Dear Family, Friends.... Facebook onlookers I've never met? Sure.
This week will go down in the history of my books as the rollercoaster of highest highs and lowest lows. As President says, "The funnest part of a rollercoaster is going down!" .... Not in particularly true for this comparison of successes and defeats, but in the Lord's work, I have yet to truly lose
I witnessed Thailand get it's 2nd stake ever in history.
My last area was just created into a stake. The Donmueang branch is now the
Donmueang Ward in the Bangkok North Stake.
I want to talk today about the cost versus return of being a missionary.
When I say cost, I'm not talking about dollars or even about time. I'm talking
about giving of yourself.
A mission is a personal investment. It's not a game of cost vs.
benefits but rather a journey of personal sacrifice vs. ultimate reward-- not
only for you, but for all those who benefited from your sacrifice.
So I'm going to start off by telling a story. You know I love
For this particular story, I'll have to go back in time to when I spent 9
weeks in Bangkok. (Mind you, this is called the Thailand Bangkok mission, and as
you may recall, I've only ever entered a Bangkok area that one time for
9 weeks.) While I served in Donmueang, the presiding bishop of the church
Bishop Stevenson arrived and gave us a sermon that left my heart totally
expectant that the blessings of my mission that I was promised would absolutely
come to pass.
In past letters, as you may recall, I wrote about "Finding my Cornelius."
What that means, for all of you just tuning in, is this, and I quote
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 wasCornelius, a centurion at
Caesarea. The baptism ofCorneliusmarked the way for the
gospel to be preached to the Gentiles. Peter had a dream, and was immediately
there-after called upon by this manCornelius. He straight-way went
out to find him, andCorneliuswas baptized that very
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
I have walked
into the land of my Cornelius."
I said that in April, and I have been searching ever since for that
And then I met that boy that I mentioned last week. A boy that was
"hungry". His name is Dome. Last week, as you remember, he told us in that
Tuesday lesson that he didn't want to get baptized because he knew he couldn't
quit smoking. The next day he woke up without any desire to smoke and has never
Now it's the next Tuesday and President Senior and Sister Senior themselves
are here in Ubon. Dome is waiting for his appointment right after a way fun
English class we had had at the church that evening. No rush, no hurry. He
moseys around until we're ready for him.
What's this? Sister Senior wants to help us teach him?
By all means.
So here we are, in a circle with us two missionaries, my mission
president's wife, and two recent converts. He lays out his concerns and says
that he's not ready but he believes in God with all confidence... just does not
believe in himself.
In this lesson, the spirit runs strong, bright and powerful. It is so
strong that Sister Senior testifies in english, and by the power and translative
native of the Holy Ghost, Dome understands everything she says and responds in
english back without even noticing a change. He comes to himself and realizes
this has just happened and his smile is disbelieving.
The spirit was so strong that you could literally reach out and touch it in
the air. It was tangible. It was real. It testified of the truthfulness of what
we were saying.
He concluded that day that he needed just a tiny bit more time. He said,
"Can I be baptized next month?" to which we told him we would do all we could to
get him ready.
We close with a prayer and as we are leaving the room, Sister Film (a sweet
girl who was just baptized and confirmed the week before) touches Sister
Jackson's arm and then, in an unsuccessful effort to control her emotion, begins
to weep into her shoulder. I turn and see this scene and ask what on earth could
After subsequent tear wiping and still no control, she explains that she
doesn't know why. She just felt so good.
It was a defining moment in her conversion to the gospel. The Holy Ghost
had testified not only to this young man Brother Dome, but to this recent
convert. And as President James E. Faust once said, "The Holy Ghost bears
witness of the truth and impresses upon the soul the reality of God the Father
and the Son Jesus Christ so deeply that no earthly power or authority [could]
separate [her] from that knowledge.”
Dome took his conversion into his own hands and we spent each night
studying the scriptures for himself doubled with prayer. He testified to us that
he knew it was true.
It turns out, that as Preach My Gospel has always taught, this principle is
correct: "… The only problem the objector has to resolve for himself is whether
the Book of Mormon is true." And everything else will be proven true by it's
It was enough for him. And it has become everything to him.
Yesterday at church he announced in priesthood that he would be baptized
next Sunday. Not in 2-3 months, not next month, but next
The spirit's converting power is the true teacher.
On Sunday he asked Sister Film and I how much it would cost for him
to be a missionary.
Read that statement again until you understand it. Now you know what the
cost and reward has been for me.