Family and friends who I love love so much!!! I hope all is well and that this Halloween is the happiest:).
Okayyyy.....subject line, for starters: We're sitting on a patio teaching about how the gospel blessed families, and then out of now where we heard a shuffle on the tin roof above our heads and before we knew it, two lizards fell from the ceiling....onto Sister Itow's head, then lap, then feet:). So moral of the story is that Thailand rains things other than...rain.Sing got baptized yesterday:). He's the man who drives the Sam Law and who is missing a tooth and who couldn't read very well until he started reading the Book of Mormon and he got it three weeks ago and is already through Mosiah and loves reading it because of all the happiness and love he feels. Yep, I'd say the Book is pretty consistent about bringing those feelings:). Anyway. In a manner of days, he gave up drinking whiskey every night, smoking, coffee, tea, a few girlfriends (even though he has a wife in Bangkok and two kids), and working 7 days a week...oh yes, and Buddha. It was so cool. It's like Heavenly Father gave me tickets to a really good show.. and I just got to watch it and love it and feel sooo humbled and grateful for it.
So Sing loves sharing the gospel. He's made drastic changes to his life since accepting to learn about the gospel..and then accepting to accept it. He's brought us to lots of his friends to teach and it's soo fun. So we had just begun teaching a few of them last week, a mom, son, and daughter on their patio, and Sing rolls up with a Sam Law (3 wheeled open air taxi thing that he drives for employment) full of more people--three khon thais and one farang (foreigner). When I counted heads, at first I was really excited. But as they got out and approached us, I started getting pretty nervous and uneasy-feeling. I was hoping they'd just politely pull up chairs and listen, but instead the farang stepped onto the patio kinda boisterously and said, "Mormon?" I paused, turned my attention away from this family and to him, and said, "Yes." "Speak English, do ya?" said the man."Yes. And you do too, apparently.""And you're Mormon? You here to talk about Jesus? That's good. But if you're here to talk about Joseph Smith? That's not good. You don't try to teach anyone here about Joseph Smith. That stuff's not good. He's not good." He was pompous and tall and thought he was the...something....But I didn't haha....
I guess in my head I reached a crossroad, with three options (is that possible in a crossroad?). One- I could smile and slacken my posture and turn the time over to my trainer because I trust her and I'm still new at Thai and being a missionary and that would just be easier. But I was sitting closest in proximity to him and since I'd been speaking the moment he approached, he addressed his comments toward me. Plus....I already felt pretty itchy toward him and it's hard for me to feel itchy without doing something about the itch...so naturally option one was out.
Two-I could let the fear slash anger he was trying to plant in my heart fill up the rest of my body-including my face-and say something snide back to him. But I knew this fear would show and the investigators (who--THANK GOODNESS--didn't understand English) would know I was concerned and then this man would be in control of the situation and the Spirit might leave. or three. I could...do what eventually happened...I remembered somewhere in the 2.1 seconds that I was a representative of Christ, that there is power and strentgh and truth and safety in that calling. I remembered Whose side I was on, and that I already knew the end result:).So I decided to make it seem like he was saying good things and that I was happy to make his acquaintance (thought both were far from the truth...oops) because, unfortunately for this man, no one but Sister Itow and I could understand what he was saying. So the only indicator of what he was saying was our response...I smiled and him, pretty big, and said, "Oh! Great. What is your name?" I don't remember it...but he answered willingly and tried to spit out more fire. Then I asked him, with a smile mind you, where he was from."Holland..... And you can speak about Jesus all you want but khon thais shouldn't know anything about Joseph Smith...." But before he could finish (oops again) I asked, and the answer to this question was the best thing I heard all day. "And...do you understand Thai?"".....No."
Then I smiled even bigger but this smile was sincere haha. "Okay. Well we are in the middle of a lesson, and I am now going to proceed with it. So do your best to understand, okay? Okay. Great." He kinda kept talking, trying to prevent us from teaching. But I just faced the fam again and kept going. The Spirit stayed and the lesson ended up being a peaceful one. It was so rad though because I learned just so clearly how much Satan wants to thwart everything I am doing, everything we are doing as missionaries....but also how weak he is. And how wonderful and victorious Heavenly Father is. This man crawled away like a little cockroach after 5-6 minutes (after saying coldly, "I'll be back to clear this up with you.") I think the Spirit just made it clear that he was very unwelcome. Say a prayer for him! (And a prayer of thanks that he can't speak Thai:).
It was awesome.Okay....things are great. You are all all so great and I love you all, I'm sure of it.
Love, Sister Roper