Saturday, July 18, 2015


Asiatique History:
Back in the 1900s, during the reign of King Chulalongkorn, Asian countries were under threat of invasion from the European superpowers. With great foresight, King Chulalongkorn took the initiative to raise Siam to the level of leading countries of the world and decided to establish relations with Denmark. Included in this process was the construction of a pier belonging to the East Asiatic Company, a business dedicated to the export of teak wood and owned by Mr. Hans Nille Andersen, a Danish national. This pier signaled the beginning of international trade between the Kingdom of Siam (the former name of Thailand) and European nations and was the key to Siam maintaining the sovereignty and independence it enjoys to this day.

Today, that same area which the East Asiatic pier occupies is being restored to its original glory under the name “ASIATIQUE The Riverfront,” the first and the biggest lifestyle project in Asia on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, and soon to become Bangkok’s trendiest landmark.

Asiatique is a delightful place to visit and shop at.  See the photos below.  We went at about 5:30 pm with Elder and Sister Grange who took the place of the Meekers as the Office Couple.

Walking into the sun to get into our boat to take us to Asiatique

Sisters Moleff and Grange

View from boat
Asiatique straight ahead

Restaurant with "chess" motif

One of the many shops in Asiatique

One of many beautiful flower shops
L-t-R:  Elder Grange, Sister Moleff, Sister Grange looking over gift items

For those who like fish, you can select your own
No, we didn't ride the Ferris Wheel.  This shot was taken as we came out of 
Swensens - our favorite ice cream shop.

The end of a good evening.  
View from pier waiting for the boat to leave to take us back to the overhead rail (BTS).

Friday, July 17, 2015


Bangkok Thailand Mission President, President and Sister Senior are going home on 3 July 2015, and were honored for their outstanding service in a Fireside at the Changwattana Chapel.  Below are a few pictures of the Fireside.

Prior to this Fireside, the Seniors toured the Mission saying goodbye to Priesthood Leaders, Missionaries and Members.  President Wisan also put on a luncheon for the Seniors at the Service Center and presented 2-videos that showed to mission life of the Seniors.

L-t-R: President Senior, Sister Senior, Sister Khanakham, Elder Khanakham (Area Authority Seventy), President Sathit (Bangkok North Stake President).  Also seated on the stand (not shown) were President Suchat (Bangkok Stake President), and President Arun (Bangkok West District President)

Primary children playing a Thai instrument, they played I m A Child of God.  Other Wards/Branches also had presentations.
President Sathit making a presentation

Seniors receiving a gift of appreciation

President and Sister Senior spoke

Elder and Sister Khanakham spoke

President Suchat spoke

Head of Rotary in Bangkok region giving a token of appreciation to the Seniors

A bagpipe presentation

Sister Moleff with Pinky, a friend when we first arrived in Thailand

Sunday, July 12, 2015


The Valentines are the only LDS missionaries in Nepal.  Their assignment is in Humanitarian, with the primary effort being clean water projects.  After the 7.8 earthquake in Nepal on  25 April 2015, the American Embassy asked them to leave the country as non-essential personnel.  They came to Thailand to await further instruction  from SLC.  There mission President is in India but could not get permission to go to India.  We met them when they came to the Thailand Service Center where they were given a temporary office to meet their needs.  Sister Moleff invited them to our apartment to dinner with Elder and Sister Smith.

L-t-R at Moleff Apartment:  Smiths (PA), Valentines (Humanitarian), Moleffs (FH)

Story Below Taken From a News Article
"We are OK" say the Church members in Nepal.
New Delhi — 

Elder Jim and Sister Chris Valentine, serving in Nepal as Humanitarian missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were separated at the time the devastating earthquake hit. Sister Valentine had returned to their flat a few blocks from the church in preparation for the Young Men and Young Women who were joining them for a luncheon activity.  The Valentines told of several “tender mercies” from the Lord as they recounted the harrowing experience.
Elder Valentine said, “The ground gave a jolt and the members gasped.  I jumped and headed to the door to find Chris.  I fell once but got outside; most of the others stayed in the chapel.  I knelt on the ground and the quake must have lasted about 100 seconds before I could stand.”  Elder Valentine ran, along with a returned missionary who joined him, to find his wife, praying that he would find the high rise building still standing.
Sister Valentine felt the severity of the quake and made the quick decision to exit her 7th floor apartment by the stairwell.  She was tossed about and barefoot in the broken glass but made it down safely with only bruises. The couple was reunited in the street with tears of gratitude and returned quickly to the church.
The members had moved outside for safety.  They spent the afternoon together singing hymns, praying and trying to contact loved ones. The music gave comfort to troubled hearts of others who joined the group.. Branch President Chandra, Brother Bishnu Adhikari and other priesthood leaders contacted those who were not at church to make sure everyone was safe.  As the tremors continued throughout the afternoon, they were grateful for the protecting hand of the Lord.  Despite the damaged streets and the broken buildings, eventually the members made their way back to their homes and families.
Elder and Sister Valentine were without a home and spent the night inside the gates of the church under a tree in the rain.  The next morning with tremors as strong as 6.7 they walked to the US Embassy, a safe seismic building and eventually made it safely to Thailand.
“The people of Nepal are survivors, no one is complaining” said Sister Valentine with love and admiration.  “They are used to hardships” she continued.  The Valentines love the people of Nepal and the courageous members of the church.  “We are OK, we are OK” the members bravely say. Brother Bishnu said "It's a difficult situation but I am not discouraged. There are so many things to be grateful for."
 Emergency funds have been provided for local leaders to purchase needed supplies for members and a detailed assessment of each member’s needs is underway.  Communication is improving. Supplies such as tents, water, food and materials, blankets and tarps have been sourced along with clean water filtration.  Transportation and delivery is scheduled.  The Valentines are hoping to return to continue to give love, support and aid to the beautiful people of Nepal.

NOTE: The Valentines commented that just before after-shocks hit, dogs would bark and birds would fly.  So when they heard the dogs start barking for no reason, they would comment,  here comes another aftershock, and it was so.

Leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints visited Nepal to offer support and love to the people after the April 25 earthquake and aftershocks. A new photo gallery from the India Mormon Newsroom website captures the devastation they found.
Elder Jim Valentine and Sister Chris Valentine, who are featured in the photo gallery, were serving in Nepal as humanitarian missionaries for the LDS Church when the 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck. The India Mormon Newsroom site shared their story of being separated at the time of the earthquake and their reunion.
President Peter E. Sackley, president of the India New Delhi Mission, and Elder Randy D. Funk, of the Area Asia Presidency, visited the Valentines and the Nepalese people recently and are also featured in the photo gallery.
The LDS Church News reported that the earthquake claimed the lives of thousands of Nepalese people, but no LDS Church members were harmed.
View the complete photo gallery on the India Mormon Newsroom website.

Heidi and Cheyenne at Ayutthaya Ruin Sites

Ayutthaya is an island at the confluence of three rivers: the Chao Phraya River, the Lopburi River and the Pa Sak River.

Founded around 1350, Ayutthaya became the second capital of Siam after Sukhothai. Throughout the centuries, the ideal location between China, India and the Malay Archipelago made Ayutthaya the trading capital of Asia and even the world. By 1700 Ayutthaya had become the largest city in the world with a total of 1 million inhabitants. Many international merchants set sail for Ayutthaya, from diverse regions as the Arab world, China, India, Japan, Portugal, the Netherlands and France. Merchants from Europe proclaimed Ayutthaya as the finest city they had ever seen. Dutch and French maps of the city show grandeur with gold-laden palaces, large ceremonies and a huge float of trading vessels from all over the world. All this came to a quick end when the Burmese invaded Ayutthaya in 1767 and almost completely burnt the city down to the ground.
Today, only a few remains might give a glimpse of the impressive city they must have seen. Its remains are characterized by the prang (reliquary towers) and big monasteries. Most of the remains are temples and palaces, as those were the only buildings made of stone at that time. The great cultural value of Ayutthaya's ruins were officially recognized in 1991, when the Historic City became an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its proximity to Bangkok make it a popular day-trip destination for travelers from Bangkok.

We visited 3-different sites: (1) Ayutthaya Historical Park, (2) Wat Phra Mahthat, and (3) Wat Rat Praditthan.

Ayutthaya Historical Park
The Ayutthaya Historical Park (Thai: อุทยานประวัติศาสตร์พระนครศรีอยุธยา (Pronunciation)) covers the ruins of the old city of Ayutthaya, Thailand. The city of Ayutthaya was founded by King Ramathibodi I in 1350 and was the capital of the country until its destruction by the Burmese army in 1767.
In 1969 the Fine Arts Department began with renovations of the ruins, which became more serious after it was declared a historical park in 1976. A part of the park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. Thirty-five kings ruled the Ayutthaya kingdom during its existence. King Narai (1656 CE to 1688 CE) not only held court in Ayutthaya but also from his palace in the nearby city of Lopburi, from where he ruled 8–9 months in the year.

Model of what Ayutthaya Park Probably Looked Like

Wat Chaiwatthanaram (Thai: วัดไชยวัฒนาราม) is a Buddhist temple in the city of Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, outside Ayutthaya island

Wat Phra Mahthat

Chedis and prangs at Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya.

Wat Mahathat (Temple of the Great Relics) is located almost right in the center of Ayutthaya. Apart from being the symbolic center where the Buddha's relics were enshrined, Wat Mahathat was also the residence of the Supreme Patriarch or leader of the Thai Buddhist monks. The temple is believed to be built during the 14th century A.D. (the early Ayutthaya period).

For tourists, Wat Mahathat offers the much photographed Buddha head, embedded into a tree trunk.

Wat Rat Praditthan
(Not sure that this is the right Wat)

WOW!  Is that Superman flying over?

The inside of our Van Lighted Up