First Email From Thailand


Hello Family!

So I know you are dying to get this email but before we begin, I am still alive! After I left you in the last blog post, We packed up and headed to the airport. The bus took us to the Front Runner train, which we rode all the way to Salt Lake. In SLC we got on the Tracks train system and headed to the airport. On the way there I walked by a crazy man who said ISIS was in Thailand, and that I would see missiles flying when I got off the plane, and another guy that looked like hippie Jesus. At the airport we ate at Cafe Rio, the first real food since entering the MTC. It was glorious! We chilled for a while, and called our families on the phones. We all loaded up on the planes and headed to LA. In LA we saw Dad and it was awesome! He looks just like I left him, and everyone was so happy to meet him in person. I couldn’t talk too long since we are in a hurry, and I didn’t want Dad to get to upset that I was leaving again. He got to see some Buddhist Monks right before we parted ways. I wish him luck with his business in LA! At the LAX airport we used an airline I have never been on before, but now it is my favorite. It’s called Cathay Airlines. It is A Hong-Kong airline full of Asian workers that is super nice, clean, and they actually serve good food! One funny thing about the planes is the travel map is 3-D you can watch a camera under the plane from the TV on the backs of the seats, and everything is translated into English and Chinese. Whenever they make an announcement, they say it in English, and then in Chinese. All of the workers have an English name, and a Chinese name. The 15 hour flight was a test of endurance. I slept for 3 hours, but couldn’t watch any of the movies. I did give a Book of Mormon away to an Asian lady, but I think she was just too tired to protest. It was early morning when we landed in Hong-Kong. The airport isn’t near the city, but it is near some amazing mountains. It was pretty humid, and we had to go fast for our next flight. I was stopped by security. It was a “Random Check”. They used the metal detectors on me and searched my backpack. After that fiasco we took a 3- hour plane ride to Thailand. We flew over Vietnam, and finally landed in Bangkok. It was hot, Buddha was everywhere, and it was magical. We had to go through security and customs, and we finally found President Senior.


They were holding an Angel Moroni sign, so that’s how we found them. He is an amazing guy! He is funny, sincere, and smart. After a train ride and some preaching on the subway, we arrived at the office. We had an orientation, introductions, food, and blood-work. We went to a Thai clinic and got blood drawn. It was actually pretty nice, but I was still worried about medical work in another country. They do it to make sure we don’t have any crazy infections and viruses. That night we went out into Bangkok “Dan Jones-ing” named after the famous missionary in Wales. We went street contacting, and talked to tons of people. Thai people are not mean, but they are very non-committal. They will either say nothing, or make up excuses like “ I work everyday from 9 am to 9 pm” So I’m just like “ So why are you here in the mall? Shouldn’t you be working?” When you cut through their lies they run away! It is so funny!  Afterwards we came back and had dinner at President Senior’s awesome apartment. We then went to the hotel and passed out. The next day we grabbed all of our stuff, loaded up into vans, and braved the crazy Thai traffic to the Asoke Church building. When we were there we had meetings and met our trainers.


I am paired up with Elder Lodwick from Nashville, Tennessee. We are the only two southerners here, and it’s no mistake President Senior put us together. He is awesome. He is funny, street-smart, and good trainer, and he is super spiritual about lots of things. We were assigned to Buriram on the east side of Thailand. We rode a taxi to a Mexican restaurant with the other missionaries, and then to the bus station. We go there at 9 pm, loaded up, and headed out. We didn’t get to Buriram until 3 am, where we were greeted by Elder Martin and Elder Burke.


They are awesome dudes we share a house with. We rode Tuk-Tuks, little scooter things, to the house that night. We are staying in a nice two story house 300 yards from the church, and a two minute bike ride from a huge mall we like to proselyte in. We don’t have beds yet, so we sleep on pallets on the floor. I am in in internet cafe with only 30 minutes left so I have to make this brief. It is fun being here. The Thai ladies are funny! They all want to be white, so they wear white makeup and contacts to change their eye color. They always hit on me, and I have been asked to be a boyfriend 2 times already. All the mall workers know us and say hi everyday. We try to convert them, everyday. It is hot, but it is still an awesome place to walk around in. I have no shame now. I can talk to anyone and not feel awkward. People stare at me because we are the only white people around. When I see people staring our laughing at me, normally teenagers, I just hold a pass-along card of Jesus high in the air, and start walking towards them, and start yelling “Repent!” or “Baptism!” in Thai. They know they messed up when they see that! We found a new investigator who might be baptized. She is a college girl from the nearby university. Her name is Dow. We met her at a huge open air market at night with a concert going on. She said she always wanted to know if God is there. So we gave her a book of Mormon. We took her to church, and she got to hear all the testimonies since it was fast Sunday. She loved it! We taught her about prayer, and asked her to pray. When she was done she said she felt amazing, and we told her that’s how she knows this is true. I think she will accept baptism, and I will be baptizing her.


That night I got to witness my first ever baptism in Thailand. Some random guy who had gone to church twice walked in and said “I want to be baptized because I know this is true” It was awesome! . We will meet with Dow tomorrow, so hopefully it goes well. I have been counting the people I talk to with this little clicker thing. So far I have invited 246 people to church. My companion finally admitted that Buriram is a hard area. They have not had a new missionary start his mission here in over 3 years. I am the first one in a long time. He told me that President Senior pulled him aside and said that we are being sent here to fix Buriram. He had received a witness that Elder Ridings from Georgia, and Elder Lodwick from Tennessee have to go to this hard area. I am here for a reason. We are here to turn this area around. We were meant to be companions. Something big is in store for the city of Buriram.


Elder Ridings


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