Dear Family, Friends, and anyone who will hear,
As I write this, I'm 50 miles from the border of Laos. Last week I was told I wasn't moving, so I didn't even make mention of transfers. ... All that changed mighty fast.
This week I packed up all my things, knowing my time on my mission was short. The tension was high. I was nervous. I have two moves left, and one of them is only a 6 week one now with the changes in transfers back to 6 again.
I went to transfers, knowing not where I'd be by the end of the day. I got the assignment, I took my sweet companion Sister Jackson, and we took a night bus back to the Eesan.
My dear friends. I know that you know, that this is called the Thailand BANGKOK Mission. But my personal ministry (if you want to call it that) may as well have been called the Thailand EESAN Mission. If I finish in this area, I will have spent 9 weeks total from the entire duration of my mission, actually IN Bangkok.
I've moved. Now I reside in the rice fields of Ubon. Here, people speak 99% Eesan, with the exception of that 1% being members using "normal" Thai with us. Look up Ubon on a map. Thereee ya go.
I stepped foot, this last Friday, into what I believe to be my "Greece".
I say that, because Peter was called out to go find a certain man who beckoned to him from a land far away, and this man was a Greek. His name was Cornelius, a centurion at Caesarea. The baptism of Cornelius marked the way for the gospel to be preached to the Gentiles. Peter had a dream, and was immediately there-after called upon by this man Cornelius. He straight-way went out to find him, and Cornelius was baptized that very day.
My whole mission, I have had several of these shining finds. But during my time in Bangkok, I was burning inside, feeling I was not yet done. Somewhere afar, I felt a call.
I have walked into the land of my Cornelius.
And there are many more of them here.
Sister Jackson and I were immediately overcome by the feeling we had at each other's photo on the screen, and even more so when we walked into the city. I almost cried on the spot when we arrived and I road my bike on the city streets that day.
I don't know what awaits me here, but I have found my Greece. This mission is changing the world of Christianity in Asia. I know Ubon will be no exception.
And so I come unto my Gentiles and offer what Peter of old once offered for the first time. What then turned the world on its opposite ends has begun again in Asia, and I have been a part of it.
"These that have turned the world upside down are come hither." -Acts 17:6
The lost will be found.
The dark will be brought to light.
The lighthouse will shine forth.
Men will arise from the dust.
Cornelius will be found.
The crowning event of the Olympic Games in Ancient Greece was the marathon. It was the final mile that the race was won.
I learned struggle in Udon.
I learned how to rise in Roi-et.
I learned to shine in Don Mueang Bangkok.
And I've come to fly in Ubon.
My mission began as a letter from the Prophet Thomas S. Monson: "You are called."
To any and all, who will ever come across this little line of communication between missionary and the world back at home--If we never meet face to face, I have one thing to say.
All you ever need to know about Sister Monica Painter was that she answered the call.