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

Week 55: Working with Elder Graham and AWESOME Investigators

Hey everyone! I've been thinking of this past week and I've realized that there's been a lot that's happened! My companion, Elder Torres, was on bed rest for his back and eventually ended up having to go to Bangkok so he could get it checked out. It was still bothering him and so he went with one of the other elders in the area. I ended up switching companions with Elder Grayham from Tuesday to Friday. Elder Torres was given medicine and he has to do physical therapy like once a week as well. There's a place here so we're probably gonna try and find it for him today. I feel kind of bad for him because of his back but hopefully he won't have to go home to get surgery while here in Thailand.

That left me with Elder Grayham for a large part of the week. Let's talk about this missionary for a second. Elder Grayham is one of the most focused missionaries I've ever met. Surin is a small branch with a LOT of problems but he's been determined on helping this place become better. He dies (finishes his mission) in October so this is his last area. However, let's just say that when you're with Elder Grayham, sometimes you don't know what'll happen. For example, there was one day while we were eating dinner with some of the members and Elder Grayham said hello to a lady that passed our table. For some reason, I was laughing (maybe because of how he said hello to the girl out of nowhere) and I made eye contact with the girl's guy that was with her. Whoops! The guy came back to our table and asked Elder Grayham "Do you have a problem??" and so Elder Grayham stood up with their faces about a foot apart and told him he was just saying hello to the lady (and then he also told him about our church). It was crazy!! Luckily they didn't get in an actual fight but it was close.

Right now, our companionship has two solid investigators- Sister Spider and Brother Gaan. Sister Spider went out of town a few days ago so Elder Grayham and I only got to teach her once this past week. She's seriously way awesome! She remembers things really well and she speaks English like a boss. When we went to teach her this past week, I thought it'd be good for us to introduce ourselves with the Larsen's as well, but she was like "we don't need to introduce ourselves, I already know who you guys are!" I didn't expect her to say that, but like I said, she remembers things really well! Brother Gaan is an investigator that came from our free English class that we have every Tuesday. He's seriously way awesome as well! He's about 20 years old and he's one of the most humble persons I've ever met. Honestly, I could learn a thing or two from him. But really though, Brother Gaan's been prepared by the Lord and he has a baptismal date for this upcoming Sunday on the 21st!

I just want to close this with my testimony. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that Heavenly Father loves us. The Book of Mormon is true and the church has been restored.

Elder Rawlinson

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Week 54: Floods, 'Bed Rest" and a Member Named Spider?

Hello family and friends! This past week's been a lot different than the usual. I'll start with the craziness. On Saturday evening, it started to rain here in Surin and it was insaaaane. The rain poured hard and it flooded one of the major streets here. The water even went close up to my knees at a point. I was just looking back at one of the pictures from the flood and I thought to myself "this street looks like a river". I think it's safe to say that we're for sure in the rainy season now. Was the flood pretty fun though? Yes, definitely. 
On another note, Elder Torres has been having some back problems so he was told to take some bed rest. He had a lifting injury at a gym before his mission and his back's been bothering him a lot lately. I feel pretty bad for him since he seems to be in a lot of pain at times, but hopefully he'll start getting a lot better soon. If not, I'm just gonna make him fight through the pain and keep working like normal anyway. Just kidding... kind of.

My favorite miracle of the week: Before church began this Sunday, I was sitting at the piano facing the congregation and I noticed someone that came to Sacrament Meeting who wasn't a member. This girl came last week as well and I don't think any of the missionaries really talked to her yet. I saw her and I thought to myself "I'm gonna go up to this girl and see if we can start teaching her". So I did. She told me her name was Maegmum - meaning spider. Sure enough after church, Elder Torres, Elder Larsen, and I had an opportunity to sit down and teach her. She told us that she knew one of the members here that moved to Bangkok. At the end of our lesson, she committed to pray. The next appointment with her will be this Tuesday. This whole experience with Sister Spider has been my favorite miracle of the week. She was literally just sitting there in Sacrament so I decided to talk to her and I'm glad I did because I now realize that she's been prepared by the Lord to accept the gospel. Woah! Sometimes I don't realize miracles that happen all around me until I stop and try to look for them. And I usually find something every time. As we follow the Spirit to do good, we will be blessed and it will be for the good! I love you guys!

Elder Rawlinson

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Week 52: New missionaries in Surin!

Alright, so I hope you guys all had a solid week. Elder Torres and I have been teaching like crazy and I've noticed that the time has been going by faster and faster. Next Sunday will already be the third Sunday of the transfer! So things have been changing here. Surin just got senior missionaries and they're way awesome! They're names are Elder and Sister Larsen. They're actually not really "seniors" since they're both about 50 or so but they're from Queen Creek and I actually knew their daughter, Shelly. She went to Gilbert High for a time and we were both in the same seminary class. They've only been here for a few days and they've already been a huge blessing to the area. I love knowing that it's the six of us missionaries in this area now instead of just the four.

So my companion dyed his hair! I don't really know why he did it but it was seriously so funny and it made our week a lot more interesting. The blonde color he wanted didn't come out right and he's half Mexican half Thai so just picture that for a second. It came out as a really yellowish golden color. Elder Torres was also called Sister Torres a couple times this week. He ended up dying it a second time to get the color to not stand out as much because he felt like the color was against the mission rules. It's still blonde, just not as bad as it was the first time he dyed it.

Right now, are best investigators are Sister S and Sister Na. We're still teaching Sister S and she's been completely willing to keep all the commandments we've introduced to her. She has a lot of faith. Since she's 84 and she can't remember or grasp things as well as others, she's taught me a thing or two about patience haha. I'm so grateful that I get to know and teach her. Last week, I mentioned a new investigator named Sister Na. Sister Na's 23 and she works with one of the members at a hair salon. She's been progressing SO much in the past week and we're hoping she can get baptized on the 31st. She wants to be a better person and learn more about the gospel. The Lord's been preparing her to accept the gospel and so far, she's been doing just that. I'm looking forward to seeing her progress more in the gospel. I love serving as a missionary! it's been the hardest thing I've ever done but the most rewarding as well. I hope you guys are all having a fun summer! When you sweat during the day, just remember that I've been doing that basically everyday since I got to Thailand! Have a great week!
 Elder Rawlinson

Last P-day, we went to Buriram and got to see the soccer stadium they have there
Hahahahahah Elder Torres

Week 51: Starting my 4th trasnfer in Surin!

We just had transfers again and it looks like I'm staying here in Surin for another one! I was pretty sure that I was gonna move but that's alright. Elder Lindley and Elder Gremillion moved to Bangkok so we have two new elders here in Surin. My new companion is Elder Torres and this is his second area in the country. He's from Fresno, California and he's ready to work. He's also way funny and just all around a fun person so I think this transfer serving with him will be a blast!

I've never been in an area for as long as this one so I feel like I've been able to get to know the town and the people here pretty well. Sister S  (who's actually 84 haha) is such a nice old lady. She can't always remember the things taught to her but she really does have faith. The last time Elder Torres and I went to visit her, we ended up just reviewing some things. She can't drive or sit on a motorcycle so we arranged a ride for her to come to church last Sunday. Brother TH went to Singapore so he'll be back later this month. Elder Torres and I will try to teach him when he gets back. We also have an awesome new investigator named Sister NA! She was a referral from one of the members and we taught her for the first time yesterday. She took the message of the Restoration pretty well and we gave her a Book of Mormon. I'm looking forward to teaching her again and seeing her progress in the gospel!

The other day I was reading a scripture that I really like. Alma 53:20 says "And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all—they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted." This scripture talks about the 2000 stripling warriors and it also describes what kind of person I want to be. I hope you guys all have a great week! 

Elder Rawlinson
From last P-day!
Look how good this dessert looks!