Monday, October 17, 2016

Arrival in Thailand and First Area!

1st Companion (Elder Smith)

October 8, 2016

Here is the letter from the Mission President announcing Elder Latimer’s arrival!

8 October 2016
Dear Brother and Sister Latimer,
We are pleased tell you that your wonderful son, Elder Latimer has been welcomed by the Thailand Bangkok Mission and has been assigned to serve in the Udorn Thani, Udorn Zone of the Thailand Bangkok Mission.

The missionaries arrived happy, healthy and well prepared from their MTC experience.  Sister Johnson and I hosted the group in our home and we were able to share experiences and a fine meal together while feeling the strength and conviction of their testimony. They are very valiant and carry with them a strong spirit and desire to serve our Heavenly Father.

I have sought the direction of the Lord and have chosen one of our finest missionaries, Elder Nathan Stephen Smith to be Elder Latimer's  training companion.  I believe this companion will help your son to get a great start as a missionary and to experience the joy and vision of missionary service.

Sister Johnson and I thank you for your support and ask that you continue to write weekly letters or emails of encouragement.  We promise to love and care for your son like one of our own, and to do everything we can to help him succeed and prosper as a missionary in Thailand.  We know that Elder Latimer and your family will be richly blessed by his service here.  Please pray for all of the missionaries and for the wonderful people of Thailand.

President Kelly R. Johnson
Thailand Bangkok Mission

October 9, 2016

Hey All!

Everything is going great as of right now! My mission president is a super cool guy, and is super invested in the missionaries he directs. Our first full day there, he showed us around the city and set reservations for a fancy Thai restaurant. The food there was delicious.

Traveling to Thailand was fairly relaxing. It was long, but I was able to sleep a lot on the flight, which is nice! The care package helped a lot. Thanks for that! The fruit here is very delicious. I'd never become a vegetarian, but if I had to, I would move to Thailand, because that is where all the good fruit is!

My area (Kumpawapi) is about as rural as it gets in the mission, which super exciting. It's a fairly small area comparatively. There are probably more monkeys here than people! You'll see them here and there, but there this one park in Kumpawapi where they are everywhere! It's crazy! I think right now, me and my companion are alone in the area. Everyone else is in a larger city called Udon, and that is usually where a lot of the missionary work takes place. I don't have too many pictures of my area yet, but today, I'm going to a Wat (A buddhist temple) which supposedly looks way cool, plus there are a lot of super cool hikes to go on, so I might do that as well!

The food here is great, and I'd love to find out how to make it sometime!

Hopefully everything is going great with Josh, Jake, Jonathan and Jace. Sorry I'm not writing more, but right now I'm in an internet cafe and I only have a set amount of time left (LDS mail was out for an hour before I could get on.)

I hope everything goes well for you and the family


Elder Latimer

P.S. My bag with my scripture, journals, etc. was lost in a taxi, on my ride to the bus station. The missionaries who were helping us in our luggage forgot to pick it up when they collected the rest of our stuff. So I was wondering if for Christmas, you'd be able to send me another pair of good missionary scriptures! Sorry!

October 10, 2016

This is a message from Sister Grange, the mission secretary, reporting on Elder Latimer’s lost bag. I’m including it because it is a great little miracle!

Brother Latimer,

Good News!  The bag was left in a cab and the driver was kind enough to bring the bag back to the office where he had picked up Elder Latimer.  He will be able to pick up his bag on Friday when he comes down to pick up his work permit.  I have to tell you that this is a bit of a miracle, things left in cabs are never returned!  Had the bag not come in yesterday I would have told you to send out the replacement items because there is no way we will ever see it again.  I love that Tender Mercies are alive and well in the Thailand Bangkok Mission!

Kind Regards,
Sister Grange
Thailand Bangkok Mission Secretary

October 16, 2016

Hey Everyone!

Thailand is great so far. The area I am in right now is very small and rural (about as rural as it can get it the Thailand mission). The church that I go to here, is very small, and could probably fit into our chaple, but the people here are very kind and loving. Since the church is so small and there aren't very many members with the priesthood, I've been asked to serve as the ward clerk, so I'll have to tell you how that goes. 

The language is going pretty well so far. I can speak it okay, but I can't understand much of what anyone is saying right now, so I'm going to try and work on my comprehension.

There is not much to do in terms of activities in Kumpawapi aside from a few hikes, so me and my companion will probably end up taking the bus to Udorn, whenever we get the chance! Today we are going to a Wat (a Buddhist temple) so I'll be sure to take a lot of pictures of that!

I'll be sure to send more pictures, but until I move to a bigger city (like Bangkok or Udorn) I don't think I could send any videos! (It took me about 20-30 minutes to send the pictures I attatched to Mom!) Right now the members are pretty reliant on us for callings and other things (seminary, cleaning the church, teaching sunday school etc.) right now my companion is the 1st Counselor and I am both the Clerk and Pianist, so we'll see how that works out! Working in a rural area is great, even though there isn't too much to do here! I haven't eaten anything too strange yet, and so far the food here is pretty good! I think I still like American food better, but we'll see if that changes over time.

I haven't really taught any new investigators yet. For the most part, my companion and I have been trying to reactivate the less active members in our branch to get some more people to show up at church! I heard about the refrigerator, that kind of sucks, but hopefully insurance pays for everything! I also hope that everything is going great with Josh and Lettie, and Moms new car sounds awesome!

I wish I had more to talk about, but right now things are a bit slow in Kumpawapi.

All the best

- Elder Latimer

Monday, October 3, 2016

Last weeks of the MTC and off to Thailand!

September 6, 2016

Hey All:

Great to hear from you!

It was kind of mucky hear too. It's been getting a lot colder in the mornings, which I hate, but the afternoons are still somewhat warm which is great. That's great to hear about Jake, he told me he had wanted to do that in his last email!

I heard about the game between BYU and Arizona, not only from my teachers, but also from the stadium while we were outside in the MTC! (it was really loud) we had a devotional speaker he used to play for BYU and the Eagles (Chad Lewis) tell us about it also!

I will try and send you and mom pictures once I get out of the laundry room, since these ones don't have usb ports or SD ports.

Language study is going great, I can now teach my "investigators" with nothing more than a note card, with a few vocab words and a rough overview of what we are going to say on it. My tones aren't even close to being good yet, and I still have a lot of vocab that I need to memorize, but it's still nice to be able to talk in somewhat coherent sentences in Thai!

All the best, 

- Elder Latimer

September 13, 2016

Hey All, 

I think I am scheduled to leave the MTC sometime around October 5th or 3rd, so I think I have just a little over 3 weeks left! I feel like I've been here for a long time, it's hard to look back, since most of the days kind of blend together here. I never realized how important new experiences were to making memories till I entered the MTC.

The language is going pretty well here, and I feel like I am learning a lot. I'm still working with re-learning all of the words I've learned with tones, as well as some of the new ones. I've also started to be able to learn the written language, which is cool, but since there are no spaces in the written language, it's hard to see where one word ends and another begins, which is also problematic because I don't know a lot of the words that are written! But if I've noticed anything from my teachers, I should be able to read and write in Thai script fluently by the time my mission is over which is cool!

That's exciting to hear that everyone is heading back to school, wish them luck from me!
The lily pad sounds awesome, hopefully it will still be there when we get back

I did get my packages, and thanks! I love the new ties that I got, and I've been meaning to get a water bottle for some time, but put it off because the ones over here are way expensive! Thanks also for the packages of food, It's really great to have something to eat once I get back from class.

Have fun in Whistler it sounds like a blast (aside from the work related stuff) and talk to you again in a week!


- Elder Latimer

September 20, 2016

Hey Dad: 

Great to hear from you! Mom sent me the photos of the Family in their pirate outfits, it sounds very fun!

Whistler sounds great! I'm glad that there was a lot up there for you to do!

I can't wait for conference week just because it'll be nice to take a break from class, plus I get to watch conference twice (once in America and another time translated in Thailand) so that will be great! Hopefully the lake does stay warm for a little while longer, it has been a great summer for it!

That's exciting to hear about Josh and Lettie, and Jordan and Jessica (I think that's her name) hopefully everything goes great for both of them.

That's sad to hear about Tyler, but hopefully once he goes back to school he'll be able to hang out with a lot more people!

The day of service sounds great and fun, and I'll be sure to call you once I get some time to on layovers! Unfortunately I don't have any cool experiences to share yet, since the MTC is kind of boring, but once I get to Thailand, I'll be sure to have a lot!

Great talking to you, I'll be sure to keep sending letters!

All the best

- Elder Latimer

September 27, 2016

Hey Dad,

Every thing is going well in the MTC right now! It'll be nice to have a break from Friday and Saturday classes, but I'll probably studying a little during it, just to help prepare me for Thailand!

It's good to hear that you're able to have fun during family night, and it's even better to hear that you're still having nice weather. The skies are still blue in Utah now, but it's getting a lot colder!

I do have my travel plans, but not on me right now, I'll be sure to take a picture and send them to you once I'm in the nice computer lab (I'm doing laundry right now) I might just get a prepaid phone so that I don't have to deal with payphones

I wish that I could be there to see the debates, they sound really fun to listen to! and I can't wait until I get back to see what you and Mom do with the lake house!

I did get you're your email from the blog post! I'm super excited to go. My teacher showed us some pictures that he took with various exotic animals so I'm super excited for that on P-Day, and plus we get to ride elephants, so I'm stoked!

I'm excited for my travel package, I hope it helps as well. I have a total of 16 hours of flight, so I'm sure I'll get bored pretty quick! Which reminds me, could you add like 100-200 dollars onto my debit card so that I could my 2 other bags that I need to check. I saw on my travel plans that it's about $75-$100 per extra bag and I have three!

It's great to hear about Jake and Josh, I hope they're still doing great by the time I get back!

Hope everything is going great at home, and I'll be sure to send some great photo's as soon as I land in Thailand!


- Elder Latimer

Hey Mom,

Every thing is going great! I just got the Thai Bible, and it is super cool! It will be so useful especially in the field! I have had so many scriptures I've wanted to share with my investigators here, but couldn't because I didn't have a bible in Thai! So thanks to you and Dad for that! Those pillows sound great, and I am sure that I will use them a ton on the flights there! I can't wait till conference as well! I love learning Thai, but it will be nice to have a 2 day break before I depart where I can just collect my thoughts and listen to conference!

I have just a few requests before I head out. One is for a prepaid phone, so that I won't have to worry about using the payphones on the airport before I leave, the second, is to just have you and dad put some money on my card so I can pay the fee for extra baggage for my flights and the last is just a racquetball. I know it sounds silly, but It helps me think to just toss something around. Other than that, every thing should be pretty good! I'm excited for Thailand, one of my teachers showed us some cool stuff that he got to do, (pictures with elephants, tigers, etc.) so I'm stoked to send home some of those!

That's cool to hear about the primary program, It's sad that it's the last of ours, but it had to end sometime right?

That's great to hear about Josh and Lettie! I hope everything goes well for the both of them! If Josh wants a really nice suit, just send me his measurements, apparently in Thailand, you can get a professionally tailored suit (one that would cost $1000-$2000 in the U.S) made custom for about $200 american dollars! I know that I'm going to do that for p-day before I leave Thailand! 

Tell Tyler that I'm going to try and meet him at BYU Provo as soon as I get back! I'm not too big a fan of Idaho, and from what I've heard, Provo is a lot better!

I can't wait till Thailand as well! From what I've heard the people are amazing, and the church is super ecstatic about new missionaries (it's Thailands 50th anniversary of missionary work). Apparently after church, they have cook outs in the parking lot, where everyone gets to know each other, and they do that every Sunday, so that sounds awesome! I can't wait till I have some cool stories for you!

Hope all is going well and I wish you and the family the best


- Elder Latimer