Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ubon is Incredible--So many blessings

Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2013

Dear Family,

Isn't life so full of blessings? The Lord is so merciful to us and we are so grateful for that. This last week was no exception as we have seen the Lord's hand extended in love to His children here in Ubon. 

I don't even know where to start counting and naming the blessings. We're so blessed, and it's something that I hope we will all begin to take into consideration as we come closer to Easter. Because of the Savior and the Love of the Father, we can all be cleansed from our mistakes, and the obstacle of physical death has been conquered. I'm just so grateful for the infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

Things here with Elder Tolman are just as great as ever! I'm learning so much from him. He's been a great companion. Interestingly, we realized that the vast majority of our conversations are gospel centered. It's really cool because Elder Gong from the Area Presidency told president Senior to have the missionaries make friends out of their companions so that in 20 or 30 years we could still be friends. I think that Elder Tolman and I will be that way and it's because of the substance of what we talk about. Our conversations are not about movies, or sports or the future jobs we could have. We talk about the gospel, and how we can always make sure that we are faithful, even when things in our lives will get rough. 

It's making a difference in our work too. I believe that the Lord has seen that we are focusing our efforts on His work and the things of eternity, and as a result, He has poured out blessings upon our heads. Here is just a list of a few of the blessings from yesterday:

-over 100 people in the province of Ubon at church
-2 Melchizideck Priesthood holders coming back to church
-an investigator accepting a baptismal date
-investigators coming to church
-2 new referrals
-the branch deciding to become a more friendly, loving branch

This is just the tip of the iceberg when counting the blessings we recieved this last week.

I'm really grateful, and my heart is full of joy. Full of it. There is nothing that I have done in my life which has been as fulfilling as this work. The work of the Lord is an amazing blessing. And it has changed me. I hope and pray that it will continue to change me as well. 

Here's an update on our investigators this week.

Ton is doing well. It's really cool, actually. His faith is increasing a ton. He is going to be talking to his professor to see if he can find a way to come to church on Sunday. His class takes place during the hours of church but he's trying to change it because he wants to. It's his desire to be baptized. He is really changing. It's so amazing to see the change that occurs in people through the Atonement of Christ. It's the catalyst that allows change to occur in our hearts. It's like with King Benjamin's people, the atonement changes us so we have no desire to do evil, but to do good continually. 

Tak has a baptismal date! She is so prepared! It's been really great to see the change in her. At first she just wanted to know about the Church. She said she wasn't looking to change religions. But she has started to increase her faith by reading in the Book of Mormon. She keeps saying to us, "Sorry, I haven't read very much. I was really busy." 
Then it turns out that in two days she's read 3 or 4 chapters. It shows she's really willing. (There are some people who I feel like I'm pulling teeth trying to get them to read a page a day.) And what's more,  she isn't reading to read, but to understand. She reads over things and uses google to find the meaning of things. It's great! We've steered her to and so she gets the truth. 

We also taught her about Heavenly Father, and she said she wasn't sure if she believed that He was there. We committed her to go home and pray to ask if He was. That was on Saturday night. Then on Sunday after church we were teaching her again. When asked about that, her face lit up and she got a big smile on her face. She said she didn't hear a voice, but she felt something. We explained that that was the influence of the Holy Ghost. Then we taught her the Restoration. Elder Tolman gave her the baptismal commitment for the 31st! For Easter! She said yes without reservation. She has increased so much in faith! 

Her daughter, Ping Ping, is so funny too. Every time we pray she says, "Again?" The thing that I like about this is that she is seeing that prayer isn't something that we do in times of crisis or despair. But we do it always. She's learning that it's through prayer we draw nearer to God, thus He draws nearer to us.

Pong and Jahn. are both doing well. The biggest thing for them is we have gotten them to start on their family history. It's cool because they are getting interested in those who came before them. Family History is SO KEY! It's every bit the work of salvation as baptism. I hope you all try it, or at least try indexing. I hear it's way easy.  
Pong has quit coffee! That's a huge blessing. He's drinking ovaltine now in the mornings. It's funny, he's just so happy about it. Last Monday night we had family home evening at their place. They taught us how to make Thai food. Well, Isaan food which is real Thai food. I'll make it for you all someday. 

I'm just so grateful. This coming week I'll be focusing on developing greater charity. I invite you to all work on it with me. Remember, this is the "new commandment." And if we are filled with charity, and love one another, we tell others by deed rather than word, that we are disciples of Jesus Christ. 

I love you all!

Elder Todd


Sunday, March 3, 2013


Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013 
Subject: March already? wow....

Hey Todd family!

How are you? Have you eaten rice yet, or not? We have eaten already. 

That's just a standard greeting here. Things seem to revolve around rice. Granted, a lot of people think that we just eat bread and don't know how to eat rice. They always seem especially amazed if we are eating sticky rice. I love it! It's so great! 

How are things for you all? Here in Ubon, things are going along just great! I'm really loving life, and loving every second of my mission! 

I'm really excited to hear about Sarah and Christian. I hope and know that they will make the best of missionaries. I am so proud that in our families we can say, "In this family, we serve missions." It's as Elder Holland said, "What greater legacy could grandparents show their grandchildren than by deed as well as word saying, in this family, we serve missions?" So great!!

This last week was busy but great! Here's the rundown for our ผู้สนใจ, investigators. Right now we've got three with a baptismal date: Ton, Pong, and Can.

Ton is good.  Right now we're looking at him getting baptized on the 24th. He's 22 and a really nice guy. He is willing to believe in our message. It's kind of funny.  We taught him the restoration this last week, and when we asked him if he believed that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world, he said, "Yeah, I think so. I mean most of the world believes in Him so it makes sense." We then explained that it's important for him to receive his own spiritual witness. So that's what we're working with. But he'll be baptized this month. 

Then we're working with Pong and Jahn. I don't know how to spell her name in English. I really struggle trying to figure out how to write Thai in English. I struggle speaking English too. Sometimes I say things to other missionaries and they look way confused. I look at Elder Tolman and he says, "I get it." But our grammar is not very good, I guess. But back to Pong and Jahn. They are doing well. They'll get baptized on April 15th or the 16th. They are really starting to get it. Beyond that, there's not a whole lot new with them.

We do have this progressing investigator named Tuck. She is really good. I would call her an honest, humble, seeker of truth. Her daughter is really cute too. Her name is Pin Pin, and she's 5. I have learned the truth in Isaiah's words that "a little child shall lead them." 

We were in the lesson and she grabbed one of our pamphlets, the Plan of Salvation, which has a picture of the resurrected Lord coming out of the tomb. She came and asked us what was on Christ's foot and why was there was a wound. She is so observant and it makes her mother think about important things. We really must be as the little children are and be humble, and submissive. It was so cool. 

Soon we'll be experiencing that,  right Pearsons? But there's something special about Tuck. She was at church yesterday and afterwards helped clean things. The members always eat rice together after church, and we just saw her in there washing dishes making friends with some of the ladies in the branch. It was really cool and a great blessing.

Another great blessing was in the form of a less active. We got a call from some of the missionaries in Udorn. They said that they had a less active for us to go find. He had moved to Ubon and had an unbaptized daughter. So we were on it like white on rice. We got there and started talking to him. We came to find out that he was the District family history specialist up in Udorn. It's cool because we are really pushing family history and doing it among the members. We are watching as the Spirit of Elijah touches the hearts and changes them. So anyway, he came to church yesterday, interviewed with the branch president and is getting his life back on track. We feel he will be instrumental in our vision of using family history to strengthen the branch.

We're so grateful for the Lord's blessings! Look for them in our lives. They're there.

Love you all! 

Love, Elder Todd