Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas in Nong Khai

Christmas Eve was great Skyping with Landon. He looked good and was so happy. He said it was hard to leave Ayutthaya, but that he loves his new area and his new companion Elder Sae Dan from Chiang Mai. One of the members bought them some Santa hats and they were going to an Aquarium which is closed on their p-day so they were going to hit that up and then go to the Pizza Company for Christmas dinner. There is no senior couple in Nong Khai like in Ayutthaya. I will miss the Soward's watching over him. His letter is short probably because we talked to him on Christmas.

Elder Batey, Brother Kenny, Sister June, Elder Watkins, Elder Vandenberghe, Elder Sae Dan & Brother Ice spending Christmas at the Sirindhorn Aquarium

Elder Landon J Watkins Week 28 & 29
Week One and Two in Nong Khai

Monday, December 30, 2013


Well it has been a great week with Christmas. I really don't have much to write about this week so sorry this letter is going to be short. So with transfers and Christmas I didn't get to write a letter last week so I will review a little bit.

I was transferred to the Province, Nong Khai which is in the Eesaan; way up next to the border of Laos. We can walk out of our house and see Laos so it is really cool and beautiful. There is just a huge river separating us called the Mekong River. My new companion is Elder Sae Dan who is from Chiang Mai, Thailand. He is Thai so I couldn't have been happier to get a native companion. I am learning so much from him, it is great! He is way awesome at teaching because he just knows the Thai people better because he is Thai. I'm learning good strategies on how to teach the people. He is just helping my language a ton, which is great! I don't get to speak English as much, but it is good because I feel like my Thai is just going to take off! We have tons of fun while we are doing the work. He is just way funny and his English is okay and when he speaks English it is just funny, I don't know why because he doesn't laugh when I speak Thai.

Bang Pa-In Royal Palace, also known as the Summer Palace, is a palace complex formerly used by the Thai kings. The palace is located on the Chao Phraya River bank in Bang Pa-In district, Ayutthaya Province.

Anyways things are good…we are teaching a few people right now. We are kind of white washing our area so we are just getting familiar with everything and meeting members and all the recent converts and less actives in the area. We have an investigator named, Em and he is going to be baptized this coming Saturday he is so awesome! I love teaching him and he is just so accepting of our message for only being 19 years old. He just does everything we teach him and commit him to do.

We also have two more investigators named Gaw and Mik and they are pretty good too they are going to be baptized on January 19th. We also have one named Ice. I just talked to her at English and swiped her phone number and set up an appointment and she is so ready to be baptized, it is unreal. I told her we would just talk to her about baptism and when we got there, she sits down and she is like I want to learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ and your commandments; we are like, ok. We sat down and taught her 5 commandments and the whole gospel lesson and she is just progressing really fast and probably will be baptized the 12th of January, so we are getting excited for our baptisms.

Christmas was great and fun to talk you on Skype. Can you believe in two more transfers we will be talking again on Mother’s Day, just a few short months away. That isn't long at all! Time is just flying way fast! Be sure to let Cindy know that we had our Swenson’s last week and are planning on getting it tomorrow just like every Tuesday and it will be New Years Eve too. They celebrate New Year’s here just like we do back in America, but they just party and drink which is sad, but oh well. They really don't celebrate Christmas at all though. They play Christmas music in stores and sell some Christmas stuff and then they call it good, I don't though. Christmas definitely was not the same it didn't even feel like Christmas except the fact it is freezing up here because I don't have a jacket and I can't find one that fits me, so that is one of my goals is to find a jacket today!

That is all I got for this week thanks for all the letters everyone. The Christmas package was great! I even made pudding last night for us all! I even made cookies I'm becoming a chef out here. I just need my comp to start teaching me how to make some Thai dishes so that is my next goal. I can handle the desserts from America and the noodles called Mama which is just like Top Ramen, but better ha-ha! Love you all. Have a great week.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Teaching about Christmas and Confirming the Holy Ghost!

Elder Landon J Watkins Week 27
Week Eighteen in Ayutthaya

Monday, December 16, 2013

Heyyyyyy! How's everyone?

This week was literally such a crazy week, so much stuff went on so hopefully I can remember it all. So last p-day we went and played Badminton which was way fun, my first time playing! We went with Bro Nong, the other two Elders, and Sister Tuk and Nuch our two investigators who are almost ready to be baptized. After that we taught them a lesson and they bought us all dinner. They are really the nicest investigators ever and they seem like members because of how much they help us. 

Tuesday was crazy awesome too we just went to the church and helped some members practice some songs and then went out and did some contacting. So for fun we just were walking around these new houses by the church and we saw this guy just watching TV in his house, so we just walk up to him and say; Hey, what’s up and he just invites us into his house, then his wife comes and his son and his sons wife join. We teach them about the Book of Mormon and we are like; hey can we come meet with you again next week. He is like; Yeah, come on over anytime we are almost always here. They are super interested, so we got 4 new investigators within 15 minutes, it was so sweet. It is unreal how prepared some people are to receive our message. The eye of the Lord is really on country of Thailand right now.

Wednesday we helped the members practice their songs again. Then we went and taught Sis. Mod and Bro. Boon they are still doing very well and are getting fellowshipped by the members perfectly. After we had Sis. Tuk and Sis. Nuch interviews so I'm all excited for them to plan their baptism and after their interviews the zone leaders come out and are like, they didn't pass and that just ruined my day, right there. Probably one of the most frustrating days of my mission so far! I feel like I don’t ever get frustrated now, but now that I look back, that one got to me a bit. They were super shocked too, but now looking back it was the best wake up call for them because now their desire to get baptized is waaay higher, which is sweet. They also, know that not just anyone can do this and that they've got to take it seriously, which was really good.

Thursday rolls around and we went to Sister Ganjani's school and taught the whole school about Christmas Day and what it really means. It was so cool, there was like 300 students there watching and just loving the whole thing. We pretended as if we couldn't speak Thai for the first 3 hours and then we just started speaking it over the mic and it just blew their minds, it was sooo funny. They were all like what!?!!?!? We literally were like superstars there; it was just such a fun experience. We got to meet the principal of the school and some teachers. We really got some awesome potential investigators out of the whole thing! After we went to Lopburi again, so that Elder Gibbons could interview some people for baptism for the Elders there.

Friday after the interview we cruised to Ang Thong which is another province in our area, but it doesn't have a church building. We contacted a ton of people and are trying to start a church up there. Tons of people are interested up there, so it isn't too crazy. Besides we have about 10 members that live up there already that have to come to Ayutthaya every week which is like an 1 hour 1/2 drive for them. Elder Wilamas came back with us and interviewed Sister Taah Sister Phim and Brother Non for baptism! They all passed!! It was so sweet. This is the family we found a while back while we were praying on the side of the road curb and she were cruises by saying; what are you doing and then we just followed her to her house and taught her. Sure enough, Saturday morning at 10 o clock we had the baptismal service! Elder Gibbons baptized Sister Taah, I baptized Sister Phim, and Elder Wilamas baptized Brother Non. It was sooo cool, my first person I actually got to baptize! We all did it perfect, first try, it was sweet 3/3!

After all that crazy stuff we practiced singing for the huge Christmas Party for our whole zone down in Pak Kret and then went down there. It was so crazy, so many people and I got to see all my buddies from the branches down there that I met on my switch off with the zone leader’s last transfer. I got to see Elder Crump again, which was awesome. It was a huge program of Christmas songs and we did this one song that Sister Sowards wrote. We totally did an amazing job, we got the whole audience to clap and they didn't clap for any other musical numbers! 

Sunday roles around and Sunday morning Elder Gibbons is like hey Sister Taah just called and Sister Phim wants you to give her the Holy Ghost. I was like; oh snap, I don't know how to do that in Thai; are you serious? Ha-ha so I got to the church and I'm just trying to figure it out. Bro. Nong came over and I was; help! Ha-h He wrote it all out and the first ten minutes of sacrament meeting I'm just trying to memorize the whole thing and I'm like no way I can do this! I studied the whole first 15 minutes of Sacrament and then it was game time. I get up there and get half way through and my mind just goes blank and I was; oooooooh noooo, what do I do. I paused for what felt like 5 minutes, but it was only like 30-45 seconds. I was just stuck and I ‘m thinking is someone going to tell me what to say, then I just repeated the last couple words again and it all came back to me, so luckily I didn't have to do it again, thanks goodness. It was such a sweet spiritual experience I can't believe that I had that opportunity, it was great!!!

After church we went with Sister Tuk, Nuch, and Brother Nong to Sister Tuk's house in Ang Thong.  Luckily she has a car so it only takes like 2 hours, but we got out there and taught her Mom and Dad.It was sooooo cool! She isn't even a member, yet, but is giving us the opportunity to teach her family. Then she asks us if we can give her Mom and Dad blessings. It was soooo cool and way fun!

On our way back we stopped at Bro. Jamnongs house and visited and talked with him. Elder Gibbons and I both kind of said goodbye because we don't know if we will be moving or staying, yet and we won't have another opportunity to go up there before transfers. It was way cool, but kind of sad. Oh and I forgot we only had 57 people at church this week which was kind of sad, but not too bad since there was only 30 people when I got here. I really want to stay pretty bad and not move. The investigators and members don't want me to move either, they are all praying I stay, which is kind of funny. It is all out of love and I love them all so much too, they are great.

We got back to Ayutthaya and we went over to the Sowards house for dinner Sister Sowards made us German pancakes they were sooo tasty! It was so funny though she comes out with another pan and she says to us,'' Is anyone ready for another one?'' and Elder Sowards responds "Everyone is'' and just swipes the pan right out of her hands, we all just died laughing, it was great. Reminded me of some of the comments Dad made back in the day! Anyways that was about it for this week transfers on Wednesday hopefully we find out today if we are moving or not! Love you all and have a great week! :)


Monday, December 9, 2013

The Language is Finally Clicking!!!

Elder Landon J Watkins Week 26
Week Seventeen in Ayutthaya

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hey Everyone! 

It was a crazy and wild week, but nothing as crazy as thing week is going to be. So first last p-day we were going to go tour this place but ended up not having enough time so we just changed plans and went bowling with Brother Nong! It was sweet; he had never bowled before in his life so it was a great first time experience for him. It was way fun and I ended up coming out on top pretty easily. A good old confidence booster for me, I still haven't lost my touch, right Dad? Ha-ha good times! We went and visited Sis. Mod and Bro. Boon to see how they were getting along after getting baptized, they were still doing great and invited us to dinner at their house on Wednesday. That is rare members never feed you here! After we went and visited Sister Boo and Baah and read 1 Nephi 1 with them. We are trying to get them to understand and be interested in the scriptures. So we've had almost all our investigators and recent converts start over in the Book of Mormon and it is working great. We read first Nephi 1 with her and followed up the next day and she had read chapter 1, three more times ha-ha it is so funny! 

 Tuesday was a pretty fun day just the usual English class, but I think we had around 26 people there. It is hard to tell now because we've split into two classes and I was teaching upstairs so I'm not sure on an exact number, but things are still going great in our English classes. 

Wednesday was awesome the Sowards invited us to have banana pancakes at the church and you know I'm not passing up on the opportunity to have an America breakfast, they don't exist here, it was delicious. We taught some music to Sister Jaah, one of our rescues we got last month and her Mom came too which is awesome because she is less active. We set them up to help us teach that night and after we taught a great less active lesson with Mod and Boon we taught Kwang about the restoration and word of wisdom. It was awesome because I was helping Kwang with her English homework and she had to write what she wanted to do in the future and she said she wanted to open a bakery and coffee shop and I was like whoa, hey you can't open up a coffee shop, we can't drink coffee. It’s against the word of wisdom. So I just cheesed her and taught her about the WoW and she is like, oh okay, well I better start keeping that commandment. She is like a golden investigator except for getting her to church is going to be really hard because she goes to Bangkok every Sunday for school. 

Thursday was wild we just woke up and cruised up to Ang Thong where brother Jamnong lives which is like an hour away by car so we went and taught his daughter-in-law because she’s LA then just visited with him for a while. Then we went for a cruise in his pod racer to go teach Sister Doom and we had a good lesson and we got a friend who is her neighbor to sit in on the lesson and we started teaching her and so now we have a new investigator, it is way awesome. After that we went up to Lopburi because Elder Gibbons had to interview one of Elder Wilamas investigator up there so we saw the Monkeys again which was crazy, those things are so annoying ha-ha, but fun to mess with. We had the interview and then some of their members invited us to have dinner after at their house which was awesome. We slept over in Lopburi and came back Friday morning to Ayutthaya.

Friday we had a lesson with Tuk and Nuch and it was way good we talked to them about their baptismal date and they wanted to change it from the fifteenth to the thirteenth. So they will get baptized Friday and receive the Holy Ghost on Sunday which is awesome! So we are preparing them this week.

Saturday was pretty crazy we had mutual and we just explained to them what Christmas was. I sat in the back and talked with Sister Sud which is sister Jaah's Mom, she is less active and I got to know her and she already loves me, which is great and I committed her to come to church on Sunday. She is getting fellowshipped so well by the members in bringing her back. We had a zone training meeting and learned about adversity with all of the success in the mission, President Senior released some training on how we can handle the adversity which is too come, it was really good. We had another lesson with Tuk and Nuch and they fed us an amazing dinner at their place which was sooooo good one of the best meals I'm been fed by members or investigators. Things are going great with them. We also had a switch off and Elder Gibbons went and taught Sister Dtaah the lady we met on the road that one day cruising by on her scooter. She said she knows that the church is true and we talked to her about getting baptized on the 15th with her two kid’s Pim and Non, it was sweet! 

Sunday was a great day to we had 61 people in sacrament which was awesome! Sister Sud came and I was way excited so we will probably rescue her next week. We had 61 people with 7 of the our usual members not there, but if they come next week we should be waaay close to our goal of 70 at church. It is amazing the work we have done here, when I got here we had about 35 people at church every week and now we are high 50’s low 60’s; it is amazing! Sister Mod and Bro. Boon both received the Holy Ghost! We had 7 investigators at church and all are RC’s, but one. Things are going great! It was also the primary program which was way funny! It was just like in America all those little tykes walking up to the microphone and talking way loud. It was good though because these kids don't even get help, they are way brave and just walk up and speak, it was awesome! We also had this guy show up and I was thinking he was the other Elders investigator. He was dressed up nice for church so we thought maybe he was from the District Presidency or something so after church I went and talked to him and he is a member here! He just moved here from Buri Ram, he is 23 and a Mel priesthood holder just what are branch needs!!! He is awesome too. He could be another Brother Nong in our branch which is exactly what we need. He also has a little brother living with him who is 19, but not a member. So we are going to try and start teaching him! It is a huge blessing to our branch because we have the least amount of Mel priesthood holders in our whole zone. It was great though, gets me excited. We practiced all our music for the Christmas party which is on the 14th down in Pak Kret. I went on a switch off with Elder Winsor and we taught four of his investigators. One is on a baptismal date and we gave the other three dates, it was soooo awesome! We taught Tuk and Nuch after and they are so ready to get baptized it is awesome!

This was a waaay good week! This was like my first click in the language also. I finally like had that moment of realization where whoa, I can actually understand these people and when I talk and they understand me, this is amazing! It was waaay good and I just feel like my language is progressing so much better! Such a great week though!!! Today we are just going to get our haircut and play some badminton so that will be fun! We are going to attempt to do the unthinkable this week and shoot for 6 baptisms, so pray for us because we need it! Love you all! Have a great week!



Monday, December 2, 2013

Baptism...Round Three!!!

Elder Landon J Watkins Week 25
Week 16 in Ayutthaya

Monday, December 02, 2013

Hey Everyone!

This week was literally the craziest and hardest week ever to get balanced key indicators! First things first though, we had Mission Tour Zone Conference on Tuesday. Wednesday the sickness hit Thursday was Thanksgiving and on Thursday and Friday I almost died from the sickness and then by Saturday I was doing better. We had an emergency baptism for the other Elders and then Sunday 2 more baptisms just sooo crazy but we managed to pull it all off!

So first things first, Mission Conference on Tuesday! That was literally so sweet except waking up at 4:30 a.m. to go down to Pak Kret, but it was all worth it because we combined with the Bangkok West Zone and Elder Unsworth is in that zone so I got to hang out with him like the whole day!! It was so sweet I loved that guy and missed him so much. We had Elder Wilson come from the 70. I think he is the 2nd Counselor in the Asia Area Presidency, if I remember right. He was a way good trainer and he really stressed how important it was helping our investigators to read the Book of Mormon and understand what is going on and get them interested to keep reading. It made me feel way good too because I have been stressing reading the Book of Mormon with our investigators so much, so I just felt like I was kind of already doing what he said, for the most part. President Senior also did some sweet training and really encouraged us to get our recent converts doing their family history. 

Wednesday was also way sweet too, even though that is when I got sick but I took a nap for like an hour before we went out and I had just enough energy to get through that, but we went out to Brother Nongs house for the first time, I'd never been, but it was way sweet. I didn't even know, but he literally has his own house right next to his parents. It is so cool and just the most relaxed house, it was so fun to hang out with him and help do some service around his place. We got to meet some people at his insurance place that he works at and one happened to be Sister Mod's sister in law so that was interesting we invited her to her sisters baptism.

So pretty much Thursday and Friday, I died. No sleep either nights, just running to the bathroom and all that. Nooooooooo fun and the worst was it was Thanksgiving and the best food ever was served I'm sooooooo jealous I didn't get any mashed potatoes and gravy :(((((((((((((((((((( It smelled amazing, but I just slept in the church while they all ate because I had no desire to eat, whatsoever. We did get permission to watch 17 Miracles after the feast too. I was able to watch about maybe half of that, but then couldn't do it anymore, so I slept. That was about it. 

Friday was similar. I slept all day except when I went to the hospital and they gave me some medication to help me get better, which was nice. We also got a sweet Christmas CD at the Mission Tour and they have some way good Christmas songs on there, so that was nice to listen to while I was dying at least. 

Saturday I slept all morning and finally got a little energy to go out to the baptism we had for Brother Five. He was the other Elders investigator. They literally taught him everything in a week so they could reach the one baptism a companionship for our whole mission in the month of November. So speaking of that, this November we made history in the Thailand Mission. As a Mission we had 109 people baptized and 62 less actives brought back into the church, that is incredible. 80% of the companionships in the mission had a baptism, how awesome is that!?

Now for Sunday woooooooooo! Sister Mod and Brother Boon got baptized!!!!!!! It was soooooooo sweet because Sister Mod has been an investigator since around like April and has just been giving missionaries tons of problems, but these last 3 weeks we've worked with her. She literally has changed like crazy. She had gone from being angry and having health problems to so happy, healthy, and loving. It is soooo great and we are so happy she finally got baptized. Her husband David from England came on Friday so that he could baptize his wife and son so that was really special! Also Sister Nub was confirmed, which was great! She says she feels so refreshed and is happy to be a member of the church, it was really special.

The Shaw Family

It was a really cool crazy week and we pulled it all off! I'm doing a lot better health wise, too which is nice! Today we are just planning on having some fun and going to Bang Pa In Palace which should be cool I'll tell you about that next week! Love you all and have a great week! :)