Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas in Ayutthaya

Sister Sowards and I finished reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, just before Christmas--an annual family tradition we are grateful to continue. "For unto you a Child is Born!" Ah! You've gotta love Gladys.

We held an open house for members and friends at our house Christmas Eve. Joan fixed pumpkin pie, chocolate chip cookies and fudge, I made brownies and fruit crunch. So much fun stuff to serve Thais American yummies they have not eaten before. One young man came into the house and kept saying, “Wow!” in English. We played games and showed the short video Luke 2. Joan introduced them to the coin on top of a mound of flour game. One uses a knife to cut away parts of the flour while trying to not make the coin fall. Everyone enjoyed it. We sang Christmas carols. It was just like Christmas.

Christmas day started early when the four elders

came to our house to Skype home. It was fun to see them so excited to talk with their family and to hear them afterwords still beaming with joy. They came back for dinner, to watch the “Other Side of Heaven”, and play Scattergories. We ended the day holding a missionary discussion two investigators in our home. These women interviewed for baptism the next day and baptized on Sunday.
The Meekers, the office mission couple, came to visit on Friday. We showed them Buddhist temples and also to the Million Toys Museum, and the floating market and saw a skit portraying the history of Ayutthaya. They stayed through Sunday and went to church with us. We enjoyed their visit very much.

Elders Sowards and Meeker at the ruins of Wat Thammikarat
We discovered another issue regarding baptism. One lady, who was baptized several weeks ago, told us she was not baptized with her real name. She gave the elders her actual family name, but her older sister’s first name. The older sister had died years ago and her mother had asked her to always honor her sister. So she honored her by being baptized in her name. 
The elders didn’t know her real name because most Thais go by a “play” name, or nick-name. When she admitted using the sister's name, I didn’t know what we should do. She didn’t mean to lie and wasn’t trying to trick anyone, she was only trying to honor her sister. We did explain about baptism for the dead in the temple. After discussing this situation with the mission president, we decided to rebaptize her and reconfirm her with her real name.  

It seems there is always some strange twist to the work here. We do love serving in Ayutthaya.

Have a safe New Year.
  Elder Sowards

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