Sunday, February 19, 2017

2-19-17 Sakon Nakhon Thailand

Hey hey Dad!

Tell Sister Peluso to be careful! I don't have that long before I'm going to come back after all! At least until Kaleb gets back though!

So this week was a blur! Second week down, lots of appointments, not a ton of inviting, in all honesty. Having a trio here means we combined the two area books, so we have way too many investigators to allow for a lot of inviting time. The evidence is given by the fact that we had 7 investigators at church this last Sunday. That's a ton! We have a plan to get one more, who is the dad of 2 of our investigators, but we'll see about that as the transfer goes on!

I got to take over the advanced English Class on Tuesday. That was a lot of fun! The other two classes, the kids, and the basic class, have set programs to go by, and teach by, and basically have to teach from no foundation, while making it fun. I don't know if I could do that. What I do know, is that I can teach normal English, in the way that I learned it at school. It was a lot of fun basically reciting the concepts I learned from all 13 years of school, all the way until now. So that's pretty enjoyable! I have a loose structure, but these people have questions of their own, so I try to answer those as well. Lots of fun!

After that, we were teaching, and teaching, and teaching. Still working on Brother N, but he's getting better! Really trying to get him to stop smoking, and drinking coffee. We're making progress though! Young investigators are great. They're pretty polite, and they almost all have a baptismal date! One is happening next transfer, but one is going to happen on the 15th or so. We have 4 total, so we're working on the other two, and seeing if we can teach their Dad as well!

Understanding is great, and pretending to understand everything is also great! Because I'm pretty dark now, if a lot of folks think I am native now. It's a lot of fun just to interact with them in that way.

For the greatest part of it all: Food Poisoning. That was an experience. It was the most awful Night/Day cycle I've ever experienced in my life. I can guess where I got it from, so we might seldom go back there as often, if at all. Headaches, nausea, and about 30 bathroom trips. I'm thankful for that tylenol that you sent me, because I was taken out on Saturday. It was awful. But I made it through, and the other Elders got to make a lot of phone calls to a lot of people in our area books. So, it all worked out!

I told the Mission Nurse, because we have to get permission to stay indoors.

Life here looks comfortable, not the most clean nor very affluent, but comfortable anyway. People are happier with less, and people are happy to interact, do whatever. You don't take for granted the toilets for sure. Sakon Nakhon isn't very wealthy, but they often have what they need, and are happy in places that I think look sketchy sometimes, which is great to see. It's not shocking to see it, but it's fun, and enlightening, to see people here, like this.

I just need to make sure to give 100% of my heart! Doesn't mean seriousness all the time, but I feel it does mean not being indifferent, and really caring!

Always have to work hard! That's what I learned from Track, you have to go after what you want, with everything that you have. Only then will we have success. Same with learning Thai! Always trying, but always remembering that I have to keep my will submissive to what the Lord wants, for this is the Lord's Work, and we, as missionaries, are instruments, bound to preach the word as moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and what we know is right. Only then can we speak miracles, in Thai, or in any other language!

I try to keep a good attitude all the time! I really appreciate Prathaan Johnson though. He's so great, and I know he cares for all his missionaries, top, to bottom. I recently heard that Heavenly Father knows exactly which Mission President we need!

All right, not much for this week, but that's it! Love you a ton, and talk to you soon!

- Elder Collin Decker

Sunday, February 12, 2017

2-12-2017 Sakon Nakhon Thailand Transfers Video

2-12-2017 Sakon Nakhon Thailand Transfers

Hey hey there Dad!

This week was just fine! I got to see all the videos from home finally. That was pretty cool! I'm glad to hear the quartet. Sounded pretty great!

Sounds like you're getting a little bit in to missionary work, no? Have fun teaching that investigator in Chinese! Did you use discussions when you were a missionary? I suppose discussions were used all the way up until Preach My Gospel came out. Maybe you could get that in Chinese! Otherwise, it will be fun. Get to do a little bit of what we are doing out here, for the second time for you! Members are super great for lessons, so you're currently that cool member that all missionaries love!

We did play volleyball! The students here are really good, it's not funny. Hitting the ball anyways (i.e. spiking). But yeah! It was a ton of fun, and we're going to play again today, somewhere else!

I think it would be fun to work at the Thai restaurant near our house, but who knows? I just want to speak Thai at this point so we'll see in the future! I'm not too worried right now. I'm just worried about working hard out here, and serving with all of my heart, might, mind and strength! Some people here just think I'm really native (probably because I've become increasingly dark in this last month). It's fun, because I can actually understand what they're saying now, and make decent conversation, and have them understand! The Gift of Tongues, no doubt about it!

So this week was fun! We still haven't had Brother N receive baptism, but that's ok! We'll keep working with him. We clarified the Word of Wisdom with him, and renewed his commitment to keep it, and gave a pamphlet to help in that department as well! However, we did receive 4 new investigators! All of them are kids. 2 are from a nonmember family (one brother and one sister) who are willing to learn! We'll see how teaching him and her go. Hopefully, they'll keep interested! We're also planning to try to teach their father too, so that he can be there to support them as well! I don't know about the mom. I've only ever seen the kids. Brother P still hasn't come to church, but that's ok! Keep working, and keep teaching. Next week, we're praying for it! As for the other two kids, their parents aren't members, but they go to church with their grandma, and they're both over 8 years old, so they are treated as normal investigators meaning that we have to teach them all the lessons, but they've already been to church a lot. We typically teach them at one of the member's house who has weird talking birds which talk in tones, to each other. So weird, but funny, and pretty cool! I have videos, so you can hear that too!

So funny story now, about transfers, of course! So I have a step-dad now! His name is... Elder Johnson. As in the one I went on Splits with a couple weeks ago. Yep he stayed, and his companion moved. "But what about your companion?" Someone might ask. Well, apparently I need extra help because he stayed. So only one elder left (our old district leader Elder Duke) this last transfer so now we are a trio! So I have two trainers now.... For better or for worse. We'll see how that goes! Trios are weird to begin with, but now I'm in one, as a greenie, and I have two trainers, and its all pretty weird. So when we go contacting I just put my jacket on, to look different from them a bit, so the people don't get intimidated when there are 3 guys in white shirts and ties trying to tell them about Jesus Christ. Might be a tad intimidating. So I was somewhat solo inviting in the background (sight and sound of course) while they were kind of contacting with each other. So, it's good for me! More practice, more people to talk to, and opportunities to grow my faith, and confidence!

We went to cut down trees this last saturday! Again. Except with hand axes and machetes. It was fun! I've never actually tried to hit something at full force, so doing that was a lot of fun for me! I have pictures, and some videos of that too! As for the other parts, you might hear me speaking Thai just a tad, but who knows? Just always trying to get better here! Just focus on speaking Chat.

Just have to act a little independent when inviting lest we scare potential investigators! Though people seem to like talking to me, so that's fine! So people say they don't have time but hey, that's how it goes! Everyone has agency after all!

Pushing all the time on the language! I definitely have a working vocabulary now, but I know I can expand it, and learn more! Learning nouns is the worst though. Verbs are far more useful for me, and you can get by with just a couple adjectives and it will be all good! But definitely learning more all the time!

Talking with everyone helps too! It's always a nice compliment when someone thinks I'm from here or something. It also helps with a conversation starter too (because a lot of people ask). Vocabulary comes a little bit at a time! Somethings are easier to say in Thai, than in English at this point!
Definitely praying for the Spirit always helps me. The Gift of Tongues, always working, always trying, always trying to improve!

Thank you Dad! I try, these people, all the people, deserve nothing less than the best I can give. Everyone deserves a shot at Salvation, deserves a chance to hear this embodiment of hope that we have in this church. All the experiences in life that I have had have been for my own gain, and for the gain of people here and now. Take everything that I have learned, exercise common sense and the Spirit, and all of this will help me, and all of these people. I'm glad to be here, and glad to make my weaknesses, strengths!

Just working the Spirit, in all times and in all places will help me!

Don’t worry about me not wearing pants. Apparently they have King Cobras here... Scary! Snake bites can be cured with the Priesthood… 

All right, that's it from me! Love you a lot. Hope to hear from you soon, and be safe! Don't get sick now!

- Elder Collin Decker

(P.S. I'm cold all the time now - but it is fine!! :))

02-05-2017 Sakon Nakhon Thailand

Hello Hello!
Hot and humid? Haha, have you seen what I wear everyday? A jacket. No idea why, I don't really have a reason why. But when I take my jacket off these days, 90 degrees (farenheit) is warm and 70 is a little cool. Fun! But it's ok! 80 is พอดี (Which is just right, or pronounced Phoo dii, if you wanted to try. Or just use a translator app.)

The food? There is a lot of fried chicken just about... everywhere. Its really funny actually! They have stores like KFC here (even in Sakon Nakorn). But if we go to a member's house for dinner, we typically eat all of those things that we wouldn't usually eat at other shops (Beef Penang, other curries). Or maybe we're looking in the wrong places. Also has rice porridge though! Called โจ็ก (or about that, I can't remember the last letter.) My stomach is doing fine with those though!
Gift for mom? I can't even think of a gift for people normally, for any occasion. Good luck getting anything out of me! As a missionary, I probably would just give her a Book of Mormon in Thai... Hahaha. But that's how it goes! Good luck in that endeavor!

Really now? Abby and Ashtin? Well, that's weird. Time has flown by since I've been a missionary! Even today, we went exploring with Sister Tuun (Sister First's Mom) and she took us all the way to Nakon Phanom! All the way by Lao. In fact, we could see Lao. So we were pretty close! Bought a strong red laser, to scare the dogs with if they ever come close to me. My district leader said they don't notice the green ones, so I bought a red one. But There were six missionaries and Sister Tuun... in one normal SUV. Needless to say, it was cramped, but it didn't seem that long at all! Nothing compared to the airplane + bus ride here... So it's all good! Got some really cool pictures but I can't upload them from here (nor do I want to because it is a little weird here...) But yeah, time will fly, and Kaleb will be back before I know it, he knows it as well! For you guys at home, it might take a little longer. Life as a missionary flies!

Can't do anything with Onedrive right now though. We're at a different shop than we usually go to, so the client is all weird. You'll be getting maybe about 300 pictures next week, so maybe my onedrive needs to be cleaned? Last time I checked, it was at 90% or something like that. Pretty full!
Transfers are this week! Don't know what is happening with that. They do quite a bit of follow-up training here it seems like, but the opposite is also seems true so... Guessing at it is pointless! But, This will have been Elder Bjarnson's 2nd transfer here, so it's not totally impossible... but we'll see! I keep joking that I'm going to get greenie transferred, and sent to Chiang Mai or somewhere far (It would take forever to get there). I doubt it though! Our DL might also get transferred, and one of the Sisters but we have absolutely no clue! We'll probably get a phone call tomorrow!
As fr as investigators go, Brother N has a prospective date on the 12th of this month i.e... This sunday! He's been getting better with his challenges with the Word of Wisdom, and has been going to church every single week! He even told us "I know this is the true church." So that's pretty exciting! We're trying to invite all people to Come Unto Christ, but a prospective Melchezidek Priesthood Holder is exciting for our Branch! We also started our fasts with him, so we're hoping he will keep going strong!

Brother P is a little harder to meet with, but he takes everything we teach really well! We're hoping to get him to church with his family, but I think we're going to have to be a little more persistent in that apartment.

We're also teaching this really old man (like 80 years old) called Brother H. We'll see where that goes! He's been taught before, but we found no record so... We start from Square 1!
Language is coming along! Some people just speak at a million miles per hour though. But that's ok! I'll get there one day, in it's own due time. Progressing, as always! Lots of conference talks downloaded in Thai on our phones (because we actually have smartphones [maybe because we don't have IPads]) so I can listen to them a lot! They also have training videos on there as well, so it is a lot of stuff I can practice listening to! Speaking slowly, clearly, and just learning at every opportunity! It's great! Faith, and a steadfastness in Chirst, having a perfect brightness of hope, will help me more than anything else now!

All right, that's it from me! Hope to hear from you soon! Love you lots!

- Elder Collin Decker