Sunday, August 30, 2015

"El Arma Secreta"

Dear All,
Pretty solid week. I got to watch my newly arrived companion stand up in front of a bus and contact the whole thing. That made me rather proud. That was definitely the highlight. Some people were asking about my comp. Hes a stud. I can't really say more. I call him "El Arma Secreta" because he is super, super quiet, but when he talks its with power. He's a beast. He's from Toluka, Mexico, which is about 45 minutes from Mexico City, and his dad is an Engineer for the church. He told me he helped design some of the temples and the new Stake Center design here in Mexico. So that's pretty cool. 
The ward here is pretty chill, there are a lot of people who speak English, so that's fun. Lots of RMs and lots of Youth. Attendance is about 105 or so, and we meet in the Stake Center, which I think is the largest chapel in the whole mission. Its pretty legit. The actual area is GIGANTIC and we have to walk or go in bus everywhere. So thats been nice getting back into walking from after being on bike for a while.
To answer your question Mom as a District Leader I am in charge of half of the stake. In this case it's my ward and one other. So it's pretty small. I'm supposed to go on exchanges with the other companionship and help them out and make sure they're doing what they need to be doing. But I can't cause they're sisters. So pretty much all I do is give a training once a week, take their numbers twice a week, and give a report to how they're doing to the Zone Leaders and President. So yeah its pretty fun. Because my district is so small, its not that different from normal work, just with more responsibility. So that's nice.
We really didn't have any super weird or crazy experiences this week. Out of nowhere we had a few people tell us they wanted us to teach them in the street, so that was kinda cool. We passed by the giant statue of Christ in our area but I forgot to bring my camera (yes I got the cord) and so I didn't take a picture. Oh well. Next time.
Also regarding traditions for the year mark, supposedly there's a thing where you burn a sock at three months, a tie at 6 months, a shirt at the year, and the suit you arent going home in right before you head home. But I didnt do the sock or the tie thing and I doubt that I'll do the others either haha. 
Hope you guys are all good. Keep reading the scriptures, keeping looking for references for the missionaries, and keep keeping the Sabbath Day holy. You'll be blessed.
Los quiero mucho,

Elder Rawlings

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Best bus experience of my mission

Dear All,
 This week was better. It wasn´t a great week, but it was better. We are getting to know the area and the members and figuring out how to find people. We had a zone conference on Tuesday and we talked about how if we want to be a normal missionary we do things that all other missionaries do. If we want to be excellent missionaries we do things that no one does. So we put it in practice. The next morning we stood in front of the bus and contacted everyone at once. Half of the area is apartments, so we made a list of all the members that live in the apartments and went and tried to visit them. And if they weren´t home we knocked all the doors on their floor. We´ve gone to the farthest parts of our area, where I don´t think missionaries have ever set foot, just to contact and look for old references. Hopefully we start seeing some serious fruit cause honestly I am super exhausted.
But yeah this week was chill. We did exchanges with the Zone Leaders and had some fun. There was one point where we got on a bus and it was the best bus experience of my mission. First off there was a very heavily tatooed lady with several piercings in various parts of her body, holding a newborn baby in her arms. About 3 minutes later, she starts breastfeeding the baby. Which actuallly is not that surprising in this country. And then the bus started to climb a hill. A really big hill. And as it went up it went slower and slower and the smell of smoke grew stronger and stronger and then all of the sudden the motor stopped and we started rolling backwards down the hill. WOOO rollercoaster but without any form of security. I may have peed my pants. Luckily the young bus driver got it under control before anything got too bad and guided us to saftety at the bottom of the hill. So yeah. What a wonderful experience. 
But yeah the ward here is pretty cool. We went to go visit a family where the grandpa and all of the kids are mailmen in the US. So they all speak English and are super cool. And then I come to find out that they have a relative that lives in Georgia, but it´s not close to where we live unfortunately. 
Also hahaha I almost forgot there was one day that a truck crashed into a light pole by the apartments in my area. And a sidenote to that: everyone here is stealing electricity. The main power cable runs along the side of the street and from that main cable string many other little illegal cables that hook to houses. And the government comes and cuts the lines from time to time and so there are probably hundreds of these little power lines hanging down. Its pretty ghetto haha. But anyway the whole power thing is just kinda sketchy here anyways, so when this truck hits the light pole, like 3 transformers blew cause some lines crossed or something and anyway long story short the whole neighborhood was without power. So finally everyone came outside of their house. It was kinda cool cause we could just contact everyone. And it was way funny cause probalby 9 out of ten people told us they were dying without being able to have internet and get on their facebook. Moral of the story, go outside once in a while, you probably won´t die.
Anyway that was my week. Not super exciting but definitely not a bad one. You guys keep being cool and always read your scriptures and pray.
Los quiero mucho, 

Elder Rawlings

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Transferred to Lago Tijuana

Dear All,
So I have two weeks to catch up on. Let´s see how well I do.
The last week in Mexicali feels like forever ago. The temple was super duper legit, and yes we did as many ordenances as we could in Spanish. It was cool cause we got to do every single one. We started in initatories and then we went to sealings cause we had some time before the session and then we went through a session with the whole ward. That was way dope. Also my companion got sealed to an American girl there, so that was pretty funny. It was like a glimpse right into his not too far distant future. Lol I´m gonna miss that dude a ton.
The highlights from the week: Another baptism, which put our total at 9 for the transfer (one shy of the record) and that was way cool. It was the daughter of a Less Active family and her dad got to baptize her. It was pretty legit hearing her dad say ¨Habiendo sido comisionado por Jesucristo¨. It was way cool.
And then we got the call and my District leader was like ¨Dude are you ready for this? These are the craziest tranfers I´ve ever seen.¨ And then the dude freaking hung up on me. So that was sick. But then he called me back and told me that I was leaving, that I had to be in Tijuana at 10am to pick up my new companion fresh from the MTC. And then he told me I was going to be opening an area. And then he told me I was moving up as a DL. BOOM. All of it just kinda hit me. I don´t think I slept at all that night.
So now here I am in Lago with my new compa Elder Priego, from Taluka, Mexico. He´s a pretty quiet guy but he´s a good missionary.
My new area is super huge and we don´t have bikes so that´s kinda hard, also in terms of drugs and sin this is definitely the worst area I´ve been in so far. So we shall see how this all goes. We´ve already had several encounters with drunk people (including some drunk members) and we have knocked on several doors to have people with needles in their arms answer them. So that is definitely very sad. It´s hard because those are the people who need the gosple most but they are also the hardest ones to accept it. So that´s a challenge. But it´s alright. We are just gonna baptize a ton. This is gonna be a solid couple of transfers. I can already feel it.
Other cool things about my area is that is has two of the best religous sites here within or just next to the boundaries, one of them being the Temple, and the other is this HUGE Catholic church with a giant Christ statue that overlooks the whole city. Literally the two churches that are mentioned in 1 Nephi 11-14. So that is kinda cool. I guess. The temple looks super duper legit, way better than when I saw it a year ago, but from what I´ve been hearing I´m not gonna be able to help in the open house cause it´s only gonna be Sister Missionaries and Members. Oh well. We shall see.
The other cool thing is that all of the Americans in my district are from the south. I´m from Georgia, there´s a sister from North Carolina, and there´s a Zone Leader from North Carolina too. WOO. 
Today we all went and played ping pong and other activities and ate pizza and basically just had fun  as a zone and it was pretty fun. I took second in the Ping Pong tournament just so you guys know. 
Anyway there really isn´t a whole lot more to talk about. Hope you all have an excellent week and always read your scriptures and say your prayers.
Los quiero mucho,

Elder Rawlings

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Quick email this week

At the San Diego

This is pretty much just to let everyone know that i am still alive. I got switched areas, im now in Tijuana Estaca Otay Barrio Lago I am training again and opening sector and I am also now a district leader so yeah a lot has happened but i dont have time to tell you all about it but yeah hope you are all good and well and yes just to be clear i am alive and well.
Los quiero mucho,

Elder Rawlings

***note from Mom. Jenson asked me to monitor his Facebook page, and when I logged on to his account this past week, he had numerous friend request from those whom he had met and served in this last area of Nactionalista  in Mexicali.  I found lots of great pictures that others had posted of him, and was so grateful to see these pictures, and thought it would be fun to share some of them

 Cleaning the church

Teaching the Gospel

Helping put a roof on a member's home

Cleaning the church

At the church...goofing off a bit ;)

Cleaning the church

Working on the roof again

Riding bike (Jenson is on the left) 

With the Bishop and his family of the Nactionalist Ward

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Salsa competition judges

Dear All,
HOLY WEEK. Let´s get started.
On Tuesday we went on exchanges. We were leaving the house, we got to the corner, and my companion started telling me that his bike felt kinda funny. So we checked it out and the freaking wheel had straight up fallen off the back of the bike. Like I don´t know how it was held on except by the blessings of tithing and keeping the sabbath day holy. So we ran back to the house, did a 10 second flip of the bikes, and we were off. But here is the best part. The reason my comp switched bikes was cause his seat was broken. So without knowing it, I made my District leader get up onto a broken seat. So basically the whole day he was riding around with his butt about a half inch above the wheel. Also, the seat padding didn´t work and so sitting on it kinda made it feel like there was a metal pole sticking up into places where it doesn´t belong. The dude is a champ cause he rode it the whole day like that. 
Wednesday we set up a ¨Bring Your Own Salsa¨ competion with the Relief Society. That got intense. One of our investigators won. But don´t worry the judges were professional. They definitely weren´t two blue eyed americans. Just kidding. The judges were totally us. It was great.
Thursday was a normal day. Nothing super special.
Friday we had a pretty kickin day. We only baptized 6 people nothing big. And we sang a special musical number. A mixup of ´Paz, calmense¨ ¨Tu me has dado muchas bendiciones Dios¨ and ¨Asombro me da¨ (I forgot their titles in English I know because i have been given much and the other is i stand all amazed but paz calmense i have no idea) and it was LEGIT. Way cool.
Saturday we had ANOTHER baptism bringing the total to 7 this week and 8 this month. Thats some good work right there. But on Saturday there was a special musical number too from a girl in our ward and her friend that are going to be in the Tijuana Temple dedication choir. Holy freaking moly. The voices of Angels. It was amazing.
Sunday we confirmed all of them, and then we got permission from President to do something very special. Ladies and Gentlemen, this saturday I will be on American soil. We totally got permision to go to San Diego and go to the TEMPLE YEAHHHHHHHH IM SO HAPPY!! And then we found out that we will also be able to see the Mexico City temple rededication in September. I´m so freaking excited. I love to see the temple.
I hope you guys are just so very happy. I really love all of you and I hope the best for you. Hearing that Allie and Sadie weren´t hurt is just awesome. That could have been super bad. 
Keep reading the scrips, keep going to church, and keep being good people.
Los quiero demasiado,

Elder Rawlings

Jenson's zone enjoying lunch together

Bike Selfie
Salsa Judges