Dear family and friends,
"And again, verily thus saith the Lord: Let the work of my temple, and all the works which I have appointed unto you, be continued on and not cease; and let your diligence, and your perseverance, and patience, and your works be redoubled, and you shall in nowise lose your reward, saith the Lord of Hosts. And if they persecute you, so persecuted they the prophets and righteous men that were before you. For all this there is a reward in heaven."
Our mission is changing again. What's so neat about the Thailand Bangkok Mission is that it is always changing. Evolving to follow new revelation and guidance received from the Lord.
2014 was a monumental year for Thailand. There was a new stake creation in Bangkok. Districts were consolidated in the East in order to prepare for another Stake. Rumors of a temple began to spread. Missionaries were trained on how to prepare a country for a temple and the doctrine behind stakes and temples. Through becoming true Preach my Gospel missionaries, by becoming challenging and testifying missionaries, the TBM (Thailand Bangkok Mission) brought 1981 people into the waters of baptism in the year 2014. Tripling previous high tides. Miracles were seen across the country as the missionaries invited everybody, taking the phrase "Talk to as many people as possible" as literally as possible. I've seen miracles, almost everyday. And the days that I don't see them, I know that my faith is influencing missionaries across Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. We unified the country with a vision of a temple. As missionaries we created unity in the mission and obedience as a vital piece of mission culture. 2014 was a special year. Ideas were given of raising an Ebeneezer to remember "the year".
President Senior started off 2015 by visiting each district across the country to give a special training to the missionaries. He and Sister Senior trained us on the importance of what happened in 2014, and how that was just step one.
The commandment of the Lord to the saints during the Restoration of the fullness of the Gospel in Doctrine and Covenants 127:4 has become a commandment to our mission.
We're not looking back to what happened in Thailand. We're not going to pat ourselves on the back for what we, the members, and God did. We're going to walk forward and not look back. Thailand is still preparing for a temple. God's eye is focused here.
The next step is very simple. Prepare the people of Thailand for the temple. So that when angel Moroni can be seen amongst the buildings of Bangkok, the halls of the Lord's house will be filled. Not with just a whole bunch of young-single-adults -- which were the majority of the converts in 2014 -- but families; being sealed together for eternity. We're using something called conversion; personal conversion. First the missionaries will be converted, then we are taking the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the families of all of these wonderful recent converts. We're going to help the Spirit of Elijah along and turn the hearts of the children to the fathers. We're taking My Family booklets to the recent converts to help them feel God's love for families as they do family history work and prepare specific names for the temple.
We're following revelation given to President Hinckley in 1999 when he said -- speaking of the world and not just one mission -- "Last year there were approximately 300,000 convert baptisms throughout the Church. This is tremendously significant. This is the equivalent of 120 new stakes of 2,500 members each. Think of that: 120 new stakes in a single year! It is wonderful. But it is not enough. I am not being unrealistic when I say that with concerted effort, with recognition of the duty which falls upon each of us as members of the Church, and with sincere prayer to the Lord for help, we could double that number. The big initial task is first to find interested investigators. So many of us look upon missionary work as simply tracting. Everyone who is familiar with this work knows there is a better way. That way is through the members of the Church. Whenever there is a member who introduces an investigator, there is an immediate support system. The member bears testimony of the truth of the work. He is anxious for the happiness of his investigator friend. He becomes excited as that friend makes progress in learning the gospel."
Last year we had nearly 2000 baptisms. But it is not enough. Each of those recent converts have parents. 4000. Many have siblings. 6000. And they all have a friend. 8000. That's a lot of potential investigators! That's not even counting the people that we will find on the way to these members homes as we continue to talk to everybody, or the members who have been here since before 2014. God has laid a foundation for His work in Thailand. And His work cannot be stopped. "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God." The Thailand Bangkok mission has seen these miracles popping up already! And this only started this week! We just received a training on it this morning!
I'm excited to see what's in store for Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar next. And I'm determined to play my part.