Wow. I'm still stunned to be in Asoke. Elder Curtis thinks it's funny that I keep goggling at all of these massive buildings and crowds.
This week President decided that he wanted the assistants to spend more time and energy in inspiring and lifting other missionaries, so they're off across the country for a few days every week. So our house was really quiet for a few days.
I also got sick in those few days. Then when the assistants came home Elder Kelley had gotten sick on his adventure to the Isaan. And Elder Meeker has something too.
Yay! It's not too bad though. I just study with a blanket. :)
So as for office life. We get to sit in front of a computer for a few hours every day before we go out and proselyte. It's like having a part time job and being a missionary at the same time!
I just want to share a little experience.
When I first got to Thailand I really struggled. I remember the first Monday in country, we were riding bikes with one of our investigators and he was talking to my trainer, Elder Wilko. I asked Elder Wilko what he said and I was told that I could speak Thai really well but I couldn't understand anything. How true that was --
One of my first church meetings in thailand they had a video training from Elder Holland. It hurt me to watch Elder Holland speak, and then as the over dub came in, and the English faded away - I couldn't understand him! Elder Holland was talking; and I couldn't understand him. I sat there trying to read his lips, but it didn't work. I felt useless. During lessons I would sit there and try to listen, but Elder Wilko always ended up translating what they said for me. Then I could say what I wanted to say.
One Sacrament meeting I found myself reading Job to try to lift my spirits. Knowing that if anyone had the right to say "wo is me" it would be Job. That helped me feel better about everything, but I was still stuck on this whole understanding people thing.
One day I remember we were riding back to the church. I was behind Elder Wilko cause I was always lost. I can still picture that moment in my head.
I made a promise in my head. A deal, contract, covenant, promise, a wrestle - whatever you would call it. I made it with God. My only desire was to communicate, to serve, to help, to teach, to listen, but I could not. I told God that I wanted to master Thai. I wanted to speak, read, write, and understand like a native. I did not want my language to be my weakness. I told Him that I had a lot of knowledge and understanding. I told Him that I was good at learning, at retaining information, at testing, at memorizing. But in that moment none of those things mattered to me. None of my abilities in writing creative stories, solving calculus problems, photoshop, doing microbiology, mattered to me anymore. I asked God to help me to learn Thai, and if necessary, take away all of my temporal knowledge and understanding to make room. After wrestling from the park to just past the roundabout, I finished my prayer, determined to learn Thai.
Yesterday we were filling out baptismal records and I tried to do simple math finding out how old someone was based off of their birthday. I did the math in my head and found out that they were 41. They were 36.
Everyday in the office I am making forms and doing records. I feel so lost working with computers, which used to be one of my greatest skills. I have to ask Elder Curtis and Elder Meeker to help me with all of the smallest things.
This Sunday I was asked to bear my testimony in Sacrament meeting. I stood there and spoke as if Thai was my native language. Afterwards I was complimented many times by different members telling me how well I speak.
Yesterday we taught a very powerful lesson. We taught the Plan of Salvation and it was pretty deep. One of the members went off about a few different prophecies and the atonement, they were filled with questions and the lesson went really long. There were two investigators there, one with a date and one without one. I was worried about our dater and his faith before this lesson. He even said he doesn't feel like he has any faith. I understood every single thing said. And by the end of the lesson he was testifying to the other investigator!
This morning I did a language study with Elder กฤศ a native Thai. We read together in the Book of Mormon and we corrected each other on pauses and intonations while we read -- IN THAI. Understanding what I read was no problem, speaking clearly wasn't the problem, we were working on intonations!
I can testify that the gift of tongues is real. And I know that when God makes a promise, He keeps it.
I love you all and I know that God answers prayers when we pray with faith, when we pray sincerely, when we pray with the intent to act according to the answer, and when the thing we ask is in line with His holy will. If you're finding your prayers are casual or unanswered, test yourself. Every prayer should be a spiritual experience.
Here's some pictures that show the difference between my last area and my new area!
And this is was performed at transfers meeting... HAHA
"Contacting" (To the tune of Jingle Bells)
Biking down the street
with a pamphlet in my hand.
“want to get baptized?”
“no way I’m Buddhist man”
So just keep moving on
to ten of twenty more,
searching for the one that wants
the things God has in store.
Contacting, contacting contact all the way!
Bringing men the gospel for two hours every day,
Contacting, contacting, invite everyone.
Teach them of redemption through God’s own Beloved Son!
I talked to that man there
told him to cleanse his sins.
He then looked quite confused,
then gave me directions
Told him to go the church.
He said, "I don't know where"
I tried to answer his concern
but he walked away right there.
A day or two ago,
I thought I'd take a ride
I swerved through traffic then
and landed on my side,
This kind man helped me up,
asked me what he could do,
I told him just have faith, repent
and then we'll baptize you."
He came to church last week,
the day after we met.
We taught a couple things,
so now he is all set!
He's coming down the stairs.
The members come to view.
I raise my arm up to the square
and say "I Baptize you!"
(After ending last chorus)
Baptism, Baptism Baptize everyone!
No less than two thousand by December Thirty one!
Authors: Elders Jesse Codling and Scott Hilton