Dearest Family, Family Dearest,
It has been both a hard and extremely rewarding week. Sister Packard and I have struggled with many set backs, but God pulled us through and gave us miracles. If there is one thing that I have learned on my mission, it is that you have to sometimes travel through the wilderness to get to the Promised Land. Sometimes, you have to have a hard week to experience and appreciate the miracles God wants to give you. I won't get into the struggles because no one likes to read about those. I'll tell you the good stuff :)
MIRACLE #1. Brother Srithai.
Brother Srithai went missing two weeks ago and we had no idea where he had gone. We had all been given new phones at transfers, so we lost a bunch of phone numbers (including Srithai's number...) and when we got his number again, his phone was off. For days. Then when he didn't come to church, we knew something was wrong, so we took our Monday evening to find him. We had an address and a small map that he had drawn. Turns out the address was non-existent and the map was not very well drawn ... (For anyone who has ever been to Thailand knows at this point, the smart option would probably be to give up because it is almost impossible to find something without a usable map.) So Sister Packard and I just started walking into different apartment buildings and showing people a photo of Srithai. No one knew him. For two hours we were searching until finally, a man said he didn't know him, but wait, maybe he did. He said try the first door on the right. So we tried it and it was Srithai. HOORAY. And he was fine. Just a little under the weather. And it turns out the Zone Leaders had given us the wrong phone number. Whoops. He is now back on his feet, feeling much better, going to every activity and being his giggly self.
MIRACLE #2. Philip.
Last week I mentioned that Philip was struggling. This week we met with him and he opened up about all of his concerns. He did not feel ready to be baptized on his birthday (like he had wanted to do). We had asked him to go home and pray and ask God what he needed to do. He had prayed but felt like he was getting no guidance at all. That is the hardest thing in the world—when you want guidance but aren’t feeling any and you have to make a decision all on your own and trust that it is the right thing to do. We asked him to read in Moroni 7:13–16, and to pray again. He said he would get back to us. Saturday was a day where everything possible went wrong ... it was hard. At the end of the day, Sister Packard and I decided to call Philip one more time. We called and this was how the conversation went:
Us: "Hey Philip, did you pray and read the verses we sent you?"
Us: "And did you get an answer?"
Us: "So....what was your answer?"
Philip: "God said it's my choice. He said if something is good, then I should just do it and not be afraid."
Us: "So what are you going to choose?"
Philip: "I'm going to get baptized."
Us: "Awesome! When do you want to get baptized?"
Philip: "Tomorrow. It's my birthday!"
So Philip was baptized on his birthday. Sister Packard and I had nothing to do with his decision. He made it all on his own while trusting God. His baptism was the best baptism ever. When I asked him how he felt afterwards, he said, "When I was under the water, it's like time stopped and I saw all of my past get erased except for the good things. And when I came back up I had goosebumps all over." He is the greatest. He couldn't stop smiling and neither could I. :)
Other adventures this week include trekking through the mud to get to some members houses with Sister Porm. She said we were her little ducklings so we called her Mama Duck. It was good times.
This week I have thought a lot about the hymn “Jesus Lover of My Soul.” It might just be my favorite hymn (especially when Alex Boye sings it). There is one part where it says:
Other refuge have I none;
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee.
Leave, ah, leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring.
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.
My whole mission I have been so fascinated by the analogy of light. I love that Christ is our light. But as I listened to this hymn the other day, I loved the idea that Christ also extends His care with His shadow. Christ is always exactly what we need Him to be. Our guiding light or our comfort and protecting shield and shadow. Whatever we stand in need of, Christ offers to us. I know that is true.
And there was our week. This week will be actually crazy. We are moving houses tomorrow; we have a meeting in Bangkok on Wednesday, and Zone Trainings the rest of the week. Lots of traveling. Lots of work. I'm excited for it all. October is going to be a busy month. Bring It On.
I love you!
"Grandma, your smile is so pretty." Sister Porm
"I don't have any teeth." Sister Somrudee
"Sister Hughes, sometimes I feel like you are my only friend in the whole world." —Sister Packard in the park where there were no people.
"Sister Muller! I did my family history and I found out I'm only 23, not 24!" —Brother Bew
|We love Philip!|
|Helping Sister Huang make somtam!|
|Brother Srithai back to his normal, goofy self : )|
|Juice boxes during a member visit.|
|Sparkle crocks; it's been a while.|