Monday, January 27, 2014

A pretty regular week of missionary work...

Elder Landon J Watkins Week 33
Week Six in Nong Khai

Monday, January 27, 2014

Not too much happened this week a pretty regular week of work. So for last P-day we ended up just playing basketball for an hour or so which was fun playing some backyard basketball at a local school ha-ha! All the school kids were just so confused seeing us play basketball at their school, but no one said anything so that was fine with us! We had a family home evening at a member’s house which was fine, but didn't do much except eat.

Tuesday was our usual study/district meeting and then Swenson’s. We did some inviting and then went to the church. I prepped for the English lesson and then we taught our only investigator now, Taaw. She is pretty good and we met her close to two weeks ago and we've taught her everything, but to study the scriptures every day. She wants to learn. Our other 3 investigators have not progressed in the last two weeks so now we are going to be searching for new investigators this week. Hopefully we can get some members to give us a referral or two. English was good though, we had 3 new students this week so we had 15 people instead of the usual 10.

Last Friday morning there was an event at this school. A member said we should go there and pass out a bunch of English cards inviting them to our Tuesday classes. So we showed up and no one was there, it hadn't started yet, but we saw a member who goes to school there and we gave her a ton of cards. She handed stacks to a couple of her friends and they all started passing them out to the students, so that was good. Then we tried to go up into the school and invite there and pass them out to classes, but this lady stopped us and wouldn't let us go, too bad or that would have been way good. One of our members teaches Japanese and had a stand at the event and got a bunch of new Japanese students and he said that we can teach them as new investigators also if we want. We also had other people running the front desk pass out cards for us to everyone that came so hopefully we get a bunch of new English students here this next week.

Oh, on Wednesday we had a switch off, I completely forgot about! I went with Elder Vandenberghe so that was an interesting day. Nothing too crazy happened, but we invited a lot and just got shut down way hard. The people here try to act like we don't exist or that we aren't speaking Thai to them, so we have tons of funny experiences. Like, we went up to a guy and we were like are you familiar with baptism and all of a sudden it was like he got electrocuted because he like twitched and made a sound like he had been. Way funny the power of inviting to baptism shocks you... literally I guess?  

We also went exploring the area a bit and were by the huge river and we watched some guys digging sand out of the river. It was kind of interesting how they did it. It reminded me of the TV Show “Gold Rush” a little bit and now I want to go find some gold! Ha-ha!!!

That is really everything exciting that happened this week. We had 55 people at church which was alright! The other Elders had a baptism; Brother Wan. He is way cool too, he is actually Laotian, but learned here. I just keep picturing his face after coming out of the water, I know the water was cold, but he just popped out and he wipes the water off his face and just had a big smile! It is great to see the joy of these people when they get baptized! That is all I have for this week! Love you all have a good one.



Monday, January 20, 2014

A Little Bit of Everything this Week!!!

Elder Landon J Watkins Week 32
Week Five in Nong Khai

Hey Everyone!

This was a good week! First I'll talk about our baptism! Her name is Ice and she is 22 years old. She has been an investigator for about 7 years now. One of her friends who learned with her was baptized then, but she just never did. So she studied in Bangkok and things like that over time. My first English class she was just a random girl who we knew wasn't a member, but we weren't sure if she was interested in the gospel. So I got up and grab her number and we just started teaching her. Come to find out she was learning in Asoke with the elders there last transfer, which is way weird because they should have referred her up to us if they knew she was moving. So we ended up just teaching her everything and she was like, Hey teach me more about the commandments and the gospel; I'm ready to get baptized. When we were preparing her for her interview on Friday and we were like, so why do you believe in God and she was just straight up; because I have received my answer, I know the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith Restored the gospel and we were like okay, whoa she is good; so we put her in for an interview and she passed. She was baptized Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. It was way awesome though! She even gave us a referral for her friend Taaw. Who is way ready to get baptized, but her family doesn't agree with it. We taught her about prayer. We are like, will you pray? She is like, yeah I will try if I remember; we are just kind of like oh great ha-ha. Because whenever someone says they will try it means they aren't going to doing it. She ended up sending us a text in the middle of the night and shared her experience with us. She said she was asleep and had a nightmare and then woke up terrified, so she decided to pray for the first time and she said that she was instantly relieved and felt good and slept great the rest of the night. She told us that she received her answer that Heavenly Father is here with us. It was really awesome.

Okay, now it’s time to recap the week! So for p-day we went bowling which was way fun. I did okay, not as good as last time, I couldn't get my spin down, but it was alright. After w were trying to find the Villa Market in Udorn, which is a market where you can find American stuff, so after arguing with this Tuk Tuk driver for 10 minutes that one existed; we just were like okay, we will just walk and find it ourselves. We knew there was one for sure since Elder Hart told us there was. He is the senior couple in Udorn. We found and it was so awesome, except I was way sad because they were out of Cherry Coke and “real” Mountain Dew, but they had Dr. Pepper it was expensive and plus I didn't recognize the logo on the can, they must have changed it. So I didn't buy one, but I'm wishing I had, next time we go down I will be though. I bought some Cheddar Ruffles for 100 baht which was awesome deal only about 3.50 in American money. Spicy Nacho Doritos were 200 baht, too expensive for me. I also bought some American shampoo since I was almost out of mine. They have a lot better things like that there which aren’t too expensive and way worth it. It was a successful trip that is for sure. 

Tuesday was the usual. District meeting and Swenson’s before English with some inviting in between. There were only 10 people English class which wasn't too good, but it probably was because I wasn't teaching this week I guess? Ha-ha just joking I do like teaching English, it is fun! 

Wednesday was kind of sad we went to Swenson’s and had an ice cream cake with Brother Gang before he left for America. But he will be coming back to Thailand every three months so if I stay this next transfer he will be coming up again to Nong Khai and visiting us. He is a good guy! We did lots of inviting again on Wednesday.

Thursday we did weekly planning and did more inviting and that is when we ended up in this random field by the train tracks. It was way funny we were just cruising around exploring inviting and ended up in that field and so my companion is like, lets have some fun for a bit and take some pictures so that is where all those sweet pictures came from. 

Friday we went and did service at a members house Bro. Somlak who is hilarious and speaks pretty good English because he lived in London for a while. We cleaned up his yard and driveway for him so it looked good. He made us Tuna fish sandwiches which are usually okay, but just way delicious over here in Thailand. They even tasted similar to my own Mom's. After we had Ice's interview and taught her friend while she was in the interview, it was way good. Then we ended up going to Khon Kaan University to go invite and find people. We ended up getting stuck there with no way home because all the vans ran out earlier. Finally after about an hour and a half a Tuk Tuk finally came and got us. The guys name was Whiskey, it was a crazy ride back into the city and when we finlally got there the Tuk Tuk just dies and won't start so after the guys pull us for like 100 yards; we said okay, we are done with this ride. We are just going to walk. It took us about 45 minutes to get home and then we had to get our bikes. It was quite the experience. 
This Turkey is at a members house and has been in this tree both times they have gone there...quite the sight to see a turkey in Thailand.
Saturday was Ice's baptism after we had an activity with all the members at the church and we all went and got dinner together and ate “milk” which is what they call going to get a treat. It is like hot chocolate things. I know it sounds weird, but that is what it translates to ha-ha. 

Sunday was church as usual. We only had 52 people which was kind of low. After church we had branch council and then taught some lessons the rest of the night. Today for p-day we are just going to try and play some basketball, I think. Which should be fun. Have a good week everyone! Love you all!!!



Monday, January 13, 2014

A Peek at the House in Nong Khai

Elder Landon J Watkins Week 31
Week Four in Nong Khai
Monday, January 13, 2014

Hey Everyone!

This week not too much stuff happened, but that is okay I still had fun. 

We are preparing out investigator Ice to get baptized this week she is pretty ready. I mean she is really into the learning and trying to understand this entire gospel we are feeding her, so it is way good! I really think we can get her ready for this week. We also have an investigator from Laos his name is Wan be, we are going to baptize him this week too. He has been in Laos for a few days so we are just waiting for him to come back to finish teaching him a couple of lessons! As for others we have Mik and Gaaw that are friends, but want to meet together so we are going to try and split them up this week so we can help Gaaw get baptized sooner because she is always free and is just progressing faster than her friend.That is it for our investigators.

This week we finally started doing some crazy contacting as a district. All four of us in our house go out and start to invite people at markets, malls, and places like that! It is way fun. It is hard though.We got a few potentials so I'll let you know if anything happens with them this coming week. One seems pretty excited to get baptized and we are shooting for the 26th of this month which seems way fast, but it is just the trend of the mission right now and we need it because our ZL's are just relying on us so much up here.

Anyways that is all I've really got for us this week. Oh, we went on a switch off this week and I was with Elder Batey who is one transfer behind me, he is way cool, I like him and we had some good fun teaching lessons and inviting since we are both younger in the mission it is fun to not be able to rely on my companion. We are going to Udorn to go bowling and eat at McDonald's today, not too much crazy stuff. Bangkok is shutdown today because of all the protesting with all the political problems, but it doesn't affect us at all up here, so no worries there!

Love you all!
The kitchen in the house at Nong Khai
An open air kitchen sink and washer :)
It only takes 5 hours to dry their clothes with the help of the fan.
Nothing like having a ping pong table in your garage.
Note that there is no toilet paper...only the little hose on the back wall...

Monday, January 6, 2014

Baptisms in Nong Khai

Elder Landon J Watkins Week 30
Week Three in Nong Khai 
Monday, January 06, 2014

Hey Everyone!

Had a way good and fun week! Today we went to this mountain or hill, I guess you can tell from the pictures whatever you think it is, but that is why we are emailing late! It took a good 2 and 1/2 hours to get there so it was a good drive, but way fun and worth it.

This was a good week though last week on Tuesday Elder Batey was sick so Elder Vandenberghe was taking care of him so guess who had to teach English by themselves, me! Ha-ha it was way fun though we only had 10 people because it was New Year’s Eve, it was way fun. My companion just learns along because he doesn't speak good enough to really teach, but he is better than most Thai people I know that speak English, so that is good. We are getting along great!

I can't think of anything great that went on this week for some reason. I know we just taught a bunch of lessons like usual, but no highlights besides our baptism! It was way sweet. Bro. Em got baptized he is 19 and he got baptized on Saturday night and got confirmed on Sunday. The other Elders had 3 baptisms si 4 people just this week for our district, which is awesome. We had a zone training this week and the goal for the mission is 200 baptisms this month which has never been done in South East Asia so if we pull this off it will be great because the first in ASEA history. We hit 110 baptisms in November and I think the final was 93 for December, so we got our work cut out, but it is about 2.3 baptisms per companionship in the mission so we are working on that.

Oh and while we were waiting for the baptism we were just messing around really, but trying to stop people driving on the road in front of the church and inviting them to get baptized. We were really just doing it in fun and burning time until the baptism, but it was literally soooooo awesome! Because I stopped this car and who would have guess they'd stop and Elder Saedan and I just start talking to them and invited them and the lady and two kids hop out of the car and come to the baptism. The daughter is 16 and the son 13. After the baptism they just bolted out, but we invited them to church and who would of guess, none of us for sure, but they showed up again and left after sacrament, but it was just crazy miracle the kind of surprised us, it was cool!

One day my companion and I were just wandering around inviting people to be baptized and came to this big old field with a canal, next thing you know we are walking in the field taking pictures at the canal, it was way funny, but we just are doing some fun stuff here!

We have some more people lined up for some baptisms for this month so we are getting those investigators ready. The main ones are Ice, Nim, Gaw, Mik, and I think that is it. We need to find some more this week and I think we will, so it is all good, no worries! Things are going great.

This email is way short because I can't remember anything! Um... oh on New Years Eve we had to go home straight after English, but of course we had to celebrate with some Pizza Company for dinner and we also got Swenson’s during that day, so that was good. I couldn't even sleep on New Year’s Eve night though because our neighbors were partying so hard and just playing their eesaan music way loud. The next day for New Year’s we went to a member’s house and they had a bunch of fish and clams for us to eat, they were pretty tasty, I guess.

We've been doing some good less active work this week. I think we will be rescuing 3 people probably this next week. We just got to get them to talk with our Branch President. That is all I can think of this week! I love you all have a great week!