Sunday, December 31, 2017

Thailand Week 97: Khon Kaen (ขอนแก่น)

Happy New Year!

The Lord is so good.

I had an amazing switch off with the Zone Leaders. Elder Pang is an awesome loving and inspiring missionary. I loved how he reached out to everyone out of love and desire to really help them.
Let's just say that I still a lot to learn. :)

Brother เปี๊ยก is one of our investigator. He is so funny! He stayed in California for a while being a taxi driver. So while he was there, he picked up on the language really well. But it's full of slang. Having a lesson with him is an adventure. Haha. But this past week, we gave him a Book of Mormon and started reading with him. I was in awe at how much effort he was putting in to really understand the scriptures. Although he may be heading back to California soon, we have great hope for him.  

Brother บูม is an Less Active that we have been reaching out to off and on during my time here. But then the miracle happened. This past week, he send a text to us telling us that he a friend to introduce to us. When Sunday came, he came early in the morning, anxiously waiting for his friend to come. And when she did come, he became one of the best fellow shipper I have ever seen. He did his best to introduce his friend, โตหล้า to us missionaries and all the members. I realized his testimony growing as he stayed all three hours and participated with us by sharing his testimony.

Yesterday, someone asked me how old was I.. I told them that I was 21. Then my companion said, "No, you're 22!"... hahaha. Life is good.

Happy New Years!

With Elder Pang. :)

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Thailand Week 96: Khon Kaen (ขอนแก่น)

Doing service
Merry Christmas!!

Since last week, it's been really cold... around 12-14 Celsius all throughout the day. Biking around was a cool experience. Everyone was wearing thick jackets/coats and mitts. I even saw several people wear oven mitts as they road their motorcycles. Haha. But during the last couple days it returned back to it's hot weather, thinking, "Ope! That's it for the cold days." 

I woke up this morning with Thailand back to it's chilly mornings. I love it.

Note: Our house does not have water heaters. Heheh. It's been a party taking showers in the morning. Loving it!

"It's Christmas!" While serving within the Khon Kaen branch, I was able to work with a lot of families. While doing so, I was constantly reminded that Christmas Seasons has always been special to me simply because of my family. The smiles, laughs, tears shared among our loves one are precious moments. Moments where we can learn and grow in atmosphere of peace and love. Moments that I will forever hold dear to my heart. Family is central to everlasting joy. As a missionary, it brings me into greater awe knowing that this joy is especially possible as we learn and apply His Gospel and Atonement. I love families.

Service Shoes

Quick Summary of what happened. :)
Tuesday. We served our Branch President by painting his gate.
Wednesday: We found Brother บุญทัน. He is now a dater. :) Along the way, we found a potential family. Brother Poo did his family history!
Thursday: We met with Brother อู๋. We went back to the potential family that we found the previous day and taught them the Plan of Salvation! They loved it! We swung by Sister โอ๋. We had meetings.
Friday: We served Sister บ๊อบ by moving sofas around a hotel. Prepared for the Christmas Party's BBQ. Went back and taught Brother บุญทัน with our Branch President, President อ้น. Brother บุญทัน loves his family, and we were able see the tender mercies of the Lord seeing that he has the right desires.
Saturday: SERVICE! We went and serve Brother ประสิทธิ์. When we first went there, he wanted us to eat first... So we spend a good amount of time learning how to cook the fish from his pond. It was a neat experience. After that, we got down and worked in his garden. After a couple hours, I got pretty tired. I was struggling to keep swinging the machete. But in my eyesight, I saw Brother ประสิทธิ์ and Brother ทองสุข still working and giving it their all. Both 60+ old men, working hard with ease. They are both strong men. Reminds me of you daddy. :)
Service Shoes
That night, we had a wonderful Christmas party. A lot of members, and non-members came. There was a lot of scrambling around to get things done and set up. But it turned out great. :)
Sunday: We had a wonderful primary sacrament program. I loved it. We later went caroling in the evening. It was great to see smiles.

Cool experiences during caroling: When we showed up to Brother Chai and Sister Youri's house, Brother gangfu(กังฟู) ran up to the door and started shouting "Yay! Hooray!" then started singing to us! But he wasn't singing a Christmas song, he was singing the Happy Birthday Song. Hahahaha.

We also got to sing at our Elder President's House, Brother ออฟ and Sister นุ๋ดี. Their child, Brother IQ (ไอคิว) was just about to sleep, but as we sang softly, Sister นุ๋ดี carried him and walked outside. The family was smiling and filled with happiness as the Christmas Spirit filled the air. Upon finishing with the Christmas song, they asked us to take a picture together. Out of great love for all of us, Sister นุ๋ดี kept asking to retake a picture because some of us weren't in it. It was a great eye opener to see how Sister นุ๋ดี was filled with charity and love, which is preparing her to one day join the church. I pray that their family will one day be sealed together. :) Sister นุ๋ดี and Brother ออฟ loves how their young infant, Brother ไอคิว always look at me, laughs and smiles. I think I have a pretty funny face. :) Hahaha.

I love the Christmas season. :)

Personal Studies:
I was able to study a lot in the story of Job. I was greatly impressed at Job's faith regardless of what happened in his life. Job was a man of great faith. He was a wealthy man. He had a family, land, animals. You can probably say that he had it all. What if he lost it all?

Well, he did. Job’s property and children were destroyed. He was heavily sick. And was cast out by his friends.

But, it was after the great faith and endurance, that the Lord blessed him with twice as more as he had before.

I know that no matter what adversities we may face in life, it's important to know that this life is short compared to eternity. And that if we can withstand our trials and remain faithful, we will be blessed throughout all eternity. I know that God's thoughts are higher than our thoughts. He knows more than we do and knows how to mold us. I know that Jesus is the Christ. He is our Savior. I know that God has blessings in store for all of us. I love His church. I love His Gospel. I love God. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

I love you all! I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! :)

- Elder Santeco

We went to a beautiful flower park for last week's P-day.

After Correlation Meeting

District Picture (and Sister Windy) at the Park.

Brother ทองสุข

Our Lunch. YUM.

It's a beautiful day.

Brother Puu and His Family History Chart!

Christmas Party

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BYEEEEEEE!!! :)

Ohhh. One of the best Christmas Presents was when แม่กบ from Korat, called me and had me talk to Brother แบงค์. He opened his mission call and is called to serve in the Thailand Bangkok Mission! :) He'll be heading out to the mission field in April next year. :D :D :D

Oh! Last picture! :) With Brother ออฟ, Sister นุ๋ดี and ไอคิว. :) Also in the picture is President อ้น, his wife, Sister แตงโม. Sister นก and her niece sister แน็ท. :) 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Thailand Week 95: Khon Kaen (ขอนแก่น)

Merry Christmas!

Here's what happened this past week... Monday, we got Elder Rand's phone!

Tuesday, we found new investigators. One of them was Brother Oat. He's 27 years old, working as a security guard nearby the bus station. He's always smiling. When we met up with him, we noticed that he was working and wasn't really able to sit down and talk... but we gave a lesson on prayer and testified how it will help him. He said he'll pray and was more than happy to meet up with us, again... with a big smile on his face. :) We also met with Brother Buntan. He is more than 60 years old, and he's a construction worker. He's amazing. We talked a bit about baptism. He said he'll get baptized, but is a bit worried how to help his family whom is also Christian. He's also a bit confused on what to do when he goes back home where there's no nearby Mormon churches. We'll keep doing our part to help him. I know that the Lord will provide a way for him and his family to learn of the gospel and come into the church. :)

Wednesday... We went to Bangkok to do Elder Rand's work permits papers. Funny story, we went down on that morning. And waited until 8am before we called Sister Beth asking, "We are here in Bangkok. Are you almost here?"... She was really confused. "What? We were supposed to meet on Friday, not Wednesday"... Apparently, I must have misheard Friday (Phut) for Wednesday (Sugk)... Hahahahhaha. She was very nice enough to come down and help us get the papers done on Wednesday and not have us come back on Friday. Sister Beth is really cool. She served her mission in Australia and has an awesome conversion story. The Lord has really blessed her and her family.

Thursday... We had lots of meetings. It was really good. :) In Khon Kaen, we are focused on having a better sacrament program... So we felt that it would be great to start making and using sacrament programs! It should be in effect right after new years. :)  I believe we'll be the first branch/ward to have them! Yay!

Friday... Interviews with President. It was really good. :) We also had white elephant. I got 40 mini bags of lays chips. Hahahahha. It was so good. We also played tons of games. It was so much fun. I love Christmas.

Saturday... We watched "The Best Two Years"... IT WAS SO GOOD. I loved it. We also had a very spiritual training given by the President and Sister Johnson. It was amazing. To summarize it, I know that Jesus is the Christ.

Sunday.. Elder Kanekhan came to Khon Kaen! It was amazing! We had lots of meetings and Khon Kaen's future is looking more hopeful. He talked a lot about families, and he assigned us missionaries to work with certain families more... to help them become united with love and peace. Throughout the day of visiting several less actives families and helping them prepare for the temple... It really reminded me of the joy that I had being in a home built upon the teachings of the Lord. Elder Kanekhan really has high expectations for us missionaries, and I know that the Lord will help and bless us as  we do our best to help these families... :)

I am excited for Christmas. It's another Christmas season not being able to be home with my family... but I feel that my love for my family, the Lord, and everyone around me has grown immensely. The Lord is so merciful.

I love the Lord so very much. Simply, because He loved us first. :)

I love you all! Have a Merry Christmas!

- Elder Santeco

This Dog is so cute. :D

We did yard work for Sister Flash and Sister Shrimp. It was fun. :) Afterwards, we have a very good lesson. Although they did not verbally say it, I felt that after the lesson, they had a greater hope for the future. :)

Elder Rand and his weapon of choice.

The Sisters and members.

This dog didn't like me. :)

Me admiring the doggy.

Our trip to Udon for interviews and Zone Conference.

While traveling to Udon. I lost my keys... Including the key for my bike lock. So I had to break/cut the lock. I used an axe and machete. It turned out great :)

Merry Christmas from the Khon Kaen District!

My face.... :D Hahahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahahah

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Parents notification of Release

Oh man.

It's coming...



12 December 2017 

Dear Brother and Sister Santeco,

I am pleased to inform you that Elder Gabriel Jirapoomdaje Santeco will honorably complete his calling as a full-time missionary in the Thailand Bangkok Mission and will be traveling home on 23 Feb 2018. I am sure that you are looking forward to the return of your son. He has been an outstanding missionary.

Elder Santeco has a strong testimony of the gospel and has borne witness of its truthfulness to the people in Thailand. Although the Thai language is difficult, he has learned it extremely well and has used it effectively in teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. The extent of Elder Santeco's influence has been great and will be felt for many years to come. He has maintained a strong, positive attitude during his mission. He has also set a great example through his efforts in serving the Lord. We appreciate your son's abilities, which have allowed him to serve in many capacities. We feel assurance that Elder Santeco's joy will be great in the Kingdom of our Father in Heaven. (D&C 18:15,16)

We feel blessed to have been associated with this fine missionary. He has served faithfully and in such a way as to bring credit to himself and his family. Sister Johnson and I extend a special thanks to you for preparing your missionary to serve in such an excellent manner.



President Kelly R. Johnson

Thailand Bangkok Mission

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Thailand Week 94: Khon Kaen (ขอนแก่น)

A lot happened.

Last week's monday was Sister น้ำทิพย์'s birthday, so we were able to have a wonderful Family Home Evening with a bunch of members. When it came to sharing the spiritual thought, some of the members were sharing their concerns on Khon Kaen branch and it's growth. During the discussion, I've learned two things, 1. Concerns can be taken in a positive or a negative direction. 2. It may be okay to be devastated or sad about anything in life, but do not be discouraged. Throughout the entire week, I felt impressed to promise all the members that the Khon Kaen will grow... it's a pretty big promise... but I know that the Lord will help us. While promising them, I immediately saw the member's excitement to not just see it happen but to make it happen. Khon Kaen will do great this upcoming year.

Tuesday, we did service at Sister Lek! It was really scary seeing her light brushes on fire... Literally several meters away from her house. But she got it done! I love service. I look forward to being able to continue service others wherever I go. Talking about service, we had english class! It was Elder Rands' first english class! It was really fun.

Wednesday. I went to Bangkok for a District Leader Meeting. That's 7 hours there and another 7 back (by train! It was sooooooo cool riding on a sleeper's train!). It was a great meeting. I learned that no matter what responsibility that we have, whether it's small or big... it's important. We were able to take our (proabably last one) MTC group picture. :) I love them all.

Thursday. We went biking for long ways! We found Brother ประสิทธ์ at his little farm. We were able to share the Light the World message with him. He loved it! He also came to church this past Sunday! Yay! After that, we  visited another lovely couple, Sister จงรัก and Brother สุพจน์, whom are related to Brother ประสิทธ์. They also loved the Christmas message. :) We found Brother บุญทัน that night, a referral from Korat! He's solid! He's an investigator of Sister Ninrat, (I served with her in Udorn). He's Christian, and has been really focused at reading the Book of Mormon. As of then he was in Alma 40+, and told us... "I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God." We are working real hard to help him come to church. :)

Friday. Prepared for Brother Pu's baptism. :)

Saturday. Service! We visited the lovely family of Brother Chai and Sister Yuri. What was cute was that one of their kid, Jessica... wouldn't sit down for the lesson. But when we shared the Light the World video, she dropped her stuffed animal, sat down and watched with us. Haha. This family is so cute.

Sunday. Brother Pu got baptized! We set many goals in preparation for next year. The members are excited. We also met Sister โจ, she opened a lot. She's more than willing to pray now than ever. :)

This past week has been great. A lot happened. We made new goals, for this upcoming week... it'll will be great. :)

I love you all.

I love the Christmas Spirit! I know that Jesus is the Christ! He is God's gift for us. They both love us so much. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

- Elder Santeco

Light the World!