Wednesday, December 28, 2016

12-28-2016 Bangkok Thailand Airport Photos

First pictures of Collin Decker from Thailand. It looks like he arrived safe and sound and was greeted by the Mission President and his Wife. We are so grateful to them for posting these pictures of him, and Pam Dowd Latimer for giving us a heads up that they were posted!! :) We have been watching the videos and pictures of previous missionaries arriving and how wonderfully they are welcomed to the mission. It is clear that President and Sister Johnson love their missionaries and love their Mission. We are so excited and feel so blessed Collin has been called to such a wonderful mission. Now the work begins in earnest. He gets to serve the Lord as a missionary in the land of his ancestors (mothers side)!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

12-13-2016 Provot Utah En Route to Bangkok Thailand

Hey there Dad!

This week has been good! Sounds like its been good for you as well! Pretty exciting! Sounds like good things are happening at home! I also saw the pictures and we finally get snow when I go to a land where snow is in abundance! That makes me pretty sad... Oh well! After this we won't get any snow where I'm going! But it will be good, and all will be ok!

Sounds like football is going ok! Seahawks have their ups and downs, so it will be fine later! We'll do good!

Dang! I was hoping we would do well this year for volleyball! We played pretty good this year, so we still can do better! Oh well, we always have next year, or the year after... But even then, I'll still be in Thailand! That is what is going to be insane! Thailand!

When I first was doing the Skype TRC, I was nervous about language and communicating effectively, especially someone official looking like Prathaan Wisan, who is in the Mission Presidency (Counselor?) and we are certain he knows fluent English. So he probably has a lot of experience with younger missionaries, and thus took a little bit easy on us with the Thai! I even asked our teachers and he said "Yeah, he can speak English fluently!" So that was fun for last week. But this week we had another Skype TRC and then it really hit me that this is what they were going to be speaking, I will be there, and I will be serving. That is what is going to be insane! Another two weeks, and I will be on a flight to Thailand!

Speaking of flights as well, we'll be able to call you then! We also will be able to call you on Christmas! I don't think they'll let us Skype here just because of how many missionaries are here, but we'll see! Chances are, we'll be talking over the phone! I have no idea when, but then you'll also get to hear me after I go on my flight, so that will be great!

We got NoongThais! They're pretty great and they are working hard all the time! However I don't have much time to talk to them besides during breaks because I'm always studying suantua (myself) so I talk to them here and there! I'll be uploading some fun videos we got in the residence, le ruub thii phom ao nay residence duay! (and pictures that I took in the residence as well!) There also is one Elder in the Cambodian district who is from Thailand! I spoke with him and he said my Thai was "gaeng maag!" Skilled apparently? That made me feel happy, but I still have a long ways to go! taa waa, Phom phuud pasaa Thai talood duay! Phom samaad phuud nay pasaa Thai mxa Phom yaag phuud pasaa Thai! (but, I speak Thai all the time as well! I can speak in Thai when I want to speak in Thai) le I personally prefer to speak in Thai and my companion is getting better at understanding! He's doing better as well! But I enjoy talking to the khon Thai and the teachers as well! It is a lot of fun!

Learning the language is getting better! Pretty much for any vocabulary I'm learning it is: A: for our investigators and the vocabulary relevant to the lesson I will be teaching. B: Whatever the Spirit tells me to study. C: Words I'm using to replace my English vocabulary with. One of the hardest parts of being a missionary for me is not overpowering the Spirit by thinking about what I should do, but rather what Heavenly Father and the Spirit direct me to do. It has been very easy for me to "overthink" the Spirit when the Spirit whispers simple things of wisdom. But you must always be searching for them, always be trying to be more sensitive. The blessing I have felt in the last two days alone have been tremendous. Teaching in ways I could have never thought of, things I could have never felt for our investigators. I'm learning a ton here! I hope to learn more! Onward and upward!

All the best wishes to you guys! I'll probably be sending another video today as soon as I take it, and I will be good! I love you guys a ton! Only another 2 weeks before I'm in Thailand! I also had a dream in Thai (cool! But weird too). I know I have been called here for a very specific reason, and that Heavenly Father has a purpose for me far greater than I could ever imagine. The MTC might be tough, but it has helped me grow so much in such a short amount of time! Thai, being able to teach, and most importantly, how to be more Christlike, with faith always written on our hearts. Faith brings miracles, faith moves mountains. Faith will cause Heavenly Father to bring to pass the things which are expedient for us to become closer to him, and more like him, even if we cannot see what is ahead of us, the Iron Rod will guide us if we trust in it with faith.

I've uploaded some pictures now! A video of one of my roommates where we got nearly our entire zone in one room! Real fun there!

Not really all that nervous about heading out! I'm ready to go head first into it! Ready for Thailand! The Lord will provide a way! He will help me grow how he sees fit!

I love you guys a ton! Phom rag khun! Thank you for all the comfort and support you give me Dad! I'll be sure to keep moving along and learning more and more, for you guys, and for people in Thailand who I already love too! I love you lots, and I'll talk to you soon!

- Elder Collin Decker

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

12-6-2016 Provo MTC En Route to Bangkok Thailand

Hey there Dad!

Sounds like we have quite a Cabinet in the making. A little crazy, but I won't be here for two years, so I'll be watching from the sidelines!

Snow? I wanted snow while I was still there but alas... no snow. Now on the other hand, I'm not even surprised by snow here. Even though I'm not from Utah, it just seems like a common occurrence that isn't all that special... Oh well! It makes everything look cool! But also cold...

I remember Debbie! Playing volleyball with all the people in our stake was fun. Volleyball here is good too! We have good days and bad days, depending on who is playing (some people cannot bump with two hands for their life). But I'm learning to serve better, and spike, and set, just no diving! It's a lot of fun. Just trying not to get injured here!

So we had our first Skype TRC yesterday. Fun stuff! We skyped with a samaachig nay Prathet Thai! It was fun, but also it was a humbling experience. I know I am definitely not fluent in Thai, but I realize how much I need to learn now as well! Its difficult. We taught about faith, but then he had to go for a meeting (we think he is a member of the mission presidency, whatever that means). He was definitely taking it easy on us! I was super nervous, but it didn't go all that badly! The things that I need to work on aren't necessarily language or grammar in Thai, but teaching skills, which I knew was an issue slightly, but I didn't realize how hard it is to ask questions, and teach through the Spirit!

Right now, I'm at a loss for what to study. I do feel as though I am lacking a couple words in Thai, but I can't fully understand what some of the teachers say, but it is really difficult for me to find relevant vocabulary, or otherwise, to study, Really difficult! I just feel like my progress has slowed down a ton. In Thailand, they have a "higher" form of language that is reserved for when you address the king, or a divine being, which we call "raachasa(t/b)". People know about it, but they don't speak it, or learn about it, since it is reserved only for royal persons! Even so, they have entire dictionaries for raachasat in Thailand! 

The point of this short explanation of this language is? All of the scriptures are written in it. It would be nice for me to be able to take words from the scripture, but alas, I cannot. That being said, not every single word is in the royal language, but I don't know which words are, or are not, so it is not the most applicable for me... So I have no idea how, or what to study! All I know is to keep moving, and to keep trying, for the Gift of Tongues works based on how much you struggle and work at the language! That's all I have to go on. I just need to remember what words I want to learn, and translate from English in to Thai!

Hey, I sent a video to you guys! Two, or three. Should be good! I'm not fond of hearing my own voice, but you'll be able to hear me speak at least! Love you guys a lot! I hope it does snow, or at least school is cancelled! That would be fun! I'll talk to you soon! Rag khun!

- Elder Collin Decker

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

11-29-2016 Provot MTC en route to Bangkok Thailand

Hey there Dad!

One day, I'll get around to putting up my parts of my Grammar Book up on the Drive! Then mom and you guys can learn how to pray at least a little bit, or do whatever! You'll also understand my romanization of the script just a little bit!

Sounds the Huskies are doing great in terms of sports! I'm glad to hear it. Hopefully we will be able to fix any instability issues that we may have, but not every performance can be a peak performance, right?

Volleyball here is fun! I'm trying to get myself to jump higher, but that's a struggle all on its own! Its pretty hard to do it, even though I know I can! Serving is getting better though!

In regards to the MTC right now, its going! It snowed all day yesterday! I have forgotten to take pictures of it, but its a lot, and I'll try take some pictures later. Buts its a healthy amount! I'm not that surprised though. I'm just glad the sidewalks aren't horribly slick! I'm getting plenty of exercise though! Push Ups still, and Core exercises! Stretching too, so that works for me!

Lessons are good! We taught one of our teacher's fiance! That was interesting. We are improving slightly every so slightly!

My current Zone Leaders are in the Vietnamese Speaking District, so they won't be leaving until we leave! We all leave just after Christmas or so!

Thats weird having my face that big. At least its not a bad picture! Sounds like Thanksgiving was fun! I'm looking forward to when I see what the mission does for Thanksgiving in the field, and of course, when I get back home! Thanksgiving nay pasaa Thai is "Day of Thanking the Lord" Soncay (interesting), huh?

Thanksgiving was fun! I was what they called a "station leader". There were a lot of station leaders, half for the first shift of service, half for another. I was in the first half. We were bagging food (i.e. rice, lentils, vegetables and some weird pink himalayan salt) and just putting these meals together for hungry children. It was fun! I opted not to be a table leader (someone who helps with that whole process). I was a runner (of course!) Basically I carried around 50 lbs of rice, or lentils (lentels?) to the tables who needed it, helped them fill the bins they were scooping from, and going on my way. Also, I was carrying the finished product boxes (about 48 lbs a box). Sometimes I got 2 at a time! It was a lot of fun, though it was heavy! I was sad I missed some study time for it though!

Earlier in that day, we had Elder Andersen (Anderson?) of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles come speak to us! It was a lot of fun. He, of course, talked about Gratitude, and how we should always be thankful. I have more on it in my Study Journal (which I currently do not have...). That makes 3 members of the Quorum of the 12 right now! President Nelson, Elder Stevenson, and Elder Andersen. Its lots of fun! If we get another one for Christmas, that will be 1/3 of the Quorum of the 12! That is a lot of Apostles to see outside of general conference!

I feel just a tad frustrated that I feel like my progress is slowing down as far as learning. I'm at a loss as for what to study. It is going to be a while before I can fluently read (from the scriptures) yet there is not a lot of vocabulary that I want to know, because I can replace most of the words I speak in English with words in Thai! I just want to feel not lost right now. But I'll keep studying anyways, learn some more vocabulary the best that I can!

Otherwise, life is good! The blanket I have now is definitely helping a lot! I can't think of a ton that I want, but I'm good right now! Maybe another T-shirt? I have no idea! Maybe I'll save up enough money to buy one with my MTC money. Should be fun!

Work is tough, huh? I work all day, but you still probably have it harder than I do! Just don't lose sleep over it!

I love you guys, and I miss you a lot! Thai is going well, but I'm still trying to improve, as ever! I hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving. Just think, next one, Kaleb will be home, and then we'll be able to Skype at Christmas (I don't think I can in the MTC. Phone call, probably!) You'll be able to hear me speak nay pasaa Thai as well! I love you, and hope that you all are doing great! I'll talk to you soon!

- Elder Collin Decker

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

11-15-2016 Provo MTC EnRoute To Bangkok Thailand

Hey there Dad! 

I got the pictures up! Don't know if they really want me going on onedrive, but no one really cares, I don't think! Even so, I saw a person on amazon ordering stuff. Funny! But I'm not too worried.

These keyboards are terrible by the way. Very stiff, and spaced kind of weird. So again, sorry for the typos!

That's pretty crazy to hear that Trump won! I'm not too surprised, but its cool! I have no idea what that means because I didn't study any policies of his or what not, so I don't really mind that much (plus, I'm going to be in prathet Thai in the next couple weeks, so not really concerned!

Mom in Primary again? Go figure. It seems like she likes to do all of those things!

 The temple is getting a lot better! I almost have the important stuff memorized, so I won't be a clueless elder!

I'm getting along with my companion fine. He acts like a teenager sometimes, a tad immature sometimes. In one of our lessons, he didn't speak a word. One of the worst lessons we had. I wanted him to say something, but he just wouldn't! So that was not the best of lessons! 

Otherwise, our lessons have been good! Besides our First TRC. That was rough. But we'll get the hang of it! The second one, we taught one of our teacher's wife. Their baby is cute! But Brother Staten had to take the baby out because it was starting to cry. But that lesson went pretty well!

This week, our Phii Thais left though! That was really sad actually. Not enough to make me cry, but I was pretty sad! They kind of felt like older siblings (though they are pretty much my age), and they were the only ones I could phuud pasaa Thai with! Now I'll have to practice with my Elders here, though my companion doesn't really study that well (i.e. falls asleep occasionally, doesn't take full advantage of his time). Oh well! I'll just continue to practice! I really just want to be able to think in Thai, no translation! That would be the best thing for me, so I don't have to translate in my head, but it will take some work, since I'm surrounded by English!

So, for the rest of my week, I finished all of the basic vocabulary that the teachers wanted us to learn! From then on, we're supposed to move on to script, but I'm already done learning script, so I kind of feel like I'm somewhat unguided as far as sxgsaa is concerned. (Sorry! sxgsaa is "to study" in Thai). I'll send you guys a pronunciation chart too! A picture of it at least! That way you can read my "pasaa Elder". (Language of Elders). So now, I plan on just learning more Gospel words, and mix some common speech vocabulary therein, so I can hold conversations too! I feel like that would be the most fun part, just talking! Honestly, just teaching investigators is fun, and trying to speak Thai, yet also teach the Gospel! I just feel so happy to learn and reconnect with this language!

Every so often, I just think to myself, "I am really glad that I'm going to Thailand for my mission." They always say to love the people, and I think it is really nice for me, because they are already my people, if that makes sense! Just a part of me I haven't seen yet! I just get so excited to think that I will be teaching these people, and finding these people, and most of all, talking with these people! I'm learning this language for me, you guys, and them! I'm excited to keep learning!

Learning more about the Gospel and how to teach it has been great as well! For us, it is important to remember that the Spirit is the true teacher, and we are to invite the investigators! I've been reading from nangsxx Alma (Book, Alma) recently. Chapter 5 is scary, but cool! If you really wanted something to read, read that, or Mosiah! King Benjamin is pretty cool!

All right, that's it from me! I love you guys a ton, and thank you for all the support! I look forward to hearing from you soon!

- Elder Collin Decker

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

11-1-2016 Provo MTC Heading for Bangkok Thailand Mission

Hey there Dad! 

Boy do I miss you guys a ton! It wouldn't be right if I didn't miss you guys though! I'm sitting here tearing up as I read your emails, but I'll get through it soon! Just don't break down when I send you guys emails, right? That is what I don't want!

The first day of the MTC was a blur! I can't believe all the stuff that went on! Go to hallways, round the corner, this and that, this and that! I would try to upload pictures, but I don't think that I can! It's not working out for me! I found out that devotionals really aren't my thing. Boring, long talks. Maybe a General Authority might be more engaging? Mai ruu (Don't know in Thai :D) but so far it has been great! The name tag is cool! I have two, and then once I get closer to leaving into the mission field, I'll get another set in all pasaa thai axon (Thai script)! The name tag already looks crazy! It will be good though!

I like my companion well enough! He's not crazy (too) like my district, and he understands where I'm coming from when we leave the classroom to focus on preparing for our lesson with our (pretend) investigator!

My district is completely crazy, for better or for worse. These last couple days my companion and I (I'm senior by the way, for right now) have had to step out of the classroom because they were being loud, not using their time efficiently, and not preparing nor wholly acting like, as I feel, should be missionaries. But its not my problem to try and fix, right? I'm not worried about being distracted, but I am concerned if they are going to be effective missionaries if they keep wasting time. It takes a long time to rian (learn) a language! Thai of all things as well! Oh well. I also have a slight discomfort with the district leader. He acts as a captain, rather than a leader, if you kind of get my feel. Not leading by example, but giving out orders. Very opinionated too, argues over the littlest things, for no reason or merit. Mai ruu, oh well though! I'll just keep my head down, and interact in class with the teacher!

Learning Thai has been so much fun though! I love it, and even though they having us just learning Thai in romanized script, its still a lot of fun! I just hope they remove this crutch from us soon! I've been studying vocabulary night and day, learning all I can from my teachers, and our PhiiThais! (Older Thai district who has been here for 6 weeks). I love all of them, they all just seem like so much fun, and happy, but my district I just feel is kind of... meh. I don't know! But they're all great! Our current ZLs are also our PhiiThais! Elder Feller and Elder Miyagi! The sister missionaries are also a great help as well! Elder Bair (he's half Thai too) is a really great help. I feel like I can really communicate with him well, he just kind of understands!

They had us start teaching an investigator on our first day too! That was rough. Scripted and that whole bit. Second went better! We actually could express who Heavenly Father and Jesus were, and in relation to him, and why we love him, and all that! The investigators name is Phii (Phii is a title) Manad! By the way, there are no tones in my writing, so just be aware, they're not all flat tones...

I finally got some hangars from the Dry Cleaning people (because they give hangars for free :)) They were really nice about it too! I don't particularly want to buy things with the cash I have right now... they give us $6 every week to buy stuff, and it rolls over week to week! They don't have hangars already for us in our rooms... We have to buy them! But I didn't because our PhiiThais and other Zone members are telling us all the tips and secrets of the MTC! Its so much fun to hear these things from! There also this really cool Elder, whose name is Elder Mitchell, and he's going to Cambodia! But the best part is that he's from the U.K.! the accent and the whole bit, and he's super fun and super nice!

I have played volleyball! The missionaries I play with are not really all that great... but its fun! We also played Intra-Zone soccer on out first exercise time! Young District v. Old! It was fun, I was goalie. We lost 5-2, but still fun!

Oh, can you and Mom send me sandals? Community Bathroom after all! Maybe hangars too, but I think I'll just pick some up later!

Anyways, I love you guys so much! I miss you guys, and I get home sick from time to time, but that's ok! It doesn't interfere with my learning, and only happens in passing, from time to time! But I do miss you guys a lot! Just keep moving forward, don't think too hard, and I'll be home in no time! I love you, and I miss you a lot! Hope you are doing ok at work Dad, and that you're doing just fine!

With much love,


- Elder Collin Decker

Thailand, Bangkok Mission

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

10-26-16 Provo Utah Bound for Bangkok Thailand

Collin left this morning for his Church mission to Thailand. He will spend 9 weeks in Provo Utah beginning to learn Thai language, and learning how to be a missionary.
His email address is
His address while in Provo is
Provo Missionary Training Center
2005 N 900 East
Provo Utah 84602
Attn: Elder Collin Decker
His address in Thailand is
1645/6 New Phetchburi Road
Makkason, Ratchathewi
Bangkok 10400
Attention Elder Collin Decker
US Postal Service, Air Mail or Priority Mail work best. Typically it takes 4-6 weeks for packages to arrive.
I will be posting his weekly email, pictures and videos as he shares with us his experiences being a missionary. I am sure he would love to hear from each of you, so if you have time, please send him an email, even if it is just a short email asking how he is doing.
I will also be creating a Blog Page and forwarding his emails via an email distribution list for those who do not use Facebook but are interested in following.