Saturday, October 11, 2014

Senior Missionary Couple Departs for Home

Elder and Sister Sowards a senior missionary couple from Arizona departed Thailand after completing their 18 month Mission on October 1st.  Sister Meeker and I really enjoyed being with them. They were assigned to a small town Ayuthaya, a little over a hour north of Bangkok, so we did not get to spend a lot of time with them.  Elder Sowards was truly one of the pioneer missionaries that served in Thailand.  He is listed as the 35th Missionary to serve here.  He and his companions opened up the City of Chiang Mai for the preaching of the Gospel.  Chiang Mai is a large city in northern Thailand and there are currently two branches of the Church that meet there. The Sowards served as MLS (Member Leader Support) Missionaries. They were maintaining a blog about there service in Thailand. Link attached.  Sister Sowards is a published author and as such their Blog posts are really well written and fun to read and see.
The post on their Blog from Sunday, September 28, 2014 talks about our visit. 

Sister and Elder Sowards with Sister Meeker
Before we start on Desert
As part of my responsibilities as the Financial Secretary for the Mission I am responsible to rent and provide furnishings for all of the Missionary residences including the housing for Senior Missionaries.  We had rented a home in Ayuthaya for them.  With the Sowards departure we needed to close the house.  There were several items of church owned furnishings that we need to collect.  So Sister Meeker and I drove the Cargo Van to Ayuthaya to pick up those items.  On a prior visit to Ayuthaya, Elder and Sister Sowards introduced us to their favorite restaurant.  It just so happens to be at the same exact hotel that Sister Meeker and I stayed at almost 4 years ago when we toured Thailand.  I was truly impressed with the American Burger and the deserts (as mentioned in the Sowards Blog). So instead of going up early Saturday morning and returning with the furnishings, we decided to go up on Friday evening in order to be able to have dinner one more time with the Sowards at the Krungsri River Hotel Restaurant.
Sister Meeker with her delectable Chocolate Mousse

My Chocolate Mousse - Almost to pretty to eat ..... NOT!
We stayed overnight in the Hotel and this brought back memories of our visit back in Early 2011.  Looking back at the Pictures from our prior Visit ---- I think we stayed in the same exact room.
Sister Meeker Getting ready for the Day in Ayuthaya

Selfie of two Senior Missionaries

River Barge Traffic on the River in Ayuthaya

View from Hotel looking South East towards the Church and the Sowards former home
Tall Chedi (or Stupa) in the distance to the Left is Wat Yai (Big Temple)
Sometimes Thai names are very descriptive and simple - other times not so

Sister Meeker was enthralled by this chandelier above the Hotel stairway

She also liked the drapes on the Hotel Curved Stairway

Model in Hotel lobby of river Barge that was common when I was here 39 years ago
 We brought our Mexican Train Dominos game and had a go of it with the Sowards in our room after dinner. Now you know what we as Senior Missionaries can actually play games.

On Saturday morning we loaded up the Van with two desks, Wash machine, clothes drying racks (hardly anyone in thailand owns a dryer), Dining room table and chairs, etc.  On Saturday afternoon we were privileged to attend the Branch activity to honor the Sowards.  There was Thai food of course, a Video tribute with music and some play acting and performances.  It was fun to see.  the Thai Members in Ayuthaya truly love the Sowards.  He served as the Branch President for the past year or so and Sister Sowards taught Piano lessons to many students and helped with youth activities every Saturday afternoon.  The youth had a big part of the performance ... they did a "Singing in the Rain" performance complete with colorful plastic rain coats and umbrellas.  They did a mini Virginia Reel dancing routine that Elder and Sisters Sowards had taught to them back on Pioneer Day in July. 

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