Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Aug 16th- 2010- Bangna
Well today I am a little bit tired.
Last night right as we were turning off the light to go to bed we noticed that there was a rat in the house. (this happens way more than you might think, pretty sure this is part of Satan's plan to make me more tired and keep me from working as hard as I could with a full nights rest) So Elder Hardy and I went through the regular procedures of catching this rat. We got our trusty broom and our trusty bucket. The strategy is to close off all the exits and to sweep it into the bucket so that we can throw it out of the house. So as we were doing this, this rat was fairly resilient. It manages to escape all of our efforts for nearly 20 minutes. After repeated attempts we trapped it back behind a cabinet with two exits. I was on one side with my broom and Elder Hardy was on the other with his broom. The rat was trapped. It was scared. It had nothing else to do. It finally made a break for it across the ground towards the bathroom, but on the way it suddenly stopped and fell over. It had a heart attack and was on its back with all its limbs pulsing in and out. After about 5 minutes it finally threw up and died. Not a pretty sight. Well it is still in my head. No animal cruelty or anything intended here, it just died!
So yeah. Pretty good week here in Bangna. Things are going really great. I feel that my understanding of missionary work and teaching has grown amazingly in the last few months. In the last six weeks as I have been focusing all of my efforts on finding families, we have 4-5 progressing families that are very serious investigators. This is such an obvious change from how missionary work was done when I arrived in Thailand. I am very excited for the future of Thailand, especially for the future of Bangna. I have been here a long time. Six months is a really long time. I love the place, but to say that I'm not area-trunky would be a lie. Bangna has been a special place for me simply because I have seen growth and progression here. In my other areas I always felt that the work and the area was heading in a backwards trend, but in Bangna I have seen remarkable improvements in the ward mission program and in the priesthood organization. I am grateful to have been a part of the progression in this ward.
Yesterday evening we had a couple of hours in the evening free to go out and contact. This was wonderful because we are almost always busy in the evenings, especially on the weekend. We went over to an area that I thought that I had invited every street. (after being in the area for 6 months, I have been down every street and know pretty much every shortcut in the entire city, Elder Hardy is always amazed how I can navigate through small alleyways and shortcuts to get us to a destination in half the time) We got to the end of a little soi, that is the Thai word for street, and I started to talk with a couple of people at the end. They wondered if I had come to give them money. They had us confused with the last christian group that came through. This soi was next to a Lutheran Church/School. After talking with these people, I learned that this soi was MUCH bigger than I thought. What I thought was a dead end actually was a tiny alleyway back into a giant ghetto. I didn't really want to back there, but my curiosity got the best of me. We decided to take a walk back there. We were met with mobs of begging children, adults, and elderly people that just wanted us to give them money. It was fairly depressing. The lack of misunderstanding was impossible to breach; all they wanted was money. (which we aren't allowed to give) They did not want to listen to us. God really wants to help these people. God wants to help all of His children, but sometimes they refuse to let Him help.
Being on a mission is a very unique experience simply because it gives you such an opportunity to gain experience without having to face any of the usual consequences of experience. The transition from childhood to adulthood has to happen for everyone, but typically it is a painful experience resulting in addictions, debt, unexpected children, pain, etc.. However, on a mission the transition takes place in an artificial reality; it is completely outside of the realm of my past and the realm of my future. In the last month I have learned so much about parenting. After making a focus on teaching families, I have been able to see the inter working of families, lots of them. I go up and talk to a 20 year old couple on the street with a baby on the way and ask them if they are scared to be parents. The typical answer is no. They just say they are going to "go with it." No plans, no preparation. If they even had the slightest clue that one day they are going to be accountable for the individual stewardship of each one of their children, they would be scared silly. Punishing and beating children is looked very down upon here in Thailand. I challenge anyone who is against punishing their children to come look at the family situation in Thailand, you will be convinced. Justice is a law that must be satisfied. Mercy cannot be applicable in all cases and in all situations; look at the Plan of Salvation, if everyone received absolute mercy, would there be a point?
So we accidentally ran into Jesus-Shirt man again this week. He was less drunk this time, but just as crazy as ever. He asked me to say a prayer for him, so I did. In the prayer I attempted to cast the demons out of him. It may have worked, afterwards I committed him to pray about Joseph Smith being a prophet. We will see if he shows up to church.
Love, peace, and rainbows,