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

Week 72: ปาฏิหาริย์มากขึ้นเร็ว ๆ นี้

Sawadii Khap! I'll try to keep this letter short. What a week. We had our Christmas Conference for our zone on Wednesday and it was pretty fun! President Johnson and his wife were there as well. After that, Elder Miyagi and I had switch-offs with the zone leaders in their area and so I was with a missionary named Elder Rodgers. He's from California and he'll be going home before Christmas.

If anyone of you guys really know me, you might know that I'm a pretty forgetful person and you might even think I'm irresponsible haha so Elder Miyagi and I went back home after switch-offs and right when we got home, the zone leaders called the other elders' phone and Elder Rodgers was talking to me and was like "check your pockets". I didn't know what he was getting at but I eventually realized that we forgot our phone at their place! The following morning, Elder Miyagi and Elder Libey went to the zone leaders' place so yeah that spiced up the week a bit!

The work! So Brother G still needs some more time right now but I think he'll get baptized before Christmas which will be such a blessing. He's doing alright, we just need to help him out with some things. Next week however, we're hoping to have three investigators baptized- Brother Gaw, Brother Bless, and a man named Brother K. Brother Gaw's progressing for sure. He's got a good memory and he likes going to church. Brother Bless is doing good as well. He's the kid who's already Christian. He's humble and easy to work with. Brother K! Brother K was a former investigator who learned with the missionaries in the past. He knows that the Book of Mormon is true and when I asked him about getting baptized, he agreed. It was such a miracle! 

I know that this work is real and that God lives. He loves us because we're his children. He wants us to have joy. In the New Testament, there's a verse that says "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”. I know that if we love God, our lives will be fuller and we'll have more joy. Remember how the Lord has blessed you and look for miracles in your life. Merry Christmas!

Elder Rawlinson
 Elder Miyagi baptized the sister's investigator last Sunday!
 We went to the airport with the ZLs
 A market Elder Miyago and I came across the other day!

Week 71: #LIGHTtheWorld

Hey everyone! This past week started the month of December and with December now here, that means Christmas is coming! I love this time of the year. We can focus on the Savior and the things he's done for us. The other day I was inviting outside of a busy mall and I saw a huge Christmas tree outside of it. It was nice to see. Even in a country full of people who worship Buddhism, the Christmas tree was still up. In Thailand, it doesn't feel like winter and a lot of people here don't really care about the meaning of Christmas, but it's not about what's going around you or what other people think that makes Christmas truly Christmas. Jesus Christ was sent on earth to die for our sins. He's our Savior. We celebrate his birth and know that He lives. If we understand this, remember Him, and follow his example to light the world, we'll have joy.

This week, Elder Miyagi and I and a lot of other missionaries in the TBM had the opportunity to work with the Red Cross organization. We helped get bags of materials shipped off. For a majority of the time, I would put blankets in these bags and there would be an assembly line to put other tings inside as well. The bags were put into a huge vehicle to be sent off. It was such a great experience! As for investigators, Brother G's baptism is coming up! He went to see his mom in a different province this past weekend to tell her he was going to get baptized. He's about 35 years old and he still made that I priority. He really respects her.  Respect and courtesy is very important in Thailand. If you're disrespectful to someone, it's harder to gain that person's trust. If you don't have trust, well good look getting anything done on your own. Brother Gaw came to church yesterday and his baptismal date is for the 18th. Yay!

Brother Art told someone at his school about our church and he came! His name is Brother Bless. We were able to have a lesson after church and showed the baptismal font as well. I asked him if he wanted to get baptized and he agreed. His baptism date is for the 15th! He's already Christian (goes to a different church) and we're meeting with him tomorrow. It was such a miracle!

Speaking of miracles, DECEMBER IS GOING TO BE FULL OF THEM! I don't know how many people read these anymore but if you are, remember to #LIGHTtheWorld. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." He is the gift! Share what you know with others, serve someone, be KIND, do something for someone else this time of the year. Have a great week everyone!

Elder Rawlinson
 From last P-day went to a busy area of BKK

We had FHE at a family's place last Monday and they had this fun whipped cream game haha

Week 70: Thanksgiving and Multi-Stake Conference

Sawadii Khap! I hope you guys all had a great Thanksgiving! We had a really nice Thanksgiving activity at the church this past Thursday and even though the food was kind of different, it was still a great event for members and missionaries to get together and eat dinner. I'm so grateful for this mission and for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary in Thailand. This country has made such a big impact on my life and I already know that when I'm on that flight back home next year, it'll be one of the hardest things of my life. Yesterday, we had a Mutli-Stake Conference in Asoke with Elder Wong who's one of the Seventy. The conference was held because Thailand received it's 4th stake! Woohoo! The church is growing here and it's amazing that I get to be a part of it. We need 8 stakes to get a temple so building the Lord's kingdom is crucial right now!!

Elder Miyagi's doing great. He invites like a boss and speaks Thai pretty well for a new missionary. What I like about Elder Miyagi is that he cares about this work and he talks with the Thai people in a kind and respectful way! I was just watching the new Christmas video that they have on and I saw an Asian guy that looked like Elder Miyagi. Believe it or not, it was him! My companion is in that video! It was funny since I'm sitting right by him and he's in this video on the church website. 

As for the work, we've been blessed with some great people. Brother G, one of our investigators, has a baptismal date next month. He's been investigating the church since September. He feels shaky on his ability to keep all the commandments after being baptized but we'll keep trying to help him out. I think he's afraid of messing up after getting baptized. Please pray for him so he can be baptized next month. He's a really good guy. We have another investigator that we're hoping to have get baptized next month. His name is Brother Gaw and he's one of Brother Art's friends. Brother Gaw is 17 years old. We've taught him quite a few times now and he's humble. He likes to be with the other kids in the neighborhood. He's a kid at heart.

I'd like to share my testimony with you guys. I know this church is true. Jesus Christ really is our Savior. He is the light of this world. Joy is living according to His teachings. I testify that He lives and that He knows us. Share His light with those you meet and don't forget to smile.

Elder Rawlinson
 My companion eating somtam for the first time (Thai papaya salad)
The Thanksgiving activity!
We found a random Western style center place it was so cool

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Week 69: Goh Si Chang, A New Transfer, and Elder Miyagi!

Last P-day, Elder Escher and I were able to go to Chonburi. We met up with Elder Lindley and his companion there and then went on a ferry to an island called Goh Si Chang. We got up to a high point and the view was amazing! There was a beach we went and visited on the island (no swimming of course) haha but my camera died so I don't have pictures of it.

Hey everyone! So it's a new transfer and with a new transfer, there's some new changes as well! I'm staying here in Bangkapi and Elder Escher moved to Chiang Rai. He's serving in the north now! He's follow-up training a missionary there and I'm training another missionary named Elder Miyagi. Elder Miyagi is Japanese and is from Japan and also the States. He's nice humble and I know that he's going to bless the lives of many people here in Thailand. This past weekend, I've been pretty sick and he's been patient through it. I've been having stomach/digestive problems and also my head just felt bad like a dizzy/lightheaded feeling. On Sunday, I went to Sacrament and ended up leaving to rest at home. Trying to work through it would have been too much to handle so no, I wasn't just trying to get an excuse to stay at home haha. It was actually way bad. Through it all, Elder Miyagi didn't get frustrated or upset at all. He was patient with me and kind.

We had a really cool miracle that happened this past week! So on the first day that Elder Miyagi got to Bangkapi, we were walking outside in our neighborhood headed to Tesco to get his bike. While we were walking, I started talking to this boy that was walking as well. I tried to get him to come to the church and he agreed. We walked to the church together. I showed him the inside a bit and we sat down with him. His name is Kang. He agreed on a baptismal date for December 4th. It was so awesome! . After our lesson, we ran into a girl that spoke Japanese. Wait, what??? My companion speaks Japanese! This all happened on his first day in Bangkapi! 

President Russel M. Nelson spoke this past General Conference on a talk called "Joy and Spiritual Survival". He said "My dear brothers and sisters, the joy we feel has little do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives". He also says later in the talk "Joy is a gift for the faithful. It is the gift that comes from intentionally trying to live a righteous life, as taught by Jesus Christ". Personally, I'm going to try and be a happier person and missionary. I can get kind of pessimistic at times and frustrated at things but I'm going to try and be better. With Thanksgiving coming up, another way for me to have more joy is by being grateful for my blessings and the greatest blessing of all- my Savior, Jesus Christ. I hope you all have a great week and are full of JOY!

Elder Rawlinson

Week 68: Alma 26:30

Sawadii Khrap! It's been another week here in Thailand. The church in this country had it's 50th year Anniversary this past week, so we were to able to gather together with members and other missionaries at one of the church buildings in Bangkok. There were a ton of people that came- like so many! I could sense the strength of the church from the gathering. I don't know if you guys remember Brother Benz but he was an investigator while I served in Ubon (my first area) and he got baptized my last transfer when I was there. Anyway, he came as well! He's been going to church in Bangkok since he's been going to some sort of military school here in the city. It was so awesome to get to talk to him! Just knowing he's active in the church makes me happy.

Other news... since one of the other elders in our district had to move, we've been working in a trio with an elder named Elder Whitaker. He's been with us in our companionship for most of the past week. Elder Whitaker is from North Dakota and is a convert to the church. He's such a funny missionary! I just never know exactly what he's going to say honestly haha. He's full of love for others and he can make people laugh pretty easily. 

One of my favorite verses in the Book of Mormon is Alma 26:30. It says "And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some." I am on a mission so I can help others be saved. I know this church is true. I know that true happiness comes from the gospel. God loves us so much. Have a good week everyone!
Elder Rawlinson

Brother Benz! 
Waffles and ice cream sooooo good

Week 67: Elder Wong, Sister Nok, and a Prairie Dog

Hey everyone! I'm still here in Bangkapi. We'll be having transfers on the 17th so it'll be interesting to know if I move or not. If not, then I get to stay here for another one! But wow, what a week. It was different than the usual that's for sure. For one, we had a general authority, Elder Wong come and talk to the missionaries so that was pretty cool. He said a lot of different things that I really liked. I feel like there's always room to improve when it comes to me being a missionary haha.

On another note, this week was harder for getting investigator lessons. We still had some just not as much as I would've liked. However, on Tuesday, Elder Feist (I was doing a switch-off at the time) and I were able to teach a mom named Sister N. Her daughters were in the lesson with us. She's come to English class 2 or 3 times now. She's Buddhist but I think all of her kids are Christian. She's really nice and she loves her kids. On Satuday, we taught her at a mall about the Plan of Salvation. We didn't get through the whole lesson but she seems to be opening up and so I hope she can truly progress and get baptized in the future.

Something funny that I saw this week. So Elder Escher and I went to a mall to teach Brother P (the guy we've been teaching that got baptized) and while we were at this mall sometime after we taught him, believe it or not we saw a prairie dog wearing a vest that was on a leash! It was so funny. I had to get a picture with it. So if someone ever asks you if there's a Thai person out there that owns a prairie dog you can tell them yes now. It was probably one of the highlights of my week not gonna lie. 

We have some other investigators that we're working with right now like Brother G and Sister A and a man named Brother S. We've been teaching Brother G since September so hopefully he'll take a baptismal date soon. Sister A's progressing but she was pretty busy with testing this past week. Brother S is a man that we came across last month. He's a yaam during the night. He's like a watch-man. He's a really humble guy and he seems to like reading the scriptures so that's a good sign. We're going to try and teach him tonight. 

Anyway, I hope things are going well wherever you guys are! Remember that people are more willing to do what you want if you build a relationship with them and gain their trust! And that yes, there is someone out there with a pet prairie dog haha.

Went to a busy part of the city last p-day
Haha here's the prairie dog!

Week 66: A Great Week in Bangkapi!

Sawadii Khap! This week was so good! Bangkapi is a great place. This
past week was kind of a blur but still awesome. On Tuesdays, we teach
a free English class at the church and we've been having a good amount
of people show up lately. Last Tuesday, we split the class so now we
have two classes. We have a beginners and an intermediate class.
Luckily we have a lot of missionaries in Bangkapi so we have enough
teachers to go around. We'll have a spiritual thought for the students
at the end of class (last Tuesday we just combined everyone) and it's
a great way to spread the gospel. The other week, the students sang
"Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam" and it was so great! Even the adults
were getting into it haha. Almost a quarter of the mission's baptisms
come from English class!

The wall behind the church is still getting renovated so it was a
great opportunity to do some service! One of the days this past week
we went in the back and put some of the pieces from the old wall in
bags to be taken away. Elder Escher and I had a couple of the members
help as well! The members were Brother B and Brother Donut. Brother
B is an LA we've been working with that struggles with smoking but
he knows he needs to stop. If he stopped smoking and truly repented,
he'd have a greater desire to come to church on Sundays. Brother Donut
is so funny. First of all, his nickname is Donut so there's that haha
he's such a good kid.

BAPTISM!!! On Friday, our investigator Brother P got baptized! I
don't think I've talked about him that much in my emails but he's 23
years old and he works at Yogurtland. We've been teaching him for
about the past two months now. Wow. It has been such a journey getting
him to this point. He wouldn't show up to a lot of our appointments
and his work kept him pretty busy. But we found out where he lived and
we'd also teach him during his break at work hahaha. He has faith and
he has a testimony and I know that the Lord loves him!

Personally, I feel like it's easy for me to turn into a "robot" when
it comes to missionary work but really though, I want to be the
complete opposite! I read a talk this week by Dieter F. Ucthdorf
called "on Being Genuine". If you guys have time, please read it. I
know that as we follow the Savior's example of love for others, our
service will be so much more fulfilling. We should be serving others
because we love God and His children. Hope you guys have a great week
and a Happy Halloween!

Elder Rawlinson

Helping out at the back of the church! Elder Escher and Brother Donut haha
Brother P on the day he got baptized!
Brother P with a great member named Sister Aimee!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Week 64: ความท้าทายอาจจะมาแต่มีศรัทธา

Sawadii khap! For those of you that are back home, it must be nice
having cooler weather now. As for me, Thailand is still really hot and
I'm still sweating out here basically everyday haha. This past week's
been different than usual. If you guys don't know what happened here
in this country, you can look up recent news for Thailand. The entire
country is in a period of "mourning" or "showing respect" so people
have been wearing black or white and will be for awhile. However,
missionary work will still continue!

Elder Escher and I have been having a hard time with investigator work
this week. One of our investigators that had a baptismal date, Brother
T, decided that he wasn't going to be an investigator anymore. He's
someone that doesn't want to have just one religion in his life. He
wants to come closer to God more in his own way. I was upset to let
him go since he was really interested in our church and he was also
pretty close to getting baptized, but everyone has their agency in
life to choose what they want. Some of our other investigators our
having some problems as well but I know that if they overcome them, it
can increase their faith for sure.

One thing that I've realized since being in this area is that you have
to get through harder times on the mission in order to get to good
things that will happen in the future. I'm glad that I've figured this
out haha. Why didn't anyone tell me this when I was a greenie?? That
would've been nice to know a loooong time ago. I know that challenges
can help us become better people. God loves us and Jesus is the
Christ. Hope you all have a great week!

Elder Rawlinson
 This store is so cool! It's in our area.
 Some work is being done with the outside walls at the church so we
used the hammer a bit haha
 This is my awesome RC, Brother Art! He works at 7/11

Week 63: A New Transfer in Bangkapi!

Hey everyone! It's been another week in ประเทศไทย. There's been some changes since we just had transfers on Thursday. I'm staying here in Bangkapi for another transfer with Elder Escher! It wasn't a surprise since I haven't been here for that long but this transfer, we're adding in a new companionship of elders. Both of them are living in our house for now so it's really packed with all six elders in a small townhouse haha. They're looking for a new place to stay, but their house will be further away from us in a different part of the area.

On Saturday night, our water basically went out so we couldn't take showers or use the sink (keep in mind how we have six elders living together right now). Usually when something like this happens, its because the water bill wasn't paid for and so the water gets shut off. We thought this was the case but on the following morning, one of the elders flipped one of the switches by the front door.... and believe it or not, the water was back to normal again! I didn't even think that that was the problem and I thought we had to pay the water bill before we could get our water back to normal but seriously? We suffered through that just cause the switch wasn't on? 

I was able to watch General Conference this past weekend. I loved having the opportunity to sustain Thomas S. Monson as a prophet. I know he is called of God. One of my favorite talks from conference was by Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita. He talked about being ambitious for Christ. He shared an experience of a missionary who was having problems with his leg situation and he asked this elder "Elder Cowan, you were called to the Japan Nagoya Mission, where you would have to ride a bike. Did you tell this to your stake president?" The elder said "No, I didn’t. I determined that if that is where the Lord called me, I would go to the gym and train my body to be able to ride a bike." That to me is being ambitious for Christ. We don't have to have the same experience as this elder in order to do so, but we can still choose to be ambitious for Christ in our own lives through love and service and obedience. I know this church is true. I know that God and his Son, Jesus Christ live and love us. 

Elder Rawlinson
 So in Thailand there's restaurants where you can pick out raw meat and then cook it at the table!
 My comp getting a rotti for the first time. It's basically fried dough with sugar and condensed milk on it. It's sooooo good.

Week 62: This is the Lord's Work!

Hi family and friends! Well the transfer is coming to an end soon and we find out who moves probably tomorrow. This was a good transfer for me because I felt like I learned a lot of important lessons. Before my mission, I didn't really know what my mission was going to be like. I was excited to go to Thailand when I had my call but I never would've guessed my mission to have been what it has. Serving here in Thailand has been one of the biggest blessings in my life.

Brother Art was baptized yesterday! Woohoo! I wrote about how we found him before but just for a recap, we found Brother Art one day while he was outside in an apartment area. When we were inviting that day we didn't know where we'd end up but we eventually saw him and had the Restoration lesson. Brother Art is probably one of the most prepared persons I have ever met. He was already a Christian so he had a good background about Jesus. He's had such an open heart with the things we've taught him and he knows that our church has been restored. He just got a job at the 7-11 close by so sometimes I see him there haha. I know that I was an instrument for the Lord in helping Brother Art get baptized in the true church. This is the Lord's work and sometimes it's just so obvious that I can't deny it. 

I wanted to share another cool experience from this past week. Elder Escher and I have been working with a new member named Sister J. She's in her forties and lives on her own. She loves the Bible but she doesn't know that the Book of Mormon is true. She has problems with it. We've been meeting with her about once a week and lately we've been teaching other things since teaching about the Book of Mormon isn't always helpful (she might fight against what we say about it or something). This past week, we had a really powerful lesson with her. In the lesson, I got on the topic of temples and she made it clear that she didn't have a testimony of them. During our lesson, I showed her a video about temples. She came across that video before but didn't watch it all. She told me that like two days before, she saved a picture of the temple on her phone. I think she might have thought it was pretty or something. She feels like Heavenly Father is working with her kind of like a fishing line being reeled in being cast out and being reeled in type of thing. I know it wasn't a coincidence that I brought up temples that day. Near the end of the lesson, her eyes were getting watery and the Spirit was very strong. I asked her something like if she was going to open her heart now and accept what we teach and she said yes. It was so awesome! I know that Heavenly Father loves Sister J. I know it. I know that I am just an instrument in the hands of the Lord to do His work. I had no idea the lesson would turn out that way it did but I'm glad it did because I know it made in impact on Sister J. 

I'd like to finish by bearing my testimony. I know that this church is true. I know God lives and loves us. He loves the Thai people, all of them. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. I know this work is real. 

Elder Rawlinson
 Haha had to get a pic with this dude
The one by Escher is Brother Art!

Week 61: แสงของพระกิตติคุณเป็นความจริง

Hello family and friends. It's been such a great week! This week especially, we've been teaching more lessons with our investigators than we usually do since getting to this area. The Lord has been blessing us and I love it. Even though it's been raining almost everyday and I get so exhausted at times, it's been such a blessing to help others come to know the gospel. Being a missionary has helped me better understand the importance of it.

Yesterday, we had a baptism for our investigator, Brother Jaab! It was so awesome. There were a lot of people for the baptismal program and we had special musical numbers and I could feel the spirit pretty strong. We've been mostly teaching Brother Jaab over camera through a phone or computer since there aren't missionaries in the area he lives in right now. However, from our very first lesson to now, I can tell that he's changed so much. Repentance was a pretty important thing for him and I know that he was baptized with a change of heart. 

We have a really solid investigator pool right now. The kid we met with last week, Brother Art, has been progressing so much. He's 16 years old. He actually got baptized from the Protestant church already but he's been open to our message of the Restoration. He's been reading the Book of Mormon and he's prayed about it as well. He doesn't feel like he's really received an answer yet but I know it'll come. He came to church yesterday and got to stay for the baptismal program. I think it was really good for him. He feels like we're more of a family than the other church he went to. We're working with a guy named Brother Gang. We met with Brother Gang at his workplace by the church. He's a pretty strong Buddhist. He's been open to learning about the gospel and he's already read past 1 Nephi 10. He came to church yesterday and also got to stay for the baptismal program. He feels like his heart is conflicted since he's Buddhist and he's been learning about this new religion to him but I think he likes it. He's very interested. I shared with him Moroni 7:13 since I thought it would be helpful for him. It says "But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God." He's a good guy. I'll let you guys know how he's doing next week. We're still working with Brother Puum. His biggest problem right now is work. He works a lot. We have some others as well so we've staying pretty busy with our investigators.

I know that miracles are happening here in Thailand. There are people in this country that are prepared to accept the Restored gospel and it's been such a blessing to be able to see this on my mission. I know that God loves us. He loves us so much more than we love Him. I know the church is true. The Book of Mormon was translated by the power of God through Joseph Smith. I hope you all have a great week! True happiness comes from living the gospel so live it to the best you can!

Elder Rawlinson

This first picture is of me and my companion with Brother Thang. He's the cutest little chubby kid ever and when he waddles a bit when he walks haha

Before the baptism for Brother Jaab

Week 60: Miracles Come After Faith

Sawadii khap everyone! This past week has been so good! The work has been picking up even more now and I love it. Something about staying busy just makes things more enjoyable here. Being able to train has been such a cool experience for me. Elder Escher is a great missionary. As a trainer, I sometimes feel inadequate since I don't always have the best solutions to things but I know that the Lord wants me to be one and I don't want to let Him down.

I want to share with you guys an experience I had a few days ago. Yesterday in zone conference, we went over how miracles come after faith and I was able to see that this week. On Friday, Elder Escher and I had some time to go contacting in our area before we were to go to the mission office to do interviews with President Johnson. We prayed so we could be guided during our contacting session and afterwards, we just started walking without knowing where we would really go. It was pretty hot that day and the sun was blazing on us but we just kept on going. We ended up at a neighborhood of apartment buildings. I remember coming to one of the buildings not knowing whether or not to keep contacting in the direction in front of the building or behind it. Knowing it was either one or the other, I wanted to go where the Lord wanted me to go. I chose behind the building. Behind that building, we contacted a man named Nu that was willing to meet with us again in the future. A little while after that, we came across a teenager named Art. We were able to sit down with him and teach him the Restoration. He was a nice kid and he prayed at the end of our lesson as well. I usually contact by handing out cards that our mission has but on that day, I decided to carry an extra copy of the Book of Mormon with me. I gave him the copy I had with me after our lesson. 

Who am I out of all people to have been guided by the Lord as I was? I'm just a 20 year old from Arizona. Like I said, it was hot and humid and I didn't know where we'd end up but in Ether 12:12, it says "For if there be no faith among the children of men, God can do know miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith". I'm grateful that the Lord guided us that day and I know that it was because of our faith that we were able to see miracles. I have never done something so hard in my life as serve a mission but it's been the most rewarding thing I have ever experienced. I know God lives. This work is real.

Elder Rawlinson

Week 59: Building the Kingdom

Sawadii khap everyone! I've been getting used to Bangkok life now and I think busy streets and tons of people around are things I'm just gonna have to deal with. This past week's been interesting. Elder Smith and I  woke up Saturday morning feeling really sick. I tried to do studies in the morning, but it was pretty hard so I ended up sleeping for basically the rest of the morning and staying home for most of that day. It was rough. I'm feeling better now but I'm still a little sick and hopefully I don't slow down the work too much this upcoming week.

As for the area, here in Bangkapi, things are a lot more orderly than my last area which has been such a blessing. I loved Surin, but it's just different here. For one, we have a full bishopric in this ward and on top of that, there are a LOT of strong members as well with RMs and people that work for the church and member families etc. etc. I guess serving in my last couple of areas has made me more grateful for functioning wards!

Yesterday at church, I was able to meet a 10 year old girl named Sister Baam. She's friends with some of the members in the ward but she's not a member herself. Even though she's just a child, Elder Escher and I had the opportunity to teach her later that afternoon. She's met with missionaries before and she already had a Book of Mormon and she's read a lot of it as well! We ended up going over the Restoration lesson with her and afterwards, we talked about baptism. Since she's under 18, she has to have parent permission in order to get baptized. Her dad isn't really on board for her to get baptized right now but Elder Escher and I are going to meet with him this Tuesday and who knows, maybe he'll end up changing his mind and get baptized himself. I could tell Sister Baam showed a genuine interest in the gospel and in the church, especially for being 10 years old. I'm amazed at how much faith Sister Baam's already exercised and I know that this gospel will help bless her life as she grows up.

Other than Sister Baam, we're still working with our investigator named Brother Jaab. We've been teaching him over skype and line since he lives out of our area so things have been working out alright that way. He reads and he prays and he's pretty nice to us as well. He'll be baptized in a couple of weeks if he's ready.

I love this church so much and I'm grateful that I get to be a part of it. I love being able to help build the kingdom. I love you guys.

Elder Rawlinson

A view of some of Bangkok
Switch-off with Elder Tuttle. Sorry if it looks like I'm putting up the middle finger, I promise I wasn't.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Week 58: Serving in a Busy City!

What a week! I feel like I've been in this area for awhile now but really it's only been about 10 days or so. I don't know the city very well and it's just super busy here. But I love this area! The members are way nice and the church building is awesome. It's probably the nicest one out of all the areas that I've served in. My companion's still working hard with the language. He's been trying to work on tones and vocab but I know the language will just come over time as he continues to work on it. One of my favorite things about this area is that I get to ride taxis to places and even though I've fallen asleep more times than I can count in them, I've also been able to talk to a lot of the taxi drivers. I actually really enjoy conversations with them! They can be funny people and it's a great opportunity for me to share the gospel as well.

We had zone training this past week and it was good. I was able to see missionaries I knew. Elder Lindley was there (my old comp in Surin) and Elder Polu and others. We talked about SCRAM which is a new approach to missionary work that we've been working on here. It stands for service, contacting, retention (RCs), activation (LAs), and members. As we work in and with these different areas, we'll have opportunities to help others come unto Christ and hopefully others will get baptized! For service, we're going to try and do something at a hospital close by our house. I'll let you guys know how that goes in my email next week.

We had MIRACLES happen yesterday. We've been having a hard time getting new people to teach but yesterday was different. We taught two new people! One of them was a man named Samit (or Smith) that we invited at a mall here in Bangkapi and the other one was a teenager named Jaab that came to church with a couple other members! Brother Jaab lives in an area called Chantaburi which is over 3 hours away so we're going to teach him over Skype on Wednesday. He doesn't say too much to us but that's alright, he's still willing to learn. 

I really miss Surin but the Lord needs me here in Bangkapi now. I know that God lives and loves us. Jesus Chrsit is the Savior of the world. The church is true! 

Elder Rawlinson

I was trying to do a straight face haha
My companion, Elder Escher!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Week 57: I'm in a New Area!

Hello family and friends! Looks like it was time for me to leave Surin. Brother Gaan was baptized on the night I left and it was great. The gospel will be a blessing in his life. I felt like I learned valuable things from that area and I'm grateful that I was able to serve there for the amount of time that I did. Even though I had to say goodbye to a lot of people I got to know pretty well, I'm now on to the next "adventure" of my mission and I'm serving in my FIRST Bangkok area! The area is called Bangapi. Wow! I feel like I'm almost in a completely new mission since this area is soooo different than my past three areas. It's more developed here and a lot more busier. We live in a town house type of thing and there's a big shopping market by our house. The church is also pretty close by which is nice.

I'm also training for the first time and my companion, Elder Esher, is way awesome! He's from Lehi, Utah and he's just ready to work and serve the Lord. The language has been a struggle for him but he's been working hard with it.He wants to be able to get to know the members, but it's hard because of the language barrier. I remember how frustrating it was when I was a greenie with not being able to understand much, but I know he'll get the hang of it over time. 

As for the work, it's been kind of difficult getting things rolling since my companion and I are both new to Bangapi. We've met some of the members already so that's been nice but for investigators, we've been trying to find some new people to teach. We actually had a really cool miracle that happened last night. A new investigator that we met with while inviting came to the church and he seemed pretty interested. His name is Brother Puum. I still don't know him really well, but he agreed on a baptismal date and Elder Escher and I are going to meet with him again on Tuesday. I know that Brother Puum has been prepared by the Lord to receive the gospel and I'm looking forward to seeing him change through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Whitewashing into a new area can be hard, but who said everything on a mission would be easy, right? In 2 Nephi 22:2 it reads "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation." I know that Heavenly Father loves us so much. The Book of Mormon is true and the church has been restored. When you don't know what to do, just trust Him and look forward to the future with faith. Have a great week everyone!

Elder Rawlinson

I'm having issues with getting my pics to show up so these are from Elder Escher. The first one is of the small street our house is on and the second one is from on top of a bridge looking over a busy street in Bangapi

Week 56: My Trainer Came back to Thailand!

Hello family and friends! This week went by fast as usual! First of all, my trainer, the one and only Elder Anderson, came back to Thailand with his family and I got to see him here in Surin. We had lunch on Saturday at a member's place. Meeting up and seeing Anderson and some of the Ubon members that came with him made me miss the old days when I served in Ubon. It's crazy to think how much things have changed since serving there but I know I'll go back to visit in the future!

Elder Torres, my companion who's been having back problems, found out that he'll be going back to the States to get the medical attention that he needs. I don't know that much about back issues but it sounds like it's pretty serious. He's also taking medicine that makes him pretty tried so he's out of it a lot. It's too bad that he'll have to go home, but he'll have better medical attention to get it all figured out there. He plans on coming back out in the future. Please keep him in your prayers! As for myself, I've still been trying to work even though Elder Torres has been having medical problems. He can still do things but it's different. We've been doing a lot of switch-offs this transfer which has been good. I just don't like staying home for too long because it can get boring and I'd rather be out doing things and working. The new transfer starts on Thursday so it'll be interesting to find out what'll change in Surin. 

So in my last email, I said that Brother Gaan had a baptismal date for the 21st. He didn't get baptized on that date, but it's okay! The baptism will be on Wednesday! I'm so proud of him and so glad that he's been progressing in the gospel. I've been able to teach him a lot this week and he's been awesome. I feel like he's one of the reasons I was sent to this area. He's a good friend and he has an open heart when it comes to the gospel. If I leave Surin on Wednesday, then leaving this place with him getting baptized will be so great.

I don't know where I'll be next week but wherever I am, I know I'll still be serving the Lord and His children and that's what really matters. A mission is like a roller coaster. It's mentally and emotionally exhausting! When you care about something, you put your heart into it and sometimes when things don't go the way you think they will, it hurts. Other times, you get see the miracles and blessing of others coming into the gospel and makes it ALL WORTH IT. Every bit of it. I know the Lord loves us and cares about us. The church is true! 

Elder Rawlinson

We went and taught the kids this past week. Brother M was supposed to be a speaker on Sunday but he wouldn't do it. He cried Sunday morning before Sacrament meeting!

Elder Anderson and one of the members from Ubon, Brother Gid.

I was able to do a switch-off with Elder Wannasri on Sunday. He's way awesome