Dear Family & Friends,
I have to tell you something. It rained here in Bangkok! As in, it poured! And you know what happened then? It stank like a un-maintained elephant farm. We literally were wading (our weather-resistent crocs need Lysol for sure) in about a foot and a half of... I don't know what! But regardless, the roads a lot less muddy.
So that day I was on a switch-off with Sis Stewart, and we ran for cover in the Central mall after being locked outside the church gate (I'd love my own set of keys now.) And wouldn't you know it! It's BABY ANIMAL DAY at the Central. Emus, Iguanas, owls, you name it. Some guy got Sis Stewart to put her finger out for a bird. She held it, I took a picture. "Aha! 20 baht sucker!" ... What! He moves out of the way of his sign. Photos, 20 baht. Oh, you got me there. So he's like, "Well, you already paid, you may as well take one on the actual chair with the other birds." So Sis. Stewart has me hold the bird this time. "This is gonna be another 20 baht because it's a different person." I look at him and go, "I don't think so!" And thus, we have pictures of only Sis Stewart with the cool birds. He was a gooooood sneaky one, that guy! And all the sheep in the fencing had bandanas and hats.
The rest of the week was a lot of finding, making appointments, and then panicking when no female members could come. We called over 30 people one day! And our midget investigator has taken us to the dropping point over questions like, "Who's the church's electrician??" as if it truly were so important to know. Two hours later, Sis. Wolf says, "So... yeah... if you teach on Wednesdays at 11am again, I don't think I'll be free....." ... Yeah, I get the hint.
Let's talk about a miracle.
There's a young man in our branch newly baptized about two months ago. His name is Rad. Turns out, dad, he knows what a Hemi motor is, a Roadrunner 69, and all other names that translate straight over from english to Thai. It's funny how my childhood prepared me for that conversation.
He is one of the most amazing converts I've ever met. He has no flaws! .... Except one thing. He is almost an hour late to everything, always. He literally just has no sense of time management, which is just such a funny thing. So you make appointments with him for an hour earlier and he'll be on time for sure! But with this habit, sometimes he would come the tiniest bit too late to pass the sacrament for his first time.
But here's the thing, he's getting so much better. So this last week, he was assigned as the opening prayer for a baptism before church. We see him jump off a motorcycle, run into the group photo, and made it only 15 minutes late! Score!
This last Sunday I came to the conclusion that I needed some real help with how we were going to be successful in Bangkok. What can I do more here to get this ball rolling? I was a little discouraged and as I sat on the bench during sacrament after this baptism, I glanced over to the other side of the room.
I saw Rad, passing the sacrament with all humbleness, for the first time in his life. His face was priceless. I thought to myself, "Of all the wins and loses from this week, I'm glad I get to sit here in this sacrament meeting and witness the "white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland" (who is always late), finally get to fulfilled his priesthood duty."
And when he did, he cherished it. It's never too late for the atonement to change what we believe cannot be changed. Whether habit or not. That goes for all, old member and new. And even missionary.