Monday, June 27, 2016

Follow the Master's Call

April 4, 2016

Esta semana fue bien padre y mi nuevo compa es muy chido.
With Elder Hernandez from Mexico City I'm now learning how to talk like a Mexican:)
This week went great. my comp and I get along great. It's always nice to always have a nice support of a good companion.  General conference was great, I cried like 3 times. Basically every question I had thought of to have for conference was talked about. I got some good insights on a few principles that I have been pondering lately.  I joked in the subject of my last week's email that I was starting my "last 12 weeks program" (there's a study program for new missionaries called "the first 12 weeks"). But there may be a change in plans. 
I don't know why but lately my return date had been bugging me. My group to go home consists in like 1/5 of the mission so there's a choice to go home 3 weeks earlier or 3 weeks later. I was just going to go home the 20th of June but I wasn't too sure and it was on my mind. Last week I was very tired spiritually and just decided to call the secretary to confirm my return date on the 20th. But on Saturday we had lunch after the morning session with a member we reactivated and her niece that is our investigator, and there was a man from Guayaquil visiting them, so we shared the new Hallelujah video with him. after the video, we were talking and Alexandra (the member) shared a little parable story that she had heard. It talks about how a man that is an owner of many horses chooses the one that will be the horse he uses to work with. He does it by keeping all the horses fenced in a space and leaves them without food and water for a period of time. Then opens up the gates allowing them to hurry to the nutrients that they have been kept away from. But as the gates open, the master calls the horses to come to stay by him instead  of going straight to the food and water. The horse that obeys his command, turns around and stays by his side is the horse he chooses to be his main horse to do his work. After hearing this and thinking about it a little. I called the secretary, elder Oyler, after the afternoon session to see if I can stay. He says he is pretty sure my ticket hasn't been bought yet and I will be able to stay until the 11th of July. I know it's only 3 weeks more and I will be missing a bit more summer and the 4th of July but its OK. My intention is not to try and be better than the rest of the horses but rather I don't want to ignore the call of my Master. Its pretty safe that ill still be able to stay 3 more weeks but if my ticket is already bought then it would cost more to change and I would just stick with it. But I just wanted to show God that I'm willing to follow His voice. 

I love you all and hope you enjoyed and learned a lot of conference!
Elder Rawson=)

With Francisco our investigator and his sister at conference. His wife attended another session because she couldn't on Sunday. We're still working for the 16th with them!


April 11, 2016

This week was great, but looks like May will probably be the month of sowing. Maybe I'll still be here. I learned that the priesthood is real and has power. President Monson didn't say much but what he did say had the biggest influence on me. "You hold the Priesthood, use it!" 

Last Tuesday morning, I found out that Segundo Espinoza had passed away. Segundo was a faithful member of the church with a very strong testimony. He was a man of faith. Because of the lung disease he had over the last few years he was home-bound and could not make it to the church, But everyweek priesthood holders stopped by to give him the sacrament. He lived with his family who are all less active members of the church and although they have been hardened to the gospel, he kept his faith. One day a couple months ago, we were out with the bishop and he decided to present us to Segundo who I had not met. We kept visiting him each week even though his family didn't want anything. In spite of his difficulty to breathe and speak, for the most part of our visits, he would share with us his testimony and the things he had been pondering. I loved to go by to visit him and listen to the strength of his testimony. In spite of his many challenges and trials that limited him, not once did I hear him complain. He was an example of hope. I know he is doing now what he always was longing to do. Sharing the Gospel. I hope to follow his example and be able to retain such faith and hope as Segundo did.

I love you all and hope you are able to see God's hand in everyday of this next week.
Elder Rawson:)

April 18, 2016  

Terremoto 7.8

Hey everyone,
If you heard about the earthquake, I am alright but from the pics and videos I've seen, it seems  pretty tragic over by the coastal parts of Ecuador. Apparently they have over 350 confirmed deaths already and are still looking and over 1,500 injured. Its the first time Ecuador has ever had any tragedy like this before. When it happened Saturday night at 7, we were sharing a video with a less active family. When things started shaking I got up and went by the door. Everything outside was shaking and the power went out like half way through it. I could feel that something tragic had happened in some part nearby. we found out what happened and where after because we stopped by another less active family that is coming back that invited us to dinner when the phone services came back on. They say that another big aftershock is expected within a month but we'll see. 

Francisco Vero says he is ready and excited to get baptized in May but his wife has been a little more hesitant lately. We are going to try and get a lot of participation from the relief society to help her feel better making the decision to be baptized. 

I know opposition is hard but I have seen a lot of positives from the reaction of the rest of the people of Ecuador and I'm sure the country will advance and grow stronger. The people here are truly caring and so willing to serve those in need.
I love you all and thank you for your letters and prayers! 

Elder Rawson.

My after-earthquake survival food

 April 25, 2016

Week 17657

Another great week in the books. With permission from President I called Bishop Cruz from Quevedolast week, (where I was a year ago)  to check up on the progess of the Tubay family, when they would be entering the temple to be sealed and to see if I could make it before heading home. He said they had plans to go in August becuase that was when he thought they completed a year! I told him they complete a year in May and he said he would talk to them and for me to call him next week. So I talked to him again today and they have it planned out to go as a ward to the temple on May 14 and the Tubay family will be sealed there! I'm stoked, Obispo Cruz is a great guy! 

On Tuesday, we walked pass the albergue (forgot the word in english) where a lot of families were staying whose houses had fallen over from the earthquake. We asked the people in charge if there was any service we could help out with and they took us over to a place where they were preparing care packages to send out to ManabĂ­. We organized to return Wednesday morning with the zone. Then on Wednesday I got super duper sick and we didn't go. But the rest of the zone still went and said the service went great!
I don't know what it was but I got the worst stomach ache on wednesday. It was way painful and I felt terrible but somehow I managed to fall asleep for an hour and a half or so until the nurses called back at 4:30. It was a little nap but I got soooo much rest and at least I felt like I could manage to get around. My stomach still hurt bad but I felt the prompting to go work and I remembered I had promised to dedicate all my energy to the work, though it was little. I told my comp and I got ready slowly. We walked over to our appointment at 5 with Hector Torres a less active. He started to tell us he was busy but accepted us. He expressed to us how 2 years ago his wife had passed away and he has never been able to get over it. He has been very depressed since and has turned to alcohol. We had a good visit and he accepted to prepare to be sealed with his wife in the temple. Before leaving he asked for a blessing. I gave him the blessing and the Spirit was powerful. He's got a lot to change but we will be cheering him on! At the end of the day, although we walked the night very slowly, I felt so happy to have followed God's will even though it was a little tough.

Oh and they just revealed that the apostle that is coming to visit the Guayaquil missions on June 11th will be Ronald A Rasband!

Love you all!

"The voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."

Where the people are living whose houses fell. (theres a fallen house behind the tarps in the center)

Washington (blue) and Mercedes (pink) our new investigators at church with Nixon, Mercedes' brother.

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