I am doing okay, but I am having a hard time gaining weight. I think it is just because of a high metabolism rate. and riding a bike all day, but I'm really going to try hard to gain weight. I'm tired of being at this same level. (Does anyone have suggestions?)
Last week was zone conference in Kongaen. President Smith focused on Visions, Goals and Plans, meaning; What is your vision for the area you are in? What are your goals to make that vision come to life? what are your plans to fulfill those goals, and we put together a vision for Yasothon and goals and plans for this vision.
In the future we want to see a church building here in YasoThon, just like how the branch in Ubon has one. What is it going to take to have a church building here in the future? It is going to take an increased weekly attendance, strong priesthood, members fulfilling their callings, and a larger flow of tithing. Right now, this branch is struggling with all these things, including a weekly attendance of about 20-30 people each week, and the priesthood quorum is very weak here. Many members don't fulfill their callings, including the 2 councilors to the branch president. So we are going to really work on bringing in new people to the branch, and strengthen the priesthood here, and increase attendance here, because there are about 200 members in Yaso, and only about 30 come to church each week. So, thats what we have been working on, is trying to strengthen this branch.
Now, concerning investigators. This principle of visions, goals, and plans has been great to use for investigators too. We have a family that we are teaching, and the missionaries have been teaching them for a while. The fathers name is Yuu, and the mother is Paeng, and they have 3 sons. They are in pretty poor circumstances. They sell little bread rolls for a living at a market at night. When Elder Jenkins and Elder Day first met them, they committed them to not work on Sunday, and promised that, if they stopped working on Sunday, they would be blessed with great business the rest of the week. That promise was fulfilled, and according to Elder Jenkins, Paeng said that after not working on Sunday that one week, they had a spectacular week of business, and were very happy. From then on they had come to church and were progressing really well. But, then they kinda stopped and they went back to how they were before. Well, it turns out that Paeng had been attending another church before that had been telling her to stop going to the mormon church and stop praying because it was bad. And Paeng has been kinda scared to cut ties with that other church. So its been kinda hard, because they are really nice, and they like meeting with us, but she's kinda stuck with that other church. So, we focused on him, and encouraged him to at least come, and he's like, "okay I'll come", but hasn't yet. So last week we went over to their house and (before I go on, at Zone conference President Smith talked about teaching about the Joseph Smith experience, and when you get to the end and the spirit is very strong, stop right there, and let it sink in.) So we did that, and promised that they can pray to know these things are true, by praying to know about Joseph Smith and if he is a true prophet. And she was like whoa... and she couldnt stop looking at the Joseph smith picture in the pamplet, and you could really tell that she wanted to know if it was true. And then we talked about going to church, and we told them both about how we know that at this time, they are not able to go to church, but that there are other ways to keep the Sabbath Day holy, like not buying things on Sunday, or even working on Sunday. So, we committed them both to stop work on Sunday, just like all the other times, and they were like "okay, we'll do it".
Well, Sunday rolled around and it was a normal day. Only one investigator showed up to church, the wife of a member, and she has a baptismal date for the 20th of this month, so we'll be really htting the teaching hard to get her ready, and she will be intervied next week, so its pretty sweet. Her name is Nawmtib. Paeng and Yuu didn't come, and on the way home we passed by the market and there they were selling like usual.
So yesterday, we went to visit them, and I'm not mad or anything, never be mad at investigators, but be sad when they dont keep commitments. So we had somedam, have I talked about any Thai food yet? Its shredded papaya, and with thai chili peppers, and sometimes has shrimp in it , but its pretty good, its a dish that comes from this region of Thailand. So while we ate, we talked about visions, goals and plans. And we talked about how we have a vision for this area, and what it all encompasses as far as goals and plans, and then used that as a comparison to what it's going to take Yuu and his family to reach their potential. They want to be able to get back to their Heavenly Father, what's it going to take? Well, its going to take, stopping bad habits, which Yuu has already quit, so that's way cool, but what else? Its going to take keeping the commandments, like being baptized, and going to church, and they are going to try again, so we will see what happens. This family is really nice, and has a lot of potential, and I am excited to see them fulfill their commitment. Pray for them as they work to reach the potential they have.
Well, thats whats going on lately, we've been doing some service for members, yesterday morning we went to help a member lay cement, and that was fun, but really messy. Also, I hadn't mentioned it yet I dont think, but we have a Filipino investigator, his name is Bryan, and it has been an interesting experience teaching him. I will write more about that next week, so expect a letter this week.
Today is P-day. I went and got my shoes repaired, and we are probably gonna go to the church here soon because I have to practice piano a little bit. I've been playing for the congregation on Sundays. I can't read music very well, so perfect pitch (thanks Grandma Linda) and knowing how the songs go has come in real handy.