Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Week 19: Bangkok and Soccer

Sawadiiiii! This week has been another crazy one. On Tuesday, I had to go to Bangkok with my companion since he had a meeting at the mission office there. Since he's dying (going home) next transfer, they trained everyone dying with him about how to "adjust to life back home". Anyway, we had to take a 10 hour train ride to get there and then another 10 hour train ride back to Ubon. Fun stuff. On the train home, we were able to chat with an old lady for about a half hour about our church. We told her about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and about how our church has the fullness of the gospel through the Restoration. She seemed interested in our message. Anyway, when Elder Anderson and I told her that we knew what we shared was true, she said something that really stood out to me. She said (and I'm summarizing) "well, that's great that you know these things to be true, but doesn't mean much to those who don't". When she said that, I was surprised and taken back a little. I felt like I just got slammed. Shut down. This little old lady wasn't afraid of saying what was on her mind. We told her how she could find out for herself that what we shared with her was true by reading the Book of Mormon and asking Heavenly Father in prayer. That was the first time I've experienced something like that on my mission. That lady has made me look at how I bear testimony differently. Am I just telling people what I know to be true because I'm supposed to as a missionary or am I doing so because I want to help others know for themselves the truth? It's one thing to say you know the church is true, but it's another thing to do so in a way that makes others want to find out themselves.

On Saturday, we had a sports activity with the ward in Sisaket. They had soccer and volleyball and a "drama performance" thing for all of us. The entire activity was set up as a competition against Sisaket (another ward in the zone). It got really intense. Me and Elder Finlayson (one of the elders in my district) got to help out the ward play soccer against this other ward..... and we got wrecked. Their team had like 6 short, little 15 year olds play against us and they were all super good. Don't get me wrong, it was way fun, but Finlayon and I underestimated these kids and totally got destroyed. For the rest of the day, we were so exhausted. It made me realize how out-of-shape I've gotten as a missionary and how good Thai people are at soccer lol. It was a good activity because it allowed the members in Ubon and the members in Sisaket to support each other and have a good time. 

Last thing. With Christmas coming up, we've been focusing more on sharing the message of the Savior's birth with others. Not gonna lie, Christmas here is different. Most of the people here are Buddhist and it still feels like summer. I don't get to hear Christmas music in stores or see Christmas lights hung up on houses or go see temple lights with my family, but the message of the holiday is still the same. No matter where missionaries are all over the world, Christmas reminds us of the Savior's birth. It's so different for me this year because instead of focusing on the gifts, the lights, even the music, I get to focus just on the birth of Jesus Christ. That's it. That's all there really is to it. No excessive candy cane, stockings, or presents. Just the birth of the most important person who has ever lived. And I get to share that with others everyday until the 25th. I wouldn't trade this Christmas for anything in the world. I encourage you all to always remember the greatest gift of all- a Savior sent to us from Heaven. He literally died for us guys. He sacrificed his soul, his body, his entire being, so that we could live again. So that we could feel whole and repent of our sins. What more could we ask for? I love you guys. I hope you all have a great Christmas season. Stay safe and have a great week! 

Elder Rawlinson

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