Sunday, December 27, 2015

Temple Dedication Blessings

Dear All,
This might be the shortest email so far, but here goes.

I'm good.

We are teaching a man who speaks almost no spanish. It's different, but when he gets baptized he will be my favorite convert. I'll tell you more about his story when I have more time.

This was a good week, this city is still quite sinful, and the temple and the dedication have sparked some pretty dope stories. My personal favorite so far, shared in a sacrament meeting in my stake:

A lady who lives near the temple wakes up at around 3 or 4 every morning because she has to cross the border to go to work. And she asked one of her member friends if there was some kind of devotional in the temple at that hour because she always passes by and hears a choir singing. Obviously, there is no one in the temple at that time. Holy cow.

May the force be with you all. (A young man "accidentally" put the star wars trailer on YouTube while we ate at his house. It looks pretty freaking awesome.)

Los quiero mucho!
Elder Rawlings

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Tijuana Temple Dedication

Temple Dedication Cultural Celebration
Dear All,
If only there was a 13th month. Then there could be 13/14/15. That'd be cool.
Anyway this week was pretty dope, with the dedication and the cultural event and stuff. Solid. We didn't get to see any of the General Authorities from any closer than across the stadium, but it was still cool.
So yeah this week. Started normal, with a FHE with a recent convert family, which of course has to have an activity. We played a game called "Gallina ciega" (blind hen) which about killed me (from laughing so hard). My companion put a blindfold on, and then had to grab all of the little kids (approx. 11 plus me) HAHAHA I died. It was so funny. SO funny. I took a video but it won't fit in an email so I'll show you guys when I get home but dang. It's good.
Then the rest of the week was pretty normal, until Friday. We had our Mission Christmas Party. It was pretty chill. A brief training, and the we just watched slideshows about cool Mormon stuff like ruins here in Mexico and stuff like that. And then we played "Team Building Games" but it started to rain so that ended fast. Then we ate, and then we had a tie exchange.
So in tie exchanges, you are expected to bring a pretty decent tie, hoping that the others also bring nice ties and you leave with something better. That's how it should be. But I got to switch with the only Senior missionary here. And the tie he gave me was just awful. First off, it's ugly. Second, and worse, there was a mashed potato stain on it. And it was fresh, like right from the mashed potatoes we had just eaten. AND THEN, he takes a clothespin out of his pocket and pins it onto the tie, saying, :"Look I even got you a tie holder too!" So I faked a smile, said thanks, and sat down. My companion, along with everyone else, was on the edge of laughing so hard they fell over. It was pretty funny, but I gave away this beautiful silver tie and got that piece of junk in return. Oh well. I guess that's what charity is right?
Then Saturday was the cultural event. Honestly, leading up to it, we had seen a few of the practices, and it's not like we didn't have faith, but it kinda seemed like a hail mary from their own 1 yard line. It's gonna take Tanner Mangum and miracle to get something good. But we went anyway, adn when we got there, they offered all the missionaries the food that they bought for the youth that left over. I had some pretty tasty chicken and a roll and salad, but we'll talk about that later.
Then it started. First off, there were A TON of kids. More than I thought. It was pretty cool. And then they started dancing, and it turned out super dope. What they did was have each stake practice a little part of each dance, and then they each had their own little part of the field. So instead of there being like 10 different acts, one for each stake, there was like 4 or 5, and it looked pretty cool. The Russian dance stole the show; by far the best, but then at the end they used white sheets and some decorations to make a mini temple in the middle of the field, and then all the kids ran through it with their costumes. The coolest part was that while they were inside the temple, they all got these giant white T shirts and put them on so they ran in with their costume and came out dressed all in white. Way cool.
That night, I had my first real case of Montezuma's revenge. I pretty much slept in the bathroom. That chicken came back, and came back hard. And then on Sunday morning I found out that all of us that ate the chicken had the same thing. By the grace of Peptol Bismol was I able to sit through the dedication.
Speaking of the dedication, it was amazing. The talks were way cool. Elder Oaks talked about how one of the things we do in the temple is take upon us the name of Jesus Christ. Then he mentioned the part in Jesus the Christ where Talmage mentions that the names of the Gods represent their power. Therefore, as we take upon ourselves His name, we obtain the right to His power, which is pretty cool. In the dedicatory prayer, Elder Uchtdorf blessed this city so that the process of conversion would be hastened and that the message of the resoration could be preached with more power, which we as missionaries loved. It was just an amazing experience. This whole week. Awesome.
If you want to see the cultural event in its fulness, go to and it's righ at the front. Click on "eventos de la dedicacion del templo de tijuana" and the first thing that comes up is the cultural event. 
Los quiero mucho!

Elder Rawlings

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Quick email this week

Dear All,
Another week gone. Transfers came, and we stayed the same. Found out some people I taught in Lago finally got baptized, and that Elder Priego is going to train this transfer. So that's cool.
But yeah this week was pretty normal, I set a new personal record for lessons in a week, and we had a few investigators in church on Sunday. So yeah. All in all, good week.
I don't have a whole lot of time cause the whole freaking zone got changed and people didn't find rides and stuff and so guess who has to do all that stuff, but I'll write what I can.
About and hour ago, a very gay man cut my hair. It was not my intention to have him cut my hair, but we walked into his haircutting place and he asked us which one of us was going to cut our hair. And my loving companion, I know he would give his life for me, but this is a different story, goes "He wants to go first!" and pointed at me. Yep. That was awkward, but the dude (dudet?) knows how to cut hair. I look good haha.
Other than that, nothing too great happened. President Garcia came with us to a couple lessons, and so that was dope.
But yeah. That's my week in a super small nutshell. Hope you guys are all good and enjoying the Christmas Spirit. The devotional last night was awesome; if you haven't seen it, go look it up. Good stuff. I liked that there were more speakers with less time each. Elder Bednar's talk was sick.
Los quiero mucho!

Elder Rawlings

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Thanksgiving in the mission field

At the Tijuana Temple
Dear All,
Pretty solid week. Went to the temple 4 more times, 3 of them with investigators. It. Is. Awesome. We also started teaching some of the references that we've gotten from the open house. One lives in literally the worst part of the city. I would tell you the stuff we've seen, but it would be a sin just to read it. Just suffice it to say that the corner before getting to their house has strip clubs on all 4 corners. Yep.
But yeah there were some pretty cool experiences. We had one reference that we got the first day of the open house, and we had been going to try and find her every single day since we got it, and we never caught her at home. Finally, on Sunday night, we got her, but she said to come back on Monday. We went back, and wasn't home. We decided to leave a note on the door, and usually we just write that we will pass by another day, but this time we felt like we should put that we would come by the next day, at the same time. So we go. And she was there. And it was one of the most powerful lessons of my mission, and it only lasted 15 minutes. When we were leaving, she told us "You guys needed to be here today. At this time. Not yesterday or any other day before. Right now is when I needed you." Wow. Things like that just prove and re-prove to me the truthfulness and power of this calling and this work.
Thanksgiving was a pretty good day; started off giving my first Multi-Zone training. It was pretty cool. I'm pretty used to getting up in front of people and talking so it wasn't too hard. Then we went to go eat with a sister in our ward. Supposedly, we were getting a turkey dinner, but at the last minute there was a change and instead the sister gave us carne asada, probably my favorite. BUT, sadly, we couldn't eat too much. Partly because of an appointment, and party because we had already been invited to eat Thanksgiving dinner with and American guy in another ward. 
Which turned out to be the weirdest Thanksgiving dinner of my life.
So first off, my first day here in this area, we ran into an American guy who told us he was a member of the church, and also a member of a local motorcycle club. He's werid. There's just no other way to say it. He's had a rough life, but he's a strange man.
Turns out, that same man is the one who was going to give us Thanksgiving Dinner. But holy moly did the dude go all out. A giant turkey, 3 types of mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and marshmallows, stuffing, cranberry sauce, cooked carrots, rolls, everything. It was all pretty good, but it wasn't like being at home. And then the dude tells us his whole life story. Turns out he's an ex-NYC Bounty Hunter. And he looks the part. He's probably about 50, gray hair pulled back in a ponytail, beard, flowy white hawaiian type shirt, the works. Nice guy, served us well, and we ate everything. The whole zone was there (except the sisters haha whoops) and we all spoke English. It was funny cause there's a brand new american kid here who is still struggling with the language, and there is another new Mexican kid who doesn't speak any English. So we are all chatting in English, and the new american turns to the new mexican and says, in broken spanish, "How you feel right now is how I feel every single day" haha it was just a weird turn of events.
Sunday was pretty dope, cause we got to go to the temple, just missionaries. They opened it just for us. So President Garcia took us through the temple and gave us lots of time to admire and ponder and pray and it was amazing. And that's when it's still not dedicated. It's gonna be so special, even if we can't go as often as we would like. But yeah. That's all right. 
This really was a good week. We've seen some miracles, and even though it's been super rough lately with baptisms, it's all good. I'm just happy.
Hope you are all getting ready for a great Christmas season, and I hope you are all sharing the heck out of the new video "Nos Ha Nacido un Salvador" (or whatever it's called in English.) If you haven't seen it yet, go check it out. It's good.
Los quiero mucho, 

Elder Rawlings
with the Robles Family