Saturday, April 14, 2012

April in Thonburi

Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2012 12:27:24 +0700

Wow! I can't believe that it already is April! That's nuts!

Time is flying so fast. There just never seems to be enough of it to do what we want and need to do. That's something that I am reminded of everyday. I remember before my mission, when an hour of scripture study seemed so long.  Now it's not even enough! But it's good because I'm learning the importance of having a GOOD plan for every hour of the day. Last conference Ian S. Arden talked about how we often spend our time doing things that give the appearance of being busy, but they may not actually be the most effective uses of time. I hope that you are all using the little time that we have been given, to its fullest potential. 

Mom told me that Nate will be home in two transfers. I can hardly believe that! I feel like he just left.  And then I feel like I left yesterday. I really don't like how fast the time is going.

Okay anyway, this week was a solid week. We did get a lot done. We had a specialized training for the Bangkok West Zone. It was really good, and we focused on the importance of finding new investigators. President Smith put us through what he calls "the grinder." It's an exercise where we just run a role play over and over again. We ran it 16 different times, switching people each time. It was really good and really helped us to get better at our invitations to have people hear the restored gospel. That's something that Preach My Gospel teaches.  It says to refer quickly and simply to the message of the restoration, for it is our unique message to the world. It's true! 

Who would have thought that the concept of the restoration would be super relevant in a Buddhist country. But it's more useful than I thought. People always say, "Oh you are Christian missionaries."  They lump ALL religions that believe in Christ together as one. They don't differentiate. They know that there is Catholicism, and Lutheranism and lots of sects, but they think that its all one faith. So I always tell people that we aren't a sect of Christianity. We are the Church of Jesus Christ. The ONLY authorized group on the whole earth that was established by Him. I am so grateful that the Lord named his church the way he did.

Then this week Banceud interviewed with the zone leaders. He didn't pass. That was a disappointment. But it was good, because he just needs to strengthen his faith in Joseph Smith and in the Book of Mormon. The best way to strengthen our faith in the Book of Mormon is by reading it. This morning Dad sent me Tad R. Callister's talk from last conference. i love the story told at the end of it. 

"Some years ago I attended one of our worship services in Toronto, Canada. A 14-year-old girl was the speaker. She said that she had been discussing religion with one of her friends at school. Her friend said to her, “What religion do you belong to?”  She replied, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons.”
 Her friend replied, “I know that church, and I know it’s not true.”
 “How do you know?” came the reply.
 “Because,” said her friend, “I have researched it.”
 “Have you read the Book of Mormon?”
 “No,” came the answer. “I haven’t.”
 Then this sweet young girl responded, “Then you haven’t researched my church, because I have read every page of the Book of Mormon and I know it’s true.”

I hope every single one of you are feasting from the words in the Book of Mormon daily. Not just reading, but feasting and studying. You will be more blessed, and have a greater understanding as you do so. That I promise. One really good thing that Banceud said was that he didn't want to be like the poeple he has seen who get baptized and stop going to church. He understands that this is a lifetime commitment, and he is taking it seriously. He want's to be worthy of it too. He is so sweet, and I can't wait for that blessed day when he is baptized. 

Also this week, we were teaching Wallop. He is doing well. he is progressing a lot more than when I first got here. I have no doubt that the Lord is working with him. He is humble and willling to be baptized.  He just hasn't gotten work off on Sundays yet. But I think as soon as he does that, and he can come to church, it will help him to quit smoking, and he will be baptized.  it was so cool, we were in the lesson with him, talking about prayer and I don't remember what I asked him, but the answer will be one that I always remember. He said, "Because I'm a son of God."  
That relationship is so key in everything that we do in this church. We are the offspring of God, and we cannot ever let ourselves forget that, or weaken our relationship with our loving Father in heaven.

Then, yesterday in fast and testimony meeting, we had a sister get up. She talked about how she always remembers the reference 2 Nephi 4:4, but she never remembers what it says. It's such an amazing promise in that verse. I challenge you to read it.  Then I challenge you to remember it in your lives. The promise in it is as real as anything. I know that the Lord will hold up his end of that bargain as long as we hold up our end. 

We have some new investigators from English class, and hopefully they will progress. It's so great to have an activity like English class that invites people to the church in a non threatening way. But people are always scared that we will do what other Christian churches do and make them be members if they walk into our church. It's so great to have 2 Nephi 2:27 to let them know that men are free according to the flesh. 

I'm as thankful as ever for the gift of agency, as well as all of the other gifts from God. We truly rely on Him for EVERYTHING, just like King Benjamin said in his angelic sermon. 

Well, I love you all, I'm healthy and well! I hope you all prayerfully apply the messages you hear during conferene in your lives. You're the best!
Elder Todd

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