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


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