January 23, 2012

Introducing: Elder Benjamin

So, Thursday was transfers - and that meant the end of Elder Seymour here in Samutpragarn. 
This was my first moves meeting, it was much better having been in the mission for a while.  Why?  One - I know people!  It was so great seeing people, especially Elder Staten (MTC Companion, way close) and Elder Crawley (way cool, also from the MTC, the older group).  I got to see my second generation MTC group again - I was still in the MTC when they came, so I got to get to know them.  It was so fun when they came in.  We were so excited to meet again.  Reason Two:  I am not half dead from the time difference.  Reason Three:  When we sing called to serve at breakneck speed, I can sing it, not just sit there horrified, as I'm sure the new missionaries are.  Reason four:  I don't have to try to introduce myself in Thai, I can just sit back.  Plus, when President Smith makes comments in Thai, I just get them. Reason five:  I know places and people, so it is actually interesting.
And, the unexpected happened.  I wondered who would be coming here (we knew I would stay and he would leave).  But I never thought that I would have a Thai companion.  Just didn't think about it.  So, when President announced Elder Benjamin, Samutpragarn, I was a bit surprised.  And then I realised - I'll be doing a lot of Thai for the next transfer or two.  And so it was.
We had to long plan, which took over four hours, he needed to get familiar with everything.  And it was all in Thai.  I basically didn't speak English for two days. (HE speaks English really well, we now take turns each day with what language we will primarily use.)  Which really helped my Thai, I am picking up all sorts of stuff really fast.  I also understand a lot better.  Sometimes I have to think about it to figure out what language was just used.  And I still am not sure which it was.  One night I couldn't think in just English - which was really disconcerting, and really elevating too.  Mind you, I still don't understand a lot.  But what I do understand, I understand naturally, and I am learning a lot more, and a lot faster too.  Which is so great.  So, my ability to speak language is terrific.  Never been better.  I'm also really working on reading the scriptures and understanding them, and am seeing good progress.
Then, we have really started to get the members involved.  We taught lots of lessons with members, and that was just half a week, without knowing a lot of members that we can call on.  It's going up from here for sure.  We taught more lessons than I ever have, and got a couple more people with a baptism date.  Yesterday was terrific -  two more daters, one member's son, and brother Boy's wife.   That's a cool story I'll share if I have time.  Basically all aspects of the work are going up.  And seeing people come closer to Christ just makes me happy.
So, I've put up a picture of Elder Benjamin with this post.  He's cool.  His parents are both members, his father is the district president.   He's been out about nine months.  He is a native, so he knows all sorts of useful stuff.  Such a blessing to get him early on.  He loves football (=soccer).  He has a big appetite (the irony of being with me).  He's a fantastic missionary and a lot of fun.

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