Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Miracles in the Pakkret Branch

Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2012 11:55:

Subject: Miracles.

Dear Family,
I couldn't have imagined as I e-mailed you last week the miracles that the Lord was going to pour out upon us this week. And it is all because of faith.  It's by faith that He extends His mercy and love to us and blesses us. 

Now with that, I will share with you one of the most amazing things that has happened to me on my mission. 

So, we had this investigator, Sister Ning.  She had been learning since Elder Patterson was a new missionary, over a year and a half ago. She had learned much about the gospel, but hadn't been baptized yet. We found out that she actually lived in our area. So we took up the teaching where the last missionaries left off. 

We set a goal last week, that she should be baptized this week. We planned on a Sunday baptism.  All week, we tried and couldn't meet with her. The lessons we had planned and the interview didn't look like they were going to happen. Then, on Friday we had an appointment. She had to cancel it in the end. But, she moved our appointment to Saturday evening. 
Elder Patterson and I still hadn't given up hope. We decided that what could really help her make the decision to be baptized, would be to focus on the temple. The Pakkret branch is planning to go to the temple next year in December. 
As we got into the lesson, we asked her how her reading was going. She talked about how she had read through Mosiah that morning. I asked, "Don't you love King Benjamin?" Then we proceeded to talk about his angelic sermon. We then pointed out the significance of the sermon being given at the temple. We talked with her a little bit about the importance of the temple. And how baptism was necessary.  It wasn't anything new for her, it was just reaffirming things she knew. 

We then talked about baptism, and her interview. We said that we had prayed and felt that the interview could be done before church on Sunday. She agreed, but then when we talked about the baptism being on Sunday as well, she seemed hesitant. She was really determined to be baptized in December. 

But we had prayed, set a goal and felt that it was supposed to happen yesterday. We prayed in our hearts, and prayed more. We talked with her. 

We said, "Sister, we have something that we want you to do."

 She said, "kneel and pray about it."  That was amazing! She knew exactly what she needed to do! 

So, we scheduled the interview.

There is something about preparation that opens the door for things to happen. Elder Patterson and I are firm believers in that. So, on the way home, we called her fellowshippers and asked them to prepare talks for the baptismal service tomorrow. 

Then I said to Elder Patterson, "Pack your backpack."  He got his extra clothes but we didn't stop praying. We were full of faith that this baptism was right and was going to happen.

We got up the next morning with all of our stuff and headed to the church. Sister Ning showed up and started the interview. Elder Patterson and I looked at each other and said, "We need to fill up the font." So we did. 

The interview ended and she passed! I was really feeling my faith increasing so much! Then we asked if she had gotten her own answer about when to be baptized.  She said the first of December. 
My heart dropped a little, but my faith brought it back up. We talked a little more and asked why. She wasn't sure, so we challenged her during sacrament to search for the answer. During sacrament, the Branch President got up and was talking about how the branch was having an amazing year.  He said that 39 people had been baptized since January, and the goal was 40. but we would be extending that goal out to 45.  

After the meeting we asked her if she got an answer and she said yes.  But she still wanted to go pray again and confirm it. So, she said, "Give me an hour and I'll tell you."

About 20 minutes later she called. We we're in a meeting so we had to wait. But after it was over, we called her back.

She said, "Elder, I got my answer.  I need to be baptized today. But, my uncle just got in an accident. I'm now at the hospital with him."

 At that point,  the question wasn't whether we were lacking faith or what we hadn't done right.  We felt we had done all within our power. The question became what does the Lord want us to learn? We felt that it was to accept His will and not try to force things in the last minute.  But at the same time we wanted to keep our faith strong because we knew that with faith, all things are possible. 
We decided we were going to take that lesson to heart. We knew that in His own time, His purposes would be brought to pass. Then at about 4:30 we got a phone call. It was Ning. She said she wanted to be baptized that night at 6:00.
 We said, "Done."
 We went to the branch president and told him that Sister Ning wanted to be baptized. 

He asked, "When?" "6:00" was our answer. 

He said "Today?" 
"Yes, today." we confirmed.

He then excitedly said, "FILL UP THE FONT!"  

He was so excited!! It was amazing! Then she showed up in her own baptismal outfit that she had bought a while ago. And Sister Ning was baptized. It was amazing! It was a true miracle. 

I testify that Heavenly Father is a God of Miracles, and operates today according to our faith. Jesus Christ lives, and loves us. I love you all and encourage you to press forward in faith! --


Loving the People of Pakkret!

Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2012 12:01

Hey! Happy วันขอบคุณพระเจ้า!!

Well, as ever I am absolutely astounded that another week has come and goneแล้ว.But as ever, the Lord has made it another great week! SO--here are a few of the highlights, just some of them, from this last week. 

First of all, the Church building here in Pakkret was just finished right before I got in country.  It was only dedicated a few weeks after I arrived in Thailand. It's located right on Chaengwatana Road, which is one of the biggest roads in the city, so there are a ton of people that see it. In Korat, we had maybe 20 people come to English class, so I was blown away when I got here and last week at English class there were 153 students! That was amazing to see. And there were about 25 or so new people. 

Things here in the Bangkok North Zone are really going well. We even have an investigator from English class. His name is Arm. He's solid. He is really interested. He's studied the Bible on his own, but never talked with any missionaries or any churches. He's now reading the Book of Mormon and seems to be enjoying it. I think He'll be getting baptized here in December. 

We also had mission tour with the Area President, Elder Kent D. Watson who visited from Hong Kong this week. The three Bangkok Zones all met together in the Chaengwatana building. Elder Patterson and I had to get everything set up, including food for 90 people. We ended up getting members to make food. Guess what they made? Not curry. Not anything with rice even! They made lasagna and peach cobbler! It was so so good! 

But more than the food, the meeting was amazing. The Spirit there was so strong! It was all about the Book of Mormon and how it's important for us.  We role played, inviting people to learn about the gospel using the Book of Mormon and had a section about how it answers the questions of the soul.  The Book of Mormon is amazing. Think about it, while reading about Lehi and his struggles with his eldest sons, we see a parent struggling to help his stubborn children. Is that so distant from many parents lives? No. It's just such an amazing tool. It's the tool that the Lord has given us to gather scattered Israel home.

One other amazing thing that has been taught to me on my mission, is that God is mindful of His children and what they need. Twice this week we felt that we needed to make appointments with recent converts. Both times we did, it was amazing to see why the Lord had prompted us to do so. When we saw them, they both just talked to us about how they felt that their faith was beginning to fail. At a crucial time for them, we were able to go and to share the gospel with them and share our testimonies.   Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can save this world from the sorrows of sin. Only the gospel will be able to bring peace and consolation to the human family. I saw that manifest this week in the Bangkok North District. 

Other than that, things are great! Elder Patterson and I are getting along really well. We have the same vision and are on the same page for what needs to happen. We are focusing on part member families. We had two long time members bring their wives to church yesterday. Neither of the wives have been baptized. So now we're working with them to unite them with their families so that they can go to the temple. That's why we find people.  That's why we teach.  That's why we baptize. To seal families and to prepare for Eternal Life.  

Thank you all for your prayers. You're the best and I love you!


Goodbye Korat, Hello Pakkret!

Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2012 13:49Subject: Pakkret!From:

Hey ครอบครัว!

How are you doing? I'm doing very well here. The big news isn't that it snowed in Thailand, but that I moved. I'm now in Pakkret which means that I get to go to church at the Chaengwattana church which is the biggest, newest church in Southeast Asia! It's so pretty! I'm with Elder Patterson from Arizona. He's way solid. He's really teaching me a lot of great stuff! I was sad to leave Korat, but it's like one of the members told me, "It's time for you to leave and have experiences in other places."

It was bittersweet to say goodbye to everyone--both members and investigators. One really cool experience was my last lesson with Cherry and Oom. We talked with them a little bit about the plan of Salvation. That was mostly for the benefit of Oom. But then we talked to Cherry about a priesthood blessing. When we asked her who she would like to give her one, she chose me. That was very humbling. I felt the spirit direct my words as I gave her, or rather the Lord through me, gave her a blessing of comfort and counsel, of encouragement and strength to help her quit smoking. It was the last thing that I got to do in Korat. She was moved by it as was I.  After that, no one really had anything to say. The Spirit was so strong. It was a huge blessing.

Then, we were off to Bangkok. On Thursday we were sitting in transfer meeting. I was sitting next to Elder Tolman and we were just talking having a great time. Then the meeting started! I got transferred and will be closer to Bangkok. Elder Patterson is really solid. He is two transfers ahead of me. He's got a lot of wisdom which is really important. We then had meetings all that day, first with President and Sister Senior, and then with the leaders of the branch. Things are busy. Then, we also have had to get mission tour ready. There will be all three Bangkok Zones coming and we have to prepare it all, the food and the musical selections. But it's looking good!
Elder Kent D. Watson will be coming. 

Then we decided to get out and visit some of the districts in our Zone to share with them a little about the vision we have for the transfer, and how our zone can reach our goal for baptisms. It was really different to be able to visit 2 of the four district leaders within about 3 hours. It was a 3 hour bus ride from Korat or Roi et to Khon Kaen. The wonders of being in Bangkok! Things are a lot closer than up country.

As we visited the Bang Khaen district they had an investigator ready to interview for baptism. So I interviewed him. Wow! He was so prepared! He talked about repentance and about the commandments and how great they all were and how it was repentance that made him know the church is true! 

We have some good investigators here.  There are two who we are hoping to baptize this coming week. The first is Lai, and the second is Ning. Lai--she's way solid! Just needs to learn the lessons all the way through and get her mom's permission. her mom is one of our prospective investigators. So please keep them in your prayers!

Well, I love you all. Keep calm and carry on!


Elder Todd

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2012 11:50:17 

Hey! How are you all?

Aren't things just fantastic? I have to say they are!

We had another week full of blessings from the Lord. One of them was that the family who we got to work with last week, Brother Ton and Sister Saeng, came back to church along with their daughters, Bell and Gift. It was a great thing to see the branch welcome them back with open arms! There were some members who were very excited to see them! During the fast and testimony meeting,  brother Tong gave a great testimony about how he was ready to serve the Lord! So that'll be great to get that family coming to church again! It really was a testimony builder to me that no one is ever forgotten by our Heavenly Father. God doesn't, or perhaps because of His pure love cannot, leave any of us alone. He won't ever forget us. 

We also had the opportunity to go to a leadership training in Khon Kaen this last Thursday. It was really good. So we got there, and the Assistants came in and said that President Senior wanted to be there but he couldn't make it. That was a bit of a bummer-- but the training was awesome. As it started, I looked around the room. I saw all of these 20-21 year old men sitting down holding a meeting. I thought, "this is so cool. We're not just here hanging out because there is no supervision. We're doing what our leader has asked of us."

 I asked my self why this was so. The answer came to me in the form of the Savior's words: "If ye love me, keep my commandments." 
We conducted that meeting with order and focus, out of a love for our Savior and our Leader. It was so cool to me to be with missionaries who understand their purpose. I'm grateful to the Lord for their good examples.

Another cool experience was a few weeks ago, Elder Khanakham, from the mission presidency was visiting Korat. He asked me if I would hold a training for the branch missionaries. He wanted me to help them understand how to use Preach My Gospel and how to teach. So, on Saturday I gave a training. I really felt the Lord's hand as I planned to talk to them about their role and how to use Preach My Gospel. But, as seems to happen so often times as we teach, I was the one who was taught. These missionaries, most of them young men, (priest age), were great teachers! And they explained the doctrines in very simple terms. I know that part of their success is that they are native Thai's, but that's not the point. The point is that it showed to me that it doesn't matter who you are, where you're from or how old you are. If the Lord wants to make you a teacher, He can and will. 

Well,  as far as our investigators, things are progressing. Thank you for your prayers for all of these people, especially Cherry. She needs the help. It's really sad to see someone so addicted. But, the Lord can help us overcome all things. That is the truth. This week we're really going to make a push for her! So as we do, please don't forget her. She's still coming to church and keeping commitments. We're just really praying for her. 

Oom is on fire! In just one week she's through 1 Nephi well into second Nephi! She prays daily as well! She did say no to baptism for now. It's one of those cultural concerns. Her in-laws aren't too partial to the church. And since she lives in the military base,  a lot of people have told her and Cherry that if they convert they're betraying their country and religion. That's something sad to hear. But these women aren't letting those faith shakers get them down! In the face of adversity they are standing strong. It will help as they prepare to make the covenant to stand as a witness. I'm grateful to the Lord for all the blessings we have received. 

Well, I love you all tons!

Love Elder Todd