Saturday, August 17, 2013

Life is an Adventure in Thailand

Ayutthaya primary children and board pose before
Chem's baptism
by Elder Sowards

We have rented a little house in a nice neighborhood near the church. (We still lack a kitchen sink.) However we discovered the first night that there is a nightclub behind us. Even through there is a small empty lot, a few buildings, and a road between us, the music is still very loud. They start about 10:40 PM and play to almost 1 PM. Is it OK to pray for something to go out of business, or for them move to a different place-- like Nome Alaska

We are getting to know the town much better and where the members live. We have many less active to visit.

Sundays have become even more unexpected. I think I should just start expecting the unexpected. For 2 of the last 3 Sundays my 1st counselor has not come to church – for good reasons. This last Sunday he showed up just before we were to start and said he could only stay for sacrament meeting as his house had caught fire during the week and he still had urgent repairs to make.  I applaud his self-reliance but felt hurt he hadn’t told me. Actually it was a blessing that the fire didn't burn his whole house down with his wife in it. He works in Bangkok during the week so he wasn't here when it happened. She was blessed to be safe and they were blessed that it wasn't a major loss.  Still, it is hard to run the branch with no counselors present (I only have one) and the branch clerk has come late the last few weeks. It is harder to council in Branch Presidency meeting with only myself.

Besides the counselor showing up late this past Sunday, it was high council speaker Sunday, but the high council person assigned did not show and another came instead. I don't know the high council members yet so I didn't know it was switched until just before the meeting started. I need to know how to pronounce their name correctly. The 2nd counselor in the district also showed up; then the 1st counselor in the mission presidency came in. He then presides. They all spoke in sacrament meeting.

There were many other surprises during the block. I am still struggling to understand all that is said in Thai and when I get asked a question in a meeting in front of everyone – it is hard to think clearly to know what was asked and how to answer it correctly in Thai. Everyone is understanding and tries to help, but I sometimes wonder if they go home from church and comment about why the branch president said, "an airplane brought the silver plates in a taxi." Or worse!

We also had an 8 year old baptism Sunday. It was not a convert baptism but the son of a member.. It is always fun to interview 8 year olds about the gospel. (He gave all the right answers.) It was a wonderful baptism.

I ordained a young man a priest. So now we have one active priest in the quorum.

By the end of each Sunday I look back at the great plan for the day when it started, and then was blindsided by an NFL linebacker, a charging elephant, and wild water buffalo.

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