Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week 37 - Surin, Thailand (November 9, 2014)

So last week, not too much happened. The biggest thing that happened was ลอยกะทง!! It was way cool to see! If you have seen "Tangled" There is a part where they all send up lanterns, that was what it was like! We got to send up a few of our own lanterns. In the belief of Buddhism, this is actually a form of getting rid of sins. BUT we did as missionaries always do, and we invited about baptism! We tried to explain the importance of Baptism and much more.

Here is the studies that Elder Beebe and I have had in his own words. I can't type that long.

Tell everyone I love them!

"The title of this email speaks for itself. I'd like to share some notes and understanding I received from Heavenly Father in some of mystudies this past week. (These are just my feelings, thoughts, and
notes I've recorded and you can take, change, add to what you want.)

In my email that discussed the Plan of Salvation and the Good Samaritan can also be used with these studies. Mainly because the Plan of Salvation is expressed and taught all throughout the Book of Mormon and Bible. For example, the story of the family of Lehi leaving Jerusalem to go to the Promised Land, Moses and the Children of Israel, The Brother of Jared, and like mentioned before, Good Samaritan. I want to just talk about my studies on the story of Lehi leaving his Land of Inheritance in Jerusalem. I feel as though the Spirit has led
these studies as my understanding has been built upon and it is my testimony that God has created these beautiful stories in the scriptures for the world.

As we read in the scriptures we see that the Lord speaks and teaches through parables. A parable by definition in the Merriam Webster dictionary is; a short story that teaches a moral or spiritual lesson; especially: one of the stories told by Jesus Christ and recorded in the Bible. It says that it is both a moral and SPIRITUAL lesson. As we read in the scriptures we see that  it talks about how the Lamanites felt they were robbed when the Nephites took the plates from them into the Wilderness. Why would they feel robbed? Sure they are made of Gold and Brass compounds but why other than that would they be of worth? As we see in the scriptures, people and nations dwindle because they are illiterate. The plates of Nephi are the teachings for ALL people. To help them become literate. While people aren't literate they dwindle and eventually lose all talents. We read about this in the Book of Mormon as well as in other historical books. (There is a ton more on this that I haven't written down). The scriptures both have spiritual and moral benefits. In the Bible we read about how Noah built the Ark in Genesis, right? Well he had to get those instructions from somewhere. As we read about that story it explains the exact measurements he needed to make the Ark. Same thing as the Brother of Jared, when he goes and builds submarines for his family and those following him. SUBMARINES. How do we know that it is a submarine that was built? Because the Lord commands him to create VESSELS that are tight. (Ether 2 discusses this story.) When the Brother of Jared goes
to build them he sees that there will be no light in them, so the Lord says to build a window in the ships. The word window is symbolic in this scripture, but how? As we read about the word window in the Bible, Genesis 6:16 it talks about a WINDOW. As we check the footnote about the word  INDOW it explains where the Brother of Jared got his idea to bring the stones
to the Lord in the mountain to make the submarines lit while under the water. These ships the Lord teaches these faithful followers are as Nephi states in 1 Nephi 17:8, " And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee,that I may carry thy people across these waters." No other man has ever created this before, so it obviously had to have come from the Lord to work the way it did. The scriptures have both moral and spiritual meaning to all people. So they are of the most worth in these times to keep nations from falling apart, to keep them all literate and smart! The Lord knows that without these plates, His word would be gone very quickly. Back in the time of the scriptures, the way stories and info was passed down was through oral means. The word of God would have been lost and messed up so fast. So, he teaches through interesting
meaningful, symbolic stories. Most humans learn through visual aids and creating images in their minds. As dad makes up those Bobby stories at night, I'm sure we all remember those stories better than math problems because we created those stories in our heads. It's the same with the scriptures, the Lord couldn't rely on men to relate 1000's of verses day by day to people while they weren't literate. I think it's pretty fair to say that we are all pretty literate and are able to read and write fine, but we can only memorize up to 10- 20 verses word for word. Teaching by stories and interesting parables is the most simple, yet complex way the Lord teaches us all through the Prophets. He is a brilliant author.

So, now onto the the story of Lehi. This is a brilliant story about how a family in Jerusalem leaves the city to go into the Wilderness to keep their lives and eventually lands in the Promised Land. (I've
capitalized the word Wilderness and Promised Land for reasons which I have reasons for.) So we see this great story about Lehi and his family traveling in the wilderness and overcoming trials and death and all these things. It's a great story because it talks about the Plan of Salvation and Jerusalem, and the Promised Land, and the Wilderness. So, as I stated the Good Samaritan story talks about Jerusalem and Jericho, Jerusalem being symbolic of Heaven and Jericho being the World. In this story it can be used in the same way. Jerusalem is the Holy City, Holy Land, and or Heaven.
The Wilderness has many meanings, it could be our lives now, the path of repentance, or trials in our
lives, etc. We all have tons of times in our lives when we feel as though we are in a Wilderness, so you can relate that to your own life. At this time in our lives, we have had many wars happen and that
are happening now over the Promised Land or Holy Land, which many people feel as though is Jerusalem and the area around it. I don't feel as though the Lord would tell us where the Promised Land or Holy Land is and the exact boundaries and would want people to war over it. I feel like the Promised Land is the happiness, joy, enlightened understanding we get from the processes of repentance, it is not a specific area on this earth or a certain land. It is symbolic of where we first started in the Plan of Salvation and where we will end up in our highest state of exaltation along with the happiness and joy through the Power of the Atonement.

I talked about the Wilderness in the past few paragraphs which is symbolic in and of itself. Now, the Lord will not EVER forget or apostate from us. If so, he would cease to be God. The people ALWAYS
will apostate from Him (if that makes sense. We will forget, throw away the teachings etc.) But in Isaiah, we read that ,"His hand is stretched out still." This is the promise of the Atonement, that no
matter what the Lord will pay for all sins of the world. "His hand is stretched out still." While in the Wilderness, we are currently lost and searching for the Promised Land. In the Story of Moses and the
Children of Israel, they travel through the Desert. What Desert could that have been in Egypt? Sahara maybe? They saw blessings and miracles such as water pouring from rocks and manna being fed to them daily. In the story of Nephi and Lehi, why don't they have this happen? Why don't they have rocks full of water and manna walking around daily for them? Because their Wilderness was different from that of the Children of Israel. Nehpi and Lehi and their family were in a Wilderness where there was water, so consequently, there will be animals. Moses didn't need a bow and arrow and a Liahona, but Nephi and Lehi did. They traveled through different Wildernesses to get to the Promised Land by passing through a body of water or multiple times in the case of Moses and the Children of Israel. Nephi and Lehi needed different tools to get through their wilderness because they were in different parts of the world. There were animals to hunt and etc. In Moses' case there weren't. In our Wildernesses, we will need different tools to get through and to fight through to get to the waters to cross into the Promised Land we so much desire.
We may not need to have bows and
arrows or a liahona. But one thing that all these great stories fell on in the end was the basics of Faith and keeping the commandments. The Lord will prepare ways for his covenant people to make it to the Promised Land that the Lord promised with those people. He will NEVER not let covenant people into the Promised Land, if they do their part. The Lord's word must ALWAYS come to pass. If it doesn't He will cease to be God.

Onto the Water that we must cross to get to our Promised Land. In these stories, we see that they all had to cross great waters to get to the Promised Land. Throughout these stories, we see that the Lord
doesn't say where it is or what it is or how long it'll take, He just says that he will take us to the Promised Land.
We must have faith to cross the Waters in our lives. To take that leap of faith to follow our Lord in the Wilderness and to finally cross that finish line, the Great Waters, into the Promised Land or blessings. As the faith of the family of Nehpi lacks the Liahona doesn't work, the Lord will NOT help them. But, as Nephi's faith strengthens, the Lord forgives and works with Nephi to bring his family into peace and the Promised Land. Also, I've heard tons of people say, including myself, that Nephi and his family founded the Americas. But, that is absolutely false!! How could
there be wars and wars within just a few years of being in the Promised Land if it was just Nephis family, Zorams family, and Ishmaels family (including sons and daughters of the wives of Laman,
Lemuel, Nephi, Ishamel, etc.) There had to be others in America before them to have all these wars. (I'll talk about this in another email. Because all clues are in the Book of Mormon, you just gotta look
closer. :) )

As we cross into the Promised Land, we gain that peace and love from our Heavenly Father that He promised us at the beginning of our journey. I'm convinced that the Lord didn't intend for Jerusalem to be the Holy Land or to make it known unto us. It isn't THAT easy. We must go through our own wildernesses in our lives to reach the many "Promised Lands" we will meet in this life. We may have many Wildernesses that take a few days, years or lifetimes to get through. But, we must rely on the Gospel of Christ, that is FAITH, REPENTANCE, BAPTISM (or taking the Sacrament each week), living worthily for the GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST, and we must ALWAYS ENDURE TO THE END."

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Week 36 - Surin, Thailand (November 2, 2014)

Well this week was full of stuff.

Last Monday we went to Wad Phanom Rung up in Buriram. That was fun, we also saw some stuff there that looked like temple things...

Tuesday we found out nobody was moving from our district! We were pretty happy that we get to all stay for another transfer!

Then on Thursday of transfers the Zone leaders called us and told us, "Hey can you do us a favor? Elder Beebe pack up. You're moving." So the transfer meeting was about an hour after that phone call. So we packed up and headed out to Bangkok. We didn't make in on time so my new companion,

Elder Ngaosuwan, and Elder Reid went back and Elder Tanner and I swapped companions and stayed in Bangkok so Elder Tanner could do his Visa work. I learned that Jacob is a Zone leader in Pakret!

Then we finally got back at about 2 am and went straight to sleep. The next day I finally got to talk to my companion. He is from Bangkapi. He is a pretty fun guy. This past Sunday we had Sister ไวน์ (Wine) baptized! She is awesome! She has actually been an investigator since I came into the country. But the missionaries that taught her, just lost contact. Elder Beebe and I got in contact and she was golden! She had been praying all that time and still was reading the scriptures.

She has a step father that is Islamic and a mother that is Buddhist. It will be quite the household for her. But she is awesome. She told us that she was so stressed before the missionaries met her. She almost was going to commit suicide, but perfectly, the Sister missionaries invited her. She will be an amazing member for the branch.

This week we had 53 people at church, we are trying for a goal of 60. Two weeks ago we had 41 people at church, so the members are doing some great work.

Anyways, that's all I have!
Elder Boonmee

Week 35 - Surin, Thailand (October 26, 2014)

Dear Family,

Once again I wont be able to expound on my personal studies of the Book of Mormon, because I am headed to Buriram pretty soon. It would be cool if I could see some photos from that conference because we don't see anything about that anymore.

Well this week was very eventful. On Tuesday our Thai family came to see me. It was little odd because I don't remember any of them. They all remembered me, but I didn't. To me, it was the first time seeing everyone. They also came back another time on Saturday, but not all of them. Just the two aunts and their family.

Elder Beebe and I brought up the Plan of Salvation. We taught them a bunch of things. It was all new things for them so I'm sure they felt odd a little bit. But I told them to pray and other things as well. I'm really hoping that they try it. It would awesome to see them be baptized. The thing is, is that they live in Korat. So it was a 4-5 hour drive to come here.

Then on Sunday we had a baptism. Sister พิมพ์ has been a long going investigator. She has been waiting about 3 months to be baptized because her dad wouldn't give her permission. This whole transfer we have been trying hard with her, and finally she got permission.

A little back story of her is that the missionaries didn't contact her. She walked straight into the church. She said that she just felt that Buddhism wasn't right, so she just decided to go to a Christian church. She asked a friend that had seen our church or something. But when she was looking for the church, she just parked her scooter and was thinking about where the church was. Turns out she was right in front of the church. So as time went on, and she was awesome. She should have been baptized a long time ago.

The Lord was helping her with everything. For sure. In the end, her Dad even came to support her for the Baptism. It was awesome to have a small part in conversion.

I love you all and tell everyone that also!
Elder Boonmee

Week 34 - Surin, Thailand (October 21, 2014)

So last Monday we went to Elephant city. It was awesome!! I can't believe the elephants are so huge.

While there, we got to see the little show that they had, but the best part wasn't in the actual elephant place. We walked out a little bit further out of that area, and just found a person and asked him if we could ride his elephants, and he said yes! So we got to ride four elephants, I got my own. As we rode around we just kept seeing more and more elephants. I also rode the elephant into a little lake as well. It was amazing, we just rode them bare back.

Then on Tuesday we went to Buriram for district meeting. That was just pretty normal.

For Wednesday we taught a couple of lessons. We called a past investigator and turned out she was awesome! She is so ready, the only thing is that her dad is Muslim and doesn't want her to be Christian. So we will wait for that.

Thursday was a normal day. We went to teach lessons and inviting.

Friday we went on switch offs with the Buriram Elders, I was with Elder Burke who is in my group, he was just in the other district, so we are pretty good friends. Later in the night we just prepared for this huge meeting in khon kaen.

Saturday we rode a สองแถว
for the whole 4 hours. It was awful. Then once we got there, we had the opportunity to see all of the three different districts. SUCH AS SAKON NAKHON!!! I got to see everyone again. It was so awesome to see them! I missed Sakon Nakhon. So it was awesome to catch up and talk to them again.

Then on Sunday we had the main meeting which was the biggest change there. We found out that they are making Khon kaen and Ubon become one district. It will help us get closer to stakes, then to a temple. After that we got to eat and once again I talked to Sakon Nakhon and got a photo with them all.
My people from Sakon Nakohrn
Then the missionaries went to the Khon Kaen Church and we had a special devotional with Elder Gong, and we also had special permission to partake of the Sacrament for this event. Before we had the sacrament, Elder Gong gave a wonderful talk about the atonement. The Spirit was so strong. He explained how we can always remember the savior. Elder Gong quoted this talk, "This do in remembrance of me". We should always have a spiritual experience whenever we partake of the sacrament. Then on Monday we had zone training. Elder Gong instructed us on what needed to be done before we could get to having a temple. It was a great week here.

Hope you weren't too worried that I didn't email yesterday. Tell everyone I love them!
Elder Boonmee