Sunday, October 12, 2014

Last Week in the MTC

Dear Everyone,

Woo! Its my last PDay!! I still don't feel like I'm ready to leave but I'm getting there quickly. I got the contacts and I'll check for the calling card. And thanks for loading money too. But anyway as this is my last PDay in the MTC I'm not sure when the next time I'll get to write is, But it should be sometime before next Tuesday.

So I've had a couple cool experiences this week; the first was on Thursday. We had the chance to Skype with a member of the Church who is a native Spanish speaker. When they showed us the list of people I could Skype, I noticed one was in Tampico. I chose him cause, ya know, maybe he knows Chelsea or something. That would've been cool. So we started to talk to him and he told us that he had actually just recently moved. So now he was living in my mission!! Super cool guy, he said that the weather is great, that the members are strong, but that there is plenty of work to be done. And then during the afternoon session on Sunday, our Branch was assigned to usher, so we had to be there early to make sure everything was set up the devotional room for everyone to get there. Anyway, as the amount of people coming in was winding down, I got to talking with one of the District Presidents who was there. He saw my nametag and started talking to me in Spanish, asked me where I was going, how much longer I had left, all the usual stuff. I come to find out that he used to be a Mission President in Uruguay, and so he was telling me how he learned Spanish and giving me all these tips and tricks, most of which I'm planning on doing. And then when he heard I was going to Tijuana (cause before when he had asked me I just said Mexico) he told me how he grew up in San Diego and went to Tijuana all the time and still goes back whenever he can.
To quote him directly, "I just can not think of a more FUN mission than Tijuana. Perfect weather, great food, and now a temple." So guess who has two thumbs and is super excited to go there now. Hashtag this guy.

The other cool, but also really sad, thing, was saying bye to Javier.
Our last time teaching him was on Friday, so we got to the end of our time and he was like "Nos vemos en...Lunes? Si?" and Elder Sanchez and I kind of looked at each other and said "actually we think this is the last time." Holy he looked so bummed. He told us that we had genuinely answered many questions that he had had and wished us the best of luck. It was really hard. But it also made me super jazzed to actually have real investigators that I get to feel the same love for as we help them come unto our Lord and Savior.

Ok and also conference was straight up magic. I don't know if you guys heard this but people kept throwing around the words "largest missionary force of all time." That's not a lie. We are by far the biggest group of missionaries ever assembled in history. The speaker at the devotional last night, who works in the missionary dept, said that as of today, there are 88,034 missionaries in the field. That's up from about 53,000 5 years ago. Santa freaking vaca. The speaker last night also pointed out that based on worldwide averages, the
2,000 of us in the MTC right now will convert about 10,000 people to this Church. Again, santa freaking vaca.

Another huge thing I pulled out of conference was right at the beginnning, from Elder Packer's talk. When he told the story about going to Oxford and showing the professor there all the scriptures we had on Jesus Christ, I had the distinct impression that  as missionaries, our belief in Christ alone will open doors, both literally and spiritually for us. The more we trust Him, the more he will be able to help us. One of the big points that we have been taught to teach is that Christ WILL save us, IF we have faith in him.
That never really occurred to me before, the importance of faith coming before repentance. Super cool. Super simple, but hey, simple is good.

Les amo mucho,

Elder Rawlings

From Mom: Translation to "Santa freaking vaca" means Holy freaking Cow...

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