Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Thailand Week 104: Khon Kaen (ขอนแก่น)

Last Email

Dear Families and Friends,

This is it. Time has gone by way too fast. Looking back on my mission, I caught myself recalling events as it was just happened yesterday. Moments that helped me mold into who God wants me to be. But I still feel like there's lot to learn. Two years is clearly just not enough.

The missionary life is just amazing. Throughout the these two years, I have felt the Spirit of the Lord manifest and confirm my testimony of Jesus Christ that He lives. He is full of mercy and love, grace and truth! I know that His Atonement is infinite and all mistakes or sins that we have made can be washed away. I know this because He has cleansed me from my sins and will continue to do so as I continue to accept Him and follow Him. There is great joy in knowing that there is a God that loves, and that being said, I have never been more happier in my life. I know that He exist! He is real. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

The Book of Mormon is true!!!!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Thailand Week 103: Khon Kaen (ขอนแก่น)

Spiritual Strength

I've stand amazed at how essential it is to have a personal testimony of the Savior and His Gospel, to have a greater peace and joy in life. I am so thankful for all the great love that the Lord has for all of his children. He is full of mercy and truth. By gaining a testimony of these things through our right choices, we gain spiritual strength, confidence and trust that the Lord will fulfill his promises to his children. I love being a missionary. There's nothing as good as serving the Lord and his people here in Thailand. <3

Good things are in store for Khon Kaen and Thailand. :)

I love this guy, ป.เสือ! :)

The Valentine's activity turned out great! :)

It hasn't really hit me yet that I'm going home...or... maybe its just that I would think that I would feel nervous, but... I'm excited! :)

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Thailand Week 102: Khon Kaen (ขอนแก่น)

ทุกอย่างดี All is well

I'm going to send pictures first. :)

P-day last week

Awesome Family Home Evening with Sister บ๊อบ, Sister นก, and Sister แน็ท

This is the cutest dog ever. Sorry, Cali.
We got to serve Sister นก! I'd say my gardening skilled upped since I've been a missionary.

English Class has been going really well.

Valentine's is coming up! We have an activity this Saturday. It's seriously the perfect time to invite couples. Haha

The Book of Mormon.

There is so much in this little book! Every time I read it, I can feel it's truthfulness. I find myself being able to find peace by knowing of the eternal truths, and actually knowing it for myself. Regardless of whatever happens in life, the eternal truth that we are sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father will never change. 

"We live in a time of great trouble and wickedness. What will protect us from the sin and evil so prevalent in the world today? I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His gospel will help see us through to safety. If you are not reading the Book of Mormon each day, please do so." (President Thomas S. Monson) As we read the Book of Mormon, our testimony of the eternal truths will begin to grow. And this testimony will protect us from great troubles and wickedness. What a great promise!

I know that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. It's changing lives! It really is a miraculous miracle.

Khon Kaen is great. Members here are amazing. :) Brother อุ๊ด has been progressing really well. He is so funny! Whenever he explains anything, whether it is a question or a statement, he goes on telling stories about his life. He's also a big guy and loves hugs. What could be better? Haha.

I love the Lord's work. <3

- Elder Santeco

What a beautiful day. :)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Thailand Week 101: Khon Kaen (ขอนแก่น)

The Book of Mormon is true!

A lot happened this past 4 days. (I've realized that I say this all the time)

I love the Book of Mormon. In Alma 31, I came got an assurance of God's love for us again. Alma showed this as he turned to the Lord's will. Alma asked, "O Lord God, how long with thou suffer that such wickedness and infidelity shall be among this people?" Alma recognized the great wickedness among the people. He was feeling "exceedingly sorrowful;" and then asked of God, "O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us (missionaries) that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ." All this because "their souls are precious". God abhors sin, but never did he hate us... because we are indeed precious souls, sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. He knows of our potential to become perfect as He is. And this is all possible through the Infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ.

I also love this story given by President Gordon B Hinkley, demonstrating the Power of the Book of Mormon...
"Let me tell you [another] story about the Book of Mormon. I heard a man who was a banker in California tell this story. He said his secretary smoked, constantly smoked. She was addicted to smoking. She could not set it aside. She said to him one day, “How can I stop smoking?”

He reached down in his desk and took out a copy of the Book of Mormon and handed it to her. He said, “Now, you read this.”

She said, “All right, I’ll read it.”

She came back a couple of days later and said, “I’ve read 200 pages, and I didn’t see the word smoking anywhere. I didn’t see the word tobacco anywhere. I saw nothing that referred to it.”

He said, “Keep reading.”

So she came back another couple of days later and said, “I’ve read 200 more pages—no mention of smoking, no mention of nicotine, no mention of anything associated with tobacco.”

He said, “Keep reading.”

She came back three or four days later. She said, “I’ve read the entire book. I didn’t see tobacco anywhere; I didn’t see smoking anywhere. But,” she said, “there has come into my heart as a result of reading that book some influence, some power, that has taken from me the desire to smoke, and it is wonderful.”

I love the Book of Mormon. Every time I pick this book up and read, I feel the spirit more in my life. Giving me the light to keep moving forward in life with joy.

I love the Book of Mormon. I've gained the assurance that regardless of what questions we may have, whether it's about work, school, life, etc. We can always receive an answer through the Book of Mormon.

I love the Book of Mormon. It is the Word of God and it's all true.

Yesterday, I've finished the book of Alma in the Thai Book of Mormon. Loving it.

The missionary work is doing great. The greatest miracle this past week was seeing a mother of a baby son, sharing her desire for her son to become a missionary like us. She has been saying it almost every week, but it wasn't until yesterday that I asked her, "But before then, will you set an example to him?" She simply said, "Yes." We are really excited to see her follow Jesus Christ's example and enter the temple with her family soon. Families can be together forever. 💕

I love you all!

- Elder Santeco (☀🌮)

I've eaten a lot of macaroni this past week. Yum.

This is IQ and his dad, Brother ออฟ. IQ is the best ice cream eater I've ever known... and is a future missionary! :D

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Thailand Week 100: Khon Kaen (ขอนแก่น)


This past week... a lot of good stuff happened.

Brother อุ๊ด, a friend of Brother ภู, walked into the church saying that he wanted to learn. As we sat down and talked, he began to recognized of his personal weaknesses. But showed a great desire to overcome them.

In Zone conference, we focused a lot with workingn with the members. I came to realize that although working with the members may be harder, it can be really effective. It really opened my eyes to the get potential of growth in missionary work here in Thailand.

In Zone conference, we also got approval to use Facebook. It's exciting to be able to use it as a tool in doing the Lord's work.

I find myself in awe, realizing how small of a favor God asks of us... to trust and have faith in the Lord. Where in return, God has a huge amount of trust for all of us. He trust that we, being imperfect people and making mistakes all the time, will listen to the promptings of the spirit. He trust that we will choose the right. He trust that we will keep His commandments. He trust us latter-day saints to build His church. I know that God really does love us.

"15 But behold I said unto them that: As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us." 1 Nephi 3:15

"๑๕ แต่ดูเถิดข้าพเจ้ากล่าวแก่พวกเขาว่า : พระเจ้าทรงพระชนม์อยู่ฉันใด, และเรามีชีวิตอยู่ฉันใด, เราจะไม่ลงไปหาบิดาของเราในแดนทุรกันดารฉันนั้นจนกว่าเราจะทำสำเร็จในสิ่งซึ่งพระเจ้าทรงบัญชาเรา." 1 นีไฟ 3:15

If there is truly a loving God, then what really matters to you? 

I know that Jesus Christ lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

- Elder Santeco :)

Sister เตย From อุดร got called to Temple Square Salt Lake City, Utah! :D I am so excited for her!

Brother เต๋า. Along with แม่ ติ๋ว, Sister เตย, Sister อิง... drove us back to ขอนแก่น. Love the อุดร members!:)

Amazing FHE Dinner with Sister missionaries, Sister อาย, Brother บูม, and Brother Rock. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Thailand Week 99: Khon Kaen (ขอนแก่น)

The Lord is so good

Gif made by Sister Lister.

We played this game where we "moo"ed as cows. It was so funny.
Brother ทองรัตน์. I met him last week Sunday after church. He doesn't have a lot. But knows what to value in his life. And sees that there is potential value in what we share with him. He is so humble... At the end of the lesson, he bowed his head and said a heartfelt prayer. It was amazing. It wasn't until last Saturday that I found out that he has been reached out to by the Elders from Surin before. He showed the pamphlet they gave him and it opened my eyes to how the Lord has been preparing him to recieve our message.

Sister โตหล้า. She is great. She has a amazing desire to come closer to God. So decided to asked her friends about the Book of Mormon that we gave her. Long story short, she felt lost the desire to read the Book of Mormon. But with the Lord's help, we were able to share about the Restoration and ultimately see her desire spark again. We feel that she'll get her answer.

We got two other new investigators. Sister มะขาม and Sister นิว. They were initially hesitant, but the Lord was so merciful as we saw them open up a lot.

Seeing the great mercies of Lord has sparked a brighter flame in my soul. I love being a missionary, bringing souls unto Christ.

I see good things happening here in Thailand. Love it.

Love you all!

- Elder ☀️🌮

Book of Mormon class.

Gif made by Sister Lister.

We played this game where we "moo"ed as cows. It was so funny.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

LAST TRANSFER! Transfer #15/Thailand Week 98: Khon Kaen (ขอนแก่น)

The Work Moves On

สวัสดีครับทุกคน สบายดีไหม

It's transfers week! And I'll be staying here in Khon Kaen with Elder Rands! It'll be another great transfer.

This past week, a lot happened. Because I didn't write in my journal and have time right now... I'll do my best to recall what happened and share it with you all! :)

Last week Monday: We finally got a haircut! It was feels like long hear equals to more stress. It can get hard to manage. Especially when I wear my bicycle helmet, it molds my hair into weird shapes. Haha. That night, both of our Family Home Evenings appointments got cancelled. Usually for cancelled appointments, we would usually do street contacting as our backup plan. But as we knelt down and prayed, we felt impressed to stay home and call former investigators instead. So we did that. One by one, we started calling them. What was cool was that, although many of the former investigators were unable to get in contact with, most of the phone rang AND they answered! The discussions included a series of us and them apologizing for not getting in contact in the past, and whether they wanted to meet up or not. Several of them said they wanted to. One of them is Sister ผึ้ง.

Just as we used an hour of calling former investigators, a member, Sister Nok, called us and invited us to eat out in celebration to New Years. Problem was that we needed men to join us (ตาม missionary rules). We scrambled to call the male members from our branch. Everyone wasn't free. We really wanted to go out and have a little Family Home Evening. With not much luck, we called Sister Nok back and told her that no was available. She then suggested Brother Ton (LA). We gave him a call. He said he wasn't free but then suggested another two less-active members, Brother Boom and Brother Big. We called them and they were more than happy to meet up for a small Family Home Evening. It turned out wonderful. I find it cool seeing the connection between the members and how less active members usually knows who else is less active. Looking forward to working more closely with Brother Boom and Brother Big.

Tuesday: We worked really hard to improve our English class. It turned out great. Since yesterday,  we were scrambling to get some sort of transportation down to Bangkok for a meeting. It was such a journey. Because of new years, all of the bus, train, plane services were booked for another 3 days. It was mind blowing. Elder Rands then suggested to take a taxi down instead. After a few calls, we found out that the price was just not worth it. That night after English class, we luckily managed to find one bus service willing to take us down. A usually 7 hour trip turned out to be a 12 hour bus ride. Whew.

Wednesday: I had a จบers meeting. It was very informative. I loved how Presdient Johnson really pushed for having us utilize what we learned as a missionary to when we return home. It was also the day that we received the news about President Thomas S. Monson's passing away. It was really heart warming to see all of the missionaries come together to watch the video about him and his life. As I looked upon everyone's faces, I knew what they were saying in their hearts. "Thank you, President Thomas S. Monson. We. love. you." I know that He is a prophet called of God. Even with the passing of the our beloved prophet, the work of the Lord moves on.

Sadly, it was the very same day that I lost my hearing aid. My very last one. As I started to panic, after searching for it for several hours... I remember hearing... "Elder Santeco... the work of the Lord moves on". I am still calling every once in a while hoping something will turn up. But even then, I know my purpose as a missionary. I'm here to serve the Lord and His children. 

Thursday: Miracles! We went to meet up with our current investigators, Sister แต๋ว (Somehow, I thought it was นิด), and it turned out to be great! Because there was a bunch of her friends there. One of them happened to be a Less active member. His name is Brother น้อย. He was baptized in Bangkok, Asoke, then moved up here to Khon Kaen. He doesn't have a good reason to go less active, but we are definitely excited to work with him. He even encouraged all of his friends, including Sister แต๋ว, to learn with us. It was cool. Every Thursday, we now have Branch Executive Meetings. I really enjoy it now. The first time we had the meeting, it was very awkward because nothing really got done. But it's getting better and better. I love the personal inspiration that we all receive in effort to help build the Church and it's members. Khon Kaen is going on the right track.

Friday: We went back and met with Sister แต๋ว and her kids. It was a fabulous lesson. We used the Children's Book of Mormon Stories book and it worked out great. We even were able to meet up with several of Sister แต่ว's friends that we had met up yesterday. It's all about connections. :) Sports night was fun. It was good to see that those that came the previous week, returned. :)

Saturday: We went on an adventure! We had a potential investigator dropped an appointment. But it was okay, she said that she isn't ready yet and will meet with the missionaries the following Saturday. That being said, we went around and visited members around the area. We met up with Sister เล็ก/Lek and her family. She just got recently married, and it was good to talk to her husband. We will be doing our best to help her husband get baptized and in the temple as a family. :) A cool miracle was that I decided to call potential investigators from the previous transfer and invite them to church, and one of them, Sister มะขาม responded, "I'll probably be there. Wait. I'll be there." And she did! She came to church and it was great to see the members reach out to her.

Sunday: I was the conductor for Sacrament. It was fun. Throughout the day, we had meetings, taught repentance, and worked towards baptizing converts.

Monday: We reached out to our dear old friend, Brother Prasit (ประสิทธิ์). We were happy to see that he came to church yesterday, but he came in during the second hour. Elder Rands and I went in hoping to help him come to church on time. We were impressed with his great admiration for the prophet's faith. So we began discussing how we could build our faith just as the prophets of old did. I was then impressed to share the story about Nephi's great example of faith and obedience in 1 Nephi 3:4-7. After reading and discussing it, he shared how his personal desire to keep the commandments began to grow. We then asked him, what is keeping you from going to church on time... he responded, "I don't have a watch." Hahah. We told him that we'll help him with that and get a watch and an alarm clock for him. I love being a missionary. :) 
We met up with Sister แต๋ว and her neighbors as well. We were able to teach her neighbors and they were really open to learning more about God. We finished the night off with Family Home Evening with Sister Lek and her family. :)

Tuesday: I would say that the miracle of the day was that we were able to find where one of the online referrals lived. His name is Donut and he requested a Book of Mormon 778 days ago. Yes. That is a very long time. But we didn't actually get the memo until we got our smart phones. After many unsuccessful attempts of trying to call him. We decided to try find his house. Keep in mind that addresses in Thailand are sometimes all over the place. We arrived at the street, said a prayer, and began biking down the street. Less than a minute, we found the house. Miracle! We went inside and found out from his family that Donut has gone to China for school and will not be back for a while. In summary, we will go back and leave a Book of Mormon for Brother Donut when he comes back. We are also hoping to be able to share more of our message with his family when we go back.

Wednesday: Today. I am tired. I will probably read the Book of Mormon for a while and then take a good nap. I am still trying to finish the Book of Mormon in Thai. That being said, I forgot to mention that Brother ภู finished reading the Book of Mormon already. He's so good! He is now reading in Doctrine and Covenants as well as Pearl of Great Price.

I am doing well. I love being a missionary. It's the best.

I know that the Lord lives!

- Elder Santeco loves you all. :)

Getting Haircuts.

This is Sister แต๋ว and her family.

Sorry. Don't have a lot of pictures. We just took this selfie couple seconds ago.

Much love from Elder Rands and Elder Sun☀Taco🌮