Saturday, March 15, 2014

We Need A Temple HERE!

Sister Steward and myself. She was my MTC companionDear Family & Friends,

This week at zone conference, came the inspired question:

"Can God make a burrito so hot He can't eat it?" - President Senior.

With that smack in the face question to head this email, I'll begin on explaining the week and let you ponder over that one a little more later.

Last P-Day I learned to make some Thai food, and went to my Branch President's house for dinner. I was so impressed, to say the very least. It was truly a home built and centered on Christ. Their bookshelf was filled with about 50 Liahonas, 12 Gospel Principles books from over the years, and pictures of the temple, Christ, the iron rod. You name it. But it was also a home, not just Deseret Book. It was warm, comfortable, and you could tell real people with real lives lived there.

I was further surprised to here the Branch President rat out his wife; that she wakes up every day at 4:30am and makes him a lunch before he goes to work. That is a real love, and real charity.

Did I mention my Branch President is only 30 years old?

In other news: President Senior finally broke down (over a lost game of Skip-Bo with Sis Senior) and now we can listen to anything that is in the Hymn Book sung by anyone! Not just Mormon Tabernacle Choir! MERRY CHRISTMAS to me. Last night I played Jenny Oaks Baker's violin CD and was merry indeed.

For zone conference we also had MEXICAN FOOD. Oh, I can honestly tell you I cried like a child. Sister Marvel, a senior couple missionary, was just as out of sorts as me in our excitement and we literally held each other crying we were so happy to see real mexican food, chips, and salsa. We were laughing so hard at ourselves that we were having such an emotional moment over mexican food that I guess you could say we "Marveled" so to speak. Haha. And it was so good, let it be known. Que Pasa.

I so love all the recent converts here. There were about 18 of us in the new member meeting we held on Sunday, and it was just unimaginable and totally "impossible" that this many people came into the church within two weeks of learning the gospel. The work has hastened so much, that very many of the members were baptized in under 3 weeks of meeting the missionaries. That's nation-wide.

Before in the mission, the usual was about 40 people being baptized a month. It never really had a chance to grow, because that's just where it had always been. With the usual ebbs and flows of people dying, moving away, or leaving for various reasons, the church just never grew here.

Until now! And it hasn't gone unrecognized by Salt Lake, that's for sure!

When I was a greenie, I sat down with my trainer for one of my first companion ship studies. We were still having a hard time understanding one another, because she was Thai. I was raised by sweet Sister Pannida.

That day she turned to me in her chair and with tears forming in her eyes she said, "I want Thailand to have a temple. We need a temple here."

Her words were powerful in her broken English. I have never forgotten that moment. As I have since grown and she has since finished and returned home, now almost one year since she picked me up, I remember her words: "We need a temple here."

So when I work each day on the hot streets, I'm tired and sweaty and just about done for a minute, I think of why I do what I do. I do it because I love the Thai's. I do it because I want them to have what I have-- the gospel of Jesus Christ, and finally, a temple they don't have to use their life's earnings to fly over to attend.

As a last testimony, I know that God is invested in his work, in his missionaries, and in the efforts to get a temple. As I was riding my bike down to the church this week, and a small lady saw me (as she was situated on the back of a motorcycle taxi) and she pointed her hand all the way out and say, "That's her!!" and flagged me down. I stopped. "You were the one I saw teaching about Jesus once! I'm lost and on the way to your church!"

The work has progressed and moved in ways we cannot describe. A Thai woman recognized a Mormon missionary in the Buddhist country of Thailand.

What was once impossible for this country has met the reality of God.


Sister Painter

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