Thursday, July 27, 2017

7-26 Bangkok Thailand - Transfers Elder V

Hey hey there Dad!

So the Big News!

I met my aunt here in Thailand! That was an adventure! We left from here last Monday looking for my uncle in Samut Sakorn. We get there at around 2. So we're at the Changwat. But where in the Changwat (province) are they? So we track down to the hospital there in Samut Sakorn. We pick up a member who was selling shirts over there (the member who took us had his son selling shirts over there). Then we talked to some motorcycle drivers and asked how to get to Tambon Krok Krak. Tell us a couple directions and off we went. We get over to the street that I've explored before on Google Maps (thanks internet) and so I'm just thinking "we're almost there!" We go to talk to a policeman for some extra directions and ask him if he knew my uncle. He said he did but... he moved out of the province or something. So I'm just thinking "shoot, now what do we do?" I'm sitting here telling everyone that I just came from Nonthaburi (which is true... but maybe they thought I was a Khon Thai, so I might have to repent for potentially deceiving them.... hahaha. So anyways, this policeman then answers "But Somphob has an older sister who is around here, but we have to go talk to your other relative first!" So we go do that. Talk to some older lady but I'm not sure how she was related... oh well! She points us to the right direction and then we go the neighborhood where she is! Then we get to the neighborhood and realize that it is big... so we go talk to some other shop owners in there, show them a couple pictures, and ask for Phii Plaa. Well, they respond there are a lot of people named that. Well shoot. Then I explain she is probably 50 or so, and looks at the pictures of Grandma, and she says I think I might know her! So she takes off on her motorcycle. Comes back,and another lady comes on her motorcycle. And she says "you look like someone I've seen in my pictures!" And I'm just thinking "She doesn't look like Mom at all!"

So we go to her house. And we go into her house (the member is still with us as well). We get into there and then she shows us pictures from when I'm a child, and pictures of our family. Way cool! It was an amazing experience. And, now I have a little more information about Grandpa as well! Mom can read Thai, so I think you know as well! I need to contact them again to make sure when he died, but he was born in Samut Sakorn, and died there (in the hospital) as well, so all we need to do is find out when he died!

Our investigator KhawGlong got baptized! He's such a nice kid. Intelligent too. I felt like all we needed to do was introduce the doctrine and prepare him for the baptismal interview. Way Golden. Way good. He said he wants to be a missionary when he grows up as well, so that's going to be sweet! He's going to change a lot of lives. I remember that it all started with Brother Samphan and Sister Jojo, who when helped their friend, Sister Gate, get baptized who in the end helped her child get baptized. The baptism might have required three rounds... but I wasn't the one who baptized him, so that's OK! Good experience! Just a sidenote: don't hold the person receiving baptism by the head while you are trying to submerge them in the water. It doesn't work. Trust me and the experience of others. However I've been blessed to see this process keep going onward and onward! I'm blessed to be apart of this work, and to help the work go forward!

All right, don't have a lot of time to day, got to go!

Talk to you next week! Love you lots! 

- Elder Collin Decker

Haha, not really.

So this week is the week of TRANSFERS as you know! So the decision has been made and the result is... 

I am moving over to NONG KHAI. So where is that? Well it's waaaaaaaayyyyyyy up northeast (Isaan) :D. This time I'm way up by the border of Lao! North of Udorn, so I'm back in the Udorn Zone! I'm ready to burn it up out there, that's for sure! Plus I get to ride a bike, so that's a plus... hahaha. Unfortunately that means I have to pack and I'm lazy so... that's going to be difficult... Also saying goodbye to the RCs was a little sad, but I'm excited to go where the Lord calls me to go!

So the catch here is: I'm whitewashing in. With another KhonThai! Elder V. He's dying next transfer so... that should be interesting! And my area is getting whitewashed out, so it's all one big adventure!

I'm going to go out and serve with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength! Love you lots! Talk to you soon!

- Elder Collin Decker

7-16-17 Bangkok Thailand

Hey Dad!

This week has been a great week! In some missionaries vocabulary, it would be a FIRE week, and I do like fire... hahaha. So we started out with P-Day on Monday, as normal. I almost couldn't remember what we did. We went to Ko Kret with my old trainer (Phaw!) Elder Bastian. It was pretty fun because that Monday was actually a holiday for everyone in country, so there were a ton of shops open that day! I also bought another wooden elephant... I'll probably have to go there one more time before I end my mission, but that's a long ways away, so no worries about that one. But in reality this month, in about 10 or so days, I'll have been a missionary for 9 months... I'm pretty sure at least. It will have been a long time. These days, I'm just having trouble with what transfer I'm on. Everyone says it's better just not to count so I'm going to take that advice... hahaha. 

The rest of the week was kind of a blur actually. We taught a lot of people, but the weeks seem to go by so fast by the way they are set up. Maybe it won't be that way in the next area I'm in, but we'll see. Lots of fun stuff! Last Friday was a switch-off, but the entire day was kind of a bust, and I felt like it was relatively unproductive as far as the day went but... it wasn't in my area, so I didn't really plan a whole ton to do. We work together, but mostly it just comes down to what the other Elder planned to do on that day. No worries though, I still learned from the time I was with him!

These days I'm getting close to the end of Book of Mormon in Thai! It's going by pretty fast when you read the Book of Mormon exclusively for language study, and then for an hour at night when we have down time... I'm getting close though! Since last week I've managed to get to Ether, so it's been fun! I'm starting to contemplate what I'm going to do next after I'm done reading the Book of Mormon all the way through in Thai... I'm not sure how that is all going to work out, but it will work out! Otherwise, the language is going good! Still can improve, but where would the fun be if we couldn't improve?

Today, I'll actually be going to Samut Sakorn! I'll try to take pictures, but my camera is a little broken, so a new one might be in order... we'll see how expensive they are here!

One of my favorite parts of the Gospel is the doctrine that we can always progress, that we're meant to progress eternally. One of the things that has given me the most amount of happiness in life has most definitely been progression. Family first, because I love my family after all! But progression is something that always helps me to feel better. Whether in Track and Field, whether in school, in band, or otherwise, it is progression that makes me feel great. One of the greatest results I've seen from my time as a missionary is how my faith has grown. How much I feel my testimony has grown. I'm grateful for this wonderful opportunity to grow, and to improve! Everlasting progression sounds great to me. 

In the same respect, seeing our investigators grow has also been a blessing. Watching our investigator Sister Nat, overcome the challenges she has to get ready for baptism has been great! We also have another investigator, Khao Glong, who is getting ready to be baptized as well. He's pretty golden to be honest, but mostly because: 1. His mom is our RC. 2. He's good at learning, as in at school. 3. He likes going to Church. 4. He's 9. Meaning he doesn't have a ton of problems in the way of commandments (i.e. see the 10 Commandments "Don't kill, or steal"). So he's doing pretty well. Both of them are getting ready to be baptized this Sunday, so it should be great!

The time we have to serve the Lord is so small, it's unbelievable. Who knows where the Lord will take me next, but whether I stay here for another transfer, or go somewhere else, I know that it will be the will of the Lord. Thus will I serve there with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength. 

I love the work, I love the people, and this country! This is the work of the Lord, and I'm honored to have a part in it. I know that the Lord will help me as I serve him with all that I have.

- Elder Collin Decker

7-4-2017 - Bangkok Thailand

Hey there Dad!

So this week has been pretty good! Lots of hard work, lots of trying hard! My Thai has slowly getting better! Hopefully it keeps going! I really just read of the Book of Mormon at any given point of the day, in Thai. Out loud. Lots of missionaries much older than me and wiser than me have told me that "the best time to learn Thai is when you are feeling the Spirit. So what brings the Spirit? Church and the Book of Mormon." Something like that. So I just spend my entire time reading from the Book of Mormon (during language study and at Night). I'm almost done with it too! I'm in 3 Nephi right now, so I'm on track to finishing it before my year mark (and maybe before the end of last transfer!). I feel like I'm understanding a great majority of what I'm reading and so it's helping a lot!

As far as the weather goes, it actually is pretty normal most days at 90. I'm going to be freezing when I get back home during the fall/winter... I'm pretty comfortable at 80. I'm pretty much acclimated to the heat now, so... I'm going to freeze when it comes time to face the rain in Washington again... Oh well! I'll save that for another, however long, I'm out.

No fireworks though? That's sad D:. Oh well, hopefully you're having fun.

Last week we actually got 5 new investigators in one day, after 6:00, plus two other potential investigators as well. It was a crazy day! Too many miracles but... we unfortunately did not have enough time to study. Unfortunately that happens often... But the Lord is blessing us greatly as we work hard!

We had Zone Conference this last week! It was great to hear from our leaders here! It really helps me to focus on the revelation that they have for us and the advice they give us on how we can improve! I still have a lot to improve, but I know that as we exercise more faith (through obedience of course) and truly believe that every person we meet is going to get baptized, it will happen! Our mission baptized 84 people last month! Better yet 84 people who are walking on the covenant path with Heavenly Father! Who are receiving saving ordinances and coming closer to eternal happiness! The mission goal is 85 people who are making covenants like these! So we're all working hard to do this, and to get better! Faith, through obedience and diligence will bring about the will of the Lord, as long as we are humble and willing. We will find those children who are prepared to hear the Gospel!

We have had lots of miracles happen to us, and we know that the Lord is blessing the work here! I love the work, I love this Church, this Gospel, and Thailand! We're going to get these people to the Temple, and then to the Celestial Kingdom! Love you lots! Talk to you soon!

- Elder Collin Decker