Monday, June 1, 2015

Week 76 Arizona

Just a warning...this is gonna be a short one because...well...I got things to do.  But, anyways this week...

The big stuff that happened:

On Wednesday we got Facebook again...not as exciting as I thought it was going to be. I got on and I had 5 wedding reception events. So that was lame...everyone is getting married. 

In Mesa there is this super fun charity thing set up that we can go to twice a week and give service. We pack food that gets sent all over the world. We go fairly often so I guess you could say that we're pros. On Thursday we went to Feed my Starving Children and we beat the national record!! It used to be 80 boxes packed in the 1.5 hour session, we packed 84. It was sweet!

On Saturday, Hna Kiel went to another baptism in Maricopa and so I went back to Tempe! It was really fun. I got to see Brenda and Katie again, I'm gonna miss them so much. I also found a good "treasure" while i was there...I'll send a picture. 

PS We also may have had a Bed bug scare...super not fun. So um...yeah I'm leaving a lot more clothes behind than I was originally planning on and...we're probably gonna have to wash some clothes a little...I don't want the scare to become more than that. 

See you soon!!!
Sister Raynor

PSS wow...that's the last time I'm gonna end a letter like that. 

 Here's the "Good Treasure."

Also...Hna Kiel and I have started a new thing. When people don't answer the door...we take a selfie with the door and send it to them on Facebook. It's been pretty funny 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Week 75 Arizona

Hey mamma!

So this week...big stuff that happened: I hit my 18 month mark on Wednesday, we had our Sister Training Leader Conference, and the picture reenactment. Actually, those are the three most exciting things that happened this week...and they all happened on the same day...and it was a rough day.

Background: my mission is ending very quickly (11 days.)

Tuesday: Last week I received the most feared thing in every missionaries life...their trunky packet. It is the infamous manila envelope that contains all the information that you could ever want about going home - your travel itinerary, your "it's time to send home your bike" papers and lots, lots more. I got mine a week ago and on Tuesday night...I finally opened mine. At that opportune moment, Sister Clemens starts talking to me about marriage and families and mother/father roles.

Wednesday: we had a Sister Training Leader Conference and it was not at all what I thought it was going to be. There are 10 Sister Training Leaders in the mission so we got to have our meeting in the mission home. I was thinking that we'd be talking about how to have more effective exchanges and how to give more powerful trainings...but it was not any of that. We (Sister Clemens and I) arrived at the mission home at 1. The first thing that President Toone said was "we are not going to be talking about missionary work at all today, we are going to talk about marriage, family, and dating..." So the first hour was Sister Toone talking about the joy of motherhood and the next half hour was President talking about how grateful he is that Sister Toone knows and understands her role and his role in the family and that she has held him accountable to his duties. After that we got to go to the Gilbert Temple to participate in an endowment session...its such a beautiful temple. After the session, the Temple President and his wife talked to us all about...the joys of marriage and why we need to keep the temple always in our sights as a couple. After that...we all went out to dinner and we got to know President and Sister Toone on a whole new level. We talked about...mission gossip - well, it was gossip about missionaries who have already finished their missions...all in all it was a fun day, but SOOOOOOOOOOOO much marriage talk. 

The Last thing on the list is the photo reenactment. Sister Clemens and I decided to try and reenact one of my favorite pictures of Sister Smuin and was pretty fun.

That's about it for this week. Love you 
Sister Raynor

Week 74 Arizona

Hey mama!!

So...this week. Well, we moved. The member that we lived with just had knee surgery so her son came to help. Then something happened and he had to get his toe amputated. So he started staying at Sister Barnes' house...not to bad, totally kosher with president and Sister Toone because of a ratio rule. But then he started taking some serious pain it was totally fine to have him stay there with us, but then he started making weird noises and tripping out on drugs so we felt...a bit uncomfortable so we called Sister Toone and they moved us in with 4 other sisters!! It is SOOO fun living with other sisters!!! It's a party everyday! One of the Sister's speaks Mandarin and one speaks Portuguese from Brazil and we speak Spanish and two speak English...we're so diverse! Its just been really fun, because now we live with 2 of my very favorite missionaries ever. Its awesome. 

So the big thing that happened!!! I got to translate at the Mission President's Devotional!! This time it was legit!! The last time I just kind of did it because the real translators were 15 minutes late so I did the prayer and the opening addresses and all that stuff, but since that MPD the normal translator guy has ended his mission so...I got called!! My name was in the program and everything!! It was a lot harder this time and a lot longer... I  am glad though, that they can never ask me to do it again.

Another cool thing, there is this awesome charity that just opened up in Mesa, it's called "Feed My Starving Children." Its super fun, we just go in and pack food and its just a party. All the missionaries go to it so it can get competitive. Its super fun.

Well that's about it for this week.

Also, this is our new address: 
146 W Dublin St. Gilbert, AZ 85233

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Week 73 Arizona

Oh man… This week. This week we had at least a two hour long event every day. Monday was p-day, Tuesday was district meeting, Wednesday we did service, Thursday he had zone conference, Friday we had weekly planning Saturday we had a ward Mother's Day party, and Sunday we had church meetings. So, I'm going to jump to Wednesday because that was the most exciting thing that happened… Monday and Tuesday were slow. So on Wednesday we did service  with an organization called "Feed My Starving Children." It was so fun. We packed food into boxes for two hours. There were more missionaries there than there were normal people. It was so fun.

Thursday, was my last zone conference. I had to get up in front of everyone and bare my testimony. It was a bit harder than I thought it would be. While at zone conference, I got some awesome news, I get to translate at the Mission President's Devotional!! I'm so excited and soooooo nervous, but mostly excited. 

Friday, we had the coolest experience ever! We ate dinner with our relief society president and hna Kiel gave the spiritual thought and she did awesome. While we were heading back to our area, she just had a little break down. Nothing to out of the ordinary, just not feeling like she is learning Spanish as quickly as she should and that she feels like there is no way that she will ever be fluent and all that stuff. About five minutes into my pep talk...we got a message from God. We are still driving at this point, and what turns in front of me? A vanity license plate that said 1NEPH37 aka 1 Nephi 3:7 aka the Lord will provide a way for us to accomplish what he has asked us to do. Pep talk over. 

Saturday we had our Ward Mother's Day party. We arrived 30 minutes late only to be told that we were going to be singing in 10 minutes. Lets just say that it all worked wasn't English Ward good, but it was definitely Spanish Ward good. 

Sunday, we had an awesome surprise. This lady just showed up at church and said that she wants to get baptized...that doesn't happen everyday. The highlight of the day was getting to talk to you all. I miss you all so much, but I'll see you again soon. 

Monday, today. This morning we got up at 4:30 to drive down to Maricopa (1hour away) to go hike a part of the Mormon Battalion Trail as a mission! President Toone is a huge church history addict and so he pulled some strings and we all got to hike it (minus Yuma). Yuma is going to get to go to the San Diego Temple and they are going to do a part of the trail down there. It was sooooo early, but it was really fun just getting to see everyone. Also we got to see President and Sister Toone in their normal was really really weird. 

That's about it for this week. Love you

The Last Raynor 

Week 72 Arizona

So this week...well...Tuesday.... The best day of my mission! I know, that's quite the claim, but I'll try to explain. So last Sunday night (I think I told you about this, but here's the recap either way.)  This last Sunday night: Tuesday Hna Kiel and I were going to go down to Maricopa (her last area) for a baptism. But as we were pulling up to the house on Sunday night we got a call from an unknown number 623 261 2771...I knew that number. We answered it and as I expected, it was Sister Sullivan! Sister Sullivan is the sister that came into Tempe when I left and she was also Hermana Kiels trainer. She got permission to go on an exchange so that she can go to the baptism! Which meant that I got to go work in Tempe, in my old/favorite/ best/ most beloved area for 5 hours!!!!! Everybody won! I got to go back to the area that I love and see the people that I taught and Sisters Keil and Sullivan got to go to the baptism for their investigator family from Maricopa. 

From what I'm told, the baptism was amazing...but what happened in Tempe was 10 billion times more amazing. The sisters had 4 appointments set up that night and all I really wanted was to see Brenda (perhaps my favorite recent convert) and her Family (Gustavo, Katy, and the new baby) but I had made the resolve...appointments first. Anyways, I got to eat dinner at the Marina's house- hno Marina is the Elders Quorum president and a total boss. He wrote the book on magnifying you calling. We went by some people and mainly talked about the area. There was this guy that Hna Smuin and I found named Everardo, everardo and his family got baptized. This less active lady that we found named Charito is active and her son got baptized and she is getting ready to go to the temple. Brenda's little sisters, Paola and Andrea are getting baptized at the end of the month. It was all just so awesome to see. 

Anyways we went and taught a whole bunch of lessons and talked to a ton of people and by the time we had gotten out of our last lesson it was 8:45...almost time to go home, but we were super close to where Brenda lived so we ran by and...they weren't home. So Hermana Poirier called Brenda and asked her where she was and she told her that we had a surprise for her. So Brenda said that they were at the laundromat by Food City so we ran over. We got there at 8:52. We kinda snuck up on them and I just tapped Brenda on the shoulder and she turned around and I gave her the longest hug ever and while we were hugging, Katy comes up and says "I missed you Hermana Raynor!" It was like it came from a movie.  I got to talk to her for a little bit and I got to meet their new little girl it was awesome. 

That isn't even the best part. After that I started talking to Gustavo and I just felt like I need to just be bold with him. So I asked him why he still isn't baptized, and he said that he's still been trying to get work off on Sunday's. Then I said that he's been trying to get Sunday's off for 8 months and he said that he knows. So then I asked him if he thought that God could help him get the money he needed for his family if he (Gustavo) stopped working on Sunday's, he said that he knows God can. So I asked him what is still in his way...then he said nothing. So I asked him what he was waiting for and he said nothing. Then I asked him when he was going to get baptized because I told him that I wanted to be there for him. He said that if he still can't get Sunday's off by May 25, that he is going to quit his job. Then he told me that if I didn't believe him, that I could call the Hermanas on the 26th and that they will testify. This is the best part. After that, he said, "...y después de eso, el 30 de mayo, voy a bautizarme, y quiero que estés allí, sentada con Brenda y Katy." (He said that after that, on May 30 he is going to get baptized, and that he wants me there, sitting next to Brenda and Katy.) I almost cried. I wanted to hug them so much (I didn't). Gustavo has never had a baptismal goal. This is huge!!!

After that high...well...the rest of the week couldn't really compare. We had our MLC on Thursday, and that was awesome was awesome. That was pretty much it for this week. 

I love you!!! XOXOxoXoO
Sister Raynor

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Arizona: LOST EMAIL from April this week. So this week was different than most weeks. We went to the temple on Wednesday as a zone and that was really awesome. We saw the presentation from the 70s. All I'm gonna say about it is poofy hair and bad acting.

On Friday we had something different. We had a mission wide conference for all Spanish-speaking missionaries. It was an all day thing. We focused on applying different trainings to Spanish wards, because the majority of the time they lack the same structure that English wards have, so we have to adjust. It was really fun, but at the same time the majority of my friends have finished their mission. It was a little sad. The conference ended on Saturday by us all going to the temple in the Spanish session. It was crazy president and sister Toone were "the couple" and it was just really cool to see how we don't need to understand a language to be able to feel the spirit. President and sister Toone don't speak Spanish, but they were still crying during certain parts and it was really cool to see how the spirit was working with them. 

On Saturday, well the rest of Saturday, was a little bit rough. I got really frustrated with Sister Christensen. We were walking through a trailer park and she refused to talk to people, so we went back to the car and I drove us to a church building and made her do role plays of talking to strangers (me) for an hour until she was ready to go back and work.

Today… We ran a 5K. In December President and Sister Toone decided that they want to focus on missionary health. So they gave all of us a training plan and told us all that we were going to run a 5K in April. I hated it. It's getting hot and so it was not fun but, we did it!

Well, that's all for this week. Love you,
The Last Sister Raynor Standing 

PS I found this in our area email...I thought you'd appreciate it 


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Week 71 Arizona

So this week

Transfer calls came on Tuesday...our zone got nuked! Every companionship was affected except one. Sister Christensen is finally leaving Mesa. She has been here for a third of her mission. She was definitely sad, but I think it'll be good for her. 

Wednesday night Sister Christensen and I taught an amazing lesson to this lady named Liliana. She is so prepared. She brought up the subject of baptism and so we challenged her to prepare herself to be baptized on the 23 of May. She was so excited. It was so awesome. Liliana is so prepared. 

Thursday: New Companion! Her name is Hna Kiel! She is the first companion that I've had that is taller than me. She is from Washington and seriously the coolest. She is so chill, it's awesome. I'd say that she was definitely a blessing sent to me for my last transfer. Now I'm not worried about getting trunky. Also, my most favorite elder in the whole mission is now in our Ward too for his last transfer. Elder Allen is so funny...we have a similar sense of humor...

Saturday: A little bit of a rough day in the lessons sense. Hna Kiel and I didn't teach a single lesson that day...nobody was really  home :( but it's okay, because that night we had a ward party thing/ fundraiser for the young women's girls camp. When we got there it looked like it was going to be really really boring, but then a mariachi band came out and played a few songs, and then our incredible young women's president got a Catholic schools Latin dance group to come and they did traditional Latin dances. It was awesome. There were some little little kids there in some huge sombreros. It was so cute!

Sunday: This was the weirdest Sunday of my mission. Elder Vorkink was a missionary who just finished his mission. He is from Anaheim. Our ward was the last one he served in before going home.  Anyways, his parents came to pick him up from the mission so that they could all do a "mission tour" of sorts. He and his family came to church on Sunday and we all got to meet his parents. 
          So...this is the absolutely strangest encounter that I have ever had. This is all going to be direct quotes...I remember them because Hermana Kiel and I quoted it all day yesterday. So, Elder Vorkink's mom came up to me and when she saw my name tag she asked, "do you have any family in Anaheim?" I said I thought we did at one point. She said, "is there a Cynthia Raynor in your family?" I said yes. Then she asked if I had any more aunts and so I said that we had a Nina and a Sabrina. She was just sooooooo excited about all of it. Then she said, "that makes Thales your dad then." I said yes. Now just imagine someone following "that makes Thales your dad then" with something like "he's married, right?" Do you have that tone of voice in your head? Now substitute married for dead! "that makes Thales your dad then." Me: "yeah." Sister Vorkink: "he's dead." Me: "yeah."
           It was super awkward. Then she left for sacrament meeting. Weird weird weird encounter. After that we went into the Bishop's office for Ward counsel and right after we finished, the other wards sacrament meeting ended. So then....she came back. Then I got a little bit more of the story. I guess she grew up with dad and was in the same primary classes with him and the same classes at school. She said how Cindy would always be there with dad because there were a lot of girls in dad's age group. She also told me how Papa Wally would always come up to her and ask her, "so, how's Thalesy doing in school?" And she would always say "good," because she didn't know what else to say. She said when she was 9 she had the biggest crush on dad. Those were sweet memories. Then she started to get teary eyed as she told me how she had lost contact, but that she still remembers the day that her parents called her and told her that dad had passed away. She asked a lot about all of us and missions and stuff and when I told her that we had all served missions, she called you one of the mothers of the stripling warriors... mothers that raised their children to be strong and to serve God, mothers that did it all on heir own. Really awkward experience at the beginning... really sweet at the end. Her maiden name is Gudmundsen, Joanne Gudmundsen. 

Sunday night Hermana Kiel and I finally got to teach a lesson together! It was awesome. We were so stoked! That was like the official start to our companionship.  

The very end of Sunday night: This Tuesday Hna Kiel and I were going to go down to Maricopa (her last area) for a baptism. we were pulling up to the house we got a call from an unknown number 623 261 2771...I knew that number. We answered it and as I expected, it was Sister Sullivan! Sister Sullivan is the sister that came into Tempe when I left and she was also Hermana Kiels trainer. She got permission to go on an exchange so that she can go to the baptism! Which means that I get to go work in Tempe, in my old area for 5 hours!!!!! Everybody wins! I get to go back to the area that I love and see the people that I taught and Sisters Keil and Sullivan get to go to the baptism for their investigator family from Maricopa. When we got the call we were both screaming and jumping up and down (mainly Hna Kiel) and just ecstatic. It was sooooooo awesome. I am sooooooo excited!

Love you
Sister Raynor