Experiences in Thailand on Our Mission

After the Flooding, Huge Humanitarian Effort

After the Flooding, Huge Humanitarian Effort
In Front of The New Chapel in Bangkok

In the Chapel putting Relief Bags together

In the Chapel putting Relief Bags together

Monday, December 8, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Time seems to pass by faster and faster. We have been in the Buriram Branch for over a month now. We have been very busy visiting all the member families from the branch. We are so blessed to have wonderful counselors. We have been doing very well in this branch. They have helped us with our transportation needs to members that live further away. Some members live far away, over 75 miles! Some drives take up to three hours to get there. They have helped us visit less active members and have also helped introduced us to new families whom they knew teach the gospel. Several less active member have returned back to church. We also spend time serving in the community and with the members. We have been helping two family members w/other missionaries and some other members clean their yards and cut down bananas from their trees. It was so fun! We love doing these type of service and activities.

At this time, we do not have a car, but we have enjoyed walking every day. Exercise is important to us.

Buriram is smaller than the Udon district, but we love working here just as much. We also travel to leadership training and meetings in other nearby cities and towns.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. Sister Seangsuwan prepared for our member families a feast to remember. They had never had an “American” Thanksgiving meal before or learn how to cook those types of foods before. Sister Seangsuwan showed them how to cook different recipes. She got all the recipes from her son, Osmond. Instead of Turkey, we had chicken. We made stuffing, some desserts and other easy to cook meals for Thanksgiving. It was quite interesting and amusing. The members said that American food was not spicy enough for them like Thai food. They asked for chili to add on the meal. You know we always need a little spice in our lives!

We love the members here and enjoy working in Buriram very much. We live a little distance away from church, about 2 miles. We love to walk there in the morning on Sunday and make sure to get there before church starts at 9 a.m. However, we do expect to get a car by the end of this month.

Sister Seangsuwan enjoys teaching class in the Relief Society meetings when asked and they love hearing her testimony.

We both love and enjoy teaching new families and bare our testimony to them. Its gets easier and easier and our testimonies grow stronger and stronger. Our goal here is to see more members come to church and that they may be able to have their own meeting house like in Udorn. Currently, all of the branches in this district have rent the spaces from offices for the church meetings.

In the month of November they have several festivals for the people in the town. They enjoy and celebrate their culture holidays.

During this time of year, it has been nice thinking of our families and friends. We hope all is well and that everyone is feeling peace and love.

In a Christmas Devotional, President Hinckely said,

“Christmas is more than trees and twinkling lights, more than toys and gifts and baubles of a hundred varieties. It is love. It is the love of the Son of God for all mankind. It reaches out beyond our power to comprehend. It is magnificent and beautiful.

It is peace. It is the peace which comforts, which sustains, which blesses all who accept it.

It is faith. It is faith in God and His Eternal Son. It is faith in His wondrous ways and message. It is faith in Him as our Redeemer and our Lord.”

May we always remember Him and share this message with all!

We love you all!

Happy Holidays,
Elder and Sister Seangsuwan

Friday, November 7, 2008

November 5, 2008

Sorry we haven’t updated our blog until now. We have moved into an area where our internet isn’t readily available as our last area. Our mission President advised on 10/13 that our new assignment would be in Burirum which is in the Ubon District. I was called to be the Branch President where Sister Seangsuwan and I could help the members increase activity. The area is about an 8 hour trip by bus from out last area. The next Sunday we spoke in both of our branches. The members were surprised and did not want us to move away. We have been in Udon for 9 months and really enjoy working there with members. We became part of their families.

On that Sunday, two were baptized and one of them was sister Panwara Pongsri. She is 21 years old. We were privileged to teach and be a part of her baptism. She is a niece of our old friend who was a member in Thonburi. We have now been in Burirum since October 24. We were welcomed into the branch last Sunday. I was then called as the Burirum Branch Prsident. There are about 125 members but only 35-40 members came to Church on Sunday. We know that one of our main jobs is to visit the less active members an also searching for new investigators to teach. Burirum is smaller than Udon. There are 4 young missionaries. No sisters missionary and we are happy to be working with them. We will continue to enjoy the work of the Lord in the new area.

A little bit about home. Our second son was married while we are here in Thailand. Armstrong was blessed to take a beautiful daughter of God into the Hawaiian Temple and be sealed for all time and eternity. Though we missed such a wonderful and special occasion, we are blessed to know that they made the right decision. Arm's wedding in Hawaii temple was on October 11th and they later held a reception in Salt Lake City on the 25th. Our Anniversary was on October 28th but we spent time in Buriram working. We have yet to have a formal cerebration for us. We are so excited for them and cannot wait to see their beautiful family grow. We had many family and close member friends that supported them at their reception in our absence and we are grateful for them.

One other interesting story that I would like to share was during a street meeting that we held at the park in Udon the last week before moved. We met a good family who is Christian. The husband first came to listen to our message. He kept asking questions about our message. He told us that he had never heard of Joseph Smith and that his family could be together for eternity. We talked about our temple work and we talked about the Book of Mormon. He told us that he read the Bible often, but would be interested in getting a copy of the Book of Mormon. On the Wednesday before our transfer he came with his family to our church building where we could meet and give him a copy of the Book of Mormon. We invited him to meet with the other missionaries since we would be leaving the area and they agreed. We hope that they continue to learn and prepare themselves to feel of the Spirit and know of the truthfulness of our message and the Gospel. We will continue to pray for them.

Continue to keep us in your prayers. We hope all is well and that you are getting ready for the Holidays where families are together and people are happy! We will continue to work hard! We love you!

Elder and Sister Seangsuwan

Sunday, September 21, 2008

September 2008

Hi you all, Can you believe that nine months have passed by already? We are definitely keeping busy with the work of the Lord and we continue to enjoy it. It makes us feel great. Brother Fiet, his real name is Pichitnun Nimvilya, was baptized and confirmed two week ago. Sister Seangsuwan and I had the opportunity to teach and fellowship him. We have also seen six investigators come to church. We are planning for two of them to be baptized soon; Sister Jittra, a school teacher and Brother Wanchai, a local salesman. They have been waiting for our District Leader to interview them.

We also coordinated with Senior Sister Missionaries for Family History, and there were 15 members that have started their genealogy projects. The Temple ready names will be submitted to the Hong Kong Temple.

With our reactivating service, Brother U-Thai and his two sons have returned back to church, they have been very active since. In fact, Brother U-Thai was called to be Branch Mission Leader. There are five members have been called to be branch missionaries to work with full time missionaries and help fellowship the new members and other members. In the meantime, we continue to look for more families to teach.

This month, on 5th, we went to Zone Conference at Khon Khean, we were visited by Elder and Sister Watson, a member of Area Seventy Presidency from Hong Kong. It is always great to meet a General Authority of the Church. Their service inspires us to serve more.

We also use street meeting at the public park in Udon for our proselyting schedule. There are many people at the park to meet and talk about the Plan of Salvation.

We had a little car problems and had to fix our car this month. The gas prices here have been high as well, but not as bad as what we here in the United States. I hear things are getting better though. However, we continue to follow our monthly budget.

We enjoy receiving email from Senior Missionaries from other missions in other countries, those who were in the same group when we were at MTC, Provo. They all are working hard to serve the Lord. If you are reading this blog, we miss and love you!

We will continue to keep you updated. We hope that all is well and that you are excited for General Conference!

Love, Elder and Sister Seangsuwan

Monday, July 28, 2008

June and July 2008

Update for the month of June and July – Sorry its taken so long! We had several meetings with our Mission President. He had asked us to focus a lot more on less active members and help return them back to Church. We visited Brother Sutep and his family with two boys. Brother Sutep and his wife are returned missionaries. We found out that Brother Sutep has also been a Branch President before. We are working with them to remember the blessings they received when they were active. We have also been visiting Brother Thanin and his family. He is 72 years old. After befriending them, they felt like returning back to church would help them to progress in the Lord' kingdom.

Our Branch attendance has increased from 50 to 65. There are more investigators attending meetings with us as well. The new Branch President has been working hard. He is a business man. He has his own shop near the community school, his wife is a nurse, and they love to serve. We also love to work with the members in our branch. Home teaching for 6 families is also our assignment.

We worked with 5 people in the branch that have been trying to visit the temple in Hong Kong. It is the closest Temple and not easy to for them like it is for us back home. They work hard to save money and prepare their trip to the Lord’s house. They have gone and been spiritually uplifted. They share their experiences with us. In the group were our Branch President, President Apiwat, 40 years old and his wife. Sister Rapeeporn and her mother, which was their first time attending, and Sister Jitra a returned missionary. That was her second time visiting the Temple. To think of the wonderful blessing we have in Utah and how we take it for granted is sometimes sad. May we work to serve the Lord more in His home.

Working in the Branch Presidency and proselyting daily keeps us very busy. One of the methods of proselyting we have seen success with has been holding street meetings in the public park. Many people come to the park with family to relax and have fun. While many of them play and rest, they tend to see our table with pictures and come ask us questions about the church. We do this twice a week and have met many people to teach.

We also try and work with the other missionaries in our district. We have a meeting with the young missionaries each week on Monday. In these past two months, we have been blessed to take part in two baptisms, with another one in a week.

On our Service days, we help the community and families around us in their farms. We have also been teaching English classes. We are assigned to teach ESL classes on Wednesday evenings from six to eight for basic or beginning classes for non-members. Many of then turn out to be our investigators. We love doing this service because it makes us feel like our English is actually good.

We will continue to enjoy the Lord's work in Udonthani.

Take care and continue to pray for our brothers and sisters. We love you all!

Elder and Sister Seangsuwan.

Friday, June 6, 2008

May 27, 2008

Being a member of the Branch Presidency, Elder Seangsuwan spends more time at Church on Sundays to serve the Branch. In Udonthani, there are two branches. Udon One runs the meeting from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. However as Senior Missionaries, we have to be at Church from 8:45 AM. For the Udon Two Branch, too.

We do have investigators for both branches, so we have to be at church for both branch meetings. We also help the Udon Two branch with visiting 3 less active families and the Udon One with 5 families from as well.

The new Branch President has been doing very well in terms of running the Branch. Elder Seangsuwan only helps him around as needs. Doing missionary work and helping in the Branch keep us busy.

We went to Ching-Mai for a week for our Senior Missionary Conference. We have learned so much how to be an affective missionary. We also learned from two couples from Mynma and another two couples who are working in Laos. Those four couple could not use the Elder and Sister title in those two countries. They are banned to do the missionary work there and can only serve as Humanitarian services. There is a small branch with few members in Mynma. However, there are over hundred members in Laos.

Our plan for our investigators to be baptized in a couple weeks. Brother Fiat, 20 years old as well as Sister Un Su Maly. Sister Bun-Thita is also plans to be baptized.

Sister Somchit is about sixty-five years old and her nieces, Sister Benchamath is 15 are also planned to be baptized in a month. We enjoy serving the Lord in this calling.

Brother Fiat told us that his mother would like him to be a Buddhist monk for 3 months. He told his mother that he could not do that since he has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. His mother then told him that he needs to be an active Christian and to please help his younger brother.

Today, 5/27/2008, we were teaching a young man named brother Kieng, also 20 years old. Culturally, a young man, 20 years old in Thailand, should be invited by their parents to have their sons be a monk for at least 30 days. After the plan of Salvation was given to him, he asked if he could still become a monk first due to his mother request. We told him that he would be the one to make that decision. He said he would let us know in a week.

The work is great!

From Elder and Sister SeangsuwanThailand Bangkok Mission

Saturday, May 3, 2008

New Calling

To be working closely with the branch in Udonthani, Elder Seangsuwan was called to serve to new branch presidency as the 2nd counselor.

Searching new families to teach the gospel, helping new and less active members are great. Keeping us busy in the Lord work is our blessing.

Sister Nonglak was baptized yesterday was wonderful.

From Elder and Sister Seangsuwan

Two Weeks in Bangkok

We had to travel to Bangkok for our documentation to be updated this past month. Our IDs needed to be renewed to get our new Identification Cards for Thailand. I also obtained my Thai Driver License. When we were in Bangkok, we also invited Sister Missionaries to visit and to teach our relatives, Sister Seangsuwan's sister. We stayed in Bangkok for two weeks. While we were there we also met many other family's members. We were able to share with them our experiences of our mission. We visited my aunt who is 102 years old and my uncle is 96 years old. We asked them more for my family history information and so we can work on our genealogy and temple work. One other reason that our stay in Bangkok was prolonged was due to Thai Holidays from April 12 to 16 which caused the government offices to be closed. We got things done on April 17.

One of my nephews passed away in Bangkok on April, 11 and his wife and two children were told about the eternal family by Sister Seangsuwan. We referred this family to the young missionaries in Bangkok to continue to teach them the true gospel and the Plan of Salvation.

During two weeks in Bangkok, the young missionaries visited our investigators in Udonthani for us. We still plan for sister Un-Sumali to be baptized in a month.

On April 19, we returned back to our district. We continue to look for new family to teach every day. We have already found 7 people (3 families) and will continue to visit them. One family, which we met today, Vichai and Pitsamai, mentioned that they would like to see the Salt Lake Temple. They said they have heard about the Mormons for many years and that they were interested in learning more about the gospel. We gave them the Plan of Salvation pamphlet and scheduled an appointment to learn more.

This week, we have Missionary Zone Conference on April 24 in Khon-Kan, and Senior Missionary Conference in Chieng-Mai will be on May 19.

We also watched the General Conference from big screen in the chapel in Udon and sustained our new Prophet, President Monson. It was great to listen to their talks in Thai. I recognized the voices as I use to translate with them.

Yes, we enjoy the work of the Lord.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

March 29, 2008

Time has gone by too fast these past two weeks. Sister Seangsuwan had a tooth extraction. Before the dentist started to do work on her, Sister Seangsuwan told her about being missionary and how we are serving the Lord. She shared with her how we teach people to love and respect one another. She asked Sister Seangsuwan what she did in America before she was a missionary and how was worked with troubled youth at the Clearfield Job Corps center, and told her how it was to help out those students to learn social skill and help them be more employable. She also asked sister Seangsuwan what she could do to raise a stubborn active young child. The dentist was impressed and enjoyed talking to her. The surgery went well and the dentist did not charge for her services.

For proselyting, we are teaching one family, a mother and her two children. We hope she will be ready to be baptized in a couple months. We are also teaching a student that we met at the Technical college. His name is Fieat. We are almost completed with the discussions. He has told us that he will be ready to be baptized in about three weeks. Another lady we are teaching is Ung-su-ma-lin. She was introduced to us by a member of the branch. She started reading the Book of Mormon and has listened to the first lesson. She has a desire to learn more and we are excited to teach her. It is always easier when they already have member friends to fellowship them. Her story is very interesting. She told us that she had a feeling to go to Church with her friend the evening we met her. She said was inspired to with us and hear more about the Church. It is a wonderful work of the Lord and we both enjoy and love the service.

Elder and Sister Seangsuwan

Sunday, March 16, 2008

March 16, 2008

These past two weeks have been very busy with the work of the Lord. We met 10 new families that we have been able to talk to about the Plan of Salvation. We love meeting them and asking them at their front gate if we can come and talk to them about their family. Especially to see if we can help their children learn good principles. Sister Seangsuwan and I have a desire to also help their children to succeed in their educational goals. We use the “7 Must to succeed.” Such as: as you must have a specific goal. You must have a specific time to achieve your goal. They let us in and we find a way to link to the "Preach My Gospel" lessons. This has been very effective and we continue to love the work. For the less active members, we have been teaching 5 families (8 children). Many of them are close to the point to be baptized. The people in Udonthani are very nice and friendly to talk to. It is hard for them to first understand some of the things we are teaching them. Because they come from a non-Christian background, we often speak like Ammon in the Book of Mormon when he is teaching King Lamoni to help them understand the teachings of Christ. As always we have to try our best to help them to understand. So far, in the month of March, the weather has been getting warmer and warmer. We have been walking a lot on the street to the next which has given us some good exercise each day. My sugar level has been getting better. We went to see doctor at Udonthani Hospital, and we were informed that we are healthy. The last two weeks, I was given assignment to train our leaders in our district to work on 2008 goals. We discussed ways we can progress in their missionary work. There were 15 priesthood leaders from 5 branch at the training and we all came out of the meeting ready to work hard.

Sister Seangsuwan and I love you and hope that your lives are being blessed. Continue to pray for us and we will do the same for you.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Visiting less active members is wonderful!

These past two weeks, we have been so busy! Our mission president asked us to help the two branches and to bring more members to attend sacrament meeting and to also bring less active members to come back to church. We love visiting the less active member families. We do that each day. They live far a way from one another, so it is hard for them to visit each other. However we did and we are trying to get them more involved. With the travel, we have had some car issues. Our car has had a heating problem. In Thailand all cars must have water added in the engines often. This should be fixed this Monday.

We also went to mission zone conference. It is every 6 weeks. We learn from our mission president how we can all be better missionaries. It takes about one hour to travel to Khonkean from Udonthani. We will have our Senior Missionary conference in Chang Mai in May.

Our proselyting each day starts from 11 am to 8 pm. Each morning we use that time to visit inactive members and after 4 pm, we start looking for new families to teach. We approach them by talking about their teenager's plan for their future. For the most part, they tend to open doors for us as we show them we want to help them with their children. We focus on topics like how to avoid alcohol, stop smoking, and so forth. This then leads us to teaching the Plan of Salvation and making next appointment. We need to always be aware of our less active brothers and sisters around us. If we don't, we can lose them easily. We have seen how the world can help others forget the importance of the gospel as they look to others for guidance. This is how they get lost again. We should always keep our hearts open to those around us and reach out. A little each day helps them come back.

It has been great these past two weeks for meeting new family to teach.

We also do a lot of community services for members and nonmembers. We help other member move into new apartment and clean their yards. We see the work progressing and we love it! Please feel free to write to us. We would love to hear from you! We love you and we love this work!

Thailand Mission Photos

Preston and Tanner Saying Hello to Grandma and Grandpa

It was a great time at Ching Mai that all Seniors there, and would like to post their names as follows; Elder and Sister Oldham, Elder and Sister Cook, Elder and Sister Facer, Elder and Sister Gonzales, Elder and Sister Greenwood, Elder and Sister Hatch, Elder and Sister Jones, Elder and Sister Laing, Elder and Sister McPhie, Elder and Sister Sitivong, Elder and Sister Snow, Elder and Sister Wasson, Elder and Sister Jones, Elder and Sister Meakley

January 27, 2008 to Present

We have been assigned to work in the Udonthani District. We have been given assignments to teach new and less active members by using book "Preach my Gospel." We work with less active members and we take part in humanitarian service. We have also been teaching teens on drug and alcohol prevention and keeping the law of chastity and the word of wisdom.

Sister Seangsuwan and I have also been asked to help with the training of the church leaders in this area. We have been in Udon since Jan 27. and do not know how long we will be in this district, it is up to the Mission President. We love the people here and love working with the other missionaries.

We have contacted about 44 families which 7 families are being taught the discussions. Our Mission President asked me to preside and train the leaders in Udon district on March 8. He and his wife are very happy to have us working with the people in this area. We are really happy and enjoy our assignment. For the most part the Thai people in this area open the doors and let us in to teach there family members. They are humble and happy to see Senior Missionaries come to their homes.

Our testimony has grown due to our assignment of teaching the truth of the gospel of the Lord to His children. Our most memorable moment so far is when we introduced ourselves to them that we are from Utah and come to serve the Lord in Thailand, eventhough, we miss our children and grandkids. Serving and leaving family is such a small sacrifice for such a great purpose. It helps us understand more of the great work that we are doing. We work each day and love to serve. Sister Seangsuwan loves to study scripture more and more and is doing her best to learn how to teach the gospel. She still loves to talk alot and share her testimony. We should teach only 30 minutes, but she still goes on and on and the converstation ends up over one and half hour each family.

I told her not to worry about the family at home. When we work hard we know that the Lord will take care of them. So far, we love to serve the Lord in Thailand as well as eat the Thai food. Wednesday is our Preparation day. Sister Seangsuwan does alot of window shopping but does not buy anything. She just likes to look around and I love to follow her. In the evenings, we return back to Church to help young missionaries teaching ESL and we also are able to meet new people to teach. In class, the last 10 minutes, I was introduced as Guest Speaker to teach something that I have learn in the US and answer their questions.

We have had a great experience on our mission and love all of you! Thank you so much for your support! More comments and pictures to come.