Thursday, March 27, 2014

The High Road

We have Thai elders in the mission who are the only members in their family and don't receive mail. We have accepted the challenge to send emails to these elders weekly. The first letter to was a Thai elder who answered with a smiley-face (the symbol that speaks all languages.) The second elder sent this reply:

I love your story in Ayutthaya [about the open house] ... Thank you for your story and your daughter's name is a very beautiful name in Thai [Tasanee].  And i just wanna say Happy birthday to her.  And this week we had 11 investigators come to church and all together every companionship in Asoke had more than 50 investigators at church and we have a famous politician in the sacrament meeting.  And I hope every things doing great too. May the Lord bless you

We admire these Thai elders who serve the Lord with no support from family or friends. It takes courage to be a Christian in a Buddhist world, to honor your covenants when all around you tell you not to.

They clearly have taken the high road.
(photo found at MorgueFile)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ayutthaya Open House a Success

Sister Duk is a beautiful greeter.

Visitors from LopBuri Branch with district president Pres. Sathid, seated.

Elders Mageno and Crump stand beside their  exquisite hand-drawn Plan of Salvation.

Youth entertained with song. The young man is an RM and came
up from Bangkok for the event.

A family from Rongsit came to show their support.
The father has been a member for 39 years.
 About 70 people signed in for the Ayutthaya open house on Saturday. We figured there were 10 persons who came because of the sign and invitations we handed out, about twenty from LopBuri and Rongsit Branches, and a few more from the district.

We are happy that it was such a success.
Rotary Club brought flowers.
 Rotary and
LDS Charities have worked together for many years.

Young Women explained the values.

Primary presented a great display.

Family History display.

Branch family tree.

Another great Family History display.

Youth enjoying the new couch.

Sister Noy teaching about Preparedness


A gift from our bank branch office

Many were tuckered by the end of the day.
Branch organization chart.

Making Progress

Plant growing 7 eggplants in our yard
Elder Mageno putting up our "Open House"
Ayutthaya Branch's latest baptisms
We spend much of the week preparing for the branch Open House to be held on Sat. March 23rd. We have a real sign outside the church with our name on it. But the highway department decided to repave the road in front of the church which makes it very hard to get to now. 

 I (Elder Sowards) lost the side of a tooth because the filling came out then the tooth cracked. The father of a newly baptized member is a dentist. Where else can one go at 7:45 PM at night on a Saturday night and see a dentist, get the tooth repaired and all for about $26! Some things are great here. The dentist did a good work.

Last Saturday the Relief Society held their annual RS birthday event. I had figured to take Joan and then work in the branch president’s office during the event. Surprise! I was told, just as it started, that I was presiding and would be the last speaker. I should have guessed. Also, our four elders had also been invited. In the states the RS would have kicked the bishop and missionaries out-- tactfully.

 Thursday, I made a presentation to the Thailand Hospital Association at their annual conference. Of course it was about Lean. They had asked me several months ago. I did introduce the church and even quoted Joseph Smith on teaching correct principles and letting people govern themselves. Afterwards an attendee came up to Joan and explained in English/Thai that she was a member--which was a treat for us. The conference committee did put us up over night at the hotel by the convention center. It was very nice.

Elder Sowards teaching how to apply Lean
Thinking in hospitals
Elder Sowards pointing to his name on the class schedule.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Spring in Ayutthaya

Elder and Sister Manning
The Mannings, the mission Public Affairs couple, came to visit Ayutthaya. They are looking for sightseeing attractions for the BYU Young Ambassadors when they come in May. Too bad YA are not scheduled to perform in Ayutthaya. We took the Mannings around to all the top tourist sites and had a good time. Elder Manning is also on the high council and was our assigned speaker in church Sunday. He gave a good talk about temple worthy standards.

Reclining Buddha at Wat Yay
Evidence that Spring has arrived in Ayutthaya.
Bird eggs on our window seal. 
Joan is now published in Thai Liahona. She wrote an article about our youth activities. She wrote it in English and the translation committee put it in Thai. She is now published in two languages.

We had two baptisms on Sunday, and we finally confirmed the man that was baptized three weeks ago. This young man has been sick and unable to come to be confirmed. He came only for sacrament meeting where we had sixty-seven in attendance. A record high.

We are planning for an Open House on March 22nd in our new meetinghouse. There is much to do. I gave out invitation cards to all the members Sunday and asked them to invite friends, neighbors and family.

We had a great Zone conference. One quote I liked: “The gift of tongues does not come with a box and ribbon.” Also that we may not be here to see the temple built in Thailand, but we are all building a temple to the Lord ourselves.

It has been very hot lately, but then again, this is Thailand. We are very grateful to be in Thailand serving our Lord Jesus Christ, and serving with such good missionaries and an inspired mission president.