In the words of my beloved companion, "I'm not going to lie, but I'm growing weary of writing emails."
But I do have one story to tell.
We set up an appointment with Brother Gaw (ก้อ) this Thursday. We invited the Elders Quorum President to go as well. We said an opening prayer and Brother Gaw just started talking, explaining his story and situation to President Somchai. Some of the story we already knew, but some of it was new.
I'll just tell the whole thing for convenience's sake.
About 2 months ago Brother Gaw had a customer come to his restaurant and introduce him to the church and the Book of Mormon. This customer was not a member, but had learned with the missionaries before. He came to the church the first chance he got. The Elders taught him a little and gave him the book. He said that he had no contact with the Elders until we met with him. We called him our first day in the area and invited him to the branch family home evening (Branch party) at a member's home. He came with us and we found out that he had read until 2 Nephi 16.
He had also started keeping the Word of Wisdom but not 100% because he sells drinks at the restaurant and has to taste the coffee each time. He had quit smoking only 2 years ago. We taught him fasting during our second lesson and he said he'd fast with us on Sunday so he could get off work on Sunday to come to church. The fast was also his first day of keeping the word of wisdom. We taught him a couple more times, having powerful lessons every time. His prayers were some of the best prayers I've ever heard from an investigator and were always along these lines, "Lord, I have faith in Thee, please help me to follow Thee."
When we had an evening baptismal service, we invited him and he loved it! After the baptism we sat down and talked about true prayer, sharing the Lord's advice in D&C 9:
Brother Gaw told President Somchai that he had been just praying to get work off on Sunday to come to church. Then the Lord shared that scripture with him through the missionaries and in essence, "slapped my face" as Gaw put it. He hadn't done anything but pray with all his heart. We invited him to make a plan to come to church and write it down. After planning and praying for confirmation, Gaw found no burning in his bosom and started to think, "Can't I just be a good member of the church and not go to church every Sunday?". Then he met these verses in 2 Nephi 28 in his personal study:
Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more!
Gaw said "And the Lord slapped me in the face again." He knew he had to go to church.
At his home, they offer their goods to the spirit house every day and ask a blessing to sell well.
Over the past couple weeks because Brother Gaw had started to keep the 10 commandments, he has stopped offering his offering -- his turn is every Wednesday -- and every time he didn't, they didn't sell well. So his mom wasn't super happy that he was learning with the Elders, because not only was she losing her son to another religion, but their business was also taking a hit. "MOM, it has nothing to do with that! It's just that we aren't selling well...", he told us in his frustration.
His prayers turned into "Please help us sell well so my mom will see that the Lord is powerful."
Then while eating one day, he ran into a third scripture, this one in Jacob 2:
"The Lord slapped me in the face again, a third time!", Brother Gaw told us.
The next day when it was his mother's turn to make the offering, they didn't sell well again. Brother Gaw took his opportunity and asked his mom again if he could get work off and go to church. She said, "You know I don't agree with it, but you can go."
'ขอบคุณครับ' "Thank you."
He told us that since then his prayer have been, "Lord, I'm ready to be baptized, just help me to make it there."
Yesterday just before Sacrament meeting started, we went to go find Brother Gaw, for we hadn't seen him yet.
We found him leaning against the wall near the bathroom with a fresh haircut and a brand new button shirt, applying crazy glue to his shoes. He told us with a laugh, "This morning I woke up and my motorcycle tire was flat, and then the soles came off of my shoes. Satan did not want me to come to church today! I can't imagine what I'll meet next week before my baptism!" We took a couple minutes giving him a new tie and teaching him how to tie it, then hurried into the Chapel.
After seeing this man's determination to follow the Lord, Whom he knows so little about, I have begun to ponder my discipleship and my faithfulness to Him.
What signal does my Sabbath worship send to the Lord?