The Brethren

The Brethren

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Language Progress

3/22/14 - So How's the Thai Coming Along?

So I entered the MTC on February 19, and will be here until April 21st. I just passed the half way line! I'd like to take this opportunity to look back, and share how we've been learning Thai in the MTC.

Day 1 - We learned how to greet people and introduce ourselves. Probably didn't make sense at all and Began using Romanized Thai writing

Week 1 - Mastered how to pray, bear my own testimony, getting to know people. Probably know about eh.. 100 words?

Week 2 - Simple conversation, expressing wants, needs, polite requests, adjectives, who, what, when, where, why... all that good stuff

Week 3 - Introduced to Script (Thai Alphabet) Has 44 consonants, 43 vowels, and 5 tones.. The amount of vowels they have is insane.. Took about ten minutes to read a few sentences.

Week 4 - Able to keep a conversation pretty well I have to say.. Humbly speaking, probably know about 700 words by now.

Week 5 - Reading much smoothly. Mastered the alphabet, but still working on the insane amount of vowels.. I'll explain why the vowels are insane next week! Probably know about hmm.. 800-900 words? (Decided by district)

The teachers here are just soooo awesome! That'll be my blog entries next week. I apologize that they're not so great this week! I hope the photos make it up for the little entries I have!

But, on a good note, my Thai improved the most this week! 

I love you all, Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Takeuchi. 

Final Judgement


Today, I'll be quoting a portion of a talk given by Brother Brad Wilcox, a widely known motivational speaker and Mission Prep teacher at BYU. He shares his experience of how he came to imagine what Judgment Day might look like.

"In the past, I had a picture in my mind of how the final judgment would be like, and it went something like this: 
Jesus standing there with a clipboard and Brad standing on the other side of the room nervously looking at Jesus. 
Jesus checks His clipboard and says, "Oh shoot, Brad. You missed it by two points."
Brad begs Jesus, "Please, check the essay question one more time! There have to be two points you can squeeze out of that essay!" 

That's how I always saw it. But the older I get, and the more I understand this wonder Plan of Redemption, the more I realize that in the final judgement it will not be the unrepentant sinner begging Jesus, 
"Please, let me stay." No, he will probably be saying, "Get me out of here!

Knowing Christ's character, I believe that if anyone is going to be begging on that occasion, it would probably be Jesus begging the unrepentant sinner, 
"Please, choose to stay. Please, use my Atonement - not just to be cleansed but to be changed so that you want to stay."

I testify that God's grace is sufficient. Jesus' grace is sufficient. It is enough. It is all we need. Keep trying. Don't give up.
Don't look for escapes and excuses. Look for the Lord and His perfect strength. Seek, Christ, and feel his amazing grace."

In the Christian world, we become familiar with phrases like, "Have you been saved by grace?"
It is a great question, and for me, the answer is "Of course, and I'm truly.. just grateful for His grace!"

Brother Wilcox shifts this question into.. "Have you been changed by grace?"

It is a amazing talk that shed more light on the topic of grace and Atonement of Christ. Upon reading this talk, I had the opportunity to kneel, and truly thank my Father for the Plan he has prepared us with. My understanding of the Atonement and grace is still shallow, but this talk helped me in great lengths. I invite all of you to read this talk, and study the Atonement and grace. The talk is called "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox given a few years ago.

I love you all! 

-Elder Takeuchi

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Nevertheless, It's the Fourth Week

Hi everyone, 

I hope you all had an amazing week :) This week was truly humbling for me. Below are my blog entries from last week! I hope they're worth reading on your spare time!

3/6/14 - Mission Stories from Brother Booth

A typical day here involves studying for about 10-11 hours a day... The majority of the time is used for language/teaching preparation classes. The Khruu (teachers) are really amazing at teaching, and I absolutely appreciate their work! But I can honestly say it is difficult to keep a high level of concentration for a long period of time. By the end of the day, we get so drained that the morning felt like it was three days ago.. After dinner, we have our final studying block for three hours without teacher supervision. This is usually the time when our dedication to study is truly tested. We get so distracted because someone will inevitably start talking, and we'll soon be having a conversation that's totally off topic. 

So to prevent this from happening, Brother Booth, a language resource teacher was dispatched for a day to make sure we make use of our time for the final block. It started off with all of us diligently studying.. but it only took ten minutes till all of us including Brother Booth began having a conversation that was totally off the subject. We found out Brother Booth also served his mission in Thailand, and once we found that out, the discussion soon shifted into bombarding him with questions about Thailand. He told us many stories and helpful tips. Listed below are some of his thoughts.

Words of wisdom by Brother Booth...

- If you like spicy food, great.. If you don't.. sucks to be you. (I like spicy food!)
- Go to the Elephant Village at least once, and ride elephants!!!! 
- If sent to the country side, try to eat at a restaurant with at least three walls. Eating at a hole-in-the-wall place might give you diarrhea.
- Oh, and speaking of diarrhea.. it's a daily thing.. You'll get used to it after a few weeks. Embrace it.. There's no way around it.. (I teared up a little)
- Shop at the Water Market at least once. (Google images can show you how cool they are)
- He's taken every companion to the hospital at least once for. Usually because of stomach flu.
- There's a slight chance that we'll get to serve in LAOS! 
- At least try some of the bizarre food they have. Such as scrambled eggs with fire ants, fried beetles, and roasted cockroaches.

- Despite some of the interesting experiences you'll have, the Thailand Mission is the best mission! Enjoy every part of it!

It's so much fun to learn about Thailand. If you come to find out anything awesome, I ask you to please share with me!

Elder Gillam aka "Lightening Punch" studying Thai Script

Elder Quirante (Cambodia) with scripture cases from Thailand/Cambodia

3/13/14 - "Nevertheless"

Today, I want to write about one of my favorites words in the scripture. The word is "Nevertheless". Before I knew the actual meaning of this word, I just thought it was a synonym for words like "But" and "However". I came to understand that it means waaaayy deeper than that. The creation of "Nevertheless" dates back to the 16th century when William Tyndale and a group of scholars were translating the Bible to English. (I apologize if some of the facts are wrong. I'm quoting what I remember of what my professor said at BYU) So Tyndale wanted to wanted a word that meant "always the greater", and has a stronger meaning than words like "but" or "however". He couldn't find such word, so he made one! Soooo why would I take so much time talking about this word... It sounds so boring.. It's because Nephi, a prophet in the Book of Mormon, along with many other prophets used it numerous times.
In the first verse of 1 Nephi, it says, "having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in my days; yea having had a great knowledge of he goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days." 

To simplify this verse in my language, Nephi says "Life was tough.. I went through a lot of difficult times in my life. Nevertheless, having felt the love of God, and knowing his good works, I record on this plate the things I did."
Nephi goes through so many trials in his lifetime. He was taunted and rejected by his own brothers. Beaten and bound by rope, surviving through famine, and dealing contentions between his family. He could have died on many occasions. Nevertheless, Nephi chose to live righteously. His faith in God never dwindled. This is the caliber of faith that I desire. I want to live by faith in Him that He will deliver us. This is the kind of life I desire.

3/15/14 - Service Hours/Assurance in the Lord

Twice a week, we have service hours first thing in the morning. Most of the missionaries have to clean bathrooms and wipe the floors, but my district got super lucky, and got meal preparation duty. Attached are a few photos of us looking so enthusiastic of our meals. We've eaten the food here enough that we know the weekly schedule of the meals :/

Burgers all day everyday

Elder Beebe and I enjoying service hours to its fullest

Thursday, March 6, 2014

2nd Week of the Best Two Years

I've heard many accounts of missionaries' experiences at the MTC.. Some said they were good, others said they didn't like it. I absolutely love it. It gets draining to have 14 hour days, but I'm sure it's nothing compared to being in the field. I love what I'm doing for the purpose that I'm doing. 

I was blessed with a great companion. Elder Beebe hails from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. He's 18 years old, and graduated high school early to serve a mission. He has his "little kid moments" (like when he doesn't want to lift) but he's a great companion. We have this weird spiritual connection that even we get freaked out with. The Lord has blessed me with him so we can be positive influences to each other. I really hope I get the chance to serve with him in Thailand. 

My teachers (Khruu in Thai) are just so amazing. They loved their missions, and they're doing their very best to prepare us for the real deal. They make us role play as investigators, and it's pretty difficult at times, but it's so worth the struggle. 

I also learned a few new things about my mission. The Thailand Mission covers Thailand, Laos, and peaceful parts of Burma. I heard there are about 84 pairs of missionaries in Thailand. The few chosen ones MIGHT get to serve in Laos as well.. HOW AWESOME IS THAT!! LAOS!! There are currently 4 pairs of missionaries serving in Laos. There are no missionaries currently  in Burma because of political unrest. Our teacher also told us that we'll be learning some Cambodian and Laos in the field, and that they're all pretty similar so it'll be pretty easy to learn. I was so pumped when I heard this!! 

The language experience here is crazy.. We started practicing teaching from the second day of being here. We learned how to bear our testimony by the third day, and able to pray in Thai by the fifth day. Simple conversation in Thai is where we're at right now.. Our teachers emphasize SYL a lot.. (Speak your language) We try to speak Thai as much as we can. 

I'll write another entry about the district later on!

Alma 58:10-11

Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for he support of our people. Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him. 

This is during the war that Helaman and his army fought against the Lamanties. Helaman and his troops had very little manpower and rations. They noticed the Lamanite army growing numerous by the day, gaining much reinforcements. Helaman expected the Nephites would send more support and reinforcements to be able to counter against the Lamanites... But when the reinforcements arrived, the rations and additional manpower were very little. So little that it seemed impossible to defeat the grand Lamanite army. Their civilization was at risk of depletion!! It would have been so easy to complain, and cry that God has forsaken them to be defeated by their enemies.. But instead of complaining, Helaman and his army poured out their soul to God. To ask for His help, because they had FAITH that the Lord God would deliver them. 


Elder Takeuchi
Sunday District walks to the Temple

Zone leaders. (Elder McSweeney and Elder Boyd)

Dear Elder Cookies from Elder Gillam's mom

Night Studies