Monday, July 5, 2010

Fourth of July in Thailand

Hello family
Well sad to say, Thailand doesn't have any 4th of July celebrations. I almost forgot it was fourth of July until I got up in front of the branch to bear my testimony for probably that last time in this branch, and it dawned on me. How amazing is it that we are able to have religious freedom in our country. This is something that I have been thinking about a little bit because I'm relatively close to the border of Laos. Where they really can't be anything other than Buddhist. I am not even sure if that's possible either. But the church does have one branch in the capital city of Laos. They are not allowed to put up any signs to say that there are Latter-Day Saints or that they believe in Christ. I also hear that they are persecuted a lot for their beliefs. How blessed are we? I think being here as a missionary has helped me to realize how important the Restoration was and what a miracle it was that it happened in America when it did and how it did. It goes to show us that Heavenly Father is really in control and that there is no need to fear.

Well this last week went by really fast. On Monday after Elder Peacock and I sent our emails, we went and met up with the Zone leaders in Udorn, and switched off from there. I switched off with Elder Degrafanit. I think that's how you spell his name, to make it easier he has Thai people call him Elder D. They can't really remember his name let alone say it. Anyways that night Elder D and I went to a family home evening at a members house who was having a neighbor over to introduce the missionaries. It was interesting, but in the end I think that they had a good idea of the elders and they might even get a chance to go back another day and teach.

That night we stayed in Udorn. Then in the morning we got up really early and started on the long bus ride home. That day was a good one. We taught an investigator named Dong, as in the sound the door bell makes ding dong. I wish I could add tones to this it would make it a whole lot easier to describe people's names. I guess I could write it in Thai ต๋อง I'm not sure that would help at all. Anyways. Dong is a sweet guy. He has a wife and 3 kids that we are trying to teach as well who aren't quite as interested but we are working on that. Dong was going to try to go to church but he said that his motorcycle was broken. We taught him about God and prayer again to help him understand better. Today we are going to go back and teach about prophets and the Savior's earthly ministry.

Elder D and I spent a lot of time inviting in that new area that we found last week. It was about 7 kilos away so each day we rode our bikes a long way but it was worth it. By Thursday we had the chance to teach 2 new families who we are going to try and get to church this week. It's really good to see our area moving again. It has been a long few weeks here without teaching anyone or having anyone to go to church. But that's all in the past.

I had an interesting experience that I want to share, but I'm a little worried about sharing because mom might over react. This isn't really as bad as it might sound. So on Sunday I really wasn't felling very good. I had a stomach ache and I wanted to throw up. Thankfully I have the members to look after me. In reality I have about 6 moms here in this branch. Anyways I left Sunday school a little early to go to the bathroom and as I came out one of the older members was there with an ovoltine milk. She gave it to me and made sure that I drank it even though I protested. I think it helped a little. Later the same member showed up with a bottle an off brand Peptobismal which also helped. I love the members here.

So throughout the week, the stomach ache didn't go away. So with my best knowledge of the missionaries I figured it was a worm or something like that. So I called Sister Smith who is our medical adviser for the missionaries. She wasn't too worried but said I needed to go to the hospital to get it checked out and get the drugs that I need to get rid of the worm if it was one. This was the experience that I want to explain. It really isn't as bad as it sounds. Elder D and I went to the hospital and handed my hospital card that says the the church insurance will guarantee pay to someone and after going through all the paperwork they led us to the waiting room. Or I think that's what it was. They were kind enough to give me a number as well to wait for. It was number 44. This room we were placed into had a lot of people in it. A lot. So much that Elder D and I just stood up on the side so we wouldn't have to fight for a seat. We hung around for about 2 hours talking to everyone around us. It really was kind of fun because everyone kept asking me why I was there, I just kept telling them that I ate a plate of som tum, or that papaya salad, that was too spicy. They always howled with laughter when they heard that and then told me that I shouldn't try to be like a Thai person. Really I think I could out do any Thai person in spice now days. And don't forget the rotten fish sauce. Yes I do eat that, if cooked right its OK to eat. Anyways so when my name was called I went up to a nurse and tried my best to describe what I was feeling, she tried her best to ask me the questions that she needed to ask. I think in the end neither of us understood because the doctor, or I think he was a doctor, asked about a hernia. Anyways after talking to that nurse she sent me to another part of the room where we sat and waited again. Its kind of fun to be with a big group of Thai people because if you are 6 feet or taller you can see over everybody head. Anyways after another waiting line, some more howls of laughter because of the "too spicy to handle joke" I finally got to see the doctor. I'm curious on where he went to school or what they teach doctors here. The examination he did goes as follows. He asked me to lift my shirt he poked me twice in the stomach and then said it was bacteria. Then he gave me a list of drugs and sent me on my way. I had to laugh when I got the drugs he gave me I could become a really rich drug dealer with how easily it was to get them.

Anyways afterwords, I gave Sister Smith a call to tell her about the visit and asked about the drugs. She okayed them and since I have taken them last week I feel a lot better. He must have been right. Funny how that happens sometimes. Anyways it was a fun experience that I hope I never have to deal with again. It really wasn't as bad as it seems, I promise mom.

At the end of the week we had Zone conference where we learned about our relations with the members and about the importance of teaching families. So here is a statistic that opened my mind. I think here is how it went I'm not sure about the math. But if every companionship was to teach on average 10 families of 5 people a week. Then with the numbers of missionaries in Thailand now, at 10 years down the road we still wouldn't have gotten close to teaching half of the population of 69 million people. We have our work cutout for us. Last year just after I came into the country President Smith set a goal to have the average number of people going to church each week around 8000 people in 10 years. That be a way to show that Thailand was getting ready for a temple. This last week in zone conference President Smith changed the goal and upped the bar. He said by teaching families like we have been in the past months we should be able to hit that number in 2 years. So the goal has change from Thailand having a temple in 10 years to having a temple in 2 years. I'm up for the challenge.

That made me really excited to be a missionary here in the next year.

Wow, Connor what a fun way to get your eagle. In the Stadium of Fire. I am sorry that I can't be there to sit in the eagles nest but I'll be there in spirit. Sounds like you guys had a great fourth of July. Did the parade happen on Saturday. what about fireworks. I was wondering how that worked out with it being on Sunday and all.

I remembered something that Grandpa told me before I got my mission call. He said he wanted me to go to Fiji so I could wear a lava lava instead of pants for church. I don't think I have ever talked about it. Here the native men use a thing called a Pa-kow-ma. which is just a cloth to wrap around your legs when you don't want to wear pants. I got one here a few months ago. Although I can't wear one when I'm tracting. It's fun to wear in the house at night. If I think about it, I might get a picture of me in one and send it home.

Well that's about it for this week.

I love you all
Eat a frozen banana for me

Elder Brandon John Holt

No comments:

Post a Comment