Monday, January 27, 2014

Arizona Week 9

This last week has been incredible.  Last Friday during weekly planning, Sister Douros and I made it our goal to reach the Standard of Excellence so we set our key indicator goals accordingly.  The Standard of Excellence is a set of numbers that our mission president has really prayed about and he feels that if we can reach these goals then we will really see the miracles come.  They are 16 lessons with a member present, 6 new investigators, 4 investigators with a baptismal date, 6 investigators at church, 5 referrals from members. Our other goals were to have 4 progressing investigators and to have taught 4 lessons to recent convert/less active members.  

Monday, we had FHE with a part member family and it was super fun, we played restoration jeopardy. We had 1 member present lesson. 

Tuesday was an interesting day.  We had a meeting from 9-12 and after the meeting we had to go home so we could do companionship study and my training and then we had to leave for dinner.  After dinner Sister Douros said that she had had this really weird bad feeling right after our meeting that would not go away, and after she brought that up i mentioned that i had been feeling that way too.  Neither of us could get that awful feeling to go away so, we went home.  We went home and said a prayer, we asked for help because we did not know why we felt the way that we did and we needed the feeling to stop.  We asked to be forgiven if there was anything that we had done to cause this feeling and we asked that He would help us that as we went back out with renewed diligence that we would be able to get some lessons in and that we would get top meet new people. We went out and we got to see some people, and we even got a member to go out with us. 2 member presents, 1 less active/ recent convert(LARC).

Wednesday, we spent the afternoon in Eloy (worse than Empire). We got a member to go with us and we taught 3 member present lessons, 1 LARC, and 1 other lesson(no member present.) After dinner we went back to Arizona City and we had Ellie come with us. She is a laurel, she is 17 and getting ready for her mission, she has been great. Our ward is mostly made up of old people so getting members is kind of tough, but Ellie gets done with school at 4, so she is mostly free for the rest of the night and she loves coming out with us.  While we had Ellie, we had another 1 LARC and 1 member present.

Thursday we had 2 LARCs and 2 Member present lessons. 
Friday we went back to this (Less active/part member) lady's house and taught her and her son (9) and her nephew (11) the restoration and the 2 little boys wanted to be baptized, and we got 2 member present lessons that night.  Saturday we taught 6 member present lessons, and 2 LARCs. When we went back to the house with the little boys, there was another cousin there, and we were teaching the plan of salvation, and when we were finishing, Ramone (also 9) asked what do i need to do to go to the sun? he asked us if he could be baptized. By Saturday night, we had reached the standard of excellence on all accounts, but Sunday was going to be make it or break it, we needed to get 6 investigators there. We called everyone, we thought we could get 4 people there for sure, but then... 
Sunday morning came and only Ramone (9) and Christopher(9) showed up.  It was pretty disappointing. Not even our 2 investigators who were fully committed showed up, we only had 2 at church.  Then the miracles came.  After sacrament, a member came up and told us about this family that she met who wanted to come to church with her and how they showed up for sacrament (now we were at 4), then the young women's president told us that Arnice and Astrith (2 longtime investigators) had showed up too (that's 6) and then this part member family came (3 nonmembers) and we ended up having 9 investigators at church. 7 of them showed up out of no where. So, we hit the standard on every count and excelled in almost all of them. 

My testimony of the power of prayer has been strengthened and I have gained a testimony of setting goals in faith. I can now say that I know that if we set our goals in faith and strive to be exactly obedient and to be the most diligent missionaries, then the miracles will come.

Love you so much
Sister Raynor

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Week 13 Philippines

TO lahat kayo!
Kumusta po kayo!  This week has been interesting- but most weeks are interesting here in the Philippines.  So on Tuesday, I was actually sick.  I don't like being sick on the mission.  Because 1.) I'm in the Philippines and 2.) Its boring and 3.) I'm in the Philippines.  Someone gave us this cheese stuff- they don't have real dairy cheese here and so none of the cheese needs to be refrigerated-- and I got super sick.  I could not stop vomiting.  So we stayed in for an hour of proselyting time and then we went out.  By the time we got to the our first appointment, I had already thrown up twice in front of the branch members working with us.  So we decided to go home.  The nanay (mother) that we were working with told me to drink some hot water or tea and it will settle my stomach.  She then gave me some herbal tea.  When I got home, I made and drank the tea.  As I was drinking the last of it, I read the back of it.  Yep, it was a laxative tea.  So I was super sick that day.  (I don't know if that is appropriate to talk about--I no longer have any personal boundaries).  Then on Sunday I found out that she knew exactly what kind of tea it was.  I was SO mad.  On Wednesday, we had leadership training in Olongapo.  Then nothing exciting really happened until Sunday when we had two baptisms. I baptized my first family yesterday. Michelle and Jason Moyo. Jason, the dad, looked over when he saw his wife in white holding their 3 month old and started tearing up.  I said kumusta po kayo (how are you) and he said masaya(happy) and then I said Jason, your family is going to be together forever.  He broke down crying  and said alam ko na (I know that). So cool. They are so excited to go to the temple next year.  I'm so proud of them.  They are incredible.  I will add pictures of them at the bottom.  I love you all.  I hope that everyone is doing well.   Mahal kita.  Cubo.  Love Sister Raynor

This picture is me on this old bridge that is over a mote that leads to a drug lord's house.  Super pretty with the water lilies though.

An investigator's house.

A sign written by a Filipino trying to use English.

Michelle and Jason at their baptism.

Michelle and Jason's baptism--Elder Flores, Sister Pizon, Michelle, Jason, me, Elder Christensen
my first family


Happy Birthday ASHLEY PARKER RAYNOR!! You are the best.  Have a great 21st birthday.  And know that there is someone in the Philippines thinking about you! I love you!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Arizona Week 8


           I am now serving in the Casa Grande zone. My new area covers the Podunk town of Arizona City and the super sketchy town of Eloy. Arizona City reminds me a lot of Yuma, except it is more Yuman than Yuma!  It was established by snowbirds, so there are no home owners associations, no sidewalks, no street lamps, and very few nice roads (they are in between a crappy country road and a gravel road).  
          Eloy is super sketchy, we cannot be out there past 5pm and if we have dinner with members (dinner is from 5-6) we have to get permission from the zone leaders.  My new companion is super awesome, She was in a similar situation, so we have had similar thoughts for making our companionship really awesome.  We live alone in a triplex and we are the only companionship out this far, it takes us like 30 minutes to drive to church.                    Yesterday we found out that we get to take an investigator (just one/one family) to the Gilbert Temple Open House, super exciting because we were told we probably wouldn't get to before, so we are working hard to find a member with tickets who would be willing to drive us and the investigators. 

So on Saturday, DJ got baptized. Ironically, I got transferred to one of the two places that is too far to get to be there, but I'm just stoked that he got baptized.

Sorry the letter is so short, because of the holiday, libraries are closed so we have to use members computers so I'm trying to be quick.

Love you

Sister Raynor

NEW ADDRESS: For Packages.....                                        For Letter.......
                              Sister Ashley Raynor                                Sister Ashley Raynor
                              9117 Century Drive                                   PO Box 1248
                             Arizona City, AZ 85123                              Arizona City, AZ  85123


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Week 12 Philippines

So family! We had transfers this week.  That was pretty scary.  So I stayed here in San Felipe... But I am training a new missionary from Manila.  Her name is Sister Pizon- she is filipino.  Sister Hart also stayed and is training a filipino as well.  Sister Hart and I are the only two from our batch of 27, training - pretty nuts.  Elder Christensen became our new District leader.  
I played guitar for the first time yesterday--it turns out that I still suck. :)  
We have a new Mission President coming in July, he is from Salt Lake City, Utah.  He is a lawyer.  Uncle Eric might know him maybe.  
Other news, we got a toaster oven!!  Super exciting.  The Gorringes (senior couple from South Jordan) are super close with us and they gave it to us.  
We have two baptisms next week- Jason and Michelle Moyo.  They are my first family baptism.  Its so cool.  I hope everyone is happy and well.  I have to go- pictures next week.  Be safe everyone.  Alam ko na totoo ang Simbahan ni Jesucristo ng mga banal ng mga huling araw.  Alam ko na ito ay daan makakabalik sa ating Ama sa Langit.  Sa pamamagitan ng ebanghelyo ni Jesucristo makakabalik sa Amang Walang Hanggan kasama ang mga pamily natin magpakailanman.  I love you all - keep being awesome.  Cubo.  
Love the other Sister Raynor

Oh also, Ashley, I would love to hear from you someday...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 11 Philippines

This is a video of me feeding my pet turkeys rice.  They aren't really mine but they live at our house.  I'm also not supposed to feed them but they are the closest thing I have to a pet.  When I say "bok bok bok" they run to me.  Their names are Voldemort, Laman, and Lemuel.  They just laid 12 eggs though so if any of them hatch I will name the baby korihor.  We'll see.

Nanay and Tatay Resolme - that's inside my house.  The nicest in the area.  They are some branch members that always take care of us.  She is a teacher and he drives a tricycle.  In the last two months, we have reactivated 4 of his 8 brothers. There is one more next week, Ernesto and then his whole family is active.  Super cool.  I love them.  

Pamilya ko!
Kumusta po kayo??  Namimiss ko po kayo palagi!  Ang linggong ito has been nuts!  So many crazy things have happened but I can’t remember any of them.  We have a transfer this Wednesday-I’m getting so nervous!  Either Sister Enguito or I will be transferred.  I will probably get a follow up trainer.  Its just a matter of whether or not I will get to stay here sa San Felipe.  I’m praying that I will stay here.We are doing good though.  I'll give you details on my life next week after transfers.  I love you all.  CUBO. Sister Raynor

The below pictures are of me and our super green and pink house. (I'm doing the pose from superstar.  The other one is Sister Hart and I taking our last Sunday (nice dress) picture.

Arizona Week 7

So this week was interesting.  We had some kind of meeting just about everyday this week, and all of the meetings were really uplifting. This week we taught 0 lessons. It was a bit rough, but the glimmer of hope came on Monday (01/06.) We have been helping this guy on the reservation prepare for baptism, he has been investigating the church for about 3 years, but smoking and golfing on Sundays have been what was holding him back. His wife, Sunnydae, is a less active member, but she is super great.  So, DJ has been looking into the church for a while, and this last year he and Sunnydae found out that they were expecting so he was really going to put forth all of his efforts to try to quit for the baby and he was doing pretty good for a while, but when they were about 5 months along, Sunny lost the baby and DJ's no smoking streak came to an abrupt end.  We met up with DJ and Sunnydae about 10 days ago and after we first talked to him we could see that he was really ready. On our second lesson with him, we committed him to quit smoking and he said that he would try. He said that he would try over and over again. On Sunday, DJ came to church and we could smell smoke but we didn't say anything, we wanted to wait until he told us. And then, Monday. We went over and had a talk, and DJ finally broke.  We were over there for 2.5 hours.  One thing I have to say, my mission has changed me, when I started our conversation, I was bold (but still loving). I flat out told, " DJ, you can't do this, in all honesty, I don't think you are going to be able to quit smoking. I know you can't do it." As I'm sure you can imagine, this was the last thing he was expecting from his "cheerleaders." After that we had a really powerful discussion about humility and commitment  By the end he realized that if he humbled himself enough to ask for help from Heavenly Father, and if he committed, not just tried, that only then could he quit smoking. When we finished, DJ was saying the closing prayer, he asked for help, and he just started crying... he finally broke.  On Friday we went back and DJ had been going strong, and he is on schedule to be baptized ob Saturday. When we were there, we were talking to them and they told us that they had some news... they are expecting again.  We were all so happy and DJ has more motivation now than ever before, he said this is his second chance. At the end, Sunny gave us each a bracelet that she made and it really meant a lot. 

So...Elder Holland... we were so excited to go and be chastised, on Friday we planned out our car pools and were all so stoked, then on Friday night we got a text message saying that Elder Holland received a new assignment and instead of flying out Saturday evening (and chastising us) he had to fly out Saturday morning. It was a little sad, but the conference was still great. We got to hear from Elder Wright of the Seventy.  It was pretty funny, his wife spoke before him and she was telling us about  how she had explained what had happened to a nonmember friend, she said it was like you had saved up for months to buy a ticket to see the Beatles, and you sit down and you're waiting for the show to start and then The Dixie Chicks come on stage. Its still an awesome concert but just not as legendary as it would have been with the Beatles. The building was shaking with laughter (we were in a stake center in Tempe and it was all the missionaries from the Tempe, phoenix, and Tucson mission.)

So, on Sunday was transfer call day and... I'm getting transferred! I won't find out where I'm going until the transfer meeting on Wednesday. Its a bittersweet moment because I'm excited for "the change" but I'm sad to leave the Jones (the family we live with,) Bob (their dog,) Laveen (much prettier than Yuma,) but most of all I'm sad that I'm going to miss DJ's baptism. That is the real bummer, but when we see them tonight I'll just give them a list of my names/nicknames that they can use for a middle name on their baby:)

Questions: Yes i got the package, thanks so much for that, its been fun. My tooth will get fixed this week, we couldn't really schedule anything with the office because President Toone has been focused on all the Elder Holland Stuff.  

Nicknames I have accumulated this Transfer: Sister Rainy, Sister Washington (because it rains in Washington,) Sister Reina (from Harley the half Spanish half English lessons, closest Spanish word that sounds like Raynor), Sister Q (Harley), Sister Queen (Reina in Spanish means queen, also from Harley).

Love you tons

Sister Washington.

Week 10 Philippines

Sorry, I cant really type much because I am using an Asian keyboard-- its all symbols and I have to type based on Sister Enguitos keyboard next to me and my memory.... So here are pictures from my week.  Inline image 1

my favorite branch missionaries/ RMS.  Journey, Mark John and Ofel.Inline image 1

Inline image 2Sister Hart and I.

Arizona Week 5/6

So this week has been kind of rough. Our Zone (8 companionships) set a goal for this week to get 100 member present lessons and we got 101. The rough part was that my companionship contributed 1. The hardest part for me is just trying to make my companionship function successfully and trying to get us going in the right direction and trying to feel like I'm doing it right, and then to see that our stats say that I'm not doing a very good job at it.  That part has been really hard.

This week was interesting. Our Zone (8 companionships) set a goal for this week to get 100 member present lessons and we got 101! This weekend we got to go on exchanges!! They were so awesome. For the first few weeks of my mission I was put into a trio with our Areas Sister Training Leaders, so for exchanges I got to be companions with Hermana Abarca again.  It was really fun to get to go out with her. I got to see the area and people we taught again, and just go back. Exchanges are a 24 hour event and because i went to their area, i got back to the apartment i lived in for my first 3 weeks and i got to hang out with the other companionship that lives in the apartment, too.  I was stoked to see them again because we work on opposite sides of the zone, so we don't see each other as often, so that was fun.  We went out and taught a lot of people, and i learned so much. In their area, there is this pupusa place that is only open on the weekends, by place I mean it was someones house, and by someones house, i mean a Salvadorean lady making pupusas in her garage. When all three of us were in a companionship, we would go to the pupusa place every Saturday, but when I was transferred they started doing Exchanges and so Pupusa Saturdays died, but this weekend, because of exchanges, Hermana Abarca and I were able to go.  It was super fun.

Today is a little bit of a sad day. It is Hermana Maiers last P-Day. She was the other STL in my trio.She is seriously the most Christ-like person I have ever met.  She was the sister that helped me start packing up all of Sister Gannons stuff, we were up all night (2am) packing and talking. It was that night that we realized that she and I had quite a lot in common.  Her last year at BYU was my first year, and she was in my major and the president of the major's club and we were actually at quite a few of the same events.  We have people that we both knew and we actually met each other a few times, but we didn't recognize each other at first.  In the middle of the first week we were together, Hermana Abarca got that means we stay home, in proselyting clothes. Since studies only last so long, you have to talk to avoid letting the boredom kill you. When Hermana Abarca woke up from her nap, she started talking about the boy she left at home, and then we all started telling stories... Hermana Maier told us the story of her first kiss at BYU, and it was with a guy i knew (he's one of those guys that is super social and bubbly also he is black-i had to throw that in). He just kind of laid one on her after a few "dates" Turns out, Hermana Maier and I had pretty much the same encounter with the same boy, with the same results. I won't expand on that subject.  So like I said, we have a lot in common, but now she is going home. which is pretty sad.

AWESOME EXCITING NEWS THAT I WASN'T ALLOWED TO TALK ABOUT UNTIL TODAY!!!  On Saturday all of the missionaries in our mission are going to be totally chewed out and righteously chastised by............PRESIDENT HOLLAND!!!!!!!! He is coming to Arizona for some church business about the Gilbert temple (the open house starts at the end  of the month) and he wanted to get a chance to address the missionaries. So the Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa Missions are all going to get to have a private "Devotional (Chastisement)" with president Holland. I am so excited he is totally my favorite.

I love you so much.

Sister Raynor