Isn't life amazing? And just absolutely great?
About three thousand years ago the prophet Isaiah spoke of "a marvelous work and a wonder." It's amazing to really look and see that this Latter-day work is that marvelous work. I feel so privileged to be part of that work. It is a wonder as well, how we can find success. It's really great to know that, at the end of the day it isn't my work. It's not President Senior's work. It's the Lord's work. Elder Holland reminded us that our missionary work is the Lord's work, the Lord's glory, and it's going to get done His way. Then he tells the missionaries that he hopes they are comfortable with that. I don't know how we can't be.
The Lord has stretched forth His mighty hand again this week. We were blessed to have a baptism! Yes! Sister Boom was recieved into the church by way of baptism and confirmation! It was a great, and we're so grateful to the Lord for this blessing!
We also had the opportunity to take a training around to the Zone. It was all on Doctrine and Covenants section 4. It really is important to this work. We sometimes seem to take it for granted. But it's true. As we serve the Lord with all of our heart, might, mind and strength, His power is stretched forth.
That's something that I want to talk about. Elder Tolman and I have been working on trying to figure out how we can better help the branch here, and how we might better establish the church in Ubon. We felt a little at a loss. It was way cool because last night President called us. He said that we were on his mind and he felt like he should call us. (thank goodness for the Holy Ghost.) He called and we chatted for a bit. Then he said something that really hit me. He said, "Sit back and watch the power of the Lord." It's made me think. It made me remember to let the Lord do His work, and for me to be an instrument in His hand. We found the guidance that was given in Preach MY Gospel ch. 9 about the importance of members, really helpful. It is counsel from the Apostles, so of course it's amazing. And we really just want to help members get excited about the work. It should make a difference in everything.
This is where I turn to the scriptures. In the Book of Helaman, chapter 3 we read about the people of Nephi, who were prideful and not keeping the commandments of the Lord. They were contending one with another and it was hurting the entire civilization. Then we have Helaman the 2nd appointed as chief judge. He kept the ways of the Lord, and his two sons, Nephi(who will get the sealing power) and Lehi "began to grow up to the Lord." Though they have struggles, they start being righteous and the Lord blesses them. Helaman 3:24 reads "..insomuch that there were thousands who did join themselves unto the Church and were baptized unto repentance." Verse 25 says "And so great was the prosperity of the church, and so many the blessings which were poured out upon the people, that even the high priests and the teachers were astonished beyond measure." V. 26 "And it came to pass that the work of the Lord did prosper unto the baptizing and uniting(bringing back less actives?) to the church of God, many souls, yea, even tens of thousands." v. 27 "Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name."
I thought about this a lot. I thought maybe this could happen to us, but on a smaller scale. Instead of thousands maybe for us it would be 10's. Then the thought came into my mind, who am I to restrict the Lord? It is His work. And it will get done His way. Elder Tolman and I feel with our whole hearts that Ubon and in fact, all of Thailand can become like these people. The key is found in Helaman 3:35, one of my favorite verses. "Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God." Elder Tolman and I will be following this pattern. We don't have a lot of time. But it is time to put our shoulders to the wheel. Shall we not go on in so great a cause? The power of the Lord will be shewed forth. I know that.
I love you all. I love this work so much. It means so much to me. SO MUCH. I wish I could have more time. I know that this work will fill the earth and will bring salvation unto many. If only we will wax strong in mighty fasting and prayer, and give our hearts to God. Consecration is the ONLY way.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Busy week in Udon!
Working with people of Ubon!
Tolman and Todd in Tuk Tuk
February 18, 2013
Hey Todd family!
Elder Tolman and I have been looking for ways to improve our teaching. One of the things that a member in Asoke mentioned is that people don't understand enough about the Savior. So we made a goal to teach from the Bible along with the Book of Mormon. It's a bit of a problem. In the MTC there was almost a negative attitude towards the translation of the Thai Bible and a lot of people, as a result, don't use it. But they recently came out with a new translation, translated from Hebrew. It's actually not too bad and seems, in some ways, to be more accurate with definitions that are in the Bible Dictionary. So we decided we're going to start using it as we teach about the ministry of Christ.
Working with people of Ubon!
Tolman and Todd in Tuk Tuk
February 18, 2013
Hey Todd family!
Isn't life just peachy? Things can't get much better than they are!
Thanks for all of your birthday wishes! I love you and thank you all!
And for Christian, I'm really excited for you! A mission in Texas will be a great experience. It sounds like there are going to be a lot of mission calls coming soon. That's good, because there is a lot of work to be done.
Things here in Ubon are really going well. I feel blessed that the Lord sent me here. And things are so great with Elder Tolman! We've had a lot to do and been super busy, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
So, as far as highlights from this week--they're all connected with the wonderful people that I've been blessed to work with.
Sister Boom has now come to understand the Sabbath day. She didn't really understand it before. But now she's looking really good to make her baptism on Saturday! We're looking forward to that! It will be a great day. We didn't really get to see her a whole lot this week. It just so happens that her schedule for work interferes with our proselyting hours.
Ton is also doing really well! He has a humble heart and good intentions. He loves the activities and the friends that he has made in the Church. We're working with him on getting the fundamentals down. He's really struggling with reading. It's hard because there is a different language form of speech used for reading books. And the Book of Mormon uses a TON of hi-so, formal, and royal vocabulary. So, a lot of the people out here don't quite get it. But the cool thing is the more he reads, the more he understands. He should be looking good for a March baptism.
We are also teaching a couple named Pong and Can. They have two daughters that are members. They are way good! We had an absolutely amazing lesson with them this last week.
In our lesson with Pong, we used EVERY book of Scripture: The Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. We're so blessed that we had so much scripture to explain what we were teaching.
Do we ever murmur that God gives us so much of His word? Why should we? So often we say, "A Bible, a Bible, we have a Bible, it's called the Book of Mormon, and we need no more Bible." We need to really use the full cannon of scripture to the convincing of the Jew and gentile that Jesus is the Christ. I testify that He is. The first principle of the gospel is faith in HIM. Principles 2, 3 4, 20, 90 cannot come until we have that faith.
Oh, so back to the lesson. It was AMAZING. We taught about the Plan of Salvation. The Spirit was so strong and they expressed their desires to be baptized! We were so grateful that the Spirit unfolded these things to their understanding.
I testify that as we use the scriptures, we will have greater light and understanding come into our lives. It is the word of God, and there is power therein. Never neglect it, or fail to read. I love you all. Have a great week! Go make someone smile!
Monday, February 11, 2013
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2013 13:16
How are you all doing? I honestly cannot believe how fast this last week went. I think I say that a lot, but hey, it's true.
Things here in Ubon are really good. Marie Livingston served here. I've seen some of her records. That's been fun!
SO where to start? I don't know.
How about with our investigators. That is why I'm here afterall. So here they are.
I talked about Sister Boom. She's good. She's really nice and really wants to be baptized. She interviewed this week and passed! Plans were made for her baptism next Saturday. But yesterday, she went to work, and she didn't keep the Sabbath. As a result, she will have to wait to be baptized. It's sad. And it may seem a little harsh. But it's something that is a problem.
Preach My Gospel tells us the importance of the Sabbath. It teaches that if we grow careless in our reverence for the Sabbath, our religious life decays, and all aspects of life will be negatively affected.
Something that I'm learning over and over is obedience. I think I talk about it ALL THE TIME. But it IS the first law of heaven. We simply can't have the Spirit without being worthy. We must, "go out from among the wicked, and be clean... that bear the vessels of the Lord. (D&C 38:42)."
I know Sister Boom will be baptized. She's got a lot of really good desire. Her husband is also started learning with us. His name in Gan. He is good too. He's a little slower when it comes to learning. He dropped out of school in about ninth grade, but he likes going to church. He's got a smoking problem--about 20 cigarettes a day. But he's down from 30 at the beginning of the week. He said he believes in God because he sees that people can change. It's so true. Believe it or not, we are not cast in stone. We can change through the atonement of Christ the Lord. We can improve ourselves each day. That's the promise of the atonement, the conditions of repentance, the miracle of forgiveness. It's all about becoming. The Lord doesn't see as we do. "For the Lord looketh upon the Heart" 1 Samuel 16:7 (I think that's the reference.)
I'm out of time. But really quickly before I sign off, here is an update of our other investigators. We are teaching a man named Ton. He's good We've only taught him once. He needs the basics.
We're also teaching a man named Phong. His daughters are members, and he's really solid. He's just waiting for a sign, so we're working with him about knowing by the power of the Holy Ghost, since, "by the power of the Holy Ghost ye shall know the truth of all things.(Moroni 10:5)." If that's wrong it's because I can't remember how to say it in English.
Well, I love you all TONS! Be obedient and faithful!
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2013 11:47
What a week! Things here are fantastic as ever!
So, BIG NEWS!! I'm not sure if you knew, but the countries of Laos and Myanmar are in our mission. Well, this last week, the Lord's hand was stretched forth. Here is what I can say about Laos:
"By invitation, the Thailand Bangkok Mission received approval to have four young service volunteers to labor in Vientiane, Laos. These service volunteers will work with Deseret International Charities under the direction of the Senior Couples who are located in Vientiane, and will be involved in a variety of humanitarian and educational service opportunities, including clean water projects, hygiene, neo-natal education and English language instruction. The young volunteers will also support the Branch activities of the Laotian Saints in Vientiane, Laos. The Church is not yet officially recognized in Laos and this recent activity is for the purpose of providing additional educational and humanitarian service."
Pretty amazing if you ask me.
Well, I also got transferred. I'm now serving in Ubon! It's way out in the Easaan. And my new companion is.... Elder Tolman!!! We finally get to be companions! Things are great! It's a whitewash. Neither of us have ever served here, but luckily Elder Tolman served in nearby Yasothorn, so he kind of knows the area. It's just the two of us here. There were a lot of changes in areas last transfers, so some of the companionships got moved out because we're short on man power. We're waiting to get that increase in missionary complement.
It was sad to leave Pakkret and all those members and investigators, but we feel that there will be great adventures here for us. Lek and Tiger passed their interviews for baptism. I'm sad I won't get to see there baptisms, but it's comforting to know that they'll happen!
So, We haven't really had a whole lot of time to work here yet. Thursday we had transfers, then Friday we had zone leader council in Bangkok, then we got on a train on Friday night and came up here! It was nuts. We were in the dead center of Bangkok, and we were trying to get a taxi to take us and all of our bags to the train station. It was rush hour, traffic was worse than usual, and no one would take us. We were kind of panicking and we weren't sure whether or not we'd make our train. But guess what we did! We prayed. We felt the impression to call the Assistants, Elder Benjamin and Elder Heap. So we did. They had just finished a teaching appointment and were close. They came and picked us up in their van. Then they got us to the train station on time! It was amazing. What was anticipated to take well over an hour took us not even 30 minutes in rush hour traffic. We just kept hitting green lights. I know that it was because the Lord made things possible. We were so grateful.
We made it up here on Saturday morning. We got our stuff all into the house and we started trying to figure out things here. It's been a little bit of a challenge just because everything is so new to us, but it's so much fun.
Elder Tolman is as great as ever. The branch here is big. The district president told us that they've had almost 150 at church! That's a ton! So I'm really excited to be here. We've got some investigators too. I don't know them very well, but they were at church yesterday and they have baptismal dates. One is Sister Boom. She seems good and really humble. And the other is Brother Ton. I'll give you more info about them as things move forward.
One thing that I want to share with you is from 2 Nephi 21:2-5. It talks about Jesus Christ, and how He was blessed with the ability to judge because the Spirit gave it to Him. It's something that Elder Tolman and I will be focusing on here; how to follow the Spirit more. This coming week I encourage you all to study from chapter 4 of Preach My Gospel, and try and give a greater role to the Holy Ghost in everything you do. We are promised that if we use the Holy Ghost for our guide, we shall not be deceived.
I love you all! Be safe and strong and healthy! -- ้ด้วยความรัก