The Brethren

The Brethren

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Thailand being its Crazy self

Sawadee-Khap everyone! I hope you are all doing well as always :)

Thailand... is being crazy as ever.. as many of you have already heard, this past week, the government was taken over by the Thai Military! They have issued Martial Law throughout the country! On Tuesday, the army took control of all television stations, significant government buildings, and provincial police stations. Thailand now has a curfew of 10:00 pm for everybody, and armed soldiers were stationed around major cities. For us missionaries, we weren't able to proselyte in public for fear of gathering any attention from soldiers. 

However, the work of the Lord doesn't stop because of a military coup. Elder Calderon and I are enjoying it so much here teaching the word of God! If all goes well, we are scheduled to have six baptisms next Sunday. 

Today, I want to share just how much I appreciate some of the recently converted members of the church!

Sister Dear was baptized only four weeks ago. She comes from a Buddhist background as any other Thai person does! Because she is new to the Gospel of Christ, she doesn't have much knowledge compared to the typical Christian in western countries. However, through her example, I learned that knowledge is not necessary in conversion, but it is faith that is necessary. Having a vast knowledge of the doctrine of Christ is amazing! It will benefit us to study and have knowledge of what Christ taught. However, it is possible to drown in those deep doctrine, and forget the basic principle of what connects God and man. It is faith. There are so many scriptures that testify of faith, and I want to share them all, but I'll stick to Ether Chapter 12 for today.

In the Ether Chapter 12, it explains what faith can bring!

 13 Behold, it was the faith of Alma and Amulek that caused the prison to tumble to the earth.
 15 Behold, it was the faith of Ammon and his brethren which wrought so great a miracle among the Lamanites.
 17 And it was by faith that the three disciples obtained a promise that they should not taste of death; and they obtained not the promise until after their faith.

Sister Dear helps us teach our investigators everyday! Everyday! Some days, we have four or five lessons in a row. Some days, we go teach up in the mountain tribes that takes us an hour to travel to. No matter where or how long it takes, she is so willing to help us teach because conversion have changed her life. It is her testimony that Heavenly Father answers to our faith. One way she that she shows her faith in Christ is through helping us teach more people to come unto Christ. Elder Calderon and I are so thankful for saints like Sister Dear that are so helpful in teaching. She's not the only one. Chiang-Rai is filled with wonderful saints who truly represent the love of Christ. 

I am so grateful to be here, serving the people of Chiang-Rai, and most importantly, my God in Heaven.

Till next week, I love you all!!

Elder Lindsey Takeuchi

Long-neck Hilltribe

Future Generation of the Long-Neck Hilltribe
Sister Dear with a Hilltribe village boy!! 
​70-80ft? KhunKhon Waterfall with Elder Calderon

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Earthquakes, Typhoid fever, and Baptisms!

What's up everyone!!!! I'm back!

So last week, I wasn't feeling too well. I had this gnarly illness called Typhoid Fever, and was hospitalized for five days :( :( :(

Here are a few things I learned from having Typhoid Fever
- The food at the Market are not to be trusted all the time. Some are clean and safe... some involves risk.
- Thai people don't have to risk as we do at the Market because they're immune to all stomach diseases. 
- It was painful.. Constant vomit, headache, and fever :( I didn't eat anything for 3 days :(

BUT I'M BACK!! And That's all that matters! So much in missionary work has happened since my last email!!

Also, this was supposed to be in last week's email as well... but Thailand has been having a lot of earthquakes lately! The initial quake was 6.1 magnitude, and happened a few miles away from our house. It was followed by 300 or so aftershocks throughout the week. So Crazy!! The people here were panicking because earthquakes just don't happen here... A lot of buildings were damaged up here in the north, and the mall closed down for a few days to repair the damages. The white Buddhist Temple below was destroyed!  The air conditioner in our church building fell from the ceiling, and the Sister Missionaries' apartment received a crack from the ceiling to the floor. 

So anyway, despite all these weird and crazy things happening, I don't have much time, so I'd like to bear my testimony! My heart is full right now. I just read a few emails from my friends in the Missionary Training Center, and from those out in all parts of the world. From Australia, Peru, Florida, Hong Kong, Canada, and the list goes on... At this time, I just don't know how to express how happy I am to know that all these friends whom I miss and care for are serving missions with the same purpose that I have!!

This work we're doing is truly important to all of us... So much that we'd pause school, work, social life, everything to spend two years or 18 months (for Sister Missionaries) proclaiming this truth! No sickness, challenges, or disaster will pause this wonderful work! Our God has given us so much, and we recognize just a portion of His wonderful blessings. He has called me at this time to use all of my talents, efforts, and might to serve him diligently an faithfully. I only hope that I can be of some help in the conversion of those I serve. I only have a few minutes left, so I'll end by testifying that YES, this faith that I believe in is true. I bear witness of it. I am still young, and have much to learn and grow, but I know and experienced enough to say with confidence that God lives! He cares and loves for us! I am just so filled with hope in life right now from the miracles I've seen this week! I just wish I had time to write everything that I'd like to write here... Perhaps next week, I'll have more time. 

Today, we'll be meeting with some members to visit the Long-Neck Hill Tribe. It'll be crazy fun! Have a wonderful week everyone :)

Elder Lindsey Takeuchi
According to Buddhist belief, Batman and all fictional characters will go to hell :( 

First meal since my sickness
​Two Baptisms this week! Elder Calderon, Sister Dooy, Sister Daw, and I. I was going to baptize Sister Daw, but I let Brother Goo (member) baptize her for the wonderful experience! 
Street Contacting in the Rain

The White Wat hours before the earthquake.
Results of the 6.1 earthquake

Sunday, May 4, 2014

People are Ready

Hi Everybody!!

I hope everybody had an awesome week! Thailand is hot as ever, but it's getting cooler as we slowly enter rainy season. Elder Calderon and I biked in a storm the other day.. The thundering and lightnings every few seconds, along with dime-sized raindrops made me worry a little, but we're safe.. so that's all that matters! 

I am just SOOO HAPPY to be able to email you all! Dang.. each week, I have so many things I want to say, but I'll try to keep it short.. but dang.. this work I have the opportunity to take part in is AMAZING!! My heart is full of joy to know that so many of my friends are serving, or preparing to serve in all parts of the world! 

The phrase, "The Lord is hastening His work" is often thrown among church members and General Authorities.. I bear witness of this phrase with all of my heart.

Yesterday, I had the wonderful experience to baptize a daughter of God! It's only been 10 days!! since I arrived in Chiang-Rai, and I honestly didn't expect that I'll have the opportunity to baptize already!

So I came to Chiang-Rai on Friday, we met Sister Oon and Sister Poon on Saturday while street contacting at the market. They live in Chiang-Rai for school, and are 18, and 20 years old. During contact, they showed interest in coming to church, and they actually came the next morning! In our lessons, they simply accepted the teachings of Christ, and showed eagerness to be baptized! At our first lesson, we taught Prayer - the two-way phone call between us and our Heavenly Father. We first explained, then showed an example of how it can be done. We then invited Sister Oon to offer a prayer for all of us. She was very hesitant at first, but she soon accepted. She gave the most beautiful and fervent prayer I've heard in Thai. It was hard to believe that she was still an investigator. The Holy Spirit testified boldly to me that she was ready.. Ready to be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit.

They took more lessons, came to some of our activities, attended church the following week, and were baptized later that day! It was that simple! Since the initial contact, they were baptized in 8 days.. The mission asks that investigators attend at least two sacrament meetings on Sundays before being baptized. So 8 days is the shortest period possible!!

The example of Sister Oon and Sister Poon shows that YES! Heavenly Father is preparing His children at great speed! YES! People are waiting to be contacted! People want to know the answers to questions such as the purpose of life, where we come from, and where we go after we die... Why are there so many religions? Is death the end? How can I have true happiness? 

I was able to learn that people are ready.. Heavenly Father has prepared them for a very long time.. Some are blessed to hear of the gospel, but many do not know where to find this truth.. THAT'S WHY missionaries are sent all over the world to declare this truth! 
BECAUSE we know this to be true, and we can no longer deny of it. 

Yes, I know this to be true. I wouldn't commit to spend two years of my life if I didn't know this to be true. I am just so thankful that I was able to participate in such a beautiful baptismal service! And to take part in this marvelous work!
Right now, there are 17,000 members in Thailand. It's a small number compared to the 15,000,000 members worldwide. But, the Thailand Mission is EXPLODING right now! Thailand used to be mission without too many baptismal services. March of last year had 39 baptisms. March of this year had 200+ baptisms. The standards are still the same. Nothing regarding the requirements of baptism changed. What changed were the attitude of the missionaries. The missionaries finally realized.. that YES! The Lord is preparing His people! We have to keep up with His speed!

I remember when I received my mission call back in November, I remember thinking.. "Ahh man! Thailand is amazing! But having baptisms will sure be difficult..." Now, I've seen the proof that proves my statement wrong. People are ready. Even in a country with 94% of the population declaring their religion to be Buddhism, people are ready to hear the gospel.

The success of a mission is NEVER measured by the amount of baptisms. It is measured by the amount of effort and commitment given to our Heavenly Father.. But baptizing more people does mean that more souls are coming to Christ. It is truly a marvelous work. The goal set by the mission of baptisms per companionship is 3 for the month of May. Elder Calderon and I currently have 2, and have 4 scheduled later this month. If all goes well, we'll have 6 for this month! This is a crazy good number! We are so stoked and pumped to find people, and invite them to be baptized. To invite them to know the truth that YES, families can be together forever. YES, we can be cleansed of our sins and live with our Heavenly Father again.

I hope my words can be of some encouragement for my family and friends back home, and for my friends who are serving, or preparing to serve missions.

Okay, so on a less serious note, P-Day last week was so much fun! Sister Neen and Brother Arm took us around the beautiful Chiang-Rai Province. We rode elephants and ostriches. Carried a 180 lb. Anaconda? I'm not sure. Some giant snake that I got to bond with. 
We hiked to a small waterfall, and visited Buddhist temples and shrines! We probably should have worn casual clothes.. but oh well, it looks way cool with our white shirt and tie on!

Elder Lindsey Takeuchi

Monks and Mormons

"​Elder Calderon and I can make good Missionary Models. Calendar comes out next year"