2015 News
August 15-16, 2015 - Elder Jeffrey R. Holland visits Bangkok

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles visited Bangkok, He led a priesthood leadership meeting, with priesthood leader from Thailand 3 stakes and districts. On Sunday August 16, he spoke to an audience of over 2140 members at the Ramkhamhang University Conference Center. He also met with missionaries serving in the Thailand Bangkok Mission. According to the Church News (September 5, 2015) Elder Holland made the following comments to those in attendance.

  • "This looks like a session of general conference."
  • Elder Holland asked for a show of hands of members who had served as, or are now supporting, missionaries from Thailand. A large number raised their hands. He spoke of a sister missionary from Thailand whom he met in Palmyra, New York, while visiting there with his grandchildren just a month earlier. He commented on the beautiful and strong testimony she bore.

He challenged church members to:

  1. Help the Church grow by introducing their friends to the missionaries.
  2. Plan and prepare to embrace the temple, to "have that beautiful house of the Lord become a veritable beacon in this land.

During his trip to Southeast Asia he also visited branches in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam, Spoke to a gathering of about 2000 in Phnom Penh in Cambodia, and dedicated the country of Timor-Leste (eastern end of the Indonesian Islands) for the preaching of the gospel.

Below are photos from Elder Holland's visit to Bangkok Thailand:
Elder Holland instructing members in Thailand
Elder Wisit Khanakham - President Asia Area
Elder Wisit Khanakham - Thai Area Authority Seventy
Sunday Conference Session - Ramkhamhang University
Priesthood Leaders - Chaengwattana Building, Nonthaburi Province Thailand
July 1, 2015 - New Mission Presidents begin service
On July 1 every year new mission presidents new mission president begin service. On this day new mission presidents began service in Bangkok Thailand, Phnom Penh Cambodia, and New Delhi India and about 110 other missions world-wide. Next year there will be over 160 new mission presidents called, because in July 2013, 59 new missions were created all at the same time. Also on July 1st every year the general authorities of the church begin a month long vacation. This leaves the new mission presidents with no one but the Lord to rely on as they begin there service. That actually could be a good thing. President David Senior and his wide Shelly completed their three years of service in Thailand. President and Sister Johnson arrived in Bangkok to replace them.
President and Sister Johnson (left), President and Sister Senior (right)
Well wishers bid President and Sister Senior farewell at Suwanaphumi Airport in Bangkok
Editor's note: I sent an e-mail to President Senior to congratulate him on what had been accomplished during the last three years, in part it read:

I wanted to congratulate you and your wife on accomplishing a great deal in Thailand over the past three years. Two new stakes, a temple announcement, and more converts in three years than ever before!

President Senior responded:

I wish we were deserving of your most generous comments. The truth is we have been laborers in the vineyard, having a special front row seat watching the Lord do His own work. Furtherance to that truth is we currently drink from the wells dug by those who have gone before. The temple announcement is in a way a validation of all of that work, faith, energy of missionaries and members over the past 50 years. Thank you for being a significant part of that.

June 14, 2015 - If it is June, it is time for a new Stake in Thailand
The Bangkok Thailand stake was created on June 18, 1995. The Thailand Bangkok North stake was created on June 15, 2014. On June 14, 2015, the Ubon Thailand Stake was created by Elder Garrett W. Gong, President of the Church's Asia area. Preparations for this stake was made last year with re-alignment of the districts in Northeast Thailand. Ubon is located in Eastern Thailand, Missionaries have been serving there since August 1974 when Elders John R. Grange and E. Donald Harris Jr. were assigned to open the city.
Members of the new stake vote to sustain their new leaders
Ubon Ratchathani Stake Presidency
L-R President Prawit, 1st Counselor - President Amporn, Stake President, President Lersan, 2nd Counselor
50th Anniversary of Missionary Work in Thailand - A Celebration 2016

President Suchat Chaichana of the Bangkok Thailand Stake has confirmed the dates for the 50th Anniversary of Missionary Work in Thailand ** November 11-13, 2016 **

Thailand was dedicated for the preaching of the gospel on November 2, 1966, by Elder Gordon B. Hinckley. The first missionaries did not arrive until February 2, 1968.

Here is what President Chaichana had to say regarding this event:

We plan to have all members from all units gather together in Bangkok on November 12, 2016 to celebrate 50th Anniversary for the whole day. We will rent the national stadium or national convention hall for 4000 people. There will be exhibition booths for all church departments and each ward and branch from all over the country will display their unit's history. We will also have the local Thai food festival that everyone can test the local Thai food from every region. At night we will have culture and art showcase from the representatives of each part in Thailand.

The next day, November 13 we will hold the national conference which will preside by the general authority.

November 14-15 is the annual Loy Kratong Festival A couple days before that we plan to have fundraising activities for charity between members and RMs such as golf tournament, bowling tournament and a marathon.

Suchat Chaichana - President Bangkok Thailand Stake

It is time to get excited and start planning; but, as of now, no one can purchase an airplane ticket for November 2016. Alan Hess, Thailand missionary #1 is working with others in the travel industry to come up with some packages to offer to former missionaries. Details on those will be available perhaps as early as late this year. The Bangkok Thailand Temple cannot be complete by the end of 2016, but perhaps it will have started to rise from the ground if we are lucky and there are no troubles in completing the exterior design and getting required permits.

May 3, 2015 - Asia Area Conference
A conference for the Asia Area will be help Sunday May 3, 2015. The Asia Area, headquartered in Hong Kong, is the larges Area in the Church in terms of both geography and population. Since bringing the area together in one place is simply impossible, the conference will be delivered electronically.
April 29 - May 1 - Bangkok Stake Youth Conference
Some class=graphs of the nationwide Youth Conference. class=s: Suchat Chaichana - President Bangkok Thailand Stake
April 25, 2015 - Former Thailand Missionary called as Mission President in India
Kirt LaMont Hodges, 56, and Shawna Lyn Porter Hodges, four children, Idaho Falls 19th Ward, Idaho Falls North Stake: India New Delhi Mission, succeeding President Peter E. Sackley and Sister Kelly Sackley.

Brother Hodges is a former stake presidency counselor, bishop, high councilor, stake Young Men president, Scoutmaster and missionary in the Thailand Bangkok Mission. Accountant, federal government. Born in Preston, Idaho, to Thayne K Hodges and Karen Ruth LaMont Hodges.

Sister Hodges is a former stake Young Women president, stake Primary presidency counselor, ward Relief Society and Primary president, stake Young Women camp director, Sunday School teacher and ward Primary chorister. Born in Preston, Idaho, to Lynn Spatig Porter and Arlene L Neuenswander Porter Larsen.

April 5, 2015 - A Temple for Thailand
At the Sunday morning session of the 185th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, President Thomas S. Monson announced that a temple would be constructed in Bangkok Thailand. Social media then rang out with expressions of gratefulness from Thai members and former Thai missionaries.

When President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Thailand in June 2000, he promised the Saints that one day a temple would be built in Thailand, the announcement that will fulfill that promise was made by President Monson, just a few months short of 15 years later.

The site for the temple was purchased in 2008. At that time the church purchased property on New Petchaburi Road (not far from the Asoke Chapel - Thailand's first - completed in 1972 and dedicated in 1974 by Elder David B. Haight (at that time an assistant to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles).

Church growth in Thailand over the past 18 months has been nothing less than spectacular, with almost 2000 baptisms in 2014, making Thailand one of the top baptizing missions in the church. The offer of a way to have sins forgiven resonated with the Thai people who had suffered from a divided government and many uncertainties since September of 2006. Retention results so far have also exceed the long term average for the country.

It will be interesting to see what countries make up the temple district for the new temple. Clearly Cambodia with 2 stakes in Phnom Penh will be included; but what countries will be left in the Hong Kong district, so that it still has some of its own? Perhaps Viet Nam, Indonesia and Singapore will be left with Hong Kong? While India, Malaysia, Laos and Myanmar are assigned to Thailand.

Since it takes 2-3 years from the time of the groundbreaking to construct a typical new temple, the completion date for the Bangkok Thailand Temple will be 2018 or later, even if ground is broken in the fall of 2015. Groundbreaking cannot be done until the local permits have been obtained, and such permits will require a rendering of the outside of the building, and the specifications for the outside dimensions as well. It is not known if any architectural design work has already been completed.

March 15, 2015 - Former Missionary in Viet Nam called as President of the Cambodia Phnom Phen Mission
James Lowell Christensen, 63, and Charlene Baird Christensen, six children, Draper 11th Ward, Sandy Utah Hidden Valley Stake: Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission, succeeding President David C. Moon and Sister Kathryn Moon.

Brother Christensen serves as a ward mission leader and is a former bishop, stake presidency counselor, ward Young Men president, Scoutmaster and missionary in the Hong Kong/Vietnam Mission. President/general counsel, Pacific Western Equipment Finance. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Lowell H. Christensen and Catherine Renee Young Christensen.

Sister Christensen serves as a stake Relief Society president and is a former ward Primary, Young Women and Relief Society president, Relief Society teacher, Primary pianist and ward organist. Born in Salt Lake City to Rey Lorenzo Baird and Joanne Pay Baird.

March 7, 2015 - Introducing Kelly R. Johnson - 15th President of the Thailand Bangkok Mission

Source: LDS Church News -Kelly Ray Johnson, 52, and Teressa Lynn Bartram Johnson, five children, Kaysville 8th Ward, Kaysville Utah Central Stake: Thailand Bangkok Mission, succeeding President David M. Senior and Sister Shelly A. Senior.

Brother Johnson is a former stake president, stake presidency counselor, high councilor, bishop, ward mission leader and missionary in the Thailand Bangkok Mission. Forensic accountant and partner, Norman, Townsend & Johnson. Born in Ogden, Utah, to Harold Raymond Johnson and Helen Cragun Johnson.

Sister Johnson is a former ward Young Women president, ward Young Women and Relief Society presidencies counselor and ward nursery leader. Born in Sumter, South Carolina. Daughter of Thomas Halstead and Darlena Halstead.

March 4, 2015 -The first missionary group of 2015 arrives in Bangkok
Ten Elders and six Sisters arrived in Bangkok in early March.
Pictured here with President and Sister Senior on top of the Church Office Building.
Photo: Wisan Wisanbannawit - 1st Counselor - Mission Presidency
January 10, 2015 - New Thailand Bangkok Mission President Called
The Church News announced that Kelly R. Johnson has been called as the next President of the Thailand Bangkok Mission. His home is in Kaysville, Utah, just north of Salt Lake City. In the future the Church News will publish a short biography. He will begin service on July 1, 2015, replacing President David Senior.

The next President for the Cambodia Phnom Penh mission was listed as "To Be Announced".

January 10, 2015 - New Missions to be created on July 1, 2015
Source: LDS Church News -The new missions include these eleven (two in Utah): Portugal, Porto; Washington, Yakima; California, Modesto; Bolivia, La Paz, El Alto; Argentina, Buenos Aires East; Argentina, Santa Fe, Orem; Utah, Logan; Costa Rica San Jose West; Peru Trujillo South; Trinidad, Port of Spain. Missions Discontinued(one): Utah, Salt Lake City Central - which was created three years ago as an experiment of a Utah mission without cars for any missionaries. Net increase 10 missions.