Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Flashlights and Feeling Tall

Hola familia!!

First of all I need to apologize because I’m hopeless at this new keyboard and every other key seems to make weird symbols like this ç so forgive me.

So after we left Atlanta it was an all-night flight to Buenos Aires. I sat next to a couple from Argentina and had a semi decent conversation with them. That’s about the best at Spanish I’ve felt all week.

We got through customs and stuff which wasn’t too bad. The worst part of that day, I can't even remember which day it was, Tuesday? was that no one gave us complete instructions so it was like, go sit on this bus, sit here in the mission office, give me your passport so I can change your visa. I honestly don't even really know what happened but most of that day we waited in the mission office and then that night we took a small plane to Posadas. Super glad we did because apparently the bus ride would have been like 24 hours. So we spent that night in Posadas and then that morning we were interviewed and given our companions and sent off! I don’t know why my mission president said he'd talked to us on Thursday because Thursday morning was my first morning in Virasoro.

Anyway, my companion is a native from Nicaragua and she doesn't speak English at all, which is really hard. The language is the hardest thing right now because I just feel like I can never communicate, so please pray for that. 

I like Virasoro, but I don't know how to describe it. We live in the centro, which is like a normal kind of town, but about half of our area is super campo and we're not allowed to go into at night. Our apartment is actually really nice for mission apartments, because it’s new. Oh I forgot to say, we're the first sister missionaries that have ever been here. So that's super cool. So we divided the boundaries of the town, and because of that we're basically starting from scratch. We have no area book, no investigators, and like hundreds of inactives. My companion has a month in the mission. Like we literally started our missions on the same day, but she only went to the MTC for 2 weeks and then was out in the field. So we’re both new, and in a brand new place. But the members are amazing and support us. They’re the only reason we have a bed and a stove because our apartment had no furniture. They’re also currently working on getting us electricity because we don’t have that yet haha. Super glad I packed flashlights!

I think things probably sound crazier here than they are. Heavenly Father is taking care of us, and things really aren’t that bad. One of the less active members we met is convinced he knew the two of us “from some time before.” So that’s really cool. Yesterday was the primary program which was a tender mercy because I was feeling pretty lost and halfway through I realized that I can still remember the first sister missionaries that came to our ward when I was in primary. I’m trying to remember that I can make a difference even when all I can do is smile, say hola, and kiss cheeks. :) I’ve also never felt so tall in my life; I think it’s really funny. They don’t say gringa here they say polaca and one man couldn’t say Rawlins so just called me Hermana Polaca which I thought was really funny and was like the first joke I actually got :)

One thing that’s helped me right now is remembering that an instrument doesn’t know what it’s doing. It gets carried along wherever the master needs it and HE is the one who creates the masterpiece after a lot of work.

Ok love you all a ton! Sorry no pictures today I have no idea how to use any of this and it’s all in Spanish. Have a good thanksgiving!!

Lots of love,

Amanda


PS. Emily please correct my grammar. :) Thanks, you’re the best sister ever! 

The mission office sent this to us. These are all the missionaries that started the same day as Amanda.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Arrival in Argentina!

We received an email from Amanda’s mission president today that Amanda has officially arrived in Argentina!

21 November, 2013

Dear Rawlins Family,

Today, my wife and I had the privilege to welcome Sister Rawlins to the Argentina Posadas Mission. We are excited to have Sister Rawlins in our mission to contribute to edify the Church of the Lord here in The Argentina Posadas Mission. 

Sister Rawlins was assigned to labor in the Virasoro Branch with Sister Gonzales as her trainer. During her mission, Sister Rawlins will have opportunities to work in the Providence of Misiones in Argentina and Paraguay due to the mission having two countries. Although, Argentina and Paraguay are neighbors, they have different cultures and customs.

On Monday, they will have their preparation days where she will be able to communicate with you every Monday. The communication is generally done over E-mail, or to communicate with letters, the direction of the offices of the mission is:
            Sister Rawlins
Córdoba 1243
Posadas, Misiones
3300
Argentina

We are very grateful for sending us a missionary spiritually prepared; she will be an influence in the lives of the investigators that they will teach, members who they will get to know, to her companion and other missionaries.

With love,

Lee LaPierre

President of the Argentina Posadas Mission


Monday, November 18, 2013

Not about socks

My parents received this letter in the mail from Amanda last week. Amanda is traveling down to Argentina today, so she won’t be able to send an email, but the family will get to talk to her on the phone! 

Daddy and Mommy!!

Como estan? That right there is about all the Spanish I know. :) Just Kidding. Sort of. I miss you both a lot!!! Thanks for being so patient with my incessant requests for more socks. For future reference, the George High "Great with loafers" kind are PERFECT. So gracias! To repay you for those, and because I feel bad not having enough time to write better emails,  I wanted to write you some things that I'm learning. Emily's free to put them on the blog in fact maybe she should so it's not just about socks too. :)

I'm learning that I don't need to have elegant conversations with people to love them. Not that my conversations are every particularly elegant, but still. It's an amazing feeling to look at someone and immediately feel God's love for them. I'm learning that my part is very, very small in all of this. I'm just the person walking around, studying, wearing the nametag, and opening my mouth. The Lord does everything else. He can magnify the words we speak and make them mighty. He doesn't ask us to convert but to open our mouths. The task of converting is not ours - that belongs to the person hearing and to the Spirit. Even when I have absolutely no idea what to say, all I have to do (usually) is open my mouth and say "Pues..." and sentences are formed in my head that I was not thinking of before.

That happened today - I explained something in Spanish I didn't even know in English. The lady we're practicing teaching is old, has no family, is blind, in a wheelchair, and has a ton of health problems. When we started with her she said she didn't feel God's love in her life, and she totally didn't understand the role of Jesus Christ. Today she asked us some hard questions like "If Christ suffered for all the sins and afflictions of the world why am I still suffering? (Hna. Stradling totally answered that one and basically none of us, including her, have any idea what she said, but it helped her) and then she asked "If Christ suffered for all of that, how does he save me?" so I was sitting there thinking well that's a good question that I totally don't know how to answer in Spanish (by my standards my Spanish is mediocre on a good day) but I'm just gonna open my mouth and start a sentence and then word by word I was saying " Pues... porque el sufrio todo, El puede decir a Dios: "Yo se como ellos sienten, Yo se que ellos han aprendido y han crecido, y yo se que ellos estan tratando ser buenas personas."" Luckily I'd followed the prompting to look up the word "advocate" like two seconds before we went to go teach - it's "defensor." And then she asked "Well if He does that, what do I have to do?" and we were like, "well let us tell you!" :) It was a super good experience, and really shows that I am NOT the teacher in lessons. I don't know what I'm doing half the time. The Spirit is the teacher, and I learn things as I say them. I'm blessed to get to be the one rolling along for the ride.

I'm learning we don't have to be perfect for people to be touched. One of the most helpful things we can do as missionaries is to be happy! It literally attracts people. When we are happy and smiling, we are literally bright. There is nothing that will happen to us that our Savior doesn't understand. He always has and always will take care of us. Ether 12:27 has new meaning for me. It describes how I feel lots of times. But I think it's so interesting that it doesn't say "after you are humbled you'll be able to get better." It says, "then is my grace sufficient for them and I will make weak things become strong unto them." It's as if Christ says "thank you for humbling yourself and having faith in me about this weakness now I'm going to bless you a ton." How merciful and loving our Savior is.

Thank you two for being amazing! I'm learning I am blessed with wonderful parents even more than I thought.

Lots of Love,

Amanda

Monday, November 11, 2013

la ultima semana

Guess who has travel plans?? 
Me.
Guess who's pretty nervous about that??
Also me.

So I leave the MTC at 6 Monday morning, we leave from SLC, go to Atlanta, 3 hour layover, 11 hour flight to Buenos Aires, get there just before 8 in the morning, and then Elder Prince and I have nooo idea how we're getting to Posadas from there. We just know it's quite a ways to go. Visions of crowded buses with no bathrooms through the Argentinan countryside are haunting us. We hear it's about a 12-18 hour bus ride to salta so we're expecting something like that, maybe a little shorter. yay yay! I have no idea why we're not going to Asuncion. A whole ton of Argentinian missionaries are on our flights so I think they're sending a whole country's worth of missionaries down all at the same time. On tourist visas, because some people (like Elder Prince) haven't even submitted their applications yet. So I don't even know if I have my visa or not yet, I'm just doing what they tell me to. Which is pretty normal on a mission haha. 

I love love love hearing about everything that's going on in your lives. I can honestly focus better when I know what you guys are up to instead of wondering.

You all have been asking about Spanish. Eh. It honestly depends on the day. But yesterday I gave my first sacrament meeting (church) talk in Spanish so I thought I would include it here for you! have fun translating it, hopefully it actually makes sense!

Fe en Jesucristo es el primer principio del Evangelio. Fe es cuando nostoros creemos que Jesucristo es el Hijo de Dios y nuestro Salvador y Redentor. No sabemos todos y por eso necesitamos tener fe. Alma dijo.. Alma 32:21. Fe es una decisión. Necesitamos tomarlo cada día. este es como nosotros ejercemos nuestra fe. Como hacemos ejercicios, tenemos que elegir fe día por día. Fe es confidencia en nuestro Señor. Nosotros confiamos que él sabe que él está haciendo. él está guiando nuestras vidas. él cuidará nosotoros siempre. él tiene cariño a nosotros. Cuando tenemos fe en él, nosotros demostramos nuestro amor por él. Mediante nuestro fe, podemos recibir muchas bendiciones. La mejor bendición que podemos recibir es la vida eterna. Esta es posible solamente mediante nuestra fe en nuestro Salvador Jesucristo. 

I have a testimony of that. We need to trust that He is and will always take care of us. No matter what. 


 funny story about the apple cider. I had been wanting some but felt bad asking and then our branch president's wife was like "I think I'm going to bring you sisters some apple cider because you have an apartment now" and all the hermanas cracked up and said that was an answer to pray because I had been saying I wanted some. So this was Hermana Stradling's first cup of apple cider aka her first chance at real happiness in life. And then I opened my package from you guys with apple cider and I was like THE LORD LOVES ME. So it was awesome and you guys are awesome. :)


me and the perfect socks <3 <3


Monday, November 4, 2013

Provo Oeste

ah! family! 

Things are good here at Provo West! It's nice to be in new places even though we do exactly the same thing and it's nice to be able to walk outside and stuff even though lately it's decided to snow randomly. No one asked us if that would be ok. Poor hermana stradling who's going to Texas has like no warm clothes. I found a pair of elders going to posadas who said that there's six of them in a district together, and they'd heard about some hermanas but I still haven't found them.

It's weird that I'm almost done with the MTC! I think we get travel plans this week. It's been an interesting week. A few things happened that I didn't really ever expect in my companionship, that we needed to address and work to resolve. I'm grateful for priesthood leadership that we can always turn to and I'm grateful for the Lord who knows what He's doing. I know that in the past few days I have been an instrument in His hands in a very specific way that I never thought I'd do. It's an interesting and good feeling to know that He's using you to invite others to come to Christ, not just investigators but everyone including our companions, and that He can put you in the exact places He needs you. Sorry I know that's cryptic and vague but I promise I'm ok and things are working out! Nothing bad happened to me that you should worry about I promise. 

That's so exciting about Grandma and Grandpa's mission call!! In our devotional on Tuesday they gave a special shoutout to senior missionaries and how amazing they are and told us that they'd become our best buddies. :) 

I have very little time but I want to share a quick thought about Christ. We've been talking about how He wasn't perfect because He was given special power to be able to be perfect. He wasn't perfect because it was easy for Him. He suffered and was tempted just like us, and even more so. He was perfect because He wanted to be. He knew what was at stake. He knew WE were at stake.

Also, there was a devotional speaker here from Brazil who was my favorite devotional speaker so far because he brought the spirit so powerfully talking about how this gospel changed his life and what it meant to him. It made me feel better about being nervous to go down to South America just because of how much I already love the people.


ok love you all!!!!

this is what we did for halloween. You can't see but our name tags are switched too. Then I played 4-square in gym so it was nice to be outside that night. 
Also I swear I was the only festive-looking person on all of campus and I don't even like halloween. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

New Address

Amanda has been moved to a new MTC and her new address if you’d like to write her is:

Hermana Amanda Rawlins
NOV 19 ARG-POS
2023 N 900 E Unit #898
Provo, UT 84602