Monday, July 28, 2014

Official Encarnacena

hello hello! 
So the biggest news of this week are the transfers! ...and they´re not really big news. Well I guess actually they are. I´m jealous Emily hears about transfers THURSDAY; what the heck!? We waited until like 2 today to find out and we were all dying!!

Anyway, we will not be going back to Pilar, none of us four hermanas who left. Instead, Hermana Trillo is going and is training down there, so we´re instilling all our pilar knowledge in her in the next day. And Hermana Tapia and I are staying here in Encarnacion! So it´s like we´re switching areas with her. I´m happy to be staying because I love cambyreta and the people we´ve met there. So we´ll be here for the next transfer! It´s kinda funny cause we´ve already been here for like a month and then we got "transferred" here. The other two sisters from PIlar are going far away. (my babies!) I´ll miss them and making sure they´re ok. 

Hermana Tapia and I are still Sister Training Leaders. Actually, we weren´t for like 3 hours hahaa. They sent out the transfers and it said neither of us were HLC´s and we were kinda like, uhh... what happened? And then they sent it out again like 2 hours later and said "sorry there was only one mistake, hermana tapia and rawlins are still HLCs" hahaha. Really the best part of it all is getting to go to consejo and see hermana anderson. who by the way, has to leave virasoro! Poor thing. I miss virasoro every day waahh. But I´ll see her next week yaaayyyy

So here in cabyretá we found someone named R who is just the bestest, he talked to the elders a long time ago and always loved the church but never got baptized. He was hit by a car a few years ago and they operated wrong on it so its all bent and he has to walk with a crutch. So he cant come to church unless someone picks him up. So we walked by his house the other day and contacted him sitting outside. Before we said anything he offered us chairs and we sat down and talked about faith or something simple and then about baptism and we were like Do you want to get baptized and he was like YES please. We asked what date he would like and he said whatever you say is best. You´ve just got to meet him, he is just pure and simple faith and humility its the sweetest thing. AH I can´t stand it. After he went to church the first time he loved it so much he came home and told his friend "you´ve got to see it, they´re got bathrooms and everything!" And that if someone didn´t come to pick him up he would get up at 6:30 and walk the whole way. Which is quite a way. So we´re teaching him and every lesson we just walk away amazed at how wonderful he is. After the elders taught him a while ago he had the restoration pamphlet, but then lent it to some guy and the guy never gave it back, and he said "I´m never going to lend anything again!" cause he was just so sad he lost his restoration pamphlet. (we gave him another one.) So prayers for him please! that he understands what we teach and he and his family will be blessed temporally too. Also a 12 year old boy that lives with him- B. Everytime we come he makes it a point of coming to the lesson and scooting his chair into the circle cause he wants to listen. Since when are 12 year old boys that spiritual?? Well B is (Dad, you can borrow him for your class full of deacons :) . Prayers for him too! He was so sad because he got up early and got all ready to go to church, and then the member came late and he had already gone back to his room in the back because he thought no one was coming. 
I´ve seen such examples in the mission of people with the purest and simplest faith, it´s one of the biggest blessings to be able to see. It grows my faith!
My mission is really hard at times, but it´s also the best thing ever. Maybe because it´s hard. I´m still Amanda, I´m not a different person, but I sure am a better person. I love my Savior and know He loves each of us infinitely. He watches over us and takes care of us.

all my love,
hermana rawlins

p.s. The cyber is blasting 80´s music. Rock on.

us and our sisters!! I´m going to miss them in the transfer

my new favorite tag!! yeah Guaraní!!
I celebrated Christmas in July, because here it´s cold and it sure felt more like christmas than it did in december. The 3 latinas I live with thought I was crazy. But I just ignored them and sang christmas songs in english :)

I love being a missionary!!

This is a monkey that someone gave a member when for their daughters quincenera, and so it´s been in this same cage for like 30 years. Seriously. It´s legit crazy, and they don´t really know what to do with it. I was terrified of it cause it was just screaming during the lesson, but not terrified enough to miss a chance to take a picture with it :) 

I did divisions this week with Hermana Fraze, but we got locked out of the pension for two hours cause the other hermanas forgot to leave the key for us to study at night, so we bought dinner and sat there on the floor and talked about the best and worst dates we´d ever been on. It was fun! And next time I´m making sure they leave the key :)

we got these shirts to celebrate the birthday of the mission. They´re pretty sweet!! On the back it has the two flags

me and posadas, looking at it from encarnacion!

Tender Mercies

hello famjamily!!

So i´m just feeling very blessed and very happy, admist the regular hardness of missionary work. One of the hardest parts for me right now is just exhaustion. I´ve been doing this 9 months and still have 9 months to go!! its harder right now because our area is super big and super far away. On Saturday we walked for 6 hours straight because not one of the people we planned to visit let us in. And then Sunday there wasnt a bus to our area so we walked there and back and I´m pretty sure it was like 12 kilometers round trip. Someone figure out how many miles that is, but then don´t tell me. But I really don´t have any reason to complain, I´m very blessed and very happy!

Today after we printed out our letters we went to the coast where you can see all of Posadas and read our letters. So it´s like a really sandy and rocky place. I got a little teary eyed reading about you guys and then looked up and a little yellow butterfly was fluttering right along the sand and rocks, like as if it had come right from the water. Since when do butterflies do that?? Well Heavenly Father found one for me and sent it right then. I told Hermana LaPierre about the butterflies, and she told me about how in Navajo culture there´s something called a spiritual messenger. Like her mother in law loved loved cardinals but has since passed away and now all the time at family events they see cardinals hanging around. Well, I think I found mine. I feel like if I had a Patronus, it would be a butterfly too. although that´s not very intimidating...

I´m grateful for this time, because I am coming to an absolute knowledge that Heavenly Father knows me and my circumstances specifically. He requires us to grow and pass through trials, but he also cares for us very tenderly. God is a personal God. 

Thank you for all your love and your support, and thank you for being you.
Oh and I wanted to send my quote of the week
´May we realize how close to us He is willing to come, how far He is willing to go to help us, and how much He loves us.´ -Pres Monson
That pretty much describes all of my feelings right now.
Sending all my love,
Hermana Rawlins :)
p.s. sorry I had pictures this week but I cant send them cause the computer´s being stupid!! I will praise the day I can use a computer without being in a sketchy internet cyber full of angsty smelly teenage boys playing video games and swearing loudly in English. seriously people.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cambyretá is the prettiest

hello famjamily!!!
greetings to you all from..... Encarnacion todavia!! We´ll be here until the end of the transfer and then maybe even after that, we´ll see what happens!! We´re still living with the hermanas and still living out of our suitcases, but its not too bad because now that we know we´ll be here for more than just a few days we can really work! Plus I LOOOVE our area. Its GORGEOUS. I´ll try to send some pics. We´re out in the campo called Cambyretá that´s on the outskirts of encarnacion. Pretty much everyone´s catholic which is normal but at least the people are nice and humble enough to talk to us and I mostly just love walking around in the campo. I feel so much more comfortable there than in any city. I don´t really know how I´ll take living in the states again, just a heads up. Where are the dirt roads?? So I´m happy here walking around and enjoying the scenery haha :) 

Fun Fact: my least favorite time of the day as a missionary is officially Sunday afternoon. I super miss tranquilo sunday afternoons chilling at home. but anyway.

So yesterday was the world cup! Being in paraguay during the whole thing means we´re on the boring side of the mission during it all. The Argentina missionaries get locked inside early, but since paraguay isn´t in it, we still work. cough wander around during the games. So it hasnt really affected our lives in any big way except when Brazil was being killed by Germany we were walking around checking the score through store windows and saying "no puedo creerlo!" and I was thinking about how Brian would probably be with a bunch of crying Brazilians hahaha. Anyway, so yesterday afternoon. 
backgroound information: everything thinks we look german. there are a lot of them here.
our area is super far away from where we live and we can´t be there after dark, so we leave earlier every morning and then study at night in the pension. Our plan was to go and contact during the game, having faith that SOMEONE wouldn´t be watching it. We managed to teach two lessons, which was a miracle. During this time we walked past a bunch of drunk men watching the game and they started shouting at us "vive germany!! vive germany!" and some gibberish that they probably thought was german. we just kept walking. Then it got dark and we were leaving our area late, right when the game ended and people started freaking out and all of a sudden I was like "oh freak hermana, the people think we´re german!!!" So we walked extremely quickly home. But nothing happened, people just drove around and honked their horns and there were a few fireworks. woot. 

on a related note, Hermana Tapia and I are started a little notebook of all the things shouted at us on the street. It´s going to be really hilarious. Today´s recent additions include a teenager from the 5th story singing Justin Bieber´s "Baby" at us. good move kid. Hermana Tapia´s favorite thing to do is say as we walk away "sabe cuantos anos TENGO, nino? Yo podría ser su madre!!" "Do you know how old I am, kid?! I could be your mom!". and then I die laughing.

And I would just like to tell you guys about how impossible they make piano accompaniment here. If I wasn´t the one playing I would be sitting in the back laughing. On Sunday I had to play the left hand twice as fast as the right hand just to keep everyone together. And you don´t even want to hear the Spanish version of Because I have Been Given Much, they´ve put a whole other rhythm to it than it should be. Rock on!

that´s about all I´ve got to share so I´ll send this now and then try and get some pictures off. 
I love you guys a ton and pray for you!! I know the Lord is in control of our lives.

love love love,
Hermana Rawlins :)

there really is nothing like paraguayan campo <3 <3

this boy had seen smores on the tv and super wanted to try one. Lucky he had such a pro to show him! :) 

found these in a store. almost cried.

this is some fruit called caci. Which I have no idea what it is in english. So far I´ve tried membrillo, mbaracuyá, and a bunch of others I just totatally forgot.

Happy birthday to mom!!! ...and to me!!

First of all Happy birthday mommyyy!!!!! You´re the best and I hope you know how much I love you!! If dropbox likes me there should be a surprise there! I hope I uploaded the right one. If it is the right one, you have to watch it twice. First watching me so its sweet and cute, and then second watching my companion. We watched it again together and died.

And I´m glad you guys got my letters!! I was gonna tell you about them but then decided I wanted it to be a surprise and wasn't sure if they'd make it there. Glad they did!! 

Dad got to talk to you!! That's so amazing. I hope things are working out with all the paperwork stuff. It's kind of nice they do the figuring out for you. It sounds complicated. Keep us posted.
This was the best part of my week!!!! it was sooooo good to hear you even for 10 seconds Daddy!! And to have the Elder tell me in an accent ¨He says he loves you bunches too. hahaha :) I´ve already forgotten my number again so that next time I have to call too :) There´s an office secretary whose only job is doing all of our paperwork, so he figures everything out. No worries.

Sorry you had to leave your area! What is happening with the flooding by now?
yeah, me too. We´re keeping in contact with the members there and it looks like it just keeps getting worse and worse. So I dont really have hope of going back for like two transfers. Which makes me sad!! Pilar was hard but at least it was MINE

So this week, honestly, was probably about one of the worst weeks of my mission. Not because anything particularly bad happened, looking back the days actually had good things happen in them so I can´t complain too much, its just super weird not having an area. We came to encarnacion and moved in ' and by that I mean put our suitcases in a room with a mattress on the floor ' and then after two days they told us they wanted us to move to another pension in encarnation, so we packed up again and moved THERE, and those hermanas gave us a chunk of their area )that they didnt want) so we end up just walking around all day contacting people for them. The area they gave us is the richest part of Encarnacion, so the people dont really care about us. Yesterday we contacted a house by ringing a little doorbell on the gate and then I realized it had a little camera there like in Princess Diaries. I was slightly tempted to smile and wave and hold up a picture of Jesus Christ right into the camera. That, or the"no date" face it all the way. I refrained from either :) So anyway, its not really any fun. Its hard not to have a feeling of 'well what am i doing here then'. Officially the WORST thing as a missionary is not having anything to do. But it´s temporary, President´s said that on Wednesday he´ll tell us what´s happening permanently. We´re not sure if we´ll stay in this divided area or get moved to some other area for the rest of the transfer. We shall see, we shall see. Patience. Patience.
anyway, that´s that. I could be the hermanas from Santa Tome who were in Virasoro when half the town flooded and so are living in Virasoro without ANY of their stuff. So I´m not complaining. too much. :) 

So remember what I said about what we did with the songs for sacrament meeting? Well I wrote about it to President in my weekly email and he said he wanted us to present that in consejo with all of the leaders. So he had Hermana tapia talk for a little about the work she did in Santo Tome and then together we talked about how and WHY we did that, and then for an example I shared my favorite hymn and sang it with hermana anderson. )don´t ask me how, dont know). And then President stood up and said that the reason he wanted us to share that is that more than anything, we need to be 'teachers of the Spirit'. Hermana Anderson said we were the first hermanas to have presented in a consejo. So that was fun!! And the credit still goes to Bishop Ross :) 

And this Wednesday we will be celebrating my birthday in the mission because it´s my 9 month mark!!!!! How super super crazy ridiculous is that??? I can´t believe it, really. I still feel like I got here a week ago and don´t know what I´m doing. But no importa, 9 months!! Apparently the next 9 go by even faster and I´ll be back home before you guys know it. I think I only have 6 more transfers left. Super weird.

and finally, Today I was thinking about these lyrics. 
'The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose, I´ll never, no never desert to his foes.
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I´ll never no never, I´ll never, no never, I´ll never no never no never forsake.'

That´s a lot of nevers. God is a God of His word.

all my love,
Hermana Rawlins!! 

It was the best seeing Hermana Anderson again!!! 

at least I get to be living with Hermana Trillo!!! She came in with me and is the best. Hermana Anderson trained her 

How we celebrated the 4th of July!! We went to a place called America Grill for lunch. They served things typical of Argentina and Paraguay, but still. Its the thought that counts. :) and then I stayed inside all day with a sick sister. Murica!

this is us at consejo. we were celebrating the birthday of the Argentina Posadas Mission tambien!! One year!!

Today we were just walking down a street in Encarnation and I ran into S from Virasoro!! I could hardly believe it!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Flooded out of Pilar

So the flooding kept growing and growing and we made the call leave Pilar. We packed up and left Sunday after church. It was weird and sad leaving, I learned to love it and don't like to imagine the branch there all alone without the 6 missionaries that are usually in Pilar (2 branches). If the water goes down soon we´ll go back, if it floods we have no idea when we´ll be back. For right now we´re living in the pension of hermanas in encarnacion (living out of a suitcase, woot!) until further notice. We´re not really sure how it will work, if we´ll work in divisions or if they´ll give us a chunk of their area to work in. But we´re just rolling along with whatever happens, confident that the Lord is in charge and whatever needs to happen, will!

Well, the biggest news this week was the flooding which  I just barely told you about. I´m writing this right now from Posadas, because we have a Consejo de Las Hermanas tonight in the mission home and then tomorrow is consejo with everybody and then we´ll cross back over to encarnacion and figure out how best to work in the other hermanas area until we go back to Pilar or get permanently assigned another area if the flooding gets super bad. It´s a problem for many many areas in the mission, since we´re all close to rivers bascially. 

I wrote to President last week about what we did in sacrament meeting and he liked it so much that he´s having me and hermana tapia talk about it in consejo tomorrow to present it as an idea for everybody! 
Today while I was in the office I saw the package to hermana mamani safely there so thanks so much for sending it!! I know she´ll love it.

Also right before I came to the cyber just now hermana anderson walked into the office and we freaked out. It was so so good to see her!!! And just filled me up with happiness. But it was also weird cause we hugged and then just stood there in silence staring at each other cause we have so much to say and nowhere to start. And then we were like, wait, if this is what it´s like after only 7 weeks, what´s it gonna be like going home?? I´m pretty sure I´m probably gonna be the most awkward person alive so heads up about that. 
okay sorry this letter is so short but we´ve gotta run now, but I love you all and ton and pray for you all the time! I´m busy and happy and pray for you to be blessed. 

love love, 
amanda :) 

couldn´t figure out pictures on this computer sorry!!