Sunday, October 25, 2015

Adversity (Think motorbike accident), Elephants, Ice Cream, and more ties

Elephant festival. Those elephant pens are coming up and they're starting to build these huge things for like signs. The elephants. They're coming soon.

Note to all missionaries cutting ties. Silk is hard to work with, cotton ties are way easy to make. I need to perfect making the pointed part of the ties. 4 ties I've cut so far.

Food! Ice Cream! Oh how I have missed you ice cream. Had some ice a hot dog bun cone. So it went like this, top up as follows: Hot dog bun, a half scoop of rice, a bunch of small scoops of different flavored ice cream, chocolate syrup, then some strawberry syrup on top. Rather interesting. Surprisingly good. And only 10 baht! Oh yeahhh.

The name of the game this week. Right there. Adversity. Just because I said adversity doesn't actually mean I had a bad week. Do I have bad weeks? Never. It's really your choice and it's what you want to make of it. Was this week rough? Disappointing? Confusing? Yup. Facing adversity makes us stronger and give us all sorts of valuable experiences that we never would have gained in any other way.
Some days in Thailand all of our investigators and LA's we are working with don't answer their phone or are out of town. Therefore the only thing planned for the whole day is a 6 hour block of inviting and then English class. Honestly, I look at those 6 hours and tremble in fear. That's hours of rejection, in the sun, searching for that one person that God needed you to find. But should you allow yourself to tremble in the face of fear? Never. Look to the story of Job in the Old Testament. Absolutely faithful and amazing, but stricken with so much affliction that he was brought way low. Down to the ground. Did he tremble and was he discourage? Definitely. But he overcame it all and humbled himself in front of God. Amazing story and such an empowering message.
So the motorbike accident....hahha funny story....Elder Dailey (the other new missionary in the house) got into an accident. It was around 7 pm, and their companionship was crossing the street to get to the church (yes, they were walking). Thailand doesn't really have lights over the road so it was a bit dark. They look left. Right. Then left again. Safe to cross...right? As the step out into the street, they hear someone's horn. And then next thing we know, Elder Dailey is on the ground and there's a motorcycle overturned and a guy pinned under his bike. And then police, and ambulance, and the whole deal comes into the scene. And he's in the hospital, not too sure what happened. Fast forward a bit, he's got a gash in his leg. Gash as in a kind of wound that you could stick your finger in (your welcome for that imagery). So he's chilling in the hospital. And miraculously after the x rays and such come back. He's fine. Just gotta get sewn up. But this just put two missionaries out of commission, confined to the hospital. Not able to go out and teach and serve and do those missionary things. But wow, Elder Dailey is such a strong Elder. He continues fighting on, Does this phase him? Is he even scared of Thailand? Nope. He's got a great spirit throughout this all.
And then my companion goes and gets his wisdom teeth pulled on Saturday. So he wasn't able to talk. Did that stop us? Never. He kept on doing what he could without speaking, while I taught one of the other elder's potential investigator (they forgot to cancel this appointment), went through a meeting explaining our investigators, and then tried to get people to come to church. Honestly it is a struggle trying to do things when your companion isn't able to speak. But these times are times of reflection. How much did I trust in the Lord? Will I turn my eyes towards Him for help, or would I run away? Yup, not a very dramatic experience, but there are always lessons to be learned. All the time.

Love this talk. Finally got to read it in English. Read it. These lessons and quotes in here are golden.

I love adversity so much. It's true. If we didn't have any adversity, we woudn't get any stronger

Also in terms of funny and absolutely adorable stories. The attached picture are of these 3 children ages 10,11, and 12. Their mother is in Bangkok and was baptized there and wanted her children to learn about the gospel. They are amazing and they are the best! They listen, the do everything. like wow. Can they get any better. They read the Book of Mormon, they highlight the parts they like, they pray. They are adorable. So much sincerity in everything they do. Just so heartfelt. The youngest child's favorite verse is Alma 7:23. So so so so so sweet. And they came to church, just them three. The amount of faith and love these children have is inspiring. I wish we could all be like little children, so full of hope, kindness, and joy.

So yeah. Pretty sweet week. Also I'm teaching my companion to speak Hawaiian Creole English. In honor of this joyous moment for da Pidgin Language.


Elder แลลิส
Forward Ever. Stopping Never.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Thailand. So Legit. Can't Quit.

Thailand is just about the most amazing place ever. This week. Lot's of things. None of them really related. But here's a little insight into my life as of this week.

(it sounds like "let's go!" but doesn't mean that....but lets go!)

New phone-Yeah oh yeah. "Just because the phone is touch screen doesn't mean it's smart." Quote from a teacher in the MTC. I really need to take a picture of our new phone. Samsung J1. It's got Gospel Library and a Thai dictionary on it. And the battery is a champ. It's way sweet. We shall see how long the phone actually lasts though....Cause we're pretty rough with phones...But yeah. Stoking on that.

Mission Tour this week with Elder Funk!
Way awesome experience heading out to the Bangkok of the Essan. Khon Kaen. Got to learn so much about Obedience. Interesting thought. As missionaries we are out here learning a ton! And having all these experiences that really help us grow and become so much more. When we go home, what will we do with these experiences and this new knowledge? Will we just return to that same spot where we were before or will you use these talents and keep on progressing onward? Use and take what you have and run with it! Forward know the rest. And the importance of obedience. Rules aren't barriers, rather they are like rungs on a ladder helping you reach higher and higher potentials. Way sweet analogy. 

Musical Number Idea
Okay so for mission tour the Surin elders also did a musical number. We sang the words from "Joseph Smith's 1st vision" to the tune of "Come thou Fount." Absolutely beautiful and meshes so well. And when you sing in parts, it just sounded amazing. English and Thai. Woah. Try it. It's really beautiful. Such an amazing feeling entered the conference hall.

Stories from my awesome companion
He's from Lao. Khon Lao. I love him, and he's got way amazing experiences. Here's my favorite from this week. It started off with us talking about elephants. "Hey Elder, if an elephant is chasing you, what do you do? Run up the mountain or down the mountain?" I had no idea so this is his explanation....
How to Escape from Elephants-Always run down the mountains, the elephants knees are week and we as humans can run down the mountain faster than they can. Never run up because the elephant is stronger than us. And then don't climb trees because elephants can just shake the tree until you fall out. And lastly, just don't jump into a body of water either. How does he know all of this? I have no idea. But when I asked him he just smiled and said he's seen a few elephants in Laos. I love having him as a companion.

Cutting Thai Ties
Attached is a picture of a tie I made. I cut the ties myself because no one in Surin will make ties for me. The only width so far is skinny because I haven't figured out how to taper them yet....But on the bright side, these ties cost me around 20-30 cents and around 1.5 hours! Only made 2 so far last p-day cause we had some free time. I also almost bought a 3 man tent cause it was on sale for less than 300฿! Then I remembered that I don't need a tent and won't be camping any time soon.

Something to read this week
Psalms 119-Absolutely love this chapter. Read it. It's like a 100+ verses but they are so good. It's way uplifting and a few verses a day makes this chapter reasonable!

Elephant Party
Next month is the big elephant festival. Weehaa! We shall see if I'm staying in Surin or nah...Elephants. So amazing.

Just Go Hard
So yeah, just go hard. Give it your all, all the time. Because if you aren't giving it your all, why are you even doing that? If anything is worth doing, it's worth doing with your full heart, might, mind and strength. There is a difference when you go hard and do all that you can. Try it out this week. Give something (or everything) your all. Go out each day (starting with a prayer asking for strength to do those things) and then do everything within your means possible. It's tiring. But oh so rewarding. Give it your all, hold nothing back. God loves you so much and He will help you succeed!

Time is moving faster than a herd of elephants running up a mountain!
Have a great week!

Elder แลลิส
Forward Ever. Stopping Never.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Rushing, Back to the Basics, The usual

Here's a picture of a chicken. Me and my companion bought a whole chicken for 100 baht ($2.83 USD).

So yeah the last section from D&C 123 I had sent, I really wanted people to focus on like the 2nd half of it. That's where I found my inspiration but hey, maybe there was a reason that I forgot to specify certain verses.

So General Conference. So sweet. General Conference is a big meeting for members of the church to hear and receive guidance from the prophet and apostles that lead this church. Although I listened to all the sessions in Thai I surprised myself and understood more than I thought I would. What I had gotten out of conference was really a lot of the talks went back to the basics. Sabbath Day observance, keeping the commandments, being good people. Nothing fancy, nothing way confusing. Just a simple reminder. Be good people. Do good work. Things will be alright. Conference was awesome. Currently printing out some articles to study this week. We shall see what happens.

On a side note about conference. The story about the potter. Now that was quite confusing. Mostly because I had no idea what the words the translator was using in Thai. Then the pictures they showed to illustrate the points confused me even more. But I heard it's great, so I shall take some time and read it!

Baptism Yo!
So this is my first investigator that I have worked from the very beginning. I was inviting at a night market one night and wasn't having much success. So I decided hey. I'm gonna go hard for the next 10 minutes. Talk to everyone, just put forth every last ounce of effort I have. So I did, talked to a bunch of people. And I got this gentleman's number. It was sitting in my planner until last week I decided lets give him a call. I had called him before but he never answered. And it just so happened that this time, he answered and he accepted to come to church. Sunday morning I call his phone and it says that the number can't be reached. So I'm freaking out. Cause I thought I had someone and then they go and change their number. Like what. Alright, life moves on. Then in he walks. And he is such a champ. Had a ton of questions, loved the gospel. We never even taught him anything yet. He saw S. Cat's baptism and told me that he wanted to get baptized next week. I was excited. So we met with him every single day this past week, taught him all the lessons and wow. Like when God prepares someone to hear the gospel, they are prepared beyond belief. Way amazing. He's got a goal to be a missionary like us, and share the happiness that he's felt because of the gospel.

Woah. Woah. Woah. Thailand is amazing.

And on that note, we were planning for his baptism. Flipping through the hymnbook and then he points to this hymn "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief." And he asks me to try sing the tune. I sing the first verse for him, and tell him that I really love this song. How does he reply? Well he goes on to say (In English) "I think you like this song because it's about you. You are a distressed young man also." Yup. He nailed it. Thailand is confusing but I have found strength in God. It was hilarious, and I couldn't stop laughing.

Oh and then funny story about sister Cat. Surin isn't a huge place. Therefore we often get numbers from the same people. Like a few missionaries may have met a certain person on a different date and gotten their number before. Case 1-Sister Cat. We had just baptized her last week. Then this week the other elders in Surin were going through their numbers, called a potential investigator and then invited her to come and meet with them at church to explain about Jesus Christ. The name in Thai sounded very close to the way Sister Cat's name is spelled. So they're all excited that someone is coming to meet them and up on the motorbike comes sister Cat. Haha. She was really confused, but way chill about it all. Our companionship just ended up teaching her a mini lesson about General Conference. Surin is pretty small hahah.

So for things to focus on this week of the spiritual matter....

This talk. The Challenge to Become by Elder Dallin H. Oaks. This is the talk that can change your life. Just when you think you've done all that you can, we realize that we can do so much more. It's one thing to know something. It's another to become something. Heavenly Father knows our potential. Why don't we trust Him?

It's gonna be a great week!

Elder แลลิส
Forward Ever. Stopping Never.

Monday, October 5, 2015

It only hurts when you stop, Greenie power in Surin, LA work!, & the struggle of being a 54 in a 44 world

It only hurts when you stop. 
Literally. You're moving at lightning speed rushing from appointment to appointment only to have some people not show up, but that's alright cause you can't look back. Can't stop won't stop. Making phone calls. Following up on commitments. This is a rush. Oh yeah. In the moment you feel amazing, you've got all this power. Then at night when you walk in drenched from sweat, it hits you. Wow. I'm way exhausted. Oh but sometimes you go so hard that like you accidentally invite an Less Active member (LA) that's also a Return Missionary (RM).... Just the way we like it in Surin!

Spiritual thought this week.
Comes from a book called "Our Search for Happiness." If you have a copy of this book read it. If you don't. Get it. It will make you a happier person. But if you don't want to read a whole book well there's also D&C 123. With a special emphasis on verse 16. Just love the imagery. Really hits home with anyone that loves the ocean.

Greenie Power yo. 
We got two greenies in the house out here in Surin. It was good serving with the one and only Elder Kawin but now welcome to Elder Daley! He's an awesome missionary and we were both in the MTC at the same time. How sweet is that! Yeah, great things are happening in Surin.

LA Work.
So there's this analogy that a ward is like a pond. But if La's don't come back to church there's like a leak in the pond. So there are two ways to fill the pond, through baptisms and also through bringing LA's back to church. One of the best feelings is getting a call from your LA saying that she's finally ready to come back, and then you show up to church and you don't just see one but you see a few more. And then they keep on coming back! These people are noticeably happier in their countenances because they have the Gospel in their life.

So I crashed my bike this week. 
But not really bad...Just enough to crack my RD and RD hanger and this was Saturday afternoon....So I had to go look for a new bike cause if I don't have a bike we pretty much shut down in the area. Go to the bike store and they only have 44cm bikes. When I was riding, the smallest frame I would ride was a 52, but I comfortably fit a 54-56. Yeah.....Well I mean a smaller frame generally means it should be lighter right? We shall see. I'll make sure not to ride into any sidewalks again.....

On the food adventures this week. 
I ate some stuff off some trees. My companion is from Laos, he points at plants and says it's edible so I try it. The members absolutely love how willing I am to eat anything. Haven't gotten sick yet so....I guess I'll continue with this adventurous eating.

So our water also got shut off. 
There was a lot of flooding and like we get a call from a member telling us to fill up our empty drinking water jugs cause they're shutting the water off for a day and a half.....So yeah. It was an experience. Having running water, even if it isn't totally drinkable, is a legit blessing people. Count those blessings. They're there.

Elephant stories this week huh....
Well biking back home I saw an elephant with some reflector tape on it's tail. That was pretty interesting. Didn't bike into it this time cause I saw this bright thing swaying back and forth.

Went out to see some sites. 
Decided to try and take some pictures. Not sure what more to say, cause the pictures sorta say it all.

Meet Sister Cat. 
She had called us on a Sunday afternoon saying she wanted to learn about Jesus Christ. The next day she gets into a motorbike accident. Then the day after we begin teaching her. Her house is a bit far out, but we always faithfully made a trek out each appointment. There was a week where she had stopped answering our phone calls so what did we do? Give up? HAH NOPE. We actually just showed up at her house right before she would leave to pick up her kids. Such an amazing woman. We would go and teach her, and really the only thing holding her back from being baptized so soon was us, the missionaries. We weren't able to meet with her and finish all of the discussions. But hey, God works in His own time, at His own will. And she was baptized this week. And shared one of the most honest and amazing testimonies ever. Although I didn't understand every word she shared, I did feel of that great love she has for our Savior, Jesus Christ and this Gospel.

Nothing great came easy, and nothing easy is all that great (except for street food).

Have a blessed week! Keep the stoke alive!

Elder แลลิส
Forward Ever. Stopping Never.