Friday, January 30, 2015


Hello everybody!

I love opportunities to spend time with and learn from church leaders. On Sunday all of the district leaders in Bangkok got to do a little study with Elder Gong. I got to sit opposite Elder Gong at the table and read the scriptures together. He taught us everything about studying and the scriptures. It was pretty neat. I learned to appreciate the fantastic ability to read the scriptures in a second language and the opportunity to see the gospel in a different angle. When you switch languages, some meanings are lost while others are found. And if you can study the scriptures in Thai you can learn a lot of new things that cannot be found in the English version. For example, we learn that the brother of Jared is Jared's older brother. Because in Thai, it is impossible to just say,brother, it must be clear whether older or younger. Fascinating!

In Alma 33:23 we read, "And even all this can ye do if we will." I always understood this as "you can do all things if you choose to do it." The Thai version looks like this: และแม้สิ่งทั้งหมดนี้ท่านย่อมทำได้ถ้าตั้งใจทำ

Which, if I was to translate it's meaning, means, "And even all this can you do if you are determined to do so." Woah. I love it! I've been running across things like this so much recently! 

I have also noticed recently that when I read the scriptures in Thai they have more power to me than in English. As great as English is, sometimes the meaning escapes me. When I read in Thai every single word stands out to me, I notice little things I'd never seen before. I can feel the scriptures more in Thai.

I had been considering whether or not to spend time in personal study in Thai or not. This has been the subject of prayers and pondering for a long time. And then the Lord sent His servant to tell me face to face that I should study both languages together in a balance because being able to do that is a blessing.

We did some work this week, finding much more time to go contacting, which means that we have lots of people coming to church this Sunday. Yay!

The office is doing great. We've been getting out of the office at around 3:00 every day. We have to be really efficient with time because we normally have only six hours to proselyte. 

Love you all,
Elder Osborn

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Since this week was just a whole bunch of preparation for transfers meeting and putting stuff away for transfers meeting, we spent a lot of time in the office making sure that transfers went by smoothly. And it did. It was nearly no stress, and it went very smoothly. Thanks to the hard work of President and Sister Senior. If you'd like to see what the Thailand Bangkok Mission does for transfers meeting, you can look it up on youtube or facebook or maybe there's a fancy new website that has come out in the last year and a half. I don't know what it's called, but it's a great video!

I'm still with Elder Curtis!! And we have a new friend! Elder Jeng is back! We've been companions before in Pitsanulok and now we're here in the office as a trio!! We're really excited for this transfer.

With the transfers came a lot of guidance from leaders and the Holy Ghost. In many situations after learning something new Elder Curtis would lean over and say, "It's okay. We can repent."

This sentence, repeated several times really struck me. "We can repent." "I can repent." "You can repent." 
I can remember before my mission, for 18 years every time I heard the word repent I would always think of that time when I threw a sandwich at my sister, or when I got hurt and responded unkindly to a parent on family night. I would separate myself from the world, whether in my room or in the car. I'd talk to myself quietly, thinking of all the different ways that experience could have played out; all of the sharp comebacks I could have thrown. I can remember that I'd always console myself and convince myself that I was right. Usually I would do a lot of nothing.Then as the minutes continued to pass by and daily activities distracted me, I would slowly forget about the experience and sometimes expect that it would just disappear. Time heals old wounds... Right?

 Then maybe a few minutes later, maybe a few weeks later, I would find myself feeling the pain that an individual can feel because of mistakes. It feels like someone just punched you in the heart; It feels like your throat is clenched up. It isn't painful but it hurts worse than any physical wound.  The pondering starts again, this time not looking for justification or retribution, but for reconciliation. I'd always find myself in my sister's room, standing next to a locked door with my hand on the doorknob or sitting on the foot of a bed picking at the lint on the blanket that she's covered herself with, searching for words, "Hey---- I'm sorry...". Then by and by I'm driving up to grandma's house, sitting next to the person who I've already "fixed the problem". It's really quiet and only when a third party enters the conversation are any words spoken. I feel like it'll never be the same; there will always be something between us, stopping words. My throat doesn't hurt anymore, but it's quieter than it was before.

I know they've already forgiven me. She told me to not worry about it. She told me it was okay. But it's still too quiet. Just not the same.

I find myself on my knees at 1 am, leaning against my mattress with my forehead. My throat feels tight again, "I promise that I'll never do that again. Please forgive me and help me to not mess up again." In the morning I feel fine. I was just being dramatic. After some time, we're on a family walk and I get a chance to use that perfectly planned and sharpened comeback. Voices raise and after a few minutes it's quiet again. I hate that silence.
Back on my knees, "Okay, this time I'm done for sure. I'll NEVER do it again."

On Sunday I have my face in my hands again, "Please forgive me."

Since I've been on my mission I've began to understand the word repentance. The Thai word for repentance is กลับใจ or Glap jai. It means "return heart". To turn your heart. What does that mean? Repentance is a turning; a turning from sin to God. A "mighty change of heart". We all make mistakes and these mistakes create feelings of guilt and shame. These feelings cannot be relieved without repentance and forgiveness. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, you can be fully healed. He just asks us to "repent, and turn [ourselves] from all [of our] transgressions". 
Before I was always scared of the word repent. It was something intimidating. I always imagined crying and confessing and feeling horrible, and then when it's all over we will never be the same, we are forever quiet and depressed. But we're clean. He has forgiven us. But that's not all, we must change, and then stay there.

As I learned Thai in the MTC the word Glap jai would always be spinning through my head. I began to understand what it really meant. Imagine that you're in a wide and spacious field and it's pitch black. There's a pretty tall mountain in the middle and at the top of that mountain there is a light. A massive light like the ones they use at sports arenas to light the field. The light isn't shining in any one specific direction, it's just shining. You are partway up the mountain. Of course walking uphill is hard, and we know that eventually the sun will come up, so you determine to walk downhill. The easy way. But then it gets darker and darker because you're farther and farther from that light. To the point where you stumble and trip. Some people blame the light because it wasn't bright enough to guide their path. Most stand up and keep walking downhill, where they fall more and more. Only a few will realize that it wasn't the light's fault that they tripped, it was theirs. They turn around, abandoning the path of least resistance and begin to walk back up the hill. Here we fall on our knees more and more because this mountain is steep. Here some people give up. They say it's too hard, it's impossible, or it doesn't even matter. They turn around and begin to walk down the hill, but their eyes have adjusted to the bright light, so they can't see much on the way down. They trip and begin to roll. We continue up the hill. We fall on our knees more and more, not because our path is dark, but because the it's steeper than before, and our knees are getting scraped up. But now we're a close-knit group. We pick each other up and we encourage each other. And we finally summit the mountain, collapsing into the arms of the Light.

The Savior has declared, "I am the light of the world". Sometimes we expect Jesus to run down to us at our beckon and bear us up the mountain. We think that with only the words, "I'm sorry, forgive me" we can receive forgiveness and keep walking in whatever "forbidden paths" we choose. Christ has asked us to follow Him and He has already borne the cross up the mountain. In order to follow Jesus Christ we must be willing to take the right way instead of the easy way. We must be willing to walk, and change, and turn towards the path of the Lord. We even promise that we "are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light". The journey towards eternal life is not a sprint to the finish line, nor is it a thin-legged marathon, it is one large migration to a more celestial world.

"Come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord."
                                                                                - Isaiah 2:5

Elder Osborn

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Dear Reader,

I still can't decide exactly how or what I want to say! I know that this missionary life is something very different, very special when compared to regular life, but I keep drawing blanks each time I sit down to write anything... ughhh.

This week President Senior invited one of his friends, a speaker, to give our district meeting lesson. Dave Marcum gave a fantastic lesson on confidence and patterns. I would not be able to talk about all he said because I got so much out of it, but Elder Curtis and I got to play chauffeur! Which means we got extra lessons from this brilliant man in the car.

This week I've been working to change habits. It's really hard...

Okay, I have a story to tell.

This morning during companionship study we got a text from one of our investigators. He is a Catholic. He is only sixteen and he asked us if we'd meet him at the church and read the Book of Mormon with him. So, we replaced our P-day language study with a lesson. We read the introduction, discussed it, and read the first chapter together. Afterwards, he opened up to us and told us the reason why he came to church with us in the first place. He said that he went to a Protestant church and during the class he asked who the Mormons were. He told us stories of how the teacher told him that we believe that Jesus is an alien from a different planet and how we worship satan. They then warned him to not go to church because we would sacrifice him to satan.
He told us that he decided that killing was illegal and so he'd try coming. 

Yesterday we were on a switch-off with the Stake President going to an appointment on the subway when all the sudden this lady is like "Hi Elder!" I recognized her pretty quick. Elder Curtis had told me about her and her friends and the appointments they had last transfer. (Some quality anti-Mormon stuff) She pulled out this beat up plastic bag with two papers in it. Both were anti-mormon material... She gave them to us and encouraged us to read and then asked for our card so we could talk another day. I gave it to her and she hopped off the train.
This morning during personal study I thought back to a study I had earlier this week in the book of Acts. I reviewed my previous study, seeing this chapter in a different light.

Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them. Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.

 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

I compared this with us. There are many who fight against Zion. And "if this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God" it cannot be overthrown; and "all who reject this glad message shall never such happiness know." Running into opposition only confirms that I'm doing what is right in God's sight.

I am so grateful to have the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ be the center of my life. Not just a piece of my life when it's convenient, but truly the core. And I will continue to "cease not to teach and preach Jesus Christ"

Elder Osborn

Saturday, January 10, 2015


"The Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do."

On December 16th 2014 Elder Curtis and I began something that we call "The 40 day fast".

We fasted from food and water for 24 hours. And in that spirit of fasting and prayer we made lists. Lists of things, habits, speech, actions, thoughts, anything -- that could drive away the Spirit. We then began a 40 day fast from all of those things.

I have this posted up above the desk:
40 day fast

December 16th, 2014  -  January 26th, 2015
I will fast from:
1.      All slang
2.      Knuckle cracking
3.      Dozing off or not paying attention
4.      Calling people not by their names “Elder” or “Sister”
5.      Messiness
6.      Not smiling
7.      Doing things “later”
8.      Insincere prayers
9.      Comparing
10.  Sarcasm
11.  Hearing without listening
12.  Distractions (Ex. TVs, advertisements, thoughts about home, unproductive conversations, etc.)

“Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”(Joshua 3:5)
The Lord has said, “Sanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power.” (D&C 43:16) The Lord is ready to work miracles, and He has only asked “that ye should repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes, but cross yourself in all these things.”(Alma 39:9) As I “cross myself” the Holy Ghost will become my companion and I will come to know that in a very real sense, I am a servant of the Lord speaking in His behalf. I will find a different response from those I teach. As I do so by the Spirit, my investigators will respond under the influence of the same Spirit.

We found this to be really hard. Figuratively slapping ourselves every time we'd call each other dude. I'll be honest, the knuckle cracking was probably the hardest.

I'll reference D&C 130: 20-23;
20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—

 21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

 22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.

 23 A man may receive the Holy Ghost, and it may descend upon him and not tarry with him.

The Holy Ghost may descend upon someone, and not tarry with him. What does that mean? That means we do, say, or think something that is not in accordance with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and in consequence, we lose the companionship of the Holy Ghost. We figured that as we consecrate ourselves we will have the Holy Ghost as our constant companion.

At first this was all really hard, and involved a lot of daily repentance, but as the days went by I found all of these things began to fade away.

Beginning on Sunday, I have had the most Spirit-filled week of my life. I began the week by having a powerful spiritual experience, and the Spirit has followed since. Yesterday was especially different. I don't know how to explain it. We speak in the name of Christ extremely often. We are bold. We've been running into many Christians recently, to which I say to them, "If Jesus Christ himself came down and established a Church on the Earth, then came and called you to go with Him to His Church, would you go?" We get varied responses to this, but we testify each time, "I am a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. He has established His Church on the Earth and has sent us to bring you to Him. Will you go?"

We testify more than we teach. And I feel like I'm beginning to understand the commandment "And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, declaring my word like unto angels of God."

Elder Curtis and I find ourselves speaking of spiritual things, speaking of the scriptures and the Spirit. We don't talk about home, music, sports, or even before or after the mission. We are focused on right now and the Lord is pouring out blessings.

Today Sister Yok passed her baptismal interview! She's been working very hard to build up her faith to this point. And just a few days ago she called our member helper and said that she felt it and wants to be baptized this Sunday. She's already brought one friend and she'll be bringing another tomorrow.

Elder Osborn