Sunday, June 25, 2017

6-24-17 Bangkok Thailand

Hey Dad!

So this week has been great! My companion and I have been working more together in this week! It's been getting better, but the work is still difficult, as always, trying to get better, trying to get better!

My health is doing great! I've resumed eating cereal for breakfast... my stomach seems fine with the milk now, so it doesn't look like it's going to be a huge problem for me!

Who is the Pouthanvang family? I don't think I've ever met them before. We'll see though. I'm still in Pakkret, Chaengwattana, Nonthaburi area. That's how it goes, but it's still fun! But when will they get here? It will probably be fun if we could meet!

Nothing really interesting happened this week... we've just been going out contacting a lot to help us get our goals for this transfer! It's been a lot of fun teaching, but we're just trying to help our investigators progress and keep going forward! Finally got to meet with one of our investigators who went off the grid for a little bit! She's back now, so we're helping her work out some of her problems. But she has a date for next month, so we'll help her get there! We have another man who we're teaching, but we just need to get him to church...

The ward is doing good! We get fed well here... hahaha. But otherwise, the ward is good. Sometimes, I feel as though we're just on our own out here, proselyting and doing the Lord's work. It's a little bit out there from all of the other areas in this district, but that's ok! We'll keep working hard. Still working on trying to be a more bold missionary, who testifies right on the spot, and also enjoys the work in every aspect of it!

The language is getting a lot better! I'm understanding a good majority of the things I hear, and I feel that I'm able to express my thoughts more clearly, use more analogies, and help our investigators understand more clearly about the Gospel! Truly, the Lord is blessing us, and helping me to grow and communicate with everyone!

One realization that I came to this week was the simple fact that the Book of Mormon is a history. What does that mean for me? It means that Ammon actually did defend a flock of sheep and converted an entire kingdom. He actually knew the thoughts of the heart of King Lamoni. Because he had faith and trusted in the Lord. Nephi, the son of Nephi who was the son of Helaman, in 3 Nephi, actually had angels minister unto him. He preached so boldly that the people who listened to him could not disbelieve on his words. Because he had faith. Even so the Brother of Jared saw the finger of the Lord and then Jesus Christ, in whole, because he had faith. These aren't stories simply intended to help us build faith. These are experiences and accounts of real people, intended to help us build faith. I know for a fact, that the Lord is unchanging, the same yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever. The Lord is no respecter of persons as well. So the only answer that is left for me, concerning the matter of faith, is that I yet do not have enough faith. There are still miracles in this world, I witness them everyday! But I still can get better. The works of God do not cease, and so now I'm trying to be a better instrument in the hands of the Lord, and build my faith to be even stronger. One day, I might be able to preach so boldly, that no one would be able to disbelieve on my words. It's a work in progress, but it is a good work indeed!

I love the work, this Gospel, this Church, and the fact that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the restored Church of God. I believe that, whole-heartedly. I'm here on the Lord's errand in this wonderful land of Thailand and I know that the Lord will not let us fail.

Love you! Hope everything keeps going good at home! Talk to you soon!

- Elder Collin Decker

6-18-17 Bangkok Thailand

Hey there Dad!

Well this week was pretty rough all in all. That's ok though! Just keep working hard, that's all.

So it was a little harder to send Elder Cherd off than I thought it would be. No crying or anything like that but I feel like I got along with him really well, we worked pretty together, and we were OK with the ideas we both presented. Right now, it's not quite so, but maybe that will work out in a little bit. Just have to wait a little bit, no? But my new companion works differently, so it's going to take a while. Not fun. Lots of stressing. But, the work is good, no matter what this is like!

For transfers we had to wake up at 4:30 to get to the Mission Office at 6. Way early. Still trying to catch up on sleep. No worries though, it should be good! Still working hard, just a little more tired.

Language is going good! I miss having Elder Cherd around and my new companion speaks a lot of English (by habit of course). Not really a problem but I'm still trying to make the transition from thinking in English to thinking in Thai. Really hard. Have to correct myself a lot, but no worries! It's lots of fun! Just going to keep working hard and pray for the Gift of Tongues all the time!

Otherwise yeah, the entire week has followed that feeling. Not much to talk about there. Just some disagreements here and there about little things! We're working hard though!

Just emails for today! Otherwise, not much.

I know that if I keep my focus on the work, everything will work out OK! Jesus Christ understands us and loves us. No one can sink lower than the light of Jesus Christ, as once said by Elder Holland. So, I just have to trust in his will and try to become better and work harder. This is probably going to be a tough one!

Love you lots! Talk to you soon!

- Elder Collin Decker

6-11-17 Bangkok Thailand - Transfers Elder Tuttle

Hey there Dad!

Well it seems like everyone is getting back now, huh? That's just so weird to me. A lot of time has passed since I was home last. Oh well! Just keep working hard, huh?

Right now, things are going well but... just one week off. Tomorrow is transfers! So the verdict is... 

I'm staying for another transfer. I'm just ready to get out there for this next transfer, and get people baptized! I still have a lot of weaknesses and still have a lot to work on, but I know that Heavenly Father chooses to work through the weak and the humble. Just have to remember that Heavenly Father's grace is sufficient for everyone, and will make our weaknesses as strengths.

Before I say who my companion is, I'm just going to say that I am going to miss my companion, Elder Cherdchaiyaphum for sure. It has been a great blessing for me to serve with him in this area, to work together with him and, of course, learn Thai from him as well. I learned a whole ton, for sure! But I learned what it means to work hard, to think through situations and really try to rely upon the Lord, through prayer and the Spirit. I'm going to miss him a ton, but he's got more to do now, and actually take care of his future! (This was his last transfer after all!)

My new companion is Elder Tuttle. I haven't met him yet so I have no idea what he's like but... everyone says he's good! They say he is super tall, and so that will be fun. No more native companion but that's ok. Every companionship is going to be great if we work hard! We'll see how it goes next transfer, but most likely this next transfer will be my last one here. I've been in this area about 2.5 transfers now, but I'm counting it as just about 3 transfers. So, we'll see how that goes! But most likely I'll be moving! However, this month I'll hit my 6 month mark in country. 6 months! Well, that's a long time no? That means I'll have been a missionary for 8 months. It's going by way too quickly, but it's still going well!

Ok. Enough about transfers. This last week was super great! We had a baptism last Saturday for our long awaited investigator... Brother Tiger! He went to church two Sundays ago so he could get baptized on Saturday! This last Sunday following, he received the Holy Ghost, so now he's a member 100%! I thought his testimony was great after the baptism. He said along the lines of: "I'm really happy I got baptized and followed Jesus... I'm happy that I learned with the Elders.... That's it!" Then almost walked off, but then returned to say "in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen" So great! It was a great moment! Also, we had another confirmation last Sunday for Sister Gate who lives about 2 hours away! She even brought her son, so it was a good day!

Yesterday we went to Elder Kannakham's house, who is an Area Seventy here (the only one in Thailand actually) and we got to have our District Meeting there! I loved to see his example, and see how humble he his, and how much love is in his home. He is a great leader and I love seeing his example for everyone!

I know this Church is true. I know that this is God's work on the Earth today and I know that we are just servants to help our Heavenly Father with this great work. I still have a lot of weaknesses, I still need to learn a lot, but we learn, we make mistakes, and we improve. In the language, in our teaching, there always room to improve. But Heavenly Father will bless us and I pray that my companion and I will have enough FIRE to find those people who Heavenly Father has prepared already!

Love you lots! I'll talk to you soon!

- Elder Collin Decker

Thailand, Bangkok Mission

Friday, June 9, 2017

6-4-17 Bangkok Thailand

Hey there Dad!

My week has been pretty good. Lots of good work! We had... a BAPTISM yesterday! So good. The only problem is that she lives far away from the church, about 2 hours, so it is a challenge for her to get to church on a weekly basis. No worries though, she has a strong testimony, in my opinion. Hopefully the foundation will be on Jesus Christ, and keep building on our sure foundation. It will be good, for sure.

The weather though? Pretty good! Hot, but it also rains... a lot! I have pictures from day last week, so I'll get that up for you as well! It was pretty bad, and I was drenched. It rained for about 5 hours straight, so that's how it goes!

Sounds like you had fun at the shooting range! Lots of fun! Can everyone defend the family now? Sounds like it! Mom still might have a little bit of trouble... oh well! Should be good.

Turns out my legs are still going strong, jumping is still going good! As well, sprinting is still ok! Distance? Not really that ok, but I'm working on it... hahaha. I do miss volleyball though... Oh well! One day, indeed!

So we went to the Government Center last P-Day and I actually got a lot of information from there! I found out a lot about where Grandma in Thailand died, where she lived, the year she was born, and the current address of my uncle here, I suppose! Cool stuff! Nothing on Grandpa though... I might need to go to a Wat over there, and see what they have. Apparently they keep good records there, so we'll see!

This week, we're going to an Island though! Should be fun! Called Gokret. I have no idea what we'll do there, but it should be fun!

Sounds like things are fun back home! Life here in the mission is good. Just working hard and always progressing! That's what this Gospel is all about. Keep the train, and the fire going! Love you lots! 

- Elder Collin Decker