Monday, April 19, 2010
The water festival was insane. I am sending a couple photos of the street and a photo of our "get wet" clothes.
So, yesterday at church the 1st counselor in the Stake Presidency came to visit. His message was good, but unfortunately he couldn't speak Thai. Even though the other 3 missionaries at the ward have all been here for a year and half, I was voted to translate for him. Up to this point in Thailand I have done translation in meetings for individuals from Thai to English, from English to Thai, and I've even given sacrament talks in Thai. But I've never had to translate over the pulpit on the spot. That was hard! Gives me motivation to study the language more. I did pretty well though, everyone seemed to be able to understand. Unfortunately I didn't know the word for "to spit" or "to turn the other cheek." Yay for circumlocution.
The other day I had an interesting thought about the "Restoration" and the term "Apostasy."
Typically we explain Apostasy as the period of time that the Earth is without the Power of the Priesthood, thus a period of time where the saving ordinances of the gospel are unavailable. The longest and most important Apostasy was the Great Apostasy, the 1600+ years after the death of the apostles of Jesus and before the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Typically we explain Restoration as the period of time that God restores the Power of the Priesthood once again to the Earth, thus a period of time where the saving ordinances of the gospel become available once again. The most recent Restoration was the Restoration in 1820 through the Prophet Joseph Smith.
The other day I had a thought, the thought is: I don't think the Restoration is finished. I think the doctrines and the ordinances have all been restored, but the world does not know that. A big part of the Restoration is to restore all the inhabitants of the earth to the knowledge of their fathers, to the knowledge of the gospel and its saving power. The restoration is not complete until every single person gets the opportunity to hear the gospel, or a.k.a. Jesus' plan of happiness.
There are billions of people in this world that are in a state of personal-apostasy. They have not been able to hear the wonderful news that the ordinances have been restored. These people must be brought to a point where they can accept restoration or stay in a state of apostasy. That is our work! Joseph Smith started the Restoration, but the work will not be done until the end of the Millennial Period. The Restoration is not a closed book; it is a story that is being written, and we all have major roles in the play.
Every-time I teach someone about the Restoration of the Gospel now, I always have the thought that the Restoration is not just about Joseph Smith. This story is about Elder Brown, this story is about Pii Dxan, this story is about his kids, and it's about his neighbors too. As they learn of Joseph, they too get their questions answered. They too become restored unto truth; out of the darkness and into the light.
Think about how each of us has a part to play in bringing others "into the light".
Monday, April 12, 2010
These are pictures from last year's festival. For more information go to
Songkraan is the name of the holiday. What, you have never heard of it? Well do a google image search for "สงกรานต์"
Thailand's most celebrated festival is the Songkran Festival. It starts April 13 and lasts between 3 and 10 days, depending on where you are in Thailand. The word Songkran is from the Sanskrit meaning the beginning of a new Solar Year, but nowadays Thailand celebrates the New Year on 31 December.
Well, this is the holiday that everyone waits for all year long.(even missionaries, of course) This is the holiday where literally everyone is off work for a week.(except for missionaries, of course) Everyone packs up their bags and heads back to their home city.(except for missionaries, of course)
The holiday lasts three days. In the morning they all go to the temple to give thanks to their ancestors. They also ask for blessings from their living parents as well. Then once the sun starts to get up into the sky, things get crazy. Everyone is out in the streets throwing water at each other. Thousands of people with squirt-guns, garbage cans, or pales of water. They also enjoy putting ice in the water too. As you may have guessed, two white people biking down the street in shirts and ties are more than prime targets.
It is not just water though, they also use flour. Just walking down the street for less than 1 minute you will be soaked from head-to-toe with ice-water and then covered with flour. It is quite fun.
Things also get more interesting because groups of people will hop in the back of a pick-up truck and go around soaking people from the back of their car.
Although it is fun, you can only imagine how much it slows the work down! First of all, all of our investigators have returned to their home city. Second of all, everyone is drunk all week long. Third of all, we can't go anywhere without getting covered in flour. Fourth of all, anyone we meet/talk to here is probably from another city and will return after the week is over.
All in all, it should be a fun week. Be awaiting some more pictures next week!
Tjock dee pii mai! (Thai for Happy New Year).