Monday, June 30, 2014


OOOOH. I'm sorry, I forgot to tell you that last week was transfers meeting!

So. I left Srinakarin in good hands, with baptisms set up for the next few weeks and traveled into the heart of Thailand. To a small city called Pitsanulok! My new companion is Eler Jeng. He is Taiwanese and came into country last transfer. So I'll be finishing his training. He's a solid missionary and his Thai is very impressive for only being here two months.

The only problem is that when I got here I found that we only have progressing investigators! And a lot of 'em. And 4 recent converts. It seems that this area hasn't been pumping out the baptisms like the rest of the country has. So I have a few goals, turn all of these progressing investigators into investigators with a baptismal date and find new miracle investigators who can get baptized in two weeks.  Yeah, I'm planning on changing this area so it can start pumping out baptisms.

This is a pretty small place compared to Bangkok. WAY SMALL!!! Just 75,000 people in the middle of the country. We're also about 6 hours away from the rest of our zone and six hours from Bangkok. So yes, middle of nowhere. There are 4 Elders here, and the district leader is in the group just older than me. Weird! I'm getting old in the mission!

The church is not an actual church here. It is a rented building. I'll take a picture next time!

Also, at transfers everyone went home. Elder Wilko, Hunsaker, and Lucas all went home! It broke my heart when President Senior told them, "Well done, thou good and faithful servants". We also have a really big change in the way we work. This one came from high up the chain. All over the world, every convert must be taught lesson 5, laws and ordinances, BEFORE they are baptized now! I think they're changing this so that all the recent converts can understand what they are supposed to do and what is expected of them after they are baptized. It definitely makes our teaching more interesting, because I've never taught those lessons to an investigator before, only after baptism. So now we have to plan that into their baptismal preparation.

This area is a really cool area, the recent converts are really active and play a great role in the missionary work. We'll be working on getting other members involved too.

Elder Osborn

There was this weird convention/show with these weird things everywhere. the first one says "We understand eachother" But it has more meaning than that that I cannot explain in english.

 Elder Sukhan inviting a smoking dude to quit and get baptized.

An alligator I drew before English class. Beautiful right!?

Friends before I moved. Some recent converts and an investigator.

Monday, June 23, 2014


I really feel like I don't have too much to say. This week we went contacting a lot. OH!
I have an idea of how I will write this letter:

I wake up at 6:25 to "We'll bring the world His truth". I roll out of bed to try to stay cold so I can stay awake during my morning prayers. My watch goes off at 6:30 to wake me out of my half prayer half nap. (some days are better than others) I walk into the other room to take out my retainer and check what my workout for this morning is. Pushups and leg raises. I do pushups and leg raises until 7.

I iron my shirt again and hop in the shower and recite D&C 4. I finish getting ready and choose which tie I want to wear today and which color of pants. Grey or black?

I eat breakfast, sometimes it's an egg, sometimes it's granola. Usually during breakfast I practice English with Elder Sayavong and make sure to compliment him on his always increasing skills.

I go back into the room, and start to shave until it's time to study. I read one chapter out of the New Testament, then one out of the Book of Mormon, I spend the rest studying whatever I felt was necessary the night before. On Mondays I work on Christlike attributes. I really like reading all of Paul's epistles. We go to the other room and play a little gun game to decide who chooses the hymn. I always shoot Elder Winsor or Elder Sayavong. We sing, sometimes I just stop and listen to the beautiful sound of four Elders trying to sing a hymn at 9 in the morning, in Thai.

We crack a few jokes and make our way back to our room where we read the handbook, share our studies, and call everybody who said they wanted to get baptized yesterday. While Elder Sukhan calls, I fill out records. And as I call, he fills them out. At 10 we run into the other room again for mission prayer. We pray for miracles with the entire mission for every zone at 10 every day. We crack some more jokes and go back to the other room for language study. I read a few columns out of the Thai Book of Mormon then study vocabulary. What?! Language study is over already? We finish shaving and pack up our bags. 

"Don't forget to grab some more baptism cards."

Should I bring the umbrella? Look out the window. It doesn't look like it'll rain. But it probably will. 

We go to the other room and pray that we'll find someone who wants to be baptized on the sixth of July. We go eat lunch. It varies. We ride a pick up truck that has two benches in the back to lunch. It costs $.18 to ride. We ask everyone on it to be baptized. We go ask the Muslim lady at the restaurant (more like a little stand under a massive tent) for the usual and we go order some coconut smoothies. We sit down and try to swat flies as we call the rest of the people who want to be baptized. The lady yells, "MY SONS!" Everyone looks at us as we go pick up our food. We eat/call people. We walk out and wait for the next strange truck and invite everyone who walks past to be baptized. We get on, inviting everyone to get baptized as they get on and off. This truck thing is called a songtao. Meaning two rows.

We get to our favorite contacting place. A really long street with a bunch of shops on either side right next to one of the most well known roads in Bangkok. Right next to the BTS station, or the sky rail. As we get off the songtao usually the guys who wait to give people motorcycle rides mock us, saying, "Do you want to wash your sins today?" I invite them again and tell them to have a great day. We walk to the contacting place in unusual silence regarding contacting because they said we can't invite on that property anymore. We get there and our mouths are open. We both pull out our baptismal cards and our planners like they're weapons. I have a picture of Jesus being baptized taped to the back of my planner for convenience. We invite every single person we see to be baptized. Usually saying, "do you know what baptism is?" No. "This is a washing sins ordinance" Okay. "Have you every made a mistake or done sin before?" Yeah for sure! "Well, how do you feel about that?" Not so good "On the sixth of July do you want to wash all of your sins away?" Yes. "I know that through Jesus Christ you can be baptized and be cleansed from sin." We get their number and set up an appointment for the next day. We usually find between 2 and 10 of these people each day. The majority of our contacting includes just trying to those people who will talk to us. Most ignore us or literally wave us off. Some want to be baptized but think they're not free. Some tell us they're perfect. The Christians usually pull out their cross and tell us grumpily as they walk away, "I'm Catholic!" To which we respond, "that's great!"

Sometimes we see white people. 95 percent of them just look forward and avoid all eye contact with us. We say hello to all of them. Sometimes they laugh at us or tell us about their crazy conspiracy theories.

We look at our watches and realize we have an appointment in 15 minutes, we walk back inviting everyone to get baptized. Just before we hop on the songtao I invite the guy who sells coconut jelly to go to church. (I invite him every time I see him. We're close friends now and we both laugh as I jump up on the songtao) 
At this point I usually have a conversation with someone in a language other than thai. Whether it is TSL (thai sign language) or just english. We both stand on the back of this thing because the two rows are full and we talk. They are never interested but I love this conversation. Last time it was a deaf guy and we signed the entire way.
We get down at the church and yell at the truck that we teach english every tuesday at 6:30 as we walk in the gate. We walk in, turn on the fan and slump down on the couch as we make more phone calls. The person we were supposed to meet doesn't pick up this time. We wait five minutes for them and then we leave. We go contacting on the street across from the church. There's a really busy 7-eleven there and we invite all those people to get baptized. We go back for our next lesson. We teach for a few hours, back to back lessons with new investigators, and daters, and recent converts. We don't have progressing investigators really. If they're progressing, they have a baptismal date, if they're not, we don't teach them.

Jokes are cracked in thai as Elder Sukhan and I practice pronunciation and ask the members about new words we learned and heard today. This is what happens in between lessons.

Inside the lesson.
How's your reading and praying? Followed by a short discussion about that.
Teach the lesson, with several commandments tagged on. We don't teach to give them information. Our goal is to prepare this person to keep the commitment we give them. So we use words of faith and ask them questions to get them to envision themselves getting baptized. We follow up on the Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, and the Sabbath. (These are the biggest concerns we run into) (these are also the things we teach on the first lesson)
We ask them to say a closing prayer and tell them that they can do it and they'll be blessed.

The next appointment is late. We stand on the street in front of the church and invite people to go to church with us as we wait. They come. We teach him. With this guy our biggest goal is to make him best friends with the member we set up for this lesson. (We don't like to teach people if we don't have a member too)
Woah, it's dark outside already! Oh. And now it's raining. Run across the street to the Isaan restaurant by the 7-eleven we like to invite at. 

"Hi Elders! What is it today?" The usual, but can you throw in an extra pepper? Up to 6 now. (I'm slowly increasing my immunity to spicy foods. I have a goal that nothing will be spicy for me again when I get home). We sit down and make one phone call. They don't pick up. It's humid, I'm dripping in sweat, and it's pouring outside. We wait for our grilled pork and spicy papaya salad. It comes. I down the water sever times until my ice is all out. (not because it's spicy, because i'm tired. Water doesn't help with spicy. The best remidy is to just man it out.) WOW! That was spicy today! We thank her and give her 75 baht, or 2.33 dollars. Walk back to the church inviting everyone to be baptized. Teach another lesson or if there is an activity we teach that lesson or play sports or teach english. It's time to go back. We close up the church and walk back to the church, hopping on the islands in the street so we don't get too wet. Get back, change. Sit. Pray. Okay. Who did we teach today?
How'd those lessons go?
What do they need next time?
What are we doing tomorrow? Well, we have 3 appointments at 1, 2 at 3 1 at 7 and an eight-o-clock.
How many lessons do we want to teach? All of the ones we have planned.

Pray for more miracles and thank Him for the miracles we had today.

Go brush my teach and follow up with the District leader, or Elder Winsor. We end up discussing the house of Israel by the end of it. Go read conference talks and try to write in my journal. 

As I write the date in my journal my soul weeps as I think. I have one less day to serve the Lord. 

I say my nightly prayers, trying to focus on thanks but most of it ends up asking God to bless the people He has placed in my hands. I crawl into bed thinking of what I want to ponder that night, but usually - no matter what I wanted to ponder - sleep overtakes me within seconds. 

And only a few seconds later I hear the sounds of "We'll bring the world His truth"

Elder Osborn

 Matching ties!

 Nightly conference talks in my Argentina soccer jersey.

 Hey look ! Brother Nut is amazing! Love him to death!

And a silly photo. :)

 Young men sleeping at the church. Way chill.

 Me teaching Elder Sayavong how to use a can opener instead of a knife. Notice the way we are both sitting. On the floor. Welcome to the Bangkok Thailand Mission.


Monday, June 16, 2014


This week I learned a lot of lessons. As usual. A lot of fun learning patience and humility. A lot in learning how to deal with problems and situations with love and finding the most Christlike solution. Some of these were in how I responded to a snark comment about or to us on a bus. Some were in dealing with the silent frustration of sitting next to two chatter-boxes during an important meeting. 

This week was Stake conference! And Thailand created a second Stake of Zion! So cool! But I will be honest; I didn't get much from the adult session on Saturday night. But the spiritual debate I had in my heart the entire meeting was exactly what I needed. I wanted to ask them to be quiet, but I didn't know if that was something a representative of Christ would need to do. I pondered how to deal with this situation, how to tap him on the shoulder and gently and lovingly silence them. God was teaching me how to teach or 'reprove'. I didn't have to reprove anybody on Saturday but I feel like I have a much better understanding of D&C 121 and when the time will come when I must reprove someone I will be able to do it with more love and gentleness.

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—
Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

We've been diligent and busy this week, but managed to get no new investigators. On Sunday I asked Elder Wilson how I can improve. He told me to pray more and with real intent. He said that sometimes we get caught up in the work and get busy and forget that this is His work and he asks us to help him so we can grow. He said the easiest way to do the work is to have God give you a miracle. Have Him place the people in your path. So pray more diligently and with more energy of heart.

I love being able to have leaders or "heroes". Just like President Eyring explained we all have heroes. And we are all role models, whether we are a good one, an okay one, or a bad one is up to us. I love to be able to ask someone else who understands more than me instead of have to learn through years of experience myself. It gives me drive to be better because I never know who else I may be a hero to. (This is my Father's Day pitch. Everyone, look up to your father, and do the things that will make him proud. And ALWAYS remember your Heavenly Father. If you feel distant from Him, think of your earthly one. Do the thinks that will make both of them proud.)

I have a new niece! Emmeline Rose Troxel was born on June 10, 2014!

My favorite scripture this week:
Be thou humble;
And the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand,
And give thee answers to thy prayers.

Elder Osborn

Okay! This is Sister Air's baptism. Sister Air is the older one and the other girl is Elder Winsor and Elder Sayavong's investigator. Both are super solid. Air was definitely prepared.

This is a picture of a grabber thing I picked up one day for 20 baht (66 cents). I untied Elder Sayavong's shoe and got the entire lace off while he was telling a story.
Look! No hands! I've been grabbing everything with this little guy all week!

Look at these monster eggs! They're some kind of fruit, they taste like lynchee but not quite as sweet. I bought them mostly so I could eat them and enjoy ripping into these monster eggs! It's way fun to open em! You just wrench em open!

Here's my desk before planning. See that cotton candy? Yeah, that's not cotton candy, that is pork candy. It's basically the same thing, just made out of a pig instead of sugar! It tastes like cotton candy too! Actually probably more delicious! And you wrap it up in this taco thing and eat it! It's like were back in mexico!

Monday, June 9, 2014


Dear Everybody

This week was zone conference. Six hours of training from President and Sister Senior! The Spirit was very powerful during that meeting. Especially when the missionaries who are about to go home bore their testimonies and expressed gratitude for their missions. It made me want to use every day more effectively. I especially loved Elder Wilko's about his love for Jesus Christ. 

I left zone conference pondering the phrase, "A godly walk" and trying to break apart that short but extremely powerful phrase.

This week we were able to help a truly elect woman be baptized. We first met her at the church last Thursday. Exactly a week later she passed her interview. She even moved homes in order to keep the Law of Chastity. She gave the most beautiful prayer and as she prayed I just thought, "We taught her how to pray exactly 7 days ago." Her prayer had more power and faith and gratitude than mine. I learned a lot from her. This is the same woman who last week felt the Spirit through remembering a song from her childhood. Her name is ช. แอร์ (Air). If anyone was elect or prepared it was this woman.

Another investigator was having a hard time with the Sabbath day, not completely seeing the importance of coming to church. She had a very special experience yesterday in Sacrament meeting. In my opinion a good enough experience with the Spirit to change her attitude about the Sabbath and have a great desire to come to church every week. 

We had a very cool lesson during our Investigator class. The teacher took us on a field-trip to the painting of "the rich young ruler" and gave a portion of the lesson with that story as a background. It was cool to see her teach sacrifice to this group of investigators in the foyer of the church. Very special. Got a lot of them to ponder a little bit more and truly consider what this church is all about.

Another new investigator who we met Saturday afternoon for the first time asked exactly how he needed to dress for Sunday. We told him that the best would be a white shirt and tie. The next morning, before his second lesson, he walked into Sacrament meeting early, wearing a white shirt and slacks that he had bought the night before. He asked what colors of ties are appropriate to wear to church. We told him and he said he would go looking for a tie. It was beautiful to see such desire and dedication already in this man.

Speaking of clothes, a recent convert who has always dressed a little sloppy every Sunday (t-shirt and jeans) walked into the church wearing a white shirt and slacks, trying to tie his tie that his dad had given him. I had the biggest smile as I watched him tighten his tie and walk into Sacrament meeting. I'm so proud of him. Every time I looked down at the congregation from the organ and see him the smile on my face was renewed.

This gratitude thing is working really well. Gratitude is the parent of all virtues.
I've been turning my evening prayers into prayers that only have thanks. There is no asking, only thanking. It's been very special. I feel like this week was such a blessed week. I've been seeing miracles and I've been finding great joy in small things. The smallest of things. Like recent converts walking in dressed up.

If any of you want to be happier, or want more blessings, or just want life to be better; I would recommend that you take a shot at this. Make a conscious effort to be grateful. You will find that you won't receive more blessings, you'll just notice the ones that are already there.

Elder Osborn

Monday, June 2, 2014


What a cool week! The last few weeks have been trying, but our tires just made traction. Just like Elder Bednar said, sometimes, we just need a heavier load to get enough traction to move forward.
We put together a fireside about sharing the gospel. It turned out way good! Super fun, showing videos and talks and such all about opening your mouth with love. We saw an unusual amount of new investigators. In one day we got 5 new investigators. There are several people preparing to be baptized the next few weeks. Actually, there are a lot. And I'm really excited for them. 

One particular investigator has been very solid but didn't accept a date, after our second lesson she stayed while we taught the next investigator. Then after the lesson she came up and sat next to us and said, "Elder, I have decided to be baptized." She proceeded to tell us that while we were teaching the other investigator that a song from her childhood came into her thoughts. I don't remember the lyrics, which were in English, but it was a Christian song -- she learned at a christian school as a child for three years -- all about gratitude for Jesus. She told us that she had forgotten that song completely, until just then, while we were teaching, the song came back to remembrance. She recognized this prompting of the Spirit and told us she would be baptized.

I was very impressed by this. It reminds me of something Elder Bednar said about inspiration. "You may have on occasion where you fail to say your morning prayers, and you all of the sudden hear the voice of your mother, who, when you were a small boy, would say, 'remember to say your morning prayers, remember to say your evening prayers.' Why would God send an angel to deliver that message to you, when the Holy Ghost can bring back to you the recollection of the remembrance of your angel mother, reminding you to pray?"

I was impressed. This new investigator, who I had met on the street just last Monday, was receiving impressions from the Spirit, and was aware of them. Everybody gets these promptings, but this woman noticed them, left the room for a moment to ponder them, and came back to us and said, "Elder I want to be baptized."

It made me ponder. Very often while I'm studying or teaching I think of a certain training or seminary class or scripture or experience in my past. But how often do I follow that? Everything that is good cometh from Him.
God doesn't need to reveal something new to me that He wants me to focus on right now, He will just help me remember what is most important. And He did it in an unusual form. He sent me my old spiritual journal. That bag I lost for 7 months. Now I know what He wants me to do. He wants me to memorize scriptures. I don't really know why right now but I know that that is what I need to do. So I will memorize scriptures again. Just like in Seminary!

I also learned the value of simple invitations. We teach English class every Tuesday. I asked one woman while I was signing off her card if she wanted to go to church with us on Sunday. She said she did. We talked a little bit and she's a solid investigator now, she even brought a friend too.

I relearned the beauty of a solid breakfast. This week I didn't buy my usual cereal/oat/fruit mix. I've been eating oatmeal with banana slices and making egg sandwiches. Look at us! Little cooks every morning! It's just a way good way to start off the day! haha It's amazing the little things that make a missionary happy. 

This week I've been working to develop the trait of gratitude. Because gratitude is the parent of all virtues.

Elder Osborn

Look at this!!! This is called ต้มยำไก่ if that helps explain what this is. haha So good. This bowl cost us 2 dollars and it filled two elders. Two Elders who eat A LOT. 

Also, we realized how the names of foods are way funny when you translate them. For example: my favorite meal is spicy papaya salad and grilled pig neck. Don't you judge, this is the most delicious food ever!!!!