Monday, November 24, 2014

Part of my Heart is Paraguayan // My Thyroid is Bigger than Your Thyroid

Questions from the family:

Does South America celebrate thanksgiving at all? 
No. Not at all. And its hot. 

Have you had any relief from the heat, or is it still bearing down on you?
The past Little while it hasnt been TOO hot, but now its building back up again. Its mostly just always really hot. really hot.

Will you ever get to go to Iguazu falls? 
Yup! If I ever serve nearby I can go on a pday, or if not the mission sends all the missionaries who are finishing up there together on their last pday.

So this week we had a pretty busy, normal two days at the beginning of the week. Then we got Word that I needed to go to Argentina for tramites on Friday. Which actually wasnt big news to me, because I knew that my 6 month visa was going to expire that Friday, I just thought I was gonna go to Asunción to renew it. While they didnt get a trip planned to Asunción, so we traveled allllll the way to Posadas just because I had to leave the country. So we left on Thursday and traveled forever. Its 10 hours. And then crossed over on Thursday night and spent the night there. All I needed to do was cross the bridge and then turn around and go back, but we took advantage of the opportunity and got me to the doctor in Posadas. Which was actually a tender mercy because Posadas has probably the best doctors you can find down here. So anyway, Friday morning the mission nurse took me to an obgyn, because... well just because. So I went there and the doctor was basically like, "no, you have to an endocrinologist, because you need a study of ALL of your hormones, not just the ones I do." by the way, medical spanish is a WHOLE different language than regular spanish. But the one good thing the obgyn did was that he took one look at my neck and said "you need to check your thyroid, look, its different than hers" (pointing at hermana nethercotts neck). And then he sort of poked me in the neck.
Anyway, turns out there's NOT an endocrinologist in the two largest clinics in Posadas, and the one guy he told us to visit wasnt open. So we didnt know what to do because I'm like literally the farthest posible distance away from Posadas so I cant really come back for an appt. So we called the área doctor who, thank goodness, speaks English and I got to talk to him and we chatted and he ended up saying that I should get a thyroid test to see what it says. So then they took my blood at a clinic and the lady was like "you're not gonna cry?" And I was like, "are you kidding, this is super cool!" and the nurse is supposed to go back to the clinic in posadas tomorrow and get my results. I'm pretty much dying for them,   I dont like uncertainty and not knowing things. Waiting for things was never my strong point :) So anways, thats that.
And then after all that we traveled alllll the way back here. Good riddance.
Probably the best part of this week was that Hermano Ledezma received the Priesthood!! I'm pretty sure that all of your prayers have been answered in him and the changes that he has made. Honestly its incredible and we are just so happy with him and with that family. Guess what, when people WANT to change their life, they absolutely can.
Also I wanted to include some thoughts about Paraguay. I was writing in my journal on the colectivo and then looking at the window at all the countryside got rather poetic, hahaha. just a random spurt of Pennsbury creative writing or something :) So picture me bumping along the Paraguayan countryside in the blazing sun in a barely-working bus cramped full of people, writing in my journal. Heres what I wrote:
"I just love Paraugay. The campo, the sunsets, the storm clouds, the red dirt roads winding away deeper to hidden colonias, the carefree cows, the overabundant chipa, the sketchy colectivos, the families sitting outside in their dirt patios drinking tereré and watching life stroll by. I hope I stay here until the end of my mission. Its such a simple way of life. Though they are not always too concerned about "working out their salvation", they do have a way of "being still and knowing that God is God". It's a worry-free philosophy (hakuna matata :). Very little phases them, because everything will work out in its time. And it usually does.
I find myself trying to drink it all in, open my soul and let it sink in deep, because I've realized that one day this will all end. I will miss it. I will miss it, because part of my heart is Paraguayan. Until that day, I will open my eyes wider to be my own personal memory card -- to imprint it all on my retinas and back into my nerve endings. I will tilt my head up and drink in every drop of sun, every dusty breeze, every ounce of Guaraní.
Part of my heart in paraguayan.
Petei pedazo che corazón Paraguayo ité."
Happy thanksgiving to all!!
Hermana Rawlins

Amanda borrowed an Elder's voice recorder and sent us a sound recording! Here it is.

me and a parrot, super causal
after my doctors trip
us and the Ledezma family!!
we have some owl friends who like to hang out with us :)

A Nourisher

This week was a good one!!
On Tuesday we were in CDE for the multi zone conference and it was really good. Really the best part is just being near President and Hermana Lapierre and feeling of their love and support and understanding of everything we're going through. We talked a lot about doing new things and breaking out of the routine of missionary work, which I really appreciated because I've started to get bored and that makes things harder.
Then the week was just pretty normal. I love Salto, I really do, but I've started to get frustrated with some things and just feeling like we're working in vain or getting little fruits from all our labors. And then that makes me worry that I'm doing something wrong or should be doing a better job. So this week I asked the Elders for a priesthood blessing and it was really good. I've studied and noticed patterns or themes in the blessings I get. For example, this week marked the third time I have been told that part of the reason I am on my mission is for the people I will know after. Which I had never really thought about, I always assumed that I'm on a mission for the people here, you know? Well apparently not entirely because several times I have been told I am here for the people I will know after my mission, including friends, family, in schooling, and my husband and children. Interesting, right?? The Lord's plan is so much more long time than ours is. Sometimes He gives us trials and experiences maybe just so we can help someone years later.
Also, I was studying something that I thought I'd share, since I couldnt think of anything  else more interesting to share haha :) Its in Jacob 5:22-23, the allegory of the olive tree. The Lord plants something in a really poor section of tree and then comes back later and the servant is like, "wait, what?? Why is there so much fruit here, this was the worst soil!" But I love the Lord's response. He says, bascially, "I knew it was a poor spot of ground, but I have nourished it this long time and now it has brought forth much fruit."
I love these Little tiny branches, but often times they just do not have the "roots" to grow the way they need to. So what are we doing here? We are pruning and digging and "nourishing it this long time". Because in the end, it will bring forth much fruit. I know it will. But for now, we here in the branches are the ones down in the mud helping it stay alive.
I am privileged to be one of the "nourishers" in the Lords vineyard. And then as I was praying at the end of my studies, this sentence came to my mind. "Find joy in being a nurterer as that will be your role your whole life."
So that was a good part of my week. The Lord knows me and knows what I need. He also knows YOU and what YOU need. I know He loves us and if we just take time to sit still, we will feel of His lovingkindness and His "perfect stillness." (that is me and hermana nethercotts new phrase to describe the spirit."
Things are well here with us! Oh one more update, my hair is still falling out in like clumps so I called the nurses and they said I either have a skin condition or a problem with my estrogen levels. So I'm supposed to go to a dermatologist or a regular doctor and see what they say. So I'll be trying to figure out how to do that here!
Also, today we had a district meeting in pure english just for fun cause our district is just us and the elders here in Saltos, and we recorded us singing a song in Guarani which we're gonna sing this sunday as a surprise for everybody. Elder Ollerton is supposed to get that sent along to you guys.

Questions from the family:

Do you really wear your passport thing on you that your original instructions referred to?
haaaa... no. Never. But I do have a copy of it in my wallet.

How are your clothes holding up?
I AM SO SICK OF THEM. But they're fine. No worries.
Do you think you will leave many things down there?
oh yes. a ton.
Is that a tag in Guarani? (from last week's email) 
nooo it's in Portuguese silly!!!
Is a parrot a common pet there?  
haha yeah, super common! We'll be walking down the Street and turn around cause we hear "hola!" and then realize its just a parrot talking to us. nice.

Love you all!!
-Hermana Rawlins
my zone going to the conference in Cuidad del Este
us and elders. the one on the right is one of our zone leaders and the left is one of the assitants 
pretty pretty pretty
this week we ate lunch at a members house and it was like easter cause all these Little baby animals were newly born!! Hooray for Easter in November. the mom cat was not too happy with us
 the best part was when I realized the Little gatito still had its umbilical cord attached #stillanerd
then we told the elders if they risked the mom duck and caught a Little duckling we would make them banana bread. They promptly chased them around until they caught one. And we made them the banana bread. :)
this has become the typical misión picture here in the misión. (spanish auto correct, sorry) everyone and their dog takes a picture with their companion like this. Every month they make a misión video of all the pictures we send in, and this last month there were like 7 straight minutes of pictures like this just as a joke. No importa, they're still purete
anybody want a frog? 
the new and improved way to fan your fire


Lots of time on the Colectivo!

So its been a busy week!
We left early Tuesday morning, and were on the colectivo all day. Literally. Hermana Nethercott spent the WHOLE time sleeping, well I took lots of pictures of her sleeping. But she's not letting me send you any of them, which is a shame. They're pretty funny. :)
Then we made it to Encarnación and it was kind of fun to be back. We went to my favorite Little shake place there and then found all of the missionaries in the terminal coming back from consejo. So I got to see Hermana tapia again, and all of my other friends! Yay!
Then I went with Hermana Rayo who is in Encarnación and hermana nethercott crossed over and went to Corrientes for tramites.
I didnt want to do divisions, until I found out it was with Hermana Rayo, and then I was like YES lets go!! She's awesome. She's from Nicaragua and is actually the best friend of Hermana Gonzalez, my trainer. Like they were best friends at home and then they got their calls to the same misión and left on the same day. Cool right??
So being with her totally reminded me of being with Hermana Gonzalez, who I miss a TON. I really do. I love her so much. And the divisions were also just a big blessing because I learned a ton and really felt the spirit with Hermana Rayo. So Wednesday was just awesome.
Then Thursday we traveled back, which involved being stuck on the side of the highway in Cuidad del Este for 5 hours. So that was entertaining. Luckily we were with another pair of Elders, and luckily no one robbed us.
So there's a recent convert here who is 10, and her Little sister is 7. The Little sister is Anai, and she wants to get baptized so bad but just has to wait for her birthday. So yesterday we went to visit and she was just home alone casually playing with her parrot. So we sat down and pulled out a pamphlet to share and say "ok, we're going to review this" and she grabs the pamphlet and says, "no, I'M going to teach YOU!". So we were like, ok sweet, we'll see how it goes. I took off my tag and stuck it on her and she got all happy and opened up to show us the pictures in the pamphlet and literally gave us the entire lession 1, the Restoration, with Little to no help. It was AWESOME. I swear she understands it all waaay better than the hundreds of other adults we teach. She's a cutie, and then made me give her the mints I had in my bag for doing a good job. :)
Tommorrow we have a multi zone conference with President LaPierre in Cuidad del Este, which should be really good!! And besides that we're just here trekking along in the work!

Question from the family: 

Did you escape the mission boundaries (although it wasn’t the west boundary you would like to cross!)?
Well...  I might have tried... :) just kidding I didnt I promise. But this morning we called and asked the Elders a question about our pday, and our zone leader goes, "Well I have a question to answer your question... "would you guys want to go to Brazil?" and we were like "are you serious?!?!" all excited and he goes "no. I just wanted to bother you." my response was "ELDER!" :) not even funny. but sort of funny.
Did I tell you guys that Julie Flinders son is my zone leader again?? He got transferred up here a transfer after me. I saw a picture of her, and I was like "wow she looks like Julie!!" and he goes "...she is. " oh.

Love you all so much!!
Hermana Rawlins
look I found Hermana Tapia again!!
me and Hermana Rayo, Hermana Gonzalez's best friend

me and Hermana Rayo, Hermana Gonzalez's best friend 
this Little girl came to church and we were matching, so we took an awesome "look we're matching!" picture

Anai and her parrot :)
Hermana Anai
check this out :) (hint, that language isnt Spanish)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Road Trip Coming Up!

this week was a really good one!! and rather interesting at the same time.
It started out Tuesday morning when we woke up to realize that we had no water. like nothing. and it was HOT. And we both wanted to shower. So we went to district meeting looking pretty disgusting. Turns out they're doing some construction down the Street and like to turn the water off to do it. So we didnt have water until like Thursday, and resorted to showering at members houses and carrying around 2 liter bottles in our backpacks to fill up and take home with us. Nice :). Now we have water every night and they turn it off in the morning to work on the construction. Also during that period of time... we only sometimes had electricity. So that was fun. and really hot. 
BUT it really turned out into a miraculous week because we out of nowhere got like a ton of references from members (okay, like 6, but that's a lot for us...) and worked a ton and got a bunch of lessons with members (relatively speaking... it was eight. but still. a LOT) and we just ended up with one really awesome week with a lot of work and a lot of miracles. It was great. 
On Friday we celebrated Halloween in our English and music clases by the presence of two Hermana Nethercotts. It was super purete. (I'm so sorry, I really struggle to just speak one language. Any guesses what language that word is from?)
Another highlight of the week was the classes we do every Sunday afternoon for the youth. We call it CCM´i, which is Spanish with the guaraní word for "little" at the end. Its really fun, and this week we gave them all mission calls!! It was fun to see their reactions. One girl got called to Ukraine and after that she said "ay I dont want to read anymore" hahaha. Then we showed them a real missión call and talked about how they would feel to prepare themselves and get the REAL thing. I love being with the youth and helping them see just how important serving a misión really is.
Another cool part of the week, since I seem to hardly ever share anything spiritual, was a lesson we had with a history professor. We taught him about the Restoration and gave him a book of mormon and he was like, "wow, this makes sense! The indigenous people in the Americas always had a remarkable sense of wrong and right that no one knew where it came from! But if Christ visited them and taught them, well that would obviously be where it came from!" and in my head I was like "oh really? huh, thats cool. didnt know that." 
But sometimes when you're a missionary, at least for me, you just get these moments where all of a sudden the words coming out of your mouth arent your own words. Its as if the Spirit all of a sudden turns on the "power and authority" switch and its different than what you just normally say. Anyway, so what came out of my mouth was "Sí, porque Dios es lo mismo hoy, ayer, y para siempre. Él siempre ha enseñado Su Evangelio. Lo enseñó en los tiempos antiguos,  lo enseñó durante su vida y a las Americas, y ahora está otra vez en la tierra." 
"Yes, because God is the same today, yesterday, and forever. He has ALWAYS taught his Gospel. He taught it in ancient times, he taught it during his lifetime and to the Americas, and now it is here again on the earth." (here's hoping my Spanish is actually grammatically correct...)
Its the Little moments where things just click that keep you going as a missionary, through all the moments when things just... dont click. :)
Well, thats about it for this week! I'm doing really well and am happy :) We're in for a pretty interesing week cause yesterday the office called and apparently Hermana Nethercott has tramites... in Corrientes, Argentina. That's really far away from Saltos. Its not even in the mission. So we're gonna travel all day tomorrow to make it to Encarnación in the evening, then I'm not sure if I´ll stay and do divisions in Encarnación, or if I'll get to travel with her to Corrientes (I'm rooting for Corrientes), and who knows when we'll end up back in Saltos. Pray for our safety along the road! Cause thats probably all we'll be doing all week :)
Love you guys so much!!!
-Hermana Rawlins :)

this is Halloween in Paraguay
anybody want chicken for dinner?
the two Hermana Nethercott's that showed up for English class on Halloween :)