Family, friends, participants of this amazing work, สวัสดีครับ!!
DAAAAAAANG... it's been quite a while since my last blog entry... I feel pretty terrible because I told Tiffany (She's awesome. She runs my blog and Facebook) that I would try to write a blog entry at least once a month.
So as the title says, I am finally in my second area in Thailand!! Here's the rundown of how my mission went so far
Feb. 17, 2014 - Entered Provo MTC
- Arrived in Bangkok, Thailand. Assigned to serve in Chiang-Rai, the northernmost area in Thailand with my trainer, Elder Calderon (Florida).
- After spending three months finding/teaching/and baptizing people like crazy together, Elder Calderon was transferred, and became Zone Leader in a different area.
Elder Sugihara (Washington) became my second companion.
Sep. 19 - After spending almost five months in Chiang-Rai, I was transferred to UBON!! with Elder Tamang (Utah), and it's a whitewash transfer!!
*Whitewash transfer = When missionaries are transferred, one usually goes, and the other usually stays to introduce the new missionary to the area. However, sometimes both missionaries of that area are transferred, and two new missionaries enter an area without knowing who the members are, what the area is like, anything... We go in knowing nothing of the area... that is called "whitewashing in".
So before I start talking about how awesome my second area - Ubon is, I just want to take some time to talk about Chiang-Rai.
With all of the faculties that I possess, I can honestly say that I love Chiang-Rai!!
- That's my greenie area!!
- That's where I learned how to speak this crazy Thai language!! (and some Northern too, but that story is for another day)
- That's the place where I learned step by step to become a missionary
- That's where I truly came to know the meaning of "Relying on the Lord"
- I came to believe in miracles in Chiang-Rai
- The members... the recent converts that I had the privilege to teach... I love them beyond explanation..
- They are still in my prayers. I am so excited for those saints who are currently preparing themselves to be missionaries as well.
I'm grateful for the two awesome companions I had the opportunity to serve with in Chiang-Rai
Elder Calderon (Florida) - 15 weeks!! 12 Baptisms! My trainer, the one that taught me by example what missionary work is all about!! Out of all of the amazing missionaries our mission has, I'm so thankful that Elder Calderon was the one that trained me. His Thai is impeccable... Still one of the best Thai speakers I've heard among missionaries. He showed me the meaning of consecrating ourselves to the Lord. We witnessed some mad miracles together, and had so much fun touring up the north! I will never forget it.
Elder Sugihara (Washington) 6 weeks!! 1 Baptism! In the mission, there are about 180 missionaries, of whom 4 speaks Japanese. Which are the Mission President himself, Elder Sugi, Elder Jeng, and I. When we have the opportunity, we chat in Japanese with each other. President Senior must have had a pretty good laugh when he received inspiration to place Elder Sugi and I together as companions. Elder Sugi is way awesome. He whipped up gourmet dishes everyday, and we went ham on strengthening the members in Chiang-Rai.
My last day in Chiang-Rai was difficult to bear. I had come to love the area so much! The members, the people on the streets, people at the local market.. no matter if they were members or not, I knew them by name.. and they knew me by name. It was especially painful to exchange farewells to our recent converts whom we have taught and baptized... They are still in my prayers, and I am so excited for the day that I'll see them again after my mission! Our Father in Heaven game me the wonderful opportunity to witness the Gospel of Jesus Christ change their lives for the better, forever. They will be a source of energy to uplift me for the rest of my life.
SO, UBON!! Man... where do I even start... Ubon!! one of the biggest cities in the east side of Thailand. Everybody speaks Thai, but their first language is the "eastern dialect", which is close to Laotian. So... I'm currently learning that as well. On top of Thai... now it's time for me to learn the eastern dialect... Starting this transfer, I became companions with Elder Tamang, who only became a missionary two months before I entered the field! Usually... both of us would be paired with a companion that is much older in the mission... so there must have been a really special reason why the two of us (Reminder.. we're still young in the mission. We don't speak amazing Thai.) became companions, and whitewashed into Ubon.
Actually, I want to take this time to talk about my new comp and District a bit. Elder Tamang - from Alpine, Utah. He's not the typican Utahn though... He's half Nepalese, half Caucasian. His height is 6'3, so very easy to spot among Thai people. Overall, he loves the work, he knows his purpose, and likes work hard! He's awesome!! Oh, and in Ubon, we have so many missionaries! There are 4 companionship, or 8 missionaries serving in one branch, one city! In the Ubon branch, we have the Zone Leaders, Ubon Elders 1(District Leader), Ubon Elders 2(Elder Tamang and I), and the Sister Missionaries! These four companionship make the Ubon District!
It's been almost three weeks since we came here, and we've already been blessed so much. Heavenly Father led us to those people who were ready... Ready to hear the Gospel, and be baptized. , 10 people were baptized from our district... of them, 4 were from our companionship!! Elder Tamang and I were surprised ourselves that we are witnessing miracles after miracles.
I love it here. I honestly love being a missionary! In our weekly emails to the Mission President, I wrote something like... "President, my first week here was a little bit hard because I just missed Chiang-Rai so much. But, I already love the people here in Ubon. All I want to do now is to stay here, and continue the work of Salvation!! I absolutely love it."
I love you all. Much Mahalos!!
I will now bombard you will two months worth of photos.
|Ubon is beautiful|
|what happens when it rains|