Dear Family & Friends,
This week in our 'Greece' (see last week's email), miracles happened. Oddly enough, the zone leaders are even teaching a woman who was an investigator 10 years ago and got dropped. Her name is Caesar.
So it's official that I've gotten way sensitive. We watched these Thai life insurance commercials on the bus ride home from Surin and me and Sister Jackson were COMPROMISED in tears. We crack up at how irrational we're being, bawling over these little tragedy stories, and then the bus attendant from the back comes up, has been watching us the whole time, and hands us a roll of toilet paper to cry amongst ourselves.
Well friends. The storm came. We burst into Ubon here and with our zone's spirits on the battle front with full faith, Ubon basically exploded. Insomuch that there was literally a DOWNPOUR of rain, lightning, thunder, the works. It was a major explosion, and we were caught inside the church right when it happened, so I got some insane photos. I'll attach some of Elder Cooper's too.
What are some other good funnies of the week.... oh yeah. I thought a ceremonial zebra statue was a big dog in the dark-- terrifying in black and white.
We tango'd across a park ballroom in the midst of pro's to try to get their attention. One couple was completely unmoved, the other couldn't even keep dancing they were laughing so hard.
We sang at a wheelchair charity give-away for the church and the Thai man that was the announcer called for us to come up, but then when we did, he had us introduce ourselves and then he's like: "You'll be singing. ..... But not now. So go." Hahahah. So we were like shunned to the other room until he called us again. It was just funny because he said it in English and it was so abrupt.
Honestly all I have on my mind all the time is that these people need to be baptized in order to be truly happy and receive what Christ has already done for them. People are coming from the dust, from the cracks, out into the sun. The message of the gospel, shared simply, is bringing a fold of people to the church-- teaching the commandment, the blessings, finish with testimony. That's all it requires. We were making it too complicated before. I've been teaching commandments, full lessons, everything in 15 minute sit-downs. The gospel is simple-- we were just making it too hard!
After being taught simply and committed boldly, how wonderfully bright a person looks. They are filled with this hope. They have hope for themselves. I tell them, "It's a new start. A clean slate."
The gospel expands minds. Especially when the concept is so simple.
I want to talk about Breem. This sweet girl had been going to church for a while but "wouldn't commit to anything" as it said on her records. We gave her a big hug on that 3rd day I was here in Ubon, and said, "Wow, you look like a member already. You are definitely ready to be baptized! Will you get baptized next week?"
Some just need someone else have a little faith in them.
She was baptized yesterday.
The concept of Optimism and Vision-- let's talk about it. I would like to define optimism as: "Seeing not how things are, but could be. A spiritual construction of the mind, that, combined with faith, brings to pass the gifts of the spirit."
Our optimism in the future-- the construction of faith in our hearts and minds, draws us in the direction the Savior would have us go. When we align our binoculars, our side with His, we truly see things as they really are.
We see angels minister. We are guided to where we must be in that moment. We see life in God's light. When I think of optimism I think of a bright light. People that are optimistic radiate, and magnetize other people towards them.
Is it any wonder that we'd be optimistic and bright if our light showed even a particle % like the Savior's?
So, Vision. We are most optimistic when we see the way the Christ does. We see people as they could be. That is how I've spent my days in Ubon-- when I stop to talk to them, I see them as they would become. I want it for them. When we teach them, we give them their first tastes of faith-- a tiny tiny little seed, and give them something hard to do. Quit smoking today. Get married tomorrow to your boyfriend you're living with. Big commitments.
Why would they do that? Logically, does it make sense?
But what if a set of girls walked into your bike shop and asked for you to fill up their tires.
I want to talk about a man named Off. In the process of doing just that, filling my back tire, I expressed the message of the gospel and invited him. He capped my tire, stood up and just looked back at me. He was so friendly and I couldn't figure out why he was accepting everything I was saying with such a big smile.
The next day Off called us. He said he had had a tiring day at the shop, and as he was sitting in his home he had thought to himself: "How did those young girls have so much power?" He told me that when we walked into his shop it was as if an authority had followed us in and it invited him to believe everything we said. He said what he felt, he couldn't describe.
All I remember from that day in the bike shop was that we hadn't planned on going there. But we passed it, and turned back around immediately. I believed that he would believe me, and that he would be baptized. When I saw him, I knew it.
Off is getting baptized on the 18th this month because two optimistic girls had a vision of what he could be. The light that confirmed it to him was simply consequence of faith. "Any thing that has ever had any value, was first spiritually created in the mind, and because of his exceeding faith, he brought it about temporally. He literally caused it to happen." - Gene R. Cook
The Bumble Bee's body is logically and mechanically too big and too heavy and too disproportional to be able to fly.
And in such manner, do we fly in Ubon.