Monday, June 30, 2014

Thailand Week 46, 29 June 2014

Hey family!! 
So no surprises, I moved out of the office!  My new calling is pretty exciting though!  I moved to Saphaan Sung (sapan soong)  which is like 1 hour or so away from Asoke (where I have been) to the East, and I'm training Elder Wright!  Whitewashing is intense!  (Both Josh and Elder Wright are new to the area).  But we have a really good area and a solid ward to work with.  Our district is the Zone Leaders Elder Kohler and Elder Cosper (who was a companion of mine in the office) and Sister Ference and Packard who are the Sister Training Leaders here! They're both from my MTC group but were in the other district.  Saphaan Sung is a really well functioning ward and has some strong members who really understand the church.  
Last night there was a fireside about the temple and one of the speakers had been a temple worker and everything.  He's one of the early pioneers of the church here for sure.

We walked into a pretty good area.  We're having a baptism this week and should have another on Sunday!  

This transfer was a really sad one.  So many of the older missionaries that I looked up to went home.  Elder Marshall was an AP for the last transfer and I lived with him.  Elder Harris (a former AP) died (went home) along with Elder Barfuss who was my zone leader. The hardest person to say goodbye to was definitely Elder Hunsaker.  He trained me and then has lived with me for the past 4 months in Asoke as he was an AP.  He's taught me more than anyone else to really put everything into my mission.  He taught me through example and helped me understand that if I held anything back, then I wasn't doing missionary work the right way.  He's changed my mission completely.  He's coming back to visit because it's such a short trip from Hong Kong so I'll see him this week.  It'll be fun to see him in his old area.  Calling him by his first name will be weird though haha.

I'm so excited for this transfer!  Elder Wright is from Colorado and is a hard worker already. He put in the work in the MTC to come out skilled and driven.  We're going to see a lot of success and I can't wait to see what all unfolds! 
We're doing a zone activity at the crocodile farm today! 
Love Elder Keller

Second Stake Created in the Land of Smiles

June 18, 1995, Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles created the first stake in Thailand.  The excitement of that historic meeting was repeated on June 15, 2014, nineteen years later, as members of the Church in Bangkok were again gathered to witness the creation of the Bangkok North Stake and Bangkok West District. 

President David M. Senior, Thailand Bangkok Mission President stated, "Members of the Bangkok North Stake worked with dedication and faith in bringing to pass the vision of becoming a new stake. It was a faith filled day and I felt a confirming joy for the blessings being showered upon the land and people."  He continued, "There will yet be many blessings in Thailand as the faithful Saints join with missionaries in this great day of the Lord's hastening, taking the Gospel light to nations, kindreds, tongues and people.  In 2013, there were roughly 650 baptisms in Thailand and in the first half of 2014, there have already been over 1,000 new members added.  The Lord is indeed hastening his work."

Elder Lucas, Elder Hunsaker, Elder Keller, Elder Wright

Monday, June 23, 2014

Thailand Week 45, 21 June 2014

Hey Family!

This has been a pretty exciting week!  So to start from last week, I think I might've mentioned a little bit before but I'll just go for it.  So last Friday (I think) we got the chance to go to a meeting with Elder Gong, the Asia Area General President, and his wife.  It was a really powerful meeting and you could feel that he was a general authority called of God.  He focused a lot on the doctrine of stakes and high priests.  It was all purposed towards the stake conference that we had last Sunday, but we'll get to that later. 

The next day we got a call from the APs and got an assignment to drive, chauffeur, President and Sister Senior along with Elder and Sister Gong around to see some significant places in the city.  It was a really unique opportunity.  We went to see an old palace place.  We didn't actually go into the palace but we got to see some neat stuff outside of it.  It was definitely a blessed day, we didn't get lost once!  Well we didn't pin point the location of that palace but we were able to ask and find it fast.  It was cool to spend time around such spiritual people and feel of the spirit they carried with them.  

Then Sunday was HUGE!  It was a combined stake conference and district conference for the Bangkok Stake and the Bangkok North District.  And Thailand got it's second stake!!  They really mixed it up!  They took the North District and made it a stake, then took parts of the Bangkok Stake apart and created the Bangkok West District!  So at the end they created a stake and then split one into a new district, which can definitely be a stake soon!  There's so much growth in Thailand right now.  It's a huge blessing to be a part of building the church here.  

So that Sunday was a huge event.  And then that evening we were invited to dinner at the Senior's house with Elder Wilson of the Seventy and the APs.  It was another blessing to be around these leaders of the church and to enjoy the success of the church here.  

So now that the craziness of all that is over we now get to deal with the craziness of transfers.  Next Thursday is the big meeting so before that we've got to get it all ready.  I'm pretty sure I'm moving out of the office.  It's been a good 7 months and I've really loved my time here but honestly I'm ready for a change.  Things are still good here but it just feels like an alright time to leave.  It's going to be a crazy transfers though!  11 of the 14 zone leaders in this mission are going home and so there will be almost completely new leadership.  I'm really excited to find out where I'm going and who I get to serve with!  I'm guessing I'll still be a district leader and that just makes this even more exciting, finding out who is going to be in my district.

Next week I'll let you know what all the news is!  Love and miss you!
Elder Keller

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thailand Week 44, 13 June 2014

Hi Family, 

The Asia Area Presidency for the church is here in Thailand for a big huge meeting this Sunday and so that makes us in the office a little stressed.  We had to get all the cars washed and clean the office and all that stuff.  President Senior also sent us around looking for some gifts and that turned into a goose chase for a A3 size picture frame that yielded no fruit…Oh well.  We went to like 5 different malls and walked around forever asking people everywhere where we could get a picture frame.  Oh well, they'll be happy with the wooden elephant and the embroidered traditional north eastern Thai towel/wrap/dress/pants/thingy.  It's really just a rectangular piece of fabric.  A towel.  One companion of mine thought it was the greatest thing ever.  "Use number 476: A hot pad" (said as he got his ramen noodles out of the microwave)   In my head I just always thought "Huh, yesterday that was use number 290…"  

I'm more than a year into my mission!!  It's really weird to think about; it's been the fastest year of my life by far.  But at the same time I think it's been the most influential for sure.  Thanks so much for everything you do for me.

Love Elder Keller

Thailand Week 43, 6 June 2014

I don't have a whole lot of time today because we're going out to see some big Buddhist temples.  

We're having a lot of success right now in our companionship and in this district!  All the companionships are doing so well and helping their investigators get baptized.  We read the talk called "Qualifications for the Work" by Gene R. Cook and it talks all about faith and how to really use it as you work. We went and tried it out and had a lot of success.  I'm so excited for the last half of my mission!  I'm just going to keep going even harder!

Love Elder Keller

Monday, June 2, 2014

Thailand Week 42, 30 May 2014

Hey family!!!  

How are you doing?  This week has been good but also pretty stressful.  We have a ton of projects in the office to get done soon and we just don't feel like we have enough time to do everything we need to.  Because of some changes in our district and the APs I'm now the district leader in Asoke. It's really fun, but at the same time kinda stressful.  It's an awesome experience though, I'm district leader for both of my trainers!  It's really fun to be here with them.  Last month we hit the goal and got 3 baptisms!  It felt so good to achieve that, and we're going to go even harder in June.  We have a baptism planned for tomorrow.  He lived in America for 10 months of his senior year and went to church consistently. He's read the BOM in Thai and English and is so ready for baptism.  There were a series of miracles that led him too us.  

This is kind of a short one, but that's mostly what's going on here. Really busy and just using our time wisely to do office work and still help people come to the church.  One fun thing is we just got a brand new van!  It's a huge Toyota commuter.  It's a 16 passenger van and we're excited to drive it!  The license plates aren't in yet but we're pumped to try out the diesel beast.  

I'll do better next week as far as the email goes, but I love you all!
Love Elder Keller