Thursday, June 26, 2014

I believe in music the way that some people believe in fairy tales

So last week I was reading mom´s talk and was super interested by her experience about the trek fireside. (Mom had sent Amanda a copy of a talk she gave in Church on Father's Day. In it, Mom referenced an experience where Amanda came along to a Stake Trek Fireside at a young age since both parents and older sisters had to be in attendance. Although very willing to attend, Mom was feeling badly that the two younger girls had to be dragged along to a meeting they didn't need to be at. But the following Sunday, Amanda shared during testimony meeting the impact that the night at the fireside had on her.) I especially liked the part about "a maturity I hadnt noticed" haha thanks mom :) . I´m writing about it because I remember that happening. But heres the thing - I don´t remember a word of what was shared at that fireside. I can´t even remember being there. But I DISTINCTLY remember the drive. On the way home from the fireside I was sitting in the back left corner seat of the van. The car was quiet, or I was just in a pensive mood and ignoring you guys, I dont know. :) But  I sat there in the back seat and stared out the window at the full moon. I started thinking about what we were learning in school about astronomy and felt the Spirit as I just sat there in the car and stared at the moon. I knew that the next week was fast Sunday and determined that I wanted to bear my testimony about what I was thinking about the moon and astronomy. So I sat there in the long drive and planned specific parts of what I would share in my testimony. It wasn´t the fireside that strengthened my testimony - it was the drive. 

So the biggest thing I have to share this week is what we did yesterday! Every third Sunday the missionaries are in charge of sacrament meeting here in the branch (I know, I dont really know why). But anyway, what always happened is that the missionaries got up and talked about all the things that the members needed to change, etc, etc, which everyone was super bored of, including me. So this week, since the decision sort of fell on me, I decided to do something different. What we really need in the branch is just love and the Spirit, so I stole an idea from Bishop Ross (thanks, Bishop! You´re blessing Paraguay!) and choose certain members to share their testimony of their favorite hymn and why, and then we would all sing it together. I started off and shared Jesus, Lover of my Soul (except it´s O Jesús, mi gran amor) and shared why its my favorite (because it´s daddy´s favorite) and then somehow sang it in front of everybody alone and acapella without even being scared at all. Talk about developing new talents of the mission.
And then someone shared count your blessings and we all sang it together, a returned missionary from the branch who came home this week sang Have I done any good in the world today? and then a widow whose son just recently died cried and shared her testimony and we all sang I need thee every hour (Senor, Te Necesito). 

I wasnt really focused cause I was worried the whole time about the timing, but Hermana Tapia told me the spirit was really really strong and basically everyone was crying. So that was my yay! moment of the week, and the reason for the title of this email. Also because an Elder downloaded the music from the mission office on my pendrive for me and this morning Dueling Guitars from August Rush started playing and it made me so happy. I really do have a testimony of music and how it speaks things that words just cant. I will forever be grateful for the eternal patience Sister Hansen and Mom had with me. thank you, forever.

I´m also WAY pumped and jealous that this week is trek!! I know it will be amazing, because it seriously impacted me and my testimony! It was so hard, but I LOVED it and would do it all again in a heartbeat. Doing hard things is the best. I´ll be praying for you all and that everything goes well and that all the wheels work! (haha :) (when Amanda was on trek, her Trek family had a wagon wheel that wouldn't turn)

I love you all a ton and Im rolling along here in Paraguay!!
love, Hermana Rawlins :)

Questions from the family:

Amanda, how are things going with your new companion? Awesome! Although I have the repent, I lied. She´s only 31. my bad!

And being stls?tranquilo, we´re only in charge of one other companionship and they live right next door to us and work in the same branch as us so we see them literally every day

Has the flooding improved at all? nope, its getting worse. yay!

Dear Sister training leader Amanda (what is it in Spanish?)Hi. It´s Hermana Lider Capacitadora (HLC)

How is the work and how is the flooding??The work is... eh. Know how there are joys and hardships in the work? Well I´m working to not focus on the hardships. Hermana Tapia is one of the joys.

Have you met with the President yet as STL? Or when does that happen?no, I dont get special interviews or anything. But I do go to the leadership council in Posadas every month, which I think is next Monday. So I´ll probably write really late Monday night or most likely on Tuesday. Don´t be concerned!!

Heres a picture of my poor legs. Lets play Ispy. I spy with my little eye, a million mosquito bites, my boot scars, and the calluses on the back of my heels.

Hermana Tapia and I were eaten alive last night (see other picture) so to amuse ourselves today we circled all of our mosquito bites and took pictures of ourselves dying hahaha

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