I have an idea of how I will write this letter:
I wake up at to "We'll bring the world His truth". I roll out of bed to try to stay cold so I can stay awake during my morning prayers. My watch goes off at to wake me out of my half prayer half nap. (some days are better than others) I walk into the other room to take out my retainer and check what my workout for this morning is. Pushups and leg raises. I do pushups and leg raises until 7.
I iron my shirt again and hop in the shower and recite D&C 4. I finish getting ready and choose which tie I want to wear today and which color of pants. Grey or black?
I eat breakfast, sometimes it's an egg, sometimes it's granola. Usually during breakfast I practice English with Elder Sayavong and make sure to compliment him on his always increasing skills.
I go back into the room, and start to shave until it's time to study. I read one chapter out of the New Testament, then one out of the Book of Mormon, I spend the rest studying whatever I felt was necessary the night before. On Mondays I work on Christlike attributes. I really like reading all of Paul's epistles. We go to the other room and play a little gun game to decide who chooses the hymn. I always shoot Elder Winsor or Elder Sayavong. We sing, sometimes I just stop and listen to the beautiful sound of four Elders trying to sing a hymn at 9 in the morning, in Thai.
We crack a few jokes and make our way back to our room where we read the handbook, share our studies, and call everybody who said they wanted to get baptized yesterday. While Elder Sukhan calls, I fill out records. And as I call, he fills them out. At 10 we run into the other room again for mission prayer. We pray for miracles with the entire mission for every zone at 10 every day. We crack some more jokes and go back to the other room for language study. I read a few columns out of the Thai Book of Mormon then study vocabulary. What?! Language study is over already? We finish shaving and pack up our bags.
"Don't forget to grab some more baptism cards."
Should I bring the umbrella? Look out the window. It doesn't look like it'll rain. But it probably will.
We go to the other room and pray that we'll find someone who wants to be baptized on the sixth of July. We go eat lunch. It varies. We ride a pick up truck that has two benches in the back to lunch. It costs $.18 to ride. We ask everyone on it to be baptized. We go ask the Muslim lady at the restaurant (more like a little stand under a massive tent) for the usual and we go order some coconut smoothies. We sit down and try to swat flies as we call the rest of the people who want to be baptized. The lady yells, "MY SONS!" Everyone looks at us as we go pick up our food. We eat/call people. We walk out and wait for the next strange truck and invite everyone who walks past to be baptized. We get on, inviting everyone to get baptized as they get on and off. This truck thing is called a songtao. Meaning two rows.
We get to our favorite contacting place. A really long street with a bunch of shops on either side right next to one of the most well known roads in Bangkok. Right next to the BTS station, or the sky rail. As we get off the songtao usually the guys who wait to give people motorcycle rides mock us, saying, "Do you want to wash your sins today?" I invite them again and tell them to have a great day. We walk to the contacting place in unusual silence regarding contacting because they said we can't invite on that property anymore. We get there and our mouths are open. We both pull out our baptismal cards and our planners like they're weapons. I have a picture of Jesus being baptized taped to the back of my planner for convenience. We invite every single person we see to be baptized. Usually saying, "do you know what baptism is?" No. "This is a washing sins ordinance" Okay. "Have you every made a mistake or done sin before?" Yeah for sure! "Well, how do you feel about that?" Not so good "On the sixth of July do you want to wash all of your sins away?" Yes. "I know that through Jesus Christ you can be baptized and be cleansed from sin." We get their number and set up an appointment for the next day. We usually find between 2 and 10 of these people each day. The majority of our contacting includes just trying to those people who will talk to us. Most ignore us or literally wave us off. Some want to be baptized but think they're not free. Some tell us they're perfect. The Christians usually pull out their cross and tell us grumpily as they walk away, "I'm Catholic!" To which we respond, "that's great!"
Sometimes we see white people. 95 percent of them just look forward and avoid all eye contact with us. We say hello to all of them. Sometimes they laugh at us or tell us about their crazy conspiracy theories.
We look at our watches and realize we have an appointment in 15 minutes, we walk back inviting everyone to get baptized. Just before we hop on the songtao I invite the guy who sells coconut jelly to go to church. (I invite him every time I see him. We're close friends now and we both laugh as I jump up on the songtao)
At this point I usually have a conversation with someone in a language other than thai. Whether it is TSL (thai sign language) or just english. We both stand on the back of this thing because the two rows are full and we talk. They are never interested but I love this conversation. Last time it was a deaf guy and we signed the entire way.
We get down at the church and yell at the truck that we teach english every tuesday at 6:30 as we walk in the gate. We walk in, turn on the fan and slump down on the couch as we make more phone calls. The person we were supposed to meet doesn't pick up this time. We wait five minutes for them and then we leave. We go contacting on the street across from the church. There's a really busy 7-eleven there and we invite all those people to get baptized. We go back for our next lesson. We teach for a few hours, back to back lessons with new investigators, and daters, and recent converts. We don't have progressing investigators really. If they're progressing, they have a baptismal date, if they're not, we don't teach them.
Jokes are cracked in thai as Elder Sukhan and I practice pronunciation and ask the members about new words we learned and heard today. This is what happens in between lessons.
Inside the lesson.
How's your reading and praying? Followed by a short discussion about that.
Teach the lesson, with several commandments tagged on. We don't teach to give them information. Our goal is to prepare this person to keep the commitment we give them. So we use words of faith and ask them questions to get them to envision themselves getting baptized. We follow up on the Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, and the Sabbath. (These are the biggest concerns we run into) (these are also the things we teach on the first lesson)
We ask them to say a closing prayer and tell them that they can do it and they'll be blessed.
The next appointment is late. We stand on the street in front of the church and invite people to go to church with us as we wait. They come. We teach him. With this guy our biggest goal is to make him best friends with the member we set up for this lesson. (We don't like to teach people if we don't have a member too)
Woah, it's dark outside already! Oh. And now it's raining. Run across the street to the Isaan restaurant by the 7-eleven we like to invite at.
"Hi Elders! What is it today?" The usual, but can you throw in an extra pepper? Up to 6 now. (I'm slowly increasing my immunity to spicy foods. I have a goal that nothing will be spicy for me again when I get home). We sit down and make one phone call. They don't pick up. It's humid, I'm dripping in sweat, and it's pouring outside. We wait for our grilled pork and spicy papaya salad. It comes. I down the water sever times until my ice is all out. (not because it's spicy, because i'm tired. Water doesn't help with spicy. The best remidy is to just man it out.) WOW! That was spicy today! We thank her and give her 75 baht, or 2.33 dollars. Walk back to the church inviting everyone to be baptized. Teach another lesson or if there is an activity we teach that lesson or play sports or teach english. It's time to go back. We close up the church and walk back to the church, hopping on the islands in the street so we don't get too wet. Get back, change. Sit. Pray. Okay. Who did we teach today?
How'd those lessons go?
What do they need next time?
What are we doing tomorrow? Well, we have 3 appointments at 1, 2 at 3 1 at 7 and an eight-o-clock.
How many lessons do we want to teach? All of the ones we have planned.
Pray for more miracles and thank Him for the miracles we had today.
Go brush my teach and follow up with the District leader, or Elder Winsor. We end up discussing the house of Israel by the end of it. Go read conference talks and try to write in my journal.
As I write the date in my journal my soul weeps as I think. I have one less day to serve the Lord.
I say my nightly prayers, trying to focus on thanks but most of it ends up asking God to bless the people He has placed in my hands. I crawl into bed thinking of what I want to ponder that night, but usually - no matter what I wanted to ponder - sleep overtakes me within seconds.
And only a few seconds later I hear the sounds of "We'll bring the world His truth"
Nightly conference talks in my Argentina soccer jersey.
Hey look ! Brother Nut is amazing! Love him to death!