August 25, 2015

Greetings from Thailand!

Hello family and friends.  Well to start off I wanted to

explain about the bomb explosion in Bangkok that was

on the news.  It was actually very close to where we live.

We actually thought we heard thunder but later found

out it was a bomb.  We were so blessed that all the

departing missionaries who were out shopping and

touring that evening were out of that area in time.  Our

assistants were coming back from teaching and were

only 2 stops away from the explosion on the subway.

Fortunately, all were safely gathered in and accounted

for.  The members here were emailing and expressing

how worried they were about all the missionaries.   Kelly

was able to post information to all the families of the

missionaries instantly through IMOS.  Most parents were

relieved and some were wondering what was wrong

because they hadn’t seen the news.

You all know how I am with things like this.  I was so

rattled during 911 that I didn’t even want the kids to go

to school or anything.  Here there is just a calm that the

Lord is in charge of His work and the missionaries will be

blessed.

Just last week we had 8 departing missionaries including

Elder Wolfley our Assistant.  We received 9 new

missionaries that we had met in the MTC during our

training.   We picked them up at the airport at 11:00pm

on Tuesday. After letting them get some rest, we met

them Wednesday morning at 8am at the Mission Office

for orientation and training. The new missionaries are a

great group.  They are so eager and so willing to get right

to work and to speak the language.  They have a lot of

energy and are really funny.  They will draw a lot of

positive attention.  Kelly thought long and hard on who

to have as their trainers to ensure that they would have a

great experience as missionaries from the very start. The

first thing we did was travel to Lumphini Park, where

President Hinckley dedicated Thailand for missionary

work in November 1966. Refer to the pictures we sent.

We read the dedicatory prayer together and then each

missionary had personal time to ponder and to

rededicate themselves to the work and to becoming the

best missionary they can be.  We taught them to ride the

subway and returned to the office.

After orientation we had authentic Thai Food for lunch.

Some of the food was spicy and they still ate it like

champions.  My lips were numb again after a few bites

but no news there.  I may be adjusting better to the spice

or else I’m usually just so hungry that I will eat it anyway.  

They got their bloodwork to apply for their work permits,

then Kelly did personal interviews with each missionary. I

went home and started making a home cooked meal to

welcome the new missionaries.  It is a pretty huge affair

that includes the new missionaries, the office couple, the

Granges, and the office Elders and the Assistants and me

and Kelly.  It is a ton of food that takes forever to cook

but miraculously disappears in no time.   We finished

dinner and I played the guitar and Elder Smith-Driggs

sang I am a child of God.  He was in the BYU men’s

chorus and has a beautiful voice.  Then Elder Wolfley

played a couple of hymns on the guitar.  He was in a

band at home in Layton and played the electric guitar.

He is very talented.  We played a clip of him at the

transfer meeting and everyone loved it.  The next day

was transfer meeting.  What a fun day for missionaries.

They are so excited to see who their new companions are

and who the new leaders. A highlight is for the

missionaries to meet the new missionaries that just

arrived in Thailand. We keep the new missionaries out of

the cultural hall until their big debut.  It’s really fun.

Everyone stands and cheers as the new missionaries

come into the cultural hall. This time transfers went a lot

smoother.  Our first transfer was a few days after we

arrived here and we were clueless and everything was

different than usual because one missionary had to go

back to the Provo MTC because of problems with her visa

and only 2 came but were delayed a day and then arrived

several hours late.  It all works out though.  

We got a new Assistant at transfers.  Elder Cooper is

from Australia.  He will be wonderful and is already an

amazing missionary and leader.

After transfer meeting we had a farewell dinner with the

departing missionaries. We had Thai food at a restaurant

just down the street from our house called the Local.

The food is wonderful and it gives us a chance to visit

with the missionaries.  It was amazing how many

personal questions they asked us about dating and

getting married and about school and careers.   After

dinner we met at our home and had a testimony

meeting.  It was a great experience, the spirit was so

strong and I was so grateful I was there.  After

testimonies the Elders sang the Hymn, “I need Thee

every hour.”  Wow!!   This group of missionaries are just

outstanding young men.  I am excited to hear about

them changing the world for good in the near future.  We

had to get up at 3:00am to take them to the airport and

say goodbye.  I was thinking how I didn’t like doing this

every 6 weeks.  As wonderful as it is getting new

missionaries every 6 weeks it is sure hard to say goodbye

to missionaries every 6 weeks.  We really love them.

Friday night we went to a banquet to welcome us to

Thailand.  This banquet is held to meet with Public

Opinion Leaders.  We took a lot of pictures with different

Leaders and Leader groups.  They presented us with gifts

from Thailand, and the most beautiful and very large

bouquet of flowers.  I had been missing my flower

gardens a bit so it was very nice.

We were seated with the President and committee chair

for the Rotary Club in Thailand.  One of the ladies was a

very dignified and highly educated Thai woman.  She

lived in Ireland for a time and went to school.  Her

parents were both doctors and did a lot of good for the

people in Thailand.  When her parents died they left a

charitable fund to be used to further their work.  She

uses the fund to contribute to worthwhile humanitarian

work in Thailand.  She is very wealthy and is a Christian.

We had a very good conversation with her.  We thanked

her for all the good she is doing and she thanked us for

coming all across the world to help in Thailand.  She is

aware of all the good the church is doing here.  We were

served a delicious dinner and the prettiest dessert I have

ever seen.  Presentation is huge in Thailand and I am

convinced the food tastes better because it looks so

pretty.  Funny thing at dinner:  We had a young man that

is a member of the church and from Thailand sing 3

musical numbers.  One of the songs was the Carpenters

(Close to You).  She leaned over while he was singing and

said to me, “I bet you would sound so lovely singing this

song because you met your husband singing in a choir.”  I

truthfully was worried sick that she was going to stand

and request that I sing (to everyone’s soon to be

disappointment), or worse that she would make Dad and

I sing it together.  FUNNY.

After dinner we realized that we had walked to the hotel

for the dinner from our home and had to carry all the

presents home with us.  I had to carry the huge, and I

mean huge, bouquet of flowers home and I considered

just doing the Princess Diaries’ wave and “ thanking

everyone  for being here”  but I refrained.

Saturday we flew to Udorn.  I got excited looking out the

window thinking how green it was but oh was it hot

outside.  It has been really dry here and hasn’t cooled

down at all, meaning high 90’s instead of low 90’s ha.

We checked into our hotel before going to do training at

the Udorn Branch.  We were walking through the lobby

of the hotel towards the elevators and followed a frog

(big frog) just jumping along.  I wanted to get a picture

but didn’t have my camera with me, so Kelly said, “Don’t

worry he will come up to our floor and visit.”  Sure

enough, a few minutes later when got on the elevator to

come back down to leave I noticed our friend the frog

down in the corner of the elevator riding with us. Only in

Thailand I keep saying.

We got to the branch quite early before the meeting so

Kelly could do interviews first.  I went with Sister Forte

and Sister Laoli and the Relief Society President to visit a

less active sister and her husband.  Maa Pon (The Relief

Society President’s name translated is Mother Blessing.

She is a return missionary but is still quite the missionary

in her branch.  The sister we visited hadn’t been coming

to church for 2 months and her husband was over 6

months.  Sister Pon walked in her home waving us in and

grabbed a mat and rolled it out on the floor and plopped

down.  She told all of us to sit and then told the Sister

and her husband to sit.  We did.  She got right down to

business and asked the sister why she hadn’t been

coming to church and that she missed her and needed

her to be her friend at church.  She told her that is why

she brought the missionaries and me along.  She said it is

so important that Sister Johnson the wife of the Mission

President over all of Thailand came to see you.  She sure

knows how to pack a punch with her words.  She is

amazing.  We took pictures of course with the family and

they promised they would be at church.  Then we went

back to the church for the Ward Council training and

Family History Seminar.   I was so proud of Dad for doing

the entire training for an hour in Thai.  He will have this

down in no time.  They asked me to speak at the end of

the training meeting.  I had the cutest translator for most

of the meeting named Sister Gow.  Her mother is the

Relief Society President I talked about.  She is a return

missionary from Salt Lake City, Temple Square.  Again we

took pictures with everyone.  They are so kind to want

pictures with us.  It makes them really happy.  Whenever

Dad introduces us and tells them we have 5 children and

10 grandchildren there is an audible gasp.  It is pretty

funny and I just expect it now.

Kelly was able to interview the cutest couple for baptism.

We have a picture.  They are so tiny and so humble.  We

always look like giants in the pictures.   They had been

taught for years but wanted to be sure it was true so

they could live the gospel 100%. They actually have a

daughter serving a mission in Australia.  Sister Gow said

that they will make the best members because they will

stay true and faithful.

I (Kelly) did several interviews. I need to find a counselor

in the mission presidency so I arranged to interview a

couple of men so I could get to know them and to

consider them as potential counselors. These were

enjoyable interviews. I also set apart a wonderful Sister

as a full-time missionary. She is going to serve in

Australia and is leaving for the MTC in Provo. It is an

honor to set a missionary apart. My service as stake

president has really come in handy as I have 3 districts

here in Thailand that I am effectively the stake president

for. I have to do missionary interviews, missionary setting

aparts, priesthood advancement interviews, disciplinary

councils, etc. Doing this for 3 districts is a bit of a

challenge when I am also looking after 194 missionaries.

The missionaries in Udorn are amazing.  Sister Forte and

Sister Laoli are companions.  I was able to teach 2 times

with them.  They are so kind and patient and are

wonderful teachers.  Sister Laoli is so tiny it is hard to

believe that she is 28 years old.  She has the cutest laugh

and laughs all the time which makes everyone else laugh.

We posted a picture where Dad is still taller than her

even when he is on his knees.

Sister Forte is learning the language so well and works so

hard.  They ride their bikes all over Udorn and never

complain even though it is so hot.  She is so good to her

companion and loves the people in Thailand.

Sister McKnight gave up being a professional ballerina to

serve a mission.  I can tell she doesn’t regret her

decision.  She is the sweetest missionary and everyone

loves her.  She is companions with Sister Hoffman.  Sister

Hoffman is a sister I loved from the first meet and greet.

She is really happy and is a great missionary.

Elder Hancock and Elder Bunker are companions.  Elder

Hancock is Stephanie Adair’s relative.  He is one of our

newest missionaries.  He is amazing with the language

already and reads the script really well.  He was

supposed to buy a bike finally while we were there.  The

Elders joke and ask him why he wants a bike and doesn’t

he like running along side them on their bikes.  He

probably doesn’t mind and is working hard and doing

great in his first area.  We attended Elder Bunker’s first

District Meeting.  He said, “oh no pressure with President

Johnson here”.  He did a good job and really stressed

unity in their district.  He kept saying, “I don’t see any

reason why this district can’t be the very best district in

the mission.”  Then he would just smile.

Elder Sukhan and Elder Curtis are companions.  Elder

Sukhan is from Utah but he has family in Thailand.  He

has been wonderful at seeking out his family and

teaching them the gospel.  Maa Pon the R.S. President

was actually taught by Elder Sukhan’s mother who

served in Thailand.  They are still good friends.  Sister Pon

was so excited when Elder Sukhan arrived in Udorn.  She

has taken it upon herself to introduce him to anyone

remotely related to him so he can teach them the gospel.

Elder Sukhan finishes his mission in October and he

quizzed me with a million questions about life after the

mission while he was waiting for his interview with Kelly.

It was fun.  He wanted to know what kind of dates Kelly

and I went on.  I’d answer one question and he would

fire off another.  He is a great missionary and will

continue to do great things after his mission.  He only has

1 transfer left and is worried about “the real world”.  I

get that.

Elder Curtis has to have been born grinning.  He can’t

help himself.  He loves being a missionary, he loves

everything and everyone.  It is really infectious being

around him.

We rented a car in Udorn and drove to Nong Khai to do

the branch leader training and to attend church.  We

both spoke in sacrament meeting and then I was asked in

Relief Society to bear my testimony on the lesson.  I

luckily had read the conference talk prior and could do it.

(The entire lesson was in Thai and my translator was a

young Thai sister preparing for a mission to Salt Lake City.

I believe she could speak 4 English words really well so

translation was a bit scarce.)  I’m thankful that the spirit

is the real teacher in any situation.  I did ask Sister Grover

to translate part of my testimony for me.  She is the

mother of one of our sister missionaries.  Nong Khai is

her home town.  She was visiting for a funeral and was

able to see her daughter with Kelly’s ok.  She lives in

Idaho Falls.

I was able to slip into the Young Women’s class at the

end.  I took a picture with them.  I’m the tall one on the

left. Ha ha.  They were so cute and very tiny.  One cute

girl snuck into the picture right beside me and put her

head into my shoulder for the picture.  I just love them

all.

I (Kelly) interviewed a fine young man from the Nong

Khai branch that wants to serve a mission. He was

baptized several years ago but had been inactive. He has

come back strong and now wants to serve as a

missionary.

We had one baptism after church.  This sister had to be

baptized 3 times because her hands didn’t go under the

water.  She was so worried about holding her nose that

she held her arms straight out.  It reminded me of my

sister Rhonda’s baptism.  She was baptized 3 or more

times because her big toe kept coming out of the water.

I remember being so jealous because I only got to be

baptized once.  They sang Away In A Manger for one of

the hymns at the baptism.  It was just the sweetest thing

and in August too.

I made good friends with a little Thai girl.  She would

draw in my journal.  I traced her hand in my book and

she just lit right up.  Then she wanted to decorate all the

pages in my journal.  I satisfied her with 4 pages.  She

was so little that it was adorable when she would Wai

and say hello.  I showed her herself in my little mirror I

keep in my purse.  She loved it so I gave it to her and she

ran off to show everyone her treasure.

The missionaries in Nong Khai are great too!  Elder

Morley who had only been there a couple of days did the

Baptism.  Elder Merrill, Elder Nelson and Elder

Greenwood also serve there.  They brag about how

wonderful the branch is at being member missionaries.

After Kelly did training and we had a family history

session we left for Laos.  We had our senior couple over

family history meet us in Udorn to train both branches.

They are the Moleffs.  They are finished with their

mission in just a few short weeks.  If anyone reading this

letter feels prompted to take their place please let us

know right away.  We are preparing for a Temple in

Thailand.

Crossing the border between Thailand and Laos is quite a

process.  We couldn’t drive a rented car across so we had

to park on the Thailand side and take a tuk tuk to the bus

station, go through immigration and catch a bus to the

Laos side and then have a taxi take us to the church.

Kelly needed to interview a few prospective missionaries

and the new missionaries called to serve in Laos.  I got to

visit with the missionaries while Kelly did interviews one

at a time.  They ended up around the piano singing

Christmas songs one after the other.  It was a great night.

I (Kelly) am constantly amazed at the faith of the young

people that want to go serve missions. Both of these two

amazing young members are the only members in their

families. They deal with tremendous opposition to join

the Church and then the opposition gets even more

intense when they announce they want to serve

missions. The dear sister told me about her family and

broke down in tears telling me that she could not get her

mom to accept the gospel and that she felt it was too

late now. I assured her that her example would work

miracles for her mom and family.

The next morning, P-day the Elders invited us to

breakfast.  They rode their bikes ahead of the tuk tuk

that drove us to the small soi where the breakfast was.  It

was a really fun little place with hanging plants and vines

everywhere.  We ate sticky rice and mango pancakes.

We loved it.  After breakfast we had to drive back to

Udorn to meet up with the missionaries to go touring

with them for their P-day.     It was actually the first P-day

we have had since arriving. Sister Pon was one of the

drivers so amazingly we stopped on the way to our

destination to visit 2 less active members.  This sister and

her son were the kindest people.  Their living conditions

were quite sad.  They really didn’t have anything and

their home was open to the outside night and day with

only a thin mat on the floor and a mosquito net for

protection while they slept.  This sister would just hold

my hand the whole time and pat it.  Her one hand was

crippled and she couldn’t unfold it or move it at all.

Whenever Kelly said anything she would just nod her

head and say amen.  When we were leaving she asked

Kelly for a blessing and kept pulling on her crippled hand.

She wanted him to bless her to be healed.  When we

were back in the car Kelly discussed the experience with

the Elders and asked why he and the Elders couldn’t heal

like Peter and the other apostles right on the spot.  They

were worried that their faith wasn’t sufficient.  I learned

a lot with that discussion, mostly that it is God’s will and

our faith that heals, not one without the other.

We drove to a beautiful overlook and for a moment it

didn’t seem like we were in Thailand.  Sister Pon said

they held girl’s camp there.  We could hear a monkey out

in the trees.  I saw a lizard and beautiful butterflies.  Then

we thought we were headed to a waterfall but we were

with Sister Pon remember.  We stopped at a roadside to

meet two young people who were Elder Sukhan’s distant

cousins.  Sister Pon put Elder Sukhan in the middle of

them and said take pictures, take pictures.  She never

stops and is just an amazing member missionary.  We

could use many more of her in every branch.

The next day we participated in the missionary’s district

meeting.  I was able to teach an investigator again and be

interviewed by some local students.  They would just

giggle and say Hello. What is your name? Where do you

come from? What is your favorite Thai food? What do

you like most about Thailand? Do you want to ever come

back to visit?  They would do the interview in English and

film it on a cell phone for a school assignment.  They did

the same interview over and over until all of them had a

chance.  Sister Forte was interviewed also because she is

from America.  She would hold up a card with a picture

of the Savior during each interview so I did too.  At the

end Sister Forte gave each girl a card with the Savior on it

and told them that she was a missionary and that Jesus

Christ loved them and if they wanted to know more they

could contact the missionaries or come back for the free

English classes.

I forgot to mention that Kelly played basketball with the

missionaries that morning at 6:00.  It was a lot cooler he

said only in the low 90’s.  When he walked in from

playing he looked like he had showered in his clothes.

The basketball court is outside in the church parking lot.

The missionaries loved it.  Word gets around really fast

so I think he will be playing again soon.

A funny thing happened when we first picked up our

rental car at the airport.  We walk out to inspect the car

and I just about died.  The license plate front and back

had Playboy on it in big letters and the Playboy symbol.  I

kept saying no way, what should we do?  We can’t show

up at the church in this car.  We had no other options for

a vehicle so I took paper from my journal and folded it

around the license plate holders in front and back and

tried to secure it under the plate.  It was a blessing that

with all our driving the paper stayed in place the whole

time and no one ever saw the plates.  Kind of funny now

but definitely not then.  It was another Only In Thailand

moment.

Well we love hearing from all of you.  Ethan I hope you

love school this year and your new teacher and friends.

Aaliyah I am excited for you to go to school and to dance.

Corbin I love you happy boy.  I can’t wait for baby girl

Squire in December.  Jalynn I want details on all of your

dates this week.  Jaden please go to the doctor so you

can be healthy and I can have peace of mind, love my

baby.  Jace good luck on the job search and everything

else we talked about and don’t forget how amazing you

are.  Jami, we are praying for you and Jeremy.  You are

great parents and everything will work out.  Tell all your

sweet children we love them and miss them.  Thanks for

letting Ellie Jayne skype with us.  Devin we miss you and

your many talents and think of you every single time we

drive in Thailand.  Jared sorry about the hunt, better luck

next time, thanks for taking such good care of Jaden.

Momma and Dad Halstead, we love you.  Hope you feel

better soon momma.  Thanks for being so good to the

grandkids.  Mom and Dad Johnson, we love you and wish

you could visit your fan club here again.  Thanks friends

and family we love you.  Thank you Spackman family for

the package.  We will use it this Sunday and send you a

picture.  Thanks for your love and support it means a lot.

We leave Monday for our Mission President’s seminar in

Hong Kong.  It will be a great experience and we will get

to go to the temple.   We love our missionaries and the

people in Thailand and wouldn’t trade these experiences

for anything.

Love you all,

Terri and Kelly (Mom and Dad) (Gwandma and Papa J)








Comic book reviews: 8/26/15

Old Man Logan #4
Brian Michel Bendis, Andrea Sorrentino, and Marcelo Maiolo's fourth chapter of Old Man Logan pretty much provides more of the same: It still looks amazing, it's still pretty fun, and it's still a brief glimpse of one part of Battleword before throwing us (quite literally) into another part of Marvel's new planet.

Bendis' script has plenty of amusing action scenes and there's a surprisingly lighthearted cameo (which offers a nice balance to the horror vibe), but right now, it feels like this book is following a formula, and that leaves me feeling like the only real surprise is which part of Battleworld will appear on the final page. I'm sure Bendis will make me eat my words at some point, but right now, the book's following a noticeable pattern, and that's a little disappointing. It's definitely an entertaining journey, but the fast-paced nature of this story doesn't give us a lot to chew on. Instead, it's Sorrentino and Maiolo's absolutely stunning layouts that leaves the strongest impression, and those visuals have me coming back for more. (Okay, my love for Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's Old Man Logan doesn't hurt.) I mean, the vivid way these two handle the waves of zombies and Logan's struggle to survive? Or the immersive way they handle an intense scene towards the end? My eyes thank you, Sorrentino and Maiolo.

This book may not be pulling any surprises or delivering especially compelling material at the moment, but it consistently looks phenomenal and it's still good fun.

Ninjak #6
As someone who spends a silly amount of time discussing comic book battles with other fans, one comment seems to pop up a lot about Ninjak: "He needs his technology and gear, otherwise he's not all that great." Firstly, no. Secondly, Ninjak #6 kind of feels like Matt Kindt's response to that false statement. While the flashback (in the primary story) may not add much to the experience, Ninjak's search for - and fight with - La Barbe is well-paced and legitimately interesting. I do miss the previous artist's work (Clay Mann), but Raul Allen, Patricia Martin, and Borja Pindado's drastically different style - one which has a more animated atmosphere and large displays of one tone that tends to to attract your attention (e.g. the bright trees in Paris; the shades of blue in the forest) - produces some truly awesome action sequences. This allow us to better appreciate Ninjak's fluid motions, and the creative handling of these scenes makes it far more memorable, too. Things like watching Ninjak flip through an onomatopoeia or drones sweeping an area is surprisingly enjoyable.

This may be a jumping-on spot, but the backup story (by Kindt, Stephen Segovia, and Ulises Arreola) is really geared towards readers who have been following Valiant's (oh-so-awesome) reboot. For those missing Mann's work, you'll be happy to know the visuals here draw some pretty strong parallels to his pages. It's obviously drastically different than the pages from Ninjak vs. La Barbe, but given the fact it takes place in a totally different time, the difference really shouldn't be jarring for anyone. All in all, it's a satisfying story that's just intriguing enough to make you wonder what'll happen next and fills in just a wee bit of history with another character closely linked to Ninjak. Like I said, longtime readers will get a little more out of this one.

Ninjak #6 is one part clever spy mission, one part ninja awesomeness, and a sprinkle of origin story. If that sounds like a good time to you - and it should - do the obvious thing and give this series a shot.

Spread #9
"Think of the children!" Justin Jordan certainly has with Spread's latest story arc. In a post-apocalyptic world - one that presumably hasn't been around for that long - what would it be like for kids who are unlucky enough to grow up in this violent and horrifying place? Would they lose their humanity, or would there still be signs of it, even when they're in the cruelest conditions? We've seen how bigger societies thrive - or at least attempt to - but now Jordan, as well as  Kyle Strahm and Felipe Sobreiro, are showing us what some people are doing to in order to hold onto their lives for as long as they possibly can.

While I've grown to love No, having him out of commission was a good move. Not only does this give Jack - a seriously lovable character - more time to shine, it also gives the comic more time to flesh out the new characters who have entered the picture. One of Jordan's strengths as a writer is his ability to craft dialogue that comes off feeling natural, so that makes these new characters feel more alive instead of just random complications that are introduced just to give our leads more grief. This is a story that throws us into a post-apocalyptic scenario that's loaded with horror elements, yet what keeps me coming back are the characters. Sure, I like the premise a lot (John Carpenter's The Thing is my favorite horror film), but what has me hooked is seeing how these people - whether they're silent and collected or have totally lost it - react to this insane world and the many challenges it throws at 'em. It would have been cool if one of the new kids used a vicious looking boomerang, but maybe Jordan thought that would be too blunt of a Mad Max: The Road Warrior reference. Not that I'm complaining - there is a blatant Predator reference, after all. Bonus points for that.

As for the art, it's all in the eyes. How does the saying go? The eyes are the window to the soul, right? I'm not going to stop writing so I can google it, but I'm pretty sure that's it. In this story, Strahm allows the eyes to speak volumes. Immediately, you can tell whether someone's curious, sad, or out for blood. Hell, he even pulls it off with a bear. Through expression alone, we can see the animal go from prey to predator very, very quickly. Strahm and Sobreiro's work continues to be a perfect fit for Jordan's harsh and twisted story, and the handling of the eyes really makes these fictional beings more humanizing. The use of bold red shades will always capture your sight, too.

Roche Limit: Clandestiny #4
Michael Moreci, Kyle Charles, and Matt Battaglia's Roche Limit: Clandestiny kind of feels like a more elaborate and way more satisfying version of Prometheus (i.e. traveling to an alien world for a mission that isn't quite what it seems to be and the crew encounters more and more mysteries) - and I say that as someone who has a mostly positive opinion of Ridley Scott's movie, too! Now that we've reached chapter four - the penultimate issue - we're starting to get more answers to the several mysteries going on. Thankfully, these answers further boost my interest in this story, and it helps that it's written in a way that doesn't feel like blatant exposition. There's quite a few elements being juggled in this adventure (A.I., exploring an alien world, invasions, the human psyche), yet none of them feel overshadowed or glossed over and, somehow, this issue is also loaded with cheerworthy action. (Cole is the best, by the way.) One ridiculously over-the-top attack - one which started as a blatant parallel to Prometheus, and then went in a hilariously awesome direction - won't be forgotten any time soon. It's also really interesting seeing how these characters acted in chapter one versus how they are when they know what the odds really are... or at least what they think the odds are. And the icing on the delicious sci-fi cake? Energetic visuals that are overflowing with appropriately strong colors. This volume has delivered some excellent displays of emotion and alien landscapes, but this time around, it's the hectic action that really wows.

Overall, Roche Limit: Clandestiny is thought-provoking sci-fi which also happens to be full of action and some legitimately funny banter. It'll capture your interest, keep you guessing, and excite you with some crazy, gorgeous action. Seriously, what's not to love? Fans of Prometheus/Aliens (the first chapter has a moment that just screams "Ellen Ripley")/sci-fi in general, check it out.


A few notes:
  • I've decided not to provide scores for these quick reviews. Really, they're pretty short. I believe in your ability to read them and understand how I feel about a comic without seeing a number or letter grade.
  • If a publisher wants to use a quote, you of course have my permission to do so. Please credit as "Comic Book Babbling Blog".
  • If you're interested in having a comic reviewed, please feel free to contact me at greggkatzman@gmail.com. Or you can reach out via Twitter: @greggkatzman.
  • I didn't have time to review Rumble #6, but please, do yourself a favor and give that Image Comics series a chance. I'm not even a fantasy fan and I absolutely love it. It's fun, funny, and full of creativity. Plus, it has a giant sword called Thunderchop, so there's that.
  • One final - and very important - note: Be a good person, okay? Just give it a shot. Anyway, thanks for reading!

One Night in Khao Lak

Khao Lak was just getting to be very popular in 2004. A quiet alternative to Phuket, very nice beaches and easy to reach - just fly in to Phuket Airport and get a taxi north. It's not much further to Khao Lak than it is to Patong Beach, just in the other direction and to be honest, with the traffic, probably takes about the same time. And then, 26th December 2004. The Tsunami. Phuket was hit, but Khao Lak was hit far worse. Killed thousands in the area, compared to hundreds in Phuket. Many hotels were (and are!) right by the beach. The fishing village of Ban Nam Khem a little north was flattened. In places the water reached more than 1km inland. Recovery was quick, but in places the rebuilding took years. Phuket was quickly back on the tourism map and I felt that Khao Lak was a little bit forgotten. Not pushed as a destination by travel companies, more likely to attract independent tourists looking for a quiet place to stay. And even in high season, Khao Lak is not that busy. Hotels are strung out along a 20km coastline, some hotels are quite remote, some are in more built up areas. We did several short trips to Khao Lak back in 2013 - see Holidays in Khao Lak - we had some relaxing days and did trips to Koh Tachai island and visited the tsunami memorials.

I had wanted to take another weekend in Khao Lak, but just to relax and do nothing. My dear wife didn't fancy it .. "nothing to do", she said. Exactly! A relaxing weekend at a nice hotel, with crazy low season prices, sit by the pool, go to the beach, have a night in a hotel, and maybe visit a nearby waterfall or something. Perfect! Well, we finally got a night in Khao Lak on August 15th, and got lucky with the low season weather. We had first been white water rafting in Phang Nga and then drove to the west to Khao Lak, only about 45 minutes drive. Previously we'd stayed at Nangthong Bay Resort. This time, something new - The Leaf On The Sands, which is owned by Katathani resorts. They also run The Sands Resort, which is right next to The Leaf, and there's the Katathani and The Shore in Phuket.

As I understand it, The Leaf is the cheaper sister of The Sands. To reach the beach from The Leaf you take a path next to The Sands, takes about 5 - 10 minutes to walk to the beach depending on your walking speed. We checked in mid afternoon and I liked it right away!

The Leaf On the Sands

(above) The Leaf On The Sands. Our room was one of these by the pool :)

And the room rate? Not much more than 1,000 Baht! Low season prices can be a little bit nuts here! High season rates start around 3,000 Baht. We were straight into the pool for a splash about with the kids. There is also a second pool with a swim up bar, so I headed there too for a cold Chang with friends (we did this weekend with our friends from the Easy Day Thailand tour company). It's not a huge resort, has about 90 rooms. All with free WiFi, thank you! That has to be a given these days .. any hotel that charges for WiFi should be ashamed. Our room was comfortable, huge bed, big bathroom. Aircon maybe a little too powerful for the size of room, but .. right by the pool, inexpensive... I do like low season! We are lucky of course because we can decide last minute to take a trip. We can wake up Saturday morning and check the weather. Sunny? Let's go out! If you have a pre-booked holiday, well, you just have to be lucky.

I took a late afternoon walk down to the beach. Khao Lak has many different beach areas. This is Nangthong Beach. The hotel we stayed in before is just a 10 minute walk along the beach. Very quiet at this time of year, very few people around. I watched a few guys fishing from the rocks...

Khao Lak Beach

That evening our group all got together for a big dinner at a place called Baan Khao Lak Seafood, which is actually a few km south of the main Khao Lak beaches. I think it's more of a locals place to eat, being not that close to any hotels. We had a big spread of fried fish, penang curry and shrimp tom yum. And a beer or 2 :) And back to the hotel. I was back in the pool to let the kids jump on me, then popped out for a couple of beers at a small Italian restaurant over the street from the hotel, and enjoyed sitting with my wife on the hotel balcony. Easy life!

Next morning, no rush, but was woken about 7:15am by the kids (ours and their friends) who were already splashing around in the pool!

The Leaf On the Sands

(above) View from our room about 7:20am, Sunday morning.

Oh well, no sleep in for me! Another jump in the pool and then off for breakfast. Now .. hotels in Thailand do sometimes have very basic breakfasts. Often cold fried eggs, crappy white bread for toast, only sachets of instant coffee. I am happy to say that The Leaf was a good one. Fresh brewed coffee, and a cook who was making eggs to order. In my book, that's fancy, but then again we don't tend to stay at fancy hotels! Breakfast was included in the room rate too. A very good low season deal. After breakfast, I had to run to catch up with my son and a few of his buddies, who were heading down to the beach. It was a beautiful morning. As good as any high season morning. No big waves, just a gentle surf. Blue skies, empty sands. A shame it was Monday and back to school and work next day, I wanted another night!

Khao Lak 16th August 2015

(above) On the beach, Sunday 16th August

We all took a walk up the beach, kids darting in and out of the water, body surfing the waves. They can all swim pretty well, my kids and our friend's kids, but anyway, best to have some adult supervision. I don't think any of them wanted to leave either!

Khao Lak - Nangthong Beach

(above) My boy and a couple of buddies enjoying a perfect beach morning in Khao Lak.

My Boy at Khao Lak

Oh to be 10 years old again! Life is simple.

A very good weekend, with the rafting on Saturday and a relaxing night in Khao Lak. And my wife now wants to go again. I have finally convinced her that doing nothing for a weekend can be fun! Well, almost nothing ... we left from Khao Lak just about midday and headed back south to Phuket, stopping off at Lampi Waterfall on the way. It's not a really long drive from home to Khao Lak, we drive slow and it takes less than 2 hours. So, when will be our next Khao Lak trip?!

Epic Buffet, Hollywood Casino at Grantville, PA

The Epic Buffet is the casino buffet at the Hollywood Casino in Grantville, Pennsylvania. The casino is located at the Penn National Race Course. Grantville is located just outside of Hershey, PA where the chocolate comes from and where the Hershey amusement park is. The Hollywood Casino is a place for adults to go when the kids are asleep with a babysitter after a long day on the rides.

The famous University of Kansas state

( College Education news.c10mt.com ) The famous University of Kansas state. America has more than 50 states and thousands of universities across the state. So to choose a university which is suitable for ability and your desire is not easy. Kansas is a Midwestern’s state in the United States. This state is named after the Kansas River flowing through the state, and its name of the river originating from Kansa Sioux language means “the peoples of the south wind”.

The famous University of Kansas state
The famous University of Kansas state


It is difficult to adapt to cuisine in the US

College Education news.c10mt.com ) It is difficult to adapt to cuisine in the US. Studying abroad is a wonderful thing. You will be acquired a new culture, will have a lot of new things to explore. However, the life of an exchange student is not always smooth. Below is a shared experience of an American exchange student, please refer.

It is difficult to adapt to cuisine in the US
It is difficult to adapt to cuisine in the US



Experience to find overtine job when studying in the US

( College Education news.c10mt.com ) Experience to find overtine job when studying in the US. When studying the US, you’d have an overtime job. Employment in the campus or in school buildings (including the business establishments operating in the campus as a restaurant or bookstore) or somewhere outside the campus but it was merged the school in terms of education.

Experience to find overtine job when studying in the US
Experience to find overtine job when studying in the US


Some methods to improve presentation skill

( College Education news.c10mt.com ) Some methods to improve presentation skill. Mark Twain writer said: “There are two types of people when speeching: the fluttering people and the liar”. That means, despite how could be experienced, there is always something to make you sleepless nights and feel sick in the morning before the presentation, likely it is listener, theme , time, or something else.

Some methods to improve presentation skill
Some methods to improve presentation skill


Tips to reply interview when asking for visa to study abroad

( College Education news.c10mt.com ) Tips to reply interview when asking for visa to study abroad. Students who would like to study abroad will first have to pass ainterview to ask for visa at the British, the US, France, Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, Spain Embassies, etc. So How do we should answer the interview?

Tips to reply interview when asking for visa to study abroad
Tips to reply interview when asking for visa to study abroad

With personal experience of a consultant with many years of training interview exchange students, asking for visa is not difficult. Everyone knew this difficulty, but to become easily, think interviewing is a conversation that you must convince listener. If you do under this way, it will feel more comfortable, calmer and certainly will be more confident. Confidence was successful 50 percents! So what will you do to satisfy staff of embassies, consulates?

Nine secrets to study well of the US students

( College Education news.c10mt.com ) Nine secrets to study well of the US students. America should have more well-developed university and is also the place with best and excellent students. Here are 9 tips of good America Students: 

Nine secrets to study well of the US students
Nine secrets to study well of the US students


The opportunity to be able to enroll in 6 best universities of the US

( College Education news.c10mt.com ) Today, meeting the requirements of employers and enhancing job opportunities is a major concern and challenge for many students after graduation. Most of employers are expecting candidates with full of 4 factors: experience, basic knowledge, awareness of the business environment and the ability to communicate well.

The opportunity to be able to enroll in 6 best universities of the US

Synthesis of play in Saigon beautiful at night

( Entertainment Venues www.c10mt.com ) The entertainment venues in Saigon beautiful. Here, is a list of the entertainment spots in Saigon can fit for you, as well as for everyone to consult and more interested offline. If you prefer to go where they can choose to play the beautiful places below that Tam Chicken made offline.

Synthesis of play in Saigon beautiful at night
Synthesis of play in Saigon beautiful at night


The entertainment venues are listed below. Will help bring a freshness for your family, or may bring a certain inspiration interesting for young people today to Saigon. Also, the longer you can be immersed in the new game site, as well as the miracle at locations currently playing.

An election promise that will make Bangaloreans "stand up" and take notice

The municipal election of Bangalore is around the corner. When exactly, nobody knows. But it is definitely around the corner - like around the corner of who-cares and no-one streets. One reason Bangaloreans are indifferent towards the election is that everyone knows who is going to win. Yes, it is Hillary Clinton.

Wait! Maybe, I might have got it wrong. That is Miss America contest.

The other reason that Bangaloreans are indifferent is because they don't know the significance of municipal elections. "What does a municipal councilor do, eh?" they ask. The answer is obvious, actually. They do the same thing as MPs and MLAs - watch MMS video clips on phone.
"Then why do we need councilors? Are MPs and MLAs not enough?" Bangaloreans ask a valid question. I am afraid the answer to that is not so obvious. I had to consult an expert in Indian constitution and government setups - an eighth standard student who has civics the exam next day.

I put to the eighth standard student a question that is on every Bangalorean's mind.
"The roads in my neighborhood are filled with potholes. It is a nightmare to travel in them. Who should I complain to - my councillor, or MLA or MP?"
"It depends," he said. "You could go to councilor, if you want the road to be dug up for sewage pipes. You could go to the MLA, if you want the name of the road to be changed to Sri Sri Sixteenth century Swamy road. And you go to the MP, if you want an IIT in your road."
"But I don't want the road to be dug up, or the name to be changed. And I definitely don't want one more IIT. I already have enough campus love story books in my kindle." I said frustrated.
The boy thought for a while and then said, "Maybe, the councilor is your guy. You see, he is responsible for digging up roads for sewage pipes. But everyone knows that he will dig it up only after the potholes are filled and the road is tarred. So, if you could get him to fill the potholes and then get an injunction in court before he digs it up..."
"It is hopeless," I sighed.

Do you now understand why Bangaloreans are indifferent to the municipal elections? No contestant has come forward and proposed a plan on how he is going give what every Bangalorean desperately wants - a trouble free commute. In fact, a contestant would win by a landslide margin if he just says to his electorate this, "I will make your daily commute enjoyable. I will forward you my MMS clips."

Husband is a fan of many web hooker

( Wedding news.c10mt.com ) He also commented that went underneath the hostel, check every where. I confess to go interrogate him solve five times outside. My husband and I married two years ago. Our marriage was largely due to the impact their families. My father and his father was a close friend of another school.

Husband is a fan of many web hooker
Husband is a fan of many web hooker


We only had three months to meet and get married. After marriage, through a cousin, my husband said no formal college as I told my family that college entrance exam three years do not pass, must learn remote system. 

Since wealthier, my marriage as hell

( Wedding news.c10mt.com ) I was really depressed, I'm bored of this marriage, he lived with me always in anxiety, insecurity, I do not know what you're thinking, doing. My husband and I are both aged middle-aged hits, we were married 13 years and have two sons. First 8 years newlywed life difficult but happy, about 5 years of my husband's business had more but besides that happiness is undermined.

Since wealthier, my marriage as hell
Since wealthier, my marriage as hell


My husband had never listened to or to the mind's attention to his wife, the couple have about aggression, I was always the healing though not my fault. The money and time you can not know me, he put as many know this much, like, do not like do not put put, he says he hates the most is that I asked him to give money. As I said he had never sat down to talk to her to find common ground so I was suppressed.

Living 4 years but the couple as strangers

( Wedding news.c10mt.com ) Living 4 years but the couple as strangers. Now go do my husband does not know. He just as strangers to this wife. And he and I used to come together was 4 years. We unborn baby is due circumstances work.

Living 4 years but the couple as strangers
Living 4 years but the couple as strangers


Husband and wife have preference comparison with another woman

( Wedding news.c10mt.com ) Husband and wife have preference comparison with another woman. Go out with some friends, he always compares me with his friend's wife by a few of his friends who also marry wealthy continually helping his wife. My husband and I were married for 4 years and a half, beginning married life very happy happy and have a son, now then my job stability better salary husband. My husband always shared the house with me.

Husband and wife have preference comparison with another woman
Husband and wife have preference comparison with another woman

Mother-son-damn mouth associated battens wife

( Wedding news.c10mt.com ) Do work out failing, I had to stay home to work online, I earn low wages than his wife so her mother always decry me. I am 33 years old, my poor wife of 5 years, we've been married three years. Currently we have a lovely baby girl is 16 months old. Life seemed happy but sad story happened stems from my wife's mother.

Mother-son-damn mouth associated battens wife
Mother-son-damn mouth associated battens wife

Ask who break up is not easy wedding

( Wedding news.c10mt.com ) Ask who break up is not easy. As of now they do not know her emotional for me how, when she was happy, care about you, but sometimes the superficial, impersonal. Em, 27, is in the construction sector. Before, I spent a long love affair with a girl 4 years, due to many reasons that girlfriend decided to go with a staggering others without being able to say goodbye to you, that once you suffer injured a lot, life, work was turning upside down.

Ask who break up is not easy wedding
Ask who break up is not easy wedding


August 17, 2015

Greetings from Thailand!

Thanks for skyping again family.  We love hearing from you and seeing

the grandkids.  They make us very happy.  Thank you grandparents for

emailing us.  Thanks good friends for your letters they mean a lot to us.

Since the last letter we have had some amazing experiences we’d like

to share.

We were able to go to Myanmar to visit our four missionaries (Elders)

and our two senior couples.  They have had major flooding in Myanmar

and many lives have been lost and many homes destroyed.  In Yangon

where we were visiting they were doing ok.  They hadn’t flooded and

were grateful.  Many people were collecting donations and trying to

help the flood victims.  We could see from the airplane as we were

landing the flooding in surrounding areas.

I managed to bring the Elders Tim Tam cookies which is all they

requested.  Dad fit as many as he could in his carry on suitcase.  They

made it through customs easier than we did.  They were pretty excited

and I thought how easy it is to please them.  They are amazing Elders.

They receive their mission call to Thailand, go to the MTC and learn

Thai, arrive in Thailand and serve for a short time and then are called to

Myanmar to serve the remaining time of the mission.  They learn the

Myanmar language without any help at all, then they teach the gospel

without a translated Myanmar Book of Mormon and they can’t openly

proselyte.  They teach free English classes and have over 100 students

at a time.  They can teach from member referrals and they have an

awesome branch of members there.

We were able to go visit a family with the Elders on Saturday.  (Pictures

are attached.) The two sisters, Wynee and Bobbie are members.  The

brothers aren’t but they go to church occasionally when they are not

out working on ships on the seas.  The father is a pastor for another

Christian church.  He converted from Hindu to Buddhist to Christian and

the Elders are trying to get him to take one more leap and become a

Mormon.    He respects the church and believes that a religion must

have a Savior to be true, but he thinks the Father, the Son, and the Holy

Ghost are one person.  He also thinks our church should have livelier

music and singing.  He plays upbeat Christian songs on his guitar and

thinks our meetings would be less boring with better music.  The sisters

are wonderful.    Dad shared this experience:

As we were sitting with this family we quickly learned that they were

Christian. They talked about Christ and seemed to have great faith in

Him. The father played us a couple of songs on his guitar and sang for

us. The songs were about Christ. I felt that this family had hope in Christ

and looked to him as their redeemer. They seemed fairly happy, even in

their humble situation. The entire family consisting of father and

mother, and their 5 adult children, and one grandchild, live together in

a very small apartment. We had a nice visit. After we had been there

about 30 minutes, Wynee and Bobbie, both members,  got home and

walked through the door. I had an amazing experience as I saw two

sisters walk into the room with the most shining and bright

countenances ever. The contrast between the members of the family

was obvious, and it was so easy to see the light of the true gospel

burning brightly in the countenances of these two sisters. The scripture

in Alma 5:14 became real, where the question is asked, “have ye

received his image in your countenances?” These two sisters had, and it

was so obvious.

The Elders told us we were having lunch with this family and told us

that custom is that they don’t eat with us instead they serve us lunch

and watch us eat.  I was so glad the Elders warned us or it would have

been very uncomfortable or more uncomfortable than it was, I should

say.

They are such a gracious family.  They fed us a wonderful meal and

wanted us to enjoy all they had.  The Elders must have thanked them

20 times during the meal.  I was so proud of them, they are so kind and

grateful and really care about this family.

We took several pictures with the family and then the Elders asked if

we could have a prayer together before we left.  The father asked Kelly

if he would pray.  Before he could pray the father said, “If you could,

please pray that we can find jobs to help our family and if you would

please pray that my daughter will be safe working in Dubai and that her

son will be fine to stay here with family, and if you could please ask that

my wife can have good health, she was in bed for 3 years so sick and is

now doing better and please ask God to watch over my son who is

working at sea that he will return home to us.”  It was such a tender

thing to hear this father plead to Kelly to plead to God on behalf of his

family.

Kelly gave a beautiful prayer and a priesthood blessing for the whole

family.  The next day the whole family came to church except the

father.   The oldest son said, “Next time you come to visit, you come to

my house, I insist you are welcome.”

Dad and I left with Elder Savage and Elder Magera to go and meet up

with Elder Hinkson and Elder Hall and the Senior couples, the Petts and

the Sippels to have dinner at the Green Elephant.  I know Elders are

always hungry but I have never seen anyone eat as much food in one

sitting as these Elders.  They are all tall and skinny too.  The restaurant

was pretty much outside with a roof covering.  We enjoyed the dinner

and the mosquitos enjoyed me for dinner.  I have about 20 bites on my

legs still and that was with 20% deet on.  I am looking for something

stronger.

The branch in Myanmar is beautiful.  The members are so humble and

so kind to everyone.  The branch president is like Bro. Winters,

respected and loved by everyone, and quiet and humble and Christ-like.

One of his counselors is from Japan.  There are a lot of language

barriers in that ward but it doesn’t seem to stop the spirit from

teaching the gospel.  I went to Mission Preparation Class with the

Elders while Kelly was in interviews.  This class was taught mostly in

English with some Myanmar when needed for translation.  I had a neat

experience when the sister sitting next to me asked a question in

Myanmar.  I looked at the Elder and said, “Did she just ask why only the

Elders can baptize and not the sister missionaries?”  I think he was a

little shocked and said the gift of tongues is real.  I actually said, “Do

you mind if I answer that one Elder”.  It was a great experience.  They

only have chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel translated in Myanmar.  The

Elders work on translating parts of the Book of Mormon and other

essentials.  They are translating grammar books for new missionaries to

help them learn the language much easier than they did.  They do have

a Myanmar Bible but it is not the King James version that we are used

to.  Kelly calls the Myanmar Elders our Heroes.  So true, we sure love

them.

I just wanted to mention a few others in the branch so I never forget

them.  The branch president’s wife is a sweetheart.  Every Sunday she

brings flowers to the church and makes beautiful arrangements for the

chapel and Relief Society.  She gave me a yellow rose the Sunday I was

there.  Two other sisters were trying to pin a corsage they made on me

and saw my yellow rose and took it and put it in the middle of their

corsage and then pinned it on.  They made dad a boutonniere too, and

he ended up with a yellow rose in the middle also.

In Mission Prep, a young man whose sister is turning in her papers to go

on a mission is only 11 but comes every Sunday so he can be ready to

serve when he is old enough.

Sister Yin Lwin is the missionary Kelly released via skype from Myanmar

shortly after we arrived in Thailand.  Dad invited me in to meet her and

her parents because he was so impressed with her and her father’s

conversion story.  He had a dream years ago and saw the Salt Lake City

Temple and the LDS Hymnbook without knowing or seeing anything

about them ever before.  When he was invited later to go to an LDS

church he walked in and saw a picture of the temple and the

Hymnbook and knew he was supposed to join this church because he

had seen these in a dream years before.  He has been a member for 11

years.  He is so proud his daughter served a mission.

This small branch in Myanmar of 120 members has about 10 to 20

percent serving missions at any time.  They are so faithful.  It is just

beautiful.

Kelly tells the following about two of his interviews:

I had the opportunity to interview two beautiful young sisters about

missions. One actually has her call to serve in Thailand. I asked her

about her conversion and about her testimony. She teared up and gave

the most wonderful testimony. Seriously, I felt her testimony puts mine

to shame, and she doesn’t even have a Book of Mormon in her native

language. She has had to work her way through the English Book of

Mormon. She loves the Lord and I know he loves her. I met with a

second sister that will put in her mission papers in a couple of months.

In her humble and quiet voice, using English the best she could, she

testified to me with unbelievable power and emotion. She told me

about the problems she has a member. She is supposed to go to school

Sunday. She told me she got brave and went and told her teacher that

she really needed to go to church on Sunday. Her teacher, a staunch

Buddhist, made fun of her and told her to quit going to her Christian

church. This dear young sister was crying as she told me of this

experience and how her teacher wouldn’t listen and how she tried to

make her feel. But this 18 year old girl bore testimony to her teacher

and stood for her beliefs. I’m serious when I say I came out these two

interviews a better person. To listen to these two sisters bear testimony

about Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and His Church was an experience I

will never forget.

Kelly did a Melchizedek priesthood advancement interview for a man in

the branch.  He then asked Kelly to ordain him an Elder. He said after,

now I can bless my family because I have this priesthood.

We met Sister Mon’s sister.  Sister Mon is the missionary from

Myanmar that we met in the MTC in Provo.  She finally got her visa and

is serving here in Thailand now.  She is a wonderful missionary.

We met Carly Schaelling’s companion, Teresa.  She is a darling girl that

lives in Myanmar.  She knew all about Jace and us.  They served

together in Australia.  She and Ruth, the Relief Society President came

to dinner with the Elders and us and the Sipples at the Petts home.

Sister Sipple I have to say, reminds me so much of Aunt Rena.  She

looks like her, and sounds like her.  I just love her.  She is so kind and

hugs everyone at church.  They all love her.  Sister Pett is a sweetheart.

She cooks for the missionaries every Sunday.  It was her birthday when

we were there and she spent it preparing to feed everyone else.  I did

help though with dinner preparations and it was fun to visit with her.

We caught our flight home right after dinner.

We picked up a new missionary named Elder Joyem.  He had the

biggest smile on his face and I think he still does.  He is so happy and

excited to serve in Thailand where he is from.  He was at the MTC in the

Philippines.

We have our 2nd transfer meeting this Thursday.  You can already feel

the excitement of the missionaries.  They love transfer day.  We are

losing 11 missionaries and receiving 8 this week.  Elder Wolfley, our

assistant is going home.  He is an amazing missionary and teacher and

all the missionaries love him.  We will miss him.  I need to feed 20

missionaries Wednesday night in our home.  The good news is that they

eat anything and everything and don’t complain.

We had a conference here in Bangkok with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.

You probably remember that he set Kelly apart as a Mission President.

He is the kindest and most down-to-earth and approachable man.

Before the missionary meeting he sat with Kelly and me on the sofa in

the foyer of the church. He rubbed Kelly’s back, then put his arm clear

around Kelly and started patting me on the shoulder as he questioned

us about how we were doing.  He is without question an Apostle of the

Lord.  He never has a note but just speaks as the spirit directs. On

Saturday we had a missionary meeting with Elder Holland.  He shook

every missionary’s hand.  He had us bear our testimonies before he

spoke to the missionaries.  I was ok because it was all in English in that

meeting.  Sunday at the Bangkok Conference was a different story.

When we arrived we took our seats on the stage not knowing what the

program was to be.  During the meeting, Elder Woo indicated that Elder

Holland wanted Kelly to share a short testimony along with two

members from the audience.  I’m ashamed to admit it but I was so

relieved I wasn’t one of them.  I sat back thinking I might just enjoy this

whole meeting now.  When Kelly got up to bear his testimony, Elder

Holland jumped up and came over to where I was sitting and said come

on now bear your testimony and don’t worry he (Kelly) can translate for

you.  I was so taken off guard that I didn’t know exactly what he said.  I

stood there for a minute wondering if I dared bear my testimony in

Thai.  (consider that there were over 2000 Thai members in the

audience).  Luckily Kelly was right there beside me and said just bear

your testimony in Thai. I did and regardless of how poor my Thai is the

members were just happy that I tried to speak in their language.  Most

of the missionaries were happy and said they were proud of me.   Kelly

is getting emails from members saying We love you President Johnson.

They love that he was a missionary here when he was younger and that

he has come back again.  They love that he stops and talks to members

all the time and that he speaks Thai.  There were so many great talks on

Sunday and Elder Holland was marvelous.  The members love him.  I

hope you saw the pictures.  He is so passionate about the gospel.  We

were able to eat lunch with him after the conference.  He was so fun.

Dad sat right next to him and I was across the table from him.  He said

across the table, “Sister Johnson I thought your Thai was impeccable.”  I

was thrilled even though I’m aware that he doesn’t speak Thai at all.

What a great man!!  When he was leaving for the airport he shook

everyone’s hands but he hugged Kelly and then he hugged me.  He told

us he loved us.  Pretty much the greatest day ever!  We went to the

church close by and visited with the missionaries and members after.

Dad did interviews and it was funny how many missionaries were trying

to corner us and ask us if we could tell them anything about transfers.

It was getting out of hand in a funny way so Kelly said, “Sister Johnson,

you tell them”.  So I said, “Elder can you keep a secret?”  He said, “Yes I

can.”  I said, “So can I”.  It works like a charm every time.

We love the missionaries so much.  The more we get to know each of

them the happier we are that we were blessed to come to Thailand.

The very best serve here.

A side note…Bangkok has had a bomb explode on Sukhumvit about a

mile from where we live, near a famous shrine in a heavy tourist area.

As of right now there are 18 deaths and 120 wounded.   All of our

missionaries are safe and accounted for and in for the night.  We are

fine and don’t want anyone to worry.  All the parents have been

notified.  We will know more tomorrow.  It is midnight here now on

Monday.  I am sure Heavenly Father will continue to bless us.  I know

that he truly is the giver of the best gifts.  He has certainly blessed my

life in so many ways.  I love Him.  It is a privilege to serve in a small way

here for 3 years.

We love all of you.  You are our favorites!!!  You’re in our prayers daily.

Love, Mom and Dad ( Gwandma and Poppa)