Monday, April 7, 2014

Udon Letter--April 7, 2014

Howdy howdy!

I hope General Conference was amazing! I heard that President Khanakham entered the Area 70ty, right? That's soooo cool! He is from the mission presidency here. He is the first area Seventy from Thailand! 
We'll get to watch General Conference this upcoming Saturday and Sunday. There will be a room in the church where we missionaries can watch it in English. I am so grateful that English is my first language so that I can hear the Prophet's and Apostles' and other speakers' words with their own voices and feeling. I mean, I've listened to some talks in Thai and, it just isn't the same. You don't feel the same power as when the actual people say their own words. The testimonies are stronger from the actual person and not from the translator. Also, just hearing their voices brings such a peace to me. I feel bad for everyone that has to listen to a translation. 

This past week has been pretty good. The district meeting on Tuesday was on the Atonement. As missionaries right now, we are really focusing on preparing people for baptism. Elder Watts taught us that we need to focus on the Atonement more in order to prepare people for baptism. The Atonement is the reason why we can be cleansed from our sin. People cannot be saved and enter into God's kingdom if they do not come unto Christ. Christ's Atonement made it possible for everyone to return home to God's presence again. Elder Watts shared examples from the scriptures in which teachers first teach about the Atonement and Plan of Salvation, and then invite people to have faith in Christ, repent of all their sins, and be cleansed through the waters of baptism. Some examples are Alma 7:11-16; 2 Nephi 9:21-26; and 3 Nephi 11:21-23, 33-39. He reminded us that the reason we are here is to invite others to come unto Christ; everything we teach and everything we do should be about Christ. This district meeting was Elder Watts' best district meeting, in my opinion, despite the fact that Monday night he told us that he still had no idea what district meeting would be on. I guess doing things last minute is okay as long as you follow the Spirit. 

I guess this relates to everything we do, not just teaching as missionaries. Every talk, every lesson in church, every seminary lesson, every visiting teaching or home teaching visit should be focused on helping others come unto Christ. See 2 Ne 25:26. I love this scripture.

So I guess I should give you all an update on our investigators. 

  • Our Muslim investigator was baptized yesterday. I'm not including his name or the picture just because, well you know, it's super dangerous for him. This guy is soooo amazing. He has heard stories about Christ since he was a child and always wanted to know more. He's read the Bible before and has spent a lot of time studying at different churches. The missionaries before us had been teaching him. He has such a strong testimony! It's kinda funny actually because we dropped him twice already. By dropped I mean we stopped teaching him because he wasn't progressing. He kept on not showing up for appointments or keeping commitments. We literally just couldn't meet or teach with him ever. But then twice, out of the blue, he called us, said he was finally free, and asked to meet with us. He had to sneak out of his house to meet with us. He literally lives right next to the mosque and everyone in that area is Muslim. After he was baptized, he shared his testimony and it was amazing. He is becoming a soldier at the end of this month (navy). He said that no matter what happens to him, he is assured that his soul is safe with God. Whether he dies in battle or if he dies because people find out he is Christian, it doesn't matter. He has such amazing faith. He is soooooooo amazing. He loves his Savior and Redeemer sooo much. He had to work so hard to be baptized. He reminds me of Alma the younger in the sense that he had done some really bad stuff in his past but he truly repented and felt forgiven and free. He is sooo cool. 

  • Pootta (that looks really weird in English). He's interesting. He's hit a kinda rough spot. Deep down, he knows this is true. He's keeping all the commandments and still coming to church but he just won't allow himself to admit it's true. He was a monk for 9 years and his family traditions deal with a lot of spirits and ghosts. He is so confusing. He keeps all the commandments. He bought a protective case for his scriptures and he reads them. He prays. And yet he still has no idea if any of this is true. We are trying to help him feel the Spirit but we fear that his heart is too closed because of his past beliefs. Most of our lessons with him are over the phone.

  • Gawin. Perfect little 16 year-old. He's great. Only problem? He has school every single day from morning to night. We teach him over the phone as well. He really wants to come to church but there is currently no way. But, luckily, God has all power. The whole if-you-say-unto-this-mountain-move-it-shall-be-moved stuff. Faith, it's a great thing. We three are praying every day that somehow he will be able to get off from school at least one hour every Sunday so he can take the sacrament. I am so grateful to come from a country that was founded on Christian beliefs and therefore most jobs and schools give you Sunday off. Keeping the Sabbath Day holy is literally one of the hardest commandments for people in Thailand because they either have work or school or both on Sunday. School on Sunday just sounds gross to me (excluding Sunday school from this of course :)). 

  • Nid. She is super cute. She had surgery on her brain in the past so we have to talk very slowly and clearly and then give her extra time to get her thoughts together so she can respond. Her husband of 8ish years is a farang from Australia. He is also Buddhist which is a slight problem because he doesn't want her learning about Christianity. He is not happy that she is learning with us. We've met with her three times already and she has SO much faith. She has agreed to keep every commandment that we have so far because they come from God and therefore she can do it. She's adorable! She was drinking coffee every day but then we taught her the Word of Wisdom (first lesson) and then she quit cold turkey. She's great! But... she is worried that her husband will ban her learning with us. He goes back to Australia today so we'll call her and see if we can meet tomorrow. 

  • Yii. Perfect little 15 year-old. The first time we met her went like this: 
                        Sister Yim: "Do you want to be cleansed from sin?"
Yii: "When?"
See? Perfect. Utterly perfect. We watched Finding Faith in Jesus Christ with her and she cried during the Crucifixion scene. "Why did they kill Him? He didn't do anything wrong." She's perfect.
She helps her mom at her mom's food shop and literally tells her mom everything she learns. We eat there every day or every other day and her mom is perfect too. She gives us free fruit all. the. time. We asked her if she wants to learn too and she said she didn't have time. She'll get there one day.
Yii also already has friends at church. Her new best friend is Toey. One night we set up an appointment with Yii and the next morning called Toey to see if she could help us teach. The conversation went as follows:
                        Sister Slaugh: Hey Toey.
                        Toey: You want me to help you teach tonight at 6, right?
                        Sister Slaugh: Yeah. How did you know?
                        Toey: Yii already called me and asked if I was coming. I said yes.
They are both perfect and I adore them both so much. Yii has to wait till June to get baptized though because she is under 16. 18+ year olds can be baptized after two weeks of coming to church. 16-18 year olds can after one month of coming to church. Under-16-year-olds can after three months of coming to church. 
  • Sugan. This was our amazing family that we were teaching but he too has hit a rough spot. Ever since his wife was baptized in a different church, he hasn't been able to come to this church even though he really really wants to. He has to take his wife to her church and then he also has 4 children to take care of. But he loves the Book of Mormon and has the desire. The wife also LOVES this church but feels like she has to go to the other one.
  • Dam and Dif. New family! They have a 4 year-old daughter named Wiw. We met them last Thursday so we've only met with them once for a lesson. They came to church yesterday though.
These are our current investigators. They all came from the new contacting method of asking people if they want to be cleansed from sin. I am very grateful that President Senior is an inspired man and that he listens to and obeys the Spirit. Hence the 218 baptisms last month. The best Thailand has ever had (I think). 

I don't really know what else to talk about. I love being a missionary. I love the people I am serving with even if sometimes the Elders are annoying. :) The whole inability to be mad at someone has really come in handy because sometimes the Elders just do some really annoying or stupid things. But I'm sure they probably think the same thing about us Sisters so it all works out. No one is perfect and we are all really grateful for the Atonement. :)
I'm excited to watch General Conference this Saturday and Sunday. We invite all of our investigators and members to prayerfully write down 5 questions that they have before Conference. They always get answers from watching Conference. It's so amazing that we get to hear the words of our church leaders. 

I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!! I hope everything is going well. 
What is this month's theme in Sacrament meeting?
Is the church still doing that service thing with that other church? (obviously I remember so much about it)
What are you currently learning in seminary?
Dad, has worked gotten easier after that thing got sent in?
Has worked picked up for Stu?

Fun fact: We also now have a sort of guardian-angel dog thing. When my companion and I were contacting in the evening, a drunk guy started talking to us. The dog chased him away. The drunk guy came back two other times and, without fail, as soon as the dog saw him, she chased him away. Good dog. Very different from the dogs that bark at us. :)


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