Monday, May 26, 2014

Martial Law and Moving Forward

The Thai military declared Martial Law early this week and later upgraded to a coup. So far it has been mostly good as it has calmed down the rival groups and disbanded the demonstrators. Many of the political leaders and news commentators have been detained. Not sure how to read that. Schools were ordered to close on Friday, but they are back in session today. It is interesting that now we are totally under the military law. We as US citizens have some rights but the Thais don’t even have their constitution any more. Missionaries for the first few days of the coup were told by the mission to be home by 8 PM and not do inviting. Those precautions were lifted today.

The young elders received a death threat by an ex-boyfriend of a recent convert--well, sort of. The boyfriend was mad about the girl breaking up with him, so he said he would “get" the elders. The man called the elders for an appointment to learn about the church. He did not say who he was but the phone number was that of the ex-friend. The missionaries called him back--and called his bluff. He agreed to keep the appointment and the elders subtly told him there would be many members at the church happy to meet him. The man never showed.

We were looking forward for the youth from LopBuri (north of us an hour drive) coming Saturday for a combined activity. But they had to cancel last minute due to the political situation. We still held our youth activity, and our youth and leaders had a great time designing plates and playing "Steal the Bacon.”

Joan taught a music theory class on Friday. Ten attended. Eight were her piano students. We will have lesson two next week.

The city finally filled in the “sink” holes they dug for drainage pipes that were around the church drive-in area. It is much safer now to park in front of the church. (two cars had driven into the holes before filled)

On Sunday I (Elder Sowards) spoke in church – officially. I sometimes give short talks when the assigned speakers do not fill the time. This time we had 2 speakers before me and together they took about 8 minutes. I was able to take the remained of the time. I spoke about what we must do to prepare to become a stake and to have a temple. Not a fire and brimstone talk, but I did speak about sacrificing, including paying tithing. I spent much of the time after Sunday meetings counseling with people needing welfare assistance. I try to help them
Ayutthaya in bloom
and to help them see they need to pay their tithing to be blessed.

We fed the elders German pancakes Sunday night. With the political situation they couldn’t go out inviting and had to be home by 8 PM. They were happy to eat everything we served. We found canned peaches at our local grocery store and served them, too. The elders ate heartily.

We are excited that on Sunday in Cambodia, they organized the first two stakes in that country. What a blessing for them. The reality of having a temple in this region of Asia is getting even closer!

Hotel receptionist on duty

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