Past the wall, with the wildlings

On Friday, we were to go to Chiang Mai in the north for district conference.  First, we had sports night for a couple hours before we left.  Just at the last few minutes, I dove for a frisbee, landed on sand, and hit a line of jagged rock that some silly construction people put in A SAND COURT.  There was blood, sand, and lots of “ARE YOU OKAY?  YOU’RE NOT OKAY.  OH MY GOODNESS GO TO A HOSPITAL.  OH MAN ELDER, YOU’RE GONNA DIE!”
Needless to say, it really wasn’t that bad.  Got it cleaned up, I was a little miffed, dressed it, packed up, showered, and left to the bus station.  Turns out, the only bus we could get on leaves at 1 in the morning.  So we sit down for a while, members show up, we hang out for a few hours, talk to some people, have fun.  I had the chance to get to know Elder Bartschi a little better.
At 6 in the morning, we get to Chiang Mai, and I’ve literally had less than an hour of sleep thanks to a loud and crazy bus ride.  It was a little hard to keep my spirits up, and studying was impossible, but we stayed at the ZL’s house for a while during studies, then went out and contacted for a while.  That day was long.  Very long and very silly.

The meeting was great, the Zone Leaders wanted me to translate for it, but I had a sore throat, and barely had a voice so Elder Bartschi had to do it.  On Sunday, I had the opportunity to translate with Sister Galloway, a Sister missionary from Redding California, and Elder Parish, a bro from earlier in the mission.
Translating was fun.  I realize that I actually can speak Thai, and that I’m actually progressing in something useful.  Past that, the talks were perfectly constructed for the Thai people at this time.  Our branch was mostly asleep, as they’re mostly younger, but it’s okay.  It was cute.  I love our little branch.
The talks were centered on families, and applying the gospel.  Just this morning I got on a train of thought that sent me to think about my own family.  I studied the first chapter in the red handbook, Families and the church in God’s plan.  Families really are the most important organization in this world.  I took my own family for granted for a long time.  I’ve got some righteous parents, and a super bossin’ bro.

While we were in Chiang Mai, we were showed a picture of the branch 30+ years ago back when President Johnson was a missionary there.  It was small, about 20 people or so, made up of mostly younger kids willing to break off of the traditions of their fathers.  It looked surprisingly like the way Kamphaengphet is right now, but we’re actually bigger.  I’ve been worrying so much about how nothing’s changing and the branch is stagnating that I didn’t notice just how much was changing.  When the Chiang Mai members started singing “Army of Helaman” I started tearing up.  The fact that they know that song, and they’re a large branch in an area with two branches made me have hope for Thailand.  Our branch is growing so fast.  We must help strengthen them so they may have families centered on the gospel of Christ.  Our work is big, but the pay-off is worth it.  I’m happy to be here, sharing the gospel with everyone.  Members as well as not.  I’m so happy to be a part of this big family called humanity.  I’m proud of my family, my friends, and I’m happy that I have been able to get to know my Savior Jesus Christ closely.  I feel like I’m reuniting with a friend I forgot a long time ago.  I love Him!

-Elder Elliot Mayo