Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Thailand Week 85, 29 March 2015

Today I'm not writing a ton because we're going to this elephant village about and hour and a half away.  It's going to be awesome! I haven't ridden an elephant yet so this is necessary.

This week was normal except for we had conference Monday and then Pday Tuesday instead. This coming week is actually the only normal week of this transfer.  Next Monday we have MLC which will actually make us leave Sunday night. Then after that it's Songran (The nationwide water festival) and Transfers!!!!

We're going to be taking full advantage of our week though! We have 4 investigators on track to be baptized next week on the 5th! Happy Easter! They're all so great and have been progressing for a bit as well.

One investigator is smart.  He takes the things we teach and you can tell he can process them and understand their application.  He smokes, but when we taught the word of wisdom and told him God forbids smoking, he just kind of smiled and said that it's a good thing.  He's not fooling himself.  He has leadership potential for sure! We're also meeting his daughter tomorrow as well!

Another had a date for yesterday actually but had a meeting for work so it was moved. We've met her husband before as well and he's interested!  He works in a different province during the week though so we'll have to work for time to meet him.

Another is an exchange student from Cambodia he came to us from a member in Sisagate that Elder Watkins taught and baptized!  Now we're going to help his friend do the same here in Roi-Et

The last is the mother of an RC who just received the Melchizedek priesthood and just got called as a branch clerk! She's doing great because of all the support she has from her son and his fiance who brought him into the church in the first place.

All this family work has just been coming up on it's own.   As we've stayed true to principles of diligence, faith, miracles, obedience, all those basics, we've seen the family initiative go forth as well! We've been talking about it and teaching towards it more and we're seeing the miracles!

Now the trick is to keep the focus going for the last little bit.  I can pretend I'm not going home, but I don't think that's what "Enduring to the End" implies.  I've put too much into this work to go home on a bad note.  It just can't happen.  So I'm trying to up the focus, energy, and faith.  Trying to purge myself of the things that distract and increase the things that uplift.  I've got a goal to finish the Book of Mormon in Thai before I go home.  I've never had a good habit of just reading it before, so now I'm going through it 10 pages or so a day.  It takes a lot of time but I also feel closer to the Lord.  And now that I'm out of Isaiah I understand a lot more too, haha.  By the way, the Thai book of Mormon is 707 pages long.

Total Consecration!
Love Elder Keller

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Thailand Week 84, 23 March 2015

This week was crazy! We spent a lot of time getting things ready for the meetings this last weekend. We had to get food, hotels, transportation, all this kind of stuff for about 45 missionaries. Saturday we were doing personal study and President Senior calls and ask for 20 mini snickers, olive oil for the 20+ Melchizedek holders, a van rental for Monday, and a couple other things. So we threw studies out the window and went to work.

That afternoon I translated for Sister Senior's temple prep activity class and translated for Sister Senior (President was there but he understands Thai really well) at the evening adult session.

Sunday I translated again for the new member session and for the main session. I was so drained...
We got to watch a special version of meet the Mormons that is released for missionaries Sunday night so that was chill.

Then we went to bed at like 11 after helping the Assistants set up for Monday morning, which started at 7. So we were up at 5. It was a really good meeting. The thing I took from it the most was a greater desire to bear testimony of Christ, which we'll be able to do with this upcoming Easter season! The Thai people have no idea who Jesus Christ is, so it's our pleasure tell them!

2Nephi 31: 13
Then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.

I know Christ lives. He died, and then he rose. Through him we can all rise. After this life, and in it as we strive to become as he is. In his sacred name, amen.

Elder Josh Keller

Thailand Week 83, 15 March 2015

Hey Mom! 
This week was pretty nuts because we were in Bangkok Wednesday for the meeting and then we went and had the whole zone get together and we trained them. My portion was on Faith, Miracles, and Unity. Those 3 Principles are foundational in missionary work and I've seen then all work! 1 Corin 2:9 We have no idea what God has in store. We need to use faith to find out what's out there!   2 Nephi 27:23 God is a God of miracles.  It's up to us to use our faith and pray so they'll actually happen.  Acts 4:31-32 We pray and shake the world, one heart and one mind!  We're trying to apply/re-institute these principles in the Roi-Et zone and we're already seeing success!

I'm starting to figure out how this branch is. Lots of family oriented people and that gives us a great chance to help them be united in the gospel!!!

I like our house here, It's got ants but it's got a lot of space. Oh I got that package by the way!! Thanks! We ate the mac and cheese together the other day and the left overs are in the fridge.  Elder Morley and Elder Sukan are way cool.

We have district conference and zone conference this weekend...It's going to be crazy. We have to organize how to get people around and fed and all this stuff because it's being held in Roi-Et. We've got most of it done though. A member had the perfect number of hotel rooms and the perfect price. All kinds of miracles. Being with Elder Watkins is great.  It's just natural to work now and that makes it way easy to focus. 

Next week we'll email on Tuesday so don't be surprised! I'll let you know how the whole conference weekend was!

Love Josh

Monday, March 9, 2015

Thailand Week 82, 8 March 2015

Hey Mom!

Yeah my companion is pretty familiar, It's Elder Watkins my MTC companion!!!!!! I'm so excited to be serving with him again!!! It's really nice because there's no awkward transition or anything, we're just ready to work and go crazy. Right now I'm trying to stoke a fire and make sure that I don't get tired or anything. We're in Roi-Et as zone leaders. There's so much to do here. We're trying to become a stake by June so we've got to get people motivated and get them focused! We need to get Melchizedek priesthood holders interviewed before the district conference the 21st and 22nd and also need to start working on the Membership Records because our shepherding ratio is too low. We need 1:20 ratio for MP holders who pay tithing and other members. There's almost 700 people in the file and not all of them should be there anymore. We've got our work cut out for us!

Roi-Et is a pretty small area but the branch has 120 or so people so that's a huge blessing. We're only like a 5 minute bike ride away so that's a lot nice than in Toneburi. Oh and by the way, Elder Tanner, my old companion in Toneburi, is the new Assistant!!! So even though we split up I'll still get to follow up with him and stuff so that's a plus. Our house is nice but it hasn't been cleaned super well. Maybe we'll change that....

Elder Watkins is excited and we're both fired up to make something change. Our mission has been pretty dull lately. As we shift over to more family work and trying to seek referrals people have lost direction and a lot of the old, foundation principles like contacting everyone and being bold are dying as well. We're going to try and restart everything. This morning we sent out a study activity with a ton of scriptures on miracles and told everyone to read it and answer some questions. We can't forget that miracles happen everyday.

I'm excited to be here and fulfill what the Lord wants me to do!
Love Elder Keller

Thailand Week 81, 2 March 2015

Sorry I didn't email yesterday, we spent all day moving into a new house over here in Thonburi. This one is way closer to the church and it's massive too! 4 elders could honestly live on just one of the floors in it. We'll see what it turns into because 4 of the 6 elders are moving out this transfer! Including both Elder Tanner and myself!! The word surprised isn't really a thing as far as missionary work is concerned, but this definitely wasn't part of the main plan. I've never whitewashed out of an area (both companions leave) so we'll have to make sure that everything is prepared for the next elders who come in. They've got so many people to help! It's stressful leaving an area with all the people you've loved and served.
This is the letter I sent off to President Senior yesterday, it sums things up pretty well.

Dear President Senior,

Even though I've only been in Thonburi for 6 weeks, I'm not surprised that I'm moving out. Not a whole lot surprises me anymore as a missionary. The incomprehensible will of the Lord has become a normal part of my life now, the trials as well as his tender mercies. This transfer we've seen success that shows how the Lord is in control, not us. Sister ปั๊ป came to English class 8 years ago and in a time of darkness sought the church in college and was baptized. She brought a friend a little bit later too. โป๊ป is her college class mate and has been Christian for a while. He read the Book of Mormon and was struck by the testimony of the witnesses and was baptized. He also brought his parents a little bit later. His mother learned 8 years ago in Pakkret but then they moved. They've seen the light in their son and want to know more. They came to church last Sunday, the week he received the Aaronic Priesthood. And there are many, many, more.

Including the elders in this zone and in this district. Nothing compares to the opportunity to work personally with so many missionaries. I will now understand more what you and Sister Senior mean by "We're happy because we get to be with the missionaries". Thank you for everything. I think of this verse from 1 Nephi: "But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."

I received a calling almost 2 years ago, and I am forever grateful for the work that the Lord has chosen for me to do. I am grateful that he has chosen me to be a tool in his hands; and I'm ready for whatever it is that he, in his providence, has chosen for me next.

Love Elder Keller