Hey hey there Dad!
Sorry for getting this email off so late, we went exploring today and we just got back not too long ago! No daylight savings time here, so it is still 3:00 in the afternoon here! So flip the hour and add two, and that will be correct!
As far as waiting at the bus stop during transfer, I actually wasn't worried at all! Either they were going to find me, or I was going to take a taxi. It wasn't too hard of a decision for me to make. I probably would have made a phone call before I took a taxi, but that's fine! Can't give in to worry in those types of situations! Calm decision making will get me through, and knowing the Lord will deliver me helps as well! Just have to have faith, and if they don't find me, I'll just have to act for myself! I was just worried for my stuff when I had to go to the bathroom... Otherwise, it was all good!
I'm feeling a lot better this week! NoPretty normal actually, just as you said. All storms pass, I just didn't really want this one to linger for too long. Luckily, it didn't! Just a lot of decisions on my part, and self-evaluation, thinking "Is this what serving with all of your heart, might, mind, and strength is?" I decided my sadness was getting in the way, so I got rid of it, more or less. Partially, I thought to myself "What would this person do?" Thinking about one Elder I admired in particular, Elder Smith-Driggs (he was my Zone Leader in when I was in Sakon Nakorn). His way of missionary work was so involved, and his attitude was so great, I thought that it would be nice to adopt that kind of attitude especially when I was feeling sad. Contacting become 100% easier. Just thinking outside of myself and really being a servant of the Lord. Less of my will, but instead the will of Heavenly Father, being done here now. I've managed to sustain that feeling even until now, so moving here has helped me to learn a lot. Even as it says in the scriptures, all of our afflictions will be consecrated for our gain. I've been feeling pretty in tune with the Spirit lately so it has been pretty great!
I saw monkeys today, in their natural habitat. They have some issues, kind of scary, not cute at all. But they're afraid of us, to an extent. No stealing occurred but I was definitely careful of them. The theft of my camera would result in much sadness on my part! Or wallet. Or anything else like that. But it was fun! Went to a city called Ratchaburi (don't know how it is spelled in Thai). Went to a cave with bats, no guide. A little sketchy! But it's all good. Saw some cool Buddhist stuff at the end of the tunnel, where there was some sunlight there. Pretty cool! There were also cats (don't know how they got there).
We also went to a floating market! It was pretty cool, didn't buy anything because it was all pretty expensive (=เพง). One day, I'll buy fabric and get a tie made :D that would be pretty fun! They had boats and the whole bit, and we had someone row us around. Almost bought a small jade elephant... maybe one day!
Then we went to see an old palace of a king, which was cool! No pictures allowed, but I have a couple of things that were ok to photograph! The palace grounds were pretty big! Wasn't a big building, but they owned a lot of land! Almost like a little park. Pretty cool!
This last week we had 3 baptisms, all last Saturday! My companion convinced me to actually perform one of the baptisms, so I did! First baptism, actually given! It was good, and there are way too many miracles to count here. The work is good, the people are great! Just need to keep working hard, always! The Lord's hand is in every part of this work, undoubtedly. We just have to be willing, and ready to act on the miracles that we receive here, and keep the work going! Always, we have to be willing to do his will, and work in concert with The Holy Ghost as well! I can definitely feel God's love for everyone, for me, and for these people! He is helping everyone (like with my language as well!)
My companion is pretty cool! It's always a little weird to get along at first, but it's going well now!
There are plenty of things to do, for sure! We just have to work hard. We actually have a lot of people to contact, and teach. Give interviews, the whole bit! We're actually getting ready to try to create a branch where we are, so it might be back to branch missionary life! As far as transfers go, if either of us were to move, it probably would be me, only because Elder Bastian is holding a lot of the cards in this plan of establishing a church where we are, so it would be less complicated for him to move but... who knows? Definitely a lot of people are moving from here this transfer! At least 3, one sister missionary is about to go home this transfer and the other 2 missionaries have been here for 4 transfers already, aka: 6 months. That's a long time!
Working hard is all we have here! If I have time to feel sad, I have time to be working even harder! Have to lose ourselves in the work after all!
I'll make a note about the souvenirs! I'll just try not a buy a whole tone. Just some here and there, definitely make some ties though!
The language is going good here! It's gotten a lot better. People speak different out here than in the Issan for sure, but I've been getting a lot of "you speak clearly" here, so it's all good! Some missionaries told me that some people will think that you're chaht, and others will think you're not, not a big deal! As long as they can understand! I do get a lot of people who just assume I'm native here. It's funny, but at least my accent and way of speaking has improved! It's a lot of fun when that happens, when people speak to me instead of my companion, because they think I'm from Thailand!
Sleep well! Have fun at work tomorrow! Or something like that. I'll keep working hard here, learn the language good, and keep working with a full purpose of heart!
All right, that's it from me! Love you lots! I'll talk to you soon!
- Elder Collin Decker