Monday, December 26, 2016

FELIZ NATAL!

1.Christmas in Brazil
This week was absolutely great! We had a chance to talk with a lot of people this week about the Light the World and our Church. Brazil has different traditions and stuff for Christmas, but we had a good time! Christmas Eve everyone has a huge dinner and stays up late and when it turns midnight they go crazy! I woke up to firecrackers and people blasting music! Presents from Santa and with family isn't huge here, because people focus on having a huge meal with their families! We ate well to say the least! It still didn't totally feel like Christmas because rumor has it that it hit 111°F...  But it was good to celebrate the birth of Christ, and of course talk to my family!



2. The Power of the Spirit in Conversion
We have been working with a guy named Emerson on preparing for baptism! He is super awesome and prepared, but he´s not legally married to his wife. She has been lukewarm with us, but we've been praying that she´ll open up to us so he can get baptized! Well we went there Thursday and she actually sat down and talked to us, then she started crying! She said she´s been feeling something different in her life lately and she wants to get married and start going to church too! We were blown away at her change, but when we put our faith in Him anything can happen!

3. My friend Daví
My little street kid friend has been doing super great, coming to church activites, reading the Book of Mormon everyday, but he´s going to travel out of the state for 3 months! I was super bummed, cause we´ll have to baptize him when he gets home, but I know the Lord will take care of him! In the photo below he´s the one on the left.


4. Obedience always wins!
One hard thing about missions is having companions with different standards and expectations! On Christmas Eve a member called us and invited us to their family party, but the problem was was that it was already 10:00 at night! My companion insisted we go, but the mission rules are clear about being in your house by 9:30, so I told him no! Him and the other missionaries we live with yelled at me for being a goodie, but I know I made the right decision! We all have tough decisions in our lives, but obedience will always bring happiness:)

Love you all!
Elder Rawson



December Photos


Santa Maria Town Center at Night

Santa Maria Town Center at Night - #2



Going on Splits

Thank you family for the awesome Christmas cards!


Churrasco dinner with an awesome member!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Seja a Luz do Mundo


MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

1. Christmas Season
Christmas season is great here in Brazil! We've been handing out the Light the World cards and people love them! It´s cool to see the saints in Brazil embrace the campaign as well. We had a Christmas Conference this week and I learned a ton! My testimony is always growing. Our President challenged us to remember to give a present to our Savior this year, by sacrificing to do something nice, leaving behind a bad habit, etc, and I want to pass it on to you! Sacrifice brings blessings that help you become more like the Savior.

2. Christmas Dinner
Our ward held a Christmas dinner  and they challenged members to bring less active and non members-- and boy did they deliver! We were talking to possible investigators and writing down addresses all night long! Our party also reminded me of my home ward´s festivities which I loved as a kid!

3. Splits
Going on exchanges for 24 hours with another missionary is always fun stuff! I got to work in the Zone Leaders area for a day, and Elder Oliveira gave me the phone and keys to be the Zone Leader for the day! It was kind of crazy taking all the phone calls and passing on numbers for the assistants of the mission, but it was a good experience! We also snapped some good pictures so it was a successful day!

4. When tragedy strikes
Our ward suffered an unexpected death this week... Paulo Link, a member of the Bishopric, died in a work accident in the prime of his life. The funeral and everything was hard on everyone, but it gave us an opportunity to console people! The knowledge of the Gospel and where we will go after this life literally takes away the sting of death! If you would like to keep his family in your prayers it would be appreciated!

That´s really all for the week! Thanks for all your love and letters!
Elder Rawson

Preaching to the Lamanites!

President Louza drew my name for our Amigo Secreto gift exchange!



Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Guaranteed to make you smile in 15 seconds





video

Sister Prado and her family are very good to Elder Rawson and the missionaries.  Receiving this from her pretty much made my night.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Building Zion!



Grêmio, the team that everyone in Santa Maria loves, won the Brazil Cup this week so you can say it's been a bit crazy! Also 5 months on the mish today!

1. Tchau Elder Ferris
Well, I´m on comp number 3 this  transfer! Elder Ferris had bad migranes so he had to go home to see better doctors... It was pretty sad cause he had the heart of a lion! But Elder Oliver is my new comp. He´s from Bolivia and speaks 0 English, but we communicate pretty well. People laugh at my American accent and then at his Spanish accent, but we´re getting along well!

Roommates:  Elders Rawson, Ferris, Rodrigues, Prata


2. Service Project!
This week we helped a less active guy build a house! His living conditions right now aren´t great, so it was rewarding to give him a hand! In the Brazilian culture people don´t accept our service offers because they think its shameful? But it was nice when someone accepted our offer to help! It also felt real nice to throw on a pair of Nike shoes and basketball shorts:)





3. An Answered Prayer
This week we got the Young Mens president to agree to come to a lesson with our street kids, but when we went to get the kids we couldn´t find them! I was super worried that we wouldn´t be able to teach them and that the YM president would think we wasted his time. I decided to say a prayer in my heart that we could find them and be able to teach them, and literally 2 seconds after my silent amen I spotted one of them, and we were able to round up the gang and teach them! The power of a heartfelt prayer is real!


4. Film Night
Every Saturday we have a Film night in the chapel to give the youth something to do, and it gives us a chance to bring investigators to the chapel in a friendly environment! Not a whole ton of people come, so support your ward activites people! Ward leaders plan hard to have success, so help them out:)

5. Stake Conference
This week we had a special stake conference! It was video transmitted from Salt Lake for some stakes in Brazil and Elder Holland talked to us!!!! He is literally my hero. He talked specifically to the people here and it was cool to listen to him! He talked a ton about the importance of temple work, and urged us to go to the temple as a family as often as we can! The temple here is 6 hours away, but it amazes me the sacrifices people make to go!

Enjoy a cold Christmas, cause it´s hottttt here:)
Elder Rawson

recent convert named Lucas we've been teaching!  I adore the kids here.

Cool train tracks we found in the forest
Go UTES!

Brother Antao got released as the ward mission leader



Monday, December 5, 2016

Catching fireee

It´s getting harder and harder to write these emails in English!

1. Baptism Dates
Our area really caught on fire this week! We worked super hard this week and taught a record high of lessons, and because of it our area is doing great! We got 3 baptismal dates marked with people, so I´m praying they can overcome their problems to meet their goal of baptism! We also committed 11 people to come to church this week! Not all of them made it, cause 9:00AM church for people here is brutal, but I´m happy to see people progressing as they live the Gospel!

2. Satisfaction 
I've decided my favorite feeling in the world is walking out of a lesson where the Spirit just dominated! Preach My Gospel says "There is no more compelling work than this, nor which brings greater satisfaction. The Lord will richly  bless you as you humbly and prayerfully serve Him. More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced" and I testify to that! Days can be long and sometimes hard, but knowing you helped a soul come unto Christ makes everything more than worth it!

3. The singing sensation: part 3
This week our zone got together in the very center of the city to film our Christmas video! We stood in the middle of the square and belted Called to Serve, and boy did we get some looks! Ha, it was worth it though cause people came and talked to us after and we were able to get some addresses. I think it´ll go on Facebook in a couple weeks so stay tuned!

4. Street Kids
This week we were walking down the street talking to people, and we saw what I like to call 'street kids.' Basically boys 10-15 years old who do rowdy things on the street. We set up an appointment and invited them to church, and they accepted! One of them walked out of church and asked when he could be baptized. So cool!

Scripture for the week is Romans 13:11-12.
"Blessed are ye who actually look up Elder Rawson´s scriptures"

With love,
Elder Rawson


No pictures, but a short video this week:

video




Saturday, December 3, 2016

Snail Mail letter

November 2016: We were happy to receive a snail mail letter  from David.  Here is some of his letter telling us more about the culture of Santa Maria, Brazil.

I'll write here some things about the culture and funny things that have happened!  So Santa Maria is in the farthest south state in Brazil, Rio Grande de Sul, and it's very different here!  People here are a bit strange sometimes . . .Brazilian Elders say this is like the Boise Idaho mission of Brazil, but I love it here so much and every goofy Gaucho:)  

Every single person here drinks chimarrao (grass drink) on a daily basis!  It's just hot water with ground up barbecued weeds? People love to sit at home with family and friends and make churrasco (Rodizio style meats) and have a good time!

Manners basically don't exist here . . .  It's perfectly acceptable to like your plate clean and also to 
eat with your fork then use it to serve yourself more from the main pot.  

The public breast feeding here is out of control, but don't worry cause my eyes are "single to the glory of God."  

But honestly there is nothing better than being a missionary!  The power of the calling is real, and the Spirit  that I'm worthy to have brings SO many blessings into the work and into my life.  

I love you guys!  Your prayers for me strengthen me on hard days.


& some other fun things that were in the letter:
Completed Missionary Training Checklist


Presents / Pass Along Cards

Election advertising

McDonald's receipt -- only ice cream on the menu





 A "Dear John" letter to the English language -- written 8 days after arrival in Brazil!!


Monday, November 28, 2016

A BAPTISM AND A BIRTHDAY

1. BAPTISM!!!!
We finally got that baptism this week!!!! Leno da Silva decided it was his time! He is a good example of good member work, cause his girlfriend brought him to church where he met the missionaries and the rest is history! He has such a kind heart and nothing brings more joy into your heart than seeing that smile on peoples faces after they come out of the water! Makes all the hard days worth it.

2. Birthday Partyyy
Really, it´s just another normal day of missionary work, but the members here showed me to a good time! We had a dinner of churrasco (brazilian bbq), cake, and Andressa even bought me a new tie! Brazilians members here spoil the heck of us, and I´m blessed to have their help!

3. Elder Costa Visit!!!
This week we had a visit from a member of the 70! He´s the Area President of Brazil, and he made some jokes about how during the millennium he will be President over all of Brazil and such. He told us so many stories about when he was a mission president in Brazil 35 years ago when they only had TWO missions in all of Brazil! They have 34 today, so it´s crazy to see the fruit of the labors of the early missionaries! The testimonies of high up Church leaders still make me shiver. He really lives, and He is guiding his Church today in the final days!

4. Finding Elisandro
We took the initiative of visiting a less active family this week that lives at the end of our area, which is like an hour walk, but we felt like he needed our visit! We´re both still new to the area, but I recognized a street like 5 minutes into our walk and the Spirit was like HOLD UP man! You need to go there! So I took us down the street and saw a house I had tried last transfer during splits, and tried it again! Well a lady brings us in and guess who´s sitting in her living room: ELISANDRO and his family! Apparently his family is good friends with this lady and they were here visiting. We were able to leave a message and that was powerful! We had no idea they would be there, but I was so grateful the Spirit took us to the right house, saved us some walking, and testified to a family that needed to hear it!

com amor,
Elder Rawson
 Leno´s baptism day!!!! 
19TH Birthday cake with Elder Ferris



Another Birthday cake made by Rena Silva

A new Birthday Tie

Churrasco, and yes that´s chicken heart that I´m holding. Yum!

Monday, November 21, 2016

CALLED TO SERVE

Time flies when you´re on the Lord´s errand here in the mission field! It´s still crazy to me that I turn 19 this week. Also, happy birthday to my old man and Elder Condie this Saturday!

1. Emergency Transfers!!!
Just when I got settled in for another transfer, President came a calling! I got transferred from Salgado Filho B to Salgado Filho A, so I didn´t even switch beds, but I have a new area and a new compainion! His name is Elder Ferris and he´s AMERICAN! He loves sports so I think we´ll get along just great:)

2. Family night with President Louza
We´re having the area 70 visit our mission this week, so some missionaries in the city got to visit the President´s house to get ready! President Louza gave a small training on using our faith to command miracles in the lives of our investigators, and boy was the Spirit strong! I get the chills every time to teaches us. One day I hope I can become half the man he is! Their house is a 10th story suite in the middle of the city so we got some good pictures too:)

President's House


3. Missionaries before our time
My family sent me a story of my great grandpa, Elder Schumann, who was a missionary in Germany during Hitler's rise to power. The Nazi´s severely restricted his work, and he had to deal with companions who would get drunk, refuse to do the work, and would help get them out of jail at times!! His trials as a missionary make mine look like nothing! He served faithfully for almost 3 years and eventually married my great grandma that he met on his mission, so it just shows if we serve faithfully we´ll be blessed:)

4. The power of agency
I've been pondering this subject as of late, and it´s really a difficult subject. Agency is a missionary's best friend and also our worst enemy. People can choose to slam doors in our faces, missionaries can choose to not follow rules, but it´s through the same principle that people can choose to accept our message and missionaries to be extraordinary! We can´t always control how many baptisms we have, or how many people will accept our message, but we can choose for ourselves to do what´s right! I´ll do my part, and I will do it well. I´ll delight in exact obedience, even when my companion will not. I'll do my absolute best, so one day I´ll be able to stand in front of my Savior and say "I did the Work thou gavest me." I urge you all to decide today to fulfill your individual callings with the same vigor!

Elder Rawson

Splits with Elder Rodrigues

Splits with Elder Fernando

Early birthday party with the one and only Rena

My new companion --Elder Ferris!







Monday, November 14, 2016

Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders Among You

1. Transfers!!!!!!!!
We have transfers this week! That basically just means we will either stay in our area or possibly get reassigned to a new area. I´m blessed to say I´m staying in Salgado Filho! I´ll have the same companion, but we hashed some things out last night during Comp Inventory so hopefully the next 6 weeks will be the best yet!

2. Menos Ative Work
The "less active" work here is pretty strong because our mission is one of the tougher with baptisms, but it´s awesome to visit families who already know a lot about the Church! We've been visiting Eliane Guerra (Names here are wicked hard!) a lot and she's coming back! I challenged her to read the Book of Mormon a couple weeks ago and to my astonishment she´s already 150 pages in! Not all of our prayers will be answered for the people we work with the come unto Christ, but it sure is nice to see when someone does:)

3. Elder Holland is the Man!
I´ve been studying a lot of talks from Elder Holland as of late, and if you want to read the powerfull words of modern day prophets, read the talk Tomorrow the Lord will Do Wonders Among You! Here was my favorite part: "No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, God will never desert us. He never has, and he never will. He cannot do it. It is not in his character to do so. He will always stand by us! WQe may pass through the fiery furnace; we may pass through deep waters; but we shall not be consumed nor overwhelmed. We shall emerge from all those trials and difficulties the better and the purer for them."

4. Why do you gotta be smoking bro??
A huge problem that we have here in Santa Maria is the addiction to cigarettes. I would guess that around 45% of people smoke on a consistent basis, which makes preparing people for baptism difficult, but not impossible! I´m just an 18 year old boy, how am I supposed to counsel people on how to overcome a sometimes lifelong addiction?? Although daunting at times, I have felt the Spirit give me words that I know that I alone could not of come up with! Without the Spirit I would truly be lost, but with him we can do miracles:)


Elder Rawson

S/O to my mom for sending a birthday package, you´re the real MVP!

Speaking of Mom, Carol Beer. LOL

This is a food called "shiz" hahahaha-- bascially Brazilian hamburgers


Planner decorating gets real here! Mine is the one of Jesus curing a woman.

Irma Eva sporting a Hawaiian shirt

Cemeteries here are crazy! They have very elaborate tombs that sometimes look like small houses!

The bunnies that we got last week.

Lunch appointment: 6 more weeks with these Elders will be great!

Monday, November 7, 2016

"You haven't seen nothing yet!"

Daylight savings here goes the other way so I´m 5 hours ahead of Utah time now!

1. Weather Report
I love being here in Brazil with all my heart, but I can´t say the same about the temperature here! While you North Americans are just starting winter, we´re just starting summer here! It gets pretty cooking, and the humidity here absolutely destroys missionaries! Other missionaries have been saying it´s not even bad yet.. But by the time you step outside in the morning and lock your door you already need to go back to take another shower! The rain here is also pretty fierce when it gets going. Sometimes the walls inside our house are moist like after a hot shower, so that´s something to get used to!

2. Day of the Dead
Halloween isn´t really a thing here, but November 2nd is the Day of the Dead! Sounds creepy but it´s just a day to remember loved ones and put flowers on graves and such. We had a Zone meeting at a cemetery and just talking to people about the Plan of Salvation and how people will see their family members again! It was an uplifting experience for sure.

3. Priesthood Blessings
Our member friend, who we got to console last week, is doing a little better this week, and he asked me to give him a blessing (thank goodness he speaks English). I was panicking a little beforehand on what I would say, but then I remembered the scripture about how you shouldn't worry and the Spirit will give you words in the very moment that you need them! During the blessing I felt the power of the Spirit pumping through my veins, it was awesome! The power of the Priesthood never fails to amaze me.

4. The Power of True Repentance
There is a guy in our ward who was ex-communicated some years back who got re-baptized this week! He decided a year ago that he didn't want to live in his shame and he wanted to repent, and he came back to Church and hasn't missed a Sunday since! His testimony in Sacrament Meeting was powerful. It was a good reminder that no matter how dark of a path we have gone on, the power of the Atonement can bring His Light back into our lives!

Love y'all! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.
Elder Rawson

They may not be very photogenic, but they sure do take good care of us! Thanks Irmã Elisiane!

 Açaí cups are the real deal here!

Had a crazy investigator give us a bunny!!! 

Go Cubs!!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Learning to Love



 1. How´s The Language Going Elder?
Hello everyone! I've gotten this question a lot lately, and I'm happy to say I´m doing very well! The Lord has blessed so many times and  filled my mouth with words to say! I realized this week that I don't have to use my English Book of Mormon as a reference when I read in Portuguese so that´s pretty cool! Since I'm not a native speaker you never will be totally fluent, and everyday I´ll hear words or phrases that I don't totally understand, but the Lord helps his servants in the moments that matters but I feel confident talking with people now!


2. The Cancelled Meeting
This week we had a meeting set up with our trusty Ward Mission Leader, and 2 minutes before it was supposed to start he cancelled on us! I was bugged at first because we had planned our whole day around this meeting, but then I realized the Lord just needed us somewhere else! Well we decided to visit a young man in our ward, and when we got close to his house he was pacing outside and was clearly stressed! We talked to him and were able to help him through some trials in his life right now! He´s fluent in English so I actually was able to bear my testimony to him in English! It was actually so hard and it´s much easier in Portuguese, but I was glad the Lord put us there to help him!


3. Splits
We had splits this week!!! I love my companion and all, but it´s good to spend some time with someone else. We worked in our area so it was my first time as Sr Comp and being in charge of the whole area! Elder Rodrigues and I set some goals to work as hard as we could, and then we went out and did it! We got 13 addresses and had 5 lessons, which is like crazy high for our mission, and talked to everyone!!! It really showed me that if you set goals and work as hard as you can to get them, the Lord will help you achieve them!!!


4. Loving others
The biggest thing my mission has taught me so far is just to love other people! We spend all day everyday thinking about how we can help people and it´s amazing! Even trying to be Christlike in our house does wonders! Doing the little things like washing your comps dishes or hanging up his laundry or leaving him cookies goes a long way! God´s second greatest commandment after all is to love everyone as yourself! John Bytheway said "In the end, what we've learned from books, how many scriptures we've memorized, or how many callings we've completed will all be secondary to how much we have loved!"


Love you all!
Elder Rawson

 Had a 1 year party for the comp and roommate! 


My little friend insists on holding my hand when we walk to church!