Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Historic Week--Now and Then

Tuesday we had Zone conference at the Asoke church building - 1.5 hours away in Bangkok. While there memories flooded my thoughts, I was there on this land (1970) when President Marion G. Romney sawed a board, when this, the first church building in Thailand, was being built. This was as I finishing my mission and one of my last special memories. Two years later, I came back with Willie Greene. The translation committee was finishing the final review of the translation of the Book of Mormon. They invited the two of us into the meeting. Not that we added anything but we were thrilled to be part of that meeting. This is the same building that our family went to church in 2000 on our first day in Thailand. We had come in the night before at 1 AM. This is the same building that Joan & I watched a meeting celebrating the 40th anniversary of the church in Thailand in 2006 when they asked all Thai return missionaries to stand. The room was full of “Thai" return missionaries. We have pictures of us with others who came to the celebration standing in this chapel. This is also the church that Joan and I attended on the day we arrived in Thailand for this mission. They asked us to share our testimonies in Sacrament meeting. We had only been in the country about 3 hours. So many special memories.

If I didn’t announce it before, our mission has already over 1000 baptisms this year, as much as all of last year.

For lunch at the zone training, I made root beer and we all had root beer floats. I had brought a bottle of RB extract from Mesa (which is almost impossible to find here), and we bought dry ice in Bangkok (not available in Ayutthaya). It was fun to serve the missionaries homemade root beer.

As said in our previous post, Sunday was a great day for the church in Thailand. We now have a 2nd stake in Thailand and also a new district divided off from the Bangkok stake. We have five districts in the country and they are growing to become stakes. Mike Smith (from his mission in Albania) noted "It is also interesting to note that both stake presidents and the district president are RM’s as well as one counselor each in both stakes. Both of President Senior’s counselors are RM’s not to forget that Thailand’s first Area Seventy, Elder Khanakham, is also an RM. All of these presidencies are Temple endowed and sealed with their families. This is what we all, as young missionaries (back in the day), envisioned for the saints in the country that we love so much.” Our branch remains a branch in the new stake. We did have one man from our branch receive the Melchizedek priesthood as part of the conference.

Anan Eldridge was at the conference too. He is in town with one of his sons. It is always great to see him and his smiling face. He told me that both of the stake presidents were missionaries when he was mission president. He was able to assist in ordaining one of them a stake president. (The other was ordained several years ago.)
Anan Eldridge, first baptized male Thai,
my first companion
and a previous
Thailand Mission President.

On Wed a phone call came in from a counselor in the mission presidency. Seems he was interviewing a member and somehow they discovered that she knew me. So he called and handed the phone to her. It was Sister Chantakan, who I helped baptize in Korat when a young missionary. I had lost all contact with her after the mission. It was wonderful to talk with her. I hope to actually meet her before we return.

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