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

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