Sunday, November 9, 2014

Week 47 Arizona

Wow...another week has gone by sooooooo fast. On Sunday we will be getting transfer calls and...I think I'm going. I've been here in Tempe for 6 months now. This week was nuts. Sister Smuin and I did 2 exchanges in one week. It was really fun, but at the same time we didn't get a whole lot of time together in our area, but we only have one more to do. 

This week something incredible happened. Brenda (our recent convert) got married to her boyfriend, Gustavo.  When we first started working with them, Gustavo was absolutely against marriage, but when Brenda got baptized she moved out. The first night alone he said he couldn't sleep so he started to read the Book of Mormon. He read to 2 Nephi that night. Since then little by little Gustavo has come a long. It's been incredible to witness the true power of the Book of Mormon.

Sorry for the short email. 
Love you
Sister Raynor

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Philippines Week 51

It seems like my whole mission has been filled with “crazy weeks”. That has been the most stable thing in my mission—weekly letters that start with ‘This has been a crazy week…’
I don’t know why the weeks all feel so chaotic but I think that it is just part of the Philippines experience. I love it.
This week, I just want to simply share from my personal study and pondering. Because, at least for me, my personal scripture reading is almost always followed by some deep thinking. 
I want to start with one thing that President Dahle shared in church on Sunday which kind of tied together my personal studies for the week. He said that we have a divine potential to become Gods. No matter how lowly we feel sometimes, that potential is still there.
In Ephesians 1:5, it says, “Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”
So we were foreordained to be adopted as Christ’s child into the House of Israel.  As I pondered this, I thought, of course we can only be adopted as a “child of Christ” through baptism.  We are baptized after we have accepted the Gospel of Christ. So the meaning of this is that we have all been foreordained to accept the gospel and become clean through it. “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness but unto holiness.” (Thes 4:7).
These people that we are working so hard to find have this same potential. I truly believe that there are people that remember the gospel because they accepted it before this life. I know that God’s plan is not NEW news. We are just reminding these people of their own divine potential. 
We are foreordained to accept the gospel and seek after the coordinating ordinances. This is the way. God has given us every tool to know and accept. This is his plan and we are just instruments to help others realize and remember the truth.

Other Tidbits and pebbles:
  • We climbed bundok bato. A huge rock mountain. Thought we were going to die. 
  • MY area here is beuatiful
  • We have mission president interviews on Thursday.
  • I've gotten really good at cooking filipino food. Im pretty sure that mom will hate it when I make it at home.
I love you all so much. Keep being good. Hopefully the pictures that i sent will all get posted. In the one picture with the Calagos family (with the black skirts) you should zoom in on my toes. I have a really bad tan line. 

Special shoutout to Rachey for writing me a dearelder--you da best.

Until next week, love Sister RAINY (my new nickname)

Yep climbed that mountain mountain mountain..... and yes, we almost died.  It was like bouldering at the rock climbing gym. 

Magandang pilipinas.



Calagos girls.

Week 46 Arizona

I'm really happy that you had so much fun with your half marathon. This week was pretty crazy. We had our interviews with President this week, and then another exchange, one of the most incredible miracles of my mission followed by a heart break, and then the mission president's devotional.

For this round of exchanges I went with Sister Stott, she is from Montana and she is one of those people that is just so happy all the time, like she poops sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. We went to her area and it's a biking area, so we biked around all day and it was super fun.

For that miracle...this week we learned the hard lesson that even when God puts every little thing in place for us, because people still have the agency to choose....  not to go. 

We have been teaching this family, Fabiola (the mom,) Lucy (10,) Christian (9,) and Mia (5.) These kids are incredible, we have been teaching them for 2 weeks now. When we first went over Fabiola was happy to see us, but then she stopped coming out for lessons, but she still wanted us to come talk to her kids while she was on the phone. Anyways, we finally caught all of them together (8:30pm on a Friday) and we really really wanted them to go to the Phoenix Temple Open House, we had been fasting so we could catch them and we did. After we invited them...they said yes, that they had just gotten their car back and that they could go tomorrow morning. The Miracle, everything came together in less than an hour. By 9:30 we had a ride, we had a member, and this was the miracle that we knew would come. The next morning, we get to their house at 9:30am, and the kids are all ready, Lucy just says we're almost ready, my mom is just getting dressed. Christian tells us how he is sooooooo excited to go to the temple, and we all wait for Fabiola. It's 9:45, we send Lucy back to check on her, and she comes back with the saddest look ever. Fabiola said that they can't go anymore and that she's going to go to bed.

We were defeated, we saw a miracle and had to watch it pass by. We had the rides, the members, the tickets, and all of that came straight from the Lord, but then...Agency. That was a really hard pill to swallow.

But like always, we pushed through it and ended the week happy.

Con Amor
Sister Raynor

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Week 45 Arizona

Yes, the Spanish is finally coming. When we go on exchanges with English sisters, I can stay in the area and talk to people. It's not good Spanish by any means but I think they get what I'm trying to say. I am still in Tempe! We thought that one of us was getting transferred but then President Toone nuked the mission and made 10 zones into 14 zones. So I'm still here is Tempe. 

These past two weeks have been a bit hard mainly because of the craziness of all the happenings here in Tempe. It feels like Sister Smuin and I haven't worked in our area together for forever.

I'll break it down...

Monday-        P-day, we don't go out to work until 6
Tuesday-       district meeting from 9-12:30, lunch 12:30- 1:30, Spanish 1:30-2:30, 4 exchange           
                      with Sister Tanaka and Sister Spendlove 
Wednesday-  4:45 exchange back with Sisters Tanaka and Spendlove, dinner 5-6:30
Thursday-      MLC 8-2:30, Facebook, 3-4:15, dinner 5-6:15, rides -30, Ward correlation 8-9
Friday-           weekly planning 9-12:30, Zone leadership meeting 12:30-1, lunch 1-2, 
                      Spanish 2-3, Facebook 3-4:15, rides -30, dinner 5-6:30, Ward Soccer 7-8, Zone 
                      Meeting prep 8:30-9
Saturday-      General Conference 9-11, lunch 11-12, Spanish 12-12:45, General Conference 1-3
                      Facebook 4-5, Dinner 5-6:15, Zone Meeting planning meeting 8-9
Sunday-        General Conference 9-11, lunch 11:20-12:20, travel to stake center 12:30-12:55, 
                     1-3, Facebook 3-4, travel -1, dinner 5-6:15, Sunday Sync 8:30-9

M 3 T 1.5 W 2.5 Th 1.5 F .75 Sa 1.25 Su 1.75    TOTAL: 9.25

Monday-        P-day, shifted vertebrae 
Tuesday-       district meeting, stiff neckedness, doctors appointments 
Wednesday- Meet the Mormons, neck
Thursday-     neck
Friday-          weekly planning 9-12:30, zone leadership meeting 12:30-1, lunch 1-2, 
                     Spanish 2-3, Facebook 3-4:20, dinner 5-6:20, travel -45, exchange Sisters Tew and 
                     Manwill 8:30
Saturday-     Exchange back with Sisters Tew and Manwill 8:30

Sunday-       Ward counsel 7:15-8:40, church 9-12, new beginnings practice 12:30-1:15, 
                     studies 1:30-2:30, new Beginnings 4-7, interviews training meeting 7-8:30, Sunday 
                     sync 8:30-9

M 0 T 0 W 0 Th 0 F 1.75 Sa 0 Su 1.5     TOTAL: 3.25

It's been a rough one. But it'll get better soon. Cool thing that happened this week, I got to see my trainer! There is this couple that missionaries have been working with forever, and they just got married, and so she came down for the wedding, and so I got to see her! It was really awesome. I miss her, she was a super good missionary. 

Sister Raynor

Philippines Week 50

I have five months left on my mission.
I remember back in February when I still had 13 months left on my mission. It felt like forever. I was so excited for those months to pass.
Now, many of those months have passed. I am still a little bit excited to see my family…(that might be an understatement.) I am very excited to see my family but now the thought of going home is exciting but that thought also contains a little bit of sadness and dissatisfaction. 
I love my mission. Sure, there are many, many ups and downs but it is all so worth it. I worry that time will continue to go by too fast! I still feel like I have so much to do. There are so many more people that I need to talk to here! (We did the math- if I talk to 30 people a day each day of my 18 months, that’s about 16,200+ people!) 
For the next five months, I am going to actively be talking to those 16,000 (plus some).  President Dahle once told me “I don’t care what you say but say something.” I have decided to have that become my new motto. We don’t have time to not share.
I know that 16,000 people is not all the people in the Philippines. But I know that “what we do is one drop in the ocean but if we didn’t do it, the ocean would be one drop less.” (Elder Holland quoting Mother Teresa)
  • I got to watch General Conference--it was the best.
  • There was a full red moon eclipse in the Philippines. Interesting. The end is near :)
  • I'm sending a TON of pictures because my camera broke and so I made my first "big" purchase of my mission and bought a new camera. SO you should expect 20+ pictures every week. I am going to use it a ton to make sure that it was worth buying :)
I love you all! I hope everyone is having a great week. 
Love, Sister Raynor

baha. (flood)

Cooking fish for lunch!  

The calagos kids.  The mom, dad, and three of the kids were just baptized last week. The grandmother and aunt and uncle will be baptized next month. 

Also, if anyone wants a little Asian baby, I could probably buy one in the market. I'm just kidding, that is totally racist and inappropriate but they are pretty cute...

Me and my housemates last week.
There is a white guy in the background... that's a thing here--old white men come here and marry super young pretty Filipina women.

One of the mountains that we climb everyday. 
Cooking pancit bihon with Sister Colina (one of my housemates).  Its like the ultimate filipino party dish-- I'll make it for you when i get home.

Lesson with the Calagos family.
The beautiful philippines.

Housemates and me.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Week 44 Arizona




The first scripture of this email is what I like to call my "TRANSFER SCRIPTURE."  I found it sometime last transfer and it just jumped out to me. Our Heavenly Father really does have so much wisdom. He has prepared us far in advance and now all we have to do is trust in His great wisdom. (Ether 2:23-24) He, through his wisdom, prepares us, directs us, helps us grow, and gives us what we need. So why is it so hard to trust him sometimes? This is a thought I have been pondering for quite awhile. Why? We know that He knows all things, has all power, and loves us deeper and more fully then we could ever comprehend. So what is it that we lack yet?

In the General Women's meeting, I loved all that was said about temples. When you watch, listen, or read those inspired talks you get to learn what Father wants you to know. Here are a few things that He wanted to teach me.

1Corinthians 6 we learn that WE ARE TEMPLES. The Spirit is in us, just as it is in the temple. But we must be pure and holy. So with this in mind look at all we learned from our leaders.

From Sister Marriott (who was my favorite from the night) we learned how with every temple built the influence of Satan is lessened. So as each of us make it a goal to fulfill the scripture in 1Corinthians 6 we are helping to rid this world of Satan's influence. What power we have. We really do have a HUGE circle of influence around us. So how are we going to use that influence? If there are things you could be doing better (and there always are) to make yourself more like a temple, I invite you to make a goal and a game plan.

THE BEST TIME TO PLANT A TREE WAS 40 YEARS AGO, THE 2ND BEST TIME IS NOW. I know that you can do it because you have the power of Christ to make those changes. HE WILL HELP YOU. When we change to be better we change through the atonement. We are changing through Christ. So it only makes sense that He would be there to help us through the whole process. We've all heard the saying that it may not be easy, but it will always be worth it.

So I invite you all to close your umbrellas and soak in the blessings that Father has pouring down on you. I know that you will never regret it (Luke 9:62). Put your hand to the plow and don't look back. Look toward the temple. Keep the temple ever in you sights. There is so much power in this. You can't get to the temple if you are looking at the world. I know that to be true.

I know that God lives. I know that He is my Father and your Father. I know that Christ is His only Begotten Son who died for us but who now lives for us. I know that He Loves YOU/US with every imperfection, defect, or flaw. He loves us so much that He made a way for us to over come this world. We can do it now! I love this work. I love this gospel. And I know it to be true.

Sister Raynor

Monday, October 6, 2014

Philippines Week 49

This week was pretty stressful for many reasons. The main reason is because we were informed of some potential danger in our area. This prevented us from proselyting in most of our area and not being able to go visit our baptism goal dates. We had two investigators that should have been baptized on Saturday. As we called them to tell them that their baptism would have to be pushed back, they expressed their excitement for their upcoming baptism and their goal of making it to the temple in a year. We really felt that we needed to work really hard and find another way to teach them so that they could be ready for October 4. As we were thinking about this, we got a text from a branch member that informed us that it was safe to go through the area on a jeepney. We were so excited! That day, the Calagos family had their interviews and were able to be baptized on October 4. I love this area so much.  The branch is so willing to do their part. As we hurriedly prepared for the baptism, members started to really respond. On Saturday night as we walked into the church, I was amazed. The Spirit in the room seemed to just “whoosh” around us. It was by far the most “rushed” baptism that I have had on my mission but because of the love of the members here it was the most spiritual and beautiful baptism that I have been to on my mission. We were able to complete the Calagos family (the wife and two daughters were baptized in September),
Quick share from my scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 2:9à “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him”
I know that eternal and everlasting blessings are prepared for is if we but love God enough to keep His commandments and make sacred covenants with Him. 
  • MLC--Missionary Leadership Correlation-- At the mission home. I got to see Elder Jarvis, Sister Udall Sister Hart from my batch. It was super good to see them. Its crazy to see the changes that each of us have made in the last 12 months.
  • It[s October! I am so excited for Halloween!
  • We had a breakout in my apartment of lice and flees... that is all that I'm going to say about that.
  • I got to hang out with Elder and Sister Gorringe at a zone meeting. I love them. They made my day.
  • We got stuck in a rainstorm so we went to the nearest members house. It was a less active, tatay Perpecto. He is my favorite. As we were waiting for the rain to stop, he had the news on. A big warning popped up about a volcano spewing ash in another part of the Philippines. It was a warning for all pregnant women to evacuate. It then showed a room with 656 pregnant women. As all of this is happening, tatay goes " patay! No self control...Nope. None."
  • This morning, we were able to wake up early and go play Frisbee at the mission home with the Assistants to the President, office elders and Sister Dahle (mission president's wife). It was super fun.
  • We were also taught a lot about the importance of family history. I am not converted to family history. There is literally no other church and no other way to provide salvation for our deceased. They need ordinances performed on their behalf. If you have questions about this please visit:
I love you all! Until next week, Sister Raynor.

 Me and my batch at MLC (missionay leadership conference) Elder Jarvis and Sister Udall and Elder C and Sister Hart.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Week 43 Arizona


The antidote for all worry, sadness, pain, anxiety, etc. is service.
We were sharing a message with a member of our ward last night. As we
were talking about the love of God she told the story of her
conversion. It was filled with a lot of mistakes, loss, regrets, pain,
sorrow, but ended with hope, peace, fulfillment, and love. After 35
years out of the church she hit rock bottom. She told us she felt
hopeless and empty and nothing, that she was trying was getting her
out. So she went to God.

She could not find a job as she started her path back to her Father so
she spent her time totally immersed in service. "This service" she
said, "is what saved me. It healed my deep wounds and brought light
back into my life." What a powerful testimony she bears when she talks
of the Atonement. When we serve others we serve God. What better way
to happiness.

I can testify to the power of service. I am changed through the
service I have been blessed to give. It is all around us and I know
that it is one of the tools that Father uses to shape us into the Gods
and Goddesses He hopes and desires for us to be. When we throw
ourselves into service we are surrounded by His spirit. That is the
spirit that brings peace, love, healing, and guidance into our lives
and hearts.

The other day we were telling Brenda about the spirit. She is a recent
convert that struggling and she could really use some prayers. Brenda
has a heart of gold but no motivation right now to kick her desires
into action. She moved out of her boyfriends house to get baptized,
but after a few weeks...she found out that she was pregnant and now,
she is back to living with him.

We were able to share some very powerful scriptures with Brenda to
help her understand how much she NEEEEEEDS to be reading her
scriptures EVERYDAY and coming to church EVERY Sunday. It is these
little day to day things that help us have and keep the spirit. When
we have to spirit Satan has no hold on us. She cried and told us that
she knows but it is so hard. So guess what we did... (Caroline your
going to love this part!) We made a schedule with her. We gave her a
piece of paper and helped her figure out a time EVERYDAY that she was
going to read. And how she was going to prepare to attend church. Then
we made a plan on how we as missionaries could follow up daily to help
her. There is no point in committing someone to something if you are
not going to follow up.

Family: I know that God lives. I know that He loves me and each of
you. He has a perfect plan for you that you already agreed to. You
said Yes! In the words of Elder Malm of the 70 "we are all yes-
sayers." And guess what? that also means that everyone you see each
day said yes to this plan too. Sadly a lot of them have forgotten this
and so we are called to remind them. This plan is the plan of
HAPPINESS. This world always needs more happiness so lets teach
everyone this plan. As we do we will have Father's Spirit with us to
lift us, guide us, and help us all along the way. You are called to
serve. Grab your scriptures and put on your badge of honor and follow
the Savior.

I know as you do you will be blessed. I see it everyday. I know it, I
live it, and I love it with all of my heart and soul. You can do hard
things. Live each day with purpose. You will find joy and peace as you
do. Love you all.  

Sister Raynor

This is the creepiest thing I've ever's a tree stump 

This is our fort-like set up from our last apartment. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Philippines Week 48

I've been transferred!!!!
I’ve been trying to think of what I should write all week and I still don’t know exactly what to say. I guess I’ll just share my thoughts with you.

Transfers- It always hurts a little when you leave an area. I had been in Abucay for 6 months and so, of course, it was hard but exciting saying goodbye. It was hard to say goodbye to the members and less actives that I have come to love with all my heart. (It was especially hard to say goodbye to one of our investigators who, hopefully, was baptized last Saturday). But of course, I am so excited to meet the people here in Subic.

Companion- Sister Empalmado is literally amazing. Our lessons are amazing. She is a great teacher and I look forward to learning more from her. As we discussed this last transfer, we both agreed that we really felt that President had prayed specifically for us. We know that there are amazing opportunities awaiting us here. I look forward to seeing the work of the Lord fulfilled in our area.

Sister Smith- My last week with Sister Smith was very stressful but I actually really miss her. I pray for her and think of her daily. I can’t think of anytime in my life where I have experienced more change in myself. Our companionship was not easy but it was probably one of the greatest learning experiences of my mission. I am so grateful for the time that we had together. 

  • So we found out about transfers early. SO I was able to say goodbye to everyone in Abucay.
  • I got transferred to Olongapo--Subic specifically. I got called to be a Sister Training Leader. So we are the mission home STLs. So I go to church with the Assistants to the President and the Office Elders. 
  • Elder Christensen (from my first area) is now an office elder and his companion is his trainer. They live right up the street. Its like a blast from the past. 
  • I see the Senior Couple (The Gorringes) all the time.
  • My new apartment has air con, hot water, and a washing machine. I'm living the life. :)
  • My area is all mountain on one side and then ocean on the other. We just hike all day. It is gorgeous because the ocean is right there every time we look off the mountain. 
  • MY companion, Sister Empalmado, is the best. She is Filipina and we go home at the same time. Which apparently is getting pretty close.I got called a pauwi this week. which pretty much means someone that is close to going home.
  • We've also been introduced into a new concept--I2L-ing jeepneys. SO basically we get up in front of the whole jeepney while we are riding to appointments and invite everyone in the jeepney to learn about the gospel and we hand out pass-a-along cards with our numbers on it. So we contact 20+ people in a 3 minute period of time. Its kind of scary talking in front of everyone but it is worth because you are giving so many a chance to learn. 
I'll send pics next week when i get my camera fixed. We are planning a trip to hike this HUGE mountain in a few weeks. So excited. Love you all. Be good. Love Sister Raynor

Bus station goodbyes. Sister Hart is now south in the mission and I am in the center/heart of the mission. BIg CITY!!

​This is the branch president that went less active for 25 years and then we helped him return to full activity. He cried when we said goodbye and then told me to come back when he goes to the temple next year--- looks like we might need a family vacation here in the Philippines. :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week 42 Arizona

Hey Mamma-
Its been a crazy week so I've just put in all of my journal entries for this week... sorry I don't have a lot of time to write

We just finished having an amazing week. 
       Tuesday, my companion was super distracted and upset about something. She was driving us to District Meeting and we reached a stop light and then she just treated it like a stop sign. She stopped, then went. After District meeting, she asked Elder Diaz for a blessing. It was one of the most spiritual blessing that I have ever gotten to be apart of and it was awesome because he gave it to her in Spanish. Ever since Tuesday, we've been so much closer to Elder Diaz...that blessing was a moment. I know that God's power is once again back here on the earth and I'm so grateful for worthy priesthood holders and leaders. We found a new investigator that day and she is really awesome, her name is Irma.

        Wednesday was also a way Awesome day.. The Evergreen Ward had us teach the young women's activity that night and we taught about what mission life was like and why we chose to go on missions and we were able to bring an investigator and a recent convert with us to meet all of the girls and listed about what we do as missionaries. We then read from chapter 10 of Preach my Gospel and taught the girls how to use the scriptures while teaching someone about the gospel. We divided the girls into 4 companionships and Hermana Smuin and I were 2 investigators and then the recent convert and the non member were 2 investigators and they taught us their favorite scriptures using the model of explain the context, read with them, then apply it or their lives. The spirit was so strong. The nonmember, Julia, approached us afterwards with a bunch of questions about the baptism process. We ran from there to an awesome lesson with the Lindor family and a Ward missionary couple came with us and they provided great fellowship.

       Thursday was also bomb. It was the first time I have ever gone on splits. We got so much done and we were able to work in the Spanish and the English Ward at the same time. We finished the night with an awesome lesson with a Ward missionary couple. The work is much more fun when we are with the members.

       Friday we had a surprise meeting with President Toone and the whole entire mission, even all of the missionaries from Yuma came up. And he laid down the hammer! It was a blunt meeting, a lot of how we need to use Facebook and how we need to be examples. I really liked it. It helped me know exactly how I needed to change. There was no beating around the bush. 
And the cherry on top of this huge chocolate cake of a week, Saturday.....

       Saturday, we had the amazing opportunity to hear from a member of the Presiding Bishopric, Bishop Davies, a member of The Seventy, Elder Corbridge, and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Christofferson.  The power in the room was definitely felt as we filed through and introduced ourselves while shaking these leaders' hands.  They talked to us about so many things, I took 4 pages of notes. At the beginning, he talked a lot about The Second Coming actually and our role in gathering a group of righteous people to welcome Jesus when He comes. But something that really struck me at the end was what Elder Christofferson taught us about the sin of rebelling against God. He said we need to stop all rebellions against Him and start doing His will. We must ask Him what He wants of us and then do it. He made the comparison to Satan and said that he was cast out of heaven because he rebelled against God and we need to be so cautious and careful because he is still recruiting. The time we have to serve the Lord as full time missionaries is too short to be wasted. That day we saw a lot of miracles and just had the greatest desire to work in the Lord's vineyard. That night we were driving in the car and Sister Smuin asked me, "alright, where to?" I felt super strongly like we needed to go visit this girl named Florentina, so we headed her way, and we had an amazing lesson about the peace that comes through the Holy Ghost with Florentina.

       Sunday was even more amazing. I was literally shocked that each day just got better and better. A recent convert's daughter came to church on Sunday and instead of going to Relief Society, we stayed out in the hall and talked to her. We had one of the most spiritual lessons. It was incredible. She accepted to be baptized on the 19th of October :) it was an absolute miracle. She's so prepared. Her name is Julia Morales. We ended the night with a Mission President's devotional and it was good to see everyone there. I was getting really nervous about transfer calls because usually they come around 9 or 10 on Sundays, right? But they never came!! I was so antsy. The zone leaders told us they were going to tell us in the morning. I was dying.
Today, we've been writing letters and still no calls. It's Killer. We just got a call...Sister Smuin is stepping up to be a Sister Training Leader. I'm so happy for her because I know this is what she wanted, but I'm also so sad because I know we wont be fate is still to be determined. Leadership calls go out before transfer calls. I'll let you know if I get a call.

(Sounds like I'm staying!!  - YEA!)
Love Sister/Hermana Raynor

This transfers transfer board...its like march madness for missionaries

Weekly district pic

 Me, Sister Smuin, and Elder Diaz- we found some name tags that say "Hello my name is"  I was Hope, she was Staci and he was Maru.

Ward Party