Monday, May 18, 2015

Mexico Week 64 -- My Heart Is Full

Dear sweet favorite family, 

I hope you’re all doing great!! This week I learned so many things and I just keep thanking Heavenly Father for letting me be a missionary. 

So this week, I received a revelation. Ha! Ha!  I have had the idea for about 10 years and don’t ask me why I hadn’t done it yet. I was thinking about writing every single question I have and as I study, praying and looking for the answers.  This week, we took it one step further and gave notebooks to our investigators and having them do it too.  That way we both share experiences. These are my questions:

How can I love my companion more?
How can I be more patient?
How can I love the Lord more?
How can I trust the Lord more?
How can I increase my faith?
How can I overcome temptation?
How can I better lift those around me?
How can I be more receptive to the Spirit? 
How can I recognize what He’s really telling me?
How can I avoid becoming discouraged?
Who am I really? How does my Heavenly Father see me?
What changes do I still need to make before I get married?
What changes do I still need to make before I become a mom?
How does He want me to share the gospel?
How can I better understand and accept the Lord’s Atonement?
How can I have more energy?
What does my Heavenly Father expect of me after my mission?
How can I peacefully make the change from mission life to home life?
How can I control my obsessive and compulsive habits?

I’ve already received so many answers and I immediately felt a difference in my studies. On Sunday I was studying one of the talks mom sent me called, “Elements of Happiness” and it was the answer to so many questions!! I just feel like I’m receiving so much revelation! 

Mike and Claudia and their kids are also starting to write their questions. The other day Natalia asks, where can I get a hymn book and how can I be a missionary? She had them both written in her notebook! Turns out I still have my little hymnbook and I wrote her a cute note inside and was marking and writing her about certain hymns.  It was my P-Day project!

This week I was also studying a lot about pride and humility. Simply put, pride is doing what we want, when we want. Humility is doing what Heavenly Father wants and when He wants. It is so simple and I started asking myself daily – “Is this what I want or what He wants?”  If I decide it is something that He want me to do and then I’m trying to do it. It’s really hard, but it’s also really simple. 

This week we also had Stake Conference. It was really a great conference. This is the Ramirez family.  Remember, the ones I tell you that remind me so much our of our family.  Grandma Ramirez is mom in about 15 years. This is Ofelia. They went to Stake Conference too and it’s been awesome seeing them attending church after so much time not going! She is a doll and we love her!

So like I told y’all last week I think, I have the Perez Gonzalez family on my agenda. Everyone says ahhhh, let’s see this picture, is that your family?  I just smile and then feel really good and tell them they’re my second family in Guadalajara. Just a feel good moment! 

Another feel good moment ... we were walking in our neighborhood this week and two little boys come up and said, “Hola Hermanitas! Comó están?”  We have no idea who they are and they say we’ve never visited them. On Saturday one comes up and says, “Hermanitas when are we going to go to church?”  He is so dead set on going and now we just need to know who his parents are!

Heavenly Father helped us find so many new families this week! We’re really excited to see if they can progress or not! But it was just incredible how we found so many!

The highlight of my week was definitely my last interview with President.  There are a lot of “last” moments lately and it makes me feel a little sad.  Before my interview, we had to call Hermana Camarillo and share our testimony in Spanish and English.  She asks how long I have in the mission and I don’t even know what happened, but I almost started crying and I tell her 16 months.  I think she heard the tone and says, “We won’t talk about sad things anymore, but I know exactly how you feel!”  It kind of freaked me out and wow, almost tears! Somebody is a little sensitive these days!

So I enter the room with President and he says, “How are you Hermana Rawe, but really, how do you really feel?”  Ha! Ha!  I just started crying ... I’m stressed ... a little nervous my mission is ending … about a million little different emotions.  He asked what changes I’ve made and how I’m different from when I arrived.  I told him about understanding and applying the Atonement more, a little more patient, a stronger testimony and firmer conversion. He said, all of these things can be summed up in one word: charity.  You truly are charitable.  He told me I’m exactly where I need to be on a spiritual level and that I’m a “Preach My Gospel” missionary.  For so long I worried about being that kind of missionary!

He told me that I mentioned in my last letter to him that the Lord is changing my heart.  He said, “Let me correct you. I don’t think that true.  You got here with a huge heart full of love, thanks to your beautiful family.  You just didn’t know how to use it in these new experiences and you’re learning how to use it.”  He said, “This is our last interview and I want to take the time to thank you. You’ve been like a right arm to me and I have trusted you and truly leaned on you. You’ve done exactly what I’ve needed.  Today, what can I do for you?”

My fear of transitioning to home life came to mind and I asked him what I can do. He mentioned just loving you guys and hanging out a ton, staying up late, sleeping late, listening to, talking with and serving you all.  He told me to keep studying my scriptures every day, to keep an agenda, to be obedient, to go to the temple frequently, to look for a job in the MTC, everything our leaders invite us to do. Ha! Ha!  He told me that I was going to have a wonderful life with kids and that he would be eagerly waiting my wedding invitation. He thanked me for every little thing I’ve done to help my companions and he told me that the Lord was truly using me as a servant and an instrument in his hands, and that he would do so my whole life.

I love my President and we’ve become pretty good buddies these past few months. He then asked for a hug. I love my mission!  I know that the Lord knows me, my companions, and my President.  He put us all together so each of us could learn and grow from each other.  Each of them has taught me so much and I love them with all my heart.

I hope you’re all doing great! Get ready to party! I love you all tons and I’ll see you soon!

 photo sig_zps85124238.png

Love Letter to My Family

I hope y'all enjoy my special message for you! 

I was thinking a lot about the HUGE blessing it is to have y'all as my family! 

I love you all tons! 

 photo sig_zps85124238.png

Mexico Week 63 -- Birthday Moments to Celebrate

This week was so great!! It was so fun talking to y’all yesterday!  So weird that I’ll be seeing y’all for real so soon! 

As always, pictures first!! HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO! 

This week Naty and Hermana Claudia had their birthdays on Saturday! Hermano Mike is in between jobs right now and well, there wasn’t really a lot of money around in order to celebrate the birthdays. We bought a cake a made a huge card and surprised them Saturday morning! They were so excited and told us that the night before they had been super sad because they weren’t going to be able to celebrate their daughter’s birthday. We all ate cake together and shared a message about prayer.

As we were following up with their commitments, it turns out Hermana Claudia had read A TON in the Book or Mormon.  The study guide, more chapters in Moroni, from the beginning, she had read so much and she’s loving it.  Then on Sunday, the FOUR of them show up at church on time, take the sacrament, and then we go to Gospel Principles. Hermana Mike speaks up about how important to be baptized when we know what’s right and wrong, and how many big changes he needs to make, and how he needs to be a hundred percent committed to this in order to be a good dad. It was just cool. Like, I don’t know how to describe it, but it just feels different when a whole family arrives at church. Hermana Claudia said the closing prayer in our class and she prayed for so many things ... for all of the missionaries, she thanked God for being at church, for being there with her family, for all that she’s learned ... like it was just a super sincere prayer. They are such a special family and I love them too much!! 

Earlier in the week, we stopped by because Hermano Lozano was going to give Hermana Claudia a blessing. He gives her the most beautiful blessing.  Out of the other room comes Hermano Mike and completely surprises us by sitting down to talk.  He’s been ignoring us for awhile.  The questions comes up of when I’m going home. I tell him July.  “So, you’ll be here until then?”  Hopefully, but there is a possibility I won’t be. He gets super serious and starts speaking in English, “You can’t leave yet.  You have so much more work to do, especially with me.  You can’t leave yet.”  I was so surprised and also excited!! They read part of the Book of Mormon TOGETHER. They all have baptismal dates, except his son that’s 17, but they want to be baptized together. I would love to be there!! 

Hermana Villa and I went to the National Park today with Hermana Lucy.  That is park is so pretty.  It never gets old! 

Yours truly, the 4 missionaries in the Jardines Ward printed this photo and made a HUGE Mother’s Day Card for all of the moms in the ward and presented it in Relief Society.

 I think my companion took this picture of me one night when I was filling out our daily reports at night! Ha! Ha!

This week I learned a lot of things. I learned just how much with every companion or every area, the Lord prepares for something else I will face with another companion or another area.  After lots of sincere, heartfelt, almost pleading prayer and fasting, I know He loves me.  I know He always has a plan. I know that I can do anything He asks me to do.  It’s like with every hurdle I learn to trust Him and depend on Him more and more.  I am more patient, more loving, and I am changing.  

This week I was thinking about who I was before my mission. I was a good kid, but not 100% converted. I feel so much more converted, like I truly have a testimony of every principle of the gospel. I started thinking about what my life would be like if I hadn’t served a mission. It just wouldn’t be the same, I wouldn’t feel the same, and I wouldn’t do the same things. I know I still need to prepare a lot more, but I feel so much more prepared to be a mom and a wife. I think every companion, or people in every area are teaching me how I will be able to better respond to my kids. It’s teaching me a lot about the husband I have to look for! Ha! Ha!  According to an ex-missionary in Tlaquepaque ... who you marry is a lot like your favorite companion! I can totally see that!  I have to be able to talk with him and we have to be humble and we both have to change and we have to be positive and hard working and just see the best in everything.

It’s just cool. It’s cool absolutely thinking I can´t ... I can’t anymore … I just can’t … and then seeing how with the Lord’s help it quickly turns into I can. We can endure, we can be long suffering, we can love, we can be patient, we can grow, we can bear it, and it’s all because of His help.  It’s because He gave us the strength, He changed our hearts, and it’s just cool. The gospel is true. I know, I do my best to live it, and I love it. 

I love y’all tons and today I found some surprises for you!  Keep being good and I’ll see y’all soon. 

 photo sig_zps85124238.png