Sunday, October 28, 2012

Referrals, Teaching, Exchanges in Korat--so happy!

Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2012 11:40From:

Well I cannot believe that October is over! I cannot believe how fast this last week went. Time is just marching forward too quickly.  But things here are as great as ever. Actually this last week was filled with blessings.
During this last week, the Lord POURED out blessings upon us here. I am still in shock, but am so so grateful. We taught a ton. We met with recent converts, less active members, investigators, and even met with some referrals. Everything just seemed to be going well. I know that it wasn't due to anything that I did.  It's the Lord stretching forth His hand in the work. 
We've been trying to be tools in His hand and not obstruct the work or try to do things contrary to His will. As we have made a concentrated effort to get out of the way for Him, He really has used us as a force for good among His children. Because of time limitations I will just share a few experiences. 
The first one happened yesterday afternoon. There is this family that we have been trying to go visit. They just stopped coming to church after they had spent several weeks in Bangkok taking care of some business.  After returning to Korat they missed church one week. Then, one week became two, and that turned into three.  Before long several months had gone by without them attending church. So last night, Brother O, โอ๋ a member here took me out to see them.  (Elder Wood was visiting another family with another member.)  We got out there and found the family--Brother Tong(โต้ง) Sister Saeng(แสง) and their family. We sat down with them and were just talking. We talked about love. Then I felt prompted to share from the revelations. I opened up to Doctine and Covenants 130:2 and talked to them about how it's so possible! Our families can be forever! I tried to explain that this is the reason why it's important for us to be active in the church so we can be worthy to enter into the Lord's house and make covenants there. Then I invited them to come to church. It turned into a discussion of what seem to be the classic feelings of many less active members, "Will people think less of me?" or "Will anyone talk to me?" "Will others look down on us for not coming?"   
That is not the way it is in this church. It cannot be so. The key to helping them IS the members. Brother O said, "Of course no one will think less! People will be happy in having you back. There is no need to worry!"   
I realized then, in efforts to rescue less active members, it's more important for members to have a role than missionaries. We move and get transferred. But the members stay! People need friends and support. It was an eye opener to me. They said they'll be back next week too!
I believe that I told you about brother Tam. He's the less active man who we were teaching with his wife and his kids. Well, yesterday, you can imagine my joy as I looked and saw him at sacrament sitting in the overflow! I was so happy! He came back!  The branch president talked with him, and is preparing him for a calling! A calling will help him get back strong and active! I was so happy! Life as a missionary is amazing. I love it so much. As much as I love you all, there is no where else i'd rather be right now than where I am. I love being in the service of the Master. 
Another great thing that happened was with Cherry. Well, she's still struggling with her smoking problem. The tic tacs--she likes them haha. SO, that was good! They do have some mints very similar that they sell here. But I think the Lord brought a way to motivate her to get over the last bump in the road. We went to teach her last Friday. She said that she had a friend for us to teach. So we sat down and taught her friend and Cherry was present. Her friend is Oom(อูม) and seems fairly receptive. We just taught a simple first lesson. At the end we gave what is called a "soft baptismal commitment." The-- "When you know that these things are true will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized?"  She said yes. Then Cherry said to me, there's no way I'm going to let her get baptized before me. So, the thing that might be the motivation for her, is her friend. Now, I know that it's not all about comparing ourselves to others and not having races. As President Uchtdorf's wife said "It's a journey not a race." But sometimes, the Lord works in mysterious ways. Cherry has a good plan that she's following too. She should have quit by the end of the week. Please pray for her.
Well, there are tons of blessings. I have written about them in my journal.  But I only have time for a portion of the highlights.   
I love this work and this Gospel. My hand is set to the plough. I love the Lord and I cannot look back. For, as the Savior said, "No man, having out his hand to the plough, and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God."(Luke 9:62). I'm the Lord's. Looking forward, in this great cause.
Be faithful, and safe. 
Elder Todd

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bob, Cherry and Missionary Work in Korat

Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2012 11:44


How are you? Isn't life great?  This last week was a great as ever! The Lord really is blessing Elder Wood and me. A lot of really good things are happening in our area. 

So, the first update. Bob is not doing too badly. He is really close to being baptized. He actually passed his interview. But, he isn't keeping the Sabbath day holy. It's an important commandment. The Zone Leaders advised us not to baptize him this week, but to push it back one more week. It makes sense to me. We aren't just here to get people baptized and increase church membership. We're here to help disciples come into the church. We need disciples that will come and be strong members forever. So we need to help everyone keep God's commandments, and receive the associated blessings. The Lord really gave it to us pretty clearly, that we have 6 days to work, then on the Sabbath, we are to rest from our temporal labors, and not make others work. A lot of the members here are really strict with Sabbath observance. There is one family that wont even turn on their cell phones on Sunday. They just really want to feel the Spirit of the day. But Bob just needs to switch his day off to Sunday instead of Saturday. He said he can. He just has to switch with his mom. They have a store together, but after than that, we'll baptized him. 

Cherry is back on track. She kind of had some days where she was a little frustrated and smoked a lot. We gave her a lesson about patience. We read with her in Doctrine and Covenants 121:1-8. As we finished reading verse 8 she said, "patience... I don't have any!"   Then we talked about how we can grow in patience and just like with any other spiritual gift, we can pray for the Lord to help us be more patient. Granted that means we will have a trial more likely than not, but in the end it will be for our benefit. 

Then we were teaching her again the other day. We read with her about the Lamanites who buried their weapons of rebellion. We talked about how she needs to bury her rebellion, her cigarettes.  She said she had quit in the past. She just needed something that she could use instead of cigarettes, whenever she wanted to smoke. Something that morning had told me to bring a pack of tic tacs that mom sent me. I didn't know why I would need tic tacs, but I took them. Then as we talked with her I told her I had felt prompted to bring the mints.  I gave her the tic tacs and said if you want to smoke, eat some of these instead. She said it was nice to now have a choice--a better choice. She really seems dedicated this time. So that will be really good for her! Please keep her in your prayers. 

Things have been really busy as of late. We don't really have time to go out tracting. That's what I felt like I did in Roi Et. For my first two transfers, all we did was tract that city over and over. But since then I just haven't had that much tracting time. This transfer, we haven't had any time to do more than 1 hour of tracting. I miss it. But we're trying to talk to as many people as we can. It's all about finding who is prepared and who isn't. And often we can find out in a few short minutes. 

I've been thinking about something that I read in "Jesus The Christ."  James E. Talmage said that the Savior had to discern who were to be the 12 that would be called as apostles. In a similar way, we have to discern who is being prepared by God. We need to find those whose heart is soft enough for the Spirit to change them. So, we're just trying to weed through people that we pass on the street, or see as we eat meals, in parks, or wherever they may be.  We are finding some of them. Some say that they only want to study about Christianity. Others just want to talk to Americans.   And then there are those who are investigators in Christ. That want to know Him and follow Him. Those are the people who we are looking for.

Sorry, there was a lot that happened this week, but I just can't think of all of it! But the Lord is blessing us.

I love you all.  Be safe and keep the faith!


Elder Todd

Sunday, October 14, 2012


October 15, 2012

Hey Famiglia!

Wow! This last week sure was a great one! We got to watch conference. Oh my goodness! It was fantastic!  It was full of things that I needed.

Saturday morning I was studying in Alma 5. I told Elder Wood, that I guaranteed someone would quote that chapter. Sure enough, Elder Cook got up and quoted verse 14 about the "mighty change of heart." It was quoted throughout the conference.

If we had favorite chapters in the scriptures, that would be mine. It's a good self-evaluation. We can each prayerfully read it and see where we stand in our progression in the gospel.

President Eyring's talk on Sunday morning was great too.  It answered most of the questions that I had going into conference. And Elder Holland's talk, and Elder Hales’ talk--SO good!  Well, I could go on and on about conference, but I won't. You all saw it.

This last week, the Lord blessed us greatly. We’d had a little bit of a struggle the week before contacting and teaching our investigator, Cherry. We were a little worried. We were going to teach her on Tuesday. Monday night we were holding our nightly planning session. As we talked about what we wanted to follow up on, we felt impressed to follow up on her prayer and scripture reading. The next day she was telling us how she was getting frustrated and as a result  of her difficulties, she had smoked a lot the day before. We asked her, "Are you reading your scriptures daily? Are you praying morning and night?" The answer was, no. Those are such little things, but they are so crucial for life. It's just like how little hinges can swing great doors. It’s the little things that so often make the biggest differences in our lives. Don't for get to do them!

We were also teaching Tik. He is so great! He is so prepared. He always has questions for us about who gives us authority to preach, baptize, and who chooses the prophets. He enjoyed the message of the Restoration. He promised us that he is going to do his best to be obedient to the Lord. As we were leaving his house he asked us, "When I go to church, what should I wear?" It was way cool because we didn't even talk about church that day with him!
This missionary work is all about finding those people who will receive us. 

Recently,President told me, "I would rather our missionaries have a small investigator pool that are taught great lessons leading to conversion, than to have the inverse with large investigator pools. Well done Elder." So that's what we have been focusing on. 

Here’s an update on Bob. He is making HUGE strides! It's way cool. When I first got here the missionaries had been thinking about setting him aside. He didn’t really understand a lot, and didn't grasp concepts. Well, we started teaching him FROM the scriptures. We made the scriptures the main dish of our lessons, not just side dishes that we brought in when it was convenient. It made a huge difference. He understands now. He talked about his baptismal date and how he feels ready. Elder Wood and I feel he is ready too! So, he is interviewing on Friday for baptism!! How cool is that?  Then the 27th he should be getting baptized!

It's been amazing to see the "mighty change of heart" occur within Bob. He learned about keeping the Sabbath day holy and said he'd stop working.  He committed himself to tithing, saying, "I have no problem paying it." That's what Thailand needs! Full tithe paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders = TEMPLE!! He is even serving the members at church helping with the cleanup, and lunch. SO great!

I also wanted to tell you about the family and Brother Tam. They are the less actives I talked about last week. We were teaching them and their son who is 12 and not baptized. We committed him to baptism. He said yes. Then we committed his dad to prepare to baptize his son. His dad expressed that he wasn't worthy and that he would have another member of the branch do it instead. We opened the scriptures with him and read, D& C 58:42, “Behold, he who has arepented of his bsins, the same is cforgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.
 43 By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will aconfess them and bforsake them." 
This scripture really impacted him, and he had a change in his countenance. We talked with him about how he can talk to the branch president and prepare to perform this ordinance. It was such a special experience with the Spirit. For this, thanks be to God.
Well, That's about it from this end. I love you all and hope all is well! Keep the faith, smile, find joy in this glorious time to live on earth.
Elder Todd

Monday, October 8, 2012

So Happy In Korat--Elder Todd and Elder Wood

Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2012 13:44:36

Dear Family! 

How are you? I'm sure you're all just doing great! I'm happy, and am doing well myself. Elder Wood and I are happy in Korat.

Well, I can hardly believe that another week has come and gone. This transfer is off and running which is crazy to me, but that's just the way life is isn't it?
This last week, was good. It was actually fairly rough teaching wise. We had more than half of our appoinments cancel each day which was, at times, very discouraging.  But we reminded ourselves that every  trial and hardship is designed for us, to help us become who the Lord wants. He wants to take us and kill our natural man and create us a new self in Him. So, as the prophet Joseph Smith said, we submit cheerfully--trusting in Him, His infinite wisdom and mercy for us. It makes me think of the final verse of the first chapter in the Book of Mormon. Nephi writes, "But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."
He will, and is delivering us from our trails. We are trying to talk to people, to everyone. The other day we were outside of the church in the parking lot, and there was this man passing by on the outside of the fence. I felt prompted to talk to him. So I did. It turns out he had investigated with the Elders before in Khon Kaen. When I asked him if we could sit down and talk with him he said he's not keeping all the commandments, and can't be baptized. We don't hear people talking to us about baptism very often. But he gave us his number and we'll be seeing him this coming week. See, tender mercies. 

In 2001, President Monson gave a talk entitled "To the Rescue." In it, he said to the brethren holding the priesthood, "Brethren, the world is in need of your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save." President Senior has been talking to us about how this is the Lord's will for the Thailand Bangkok Mission. We are to rescue the members of the church who are lost and wandering in a less active state. This last week, we had the opportunity to work on this. We began visiting the less-actives. We are working with them to bring them back.
Thailand has more than enough members for a temple, but there aren't enough of them coming to church and paying their tithing. So we are bringing them back, and doing what we can to help their family and friends come unto Christ. As we do so, we give many people a system of support and love. As a person all alone, it's so easy to just skip church for one week. Then it becomes easy to keep putting it off until we just don't go at all. But we can't let that happen.
We are working with a family like that right now. The father's name is Tam, and the mother is Taa.  They have 3 sons, Satan (weird I know), Santa, and Stamp- haha. But they just kind of stopped coming. The parents are both members. The kids aren't. Their ages are 11 and 8 and 5. So, two are eligible for baptism! As we were sitting and talking with them, just sharing a gospel message, something told me to tell him he needs to come to church. So, I boldly, but with as much love as possible, told him, "Brother, you need to come to church." It was like something had just hit him. He felt something in the words ring true. He allowed the Spirit to touch his heart. And when that happens, hearts are changed. We will need to work with him more, but his faith will increase. He'll get work off on Sunday, and become worthy to baptize his two sons. That's my prayer at least. It's possible. 

Now, in an effort to work with these less active members we haven't been doing as much tracting as before. Some might call me crazy, but I actually miss it. I miss being able to get out and to talk with people and invite those who know nothing of our Savior to come unto Him. It got to the point yesterday in fact, when I couldn't take it anymore. Our appointments all fell through and I said, "Elder Wood, we've got to change our back-up plan and go tracting."  So we did. We got in the first door we approached. But the older couple that we taught weren't super interested. They ended our lesson by telling us the classic Thai phrase, "Every religion teaches us to be good." They wouldn't open their hearts, but we were able to give our witness and leave our testimony with these people. Many of them have hearts similar to those of the Lamanites. But others have hearts that have been prepared by God. It's amazing to see the difference. 

Lastly, last week we got an e-mail from President Senior. He's amazing. I'll share a portion of it with you. 

"adversity exist all around us.  But Elders and Sisters, I have joy in our work and joy in adversity for it is evidence that we are on the right path, that we are engaged in a work that has captured the attention of the Almighty God and that He will not stay His hand in giving blessings to Thailand and our mission. 

President Hinckley further encourages:

“We have demonstrated our strength in meeting adversity. Our strength is our faith in the Almighty. No cause under the heavens can stop the work of God. Adversity may raise its ugly head. The world may be troubled with wars and rumors of wars, but this cause will go forward.

You are familiar with these great words written by the Prophet Joseph: “No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done”  (History of the Church, 4:540).

The Lord has given us the goal toward which we work. That goal is to build His kingdom, which is a mighty cause of great numbers of men and women of faith, of integrity, of love and concern for mankind, marching forward to create a better society, bringing blessings upon ourselves and upon the heads of others.” 10

As members of this “army” described by President Hinckley, may we consider the following:

  1. Sharpen the swords of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The whetstone of our swords will be our acts of obedience.  Through obedience, dull blades will become sharp. Perfect obedience will give power to use the word of God in a manner that can call upon Heaven for help and bring about miracles.
  2. Continue in prayer and fasting. On this coming fast day, may I invite us to unite as a mission in purpose, that our fast may call upon Heaven for the following:
a)  Look forward with one eye and one faith, having our hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another11, and obedience

 among the missionaries in the TBM;
b)  Physical health of the missionaries in the TBM;
c)  Increased power and protection against the  enemy of all righteousness; and
d)  Personal inspiration to know the mind and  will of the Lord in the TBM.

I encourage a continuation of our faith and pace of the work.  Let us adopt the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith which can find applicability in our cause:

“22 Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on to the victory! Let your heart rejoice; and be exceedingly glad.".”12

So, as we united together, there was a very special spirit in the mission. I'm so grateful for the opportunity we had to fast together and join in so great a cause. Make your fast Sunday this week a great one. It's your choice in the end.

I love you all. Hold to the Rod! Always give thanks to God. 


Elder Todd