Sunday, March 29, 2015

Working hard and finding new ways to share the Gospel

Plan of Salvation canvas...little hard to spot Jenson, he blends right ;) 

Dear All, 
Fun week. Lots of unusual (I have no idea if that´s how you spell unusual and the spell check is in Spanish) stuff. 

Two weeks ago in district meeting, we decided to come up with new ideas to find lots and lots of new people. Not just contacting in the street or knocking doors. So last week we did Operation TJ  (Testigo de Jehová) and set up little stands on street corners with deep questions and contacted people as they passed by. It was pretty fun. And we got a few references.

And then this week, we got together and bought a 5m x 2m canvas, chalk, and spray paint, and made a huge Plan of Salvation. And then on Saturday we took it to a park and did the same thing, hung it up on a pavilion and contacted the heck out of that place. It was way fun. I also found out from some guy there that the devil was born in the year 200 AD. Just in case you were wondering.

On Tuesday I officially became a teacher. I taught an English class to some members of the ward. Holy heck. That was way fun. We started out with the alphabet, which was hilarious. I would have never guessed it, but the letter v is the hardest for a spanish speaker to pronounce. We spent like 5 minutes on it. And then of course we had to sing the song a few times. And it went pretty well, but when we would get to the part where it goes LMNOP really fast it sounded like gibberish and I would start laughing and have to start over. I´m a really compassionate teacher. And then we learned how to pray in English. Which was actually really cool. Cause then Hno. Adán (the guy in the picture where I have the cowboy hat) said the closing prayer in English. It was actually pretty good. So yeah this ward is gonna be bilingual in about a week.

After that I went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders. And in a lesson we got a call from some missionaries who are in San Qunitin, which is another city a couple hours south of Ensenada. They told us that they had just gotten to Ensenada and were gonna stay the night with us. So that was kind of weird to me. But then when we started talking with them that night they told us what had been happening. I don´t know if it made the news over there in the states but the farmers there in San Quintin basically revolted, to the point where they started taking up arms. The missionaries said that they had been trying to leave for a day and a half but the freeway was blocked and these guys were stopping buses and robbing them. They said finally the Branch President down there loaded them into his car and took the long way out of the city and dropped them off in Ensenada on his way to Tijuana to meet with the Mission President and Area Authorities. But yeah its pretty rough down there.

Then I went on exchanges again with the District Leader on Friday, but this time he came to Universidad. That is always fun cause he speaks English. So yeah. I practiced being an American for part of the day.

So yeah. That was the week. Not great, not bad, but fun. Thanks for the prayers and you´ll get em in two years BYU.

Les quiero mucho,

Elder Rawlings

Elder Lopez took this pic of Jenson after a bug flew in his ear

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Power of prayer

Dear All, 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!! One year older, but who knows if you got any wiser. Haha kidding love you and hope you spend it well.
So yeah I`ve got to catch you up on two weeks. Sorry about last week, we went on exchanges and Elder Lopez forgot that Monday was Pday and put an appointment at 5, and then everything went wrong, so yeah. Whatever. It happens.
So two weeks ago we had some super dope experiences. But everytime I tell you guys about them, something falls through. But I want to take the risk on this one, cause it has been the best experience of my mission so far. So sit down, grab your scriptures and popcorn, and let`s go.
Alright, first off, we are going to be in Alma 8 in a little bit, so just get that ready.
So thursday morning, I was studying a little bit about prayer, and I started thinking about how we have to pray specifically in order to get specific blessings. And we need baptisms. And in order to get baptisms, we need people to teach. So when we started our companionship study, I prayed that we would find a family of 5 people that day. But not only that, I prayed that we would find the couple legally married, with kids at the age of baptism. And more than that, I prayed and told Heavenly Father exactly when and where we would find this family, beecause we had seen a new neighborhood from the bus in Sauzal, and its new enough that we didnt think that missionaries had ever been there. So we had planned to set apart about and hour and a half and just go knock doors. So I said, `Father, this is where we are going to be from this hour to this hour. And in that time we will find this family` and yeah. We ended the prayer, Elder Lopez kind of looked at me weird, but whatever. We studied, and at the end he prayed for the same thing. When we left we prayed for it again, super specifically.
Then we went to our first lesson. In the middle of it, we got a call from an investigator. We were teaching her a while ago, but her husband doesnt want anything to do with the church, so we cant really do anything. And so we hadn´t seen her for some time. But she called us and said she wanted to meet with us, that day, in the chapel. I looked at the planner and was like ¨Well, ok I guess, but we aren´t gonna have all the time in the world to go knock doors. Oh well, short lesson and yeah, then we go find this family.¨ So we set an appointment, and met her there. And then the lesson went super bad. I was planning on like 20 minutes max, but she did not stop talking. And then Elder Lopez started talking and we just lost control. 2 hours later we were leaving the chapel, and it looked like we might have time to go knock 5 or six doors in this neighborhood. Not great.
So on the bus to this neighborhood I started praying a ton in my head, asking that in this little bit of time that we had that the spirit would show us exaclty which door to knock to find this family.
So we get to the neighborhood, and this is where you want your scriptures. In Alma 8:13, Alma tries to preach in a city, but he is straight up rejected and thrown out. Keep that in mind. We get to the neighborhood and see a giant gate. And a security booth. And large walls. Boom. Figurative getting thrown out of the city. But we kept seeing cars going down the road and turning at the corner of the walls, and then heading to where we couldn´t see them. Now read verses 14-17. We were pretty bummed out, but something told us to go follow these cars. So we get there and see another gate. But this one was open, and the security booth was empty. Kinda like in verse 18. We just had to go in the back door. 
And then as we walk in, the first house I see is at the top of the hill, and theres a minivan outside, and I kid you not I thought to myself ¨Minivan=Mormon family¨ so guess where we knocked. And a super friendly lady came out. We started talking, find out that they had been going to church in Monterrey, but since they moved here they had stopped going. But they told us to please come back when the whole family was there so that they could find God again in their lives. And when we asked how many people were in the family, they told us the magic number. Father, Mother, Son of 14, Son of 13, and Daughter of 12. 5 in total. Every single one of them now has a baptismal date except the dad. And they are a super cool family. They`re all geniuses. Its so weird.
But the weirdest part is this (and this is for you mom) the lady is a floral designer for events, exactly like what mom does, and one of the days that we went to visit them she got a call and had to leave suddenly to go deliver her flowers. And so we helped her. And there we were, loading flower arrangements into a freaking Dodge Grand Caravan, exactly like the one we have. Holy heck that was like deja vu on steroids like wow that was weird.
So yeah that was like the best thing that has happened. We also found another family of 4, plus another guy, so in total right now we have 9 people with baptismal dates. The problem is that tranfers are coming up in two weeks, so I probably wont get to see the majority of their baptisms. Oh well. I´m doing like it says in Preach My Gospel, leaving the area stronger than when I found it.
I love you all and love reading your emails. Keep being good, keep reading the scriptures and always say your prayers.
Les quiero mucho,
Elder Rawlings

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Short email this week

Ok guys i have like 3 minutes to write cause my companion put an appointment at 5 even though we only work after 6 so yeah. I´m alive; I had a good week, and I´ll tell you more next monday. Also that picture of me in the cowboy hat is with Hermano Adán, not Elder Lopez I think there was some confusion there.
Congrats Dad, Go BYU, and Dios es mas fuerte que la suerte means that God is stronger than luck.
Les quiero mucho,

Elder Rawlings

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Six months down

Hey hey hey 6 months down. And it has gone by so freaking fast I don´t know if it´s the same for you guys but dang I do not feel like I have been gone for 6 months. Holy crap. 

Anyway, this week was pretty chill. The Zone Leaders decided on Tuesday in the District meeting that we were going to take every day this week to go visit areas in the zone, because they just opened two new areas and there are lots of new missionaries that just aren´t having a whole lot of success. So on Tuesday, the District Leader came to Universidad and I went to his area so that he could check on Elder Lopez to make sure I´m not teaching him wrong or anything. And so that day was pretty good. I was with the Elder from Bolivia again who is super cool. And we had a decent day. We didn´t really do anything special, but it wasn´t a bad day.

Then on Wednesday we met up in the area of some Hermanas in our District to help them look for old investigators, less actives, and mostly just contacting. So Elder Peralta and I were walking down the street in an area that we both didn´t know at all and we got kind of lost. So we stopped to ask for directions, and as we were talking to this lady, she let us come share a message with her. So we taught the first lesson, she commited herself to come to church by herself, and said she wanted to get baptized. So we took her information, and then as we left her house (or rather, her front yard cause we couldn´t go into her house), we both recognized where we were and met up with everyone. So basically we gave away a baptism. But whatever it´s all good haha.

The bad part is that as we came to meet up with Elder Lopez and Elder Huld again, they both had these huge smiles. And the first thing they said was ¨Dang man you missed out big time¨ and so I´m like what what. And they showed me pictures, there´s a guy in my ward who just opened a business he calls ¨Pizza tacos¨ which in english means he sells homemade HotPockets. But those haven´t quite gotten here to Mexico yet, so he´s killing it in a new market. But he´s been experimenting a lot with differente types of dough and other things that he can make. And he made those guys a pizza, but not just any pizza. He made a pizzota. It was huge. And they ate all of it. And then, the whole rest of the week, this pizza gained a bunch of fame, and i swear every single person in the ward asked me if I had heard what happened on Tuesday. So that was like dumpinig lemon juice in a sword wound. 

On Wednesday we had a super cool lesson with a super cool investigator that I purposely haven´t said anything about because I feel like I´m gonna jynx it. But anyway he said something that is probably going to be the theme of my life forever cause it´s so cool. And the quote goes as follows...¨Dios es más fuerte que la suerte.¨ Aw yeah.

On Thursday Elder Lopez got sick. Like he lost his voice, he couldn´t stop coughing, and his throat hurt. So we were heading back to the house a little bit early to rest, and we ran into a super chill Sister in the ward on our way home. And when she saw us and saw that he was sick, she told us to come to her house immediately so that she could help us. So she made us some tea, and it was kind of weird, but it seemed to help Elder Lopez so whatever. And then she gave us some flowers from her orange tree and told us to use them to make more tea before we went to bed to help us sleep. So we were like ok thats cool cause, to tell the truth, Elder Lopez snores. And its not like little snores, it´s like I have a fear that a racoon and turtle and squirrel are going to sneak into our house and steal our food because they think there is a hybernating bear sleeping there type of snore. So suffice it to say that I have not slept super great this tranfer. So I was all over going to sleep well. So I made a bunch of this tea, and drank it, and I felt pretty solidly relaxed. But then I went to sleep and I had the weirdest dreams of my life. So yeah not gonna do that again. I´m pretty sure we broke the Word of Wisdom. But whatever.

And then Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and today it has rained and rained and rained and rained. On Sunday we were getting ready to leave and it was pouring. And we had to go to the bus stop, wait for a bus, go to Sauzal, bring an investigator back to the church. And Elder Lopez doesn´t have a rain jacket. So guess who was a good companion and lent him his. I just prayed really hard that it would stop raining. So yeah we left the house and we were getting soaked. And we were walking down the street and a car passed us, and I thought to myself (I think a lot in Spanish now) ¨Ah, que sean condenados¨ haha but as soon as I had the thought, they put the car in reverse and offered us a ride. Turns out they were going exactly where we were going. So we got a ride right to the front door of this investigator´s house. Moral of the story, the Lord answers prayers, sometimes its just in a way that we don´t expect. 

Hope you guys are all well, Shoutout to BYU for pulling off what I heard was a pretty big upset, and shoutout to all my homies headed to BYU this summer slash fall.
Les quiero mucho,

Elder Rawlings
Looks like Jenson has grown "a foot or two" :)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

"Conozca los Mormones".

Dear All,
This week was pretty good. Only a couple big things happened, the first is that I had seviche twice this week, so that was just ok. But I figured out the trick: I cover the stuff in ketchup and hotsauce, and then I cover whatever I'm eating it with, either a saltine or a tostada, with mayo. That way all I taste is spicy fry sauce. And it actually is starting to grow on me. I think the first time was an abnormality. 
The other super cool thing is "Conozca los Mormones". Yes, Meet the Mormons is coming to TJ. And guess who already got to see it. And it is so good. And then the first dude is from Atlanta so I was like freaking out, like "Holy crap I recognize all of those places" it was kind of weird. And I had some super weird dreams about being home that night. So yeah. But it's only gonna be in Tijuana and Mexicali, not Ensenada. We got to see it cause President Garcia had a special copy and showed it to us. But it is super good and if you haven't seen it yet, go and see it. It is super cool.
Then we had surprise exchanges on Friday, as in the Zone Leaders called us at 11 and said "Hey we are gonna do exchanges today, meet us at Burger King at 12 and Elder Rawlings, you're coming here and you're gonna be with Elder Ivins today" So that was fun. It's way cool to be with an American cause we walk down the street speaking English but then we see someone to talk to and at the same time, mid conversation, we switch into Spanish to talk to people. But he's a super cool guy. And we had some way cool experiences.
Like mid-afternoon-ish, we were walking down the street, and we saw this guy sitting outside his house. We passed by, waved, and kept walking, but about three steps later we were like "what are we doing let's go talk to him" so we went back and started talking. He said he had like 15 minutes before he had to go to work, but we could share a message with him in those 15 minutes. So in order to get into his yard to share a message, we had to jump his fence. Then we sat on buckets, and started talking. As missionaries always do, we asked to start with a prayer, and Elder Ivins asked if there was anything special that he wanted him to ask in the prayer. This guy, probably about 20 or so, looked us in the eyes and said "I need help getting off drugs". So we prayed for that. And then we took turns bearing testimony of the atonement, and at the end we invited him to be baptized, and he said yes.
These are the people we are looking for. These are the lost sheep that we have been called to find. I was thinking about that alot, like how easy would it have been to keep walking, to hurry along to the next appointment, to check out the new mustang that had just passed us, but because we listened to the spirit, a chosen son of God started his journey back home.
So yeah. That was a pretty decent week I guess haha. As I started I was about to say that nothing really happened and just leave it at that. It just goes to show how super cool the mission really is.
Also, some shoutouts. Shoutout to the missionaries in my ward who sound like they're absolutely tearing it up. And shoutout to Josh Anderson cause if I remember right he's gonna enter the MTC this week. Good luck man!
Les quiero mucho.
Elder Rawlings

PS Ok well add to the shoutouts a shoutout to Caleb going to a country where they almost speak the best second language but not quite. Haha just kidding go kill it man, and then we can teach each other when you get back.