Tuesday, October 28, 2014

For Halloween I think I'll be Hermana Nethercott

Questions from the family:

How's it going with your new companion?
Awesome!! Seriously awesome.
Who accompanied you for the picking up trip?
We traveled together to Cuidad del Este on Tuesday night, then I spent Wednesday with Hermana Cuevas in Cuidad del Este just wandering around cause it was neither of our áreas. Which was actually a huge blessing, she's great to just talk to. Then Hermana Nethercott arrived, we spent the night in cuidad del este, and made it to Saltos Thursday afternoon!
Sorry you don't get to see your buddies before they go home! Crazy you have friends going home!! We're excited about April! 
me tooo!! And you're right, it is crazy. This morning I made the mistake of counting how many weeks I have left in the mission. Its 22. I told Hermana Nethercott and she was like, "wow think about it, you'll only write to your family 22 more times, and then you'll see them again". WHAT. So we're sticking to saying 5 months, because the weeks sound way too short. I promise Im not getting trunky, I'm still working hard :)
How did your haircut turn out?
It didnt. We got lost and couldnt find the beauty salon. Im gonna try again next week, but I'm getting seriously worried because ALL OF MY HAIR IS FALLING OUT. Like it usually does, but lately a craaazy amount falls out. Like chunks!!!! Its ok for Elders to bald on the mission, but not Hermanas!! I need my hair!!
So things are super good!! I feel super blessed to have Hermana Nethercott as my companion. She has answered SOO many of my prayers already, its amazing. Heavenly Father listens!! She is relieved to be able to talk in English and she loves chocolate too so at nights we just buy chocolate and lay on our beds and talk, it is wonderful. She helps me learn soo much spiritually too. Love it. Love her.
She still struggles with Spanish a little and so poor thing now besides that everyone is talking to her in Portuguese and Guarani!! This morning I was in the bathroom in the mall and hear her say "Hola, como esta?" to someone (in Spanish) the person goes "tudo bom" (in Portuguese) and all of a sudden Hermana Nethercott goes "wait, what?!" ...in English. I cracked up :)
But I LOVE the mix of languages, its so much fun. Im steadily picking up my Portuguese! :)
So yesterday during church it was apparently the missionaries turn to speak, which not one of us missionaries knew. Hooray for surprise talks!! I decided to share the miracle of the butterflies with them, and then at the end I said like two sentences of my testimony in Guarani. And everyone liked the butterfly story, but no one would stop talking about the two sentences of Guarani!! And I was like, seriously?? I just shared a super good experience, and all I said in Guarani was "God loves us"!! But that's really all that mattered to them, was the two sentences in Guarani. So if you want to win a Paraguayan over, learn Guarani :)
Also this week, we were walking down the street at night heading home, and a random man pulls over on his moto, stops, hands us a bag of three apples, says "Here's a present for you" and then drives away. We were both too confused to do anything smart like ask him what his name was or anything, we just took the apples like "...what??" and watched him drive away. So thank you man who gave us apples!!
Also, I MISSED MOLE DAAAYYYY. I looked at my calendar from Pri this morning and couldnt believe it. So shameful!! This year there werent any molasses cookies from Ese in the mail to remind me :)

What stresses you out the most at this point of your mission and what do you do about it?
This is a really good question, so I saved it for last.
I honestly dont really know how to put it in words. What stresses me out at this point (and always has) is the constant push for improvement. I really struggle with perfectionism or feeling like my efforts are never "good enough" because there is ALWAYS something to improve. I feel like the mission is a magnified, intensified, mini "life" experience, and that seems to make things like this harder.
 And as a student who could always tell if I was doing well or not based on my grades, it is hard to know if my best is my best. Before I could always push myself really hard, (or not really have to, depending on the class :) and perform well. Now I struggle to know if what I am giving is really my "all" (though I dont know what more I have to give) or if I need to continually push myself harder to be better. The answer is, of course, that if we give it our all the Lord is happy and then yes, we do need to push ourselves continually to be better, but I just find the whole process exhausting and anxiety-producing.
How can one know if they are reaching their potential?  How do I know if I really AM doing the best I can? 
A while ago my zone leader gave me a blessing and it said "know of a surety you are doing the best you can" but at the time I totally felt normal, even mediocre in my efforts. So is that the way my best feels? just... normal? 
So THAT is the hardest part of the mission for me. Any thoughts, from anyone, would be appreciated :) How do I cope with it? I dont really know, try to talk to other Hermans and just pray.
But I promise I'm doing well and I promise I'm happy. I love you all so much and am extremely grateful for you and your love!!
Hermana Rawlins
p.s. the computer today has an annoying habit of autocorrecting my words to spanish, sorry.

this is me and hermana cuevas trying not to get robbed in cuidad del este 
people need to stop having birthdays so I can stop having to plan surprise birthday parties
this is the best picture we've managed together so far. still working on it :)
Hermana Torres has always wanted to do the mentos and coke experiment, but they dont sell mentos in Guatemala apparently. Well they do in Paraguay, so our last day together we had a Little explosi├│n together in our front yard :)
Remember that sombrilla that I bought? Yeah, well it was destroyed after like 4 days. I bought a new one, ish
Goodbye Hermana Torres!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I was a pioneer!

So today is cambiooooos!!!! Hermana Torres is leaving Saltos and I'm staying, with my new companion Hermana Nethercott!!! Shes from Wyoming and I know her already. Shes really cute and really sweet and also really tiny. She has a twin as well, who is on a mission somewhere in South America too. Dont remember where. I'll be spending the first part of the week travelling to go get her, and we should end up back in Salto on Thursday afternoon. I'm not an HLC again this transfer, which stinks but is fine. The HLC in the zone didnt have transfers (even though shes been here a long time) so shes still HLC. The only reason I'm really sad is that it means I wont get to go to consejo and see Hermana Anderson and all of my friends before they leave in December. So that stinks. Oh well. 
After this transfer I will officially only have THREE left. AHHHH. How can that be?? From my calculations (which are pretty good) I will be hoping off the plane and back to you guys on April 8th. Crazy.

So this week was busy and full of activities. Tuesday was Hermana Torres birthday so I had planned a surprises for her all throughout the day. It turned out fun and I think she felt loved, which was the goal. Everyone deserves to feel loved on their birthday away from home. 
Then on Thursday for the Noche de Rama (which is basically like mutual that the missionaries run) it was our turn to decide what to do and I was like, know what?? Lets do something different and fun so we picked characters from the Book of Mormon and church history to come and tell their stories for everybody. It turned out really fun, and especially cool because it was literally from our heritages.  Elder Worthington was Joseph Smith and I was a pioneer woman (extra points because I used real life stores from my ancestors!!) and then the latinos were various characters from the Book of Mormon. Hermana Torres totally won the award and swept the night away when she stood in front of us all, wearing her traditional Guatemalan dress, and told us she was there when Christ appeared to the Nephites and she had felt His hands and heard Him call her by name. Almost cried. It was AWESOME. The point was to show that the people in the scriptures are real, life people, and I think it turned out really well. I'll show you the video later :)

Then we were in charge of an activity of Personal Progress to help the young women, which we totally did everything for because the Young Womens President didnt even show up. And hardly any girls. I was sad about that, but the Spirit came really strongly when we talked about the quote from Elder Benson "give me a young woman who..." and so even though I wish more girls had come, I know the ones who were there were touched. 

This morning I listened to Elder Hollands talk in English and that sure made me cry a lot. His feelings right towards the end of the talk are very similar to mine. I have often wondered why I was born where I was born. So pay your fast offerings, people. 

Things are good here in Saltos and they will continue to be good with Hermana Nethercott!! If you are all willing, please PLEASE pray for us to find men who are ready to rise up and hold and exercise the Priesthood. I'm getting desperate. 

Questions from the family: 

Do you just spend time reading or what when you have to stay in? (when her companion was sick) 
I took advantage of the time and wrote a letter to Brian and then my letter to Allie Ross. Then I went stir crazy and ran around the house while she slept for like hours straight and called me crazy. What happened to my ability to stay inside all day?! triste.

What was the special food you were having to celebrate your 1 year mark?
Its called celestina and its the best and most heavenly dessert that exists. You make Argentinian pancakes, which are like bascially crepes, then you put dulce de leche in the middle and roll it up and put ice cream on top. The moraga family in virasoro taught me how to do it and I will forever thank them. SOOO good.

I love you all!! I'm gonna go get my hair cut.

Hermana Rawlins

The Elders had a baptism of a 90 year old abuelita this week. Super sweet.
Then we went to a quince (like sweet sixteen but spanish quincenera) for a young women cause we're missionaries in paraguay and we can do stuff like go to birthday parties :)
Us and Richard, our ride who takes us everywhere we want. Hes reactivating and loves hanging out with the missionaries. Everyone does, duh.
the scripture characters who came to visit Saltos
me and hermana torres <33 
Liz liked the skirt I showed from my Personal Progress, and tried to run away wearing it so she could have it :)
The other part of her birthday surprise. I talked in English on the phone to the other Elder to get it all set up, but everything kept going wrong so they kept calling and calling and she got suspicious. I've also never lied to someone so much in my life
Hermana Torres` surprise birthday party with our zone

Rohayhu Paraguay!

So this has been a rough week workwise because my companion was sick and so we spent a lot of time in the pension. The highlight and weirdest part was my year mark. I really cant believe it and really dont know how to feel about it!!
Also a fun thing this week was that I learned "I am a child of God" in Guarani!! So thats fun :)
I'm sorry but this letter is gonna be terrible, tomorrow is Hermana torres birthday and so all of the zone is waiting for us at the church to surprise her and celebrate, but the electiricty in the cyber went out so they've been waiting for quite a while and I feel bad :) But we've got a pretty fun week planned for this week, with lots to celebrate and lots to do!!
Questions from the Family 

So do you consider yourself more of a Paraguayan than an argentine at this point??
Yes. Totally. My heart is definitely here in Paraguay. I consider myself Virasorian and Paraguayan at the same time :)

Are you going to know what to do with paved roads?
no idea. its gonna be SOO weird going back.

Did you get milk from Jeremiah and Abraham? (the local cows that have been named by Amanda and her companion) 
nope, we didnt get a chance to go!

Have any of the Elders been the branch president anywhere?
yeah, there are a few areas that the Elders are branch president! And their companion the counselor and secretary, haha :) There are also areas that aren't even branches, they're called groups. But I've never been in any of those because they usually don't have hermanas

This is a terrible email, but I love you all and I love this work and am happy and well!!! :)
lots of love,
Hermana rawlins

Hermana Torres, nebulizing herself. Is that a word in English?

The army of Helaman, Zona La Paloma style

this is pretty much how the sky is every night. I'm in love with it

if the sunsets like this everynight, I might not come home
Rohayhu Paraguay. (thats I love you Paraguay in Guarani :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

One Year Mark: Why am I a missionary?