Monday, June 16, 2014


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 stories.
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 myself:

"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."

I said that in April, and I have been searching ever since for that person.

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 smoked since.

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 be wrong!

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 evidence.

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 week.

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.

In this land, Cornelius was found.

Sister Painter
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