Living the Gospel in Thailand

At the rear of the sun-drenched chapel, behind the last row of chairs, a man squats on the floor, happily bottle-feeding a baby. It’s not his baby. He has just “borrowed” the baby from its mother, which gives her a chance to concentrate on the Gospel Doctrine lesson and gives him the pleasure of cradling a baby in his arms.

This is typical of the sensitive service rendered by Wisit Khanakam, Young Men president in the Bangkok Branch, Thailand Bangkok Mission. Brother Khanakam is well known for reaching out to others and has made opportunities to do so. He has served as branch president in two smaller Thailand communities and currently works as the country manager for the Church administration offices in Bangkok.

The gospel is “the way of our life,” according to Brother Khanakam, speaking for himself and his wife, Sumamaan Srisarakham, and their two children. “Going to church on Sunday, fulfilling Church callings, paying tithing are not sacrifices. They are blessings; we have been blessed in so many things and ways.”

One of the family’s most recent blessings has come as Brother and Sister Khanakam struggled to help their son, Wisoodthiporn, or Ben, overcome what appeared to be a learning disability. Teachers by profession, Brother and Sister Khanakam used family prayer and training to help Ben. “We prayed about the problem, and we realized that the best teachers for our son were his mother and father. We were very busy, but we realized that the most important thing our children needed was our time.

“What we do within the four walls of our home is most important to us and to those we can influence for good,” says Brother Khanakam. “For example, a neighboring couple has been taking the missionary discussions and now permits their son to attend church with us. This has come about because they liked what they saw in us as a family. As a family, as Latter-day Saints everywhere, we can perfect our lives through living the gospel.”David Mitchell, Salt Lake City, Utah

Rapid Response

Growing up in the wide open spaces of southern Utah gave Dennis Dalton a love of the outdoors and an appreciation for life.

As a boy, Dennis did not anticipate what his adventures would prepare him for later in life; however, years later, Dennis rescued an unconscious driver from a wrecked car, and his quick reaction may have saved her life.

“The woman’s car hit my van, swerved around me, jumped the curb, crashed into the side of a building,” Dennis recalls, “tipped at an angle and teetered on a low structure, the tires still spinning, the engine smoking and revving.”

His instinctive reaction was to stop his car and run to help. As he did, the first thing he noticed was that her car had sheared off a gas main that led into the building, and gas was rushing out.

“I thought it would blow us all to pieces,” he remembers. He turned the car’s ignition off and had to work to get the door open before he could get the unconscious driver out.

No explosion occurred, but the quick-acting courage that Dennis displayed earned for him his company’s service award and lots of local media attention.

To his wife, Barbara, and their three children, Dennis, a member of the Torrey Pines Ward, Las Vegas Nevada Redrock Stake, is a hero as he sets an example in everyday life.Shan Clark, Kanab, Utah

In the Spotlight

  • Elementary schoolteacher Ellyn J. Francis of the Okotoks Ward, Calgary Alberta South Stake, was recently awarded the Alberta Provincial Excellence in Teaching Award for 1993.

  • E. Dale Cluff, director of libraries at Texas Tech University and stake mission president in the Lubbock Texas Stake, has been elected president of the Texas Library Association.

  • Residents of Boise, Idaho, have elected their first Latter-day Saint mayor. Brent Coles, of the Boise Thirty-sixth Ward, Boise Idaho West Stake, had served as interim mayor for ten months prior to his election as leader of the state’s largest city and capital.

  • Mary Beth Carr, a member of the Cameron Ward, Liberty Missouri Stake, has won the 1993 Farm Bureau Outstanding Home Economist Award and the University of Missouri Extension Association’s Meritorious Service Award.

Teacher’s Teacher

At a time in her life when most people are slowing their pace, Bonnie Rosell is busier than ever. This mother of nine and grandmother of forty-seven, who resides in the Placentia California Stake, is an educational consultant and Church speaker throughout southern California.

Enthusiasm is a trait Bonnie has exhibited throughout her life, including during her college days, when she was named the outstanding student in elementary education at Brigham Young University. Following graduation, she taught for a few years. Then, after her marriage to John Rosell, also an educator, she devoted her time to raising their family.

After her children grew up, Bonnie, who says, “You should never stop learning,” began a consulting business providing workshops for teachers.

Bonnie’s teaching extends to parents and her own grandchildren as well. When she speaks at Church functions, she encourages parents to have fun with everyday activities, such as celebrating the end of the school week with a popcorn party or having cookies and punch after Saturday chores. When she and John are with their grandchildren, they actively teach them by helping them start a hobby. Busy with baseball cards, coin collecting, and stamp collecting, the grandchildren enjoy sharing these hobbies with each other and with their grandparents.Barbara Evans Openshaw, Placentia, California

Performing Life

As one of six children born to a south central Los Angeles ghetto mother, the odds were not in Tracy Thompson’s favor. Her stepfather was killed by a gang in a drive-by shooting at a fast-food restaurant, and Tracy grew up in the home of her great-aunt Bertha.

Besides her aunt’s loving care, Tracy was blessed with good friends, who helped her beat the odds. She qualified to attend a junior high school for gifted children and a high school for the performing arts—Hamilton High. It was at Hamilton that Tracy met Maureen Turley, who became a dear friend and her means of hearing about the gospel.

“After Maureen’s father, Brother Brent Turley, baptized and confirmed me,” says Tracy, “a real peace came over me. I began to pray for my family and friends in the ghetto, that they could find the same safety and peace.”

After winning the California state drama championship, Tracy considered attending Brigham Young University with Maureen.

“I knew there were not many blacks at BYU,” Tracy says with a smile. “Maureen was the main appeal for me until I learned of the many performing opportunities.” With her singing, dancing, and acting ability, Tracy has won a place in BYU’s Young Ambassadors.

She says that in the ghetto, she always felt different from the hopeless, and now she understands why. “There is such hope,” she declares. “I hope the truth of the restored gospel will make a difference in people’s lives, so we won’t be influenced by the world and all its transgressions.”Giles H. Florence, Jr., Salt Lake City, Utah