Sunday, June 16, 2013

Storms, Celebration, and Snakes

It has rained almost every day and into some nights.  Most storms come with much thunder – exciting. Tuesday, a big storm hit about an hour before our English classes, but people still came. After English we helped the missionaries teach a sister a lesson about testimony. It was a wonderful opportunity to be part of teaching the gospel.

We had a multi zone conference on Thursday. It was very well planned and put together. It included a Find Waldo exercise, which taught some good points. The theme was "desire" and "diligence."  We discussed its importance to being missionaries. Everyone, including the senior couples, had to prepare a 3 minute talk on theses topics and gave them to the mission mother (Sister Senior) prior to the conference. We presented our talks a few days before. Because there were so many to give and time was short, Sister Senior had some of the young missionaries give their talks to Joan and I. It was inspiring to hear each person's talk. We were not sure who would be asked to actually give their talk during the conference. Two of the ones we heard were chosen. For lunch, we had SubWay (yes they are here in Thailand) sandwiches, cereal--as in the breakfast type, chocolate fondue to dip fruit in and coconut ice cream. You may guess that the zone leaders prepared the lunch.

On Wed. Joan and I met with the head of the Thailand Productivity Council to discuss how I might offer volunteer services to help them. Our visa to be in the country is that we give volunteer time to help the country. Teaching English is one way and we are always looking for other ways to serve. It was a useful meeting and we may do some things to help them. We met them at one of the most famous super malls in Bangkok. It could hold its own against any mall in the USA. The executive director of the productivity council, Ms Em (pronounced "M"), had suggested we meet there so we could find them rather than have us, as foreigners, try to find their office. She and her assistant spoke excellent English.

Since it was our 33rd anniversary on Wednesday, we explored the mall afterwards and had dinner. We ate at Tony Roma's. Our table was in front of a picture window and we had a great view of the rainstorm outside. 
We watched a doorman at the hotel across the street hold umbrellas as people walked between a nearby hotel and a mall entrance door. Then we ate cheesecake at a sweets cafe that had about 50 flavors of cheesecake, bought Mrs. Fields CC cookies, and visited the orchid festival. We had a nice anniversary celebration. We took the subway home but still had to walk in the rain almost a half a mile. Luckily, it was only sprinkling by then.

On Saturday, we left Bangkok early to go to a branch service project to reroof a member's home. It is a tin roof so it was easier to do than shingles. But it was hot. The good news is that it didn't rain while we were working. I didn't get on the roof much as the cross beams were 1" by 2" and could not really support my or any of the young elder's weights. That was OK with me. I found other ways to help. Saturday night we celebrated Father's Day with a meal at KFC and ice cream at Swensons. What a treat for us.

On Sunday, I sustained a new Relief Society Presidency and some other leaders. This may sound no big deal, but saying each name – their full name isn't easy –and I didn't want to pronounce any wrong. After church I had to set each apart – again a challenge to say the name and then pronounce a blessing on each. I concentrate so much on saying each word right that I feel I had problems hearing all the Spirit would have me say. The Lord has to work with what he has. The gift of tongues would be wonderful.

Joan played her flute while an elder accompanied her on the piano for a special number in sacrament meeting. The song was "When I am Baptized" and sounded great. The branch doesn't have special musical numbers often in sacrament meeting. The branch held a baptism on Sunday, too--a recent bride of one of our branch members.

Not all here is perfect. At one of the ward cultural halls here in Bangkok, they pulled the stage curtain and a snake cobra fell down.  In another building, the elders moved a volleyball net and a snake slithered away –this time they didn't know what type, but most snakes in Thailand are poisonous. 

Fun stuff.

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