Sunday, December 16, 2012

Elder Todd and his Zone in Pakkret

Merry Christmas from Pakkret!

Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2012 22:24:19 -0700

Merry Christmas!

This last week was a very busy week. The Bangkok Stake and the Bangkok North District pulled together to host one of the biggest Christmas activities that I've seen/been a part of. It took a lot of preparation. And since it was being hosted at our church, on Chaengwatana Rd., we got to do a lot of the helping. 

I don't know if I told you or not but I was called to sing in a choir. One of the members here, brother Art, wrote a musical that was all centered on Christmas. It was the story of a man who was handicapped because one Christmas he saved the life of a pregnant woman. Then seven years passed. He never got a thank you, or any closure. He was kind of bitter. The story starts with his friend from work having him over for dinner. Long story short-- his friend's wife is the lady. His doubts as to whether God lives, are totally cleared away as his desire was fulfilled. The production ends with the quote, "He saved a life, but Jesus Christ saved the world." It was really good. I can't do it justice. 

I also had the opportunity to really see how God sees us. During the last showing of the performance, there was this lady sitting on the very front row. I looked at her and she had this big tattoo on her shin. She just had a wordly look about her. I didn't give it much thought. But, I was shown that I can't judge on what I see. By the end of the play she was crying. She had felt the Spirit of the Lord. He taught me what he had taught Samuel of old. 
7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lordseeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

That was good for me to learn, and a lesson that we can all remember. It's such a large part of our life to become like the Savior. As we remember His birth, we should also look to His example. It's another lesson that I have been taught. I hear people say "Every religion teaches us to be good." Well, that statement whether true or not isn't relevant. Jesus Christ told us; " Therefore I would that ye should be aperfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.(3 Nephi 12:48)." 

No matter what others say to us, we can't settle for anything less that perfection. And it is only in and through the grace of Christ that we can be perfected.

Well, right now we're  low on investigators.  President was talking to us about this. Apparently, the assistants were saying to him that our numbers are low. We're actually lower than we were when President first got here.  Except in one area.  We are up in the number of Baptisms.

We've changed our way of proselyting. We have, as President put it, created a very effective machine that produces baptisms. If we look at percentages, we've really picked up. We're not spending time with people who aren't prepared or willing to do things.  But we've got investigators working to baptism. 

Right now, we have a really solid one. Her name is Nong. โหน่ง.  She's the member referral I was talking about last week.  She's doing really well and has a baptismal date for the 30th. She really is just someone who the Lord prepared for us. She's keeping commitments and not complaining. 

Well, I'm kind of out of things for this week. It really was consumed with song practice and getting the church ready. 

I love you all. Remember Christ at this time. 


Monday, December 10, 2012

December in Pakkret

Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2012 10:18:19 +0700

Hey! How is everyone?

Well, it's getting closer to Christmas. I really hope that you're all taking more time to really remember the Savior. It's cool for me to think about Him. I think about Him as the man I work for. It's really special to be in the service of the Master, and the best part is that we don't have to be full-time missionaries to do so. 

Elder Patterson and I have had the opportunity to talk to and help some of the members of our zone. It's been a special blessing and really has helped me understand more of my purpose. One of the things that has hit me as I have tried to focus on serving the Lord is something that was pointed out to me by another missionary. He was talking about how every temple and every church building has on its front, the sacred name of Jesus Christ.  He went on, pointing out that the biggest name on our missionary name tags is Jesus Christ. This missionary made the connection that we are like temples, and we also bear His name. That's a special responsibility, for as we learn in the epistle to the Corinthians, we are actually temples. As I pondered the idea, the thought hit me, that it isn't important whether or not we have a name tag on our person. When we were baptized we all promised that we would always be worthy to have the Savior's name on our hearts, and that we would bear His name through our actions. So that is my challenge to you this week--to  truly, in everything that you do, honor our Redeemer's name through actions. Faith- true faith in Him, will produce works that are worthy of His name. That's what I am focusing on. 

Well, we were busy this week. Right now if you asked us if we have a lot of investigators the answer is no. But the people that we do have are all excellent and full of faith. They seem willing to act. It's a great blessing as we focus more than ever on finding them that will receive us. 

One investigator is Fone. She's doing well. Unfortunately she hasn't been able to make it to church yet. She is an investigator from English class. She said she already told her family that she's done with any budhist ordinances becasue she's converting! What great faith! She's got a lot of questions. We taught her about the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity this week. The question of "why" always seems to come up in these lessons. But she was willing to live them. She didn't have a problem with anything except drinking tea. So that's good. But the thing that was interesting to me was she couldn't seem to grasp the concept of the Plan of Salvation. It's so different from what they have been taught. I think we often take that for granted. Sometimes people just can't seem to grasp the fact that we're only born once. But other people feel that the Plan of Salvation just gives them what they were missing from life. Anyway, Fone is great and she's still progressing. 

Then, the other day we had a member say he had an investigator for us. He took us to this member's house who lets other members sleep there too. Brother Sam is his name. He's way good. Anyway, his Aunt Nong came to their house in an answer to Sam's mom's prayer. They cut suits and dresses. Tailor? I think is what we call them. Anyway, they just were overloaded with work. But Nong showed up. then she was surprised by the way all the other 6 people loved their religion. She was really interested. So we taught her. She came to a baptism on Saturday. After I said, "Do you want baptism?"   She said, "Well, I'm not ready to share my testimony."
But she definitely wants to learn! The Lord is blessing us. President Senior told us to stop asking the members for referrals. Well we did and now they're coming!

That baptism was special. It wasn't our investigator, but Elder Price's. I interviewed her last week. She had a great testimony! Apparently,the interview was a great excperiece for her. I attribute it to the Lord. But she chose Memto to baptize her. That was really a humbling experience. I'll try and get pictures next week. 

Also I have been asked to sing in a choir fro the Christmas program this Friday/Saturday. So that's great! 

Well, that's my update! Love you all!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Mission Tour and Pakkret Zone Conference

Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2012 11:36

Hey Todd family! 

Happy December! And happy วันพ่อ!! Or Happy Fathers Day!

Tomorrow is the King's birthday and in Thailand, Father's day is on the king's birthday and Mother's day is the queen's birthday. Interesting culture fact!

Well, as ever, I am astounded at how fast this last week has gone by! I am just loving every second of my mission! Things here are fantastic. This mission is my favorite thing that I have ever done! It’s great. There is so much to do, but so little time to do the Lord’s work. 

Yesterday, Elder Patterson and I got to talk about that very topic in our Zone Conference. We were told that we’d be giving a training, but we weren’t told what our topic would be until about an hour before the meeting. 

Zone conference yesterday was a special one. Let me give you a recap. We were asked last week to get everyone in our zone’s shoe sizes. Then the Assistants told us on Saturday that President was taking the zone bowling for a zone activity. So we went bowling as a zone yesterday! (24 Elders and 2 Sisters)  It was way fun! I got to bowl on a team with Elders Patterson, Price and Kampanat. We didn’t do too poorly. 

President was just wanting to celebrate the holiday season and the fact that our mission will be getting an increase in missionaries! That’s good! Then we headed to the Asoke chapel. We started the meeting. I gave a talk about finding investigators.  After me, President  Senior talked, and then Elder Patterson and I gave our training. 

It was special because we hadn’t had time to prepare anything, really. But during the time that we spend traveling and doing things around the zone, we’ve focused on discussing the needs of the mission. So, we knew what we needed to talk about! And the Spirit guided us. We were on the same page. We spoke about how we need to do everything that we can to help as many people come into the church as soon as possible. It’s just like what Elder Holland said when he closed his talk at the end of last April conference.  He said, “It’s getting late. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” It truly is getting late. There is a greater sense of urgency, and we as members need to be doing everything that we can to bring the Lord’s prepared children into the church. Zone conference was fantastic!

As for the work, we’ve been shifting the ways we find investigators throughout the entire mission. From door to door contacting, to just talking to everyone,  to really find “Them that will receive [us].”   As we've done this, our investigator pools have dropped.  But our investigators who actually get baptized has increased in effectiveness. 

Right now, we don’t have a whole lot of people to teach.  But I want to tell you about one of our investigators. Her name is Fone. She came through English class. We were teaching her and committing her to be baptized. 

I said, “Sister, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ…” before I could finish she said “I will.” I continued “ being baptized…” Again before I could finish she said “รับ” which means “receive” or saying she will get baptized. “ someone holding the priesthood authority of God?” I finished. “ทำค่ะ” or “I will.” Was her answer. It just goes to show that there truly are people out there the Lord is preparing for us! That was one of my favorite experiences this week.

In closeing, I leave my testimony of the Savior with you. When I think of Him, I think of the question best phrased by Job of old  when he says, “If a man dies, will he live again?” 

On that first Easter morning, Mary thought she saw the gardner. She did!  She saw the gardener who cultivated Eden, and endured Gethsemene, who gave us the Lily of the field, the rose of Sharon.  It's all part of the Lord’s vineyard. She knew, when He so lovingly said her name, “Mary..” that He does live! I testify that God our Father lives! And His Beloved Son lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I love you all so much. This Christmas season remember HIM.