Sunday, August 23, 2015

Week 4: Elder Echosmith and the "School Bus"

Hey everyone!! This week has gone by soooo fast. It feels like just yesterday I was writing you all in my last email. I'm almost half way done here so my whole district is getting super excited to get to Thailand. Anyway, ever since the older Thai district left last week, we've been able to have all the Thai teachers focus on just us. It's super nice because now we have more teachers to help us out. We'll have two more weeks of just the 13 of us before the new Thais come in beginning of September. One of my teachers, Sister Painter, is actually from Gilbert and she went to Highland. She has sooo many funny stories from her mission. Seriously hearing all of their crazy stories out in the field makes us so much more excited to get out there. One of our other teachers, Brother Kao, gave of us these chili peppers to try after class. Since Thailand is known for having really spicy food (and cause my district's crazy), all of us each ate an entire pepper in one bite. It was so funny because my companion, Elder Christiansen, acted like he was having an allergic reaction. His lips turned really red and got all puffed up. He was fine but it was just hilarious.

On Tuesday, we had a devotional by Elder Echosmith. He's in the Quorum of the Seventy. One thing that he said that really stood out to me was that we will "serve and love the people of our missions for the rest of our lives". Our entire district absolutely loves everything about the Thai people. We haven't even gotten there and all we can think about is how much we want to go teach them. Already from knowing our native teacher and another missionary here from Thailand, we can already tell that they're some of the friendliest, nicest people on earth. When Elder Echosmith said that we'll be serving them and loving them for the rest of our lives, it kinda just hit me that all that I'm learning here in the MTC, the language, learning how to teach, etc aren't just for these next two years. It's for my entire life. Heavenly Father shapes us into the people He would have us become everyday, a lot of times without us even realizing it.

On another note, our zone got two new Cantonese districts on Wednesday. There's 27 of them all together. Not even kidding, it's like a Cantonese invasion here. When they all stood up in Sacrament, it was basically our entire congregation that got up. Anyway, whenever a new district comes in, we show them a video called the "School bus" (if you haven't seen it go on and watch it). We all went into their classrooms and showed them this video and told them it was super good and that they should take notes etc. Little did they know that this video has absolutely no point to it. "School bus" is one of those low budget videos that just ends with a cliffhanger. It was just so funny because everyone was waiting for a spiritual message and then it just ended. It's hard to explain but it was sooooo funny. It's just the little things like that that keeps us going. I don't know, or our zone just has a weird sense of humor. 

I just have a couple more experiences that I wanted to share with you all. Our lessons are getting better and better and the language is starting to flow a little more. Saturday, we were able to teach a couple of sister missionaries who came back from Thailand and were volunteering in the MTC. Their names were Karly and Heather. Anyway, they shared something that really meant a lot to me. Obedience brings miracles. Since being here, I've been trying to see the hand of the Lord more and more each day and it's hard when you get into the same routine of the day and you get busy with learning new words and how to teach. Anyway, she told us that as we strive to be obedient, we'll see so many miracles. The more we recognize the Lord in our lives and put our faith and trust in Him, doing all that He asks of us, the more we'll be able to look back on our day and think about how much the Lord helped us out. Sorry I have so much to write, just skim through if you want but one last thing. After Sunday devo last night, our district went and watched the Joseph Smith Restoration video. The Spirit was so strong. Most of you guys know the story, but I want to remind you all of how hard it was for Joseph Smith and the first members of our church to establish what we have today. One of the saddest parts of the video was when Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered for being our Prophet. I can't tell you guys how sad it made me feel. As Emma was cleaning him up and brushing the tar and feathers off of him, Joseph said "Perhaps I was meant to swim in deep waters. Better deep than shallow." Those words meant so much to me. I'd rather live a life of challenges trusting God than an easy life of mediocracy. It's no doubt that what Joseph had to go through was hard and it's no doubt that our lives are hard just as well but I promise that there's nothing greater than putting our faith in God, knowing that things will all work out. Have a good week everyone! Can't wait to hear from you guys.

Elder Rawlinson

Here's a few pics I attached. I got to see my cousin who just got here Wednesday! He'll be leaving to the Philippines in 6 weeks! Same time I leave!!

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