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!


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.