Sunday, October 18, 2015

Week 11 at Ubon

SAWADI KHRAP! I hope you guys all had a great week. Time here in Ubon is flying by as it always does. I'm still the nahng kiaw (greenie) in my area, so I'm still learning a lot from the other elders and members in my area. Sometimes I'll think that I'm getting better with Thai and then I'll realize that I don't even know how to say super simple things. People here talk like a million miles an hour so usually I just end up laughing or saying yes to whatever they're telling to me. It rains here almost everyday! When it does, it pours hard. Thai people here hate the rain. It's the funniest thing. The members will skip church because of it. Coming from AZ, I think it's super cool and it's the dry season so I can't wait to see what the wet season's like. Anyway, we had another baptism on Sunday! This time it was for Sister Boss, and yes, she is a boss. I've come to see a change in Sister Boss that can only be explained through the power of the Atonement and I can't wait to see her, along with many other recent converts, progress and grow in the gospel. Anyway, the members here are some of the best people I've ever met. I think I talked about them a little bit last week, but seriously they're the best. One in particular is Brother Gid. This guy has become one of my best friends. We eat with him almost every night for dinner actually. Anyway, he told me his conversion story and said that he was introduced to the church by missionaries at a time in his life when he was looking for more direction. He met with the missionaries for 8 months before he finally got baptized. He told me that before knowing about the gospel, his life was not very good. He told me "I feel the Spirit in a way that encourages me to become a better person". I think that's so cool! Everyone here has a story and I've loved getting to know the members here personally.

This past weekend I was able to watch General Conference! I think we had to watch it a week later because pf translation etc. Luckily, I got to watch it in English with some of the other missionaries in a separate room haha. One of my favorite talks was by Russell M Nelson. He talked about how it was so hard for him to see his patients die as an operating surgeon. One night, he went home completely defeated and just cried and cried and cried over the loss of one of his patients. He told himself that we would never operate on another person again. Through it all, his wife was right by his side to support him through the night. In the morning she told him "If you quit now, others will have to painfully learn what you already know. Get up and go to work." Elder Nelson's main focus of his talk was on the importance of having strong women in the church. Though I think that's important, I want to focus on what his wife told him that night. Since being on my mission, I've come to realize that missionary work is hard work. Physically and emotionally Everyday, I have to study and teach and find new investigators and it can really hard at times. I'll find people and they'll give me fake numbers. I'll call real numbers and they'll tell me they're too busy to meet. The other day I met an 18 year old named Bank. I got along with him really well. He told me he was learning English at the University here in Ubon and that he was willing to meet with us. I considered him a good friend of mine by the end of our chat. Anyway, I called him up that night and we set up a time to meet. On the day of our appointment, he called me an hour before our lesson and cancelled. He made all these excuses for not being able to meet with us. I was heart-broken. I trusted this man so much and I knew he would be willing to accept our message if he had the opportunity to hear it. That experience was so painful for me. Even though I'm nowhere near to quitting this work, I've thought to myself if my efforts as missionary have even been worth anything. The answer is somehow always a definite "yes. I know there is a purpose for all that we work for on this earth. In school, work, sports, etc. Why would a loving Heavenly Father send us here on earth for us to waste time and mess around? He wouldn't do that. He loves us and knows us and will support us in whatever we righteously pursue. I think I've come to realize that here in Ubon and if I just " get up and go to work", things will all work out. I encourage you all to give your complete effort in whatever you are working for. Don't get discouraged. "If you quit now, others will have to painfully learn what you already know." The Lord will bless us as we keep on fighting on. Stay safe and have a great week!

Elder Rawlinson

From the baptism yesterday!
And a crazy looking fish from dinner last night haha

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