Monday, March 31, 2014

We had to come to Argentina to be friends

So this week has seemed like forever with cambios (transfers). We had planned to go around and say goodbye to everyone with Hermana Gonzalez on Tuesday, and then take a collectivo early Wednesday morning. But then all of a sudden our leaders told us we needed to leave Tuesday afternoon and stay the night in Posadas. So we ran around throwing things in suitcases, ran around the town saying goodbye to as many people as we could manage, and caught a collectivo Tuesday night. Sidenote: watching Hermana Gonzalez say goodbye to Virasoro made me so sad and I was crying too and I wasn´t even leaving. So that´ll be fun when it actually is me leaving.

Anyway, we arrived in Posadas at a pension with 6 other hermanas all staying the night, just to find out that there were riots and a collectivo strike in Paraguay and no one could travel. So we stayed an uncomfortable night there in posadas and then got sent back Wednesday morning with an indefinite answer about when cambios would be. We also don´t have a phone cause it stopped working, so we had to go to President’s house and borrow his phone to call Wednesday night and see what was happening, and they said transfers are tomorrow.

So then we traveled BACK to posadas Thursday morning, I waited for Hermana Anderson to arrive from Paraguay, and we made it to Virasoro Thursday afternoon. It was way hard to say goodbye to hermana gonzalez, because I´ve spent 5 months 24/7 with her, and then she just walked away and I was like wait you can´t just do that!! So that was hard and I miss her!!

But Hermana Anderson loves Virasoro (and me, obviously :) and says she´s basically in paradise or the Promised Land based on her other areas so she´s really happy. But that makes me never want to leave. And she won´t speak English to me, which is honestly probably good. She´s the Sister Training Leader (STL) for our zone and says she considers me her assistant STL, like it´s our job to do it all together, which makes me feel useful and I´m grateful for that. She´s at a conference today so we traveled to Apostoles last night, stayed the night, and then got up at 4 and kept traveling to Posadas. I´m passing the pday with another hermana (I literally can´t speak english I´m so sorry) and then we have to stay the night again, which no one kindly informed us about. That happens all the time. yay the mission!! haha but really missions are super great.
And the only other news is that I´m so pumped from General Conference!! I´m honestly more excited about it than like for my birthday or something. This Conference marks my six month mark, as last conference was my last weekend home and I was packing my suitcases. I´ve been thinking about that this week and all that´s happened since. I know that we have a living prophet on the earth and that he speaks directly for Jesus Christ and Christ directs the church. The prophet is our light and guide in this confusing world, and so I´m very eager to listen to him this weekend. In English :)

Questions from the family:

so i've been waiting, is it 52nd ward Hermana Anderson or a different Hermana Anderson? How do you like the new comp so far? Are you glad you have a change or no?
.... and so it was that the two girls from BYU 52nd ward traveled all the way to Argentina to be companions. Someone tell the Patches. She´s super great! The change was hard but good, so yes and no. I miss Hermana Gonzalez a ton!

did you get to watch the General Womens Meeting on Saturday? 
nooo I was so sad!!

Will you get to watch conference this upcoming weekend? 
yes yes!! Because our chapel doesn´t have wifi the whole branch has to travel to Apostoles. They only manage to coordinate that for Sunday, so Hermana Anderson and I are gonna take a collectivo there Saturday, stay the night with the Hermanas in that area, and be there Sunday as well.

your mud pictures were insane! do you wash it off when you get home or go to bed like that? :) 
heck no I don´t go to bed like that! I´ve taken to showering at night cause I´m always just so dirty hahaha
Have you been wearing your boots with all the mud or not because they were cutting your calves?
nope, I haven´t tried again. hna Anderson has duct tape that I´m gonna try putting on the back, when I ever get around to it

Were you able to give Sis Gonzales the little present in the package before you parted ways? 
nooo because the Elder in charge STILL hasn´t taken the package out of the mail place and I don´t have anything nice to say about that so I´ll stop. but on the plus side, this week I got letters! one from Mom from when she was flying, one from Isaac, and one from Bishop Ross. Thank you!!

Do you have more investigators you are teaching, or do you work most with members?
the problem we have right now is that all of our investigators got baptized. Which isn´t actually a problem haha. So we´re looking for new people and focusing on helping the recent converts as well. This week we met M., and she is super, super prepared. It was amazing and so I´m excited to keep teaching her!
Also, Happy Birthday Emmy!!!! Woooot!!! I´ll be singing feliz cumpleanos for you from over here and for future reference if I forget anyone´s birthday in the next year no one hate me please.

lots of love,

Hermana Rawlins


Monday, March 24, 2014

A Very Scatterbrained Letter

It´s Monday again!!

Transfers are this week and we just got the news! I will still be in Virasoro, wooot! Hermana Gonzalez is going to Paraguay, and my new companion is Hermana Anderson. She´s senior companion and will be our Sister Training Leader tambien. There are two Hermana Anderson´s in the mission right now, one of which I know from BYU 52nd ward (that was our ward, right?? haha), but I´m not sure if it´s her or not. And the other one has less time than me in the mission, so I´m not sure which one it is. I´ll find out on Wednesday morning! 

I haven´t gotten my package yet, because no one´s gone to Posadas, but now I will be on Wednesday so I´ll pick it up then!

And I´m glad you guys got the Amanda bus picture! (a ward member sent it to us) It´s officially one of my favorite pictures from the mission and should go on the blog por favor.

R and J got baptized this week, which was awesome because they´re both two very sincere men. I´m happy I´m staying in Virasoro so we can make sure they get integrated into the ward the way they need to be. 

Hermana gonzalez and I have gotten into a rhythm and very much enjoyed the last few weeks together, so I really will miss her when she goes. It´s gonna be weird being without her and I really do love her. She´s training someone new in Paraguay, and she´s openly told me she doesn´t want to train a latina because their characters are "fuerte" haha :) Anyway, I just wanted to say that so you all don´t think bad about her or anything, she drives me crazy sometimes but is also really super great to me.

The most interesting thing that happened this week is best shown through photos and videos, so I´m attaching a bunch for you guys. It rained every day at the beginning of the week, so everything was just swamped with mud and we trekked around laughing hysterically about how ridiculous our lives are. And then we used my hair dryer to dry our shoes so they would be dry for the next day cause everything was just so wet. But now it´s suuper wonderfully beautiful outside and feels like fall, which is weird in march but I´m loving it!!

Sorry this letter is incredibly short but hopefully the photos will make up for it :) 

I love you all a ton, and I know that this church is the very church of Jesus Christ on the face of the earth. That is a fact, and I´m here in the mud because of it. :)


much love,

hermana rawlins

This picture wins the award for being the most awkward baptismal picture ever
We always say, "sonrisas!" and this is what happens. At least Hermana Gonzalez is smiling... :)
So we were trekking through some serious mud on Thursday to get to our lunch appointment, and the best place to walk is right in the middle of the road cause the sides are even worse than the middle. So we were going along and all of a sudden a car drove by, splattering me (because Hermana Gonzalez was smart enough to move her leg) and all over my ankle. This picture is the result of that.
My "rock on world my life is ridiculous" pose :)
The roads all end up like this

Monday, March 17, 2014

Not Even a Nerd Anymore

hellooo family!!

So I´m doing well!! 

I found out on Saturday that I was gonna give a talk on Sunday in sacrament meeting, so me and hermana gonzalez´s comp study was spent preparing me to have something to say in spanish haha. It was on missionary work and the responsibility of everyone, and I think it went really well! I was hardly nervous, which is a miracle in English, let alone in Spanish, and I didn´t even write it out word for word. Hermana Gonzalez told me that my Spanish was 100 percent understandable except for one time when I said para yo instead of para mi. so yay! In my talk I shared an experience that I wanted to share with you guys too.

Hermana Gonzalez and I were in a remis (taxi) in posadas going to the mission conference, and we were talking (well mostly hna gonzalez :) to the driver whose brother was a member and had listened to the missionaries before and everything. He told us "You know, I think the only faithful members of the mormon church are the missionaries". we were both surprised and said, well why do you think that? and he said "because they´re the only ones who talk about what they believe. I have been around so many mormons, who never talk about the gospel or their beliefs. The missionaries are the only ones who will share with you." Though I don´t agree that missionaries are the only faithful members, I just thought that was so interesting. He was watching and observing the members, waiting for them to share what they believe, and because they didn´t, he had come to the conclusion that it must not be that important to them. And so it must not be very important for him either. We have so many natural opportunities to share the gospel, and when we don´t take them it undermines the importance of our message. 

The mission conference in Posadas was also super great!! Mom asked a while ago about the stats of the mission but I didn´t answer because I didn´t know. but now I do! Right now we are 56 hermanas and 99 elders. But apparently in the coming transfers we´ll still be receiving enough hermanas to pull that number up to about 50 50. Also Elder Zaballo was talking about the importance of language with us, and shared with us that with the ability to speak English and Spanish you can communicate with 80% of the members of the church. Add to that a basic knowledge of Portuguese and you can communicate with 90% of the members of the church. 

Transfers are next week! When I was in the office the other week President asked me if I had paperwork for Paraguay and I said I don´t know I thought you were in charge of that. just kidding I didn´t actually say that :) But he said he wants all of the papers in order so if the Lord tells him to send us we can go. I know American missionaries who came in with me or after me who are now in paraguay, so that´s not entirely out of the picture like maybe you guys thought it would be. I learned how to say "I know the church of jesus christ of latter day saints is true" in guarani the other day, and then promptly forgot it. Something like che ikwaie jesucrist topai something something something (that spelling is totally wrong I´m just sounding it out). Anyway, I also ordered myself a tag in guarani just because I could, and because I thought it would be cool to have one, even if I don´t ever end up speaking it, haha.

I love you all a ton and am happy here just going along with everything. We´re working to help two men get baptized this week, so you guys can pray for them!

Questions from the family:

Did you get your package? I sent it on the 1st, and I was excited when I checked the tracking info and it said it had cleared argentine customs on the 10th!
I just got an email from the office that yes it´s arrived! The elder in charge of it though is new so I have to sign a new form and scan it in and email it to him so he´s authorized to take it out of the mail. I´ll do that today and I´m pumped to get it!

Did you get any semblance of pie on pi day?
I FORGOT PI DAY I´M SO UPSET ABOUT THIS I´M LIKE NOT EVEN A REAL NERD ANYMORE
sidenote: I also totally didn´t know that today is st patty´s day. shameful.

Is it starting to cool down at all?
yes little by little, hallelujah

your hair looks cute in this pic of L & the fam. how do you normally do it? like always a ponytail or no? kinda looks like a braid but i can't tell.
haha. It´s ALWAYS in a ponytail or a bun. That day hermana gonzalez (who studied style and fashion or something before she came) did it for the baptism. Sometimes I do a little braid back to a ponytail but as you know Alli, my creativity and capability is basically zero lol

how do you usually spend your exercise hour? or is that non existent? 
I run stairs, jog in place, yawn, stretch, etc :)

what are the argentinian seasons doing right now? 
changing. some days are beautifully fresh and then others are just as hot as they used to be. Right now it´s raining a lot, which makes me oddly really happy. i have no idea why.

much love,
hermana rawlins

Monday, March 10, 2014

my nephew is the cutest little boy ever

ok before anything else, you just have to know that me and hermana gonzalez are sitting here in the cyber oohing and aahing over little Isaac (Amanda’s new nephew). He is just so dang cute and looks like one super cool dude. Can´t wait to meet him!!

Allie informed that that carpincho is the World´s Largest Rodent, so I´ve bascially eaten an ROUS (Princess Bride reference). I am horrified and also slightly proud. Mostly horrified.

Also there´s a lady speaking English in an English accent right now in the cyber and I´m dying of happiness.

This week I got a letter from Bryce from Buenos Aires! At first I was super confused that I knew somebody in Buenos Aires but then I figured it out haha. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Rowe and especially Bryce!!

So this week L.  got baptized! Picture below. He also received the priesthood and R. did as well, which I am super happy about! 

This week I also had a division with Hermana Crump, our Sister Training Leader from Utah so that was fun to get to be with her. She actually only has one transfer more than me in the mission and is super great. Speaking of which, I officially hit my 5 month mark, which kind of seems ridiculous.

This Wednesday we have a mission conference in Posadas with an area authority, so that will be fun to get to go to Posadas for that. It´s always refreshing to see the other missionaries too, and to remember that you´re not the only ones doing this!

The other week Alli said that her and Mike sat outside on their driveway in lawn chairs like old people. What she really should have said, is they sat outside on their driveway like Argentinians. The people here live like they are permanently camping. They go to work and school and stuff, but so many of them in all their free time, just sit outside and tomar mate with their family and watch people walk by. It´s super laid back and Hermana Gonzalez always makes some comment about how they can spend all that time doing that, but for me it´s always a little hard not to feel just a little bit jealous of how carefree they seem :)

Anyway, sorry this letter is really all over the place but I´m doing well and love you all a ton!!

Love,
Hermana Rawlins

Questions from the family:

What is your most common meal down there?
CARBS. The norm is like pasta and potatoes and mayonese. ugh.

Tell us more about the dirt project with the missionaries and youth. What was the goal/ finished project?
It was for a foundation that works to give food and supplies to mothers who don´t have enough to feed their kids, and the goal was to move the one pile of dirt from the spot where they left it to spread it around hahaha. They want that area to be more level or something to use for something. As you can tell, I´m very educated about the subject. Mostly I just do what everyone tells me. And they told me to move that dirt so we moved it. :)

Do you or the members there get to watch Mormon messages and all the videos in the Come Follow Me curriculum? What is the general spread of internet use in homes, etc?
umm I´m not really sure how to answer this question and I´m running out of time already. Not everyone has internet, but some do. The church doesn´t, but we do have a little television that you can play movies on!

Do you know how much we love you and pray for your self-confidence and well-being?
Is there a right answer to this question? :) Maybe? :)


Monday, March 3, 2014

SOY UNA TIA!!

This week I got letters! from Nila, Amanda H, the card with the fabric, and por FIN Alli´s wedding announcement. It´s a good thing we have email or I wouldn´t even know my twin got married. Those letters are all super late because for some reason the office had them stored away somewhere for months and never gave them to me, but they had arrived just fine. Whatever, they made it to me!

The best part of this week was R. and M. getting married on Friday, and R. and G(1). (but we call him Pato :) got baptized on Saturday! It was awesome and I just really love that family!! It was a great moment for all. Ruben bore his testimony on Sunday after being confirmed about how happy he felt and he couldn´t even explain why, how grateful he is for G(2). and her faith in continuing to go to church, and how he prays every day for the strength to continue forward. I can´t even type it right, I wish you guys could just meet him. Hopefully in the celestial kingdom :)

Another great thing that happened this week happened with L., but I don´t think I´ve told you guys about him yet. We reactivated his mom and his older brother, who received the priesthood recently, but when they two were baptized L. wasn´t 8 so he couldn´t be yet. Anyway, we´ve been working with them for super long but L. always said no, no I don´t want to get baptized, I don’t feel prepared, etc. So honestly we kind of laid off and the young men took over, fellowshipping him and talking to him about when they got baptized and received the priesthood and stuff.

the other week his mom told us he randomly came up to her and was like "I want to get baptized so I can enter the celestial kingdom" and so she was happy and we were happy but the thing is he needed permission from his dad, who´s not a member and doesn´t like the church. He actually said he never wanted to see us in his house, which is coincidentally another reason we stopped visiting haha. Anyway, we taught him on Saturday and said we need to announce your baptism in church if you´re gonna do it and so he went right then and asked but his dad said "we´ll see". Anyway long story short by some miscommunication we thought he later said yes after we left, so we told the president to announce it, and then later saturday night they said no we haven´t asked yet! So we said ok, but you have to ask before you come to church and started fasting and praying. The mom said that he didn´t say one word to her all night until 5 minutes to 9 when church starts, they were walking out the door and were like, "ok we really need to know!" and he said "yeah, if he wants", like it was no big deal. Hooray for miracles!! So that´s our good news for the week!

and I don´t have any other stories super great to tell.

I´M SO HAPPY ABOUT ISAAC HE´S ADORABLE YAAYYYY!! He looks exactly like a little Rawlins baby, which I think is so fun! It´s just a shame he won´t meet his favorite aunt until april of 2015.  I´m so excited for William and Ese and Little Isaac! One of the pictures you sent me I legit thought was a baby picture of me, which is weird. I guess baby me looked kind of like a boy :) but you all sound like you´re doing super great and I´m so thankful for your love and support! Missions are hard but I wouldn´t be anywhere else in the world because I know this is where my Savior told me to be. So here I am :) I know this gospel is real, has real power in our lives, and our Heavenly Father really does have a perfect plan. We will look back at our lives and be so happy we followed Him with faith.

okay love you all!

love, amanda :)

Questions from Family:

my main question is just how you've been this week? how are you feeling in regards to the whole companion frustration situation? 


This week has been about the same, but also a little bit better. It really all just depends on my attitude. If I sit around and focus on what I think she´s thinking about me, or that I and others think she´s a hard companion, then I feel horrible and things are horrible. But if I open my mouth and ask, she generally says nice things and we connect and both feel better. Things are actually way better than they used to be between us, we´ve both changed and learned to love each other, and now I still struggle for the most part only because I struggle to see or believe in the good that I individually am doing, and that transfers to feeling useless or pointless in the companionship. I´ve taken to writing "I am Amanda, a daughter of the Almighty God" above our plans for the day in my planner so that I see it everytime I open it. And I´m learning to believe in my individual worth because I choose to believe in it and therefore be happy. so yeah. :)