Friday, May 26, 2017

5-26-17 Bangkok Thailand

Hey hey!

Sounds like a week, no? Sounds like you had a ton of stuff to do! Believe me, you probably know already, that is a blessing in disguise as well. There's nothing more I despise than wasted time. I'm ok with time for travel and stuff like that, but it worries me when I have a little bit of blank space. Usually that gets filled with inviting, but then we have to decide to go somewhere and... it becomes just a tad more stressful than I would prefer. Not really stressful, but not really that sabaay either. The days when we have to jet from appointment to appointment are often the best days for me. Lots of fun, just the feeling that you are on the Lord's errand, and he is helping you.

So, as for this last week, which I didn't get to cover: It was fairly normal. Pretty good and such but then Friday: switch-off day. Well... it was fun to say the least. I went on switch-offs with my companion from the MTC, Elder Pfleuger! My companion, who is the district leader, went with the other companion to their area, so I was working in my area. Needless to say, we went exploring a bit. Not too far, but we then proceeded to encounter a lady with all black teeth (which the older people think is cool). Invited her, but she didn't want to learn, which is fairly common. Went back to teach an older lady that Elder Cherd and I had taught before. Found out her daughter was there (who is like almost 30) and she had been Christian before, but just did Buddhist stuff because of her family! Pretty cool. She's become a pretty solid investigator of ours. She and her mom have a baptismal date now, so that puts us at a potential of 6 people for this transfer... we can do it! Just need to have faith.

Later that day, Elder Cherd had told me "OK, for this investigator, you are going to be the one to get the signature so Brother Tiger can get baptized." Well, I was still on switch-offs, so it really was up to me. Anyways, it was really good! I taught Brother Tiger a little bit, and then went to talk to his grandma, who is the one that really takes care of him. I felt the Spirit work through me so much, because I know that I can't negotiate at all, but the Spirit was working through me for sure. So, it ended up that I got the signature from her! Now, all we need to do is get him to church a little bit more... but that's ok! He's not that old, almost 12, so we'll keep working with him.

Other than that for this week, we had a lesson with an atheist, who believes in science. It's a little hard to teach to people who have beliefs such as that. He questioned our faith a little, which is normal, so I went back home and started studying. In that moment, I felt the Holy Ghost speak to me, and help me to confirm what I knew already, and then added even more to it. I realized that it just isn't possible for me to lose faith. I can think to myself in questions, but to doubt, even after track season, even after weird lessons like that, I came to the realization that I just can't doubt. It doesn't really work that way. So thank you, Mom and Dad, Kaleb and Kai, for helping me have a good like at home where we were raised with faith in our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. To have good examples gave me a solid foundation, and gave me a good seed, which has now taken root strongly in my spirit.

By the way a general authority is coming to visit Thailand today so that should be fun!

I know without a shadow of a doubt that Heavenly Father is real. He watches over us, and he loves us. Jesus Christ lives. This is his true church. Just read the Book of Mormon if you ever have doubts, for the book leads us to faith. This is God's church, and I am in his vineyard. The work is great, the language is great, the country is great and God's love is great, as well as real.

Love you! Don't get too stressed Dad! Kaleb's home, he'll help with all of that!

- Elder Collin Decker

Monday, May 15, 2017

5-14-17 Bangkok Thailand

Hey hey!

Even though we skyped, I thought I would send another email for today! It will great though, seeing you guys and skyping! Lifted my spirits for sure! 

The performance sounded great! I'm glad to hear that it is doing well! I hope that everyone over there is doing great. Sounded fun too!

The weather here is bipolar as well! Rain and sun, sometimes both! Thunderstorms as well!

My companion is doing great! We had a rough week as far as the work goes, but it's good! We're trying hard, so I hope the Lord will bless us for our work!

Hope everything is still going well back home! I love you lots Dad! Keep it going strong!

- Elder Collin Decker

Sunday, May 14, 2017

5-7-17 Bangkok Thailand

Hey Dad!
So this week has been a little weird huh? With the email in the middle of the week last week it was a little different, but that's ok. It's been a good week for me though!
The lightning was cool! Made some cool sounds as well. Elder Cherd told me that thunderstorms aren't all that uncommon here. Sounds like it should be fun! Rainy season is just about here, no matter if it is hot or not, so we will get some periodic rainstorms here and there. Should be lots of fun!
I was sitting there just the other day, thinking to myself "Wow, Kaleb is going to be home soon. Isn't that weird?" In reality, I was only thinking about this because I found out the other day that my companion, Elder Cherdchaiyaphum เชิดชัยภูมิ is actually on his last transfer. He's going to จบ here. Weird huh? So, it looks like I'll be here for another little while, probably this transfer and next transfer as well. So, in another 6 weeks, you can probably say I'm going to stay here, which will be good. I'm glad to help, wherever I am. But I've learned a lot in the short time that he's been here. It sure has been lots of fun! I can just speak in Thai all the time, and at times, don't really have to speak in English, at all. Think in Thai, speak in Thai, try and improve my accent, and the whole bit. Lots of fun!
Funny story though. The day of transfers, Elder Bastian had to leave way early in the morning, about 4 or so in the morning, and the other companionship in the ward met us at our house here in Pakkret. So Elder Bastian and Elder Knudsen headed down to the office with each other while Elder Whitaker and I just slept until our new companions arrived. Well, as it turns out, the Sisters from our district had told my companion to go to Central Plaza at Chaengwattana (which is a mall) because they didn't know how to get to our apartment. So, Elder Whitaker's companion makes it safe (who happens to be Elder Pflueger, my MTC companion), and we go to Central, which is also right across the street from their apartment. Convenient as well. So, I go with them to go and try to retrieve my companion because he would be waiting there, probably, on the street or some odd like that. Well, it turns out that he had talked with Elder Bastian before leaving, so he ended up going straight to the apartment. Now I was at Chaengwattana with the other companionship, while my companion was at the condo. This meant there was only one solution: I take a taxi to go over to the apartment. But, by myself. Again. It wasn't bad at all. I pretty much understood 85 percent of what he was saying and the whole bit. Just some words here and there that I didn't understand but understood what he meant. It was good, and I managed to get home by myself (yay!). Then the rest of that day was as normal, proselyte and teach, find some people. It was a lot of fun!
Yesterday, some students from BYU performed in a fireside at the church building, which we had the opportunity to see because we were there all day. Lots to do that day. Teach at the church, help with choir, actually have church, go to the Ward Council Meeting, it was all good fun. And, at the end of it all, we had been there since 9 in the morning until 5:30 in the afternoon, or evening, depending on how you see it. The fireside started at 6, so, what was the logical thing to do? Stay and watch the fireside with one of our investigators, and count it as our Personal Study time, so we don't have to feel bad about going. It was pretty good! They're all here to perform around Thailand and Southeast Asia and the Fireside was good, for all the members, and for us as well. Fun! Speaking of firesides, we are actually going to have one of the Apostles come to Thailand on the 25th of this month, so it should be lots of fun for us! He's going to have a special meeting just for missionaries, and then for members later that day. It's going to be such a cool opportunity! I'm excited for sure.
Right now, the work is great. Lots of people to work with, lots of people we are trying to help. Right now we have 7 people who have a baptismal date. It's going to be hard work, but we're going to help them reach their goal for sure! Just need to work hard with them.
The Lord helps every one of his servants for sure. He loves everyone, every single sheep, every single child of God. I just pray, always, that I, and the other missionaries who are around me, can be effective instruments in the hand of the Lord, and try to follow his will always, and overcome the world. It seems like I have had to overcome a lot while I have been here on my mission. Fears, lack of skill, language, a whole lot! But, I know the Lord guides us, and we just have to have the humility to accept his will, be exactly obedient, and we will have everything we need, and help those around us.
Love you lots! I love the country, the work, the language, and the people! This is definitely the true church, and this is God's truth on the Earth. Talk to you soon!
- Elder Collin Decker

4-30-17 Bangkok Thailand

Hey there Dad!
So I heard you're at a Jazz Band Concert right now. No worries. I'll make this one longer so that you don't miss out on anything.
So this week is the week of... Transfers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But what does that entail?
Well for Elder Decker in the Pakkret Area, he will be...........
Yep yep, no suprise for that one. But what about for my companion, Elder Bastian?
The verdict is...
Moving out, whitewashing into another area called Minburi. Should be fun for him! His new district will be 8 people over there, where he'll be District Leader again.
So what does that mean for me? I'll be getting a new companion! I'm sad that Elder Bastian is leaving though. Having someone else from Washington is a ton of fun, especially when you can make fun of different cities from Washington and the schools thereof. But I learned a lot of from him, especially because he is my 2nd/3rd trainer here in Thailand! I've definitely improved a lot in many things that I do here. Hopefully I can carry it on, keep the fire going!
Now for my new companion. My new companion is going to be my Zone Leader from my very first transfer in country: Elder Chudchaiyaphum. It's easier to spell in Thai, but right now I can't remember it... but he is a Khon Thai! I'm super excited, to be honest. We'll be helping each other a lot, though probably me moreso than him. I'll be able to ask a lot of questions though! The funniest part about this is that Elder Bastian called it. Said that this Elder would be coming here to replace him, since Elder Bastian knew he would be transferring out. It will be a good next transfer, I hope!
Now onto other things.
Sounds like you have had a busy week! Lots of fun, a little bit work (or a lot) but all good!
For the missionary work here:
Right now, for this transfer, Elder Bastian and I have worked hard to get it set up good for the next transfer. We have a lot of poeple to teach, and a lot of people to help. It will be a busy next transfer, but as far as last this last one transfer, we had four baptisms! It's been a blessing for me to see them change and grow as they have learned more.
More personally, I feel that I've been blessed in many ways. I feel as though I have grown a lot as far as most aspects of missionary work go. I'm not perfect by any means, but I'm growing, and trying to get better, which is exactly what the Lord asks of us. To grow and keep growing. In Thai too! I feel as though I'm finally able to understand people at most times, so I can better respond to them, and actually set up appointments... but I still have a long ways to go! It is a lot of fun to try to learn a new language, and really try to apply it everyday. The Lord blesses us in so many ways and, the Lord qualifies those he calls (or assigns as well.)
For other business: I'm going to be calling on the 15th in Thailand, meaning the 14th back at home. I will be calling in the morning my time, late evening your time! So just tell me what time would be good, and we can try to work it out. If you don't really have a specific time, I'll probably call about 7:00 P.M. your time. We'll see though! The 15th is also P-Day for me, so we could email after too.
Oh and we had P-Day today because the mission doesn't wanting us wasting proselyting time packing our bags... so they moved it. That's just how it goes. It does at least give us the chance to tell you whats happening before everything changes, or doesn't change!
We work hard! That's it. Work hard, and the Lord will bless us. But I'm super excited to have a native companion next transfer!
We have plans to make this a great transfer, lots of good progressing investigators!
I have about 10 minutes left, then I have to go tackle my busy day (have to go to Bangkok, give a blessing, go to lunch with the district, then teach at 6)
The Lord truly has his hand in every part of this work. The Lord blesses his servants, and his children, all of them. As we strive to be closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus, so they will strive to be closer to us. I love the work, the language, and Thailand! The Lord truly is infinitely merciful, and loves us all.
Talk to you soon! Love you lots, and keep the fire going strong!
- Elder Collin Decker