Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Aug 2010- Bangna
More interesting things.
This week I was out inviting and I found a guy who was pretty interested. I offered to give him a ten minute message about the Book of Mormon and he accepted. We went up and talked on his porch. I told him that I wanted to start with a prayer so we prayed and after we prayed I opened my eyes and there was this big African man standing in front of me with his wife. He said, “Hey! Were you just praying?” This kinda took me off my guard. He was way excited to see that people were teaching about Jesus in Thailand. He pushed his wife over to try to learn with us. In the end I got his number and handed it off to the international Elders. It is really fun talking to people from Africa. All I have to do is go up to them and say in a really excited voice, “We teach about JESUS!” and then their eyes light up and get way excited.
Last week we were biking towards the church and I hear someone shout at me “Hey Elders, whats up?” This was a little bit strange so I turn to see this really muscular white guy talking to us. I thought that this was very strange. I examined the man; about forty years-old, maybe 300 pounds, looks American, his entire body covered in tattoos and his head and eyebrows were shaven meaning that he was just a monk. I start talking to him and find out that he is from Philadelphia and is friends with the Elders over there. He is Buddhist and comes to Thailand like once a year. This was pretty weird but then this situation was interrupted as this crazy crazy old Thai man comes in. I quickly examine him; about 60 years old, looks like he hasn't bathed in AT LEAST 60 years, and he is wearing a T-shirt with a giant picture of Jesus on the cross. He started talking crazy stuff. He was telling us that he used to go to our church a number of years ago, but then he found a new church that gave him three new T-shirts, so he changed religions. At this point there was just too much weirdness for one contact so we said bye and biked away. I guess the moral of the story is: the church that gives you the most free T-shirts is the best church.
Well I got a new greenie this moves. After training Elder Tibbetts for 3 months I guess that God decided to give me another chance to do better. Hopefully this time I won't fail or else I might end up training again! My new companion is a guy named Elder Hardy. He is 23 years-old and was just in the Air Force for 4 years. He is a really good worker and should be really easy to work with. To this point in my mission, I still have never had a companion that is younger than me. He is doing what your average greenie always does. Falls on his bike a lot, says funny/inappropriate things to locals on accident, and is confused when members call him a “greenie” in Thai. I guess that is one word they don't teach you in the MTC.
So last week Niwad was confirmed a member of the church and was given the priesthood. The Bishop chose me to be the one to confer the priesthood to him. This was an interesting experience. This was the first time I had ever done it, typically recent converts are given the priesthood by the bishopric without the involvement of the missionaries, but I was happy to do it. I have ministered a confirmation, a confirment of the priesthood, priesthood blessings, etc. but I still have never baptized anyone. I have a goal to never baptize someone on my mission. Baptizing people isn't very good in terms of the long run. The person who baptizes them creates a unique bond that they will always remember. I would much rather have that be a member than have it be me. This week at church Niwad showed up in his newly purchased white shirt and tie to be able to minister in the sacrament. It was really cool to see just because of how quickly he progressed. I invited him just over 2 months ago and he already is administering the sacrament. It made me feel really good to see him glow like that.
For the last month or so a phrase has been going through my mind a lot. The phrase is “A hope for a better world.” It has just been ringing in my head for a very long time now. I actually ended up writing a song based off of that phrase. Interestingly enough this week I was reading the scriptures in Ether(I haven't read Ether in about three months) and found the phrase in Ether chapter 12 verse 4. I am positive that I didn't read the phrase in the last several months, but it was just floating in my head. When I saw this scripture it really shocked me. I really think this scripture might be my very favorite scripture in all of the standard works. “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.” I really like this scripture because the Thai people have no hope. None at all. They have no goal for today, tomorrow, or next week. They just wake up and go with it. This is because of their belief system rooted in reincarnation. They have no focal point were they can focus their efforts towards. But when we believe in God when we believe in His plan of happiness this gives us a hope for today, a hope for tomorrow, a hope for next week. Through our faith our life is held strong and we are filled with light. I know this to be true.