Wednesday, December 27, 2017

12-25-17 Nong Khai Thailand

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

Thursday, December 21, 2017

12-17-17 Nong Khai Thailand

Hey hey there Dad!

So this last week was Zone Conference here in the Udorn Zone! Just on Friday and Saturday. But before that, the rest of the week. We had a miracle in finding one of our old investigators who disappeared a little while ago. Couldn't contact him, couldn't find him at home. But now, we found out that we could meet with him at his home in the late evenings, which is perfect because there is nothing to do in the late evening around here in Nong Khai... besides wander around some neighborhoods and try to talk to people in their homes! (but we can't actually knock or ring doorbells so we just yell to get them outside... hahaha.) I haven't actually knocked on a single door yet... but we might try sometime! We're trying to talk with everyone after all!

Also, for the entire Ward back home, thank you for sending me that letter. It really means a lot to me to know that there are people at home who are praying for me, and missionaries everywhere! But more importantly, the people we are teaching, that they might taste of that sweet fruit from the tree of life. Life is great as a missionary. Life is great indeed, especially as members of the Church, and living according to the restored truth.

Zone Conference was Christmas themed this year! It was really fun. Went to do interviews on Friday (didn't happen unfortunately because of a special meeting that President Johnson had to do to). Everyone else but us and a few other companionships went, but it's all good. It was lots of fun! We had a white elephant gift exchange that night as well! My white elephant gift was really lame because I thought the limit was 30 baht so I got something that was 35 baht but bartered it down to 30... so sad! But I got a Thai-Issan Dictionary, so that was really fun! From my good friends in Lao, the "English Teachers" over there, including one of my old companions Former Elder Johnson (Former because he's just an English Teacher in Lao). We, here in Nong Khai, help the English teachers in Lao whenever they come over, or they need important documents delivered, so it's a ton of fun on somedays when they come over and we get to help them out. Helps bring a good change to the pace of the day.

Back to Zone Conference: We also received gifts as a mission! Just some small gifts, but it included a tree ornament, which was really cool. I missed out last year, but hey, not everyone can be in the MTC for Christmas, so that was a lot of fun! But we also finally got our phones that we bought, and bartered for... I finally got to see my phone, and it looks better than I thought! Now, there are lots of application controls and the whole bit, so it's pretty safe, and I'm thankful for that, but it definitely has the potential to be a huge time waster if we're not disciplined in our use of it. We both individually get a phone, but I'm the one who gets the SIM card... hahaha. So only I can make phone calls and send out texts. No Facebook or Line yet, but coming soon! Right now, we're just trying to get a hang of the planner on our phones. At the very least, we're trying to use it! A little different and it's not like writing, but I can use the microphone to write notes so I might forget how to write altogether... time to start keeping a journal (again!) (in Thai too!). Our crazy 2nd counselor in the Mission Presidency was Santa who gave us those gifts. I love him so much, way funny. Just can't take yourself too seriously around him for sure.

Saturday, we watched "The Best Two Years" in the morning while eating milk and cookies. Way fun and way good. It was funny to watch for the first time and especially as a missionary. Everything seems to make sense about what they're saying... definitely something I will rewatch at a later date, hahaha. Then we played some fun games after that with everyone in the Zone, including President and Sister Johnson. They also took pictures+videos, so those should be up on the mission Facebook I think. Then we received some training from President Johnson, which talked about finding new investigators and what we should be doing. Really great, and I know how I can work even better now.

I really love being a missionary. I really do. It's sad to think about, but this will be my one and only Christmas as a missionary in Thailand. But it's all in the Lord's timing. We're here to grow, and become closer to God, and in doing so, help others to do the same. One scripture I really liked from a recent personal study this week is this:

in JST Matthew 16:

25 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.

26 And now for a man to take up his cross, is to deny himself all ungodliness, and every worldly lust, and keep my commandments.

I know that as we serve God with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength, yielding our hearts up unto God, and denying ourselves of all ungodliness, we'll become closer to our Heavenly Father, to becoming even better than we were before. Let us all remember to look unto the Savior, especially at this time of year. I know the Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior of the World, the Prince of Peace. He indeed is the Master Healer. He loves us, and so does our Heavenly Father. I know this season is a time of joy and happiness. I wish the same for everyone, especially for Kaleb, Kai and Mom, and those in our family! I love you all!

I'll talk to you soon! Take care and have fun!

- Elder Collin Decker

Saturday, December 16, 2017

12-10-17 Nong Khai Thailand

Hey hey there Dad!

This last week has been pretty... normal actually. Went out and worked. What more can be said? Working will make missionaries happy. Not working makes us unhappy, even for the missionaries who don't want to work. Missionary work is like a big train. We all have our small part to do on the train. If we decide not to work and then drag our heels while hanging off the back of a train, how do you think your heels will feel after a couple seconds, a couple days, weeks, months, years? When you drag your heels in missionary work, you only hurt your own heels and the part of the train that you're working on, which is a small part since the Lord is in charge of most of it. The train won't stop just because a missionary slacks off. The work goes on and so does time. When we're all on board, working our best to keep our small part of the train in the best condition we can make it, time will fly. Life will feel good, you'll feel accomplished! When we drag our heels, we feel bored, anxious, tired, perhaps lonely. We get stressed, and feel sad. we don't want to be on the mission. But when we're working as hard as we can, we will have the Spirit to be with us, which will bring us an immense amount of strength and joy. So, don't drag your heels, because you only hurt yourself, and that small part of the train you have been given to work on. But the train will keep going, and those souls who hop on board are the converts we help teach, and our investigators, and we are all on the destination to our Heavenly Home, even so in the Celestial Kingdom of our Heavenly Father.

As President Gordon B. Hinckley's father once said: "Forget yourself and go to work." Life is much better that way anyways!  😁

As for the specifics: We received a referral from some of the Sister Missionaries at Temple Square, who is just an awesome referral, reads in the Book of Mormon everyday, and believes in God, and the Plan of Salvation and loves his family. It's amazing how the Lord prepares his people, and how the Lord grants miracles unto us on a daily basis.

We had no investigators at church... but we're working on it! We're working with them even closer now to get them to church on time (or at all).

We're working hard out here, but there's always more to be done, always more that we can do! Indeed, we're going to start to follow the counsel that Christ, the Master Teacher, when he said to his disciples: 

"34 ¶ And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

37 For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; or whosoever will save his life, shall be willing to lay it down for my sake; and if he is not willing to lay it down for my sake, he shall lose it.

38 But whosoever shall be willing to lose his life for my sake, and the gospel, the same shall save it." (Mark 8:34, JST Mark 8:37-38).

I know that Christ is the Master Healer and he will heal all of our infirmities and all of our sicknesses. I know that the Lord loves us, and will take care of us, if we so trust in him and believe in him. We will find our lives in our willingness to lose them in His service. We will help the people of Thailand! We will help our Brothers and Sisters return home. I love Thailand, I love the mission, as hard as it may be. I love this Gospel, and of course my goodly parents that I have been born too and family as well! I love The Lord Jesus Christ, and I am eternally indebted and grateful for his great sacrifice. So, the least I can do is work hard to further His work, and help these people come to know that He is:

"Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, ...The Prince of Peace." "มหัศจรรย์, ที่ปรึกษา, พระผู้เป็นเจ้าผู้ทรงอานุภาพ,...เจ้าชายแห่งสันติ." (2 Nephi 19:6 ; นีไฟ ๑๙:)

Love you lots Dad! Hope this last week has been good for you, and I'll talk to you soon!

- Elder Decker

Monday, December 4, 2017

12-4-17 Nong Khai Thailand

Hey hey there Dad!
Well, since last Wednesday, not much has happened... except that we had one confirmation! Our investigator Brother Bin, has just been confirmed as of yesterday! So that's really nice. He's doing great, and he has great members to support him along the way as well. He even said he wanted to be an Elder one day, and that he wanted to follow Jesus Christ "ตลอดชีวิต" meaning all his life, so that's really cool to see! We'll keep working hard to help him along the way as well.

This being my 4th transfer in Nong Khai means that I have a 98% chance that I will be moving at the end of this transfer, provided they don't forget about us all the way out here. So this week, I'll have to work harder than ever! I feel like I've managed to get my feet under me, but it is, and probably always be, a challenge to keep up. The goals we have are always just within reach, but they require us to stretch out to get them accomplished. So I'm constantly growing (taller too I hope, but I seem to be taller than almost everyone here already so it's ok.). The hardest part is trying to find people to work with within the city. The people way out of the city seem pretty willing to listen to us, but in the city... less so. That was one thing that Elder Chudchaiyaphum taught me while I was out here, when he related his experience working in Chiang Mai. He said something along the lines "that there are always people to find within the city who are prepared, that's why we work in the city still, but think about all the people on the outer borders who haven't even had a chance to hear the Gospel yet! There are a lot of golden investigators outside the city." Now that's not to say that we go way out in the middle of nowhere, but we do have strong members out in the middle of nowhere so... it actually can be effective to proselyte there as well! But we work everywhere, in the city or out, but we try to work effectively nonetheless and "talk with everyone."

Well, in other extraneous news, I crashed my bike again. I tried to do a running start and then ate it, but I came out without a scratch (thanks to my nice coat that I wear all the time... 555+). My bike is doing all right as well! But I'm definitely losing weight out here... so that's a bonus!
I know that the Lord is helping our investigators. We just need to do our part, even our very best. The Lord is surely in charge. We just need to work happily at the work,even so where it says:
"let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we standstill, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." (D&C 123:17)

I know that as we work cheerfully and try out very best, the Lord will help us and our investigators. Counsel with the Lord always, and he will consecrate our efforts and our afflictions for our gain. The mission isn't easy but it is always truly rewarding. The Lord loves every single one of us, every one of our investigators and our members as well! We will continue to serve with all of our heart, might, mind and strength. That's what the Lord has asked us to do, and I know that this is the Lord's work. If we follow the Lord, we will have everything that we need in this life, including those worldly needs. I know the Jesus Christ lives. He is our Savior, and he understands all of our pains, our afflictions, our temptations, and our sorrows. He will help, he will strengthen us, and we will be upheld by him, even so by his Omnipotent hand. All of us missionaries are witnesses of this, and this is the message we share. The Lord won't let us fail if we give it 100%!

Love you lots Dad! We're working hard out here and learning a lot. The Lord is helping us, missionaries and members, every step of the way! Talk to you soon!

- Elder Collin Decker

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

11-28-17 Nong Khai Thailand - Transfers

Hey hey there Dad!

Well P-Day is here now! It seemed to had taken a while, but we've got to it now!
So Thanksgiving came and went. I wish we had done something but... we were busy teaching investigators and helping them get baptized! This last Sunday we actually saw someone be baptized! It was way cool and I felt really happy for him. He's 12 years old and his name is Bin. He's doing pretty well, and he has good member support, so that seems to be going well! We're working with that entire family right now, but his younger brother may need to wait a little bit, as he doesn't really understand a lot... he is 9 years old, but they haven't had a lot of schooling up to this point. But they're in school now, so I hope that all goes well for them! We have a lot of people that we're working with right now, but it's all going well! Just trying to help them all progress, while also keeping our teaching pool up!
Otherwise, as for transfers, nothing is happening! We're both staying in Nong Khai, but my old Zone Leader, Elder Lovelock, who I have been in the same district with for many transfers, is now moving out. We've been in the same district for 9 months! 6 transfers! That's a really long time, and over three quarters of my mission thus far. So, I'll be sad to see him go, but we'll keep in touch somehow. He does live in Australia so going to visit him might be a little difficult if I ever were to... hahaha.
It's been crazy how much time has gone by. One year come and gone, and now that I see people I know pretty well getting close to finishing their missions, it makes me think how much time we as missionaries have, which is: not very much at all. I know that this next year will fly as we work hard, but it's crazy how much I learn. There are some points in language study when I think to myself "How can I even read Thai?" Nothing less than help and the power of God, for sure, but there are other times when I wonder "How did I get here? What am I doing in Thailand? Why am I here?" Weird moments like that happen a lot, but I always know that I'm a missionary. Even in my dreams I remember that I'm a missionary. It's strange, but really cool at the same time.
Not much to report on here! The work is good, and life is good! We're working hard out here (at least I think we are) and I know that the Lord is blessing us.
Love you lots Dad! Talk to you soon!
- Elder Collin Decker

11-20 Nong Khai Thailand

Hey there Dad!

So I actually am able to send emails out earlier today, so that's fun! Nothing going on besides going to visit a market later on. But we need to to call P-Day short by a half an hour because we need to bike over 30 minutes out on a regular basis. And that's if we bike fast. Have an appointment today with a family of potential investigators, but then we need to head in just the opposite direction about over 45 minutes away to go to a family home evening. Needless to say, I think I'm starting to lose a little bit of weight. Our investigators say so as well, so that's interesting! 

The other day, actually just this last Saturday, we had the opportunity to go to another funeral! Yay! So now my greenie has a total of: 2 funerals attended. I have a total of: 5 funerals that I have attended. The funeral was for a member who had not come to church for a long time, but someone I had visited before. It's a strange concept to me. I saw her, saw her children, and now she's actually gone into the Spirit World. What a strange concept for me, and for all the people that I've seen as well. Her children are unbaptized, so hopefully we can provide them with some hope and happiness by teaching the Plan of Salvation to her entire family.

Last week was a ton of fun! Hopefully you saw some of the pictures! When we vacation here (I recommend not winter break, but that's up to the family) we're going to need to use a little bit of time to do things like this. Way fun. But we saw a couple snakes too so have to watch out for that. And big bees.

Otherwise, the work is going great! We actually have a baptism planned for this coming weekend! He's 12 years old, and his name is Bin (บิน) which means fly, so that's fun! He's the little brother/cousin of one of the strong members getting ready to go on a mission soon, so he has a good support system here! I just hope he'll be able to go in the future when she goes on a mission as well! I'm way excited, and we're working with a lot of people, so we'll see if I'll have the opportunity to work with them some more! But transfers are next week!

The Lord truly does bless his missionaries, and the Lord will help us in every situation. President Monson once said that consecrated missionaries can call down miracles from heaven, so that's what I hope that we can do here in Nong Khai. And another quote, actually a poem, which I found while preparing to teach the Missionary Preparation Class here, also from President Monson from a talk given in 1990 called "Army of the Lord":

"Stick to your task till it sticks to you.

Beginners are many, but enders are few.

Honor, power, place and praise

Will always come to the one who stays.

Stick to your task till it sticks to you;

Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it, too—

For out of the bend and the sweat and the smile

Will come life’s victories after awhile."

I know that as we first seek God's kingdom and His righteousness, the Lord will provide. We will continue to serve with all of our heart, might, mind and strength, and the Lord will surely bless us and those around us. I love this great work, I love the people, I love Thailand, and I love being a missionary, a servant of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Love you lots! Talk to you soon!

- Elder Collin Decker

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

11-13-17 Nong Khai Thailand

Hey hey there Dad!

Well, looks like everyone is asleep. Sorry about that! It's a big challenge for us to send out emails in the morning when we go out exploring and on an adventure! We're fully reliant on internet businesses as we send emails, so if we wake up early and head out early in the morning, we aren't able to email because internet businesses are closed. So we only have time after we go out!

Also, Daylight Savings Times doesn't exist here. So when you guys skipped back, it just means you're now 15 hours behind instead of 14 hours behind. So that's fun! Just wanted to let you know. So now the latest I could ever send an email is at 3:00 at the morning instead of 4:00... so hopefully that works out for all of you!

So I suppose I need to explain the last three weeks for everyone tuning in as well.

About two weeks ago, we had to go down to Bangkok. We took a train and it was very uncomfortable. So, I was a little sleep deprived. Then we took a sketchy taxi ride (actually the taxi wasn't sketchy but it was about 4 in the morning) in of which the Taxi didn't take us to where we were supposed to go. But, we were nice about paying what the meter said, but I wasn't feeling too great about it. But we happened to be right next to my old area so I ended up just taking a truck back to my old area and waiting in front of my old House (in Nonthaburi) for 1 or so hours as we waited for the other Elders to get out, because all training companionships needed to go to Bang Bua Thong, but we weren't sure where so we just waited for the other Elders. Then we finally got Elder Smith's Work Permit done and over with so then we just spent the rest of the P-Day around Bangkok. We ended up visiting the late king's funeral site, called Sanaam Luang. They built a pretty fancy and impressive structure for his funeral service, which is still up for right now. So we went and took pictures around there with some of the other training companionships who came down. Lots of fun. Then we had family home evening in my old area... because our bus didn't leave until 10 at night! So that was fun to see all of the people that I taught while I was there in Pakkret! So that was P-Day 2 weeks ago.

I actually have forgotten about what has happened in between so... that's fun! But we did have Mission Tour! Which means a General Authority Seventy comes and visits different areas in our mission in of which he gives us training instead of Zone Conference training. So that was a blast. We also had District Conference (Because I'm not in a stake!) where he was there as well. Unfortunately we made a poor showing by showing up to the meeting 10 minutes late... because our van wouldn't leave on time and sat in the Station for a solid 30 minutes. So, my bad for not getting there earlier, but I was pretty sad too. We were in Udorn for two nights and two days. It was all great, and he talked about how having strong families is the best way to help the church grow. Of course, I'm a missionary, so I'll stick to just finding people to teach repentance, turn them into converts, and baptize them. It was all really great and Elder Evans spoke a lot about missionary work, so I was feeling pretty great after Sunday. Then comes the training just for the missionaries from him. He talked about the assignment that he gave to us to study before we got there, which was to study in the chapters of Alma and other various chapters about the Doctrine of Christ. We talked about that for a little bit, but then he went on to talk about Chapter 9 of Preach My Gospel which is: Finding People to Teach. 

He went on to asking about how finding goes on in the mission, and what our method or style is, which would be talking to everyone and asking them if they are interested in learning about Jesus Christ. It worked, to a certain extent, as for my time in the mission, but Elder Evans then went on to say how the missionaries in Hong Kong have a real image problem and the church as a whole because this style of inviting can be pretty annoying and pretty aggressive. So this results in him talking to us about talking with people instead of to them. So I'm glad that was out and done with so that we can now start working more like the Savior with causing me to feel a little bit guilty that I didn't ask EVERY soul I saw if they wanted to learn about Jesus. Elder Evans emphasized really taking an interest in their lives, and really trying to listen to the Spirit, which of course is the only way to do missionary work. I still need to get used to doing this and actually talking to people (because before was really easy) so I have yet to see success, but I know that it will come. Then he talked about how the higher way is to receive referrals instead. So, we're working on that as well!

Last week, we were actually planning to send out emails in the morning, but we got caught helping a couple of potential investigators in of which took up all of our time. At the very least, we were able to send off a quick email, but I'll explain more about what happened. We went down to Udorn and went exploring with the 1st Counselor in the District Presidency, Prathaan Oh, who is awesome. We ended up going to see a "World Heritage Site" meaning that it is something that the world as a whole recognizes as an important site for world history. So it is basically a museum full of ancient (think about 6000-5000 years ago) artifacts that had been excavated within the last couple of decades. So it was really fun to see all of that and get some good random vocabulary to study. Then we went back and ate at a buffet... so that's fun. But I was pretty full, so that's all I could ask for.

Just today, we went exploring waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyy out there to a place called "KeeReeWongGot" (คีรีวงกต) which had a nice waterfall as well, and a cool river that we walked through. Pictures, however, are worth a thousand words, and I have over 100 pictures, so I hope you'll enjoy looking through them Dad! But it was fun, and we played Mafia on the way there as well! But then people started to get carsick and so we quit about half way through. Jumped on some rocks and had a good time with the other missionaries in the District as well as some Gigantic Bees who liked to eat our chicken and fish. You'll see how big they were in the picture. But lunch was good as well! It was all pretty great, so I enjoyed going today! We woke up a little early to go, but everything worked out in the end. But just as a note: Remember that they sell toilet paper at every gas station, and you will need it because as soon as you are out of the big city there is only squatters and that's it! So have fun with that one!

As for Elder Smith, he's starting to pick it up more and more! We plan to plan out lessons for our investigators to give them a more meaningful experience each time we teach them, and also to give him more of a role in the teaching process. I'm excited to do this and help the work go forward!

This last week, we also had switch-offs! I was with the District Leader, Elder King, who is awesome, and we were in Nong Khai. We talked for a while at night... but it was great! We had a good day of proselyting that day as well, in of which a shirtless slightly crazy guy invited us to his makeshift coffee shop in of which he gave Elder King hot chocolate (it was we checked) where he gave no sugar and it was just straight cocoa... so that was weird. Not super interested, but we're working with a lot of people still, so it should be fun!

Being a missionary is great, and I know that the Lord is blessing us with miracles in Nong Khai. We're working with a lot of people and I know that the Lord will continue to help us grow and become better! I know that as we follow the Spirit and doubt not, the Lord will help us find those people who we are meant to find. Miracles are waiting for us as we are exactly obedient and willing to follow the Lord, no matter the request. This is the Lord's work, we are His servants and we are Christ's representatives in the places where we serve. I know the we will be blessed with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength. That's certainly my intent for the period in which I serve.

I love you lots Dad! Take care of that ankle, and everyone as well! I'll talk to you next week!

- Elder Collin Decker

11-8-17 Nong Khai Thailand

Hey hey there Dad!

I'm sorry, this won't be a very detailed email. We have to get back to our area really soon. If I have more time, I'll send a follow up one, but this will have to suffice for now.

So the Lord has been greatly blessing us here in Nong Khai. So many people who are ready. we might not get to all the standards of excellence every week, but we try, and the Lord has blessed us with many people to work with! Definitely, the Lord is working miracles here. I know that through our faith and diligence, the Lord has continually blessed us. I hope to talk more about this later next Monday, but that's how it goes!

This last week, Elder Evans came and totally changed everything for us. This mission has had a culture of "bounce contacting" which is just bouncing from person to person trying to find one who is really interested, which works in some ways, but Elder Evans basically said that that is not how Preach My Gospel says for us to do it. I'm glad though. I feel like we can really show to people that we're servants of the Lord rather than just machines asking if people want their sins to be washed away (which I don't do by the way! Nor have I ever done) or asking if people want to learn about Christ.

Today we helped an investigator in the morning and then went to a museum with the district in Udorn. Again, more on that next week. Don't have very much time at all!

I'll expand more on this next week, as well as pictures the exploring we did this week! Love you lots! Tell everyone, especially Mom and Kaleb and Kai, that I miss them and stay safe with the snow! Make sure we warm up before playing sports/practicing triple jump, ok mai? I love you all! Talk to you next week!

- Elder Collin Decker

Sunday, November 5, 2017

10-29 Nong Khai Thailand

Hey hey there Dad!
Yep, all good, before I got online! I'm actually in Bangkok again today... so that's nice! Have to do work permit stuff... very nitpicky, and very long bus rides here... but we actually took the train this time! I got a decent amount of sleep, but it wasn't all that comfortable...
We actually have found a lot of new investigators! The problem is keeping up with all of them... there is so little time in the week now, that it's quickly becoming very difficult to teach them all. We're trying to help them all progress! It's very difficult for me to keep up with. I'm carrying a lot of the burden out here, I feel like. I try and give opportunities to Elder Smith here and there to help out in planning, but usually responds with that he doesn't have any ideas, which I don't blame him for, since he just came out from the MTC. But we've been able to meet them here and there! Usually it's about a half hour bike ride to get out to that area, so we have to plan well when we're going over there!
Elder Smith is still pretty quiet... It's a little difficult for me to be honest. I want him to talk to members because that's the best way to learn the language: just talking! Members don't bite either, they'll only help, and they won't say that you're a bad missionary because your Thai is bad, they understand if they're new missionaries after all!
I'm feeling fine! Just stressed here and there, mostly trying to help Elder Smith, helping him become a good missionary, while also trying to help the area grow, and keep it up! Nothing less than help from the Lord will get us through this one! Exercise is good, and I'm taking my vitamins! But Thai food is great, and cheap here, so we don't really eat at home often.
Sounds like football is going well as well! And volleyball, so that's exciting!
This last week was also the Late King's funeral, so that was pretty weird! On Thursday, everyone was dressed in black and President told us to avoid inviting that day, so it was pretty somber. They really did love and respect the King. The funeral just got over a couple days ago, and they built some pretty fancy structures the other day to have the funeral done.
We've seen miracles out here though! Last week, we had to go send a form to the mission office, and we ended up finding a new investigator there! He actually contacted us after hearing me read from the Book of Mormon out loud. He said he was really interested, and wanted to meet that day! So we did, taught him about the Restoration of the true Gospel, and then gave him a date to be baptized on the 26th of next month! So we'll see how that goes. We want him to come to church 2 times before then, but he lives pretty far, so we'll see if he can make it happen. Otherwise, we'll be teaching over the phone more likely than not.
Life is good, and I know that the Lord won't let us fail as we trust in him, and let the Spirit guide us! Love you lots! Talk to you soon!
- Elder Collin Decker