Monday, June 28, 2010

June 28th, 2010-Bangnaa

LDS Chapel-Bangnaa


Couple of interesting things from the last two weeks.

1. Well last Sunday started out pretty normal. We woke up at 6:00 A.M. like we usually do. We got ready and studied like we usually do. We walked into church 30 minutes early like we usually do. But as I walked into the sacrament room last week there was something unusual. Elder Pratt from the Seventy decided to drop in on our Sunday meetings. I received the opportunity to pass the sacrament to him, which was a good experience; however, through that he noticed how unpolished my shoes were. He talked to us afterwards and gave us some advice. He told Elder Tibbetts that he needs to polish his companions shoes more often. Oops.

2. This passed week I had the opportunity to teach one of the funnest lessons of my life. Unfortunately I am a bad missionary for doing it. The whole lesson was over three hours long. (which in case you are unfamiliar with missionary work, that is an absolutely ludicrous amount of time to waste on one person) The lesson was with a man named Brichaa. Brichaa is a man I've been teaching about once every other week for the passed two months. He is in his early fifties and is extremely intelligent. He has degrees in law and in business. He has been a devote Christian for the passed 33 years and knows the Bible. The man REALLY knows the Bible. The Old Testament and the New. He has read them in Thai and in English more times than I could even imagine to ever read them. I met him and introduced him to the restored gospel and the Book of Mormon. The first few times I met him, he was very quiet. He wouldn't ask or say much, he would only listen. He is about to finish the Book of Mormon, and he has a goal to read it again. This last time I met with him we talked about so many things, he had so many questions and I just gave him the answers. This experience really impressed me. This learned man... very intelligent... very studied could come to me, a twenty year-old kid and I could tell him things that I learned in primary in my youth and he is absolutely dumbstruck with how much I know. Sometimes I forget how much we have that most people don't have. He asks me about translation, transfiguration, angels, Zion, temples in Jerusalem, resurrections, etc. and I can answer. Multiple times in that lesson his mouth and his eyes were left wide-open. We have these answers, all of the answers he has ever wanted. At the end of the lesson he finally hit an epiphany and was convinced that the Book of Mormon was not written by Joseph. He says he is not sure who wrote it, but he said it was either God or someone who was very very learned and intelligent. He told me that if God answers his prayers he will change religions and do everything he can to convince all of his friends to do the same thing too. At the end he just wanted to hug me and tell me how much he loved me. He told me that when I get transferred to a new area that he will drive and come and find me so that he can learn with me still. I hope God answers his prayers and he can have the chance to be baptized.

3. Yesterday two of our investigators got confirmed members of the church during sacrament meeting. This was all fine and dandy until the Bishop called me over and told me I was going to be the one administering the ordinance. I was kind of shocked because I've never seen anyone besides the Bishop or a councilor confirm new members. I was willing to do it, but I wish I would've had some time to prepare! I was unprepared because I thought missionaries were not involved. I did well, the Spirit gave me utterance and overall it was a very good experience for me. I like being put on the spot in high pressure situations, especially when it is in a strange language that sounds like throwing pots and pans down the stairs.

4. I washed the dishes.


Elder Brown

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mon. June 14-2010

Hello! Well today I don't have much to say and I don't have much time to say it, so I will just entertain you all with a couple of stories that happened this week.

1. Almost all of my efforts in inviting have been changed to finding families. So when I see a nice family walking down the street I will go interrupt them and invite them to receive salvation. So I was doing this, just as I do every day and I set my eyes upon a nice looking family: a mom, a dad, and a little girl that was about five years old. They were walking down the street towards me, all carrying parasols as most people like to do in Asia. I went up and talked to them, and oddly enough they didn't try to run away like most families usually do when they are approached by a scary white person. I asked them how they were and they said great, they said they just got done with a meeting. I asked them what kind of meeting, but I didn't understand their answer. That was when I realized they weren't Thai, they were Korean. They said they had been in Thailand for about eight months. I asked them what they were doing here and they proceeded to pull out a pamphlet about the great message that is "really" contained within the Bible; my bubble was bursted. I invited the Jehovah's Witnesses missionaries to learn about Joseph Smith anyways. Hope they give me a call!

2. We were sitting down by a bus stop making calls and talking about our plans for the night and we saw a nice, clean-cut man about to walk by so we stopped him and talked to him. We started to talk to him and he wanted to learn more about our message. We met him and we taught a pretty good lesson, he was fairly interested. The lesson was interrupted a few times from someone calling him and asking when he would be home. I asked jokingly if his girlfriend was mad he was getting home late, he laughed pretty hard and said no. We set up a return appointment for the next week. Before he left, he asked to get a picture with us. This was an unusual request, but we decided it couldn't hurt... figured he was just sentimental. Later that night we got a call from his boyfriend asking if we wanted to go hangout later. Needless to say, I don't think we will be keeping that return appointment...

3. Invited a guy the other day, he invited me to go teach him and his family at his house the next day. We showed up and inside the house, there were a lot of people, about 8 or 9 middle-aged people, with lots of kids outside the house. It is always intimidating to teach large groups of people. I have to use all the charisma I can muster up to try to get all of them to pay attention and to receive my message. This particular instance was fairly difficult because there was one man in the back that was drunk as a skunk and very openly out-spoken against Christianity. Any chance he could get to speak he would go on about how every religion was good and then the next sentence he would say how Christianity was bad. Throughout the course of the lesson I managed to get all of his 8 friends onto my "side." I told him that if he didn't want to change his life and progress that he didn't have to listen. I asked him if he wanted to change, he said no. I asked him if he wanted to change for his family, he said his family already left him because he wouldn't change. In the end, having that guy in the lesson actually helped me. He was living evidence that what I was teaching could help them avoid unhappiness and be closer as a family. It was fairly amusing, I kinda felt bad using him as an example of what not to do, but I think he was too drunk to notice anyways.

4. The church was robbed. Yeah, I think someone hid themselves and a crowbar inside of the church after English Class on Tuesday. They stole everything. Oh well, maybe if I am lucky I will find him and invite him and teach him about repentance!

5. I interviewed another baptismal candidate this week. On the cab ride over I was hoping I was going to have the Spirit during the interview just because taking a cab through Bangkok you have to "swim through a sea of filth." When I got to the church, I knelt down and asked for the Spirit. Not only was I blessed with the Spirit but I was also told that the guy that I was going to be interviewed was ready for baptism. Before I met the guy I already knew he was good to go! I met him and interviewed him and he was great just as anticipated. Just goes to show that the Spirit knows all, regardless of how sick and gross Bangkok is.
Hello! Well today I don't have much to say and I don't have much time to say it, so I will just entertain you all with a couple of stories that happened this week.

Well have a great week,

over and out. (as well as under and in)
Elder Brown

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday-June 7th 2010

Hi All,

This past week was great. We are teaching a lot of serious investigators. Unfortunately, almost all of them are single. We don't really have any families. This next week(and month and year) I will be focusing all of my efforts on finding families. It was something that really hit me hard. I only want to teach families. It is the most efficient thing we can ever do.

I don't have much to say today, but I will share a couple of thoughts that I had this week.

I remember a number of years ago... probably about 15 years ago. I was in a primary class at church. We were asked the question, "If you were being broadcasted on international television and you only had enough time to say one sentence, what would you say?"

Yeah, it was kind of a deep question to be asking 5 year-olds, but that is ok. At 5 years-old, we however were smart enough to infer the teachers motives. We had learned to automatically answer any question the teacher asked us with "Book of Mormon, God loves us, go to church, etc." 99% of the time that was the correct answer.

I think I finally figured out what I would say. Yeah, I know.. 15 years later. I am a very slow thinker. My sentence would be: Jesus Christ is our Savior and this is His church.

I feel quite a bit like Nephi in his closing chapter in verse six when he says “I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.”

This really is the only thing that matters at all. We come to this world in order to figure out how to overcome this world. We need to figure out how to overcome death and sin. As we try to figure this out, we will realize that it is impossible. This will cause us to look for a way out. That way out is Jesus Christ.

I have received a personal witness that Jesus Christ is my Savior.

The next step is to find His path, or find out how to follow Him. I prayed and received a personal witness that this is Jesus Christ's church. He established it and He is at the head of it.

Everything else in life is simply a footnote, a secondary point. It doesn't matter where Kolob is, it doesn't matter where we are going when we die, it doesn't matter how many wives Joseph Smith has. All that matters is we found Jesus and are living our lives the way He has told us to.

Jesus Christ is our Savior and this is His church. I know that with absolute certainty.

Love you all,

Elder Brown