Hey there Dad!
First and foremost... MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!! 🐏🐑🐏🌲🌨❄⛄🎉🎍🎁
So it's Christmas here today! I hope that you know that P-Day is today... because it hasn't changed! We'll still be Skyping tomorrow though, probably about 7:00 P.M. your time.
So this last week has been... interesting! It was a great week though, but I felt a little off at the beginning of the week. I don't know if anyone has, and I'm not sure if anyone thinks like this, but I will be the first to say that missionary work isn't easy. I remember thinking "If I can just follow the Spirit, everything will be A-OK and it will all fly smoothly!" But to be honest, it hasn't been like that so far. The Spirit isn't something that is easy to follow at every moment, and the Lord constantly expects us to take thought to those things which we are going to teach, to discern the needs of our investigators, and to figure out solutions to the problems our investigators have. We struggle, even to the utmost of our abilities. Then, we see miracles come more frequently. That being said, the Lord will always give us miracles, such as:
We were riding our bikes to go study at the church after an appointment had fallen through. That day, I had been feeling particularly stressed, about all aspects of missionary work. Preach My Gospel tells us about what a successful missionary does, what their attributes are, but the most outstanding thing in the first paragraph talking about being a successful missionary says that our success is measured primarily by our commitment to do those things listed. For example, be exactly obedient, to find and baptize investigators, etc. Well I had been feeling that the new investigators pool was a little lacking, not that we didn't have any, but we hadn't got close to our goals that we set, that I felt was realistic, so I was feeling pretty stressed about what to do. Commitment is one thing, but I was feeling that commitment should lead to results at some point (for it had been several weeks I felt like, that we hadn't reached our goals).
Then an old guy, along the way to the Church, called out to us, asking in English "Where you go?" And the funny thing that us, as missionaries here, will always reply in the language they ask us questions in. So, naturally, we replied "We go to church!" (exactly like that!). (Sidenote: I hope I don't send my English down the drain by speaking like that...) Then, his eyes lit up, and he waved for us to come onto his property (his yard?). He brought out two chairs and then proceeded to ask us, in Thai, ว่า "What do you have to share with me today, missionaries?" (just about that as far as translation goes.) Turns out he was a former investigator from when the Lao Elders were working in Nong Khai! We didn't know that until he brought out a Book of Mormon from inside his house. We weren't even going to invite him, but he invited us. At that point, I knew exactly that the Lord loves us, and he is preparing people for us to meet and teach.
After that Elder King and I had a super great switch-off that was full of fire! We met a lot of potential investigators and visited an L.A. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot. I have a lot of respect for Elder King and how he works. This mission is just full of great missionaries, as I'm sure all missions are. There's nowhere I'd rather be than in Thailand right now!
Later last week, we went to the Ward Christmas Party. It was a lot of fun! Got to bond with the members, and eat food together! They made Elder Smith be Santa... way funny! I had the opportunity to read the Nativity story for everyone there in the very first part (and play the piano as always). I had an opportunity to bear my testimony as well. I'll share one of my favorite scriptures I read in a little bit.
Yesterday, we only had one hour of church meetings (just the sacrament portion, which is the most important one after all!) and then we went off to go teach investigators after doing some Ward Clerk work... Later on that day, we went to carol with the members! I got to map out some way far out members! It was really fun! And that ended our Christmas Eve!
This season truly is a season of great happiness. I hope everyone remembers and thinks to Jesus Christ in the season. He truly is the light and life of the world.
I believe I've already shared this scripture before, but it's one of the scriptures I read the other day as well, which reads as thus:
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6, 2 Nephi 19:6)
I know and testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Our older brother, and the Master Healer. Jesus Christ truly is Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. I love Christmas, I love the Church. I'm thankful for the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I'm thankful and eternally indebted for the ones who gave us this Gospel, Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I love them, and am privileged to be a missionary in these latter days.
Love you all! Talk to you soon! Have fun on Christmas Eve over there!
- Elder Collin Decker
Thailand, Bangkok Mission