Monday, November 29, 2010
Sorry not much time left to write, you can post the following that I wrote to Nate and parts of my letter to the Mission president...
I am still serving in Kohn Kaen which is out in the sticks. I am Serving in the country over by the Laotian border. This is where I have been for almost all of my mission. I had a few months outside of the southern tip of Bangkok but then they threw me back into my homeland. It is odd that I have been out here so much, simply because the majority of the missionaries serve in Bangkok, and I still haven't been in the main part of the city my whole mission. The city I am in is called Kohn Kaen. It is a pretty main city. We have shopping malls and all that jazz. I am serving as a Zone Leader which I have really enjoyed. I was called as a Zone Leader about 3-4 months ago. It was a big change! I trained for a very long time. Then they moved me with a veteran companion. I feel like I am still learning so much! I will be here for another 5 weeks then I will be transferring. I will most definitely be heading to Bangkok. I don't really have any other option at this point. That should be an adventure.
Danny tells us that he is excited to speak at an upcoming Zone Leader Council.... ...It is on a topic that I feel very passionate about. I have caught a new vision and I hope to be able to share it with everyone. That is one thing I love about being a Zone Leader is the opportunity to train. Sure, being a trainer was an opportunity to train; train the basics in finding, teaching, and planning. But the training as a Zone Leader is different. I have learned so much about my responsibilities as a Zone Leader the last few months. I love being able to see a problem, after identifying the problem I love to make plans and receive revelation for the District Leaders. Then after that is the hard part, being able to implement the will of the Lord in a loving way so that they will actually accept it. I love seeing changes. I love seeing people repent, whether it be investigators or missionaries. I love the perspective that I have been blessed with.
Missionary work is not hard. We must be personally worthy, seek the will of the Lord, and be humble enough to learn and grow in the ways that the Lord wants us to. If we do it any other way, then it is hard.
I feel so blessed!
Monday, November 8, 2010
Hope all is well and that life isn't too crazy.
This week went by very quick. I was only in Kohn Kaen for one day this week, Sunday. All the other days I was on the road. Many, many hours spent this week traveling.
Time on a bus: Tuesday to Bangkok 6 hours, Wednesday bus home 6 hours. Thursday bus to Udorn 3 hours, Friday Bus home 3 hours. Saturday bus to Korat 3 hours, Saturday Bus home 4 hours. Sunday bus to Banphai 1 hour, and 1 hour home. Yeah, I spent about two entire proselyting days on a bus. Oh well.
With all of this traveling and training I have really become to appreciate the time that I do have in my area. It makes it necessary to use every second that we do have. It is fairly common to be on splits with members every night that we are actually in Kohn Kaen just trying to get investigators taught.
Everything is going well. The weather is fantastic. The new Book of Mormon is out.
Speaking of which, a few copies released this week. The main shipment should be coming within a couple of weeks.
It will be great to have. Let's hope the translation is accurate.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
This week was pretty busy. I spent 4 days in Roiett for training.
On Tuesday we went down there to teach a district meeting about how to find people to teach. It was a really good meeting. We started out by talking about our purpose as missionaries. We taught from 2 Nephi 31 and talked about the Father's purpose, Jesus Christ's purpose, Nephi's purpose, and how our purpose is related to theirs. After that we talked about the importance of showing love for the people we meet. Then we talked about the importance of extending specific and firm commitments when contacting people on the streets.
I want to talk a little bit more specifically about those three things.
Our purpose as missionaries is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Yeah, it is a mouth full. It is very interesting to note that this is the mission of God as well, we as missionaries simply play a different role in this mission. The Father is the creator. He came up with the plan. It is His kingdom and His eternal life. He has made the rules. Jesus Christ is the way. Jesus Christ filled in all of the holes and made it possible. He showed us the way. The purpose of the prophet is to guide mankind and show them how to follow Jesus Christ. Being perfect is quite hard and simply seeing the example is oftentimes not enough. God has given us prophets to guide and direct us in following the example of Jesus Christ. We as missionaries have been called by the Prophet to help him with this work. We are guides to help people find, understand, believe, use, and follow the restored teachings of Jesus Christ.
Love is a harder thing. It has always been hard for me to love people, especially when I don't know the person. One thing that has really helped me is my love for Jesus Christ. Even though sometimes it is hard for me to love everyone, I do know that Jesus Christ loves everyone. So I can feel confident that when I approach people that if they can't feel my love, at least they can feel the love of Jesus Christ.
Lastly, the importance of commitments. Commitments are things that go hand-in-hand with missionary work. It is going to be very hard for me to go home into "normal life" and not give people commitments to repent and to change. Everything we do, regardless of it is teaching, finding, or simply calling on the phone, we are committing people to change their lives. One important thing that I have learned about commitments is asking people very specific and direct questions. This ensures that you are giving them a clear choice and that they can actually use their agency to pick between choice A or choice B. In Thai it has been difficult to break out of habits of asking lackadaisical questions and starting asking direct questions. Whenever missionaries are struggling, usually the first thing I suggest is to change their commitment pattern. Be bold. Be direct. Always invite people to repent.
We went back home Tuesday night to teach English and got a phone call from the Assistants that we would have additional guests staying with us that night. We have been trying to clean our apartment the last few weeks, and it was still a mess. We ended up having 8 people stay at our house. The next morning we headed back to Roiett for a Leadership Training Meeting with President Smith. The meeting lasted three days and focused on teaching more effectively. The hotel we stayed in was way swanky. The breakfast in the hotel was incredible. They even had bacon. A lot of it.
We got back to our area Friday night. We went companion exchanges with the Assistants. I worked with Elder C(he was my zone leader a couple of months ago) and Elder Ritchie worked with Elder G. The exchange was pretty good. Taught a lot of lessons. Extended a baptismal commitment to a new family I found last week at the market. They are very excited. This family consists of a mom, a daughter, a grandmother, and other assorted relatives. They seem really interested and we have a goal to have them baptized by the end of November.