My Time Is Flying By

Hello Family!P103056310333643_1576326409247646_7980227400664788904_o

It has been a pretty good week. Last week when FHE was in full swing, we got a call that Elder Martin and Burke(our room mates) will be going to transfers. Elder Martin will be a Zone Leader, so he was told to come to training the next day, in Bangkok, before 8 am! They flew to our home, and were frantically packing the whole night. They had to take a bus, so they would be traveling all night. Sister Doo got baptized that night  and it was awesome, we have 5 new members now!

After FHE we went home and helped them. They left at about 11:30. I love those guys, and they will be missed. I later figured out that Burke was training an old friend of mine named Elder Hall.

The next day we moved into the other Elders room. It is big, has windows, and bed-frames! We don’t have to sleep on the ground anymore! We did a major cleaning of the house. For almost 5 hours. Dusting, moping, scraping… Rough work. We taught lessons through the day, and then taught English. I taught grammar vocabulary based on world events. We played some games, and then taught an investigator named brother Chog “Luck”. He is awesome. He is a huge college dude who plays basketball. He loves us! We have fun with him every time we teach him. We taught him, and then just hung out with him for an hour. He invited us to play B-ball sometime. On a random note that day I saw a dude who looked like an Asian Joe Dirt. The next day we woke up and did some more cleaning. P1030592We pulled Jesus off the ceiling (along with the paint) and mounted him on the big window in our room.Later that day we taught Buah and her sister the commandments. It was a very good lesson and they have a lot of potential. I then had a huge karate fight with one of the member’s kids, I won haha. We then went shopping and bought pancakes, other food, and mattress pads for the new Elders. The land lady brought them beds “specially ordered from Japan”. They are  terrible! So we got pads to put over them. We taught Chog another awesome lesson. He is really great.  We talked about life with him. We then came home, and went to bed early because we were super tired. These new beds are so comfortable! The next day we studied for a long time, we ordered food from next door, and while we were waiting in the church, a bird flew in! We chased him all the way to the 3rd floor and back. We finally caught him, and released him outside. We then saw that a second bird was in the sacrament room! We locked him in and chased him all over, but then he got caught in a crack between the wall and the stand up front. It took 20 minutes to fish him out, and we were able to save him too. We then taught an RC named sister Phon “Blessings” She was worried about her son becoming a monk.

So we had an awesome lesson with her, and really touched her heart. We then taught Chog again, still awesome, and played games with him and the members. They got a hold of my sketch book, and drew some awesome stuff in it! The next day we went inviting. There was this slick


looking guy outside selling stuff, kinda dresses like my brother. I invited him and he said he would come to church, and he took a card from me. While I was inviting, another guy came up and helped me by explaining everything I had already told him to this new guy. He helped me get his number! I then saw the Captain America shield dude again, walking around in Power Ranger armor with a sock puppet. I need to get a picture with him, or get his Facebook. He is crazy! A security guard got up in my face, at least he tried to due to my height, and tried to make me leave. I just asked him “Why?” and ignored him until he went away. We then taught Chode! He was wearing a green shirt with bears and “love” on it, black and yellow shoes, black pants, and a solid gold Casio watch. He is still hilarious, and I love talking with him. He talks super fast. That day we picked up the new Elders, Elder Hinkston from Utah, and Elder T from Thailand. They are awesome! While we taught they met with every RC from Martin’s area book. We then saw sister Gift, and bro Chog. The next day was good. We taught a ton of new people, fought Joe again and sprayed him with a hose, and taught a rocker chick complete with leather, spikes, and boots named Ann. The other Elders were teaching Dow! She was my very first investigator. She fell away. I almost hugged her! She has a second chance. I somehow managed to end up with 3 bracelets for 2015 that flash with blue lights. P1030646I wore them on my right wrist while I invited at the mall that night. They helped me wave down cars and get people’s attention!  “ crazy white dude with lights waving a baptism card around.”  At church we had 5 investigators show up, and had Doo and Phon received the Holy Ghost. We had a ton of meetings, and then we went and invited at a huge concert, market thing. I mean MASSIVE. We invited, soldiers, cops, and all kinds of people. People filmed us because we could speak Thai. There was a Christian group there passing stuff out, and they had stolen LDS artwork. They had The Creation by Walter Rane, and the paining of Jesus at the second coming.We invited them all to come to church. They had a huge play going on about the creation story and Jesus. It was super apostate! This week will be awesome. We have to go to Surin next Monday to get some packages, and we will be playing basketball with Chog today. This mission is flying by way too fast. My short time in Thailand has been awesome! If you can serve a mission, but are still home, GET TO IT! you will never regret the decision, I know I haven’t.

  • Elder Ridings

The Vineyard of the Lord

Hello Family,





This week has been good! There have been trials, but we have borne them with patience, and we have seen success. One thing a mission does for you is to help you gain patience, and compassion for others. In the past I have been one to sometimes lash out, or have a short fuse. As a missionary, you can’t do that. I have to have sincere compassion and love for the people we teach and every one we lose hurts, and everyone we keep is better than any Christmas. Last week when I left off, we went to FHE. We had a ton of fun games, and a celebration since it was Elder Martin’s 22nd birthday, and Sister Sun’s 23rd birthday. There was a ton of food, and we had a good time. Sister Sun brought her mom to be taught, but she was pretty closed hearted so we were just nice to her and made her feel at home. We had Dia, Buah, and Ben all at the event. The next day we taught Dia early at the church. She is a tall girl (My height) who is 22 and works at the mall in the PEA store (Provincial Electrical Authority). She was awesome and had no problems with the religion change.

We then went to the mall and saw our RC sister Bop. We invited for a while (as security eyed us from afar). Chode had not called us for days, or answered his calls. We finally got a call from him. He is doing good! We then had English class. Everyone had fun, and played fun games. We then taught sister Ben. She was worried about falling back into temptation. She says she worries about tomorrow every day. So we had her read 3 Nephi 13:31-34. She was astonished. She said ” This book knows me.” It was a very good night. The next day was rough on the body. We woke up at 4 am to catch a 5 am bus to Khon Kaen for Zone Conference. When we got on the bus, the Surin Elders were already on, and they were hard asleep. After a while they turned on the TV, and some weird singing show was on, so it was hard to sleep. After a while, a ton of monks got on and sat in the back with us. It was a funny sight, a bunch of white dudes in suites sitting next to Thai dudes in orange. A crazy one sat next to me with a walking staff that looked like a Naga. I talked with him for a little bit. It was at that moment that I thought: ” here I am, on a bus, with a bucket for a toilet, sitting next to a crazy monk while watching 2 shemales sing on TV. My life is weird now.” We then arrived at the city, and walked to the Pullman Hotel to wait. It was a nice hotel, I met a dude from Georgia! I gave a huge hug to my southern brother. As we waited for all of the missionaries, I met up with Magera, Slabaugh, Smith, Bagley, and Purser! We all shared stories and experiences, and had a good time catching up. We then went out to a square by a Wat with P. Senior, and sang Christmas Carols at the Thai people. It was here that I met up with Elder Chio! He looks the exact same, and even looks like the day we left the MTC. We all went back to the hotel, and rented out the downstairs restaurant for a nice buffet. We had an Elder play on the drums, and all did some more catching up. We then piled into cars and went to the local church.

There we played a ton of games, like singing games and jeopardy. Since my team won a humming game (you had to hum an assigned song, and find 6 people also humming in the crowd. Ours was Come All Ye Faith-full.) We got to play Christmas songs on bells and chimes. We had talks, I gave the opening prayer, and all of the leaving missionaries (such as Elder Martin) gave their farewell testimonies. When it was all done, we got a bunch of talks and papers, a Christmas CD, and a Santa hat.                                                                                                                                       P1030542P1030481I got some awesome ties from Slabaugh, and then we parted. We all piled into a Tuk-Tuk, and went to the HUGE mall called “Central Plaza”. We all met up and ate at a McDonald’s. P1030490I went to a P1030504

B2S (Asian Barnes and Nobel) and bought a new hardcover sketch book, and a hand held numerical clicker to count people I invite. We then hung out and left. We took a taxi to the bus station, and he tried to scam us. We talked him out of it, and managed to get there safely. We hug out as we waited, and the Surin Elders played songs on a violin P1030499and guitar for a crowd of people. We rented a van, and rode home as we listened to Christmas music at full blast. Our driver must have hated it. One of the things we got were these glasses that when you wear them, they make bright lights look like snowmen. To my sleep-deprived mind, the combination of music and snowman goggles made me very happy. Cars and lights became snowmen, and when I moved my head they would move with the music. I was very tired haha. We finally made it back, and biked home before passing out.

The next day we lost Sister Ben. She just doesn’t want to change religions anymore, and was done. We talked to her, but she said she still wants to go to FHE and such, but does not want baptism. We sat in KFC as we talked to her. We then called Sister Gate and she got dropped too. Not interested. It was rough, and it took a while to recover. These were all solid people, who we thought would stay with it. We then taught Sister A, coworker of Sister Bop. She was awesome, and gave us some happiness. We invited, and I talked to a nice Scottish guy named “Roger” about life in general. The mall was preparing for the next day, the king’s birthday. We then went to the church and taught Sister Gift. We had met her 3 time before, but she finally allowed us to teach her. She was awesome, and is very nice. Has small problems with the commandments, but they can be fixed. The next day we taught 2 girls in the morning, and then taught A at the mall. The mall was packed for the sales and the holidays. They had loudspeakers outside, and people everywhere. It was very hard to invite, and I got a headache. We then went to the “Thunder Castle” the soccer stadium. P1030535They had a huge parade going on, and a ton of ROTC dudes were there that I talked to. We invited for a long time, and then booked it back home. We talked to 2 homeless guys who want baptism. The next day we taught 2 more girls in the morning, and then went to KFC. It was packed because of the sales and crowds, so we went to the Big C KFC. It was packed too! So we just went back to the mall and waited there. We saw Sister Ah. There was a road show happening at the mall, so we invited there. Wherever there is a motor show with cars, my dad is always there in spirit. I could FEEL his presence haha. We then taught A, then went to the church and taught Gift, and then Dia showed up. We taught Word of Wisdom to her. She had problems with everything but drugs, she said it would be hard, but she would try to quit. We thought we had scared her off. We worried the whole night. Sister Doo showed up, and passed her baptismal interview though! Sunday we only had 2 investigators show up. We met with Doo, and finalized some of her baptism stuff. Sun brought her older sister to be taught, but she was very opposed to being taught. So we just had fun and made her feel comfortable. We then went to the mall, but the motor show was in full swing. They had the music pumped up, and the show girls out. It was not a good environment, so we bailed really fast. We went to the walking street, and did some inviting for a while. P1030471We saw Sun and her family, and even saw someone from English class! She introduced us to her daughter, who she kept mentioning was our age, and then parted ways. We then went home, and began planning for the next week. I have learned that as a missionary you have good times, and you have bad times. It all depends on how you react to the events, and if you can continue to serve faithfully. I am having an awesome time, and the time has flown! I have almost spent 25% of my mission already. I do miss home, but you have to love where you are. I am proud to be doing this service, and cannot wait for more miracles to happen. So don’t miss me. Know I am choosing the right.

P1030479-Elder RidingsP1030473

The Good Times And The Bad Times

Hello Family!
So this week as been like a roller-coaster. It has its slow ups, and its sudden drops. I will start at the beginning. After we went emailing, we went to a poster place, because we had some very special orders to place. We then got awesome haircuts for 50 Baht, or $1.75, P1030364and then went back to the church for FHE. On the way back, we picked up some photos of some recent converts that were being developed. They came out bad, so we had to wait and rush back to the church to get back on time. When we got there, we had a surprise birthday for one of the members, whose name means “Love Much” (It is pronounced Rak-Maag) He was 28, and everyone sang him “Happy Birthday” but set to a weird beat because it’s Thailand. When I told them that is not how the song goes, they made me sing a solo of the AMERICAN version. It was pretty beautiful in my opinion. I’m sure I saw some tears in the audience. We finished out the night with some fun games, and went back home to prepare for the next day. Tuesday we ate as a district at a good place we frequent. It is run by a crazy Cambodian lady who laughs every time we talk. She laughs just like the witch from Wizard of Oz. Afterwards we went back to the church and got ready to Teach Am and Gan. They have been stubborn and don’t want to change religions, even though they believe in God and everything we teach. We taught them for 3 hours. It was a throw-down lesson. We bore hardcore testimony and people cried a lot. We made almost no progress and then they left. It felt like something was torn out of me! We want to help them, but we can’t. It is their decision. After that one of our RC’s, Sister Ah, showed up dressed P1030444really modesty. P1030439So we got an RC lesson done, about modesty. It fixed her up pretty fast! Right after that was the baptism of a girl named Nat, who is 17. She was awesome. Afterwards when she bore her testimony, it lasted 15 minutes. She will be an awesome missionary.We then taught Phon and Nung the Restoration, Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, and follow the Prophet. They accepted everything. We did some inviting at the mall, and found out one of the security guards is the younger brother of Sister Bop. We then taught English class and played games. It was super fun, and we were able to teach some people interested in the church. The next day, Elder Burke went to Surin, and Martin stayed here. our ZL Elder Delagarza was companions with Martin. We all went to the mall, and invited for 5 hours. We got tons of numbers, and got some good work done.We then went to KFC, and ate dinner while I taught BP1030421op the Gospel of Christ again. We then did some more inviting when Burke showed back up. There were 6 missionaries tearing up the mall that night! At home, we got a call from President Senior. Remember that goal we made because I wanted 20 baptisms? We called that goal ” The 20″. President Senior then said he might use our idea, and make a 20 goal for every district. Not 20 baptisms, but 20 ordinances (baptisms, La’s, priesthood blessings, holy ghost, etc.) Thailand is awesome, and P. Senior makes it more fun and involved for everyone. I’m sure every missionary says his President is the best, but I know for a FACT that P. Senior is the coolest around! The next day was nothing special. None of our appointments showed up, so we invited at the mall all day. At the mall we saw one of the people who didn’t show up eating sushi, so I went up to the window with a baptism card, and stared at her for maybe 15 minutes while calling her phone. That night we taught 2 P1030366people who butP1030446 we haven’t heard                                       from
them in a while. The next day was an intense day. We started the day off with some small lessons. We taught a girl who was 24 with a kid. She said her husband lives in Indiana. Then Am showed up. It was just her. It was a terrible lesson. She was still stubborn, and we got no where. She believes everything, but is too scared to change! We went back and forth for hours, and I felt so helpless. We made her kneel down, and pray in the sacrament room alone. We all waited outside for 30 minutes. It was raining and thundering outside. She then got up, we said the prayer, and she left. It was a rough morning. We then taught 4 teenagers it went pretty well and then We hung out at the church while Sister James and a ton of people got interviewed. I helped Elder Martin teach a 13 year old boy named Joe about temples, and then we went to the mall. We invited for a little bit, and then left. I saw a sick motorcycle there, It was a Honda CBR, I want one.

Saturday was awful, The wave of adversity that we almost drowned in. We got a call from Sister Sun, saying James did not want to be baptized Sunday because of some unknown reason. We tried to contact her, but she would only text us to say don’t worry about her, she had made her decision. We lost her! She passed all of her interviews the day before, and dropped at the final hours. I felt like I had been physically punched! We were so depressed for the whole day. None of our appointments showed up, and so as a last resort we went to the mall. We invited for an hour, before the security and managers attacked us. They confronted us, and tried to force us out. We said no, and that we are sent of God, and we fear him more than you. They tried to put their hands on us, but we shook them off and told them to not touch us again. They harassed us for an hour, before finally leaving. We then went to the walking street to invite. I was upset at our misfortune, P1030434and the bad things happening, so I went hard at inviting. IMG_0391I burned through one side of the market to the next in almost 20 minutes. I Talked to 645 people. Almost all said no. I got some phone numbers, and then we left. We then went to the church, and taught on of the workers from the mall. We were tired of these people being surprised when they learn they have to change religions, so we mentioned it pretty soon in the lesson. They immediately became closed-hearted, and we got no-where with them. We then went home, and spent the rest of the night in silence. The entire district had a terrible day. The adversary was against us in full. I have never felt so many things working against me in my life. The next day was a brighter day. We went to church and had investigators show up, And had them taught and interviewed. We then had the baptismal service. Phon, Joe, and Naht were all baptized. We have baptized 9 people now, and my white clothesIMG_0245 are almost always wet now! We then did administrative stuff at the church all day, and then invited at the walking street.I invited a prostitute to wash her sins away, she said no, she has a lot of sins she needs to get rid of! We then met and taught a girl named ” Buah”. She asked is she had to change religions. I Thought We were Done, but she had no problem! She was awesome! When we ask most people to try praying for the first time, they freak! But she just said “Ok!” It was an awesome lesson that we needed. Today we are emailing, and then making food for Jackie and Sun for all the work they do with us. This week was rough. Missionary work isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Adversity will and does hit you out of nowhere. You have to overcome it and the rewards will surface. This next week will be good. We weathered the storm.

-Elder Ridings.