Sunday, February 28, 2016

A pretty great week

Dear All,
Another week come and gone. This week was pretty normal. Kinda sad, but pretty normal. The sad part is that Lucila, the Jehovah's Witness that got baptized a couple months ago moved to San Fransisco, which is sad now cause we won't be able to visit her any more, but kinda cool cause San Fran is not that far (I think) from BYU, so seeing her post-mish won't be too hard. SO that's kinda cool. But yeah it was a sad goodbye.
Other than that it was a fairly normal week. My companion and I decided to find a new way to get closer to our zone, so we wrote each of them a letter. That was a pretty cool experience. I remember a note that one of my zone leaders left me when he came to my area on exchanges, and I still have it stuck in my scriptures. I hope the letters helped these guys to get pumped up and work with all their heart, might, mind, and strength. It certainly helped me just writing them.
This week we found an investigator who is literally the most prepared person I have ever met in my life. We knocked on her door, and she let us come in for 15 minutes and say a prayer with her and read some scriptures. She told us that she had been going from church to church and that she really hasn't found the "truth" yet. So that was like "WOW" and then when we taught her the Restoration she loved it and then when we taught her "Keep the Sabbath Day Holy" she decided not to work on Sunday right then and there. SO that was like "WOWOW" (double wow). She is way cool. The bad part is that I might get transferred next week and so I might not be able to see her get baptized. Oh well. This isn't my work.
I went on exchanges this week, and we had a pretty freaking cool experience. So we found these tall apartment building (I was in the other area, not mine) and we decided to go knock a few hundred doors. But when we got closer, we saw that all of the buildings were closed. There was no public access. So we started walking around, looking for a building that was open, and we ended up in front of one that was closed. However, one Elder pulled out a list of referrals that he printed off, and found a name and address that corresponded to THAT EXACT BUILDING. Without knowing it, we had gotten to the place we needed to get. So we waited outside for about 30 seconds until someone came out of the building, and then we grabbed the door and went inside. After not finding the reference we were looking for, we started knocking every single door from the top floor down. After a few...sketchy, experiences, we knocked a door and we hear a woman's voice "Voy!" (english equivalent of "I'm coming") and so we were like wow finally. A large, hairy, american dude named Jeff answered the door. Wearing nothing but some too short too tight gym shorts. We started talking to him in English, and then he introduced us to his wife. Here comes the cool part.
So like two days before, other missionaries had contacted a lady in a taxi who basically told them her whole life story and then told them that they could for sure go and teach her and her family, but she only gave them her phone number. So these guys had called the phone number, but the person who answered didn't give them their address. So they were like "aw dang, well that sucks" and had pretty much lost hope of finding this person. Guess who the dude's wife was. Yep. The very lady that they had been trying to find. It was pretty cool. 
Just so that you know we only ate lasagna 2 times this week, it was almost 3 but the family that was going to feed us one day called and asked what we wanted and I said "anything but lasagna please" and the brother was like "oh good thing you say that cause we were gonna make lasagna." Close call.
CONGRATS ALLIE!! You're gonna have a blast. Keep strong these last couple months, it'll all be all right.
Los quiero mucho,

Elder Rawlings

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Zone Conference Training

Selfie in front of the the Tijuana Temple
Dear All,
When I put that date in the subject line it hit me that we are freaking in 2016. Oops. Also 6 months from today will be my last day in the mission. Double oops. Where did the time go.
But yeah this week was pretty cool. We had our Zone Conference, and my companion and I decided to do something different than all the other trainings we give. So we called President Garcia and asked him to be an investigator for an extended practice that we did. It was probably the funnest training I have given. President Garcia is awesome. He kept telling us that he worked gathering soda cans on the roadsides (which is actually quite viable in this p├árt of Tijuana), but the at the end we simulated a phone call to see how the investigator was doing with his Book of Mormon reading, and he answers the phone "Good afternoon, Happy Dog´s Meat Market" which is funny cause here in Tijuana it´s famous for meat shops to secretly sell dog meat. So we all about died. It was all in all a very fun day.
We had a ward FHE, which was going to be really cool, and it was, but when we got to the activity, we were going to play that game where you hang donuts on a string and you have to eat them without hands, but then we realized that there was no place to hang donuts, so we just gave them out. Woo party! 
Other than that, we spent all day today with a family that my companion knew from Mexicali, so I got up to speed on all that is going on there with Nacionalista and everything. So that was pretty cool. 
Speaking of that, remember how last week was Hamburger week? This week was Chinese food week. We ate chinese food on Thursday, Sunday (long story) and today. I'm pretty done with it for a little while. And to make it worse, we spoke in Sacrament meeting on Sunday and the my companion thought it would be funny to, jokingly, tell all of the ward that they should give us lasagna. I swear if we eat lasagna all week this week... Not that I don't like lasagna, but every day? Ehhh.
But yeah this week was really  not that exciting. I tried to be more loving when I contacted and taught and stuff and it was kinda cool how people reacted better. We also made it a point to, instead of introducing ourselves as "Missionaries", we introduced ourselves as "Reprentatives of Jesus Christ" because pretty much every church has missionaries, but we are the only ones who are authorized and comissioned by Him. So that was cool. That took us to a lesson we had where a lady told us that she had been born and baptized catholic, but then she switched to Jehovah's Witness, and then Christian, and now she didn't know what she was. When we taught her the Restoration, she was like "holy cow this is literally what I have been looking for ALL my life. It's so simple to see now." It was almost as if she was an actress paid to be perfect. But yeah. We left that lesson smiling.
I only have 6 months left. What the heck. I can't say I feel like I just got here, but I can definitely say that I don't feel "old" in the mission. It's weird seeing new missionaries and being like "who the heck are you when did you get here" and it's weird thinking of them seeing me as like a seasoned veteran who knows it all. But yeah that's just how it goes.
Hope you guys are all doing well, read you scriptures every day, pray always, and keep the sabbath day holy 100%.
Los quiero mucho!
Elder Rawlings

PS no hahahahahaha "armas" means weapons but it is also a last name. What she said really translates to this: "Hi I am someone who knows about you guys through the Gamboa Armas family from Tijuana" HAHAHA google translate don't worry I'm definitely not involved in weapons deals hahahaha

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Blessings of sacrifice

Elder Alegria (Jenson's former  companion) posted this picture on his Facebook page after he returned home from his mission a couple of weeks ago

Dear All,
First off, congrats to Sadie and McKay for having great seasons in basketball and getting one year older. Congrats to Payton Manning, going out with a win. And congrats anyone else who needs it haha.
This week was pretty funny. This area might be the most fun I've had so far. There's just so many crazy people and dug addicts and its just a weird combination. Lots of deported dudes too so I get to practice my English quite a bit.
But anyway the family that we found last week knocking doors is probably one of the funniest experiences I'm going to have on the mission. I don't even know the words to describe them. Their life is a ridiculous story full of conflict, high-level drug deals, murder, everything this city has to offer. I'll make a movie about it one day. It'll get an oscar.
But anyway the family consists of a lady who is 52 years old and about 3 times my size. And her mom. They are HILARIOUS but its not like they try to be. For example. The other day the daughter burned her finger on the stove, and then proceeded the next 10 minutes to lick her finger as if it were a lollipop trying to make it feel better. Or the mom one time answered the door and on her shirt there were a few beans that had fallen off her spoon and found a resting place there. A few minutes later she went to scratch and wow hey look some beans and to my surprise (not really) popped those suckers right into her mouth and started to chew. About died.
But the best part is this. We show up at their house on Friday, and the daughter answers the door. We ask her how she's been, and she says sad. We ask why, and she says, "well, my mom had a heart attack yesterday." Woah. I was speechless. But then she kept talking. Good news, mom was still alive, she was in the hospital all night, but when she woke up the first thing she remembered was that we had appointment to visit them that day. So she convinced the nurse to let her go home so that she could make the appointment. Wow. That was pretty cool. They went to church on Sunday and that was also a pretty solid experience. 
But yeah. We invited a few people to repent, some quite directly and strongly, and overall it was a pretty special week. Lots and lots and lots of trials of patience, not with my companion or anything, just with appointments falling through, lots of rejection, the usual. But yeah this is a good time of year. 
I don't really know what else to write about, except for an experience I had about 2 weeks ago that I forgot to tell you about.
So we were having a terrible day. It was one of those days where you plan the night before and see appointments every hour on the hour and with people that have lots of potencial, and then you wake up and there's a message cancelling one appointment, then a call cancelling the other, and then the rest just aren't home so you knock hundreds of doors and not one lets you in and your feet hurt and everything and yeah. One of those days. We all have them. So at the end of the day we had about 2 lessons (our daily average is between 5-8) and tons of contacts and doors and not a whole lot of success. So I was like "alright finally it's 8:50 let's go home" and we passed some hot dogs and I wanted a hot dog. So we go buy hot dogs, and when I went to pay, the guy next to me was like "hey man don't worry about it it's on me." I was like wow. "hey dude are you a member?" and he said "Nah, I'm catholic, but my wife and I always see you guys walking and we think it's really cool that you guys make all these sacrifices and stuff just to preach the Good Word. We felt like we needed to buy these for you guys. Thanks for all you do." And it was like wow. That's what I needed to hear. It was really cool. Moral of the story: I'm gonna go buy hot dogs every night before going home haha.
Hope you are all doing great, love you lots and don't forget to read the scriptures every day.
Los quiero mucho,

Elder Rawlings

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Work is moving along

Here's a pic of the Tlayuda

Dear All,
All in all, not a bad week. It was pretty solid food wise. I ate hamburgers Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday, so that was good at first but increasingly bad. I feel like the Lord sometimes answers my prayers TOO well, cause on Monday my companion told me to pick what we were gonna eat, and I said I really wanted hamburgers. So that turned out well.
BUT THEN TODAY GUESS WHAT I ATE. So my companion is from Oaxaca, and there is a Oaxacan food restaurant here in our area. So we went. I ate something called a Tlayuda (Tlayooduh), with Tasajo (tasaho) and chapulines (you can look up what chapulines are on google) and I drank tejate (tayhatay). It was waaay good. Tlayudas are like giant, giant quesadillas with cheese, meat, lettuce, and beans, and in this case chapulines, which btw are super good. It was probably the most expensive meal I have paid for here on the mission, about $10 haha. But so worth it. Way good.
But yeah this week was pretty good. We were knocking doors one day, and we entered into a little apartment complex (just so you know, this area has a ton of those, and some of them are super hidden, like on top of warehouses and factories and stuff and the fun part is trying how to figure out how to get up there.) So anyway we were knocking doors and we hear coming from one of the doors a couple yelling at each other. Really loudly, and with lots of swear words. Jokingly, I said to my companion, "That familly needs the gospel." Next thing I knew we were knocking their door. Funny how that works out. But anyways the lady that came out was pretty friendly, she told us to please come back, and so we set an appointment and yeah. When we get there, we find out that the family was super, super chosen. They accepted everything, super fast and super commitedly (I don't know if that's a word). But anyways it was super cool. We left and my companion was like "Dude, they really did need the Gospel." So that was kinda cool.
The miracle neice from last week has been going great, she already recieved an answer that the Book of Mormon is true, everything good there. 
Also I should probably fill you in on Lucila, the little old lady who used to be a JW. She's probably the best person in this world. One time we went to visit her, and her daughter and granddaughter were there. Long story short both her daughter (about 40 years old) and her grandaughter (19) think I'm cute. And so Lucila keeps asking me if I think her grandaughter is cute. She told me the other day that she wants us to get married. But that's not even the best part, the other day she was talking about her and BOOM in walks granddaughter. That was about the most awkward moment of my life. But don't worry I'm focused and we always tell Lucila we can't think about things like that right now. But she's rather old and quite forgetful, so it doesn't help much. But yeah she's awesome.
During this week all of the sudden our area got super dangerous, but don't worry those stories are for after the mission ;). I'm safe and that's what counts, right?
I hope you guys are all doing well, good luck in the playoffs McKay and Sadie and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Los quiero mucho,
Elder Rawlings