Monday, November 24, 2014

Thailand Week 67, 23 Nov 2014

Hey Family!
Something interesting happened this week.  There was a man who moved here from Eagle River, Alaska about 12 years ago, got married to a member here (or something like that, not sure the order) and passed away a few months ago.  His name was Wallace MacPherson.  I was looking around in the church storage room and found his journal.  I read the first entry and it said, "Moved from Eagle River, Alaska."  I don't know why yet but I felt impressed to grab it.  Do you know the MacPhersons?  If not could you try and find them?  I think they want to know more.

This week kind of all blends together until the last little bit.  That's when all the miracles happened.  The zone leaders came on a switch off and did a lot to help us. The biggest thing was relighting our fire and reminding us how to contact along the way and not forget those perishing in unbelief that are already in our path.  We were quick to apply what we learned and quickly saw miracles!  This Sunday two sisters got baptized!!!  That means our district's goal of 2 baptisms per companionship is complete!  The baptisms for next Sunday will only add to that!  We are working with one of the sister's family and I'm so excited to help them receive all the blessings of the Gospel! 

Love you all and hope you have a good week!
Love Elder Keller

Monday, November 17, 2014

Thailand Week 66, 16 Nov 2014

Hey, so this week we're rushing out to get some sightseeing done at this market at the Laotian border.  

We didn't have a baptism this week but next week we have a goal for 2 baptisms!!!  One lady has a friend who is the greatest help ever.  She just translates everything we say into the Lao/Thai mix they speak out here haha.  My favorite quote from our lessons.  "Get in the water first and then you'll know!  Just go in the water and then come and tell me how it is."  Missionary work at it's finest.

The other lady has been learning for a little bit now.  She's exactly like Joseph Smith.  She has parents who believe in God, her mom is active at a church in Bangkok and her dad "shows his faith differently than most people".  She wanted to find the church for herself, even though she's been attending somewhere for 3 years now, and the Spirit guided her to our church on Sunday night when there would usually be no one there.  But that day there were a couple members waiting for a meeting.  

Every time we teach her I feel the Spirit almost stronger than ever.  She hadn't come to church until last week because she was scared and nervous about the change.  We met with her and we told her "Today we are just going to talk about your concerns.  All your questions and all the things that scare you, just tell us."    All her questions were good but in the end superficial compared to the faith and desire she had to follow God.  I received a witness in teaching that listening is the most important, and that the quiet 2 second gap between speakers is also important.  The whisperings of the Holy Spirit are loudest in the silence.

This week we're excited to work with all these investigators and find even more!

We've been throwing these foam stress balls at each other for a while now and my shoulder is kinda sore sometimes.  The game is, you toss/throw it to each other until someone drops it.  Then that person goes and stands against the wall and is beamed by the other.  It's great.

I play the piano every other week or so in sacrament meeting.  Me and Elder Osborn switch off.  The hymns  have become my favorite songs.  We're starting to bust out Christmas now!  Not in sacrament meeting but just to play for fun. 

Love you all!
Elder Keller

Monday, November 10, 2014

Thailand Week 65, 9 Nov 2014

Hey Family!

So I feel like a true Thai person now.  I went out and harvested rice!  There's a partly active family we visited earlier in the week and we found out they were going to harvest on Saturday and we offered our help!  It was way fun!  I'll send you some pictures.  They also fed us some frog from their pond!  It might have been what gave me diarrhea that day but that's just a normal thing now so it's whateves.

Dad have you ever read the King Follet sermon?  I haven't read it all but it's from Joseph Smith on the nature of God and stuff like that.  There's one section that talks about the organization of intelligences and it talks about how God was amongst them, saw that he could help them become exalted as he was, and so he established order.  Gave them rules and a plan that would help them all progress and become as he is.  I'm thinking about this because the Zone Leaders came and trained us on consecration and obedience in preparation for our 2 baptisms per companionship per month goal.  No rule is without purpose, whether it protects us or simply is for our own growth and blessings.  When we are obedient we bind Heavenly Father with chords of righteousness for he is "bound when [we] do what [he] says."

That's definitely something I've learned as a missionary.  That obedience is for our own benefit.  I regret all the little things I neglected before I came on my mission and I definitely will do everything I can when I get home.  

This last week we've been working some more with the members and it's been a blessing to see the people more.  On one trip we went past an elementary school and stopped for a second.  This was in the middle of nowhere and all the kids were just playing with a beat up soccer ball or a volleyball or something like that.  But they were having so much fun!  They were so happy with the little things they had.  There's this sport called Tai graw which is a little bit like volleyball with your feet.  There were a couple kids playing it and I got to go and play with them too.  It taught me that it's important to immerse myself in the people as well as the work.  That's one of the greatest joys of a mission.

We have a goal for a baptism next week!  A member brought a friend to church yesterday.  They've been friends and sold stuff together at the market for like 10 years.  The member has for sure been inviting her friend to church for the 4 months or so since she's been baptized and she finally decided to not sell on Sunday so she could come to church.  Already a big step of faith!  The Lord is preparing people left and right!

Nate I have a request.  Because I won't get to eat a normal thanksgiving dinner, I need you to eat twice as much as you usually would. Can you handle that?  I'm sure you can, you could destroy me in an eating contest...and still stay in shape.  

Natalie would you ever eat a frog?  or chicken feet?  or a bug?  or sketchy soup with coagulated blood in it?  If we ever get to come to Thailand I'll have to take you to eat all the weirdest things there are.  But nothing is as gross as all the meat in the supermarket here.  Just out in the open (and some packaged up) they have fish, giant squid wings, giant squid fillets, pork, chicken carcasses, pig intestines, pig uterus's, and all kinds of other gross meat.  It smells awful...

Matt mom shared part of your talk with me!  It's really good!  I'll be all grown up and 20 years old when I get back so we'll have to go out and do some camping trips together.  Will you find some new places to hike and camp before next summer?  Hopefully I fit in all my old boots and stuff.

Love you all!  I'll send pictures too!
Elder Keller 

Harvesting rice


Bring on the rain!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Thailand Week 64, 2 Nov 2014

Hey Family!

So I got my new companion!!!  Elder อามรเทบ!!  Let me think... Aahmontabe.  He's from Saphaan Sung and has been out on his mission about 3 months now.  He's such a punk.  He loves to play pranks and is a rebel at heart.  But he knows why he's here.  He has the same goals and the same purpose so we can get along just fine!  

And then we had a baptism yesterday!!!  So awesome!!!  Our mission is going for a Bovember 2.0!  Last November we had a goal for 1 baptism per companionship.  Since then we've grown and improved.  Now we're trying to revamp the excitement and the faith with 2 per companionship!! We got kinda lucky with the timing honestly and already have one baptism from yesterday.  There's no doubt in my mind that our mission can make it happen with Heavenly Father's help.  

I'm so excited to hear that they might make a new ward in Eagle River!!  I've thought before about how much is the church progressing in Alaska and what the vision is.  Here it's pretty simple, build stakes and build the temple.  What would you say it is in Alaska?  Do you think they would ever expand the temple?  The problem with that is that it is only used by the Alaskan saints really.  We just need to baptize more in Alaska!  ;)  

Mom I totally remember that trap object lesson with Bishop Fullmer.  Anything with an object lesson is way better.  Satan does some crazy things.  Elder Osborn said once that the "fiery darts of the adversary" are distractions.  That's really all he has to do.  If we're distracted enough that we don't do daily things it puts a huge gap in our armor. 

Nate that's awesome you're gonna do skiing! Do you remember the jump hill?  The coaches caught us there once and it wasn't good...the funnest days of skiing are when we just played in the snow or had snowball fights and stuff.  Do you like driving?  Has dad taken you drifting yet?  Don't go in any me...

Natalie that's a sick costume.  It looks like it took a solid 30 minutes or so.  It looks kinda like the thing dad would make for duct tape day. ;)  It's weird to see our house again haha.  How many pull ups can you do now?  I did eight the other day at the park with Elder Osborn.  Only because of skiing.

Matt way to go!  You're doing missionary work!!!!!  Keep it up!!  Your hobo costume is dece too.  Next step.  Get Alex to church on Sunday with his family. ;)  But for real though.  Do it.  Are you excited for winter? What's your favorite winter activity?  I'd have to pick between snowmobiling and skiing.  We'll have to mix the two some how. ;)  

For Christmas, don't worry too much about a ton of stuff haha.  I'm just thinking that I'll be home 5 months after Christmas so...Ugh I don't want to think about that quite yet. ;)  That time will come.  Oh and if you want to see a ton of good videos about Thailand look up Nathan Bartling on Youtube.  He's a returned missionary who came back here to work. He's the churches media manager for the area and also does a ton of free lance stuff.  He's super good!  I'm in a couple of the shots in one of the videos of the Tri-district meeting a bit ago.

Love you all!  I hope everything is going well and you are happy! 
Love Elder Keller