Saying Goodbye Is Never Easy

DSCF6250Well everyone, the party is over. The curtains are being shut and the actors are leaving the stage. I loved this last week, and I have loved this mission.

Last week we went to the mall for Pday, taught English and got new investigators, and prepared for the end of the transfer. We went and helped the Red Cross at their headquarters in Bangkok pack supplies for flood victims in the north, and even had the bad luck of experiencing some camera problems. We also had an amazing Sunday. Brother Ohm got confirmed, I gave my last testimony, and we had one. final. baptism! Sister Goong got baptized, and thus I ended my last Sunday in Thailand with a bang.

This mission has been an adventure of spirit, friendship, and self development. I have so much to say and tell, but words cannot properly fulfill the description. I love Thailand, I Love God, and i love this mission. I can return with honor, mission accomplished. 2 years, signing out.IMG_0902

Romans 15:21
But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.

-Elder Ridings

Coming To An End

Hello Family.

So I do not have much time, so I will make this a short one. Not much really needs to be said at this point, anyway.

BOSS6039So On Monday we just hung around here in Bangkhae because we had some errands to do. We shopped, bought stuff, and just relaxed. In the evening we taught Ohm and helped review some stuff with him and get him ready for Sunday.

Tuesday we did not have district meeting due to another Zone Training on Friday. But we did get together and talk about English and how we can better improve the experience of our Correlation meetings with the Branch Mission Leader. We also got wrecked in the rain while out inviting, and had to take cover in a gas station/7-11 for a long time. Our English class was way fun, and after it was over I went with Elder Blad for a switch-off in BBT.

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On Wednesday we worked in BBT and I got to see Duke, Dahm, and all sorts of other people. We also visited a member at her home and got to catch up with everyone. They are all sad that I am leaving soon. I also talked to Blad about some things going on in the ward, and how we can improve them. Eventually it got late so we made our way back to the area and went back to the house.

Thursday was a long day of planning and preparing. We taught a new dude at the church and also had the meeting with the Ward Mission Leader. We trained him on how to properly and the meeting went way smoothly. We also got to teach some of the RC members about testimony.

Friday was a way good day. We had a training in Thonburi for a very long time. It was

about achieving certain goals set for the missionaries, and teaching towards needs. WE then made our way home and taught brother Ohm at the church. After the lesson he was interviewed and passed! He is gonna get baptized on Sunday and has chosen me to do it. Eventually we had sports night which just turned into everyone learning how to climb walls, taught by me and Elder Stevens. We ate dinner at McDonald’s with members.

BOSS6058Saturday we cleaned the baptismal font and taught some people at the church. We also got a call from a Former Investigator of the past Elders that he would be coming to church with us. We also bought our Sunday dinner. Nothing too crazy happened.

Sunday was way good. We had tons people and investigators show up. We taught some way good lessons after church, and baptized brother Ohm! He was way excited, and even though he is tall I was able to get him all the way under on the first go. It was probably my last baptism in Thailand, and I will get to see him get confirmed on my last Sunday. It was an awesome way to end the week.

Today we are not too sure what we are doing, but we might go to a zoo, or just chill. I don’t have much time left, but I am glad it is being spent in the best way. Love you guys.

-Elder Ridings

My Last Month

Hello Family.

This last week was pretty good. We were able to get people ready for baptism and find some people at their houses. I am gonna keep this one a little short.

On Monday we went to the Bow fight place, again! It is just too much fun so we cannot stay away. We had 20 people go in total. So many that we ran out of bows. So the owner brought out a few wooden hunting bows. They were way more powerful, with a higher fps and range. They were basically snipers. You can guess who got his hands on one of those every round, yours truly. Some more t shirts were given out, but since i have one I just helped the other 3 elders in the district win some. We then went home and had an awesome FHE at the church with members.

On Tuesday we had a way good district meeting and celebrated Elder Blad’s 19th birthday. The Christensen’s brought food and milkshakes. We then had to go back to the Bow Fight place at some point because Stevens left a lot of stuff there. Later in the evening we had a way good English class to finish up the night. We also got a Chinese lady interested to learn with us.

On Wednesday we spent some time running around the place and finding La people at their houses. I also prepared my bicycle to be shipped back to America. Everyone thinks I am crazy, but with a will there’s a way. So we spent most of the day looking for people before going back to the church and teaching a girl and later on a strong member about tithing because he had lots of questions. We then had a pretty good Book of Mormon class and went home.

BOSS5605On Thursday we ate a late lunch because we had to meet someone at the church and then finish our studies. After that and lunch we planned for the next week. I also cleaned the house when we took a break because I am tired of people living like slobs. We then taught another member at the church and had our correlation meeting to close out the day.

On Friday we spent some more time looking for La people. We had a huge search where my watch said we walked 8 kilos around the city to find an LA RC of ours. We finally found his house through some pretty good intuition and luck, some would say. We met his wife and got a return appointment because he was at work. We then found our way home and taught a girl before sports night. She is going back to college soon so we wont be able to teach her much more. We were going to play soccer but it started raining so we just played ping pong and fought the little kids.BOSS5668

Saturday was a strange day. We went to the church and cleaned it before teaching the friend of a ember that was introduced to us. They came to teach people how to make soap. Her name was Jah and we had a pretty good lesson with her. After that and cleaning we taught another person. After the lesson we came outside to see all 20 or so of the members walking around with their phones held out like zombies. After a few questions we figured out that Pokemon Go, a hugely popular game in the States right now, was just opened in Thailand. the infection has spread. So that was pretty funny to watch. We then went out to eat dinner with the members and got rained on. We even saw normal people stumbling round almost into traffic playing this new Pokemon game!

On Sunday not many people turned out for Church. Brother Ohm is gonna get baptized next week, and we are way excited to see him make this step. Church was normal but attendance was lower than normal across all companionships. Normal day overall. Last week we had a special Sunday meeting so Fast Sunday was moved to today. This was my last Fast Sunday in Thailand. I gave my simple testimony for the occasion. I also learned I have like 18 days left. What a number.

Today we are going to bowl maybe and just get some errands done and stuff. The bike is all shipped out, and I am slowly starting to get ready for the big transfer to my next area.I love this area and the people. Hopefully another exciting week is ahead!

-Elder Ridings

Heat and Baptism

 

Hello Family.

This last week was another good one. We took many trips down to the mission office because we had lots of meetings. But even with the lost time we were able to meet tons of people and see lots of good things happen in the hearts of the people.

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So last Monday we just did errands around the town and got hair cuts. The other 2 elders were getting suits cut so they went down to Asoke to get it done. So I roamed around town and bought this new watch called a “Fitbit” which tracks stuff like time, your steps, heart-rate, and tons of other stuff. After that was all done we went to FHE at a members house and ate pizza and stuff. Good day had by all. We gave a way good spiritual thought, and all the members and investigators were way impressed with Elder Steven’s ability to speak Thai.

On Tuesday we went La hunting and got WAY lost. We were looking for a guy way down near the border of our area. It was a crazy goose chase, but we eventual admitted defeat and went back to the church to use google maps to find his house. After that we taught a dude named Man and his girlfriend Dia. They came for English class and were way interested. We had a fairly small English class due to rain, but we rolled with it and made it great.

On Wednesday we decided to go for that La brother and find others along the way. We went by the house of a guy named brother Oat to see if he was there, but guess what?, he wasn’t! So we kept searching and got phone numbers along the way. We then Visited a member at her house. She is a single mom, but a strong member . She then drove us to another member’s house and got to know her way well. She wants her family to learn, but is not brave enough to talk to them. So we helped her build that confidence over a nice bucket of KFC.

BOSS5667On Thursday I went to Asoke with Elder Neal to attend a meeting for all district leaders. We had to take the train system to get there, and we saw lots of crazy people. We also met a dude named Nephi De’long, who is obviously a Mormon. We then sat at the office all day and received good training on how to be better district leaders. That took most of our day due to the distance and how long the meeting took. We eventually made our way home and taught Fai right before our correlation meeting. It was a meeting of testimony and us trying to tell her she needs to do all of this through desire, not just wanting to learn something new. It was powerful. After that we had a meeting where we discussed the state of our areas and then went home.

On Friday we all made our way down to Asoke so that we could received Zone Training from the ZLs. It was way good and I recorded everything in my little travel study journal “The Brass Plates” We were there for most of the day. We did make it back home in time to teach Man and Dia again. Way good lesson, and Man was way focused for the whole thing. Like REALLY listening hard. After that we had an awesome sports night, and i tried to explain to our investigators how to play American Football and what a Right Tackle does. It is hard, to say the least.

BOSS5647On Saturday we finally got around to doing our weekly planning that we missed on Thursday. The ZLs went to Asoke for ANOTHER meeting. We just could not stay out of there this week. After planning we went to a member’s house named Pat. She is a way strong RC and she introduced us to 3 of her friends! They are all interested, and would come to church. After the visit we then taught a Barista at the church, and told a way good story of how the Atonement works for us.

Sunday was boss. We had a BAPTISM for the awesome Sister Biew. It was a way good Sunday with lots of lessons taught and a grand total of 18 investigators that came! Sunday passed by as a blur.

Today we are going to Bounce again. The trampoline place. This has been a good last week. with looks of cool things happening. We have tons of investigators, but we are having trouble getting them to progress, so we gotta reevaluate something, or start cutting of dead weight. I am excited for these last 4 weeks. See yah in the next email!

-Elder Ridings

Final Transfer (July 18, 2016)

Hello Family!

BOSS5422This last week was a blur. Lots of things happened, as did many changes. I am still here in Bangkhae, and this is where I will be finishing my mission.

So Last Monday we were going back to the bow fight place to play one last time. We were told that the guy would be giving away staff tshirts during this game. So we all knew we had to go hard in order to get one. After emailing and eating we all eventually showed up at the field with our team of about 15 people. The games proceeded as normal, but was not doing as well this week as that last week we played. After all the rounds were over, we had

 

one final round were the guy said he would be choosing the winner of the shirt. We went hard and i new I had to stand out to get the shirt. So in the middle of the round I was trying to shoot someone when 2 opponents took aim at me. I fired my arrow right as the enemy arrows streaked towards me. So I dropped my bow and, with both hands, caught the 2 missiles mid-flight! My entire team burst into cheers, and I could not believed that had happened. I put both arrows in one hand and then a third arrow flew at me! I caught it too! Then a fourth, then a fifth! I had caught 5 arrows in a 4 second period of time as the whole enemy team thought I was an easy target. All the catches allowed all of my dead team members to return, and we won the game. At the end of the game, I was awarded the tshirt for the “Catcher’s Award”. I was so happy! I got what I wanted. After that we then just ran errands and went to FHE at the church. What a great last Pday.BOSS5956BOSS5939

On Tuesday we ate dinner at Sizzlers with Elder Taylor and Hinckly since they are leaving their missions. We then went and had district meeting at the church and talked about all of the things we had learned that transfer. We then taught people at the church and went La hunting. We sadly did not find any one, So we went back to the church and had an intense lesson with Fai and May about baptism. it was way crazy, with lots of silence and hard questions, but sadly, they still did not take a date. After that we taught English and went home. We then got the call for transfers. I am staying, and finishing my mission, as the Bangkhae DL still. But Elder Woodbury is leaving for Lopburi! I was way sad. He is an awesome dude and I really enjoyed being his companion. I only wish him the best of luck, he has a great mission still ahead of him. I would be getting Elder Stevenson, a half Thai dude who is already fluent at Thai because he spoke it at home.

On Wednesday we just spent the whole day packing and getting ready along with writing in friendship books. I did not have to pack so I cleaned the place up and got ready for the new Elders who would be coming. After that we had our last Book of Mormon class We took photos with all the members and went home.

On Thursday we woke up early and grabbed taxis down to the mission office. We got to meet up with tons of old friends like Fiest, Gardner, Gundry, and many others who were finishing their missions. We were at the office for a while because there was stuff that I had to do and people I needed to talk to. After everything was sorted we then came home, got unpacked, planned, and prepared the area. After a long planning session we went to the church for correlation meeting before going home.

On Friday we ran around the place looking for La people. Along the way I showed the area off to Elder Stevens, and learned more about him. His mom is Thai and his dad is a former missionary. They speak Thai in his house so he is basically fluent with the language. We also invited all over the place before we went to the mall and I got new shoes for soccer because we then went to the church and had an awesome sports day at the church.

On Saturday we once again invited and went La hunting all day because none of our people were free. We did get a lesson later in the afternoon, but it was many hours before then. While we walked Elder Stevens explained the plots of many books that I had never read, or sometimes, heard of before after a long day of that we went to the church and taught a new person who we had never met before. Also we had the opportunity to help a lady from Africa carry her stuff, and teach her about the Restoration. She was way nice and her name is Pamela. We then bought our dinner and went home.

On Sunday we had the baptism of brother Tong! Sunday was way good and the baptism went smoothly. We taught tons of people and had the 3 confirmations of the bros that got baptized last week. We spent most of all day doing that and teaching people before we went to a LA house and taught their whole family. It was way awesome, and they say they will come to church next Sunday. We then went home and made dinner

For Pday today we do not have much planned. Just errands and preparing for the last 6 weeks. I am way grateful to be serving here for the last stretch. There is lots that needs to be done, I got one more package to send home, a bike to ship, and people to baptize! The last miles are here. I just have to make sure I make it meaningful…….

-Elder RidingsFina

Six More Weeks

Hello Family.

This last week was pretty good, although a short one, due to the zone conference and such.

On Tuesday we went to a place called bounce, which is a HUGE indoor trampoline place. BOSS5581We spent an hour there and ate some Burger King. I took the new GoPro session with me and wore the chest rig for it. The footage was awesome! We were way tired by the end, and wrecked a bunch of little kids at doge ball. They loved it though. We then went to MBK and I tried to return Elder Woodbury’s broken voice recorder. they would not take it back, so I used all of my Thai power language on them. Eventually they gave in and let him swap it for something of equal value. We then made our way home and vowed to never go to MBK again. Buy name brand people, not Chinese junk. We then came home and taught English class. And I went to Bangbuatong to go on a switch off with Elder Mayo.

On Wednesday we woke up and did our normal studies. We went out look for La people and invited all sorts of people. We then went to the house of brother Yon to help him replace his grass. They were all way surprised to see me! After that we ate lunch at the mall and taught a girl named Ing, who I have taught a long time ago! She finally felt the spirit and is getting baptized this Sunday. It was a good lesson and she is really ready. I even got to meet Sister Duke again along the road. After that we went to the church and had a meeting with the old ward mission leader, who was way happy to see me! I then made my way home and finished up the day.

On Thursday we planned and studied for a long time as usual. We then left the house and went looking for people We also taught some lessons to Fai and May. We also went around to places we have never been before. Not much really happened. We then went to the correlation meeting and discussed the people we are teaching. Not much happened.

On Friday we went to the church and taught people at the church. We then hung around and called lots of people from our old English forms. Eventually we tried to Skype Bangbuatong to interview sister Ing for baptism, but they were having technical difficulties on their end so we planned to go to Bangbuatong the next day. After that we taught some Cambodians and played sports day with tones of people.

BOSS5593The next day after studies we went over the Bangbuatong as the weather started to get bad. We got to the church before anyone else. I was able to talk to some of the members who remember me that were chilling at the church. I Interviewed Ing. She was way nervous but passed the interview no problem. WE then went out and ate lunch together and went home. When we got back we just went looking for La people and got dinner for Sunday

On Sunday we had 3 new people walk into the church who we invited a few days ago, so we were able to have 3 new investigators. Church was way good, and we had baptisms as a district! It was way smooth. We then taught lots of people and went La hunting again.Met a lot of different people . We then went home and made dinner.

Today we are going back to the Bow Fight place to hopefully challenge the staff and win some t shirts. We then are just going to relax. Elder Taylor and Hinckley are getting their stuff ready. They leave for home this Thursday. It is pretty weird to look at because in another 6 weeks, 1 transfer, I will be doing the exact same thing.

Love you guys. See you next week.BOSS5600

-Elder Ridings

Being in the Army of God

BOSS5570Hey Family.

This is my second to last email of this transfer. We just had Zone Conference yesterday, and things were pretty epic.

Last week on Monday went back to MBK to replace my companion’s busted voice recorder, and go to the tallest building in Thailand. We didn’t get to the tallest building, but we did replace the voice recorder. I also shopped around for myself and got some things, such as a new GoPro session. I have 2 GoPros now and they will come in hand at some for the next few Pdays we will be having. After that we just came home. We braved the rain outside and invited people because we had nothing better to do. Sadly we figured out that this voice recorder does not work either…

BOSS5438On Tuesday after eating we had our district meeting in the church. We are doing a musical number at Zone Conference, and we decided to sing ” My Country Tis of Thee”. So we practiced that for a little bit and got our parts down. After that we taught people at the church and had a very good lesson with Sister Fai and her friend, May. They have amazing questions about it, and Fai reads 8 chapters a day. After that we taught a very good English class and me and Elder Woodberry gave the spiritual thought. Elder Mayo and Bro Night shower up from Bangbuatong for a switch-off with us on the next day.

BOSS5587On Wednesday I went with Bro Night as my companion and we did some major talking during the day. We just went inviting and La hunting and i tried my best to boost his confidence. I then went to the mall and used my money to buy a new, Brand Name, Sony voice recorder for my companion because I felt bad that he has gone through 2 broken voice recorders. After that we went to the church and taught a little girl named Bing, who we met at English the day before. It was a way good lesson, but she does not understand much. After that we went out to dinner together and Bangbuatong went home.

On Thursday we planned and went around the place looking for Las again. We found some houses, but no one was really home. We taught a few people but nothing crazy happened. We also got caught out in the rain again. We also went to give someone a blessing but they were not home. So after that we went to the church and had correlation meeting with the members and the Branch Mission Leader.

BOSS5488On Friday we had another awesome lesson with Fai and May. We shared tons of scriptures and talked about the importance of the temple and the plan of salvation. We then invited and taught an RC at the church before having an epic sports night. We had like 40 plus people show up and we played tons of sports. May brought her parents and they played too!. I had an epic nerf war with some little kids, and we played an intense game of soccer in the heavy rain that started. We won again. After that we went to McDonald’s and went home.

On Saturday we went to Asoke all day for a way good Meeting with church leaders and the members. I sang in the member’s choir and I carried that low bass. Not much really happened. We were just there all day, met people, ate food, and then navigated our way out of downtown Bangkok.

On Sunday we woke up way early and had the second part of the meeting at out church. We had investigators show up and they all loved the meeting. Amazing talks were given. After that we interviewed with president and I had a very good talk with him. It was so late by the end that we all went home and made dinner.

Monday was our Zone Conference. We woke up way early and went to Aoske’s church for an all day meeting. We had good training, awesome talks, and a very uplifting experience. The biggest part was when we had to give our last testimonies. For those missionaries who will be going home soon, and are in their final Zone Conference, they get up and give their last testimonies. Me, Elder Purser, Stone, Slabaugh, Magera, Bartchsi, and Hall all got to give up and give our last testimonies. Sadly our whole group was not there, but most were as you can see. We got up and made the long, lonely walk to that pulpit, and gave our last thoughts to the waiting crowd of missionaries. We were asked what we would miss. I said “Being in the Army of God”. We were then asked what we had learned. One by one we answered. I answered “Mercy”. Finally we were asked to give our testimonies. Everyone was getting emotional, but I am not an easy crier so my eyes were dry. But when I got up and testified of how true, sure and unshakable my faith in this Gospel is, I got a little fiery. I guess you can say it’s the old Southern Baptist in me. I told of how no group, creed, faith, organization, or theology could give me anything more than what the living Gospel of Christ has already given me. I told everyone in there to never give up, never shake, and in times of doubt, keep faith because it will see you out of the darkest roads. I then sat down, and thought of the beginning of this long road started, back in the living room when I opened my call. What a long, and somehow short, time ago. To lighten up the mood we then ate ice cream and played games! We then came home and immediately went to sleep.

Today we are going to a place called bounce. Which is an indoor trampoline place. I will be getting good use out of my 2 GoPros. Only about 6 weeks left. Never though It would ever bee this close. I have lots of things to say, but those can wait for when I meet everyone face to face again.

-Elder Ridings