2011 News
December 19, 2011 - Bangkok North District Christmas Celebration, December 23, 2011
The Invitation
President Sathit
Entrance to the Chaengwattana Building
The Choir
The 2011 program to be held Friday December 23 at the new Chaengwattana Building in Nonthaburi, will include singing, multimedia presentations, followed by dinner.
December 5, 2011 - His Majesty the King Celebrates his 84th Birthday
Having spent the last two years at Srirriraj Hospital, His Majesty the King made a rare public appearance on the balcony  of the Chakri Throne Hall, at the Grand Palace in Bangkok. He called on the country to come together to solve the nation's problems and rebuild following the Great Thailand Flood of 2011.
His Majesty King Phumipol Adunyadet appeared on the balcony of the Chakri Throne Hall at the Grand Palace on his 84th Birthday - December 5, 2011
To his right are two of this three daughters. To his left Her Majesty the Queen and his only son
In Thailand the King's birthday in December and the Queen's in August define "Father's Day" and "Mother's Day".
November 15, 2011 - The Great Thailand Flood of 2011 - The worst has passed
Based on headlines in the Bangkok Post it is safe to say the worst has passed. Flood levels are declining in almost all locations; but frustration will continue as it will take quite some time for all flooded areas to dry out. Now plans are moving ahead for recovery and restoration with some members of the ruling Puea Thai party proposing that the capital of Thailand be "relocated" somewhere else.  The proposal sounds similar to what happened when Brazil decided to build a new capital city from scratch decades ago.
November 13, 2011  - The Great Thailand Flood of 2011 - KSL News Reporter Sarah Dallof reports on flood relief efforts from Bangkok Thailand.
Here is the link to Sarah's report: KSL Report on Flood Relief in Thailand
November 13, 2011 - The Great Thailand Flood of 2011 -Water Levels are Dropping, but slowly.
The Big Bag Barrier North of Don Muang Airport
Designed to slow flood waters into Bangkok
Residents outside the barrier have destroyed part of it.
The Don Muang Elevated Expressway (foreground)
 is the main route north from Bangkok
Source: Bangkok Post
While water levels are dropping in most all areas around Bangkok, frustrated residents north of the Big Bag barrier near Don Muang Airport have broken a 6 meter hole in the barrier. Police watched as a small part of the barrier was destroyed. Frustrated that the barrier is helping stop flooding of inner Bangkok while maintaining the flood level in their area, they took it upon themselves to break the barrier. Their member of parliament called for the entire big bag dike to be removed.  

The flood level is slowly dropping and it will be at least 7-10 more days before significant parts of the flooded areas area again dry.

In early October the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration opened the first flood sewer - a 5-meter diameter pipe that can drain flood waters to the Chao Phraya River. They plan 3 more similar tunnels over the next two years.[Editor's note: It is not clear how redirecting flood waters back to the river helps, since the water flowed out of the river north of Bangkok. I think what they really need is to create alternate pathways to the ocean that don't rely on the Chao Phraya River].

November 9, 2011 - The Great Thailand Flood of 2011- Loy Gratong Festival - No lack of water.  
Today is the annual Loy Gratong festival where people make a small floating object often with a Styrofoam base and candles lit on top of it. They then take their creation to a nearby body of water and send it off to float away. Some say the festival's origin was a Buddhist tradition of "floating your sins away". At least this year it will be a simple matter to find a body of water on which to launch your gratong!
Launching the Grathongs
Pretty sight on the river
Loy Gratong 2011 - Photos: Bangkok Post
November 6, 2011  - The Great Thailand Flood of 2011
Flood at the door of the Bang Khen Meetinghouse. Found on the web. Not clear what date the photo was taken.
Bangkhen Ward Building
November 5, 2011 - The Great Thailand Flood of 2011 - LDS Flood Relief - Don Muang, Nonthaburi Province, Thailand
The following photos are from Brother Wisan's Facebook page. Nonthaburi province is directly north of Bangkok. The Bangkok North District center is located there. I believe all the photos were taken in or near Don Muang, but I could be wrong. Don Muang is home to the old Bangkok Airport which now generally services domestic and military flights. The airport has been under water (and out of service) for over two weeks now. So far the new International Airport (Suwanaphumi) east of Bangkok has remained open without flooding. The sad part is that the government had several weeks of warning as to the amount of water headed south to the gulf, yet no one seems to be able to take charge of the situation and put an effective flood management plan in place. Right now it seems to be every neighborhood for themselves; though the municipal government in Bangkok received about two dozen additional pumps. The governor then claimed that this would allow the main roads to be emptied in about two weeks time. Further a barrier of 6 kilometers length between two existing flood walls has  been filled in with 2.5 ton sand bags. This should allow some improvement in the northern areas within a few days time. Some flooded areas are sure to remain for a month or more. As the governor of Bangkok stated, "The flood is very broad and shallow". Most all flooded areas have less than three feet of water and many areas are less than two feet in depth.
Amari Hotel
No this is not a canal but a street
Help
Government Office BuildingPro
Missionaries and Members travel to deliver relief supplies
November 5, 2011 - The Great Thailand Flood of 2011
Flood area expands into northern Bangkok districts. Central Bangkok still at Risk. Results will depend in part on what frustrated residents north of Bangkok do. Will they continue to open flood gates and spread water from their area south into Bangkok?

Flood waters from the north have now entered northern districts and some eastern districts of Bangkok province. Much of Thonburi west of the river has some flood waters. Most flooded areas have two feet or less of water, but much of central Thailand north of Bangkok is still under water (the exception being the northeast part of the central plains). Some of the Bangkok flooding has been caused by residents to the north opening flood gates to drain water from their area into Bangkok and the government has been unwilling or unable to stop them. While the flooded areas continue to spread, the water depths have generally stopped rising. If the lawlessness can be stopped the situation from here should be manageable. It now appears that areas currently flooded may remain flooded for two to three more weeks as the water has been very slow to recede. Some industrial areas in eastern Bangkok are now in jeopardy. The dams up north on the Chao Phraya River appear to have managed the water as best they could in this situation based on reports and graphs in the Bangkok Post.


November 2, 2011 - The Great Thailand Flood of 2011 - Flooded residents take flood control options into their own hands
Thais suffering from the flood have taken matters into their own hands and have forced openings in flood gates and flood barriers to lower the flood in their area and force flood problems into other areas.  The government seems unwilling or incapable of controlling these vigilantes. The head of the Army has said that he won't challenge them for fear violence resulting [The Thai's abhor violence].. Such actions have caused the floods to reach northeast Bangkok (Min Buri), putting extra pressure on Klong Saen Saap (the one that runs close to the Asoke building). This problem is exasperating the flood situation in the Bangkok metropolitan area. The peak overall seems to be passing and things should slowly improve in Bangkok.  Flood waters are reported to be receding in Ayuthaya.
October 30, 2011  - The Great Thailand Flood of 2011
No Sunday Church meetings though out much of the Bangkok area because of the flood situation.
No Sunday Meetings at the following wards and branches:
  • Bangkapi
  • Samut Prakan
  • Thonburi
  • Bang Kae
  • Ayuthaya
  • Don Muang
  • Bang Khen
  • Bang Bua Thong
  • Rungsit

Other branches/wards in the Bangkok area will only hold sacrament meeting.

October 27, 2011  - The Great Thailand Flood of 2011 - President Smith / Asia Area reports on the flood situation in Bangkok
The Chao Phraya is now at 2.65 meters above sea level (previous record was 2.3).  The government finally declared as state of emergency.  The government also concedes that there is nothing that they can do to prevent central Bangkok from flooding.  Our missionaries are all located in apartments with second floors and have 120 liters of water per person in their possession.

The Asia Area provided the following [as a portion of their Disaster Report dated 10/26/2011] report

Status of Church Missionaries and Members

All missionaries are accounted for. 20 missionaries in the Bangkok area have been evacuated to northern Thailand, with plans to evacuate the remaining 46 missionaries as needed. Some have been relocated within Bangkok. Proselytizing and English-language classes have been temporarily suspended. Missionaries are focusing on assisting with relief efforts. Senior couples reside in high-rise apartments and are well-situated for now.

Missionaries are equipped with drinking water, food, and sanitation supplies. Because the water supply is contaminated, missionaries have been instructed to boil water and treat it with bleach for use in bathing and cleaning dishes. Missionaries are being carefully monitored to ensure their safety and access to adequate provisions. They have backpacks prepared if evacuation is required.

All members are safe and accounted for.  At least 100 member families have been displaced by the floods. The Church Service Center Manager's home, along with every member's home in his branch, has been flooded. Six families are currently housed in a local church building. Most members are living upstairs in their flooded homes or have moved to emergency shelters in their local community or have moved to relatives' homes. Most are trying to stay close to their homes to protect them. Priesthood leaders reported that members' most urgent need will be access to clean drinking water.

Status of Church Buildings

All 13 church-owned buildings in the Bangkok area are at some risk of flood damage. Four of those have been sandbagged; more will be today if sand can be acquired. Other preventative measures include sealing the openings with silicone and moving the furnishings to the second floor or up on tables in one-story buildings. Missionaries have been assisting with these preparations.

Full damage assessments for church buildings in flooded northern areas are delayed due to access constraints.

Service Center operations have been moved [from Nonthaburi] to the Phetchaburi building, a centrally-located church-owned facility in Bangkok with high elevation. Priesthood leaders have also selected this building for housing displaced members if needed.

October 24, 2011 - [Date Approximate] - Church Leaders meet with the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand regarding church flood relief efforts
From Left to Right - Sarawut Khanyaphan President of the Bangkok Thailand Stake, Elder Mani Seangsuwan Senior Missionary Elder Ogden Asia Area Public Relations Manager with the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand [Not sure which one as there are five Deputy Prime Ministers in the government].
LDS Delegation Outside "Government House" Bangkok Thailand. Government House holds the offices of the Prime Minister and members of her cabinet.
[Photos Courtesy of Osmond Seangsuwan]
October 12-13, 2011 - Church Packs Flood Relief Kits at the New Chaengwattana Building, Nonthaburi Province. Photos Courtesy of Wisan Wisanbannawit.
Missionaries and Members produce flood relief kits in the Cultural Hall of the Chaengwattana Building
Full Group of Volunteers Outside the Chaengwattana Building, Nonthaburi Province
Flood Relief at Lopburi about 100km north of Bangkok
People waiting for relief supplies in Lopburi.
Thai Mother with young child accepts relief supplies.
Meeting with officials at Lopburi City Hall. The church has a branch that meets in a rented facility in Lopburi.
October 11, 2011 - Church Flood Relief Project at Don Muang Airport
Designated the Flood Relief Operations Center (FROC). Photos Courtesy of Wisan Wisanbannawit.
Missionaries and Members Organize Flood Relief Supplies at the Flood Relief Operations Center at Don Muang Airport, Nonthaburi Province
The group of volunteers outside Don Muang Airport. [Photo Courtesy of Wisan Wisanbannawit]
October 7, 2011 - Church Organizing to help with 2011 Flood Relief.
As the "cool season approaches" the rainy season of 2011 has ended with widespread flooding; this year mostly in the northern section of the country.  The Chao Phraya River is full in Bangkok as the rainy season water flows into the Gulf of Thailand.
August 21, 2011 - New Bangkok North District Presidency sustained, District Center on Chaengwattana Road, Nonthaburi Province, Dedicated
Michael S. Smith, President of the Thailand Bangkok Mission wrote the following:

"We had 651 in attendance, it was also the first official Sunday meeting in the new Cheangwattana building.  Elder Victor Chen, Area Seventy assigned to Thailand, was the presiding officer for the district conference.  A new district presidency was sustained as well today.  President Chaimongkol was released after serving for more than 10 years in the presidency along  with his counselors, Presidents Sathit and Winai.

Sathit Kaivalvatanawas sustained as the new president of the Bangkok North District.  His counselors are Wisan Wisanbannawit (former member of the Bangkok Stake Presidency) and Natthapol Lattisophonkul(former Branch President of the Bangbuathong Branch).  They will make a dynamic team as they prepare this district to become a stake in the not too distant future.  The Area Presidency asked me to offer the dedicatory prayer, one of the Lord's tender mercies in my life".

Seated Left to Right - Wisan Wisanbannawit - 1st Counselor, Sathit Kaivalvatana - President, Natthapol Lattisophonkul - 2nd Counselor Standing - Phiraya Promren - Clerk
[Photo: 22 August 2011 - High Council Room - Cheangwattana Building - District Center]
President Sathit uses a wheelchair to get around as he was seriously injured in an automobile accident several years ago. His brother Samart and members of his brother's family were killed in an auto accident last year. See the entry for March 15, 2010.
July 22, 2011 - Chaengwattana Building in Nonthaburi to be dedicated.
Thailand's largest chapel constructed in Nonthaburi on Chaengwattana Road will be dedicated on Sunday August 21, 2011. The dedication will follow the Bangkok North District Conference. Construction photographs can be seen in the entry for September 17, 2010. Ground was broken on January 23, 2010. The building will become the District Center, and home to the following branches Pakkret, DonMuang and Chaengwattana. The Chaengwattan branch will be English speaking. Wisan Wisanbannawit provided the photographs of the newly completed facility.
Front View
Rear View
Chapel
Cultural Hall
Entry
Breezeway (Between Chapel and Classroom Wings)
July 4, 2011 - First Laotian Couple Called to service in Laos
Elder  Chanta & Sister Sounthara Luangrath of California have been called to return to their homeland as senior missionaries.  Their period of service starts this month. So far no proselytizing missionaries have been able to serve in Laos.  Those who are interested in learning more about the church area sent across the river to Nong Khai, Thailand, where missionaries from the Thailand Bangkok mission perform the instruction.
June 12, 2011 - Steps toward a Second Stake
Stake / District Conference - June 12, 2011 at the Landmark Hotel, Bangkok
Elder Carl B. Pratt of the Seventy and member of the Asia area presidency presided at the Bangkok Stake and Pakkret District Conference where the Bangkok North District was created from the existing Pakkret District and the northern parts of the Bangkok Stake. The meeting was held at the church's favorite place for large gatherings "The Landmark Hotel". The new district will include:

From the former Pakkret district

  • Lopburi
  • Ayuthaya
  • Banbuathong
  • Pakkret

From the Bangkok Thailand Stake:

  • Rangsit
  • Don Muang
  • Bangken (demoted from ward to branch)
And a new English speaking branch named Chengwattana

The new building under construction on Chaengwattana Road will remain a district center, just as it was called when ground was broken in 2010.  When this district gets strong enough one can see the Bangkok North District becoming the Nonthaburi Thailand Stake.  Unfortunately the overall sacrament meeting attendance in Thailand has not increased much over the last six years. There are some outstanding church leaders in Thailand; however, we need many more of them to move the church forward in the "Land of Smiles".  This June marks the 16th Anniversary of the creation of the Bangkok Thailand Stake.

May 1-5, 2011 - BYU Ballroom Dance team performs in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
March 24, 2011 - Earthquake in Northeastern Burma Impacts Northern Thailand
A magnitude 6.8 earthquake centered in northeastern Burma caused some minor damage in northern Thailand particularly in and near Chiang Rai. Few people as far south a Bangkok felt the quake. The chapel in Chiang Mai was said to be undamaged by this earthquake.