Dear Family and Friends,
The sirens are going, the message is urgent-- Ubon has officially been set on an Uproar: a การเอะอะ.
We sat the youth of the Ubon branch in a semi-circle and we showed them how to be successful. We practiced with a couple examples and then we pulled out a big bag of cards.
"Can you do it?"
The response was a two-hour rush of one of Ubon's most heavily populated weekend markets. Ten youth on motorcycles, four missionaries on bikes, burst in the front entrance with an immediate cry to be heard. Brother Ice, someone who just barely finished his mission who I've served with before in Roi Et, raised a banner with BAPTISM and the effects that follow someone who chooses to take it.
Each youth was responsible for their own investigators-- they were told to bring something to record numbers and at the end we would collect them all.
I want you to picture in your mind Dan Jones on his crate.
Then imagine it with a pair of tiny little 16 year old girls.
Imagine a young man, more shy than any before, turning his head toward you in absolute awe with the flood of people coming to him that were listening to his message.
Imagine an American, tall and skinny, with a name badge on yelling through the crowds of what their life could be in their native language.
Now picture all of that in slow motion in a congested street market filled with thousands of people... in slow motion.
That's how I saw it.
The baptism banner could not be avoided. In fact, cars were stopping on the road and coming back after they would hear me shouting to them from the side over the noise raising the banner up to their windows. One woman waved me off with confusion... then a brief period of seconds later, turned around, opened her car door, and with the motor still running, made that brave walk to tell Sister Jackson, "I want that."
Ubon has been set on an uproar that will not be quieted. The youth, in exhaustion, came into a group from their few places they had stationed themselves. No water, no food, it's Sunday evening-- no buying. Sweat, no voices left, handed in their results with significant confidence-- "This person is... and this person has been to...." They were invested in those they found.
The tally? 49 people in two hours.
I heard this morning that Poland has just begun using the method that originated here in Thailand that has changed Asia. Poland.
When I sat in front of the television about two years ago, President Monson made the significant change in age for missionaries. No person will ever know what impact that moment had on my entire life.
I know the Hastening was real the moment that announcement came from his mouth. Since then that testimony has only been verified time and time again. When I entered my mission, the average baptism count a month was 40 people. And the retention was just as low.
But then we believed.
And just last month, 217 people were baptized in 4 weekends.
In four months we outdid last year's END total. In the month of June we will hit 1000 baptisms in just 6 months.
It is unprecedented. It is what the world would call "unreal". ...but is it?
Or have we finally discovered reality?
The reality of God is doing "Impossible". The reality of God is "exceeding all expectation". The reality of God is a call heard to a nation of Buddhist people. The reality of God is thousands of years of "traditions held by fathers" dropped at the hat for what sounds familiar in His children's ears.
The lullaby sung in heaven is ringing throughout the land: "We've heard this before." And it sounds like a trump. It waves like a banner. It shouts like a battle cry but enters the heart as a gentle invitation.
The impact across the Ubon zone is causing us to be kicked out of public places. People are recognizing us.
"...The Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him, [cried out]: "This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the [traditions of the] people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also [into their church]... And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut. And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar." -Acts 21
As Joseph Smith once prophesied so emphatically:
The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done. [HC 4:540]
We're not done here.
I'm considering purchasing a mega-phone.