The donation was made through the Privy Council, an advisory counsel to the king, to the designated charity, the Sai Jai Thai Foundation, a charity under the patronage of Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Providing the 980 wheelchairs is Latter-day Saint Charities, the charitable foundation of the Church. The Sai Jai Thai Foundation will distribute the wheelchairs to those in need with the assistance of nine nominated charities.
Accepting the wheelchairs from LDS Charities in a ceremony Thursday, Aug. 14, was His Excellency Kamthon Sindhvananda, privy councilor and vice-president of the Sai Jai Thai Foundation. His Excellency Kamthon thanked Latter-day Saints Charities and the Church for the donation.
Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Seventy, president of the Asia Area, thanked Sai Jai Thai for its assistance in receiving and storing the wheelchairs until they could be distributed. He explained that the Church has been involved in many humanitarian welfare efforts in Thailand over the past few years and that it is a privilege to help the poor and needy in the Kingdom of Thailand.
Work began on the wheelchair donation shortly after senior missionaries Robert and Theone Snow, Thailand country directors for Latter-day Saint Charities, arrived in Thailand in March 2007. They met with M.R. Benchapa Krairiksh, a descendant of King Rama IV, to ask for assistance in making a donation to the palace.
M.R. Benchapa has done much charity work with local charities and is the wife of Sakthip Krairiksh, former Thailand ambassador to the United States and Japan. While in the U.S., the couple became friends with members of the Church in the Washington, D.C., area. They were hosted by Church officials in Salt Lake City. In Utah, the couple became friends with President Gordon B. Hinckley.
M.R. Benchapa said that she was excited about working with the palace on the wheelchair donation and suggested the Snows write a letter to the Privy Council outlining the proposal. She said that "the letter should state that Latter-day Saint Charities would like to donate 980 wheelchairs to H.M. The King in honor of His Majesty's 80th birthday." That specific number was suggested because the number 9 represents the current king who is the 9th king in the Rama line and 80 represents the king's 80th birthday in December 2007.
In Thailand, the Church has 15,000 members in 39 units throughout the country. Elder Snow noted that the Church has made significant donations to the Thai citizens over the years. Those donations have included neonatal resuscitation equipment and training, vision care equipment, infant health kits and infant formula, tsunami aid, intensive English teaching assistance and clean water projects for schools and villages.
This building will become the home to the Asoke Ward and Dindaeng Branch of the Bangkok Thailand stake starting on Sunday June 15th. While President Wisit made no commitments at this time, it appears that perhaps the new building will be replaced (or perhaps remodeled) so as to become the long hoped for multi-use building for the church in Bangkok. If that is the case, then the long term future of the historic Asoke chapel may be in doubt.
The English speaking ward in Bangkok is moving to the beautiful new Srinakarin building on On Nut road (photo).
Bouy was being taught by the elders, but had not yet been baptized. His mother was a recent convert and his sister was serving a mission. His mother worked hard to provide for the family, though it was hardly enough for their needs. Bouy had a passion for the gospel and deeply wanted to be a part of the Church.
He was soon baptized and scheduled to be confirmed the following week in sacrament meeting. As the meeting began, however, Bouy had not arrived. There was much tension as the time for his confirmation approached. When administration of the sacrament ended, almost on cue, the young boy came through the doors and headed straight for the stand, wearing the best clothes he had — a shirt with his favorite superhero and a pair of clean shorts.
This young man was being faithful to the covenants he'd made the previous week. But more incredible was the reason for his late arrival.
The family motorcycle had broken down and Bouy's bicycle, the only other form of transportation, was needed elsewhere. He knew he needed the gift of the Holy Ghost to complete his membership in the Church. Yet, being too shy to ask for a ride, he walked two hours to attend meetings. There was scarcely a dry eye in the building as he explained the difficulties of the morning.
Bouy now continues his faithful membership by riding to the meetinghouse each day at 4 a.m., to attend seminary, which begins at 5 o'clock.
This young boy was not extremely knowledgeable about doctrines of the Church, but he knew it was true.
Examples like Bouy's remind us that simple faith leads to action. When we as members of the Church truly know that this is the Lord's Church, there is nothing we won't do for Him. — Heather Sommer of the Zion's Peak Ward, Salt Lake Valley View Stake, served in the Thailand Bangkok Mission.
President Lowe with his wife served from July 1, 1979 until June 30, 1982. He was the third president of the Thailand Bangkok Mission. Prior to his call as mission President he and his wife had previously lived four years in Thailand while he was employed by the U.S. government.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of that day in 1968 when the first six missionaries arrived in Bangkok, Thailand. The Bangkok Thailand stake invited the original six missionaries to return this weekend to commemorate their arrival 40 years ago. Of the original six missionaries only Alan H. Hess and Larry R. White made the trip back to Bangkok for the commemoration activities. The other four former missionaries Peter W. Basker. Craig G. Christensen, L. Carl Hanson. and Robert W. Winegar sent letters that were read during the commemoration fireside. Robert W. Winegar was nearby in Phnom Penh Cambodia serving as president of the Cambodia, Phnom Penh mission.
[Note: Elder Elam Luddington was the very first missionary to serve in Thailand. He arrived in Bangkok in 1854, but stayed only a few months].