Sunday, January 19, 2014

Old Heads - Head Back (Part 1)

Former Bangkok Thailand Missionaries keep showing up in Thailand.  Today was a great example of the faithfulness of the Missionaries that I served with in Thailand.

You may remember that I am the 283rd Missionary called to serve in Thailand.  Today I was also with number 210, 286 and 300 all at the same time.  Next month number 85 returns to Thailand with his wife.  Number 35 is serving in Ayuthaya with his wife.  Number 16 and his wife who are the previous past mission President and wife are visiting Thailand at this time.

How did all this happen?  My wife says we can't get enough of the Land of Siam.

Number 210 is Elder Tom Perrry.  He started his Missionary Service in Thailand in January 1975. This is 10 months prior to my arrival. Elder Perry and his wife are currently serving as Humanitarian Missionaries in Ho Chi Minh City (Siagon) Vietnam.  They are in town for a few days and we met them at Church today.  We invited them over to the condo for a short visit after church. They will visit us at the office tomorrow. It was great to compare notes and talk.  I do not really remember having any direct dealings with Elder Perry.  Those were different times as missionaries in Bangkok. First of all communication was a lot different. There were no cell phones.  Even phones were rare.  Most of the homes I lived in did not have a telephone.  Almost no members had a phone.  If you wanted to make a telephone call you went to the town phone station.  You told the operator behind the counter what number you wanted to call.  She dialed the number and then told you which of the four phone booths in the lobby to go to and pick up the phone. We got together in Zone Conferences (1/4 to1/5 of the missionaries at a time) once every quarter. So if those elders weren't in your zone you did not see them or meet them.  The only time I remember getting the whole mission together was for Mission Conference - once a  year for about 2 days with ~ 150 missionaries.  In addition I did not move around a lot, I only lived in three different areas so I did not have a lot of contact with many different elders.

Number 286 is Jeff Rock.  Elder Rock was in my group of 11 missionaries that went thru the MTC together and we came into the country on November 6th, 1975. [Note he is 286 and I am 283 because in each arriving group we are put in alphabetical order for our groups arrival date.  We are actually simply group 281 thru 291]  Elder Rock has worked for the State Department and lived in the Far East for many of his working years.  He has actually (if I remember right) lived/worked in Thailand for ~ 12 years total. Of course he speaks Thai fluently. He has also worked in China for two 4 year stints.  All of his kids but one graduated from High School in Thailand.  He is living and working in Thailand after retiring from the State Department.  He is a current Member of the Bangkok Stake High Council and arrived at the Asoke Church Building early to attend High Council meeting at 5 PM.  I have met with him three or four times since I have been back in Thailand.

Number 300 is Joe Johnston.  Elder Johnston Arrived in Thailand in January 1976 two months after I did.  He lives in Florida, works for Delta airlines and is on vacation here in Thailand.  He brought his youngest Son (who served a mission in Chile) to Thailand before he grows too old (about to turn 24) to fly with his Dad’s Family Flies free discount.  He also brought along his Father in Law.  Brother Johnston said after hearing my name and thinking a little he remembers people talking a lot about Elder Meeker back in the day.  I have to admit that I do not remember him and never ran across him that I remember as he served in different areas than I did.  He told me that he has only been back to Thailand one other time before this (not long ago) when he brought his older child on free trip also.  He kept up on his Thailand Language skills much better than I did .  He was still able to read the Thai Script form the Thai hymn book.  I had forgotten how to read (Thai Characters) and had to relearn that skill after I received my Mission Call in Late June.

Old Heads - Head Back (End of Part 1)
Old Heads - Head Back (Part 2 will be continued)

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