Sunday, September 27, 2015

"El Dia del Grito"

Dear All,
Pretty normal week. It started off with a fun district meeting on Tuesday. Fun fact that I feel like I already mentioned but I don't feel like checking is that we as Americans have been tricked our whole lives. Mexican independence day is NOT in fact 5 de Mayo. It is, in fact, the 15-16 of September. The 15th is called "El Dia del Grito" because at one point in history someone shouted and it was meaningful so now every year the president of Mexico goes out onto a certain balcony and yells stuff like "VIVA MEXICO!" and other inspiring things. How fun. But anyway that day we also had a district meeting, and I didn't feel like doing an official "grito" inside the church would be an appropriate activity, so I brought a bag of tree peppers. If you don't know what those are, the make Jalapenos look like child's play. And so we had a competition. Who could eat more peppers without drinking anything. I took a video cause it was hilarious. But it's way to big to send so that'll have to wait for a year.
So right after the district meeting we went to go eat with a member. And guess what. OCTOPUS SOUP ROUND 2!!!!!!!! Except this time, better! This time, it featured (fijense bien, eh) OCTOPUS, MANTA RAY (which is actually super good), SQUID, and the best part *drumroll* SEA SNAIL!!!! It wasn't that bad at first, I recognized the octopus and the manta ray cause I've eaten it before and I just thought the chunks of squid and snail were just weirdly shaped chunks of normal fish. So I dumped a bunch of hot sauce into the soup and squeezed about 5 lemons into it, and then my companion decides to ask, "and what's the soup made of?" At this point I had no idea how to say "snail" in spanish, so when she said it, I had no idea what it was. When the sister left the room I leaned to my companion and whispered, "what does [caracol] mean?" and he starts thinking and says, "you know Gary, from Spongebob? Yeah you're eating that." WHAAAT UGHHHH EW PUKE. I almost didn't finish the bowl. And when she asked if I wanted more I faked a stomachache. I'm such a bad person but seriously. Who does that to a person. Feed them snail. We are gonna eat with her again tomorrow, pray for me please.
And then that night was the Noche Mexicana in the ward. I was so pumped. This is the only Mexican Independence day that I get to experience in the mission. And guess what. The call came at 5:00 that we had to be home by 6:00 for security. NOOOOO.
Another cool thing this week. We started passing out the official invitations for the temple open house. They gave us as a companionship 600 invitations. We set the goal to give all of them away in two weeks. Game on.
Other than that, nothing super exciting happened this week. It rained a little bit, and yeah.
Well BYU put up a fight, hopefully this doesn't drop em too far down. They'll pick it up again I'm sure of it. Now let's go take the Big House by storm woo!
Los quiero mucho,
Elder Rawlings

Sunday, September 20, 2015

"Tolerance is the mask of sin"

Tijuana Temple in the distance
Dear All,
So transfers came yesterday, and I totally didn't get changed. WOO! I actually am really having fun, even though this area is a bit harder than the ones I've had recently. Training is much better the second time around, and now that I know how to make my companion talk, it's been going a lot better. Also we got to watch the Mexico City Temple Rededication yesterday, so that was pretty cool. Pretty much just pumped me up for the Tijuana Temple, which is gonna be even more special and not that far away. They told us that the goal for non-members coming to the openhouse is around 100,000. The goal for baptisms in the following months are 800 per month. IT IS GONNA BE SO FUN. 
Usually I don't like doing this, but I feel like I should tell you guys a little bit about the investigators that we've found here. We have a couple families that we are teaching. One is the husband of a less active lady who wants to get sealed in the temple. So yeah thats kind of a solid goal to work with right? But they aren't married. They're working on it, so probably this coming month we are going to have a wedding in the morning and baptism in the afternoon. WOO.
Another family we are teaching are super cool. We saw them from super far away and they were walking away from us but we both felt like we needed to talk to them, so we basically chased them down and talked to them. When we contacted them, the husband didn't want anything to do with it, but his wife did. So we showed up at their house, and the husband was like "oh well might as well support my wife" but now the dude is reading the Book of Mormon, he loves the church, he's a stud. The other day we took another family with us to go visit them, and he was like "Man, I want a family like this one. What do I have to do to do it?" It was pretty legit.
Other than that this week was pretty normal. We spend the vast majority of our time street contacting. Just because when we got here the senior companion before us was in his last transfer, so he didn't exactly work that hard to find any investigators. We literally started from 0. But it's ok. It's all about learning. The ward is pretty cool. There are definitely those who want to work and those who don't, but those who do, work super hard. It's pretty cool. 
Fun Fact for you guys: Cinco de Mayo is not actually the Mexican independence day. It's tomorrow. But the best part is that most people work tomorrow and have the next day off. My companion said it's so that they can sleep of their hangovers HAHA this country I love it.
I got called the f word the other day too, in english, that was weird. I hadn't heard that word in a very long time. It kinda surprised me how offended I was by it, when in High School it was a word that I heard every day, many times over. I was thinking about a talk I heard a long time ago about how "Tolerance is the mask of sin". It's true. We become numb to such things; we start to think they don't matter or that it's not a huge deal, but it really is. Like Christ himself said, "it's not what goes into the body, but that which comes forth that corrupts it" (Something like that I'm not sure I'm trying to translate). 
Speaking of the Bible someone gave me a bible. It's super legit too. Its hardcover, red, and the King James version in English. So that's def something I'm gonna bring home with me.
In other news, GO COUGARS! Of course, the year I can't see they decide to be the miracle comeback team. I just hope you guys are recording the games and never delete them so I can come relive everything. Haha but seriously.
Como dijo el Elder Jeffrey R. Holland ayer, "Dios vive, la iglesia es verdadera, el evangelio es poderoso, y les amo con todo mi corazon."
Los quiero muco,
Elder Rawlings

PS here's a pic of the temple (top of page)  and of the giant Christ 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

One year down

Jenson's Zone

Dear All,
This past week I passed my year mark!!! WHAAT. 
Other than that it was a pretty good week. One morning during companionship study we heard a knock at the door and when we opened it it was none other than a couple of friendly JW (Jehovah Witnesses). What a great way to start the day. Usually they don't knock our door cause they know that the "Big Scary Mormons" live there but I guess this one thought she was brave. And I was kind of in a bad mood. So nicely, I told her that would accept whatever she gave me as long as she took some of our stuff. I don't think she liked that, and so she started asking questions about our church intended to trip us up, like why we only preach for two years instead of our whole lives like them. Let's just say that the promises of the scriptures are super real "and ye shall not be confounded before men". I won. Every single time. The church is true.
Anyway that day I was already in a bad mood and that just made it worse so I took it upon myself to work harder than I ever have ever. We contacted 33 people that day. It was pretty legit and I felt pretty good after.
Another fun story: I ate some of the weirdest stuff this week. Backstory: Every time anyone sells seafood here they always have giant, whole octopi for sale. But I've never seen anyone buy one ever. And then on Tuesday guess what I ate. Octopus soup. WHAAAAAAT. The worst part was once I put a tentacle in my mouth and I kid you not the sucker stuck to my tongue. Like the physical sucker on the tentacle attatched to my tongue. That was weird. I have never experienced anything like that before. Not highly recommended.
I really don't know a whole lot more that happened this week, this area isn't that exciting besides lots of high people that talk to us in the street and lots of pregnant teenagers.
That's pretty cool that we got the ward split, like obviously it stinks that you aren't gonna see some people as much but whatever you all still live super close its not like its the end of the world. The Lord is hastening his work in the whole world. Be a part of it.
I just want you guys to know how much I love this Gospel. The changes it makes in people, starting with oneself, are amazing. The doctrine is perfect. It is full of joy and hope and love and happiness, and it's for everyone. The invitation is there, you just gotta accept it.
Los quiero mucho,

Elder Rawlings

Monday, September 7, 2015

Teaching the Lord's Way

Dear All,
This was a pretty solid week. We had Elder Piper, from the Seventy and part of the Mexico area Presidency, come visit. It was way awesome. He taught us how to teach "The Lord's Way". It was way powerful and the few times we had a chance to put it in practice it was way dope. It was all based on two talks from the New Mission President's Seminar in 2014, from Elder Bednar and Elder Nelson. About "Teaching the Lord's Way" and "See the End from the Beginning". Way cool and definitely some serious revelation.
We also had stake conference this week, which meant that we had about 3 real days to work. So that hurt some numbers, but it all turned out good cause WE HAD A BAPTISM! We baptized one of the kids of a less-active family. It was kinda cool cause he wasn't going to be home on Saturday, because of a family activity, and didn't tell us until Friday, and so we had to do an emergency shift and have the baptismal service on Sunday before the Conference. So we were at the church at about 6:30 filling the font. Which was weird.
So in order to fill the font here you first have to make sure the drain is closed. The valve for the drain is found in a hole outside about 6 feet below ground level. And we had no idea how to close it. So we grabbed a broom handle, and then we took turns leaning into the hole and holding the one leaning into the whole, and whacking the heck out of this little knob, trying to get it to turn. Not exactly effective. But it worked finally, and so never fear the water was able to stay in the font. But then we realized the water heater was broken. Actually no it wasn't broken that's a lie. When we went to go check it I thought it was turned off and so I started pushing buttons and by the time we realized it had already been on, it was off and did not want to change it's state of being. So the water was rather refreshing. Let's just say when this kid was getting down into the water he let out a little squeak and when I put him under he started to yell. And when he was coming out he was shivering and gasping. Whoops haha at least he's gonna remember the day.
But yeah this week was pretty normal other than that. We had and amazing "I'll share this one AFTER the mission so that Mom thinks I'm safe" experience, but like the title says, you'll have to wait a year ;)
I think it's way cool the ward is getting divided. Lots of new opportunities for lots of new people. When I tell people how big the ward was, how many were in Seminary with me, how many Preists there were, they just kind of freak out. It's unreal how blessed we are.
Also, if I'm not mistaken, college football kicked off this week. Maybe I'm wrong but either way a general update would be dope. Maybe you can get McKay to do it.
You guys are way cool. Keep being as good as you can be and remember, if the prophets in ancient times could be here today, they would go crazy for being so happy. We need to apreciate these time, resources, and chances we have to share the Gospel and hasten the work. We've seen amazing increases in these past years but here comes the question: Will we (you) keep up the pace?
Los quiero mucho,
Elder Rawlings

PS I got to see Elder Vega the other day. That was way cool. He's going home in two weeks so it was good that I got the little chance to say goodbye. He's a solid dude. And I'm gonna get pictures of the Temple and the giant Christ this week so you can see what's up.