Dear Friends and Family!
Pancake on a stick anyone? In your favorite Asian characters? Or even Spongebob, or Stitch? There's a guy by the park that does freestyle pancake drawings and not only are they cute, they're delicious. And, on a stick. So that's this week's Thailand-exclusive. Haha.
And now I want to tell a story of what happened to me right before I ate that pancake on a stick.
Before I left to go inviting, our investigator Bobby full-out dropped us via text. Harsh, ouch. Unexpected. Do we mope and respond to it, or go be obedient by inviting for two hours? We have several reasons to not go inviting, but in the end...
We decide to go.
We were inviting everyone we could see in the park and we had already found quite a number of interested people. I felt like I had talked a lot, I was hungry, we'd already been here two hours, it's time to go and eat. We're about to head out, shoes worn, sweat rolling, and then....
A little thought, "You always have time for one more, Sister Painter. Just one more. That one."
I'm looking at a cleaned up, well-dressed lady sitting on the bench next to the track we had been inviting runners on for the last 20 minutes. She'd been watching us, no doubt. Her daughter was running back and forth from the bench. Sister Jackson was getting a last number and so I made that brave walk and sat next to her on the bench asking, "Do you want to be cleaned from your sins?"
She looks at me and says, "Hey, I'm Sister Erum."
Oops. Awkward. Just invited a member. I find out she's been a member for 10 years but hasn't been the last two. A miracle we've found this woman-- she had been obviously forgotten!
Then I find out, when she explains with a tear in her eye, that only her daughter was baptized. She was never allowed to, because her 'husband' refused to sign their marriage papers.
She had attended church and lived in every way a member would, but had never been baptized. She shared her testimony with tears in her eyes on that park bench. She told me she had been watching us work so hard from this bench and she received a witness that if we're working so hard to find people, our message had to be true. She told me she knew that I had been sent to her, because if I approached her, she thought to herself, she would accept whatever I offered her.
I told her God wanted her baptized. This is her time.
She cried and promised me she would be at church. She needed to go back, she said.
Sunday comes and she arrives with her darling daughters-- both of them. They meet their old friends and they embrace them warmly-- a lost sheep welcomed back into the fold.
The lost will be found.
As we walked her back to her car, she told me, "The police told me that the parking lot would be closed at 5:30pm but look!" Her car was amongst about 40 others. I thought to myself, Hmm. One last attempt and trying to get her to leave before I found her. Then about 10 minutes later I received a text from our mission that we had to be home within the hour.
This week, as many probably don't know, was a semi-strange week here in my homelands. I was sitting in a pretty ghetto "restaurant" (if you want to call it that), and they just so happened to have a TV going on behind me. Well, I'm eating and see a rat run through the "kitchen" and I'm like.... "Nice." To which directly afterwards comes a beeping and then a song, a full green screen and one emblem, and then in broken english: a statement on the TV concerning the state of the country of Thailand regarding military action.
This was the last week of our mission goal to achieve 3 baptisms for each companionship. It would appear as though Satan would have to throw whatever he possibly could to try to keep us from continually raising the numbers baptized each month.
In simple terms: Oh, he's ticked.
"It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?" - Joseph Smith
If we are to take this in football terms....
"I don't want them to gain... another yard!!!"
The work of God cannot be hindered. Attempts may be thrown at us, but with each try, we take our stand.
"On this team.... we fight! And we shut them down..... because we can!" - 'Miracle' the movie.
One day, I'll be an ancestor. I'll have sons. They'll like cars, manly things, and disdain the color pink. But most of all, they'll learn what is means to fight back the adversary and stand. They're learn that their missions were the biggest and most real fight they'd ever fight-- bigger than football, bigger than capture the flag-- but a real fight between good and evil. Between sin and righteousness.
When they leave my house on their missions, they'll know which side their mom fought for.
"For this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ."
I love you all. I love my mission.