Sunday, February 12, 2017

Week 80: Museums and Baptisms

สวัสดี. This week's made me realize how transfers will be coming soon and how my time here in Bangkapi is running out! I'm gonna miss this place so much. I've gotten way close to some of the people I've met since serving here in Bangkapi and it's going to be so different to be in a new area. After all, I've been serving in the same area since AUGUST. That's a really long time.

So something pretty cool happened this week. I was inviting the other day and I ran into a Filipino lady named Maryanne. She spoke English thankfully (is it just me or can all Filipinos speak English?) Anyway, she told me that she carries her Bible around but that day that I talked to her, she didn't have it. I told her about the church and she agreed to come on Sunday (she didn't come yesterday but hopefully next time she will). A short time after, I talked to a Chinese lady with her daughter that was from a place called Chong Qing which is actually close to where my mom is from. She was in Thailand teaching English. She was really nice as well. I told her about our English class on Tuesdays and she agreed to come. It's interesting to think that if I wasn't there that day, I probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to talk to these two people. Both of them could be ready to receive the gospel! 

So Sister Sky and Brother Butter got baptized last Saturday and confirmed on Sunday! They're finally new members in the ward! The two of them are way friendly and Butter's just hilarious. For his baptism, he talked about a cockroach that was in his bathroom and so he prayed and the cockroach went into the corner of the room or something. Sky and Butter want to be missionaries so it'll be really neat to find out where they'll be going after I come home. 

I love that through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we're able to live with purpose and meaning. The Gospel of Jesus Christ isn't a checklist in our lives- rather, it is a way of life. Through it, we become more like our Savior and because of it, we'll be able to return to live with our Father in Heaven someday. I love helping others come into this gospel. It's what gives me true happiness. 

Have a great week everyone! 

Elder Rawlinson

We went to พระที่นั่งอนันตสมาคม last P-day and they had a museum inside! Way cool.
Afterwards, we found a place that was giving out free haircuts so Elder Miyagi and Elder LIbey got one haha.

Week 78: Another week in ประเทศไทย

Hello family and friends! I hope you all had a great week! These weeks are just flying by! I can't believe I only have about 6 months left on my mission. When I get to bed at night, it's seriously the greatest feeling ever. And when I wake up it's the complete opposite. I feel like sleeping at night is usually just a way to recharge for the next day!

Last Tuesday, we had interviews with President Johnson and it was way good. We took a bus and a boat and then from there walked to the mission office in order to interview. President Johnson is such a good guy and he truly cares about the missionaries here in Thailand. He's really tall; maybe 6'7". Anyway he always hugs me after our interview and I'm just so little compared to him but I think I'm used to it now haha. We also had district meeting last Tuesday and also some lessons and English class. We were so busy!

I did a switch-off with an elder named Elder Whitaker this past week. Elder Whitaker and his companion live in a different house but they still work in the same ward as us. They're in our district and everything. Anyway, I stayed at their house for a night and worked with some of they're people as well. It was nice to get a little bit of a change. One of the guys we met with was a man named Sangchai and he actually spoke Chinese as well as Thai. He spoke so much Chinese to me and I pretended to understand what he was saying for the most part but he was pretty nice. He wouldn't agree to come to church on Sunday so hopefully he will in the future. We taught another man named Brother Thong. He was kind and nice, but not the most humble. However, he wants to know if God is real. I tried to get him to read and pray everyday, but he wouldn't agree to it. Kind of frustrating. 

Sister Gif, Saguy, and Brother Butter are still progressing. Yay! Hopefully the three of them will be getting baptized this upcoming Sunday. If so, we'll have four investigators getting baptized that day since Sister Buy passed her baptismal interview on Friday.

The Lord has been blessing the work in this area but that doesn't mean everything in Thailand is all rainbows and butterflies. This mission has been the hardest thing I've ever done! The heat, the language, the exhaustion, the rejection, the disappointments- I still have to deal with these things. And when I focus on those things, life gets pretty dang hard. But Jesus Christ lives and loves us. This gospel and the message and joy it brings is so important. I know God lives. He loves us. We need to share this message with those who don't know it. 

Elder Rawlinson

Last P-day, we went to an area with sites of ancient Buddhists temples. It was pretty cool! The area is called Ayuthaya.

Week 77: Love God

Hello family and friends! What a week. I feel like I need to just take a moment sometimes and realize what a blessing it is to be able to serve as a missionary here in Thailand! Elder Miyagi and I have some awesome investigators that we're working with right now and the Lord has truly blessed us. We've been inviting at a place near a huge mall called The Mall Bangkapi. There's tons and tons of people there. Before inviting in that area one day, we met a Swedish guy named Jacob who goes to school here in Bangkok. He spoke English and was just so nice to us. The Lord has people prepared for His missionaries to teach and I love finding someone who is humble and willing to meet!

For those who might not know, I'm serving in my fourth area and I've been here since August. It's been a long time but I've come to really like it here and I've made some great friends. Sister Uud, Buy, and Gif are doing great. Sister Uud got baptized yesterday and she bore a powerful testimony at her baptism as well. She's so full of faith and a desire to follow the Savior and I know that her life will be so much better because of this gospel. She was baptized by the one and only Brother Art. Sister Gif and her identical twin, Saguy, are doing well and progressing. Saguy brought one of her friends, Butter (yes, that's his name) to church and he's way awesome. As for Sister Buy, she has a baptismal date for January 29th. She's so nice! She gives me so much food. She quit tea already and even though I think it was hard for her, she was still determined to do so. There's plenty of work to be done here in the great area of Bangkapi and many miracles ahead. 

Well I just can't explain some of the joy I've felt since serving here in Bangkapi. I love, love, love seeing my investigators get baptized. I LOVE baptism. You can never have too much of it. Every person is special to God. I feel like everyone deserves to know who they truly are. We are children of God. Heavenly Father really loves us and He wants us to return to live with Him again. We need to love Him. "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." Isn't that so cool? As we show our love for Heavenly Father, we will have fuller lives. I hope you all have a great week! The church is true.

Elder Rawlinson

Brother Art and Goh and some others the other night, It was Brother Art's bday that day.

A boy rode my bike and took my helmet hahaha

Sister Uud from her baptism on Sunday!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Week 76: Service and Identical Twins

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a good week. Last P-day, Brother Geng (one of my favorite converts who works under the government) took us to a place called Wad Arun and some other places as well with Buddhist buildings and royal stuff and it was pretty cool. Brother Geng was basically like my tour guide haha he seemed so happy to take us around.

We did some service with the sisters for one of their LAs named Sister Maam. Sister Maam is such a nice lady! She teaches English and I think that might be the reason why she can't come on Sundays but anyway, she's just a nice little old lady that lives with her dogs. She had this tree out by the front of her house that we worked on. Elder Miyagi, and I, and also Sister Palmer worked on getting this tree cut down with a little saw. We also did some other things out by her house and overall, it was a great service experience. 

Right now, Elder Miyagi and I have three investigators that are really awesome. Sister Uud, Buy, and Gif. Sister Uud was a referral from a member and she's about 40ish? I'm really not sure so I could be off but anyway, she knows that the gospel is true and she loves it. Since we met with her the first time, every week and she wants to get baptized. I invited Sister Buy one day by a huge shopping center and we've been meeting with her since last month now. She's about 45ish? I'm not sure either but she's way nice and she gives us food. And she's progressing! Sister Gif was invited near a huge mall and so she came to church and believe it or not... her identical twin came as well! They look so similar. That was the first time I ever taught twins together. Very fun haha. Sister Gif came to church and she seemed to really like it. She's progressing as well. Her twin didn't come to church on Sunday but hopefully she'll come this upcoming Sunday

Personally, I want to work on having more faith. I've made it a goal to be more sincere in my prayers and to read scriptures everyday. In Helaman 5:12, it says "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." I hope you all have a great week!
Elder Rawlinson
 From last P-day when we were with Brother Geng!
And also from service 

Week 75: A New Year!

Happy New Year! It's a new transfer and I'm staying in Bangkapi again! Wow, this is the second area that I've been in for a fourth transfer. Last year, I got to Surin in March and this year, I'll be leaving Bangkapi in February. That means I'll have been in two areas for almost an entire year! I'm glad that I get to stay here and serve in this area. I'm pretty close to some of the people here and I don't want to leave them yet. 

We had a miracle happen this week. Brother Geng finally got baptized! I want to say thank you to everyone who prayed for him. He's really come a long way. What a blessing it was to see him dressed in white and ready to make a covenant with our Father in Heaven. He's been investigating the church since September but regardless of how long he's taken, I know that he's changed and that he'll be blessed as he decides to follow the Lord. Out of his coworkers, he's the only Christian. Can you believe that? He's just so awesome. 

Speaking of yesterday, I lost Elder Miyagi. We were on a bus headed to a lesson with Brother Goh and I got off of the bus and noticed that he wasn't with me. I assumed that he was behind me and that he followed me off of it but nope! He stayed on! And I had the phone! Brother Goh met up with me and we got on bikes to look for him. Before too long, I get a phone call from Elder Tuttle telling me that Elder Miyagi was going to the church. Brother Goh and I go back to the church and wait for him and eventually he showed up in a taxi. What a relief. He used someone else's phone and called the phone number on an inviting card he had and it was Elder Tuttle's number. That's how I knew he was going to be at the church because Elder Tuttle called and told me. He fell asleep and went all the way to the end of the bus travel line. I can assure you all that this will never happen again so please don't worry, especially mom if you're reading this. Let's just say it was an experience I won't forget.

Elder Miyagi and I are teaching an investigator named Sister Uud. She was a referral from one of the members here in Bangkapi. Sister Uud is seriously so awesome. The last time we taught her, I noticed that she was getting emotional during the lesson so I asked her how she was feeling. She didn't say anything. The entire room was silent for a moment as she cried. It was a powerful moment in the lesson. When I asked her to be baptized, she agreed wholeheartedly. She wants to be baptized. I'm grateful I get to know this lady. She's so prepared and humble and ready to follow the Lord. 

Guys, I'm finishing my mission this year. I don't want to leave yet but when I do, I want it clear to my Father in Heaven that I love Him- that I truly love Him. I want God to know that I worked hard in building His kingdom here on earth. I know He lives and I hope you all have a great week and YEAR! 

Elder Rawlinson
 We found this waterfall the other day (I think it was in a buddhist area)
 We went to an Aquarium with the other missionaries and some members last P-day
 Brother Geng's baptism!
LA hunting

Week 74: Christmas in Thailand

Sawadii Krap everyone! I hope you all had a great Christmas. We had our Christmas party with the ward including a performance of the nativity so this past week, we've been preparing and practicing for it a lot. I was one of the wise men with two other missionaries. Even though I'm not someone that really does shows and stuff like that, the whole thing actually went pretty well. It was fun and it helped me feel more of the Christmas spirit.

This past week, we've been able to teach some new people! The other day, I was inviting close by a shopping center and I started talking to a lady named Party (Thai people have interesting nicknames) who was with her friend named Pan and she seemed interested in wanting to learn English. We ended meeting a day or two afterwards, showed them the church a bit and had a lesson on the Restoration. After the lesson, they took baptismal dates for January 8th. Yay! They're still pretty new investigators but hopefully they can both progress towards they're date. 

There are some great people in this area and I love them! Brother Goh is one of them! He invited me to a Christmas party in his neighborhood and I thought it would be great to go to. This neighborhood's not the same as a standard neighborhood in Gilbert. There are huge apartment buildings close by each other kind of like slums. It's a poor neighborhood. It was Friday night and Elder Miyagi and I get to the neighborhood and we see all these kids and Brother Goh wearing Christmas hats. We walk together to a nearby park and believe it or not, a section of the park was just completely decorated for a Christmas party. There was a Christmas tree, haystacks, a random tent, a small little fence with what looked like Christmas tree cut-outs on the top, and food. After we got there, we waited for Santa to finally arrive. Santa was a fat kid that lived in the neighborhood dressed with with a beard on and everything. He was so awesome! He came into the party with Brother Art and Brother Mighty.  What was so cool about all of it was that the entire party was basically set up by Brother Mighty. As far as I know, no adults were a part of getting this party together. The kids that went lived in the same neighborhood (pretty sure same building) as Brother Art, Goh, and Mighty. They had Christmas music and singing and it was just so awesome. Here we were in a poor slum neighborhood at a Christmas party full of these kids and teenagers. A lot of the kids that went came to our church party the following day. I know that our Savior loves those that were a part of that party. It was the highlight of my Christmas and something I'll never forget. 

Have a great week everyone! I know that this church is true and that this work is real. God loves us all.

  The first three pictures are from the party that Brother Goh invited me to and the last one is from the Christmas party. Both were great!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Week 73: A White Christmas!

Hello family and friends. MERRY CHRISTMAS! The weather's been cooling down here in Thailand but we can still wear short sleeves though haha. The work has been great. Our ward is having our Christmas party/program on the 24th. I'm one of the wise men with Elder Greenwood and Elder Libey. I'm not much an actor but Elder Miyagi's done acting and so he seemed so content and at peace yesterday for our Christmas rehearsal. I'm not gonna lie it was kinda funny.

A couple of our investigators got baptized this Sunday and it was great! There were three baptisms- two from Elder Miyagi and I and one from another companionship here in the area. Our two investigators that got baptized were Brother Goh and Brother K. Both of them are so awesome. Maybe you guys have heard of one of my RCs named Brother Art. He loves to learn about the gospel and he's so willing to help out the missionaries. Anyway, he lives in the same building complex as his friend, Brother Goh and he's helped us teach him a lot now. Yesterday, Brother Art baptized him! I was so happy! Our other baptism was for Brother K. He is truly someone who follows Christ. Wow talk about sacrifice and faith. He's been an investigator before and since coming back and being able to teach him, he's been way humble and accepting of everything taught. He thinks he met President Monson in Bangkok but I'm pretty sure it was our mission president haha. He brought his pregnant wife and little daughter to church yesterday. He's got the nicest little family. His wife isn't a member (yet) but I feel like the gospel will really bring more blessings into this family's life starting with Brother K. What a great thing this gospel is! 

I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He truly is the Son of God. "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." I hope you all have a Merry Christmas! Please share the gospel with someone and invite them to meet with the missionaries! 

Elder Rawlinson
 The wise men
 Elder Whitaker aka Santa haha
Elder Miyagi is one of the angels