Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Always Surprises

The theme for the English class this week was talents. Joan brought a guitar she found at the mission office and taught several songs (in English). The Thais love to sing. 

We invited four full time young elders to dinner Friday night. We cooked a sort-of roast, potatoes and carrots. I say "sort–of roast" because it's hard to buy beef here. There are small cuts labeled steak, but they're not any cut I know. They don't really cook up well. Our oven is hard to control, too, so maybe it wasn't just the cut of meat. Joan made gravy and the elders seemed to like it – they ate it all up. They don't get many dinner appointments from members here.

We made our usual trip to Ayutthaya on Saturday and looked at a building that could become our next church. It is in a great location and has many good possibilities for becoming a good church building.  

We also visited a new member couple who recently moved from another part of Thailand. They live about 40 miles south of the church. This is the first time we have gone south to visit members. We have visited several that are about 40 miles north and east. I don't know the full area covered by the branch but would guess it may be close to 50 miles radius. This seemed like a good family that was active in their former branch. They said they would come Sunday, but didn't make it.

On Sat. I also visited a member who is 68 years old. He been to church for two years. He has problems with blood circulation to the brain. His son takes him to a doctor each month. He lives in a house 15 foot by 12 foot. No furniture but a hammock for a bed. His sister brings him food, but the medication makes him sick so he doesn't eat much. He has a light –just one in his house. He says he doesn't use it much because the neighbors don't want him too. The light is connected to a cord that runs from the neighbor's house – no separate meter. He has wanted to come to church and also bring a neighbor, but had no way to come. He was going to get up at 5 AM on Sunday to wash his shirt and bathe so he could come. I picked up up him and his friend (about the same age) in the mission van. He said his friend will be a new member.

When I arrived at the church one of the elders asked if the planned baptism could be right after Sacrament meeting instead of at the end of the block. The father of the young man to be baptized had broken a rib this week and was in much pain. He didn't think he could last 3 hours to see the baptism. I said okay. The Sunday School leaders would probably not agree because we basically skipped Sunday School, but it seemed what we needed to do. The baptism went fine. The two speakers for sacrament meeting turned out to be the same two speakers for the baptismal service!

I did two patriarchal blessing interviews, and set apart two members to new callings. I need to work with my counselor to have him do some of the blessings too. This may seem no big deal, but getting the member's full name right, the calling right and giving a blessing in Thai is still a big challenge for my language skills.

I also did a first time temple recommend interview. The sister is saving money to go next year to the temple but wanted to have a recommend now. I don't know the church policy on this, but I remembered President Hunter's admonition that all members should carry a temple recommend even if they had no temple near enough to attend. I gave her one. She still has to interview with the mission president so I may hear about it.

Meeting with this sister was very good as she shared her testimony and conversion story. She has had a rough life, she had a child out of wedlock about 8 years ago and many in her family including her father criticize her for being Christian. She said she has always believed in a God. She has been a member a little over a year now. Her son turns 8 in August and since his name doesn't show up on church records, I had not seen the reminder that a child baptism is approaching. We can now work on his baptism. She also told me that while come to church Sunday  she and son were riding on the back of a motorcycle taxi when a dog started to run across the road in front of them. She knew they would hit the dong and have a big accident when a truck came speeding by her on the right side and hit and killed the dog. She was sad for the dog, but counted it a blessing that they did not hit it. She said her prayers were answered. Many Thais, including many members, ride 3 and 4 people on motorcycles. We saw one family with the father driving and the mother having a child, maybe 2 years old at most, and a baby in arms on the back. No one had a helmet. This was on a major 4 lane each side divided highway.

It is always an adventure in Thailand

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