Elder Jesse Bundy wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Thailand!
Elder Bundy showing a beautifully lit Bangkok street near his apartment in Bangkae.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, 15th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints sums up how Elder Bundy feels about this time of year and why he is serving his mission as he wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year:
"There is a magic in Christmas. Hearts are opened to a new measure of kindness. Love speaks with increased power. Tensions are eased....
Of all things of heaven and earth of which we bear testimony, none is so important as our witness that Jesus, the Christmas child, condescended to come to earth from the realms of His Eternal Father, here to work among men as healer and teacher, our Great Exemplar. And further, and most important, He suffered on Calvary's cross as an atoning sacrifice for ALL mankind.
At this time of Christmas, this season when gifts are given, let us not forget that God gave His Son, and His Son gave His life, that each of us might have the gift of eternal life."
Elder Bundy adds his testimony and stands with all Christians all over the world and adds that, "God lives! He hears and answers prayers! The Savior, Jesus Christ DID come to the earth to save all mankind and offers all of us a choice with a path to return home to our Father......I feel so grateful and blessed to be able to be here, in Thailand, to teach and share this plan of hope and redemption with others for two years of my life! Merry Christmas everyone!"
LDS missionaries around the world enjoy a one hour face-to-face phone call with their families on Christmas where possible. Elder Bundy was no exception! Our entire family, from Idaho to Utah to Missouri, were blessed to connect with each other via google hangouts to see and chat with Jesse on Christmas Eve for us, and Christmas morning for Jesse! Elder Bundy looks good, sounds good and is thoroughly loving his mission. We all enjoyed getting to see him and talk with him.
Elder Bundy turns 19 on New Year's Day! Because of the holidays, we were able to receive an extra e-mail from him this past week. He writes, "This week was good! Pretty amazing actually.....first, it was AMAZING getting to see and talk with everyone on Christmas! And, Elder Bingham and I are working really hard.....we have 7 people with a baptismal date for the 17th of January!!!!!! On Shae's birthday! How crazy is that?!?!?!?!?!......Bingham and I feel wayyyyy blessed that things are lining up like this! I feel so very lucky to have been working in this same area for the past 3 transfers. All of these investigators are people we have been working with for a while now and are just now making the choice to be baptized for the right reasons and are ready to sacrifice their time now to do what they know is right and act on what they have come to know is the truth. I believe these people have real testimonies and will be solid members here.....the people in Thailand have SO many distractions and things to overcome in learning to become followers of Christ. Things like drugs, alcohol, pornography and worshiping false idols......everything and anything is available here.....it's very difficult for them to choose to give it all up.......and, it seems to be a part of their culture to really not care what happens to themselves and others much less believe in something bigger than the moment....it is difficult to teach them that they really are children of a God that really cares what happens to them and that he wants them to be happy and live a more productive lives."
Elder Bundy shared some pictures of his week, the places he went and some of the people he met:
Jesse met this man with an unusually large 'phra', or some kind of necklace with charms that Thai people see as sacred and they worship.
Jesse sees some very interesting hair cuts when he goes in to get his hair cut in Thai barber shops.
Elder Bundy went on to tell about this past week and the holidays in Thailand: "Last week, we went to huge mall in downtown Bangkok and ate at a HUGE buffet.....it was delicious! Today, we are probably going back to downtown and maybe hit up a pretty cool market......."
Elder Jesse Bundy LOVES Thai cuisine!
Even though it was New Year's Eve for us when we received his e-mail, it was New Year's Day and Jesse's birthday when he wrote it. He goes on, "I feel sooooo old.......nahhhh, I really feel just the same. I do feel grateful for the opportunity to be on my mission at 18 rather than just beginning at 19 like my brothers and Dad!"
With a new year and a birthday, Elder Jesse Bundy set some new study goals. He goes on, "I set a new year's goal to memorize 200 scriptures, read 150 talks and read all of the teachings of the Presidents of the Church books along with my daily reading of the Book of Mormon and Preach My Gospel......I'm just really trying to study and learn as much as I can during this time."
Jesse threw a dart at his dart board.....really? He missed.....lolol
Elder Bundy ends his letter, "O.K. Mom.....I am taking my vitamins....tell Dad I am doing my pushups and sit-ups and I am feeling GREAT! I feel so thankful for everything....most especially for my parents and my family! Happy New Years!! And, ohhhhh, I almost forgot....I will be e-mailing this Monday as well as we get back to our normal P-Day schedule. I love you guys!!"
Elder Jesse A. Bundy