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
- 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.
- 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;
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.