Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sweeter Above All That Is Sweet

We hardly ever get letters beside the once a month trip to posadas, but this past week our zone leaders had to go do tramites in posadas and they came back with surprise letters!! It was a special treat and right when I could use one! Ese, your present is awesome! thank you! And I also especially loved my letter from Santa!! It took a month but he found me down here :) As soon as I saw it and knew what it was, I tucked it away in my bag and saved it for later, to snuggle into my bed and read with a flashlight :) Santa may or may not have made me cry :) thank you!!

This week was a very busy full week, because we were helping out with W's baptism, the 8 year old son of the family we've been reactivating. Here in the branch, the missionaries are responsible for making sure the ward baptisms happen along with our own investigators. but i think it turned out good, there was a lot of support from the branch which was nice, and the family seemed happy! 

This week will also be busy because its the week of E's baptism! Please please pray for him!! He is just the best investigator ever and we're praying everything goes well for him! We desperately need priesthood brethren in the church, and E is perfect if we can just get him going off in the right direction. He's already in Mosiah in his Book of Mormon and has a wonderful testimony which he bears often, so I think we've gotten off to a good start. Yesterday we were reading together in the Book of Mormon and he made me cry talking about the privilege God gave him of finding the true church and not wanting to mess the opportunity up, but wanting to stay on the path and make it back to God's kingdom to be perfect and rule with him. Oh my goodness. The mission offers hard and challenging experiences, but also a fair share of those "sweeter above all that is sweet." 
In my setting apart blessing (Before Amanda went on her mission), President Peterson promised me that according to my obedience and diligence, the Lord would be able to trust me with some of His most precious children. I've been kind of stressed out about this promise or anxious, not really feeling like it was coming true and worrying that maybe I wasn't living up to what I was supposed to be. 
Well, this week I got the prompting that one of the people referred to in that promise, was E. He is my brother, who just needed the truth and was looking for it for a very long time. Now he has found it, and often talks about this "happiness that I never felt before in my whole life. A happiness from God that fills me up." Like I said, sweeter above all that is sweet.

Among the sweet, this week has also really tested me with the branch. Normally I'm pretty tranquila and low key about it all, but for some reason this week was really hard. It is hard down here, really hard. I dont even really know how to explain what it's like. I haven't seen a Bishop in 16 months, let alone had a functioning ward mission leader my whole mission. We so desperately need true, valiant priesthood brethren. Don't take them for granted!!

So I've had to remind myself several times this week "You wouldn't be happy anywhere else. THIS is the work you are designed for". I know its true, but hermana nethercott and I this past week just got exhausted. Its hard, how do I even describe it? But I love it. I really do. I love and embrace the craziness and absurd things the missionaries are told to do, or yelled at for supposedly doing or not doing. But this work is my work. I think I would be bored if the church down here worked the way it's supposed to! I'm gonna get home and be a pianist again and miss this all :) 

I love you all, I love this work, and I love my Savior. Stay true!

love,
Hermana Rawlins


this week we were walking down the road and I was on the phone with the elders asking them a question, and all of a sudden i hear hermana nethercott say "are those toucans??" and I look up and sure enough, there are two toucans hoping down the road and a lady and her daughter trying to pick them up and take them back into their house. So i go, "hold on elder, theres a lady with toucans?" and he goes, "wait, WHAT" and I dont know what else because i promptly hung up on him and we asked if we could hold the toucans and take pictures. they're their pets. in the one picture, you can see mine trying to eat my earring. close call. 


Hermano L after he baptized his son!! Hooray!!
the drain broke, so this is how we emptied out to baptismal font 
W's favorite part was definitely the cake...
we found a frog outside the church and the young men were all impressed that a sister missionary had the guts to pick it up. mostly i did it just cause I wanted a picture. :)
but it felt pretty gross and can we just talk about how this looks like I'm putting it in Elder ollerton's pocket?? haha
welcome to the district :)


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Heat and Butterflies

Questions from the family: 

Can you believe It's already mid January?! 
NO I cannot. this is absolute craziness.

I love that picture of the owls!  You are so close to them.  How's the taming going?
well, this week it may have almost attacked us cause we caught it off guard. so not that well. We walked up to the house and kind of cornered it in the garage part without realizing it, and both us and the owl all of a sudden stopped frozen in our places. then hermana nethercott goes "...I dont like scared animals, they do crazy things". so we quickly backed away haha

This week has been good!!
We continue to teach E and he continues to be awesome. This week we went with a member and taught the law of chastity, and then at the end of the lesson he asked "so when are you guys gonna teach me about tithing, thats a commandment too!". we were like... well that was the plan for next lesson but since you asked, here's that too! haha

Are you guys still praying for the Familia Gomez?? Please keep it up!! This week I was praying about cambios and I got the impression, "you are still in saltos because the familia gomez still needs you." I love them a ton!

also this week, Hermana gunter finished her mission and her family came to pick her up and they came to saltos to visit! It was really cute, and also really weird to see an american family. It made us all miss america just a little. But we went to young womens with her 15 year old sister and I translated in her ear the whole time so she would understand, and it just made me miss Kayla!! I was like, dang it, I wanna be in young womens again and hang out with my little sister!! So kayla, lets hang out after. Deal? we can speak spanish. hahaha :)

Also, it is SO HOT. Oh my goodness. It can get up to 100 easy, and then plus the humidity. Sometimes I just feel like I'm dying. Its one thing to be christlike. And its another to be christlike when you're hot and sweaty. It honestly like emotionally effects me its so hot. That is one thing i will not miss about Paraguay. also, it really makes me miss swimming. All I want to do is jump in a pool!! that will be one of the first things I do back home. 
Today after zone meeting we had water balloons and threw them around, which just turned into a zone war with everyone taking buckets from the cleaning closets and pots from the kitchen and throwing water on each other. It was probably one of the funnest things I've done in awhile, and it felt sooo good. 
But funny story, the other night it thunderstormed and cooled off (hallejulah) and hermana nethercott and I were walking home going, "wow, its really cold tonight! I like almost want a jacket!" and hermana nethercott was like shivering and my heart was skipping a little like it does when I get cold and then we walked past a thermometer and did the farenheit conversion and it was 73 degrees. hahahahahaha. 

Have you guys been watching for the butterflies?? I have been! :) And they are always there. Always. (See Amanda's previous post about butterflies) I've been stressed lately just about a few things, and the butterflies have always been here to help me. Just right when I need them. Ive also started a collection of butterfly wings that we find. But sometimes I get used to them, and I start to pay attention to them a little less than I should. 
well this week, God smacked me in the face with them. Literally. We were sitting down to eat lunch at the Gomez house and a butterfly was swooping around us so I stuck out my hand to try to catch it, and it literally flew into my face and smacked me right in the forehead. I got the message. :) 
Then today, I got a present from Hermana Torres, I opened it up, and it was a box full of butterfly wings she had collected and sent to me. I was so touched.
 God loves each of us, and manifests that love in many different ways. He will even send us boxes of butterfly wings. :)

love you all,
Hermana rawlins

my box of butterfly wings 
obviously we're the best companionship ever
its so hot we fried an egg outside. I'm not really sure if it fried or just kind of dried out, but something happened to it for sure
these are some little boys from the branch who just moved far away this week. I'm gonna miss them!




Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Work of Salvation Continues Forward!

Questions from the family: 

how are news on the piojos front?
lice = killed. victory.

What are the transfer news?
I cant believe it, but I'm staying here in Saltos!! and with hermana nethercott too!! we are shocked but super happy :) hooray!

The transfer mark is this Wednesday, and then six weeks later is the 25th of February, and then 6 more weeks is the 8th!! My official release date on my papers is the 7th but with traveling I wont get home until the 8th.

Hey so I got my package this week!! It was waiting for me at the office, and super fun to open! After we did, Hermana Nethercott said ¨hey that actually felt like christmas!¨ haha :) thanks for everything!! 

So this Tuesday I was at consejo, which was awesome! They introduced a new way that we'll be counting numbers, which is super interesting. And exciting! Its coming from the Area presidency, and instead of asking for all of our numbers (lessons with members, other lessons, baptismal dates, contacts, etc.) now they only want TWO numbers. Confirmations, and total attendance in the branch. And then each mission can pick two more numbers to use within their mission, so in the consejo we picked lessons with members and references. Anyone who is not a missionary might not understand the significance of that change, but its gonna be really really different. The area presidency said they did that to hasten the work and to truly focus on baptism, retention, and reactivation. ...which the Argentina Posadas mission has been working on those three things as a focus since a year and a half ago when it started. President LaPierre truly is an inspired man, and the Lord truly leads his servants in the direction He wants us to go. 

Then this week was just traveling and normal stuff until Saturday, when I did divisiones with the Hermanas. It was... probably the weirdest and most stressful divisiones I've ever done. I told the zone leaders about it after and they were just laughing at me and called them ¨Divisiones from the Black Lagoon¨ oh man. one of the biggest parts was that awkward moment when we got locked out of the pension (which belongs to the branch president) and we had to sit outside for 3 hours while we waited for him to wake up from his nap and break the door down. my life. 

The only thing that made it better was that we got home Saturday night and had planned to go to an FHE with the Elders in their area. And why was I so excited about this...? 
Because if you look on Google maps, there's one part of Saltos called 29 de Septiembre. Its a neighborhood literally right on the border of Brazil. Like one side of the street is Paraguay and the other is Brazil. And on the way there, the road you have to take turns for like 5 yards into brazil and then goes back out. sooo..... I'VE BEEN TO BRAZIL!!!!!! hahahaha :) 

And then life got crazy again (wait... I think it's always crazy) because we got back home Saturday night and I just go SO sick. Like terribly so. I don't remember if I've ever thrown up that much in my life. I basically spent all night in the bathroom. I'll spare you more details. So when Hermana Nethercott woke up Sunday morning I quickly informed her that we would not be attending church that day (super weird as a missionary) and I stayed all day in bed. The Elders came and gave me a blessing and blessed the sacrament for us and I've felt better ever since. Can I just say I am soo grateful for the Priesthood? 
In the blessing it talked AGAIN about how I'm supposed to use my experiences now for people after my mission. Interesting. 

And then cambios today informed us that we get to stay!! I didnt believe the Elders when they told us. Too good to be true!! God loves me :) 
I've got no time left but in consejo I also got a whole ton of SUPER exciting news from Virasoro. our efforts never go to waste and the work of salvation continues forward. 
love you all!!
-Hermana Rawlins

this is me and my smore. may or may not have almost cried :)
this is from consejo, its me and a bunch of the missionaries that I came with
can you say... trunky papers?? (thats what they're called here I cant remember if that's just in our mission or in others too) this is me and hermana gonzalez, my "mom" in the mission- she trained me so early that we go home at the same time :) I love her so much, it was SOO good to see her. We curled up together on a bed in the mission home and just caught up and laughed and I just love her a ton :)
second christmas!!
the owls we see everyday outside our house. my goal is to make friends with them and tame them. ...its not going so well
cliche walking missionary pic 
new zone tshirts! anyone who does some google translating and has seen nacho libre will get our inside joke. We always joked around with the elders in our district about this and I teasingly said that I didnt want a zone tshirt unless it said this. Well... we got the zone tshirts and the Elders had put this on the inside corner of just our four tshirts. We think we're really funny :) 
we did divisiones, and lost the keys to the hermanas pension. The person they rent from is their branch president. So this is their branch president, breaking the door open with a hammer and a crow bar. Super awkward.
this is me and brazil!! 
THAT IS BRAZIL!!
our zone in our new zone shirts

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Piojos.

Anyone who knows what that word means in spanish will know immediately how my 2015 has started out... louse-y. 

(okay can we just stop for a sec and talk about how witty that is?? I'll be here all night :)

Questions from the family: 

Remind us when transfers are?
Transfers are next week, and I'm pretty nervous!! I reeeally dont want to leave Saltos. It will break my heart. We finally have really good people to teach, after a lot of work, and I dont want to leave it behind just yet. i'm not done with it all! But yesterday during fast and testimony meeting I felt a nudge to go up and leave my testimony with them, and I was like noooo, but I did. In guarani :) (pues, michimi). I'm torn because I've reeeally felt like I'll stay (I want to stay and train) but have been praying to just be prepared for the Lord's will and that was the first impression i had felt that i would be going. Noo!!

And E sounds awesome!  How are things going with him?
He is just the best. This week, after struggling with it a little, he told us he believes the book of mormon is true. YESSSSS!!!!!!

Happy New Year 2015!!!! I cant believe its 2015. I remember last new years, thinking about the whole year stretching in front of me and saying to myself "i'm gonna be a missionary EVERY DAY this year. How the heck am I gonna have the strength to do that??". Well, we managed. 
and by that I mean, God is gracious and gave me the ability to. 

No one technically invited us to new years eve so we invited ourselves in on the elder's invite and spent the night with a really fun family, complete with fireworks and asado and sparking cider. And then some more fireworks. Then new years day we had zone meeting and then had our pday all day with the zone, which was really fun!! Probably the best parts were that we went to one of the stores full of imports and bought the stuff for smores, which tasted sooo good and the latinos loved them, and a rather hilarious ping pong tournament. I stink at ping pong guys. 

Then Hermana Nethercott decided to ring in the new year with a nice case of... lice!!! yaaayy!!!! We're so excited about this. 
Heres the best part (and the reason I have permission to tell you guys)... she told me like 2 weeks ago that she thought she had lice, and I told her, quote "no you're just freaking yourself out about it, its all in your head.". Well, turns out... its all ON her head. oops.
And i received the lovely privilege of spending multiple hour and a half sessions cleaning off her head. This is a new level of discipleship for me, one I wasn't expecting to achieve on the mission.
 On the plus side, I now have quite the technique for any future cases with my kids. Mom points.
We basically destroyed our apartment cleaning everything out and yes, mom, I'm using lice shampoo too as a preventive measure. Happy New year!! hahahaha. my life.

So today I'm in encarnacion again because we have consejo tomorrow. I'm excited!! Aaand, thats about all my news for this week. Oh, we also found a teenager named J who is ssuuuper awesome too, so if you want to pray for him thatd be great.
I'm loving the work and killing the lice!! That was one of our companionship goals this week :)

love you all!!
-Hermana Rawlins

p.s. sorry no pictures this week, I forgot my card reader!