Monday, June 4, 2018

The End


Well folks, who would of thought that 2 years would go by so quick?

Words can not adequately describe the love I feel for my mission, the amazing people of Brazil, and most of all my love for my Savior Jesus Christ. What a journey it has been.

1. CTM
It all started 2 years ago in the "CTM" in Brazil, where I was thrown into the culture and Portuguese. I did my best to learn how to be an effective missionary and how to speak the basics. I began to feel the Savior helping me overcome my difficulties and fulfill my true potential.

2. Salgado Filho
Then out to the mission field I went, and arrived in my first area- Salgado Filho!!! Elder Prata showed me how to do the work. The amazing saints of Brazil helped me SO much. After I had a few good short weeks with Elder Ferris, then came Elder Oliver! We didn't have very many baptisms in my time here, and I felt down at times. Adjusting to mission life, having difficult companions, not knowing how to speak was difficult for me, but these moments made me rely on His help, and how grateful I am for having had these experiences!

3. Ala Centro-Santa Maria
After off to Ala Centro-Santa Maria I went! Me and Elder Olivares were new in the area and on the mission, and with my district leader responsibilities I really had to rely on the Spirit to teach me and show me the way! I grew up a lot in this time. I learned to love my study time, read the Book of Mormon, Preach My Gospel, and Jesus the Christ.

4. Alegrete
Finally I was transfered to a different city-Alegrete! How I love this city and Ala Prado. I really felt like I was making a difference there. I was able to leave things quite better than they were before I got there! The miracles started to happen. My first transfer with my son Elder Bagley was amazing, and my second with Elder Olegario was full of baptisms! Felipe, Lucas, & Margarida. Amazing people! My heart will always have a soft spot for Alegrete!!!!

5. São Gabriel
Then off I went to São Gabriel to serve with Elder Loureiro! Our zone was awesome. I learned SO much with Loureiro and we formed a brothership that will never be broken! Our branch Bom Fim was great, and we saw a lot of success! The next transfer I served in the other branch São Gabriel with Elder Lopes!!! We were able to work well together and make a difference. I finally felt confident in teaching the Gospel, speaking Portuguese well, and being a Christlike leader. What a great time I had there.

6. Santa Marta
God always knows whats he´s doing, and saved the best for last for me- back to Santa Maria in the Santa Marta ward! With Elder Luz, Elder J. Silva, and Elder Lundrigan at my side we were able to do big things! The Lord immensely blessed us. We had many miracles, weddings, and baptisms happen. This is for sure the strongest ward in the mission and it was a privilege to serve 6 months here and end my mission here!

I´m very grateful for every amazing experience I had, every life I was able to touch, and above all for having time to know my Savior a little better. I´m eternally indebted to him for all that He did and does for me. I know that Jesus Christ and his infinite Atonement is what matters most. The Book of Mormon changed me and my perspective on life. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is His church restored on earth, and all we need to do is follow Him. I love you all and thank you for all your love, prayers, and support.

See you soon,
Elder Rawson
1 Corinthians 13:11

P.S.  I`ll be home June 13th and my homecoming will be June 17th at 11:00am for anyone who's interested!


Splits action shot with Elder Christiansen 


The sunsets here are unreal- featuring my bathrobe


Snack time with Seila and family

My last exchanges with my old comp, Elder Olivares!!!

My old investigators- Emerson and Samanta

selfie from Pday with President Louza

Churrasco with an authentic gaucho!!!

Kauan´s baptism

last pic with irmã Eliziane and fam!




Monday, May 28, 2018

Pray for Brazil

1. Jerusa's baptism
The highlight of this week was for sure Jerusa;s baptism! Her late mother was a faithful member, and always invited Jerusa to come to church and talk to the missionaries, but she was never interested. Well, we met her in February as a member reference.  Slowly the Lord has worked with her, softening her heart, to the point where she basically told us she wanted to be baptized! Her stepdaughter, Diane, was baptized in March and her other kids were already coming, so it was a triumphal moment to see all her family together at her baptism and at church! She had real intent, and the Lord blessed her and did His part. He ALWAYS does His part when we do ours! A great experience for me.

Jerusa´s baptism

Jerusa´s family
2. Small Victories 
We had a tender moment this week. We were teaching a less active grandma and her 9 year old grandson, who came to church last week. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and this lesson we taught about the Plan of Salvation, and of course at the end we invited him to be baptized! The grandma has health problems and wants to wait till she gets better and can come every week for him to get baptized, a valid thought. But Victor´s little prayer at the end touched my heart "Heavenly Father, please bless grandma so that she can get better so that I can get baptized and be able to enter into the Celestial Kingdom with my family." His powerful little prayer touched my heart!

3. I love teaching the Gospel
I have come to love teaching the Gospel, explaining God´s teaching so simply that even a child could understand. This has made me be able to clearly see what God expects of us and I have gained a testimony that all this really is the truth. There´s such a joy in being a missionary and teaching the Gospel. There is no more compelling work than this, nor any which brings greater satisfaction. "More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children." And I testify that it's true.

4. Pray for Brazil
Brazil is passing through some difficult moments. The truckers, who deliver everyday products, are on day 7 of a national strike because of corruption in the government. Basically markets are running out of food, some cities don´t have gasoline, etc. Pray that this can be resolved before a national panic happens.

Well, next week will be my last P-Day.... and shortly I´ll be home! I love you all! thanks for the prayers, love, and support.

Elder RAWSON
Coming Soon!

my BFF Elder Vandertoolen

CHURRO STAND

the living statue!! (he's a member)

Monday, May 21, 2018

#ConheçaOsElderes (meet the Elders)

I absolutely love this work. The burning joy that I feel in my heart is indescribable.

1. Our social media campaign
We've been applying a 20th century method to preach the gospel, using the Facebook of members! They take a picture with us and post it using the hashtag #ConheçaOsElderes (meet the Elders) for all their friends to see! It´s been cool to see the members positively react and help bring the light of the Gospel to everyone. My question for you now is- when was the last time you put a spiritual message on your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram??


2. Visits with President and Sister Louza
This week we had the privilege of heading out with our mission  president and his wife to visit some of our investigators! They are so awesome and their bright spirits were able to help two families we are teaching! And finally, Seila came to church, so it worked out! At this point I`m inviting all of our investigators to be baptized on the last Saturday of my mission in 3 weeks. Go big or go home, right?

3. The power of the Livro de Mormon
I´m so very grateful to have the Book of Mormon in my life! As I was studying this week I felt it´s message penetrate my heart once again. I know that this is Christ´s church. This is where we need to be to one day return and live with Him. I have felt God´s undying love for me, and I hope that each one of you can feel it too. Ask, and it shall be given.

love,
Elder Rawson
Enos 1:26-27








Monday, May 14, 2018

Going Out With a Bang!

A successful week! A wedding,  2 baptisms, ward conference, and a wonderful Mothers Day call home:)

1. Leticia and Alisson 
After months of preparation Leticia and Alisson got married Saturday morning and then Leticia was baptized that afternoon! I´ve shared a little bit about them in previous emails, but our all-star member Alessandro passed a reference to us- His less active brother Alisson  and his girlfriend Leticia that lives with him. Leticia and Alisson  were super open with us and willing to do what the Lord expected of them! After the first Sunday that they came to church, Alissone got a call telling him he got the job he needed! They recognized it as a sign of God´s love for them, and they've done everything expected of them since! After their wedding they told us they have a new goal in 365 days- the temple! Such a great experience for me to witness. God does his part, always!

The wedding

The newlyweds!

the wedding group

Leticia family support at baptism


2. Vitoria´s story
We were also super happy to see Vitoria get baptized! Last month the Elders from the Center had made contact with a girl (Vitoria´s sister) and sent us her address to go visit her, and when we got there Vitoria showed way more interest than her sister! She hasn't missed a Sunday since and is loving the church. It´s cool to see how God acts- the real elect was the contacts sister! God acts in mysterious ways to bring forth the salvation of his children!

Vitoria´s baptism

2 new members -- Leticia and Vitoria!

3. The "lasts" continue
 I´m having a lot of "last moments" but it doesn´t feel real yet, cause I still got a month to go. This week was my last zone conference. We gave a training on teaching simply and clearly and we got lots of positive feedback, so I was happy.

In my interview with President Louza he just thanked and thanked me for everything I've done- for having that big smile on my face since I stepped off the plane, for always leaving my areas better than I found them, for inspiring other missionaries, and for making a difference in the lives of the families I've taught & baptized. It was a tender moment.

I love President Louza! He´s an excellent mentor and a role model for how I want to live my life.

I love you all! Thanks for your love and support.
Elder RAWSON
exchanges in the zone with Xis!!!!

Elder Lundrigan and I after zone conference,

talking with the best family ever!

Our P-Day lunch in the "shopping center" -  American style- hot dogs

Monday, May 7, 2018

Tender Mercies Everywhere


1. My last mission counsel 
This week was the last mission leadership counsel meeting! I bore my "last testimony" along with the other missionaries who are going home next transfer... We talked a lot about the great change that our mission had. Today we have harder working and more obedient missionaries, our mission is baptizing  almost double from when I got here, and mission life is all around better. I´m grateful to have been a part of this change and for my personal conversion that will stay with me for the rest of my life!

2. Miracles that happened this week
This week was amazing! Jerusa, the step mom of Diane our recent convert, always chatted with the missionaries but never was really interested. Her mom was a member so she has known the church for 6+ years. Well this week she told us she made a deal with God, and that if she got the job she applied for she would change her life and come to church- and she got it! When we got to her house on Saturday she told us how she´s ready to be baptized. So cool!

Also a month ago we made a street contact with a teenage girl who was already baptized and she started coming back to church! Well this week she told us how she didn't know if she should go to her mom´s church or come back to ours so she said a prayer, and a few days later we stopped and talked to her. She recognized this as an answer from God and now she´s reading the Book of Mormon daily, doing Personal Progress, and wants to serve a mission! All this because I followed the Spirit and opened my mouth.

This Saturday will be Leticia and Alisson´s wedding, followed by the baptism of Leticia and Vitoria, another girl we´re teaching! I´m so grateful to see the blessings of heaven every day. I know God´s immensely blessing me in these last days on the mission. I LOVE MY MISSION

Elder Rawson

Giant Livro de Mórmon 

my last mission counsel with my friends

FHE with investigators/members

a member was randomly wearing a Ute shirt  #GoTyler
Elder Lopes- ex comp

my Sister friends
Goodbye pizza for Elder J Silva
Elder Luz- ex comp
haircuts with our man Irmão Silvio

Elder Lundrigan-my last companion 


Monday, April 30, 2018

The Last Transfer


foto Diogo
I'm officially going to spend my last 6 weeks in Santa Marta! I'll get a new comp tomorrow, Elder Lundrigan from California, so I'm excited!

1. A great week to be in Santa Marta
What a great week we had here! I was happy to hear that Daniel (a man that I originally made contact with 6 months back when we helped him with a moving project) and his family of 4 all got baptized in Salgado Filho this week! I was super proud of our zone for having 10 baptisms this week and 16 on the month! At our zone conference President Louza threw up our mission's numbers, then compared it with "a zone that´s doing big things" to show our true potential. I´m proud of the hard working missionaries we have!

2. Life in the vila
This week we were teaching a kid who's come to church 3 times in the "vila" where life conditions aren't great. As we were teaching, his mom´s ex-husband showed up and they started yelling and fighting, and he pulled out a knife and threatened to kill her, all right in front of us. We tried to calm down the situation but we felt that it was best for our safety just to leave. Life in the vila is always interesting! I have some fun mission stories to tell at least!

3. FHE and the Book of Mormon
This week we had 3 family home evenings with members to help them get to know our recent converts and investigators, and it´s a guaranteed way to bring a great spirit into the room. Always remember to have FHE folks! I see the blessings it brings into people's lives. I finished the Book of Mormon this morning too and I can say without doubt that it is the most correct book on earth, and it's the best way to come closer to our Savior Jesus Christ and feel lasting peace in our lives.

The Church is true, the Book is blue!

Love you all!
Elder Rawson

my customized license plate

the Bishop and his family

our powerful DLs,


Young Men group visits
Elder Luz and Elder Vieira- they´re heading home

zone conference
FHE with a bunch of kids!

The Borba Family

group

Moisés & his family