Saturday, December 20, 2014

Mexico Week 42: Feeling Loved

 Today I took Hermana Gonzalez to Cuarto de Kilo because we were starving!! Ha! Ha!  We have plans to take the challenge to eat two and get our pictures on the wall before the end of her training!

Hermana Gonzalez is in the 12-week training program and we have to study on Sundays too.  So after church we hiked it to the primary room and studied in the kid chairs!  #kidsforlife 

On Monday, I said goodbye to Hermana Malacara.  I ran into Hermana Daniel in the bus station! Good times!

I FOUND SANTA!!  Pretty sure he’s the same one from when I was a kid.  I still love him and he reminds me of home!! 

Mom, remember the young women’s songs that you gave me in Spanish? Well I am officially a nerd and with Hermana Malacara sat down and listened with a pen and wrote our all of the words so that I could learn the songs. I LOVED IT! I don’t know all of them yet, but I’m working on them!  I will be singing young women’s songs in Spanish after the mission in the car.

This week Elder Russel M. Nelson and Elder Donald Hallstrom visited our mission! We had a mission conference with our mission and the Mexico Guadalajara Mission. It was AWESOME!!

Before I get to the good stuff, I loved seeing all of the missionaries. I saw Hermana Valdez and wow, so many memories came to my mind and I think we were all a little sensitive and I got a little teared up hugging her. She says ¨Hey your family doesn’t write me anymore. Do they not love me or what??!!¨ I love her tons, send her some love!

I saw Hermana Buttars with her daughter that she’s training.  We shared a few more tears!  My two daughters were talking and Hermana Buttars gets a little teared up and says to Hermana Gonzales, ¨She’s really the best you can get as a mission mom¨.  I saw Hermana Daniel, Hermana Mansfield, and Hermana Taylor and then thought about so many MTC memories. I realized how flippin beautiful my mission has been. I have been so blessed. My experiences mean the world to me and I love how much I’ve grown and how many special people I’ve come to know. Life is good. 

I absolutely loved Elder Hallstrom’s talk. He talked about how special our missions are. He warned us against losing this sacred time. He talked about how in our missions we lay a spiritual foundation for our whole lives. He was pleading with us to come to know the Savior, to love Him, and to be firm in our testimonies now so that we would be prepared for whatever trials come our way in the future. I felt so much love for the Savior. I remember how strong my desire was\is to serve a mission. I felt a very strong need to strengthen my faith and to come to know the Savior better. I want Him to be a bigger part of me. 

Elder Nelson is absolutely precious and can you believe he’s 90 years old? He said something that impacted me so strongly. He said, “I know we don’t talk about marriage with you, even less with you, but assuming one day you’ll get to that point, sisters.  The day your prince charming gets down on his knees and asks you to marry him, you’re going to say NOOOO, unless it’s someone that loves the Lord more than He will ever love you¨.  I realized just how important that was to me. He invited us to think about our mission presidents and their wives. I admire President and Sister Camarillo so much. They are truly a team and they are a team that is committed to the Lord. I thought about my parents. I really do want someone obedient that loves the Lord a whole bunch. I hope I find a good one! 

I just a felt a change the day of the conference. I felt the spirit so strongly and a strong love for the Lord, a strong desire to serve Him and to come to know Him more, to more completely depend on Him. I just want to rock what I have left of my mission and just give it everything I’ve got! The time is going by so fast! 

So as we were walking to church yesterday, we saw a little pitbull puppy, probably 5 or 6 months old and super skinny. She started following us and followed us all the way to church.  She kept entering the chapel and didn’t want to leave! We had to take her out about 10 times and all of the kids were loving it. I think she just felt the love there! Ha! Ha! It broke my heart and I was dying to take her home, but well, that’s not allowed. It’s a good thing I don’t live here because I think I would have a house filled with dogs from the street. 

I am loving my new companion Hermana Gonzalez.  Even though she has only been here a week, she is an incredible missionary!  I think she’s teaching me more than I am teaching her! I just hope I’m putting a good example and teaching her well. About three people have told her, ¨Enjoy your companion, learn everything you can from her because she’s great!  Learn from her and just take advantage from this time¨.  That totally surprised me!  Kind of made me a little nervous too .. I hope I can live up to her expectations.  I struggle sometimes and am just a little hard on myself.  It just felt good to see that people, members and nonmembers, see me as a good missionary. We are going to keep working our tails off! 

Love you all tons! Hey in about a week and a half we’ll be Skyping!

 photo sig_zps85124238.png

Hermano Jose

Hermana Karen and her son were baptized December 6th and Jose was baptized the 12th! Ahh, some seriously special weeks! We had some really special lessons with Hermano Jose this week! One day we taught him about the priesthood and the importance of repentance with his Oscar. Wow, what a lesson! All of the blessings I have received from the priesthood just spilled out and we shared how much we depend on worthy priesthood holders. We talked about how the Lord’s expectations are really high. He commands us to be even as He is, but He’ll help us. We just wanted them both to feel like all of this was possible, they both shared their desires to have the priesthood and to always be worthy of it. On Thursday he had his baptismal interview and passed with flying colors! He even told us that he got a little choked up and before his baptism, it was the strongest he had ever felt the spirit. Our district leader told us how surprised he was in the interview and he tells us ¨He’s just a really good guy.¨

We invited him to share his testimony in his baptismal service, but he says ¨No Hermanas!  It’s because I don’t want to cry in front of so many people.¨ We left him some homework that he wrote his testimony and all that he had felt in these couple weeks. We started his baptismal service in the chapel and his mom and brother gave talks. Hermana Gonzalez and I sang ¨Yo Siento Su Amor¨ with the Paul Cardall track and it was awesome. I felt the Spirit and I really felt what we were singing. Before we started, Hermano Jose was looking a little nervous, but as we passed to the baptismal font we asked him how he was and if was ready and with so much confidence he says, ¨Claro que si Hermanas¨.

His baptism was so pretty and the next day he gives us his written testimony. He talked about being so involved in drinking and smoking and even drugs. He thought he was happy and really living the life. He talked about how he didn’t have the slightest idea of what it meant and how it felt to be full and complete. He talked about the weeks leading up to his baptism and all of the difficult things, the moments he doubted that he wanted to be baptized and realizing that it was all the adversary. He thanked me for sharing my testimony and for always helping and supporting and helping him arrive to his baptism and know that he was doing the right thing. 

After reading all of this I just felt the spirit a ton. This is what it means to be a missionary. The joy is so strong and I don’t think we fully realize what we give to people. I feel so blessed to be able to help these people make and keep sacred covenants. 

 photo sig_zps85124238.png

Mexico Week 41 -- I'm a Mom Again

This past week was filled with experiences!! I don’t have much time but next week I’ll send the pictures. 

First things first!  Four LARGE packages showed up last Friday. Imagine me, Hermana Malacara, and four huge heavy packages on a bus, trying to get on and get off, and then the elders making fun of us for having so many packages. Also, I’m prideful so after they make fun of us, they offer to help!  Well, I tell them no and we are about dying as we make it home. However, our house looks absolutely AWESOME! 

I love that all of the Coke products say Haz Alguien Feliz – Make Someone Happy – right now.  Ahhhh, Coke is great. 

Also I say winner, winner chicken dinner to the Princess Goldfish! Those are sweet!!

I want to tell you guys about our investigator Anabel. She is a mom of five, but with three kids already grown up and two younger ones. We have about a month teaching her but she is precious, she is so special and so sincere. We teach her something and she wants to live it, she wants to change. She was involved pretty heavily with drugs but she has two weeks without using anything! Her prayers are my absolute favorite. She literally talks and just pleads with our Heavenly Father. She wants to understand and she wants to be obedient. She says that we are her angels. We taught her the law of chastity last week (because she is living with someone and not married) and she closes the pamphlet and says well, I think this is the end of our time together. I was a little nervous because I thought she was going to get really mad, but she says I just have a lot of sins. You guys are better off saving someone easier, someone with less mistakes. She felt so hopeless and we testified so firmly of the Atonement and how she can repent. It was an incredible experience for me and it was awesome. We are hoping to see her at church this week! 

Hermano Jose just keeps surprising us! He’ll be getting baptized this weekend!  He doesn’t talk much and he likes to keep things to himself, but little by little, he’s opening up more and sharing how he feels.  He knows the gospel is true, he feels ready to be baptized, and he hasn’t been smoking!  He told us that before he knew that God existed but never that he worried about us individually. He said that in these weeks with us, he feels it. He knows that our Heavenly Father worries about him and cares about him.  His baptism will be so pretty!! 

This week we found a new family by showing them the video, “El es la Dadiva” – He is the Gift. El hermano teared up afterward and told us how much the video made him reflect on his life. He tell us that he is an alcoholic and just wants to leave it completely. He looks at us with tears in his eyes and asks us, “Can you help me?”  Wow, they are so special and we’re excited to keep working with them! 

Now for the transfer news: Hermana Malacara was transferred.  Still in my zone, but no longer my companion. I am training a new missionary. Her name is Hermana Gonzalez and I already love her! She is from the Tampico mission (I can’t remember the actual name of where she lives). Yesterday I was in Cruz del Sur all day in meetings and then meeting our new companions and for this reason I couldn’t write yesterday! But we will be staying here in Tlaquepaque.  Woo! Hoo! She is so animated and excited and really focused.

Yesterday I was reflecting so much about my mission and really my whole life. I saw just how many changes I’ve made and how much I have grown. I have passed through hard things but the Lord has delivered me. My relationship with my Heavenly Father has improved so much. I understand the Atonement better. I am stronger. I understand my purpose as I missionary and I know exactly why I’m here. I just want to be a good example for my new companion because she is going to be an incredible missionary and it’s my job to help mold her. I think we are really going to see some miracles here. I love this gospel, and I love the Lord. Our president told us about 50 times yesterday that the Lord trusts us so much, it’s He that called us. He knows we’re not perfect, but he trusts us. I felt the Spirit so strongly, the strongest I’ve ever felt it in these past few weeks. Our president told the newbies that he looks for trainers that are obedient, that are christlike, and that work hard. I just feel super honored, and I am so excited! 

My mission is passing by a lot faster than I would like! Ahhhh, well I love you guys tons!! Be good! Show the Lord you love Him!

 photo sig_zps85124238.png

Monday, December 1, 2014

Mexico Week 40 -- Tis the Season

Is anybody else super surprised that it’s December?  Where is the time going?!

This week is transfers too.  They tell us on Sunday. Whoa, feels like we just had transfers and they just gave us more time here!!

I hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving and missed me lots and ate lots of turkey for me! Ha! Ha!

We ate with one of our less active members this week and she has a Texas mug in her house. It made me laugh and smile and she let me take a picture!

Also, it looks like we are living in World War 3 here! Leading up the big pretty area with the Christmas tree, pretty much all of the streets are torn up and the kids are always playing in the holes.  Totally looks like a movie scene here!

Hermano Oscar gave the ward Family Home Evening this week on families and knocked it out of the park! His wife made all of the decorating poster boards with the little drawing and quotes from apostles and everybody loved it! His brother, Jose, is also progressing a ton! He’s almost ditched the cigarettes for good and is starting to receive answers to prayers!

We are working with another investigator named Jorge. He is the son of a Hermana that is coming back to church but he big time struggles with alcohol.  He is really sick, but wants to change.  It was pretty interesting having him in church yesterday! We have faith in him and we’re going to keep loving on him!

It’s also officially Christmas!  We are singing the Christmas hymns and the trees are up and the church kicked off the ¨He is the Gift¨ campaign. If you haven’t seen the video, go watch it! Then post it on Facebook and share it with everyone! It’s a video that really touched my heart this week and it keeps touching my heart and well as the hearts of everyone we share it with. Our Father in Heaven loves us so much. It took so much love to give us His son so that we could all find peace, love, life, and hope here. We need to discover this gift and then accept it. We accept it by repenting, by coming to know him, by following Him, and it’s so special. I am eternally grateful to our Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ.

This week I am especially grateful for the sacrament. I am grateful for how it truly can heal us. I am grateful that we have this opportunity weekly. Weekly, we can feel of the love of our Heavenly Father and the power of the atoning sacrifice of His son. We can feel of their patience with us, and start to apply this patience to ourselves too. I love this gospel. I love that our Father in Heaven has high expectations for us. I love that He wants us to be great and strong and that He gave us a Savior to be able to it.

Love y’all tons! Find ways to share the love of the Savior this Christmas!

 photo sig_zps85124238.png

Mexico Week 39 -- Obedience Brings Blessings

This week we lived in buses! Woo! Hoo! Our Zone Leaders called Monday night and said that I was invited to a Leadership Training Tuesday and Wednesday in CRUZ DEL SUR! I loved visiting that church building! But anyways, two days of about 3 hours in buses!  Then today we had to go to the mission offices for our flu shot.  Like I said, we lived in buses!! 

I got to see Hermana Mansfield! Love that kid, she is training a new missionary right now! 
Today I saw my hija! She is training and opening a new area in Michocan...oh sea, bien lejos de aquí!

Happy Thanksgiving!! Please enjoy my list of blessings I made!

Mom, I officially own a hot glue gun in Mexico!  I made thank-you notes for everyone that participated in and went to the baptism. They loved it! 

Members are also starting to give us Christmas it! 

 So to start things off, this week I went to the 2-day Leadership Training.  It was awesome and I learned a TON! Well actually, I felt super overwhelmed and wow, some times I feel like I’m the worst missionary in the whole world!  At the end, we watched this video where all of the apostles talk about the purpose of leadership in the church. Let’s just say, I may have shed a few tears. It was so beautiful what they said. They talked about how so many times we are called and we have no idea what we’re doing, but we learn, and the most important thing is helping others to be true disciples of Christ. I loved this theme, we are just called to learn, love people, and help them grow. I love that the Church is so focused on other people.

We have a new investigator this week and his name is Jorge! He is the son of a less active member that’s coming back to Church.  He struggles so much with being an alcoholic. He always talks about how he sins every day and there’s just no escaping it. He broke my heart last night!  After we got home, I kept thinking to myself, “How many people in the world feel like that? How many people feel like there’s no escaping sin?  That we can’t rise above the things we do wrong? That we can’t leave? Or that we’re trapped?”  I love the peace that the gospel brings. As we learn to trust in Christ, we really can overcome these things, we can repent. 

Okay, this week was one long big story. Monday night, we go to the house of Oscar to see how he’s doing after his baptism. Their house was MAGIC. All four of them were together and laughing and having fun and the Spirit was so strong. His brother, Jose, has changed so much. He was cracking jokes left and right and we shared a really special lesson with them. Sunday after church I felt like we should invite Hermano Jose to listen again. My pride got in the way and I didn’t really want a repeat of the last time, so I didn’t say anything.  Monday, in the lesson, I felt the strongest Spirit that just said ¨Go on already, invite him to be baptized.¨  He accepted a baptismal date so fast and just said, “Yeah, I’m going to prepare and start working.” WOW!!  That same day Hermano Oscar tells us that his wife is going to live with his mom so that she and their son can get baptized. He talked with the bishop and the bishop told him it was okay and everything. We got super excited!! 

Jump to Tuesday ... after we arrived from the leadership training, we went to eat with Hermana Elsa, something felt weird to me, so I asked her if Karen really was going to live there.  She said that a few times during the week she was going to spend the night basically. This is the part where Hermana Rawe gets really nervous, because, really, she doesn’t live there and the bishop can’t give permission. Hermana Karen at FHE is super excited and wants to buy her baptism dress and is praying thanking Heavenly Father for letting her get baptized here. 

Wednesday, Hermana Rawe talks with President Camarillo after the leadership training and affirms what she was already thinking. Wednesday night, we tell Hermano Oscar and he gets super mad. We were teaching about the priesthood and the order of the church, and well ... he just got more and more mad, until he tells us that until his wife can get baptized here, he’s not going to church. This is the part where Hermana Rawe and Hermana Malacara leave their house to get home by curfew and sit on the floor and cry a whole lot, and then prayed a whole lot. Actually, in that moment, I was just thinking about Christ. I was thinking about how if I felt so pained and so sad for one person that was leaving the path ... how does he feel for every single person? I felt so angustiada y just sad, just straight up sad, and it was for one person. I literally can’t imagine how he felt everything for everybody. 

We go to bed and I wake up Thursday morning feeling terrible. At about 6:45, Hermano Oscar calls. “Hermanas, I am so sorry. I’m just really, really, sorry. I prayed. I prayed a whole lot and He told me that I had to obey, that His will was a little different than mine. Hermanas, I know that you have turned your hearts into this family, just like God has. You love us, you love us a whole lot and that’s why you do everything you do. I just ask you that you help me find the missionaries there because my wife really wants to get baptized.” 

Wow, the Lord taught me that we have to obey. Sometimes it’s really, really hard, and it would be easier just to bend the truth a little bit. Being obedient and being honest always pays off. I have learned so much about honesty and obedience in my mission. I started thinking about how much our investigators truly watch us. They are learning from us and how we do things how the church is and how it is run. I fully believe that we are training future leaders of the church and now they are going to know how important it is to do things the way they should be done, to be completely honest in all things. I loved it. I loved seeing how the Lord touched his heart and helped him to accept His will. 

Thursday in the afternoon, we teach Hermano Jose the Restoration. We go back Saturday and he’s read five chapters in the Book of Mormon and is praying. On Saturday, we saw beer in the house and started asking ¨cough cough, who’s is this??¨ Hermano Oscar says you’re not going to believe it, it’s the friend of Jose. He didn’t drink last night!  He was drinking soda. He’s also not smoking as much. We haven’t even taught him the Word of Wisdom yet!  Hermano Jose promised to go to church on Sunday and Sunday morning we were waiting for him! Sacrament meeting ends and no Hermano Jose.  I felt terrible. I was thinking NO!  We pressured him again and now he’s running.  He’s going to tell us the same thing he told us last time. At the end of sacrament meeting, he shows up, “I’m sorry Hermanas!  I stayed with a friend last night and well, I’m late, but I’m here!”  Woo! Hoo!  We are so exciting to keep working with him. Also, he should marry my sister, Rachel...for reals Rach! Ha! Ha!! 

I love you guys and hope you had a great week. It’s up and down like always, but we usually end up! I love what I’m doing!  Eat some turkey for me! 

 photo sig_zps85124238.png

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hermano Oscar

Hermano Oscar was so ready to be baptized.  It is amazing to see how much the gospel can change a life when you truly learn to follow Christ.

These are the notes we wrote to Oscar about how much he has changed.  I know he will love to read them and look back on this day.

Hermano Oscar's Familia

 photo sig_zps85124238.png

Mexico Week 38 -- The Happiest I Have Ever Been

To my favorite people in the whole world, 


Let me just tell you about this incredible week!! 

I would also like everyone to know that I used my coat two times this week!! I took the inner liner out, but the Utah coat was used! Ha! Ha!  Now it is hotter again.  Somebody would think I was back in Texas with these crazy temperatures bouncing around!

We also had exchanges this week with the Sister Training Leaders ... one day before the baptism. It was a little hard for the control freak to leave her area again!  Ha! Ha!  I worked with Hermana Cuazitl.  She finishes her mission in 3 weeks! At night we were listening to music and then a talk from Henry B. Eyring started. He talked about being in the room where they assign missionaries to their missions. He talked about seeing our faces flash upon the screen and just knowing where we needed to go. He used a phrase ¨the Lord knows your face¨ about 3 times and I felt the strongest spirit. I knew it was true. He truly does know and love us and He knows the desires of our hearts. He knows our potential and He knows exactly where He needs us. I completely believe that my mission call was inspired and I am exactly where the Lord needs me. Wow, the Spirit is great. 

Exchanges are key for we get up super early in the morning and have to travel and sometimes we travel with wet hair and no makeup, but we are official Subway travelers.  We even have the card! 

Now for the best part of the whole week!! Thursday Hermano Oscar had his baptismal interview and well I’m a Rawe and so I worry and I had to start telling Hermana Malacara about all of the Disneyland rides so that I was distracted and not wanting to throw up. Ha! Ha!  He passed with flying colors and comes out all red eyed and said it was a really special experience. He tells me ¨You’ll be there the day I get married in the temple¨!  Wow, I felt the strongest spirit and well, it’s just the truth! I’ll give up anything to be able to go! 

So, the day of the baptism arrives. We leave in the morning to go to work and we visited one of our investigators Anabel. We found her about a week and a half ago and she just needs lots of help. We asked her to say the closing prayer and it was the most sincere prayer I have ever heard in my life. She just kept saying ¨Heavenly Father help me, help me leave the drugs, help me be a better mom, help me find the truth, give me understanding¨ it was just sincere. Leaving there and thinking about the baptism I think we were a little tender hearted and then...I SEE THE CAT. I literally almost cried in the street. We went to the closest store (because they are on like every corner here) and bought some cat food. I just wanted to bathe him, but we left him with some food and we left broken hearted!!  Mom, you’ll be happy to know I DID NOT pick him up!

We got to the church for the baptism.  We had so many problems with the baptismal font and all of the hermanos were filling it up at about 7 o´clock with buckets and freezing cold water.  What an adventure! So many people went to the baptism. Two of Hermano Oscar’s siblings, his parents, two cousins, his wife, his three kids, and a ton of ward members! We had to start in the chapel because so many people were there. Hermana Elsa (his mom) and his uncle shared two talks.  They did great!  Then Hermana Malacara and I sang ¨Yo se que vive mi Señor¨ with a Paul Cardall arrangement that I had. We had like two weeks practicing and Friday my throat started hurting so much and I was coughing two days straight. I was so nervous and thinking ¨noooooo, it’s his favorite hymn and we have to sing it pretty!¨ I just started praying that we would be able to invite the spirit with the hymn. We started singing and what do you think?  No sore throat!! I was singing with my whole heart and trying not to cry because everyone I made eye contact with was crying, but ahh, it was just awesome. I love the Spirit, I love that hymn, and I love the Savior.

Afterward, Hermano Oscar was baptized. We all wrote him notes as he was changing and afterward his wife, and his hermano Jose shared their testimonies about how he had changed. They talked about seeing the kid and receiving a husband and brother again, both with tears in their eyes. Then Hermano Oscar shared his testimony. WOW!  He is so strong, so converted, and he is going to bring his whole family with him! It was just an incredible baptismal service and I’ll never forget it. I have been walking on clouds for days. 

Sunday, he arrived at church with mom, and then came his wife and their three kids and then about halfway through sacrament meeting ... Jose shows up! He came all by himself! This is the same kid that told us that he didn’t want to hear anymore ... shows up to church by himself! Wow!! They talked about temples and the importance of being sealed in the temple as a family and Hermano Oscar sent us a wink. We took a picture after church on Sunday.  Mexicans never smile in pictures.  Seriously! Check out the first picture. Then Jose says ¨Nooo, I don’t want this purse in the picture¨!!  Everyone starts dying laughing and the second picture is the most beautiful thing in the whole world!! 

Nehebka, the son of Hermano Oscar, asks me on Sunday ¨Hermana, when I get baptized and go to the temple to do baptisms, do I have to wait a long time?¨ I told him, as soon as your dad rents his house here, you and your mom can get baptized. You can go to the temple in two years. Later, Hermano Oscar tells us that leaving the baptism Saturday night his son says ¨Dad, I want to get baptized. How many more lessons do I need? Which ones am I missing?¨ Tears came to my eyes so fast.  Kids are so special, they are so sensitive to the Spirit, and they just want to follow the Lord. Wow, just a little tender moment :)

I love these people. I love them a whole lot, and I love the Lord. I love my mission and I love what I’m doing. It’s hard, sometimes it’s discouraging, every week is the challenge of what more can I do, how can I work harder, but it is so rewarding. There is nothing like the joy of serving a mission. It just makes me sad that it’s passing by faster and faster.  We’re going to come back and visit right??!!  I am the most happy I have ever been in my whole life.  I just want to live every moment to the fullest and do everything possible for these people here. 

I love you all tons!  Happy Thanksgiving this week! Eat some turkey for me! Be good! Love you all to the moon and back! 

 photo sig_zps85124238.png