a year ago, I was sitting in the MTC when I received a letter from the
Jens Fillmore. He is one of my closest friends since early junior high.
He informed me that he would be serving in the best mission. This would
mean that we would be learning the same language and serving in the same
country and all that. Anywho, I've just really found it amazing and
neat to be serving in Thailand alongside my best friend. It is so fun.
But more than that, Elder Fillmore has been serving in the mission
office the last few weeks. When you've got a close friend in the office,
you better be taking advantage of this situation. I sure have. But I
also may have overworked Elder Fillmore haha. Anywho, I am grateful to
have been serving with Elder Fillmore. If you don't know him yet, then
get to know him. He has helped me about as much as President Johnson has
to prepare me to leave for Laos next week.
have been able to see Elder Fillmore quite a bit recently. It has been
such a blessing. He came to our zone conference back in the Bangkok
East, and then I participated in replacing yet another missionary
returning home early; and then we met again in the Roi Et zone
conference. It is so good to see him and all homely faces. That could've
been the last time I see him for a while. But everyone please pray he
doesn't go to Burma and goes to Lao. Haha. I am grateful that God called
us both to Thailand. This work is amazing, and working with those from
before the mission is a really special experience.
is one of the most important things in our lives. It is hard, but it is
so good. In 2 Nephi 2 we learn that we must live by Faith. We must live
by Faith because we must be equally acted upon by both good and bad. We
must be equally influenced by both in order for us to make decisions
completely for ourselves. We must live by Faith because it will show
that we do good because we want to do good. Otherwise we would be doing
good because we are compelled to do good. We live by Faith because if we
didn't, that is what satan's plan was. For us to be compelled to do all
things. That everyone would make it to Heaven, but we wouldn't have
learned anything. We live by Faith to learn and grow and experience. We
live by Faith because if we didn't, the Plan of Salvation wouldn't
really work. We live by Faith to become our true, full selves. Faith
allows us to have a brighter hope for the future. It allows and helps us
in planning and having goals and becoming better. Faith magnifies our
Being surrounded by another
faith for about a year has shown to me how important Faith is. It is
heartbreaking to me, all that I have seen and learned. But I don't want
to go into that right now.
Faith is complete trust. Please check your Faith. Faith allows us to reach our Potential. Exceed your Potential.
I love Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father, and I know they are there.
from beautiful Kalasin. I love this place. It's like Kamphaeng Phet and
Ubon Ratchathani mixed together. It's a small town, with the most
humble and nicest people. I am in love with this place, and the Branch,
the food, work, everything.
didn't want to leave Minburi ever, but coming here to Kalasin for a
little bit is actually an answer to prayers. There is so much good
happening in these next few weeks. I get to be with an amazing Japanese
companion, Elder Fukino in the greatest area ever. We get to work our
best and baptize all of Kalasin together. We have Zone Conference and I
get to see two of my best friends ever, Elder Rosenvall and Elder King,
before I leave in a few weeks. It's been raining every day, all day long
since I got here. And it's not just rain, it's like a million firehoses
dropped from the sky. My camera, several books, and yeah lots of stuff
are kinda destroyed... but I love rain and its so worth it. What a
But yeah, the only pictures I have are a few people sent me randomly today.
thing that's really been on my mind a lot on my mission is 'weakness.'
In this training I'm currently taking, the very last lesson talks about
feedback and correction. It talks about how as a teacher, it is
important to give feedback on your student's skills and progress. It's
amazing how much I've learned spiritually from this training to be an
English teacher. I wish I could share it all. As I went through this
lesson, I could not get the phrase 'God shows unto us our weaknesses,
that we may be strong.' As a missionary, my weaknesses have been right
in front of my face. Sometimes it is too much, but I am grateful for it.
It is so much to have desire and become a better person when the
problems are easily observed.
have pondered and thought about this a lot. How important it is that
our weaknesses be made known to us. If we don't know the problem, we
cannot fix it. Our weaknesses being made known to us is for our benefit,
and for better.
God helps us by helping us see our weaknesses, we are doing the same as
his servants. As missionaries we are constantly warning others of the
consequences of their sins and weaknesses. We help them recognize what
they do wrong, but we do it with love like God does.
it's not much of what they do wrong, but it is about what they can
become. God helps His children see their weaknesses, that they may
achieve their potential. Our all-knowing
Heavenly Father could just fix our problems on the spot. But think of
how much better it is to have us do it ourselves. What would we learn if
we had nothing to overcome or nothing to try to make better?
members of God's church, it is our duty to take part in God's work.
What I mean is that we must be helping other's recognizing what they're
weaknesses and be better. This sounds way weird and for some sounds
rude. But if you truly do love somebody, you desire for them to progress
and achieve their potential. Corrective feedback done with love is one
of the most loving things you can do for someone. And you have to be
reasonable. I will include the 5 points from the training lesson about
someone who helps others fulfill their potential. But more than that,
be someone who can take criticism and make the best out of it. It will
take humility, and it will be so worth it.
way I've mostly thought about it is between me as my parent's child. I
wasn't the best son, and I did not take feedback well at all. I know I
was not good haha. But just what I've been pondering lately really
humbles me, and I want to help you and the family. As children, I feel
the first thing we must realize is how much our parents love us, and
everything they do is because they want us to be the best we can be.
They do it out of sincere love, and desire for our potential. Because of
this love, parents seem to constantly be criticizing or correcting
I think of this all is from one lesson in engineering class back in
High School. I wish I had the visual for it, but basically it was about a
module that has an input, and an output. The module takes in the input
information/electricity, then decides if it will reject it, or send it
through the output. The output can be anything. It could be a tool, or
music, or lights. Something amazing! We should be taking all the
information about us, said about us, shown to us, and turning it into a
positive output. Don't ever reject any of it. Because any portion of
rejection disallows turning information into positive outcomes.
Rejection is when we feel bad about ourselves, or react to those trying
to help us. Wow this made no sense haha.
culture is so neat and crazy. But one thing that I find really cool is
how straight forward speak to one another. People in everyday
conversations will just tell each other what is wrong with the other.
I'm told multiple times daily everything wrong with me haha. But the
Thai culture part of it is not to make anyone feel bad. The reason they
speak so straight forward is because they want to help the other become
better. They want to help others get rid of their flaws.
remember how much your parents love you. Allow your parents, and
others, to help you be better. Don't you ever miss an opportunity to
learn and be better. And don't miss an opportunity to help another
person be better with love.
One of my favorite parts of God's work is inviting. Inviting in Thailand is so fun. I love going out and meeting the world. I love inviting other's to learn about Christ. I love talking to hundreds of people every day with a goal to make them happier and better. Don't be surprised when I go inviting when I get home.
For a while, I have been focusing on developing more the Christ-like Attribute of Charity. I love Charity. It is simply diligently keeping the first two Great Commandments. Love God, and Love His Children. As I have worked on this, sometimes I find myself thinking, "what can I actually do to have Charity?"
It seems really normal for people to just think about donating or giving money to the poor, others, or something like that. Buying gifts, giving gifts, etc. I've been trying to discover how to be more Charitable in a non-temporal way. No worldly things. Sometimes I have stressed or worried cause I may not know what to do.
Anywho, what I learned and how I did was so neat to me. I would like to explain to you one of my favorite people on this earth. พ่อเรียน (Pah Rian) who is so so amazing. His wife, Nova, was baptized and confirmed back when Elder Bastian and I first cam to Minburi. She is way neat, and not too many weeks later, her 8 year old daughter was baptized. Pah Rian was pretty Buddhist and caught up in so much oh my goodness. He had no desire to learn or even go to church but he did agree to go to the baptismal service of his daughter. It was pretty good and after we pretty much forced him into learn with us. We gave him a quick, straight-forward lesson on repentance. We also asked Sister Nova, in the lesson, how she would feel if her husband got baptized and her response was most excellent. He said it wouldn't be possible, but agreed to try prayer and repenting. A few days later, we found out that ชมพู่ (the daughter) was not even 8 years old yet, and so that she would have to be baptized again. It was funny. We would visit Pah Rian once in a while but not too much progress. He loved watching church videos, and reading and trying to understand the pamphlets... but they didn't mean too much. Not too long later, Elder Xaiyavong and I decided to start serving him more often by helping him and his wife pack up their shoe store. One day, we presented a plan to him. We told him that his daughter needs to baptized again when she is 8. But that we wanted him to baptize her. All he did was laugh. But then we made a plan with him right there what he and we are going to do for the next however long it would take for him to be ready. We taught the Plan of Salvation and Eternal Families and quickly his failing relationship with his family turned around. He developed love for his family, and they became his motivation. As we saw him being happier, and eventually making it to church; we then taught him the commandments. He accepted them so well and made the changes necessary and repented. It is so amazing seeing the light that was working in him. The week came, and he was ready. Pah Rian was baptized. That day was one of the best of my life. After the program, everyone surrounded him and hugged him and put flower necklaces all over him. That baptism got the Minburi ward excited for missionary work. They all love him. Pah Rian has so many people supporting him and loving him. Not too long ago, he literally thought no one loved him. He's got his family, the ward, and God covering his back. The following week, he received the Holy Ghost. He said he literally felt the Holy Ghost enter him and be with him. Then 3rd hour he received the priesthood. Afterwards, he baptized his daughter on her birthday. It took him a few tries but it was such a neat experience. He continually progresses and repents and he is so good. This last Sunday, the usual random stress and worries came. The random thought bugged me, 'Is he going to be able to go to church for the rest of his life for reals?' (Minburi ward needs to have more fun during church) Anywho, in Elder's quorum I don't remember what the topic was or anything but Pah Rian said from the back of the room: "Oh Sundays, the only thing I want to do is be at the Church. Why would I want to go work or do anything else." He's just so good.
Any day I overstress or feel not too well or anything, I just call up Pah Rian and go hang out and share a thought for a half hour or an hour. I always feel better. I love hanging out with him. He is my proof that the Atonement is real. He is so happy, and I am too.
Pah Rian is also how I learned how to have more Charity. I try to talk to everyone as I invite and help others come unto Christ. But seeing a man like Pah Rian become who he is now, even more gives me the desire to give everyone a chance, second, or third chances. People who seem less likely to accept or even respond to me talking to them are the people I now love the most and work on the most.
Charity is giving all of God's children a fair chance. Whether in missionary work or anything else. Charity, as the scriptures say, is the Pure Love of Christ. Pure. 100%. There is nothing that holds it back or takes away from it. There is no judging, or expecting anything in return. There is nothing happening other than our love. Let's make this world better.
I want to share my testimony on our living Prophet and Apostles. I know they are men of God. I trust, sustain, and love them. I am so grateful for amazing leaders who devote their lives to bringing hope and happiness to the world. These men have God's Priesthood Power. They lead and guide us today so that we may have happiness and return to live with God with our families. Please strengthen your testimonies in these called leaders. They are amazing.
So last night we finished english class, and we went to eat stake with Kris. As we were walking to the restaurant, the songs 1. Praise to the Man and 2. We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet came to my head. Kris and I are good friends, he really is a good day. But when these songs randomly were stuck in my head, I knew it was God telling me to prepare to put up a fight and defend the Prophets. It was amazing how I immediately recognized why that happened. So we went to dinner and not too long into conversation, he attacked. I learned a lot from last night. Kris truly desires to make others happier, but he also has not good spirits around him I can feel whenever I'm with him that have a purpose of tearing others down and their testimony. He said a lot of stuff and everything I would answer or say in return would immediately shut him up and he'd change to a another topic and attack. God's Spirit was with me last night and it literally felt like a raging fire. My testimony was unreal last night. But since I have felt so sad. Kris and I understand the Gospel and the Church in a very very similar way. It's just that his took the wrong path and mine took the climb haha. He's smart, but last night he kinda proved where his desire and thoughta are. It's sad. But wow so much good happened last night afterwards. I was studying and pondering so much and the Spirit just was with me. Anywho, yeah that's all.
For a long time our mission was averaging about 45-50 baptisms a
month. Back in March, President Johnson prayed and felt inspired to set a
goal of 85 per month. He has made effective changes and our mission has
become very productive. It took us several months to reach our goal,
but in July we finally made it. Our mission baptized and confirmed 116
of God's children in July. This work is amazing. We have an amazing
mission President who knows what's up. Heavenly Father is blessing us
when Elder Bastian and I were companions several weeks ago, we would
always be saying 'What a Blessing.' These three words always followed
something that you usually would not call a blessing. Anytime we would
get frustrated or down, the other person would say 'what a blessing.' We
did really good at keeping each other's attitudes in the light. The
truth behind it is that these hard things in our lives really are
blessings. These moments are always love opportunities to grow. We
should and I do love these opportunities. Anywho whenever one of us
would get caught up on something bad, the other person would say 'what a
blessing' and then we both would and we'd go forward happy or usually
just laughing haha. It's simple, it's silly, but it has so much power
behind it. It is spreading through the mission.
Thou knowest the greatness of God; and He shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.
simple phrase found in 2 Nephi is one of my favorite in the whole Book
of Mormon. I have a strong testimony on it. As we look back on trials we
have gone through, we are almost always grateful we had gone through
those things. We for sure may not enjoy them in the moment, but as
endured well they will be for our gain. We will be grateful for the
experience and lessons learned.
Many scriptures in the Book of Mormon are translated in a way where I actually like the Thai version better sometimes.
Child, you are familiar with the greatness of God already, and know that He will consecrate thy afflictions to be thy blessing.
It's not like any big changes or anything, but in Thai...sometimes it sounds and feels a lot more loving and smooth and simpler.
yeah, my message is to just have Faith and trust. Strive to enjoy those
hard moments. It's so worth it and so good. Always remember that this
life is your short time to become the best you as you can...and the best
way to do that is to constantly struggle and become better. Trust that
God is using this time wisely and for thy gain. For thy blessing.
I love it.
I realized today from you that I have passed my year mark. Thank you
for letting me know and I will see you in another two years.
I love you (:
in you i see someone special
Homei Brother Gae but everyone tell him to receive baptism.