Well, we did not go to Safari World because there ended up being a zone sports day. And the members all told us it wasn't worth going because they jack the price way up for farangs. So we are currently emailing from Saphaan Suung. We got in a good game of soccer and some tennis. It reminded me why, even when I joined the tennis team in high school, I never once actually competed. haha I'm pretty bad. But it was a really fun morning!
On Tuesday we showed up to the church for our coordination meeting with the Bishop and there was a whole Hummer full of soldiers at the church. I was a little nervous as to what that was all about, but it turns out they dropped by to let us know that they are here to protect our church and members and if anyone needs any help we can call them. So, we've got our little body guards. Haven't seen them since.
I love our Bishop so much! He is so dedicated and so involved. He also has the funniest sense of humor. I just love meeting with อธิการ! So, this was our last Sunday in the Bangkapi church building for the next two months or so. The Bishop has arranged for a bus to come pick people up at the church on Sundays at 11 am and then drive us to Bangkaen for our service which starts at 1 pm. It's going to definitely create challenges; however, I won't really be here for much of it because this coming week we have Stake Conference in Asoke!!! I am sooooo excited! I'm worried about getting investigators there, but we'll do our best.
Also, I was talking with a falang high council member who is friends with Brother Goodman (former mission president here and my BYU mish prep teacher) and he will be in Thailand that weekend! So, I really hope I run into him, how fun would that be!
So this week is stake conference, next week we'll be in Bangkaen, and then after that I'll probably be transferred.
We got a handful of new investigators that were progressing fairly well, but all of a sudden they are busy and cannot meet. We had a good number of people that were supposed to go to church and not a single one showed up. We did have a couple random people show up, though, and we taught them. We taught this one man named J. I'm not sure he's quite there all the way, but it made for a pretty entertaining lesson. The members sure got a kick out of it. haha Anyway, he loved church, we're going to do all we can to help him progress! We also had this one man named P. who accepted a baptismal date during the week; however, he didn't show up to church and has not been answering his phone. Not sure what happened there.
Anyway, we've gotten in some good street contacting so hopefully that will lead to something.
Okay, so Friday was AMAZING! We had Zone Conference at the Chaengwattana chapel with the Bangkok North Zone as well! It was the best! I also got to see Sister Narayanan and she is doing so well! Yay!
The themes of Zone Conference were The Godhead, Remembering, and Repentance.
President Senior talked about how we need to help our investigators understand the character of God better. He explained that we are teaching about a God that wants to be known, that weeps when we weep, rejoices with us, etc... Basically, if our investigators really understand our Heavenly Father and have a testimony of Him, why would they ever want to sleep in on a Sunday morning, break commandments, etc... So, we've been really focusing on applying this in our lessons. I feel like we've definitely had the Spirit in our lessons more and they understand better how much God loves them and wants them to be happy.
Also, Elder Khanakham (now area 70!) came and spoke to us on "real growth" and working with leaders in the branches and wards. It was really helpful.
Sister Senior talked about "remembering." She explained that all through the scriptures we see people that "raise an Ebenezer" in gratitude to God for His help. In our own lives we need to consciously notice God's hand and write it down!
President Senior also talked about repentance and it helped me to look at it in a new light. Basically, repentance is the process of becoming like God. It implies that there are divine laws, that we all sin, and that there is a benefit for us to repent. Sin is anything that deviates us from the process of becoming like God. However, forgiveness is not the sole purpose of repentance. Repentance is the pathway to perfecting our obedience and therefore developing Christlike attributes that will let us return in a condition that we can dwell with God. Repentance is not only for serious sins. It's to help us to progress and improve ourselves. That's what this life is all about! So, I'm trying to teach repentance better. It's been really fun to teach, and I think our investigators and recent converts really get it! I feel like people need to realize that repentance is something that brings relief, but also gives us so much hope and helps us progress! It's awesome!
So, amazing zone conference! I loved it! I just love President and Sister Senior so much. They are the best! They know just what we need and are so loving and encouraging. It's such a boost getting to meet with them.
Okay, Saturday was way fun because we had a missionary day with the youth! There were about 10 or so kids that showed up. We put them into companionships and assigned them each an investigator or less active member to teach (which we pretended to be). We taught them how personal/ companionship study works. After studies we split off and they taught us. They did so well and they were way excited! Afterwards, we took them out inviting at Fashion Island (I think they got tired of that pretty fast haha) and then came back to the church for lunch that the YW president prepared. It was so fun! I just love those kids. One of the YW made name tags for everyone and they were so excited. These are a solid group of kids and I think they are going to be awesome leaders of the church here in Thailand!
Oh, I have to tell you about this dessert we had afterward. By far the strangest dessert I've had since I've been here. So, they take cubes of bread and stick it in a bowl. Then they put in a whole bunch of ice cubes and pour sugary flavored syrup over it and then add a touch of sweetened condensed milk. Give that some thought.
On Saturday we also got to talk with Sister Mink (recent convert that lives in Jantaburi). We've had a hard time getting a hold of her, but she finally has a phone now. She is doing so well and is keeping the commandments! Yay! So happy!
Okay, well, those are the main events of the week! It's been a really great one! I love you all sooooo much!