Monday, June 3, 2013

Our Week by Elder Sowards (May 28-31)

On Tuesday Joan made chocolate chip cookies. We passed out about sixty flyers inviting people to our free English classes and offered sample cookies.  Not every one would take the flyer and less would take the cookie, but after about an hour all the cookies were gone. Some people sounded interested in the class and a few actually came that night. Maybe more will come this week.

Driving to Ayutthaya on Saturday was not too scary – on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most scary, I would rate it an 8. That is probably low for Thailand driving. Once there, I took the elder's quorum president and two missionaries (young elders) and we drove another 45 minutes to a member's house in the woods. 

I never would have found the home without the EQ president's help. I am their home teacher. We had a wonderful visit. They live in the humblest of homes and grow vegetables to sell at the market each day. They told me the Lord blesses them to sell out on Sat. so they can go to church on Sundays. 

This same family went to the Hong Kong temple in March to receive their endowment. As the mother started to describe her visit there, I anticipated that she would discuss how impressed she was with the inside decor of the temple.  She never mentioned either but talked about how reverent and holy she felt and that during the five days there she didn't go sightseeing, but spent every hour she could doing temple work - first for her family then for the fifty-one names of family she brought. Have you ever spent five full days doing temple work? She was sad there are so many names still needing to be done. Since their trip, she has had dreams about her deceased family members whose work she did. She hadn't thought much about them for 30+ years but in her dreams they have expressed their happiness. They may live a simple life, but have strong testimonies.

I interviewed a man for the Melchizedek priesthood. He told how since he joined the church his and family's lives have greatly improved. He said he used to drink and had a terrible temper but now he has a much better love for his family and they for him.

Saturday, we visited a recently baptized sister. We went with the full time missionaries to teach about fasting.  When we arrived we found the elders quorum president, his wife and child, the brand 2nd counselor and his wife, and another member already there. All were visiting together on a street sidewalk near her house. We joined them and had a wonderful discussion that included an opening and closing prayer right there by the street. What great support.

One challenge we face every week is the membership records. They are not easy (for me) to read in Thai and most members use a nickname, not their real one. Few Thais ever know other people's family (last) names. If I were Thai I would be called Brother Dennis or Brother (whatever my nick name was). The only time my real name would be used would be in receiving ordinances and blessings or being sustained to callings. Their full names are often long and hard to pronounce (at least for me). This makes being a leader even harder. I can spend 5 minutes just looking at the branch membership list to find one name. We only have 120 members.
Ruins of Ayutthaya's ancient palace

1 comment:

  1. What a great blog! The story of the member's experience at the temple really touched my heart. I hope to share it with other members when we are teaching the importance of Family History.
    Sister Taber