Saturday, April 29, 2017

4-23-17 Bangkok Thailand

Hey Dad!

 Transfers are actually next week on Thursday. We find out on Tuesday if someone leaves. Chances are... he's going to leave and I'm going to stay. The only reason being that he has been here for four transfers and President Johnson apparently said "Wow you've been there forever! You can expect a change of scenery next transfer." Something like that. So needless to say, he's probably moving. As far as who might be coming in? I have no idea. I feel as though my first trainer, Elder Bjarnson is also going to move into this Zone, or just to Bangkok because he has been in Sakon Nakorn about 4 transfers. Could he come here? Maybe! I would be fun for sure, and really weird, but it would be fun! Every transfer has its surprises. There are lots of people probably going to move around this transfer. The other possibility is if they whitewash us out, meaning we both go... I don't think that's going to happen, but the ways of the Lord are not the ways of man, for sure!

As far as the bike situation goes, I have no idea only because it is about an hour away in Asoke! So I can't really check... Speaking of Asoke, the Zone Leaders are apparently going over to the Mission Office today so I asked them to check to see if my package has arrived at the Mission Office yet. You did send it to there right? That should be the only address you have, and it should get there if all goes well. If not, well... We'll see!

On the topic of speaking Thai: Its going good! I'm understanding a lot more, and trying to improve constantly! My number one problem, not only speaking but in life is: nerves. Nerves throw a lot out the window for me. Be it track, not so much Cross Country, playing trumpet or speaking Thai, nerves get me way bad. I don't let it show too bad, but the effect is present for sure. I definitely speak too fast when I am nervous. So, it's a work in progress, but it always goes well if I try to speak slowly and clearly, accent or not. Otherwise, I think it's going fine! Always getting better. Right now I have a lot of words written down, but not a ton memorized... But if I try a little harder, I'll get there. 

We had a baptism yesterday! One of our Recent Converts (RC), Sister Rin, has been pretty much baptizing her whole family. She was the first one to get baptized in her family. Then her brother-in-law, Brother จี้ (Gee) and then his daughter, Sister Rin's niece, Sister Alisa. But yesterday, it was her Dad who got baptized, Brother ประกอบ. Basically she and her entire family were crying (mostly those who were members already). She works hard, and tries hard to help us, and her family! She has been a big help for sure!

So, this Friday, we had an interesting story. As you know, 98% of people here are Buddhist, or so. The next largest is Christians, then Muslims, mostly around Bangkok. But then you have the subdivisions of Christianity, such as Jehovah's Witnesses.With that as a backdrop, I'll continue. We were contacting in a market over by the government complex called the Ministry of Public Health. That place is particularly good because government workers don't need to work on the weekends. We go there fairly often, but it is only open on Friday Mornings, so off we went. Well, only 10 minutes in, we have a man beckon us over. So we go. He sits us down, and tells us in Thai, that he is Jehovah. However, in Thai, that could mean that he is a Jehovah's Witness, which wouldn't be the best because some people do like to Bible Bash here. Well 5 minutes later, he tells us he knows all the scriptures because he says he is Jehovah. Well. Needless to say apparently we met Jesus at the Friday Market... He then went on to say something along the lines of how all religious are just part of one, and that Buddhism and Christianity are actually the same. He also said that Mormons are the most correct church on the Earth... just not 100% correct. So, I guess that's ok? It was funny though. The member who went along with us was very confused though, so we then went back, sat down, and explained the things we do need to worry about and how everything else will just fall into place. Funny though!

Last Wednesday we also went to a soccer game! It was a lot of fun. Apparently the team here in this area, called Mueang Thong, is the best team in Thailand, so it was fun to watch them play. We also got some souvenirs, a nice exercise shirt, and a cool scarf. That was a lot of fun! I have pictures too, so it will be good. All in all the experience was about 700 Baht, or... 20 Dollars. In reality, the tickets were less than 10 dollars per person, so rest went to souvenirs! So things in Thailand can be pretty cheap. Just getting here is expensive!

Life here is normal! The country does a good job at cleaning up! They made it seem like it didn't even happen... Super weird! It also becomes illegal to shoot squirt guns after SongKran so no worries there either. People are pretty respectable about those things.

All right, that's it from me! Love you tons! I know I'm on the Lord's errand and if we give our best effort, the Lord will not let us fail!

- Elder Collin Decker

Monday, April 17, 2017

4-17-17 Bangkok Thailand

Hey Dad!

Wow, go Kai! Now just jump farther. Hahaha. Something about Davis, but, hopefully he continue as he keeps training this season. Make sure he eats right too! Not too much, just enough to keep it good. He's going great! Though, that snow looked pretty sketchy as far as driving goes but... seems like you made it back ok! I have forgotten what snow is at this point.

So this week is actually Songkran. Actually today we will be going to that so... it should be fun! Big water fight and the whole bit. Some places are kind of crazy. Hopefully we won't be going to any of those, but we plan to go somethwere pretty safe.

Have pictures from getting caught out in a thunderstorm! It got pretty dark, heavy rain, loud crashes and the whole bit! No bolts but definitely some solid flashes. It was a great day because we had switch-offs that day! Lots of fun,lots of contacting... but it's all good!
Had Zone Conference this week! So much I learned and so much I can improve on, its so great to go! Progression is something that had always inspired me. When left to my own devices, I can improve but sometimes I don't always focus on all the most effective ways to improve. Zone Conference helps me improve that so it is always an exciting prospect to go to Zone Conference, also because we get to see and hear from President Johnson!

Got to watch Conference! There were so many talks that I liked. When I bring my study journal next Monday, I'll let you know what was my favorite talk from the session, there were just too many good ones from here! I did appreciate the words of President Monson, exhorting us to read the Book of Mormon everyday. Indeed, in accordance with the words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "The Lord always provides safety for the soul" ("Safety for the Soul" October 2009 Conference). The Book of Mormon is central to our church. If the Book of Mormon is true, then the Restoration is real and this church is the true church of God on the Earth as a result. Heavenly Father will answer our prayers on if this church is true, if we read, ponder, study, and pray. There is no doubt in my mind that it is the Word of God on this Earth and a testament to Jesus Christ. Going off of that, read that talk from Elder Holland! It's a great talk and is a great testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon!
Kaleb will probably know very soon... Scary huh? It doesn't seem all that long ago that I left for the MTC and now I'm in my 3rd transfer in field. Almost 4 months in field, 6 months being a missionary. Scary fast. Still have lots to do, lots to improve on! Day by day, doing all that which the Lord asks of me, and repenting in my weaknesses. That's how we get stronger out here. Always trying to follow the Lord at the first prompting, not the second nor the third. The Lord will guide us in our efforts to further his work.

Love you all! Hopefully all is still well for you! All is well here and the Lord will make sure we have what we need. Talk to you soon!

- Elder Collin Decker

Sunday, April 2, 2017

4-2-2017 Bangkok Thailand

Hey hey there Dad!
Conference is exciting, no? Breaks from early morning meetings, and an opportunity to hear from the apostles, and most of all, the prophet. The love, the advice, the revelation we receive, it truly scripture. I haven't heard it yet, but I will soon! This weekend, I will!
It's been hot, for sure here! But I woke up to a wicked thunderstorm Friday, about 4 in the morning! I got a glimpse of it in the video I took, but it got more intense from there. Just reflecting on what I saw there, that was amazing. How crazy seeing a thunderstorm like that actually was. How often did the sky light up, yet not have any sun! That is not something we see everyday. At one point, just at one moment. We saw the light of a lightning strike, and heard the thunder simultaneously. It really was like a gunshot, more shocking (hahaha) than I could have expected. At that point, I realized that thunderstorms are a little scary. Thunderstorms do not care what or what isn't there. It just goes. It was a cool experience for sure! I must have been up another 30 minutes listening to the rumbles and the watching the light in the sky.
Other than that, it has been a pretty good week as well! As far as April Fools Day goes, we did... nothing. But the Assistants to the President decided to play a good prank. To explain a little, next week is SongKhran, the big Water Festival that lasts over 3 days. It has always been a tradition to move P-Day that week so we could participate in it. (Speaking of which, next week I'll be emailing on the 14th that week, so don't be worried, and mark it!) However, the Assistants sent a mission-wide text, saying "We have decided that participation in the Songkran festival was in opposition to the standards set forth by the Missionary Handbook. Therefore, participation has been banned, and missionary work should proceed as normal on those days." Or something to that effect. Elder Bastian was super sad. But I honestly felt pretty ok about it. It wasn't even sad... I was just wondering how we were going to be able to proselyte over this amount of time because most people are out and about... and really eager to splash us. Oh well. But, turns out it was an April Fools joke, so it all worked out! It was more funny to see Elder Bastian's face. But we'll be playing, so who knows what is going to happen!
Haha ants? Ants are so common. Cockroaches, aren't common in the house. They die quickly. Not so much in the house, haven't seen one yet, but other places... yep. Including the church.
Just ping pong! That's how it goes. It's all good fun, especially at the church!
We did end up getting the 3 baptisms! The work is great here! But there are so many miracles here! So one of the baptisms was performed by one of our recent converts who just received the Priesthood, who then proceeded to baptize his daughter that same day. It was great! That family is great and we're going to be working with them closely for a long while too!
As for other miracles, we had this: So we when we were walking along the street, looking for the homes of L.A's that we could go visit. Then, I prayed that I might be led in the direction that Heavenly Father would have me go. So I acted on just a feeling, a prompting that I received to go down this one street. I felt nothing more than a light suggestion, but I knew it was the Spirit. So I went, straight away, with Elder Bastian following behind. After that prompting, I didn't receive any revelation in particular, but I knew what the Lord has called us to do: preach to everyone who was willing to listen. So I did, we did. Talked to everyone who would listen on this street. We eventually made it down to the very last house on the street, and then the nice old lady invited us into the house to go talk with her child named Benz. As it turns out, she was an old investigator that we couldn't find for a while, and she was still willing to learn! So that was definitely a miracle! Seeing the Spirit work is truly miraculous!
The language is still difficult. I feel like I've hit one of those walls, but I'll get through it! I'll keep trying, putting in my best effort!
Love you lots Dad! Talk to you soon!
- Elder Collin Decker