Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My vacation in Asuncion!!


So Monday night after I signed off we got on a collectivo and headed to Encarnacion! It was as crazy as traveling in paraguay always is, the best part being one of the sister getting car sick and throwing up out the window of the collectivo as we sped along the road. And then the attendant dude who was in charge of taking care of the cabin while the driver drives, he was drunk and didnt help us. hahaha. 
Then Tuesday we had the conference with President which was just super good as always.
Then we travelled all night again and made it to Asuncion!!!
It was so super fun to be there, I felt like we were on vacation :) We waited a while for our paperwork, got to buy some things, ate at Pizza Hut (America!!), and then went and took pictures in front of the temple, bought things at the bookstore (again, better than christmas. I was so happy.) And then were on a collectivo again forever back to P!

Then Thursday it randomly got ridiculously cold, after having been ridiculously hot in Asuncion the day before. Ive decided that I actually prefer wet cold to the dry cold. Wet cold is just like a permanent bone chill, where as the cold back home is more biting. Since theres part of our pension that doesnt have a real roof (its like a balcony thing) and our windows just have wooden shutters and the other window is just a fancy concrete hole... it gets pretty cold inside. About the same as outside haha. We shut ourselves in our room with a little space heater and make a lot of hot chocolate. On the plus side, all the mosquitoes are dead!!

Then life was normal mission stuff. On Sunday I sang a musical number acapella with Hna Gunter, the other American here, and then afterward a little girl came up to me and told me I looked like Barbie during it. I wasnt sure if I should be pleased or not :) On that note, I want to share a random note about music. Today we were at a members house and they showed me a youtube video where an orchestra joins one by one until theyre all playing together in some street, I think in europe. I legit cried. I love music, have a strong testimony of it, and miss it so much. I didnt realize how much I missed it until I watched that clip and totally got overwhelmed. I am sure that music is algo de los cielos, something of the heavens. Something from the heavens. 
Dad mentioned about thanking Sister Hansen (Amanda’s piano teacher back at home) recently and I wanted to too, to thank her and tell her that for her efforts, music is bringing the spirit to the people here in Paraguay. 

My other random note for you guys is about what I´m learning here in P. Things are hard here, but things are good. Here are my thoughts for the week.

Hope does not depend on circumstance. "Hope and happiness and joy are not products of circumstance but of faith on the Lord". 
Happiness is what the Lord intends for us.

Questions from the Family:

Are the mosquitoes consistently bad or do they depend on the day? 
no theyre not bad because they all died! (it got cold)

How was the trip to the temple? And the bookstore? 
so fun! The bookstore was probably the best part, I legit almost cried being there. like 100% better than Christmas, not even kidding. I felt at home, and it was the closest I could get to that feeling in the temple.

important good news: I got a package from g and g rowe this week! Thanks so much! Also letters from my visiting teachers, Emily, and Amanda Hangeland. Love you all!!

important bad news: Argentina is changing their policy again and the mission has to get stricter about packages. So starting at the end of the month I´ll only be allowed to get two packages per year. Packages count as anything that is not in a normal letter envelope, so including bubble envelopes and the like. So no more of that. I can get two this year and two next year. If something has been postmarked from before the end of the month the mission will take the hit but after that envelopes count just as much as packages as boxes count as packages. But as many letters as you want!

love you all so much, and pray for you every day! Thank you for all being so amazing and so wonderful!
lots of love,
Hermana Rawlins :)
me and MCDONALDS!!! yaaaayy

typical missionary pic

I love to see the temple, I wish I could have gone inside! (singing)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Itchy Itchy Itchy

Nothing new work-wise really happened this week cause we´re struggling there, so I decided to fill you guys in on some fun facts about P.
1. We have a new branch President as of like two weeks who is 22 and was baptized a year ago. 
2. P and all the campo around it is flooding, and so the mosquitoes are WAY bad, when theyre already pretty bad. I am ALWAYS itchy. Literally SO. ITCHY. Including right now I have to keep stopping typing to itch my leg haha. I think I will leave here with scars honestly.
3. Cows and horses just roam around here without owners. Its pretty funny actually. Also roosters. On Sunday I sat down for personal study in the afternoon, totally worn out from the week and the branch and everything, and after 20 minutes collapsed on my desk and fell asleep. I woke up 5 minutes later to a stray rooster continually crowing right outside my window. I sleepily chuckled, got the message, sat up,  and kept studying. :)

Okay so maybe my facts for this week arent all that fun. But they're true! :)

We´re headed to travel tonight to a zone conference with President in Encarnacion tomorrow, and then we´re gonna stay the day there and travel all night again to Asuncion to do paperwork for me on Wednesday. The best part of that is that I get to go to the temple! Except we´re not authorized to enter and do a session. but we get to go to the bookstore there, which to a missionary is like a kid in a candy shop. Im pumped.

Also randomly, I was just thinking about seminary and all the morrisville youth this morning. I miss them all a ton! How are they doing?? Aubs, how are you? Esther? Have the seniors gotten mission calls? I also wanted to say that I cannot express the importance and wonderfulness of Seminary. I just cant. But I am SO GRATEFUL for it. I feel like everything I know about the Gospel I learned in Seminary (no offense, Sunday school). Just wanted to share that! 

Questions/Comments from the Family: 

Are you still taking cold showers?? :( 
nope, miracles happen! (cue music) No but really, little miracles really do happen and theyre the best. I have a little list of them that I just never have time to tell you guys about. One of them is that our hot water fixed itself this week, after another prayer, and has stayed fixed since. hallejulah

Is the food different in Paraguay?
yes, though not terribly different. I prefer argentina by a slight margin

I am curious if you ever write anything in Spanish or if your knowledge is totally verbal. Like could you write a paragraph in Spanish or that would be too hard? Which way do you write the President?
por supuesto puedo escribir en castellano! la verdad es que a veces es mas facil a escribir porque puedo pensar mas en lo que queiro decir. escribo cartas a las otras misioneras latinas en espanol muchas veces. The only thing is spelling, because I know how it should sound but spanish changes spelling irregularly to keep the sound, so I know how it sounds but not how its spelled. But I always write the Mission President in English. Im so glad he speaks it.

Tell us how you are getting used to P.
eh. Well, today in my letter President said "youve discovered that all the world is not as Virasoro is." Well i dang want it to be. No, things are better for the most part, Ive accepted Im here and that things could probably be worse. It is what you make it, and Im trying to make it good! The other missionaries say its pretty different than the rest of the areas in Paraguay

Sister Vega is soo excited that you are now in her home country and learning her native language! She follows your blog regularly.
 sweet, baichepa hermana vega! (no idea if I spelled that right sorry :) spelling in guarani is even worse for me than spanish haha. Shaikwa Ñiandejara ñanderairhi. (hope thats right :)

other matter of business, HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAYLA!!! Youre far too old and no one asked my permission if you could be 14. The answer would have been no. Tell me all about how your day was! There´s a present for you in Dropbox :)

love you all a ton! Praying for you daddy!
-Hermana Rawlins
Notes from personal study this morning
My beautiful feet. Also my beautiful sister missionary foot tan line. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

First week in Paraguay!

Hello famjamily!!
It was so so super good to see you all and get to talk to you!!! (Missionaries get to Skype home for Mother's Day). I just love you all a ton, and think about you lots and lots!
I've just been thinking about how fun and happy it was getting to talk to you all since then! But because of our wonderful conversation I dont have much to say to you all right now, sorry!
Someone asked about my companion. Shes really really sweet and loving. Shes from the Peruvian campo, so we come from just about as different backgrounds as you can get, but shes very loving and tender. She is one of the few people I have met who actually make the phrase "the light of the gospel in their face and their eyes" (thats actually not a phrase, is it?...) come to life. Anway, what I mean by that is... her face is light. Okay, I have no idea what im saying but it is supposed to be a compliment to her.
Someone also asked if walking distances are the same (between Amanda's last area and her new one). I havent decided yet, cause Im still trying to get used to the area. So I honestly dont know. not all the roads are paved though, just here instead of being a dirt road, its a sand road! 

Today we literally spent our entire pday cleaning the pension. Like literally the entire day. On the plus side, I think we got most of the mold out of the kitchen and I can feel the Spirit better. It feels more like home. one thing Ive learned on the mission is how important cleanliness is for the spirit, and that little things like liquid hand soap and a hand towel are totally worth buying to make you feel more at home. 

And in other news, my shower this morning was back to freezing cold. I dont mean to be princessy or whiny, I just really struggle showering in freezing cold water when its cold outside. Not strong enough for it.
Sorry this letter is shorter, but I dont have much else new to say! Love you guys a ton, I´m so so thankful for eternal families.

Until next week!
-Hermana Rawlins

Whats that song about my heart will go on from titanic? Well picture me singing it and changing the words about virasoro <|3
one of the benefits of being in Paraguay... AMERICAN IMPORTS!! <3 <3 
My farewell night with R, the two M's, and their families
This is me and Hermana Anderson saying goodbye, making our "crying face". One time i was complaining about something and she was looking away so i sat their making this face until she turned around, saw me, and told me i was ridiculous. I told her i already knew that.

True blue, even in Argentina! This picture is on my list of 128 reasons why hermana anderson is the best companion ever. Trust me, I have a whole hilarious series of pictures like this. we think we're really cool. :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Unknown Transfers

This week M got baptized!! It was seriously the easiest baptism ever, Hermana Anderson and I were both amazed. We literally didn´t do anything she was so prepared and the Spirit took care of everything. She didn´t have any large problems inhibiting her, and the problems she did have she took care of herself and then told us about it later. When we started teaching we set a baptismal date, she came to church three times, and met that goal of a date, actually even the day before. Seriously miraculous. But actually not really, because she´s a really good example to me of if we want to do something, we can have the power to do it. It´s as simple as that. Often we overcomplicate everything. She wanted to learn more about the church because her friend marina was always so happy and animated, she listened to us, came to church, and had the faith to pray sincerely and receive a simple answer in the form of a feeling of peace. So she got baptized. As simple as that. She´s super great, and apparently I look familiar to her but we have no idea why. She has 4 adorable little girls who are my new best friends. So that´s M! Plain, simple faith. 
Love you guys a ton and I´ll get to talk to you this week!!! I´m super pumped, and trust that it will work out!
hermana rawlins

Questions from the family:

Do you know about transfers? Or mothers day? :) Elisa and I were wondering if a Google Plus "Hangout" would be best to have everyone on screen at the same time but we don't know if that's even a possibility for you to use it....
noooo sorry I don´t know about either! We´re waiting for the call about transfers. And therefore I have no plans for mother´s day. I think if I´m in a new area I´ll be able to hop on to a computer at some point to let you guys know, just plan for sometime Sunday afternoon my time. That´s a horrible estimation I´m so sorry. Google plus works great, but only once you´ve downloaded the plugin on the computer you´re using and I´ve had problems downloading it before. Plus I think we only have permission for skype.
I´m waiting to get the call from the zone leaders if we´re changing, but my email from President Lapierre says "When Im writing this (5 days ago) I don´t know what will happen in Virasoro. If there is a change, know that you have made a wonderful contribution there."
So that´s all I´m working from now. ahhhhh
How are you and Hermana Anderson working together? 
so so super good, and we´re both really sad about the cambio (because we feel like we´ll change) 
As a DearElder update, there´s been some confusion. DearElder works to send me letters here, IF you select "Argentina Posadas Mission" in the pouch. If you send it to my old MTC address I never get it.
The official best picture of the Amanda bus ever. Am I obsessed with this? yes, just a little. con razon.

M at her baptism

This transfer summed up in one picture. We were waiting for a collectivo at like 5 o clock in the morning one morning, as we travel a lot since Hermana Anderson is STL. The Elders had told us to be there at 4:45 to catch it on time, and then we got there and were told it left at 5:30. (also typical to be misinformed by the Elders and left to figure it out for ourselves :). So we sat there in the brisk early morning and Hna Anderson was dying because it was "freezing". That´s what happens when you´re from Arizona. She walks around when it´s like 60 with gloves on it´s hilarious. but it actually was pretty cold that morning. So then we bought chipa (warm, cheesy bread). Also typical.
Life with us is fun. 

Since I almost never have time to type out cool spiritual experiences or thoughts, I thought I would send something along in this form. They´re pictures of my notebook from something I did during personal study this week. I wrote out the lyrics and some thoughts.