Monday, July 4, 2016

2 Years gone 2 fast (last letter home)

July 4, 2016

Mis seres muy amados,

I am so thankful that the Lord has blessed me with such and amazing opportunity to serve as a full-time missionary these past two years. Being able to forget myself, leave my own life and serve in the Lord's vineyard for this short time has been and will always be a blessing that I will cherish forever. The people I have met and come to love here have helped me grow in so many ways. They will forever hold a place in my heart. I feel so humble to have seen how God has been able to work through me so others may partake of the many blessings of this Gospel. The joy that I have felt from being an instrument is the hands of the Lord is beyond my words.

The Lord desires that all people, no matter who they are or what they've done, to come unto Him in order that He may heal them through His atoning sacrifice. He is so merciful to those that accept His Gospel and do His will. The Gospel heals families, relationships, and broken hearts. He has done it for me. For as dumb as I have been and the many times I have forgotten Him throughout my life in some of the choices I've made, He did not forget me. He has heard my cries and answered my prayers when I have recognized my own nothingness and needed His saving grace. I testify that He is our Savior. There is nothing of greater value to me than my relationship with Jesus Christ.

Every person in this world has two final goals or purposes. First, to qualify for eternal life and second, to help others to do the same. There is no greater joy than that which comes from getting to love a person and seeing them accept Christ, repent, receive the ordinances of the Gospel and then press forward faithfully striving to keep the commandments of God. I have felt so privileged to have experienced a little bit of this joy in my time in this great work.

Thank you everyone for your support and for the prayers. They have been felt in times of need. I love you all and wish for you to consider your choices and act in order to draw closer to God through little steps like simple prayer and reading the Book of Mormon. I promise it's worth it. Change is often hard and at first, uncomfortable but the results make it worthwhile.

God lives. He is our Father. He chose and sent His perfect Son to descend lower than anyone of us ever could in order that He might lift us up unto eternal life if we accept Him and His atonement. Though I have been taught and known this almost all my life, the living realities of God, the Father, and of His Son, Jesus the Christ, have never been more real to me than they now are. The Spirit testifies of this to me. I lack so much and have many things to improve on but the mission has shown me what I must do so I can continue to progress the rest of my life.
I love my Redeemer and of Him I testify.

Elder Rawson

The Cáceres-Berfo family. :)


Monday, June 27, 2016


June 6, 2016

Service on Thursday cleaning the dustiest old house I've ever seen!

Hey folks! we got like no time today because we ran to Guayaquil today to do some last little gift shopping for my family! This week has been good I've learned a lot! Last Monday, I prayed to God to help my companion and I to understand the importance of the Spirit in the work and lessons. ....Well, God heard my prayer and answered by allowing us to teach a lesson completely without the Spirit. We visited Leider Pulido who we have known for a few weeks. He explained to us that he is very Catholic and highly doubts that he will change. We tried to explain the importance of prophets and the restoration but the words did not come out at all and there was no unity in the lesson. I hope he lets us back at least one more time before we leave him because he would be a great member of the church! It was good because after I took advantage of the situation to help my comp and I to put goals to be even more obedient with exactness by patching up the weak points. 

On Saturday we are going to Guayaquil again to have the conference with Elder Rasband! I'm stoked to hear from him as a missionary.

I love you all! 
Elder Rawson:)

June 13, 2016

Hey everyone!
We went down to Panorama (my first area) again today and ate with the Jaramillo family so here's another brief, kinda rushed letter.

Elder Rasband came Saturday! It was great! We got to all shake his hand. The main messages were on the importance and the influence of the smile and having Christ's look in our eyes, and they talked a lot of loving Christ more. I got to talk to my two cousins too for like 5 minutes each. Elder Dalton in the south mission and Hermana Fish in the west mission. We're the same but I think we could see that we have all changed and grown a lot! Diana Ortega, one of our investigators originally had her baptismal date for this Saturday, but we talked yesterday with her and she wants more time to learn a little bit  more and to work with her family because she hasn't really told them that she wants to be baptized and they are very catholic. It's hard for us to meet with her because she only will see us in the church or when she goes over to her boyfriends house who is a member and we teach her with the rest of the family. We also got two new young families that we are working with that have been to church a few times. One has their dates for the end of July but they aren't married and are really struggling with work and money but they are very willing to progress and have been doing great with their family prayers and attending church!

I still can't believe how fast the time has flown by, although at moments it didn't feel like it! Walking the streets of Panorama almost two years later is a weird experience. It hasn't change too much but I feel so much different. I'm not that same ignorant greenie gringo when I first arrived. 
My group that I came with is going home next Monday but I'm staying until the 8th of July to go with Elder Dalton. See you all soon!

I love my Savior Jesus Christ and know he lives. I know the atonement is real and that miracles do happen when we accept Him and exercise faith.

Elder Rawson=)

Jaramillo Family

                                    June 20, 2016

                                                Tubay Family Sealed

Hey everyone! Today we had transfers and I'm with my last companion, Elder Lafuente! He is also from Bolivia. Even though I've been with him for a few hours I can already tell by the conversations we've had that he's a great missionary. This last week wasn't the great with the visits. There's something that doesn't change in the mission, appointments falling through. So we weren't able to teach a whole lot but there are always positives!

Last week we were talking to the dad of a family we found. He was nice but didn't seem too interested. He told us he had been very busy because he was in the process of moving locations of the tool store he had. We asked him if he needed a few more hands to get the work done and he replied, "I need all the help I can get!" So we set the day for Thursday and went and offered some service with 4 other elders that we got to help out to move the supplies. He was pretty impressed afterwards and invited us to his house Sunday night for dinner! He seems great so far and we will see if we can get some progress going with him!

Also the Tubay family was sealed on Saturday! I went down with another elder so my comp could get some work done here in Milagro. We just went with us two, the Tubay couple and the bishop Cruz and his wife. They did a special trip from Quevedo so I could be there. They will finish the sealings with their kids this next month when they go down as a ward. It has been such a blessing seeing the conversion of this family. Going from being inactive for 26 years and in just over one year turning around and making it to the temple to have an eternal family! it is a huge testimony to me about the reality of the atonement of Jesus Christ. I love this work. I love my Savior.

Elder Rawson

                                                 June 27 2016

Hey everyone:)

This last week was great with Elder Lafuente. Being a survivor in the mission this last week and having seen most of the rest of my group leave, I have felt very grateful to continue as an official representative of the Church of Jesus Christ.
Two weeks ago we were looking for a member whose name we had on a list from the ward. Since there's no exact addresses here we went asking people around the indicated area. We never found the person from the list but while searching we came across Fabricio Cáceres. Who is chosen and has been prepared! He accepted a visit for that Saturday. While I went to the sealing of the Tubay family my companion and another elder went to the visit and invited him to church. The next day we went by to accompany them to church and he and his wife were there waiting. They stayed the three hours and we continued to visit them this last week with my new comp. This man has kept a copy of the Book of Mormon that the missionaries had given him about 15 years ago. And he loves it. He tells us that he has been waking up every morning at 5:30, says a prayer and continues to study the Book of Mormon. His kids tell him as he spends so much time studying and reading, "take a break, pastor!" But he is so dedicated to learn the Gospel and he loves it. He doesn't have a steady job right now but the word of God has definitely strengthened him. He attended all three of the sessions of stake conference, was taking notes and loved it.
The mission is great and I'm grateful to have heeded to the voice of the Spirit and stayed a few more weeks. I'm treasuring every moment I have out here. I hope this week all of you will make some effort to follow the example of Fabricio Cáceres by studying the Book of Mormon and allowing the treasures that are found within this great book to enter and cause a change in your heart.
-Elder Rawson
2 Nefi 33.

Saturday night. His wife came out and joined us for the adult session

Mother's Day/Last Skype

Last Skype/Mothers Day

May 2, 2016

Elijan amar

Hey everyone,
El mexicano , Elder Hernandez, and I are still gettin at it here in Babahoyo.
The ward had a trip to the temple planned for Saturday and they needed more endowed priesthood holders to help out in the baptistery and with the confirmations so we went along. We also had been helping Lolita, who was baptized the week before I got here, to get names of ancestors to take to the temple. The trip went well. Whenever we had gone we had only done sessions, but it was cool to help out with the confirmations. It was my first time and it was cool to be with all the youth and members. the same spirit was present as when I used to go up to the Draper temple back in the old days. Even though it was in a different language, different temple in a different country, it's the the same Spirit that is felt doing the same work.
I'm still loving the mission and am learning a lot but like probably any other old missionary, I've been tired. So I've decided to take this weariness and try to make it useful. I've found that everybody knows at least a little bit about the principles of the gospel whether they be investigators, less actives, or members. It's a lot easier sometimes to be taught than to teach. So in lessons sometimes I like to take the role as the investigator and ask questions as if I were the student and let the people help me to figure out solutions and the principles. After, we can testify of the things they have taught us and add more if they missed a point or two.

Well I love you all and hope you're all happy. 
Just one suggestion: Choose to love.
That's all

Elder Rawson:)

En el templo con la hermana Lolita

 May 9, 2016

Mother's Day Skype

Hey everyone!
I got transferred and just got to my last area! I'm in the city of Milagro (miracle) and am in the Apolo ward. When I had about 11 months in the mission I actually came and worked in this exact ward for a day! They say its a little week of a ward and has a few issues but I'm with Elder Vargas from Cochabamba Bolivia (also where Elder Acarapi, my son, is from) and he seems great. He's very mature and seems obedient and happy so all is well for me. 

Yesterday, after talking to the families for the last time, Elder Hernandez and I went to visit the Alarcon Romero family. Freddy is the dad who is an architect. They are a very special family and are very blessed. They loved us and were very funny, treated us well, but sometimes it was hard for us to maintain the control of the visits to be able to teach and edify them spiritually. We got there and started from scratch with them by explaining our purpose as missionaries and we taught them the nature of the godhead. The lesson was great and the Spirit was strong. I'm glad I was able to leave them going on the right foot. I was happy in Babahoyo but I'm looking forward to see what's in store these last two months!

Elder Rawson=)

"The real voyage of dicovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in seeing with new eyes" -Marcel Proust

Saying bye to Elder Hernandez. (cara sucia, alma limpia) ..Voy a extrañar ese pan azucarado de Babahoyo..

May 16, 2016

Hey everyone! I'm short on time so here's a few points to update you on the mish!

-Elder Vargas is great. He's humble and we get along great together! I still believe the two main attributes of a good companionship is humility and obedience.
-My area has one paved road.  I've about given up on keeping my shoes shined cuz after 2 minutes of walking they're already covered with a nice coat of ecuadorian dust!
-The ward isn't the strongest but the members are very friendly and I love them already.
-I spoke yesterday in sacrament meeting on love in missionary work because without it it's just work.
-All is well living it to the max with the time I've got!
-Got my flight plans to fly home with my cousin Elder Dalton from the South Mission on July 8th! See you then... o_o

Learning some cleaning and organizing skills...YES!!!

same zone as elder acarapi. mi hijo amado!

                           May 23, 2016

.Hey everyone!
First off, this week I have been doing my best to live one of my favorite quotes lately. "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." By doing so, I have had one of the happiest weeks recently. Not because there has been a sudden change in events or circumstances but that I have been making an effort to see with new eyes by trying to see things and people as Christ would see them. What has really been on my mind lately and what I have been trying to achieve is the love I felt for the people when I first got here. Arriving to the mission, it was very hard for me to understand the people here, but even though I couldn't tell what they were saying, I felt a real appreciation for the members and other people just by trying to see with God's eyes. With time in the mission, it's sad but true that this actually can get harder to do but I've wanted to do better at it recently. I have been trying to pay close attention in lessons and to the things people tell us to understand their point of view. A powerful lesson that I learned in the MTC that has ever since helped me to understand the character of Christ and how I can try to be more like Him is found in John 11:35. "Jesus wept." So much is said in these few words when one understands the rest of the story. One of my MTC teachers explained this lesson to me. When Jesus found out about the illness and death of Lazarus, the chapter shows clearly that Jesus was positive that He was going to be able to work the miracle of raising Lazarus. But upon His arrival, He was moved by the tears of Mary and Martha and the rest of the family that even He was moved to tears as well, even knowing that He would be able to raise their fallen brother. I learned that this is a very important characteristic of the charity of Christ. I really feel that without love, the work of salvation is merely "trabajo" and not so much "una obra maravillosa".
We have a found a couple families with some great future priesthood holders as fathers. Hopefully we can help at least one complete family to baptism before I head out! I'm doing my best to sanctify myself in order to be worthy of the miracles we need so it can happen!

A week ago we were going to see the Tubay family from Quevedo get sealed but the bishop said that he feels to work with them for the 18th of June so hopefully all works out then!

I love you all! Be not weary in well-doing because you are laying the foundations of a great work!

Love, Elder Rawson=)

Milagro, the land of las piñas

His 3 pr. of shoes look like they've walked a few miles over 2 years
the most beautiful chapel in ecuador:)

                                       May 30, 2016

Wednesday afternoon we left to head down to guayquil to go through the temple because Thursday morning we had a zone conference. The temple was great as always. Maybe one of the most spiritual trips yet. Being able to go through the temple with a group of the Lord's servants is a special experience and I have definitely been blessed to do it so many times as a missionary. I've practically gotten the whole session memorized! Maybe it'll be weird to go back to English in the temple. The temple can be a very sacred place and everytime we can/should have a spiritual experience in the Lord's House each time we go. I invite all who are worthy to go this week. But to make this time special by waking up before the sun comes up and going to the temple to start off the day!

Remember that there is nothing more important than people. "Never let a job to be done be more important than a person to be loved." -Pres Monson. The work and the glory of God is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man". Love is the way and happiness is the goal. I promise that love is the secret to happiness and that happiness is the product of love. Don't forget it. Jesus is our Savior and our perfect example. I testify of His reality and His role in the Plan of Salvation. 

Here's a scripture that has had a great impact on me throughout my mission.. Revelation 2:2-5. (there should be a footnote reference in verse 5 next to the word "works", look at it) I invite you to ponder what it means to minister and how can you minister to others this next week and you will find the real reason this church exists.

I love you all! See you soon=)
Elder Rawson

Caldo de Bola is my fave soup!!