Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mexico Week 14 -- When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going

Oh my dear sweet family -- This week was a good one but a little bit harder! 

So I was just feeling pretty inadequate in all honesty! I don’t know, just pretty stressed and wanting to do a million things at one time and worrying about what I’m teaching Hermana Buttars, then I lost my ATM card, then I realized that I left the card for my camera at the internet café last week, and yeah, when it rains, it pours. Then good ole Mom sent me the talk from Jeffrey R. Holland about missionaries and the Atonement. What a good read! In all honesty, I just felt super close to the Savior when I read it. I’m pretty crazy if I ever expect anything in this life to be easy. I just felt like okay, yeah, I can do this. I know that my Savior is by my side, that this is His work, and that if I just open up a little bit and let Him in, then He’ll take care of me. This week, I really loved the song ¨Who You Are¨ by Hillary Weeks. I am not a mom or anything but I feel like I’m running around all day and at the end of it all feel like I haven’t accomplished anything, but I have faith in what I’m doing, and I know that sometimes we can’t see the fruits of the little seeds we plant. Big mama’s got this! 

So we moved! We finally live in our area but it’s an area I really don’t know very well.  So let’s just say we had some pretty interesting experiences with buses this week! Whoa! Ha! Ha! We just moved our suitcases and then went to work. Later, the elders brought over the beds and fans and kitchen stuff and everything. We got home that night to a house of boxes! You should have seen the two of us at midnight trying to put together a bunk bed. Honestly, it was fun! 

Okay now for some cool experiences this week. So one day, I felt like we went to a million houses and nobody was home. I have the idea to visit Rosa Elia. So we go that way and her daughter tells us she’s asleep. I’m thinking...NOOOO! Her daughter is less active too but in all honesty, she’s not usually very nice to us. She invited us in, offered us water, was being super nice and I’m thinking ¨Who is this person¨! I ask her if we can share a message and she says sure!  At this point my brain is practically exploding. Hermana Valdez and I asked probably a dozen times and she always said no. We started singing and talking about the gospel. She told us that she knows it is all true and that the gospel is perfect. She just had a few people say things to her and she’s struggling to go back to church. She told us about how she almost entered the temple and everything. She wants her kids to go to church with their grandma. My whole brain was exploding but it’s because I think our Heavenly Father always has a plan. 

Yesterday, I felt like we should visit Rosa Elia. We passed by and there was a huge party going on! It was Nicole and Ashley’s birthday party. The two of them had huge princess dresses and everything. We had cake and sang this wild Mexican birthday song and they gave us princess party favors. We ate a little bit of food and then went to Rosa Elia’s room to share a message. She just told us a ton of things and then started crying. She told us how alone she felt, how more trials just keep coming, how she just didn’t know what to do, and how maybe Christ wasn’t helping her because she was a sinner. She broke my heart, but at the same time, it’s the most amazing experience to have someone open her heart like that to you. How can you not just be filled with love? The words just fell out of my mouth and I know it was by the Spirit. The people in that house have a million and ten problems but they are incredibly special to me. 

I’m going to catch you all up on Antonio. So Esther had to go to the hospital this week. Antonio was pretty fired up and a little ugly to us at the beginning of the week. The stress just gets to him and I can’t imagine what it’s like to be where he is. Hermana Claudia told us when Esther got home and we went to sing to her. We sang and shared testimony and some scriptures and just felt the strongest peace. I’m thinking this is why we needed to come by. We get ready to leave and Antonio comes home. He’s sitting in a chair outside by himself and I ask him how he is. He says, ¨Mal, muy mal.¨ He just started talking about how hard it all is and then the water works start. I ask him if we can share a short message and he tells us that the next day would be better. I’ve never seen him more down and well, we just weren’t leaving. I ask him if we can say a prayer and sing some hymns. He tells me sure! We starting singing hymns and sharing testimony and it just felt really right. He is a tough, tough man, but I know that if he’ll just open his heart, he’ll feel it. On Fridays, we do service for two hours and we offered to clean his house! Claudia is taking care of Esther all day and his daughters come every day, but they just don’t clean. 

This is the part where Hermana Buttars and Hermana Rawe become Ammon from the Book of Mormon serving King Lamoni. It was so fun cleaning his house! Not to mention it was a hot mess. You should have seen him practically skipping around, cracking jokes .. He was a hoot!  I know that it’s the little seeds we’re planting.  I know that we have faith to help him change and eventually he will.  I just love him a ton and even though sometimes he really is a grumpy old fart, I know that he’ll open his heart one day and understand. 

Well I love y’all a ton! 

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Hermana Buttars

My new companion is so cute!  Her name is Hermana Buttars.  She actually grew up in Frisco, and then went to BYU Hawaii for two years!  Ahh, I love her stories!!

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mexico Week 13 -- Dos Gringas

To my favorite people in the entire world....SOOOO, I'M TRAINING AN AMERICAN!!!   Remember how I thought President was crazy for calling me to train in the first place? Well, turns out he's even crazier because we're just a couple of gringas walking the streets in Mexico!  

So all of the trainers went to the chapel Tuesday morning.  We had a meeting with President Camarillo before the new missionaries arrived.  He told us that one of us Americans would be training an American.  He talked a ton about avoiding the temptation to speak English, to take the harder route.  He said that for this exact reason, American elders don't train American elders because the new missionaries never learn Spanish.  The whole time he was talking I just felt that it was me.  I felt so many things and I already thought he was crazy enough asking me to train and then this too!  Sometimes I think Heavenly Father has more faith in me than I deserve.  Sometimes I think ... ¨What are you thinking, I know I work hard but I'm not that good!¨ ... and then the Spirit knocks some sense into me and I'm ready to go again! 

She has such a desire to learn Spanish, we really don't speak English except for her Spanglish sometimes.  I have a feeling that she's going to learn really fast and I'm going to do all I can to help her!  I'm a little nervous, but the Lord called me right?  Ah, every night I'm just praying to be a good example and teach her well and that we can be good missionaries and I think we can do it. 

Sooo, are you ready for more of my pride problems?  A couple of people this week have made comments about us both being new and Americans.  Honestly, it just makes me want to work so hard.  I have so much faith in the Lord and we're going to work our tails off and find every single person in this area that's ready for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  I have been absolutely exhausted every night this week, but I'm happy ... even more importantly I'm flipping determined. 

So fun fact, they have KUMON here! Remember the tutoring place and their name is misspelled? Cracks me up every time. 

Are you guys ready for a great story? It kind of made my day.  So I called an Hermana in our ward to make sure we were good to go to eat at her house the next day.  She answers the phone, I tell her it's the missionaries and she says ¨What's your name?  I tell her that Hermana Valdez is in Samora now and everything, like hey, you know my voice.  Then she asks me again what my name is.  I told her Hermana Rawe and she says ¨Hermana Rawe?! You sounded like a Mexican I thought it was your new companion! Holy Hannah, you speak good!¨ After the baptism of María Dolores ... probably the highlight of my week. 

I hope you all had an incredible week. Be good! Be missionaries! 

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Maria Dolores

THE story of the week. The baptism that almost killed me. So it's Friday morning, and we're studying.  A member of the bishopric calls us and tells us that he thinks there's still water in the baptismal font from the other elders from a week ago.  So after we finish studying, we go to the chapel, and we open the doors and it just reeks of mold. Sure enough there's nasty week old water in the font.  I'm almost gagging!  The elders come to help us drain it and they bolt out of there.  We wait about an hour for the water to drain. Then I get to work with a mop and some bleach cleaning it out.  At this point it's about 2 and we're supposed to eat with a member at 2, but the closet is locked and that's how we turn the water on to refill it.  So we call the Bishop.  He has other appointments and so he has to come at 2:45.  This is the part where we tick off the member with a phone call about the situation and they don't want to bring the food to the chapel. Then the bishop comes with his huge key ring with about a million keys right?  Well not one of them works.  Then he pulls his tools out and literally takes the door off. We go to turn on the boiler.  We get one side lit but the other side was a little harder and it smells like gas and I'm thinking we are seriously going to blow up the church right now.  We say a prayer and get the boiler lit.  It takes two hours for the font to fill up. It hits 6:30 and Hermana María Dolores is no where to be found and isn't answering her phone. I´m thinking, there is no way that after all of this she doesn't come. Suddenly she and her son round the corner and I'm jumping in the air. 

Now this is where is gets good. We had the most beautiful baptismal service. Hermana Buttars and I sang ¨Yo sé que vive mi Señor¨We had parts going, tears were shed, but in all honesty, the Spirit was so strong. I LOVE this hymn. Then she was baptized by her son. As she was changing, I just felt the strongest Spirit. This is why we´re here, to help people get to this point. To help people be as prepared as she was to make covenants. I shared my testimony before leading the closing song and just blubbered like a baby. She´s truly working her way back to our Father in Heaven. I know that we´re going to the temple with her in a year. I just love her a ton and she is so special to me. 

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Mexico Week 12 -- Training Time

Hello to all my favorite people!  So I got a phone call this week from President Camarillo and I’ll be training a new missionary! But, I’ll be training her here in Cruz del Sur 3!!  Hermana Valdez is headed for Samora, and I’m going to miss her tons ... For real, so so much!  When I got the call, I was a little nervous.  I mean, who decided I was ready for this?  But these past couple of days, I just feel filled with faith, I’m honestly really excited.  I know that the Lord calls us in our weaknesses, but that He will always qualify us for His work.  I know that He has a plan and if He’s going to call me to something, of course He’s going to help me out! 

I loved talking with y’all on Saturday! Ahh, it was so great to see your faces and be reminded of that Rawe family sarcasm!  LOVE IT!  Seeing you guys and our house made me realize how short and temporary my mission is.  I feel like I was just there and I’ve already been a missionary for four months. The mission really is so short, and I don’t want to waste any of my time!  I get to have y’all for forever, but I’m only here for a year and a half! Rach, you looked beautiful for Prom and I hope you had a blast!  I love y’all to pieces and am so grateful for all of your support. 

Also, last week Brad told me that Charly gets really fired up if somebody forgets to pray for me. They’ve said two prayers many a night because she doesn’t let it pass...HOW CUTE IS THAT??!! I almost died reading that, Charly Bear’s got my back! 

Let’s talk about how amazing the Reynaga family is and especially Paty. She’s going to get baptized soon!  We taught her tithing this week and I was a little nervous because money is really, really tight at their house. But, WOW, she started telling us about all of the blessings she had received and of course she was going to pay tithing.  We extended the commitment and she tells us, ¨Well wait, I’m not waiting till I get baptized, I really need to pay now!¨  Her 8 year old son, Roxton, accepted a baptismal date too.  I was talking, just looking at him and invited him.  He got the biggest smile on his face and said yes!  He said he wanted to follow Jesus Christ and that he knew he had a Heavenly Father who loved him.  We also had a Restoration lesson with them and watched parts of the Joseph Smith movie.  The Spirit was so strong and Hermana Valdez and I bore such powerful testimonies.  There’s not a doubt in my heart!  I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet.  Paty believes it too.  Honestly, their baptisms are going to be so special. I also gave them some skirts for Sunday and they looked so great and were all so excited! 

This week, we were chatting with Hermana Claudia, the nurse that takes care of Antonio’s wife, and she told us some pretty cool stuff.  She told us that Antonio is praying. He’s really praying.  She told us that little things are changing and it all began when we started visiting him.  Sometimes we don’t see all changes, we don’t know what people do when we’re not around.  Sometimes we plant seeds and we don’t even know it.  Antonio is 80 years old and has a whole lifetime not believing in God.  He’s not going to change in a heartbeat.  However, I have so much faith in Him and I know he’s starting to change! 

After we found out Hermana Valdez was heading out, we visited the Infante family. We had one of the most spiritual lessons I’ve ever had.  We all chose our favorite hymns, bore testimony of them, and then sang our favorite verse.  There were tears and the Spirit was super strong and their whole family was together.  Sometimes it really feels like home being in their house. 

Well I love being a missionary.  Lately I just feel filled with faith and I’m ready to work!  I know that the Savior is always right by my side. I know that this is His work and that I’m completely dependent on Him.  I know that He lives, this is His Gospel, and I am loving life! 

Love you all so much! 

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Hawaiian Burgers

Legend’s Grill at BYU shout out! I found Hawaiian burgers in the street! Not quite as good, but pretty close! 

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Frozen in Mexico

So Frozen moment of the week ... On Monday we had other missionaries with us.  Well, Hermana Johnston barely speaks Spanish and her companion doesn’t have the most patience with her.  She was looking pretty alone all day.  I learned we have a Frozen connection!  

That night, I wrote her a letter with a sweet Frozen analogy about Ana trying to understand Elsa and how love and persistency are the keys and it was so great!  I put the letter and the Frozen play pack mom sent in her suitcase and she had no idea.  I was saving that Frozen play pack, but I found someone who really needed it more than me! 

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