Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Another Adventurous Week in Thailand by Elder Sowards

Snake visits church offices this week
Our house in Ayutthaya will be ready for us to move in (hopefully) on the 31st--though still without a kitchen. The kitchen won't be ready until Aug. 4th. But we have to be out of our Bangkok apartment on Wednesday. We just won't be able to cook anything for a few days – maybe we will have a microwave. We moved some stuff into the house on Sat.

We did get a car this week. It is a Toyota Vios that we are leasing through Avis. We really haven't driven it much, as we took the missionary van loaded with our stuff to Ayutthaya this weekend. Bangkok is not the place I choose to go for joy rides. We'll drive it to Ayutthaya on Wed.

We celebrated Pioneer Day on the 24th, too. It wasn't with floats or a rodeo but we had a luncheon that included cornbread, beef stew and chili American style (at the church office.) We also had Thai food. One of the Thai’s asked if Americans ate the stew every 24th. Joan told her yes – and several times in between! Actually I think the pioneers would have loved the meal we had. It did include a nice cake and ice cream. (No homemade root beer.)

We had an unexpected visitor with us for Wed. & Thursday nights. On Wed. while we were at the church, a young lady American came in asking if she could sleep over night in church. She was a member and needed a place to stay the night. After determining that she actually was a member, Joan invited her to stay in our extra room. (Joan asked her to say some of the articles of faith.) She is from Alaska and has been going to school in Utah. She has been interning in Cambodia as part of her masters degree. She had decided to tour some of Thailand before returning home from Bangkok. Her trip across the border by bus had not gone as planned; she had delays, visa problems (they probably wanted a bribe from an American) and other challenges which had wore her out. A failure to meet up with friends in Bangkok had left her a little challenged on what to do. I am still not sure how she found the church but think her and probably her parents prayers were answered in unusual ways. She was very tired and glad to come to our apartment. She hadn't had much Internet coverage in Cambodia so she hadn't spoken with her parents for several months. We let her use my MagicJack phone to call her parents. On Friday she left for Chiang Mai to see another friend and leaves next week for home. 

Sister Aum's last Sunday before heading off to Chicago to work

It seems every Sunday is an adventure. This one was no different. The 1st counselor didn't show and with no prior notice. That put me as conducting the meeting and scrambling to get last minute prayers and the titles of the songs – all in Thai. I was also trying to meet new visitors and see that the sacrament was ready. No other priesthood had showed by 20 minutes of starting time, not even the 4 full time missionaries. Then in walk two visitors from the district (read stake leadership). Now I needed to learn their names and reasons for coming.

Across the street from our apartment is this cool gypsy wagon
 at a nightclub that plays loud music 'til 1am.

 One told me he had come to do a semiannual audit of the branch financials. It would have been nice to know he was coming so we could be prepared (where have I heard that motto before?). It all worked out including a new member confirmation, Joan and I speaking to the primary about temple (eternal) marriage and how we prepared our family, and the audit. The leader wanted to do the audit during priesthood meeting so I missed that. There was no problem with the audit findings – no money missing or like that, just needed to do some better records organizing. 

We had a fireside after church led by our family history leaders. Everyone started a 4-generation sheet on their family. It was interesting to watch members and even one non-member start calling relatives to ask for the names of grandparents and great grandparents. Thais don't keep many family records--no family bible to hand down from generation to generation.

During Sunday School an elderly man started getting sick. We helped him return home and heard that his son then took him to the hospital.

Just a typical adventure in Thailand

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