Sunday, April 24, 2016

Thailand Week 9: Korat


Hi Family!!! :)

I am alive and well. A lot happened in this past week. I mean A LOT! 

Let's take my time and share what happened shall we? :)

Flight to Thailand:
AWESOME! I slept a lot. And when I wasn't sleeping I was reorganizing my marked scriptures with post it notes. I was fed THREE MEALS on the plane! It was actually good food. Perhaps because I just ate too much MTC food for the past 9 weeks. And and and I got awesome seats. First flight I had a whole row to myself. Second flight I had a seat that did not have a seat in front of it. So I had great leg room and would do leg stretches quite often. The last flight I had a window seat... so I just knocked out and slept upon the window. 

Arrival in Thailand: First impression? I MISS THAILAND! I'm so happy to be here. Hahaha... Then I walked outside. and was suddenly having beads of sweat drench my clothes. Wearing suit does not help. Hahah.
I am glad that you guys get to see pictures of me! That means I don't really have to send ALL my pics. :) I really am excited to serve in Thailand. It's actually quite funny because many missionaries came up to me and said... "You smile a lot. You're awesome." Hahahah. I have no reason not to smile... I get to do the best thing EVER! Serve God by serving others. :)

We stayed at a Hotel nearby the Mission Office. It was really cool. Small but nice. That was my last couple nights with Elder Hunt. I really hope that he's doing well. As well as all the other missionaries. But yeah. The coolest/funniest thing that I saw at that hotel as a sign saying "NO DURIANS...." with a fee of 5000 baht or something. Haha.

But yeah! I really am excited to have a temple here in Thailand. There are a lot of faithful members who really wants to go to Hong Kong... But really can't. :( But it will come. And I will definitely be here when it opens! WHOO!

Transfer Day:
I got an Elder Reid! Hahahah. He's really awesome. He's from Washington and is 20 years old. Has an amazing music talent. And he currently has 3 months left before he goes home! Therefore, I am his first and last greenie. Regardless of being a greenie, I told him straight up... "This is going to be the best transfer ever!"... He laughed, smiled and agreed. He wanted to end his mission with a good one. :) Elder Reid gave me a sweet tie... I gave him an Aloha shirt. LOL

The trip to Korat was really cool. I was kind of like... Blehhh. I felt really drowsy... Must be the jet-lag thing or something. The trip consisted of a Taxi to the Bus station (15 mins) and a bus ride to Korat (6 hours)... It only took that long because the bus driver kept slowing down and stopping so that khon Thais could fill up the bus. Which makes sense. :) So no argument needed.

House in Korat is pretty swell. I'll definitely use some time today to clean up the place. :)

Food here is pretty ped?(hot) I don't know how to spell it. Hahaha. My tummy likes to drag me to the bathroom occasionally. But it's getting adjusted. My tongue seems to be the one that really stopping me from wanting to eat spicy food. But I think it's beginning to tolerate the heat... It'll eventually will. Other than that.. Food is arroe maag! 

I got my bike. Hahahha. I forgot the pin number for the card so I couldn't withdraw cash to buy it.... So Elder Reid kindly spotted me and was willing to loan me money... I'll be paying him back today... :) It was 7.800 baht... it includes the bike, helmet and lock. It suay maag! I love biking. It's like natural way of cooling down. But sadly... It's HOT air that rushes through my hair. Therefore..... SWEAT SWEAT SWEAT.

Speaking of sweat. Eating spicy food doesn't help. Hahahha

These last several days out in Korat has been great. I met a lot of the members... through Mutual(Sports night), LA activity (Less active.. Members come together... Select less-active members... Break up in groups and visit them. It's really cool. We're currently trying to push members into doing home teaching... I guess it wasn't really explained or introduced.) and baptism!

This was sister nam's baptism. She's a solid person. Very willing. She immediately gave up coffee, no problem! Crazyyy! And she usually drinks 2 coffee cans a day.. But now... NOPE! :)

Sister nam was an investigator and friend of sister Jenny(Khon Thai). Sister Jenny was taught by Sister Mamea. :) COOL CONNECTIONS! Oh! A lot of the members mentioned elders and sisters who happens to be my teachers at the MTC. So it's quite awesome. :) It helped me have the desire not to let my teachers down as well!

I have been drinking TONS of water. The church and our house is the source for my water. LOL But yeah... Meh. Every dinner... I usually eat soup or something similar. 45 baht or something. :)

In companionship study, I learned about Elder Reid's desire to focus on his purpose and make this his best 3 months. :)

Because of Elder Reid's last companion, he hasn't really got the chance to focus on investigators and members. His comp had several breakdowns and issues... Therefore, President Johnson requested Elder Reid to help his companion regain his testimony and faith before his comp finished his mission. Elder Reid's past companion just finished his mission couple weeks ago... And Elder Reid is glad that he was able to help him out prior to finishing his mish. Now that he finished his mission.... He is doing well.. and currently has a great testimony of this gospel.

Because of this special assignment from President Johnson... Elder Reid wasn't used to street contacting or engaging with others for a LONG time. So today... We committed ourselves to really try to invite others we see. On the way here to the internet cafe (2 minutes away).. we managed to talk to two khon thais. One was prepping food and the other one was driving a food cart. We invited them to come to church this week and they said they'll come. When they said this... I WAS SO HAPPY. It was the first step to conversion. :) I really hope that they do come. I'm like 80% sure that they will.. they really did seem interested. :) We may have lessons with them later on this week or so.

KHON THAIS ARE AMAZING. The faith shown from the members is tremendous. It's much different from Hawaii or America. When khon thais talk about their studies, prayers, etc. It's really PURE. It's straight from their hearts. I got the chance to teach Brother Bon Chay yesterday. He's been an investigator for 2 years. Issue is that he has been struggling with smoking... What's amazing is that he comes to church every week. He knows that something great is here. I was able to share about faith... and that with faith, God will allow him to do anything that expedient in Him. I really sense his desire to be baptized... I hope he'll overcome his addiction. :)

I love being a missionary. Since day one, we haven't fulfilled every key indicators/goals. At first, I thought that I wasn't doing enough. But eventually I realized that as long as I do my best... It is well. It feels good to come home exhausted and tired. It feels good to wake up with a fire.. ready to start another day's of God's work. Really, missionary work is lovely. :)

I love you guys. I carry pictures of you guys with me all the time. Whenever families comes into discussion, I would share the pictures and talk about you guys. You guys are my backbone... The gospel is the marrow of my backbone. Hahahahah. (I just made that up on the spot).

I know that this gospel is true. I know that Jesus lives and that God loves us. I know that we can live eternally in peace and joy. I know that my family can be together forever.


P.S. Uncle PJ and Aunty Nuj... I really think I'll be able to meet with you guys someday. Maybe not anytime soon.. but eventually. :)


-send that picture of cali's doorway.
-baby trey is cute.
-cali is getting pretty big.
-send a pic of cali's girlfriend.
-RISS, you dont want these missionaries. They're all young. Hahaha
-Did I mention, that I love you? :)


Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Video Link:

20 April 2016

Dear Brother and Sister Santeco,
We are happy to report that your son arrived safely in Bangkok late last night, clearing passport control early this morning. He spent what was left of the evening in a hotel room with his companion, where he will also stay this evening. He is in good spirits and is anxious to begin laboring in the Lord's vineyard in Thailand. We are thrilled to have him as a missionary in the Thailand Bangkok Mission family.
Elder Gabriel Jirapoomdaje Santeco will join other newly arrived missionaries, together with Sister Johnson and me and the Assistants to the President, at Lumpini Park for a morning devotional. Lumpini Park is the site where then Elder Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the land of Thailand for the preaching of the Gospel in 1966. Elder Santeco will have the opportunity to dedicate and consecrate himself to this most wonderful work.  The new missionaries will be trained by Sister Johnson and me, and later oriented by the Office Couple, Elder and Sister Grange, and the Assistants to the President. New missionaries will have their first experience street contacting in the area followed by dinner at the Mission Home.
Your son will receive his first assignment tomorrow morning. Preparation day will be on Monday and he will be able to email you each week.  I am sure he will have much to share regarding his experiences in Thailand, missionary activities and his first Sunday in his assigned area. Your expressions of encouragement and spiritually uplifting email correspondence will be of great support.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions during your son's term of missionary service.

President and Sister Johnson
Thailand Bangkok Mission

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Week 8: I'm Getting Out Of Here!?!

I got to see David Archuleta. We managed to bump into him after our session. 

Hi Family!!!!
I have 5 more days before I head out of the MTC. I'm really am going to miss this place. BUT, I am so excited to go to Thailand! Whooohooo!!!!!

Although I may not be able to speak, listen and understand Thai as well as I want to, I'm ready. :)

I don't have a lot to say at the moment. Hahah.

Oh I haven't shipped out my winter clothes yet. I will later on today or sometime this week. It'll include my broken scriptures. :) 

OH! And my camera broke. It's not working anymore. Hahaha. I think I accidentally dropped it... Now it shows a black screen when I turn it on, an obvious internal issue. Which sucks because I just charged it. Hahahhaa. I'll try get another one for a good cost (either from here at the bookstore or in Thailand):) But if I remember, electronics are usually expensive in Thailand... It's okay. Don't worry about it. Don't send me a camera. LOL. In the meantime, I'll be sharing pics with my companion. 

I am going to have the opportunity to call you when I fly out to Thailand. I will probably be calling Mom when I land in LA. I'll be landing in LA at 7:15 AM, and leaving LA at 12:55 PM. I'll do my best to call you not to early or too late. Perhaps around 10ish AM. (7 AM in Hawaii). Then again, it all depends if I am "allowed" to call later on. So if I call as soon as I arrive in LA, I'm sorry. Hahahha. 

This past week, I had the experience to teach a new investigator (who is actually is our teacher). My teacher having really good acting skills, I did not see him as a teacher but a person who was searching for answers in this world. My heart delighted when the investigator was constantly involved and interested. He felt the savior's love. Then we stopped mid-lesson to evaluate. (which is unusual) Then we discussed with the sisters that were watching our lesson. While discussing, I had my own thoughts going through my mind. Regardless of everyone's comments saying that the lesson was going well and that my companion and I are helping the investigator come unto Christ, I just thought to myself...

"Am I doing the right thing?... Lord I will become a better missionary."... 

I got hit hard. I was bawling. My eyes were swollen. My ears were burning. Tears shooting out of my eyes like some sort of light machine gun. At the moment, I felt the Savior's love. I heard God say, "I am proud of you"............Later on. I went to lunch with my swollen red eyes still in effect. I had to squint so that others wouldn't think I had some pink eye or something. I'm ninja at hiding(Not really). Hahhaha. Had a headache afterwards, but I wouldn't trade that experience with anything. It strengthened my testimony of Christ's and God's love for all of us.

Phom rag khobkhura khong phom cij cij. I really do. There's so much that I had to owe to my family, for helping me have this desire to help the children of God come unto Christ. Thank you mom and dad for establishing a home of love, peace, and joy. I am so thankful for the way you have raised each one of us to be best that we can be. There may be pits and times where we fall, but you have taught us to pick ourselves up through the Atonement of Christ. It's amazing. Amazing to realize that God, our Father in Heaven has actually given us EVERYTHING. Everything to strive in the light of our Lord and return to God. See the blessings you will receive, and realize... that there are no cons to this beautiful gospel. :) 

Uncle PJ and Aunty Nuj, thank you for everything as well. :) You guys have made a huge impact in my mom's life and definitely mine's as well. I love you guys, Mac and Mei too!! :) 

Mum, looking forward to Mother's day. :) and tell Jesse that I'm so happy for him. He had more willingness than I did when I was his age. He will be blessed and will receive so much joy. I'm glad that you guys are doing well at home. I don't hear much from Marvy, but I know that the Lord will watch over her.

I know that the Lord will take care of my family. :) 

Family can be together forever. <3 I LOVE YOU GUYS!

READ IT. Be excited. 
Because I am excited. :)


1&2: The MTC is expanding. This is the last beam to go onto the building. We all got the opportunity to write our names and mission.... Hopefully when Jesse goes on his mission and comes to the MTC (I REALLY HOPE HE COMES HERE), he'll see my name on this new building!:)

I wrote D&C 4 nay paasaa thay. I remembered 2 Nephi 22:2 in thai. I know how to read and write it as well. :) 

I have 2 redbox codes. But I forgot it at the residence again. hahahhaha.

I feel like I had something else to tell you. But I forgot.

I had another experience to tell the family. I got a big booboo. I fell in the shower and got a huge gash in my shim. No worries. it's healing. HAHAHHA

ALSO. I wanted to share that I finished my last temple session. It will be a very long time before I will be able to do another session.


SNOWWWWWW. This was like the first week or so. :) 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Week 7: MTC

An elder gave me "boxed water". It looks cool. Hahah. Don't mind my hair. The picture was taken this morning... and I fixed it up later on. Hehe :)

Hi family,
It has been quite a week. Whew.
I feel like I haven't improved much this week nay paasaa thay. But it's still going. Now that it's coming to the final 2 weeks of being here at the MTC, I'm really pushing myself to grow spiritually and learn the language. :) Don't worry, I am not going to stress myself out. Heheh. I thought I had a lot to say but... I forgot. 

Ma. I'm excited for the Thailand Temple Dedication. I am looking forward to that day. :) Oh and I'll try look for Conrado Valdez... and have a charged camera. Is Elijah Javier from Aikahi Elementary? Whooohooo! It excites me to see everyone serving a mission. :) If you want to share a scripture with him for me, share D&C 4. Thank you! :)

Don't have a lot of time... so I'll share anything. Haha.

Ummm. I have been doing several new things since last week. AWESOME new things.

1. READ READ READ THE BOOK OF MORMON, from beginning to end. I'm pretty committed to finishing the Book of Mormon before I leave! How crazy is that! I did the math and I supposed to read at least 35 pages a day... So far I have done like 15 a day. Hahah. Currently in 2 Nephi 23. Even though I may not finish it at the MTC, I'm definitely am going to finish it in pratheed thay. 

2. A scripture quote each day! in paasaa thay! :) Basically I pick a favorite scripture of the day from the English Book of Mormon, find the verse from phrakamphi Mormon nay paasaa thay. Then write it many times throughout the day! If I don't know what a word means, I'll look it up and add it to my journal. But yeah, I would write whenever there's free time (eating, waiting for companion, studying) and eventually, at the end of the day... I would be able to read, write and speak the specific verse. It helps me take the scripture to the heart as well. :)

3. A quote journal. Elder Lovelock started his quote journal and when I read through it, I just had to start my own. It consist of inspiring quotes from devotional, general conference, meetings, lessons, etc. It's really awesome. :) At the end of the day, I would like to review the quotes and be inspirited to do better the next day! :D

I can't think of what you should send to me... I should actually start sending some of my things back. I'm thinking of sending home my broken scriptures as well. I know that it's heavy, but I won't be able to use it when I go to Thailand. I hope that it's not that expensive to ship back home. Let me know what you guys think. 

I love you guys. After this past week with General Conference and Devotional with Vocal Point (BYU Capella group... They're awesome!), I am really glad to have you guys. The joy that dwells within our family been my motivation to do this work. Dad, I want to thank you for being worthy of the Priesthood, and for giving us blessings. My desire to be worthy to be a worthy Husband/Father and Melchizedek Priesthood holder has grown greatly. :) Mom, thank you for supporting Dad. Thank you for being the example and teaching us how to be kind and loving. Your gentleness and kindness helps me to always look at the positive things of others. Family... thank you for everything. This is why I am here. I personally cherish, the laughter, the smiles, the happiness in our family that makes me want to share the gospel. The gospel of Love. I am glad to have a testimony that I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are also my family, and I am glad to be doing work for them. They have done so much for me and my family, has given us blessings, so how could I not want to help them? Phom rag khobkhura khoong phom maag maag. 

LOVE LOVE LOVE YOUUUUU!!! "and I mean it.. from the bottom of my heart..." :)

Photo is Elder Lovelock's drawing of the day. :) Hahhaha.