Monday, September 8, 2014

Visiting Korat by Elder Sowards

We visited Korat for the weekend and tried to find family members of a friend of ours who now lives in Utah. The phone numbers we had did not work and we could not find the addresses even with the local missionaries’ help. 

We treated the four local elders to dinner (the sisters were in Bangkok). It was my birthday dinner. We couldn’t find any great cake, so we had a small piece of carrot cake and strawberry cake – OK but not Texas Sheet cake! After the dinner we got stuck at the mall for another hour-and-a-half because we couldn't get out of the parking lot. There had been a Scrabbleboard tournament all day with thousands of participants and it seemed everyone wanted to leave at once.

Plus two other filled rooms like this one at the mall
Scrabble game tournament
It was great to talk to the family on my birthday. Fast Sunday morning Ted, Rex and Chris & Kristy and family called to sing Happy Birthday. They then ate a great looking chocolate cake in front of us-- while we were fasting!

We attended church at the Korat Branch and it was a closure of sorts on the mission connected to my younger days of service here. I was assigned 11 months in Korat as a missionary then, probably the longest term of any missionary ever in Korat. I had many special experiences there and it was a joy to see the branch and its growth. Joan and I bore our testimonies in the Fast and Testimony meeting. To my added joy, they sang two hymns during the services that have great meaning to me from being there before. How did they know to choose those songs? Two men were baptized after the block, too. (There were 114 in attendance at the Korat branch. WOW!)

Elders Beebe, Amonthep, Crump, and Baanakorn,
with Bro. Nok in background.

It is a 3 hour drive to Korat. We drove over on Saturday and returned on Sunday evening. It is a very beautiful drive through the country but the drive is spoiled by crazy Thai drivers. I was stressed out after each drive.
Korat Sisters Yanisa and du Plessie

Joan taught music theory class on how to hear intervals and recognize them on the piano. The kids are really learning.

Monday night, a heavy rainstorm hit just a little before we start our singles' Family Home Evening. Still many members and one investigator came. For the lesson we listened (in Thai) to Elder Bednar’s talk about burdens, from April 2014 general Conference. We had felt it would be a good lesson. After we finished listening, I asked what people learned from it. One sister spoke about how she hated having to change her mother’s bed everyday. Her mother is very old and had medical problems requiring the need to change the bed each morning. The sister said this talk helped her change her attitude about this daily chore. 

Our family home evening group. The BP is lying down on the job.
Next the new Branch President spoke. He and his wife and daughter had come to see how the family home evenings worked. He humbly spoke about when he was made the elders quorum president after only being a member 2 months, he had thought he could not do the job. He had accepted the calling because he knew that is how we serve in the church. He said the Lord fulfilled His promise to make the burdens light in doing our callings. Now as branch president, the Lord is continuing to help him. Great learning from the talk.

For the FHE game we played wink-murder. This is a fun game but for Thais, who mostly do not know how to wink, it was a little challenging. Joan served Texas sheet cake (my birthday favorite) for dessert. It was great cake too and disappeared quickly. Joan saved a few pieces for us. This made my birthday even better. Those at FHE sang Happy Birthday to me and took lots of pictures. This is our last YSA family home evening. It has been one of our great joys while serving here in the branch. These are super members.
Our latest gift, a garlic wreath

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