Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas from Thailand

Are you familiar with that feeling after a nice good run where it feels like your whole body is covered in a layer of moisture; clothes sticking to your skin? That is how we celebrate Christmas here in Thailand. No running required. You are simply graced with the feeling of having done a full body workout 24/7. It feels like missionary work and I love it.


Christmas here has been absolutely spectacular. The day I'm writing this is in all honesty Monday, the day after Christmas but it's alright. International times tables can be difficult to work with.


I've been trying my best to write things of significant matters that are to the point in these weekly emails. Not so much a story of day to day activities but something closer to events or moments throughout the week that has had spiritual significance. In Nephi's words, things that are of my soul. In this sense, my journal is an invaluably prized possession for me, as it is a record of many moments in my life where I have been changed, hopefully to never be the same again.


Elder Holland gave an address in Thailand some years ago, saying that a missionary cannot go back to who he once was. He must grow beyond the man he has become after the mission, never reverting back to the child he left behind. I might have tweaked a few words here and there, but the general message is still the same. In part of this reason, I keep a record of such experiences that change me, that I might remain changed and grow always. Too frequently I took things of a sacred nature too lightly. I am beginning to understand the depth of conviction Elder Holland has as to the importance of missionary work. The importance to stand tall, do all that you can do, and be all that you can be. I have much to improve.


It has been lovely to see and hear about the affairs of my family back home. D&C 100 has been proving to fruition. The Lord seems to has blessing my family greatly. I miss and love them so much, but every other family deserves to be with their's for all of eternity, so a small sacrifice from my part is very little to give back. It doesn't feel like a sacrifice at all by the way I have been receiving an abundance of blessings.


Merry Christmas from Bunkapi, Thailand!!! This picture, is another very cool story. Perhaps for next time.

**Thank you seminary teachers. I am forever in the debt of the influence you have been on me.
****Thank you also to my awesome MTC teachers/instructors. I have learned so much through your examples and testimonies.

Until next week,
Elder Miyagi

Monday, December 19, 2016

White Christmas!

Helloooo.

Merry almost Christmas!

Yesterday, we had three baptisms as two of our investigators got baptized and 1 of Elder Libey's (Same district in MTC and current district) got baptized. They are so awesome!

Brother Khram was an interesting story. บ. คราม basically just showed up at church one day saying he wanted to get baptized. Turns out that he had already met with the missionaries but couldn't at the time due to him being unmarried and having a child. He has such a strong testimony and loves his kids so much.

Brother Gah, was my first investigator that I met my first official day serving in Thailand. บ. กร้อ was really quiet at first but is now super talkative and comfortable around us. He was so nervous bearing his testimony after he received baptism. บ. แอท (Brother Art), Elder Rawlinson's former investigator and now member baptized him as they are really close friends. It was an especially special moment for him as someone he taught baptized another.

Today we're going to Chinatown and Elder Libey and I are on splits as our companions had no interest in going with us. We also have to squeeze in a haircut before we head out so our emailing time today will be cut a little short.

\

From left to right, Elder Rawlinson, Myself, Brother Gah, Brother Khram, Brother Chase, Brother Dewy(Peace Sign), Brother Art, Elder Tuttle, and Elder Libey. Fine bunch of people.


Smile through any manner of great tribulation. Last P-day. Really photogenic looking Crocodiles.


That's me and Zoey! See you next week everyone! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Episode 22 (Prepare, Covenant, Serve)

Ep. 21 Last week on the Thailand Bangkok Mission Diaries..

Life is pretty Sabay.. All is well.

Ep. 22

A thought in the week.

A man is better judged by his full potential than by what he has already accomplished in life. A meager few years is nothing in comparison to eternity! As we strive to remember our own divine identity and worth, let us not forget the divine identity and worth of those that persecute us. This is where one might say, it's easier said than done. I could not agree more. However, no great pursuit can be accomplished so easily.

Some random quotes from the Liahona and Ensign.

"One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes."

-Saint-Exupéry's Little Prince

"We tread a path covered with diamonds, but we can scarcely distinguish them from ordinary pebbles."

-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I especially love this quote. I feel that I was as a little child, too entranced by the ordinary pebbles and not understanding the beautiful worth of diamonds. I think I am beginning to understand how I am to apply "Good, Better, and Best" into my life. Too much Netflix permission. Regrettably.

"We should not assume that just because something is unexplainable by us it is unexplainable."

-Neal A. Maxwell

"Real charity is a priceless gift that propels us to act in the Savior's place."

-J. Audrey Hammer

I had the opportunity to baptize the Sister Missionary's investigator, Brother Fluke. The hand of the Lord is truly here in Thailand.


I definitely do wish that I have prepared myself more for my mission. More so to do with my habits than anything else. A thirst to read from the Liahona and Book of Mormon! To go to church and meet with the members! To reach out to less active members and to comfort, abide, and guide. All of us have the capacity to serve. All of us should we simply desire can change lives. You might do so now by reaching out to somebody who you might think might be feeling a little down.




By serving with what sometimes feels like little talent and long grueling amounts of time, I have come to see the hand of the Lord more frequently. I have seen His perfect love for all. These past few weeks have humbled me greatly. I am so grateful to see the miracle of hearts being changed. Especially my own.


Monday, December 5, 2016

Our Success

Okay where are we at..

We have three investigators with pretty promising baptismal dates this month. It's so exciting for my companion and I! We are all extremely excited for Christmas as well! No snow in sight, but we have 90 degree whether instead of 95 so that's a plus. 




My companion and I have been showing the "Light of the World" video to our English Students and Investigators. My companion always gives me this glance and half smile whenever the part I'm in comes up. We don't say anything as we do our best not to disrupt the Spirit. What's funny is that Elder Kang from back home who was in the same video said that this was exactly what I would be doing in Thailand on the day we were shooting. I wasn't really sure, but what he said rang true. The metaphor portrayed in the film, of serving as the Savior did is one that rings especially close to my heart now that I have the opportunity to serve as a literal representative of Jesus Christ. 





An experience I recorded in my journal is that of inviting. We made a goal to receive 30 numbers/contacts. Halfway through our inviting session my companion asked how many I numbers I have been able to receive. My results were half of that of my companions. I was quietly discouraged but I continued in the work. At the end of our session, we were shy of hitting 30 contacts. But I learned afterwards that I was comparing myself to the labors of both of our efforts! Regrettably, I felt a sense of relief. But afterwards, I learned something that I would have thought I already knew. I thought I understood what it meant to not compare myself to other people. But clearly I did not in the moment of my inadequacy. I felt discouraged that I was not doing my part in bringing up the kingdom! I too quickly forgot that this is not my work but the Lord's. So long as I do my best, it is enough. For he will direct my paths. The numbers do not matter. What matters is our willingness to follow the promptings of the Spirit with the entirety of our efforts. To give our all to this great work. At the end of the day, we hit our 30 number quota. Well, thanks to my companion we exceeded it. And I later learned to rejoice in the success of my companion! As my MTC instructors said, your companion's success is your success. Should one of you fail, all of you fail.



Should we always compare ourselves to other people, we will always walk away disappointed. Reflecting on it, it's funny how I was comparing myself to an Elder who has been doing this for over a year! Pride is the beginning of irrationality. Just do better today and even more so tomorrow. Enduring to the end is a personal responsibility. I'm still learning this myself. 



*I apologize for the numerous grammatical mistakes and incoherent sentences. I don't have the time to revise it.



Sunday, November 27, 2016

It's Thailand

Before I forget, the Address some of you have requested is..

1645/6 New Phetchburi Road, Makkasan, Ratchathewi Bangkok 10400 Thailand.


Life has been so good here in Thailand. Some moments have been extremely challenging, but other moments have made it so worth it. 

I have had a chance to socialize with the members a little more this week. They are so kind to me. They are my favorite! Inviting has probably been one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences I have had here in Bunnkhapphi(Will never know how to spell that in English). Most will ignore you politely, and others will shrug you off within moments. Some will listen, but not be interested. But there are a few where you can just see that they recognize something different in you. That there is something special about your message. I give many personal prayers throughout our inviting sessions. That I might meet someone that needs and would be willing to accept the message. That I might be comforted. 

It was interesting to see the change of my own heart. At first, it was a prayer of comfort to overcome my own pride. To help me understand that this work was greater than myself and that I was a mere instrument in the hands of the Lord. But soon my prayers changed to that of a desire to feel comforted in the sorrow I felt not for myself, but for those that rejected His message. I felt a sorrow I have regrettably too rarely experienced. A sorrow not for myself, but for others. I feel my heart beginning to turn outwards. ​

On a particular day where inviting was particularly hard, I wondered if this was how the Savior felt when His message was rejected by many. In this I felt closer to the Savior, as I experienced the tiniest fraction of what He experienced. Through this experience, I have become especially grateful for the members at church and for the faith they bring. It helps put things into perspective as it helps me see the goal I am progressing towards to. We have two Brothers with baptismal dates coming up really soon. I pray that they might make it into the waters of baptism. Though this path of the Savior is hard and difficult at times, I know that it is the only path which leads to true and lasting happiness.


Shout out to those I have not had the chance to email back..I love you guys.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Life is so Sabay

A large swirl of emotions never ceasing to find its climatic end. Which is a good thing. 
 
 
Food is amazing. Oh it's so good. There are these food courts here that are kind of like the ones you might find in Japan. But cheaper. A meal you might buy for about 50baht. About $1.50 in USD's. Delicious. I'll send pictures next week. 

I had the opportunity to bear my testimony in Thai during sacrament meeting. That was a really neat experience. I wasn't scared. I felt confident. Hopefully the reason being I have my trust in the Lord.
 
 
My new companion is Elder Rawlinson who has been incredibly patient with me. I love him already. He is from Gilbert Arizona. Half American and Half Chinese. His Thai is excellent so I'm hoping that it will rub off on me. I have already received quite an amount of coaching. 
I've gotten out of my bubble of uneasiness on the first few days with contacting. Everyone walking is no match for me and my bicycle. We have two new promising investigators since my arrival. Perhaps one. We'll see how Brother Kang pans out. We met Brother Kang when we were out walking to a store to purchase a bicycle for myself. We just casually started talking with him, and then began talking of God, church, and religion. He agreed to meet with us for a short period just then! We took him to the church close by, taught him the first discussion introducing the Book of Mormon and Moroni's Promise. Showed him the chapel and the insides of the church. It was so neat to have such a success on the first day of street contacting! Apparently, everyday is not like this....We'll see if that really is the case. The Lord has truly prepared the hearts of the people here. I hope that I may be adequate to relay the message of our Savior according to His will. 

The effects of jetlag have been minimal on my body as I slept nearly the entire plane ride. It was so nice to be able to sleep for a change.
 
 
I am so grateful for my opportunity to serve a mission. To meet so many wonderful members and potential investigators also! So many kind hearts are here in Thailand. So willing to listen. One thing I found interesting is that the people here are so shy! So you have to be careful when talking with them. I've been making sure to smile and talk with enthusiasm. In return, they have a whole lot to say and I kind of fade into the background and let my companion do the interpreting and talking. They talk really fast here...Very humbling. Very Happy.
Until next aathid, Elder Miyagi. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Week 8 (The Sun Will Rise Again)



6 days to Thailand.

Testimonies can be forgotten. Even the most devout members of the church can have a crippling moment in their lives where the love of God doesn't feel as tangible as it once was. Being told to have faith when it feels like nobody is listening to your prayers is hard. Perhaps even heartbreaking as you receive no answer after you pour out your whole soul to whom you have trusted most. But upon reflection within my own life, I have noticed that He has been there every step of the way. Seeing the miracles and tender mercies of the Lord in the present moment can be difficult. Especially when what is negative and bad seems to be overwhelming but I promise that He is there. Sometimes we just have to have faith that He is there, even when we don't feel His presence, as we have faith that the Sun is there, even when we don't feel its warmth or see its light. Even when you don't feel worthy of Him, even when you feel entirely and utterly alone, I promise and know with a surety that He is and will be with you, today, tomorrow, and forever. 

I have tried to write some other thoughts I had, but none of it seemed right at this present time. I feel that this message is adequate for what I wish to convey from the depths of my soul today. My simple testimony that we are never alone. That He knows the silent pleadings of our hearts. Should you feel tired, alone, or confused, I plead with you that you might hold on just a little longer. For He will not forsake you.

Elder Christian Seiya Miyagi
Thailand Bangkok Mission
1645/6 New Phetchburi Road,
Makkasan, Ratchathewi, Bangkok 10400 Thailand
Tel: (662) 652-7722, Fax: (662) 652-7722

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Week 7 (Be Bold)



13 more days until Thailand ~ Happy Halloween! (One day late)

One thing that I have been feeling very strongly these last few days is the fear of my mission ending, and being separated by the closeness I feel with God. Though I know that I can continually improve even after my mission, I really do hope I can rid myself of some of the natural man within me.  The duty of enduring to the end is a personal commitment. I still have another 23 months to go, but I can't say I necessarily look forward to the end of my mission. I love what I'm doing, and I'm not even in Thailand yet. 

One thing I have learned through some leadership positions I have had the opportunity of taking part in is that, boldness requires humility. Furthermore, it is only with humility that we may speak with the power of God.  


I re-watched Elder Hollands talk in the MTC some years ago entitled Missions are Forever. It is absolutely amazing. The boldness of Elder Holland is a great example to me as he says, "do not miss any opportunity you have to be apostolic!" He refers to us as apostles. Yes Apostles, but with a lower case "a."  Which makes sense, as we missionaries are yoked together with the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It does make my responsibilities as a missionary feel more daunting. 

I feel that I have really become dedicated to reading from the Book of Mormon and recording my experiences in my journal daily. Wisdom forgotten is as valuable as the dust of the earth.  “Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in a time of need,” said Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

I don't have much time this week so I apologize for the short length of my weekly email. I hope all is well with you. 

Until next week, Elder Miyagi.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Week 6 (Humility and Simplicity)

Hello~Sawat dii~ Chot dii~Cosmos!

I hope that all of you are doing just fantastic. I'm sorry that I cannot reply more in depth to all of your emails, but know that I do so with gratitude and sincerity. 

This week has just been phenomenal. Just like the last five weeks! 

So to start, the rumors of Elder Holland speaking were not true..However, the speaker at our devotional was still excellent. I'm sorry, as I forgot my journal today, the details will be left out. 

Tomorrow we get 11 new Thai Elders. In total we will have a little over 30 new missionaries enter into our zone. The size of our zone will double! One of the Elders in our district had an idea to write a welcome letter to each new Thai Elder. I wrote to Brother Allen. It will be exciting to meet him in person tomorrow

The highlight of my week was my $3.20 purchase of a travel size Book of Mormon. I've developed a greater testimony and appreciation for the Book of Mormon these last six weeks. I cannot go a day without my spiritual fill. I have never been more aware of the literal power the Book of Mormon has. I bought my travel size so I can take it with me wherever I go and read it whenever I have a spare moment. I also carry around some highlighter crayons to mark them up. How I did not do this before my mission I do not know. There are so many things I wish I did differently to prepare for my mission. I guess I now know better.

Humility has been something I have had the opportunity of exercising and witnessing by the example of other Elders here in the MTC. An example would be an Elder personally apologizing with the way he conducted himself to the other Elders that were offended. His words were sincere, as he didn't want any ill feelings to be left between them. I saw a lot of courage in that Elder. Prior to the reconciliation of feelings, there was a lot of miscommunication between the Zones but as the Zone Leaders met together in humility, kindness, meekness, and love, an understanding of feelings and opinions was found. Power has always been in meekness. 

I feel that should you not be able to love someone, you simply don't know them as the Savior does. For he suffered and bled on the cross to bear the sins of all. To the Savior, your enemy was worth saving, loving, and caring for. Luckily for me, I don't have any ill feelings towards anyone. Unless my half-hearted rivalry during gym time with one of the Italian district counts. 

I've also been learning about the power of simplicity. I used to believe that some thoughts and opinions simply could not be understood by some due to there "lack" of intelligence. It was very humbling to learn that the fault lied with my own lack of intelligence in not being able to simplify the doctrine and to teach it through the directions and promptings of the Holy Ghost. It was I who did not understand the doctrine fully enough to teach it. It was I that fell into that trap of pride. 

In learning a new language, you learn to bear testimony like a child. You bear simple truths that you know to be true from the depths of you heart, and should it be sincere the words will be powerful. I'm so grateful for my many humbling experiences. I feel that one of the reasons I have been called to learn a difficult language is because the Lord desired of me to humble myself before Him. I hope that I am taking some steps towards becoming more selfless as He is. 

My testimony continues to grow and mature. 

Oh, I'll see you this Wednesday Dixon Mortimer! Soon if not already, Elder Mortimer!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Week 5 (Missionary Life)

Hello to all! I'm just going to jump right into it. 


The mortal ministry of Jesus Christ and the Atonement is probably my favorite verses of scripture to study. I have been so deeply touched by the atoning sacrifice of my Savior whom I represent and whom I serve with the entirety of my soul.


I am a little past my halfway point in the MTC! I don't know if I could ever say that I am "ready," but I am so excited to get out to Thailand! 


The reality of the Savior and His Atonement has been something I have been engraving into my heart. When studying things of the past, I learn things more as an ideal or a concept. It's very hard to accept it as something personal to me. But the life of the Savior has been more personal to me than anything else these last few weeks. Prior to the MTC, my feelings of "closeness" to the Savior was like a blinking flashlight. Now, it feels as if it is like an unwavering lighthouse. 


I realize that this closeness to the Savior is not necessarily my status as a missionary, but missionary life that dedicates an hour every day to studying the scriptures, the countless prayers, and the consistency of myself reaching out to the Savior in pleas of help, comfort, and direction. I pray that I may not abandon this "Missionary Life" after my mission, for it is something I wish to feel for the rest of my life. I wish I lived with such sincerity from the beginning.


As it seems that I have unintentionally shared a spiritual insight from my studies every week, I will share a short one. Abinadi has been one of my favorite Prophets as he bravely testified of the truths he knew to be of God and called King Noah and his Priests to repentance. The outcome of his bravery was death, but he did so with a courage very few of us come to hold in life.


So begged the question in my heart. How deeply am I committed to following the Savior? Elder Holland spoke of how we should be disciples of our Savior not just in the flush of comfortable times, but when all odds seemed stacked against us. When the cross you have been called to bear feels overbearing, and even when the road seems long, dark, and lonely. Elder Holland spoke, that we must do these things in deed, courage, and faith for that is surely how he Lived and died for us (For those interested, the talk is entitled, "None Were With Him") .


I'm out of time. Thank you for your moment of attention. 

Until next week, Elder Miyagi. 

P.S. Thank you Brother Nelson, and the class of Brother Nelson for your heart felt letters and beautiful care package! It was such a nice surprise after the evening classes. The donuts were devoured within moments by those in my zone. I wish I had the opportunity to write back to each and everyone of you, but just know that I am grateful for your words. I love and am grateful to you all.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Week 4 (Hearts Turning Outward)


As new rules that were not included in the white handbook have been made known to me, I will be more strictly obedient in my diligence in keeping all of the rules,(big and small) so forgive me for my possibly shorter email today. 


These last 4 weeks have changed me in ways I would have never thought possible. In one great aspect, I have been humbled greatly. 


I have bore my testimony in Thai so many times that I can no longer count but yesterday, I was able to testify of God with the spirit resonating within me for the first time. We extended the invitation for baptism and she accepted. My investigator Phii Bam (actually Sister Cutler) was beginning to tear up. It will obviously be a lot harder in Thailand but I am beginning to really love teaching my mock investigators. Alone, I would have never been able to do this. Not even with years of studying the language but with the Savior and through the Holy Ghost, I was able to touch the heart of my investigator. The Savior is turning me into fishers of men.


I am still years away from the mastery of the language but the Lord has been qualifying me in ways I would have never imagined. This has made me realize the very real importance of always having the spirit to be with you. The promise that has been made possible by the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. The promise that you will never be left comfortless, lost in fear, or blinded in hatred should you turn your heart towards the Savior.

 

Elder Holland gave a talk in some great part of history inside of the MTC entitled something along the lines of "Missions are Forever" or "Missionary Work and The Atonement." Elder Holland talked about how we as missionaries have more authority on this Earth than any Prince, President, or member of parliament. With this, he stated with his sometimes blunt but true and resonating response of "Act Like It." It's sometimes hard to imagine yourself walking on behalf of the Savior, but when this is constantly within your memories reach your heart changes when something doesn't go your way. Your patience is extended, your love increased, the Lord will continually change you into the magnificent being He desires you to become. Elder Holland spoke something along the lines of,"no man  has been changed as greatly as I was on my mission."I hope that I may follow in his footsteps of great change. Of my heart turning outward to my Savior and those around me so that I may bear witness of the living Christ.


My heart once and still vain and prideful has begun to turn outward into the love of not myself but those that surround me. I have found a greater love and appreciation for my family, friends, District, and Zone. I thought I knew already, but I am learning how to love all over again. I thought I knew what a testimony was, but I am beginning to recognize what it truly is. 

On a side note, I am sorry for murmuring for the food in the MTC. I feel that I have been ungrateful for the blessings I have been receiving greatly and abundantly. It was selfish of me to be blessed so greatly, and complain about the one thing that isn't going my way. I'm sure I have a lot more to apologize for but until it is made known unto me through the Spirit, I will conclude this weeks email with that. 



I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve a mission. My heart is so full of joy. There is nothing else I would rather be doing. 


I'm sorry if I'm not able to reply to all of you. By following the rules I only have an hour a day to view and reply on P-day.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

MTC Week 3



The older group of Thai's left for Thailand on Monday night so our zone just shrunk in half. Bitter sweet. They definitely had a celebration that night with party poppers and the whole lot of it. Turns out it was against the white mission handbook. No comment as I may befall the same path.


In week 3, our district had the apparently rare opportunity to "host." These are the meet and greeters of the new missionaries dropped off at the MTC every Wednesday. That has actually been a really neat experience. We have been selected to do so again tomorrow. Fun fact-the folks we "hosted" are leaving the MTC before we do. Lucky them. However, I love Thai so it's okay. We started learning script by the way. The squiggles and lines. I can't believe I'll be reading out of the Book of Mormon in Thai in just a few short moments.



In terms of spiritual sustenance, General Conference has been wonderful. Although I would share my favorite quotes, stories, and parables, I have left my journal in my dorm room so most of it will be out of my recollection. I feel that I more than anybody else needs a journal for how I simply cannot remember things. But for now, my favorite shared quote will be "Boys Be Ambitious." Ambitious in Christ. To be anxiously engaged in the work! In matters of missionary work, the more ambitious and engaged you are, the more enjoyable your time in the work becomes.


To matters of the heart, I feel that my most spiritual week has been that of week 3. Although I do not feel the details of the event that allowed it to be so should be shared so openly, it was by the obedience of five Elders to the subtle but sure promptings of the Holy Ghost, that two Elders were able to feel comfort in the work and purpose of the next two years of their lives. We reflected upon the small but consecutive and or numerous string of miracles that took place that night. I am a witness that the Lord looks out for those that strive to complete His work. He knows the desires of your heart and the weaknesses contained within it. However, by your faith in Him he will magnify your talents and strengths.


A Thai teacher shared the story with the talents last night. He made a comment I had never considered, this comment being that some of us have received more talents than others. However, it is possible for us to magnify and expand our talents. As C.S. Lewis points out, there is no parable or example that perfectly reflects its truth but for purposes of helping us understand the truth, it can be useful. With this train of thought, I think that we are like chess pieces. The Lord gives us talents and it helps us determine the type of chess piece we are. We don't have to settle in being a pawn although many in the world seem to be content in being so. There is nothing wrong with being a simple pawn but what happens when you make your way across the board? You may attain a level of glory no lowly pawn would have ever imagined possible to befall them!(Reference: "The Weight of Glory") Such is the power of the atonement. What is interesting in this thought is that we do not become knights, bishops, or queens for ourselves. We strive to become better to better serve the will of the King. The will of God. Every blessing given to us is not meant to enrich our own lives. Its primary purpose is to enrich the lives of others. It is by consequence of doing so that our own lives are enriched.


It is beginning to sink in as to what I have gotten myself into. I could not be more excited.