Sunday, June 26, 2016

Power of the priesthood

Dear All,
Welp. Less than two months left. How freaking weird is that. I went on exchanges with guy who is going towards his first year, and I told him that the last big song that came out before I went into the MTC was one called "Shake it off" by Taylor Swift and he was floored. "That was sooooo long ago!" he says and I'm like "well yeah like two years more or less" and it was crazy.
But yeah this week was pretty good. Lots of spiritual experiences again. We also had a baptism, which was nice, it's been a while since I've been able to say that. But yeah it was pretty cool, I'll throw some pics on there later. She is a reference from a family in the ward where we almost always go on Mondays to do FHEs and she started coming all of the sudden but she didn't really show any interest and then one day she called us aside and she was like "Hey I want you to teach me cause I need to find a church." And it was like ok well that's what we are here for. But then she straight up disappeared. We had no idea where she was for like a month. And then we went to that family's house and boom there she was. We taught lesson 1 super quick, set a baptismal date, and 5 weeks later (the minimum here in this misison) she got baptized. It was way cool. Super chosen, and going to be a super good member for the rest of her life.
Also before I forget, HAPPY FATHERS DAY TO ALL YOU DADS OUT THERE, especially MY dad. Here in Tijuana they started the celebration Saturday night, cause the Mexican national team played against Chile in the Copa America, and that means that they started drinking at like 5pm and then Chile started winning and they started drinking more and then the game ended 7-0 Chile, which if it were a football score would be like 70-0. Embarassing. And my comp loves soccer and when he heard he almost cried it was super funny but the point is people were all super drunk on Saturday night, and then they woke up on Father's day hung over, and how do you get rid of a hangover? Drink more!! There are so many bottles and cans in the streets and in the trash cans and in the gutters it is ridiculous. These people need the Gospel.
But yeah there was a ward party, of course, complete with live music (in the chapel), and all kinds of fried Mexican goodness. Honestly Mexican ward parties put US ward parties to shame. They're way fun.
But we had a pretty cool moment during the party cause the sisters in our ward brought and investigator, and out of no where the dude just started crying. The sisters came over and asked us if we could give him a blessing. So we all went into an empty room and the guy started to tell us all about his life, and man was it rough. He told us he was crying because he was having a hard week, with sickness and disability and stuff and to see all those people happy and dancing and with their family was just too much for him. We gave him a blessing and taught a little lesson but it was just so special, in spite of the music and the noise and the whole environment in general, there was like a little pocket of the spirit right there. I started to think about that moment a lot this week. I feel like it was kind of a model that I want to have for my life. In spite of all the things that are out there in the world, even though they might be good things, there has to be at least a little pocket, or a little place, or a little time where we can feel the Spirit and get closer to our Heavenly Father. With that little space as our foundation, everything else falls into place better. After the lesson we took the guy back out to the party, and the ward mission leader introdcued him to another guy in the ward, who took the man by the arm, sat him down, went and got him food, and spent the rest of the night talking, joking with, and conforting him. It was really special and a true testimony of the power of the Preisthood and the need we have to use it worthily in every moment.
So yeah. Lots of stuff still to learn. But poco a poco vamos mejorando.
Los quiero mucho,

Elder Rawlings

Sunday, June 19, 2016

First earthquake

Dear all,
This week was a good week. We didn't get to knock down any houses, but it was still fun and full of good work. There was also an earthquake here, and I have always wanted to feel an earthquake, but guess who has two thumbs and was fast asleep at the time. This guy. It was like 3am or so and supposedly my companion woke up and felt the ground moving, but just thought, "Holy crap I am REALLY tired" and went back to sleep. In the morning he told me about it and I was like haha weirdo. But then we go outside and everyone was like "Woah hey did you guys feel the earthquake too?" and my companion was like "told you I'm not crazy".
But yeah as I think about this week, a few things come to my mind. One was going on divisions with a member of the bishopric who is kind of new here and not exactly the friendliest guy but we are working on winning him over so we went on exchanges with him, and while he and my comp were in a lesson, some guy crashed into his parked car. Actually it's not his car, its the church's cause he works for the church. And its not just any car its a 2015 Corolla with all the bells and whistles you could ever want. So that kinda ruined the lesson a little bit but apparently it's all good, he's gonna do divisions again today with us so we shall see how that goes.
We were also part of another miracle entrance into the hospital, I think I told you guys what happened the first time we went a couple months ago. But this time we went to give a blessing to some sister's investigator, cause they had sent the Elder's quorum president, the bishop, the ward mission leader, everyone, and no one had actually gone yet. So they called in the big guns (haha not really my comp and I are both really short) and told us to go. So we get there, and there is a door in front that has a security guard. We already know how to get past him, we just walk in looking like we know what we are doing and he doesn't say anything. But then there is another door like 100 feet farther down the hall. And that door is a lot smaller and there is guard covering half of it. So we try the same tactic, and boom, "where do you think you're going?" um to go give a blessing and excercise God's power here on earth why? "you need a pass" um ok the guy has it upstairs and he cant' come down cause ya know if he could he wouldn't be in the hospital "ok then call him from your phone and let me talk to him" deal. So we call and the dude doesn't answer. We call the sisters and tell them to call and he doesn't answer them either. The guard said "come back when you have a pass or a direct family member and I'll let you in" and we said ok fine.
So we walk out of the hospital, somewhat defeated, and all of the sudden a man holding a small dog approaches us. He says hi, and then he walks away. Meanwhile, I'm calling the sisters to tell them that we couldn't get in after all. Bummer. But then the guy with the dog comes back and says "Hey do you guys need to get into the hospital?" and we say yes but we don't have a pass and he says "don't worry my nephew works here and he's friends with security gimme a sec and I'll let you in." So he makes a call, passes the phone to a guard, and shazam we are in. It was way freaking cool. Turns out the dude is a recent convert from another stake, and he is just an awesome person. I could have given him a huge hug but he disappeared when we went into the hospital. The blessing we gave was super special as well, cause my comp forgot his oil and so I pulled out mine and when I looked inside it looked like it was empty but I tried getting a drop out anyway while offering a short prayer, "Padre, haz que haya aceite por favor" and boom there comes a little drop of oil. It was super special and I def cried a little.So yeah those are the highlights of the week, among others that I'll tell you about next week. The church is true and Christ lives.
Los quiero mucho
,Elder Rawlings

Monday, June 13, 2016

quick email

Dear All,
This week we knocked down a house, and I shattered a sliding glass door by running into it thinking it was open. It was a great week. I don't have any time right now, but I love you guys and hope you are all super well. 
Congrats on graduating, Allie, and have fun at camp this week, Mom.
The church is true.

Los quiero mucho,

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A week of service

Dear All,
This week was nuts. So many meetings, exchanges, service projects (that weren't) and other things made it so that thursday was the only day we worked in our area before 1pm. It was pretty fun.
Things have been going good here, my companion and I have been getting along pretty well, he's learning lots of stuff as a new ZL, but it's kinda cool cause it's like I'm training again but not really cause he knows what he's doing. We should have lots of success.
So with these transfers, half the zone here is new, and so we decided to get all together on Tuesday after the District Meeting and do ice breaker games, and it was so chill. We played "Jamás he hecho" (Never have I ever) and a game we kind of invented called "Gigante, Mago, Elfo" (Giant, Wizard, Elf) which is like rock paper scissors, but instead of rock its giant and instead of paper its wizard and instead of scissors it's elf. The idea is that two people stand in front of each other and on the count of three, the act like one of the three characters. To be a giant they get up on their tip toes and growl and wave their arms around, to be a wizard they hunch their shoulders and wave their wand, and to be an elf they crouch down and put their hands behind their ears and screech like an elf. Giants squash elfs, wizards cast spells on giants, and elves outsmart wizards. IT WAS SO FUNNY. I don't think I've laughed so hard on the mission. It was way cool and I think we all got way closer even though it was the first time we had gotten to see each other.
We also had some cool stuff happen this week. On friday, my comp went back to his old are to baptize an investigator that asked him to baptize her, so we were trying to find people to help us do divisions, but everyone cancelled. So at the last minute we went to the chapel, and there was a guy from another ward just hanging out there. So we asked him and he said yes. That was chill of him. And so Miguel and I stayed in the area, knocking doors and working on clearing out ward lists. All of the sudden he turns to me and asked if I remembered someone named Sofia. I said no, I didn't know anyone in this area with that name. He said he knew who she was and that we needed to visit her. So we went, and turns out she was home. And her family. At first it was just Sofia, her daughter, and her two grandkids. But then she told us about a few other people who lived there, and then even more peoples showed up. It's a giant family. And they are super cool and ready for this gospel. I love Miguel.
Speaking of big families there is a part member family here with 10 kids from the ages of 17 to 2. And when we go teach, we all cram into a room about 10'x10'. It is insane, especially cause all of the sudden there's a dog and a cat that come join us too. And when Miguel comes with  us, there are literally 17 living creatures in that tiny room. It is very unusual but its cool cause its something new that I've never had to deal with before.
Well yeah. Things are great here in Mexico. This morning I passed numbers to the AP and he was like "Hey que se siente que le faltan 11 semanas?" And I said "Cállese que a usted le faltan 5" haha I hadn't thought about it like that until today dangit.
Los quiero mucho!

Elder Rawlings