. His arms of mercy are ALWAYS extended unto us.

I love what Elder Holland said last conference,  "Whoever you are, and whatever you've done, you can be forgiven. It is the Miracle of forgiveness; it is the miracle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ." What a miracle the Atonement is. To think that our Savior knows EVERYTHING we are going through. Surely, that is a lift to us even in the hardest of times during these last days. We can find strength and comfort in the rock of our salvation, and be saved by the mercy and grace of Christ Jesus. 

This week, I was feeling like I wanted to study about faith. It's an amazing principle that has so much depth to it. I don't think that we fully understand the power of faith. But I looked in the Bible dictionary. There was a reference to Hebrews 11. So I went to Hebrews 11 to read the words of Paul. I was expecting a verse or two on faith, but to my surprise I found another amazing pearl in the pages of the New Testament. Comparable to Ether 12, and Alma 32 Hebrews 12 is an amazing chapter on faith. We learn that faith is what led Abel to make a more excellent sacrifice to God. 

 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

I love that we are told that without faith it is impossible to please God. Why would we ever keep the commandments of a being in whom we don't believe? But faith, even faith as small as a mustard seed, can grow and help each of us live to please our God. Faith in God makes us want to live so that one day our Father in Heaven may say "Come unto me ye blessed. For your works have been works of righteousness." 
How amazing would that be to have the Supreme Creator call us blessed?! It's hard to imagine, but it is possible. I promise that it is possible for everyone! By faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, recieving the gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End, He can and will say that to EACH of us. Of this I testify in our Savior's name.

Well, I love you. I hope that all is well with you. Thanks for all of your prayers and letters. They are felt. And they uplift each missionary. I love you all and pray for you. I pray that we may all feel the Lord's love more as we prepare for conference. 

Elder Todd

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Working in Thonburi

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2012 11:51:38 +0700
Subject: March 12 already!

Hey Everyone! 

How are you all? Life here is great, and I hope it is for you. The work here is going forward. 

One thing that Elder Davis and I have made a point to do more is to talk to poeple. Elder Ballard told missionaries to talk to at least 10 people a day outside of planned finding activities. So, we have been doing that.  We are trying to show the Lord that we are dedicated to His work. And it's really fun talking about where people are from, about their families, and stuff like that. 

One thing that we kind of get sick of is hearing, however, is when people say,"Every religion teaches us to be good poeple." And it's not just the missionaries who hear that.  The members also talk about how everyone says that. But only one religion teaches the truth! It's true! This is the truth! 

We did have an interesting experience tracting this week. There was this guy we were talking to and he said, "I'm going to have you talk to my friend."  (his white friend). So he brought his friend over, who tried to tell us he was Thai. He finally confessed he was from Espana. He was a magician. And he tried to tell us he could read our minds. It was a really interesting experience. He rejected any thing about the gospel even when I gave him a spanish pass along card that Nate sent me. He just gave it back and said he knows about Jesus already. Crazy.

As for our actual investigators,  Banceud is doing okay. He may not be interviewing on Saturday, because he may have worked yesterday. We need to follow up with him on that. It's so hard, becasue he really wants to do everything right.  He wants to keep the Sabbath day holy, but he says some weeks he has to work on Sunday. I don't know how to help him. If anyone has any suggestions, please share them. He did tell us that one night he was trying to go to sleep, but couldn't because there was a ghost in his house, that wouldn't let him sleep. The ghost kept fighting with him, so he prayed and asked that the ghost would leave. He said after that prayer he fell asleep and had one of the best nights sleep! Kinda an odd story, but pen pai dai! It built his faith in the power of prayer.

Then, Adithep, another investigator preparing for baptism on May 29.  He is struggling reading, so we have been going over and reading with him almost daily. It's good, and he understands the meaning of a passage Nephi is teaching about the importance of obedience and stuff like that. I really like him, he is just progressing slowly. But if that's what it takes for an enduring conversion, that's what we'll do!

We met with Bishop Arun this week.   He is so solid. He talked to us about how he wants us to help strenghten the ward.  Apparently, what has been happening is when one gets baptized, someone else stops coming to church. So he had us speak in sacrament yesterday about the importance of the Book of Mormon. I pulled out some quotes from Elder Hollands "Safety for the Soul" talk. I love that talk, and encourage you all to watch it before conference via

I'm so excited for general conference! It's the best! just 10 hours of being nourished by the good word of God. I hope you will all prepare well for it!

Well, things here are just going along. We are here doing our best, letting the grace of the Lord, Jesus Christ make up for the rest. It truly is a marvelous work. And I thank my God daily, that He has suffered me to come labor for the salvaiton of His children. 

This is the Church of Jesus Christ. The ONLY one. He is our great eternal head. His gospel is a message of peace and good will. His is the path that leads to happiness in this life, and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.

I love you all so much. and invite you to ALWAYS remember Him. 

Elder Todd

Monday, March 5, 2012

Elder Todd Stays in Thonburi with new companion!

Elder Todd and Elder Davis and Brother Khai!
Missionary Work in Bangkok
Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2012 

Hey Family!

So, first things first.  I did not get transfered.  I will get at least one more transfer in Thonburi! I'm so glad because all of the members here are way sweet, just like Roi Et.  I did get a new companion.  Elder Inthavong was moved to another area of Bangkok.  My new companion is Elder Davis from upstate New York. It's going to be good working with him. 

So Mom, you told me to put more details about what I am doing into my emails, and I figure that I can do that.  I'll try to share more about my experiences as well as what I am learning.  

This week was a decent week. I'm healthy and well. So that's good. I didn't get bitten by any of the komodo dragons. Apparently they are all over the khlongs in Bangkok. 

Yesterday we went and visited the first counselor in the bishopbric. His house is build on top of a swamp, and I was told that behind their house they have 40 komodo dragons! It's nuts how these dragons just roam around the city. The Thai people hate them because they are so ugly. Their is even a slang word for them that is a really realy rude insult in Thai. It's actually one of the worst things that you could call someone. Anyway, we went to his house because Brother Khai told us that he wanted to help us teach. 

Later, our afternoon appointments fell through, so we had planned to go tracting as our backup. But as I was talking to Brother Khai about what he did in his mission when they had extra time, he said that they would go to members' houses and share the message of the Restoration.  After that they would then commit the members to pray about a family they could refer to the missionaries. So we did that yesterday. It was really good! The family we went and visited actually had a non-member there. So we got to teach him a lesson! We are hoping to be able to teach him again next Sunday. 

Our other investigators are doing well. We gave one a baptismal date. His name is Atithep. He is over 70, and he mostly wants his grandchildren to learn to become good people. But he has been learning with us, and we gave him a date! April 29th. That seems like a long way off, but he needs the time to prepare and learn and apply the principles of the gospel. 

But going back to Atithep wanting his grandchildren to be good people--that is something that people tell us everyday.  They say, "Every religion teaches us to be good people."  Yes, it's true, every religion teaches to be good people. But as the members here say, "Our religion is the only one that teaches the truth."  There is a difference. God wants us to be good poeple, I'm sure of that. But He wants more for us. He has a great vision for us, and wants us to achieve our potential as sons and daughters of a heavenly king. He want's us to have immortality and eternal life. That is the truth. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church on the face of the earth that has that truth. I know that. 

There is one thing that I was given by my district leader Elder Nelson who finished his mission on Thursday. It's called "The Fellowship of the Unashamed," and it's something that President Eyring wrote. It's really awesome, and if you get a chance, look it up and read it. His words are so powerful! It's because they come from the Spirit, and the Spirit testifies that they are true. It's like in the final chapter of Luke, verse 27 if I remember right.. not sure. But  it's the verse that talks about feeling our hearts burn within us. I'm so grateful that the Spirit works with us. And that Hevenly Father shows His love for us by manisfesting things to us through the Spirit. 

Update on our other investigators-- Banjeud is getting interviewed for baptism on the Seventeenth. We are thinking he should pass. But we have some time to go over and make sure he knows everything and is keeping the commandments. Our Investigator Wallop,  is doing well. He is still smoking, but is starting to read and pray daily. Those two things, along with coming to church, are so crucial in conversion. Make sure that you all do of them. Please! And then we have Sister Mane, our other investigator. She wants to have a good testimony before she will get baptized. it's a little frustrating because I see that she has one, she just hasn't recognized it yet! It's so often that way.  We don't reconize the growth we make until we take a step back and really look. When we do that, we musn't forget to return thanks to God for that which He has blessed us.

Well, I love you all so much, and you are always in my prayers. Please pray for my investigators and me. 
I couldn't have asked for a better support system of family and friends. Thanks!

Elder Todd.
P.S. Don't do anything stupid!