Wednesday, August 26, 2009

letter #2 from Mahasarakham,Thailand 08/25/09




Hello yanks.

Well it is week 2. Things are starting to settle down in Mahasarakham. I am getting into the routine of how things work.

Just some quick news about mail. The mail situation will not be nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. To send mail to me you need 1 international stamp. (98 cents I think) After you send it, it will arrive in Thailand in 14ish days. After it arrives at the mission office, the office elders forward all mail to the correct areas every week. (that must be a sucky job). So from the time you send a letter until the time I get it should be about 3 weeks. So write me some letters! I'll try to do likewise but I am still pretty busy.

Packages are a letter bit different. First off... if anyone desires to send me a package for some strange reason... do not send it UPS or Fedex or DHL. When the package gets here, it would cost me like 50 bucks. Please send packages USPS or USPS express only. (that is the regular postage service) Not sure how long packages take to ship... probably around 3-4 weeks. Packages can be picked up at moves meetings and at Zone conferences... so that is every 3-6 weeks. So if you want to send me a Christmas present, now would be the time to do it. Be aware... packages are expensive. :)

Anyways.
I don't have very much time to write today, simply because i wasted a lot of it trying to figure out how to upload pictures...

Language. The language is very difficult here. Sometimes it is better than others. Some people just speak so un-"chad" that it is ridiculous! The area I am in is equivalent to the South in America. The speech and slang is very different. Usually people can understand what I am saying (at least they pretend like they can), but it is very difficult for me to understand people. Girls are easier to understand for some reason. (too bad we can never teach girls...) I'm continuing to study every day. We get 1 hour in the morning for language. That is useful, but I think just being outside talking to people doing more for my listening and speaking skills than anything else.

Speaking of teaching girls. Obviously the rules on teaching girls is very strict. We pretty much can never do it, unless it is a referral, we have another priesthood member there, and it is at the church. President Smith is particularly pushing this lately because of the antics that happened last month. That makes things hard.

Funny thing though. We were in a lesson last week teaching this 20 year-old named Man. (so yes, clearly he was a man) After about 10-15 minutes, 6 girls and a gay guy walk into the house and sit down to listen to our lesson. That was very awkward. Elder Nance and I just pretended like they weren't there. After about 15-20 minutes they left. I guess they got sick of hearing our incoherent ramblings.

Man is good though. We met him after a few hours of very fruitless inviting. We saw him in a garage playing guitar by himself and asked if we could come and talk to him. We sat with him and played the guitar for a few minutes. He then asked us if we could teach him more about Jesus. It was fairly surprising. When we teach him next we will bring a member with us. I have good hopes for him.

We really do have a lot of investigators, a lot of progressing investigators, and a lot of investigators with a baptismal date. The problem is, they are all new. There were very few when I got into the area, but now things are starting up and we have tons of people to teach. We just need to get them going to church.

We have been having a lot of brain-storming sessions on how to be more successful at getting people to church. I feel like this week is going to be a really really good one.

I am out of time! Sorry it was so short this week, I'll write more next week.

Good luck!

Love,

Elder Brown

Monday, August 24, 2009

Feel free to email Danny at: elder.daniel.brown@myldsmail.net


Danny's p-days are on wednesday! Email (elder.daniel.brown@myldsmail.net) is probably the easiest/fastest way to reach him, but letters are nice too! send letters to the mission home address listed below.

Elder Daniel Elling Brown
Thailand Bangkok Mission Home Address
50/829-832 Muang Thong Thani
Chaengwatana Road, T.
Ban Mai A., Pakkret, Nonthaburi 11120
Thailand

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

#1letter 9/19/09 from Thailand - Mahasarakham area




The picture on your left is Danny's first picture from Thailand, the young Thai man (named Stop) in the front row sent it to us the day Danny arrived! Stop is a face book friend. It is taken in front of the Mission Home. It is great to see a picture of Danny and the other Elders and Sisters, THANK YOU STOP! The picture on your right is the Thailand District's last day at the MTC celebrating just prior to the group leaving for the airport and Thailand!



Hello from Thailand! (Excerpts from Danny's email)

I am very excited to write this email! I have so much to say and so little time to say it. I will try to get as much important information and fun stories into this letter as possible.

So District 29D left the MTC! It was a sunny Monday afternoon. The MTC will not be the same without us. We left in celebration. We had party hats, streamers, and a banner. We celebrated our graduation in style, and headed for the airport…..

….I tried to sit down and write some letters on the flight. Got quite a few done, then I tried to send them out! Turns out LAX does not have a mailbox. Go figure. Sorry to everyone that hasn't heard from me! I really did try, I promise. Communication will be very difficult here...

While on the point of communication, I'll address it. Mail takes 2-3 weeks both ways. Mail has to be sent to the mission home. Then I can pick it up every time I am in Bangkok... which is at MOST once every 6 weeks! So mail will be fun to communicate, but it will be slow... So email will be the quickest way to communicate. Feel free to email me at elder.daniel.brown@myldsmail.net. I will be able to respond through my family and they can forward my email to you. I get to use the computer once a week, so that will probably be the best. My email messages back might be short. Sorry! I don't have very much time to use the computer!

...After a long long journey through many airports and multiple problems we finally arrived in THAILAND!
It is amazing! I love it here! The country is beautiful!

When I arrived at the airport we were greeted by the APs, President Smith, and his wife. We then headed to the mission home. The mission home was really nice! The food there was so so so so good. It was a pretty nice place in a nice area. We got all of our business taken care of. Then the next morning was moves meeting.

It was a very fun meeting. The entire mission (around 150 missionaries) were there for this meeting. President Smith talked for a bit. He gave us a big talk on obedience because he just sent a group of missionaries home for breaking the rules:< Then the outgoing group talked and gave us advice. Then it was our turn (the new guys.) We went to the front and introduced ourselves in Thai and talked about ourselves.

Moves then took place. They called out who was going where and who they were going with. It was very intense!! I was the last person in my district to get called. I am assigned to serve with Elder Nance in the Mahasarakham area. It was great to finally know where I am going and what I will be doing!

So I am almost out of time so I will just try to hit a few more important points before I leave.

Food! Food is great here. Anything that I have bought from a restaurant has been very very healthy and delicious. (not sure about sanitation though...) I have been given things from locals and from members that has been very scary. I am not a huge fan of weeks old chicken inards-on-a-stick!!!!
My stomach may not survive!

All of our meals (except for breakfast) we eat outside the house. We just stop by little shops or stands and buy food. A good sized meal will be around 20-25 baht at a nice sit-down restaurant. That is approximately 50-65 cents. Everything is delicious! Some stuff is very spicy, but I am learning to deal with it. Out here in the Esan (in the country) the food is the spiciest and the sketchiest, so if I can handle it out here... I'll be able to handle it anywhere.

There are 7-11's everywhere! Seriously on almost every single corner. (in Bangkok there are like 3 on a corner) So we can stop by 7-11 - if we are ever in need of a treat that is some-what American.
My companions are about ready to leave, so I will have to rap it up with the story of my first teaching appointment.
We teach about 6-7 lessons a day, so we stay very busy. My first teaching appointment was on Friday (I think) with a man named Nawy. We biked out to his house. When we called him, he insisted that we came hungry so he could feed us. (not a good thing) We also brought a member with us. When we arrived at his house he was angry that we brought a member and told him that he had to wait outside his driveway. (that is when I knew things were going to get sketchy)

We went into his backyard. His house was right next to a lake. There were chickens running around everywhere. We sat down and he fed us this really sketchy stuff. I ate it to be nice. (didn't get sick, yay) He then pulled out this paper out of his wallet. On the paper was a bunch of crazy writing in Thai with weird drawings and symbols of infinity.

He started talking about how he believed in Heavenly Father and that he had a dream about Spiderman, Batman, and Michael Jackson in heaven. It was very very very confusing. He went on to talk about his drawing and how it related to God and Neptune.

We then asked him if he read the Book of Mormon. He said yes! But we found out that he just put it under his pillow at night and read it through "osmosis".

At this point we ran for it! He was a wacko, so we said a prayer and kindly invited him to church next week. Most of my other teaching appointments have not been quite that strange. (I've had some others that have gotten close though.)

It is great. I love it here. The people are great and willing to learn. The members are awesome. The food is awesome. The country is beautiful.

Sunday was great. It was District Conference. A member of the quorum of the seventy was there. It was so great to see all the branches! Lots of members!

Anyways. I have to go now. I hope to hear more from you next week! Pray for me! Pray that I can learn this dialect. (they don't speak Thai here :( it is some crazy dialect of Thai that is impossible for me to understand, I'm hopeful that I will pick it up though! :)

Love you all!

Love,

Elder Brown

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Note from the mission office about packages:

if you send a package to Danny, please
only use the U.S. Postal Service,
either by regular Air Mail or Priority Mail. *Do not use U.S. Postal service-Express mail.

If you use U.S. Postal Service Express Mail, it will incur a very large duty by the Thai government which must be paid by the missionary.

Also, if you use any private carrier, such as DHL, UPS or FedEx, it will incur a very large duty by the Thai government which must be paid by the missionary.

You can use dearelder.com to send letters-it costs about a dollar to send a letter!

Please Write Danny! He loves your letters!



For Now if you would like to mail Danny please send letters to the mission office:

Elder Daniel Elling Brown
Thailand Bangkok Mission Home Address
50/829-832 Muang Thong Thani
Chaengwatana Road, T.
Ban Mai A., Pakkret, Nonthaburi 11120
Thailand

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Letter#10 Last week in the MTC- Danny's leaving for Thailand Early!!!


Well, this is my last week in the MTC, 6 days left!

Things just keep getting busier and busier here in the MTC. It seems like I have less time to write than ever.

If you plan on writing me while I am still in the MTC, make sure that the letter gets here by Monday. I will still receive it on Monday, but after that, the letter will be lost.

I will be sending out letters next Tuesday from LAX airport, but after that. Everything will be to and from Thailand. Hopefully I'll get more information on how mailing/emailing works over there. I expect it to be pretty slow.


This week like I just mentioned, I don't have very much time. So I will just share a few things that I have learned this week. I have been focusing on the Book of Mormon a lot; I'd just like to share some facts with you about the book.

The Book of Mormon is the second best selling book in the world. It has "sold" over 142 million copies. Last year more Books of Mormon were printed in Spanish than in English. It has been printed in nearly 100 different languages and many more languages are currently being translated.

The translation process for new Book of Mormon languages is fascinating. The church is very strict on who they will accept to translate the book. Often times they spend years finding and interviewing in order to find someone who is fluent in English and in the other language. They also have to be of very high character and have the spirit with them. Often times it will be translated by a commitee of several people. This commitee with imense linguistic background, technology, and full-time effort can translate a Book of Mormon on average in 4 years.

When Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, he translated it from its Reformed Egyptian into English. He had 3 years of elementary education. He was 24 years old. Barely knew English, not to mention any other language. He did not have electricity. He did not have access to a library. He translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God in 63 days. 531 pages in 63 days.

The Book of Mormon contains many forms of poetry schemes from ancient Jerusalem that were not discovered in America until well after Joseph Smith's death. The Book of Mormon has been identified as having many "writing voices". Meaning that the ancient records written by various prophets were written with a unique "voice". Whenever anyone writes, they have distinct words and grammar that they use. This voice changes around 10 times(each time a new prophet starts writing.)

Let me emphasize. Joseph Smith did NOT fabricate the Book of Mormon. That is completely impossible. He was not capable of writing such a work. He translated an ancient record through the power of god.


But don't take my word for it. Do as Moroni says in the last book of the Book of Mormon in Moroni 10:3-5.


Moroni promises us that if we read the Book of Mormon and pray about the truthfulness of the book. We are promised that God will reveal the truth unto us. I can promise you that this is true! I have tried it several times and it works!

This is why missionary work is so easy. The book sells itself, missionaries aren't even needed. We can hand an investigator the Book of Mormon, and if they would simply read it and pray about it, they WILL receive the answer from God that it is true.

So, I would encourage all of you, whether you have read the Book of Mormon or have never touched the thing. Try it out. Prove Mormonism. Read the book and pray. You will receive the answer.



I am so glad that Thailand has a Book of Mormon. The work would be so difficult without it. It is a true book and will change the life of anyone who reads it. I can promise without reassurance that if you read the book, you will be happier than you have ever been in your life.



See you all in Thailand!!!

Love,

Elder Brown