Sunday, September 30, 2012

KORAT--Training again and loving it!

Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2012 

Dear Todd Family,

Isn't this just a glorious time to be living on the earth? I realized that this past week. We live in dangerous times, yes, but there is so much good in the world too. We are so incredibly blessed to live in this, the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. We live in a time where everything from the beginning has been restored-- the keys of the Priesthood, ordinances and doctrine. But even more blessed than that, we live in a time when Almighty God is revealing things that have never before been known.  He is unfolding mysteries to us. So, no matter how much it seems that the world is decaying, remember this!

This last week was great. First of all I will notify you of the transfer. Elder Schad moved, and I'm training Elder Wood. He actually has already finished the first 6 weeks of his training in Mahasarkham, but with the new 12 week program he isn't done. He got sent here to Korat, and I have been called to finish it. It's humbling, and a great responsibility. He is from St. George graduated from Dixie High. But now his family lives in Springville. He's great. He's a really humble Elder, and willing and ready to work hard and be obedient. What more could I ask for in a companion? Nothing.  It's funny, Elder Schad moved to Sri Nakarin which is in his home stake. So that was funny. 

Well, Elder Schad and I spent Tuesday doing some tracting. It was so cool.  We prayed to know where to go Monday night.  Then, the next day, we followed our plan.  The first street we went to, the first guy we talked to, let us in! It turns out he had met with the missionaries about 10-15 years ago, but had lost contact. He still had a Book of Mormon and a bunch of pamphlets from the discussion era. That was really interesting for me to see. His name is Tik.  So now, we're teaching him. We're not super sure how he will be, but I feel that he has great potential. He use to be a jockey. He has a bunch of pictures of his horse races so that's way sweet. He is married and has two kids. So, we're really hoping that we can help that whole family come into the church. 

Cherry is still doing well. She had a fever for a few days this last week, and with going down to Bangkok we couldn't see her a whole lot, but she is getting closer and closer to quitting smoking. She is fine and willing to slow it down when we tell her she needs to. We told her, today 2ละกัน. "Just two cigarettes today, then tomorrow only one."  As soon as she can quit, she can get baptized. So we're really going to help her this week. Please keep her in your prayers. 

Suthep is doing better this week. We've really been making an effort to contact him often, and to help him know that we care. When it comes down to it, it doesn't matter how many times we teach him, just that we help him feel our love for him, and the Savior's love for him. Brother Dahm is being a great buddy for him. He is so willing to help him. I'm so impressed, as always, by the willingness of members to help. They love being involved in missionary work. It really is amazing to have that spirit with us. 

So, President Senior has been putting an emphasis on going to the rescue. Specifically, he wants us to rescue our brothers and our sisters who are less active. As we have done so, our mission has started baptizing more. Last month, August, our mission had a baptismal high for one month, and in September, we surpassed it. So, as we have tried to catch President's vision, we are being blessed. We have an investigator who's mom is a less active member. We're trying to help them both come unto the Savior. Last night we had a very powerful lesson with them. We asked them why they came to the church, why they learned. Then we just talked about the Savior and how our purposes in coming to the church need to be centered on HIM. After all, this is HIS church, HIS doctrine, HIS priesthood. It was one of the most powerful lessons I've been on in my mission--just talking about and testifying of the Savior. It's what Peter did in Acts II which "pricked" the people in their hearts and motivated them to be baptized. After the Lesson, the investigator, Wan (Juan ก็ได้ GoDai) called us and asked us if she can be baptized on December 9. So we set a date. I'm thankful to the Lord for these blessing here. I love where I am. 

I love you all, be safe, and be happy. Be glad that we live in such a wonderful time!


Elder Todd

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Happy in Korat. Biew is baptized!

Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2012 

Hey Everybody! 

How are you all doing? We're doing great here in Korat, just a little surprised at how quickly this last transfer has passed by. I can't even imagine time going faster. But it marches on. 

This week was fantastic for many different reasons. Biew got baptized! That was a great day, and she was so happy. She really has come to love the Savior and His church. As she learned of the Atonement, and it's cleansing power her desire to repent increased. Her faith that through Jesus Christ she truly can be cleansed from sin motivated her and helped her towards this day. As the Spirit of the Lord touched her heart, it was changed. She shared her testimony of this gospel. It was great. She also got a calling as a branch missionary. It's one of the things that President Senior is focusing on. President Hinkley spoke on it too--a friend in the church, spiritual nourishment, and a calling. It's great that our branch president has been on it with these three things. 
And here is the week's rundown. 

Keng is doing well and coming to church. But he said he's come enough that now he feels like a member. So we're going to explain to him that we are baptized for three reasons. 1. To enter into a covenant with God by which we are cleansed from sin 2. For entrance into the Celestial Kingdom, and 3. For Membership in the Lord's church. But He likes coming to church. He is interesting, we taught him the Law of Chastity, he said he doesn't have any problems which is fantastic! So he is doing well.

Then there's Cherry.  Okay. Wow.  She told us that sometimes she would smoke 120 cigarettes a day! I don''t know how that's possible. But she did. Now that number is down. We didn't get to work with her a lot this last week, but she's still looking good for her baptismal date. She's just learning that she has to be patient. It's good because membership in the church is something that is valuable. She's beginning to see that value.

Bob. I'm just more and more amazed with him. The more we read the scriptures with him, the more he changes.  The deeper we teach a principle, the better he understands it. We finally finished teaching him the Plan of Salvation. Now he believes that there is a supreme creator. He has quit smoking. It's great. He is coming to church. We're planning on extending him a baptismal commitment. 

I had a great lesson retaught to me this week. It was about the importance of love. We were teaching one investigator. Suthep. He has been learning awhile. He has some things he has to do in the repentance process. But he has, as of late, relapsed into his drinking problem. So, we just taught him with brother Dahm. We taught about how we're here for him and that we all want to help and support him. We explained that we know his soul is a precious one. He expressed his thanks and that he was willing to do this. He wants to. He has great faith. Now we just need to help him convert that faith into action!

There was this time last week when we were passing out eggasaans, I can't think of the English words, for English class. There was this guy I saw, just sitting there. His name was M. I felt like we should go talk to him. So we did, and we invited him to English class. And he came! He is interested in the church too! One thing that we are looking out for is that when he talked he used the female particle of speech "Kha" not the male one "Khrap." But we'll explain to him that the Lord has created men to be men, and women to be women. That the Lord loves us and wants us to keep his law.

We focused this week in District Meeting on "The Doctrine of Christ" which is the missionary purpose. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end. We read through 2 Nephi 31, 3 Nephi 11, and 3 Nephi 27 and counted up all of the references to those doctrines and pronouns of the Savior, and the word "Doctrine." I would encourage all of you to do that activity to see how the Savior feels about these things. I know that they are of utmost importance. This is His doctrine and the purpose of missionary work. I must teach in the Lord's way, "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they may have everlasting life." (3 nephi 5:13) Those inspired words are all about others and about helping them. I try to be as Mormon. I know we can all help our brothers and sisters.

Well I love you all! 

Be happy and choose the right!


Elder Todd

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Loving Korat!

Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2012 

Hey Everyone! 

How are you? Isn't life so great! ? I am just having a great time here in Korat! This city, and more importantly the work and the members, are great!  That's one thing I've really been grateful for this week is the members. They play such a key role in the growth of the Church.  If we will not work with them, and are not on the same page with them, then we can't contribute much real growth here, if any at all.  We shouldn't just look at members as objects either. It doesn't work to say, "Okay, today we're teaching two women so we need a male member in each lesson so we'll just get any member who is free."  No, it's about praying and finding the right member who could really help that particular investigator. 

We had one experience with that this week. We were going to teach Cherry, but her friend who usually helps us teach, was sick. Elder Schad and I were in a little bit of a dilemma and we weren't sure who to take. We thought about the friend's father-in-law who is the first counselor in the Branch Presidency, but he was out of town. We knew there had to be someone right. Then I  thought of a brother named Aut. He is an older man who wants to help us teach. I thought, "There's something telling me that we should take him."  So we called him up and he went with us. As we started the lesson and followed up with Cherry on her smoking, he piped in. He shared his experience about how he was an alcoholic. He told Cherry how hard it was for him to quit, but that he did it! He told her that when the Lord helps us, we can do hard things! It's true. And she has made some amazing steps. She has gone from smoking 80, (yes that is right-- eighty cigarettes a day), to 4. And we committed her to have quit completely by the end of this next week. She is willing. SO we'll keep her in our prayers. Smoking is the only thing that we know that's keeping her from being baptized. She said she is sick of being an investigator and wants to be a member. So, we'll see how that desire drives her. But she is progressing really well!

In other news for baptismal daters, Biew, passed her interview with the Zone Leaders! They told me that she could have passed in 10 minutes.  Usually they take 30 minutes, sometimes an hour.  I know that it's nothing that any of the teaching missionaries did, but that the Lord had prepared her. I found out a little more about that preparation. She saw the Savior in a dream, and from that moment on, she KNEW she HAD to find His church. She talked with her friend who is a member, and he brought her to church. The rest, as they say, is history. Wow, I haven't heard that phrase in a while. Anyway, she accepted, kept commitments and is progressing to baptism! It's such a testimony that the Lord is preparing people for His gospel.

Then there's Keng, the guy we found tracting in the rain. Wow. Way solid! He has a date for the 6 of October. He has come to church and likes it and likes reading the Book of Mormon. I can't believe how much the Lord is working with him. It just really shows and is a testimony to me of God's love for all of His children.  It's real. Keng wants to know as well. That's what's important. 

There is some bad news with Captain Jack. He broke his promise to keep the word of wisdom. He got plastered, and got on his motorcycle and crashed. Apparently he isn't in good condition. So we're praying for him. Maybe it will be a confirmation to him that the Word of Wisdom is something that he needs to keep. It just goes to show what we learn in the 130 section of the Doctrine and Covenants.   If we want blessings, we have to keep the commandment associated with that blessing. Or we can look to the overarching theme of the Book of Mormon. The Lord says, "Inasmuch as ye will keep my commandments yes shall prosper in the land and inasmuch as ye shall not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence."

One thing that I got to do this week was teach district meeting. It was great.  The Spirit really led me in what to say and do. I taught about Praying with Faith from chapter 4 of Preach My Gospel.  I also used some snippets from a talk that Jennifer sent me from Elder Pearson on Personal Prayer given at BYU Hawaii. It was a fantastic talk. I would suggest reading it. I know that the more meaningful we make our prayers, the closer and closer we can feel to God. I'm really trying to just hand the reins over to Him in my work and follow Him in everything. I want to give up my heart and kill the natural man. I don't want to be frustrated by trying to do the Lord's will but  still having a natural heart. The Savior came to kill the natural man, to root him out. He promises a new self for us when we will yield and let Him change us and our hearts. 

I also got to speak in sacrament meeting yesterday. It was crazy- the Lord helped me so much, I think that it was the most fluent Thai I've ever spoken, and it's all because the Lord loosened my tongue. It happened because of the prayer of faith. I promise if you will pray with faith for the Lord to loosen you tongue, that He will let us all speak miracles and bring to pass His holy purposes. For this, thanks be to God. 

Elder Todd

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2012
Subject: Flood in the house.

Hey Everybody! 

Well, last night I was having this crazy dream that everything around me was flooding.  Then I woke up to a high pitched sound. I looked and saw it was my alarm clock. In water. I thought that the glass of water next to my bed had fallen. But when I went to stand up, I realized that I was standing in about an inch of water.  I went out into our living room to find that there was water in there and also in our study room! I yelled for Elder Schad telling him that our apartment was flooding! We turned on the lights and discovered that in the bathroom the, pardon my language but I don't know what else to call it, the butt sprayer was broken, and shooting water everywhere! So we turned off our water, and started the cleaning process. We used brooms to sweep the water out the front door. It was a bummer. 

The biggest thing that I lost was my journal. A lot of it got destroyed. I sent mom some picures of my wet pages. Oh, and the cell phone we have been assigned to used, yeah it's fried. So that was a bummer too. But it was a good story. There we were just up at 1 A.M. bailing water out of house. But things will work out. We're actually having a lot of problems with our house. Our fridge is also broken, we haven't had one for about a week. But things will work out. All of these problems are teaching me to be patient, and to not get frustrated or irritated with things that are going on. So I'm grateful to be learning more lessons. 

This week was a great one, as they all have been. We had Elder Khanakham from the mission presidency come up to visit. He was here from District Meeting on Wednesday until yesterday. (Sunday).  He took Elder Schad and I around to visit members so we can start working with them more. It's the only way the work will progress. We talked to one member, Brother Dahm. It means black. We asked him if he would be willing to help us teach. He said, the elders used to take him all the time, but one day they stopped. He was sad, because he wants to be the investigators "buddy." That is the exact word he used. He wants to be there for them. He said he even used to study in Preach My Gospel so he could help the Elders teach effectively! It showed to me that we can't just rely on certain members to help us,  but we should use all of the resources that the Lord has given us. We also were invited to the high council meeting by Elder Khanakham. That was interesting to see. He wanted us to role play what we do in district meeting, and in coordination meeting with the Leaders of the branch, and how they can be done effectively. Things are really picking up here. It's great!

Also we had the chance to talk with another member. Brother Amnad. He told us that more than 10 years ago, he was a missionary. I went out on a whim and asked if he served with an Elder Zwick. He said,  "Spencer Zwick? He was my trainer!"  I told him I knew the family it made him so happy! So tell the Zwicks that! 

So here's the rundown.

Biew is solid. She is getting interviewed for baptism this Wednesday. We taught her, and after bearing our testimonies about enduring to the end, she offered a closing pray, she said, "Heavenly Father, I am ready to.." she choked up and started crying, then said, "I'm going to endure to the end." It was so powerful, and we could really sense the committment from her. I feel that she really is a tender mercy that the Lord has blessed us with. 

Cherry is doing well. She came to church, so that was great! She's having trouble with smoking still. But she's really working on smoking less and less. So that's great. Her mother and step father have been helping us teach. Which is great. She has a lot of support. 

Jack Sparrow has a baptismal date for the 29. We've just got to get him to church. Then he'll be great! He's got a great friend. Brother Sawake. But Jack didn't come to church because Sawake wasn't ready when jack got to Sawakes house. But next week. He'll be there. 

Bob, he just loves science fiction. We're not sure he's all there. So were going to read with him more to explain the doctrine from an authority. So that will help him.

We did find this new investigator. It's one of the classic stories. It was the last door we knocked, and it was raining. His name is Keng. He used to go to the Christmas parties in the Bangkapi. He came to church, and liked it. He said he'll be here for sure!

Well, great things are happening! I'm so happy to be here.  For this, thanks be to God!


Elder Todd

Sunday, September 2, 2012

District Conference in Khon Kaen

Date: Mon, 3 Sep 2012

Dear Family,
This week had an amazing ending. I am still on such a spiritual high from yesterday. 
Yesterday, we had district conference in Khon Kaen. The branches that attended were, Korat, Khon Kaen, Kalasin, Mahasarakham, and Roi Et! It was such an amazing blessing to be able to see all of the people from Roi Et again, now a year later. But what was even more special than seeing the members that helped us teach and gave us referrals, was to see the people that I had the privilege of teaching. Some that I saw get baptized are doing great and still going to church. 
The first people I saw there were Sister Kimlang, the grandmother in Roi Et, and her grandsons Net and Not. It was so great to see them there and to know that they are active and strong. They still go to church every week. It was just amazing to sit there and see them. Also, Jojo was there. He is now with the young mens. He is still happy and glad to be there at church. Then, there was Brother A. I moved from Roi Et right before he got baptized, but he was there. He was the man who had long hair, a nice big mustache, and rather unkempt appearance in the beginning. But what a blessing it was when he told me that he was being ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood. Then,  being able to see him stand and be sustained in front of everyone, it was so amazing. My heart just goes out to these people so much. I love each one of them. I even ended up giving the closing prayer in the conference. It just filled my soul with joy!
I also had the opportunity to translate for President and Sister Senior and the visiting authority, from Indonesia. I can't remember his last name but it was Elder Joseph San something or other. While I was translating I had to sit on the stand, and I just felt so blessed as I looked into faces of many familiar people. If I had that much joy in an earthly reunion, I can hardly imagine the joy we will all have when we return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. 
But that was just the great cap off for a great week. So here's the rundown on our investigators.
Biew is still way solid. She is looking forward to her baptism date. She's learned everything we have to teach, so we invited her to be baptized earlier, but she said that she wants to be baptized on the 22nd. She said she prayed about it and feels that it is right. So we can't really force her to move it, nor do we want to force her to do anything. That would be a ข้อบังคับ  I don't know how to translate that, uh, but it's like unrighteous dominion I guess. But she did have a question we often encounter. In Buddhist years right now it's the year 2555.  So people always say "How can your religion be true if it started 2012 years ago." So that's always a fun one to try and explain. But we know that our religion was even before the foundations for this world were. So it's all good. 
Then our other investigator with a commitment is Dtom. She's doing well! She found out about Jesus on the Internet and the Church here is close to where she lives.  So she just walked in one day. We didn't get to teach her a lot this last week, but she seems to be doing well. Most of the restoration has been taught. But she is looking good for her date in October. 
Then out last dater is Cherry. Well, she's doing better. She was actually being taught by the sisters, but she is in our area and we are teaching her now. She used to smoke 40 cigarettes a day! Now she's down to just 18. But she's got a great testimony. Her husband is a soldier so we go into the military base to teach her. They love seeing me, an American, riding my bike through the city, and especially on the base. At first her husband didn't like the missionaries, but now he smiles and is warming up to us! So that will be good! Hopefully we can help him come unto Christ. 
Then there is Bob.  We're not sure what to do about him. We tried to teach him about the Plan of Redemption, but when we tried to tell him about the Pre-mortal life, he insisted that we were all grown from paramecium and amoeba. We're going to see if he really wants to follow this message. He's putting the brakes on a little right now, but with God, all things are possible. 
And Jack Sparrow, well, he's good! He is determined to come to church now! We talked to hium about baptism, and it's something that he wants to do. But he is not sure exactly when. So we'll be working with him more this week.
This week I exchanged with our Zone Leader, Elder Siriphan. He is from Chiang Mai, but serving in Khon Kaen right now. We found some great people. There was this area that I've been wanting to go tract for a while now, but it's kind of far away. So we went there. He said, "Elder Todd, why did you bring me so far?"  And I answered, "It's where I felt to come."  So the first door, the man opens up and says,  "Elders! What do you want?" Turns out he was a former investigator! His name is Ped! We're going to teach him tonight which should be great! So, we're following the Spirit and finding great people! 
Thanks for everything, especially all of your prayers.
I love you.
Elder Todd