Friday, January 31, 2014

Week 3 -- The Dream Team


Whew this week was a good one! First things first...we had orientation last week for our new district! It was so much fun and we worked with the zone leaders, did some skits, and our new district is really great. We get to do orientation again tonight because we have another new district...BUT they're all elders :(

Muchas gracias for all of the packages! All of the themes are so cute mom! We got the fish, nuts, and cookies! I also got a package from the Kellems family this week and one from Mama Randall!  I've been writing thank you letters, but I'll be sure to snap pics too. Apparently, our apartment is popular because our kitchen counter is covered with packages! We have sorted it all by what it is and we call it the "Food Court." Everyone comes by to eat ;) 

Soooo...El Equipo de Sueno (Dream Team) is in full swing because now we have uniforms! We bought the Mexico shirts at the bookstore! Not to mention the Nikes and the baller socks and shorts. I hope you loved all of our pics because we literally have a blast. Sad news though...Hermana Cline and Hermana Paskett are leaving on Monday.  So sad, but we'll keep the B-Ball tradition alive! 

I've got a great story for you … Hermana Taylor was saying a prayer for us in class one day and she said bless the food not to give us "infierno" instead of "enfermo." For all the non-Spanish speakers out there, she asked that the food wouldn't give us hell, instead of not make us sick. We've all been dying for days and Hermana Mansfield tells the story to everyone that will listen! 

Fun fact! Remember when Rachel and I took the missionary discussions in Keller 1st?? Remember Elder Daniel?? Hermana Daniel has told me a million times that her brother served his mission in Texas, but I never put two and two together.  The Elder Daniel is my companion's brother!! CONNECTIONS. 

Janice Kapp Perry taught Relief Society this week! She taught a lot about music and we sang a lot of primary hymns that she wrote. I felt again that kids would be so important to me as a missionary. I saw myself teaching kids songs from the children´s hymnbook and just felt like it would be a really powerful took for me in people´s homes. Of course, I bought a children´s hymnbook today in Spanish! I think I like Spanish more than English! 

So remember when I told you about our activity last week when all of my hermanas said good things about each other?  Well, here´s a little of the back-story. I had been feeling that we should do this for about a week, but we kept running out of time and I kept putting if off.  During devotional last Tuesday the thought hit me again but much stronger this time.  I felt that I needed to modify our district meeting and do that instead that night.  As we get back to our class, the Branch President is with our district, and I was pretty scared to ask if I could change the meeting.  Finally I got enough guts and he kind of made this face and said we could try it.  I felt pretty dumb; however, it went really well!  Well, I shared this experience at our district meeting Sunday when we were talking about following the spirit and a member of the Branch Presidency piped up and told me that even though I felt dumb, it had an impact. He said at the meeting with the new district this week, the President had companions do the same activity. He made a comment that it went so well that they were going to have to do that more!  Moral of the story … Don´t doubt it when the Spirit tells you to do something.  Even if it´s scary, even if it´s dumb, it´s for a reason, so just do it! 

We had our first experiences with TRC this week! I´m not entirely sure what that stands for, but basically we teach volunteers and a lot of them are actually from Mexico!  Sometimes we use Skype too.  They had us bring only scriptures and our first lesson was with a member who hasn´t been going to church lately and didn´t have a temple recommend.  I understood a lot of his Spanish but also missing quite a few things.  He wasn´t really saying much about why and then I just heard him say ¨dolor¨ -- I had the thought to open my scriptures. So I did and I ended up in Isaiah 53.  I had him read verses 2 to 6.  The Spirit in that room was so strong and I started to tear up as I bore my testimony about the Savior.  We truly touched the man we taught and he just kept saying ¨con esperanza¨ over and over.  I know that the Lord will talk to us and help us to reach people.  I LOVE being a missionary!

Also in TRC this week, we have a new investigator, Daniel.  He literally looks like a Mexican gangster.  Walking over to TRC we were terrified.  We begin talking to him and he´s kind of going after us a little bit.  He doesn´t want to talk about religion and he keeps saying that the whole thing is a joke.  I don´t think I´ve ever been more uncomfortable in my entire life. After about 15 minutes of giving us a hard time, he finally invites his countenance changes and us to sit down.  We started talking about his family and he showed up pictures of his children.  As he was talking to us, I grew to love him.  He wasn´t scary anymore.  I just saw so many holes in his life and all of the comfort that he needed, and I knew that the gospel could heal his heart.  I just caught this fire!  My wheels began turning how to help him and what I could share with him. 


Hermana Daniel and I also started reading the Book of Mormon aloud in Spanish together this week.  WE LOVE IT.  I know that this book has power and that it´s true.  I challenge y'all to study from it as a family together every day!  I promise it will bring peace and strengthen relationships.  The scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon are so powerful. 

I love you! Hope you have a great week! 

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Words of Wisdom -- From Mom

Hola Hermana Rawe!

It is so funny how you leaving on a mission has brought all these thoughts and feelings from my own mission to the surface.  There are times you hold back feelings of discouragement .. It is this whole “Never let them see you sweat” mentality and I have zero idea where that came from!  :)

But I know that you are going to have days as a missionary where you feel discouraged, frustrated, and maybe even hopeless.  I sure did!  I remember being in the MTC and wondering if I was going to be able to pull this off with everything that was happening with my family.  After a lot of prayer, I came to a simple but powerful conclusion … I had to focus on the Savior.  Every time I felt alone or discouraged – Focus on the Savior.  Every time I felt worried or frustrated – Focus on the Savior.  Every time I felt hopeless – Focus on the Savior.  I found a few conference talks that I carried with me during my entire mission and in those moments when I needed to huddle up with the Lord, I relied on one of these talks to get me to focus on the Savior and His love and His mission.  They became a constant source of strength as my mission unfolded.

So, I went on a bit of a scavenger hunt .. and I found some of my most favorite talks on the Savior.  I hope that they bring you comfort and raise you up on those days when you may feel a little low.   I have no doubt that you are going to be one kick butt Hermana .. and I know that you will serve the Lord well.  You are so prepared for this, so don’t let Satan fill your mind or heart with any negative thoughts.  If he tries to creep in, focus on the Savior and allow His light and love to remove the negative thoughts and bring you back to that place where the Spirit can work miracles through you.

Love You Buddy!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Week 2 -- Missionary Training Center


Mi Querida Familia!

First things first...we are now the MTC ballers. But really, Hermana Mansfield convinced us all to play basketball with her and now we play every day! My 7th grade B team skills are coming back ;) We have so much fun! 

So picture this, our investigator from last week, Malaquias, big Tongan guy, shows up at our class in a white shirt and tie and says "So I'm your homeroom teacher, Hermano Hopoate!! How crazy is that! Oh my goodness, I love him so much though. He just has this quiet dignity and he really makes us think. You can really tell how much he loves us and how much he wants to help us improve as missionaries and deepen our understanding of the Gospel. 

Hermana Daniel and I got called as Sister Training Leaders for our zone last night! What what!! Obviously we shouldn't aspire to the callings, but we were thinking "Oh my goodness that would be so much fun!" The Sister Training Leaders right before were so good and we loved them to pieces. They really helped us out our first couple weeks and we wanted to do the same. Tonight is orientation for the new missionaries in our zone and we get to work with them tonight! I'M PUMPED. 

Oh! Fun fact! At Sunday's devotional some random elder comes up to me and is like "Sister Rawe, are you from Colleyville Stake!" I was like uhhhh yeah. And he goes "Ahh me too! It's my first week and it's so good to see someone from home! It was Tanner Jacobsen! The one who went to Texas Tech playing football! Well I saw him at the MTC!

Thank you so much for the WONDERFUL packages too! It is honestly so fun to get mail! I LOVE IT. All of my Hermanas love the handouts and I love the clothes!

Last night, we had our night devotional and afterward we usually have a district meeting with a member of the branch presidency and we just talk about our feelings about what was shared and what not. Throughout the whole devotional as our speaker was talking about Christlike love, I just keep feeling prompted to do an activity that night. I felt like we should have everyone in the room have every one else say how that person reflected the light of Christ, what their strengths were and what not. In a district of all girls, I feel like it's a little easy to get discouraged because we have some overachievers! I felt like a lot of girls could really benefit from it. I asked our President if that would be an okay thing to do instead of the regular meeting and he was a little hesitant, but he let us do it. IT WAS AWESOME. The Spirit was so strong and so many Hermanas just ate it up. I could already see a little bit of a difference in some of the companionships this morning. 

So now for the good Relief Society we heard from the General Primary President, and she did such a good job. One of the things though that came to my mind as she was talking is that there are kids in Mexico praying for and really needed help. They need love. They need to feel acknowledged and appreciated and just loved. I majorly started tearing up because it just hit me really strong. As she was closing, she tearfully asked us to approach every child we see, to recognize them, learn their name, and try to remember it the next time we saw them. 

As we wrap this up I just want to bear my testimony that I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet. I know that he truly did translate the Book of Mormon and that he saw Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. The more I learn about his life the more I just think, there is no way he would have endured everything that he did if he was just making it up. He is such an example to me how to "swim in deep water" and always be willing to do the will of Heavenly Father. I also know that Satan's power is real. He has power to bruise and hurt us but with Christ's help, we will always have the power to overcome him. He's a sneaky little guy, but Christ has a perfect understanding. It is through Christ that we find strength, that we have hope, that we keep going and keep trying, that we learn how to follow the will of Heavenly Father. I want everyone to have this comfort and strength and to know that they have a loving Heavenly Father with a perfect plan. It's so true!! 

I love you all! 

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Week 1 -- Welcome to the Missionary Training Center


My querida familia!!!

How are you all??? Oh my goodness this week feels like it has been a year! I can't believe a week ago today Dad dropped me off. I am really adjusted and started to catch the missionary fire! 

Please tell everyone to not be offended if I didn't personally answer your email! I have been writing some letters answering you I promise! We just only have an hour on the computers and it goes by so fast.  Also I just learned that I can't send pictures from these laptops...we have to use main campus, so hopefully I can get you my pictures soon!  Just a recommendation...if you use print off what you type and put it in my mailbox! I have time during the week to read them and write letters back if that's easier! It's just another option!  

There are eight hermanas in my district and I am the Sister Training Leader! (aka District Leader for girls). My companion is Hermana Daniel and she is the cutest! She is from Provo and we are literally best friends. We get along so well and we're both easy going and it's kind of perfect. P.S. we take the best selfies ;) 

The Spanish is coming along! It's amazing to me how much of it has already come back to me just from the years I did in high school. Something I've learned this week is just how long Heavenly Father has been preparing me for this mission. I always loved Spanish in school and it usually came pretty easy to me. This has been such a blessing this week since we've already taught four lessons all in Spanish and the person we're teaching only speaks Spanish to us! 

During gym time Hermana Daniel and I rock the Four Square! We know it sounds lame, but it is so fun! I jammed my finger though the other know...sports injury ;) So every day we wake up at 6:30, have breakfast at 7:30, and then we are in class pretty much all day. We have a break for gym and a break for lunch and dinner, but we're in class until 9:30! They days are long, but somehow on our way home, Hermana Daniel and I are always ready to get at it the next day! 

Hermana Daniel studied American Sign Language so she's never had Spanish before. When I first got here I was so worried about whether or not I was a good teacher, how good my Spanish was, how well I was doing, and I'm learning that although it's important to work hard, focusing on myself won't necessarily make me the best missionary. My new goal is to focus on Hermana Daniel. I want to help her as much as I can with Spanish and really focus on helping her become the BEST missionary that she can be. This past week we have been teaching Malaquias. Rumor has it that he is a teacher here at the MTC, but we don't know yet! All we know is that he only speaks Spanish to us! It is the most incredible experience to sit in a lesson and just be able to understand. I don't understand everything, but I have been able to pick up so much. I feel so much love for him and the things that he is going through and thoughts come into my head to share with him and for the most part I'm able to translate them into Spanish. Teaching is by far my favorite part of being here even if we get a little nervous before hand! It's kind of interesting...I know he's probably a teacher, but when we're teaching him, it doesn't feel that way at all. It feels real. I feel like I am really being a servant of the Lord. I love being a missionary. I have just learned so many things this week. 
I love all of the teachers here at the MTC. Hermana Kellogg, aka Mandy's cousin, is adorable! We love working with her! All of our teachers here are so patient and they really try to only speak Spanish to us. 

Elder Bednar came and gave our devotional last night! Him and his wife are just incredible! One of the things I really took from his devotional is considering "what are my motives?" Why do I want to be a good missionary? Why do I want to be good at Spanish? Why am I serving a mission? I walked away really doing some introspection. I want to be sure that I have the purest of motives and intentions. I know this is something that I will help from Heavenly Father with for sure! 

To be honest, it is a roller coaster here every day. You can experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love each of us. I know that one of the most important reasons I am here is to learn how to wait on the Lord, to learn how to be patient. I know that if I keep working hard and trying my best, everything will work out. They have given me this call and they will qualify me for it. If you ever think you are alone...YOU'RE NOT. Jesus Christ knows every little thing you could ever experience. Cast your burdens on Him and trust Him to take care of you. 

Yo se que, este Evangelio es verdadero. Yo se que Jesucristio y nuestro Padre Celestial viven. Yo se que nuestro Padre Celestial es amoroso. Yo se que nuestras familias pueden estar juntas para siempro. Nuestras familias son eternas. Yo se que estoy hacienda las cosas correctas. Yo se que mi mision es una bendicion. Yo se que el amor de Jesucristo y Padre Celestial es real. 

I love you all more than you know! 

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Series of Sad Yet Fortunate Events -- From Dad

Dearest Lex-

I write you this letter as I sit on the plane ride home from dropping you off at the MTC.  I was planning on writing you a letter and then handing it to you as we said goodbye but thought better of it.  The father's blessing would let you know how I felt, how your Mom felt, and how the Lord felt.

So while I am not a fan of the MTC "curb drop", I was so impressed with how you left me.  We cried, embraced really hard, said we loved each other, and then you let go, looked at the curbside Elder and said with a teary smile, “Let's go get this started!”  That enthusiasm, faith, and desire to work hard and try new things will serve you well!  In that moment, my testimony was strengthened and it was once again reaffirmed how much of an instrument in the hands of the Lord you would be.

Anyways, I thought you would find the following series of events, or my story, to be rather comical.  I talked to Mom most of the way to the airport which really helped me to be able to fight back the tears and improve the visibility (even though it was snowing really hard the closer I got to Salt Lake).  I so love your Mother.  She is the greatest blessing of my life.  You are so lucky to have her as a Mom.

Ok, back to the story .... As I drove to the airport, I wondered what you were doing and even thought about texting you.  Ooops, that won't work anymore -- Insert Rachel calling me an idiot right here.  So here is where it gets comical (movie type stuff – think Fools Rush In - even though each instance made me cry).  We'll call it, “Dad's Series Of Sad Yet Fortunate Events”.

Event #1 - As I pulled into the rental car return I was gathering all the stuff and I stumbled across your phone.  Rachel had sent you a text (which I don't think you saw) after you two talked.  I read it and was sad, yet happy that you two have such a great relationship.  She said, “I love you tons and I’ll miss you like crazy, but you’re gonna do so good!  I know it!  Have faith and work hard and you’ll do great things.  Go out there and change the world!  I’ll see you soon buddy.  18 months will fly by!”  So here I go crying while the lady comes up to check my car in. 

Event #2 - I walk into the terminal to get my ticket and here comes about 25 family members with balloons and Welcome Home signs, surrounding their missionary that has just returned.  (Insert more tears here).  Yet I smile as I think of the amazing stories you will have to tell and the growth you will have experienced when that is our moment at DFW airport in 2015.

Event #3 - I am hungry so I decide to walk down to Terminal 2 to the food court.  Was thinking about Pei Wei, but again...memories of Lex, which at this point I am trying to avoid so I can look like a normal human being instead of a grown man crying in an airport.  As I make my way to Terminal 2 food court I look up and see a Cafe Rio.  Darn it.  More tears.  Yet happy thoughts of the afternoon and night before your mission spent with some amazing roommates and family that loves you.  So grateful for Emma and Tamsyn who I am sure will be life-long friends in the gospel.  More pieces that Heavenly Father placed in your path for support and strength.  Yet another blessing.  So where did I end up eating?... Pei Wei.

Event #4 - As I board the plane I feel alone.  I take my seat next to a stranger who is on the aisle and have an empty seat between us.  Normally I would rejoice in this development, but the empty seat represents one huge person in my life that is missing.  The plane begins to taxi to the runway when I hear a blaring alarm.  I look around to see which idiot has their phone alarm going off.  Further why are they just sitting there letting it ring?  I think for a moment and then the horror hits me.  It is your phone.  It is time for your 6pm medicine.  Imagine my horror as I dig through my carry-on bag to find the phone with a birth control pill alarm ringing.  The message I take from this sign is that you are always here in our hearts, minds and prayers.  You are with us in spirit reminding us how we should be.  Those mental alarms will go off as I get a little crazy and your words of telling me not to be dumb will echo in my mind.  I will strive to be nicer, more loving, and more patient.

So I am sure “Dad's Series Of Sad Yet Fortunate Events” will continue over the next 18 months.  I miss you dearly but know that your mission will make not only you, but every one of us in our family stronger.  I am so excited to go on this adventure with you through your letters and emails.  I miss you dearly and my heart aches.  Tears flow as I write this (again sitting on an airplane like an idiot).  But those tears represent a love for family that I am not ashamed of.  I LOVE our family.

Alright, I am going to stop writing and turn on a movie where people are blowing stuff up.  Pull out my man card and fly home to your Mom, who I love more than anything.  I'll squeeze the family for you and tell them again how much you love them.  I'll explain to Megan about the necklace and the message you wanted her to hear.

Go forth and serve!

Love you muchie muchie! Bunches and bunches! Tons and tons! Oodles and zoodles!