Sunday, December 6, 2015

OCT. 26, 2015

Great week, found great people, taught great lessons, great invitations to baptism but no one in church. This week on Wednesday, as a zone we focused a ton on finding new people and inviting them to baptism. We did it and got a lot of people excited for baptism and like 11 people accepted to be baptized the 14th of November but then after when we went back for the next appointments, they bailed and weren't home or they had an Evangelical friend there to tell us to go away and leave them alone.... ugh. But it's normal for people to have things come up and be busy unexpectedly.  A lot of them were very sincere so we'll do more follow up with them this week while looking for more. About 2 weeks ago we had a day when a lot of appointments fell.  We walked around a bit and I started to think about the lives I've seen changed and the miracles that have happened so far and I remember I really wanted to find a family that was ready for help and be baptized.  I offered a little prayer in my heart telling God my desires and how I wanted to find a great family and right after finishing the prayer, I declared to my companion, Elder Acarapi, and Ronny, a member that was with us, that we were going to find a chosen family. As I told them that I made eye contact with a man sitting with his family just by his door in his house. We took a few more steps and I thought "It can't be them, that was too soon!" But I was prompted to go back. Juan Carlos Tobar let us in his home.  He told us that he had been out of work for 2 weeks and very upset, stressed and worried because he has to take care of his wife and two little girls. We had a very spiritual first visit and I told him my prayer and being guided to his house. The Sundays after, fear and worry overcame him and he left to look for work in the morning instead of church.  Now his foot has been very swollen and hasn't gone to church still but wants to very bad. Conversion is never easy and there will always be trials but our hopes for them are still good! I love you all and remember Christ in all you do!

Elder Rawson=) 

Stake service project on Saturday. I got baked.... So burnt:(

Oct. 19, 2015

Its been a good week. Our investigator Marisol Barcos was baptized on Saturday in the afternoon! She lives with her sister and her niece recently left on the mission a little bit before I got here and I think that's why she got more interested in the church. We didn't get quite as much done this week as I would have liked too but we are going to be finding people like crazy this last week. I love you all and hope you keep saying your prayers and read the BoM TODOS LOS DÍAS  (daily)! 
Here's my ponderize scripture of the week. I have it memorized in español so look it up. DC 58:26-29
Porque he aquí, no conviene que yo mande en todas las cosas. porque el que es compelido en todo es un siervo perezoso y no sabio, y no recibe galardón alguno.
De cierto digo que los hombres deben estar anhelosamente consagrados a una causa buena y hacer muchas casa de su propia voluntad y efectuar mucha justicia.
Porque el poder está en ellos. y en esto vienen a ser sus propios agentes. y en tanto que los hombres hagan lo bueno, do ninguna manera perderán su recompensa.
Mas el que no hace nada hasta que se le mande, y recibe un mandamiento con corazón dudoso, y lo cumple desidiosamente, ya es condenado.

Elder Rawson:)

For behold , not that I should command in all things . for he that is compelled in all things is a slothful and not a wise servant , and receives no reward.
Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many house of his own will, and bring to pass much righteousness .
For the power it is in them. wherein they are agents unto themselves . and while the men do good , do no means lose his reward.
But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded , and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart , and keepeth it with slothfulness , the same is damned .

Elder Rawson :)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Happy 20th Birthday Oct. 12 2015

Oct. 5, 2015

Hermana Bajaña, a RM that returned from Brazil gave me a Pregar meu Evangelho to help me with my portugues:)

trilingual:) ...well, not yet

Giving Birth-take 2
¡Buenas tardes con todos!

Last night Elder Melzer got the called he dreaded of transfers. After six months he said bye to the family he made here. He was a great companion and we grew a ton together! I'll miss him. But today when we got to Guayaquil they told me that I was going to be training again! I'm stoked! I've been wanting to get another shot at training to really focus on basing everything from mission work in Preach my Gospel. I probably won't be getting another Brazilian to help me more with my Portuguese but we will see Wednesday!

It has been a great week. Thursday we had a conference with Pres and it was great to get in the temple again and I'll be going back Wednesday with the greenies! I am so stoked for this week and these coming months! Conference was amazing and I learned a lot of things I needed to hear! It's amazing when God answers your questions directly! My first question was, How can I center my life completely on Christ. With the second talk it was answered very clearly and I changed "completely" to "perfectly". I think we all felt the Spirit testify to all of us that the 3 new men are true apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is His church, I know it and I will dedicate my all to build up His kingdom. That is the only way to receive the true and enduring happiness that comes from obeying His commandments and putting Him first always. 

Love you all! Read the Book of Mormon and I promise God will speak to you!
Elder Rawson=)

The Pinargote family at conference:) parents reactivated and daughter Veronica baptized last week!

Fabian, our new ward mission leader! por fin

The fun cake Junior made me! The kid's a natural baker!:)


OCTOBER 12, 2015

 Happy 20th Birthday today to my Happy Missionary                                   

Yeah so I think I've learned that you can't mention your birthday in Ecuador as a missionary. The whole world will give you cake. I can't even go a normal day fasting without declining 25 different refreshments from all the wonderful people. But it has for sure been a great day and I can't complain. I saw the patriarch from Panorama at the temple on Wednesday when we went with the new missionaries and he invited me over to his house for lunch which was not bad at all because his wife is an amazing cook!

The trainings we had with the new missionaries went great! The temple was fantastic like always. As we were waiting to enter the session I actually sat next to and met Elder Acarapi who was going to be my new "son". He is a genius. He speaks decent English and has a great testimony. Definitely knows why he is here. I'm super stoked for the companionship. Something that I have noticed about him is that when we pray together and I offer the prayers, that when I say "amen", he would wait like 3 seconds each time before repeating amen. At first I kind of smiled at it thinking it was funny how he did it but then I started to realize that he understood that prayer is sacred communication with God and I have started to apply the same habit of waiting a few seconds after each prayer instead of jumping up and getting busy. By doing so I have noticed a peace that comes and its really nice, so I invite all of you to get in the same habit of really listening to each prayer!

Yesterday the stake presidency changed because the stake president moved to my old ward of Panorama. So Elder Waddell from the 70 came and spoke. He spoke of 2 things which are most weighing on the minds of President Monson and the 12. They are, 1. that we need to seek out and rescue our fellow brethren who have fallen way from the church, or better, Go to the rescue. 2. Observance of the Sabbath Day. The  observance of the Sabbath has been a very big subject everywhere I have been throughout my mission. Go read Isaiah 58:13-14, say a prayer, and then think about what actions you personally have been doing on the Day of the Lord that may not be sending Him a good sign. Then, in prayer, make a covenant with Him and tell Him that you will do better to draw closer to Him. I promise your life will change if you do it!

I love you all and wish ya the best!

With the famous Lozano family last night

Meeting the fresh new comp! on Wednesday! He actually smiles a lot, just not much in pics! ha ha:)

Sept. 2015 Blog Updates

Sept. 7, 2015
Us with Souka Niang at church! The African investigator we found that I mentioned last week!

No puedo pensar en un tema chevere...

Great week, and with the new bishopric getting called a week ago things will be picking up a lot more smoothly now! I have worked with new bishops in all of my sectors and I love it because they are so excited and very good at getting things done! It definitely will help with all the less actives we are working with!   

For a cool little story from this week. We did exchanges this week on Wednesday with  our DL and his comp. I left to the Oramas ward with Elder Ulloque from Colombia.  In the afternoon we went to follow up with a contact they had from a few days earlier named Carlos. He was happy we got there and invited us to sit down. They had left him with the restoration pamphlet and immediately when Elder Ulloque asked how he liked it, he said he read it all and disagreed with all of it! He went straight to the page of church attendance and said he
didn't like how we went in white shirt and tie because God wouldn't do that and accepts everyone. He was very closed about everything and I saw no hope. But Elder Ulloque followed and wanted to start with the prayer. I decided that the least I could do was be patient and try to love him as well as I could. As I listened to him, he said that we all have our own ways of worshipping God and we should stick to our own ways. I thought of Isaiah 55:8-9 and read and explained to him that we all have our ways of doing things but so does God. And His ways are better and higher so really whatever ways we have don't really matter and we need to accept God and how he wants things done. We can only learn His will through His prophets and that is where Joseph Smith  comes in. Elder Ulloque helped him well too and he even said he wanted to be baptized later on! He told us at the end that we had changed his ways of thinking! I was so amazed leaving the lesson with how the Spirit had worked. I swear, patience and charity are the keys to missionary work!

Elder Rawson=)

Don't have the pics from today cuz my comps camera died but here's one from a few weeks ago playing soccer!

Sept. 14, 2015

Flash-back P-Day

So its been a great week! Today was awesome, I'm on late and rushed with time because we were over in Panorama, my first sector, today! It was so weird but way cool to be back over there! It feels like yesterday. Junior, that I baptized before leaving, walked around with us all day seeing the members. He is getting ready to study another semester of college before the mission in March! Hes also been the ward secretary for like 6 months which I didn't know. If anyone remembers of me talking about Javier Calderon a year ago, we went by his house and him and his wife are coming back to church and listening to the missionaries again! His two twin girls were even baptized last Saturday! He is now just waiting on the divorce which is almost impossible down here to get married and baptized! It was so cool to see the people again! Miss that ward!

This week I have really began to have a true love and deepening appreciation for the Book of Mormon. Christ is truly the central purpose of the book and one cannot reject the Book of Mormon without also rejecting its message, which is Him. Try something, grab your BoM and open to a random chapter and see how many times it testifies of Him. 

I have also thought more about charity and its importance. Without charity, or love/genuine desire, serving becomes a lot less fulfilling and almost not worth it. Just as faith needs works and works need faith, Charity needs service and service needs charity. 

Love you all!
Read the Book!

Elder Rawson=)

Sept. 21, 2015

"Buenas, Dios le bendiga"

Junior and Andrés Jaramillo from Panorama, swung by our house to sell us brownies! He's selling them for the mission! March he plans to be out!

It's been another great week trying to live the mish to the fullest. 
We've been working a lot with the Maridueña family who have been investigating the church for a few months now and made the choice to be baptized 2 weeks ago. The date is this week but they have had some difficulties to attend church the 3 hours for work and other things. We're trying to focus on that so they decide to truly turn to Christ and commit the 3 hours. The 2 parents should be baptized this Sat and the kids who have a bit more doubts will be following soon. The Pinargote Family is another family that we are teaching. The two parents, Pablo and Cecilia were inactive for about 30 years and they are now returning. Veronica is their daughter. Veronica is 33 years old but suffered from depression through her life and at one point she decided to intent the wrong and she was left with some brain defects. She's a little slower but can read and communicate and is excited to be baptized this week now that her dad came back from eastern Ecuador. 

I know this work is the Lord's and there is no other thing in this world that matters more! The Book of Mormon is true and if you want to come to know your Savior more, open the book and feast on the words of Christ! 

With the Jaramillo fam last week visiting Panorama

My mom sent me this post that Junior put on his Facebook!

Got my mom's trunky packages..

My buddy Jared who helps us a lot. He leaves December to serve in England Birmingham mission to speak English!

Sept. 28, 2015

Does this really have to end someday???

Definitely one of those weeks where I am very grateful to be a missionary.Wednesday we got to go down to Guayaquil and listen to Elder Calderòn, an area seventy. He was super powerful and funny. Talked about obedience and the role it has in order to actually bear our testimonies and be a real "missionary." It was great and I learned a ton. In the conference pres Riggins told us the importance of repenting immediately and sincerely. He told us, "Trust me, I need to repent every time I get in the car and drive here in Ecuador!" I've never driven with president but I've heard he's hilarious! 

Saturday the baptism of the Maridueña family went great! Even though we have a brand new bishopric without a ward mission leader and it was their first baptism! The assistants called earlier and asked if they could attend the baptismal service so it was cool to see them again. My comp baptized Eduardo and I baptized Nancy and their daughter Claudia! After the ordinances Nancy shared a great testimony that brought a few tears to my eyes. She's so faithful and has been so great in reading the Book of Mormon. Veronica Pinargote who had an accident 6 years ago was baptized in the service of the other ward at 6:30. We were wondering if it was right to baptized her but we talked to her parents and her and they all wanted to go through with it!

I really wish I could share all the crazy experiences and the lessons I'm learning but the best I can tell you, if you are able, is to serve your own mission/repent and live the Gospel and receive what God wants you to have!

The church has to be true! there is no other source of happiness that can compare the that which comes from accepting Christ and His principles!
I love you all and I know God does too! Ask Him to find out!

Elder Rawson=)

Family night! Maridueñas, Lozanos, and Betancourts!

The baptism:) Nancy Claudia and Eduardo

Elder Fernandez. Meu melhor amigo do Brazil:)

Veronica and the Pinargote family:) Fabian baptized her:)

El Recreo, my sector:)

Going to the conference:) 12 missionaries = no problem

Monday, September 14, 2015

July 27th, 2015

Wow man, It´s been a week!
Well, if you've been keeping track of my emails and stuff, you know I've been in a trio because Elder Ypis from Bolivia was finishing his mission.  Earlier in the week we were thinking how one of our families, la familia Mora, had accepted a date to get baptized this Saturday so we decided to get pilas (wake up, get on the ball) to see what could be done. So we re-invited them to get married and baptized in one week and they happily accepted.  We had another member family help do a sale of empanadas and everything went well and they got married and baptized!  At first I was a little worried that the whole process happened too fast but they are super happy now and enjoying the spirit!  Its so cool to see the light that comes into the people after being baptized and confirmed.  Its hard to describe but it's real!  Then last night a family that Elder Ypis taught and baptized 2 years ago (He started and requested to end here) threw him a big family home evening at their house with the ward. vThe Mora family went and their daughter who wasn't interested in the church for a long time, told us yesterday that she wants to get baptized too! Probably this Saturday even! 

-Elder Rawson=)

Today in the morning Elder Ypis and Elder Mendoza, (who I lived with in Quevedo and got transferred here to see him die) went off to Guayaquil and will be flying back tomorrow. 

 Today Elder Melzer and I went back to La Isla de Santay. I went a year ago and its still way pretty! Its nice to ride a bike and get some fresh air!:)

Aug. 3, 2015

This week was pretty normal. Nothing too crazy happened... OK that´s a lie, I'm in Ecuador. So if any of you were here with me you would have plenty to say.
My area has a ton of people and is a lot different than Quevedo and Panorama.
This last week we taught some great lessons and we have some awesome investigators but when Sunday morning came around Satan was able to get in and we had 0 investigators at church which is a first in a very long time, so I got a little down but I have to keep positive! 
On the bright side Dominique, whose parents were baptized last week, got baptized and confirmed! The Mora family is doing great and are so excited to get active in the ward! The mission is great! Keep enjoying life and looking for those tender mercies of the Lord!

Elder Rawson:)

Aug. 10th, 2015

Great week, I think I am actually beginning to feel Ecuadorian by now. I complete 1 year officially in this country in 2 days! I think my letters are going to start getting shorter just because I'm getting more and more used to this place! This week went great. We were really busy and did a lot of splits with the members to make it to all our appointments! The members here and great and my dreams that I used to have of members calling us to go teach have come true! Its a great ward other than the fact we don't have a bishop or a ward mission leader because of some complications they had before I got here.

We have some great investigators but once Sunday morning rolls around, we find that Satan was able to get in there over night. One investigator that we have been teaching for a bit has failed 2 weeks in a row to go to church now, when both times he was sooooo sure that he would be going. When we went by in the morning, he was just getting out of the shower getting ready to go to Guayaquil. I got a little down but I tried not to let it get to me. It was hard though because he is so good and even memorizes the scriptures in the BoM that we assign him. At  church we had quite a bit of less actives that went to church and are really excited to get back in the Gospel. I always have loved working with less actives like the Tubay and Sanchez families. I love seeing the change of heart that they receive when they repent and readily accept God's hand that is reaching out to them.

This week I have come to really know that pondering is very important to receive revelation. A few nights ago as I was writing in my journal at night, I began to think about what I had done on the mission so far and the people I have worked with. Then the Spirit suddenly overcame me and I knew of  a surety that God was telling me that he was pleased with me and what I have done and am doing as His servant. I hadn't received anything like that in a while but it was a nice tender mercy to keep me going. I know that God always has a plan for every one of us, even if it appears that we have wandered away too far. He's perfect and His Son provided us the perfect way to get back to Him.

Elder Rawson=)

Subimos al faro hoy en Guayaquil:)

On the top of the light house I met up with a member from Guayaquil from the West Mission who lives in a ward that my cousin Melissa Fish served in and he served in Mexico city South Mission and Elder Tyler Teerlink was his last companion!! Way crazy!! Tender Mercy:)

                       Mis compras de hoy:)¡Las familias son eternas!

Aug. 17th. 2015

So, short letter and no new pics cuz the old camera started being dumb.

This week has been one for learning patience for me. I realized it on Wednesday i think when we left to do splits with two of the members. I went with Ronny Jalil to visit our investigators and the lessons weren't working out. People fail and I was thinking about it and why. Then I realized that in that morning I studied patience and the article in this last months Liahona and noticed that I'm in a trial of my faith and that God always is in control. Because.. Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men.God always has a plan for us, we just have to recognize it and do our best to prove to Him that we deserve His blessings. After that day, and for the rest of the week, my patience has been tested many times but I'm doing me best! If we don't give others a chance to do better and understand our differences in imperfections, we are just hypocrites.

Love you all! Be good!
Elder Rawson :)

                                    Aug. 24, 2015
                        "Always be ready, always be pure in heart"

Long week of lessons falling, LOTS of walking, sore legs and the ojo de pollo on my foot sure doesn´t feel better. 
Yeah it's been a slow week in finding people and helping them to progress, but aside from all the negative there are always the good things that make up! We still have been able to work some great less actives that are returning the the church. There's the Palma family where there is 2 brothers that started coming back on their own and Roberto the older one who is a RM that became inactive shortly after returning from Mexico is attending with his wife and little baby. Another less active was baptized when he was really young and went inactive shortly after, has been receiving us and loves the church now and even quit his job so he could attend all 3 hours of church!   Then another nice lady who has had a hard past with her husband who wasn't very nice to her, is attending and super happy to come back to God. I was thinking yesterday how much we are all worth to God as His children and even us who have made mistakes and maybe even turned our backs to Him for a while still have great value in His eyes. The mistakes and sins that we make in life don't take away our worth but just hides it. Like a nice little house that has had messy missionaries living in it for a couple years, just needs a little cleaning (and a lot of clorox..) 

But the reason for the title is because we just went to the hospital in Guayaquil to visit a less active that we have been visiting. Brother Cheves was in a bad motorcycle accident Friday night and is in intensive care. We went to go visit them and they were going to let us in at 1. through the morning I tried to keep a steady prayer in my heart  to be able to retain the power of the priesthood so I could act in God's name if I was to offer a blessing. We were with the family members outside of the care unit when they called the visitors in. They only let two in and the family told us to go in to see him. We went in and he was on the bed asleep with anesthesia. He suffered some injuries to his head and was in bad shape so we didn't dare put our hands on his head to give him a blessing. Instead my comp offered a prayer and we went back out. When we left and saw his wife and dad and uncle they told us that they weren't able to go in to see him and it was only us 2 that could go in. I didn't know about that rule. I thought the family would have gone in after us. I felt bad and thought there was something more that needed to be done. But my comp told me there was nothing we could do and we did what was good. I still felt I was to have done something more. I don't know what would have happened but maybe if I had had more faith to at least try to do something more I would have left with a better feeling like Pres Eyring said in his last talk in priesthood session. I know this will be a learning opportunity and I can prepare myself better now for the future when these moments happen. I love you all, I know this church is true, and I am happy to be a representative of it. Be prepared!

Elder Rawson:)

Elder Flores from our house left to Bolivia and lets just say this explains the relationship we had..:)

Saturday we stopped by some investigators, Estaban limpiando tripas de chancho para hace un caldo de salchicha.... yumm! haha..

Da zone of last week. (but looks like a district for other missions..) he he

                                                                Aug. 31, 2015

Hey all!
Compared to last week, This week has been way busier and a lot more productive! The other two elders in our ward left so we were left with us two to care for both areas! We have been working with a lot of the people the other Elders left and they had some great people! Just in this last week we have really grown to love them very quickly! Some great less actives and investigators. The people in our sector from before have been doing well also and we had a great turn out at church with 13 investigators and 10 less actives in the sacrament meeting! 

Yesterday they also finally called a new bishopric so we now have a bishop and are just waiting on the ward mission leader still! My dream of finding, teaching and baptizing a black man  are now very possible because this week we met Suoka Niang! And he is African! He is so cool, he just came up to us before lunch one day and started talking to us in English. Hes lived in Africa, Italy, France, and England before moving here. We found his house this week and he lives with a baptist family that picked him up in taxi and he didn't have a place to stay so the dad invited him to stay in their house. We taught him with the mom, they are pretty strong in their church but the mom really likes us and Suoka told me after the lesson he felt really good and loved what we told him! We also have to explain and teach him mostly in English cuz he came without speaking Spanish even though he doesn't have super good English either. 

Then Saturday in personal study, Elder Fernandez who I lived with in Quevedo, now assistant, called me and told me that the Sanchez family, we found and taught and I baptized the son in my last day in the sector, was getting sealed the same day and wanted me there! I couldn't believe it at first, but we ran to change in our suits and got out the door to make it! It was cool because basically the whole ward from San Camilo came down to go to the temple! It was such a great spiritual experience to see them and other converts got to do baptisms for the dead! The sealing was so spiritual! That family has changed soo much! The Gospel is true and definitely changes people! After 26 years, Alfonso has truly repented and is now guiding his family to live together forever! I love this gospel, church and my Savior more than ever! I know it is all true! Just read the Book!:)

Elder Rawson=)

Me and Elder McMinn met Raul (second to the left) in Quevedo as a less active. Elder Mcminn got transferred here, Raul has family here and was visiting and saw Elder Mcminn and presented his family, basically the whole family got baptized and today they fed us 8 missionaries after playing soccer for 2 hours! Awesome family!!

Saw Elder Vitor at the sealing!

With Patriarch Olvera from Panorama at the temple!

Elder Fernandez

With the Sanchez family after the big day! Las familia son eternas!