Monday, February 24, 2014

Week 12 Arizona

So transfer calls were last night aaaaaaaaaaand I'm staying in Arizona City.  This past week has been killer, we were up in Casa Grande literally everyday this week and on Wednesday and Thursday we were up there for 2 - 3 hour long doctor's appointments.  I got a lot of reading done.  On Friday we were up there again for exchanges.  I have to say, I love exchanges. Exchanges are essentially companion switches where you get to see other missionaries ways of teaching and you really get to learn a lot, also you get a 24-hour break from your companion (and after 6 hours at the doctors I needed that). On this go, Sister Douros left our area and went up to Gilbert with Hermana Segura and I stayed in Arizona City with Hermana Marquez. It was really nice, Hermana Marquez has been out on her mission for 9 months and she has spent all of it in the same area in the ward... she loves exchanges more than I do. 

Sorry its going to be a short letter but it was an off week. It isn't looking good for my companion's knee...she might have to go home. 

Sister Raynor

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Philippines Week 17

This week has gone by so fast.  On Wednesday, we have transfers.  I'm pretty nervous.  Sister Hart is already packed.  I am definitely not packed.  We both are pretty nervous.  Trying to do last minute things together just in case.  I have not been asleep before 11:45 once this week.  Each time I try to sleep, she comes into my room and sits on the ground and talks while flicking me each time I close my eyes.  So we are pretty stressed about transfers.  But this week has been pretty great:

Monday: I emailed from Subic and then we went with the Gorringes onto "the Base" (the old WW2 base).  It was so much fun.  They are so cute and SO American.  :) In the middle of walking around he goes "Wait, we need to go upstairs.  I need to get my girls some real Dairy Queen."  First real ice cream that we've had here in the Philippines, better than I remember.  It was a really really fun day.  

Tuesday: I went on exchanges to San Narciso.  I did not enjoy my time there.  I think I am a little bit spoiled with apartments because we have the nicest apartment in the mission right now.  I took a shower at their apartment--yep the water was completely yellow.  The tiles in the bathroom are all yellow because of the water.  I did not feel clean... 

Wednesday: I got home from exchanges and showered right away.  We then went out and taught.  I was pretty sick all day (I've had a cold for about a week).
Thursday: Sister Hart went on exchanges in San Narciso-that was not fun.  I was SO bored. This was the only time all week that I was able to go to bed on time.

Friday: No big deal but I kind of ate squid--I don't really recommend it to anyone.  I remember 6 months ago watching a Bizarre foods challenge on Survivor.  I thought it was so gross--dog, liver, frog, squid, balut.  Now no big deal.  I am glad to say that I have tried all of these things--almost-- we are having dinner at President delaCruz's on Tuesday before transfers.  He is making frog. Yuck. It's supposed to rain on Tuesday so at least they will be fresh...

Saturday: We discovered the plaza.  The town plaza is where everyone goes at night, they have games, bingo and food vendors.  It is so fun.  Of course, we dont hang out there or anything but someone told us that they sell footlong hotdogs.  We looked and yes they do.  And they even have REAL lettuce.  That was exciting.  
     On Saturday, we also had a bit of a scare.  I'm just going to start from the beginning of the night.  So it all started when we ran into the Elders and Sister Hart and Sister Laguerta at 7-11.  We decided that we needed to have a district meeting later that night so we all took our branch missionaries home.  On our way home, my companion Sister Pizon and I ran into a bunch of the YSA and talked to them for a little bit.  Then as we continued on our way, we saw a drunk man peeing on the street.  We thought nothing of it until he turned around and said, "Magandang gabi po Sister Raynor" - yep I now know him pretty well... When we got to the house, Sister Laguerta and Sister Hart were standing outside on the street freaking out because the light was on in the house and they heard a big bang inside.  So they called the Branch Mission Leader, our old Branch Mission Leader (it's his house that we rent), one of the YSA - Seth, he is in the Navy, and the Elders.  We had all of these people trying to see if someone was in the house.  It was pretty scary.  They actually all got to go inside the house (against church policy).  Good thing the house was clean :)  Turns out, it was my pet turkeys jumping on a pipe and us leaving a light on... Pretty lame. 
So that is my week.  I love you all and I hope everyone is sobrang masaya. 
SIster Raynor


Squid.  Enough said.  It was breaded but still like chewing a rubberband...

                                  Me chasing elder gorringe in a parking garage.

                              Opening cans Philippines style - with a knife.

                               Sister Hart putting a mask on her face.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Week 11 Arizona

     So this week was a little unproductive. My companion's knee has been hurting for a while so we've been to the doctors a few times and they're thinking she has a torn meniscus, but they cant say for sure until they get an MRI. We've been to the doctors twice this week, which isn't very fun.  
     Arizona City is a bit of a drive from Casa Grande (where civilization is) and we usually go there 4 times a week for meetings and church, but because we had 2 Dr's appointments we were up there 7 times last week... lots of driving.  That was pretty sad because it meant not much teaching, but the highlight of the week was that we got to go to the temple on Wednesday.  We saw the new presentation which was cool.  The Mesa temple is super pretty, the colors are a pastel pink, green, and gold (not my favorite,) but the paintings in there are all these amazing landscape/nature paintings.  There is this one wall that is just a scene of Joseph Smith and the apostles teaching Native Americans and the other side is them teaching the Lamanites, it is super cool.  
     That's pretty much all the news i have.

I love you all.

Sister Raynor

Shout out to David - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
And tell Karin I am praying for her

                                                      C/O Dale O. Luff
                                                                     PO Box 837
                                                                     Arizona City, AZ 85123

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Philippines Week 16

So this week was actually a little bit uneventful.  We had Zone Conference  in San Antonio about a 30 minute bus ride.  I got to see my trainer Sister Enguito, her companion is sobrang maliit (small--like 3 feet tall). I also got a sweet Christmas card from the Barnes!  Thank you - such a sweet family.  I love you guys.
     We celebrated Valentine's Day-we all got a heart shaped mini cake=di-masarap (not delicious).  We also had the old branch president come home from work in Australia.  While he was there he was able to spend a day with Sister Hart's family.  So yesterday we all went to his house for lunch- it was so...normal.  Like everything was just really nice.  Sister Hart's family also gave him a little duffel bag of stuff for her.  It was a pretty good day. 
     Today, I am emailing from Subic (this is where the Mission Home is, the town next to Olongapo) because Elder and Sister Gorringe are taking us to Olongapo to go shopping today.  That should be fun.  This week was nanay Anita Facelo's birthday.  Anita is the nanay or mom of Michelle Moyo (our newest convert).  She turned 63 so we got her a cake and celebrated with them.  It was super fun.  I don't know what I am going to do when I get transferred away from them-- I feel like part of the family. (Pictures below)  

Take a look at Chirstaly--she is in the middle of the group picture.  She reminds me so much of Cali.  She is awesome.  She always say "ingat po" (be safe) when we leave every night.  She is awesome.

This picture is our district after Zone Conference at the nicest restaurant that I have been to here in the Philippines.

This last picture is Laman (my pet turkey) in the sink.  I just heard all of this squealing one morning and so I went out and she was just hanging out in the sink. 

Well, I think that that is it.  But I love you all so much.
Love Sister Raynor  

PS: Happy Birthday Chanel Barnes.             Happy almost Birthday David. 

Arizona Week 10

My birthday was nice, I didn't really tell anyone about it because I don't like being the center of attention, but on Tuesday we had interviews with President Toone, so we were in Casa Grande.  So Sister Douros and I got sushi for lunch and that was pretty fun.  
On Thursday we had dinner with two of our ward missionaries Corky and Ruth and they made me a chocolate cake.  When we were eating it I saw that there was something in my piece, it was long and stringy looking, when I asked Corky what it was, she said shredded coconut, but it didn't really taste like it. When everyone finished their piece of cake, Corky announced that it was not coconut chocolate cake, it was sauerkraut cake!  Apparently she got this recipe from an Amish lady back east but since Corky doesn't like chocolate she had never really made it, but when she found out about my birthday (Sister Douros snuck them a note) she decided to capitalize on the opportunity.  Very sweet, very nice...

So this week....We hit the Standard of Excellence again.  I think because we reached it last week, we knew that it was an attainable goal and that we could do it...and so we did it and that was awesome.

On Saturday (2/8) one of our investigators is getting baptized, and this guy really does not like me, but it's okay because I don't care (I just care that he's doing the right thing) and it's kind of fun having someone to banter with (missing Katie a little here??)  

Hmmm, I guess this is a short one.  I keep forgetting my SD card but I will get some pictures to you eventually.  Don't forget to go to my Face Book page.  (Sister Ashley Raynor)  

I love you so much
Sister Raynor

Week 15 Phillipines

Oh my Family!  

SO this week has been so short.  We have taught so many lessons this week, which is pretty exciting because that means that I am speaking Tagalog in each lesson.  On Friday, we went to the mission home for Sister Pizon's follow-up training.  It was fun just to hang out there.  One of the Assistant to the President is actually our old Zone Leader.  He goes home in two weeks.  He is from Boise and is totally a country/farm boy.  It's super great.  So I was able to hang out with him and just visit with the other trainers for a while.  I also got a package from mom which was SOOOO exciting.  
On Saturday we had baptisms.  Then we went back to our house and ended up getting into a huge spaghetti fight with the Branch Missionaries on the porch.  It was super fun--almost normal.  
On Sunday, we got a new Branch Mission Leader.  Our old BML" is going on a mission in two weeks.  Our new BML is actually an RM who served with my MTC teacher in San Pablo. He is 21.  Its crazy but I feel like the Youth and YSA do so much for our branch.  I also realized how much I miss just sitting in a WARD not having to worry about anything or any investigators.  I mean, I love it here, but sometimes I just miss English and the ease of Sundays :)  
Today, Monday, we had a zone activity because we met the Standard of Excellence again.  We went to IBA (one of the bigger cities up north) and went to a resort--a beach.  There wasn't really a ton to do because its super hot and so we all just kind of sat around and "hung-out" for 6 hours in the shade.  But we also got to hangout with Elder and Sister Gorringe -the senior couple.  They are so great.  After the activity they took us (the missionaries from San Felipe--me, Sister Pizon, Sister Laguerta, Sister Hart, Elder Christensen and Elder Flores) to a grocery store.  A real grocery store. It was so expensive but so amazing.  We only had 30 minutes but it was the nicest place I have been to in 5 months.  It was mind-blowing.  I'm also super excited because Sister Pizon needs clothes and so we need to go shopping in Olongapo next Monday.  Elder Gorringe actually talked to President for us and offered to drive us and go with us.  I am so excited.  They are so normal and fun.  
Well, this is all I've got for this week.  But I love you all.  

Shout out to everyone-Happy Valentines Day.  Pre-shout out to David- Happy Birthday.
Love you all, Sister Raynor

1)Daniel (left) and Journey(right) eating spaghetti on our porch.  Daniel works with us all the time.  Journey is our new BML.

2) Our Training batch.

3) Me asking Sister Hart to be my Valentine.  Inside joke.  But just saying-I'm king of the best.  (She said yes...) 

 4) Elder Fonnesbeck.  Our old ZL that became an AP.  He is the best.   

5+6) The fish that we ate at the activity earlier.

7+8) The "resort" from our activity earlier today.  That is the owner asleep on the table during our activity....

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Week 14 Philippines

I hope everyone is doing well!  I always feel awkward with these letters and so I'm just going to jump right in:
Jason and Michelle Moyo:  They were baptized last week and then confirmed this week.  Jason is amazing.  It says in Preach My Gospel (missionary handbook) that you can't convert someone past your own testimony.  I totally disagree.  I think that we cant teach someone past our own understanding but I am so positive that Jason has a way stronger testimony then me.  It amazes me.  After he was confirmed (in English, but he doesn't speak any English) he came down from the stand and he said "sister Raynor, i understood it all- hindi mga salita pero ang ibig sabihin--not the words but the meaning).  It was amazing.  Then he was crying during testimony bearing because he wanted to bear his testimony but he was so overwhelmed by the spirit that he couldn't stop crying. He is so cool. Michelle asked me where she needs to apply in order to become a teacher at church (she wants to teach the investigator/gospel essentials class).   They are awesome. Their niece who lives next to them looks like a Filipina Cali Sherry.  She is so cute.  I always flick her and she laughs.  Just like CALI.  
Nikko Placido:  So Nikko was a LAR (less active return).  He has been less active for two years.  He is 13 years old.  He came back to church last month.  He is now super active and goes to all the activities.  On Sunday, I looked over in Sacrament meeting and saw him passing me the sacrament.  It has been amazing to see his progression from not going to church at all to loving it.  
Sister Hart: Probably my favorite person that I have met so far on the mission.  She and I will be together for 6 months of our missions.  
Elder and Sister Gorringe: The senior couple assigned to our area.  I love them.  They are from South Jordan, UT.  They are adorable.  He is in charge of the finances and she is the mission secretary.  They are the best.  They always come and visit us and we all just speak English to each other-its great.  
The Philippines: Yep, still the same.  Pretty crazy.  The highlight of this week was Sister Hart begging me to pump water on her from the water pump things in the back while she sat in the laundry tub-yep it was definitely that hot. And yep, I definitely declined. Its still more fun in the Philippines. (just kidding, sometimes its really not).  Whenever anything happens people just say its more fun in the Philippines.  I don't know.  But no crazy stories this week.  

I can't believe its already February!  Its almost been 6 months... pretty crazy.  Happy almost Valentines Day.  And almost Happy Birthday Davy.

 I love you all.  Cubo.  Sister Raynor


                              The Meat Section of the market.

                                    More of the market.

                         The normal section....yuck..  :)

SO these are FHE the other night with the Abundo Family.