Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Well... Today marks six weeks in the MTC. I can hardly believe how quickly this is going... It's crazy. I think this week's letter/email is going to be a little shorter than usual, but there are a few things I want to share with everyone.

First, I will only share one thing of the non-spiritual sort.

Our residence is a glorious thing to behold!!! But seriously, everyone can tell we've been here for six weeks.
So here's what is so great about our room:

1. We have P-day eve "parties" every tuesday night. they last about 15 min between class and personal devotional/bedtime. We have a tradition where everyone in the hall comes over, we break out some chips and salsa, and all of the rest of the food, and just have a blast.
2. We have enough food to feed helaman's army. So that's pretty great.
3. we have so many decorations!! we have little bowling pins that go on the bed frames of the bunks that add color to our room. We have a mini christmas tree, and lots of little posters/drawings/paintings/pictures everywhere so it's pretty much just like home!!
4. We have two basketball hoops, one is glow in the dark.
5. Speaking of glow in the dark, we have tons of glow sticks that elder batey got and a bunch of glowy stars on the wall.
6. Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling. They glow and have that super sweet flicker. So it feels like pirates of the caribbean when we turn the lights off.

So our room is legit. I'll send a picture of last night's p-day-eve celebration.

Now on to the best part.

I'm pretty sure I've said it before but the spirit here is unbelievable. Last night we had our last devotional at the Marriot center. We've been having them there because not all of the missionaries can fit in 19M so we get to walk over there. But now the number of incoming missionaries is decreasing again so we are moving back to the campus for those.

We went out with a bang for our last meeting there. For the choir piece we sang "nearer, My God, To Thee"...  :) 
I'm getting teary eyed just typing that. :)

It was amazing. I had never known the story behind the hymn and what some of the lines in it meant. But even in my ignorance I could feel a special power coming from that hymn. Now that I know what it all means I can't help but cry when we sing. I won't include an explanation of the hymn here or now, but you should find it. It is the story of Jacob when he had to run away from home.

I gained a powerful testimony of how we can come closer to God especially through our hardest trials while learning this hymn. I really do know that "so by my woes I'd be nearer my God to thee".
Such power and strength comes to me when I sing. On sunday we went to a film of an Elder Holland devotional. He told me something along the lines of, "when you're having trouble and things are difficult, bring music into your life". I love Elder Holland. I always feel like he's speaking to ME. He also said something I want to share: "you are engaged in the saving of a human soul. The most important thing in the universe."

And I also want to share with you another quote. This one is from Elder Klein. "The only difference between a stumbling block and a stepping stone is whether you see it or not."
It's so amazing being always able to associate with such powerful people. They all teach me so much each day.

I wish I had more time to speak to you. But I'm not the quickest typer and I only get an hour. But take my word for it that if I got all the time I needed to tell you all what the life of a missionary is like, you would be getting a short novel every week. Because there are so many little tender mercies everywhere. I really am struggling just to portray this idea, but this is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me, and I really can't imagine my life without this experience, and I'm only 6 weeks in! I feel so blessed to be serving a mission and I really can't express my happiness right now.

 - Elder Osborn

PS: I have a little idea. If any of you want to read along with me in my scripture study I will be studying 2 Nephi 21. I'll be starting there tomorrow. I really don't know how much study I'll get every day or throughout the week, but I just thought that this could be a cool little thing if you want to read with me.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Sawaddii Khrap!

I still don't know how to write in Thai on a computer but I'll see if I can figure it out for next week for all of you!

So, biggest things I can think of that happened this week:

1. I traded beds with Elder Davis. And I'm really excited about that

2. I sang tenor 1 in the Choir, and totally nailed that high G. (for those of you who don't know, I am most definitely a bass. Like middle C is difficult for me.) But last week Elder Klein and I made a deal that we would sing tenor this week. We ended up being chosen to sing tenor 1... It was horrifying but so rewarding! We sang Joseph Smith's First Prayer... So great. I've never sang that high before...

3. We watched Character of Christ again... I cried. Again... I love that talk because it gives me a greater desire to forget myself and love others more. I got so many more insights from watching it again. It's beautiful.

4. I was called up to give the talk in Sacrament Meeting. Every week the Presidency calls up two missionaries to give a short talk on the topic for that week. They don't tell us ahead of time and so we all get to prepare a talk. Every week before I've been preparing talks almost word for word, but this week I focused on sharing a meaningful story and following the guidance of the spirit for the rest of the talk. Don't think I'm using "following the Spirit" as an excuse for not preparing! I prepared, I just left room for the Spirit to guide it. As usual, I cried again, (thanks mom for sharing that gift :)  ) but I cry every time I speak on a gospel topic. The topic was recognizing the spirit. I spoke on really listening to the promptings of the spirit and acting on them. The spirit doesn't give you promptings just to make you feel good. The spirit pushes us to act. And if you don't know it's the spirit speaking to you, then remember that everything good is inspired of God and you need to act on every good thought.

5. Elder Madsen said something I really loved. "We need to have a burning, lively testimony of the Book of Mormon." :)  So good!! Elder Madsen is one of the Thai elders but he isn't in our district, but I love him so much! He is such a great example to me and he doesn't know it but I really look up to him. He made this comment pretty out of the blue when he was talking about how important it is that we are continually reading the book of mormon, because we are human, and we tend to forget things so easily. So just like fuel for a fire, we need to feed our testimony.
6. I got a new pen and am very excited about it.

7. Crazy rainstorms/weather in general! What has been going on?? There's still pieces of trees all over the place in here from that big storm. Also, we had some crazy hail, some of them were bigger than peas. But by the time Elder Gage and I got outside to look at it, it was just pouring by then and it was bright and sunny. So weird... It felt like a hot july day because of the sun, but it was pouring at the same time and the rain was really cold. Just a strange combination. I guess that just means we're still in Utah. Once we get to Thailand it'll always be hot, humid, and pouring rain. haha We've also had lots of rainbows and that has been sweet!

8. I developed a new move in 4-Square. Elder Jones and I call it the defibrillator. We call it that cause it looks like we're using one. It's a double fist punch that is pretty hard to return. Haha 

9. I can now read Thai at a reasonable pace. Although I'd compare that pace to that of a 1st grader... Not very quick but I feel like I can read so fast! haha

10. Just to clarify things up, My weight gain may not be as great as I made it seem in the last email. Most of it is pure muscle! haha JK, probably not.

Over all this place is great and the Spirit is so strong. I love it so much! We sang "I know my redeemer lives" a couple times this week, I cried. Again.
But I just love this line so much!!

"Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
I know that my redeemer lives!"

That sentence really does give me the sweetest joy I can imagine. I am so grateful to serve the Lord and I know that my redeemer lives.

Love, Elder Osborn

PS: I tried to switch up the format for this email. Tell me if you like it or not. :)

Look! I found Elder Robinson! I don't know why, but he decided not to smile...

 Elder Gage and I are pretty fly chillin up at the Temple on Sunday afternoons haha

 That's my bed with our blanket on it!

There are six of us in the one room.... :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013



Bahaha! That is thai... :)  I don't know how the Thai keyboard works yet so I can't type coherent words because of that so that's a whole bunch of gibberish! But gibberish I can read now!! 
Honestly, Thai is the coolest language in the entire world. I'm sorry everyone who really likes english, buuuuut...Thai is better. Haha JK.

Probably the biggest change from this week compared to last week is that we got two more "investigators". Elder Gage and I's new investigators are named Sxa and gop. AKA, Elder Klein and Elder Davis. We're starting to teach each other now! We take on a different person and really try to become them when we're being taught. We teach each other because we need more teaching practice, and there aren't exactly a whole bunch of Thai speaking volunteers that are willing to come into the MTC to pretend to be someone and be taught lessons in broken thai for an hour every day.

These people are rare, and so we teach each other. (none of the other languages have this problem cause there's pretty much an infinite supply of for example, spanish speakers) But it's a neat experience and gives us the chance to really feel what the phuusoncay (sorry, there's lots of words that we don't really say in English, they're always said in Thai, like phuusoncay, or investigator) feels so we can more effectively teach to their needs.

The three sisters in our district are teaching me and Elder Gage. They're really good teachers! It's amazing what the sister missionaries are capable of compared to the Elders. It's almost not fair...

Another big change this week: Our zone of 17 Thai missionaries has increased by 36 new missionaries last wednesday! All speaking vietnamese, cambodian, and hmong! Today we are going to be getting two more missionaries! Speaking Laotian! Which is pretty much the same as thai, but more squiggly and simple because they decided to make it easier and not worry about history in the words ( if you read the previous email, this will make more sense). 

The only sad part is that Elder Gage and I won't be able to bring them in because we were released as zone leaders on sunday... :(  It's okay, we didn't do anything wrong! They just like to give everyone a chance to have a leadership position in the MTC, so Elder Hartman and Elder Wolfley are our new zone leaders. It's so exciting having the whole hall in our building full of missionaries!! And all speaking different languages! So far three of them went to Timpview so Wohoo! Two of which I knew! Elder Yu and Elder Ha both graduated before me but I knew them! It's pretty exciting. 

All of the new missionaries really look up to the thai ones because they think we've been here forever. Some of them are even shocked when they find out that I'm one of the youngest missionaries here. I guess a month of the MTC really makes you more mature... haha

With all of the new missionaries our gym time is also much more exciting! 4 square is still the hot game... :)

Thai is coming along pretty swimmingly as well. The axon Thai (or thai script) is so cool! I'm getting faster, everyone is translating 1 nephi 1:1 and I thought I'd translate one of my favorite chapters, Enos. :) It's coming along, so slow, but so special. I love the language and we can almost speak completely in thai without any english in regular conversation! It's slow and hard work, but so rewarding!

Still, Choir holds a special place in my heart, this week we learned "Where can I turn for peace?"
I felt like I was singing in the choirs of Heaven. I still can't adequately describe the feelings it gives me. Also our temple time is very special to me.

I'm about of time, so I just want to tell everyone that I am so so so happy. I hope you're all doing great and I'd love some advice of what I should write about!
I also really enjoy getting letters and emails... :)

-Elder Osborn

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Well! Three weeks down! haha can you believe it?! I just realized that I never really explained what Sawaddii Khrap means... Sorry about that. If I already have and I just forgot, bear with me.
Sawaddii Khrap means hello! Unless you are a girl. Than it's VERY important you say Sawaddii ka. because you say khrap or ka based on your gender. So if you try to say it try not to mess that one up. haha

Hmmmm. I don't really know what I should talk about. Every week is the same as the last week, the only difference being we are learning more. And gaining weight. At least I am pretty sure I'm gaining weight. Cause I am eating like a horse. It's gross. I decided yesterday that I needed to stop eating so much every meal (I can't help myself! It's a constant buffet!) Now before gym I'm running a mile on the track and than playing badsaketbccn (thai word for, you guessed it! basketball. I can't really type the correct romanizations or the script itself so that's my best attempt.), 4 square (still the hottest and most intense game at the MTC), or volleyball. I'm also trying to eat better, which is pretty hard. It's admittedly my biggest temptation here. haha 

Probably the biggest development for this week was that we started learning how to read Thai script! Woah... I've always looked at thai like a whole bunch of beautiful scribbles and squiggles but now I can't believe I can actually read it. It's just like english in that it has millions of random and honestly weird (bl33g. another attempt at writing thai in an email, it means weird haha) rules for spelling. Like there's at least two different letters for almost every single sound. Like the sound "s" has four different letters that can make that sound. The only reason they do it is to preserve the history. For example the word psychology. Is that how you say it? no. but that's how it's spelled. Only for the purpose of preserving the latin roots inside the word. same thing with thai, but there's 44 consonants... and that's only counting the consonants, than there's all these crazy combinations of vowels that make different sounds when put together! And then on top, the icing on the cake, is the tones, which are near impossible to read considering you have to pay attention to the length of the vowel, whether the first consonant is high middle or low class, whether there are any tone markings on the word, and like 5 other strange rules that you have to remember. 

In the end It's definitely a huge task trying to read even one syllable. Oh haha, and when they write they don't use spaces between words. (soitsliketryingtoreadonehugehashtagbutthatsjusthowtheyreadandwrite) See? Pretty impossible. Now change that to a bunch of squiggles and try to read it. haha

Don't get me wrong, reading thai is one of the most exciting things I've ever done. It really is an adventure to read. We started reading in the hymn book because the syllables are separated because it's a hymn and so it's easier to read. It took me about two hours to translate the first verse of I am a Child of God. Yeah... I feel like I'm in kindergarten again, learning how to read. I also tried to translate the first verse of 1 nephi. I translated "I nephi, having been born of parents". It took over an hour and I didn't even finish the first sentence!! So fun though. We have these little cards we made that we call the "urim and thummim" ( I hope I spelled that right) that has the whole alphabet on it and we can translate words very slowly using it.

On a more spiritual side I am still in love with the personal study hour. Every day I still pray for spiritual experiences even though I know they're going to happen. They usually come through my personal study. It is my sincere wish that everybody can experience the level of scripture study we receive for 2 hours a day. It really makes the difference between spiritually floating or taking massive strides forward. I know that anyone, not just missionaries, can set aside an hour or two everyday for scripture study. There's a reason we are told to "feast upon the words of Christ". It's probably the smallest, but most important thing we can do. 

I almost didn't go to choir yesterday. I'm glad I did. I had to give up my study time for it. We sang Sweet Hour of Prayer. The director told us the story behind the writer of the lyrics. ;) The writer was blind and as a young man memorized the entire bible from having others read it to him. What a blessing to have the entire bible as a constant companion in a black world. He was often asked by preachers to write sermons in his head and give them. A truly brilliant man with a very difficult trial. One day he wrote the lyrics to Sweet Hour of Prayer while sitting by a fire one evening.

The lyrics are beautiful and I would encourage you to spend some time really reading the lyrics and absorbing them as if you were reading scripture. They're really beautiful.

The director asked us to think of a specific prayer. That prayer that everyone has. The one that has made the most difference in our lives. He asked us to think about the prayer that has been the most special to us and remember it as we sang the hymn during the devotional. I thought of a prayer that I had said a few nights before while in my bed. I had asked God to help me develop a stronger love for others. Next thing I knew I was praying for everyone I could think of individually, praying for their needs. It was one of the most spiritually powerful moments I've experienced. I know that God answered my prayer by guiding my prayer toward others. I learned that I can love others not only by praying for them and their needs but also by always thinking of others and not myself. Not just thinking of what other people in general need, but looking at someone specifically and thinking "what do they need" and doing all I can to help.
I thought of this prayer as we sang...

The spiritual experiences here are plentiful. Only if you seek them out. Just like I advised before I left, I still recommend that everyone pray for spiritual experiences every day. And do what you can to open the door for them.

Love, Elder Osborn

Me and my companion Elder Gage

My desk during study time

One of them is how we do pushups. haha it's hilarious when everyone is up in the air at once! haha

 A picture of the wall in our classroom, where we spend most of our 16 hours a day

Our Zone