Sunday, June 28, 2015

New Companion

Jenson and his new comp Elder Zundel

Dear All,
Yes this week was changes. And yes there was a change. Elder Mera went to Tijuana and I received...(drum roll)...ANOTHER AMERICAN! Woo I am so happy. This is his last transfer so that means I´m gonna be here for a while, at least for alllll of the heat. But it´s good, he´s a good guy and we are gonna get along well together I think.

But yeah this week was pretty chill. I went on exchanges this week with another guy who is about to go home. On bike. And once again, my bike had no brakes. So that was terrifying. I have never felt so close to death. Plus it was like 115 that day, so yeah that was nice. But that day was fun. When we went to go eat, the sister praised my eating skills, saying that the missionaries in her ward don´t eat because they´re getting ready to go home, so they´re trying to lose weight. And I´m there like "lay it on me I've got more than a year to catch up" haha it was fun. Just super hot.

On Wednesday I had a lesson that made me laugh harder than just about anything in my life. So there were two little old ladies sitting outside talking. And they started calling to us. So we go talk to them, and we realize one is deaf, so we just focus on the one that can hear. But the deaf one kept talking anyway, even if it didn't have anything to do with the topic. So that got me started. And then the other lady chimed in saying that the night before she had been praying and asking for a blessing. Apparently she needed 100 pesos to go do something, so she prayed and asked for that blessing. And BAM there we were. So I was like "Hello baptism how are you?" but then she kept talking. She said the following: "I just want to go to your church, get up and grab the microphone, and just ask the people there for...well, for a blessing. Cause I just need 100 pesos, and all the people that go to your church are super rich right?" And bam. Spirit gone, two elders fighting to keep straight faces, both of us imagining this lady in a testimony meeting. It was just so unexpected. Everything was going so well and then it all just changed so suddenly. So we left them with a prayer and turned the corner as fast as possible so that she wouldn't see us laughing. It was great.

Thursday was the hottest day of my life. They said it got up to 48 degrees Celsius. I'll let you guys hit up the conversion on that. But then there was a breeze. When I think of breezes I think of cool, refreshing little blows of air that help you out. Not here. Have you ever stood in front of an oven at 450? Yeah. The wind physically hurt. And everything just bakes. I have a blister on my finger because I touched a chain link fence. IT IS INDESCRIBABLY HOT. And they say it's just beginning...
Friday and Saturday were hot too, but not like that. Saturday we did what I thought we would never do. We bought bikes. But the first think I checked was that the brakes worked and that the pedals were straight. And yeah. I bought a pretty dope bike. It's fast, looks good, and has working brakes. It's nice.

Sunday we just spent the day saying goodbye to members, and I realized that the ward here is pretty cool. So that's nice.

Anyway that's my week. Hope you guys are enjoying your summer, and drinking lots of water.

Los quiero mucho,

Elder Rawlings

Jenson and Elder Mera 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

First week in Nacionalista

Jenson  and Elder Vega just prior to leaving Robledo

Dear All,
Happy Fathers Day! I don't know if it's this week or next, but whatever. It's one of the two, and I figured I would just mention it to be on the safe side.
SO yeah. Nacionalista. It is still super duper hot. They said we hit 115 yesterday and man did it feel terrible. It's supppsed to be in the 120s this weekend, or so they tell us. That'll be fun. 
But yeah this place is kinda cool. I feel like my whole mission I've been in the armpit areas of the Zones that I've been in. Universidad in Ensenada, Robledo in Los Pinos Mexicali, and now Nacionalista in Mexicali Mexicali. Lots of dirt roads, cholos, and poor people. My kinda place. Lots of miracles this week. Twice we ran into members from Las Vegas here on vacation who bought us food and one of them introduced us to his Mother-in-Law who wants to get baptized. So that was nice.
But yeah life goes on. I've been trying to be super exited this week cause I feel like if I'm not busy I'm gonna get super lazy and not wanna work here. So for the first time in the mission I feel like I've been really doing excercise in the mornings. I don't know how effective it's gonna be if I keep eating 4-6 quesadillas or pizza every night but it makes me feel good so nimodo.
I'm trying to think of special stuff that happened this week and nothing is coming to my head. It was a really normal week. It was a great week in terms of numbers but there wasn't really anything super funny or spiritual or anything that happened. The only thing I can think of was one contact we did who listened and was super cool for the like 5 minutes that we talked to her, but when we asked if we could visit her she just straight up said, "No, I really would not like to listen to you guys. But nice to meet you!" I actually started to laugh. It was just so direct. And came out of left field. But whatever. And then I read a scripture in Helaman that said that Nephi baptized 8,000 Lamanites, but then in the next chapter it says that in his next "area" he was rejected to the point that he just went home. I was like "Hey that's me! Except heck no way am I coming home." 
And we went bowling today. You'll never guess who (didn't) win. That's right. I'm 99% fluent in a second language and my bowling skills are still the same. Some things just never change.
You guys take care of yourselves, drink lots of water, y se van por la sombrita, eh?
Les quiero mucho,

Elder Rawlings

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Surprise Transfer

Dear All,
Holy week. Holy flipping week.
It started so well; we started teaching a guy who speaks perfect English and wanted us to teach him in English so guess who taught the whole lesson. It was kinda weird. I had to translate many words, just cause they aren't words that I would normally use. It was fun though. 
We also started working on the next baptisms up. A family that we met like 3 weeks ago but then their daughter got sick and so we couldn't see em for a while. But we found them on Tuesday and they told us they had already made plans to be in church on Sunday without us telling them anything, and that they had read their pamphlets several times. So dang yeah that was nice. Also a Catholic family who told us they don't let anyone in but when they met us they felt something different and so they decided to let us come in and teach them. Chosens.
Tuesday and Wednesday I was with Elder Cronin (the dude from Mississippi) and we had fun. He's crazy. We also found someone super cool. When we asked her if she wanted to get baptized, she told us yes right away. And then when we told her what day, she started to cry and said that it was the day of her dad's birthday, and that her dad had died a  few years ago and she felt like he hadn't forgiven her for things that she had done, and so it was going to be a very special day. So yeah that was pretty incredible. 
On Thursday morning we got a fantastic call. The family that we baptized on Saturday, their dad is depressed and had been laying in bed for like a month without doing anything. But in these past couple weeks he's made a few steps. Like he went out and cut his hair and he went for a bike ride. But he wasn't working, so the family was struggling hard economically. But then on Thursday the lady called us, told us that he had gotten up that morning and went and got a job making tacos. Pretty much on his own. She was so happy, and we were too. He said that as soon as he left the house he felt better, that he wants to come to church on Sunday, that he wants to get baptized, all that good stuff. AND he was going to have his day off on Sundays. BOOM. So cool. That afternoon we met the uncle of the other girl who got baptized on Saturday, and when we invited him to baptism he said that he got goosebumps and also almost started to cry. So yeah basically we were finding golden investigators everywhere. 
So Thursday night we were walking down the street with a recent convert to a lesson, when the phone rang. My companion answered, "Good evening President Garcia how's it going?" So yeah that kinda sent up a flag. They talked for a little bit while I knocked the door, and then he came over to tell me that we had to be home early so that we could talk to the President.
So we get home and make the call. Lots of little things happened, but the gist is this. A missionary went home on Wednesday and left his companion alone. So guess who was getting sent to be the replacement. That's right, Elder Vega and I. They closed our area, and by Saturday night we were working in trio with Elder Mera in the Nacionalista Ward. 
That sucked. Holy heck. We had to say goodbye to all of the members and converts in one day. And totally unexpectedly. It was a miracle that we even found all of them because we pretty much just showed up unannounced and dropped the bomb on them. Probably the hardest day of my mission so far. And the first time I have really cried since getting here. I love these people. Some of these people we were in their house every other day. We all got so close. It was like leaving behind my family again.
But anyway life moves on. Sunday afternoon they called us to tell us that I'm staying here with Elder Mera until the end of the transfer, two weeks away, and Elder Vega took off for Tijuana. I'm gonna miss that dude. We straight up killed it there in Robledo. Not boasting or anything, but we worked our tails off. We just would not settle for less than excellence. We found at least 10 new investigators each week we were together. 9 weeks straight. It was awesome. But now it's on me. Nacionalista won't know what hit it.
I always love hearing that you guys are well, and I hope it keeps going that way.
Les quiero mucho,

Elder Rawlings

Sunday, June 7, 2015


Dear All,
Woo June! And if you have been paying attention to the weather, the "bueno" heat just started. It it SO BLASTED HOT. I wish there were better words to describe it but no. It's just hot. And then when there is a breeze, which normally would cool you off, the breeze it HOT TOO. I'm losing weight, though, so that's kinda nice. BUT HOLY HECK IS IT HOT.
For the weekly summary, it was a pretty solid week. I was on exchanges on Tuesday, another Elder came with me here in Robledo, and we had a terrrible day. Not a single one of our appointments, plans, or plan B's was home. So we set the goal to contact 20 people. And we did 19. Technically we did 20 but one guy we contacted pulled out some weed halfway through and started getting really "happy"as they say here, so we didn't count that one. But it was crazy hot.
Wednesday was better, as we were able to actually find the majority of our appointments in their house, including a guy in a wheelchair with one leg. So more on that to come.
Thursday was pretty cool. I don't know how far the rumor spread, but supposedly on Thursday at exactly 4:00 pm there was supposed to be an earthquake that was gonna turn California into an island. And since Mexicali is right underneath California and pretty much at sea level, there were more than a few people who literally headed for the hills. So that was funny. The good thing is that we survived. A few casualties, but we just keep on keepin on ;)
On Friday we went on three way exchanges because we are young men and not good at planning and so at the last minute we had to improvise. I was in an area somehow uglier than mine, and using a bike with no brakes. So you'll imagine how that day went. Plus it was so dang hot. The best part about that day were the guamuchiles (pronounced: Wah-moo-chi-lays). Theyre these little fruit things that kinda look like snow peas on the outside, but like reddish when they're ripe. And there were a ton of trees in the area I was in. So we ate a ton. They're pretty good. Definitely different, but good.
Saturday was a special day. The Zone Leaders had a baptism in our chapel, so we got to be there for that. It was pretty cool. An older guy who has a testimony pretty freaking awesome. And then later on we ourselves had the chance to baptize. But we one-upped the Zone Leaders. Actually we 4-upped them. That's right, we got to baptize four wonderful daughters of God. It was pretty cool. Three were part of a family (a mom and two of her daughters) and the other is the ex-girlfriend of a guy who just left on his mission. It has been super awesome teaching them and really watching their testimonies growing, especially since all of them except the mom were pretty rooted in their churches, but when the got their answers they had the faith to act. 
Even better, all four of them were references. So there's where the power of the friendship and support and genuine love of the members comes into play. If you're not giving references, start. Make it a goal to have made one new friend or have talked to at least one person before the missionaries come to your house to eat. They might start coming to eat more often, and maybe its cause of the food, or maybe its cause they know you really love the Lord and want to help Him and them in this great work.
The only hard part about Saturday is that it was SO DANG HOT. Good thing the water was nice and cool.
Anyways yeah. That's pretty much the week. Lots more stuff happened, but those are stories for when I get home. So I'll leave you with that suspense. 
Hope you're all super duper well and reading the scriptures every day. 
Les quiero mucho,

Elder Rawlings