June 13, 2012

Today my handlebars were as close to a motorcycle as teenagers are at an unsupervised highschool dance.  Also this week in an epic chase scene style sprint I successfully dodged two cars and a motorcycle.  (They were moving slow, so it would only look cool if the running before and after it was speeded up a bit to make it seem like a slow-motion superhuman escape).  Also I got honked at for good reason (speeding, brakes and swerving were all involved, that one was my fault for sure).   I don't get what it is about the roads here and me.  At least I don't flinch much anymore, which makes it a lot less stressful.  My companions don't seem to have this problem.  I did buy a helmet this week.  I wasn't going to spend a fortune on a racing helmet, or suffer in a motercycle helmet, so I hadn't been wearing a helmet since my bike was stolen.  However, I finally found a simple, decent helmet.  Hopefully I will not become daring with it on, feeling safer and such like.

I made some bread.  The dough instead of rising turned softer, making a flat blob (maybe because of Thai flour and humidity).  It baked into a mediocre loaf in half the time it should have.  The oven was really weird - the top was burnt, the bottom was perfect.  Next time I'll put the rack as low as possible.  There is only a heating element on top of the oven.  I shaved my fingers so that the dough wouldn't glue the hairs together.  It's impossible to get all the way out and is really irritating later on when it dries.

I've been having a really good time reading in the BoM,  I'll finish Helaman in Thai today.  I'm really excited to finish the BoM.  I already have my next reading lined up.

The move of the mission office is the reason I can't get a nice Thai triple for another month.  I ordered one as my reward for finishing the BoM (it would have gotten here right as I finish). but I had to withdraw my order, as I might move areas before I can get it. They aren't sending things out until the finish moving at the end of the month.  :(  The Petchaburi church is really odd.  I think it used to be a bank.  However, having the office nest to public transportation is really nice.  The last location was a bit of a pain to get to, and impossible to get a taxi out of without walking a while.  I don't really ever go there, but it'll certainly make life nicer for the few Elders that do.

The branch in Laos baptises better than most districts.  The members do all the work, and have a lot of success.

I have been trying to do some more recent convert lessons lately.  This week we taught more recent convert lessons than the average companionship teaches in a transfer.  I feel like it's one of the most neglected things we have to do here.  We really need to start getting more referrals from them.  That'll really help us get the solid investigators we could use.  We were given an assignment from our branch president to go and teach two less active families.  Both me and Elder Hess never have been asked to do so (we don't have a responsibility to help unless asked).  It'll be interesting to work with yet another level people can be on in relation to the gospel.  I feel a lot like Bishop Burton in general conference.  It's so easy to become active - church starts at nine, come into the chapel and you are with us.  However, people are often less-active because of a lack of faith, which is where the fears about returning to activity come in.  That's why it's not just that easy to come back.  We  plan on encouraging scripture reading (along with inviting them to come to church, of course).  It's easy, builds faith and invites the spirit.  I'm excited for the new task and another opportunity to strengthen the branch.

Fasting was really great yesterday.  I wrote down what I was fasting for on a sticky note, put it in my planner, then was able to really focus on it for the day.  Much better than fasting with a purpose that's not written down.  Just spiritually strengthening.  Like most of our lives, everything is just moving along.  I can tell that I'm improving and maturing, but it's a subtle process.  Even when nothing big is happening, there are no angelic visits on my path, I can tell that I'm certainly becoming more converted than ever before.  I am a bit more obedient, more humble, more charitable.  Things are more orderly, more effective, more joyful.  I rarely have moments where I feel some big increase.  Maybe once a week I have a realization, a moment that changes things.  But the real progress is made by looking back on my steady path and finding a great distance has been achieved.  It's that process that forges our character and our destiny.


Elder Robert Buss

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