Monday, June 23, 2014

Week 29 Arizona

 So this has been another awesome week, we had 18 member present lessons this week and 7 of those were through Facebook. I got to do a lesson with Nonie and Nathan Allen and that was super sweet, a little weird, but still awesome. 2 weeks ago, we made it a goal to make our Facebook time more effective and by changing our Facebook time to different hours of the day we were able to find "the golden hour" for Facebook.  I jumped the gun a little bit, but that "golden hour" is generally from 3-5.  We have really been able to utilize this time and now, I definitely have a testimony of Facebook (something I never thought I'd say.) We have been able to reach so many people that many other missionaries gave up on because they were always "too busy for a cita." Facebook is incredible.

Besides that, we had a pretty uneventful week, "transfers" calls come this Sunday, so if I hear anything I'll let you know. I have to say this transfer just flew by. Its been crazy, at the end of this next transfer, my companion will be going home and I'll hit my halfway mark...weird.

My Spanish is coming along, little by little. Can I hold a conversation... heavens no, Can I teach a lesson by myself... snow balls chance in you know where.  Can I get my point across... sometimes. Do I have a testimony of the enabling power of the Atonement and the Gifts of God... Absolutely! 
          I study so hard, all my spare time is dedicated to learning Spanish, I have a testimony that God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called, I didn't really know any Spanish before my mission, but through diligently studying and relying 100% on the Lord, I can help my investigators come closer to Christ. This week, we made it a rule in our apartment that we must use Spanish from 6:30-lunch and from lunch-10p, and if we get caught speaking English, we have to put a quarter in the general missionary fund (its a jar)...we are all so poor, but it's working.

Mom, you should read the talk "The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality"-super good, its by  Elder Bednar, i Love it.

Love you,
Sister Raynor

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Philippines Week 34

Hey family! So this week has been nuts.  I was not transferred so I am still here in Abucay/Mabatang.  My new companion is Sister Savage. She is from Lehi, Utah.  She goes home at the end of this transfer. (August 13)  She is awesome.  Sometimes we just stop and laugh (or cry) about the crazy stuff that happens around us.  We have a lot of fun and our lessons are so spiritual because we are so unified in the teaching.  The work is really progressing. We had a mission activity last week and so i got to hang out with Elder Christensen and Sister Hart.  That was way fun.  We've really been working on finding this week. Finding a lot of new people. New souls. Inviting lots to learn.  I hope you are all doing well and loving life. Be good. Choose the right.

 Happy Birthday to everyone.
Love you


 A beautiful Philippine Sky...
 My new apartment....
My sweet new companion - Sister Savage!

This is my new apartment, companion and stake president who is a stud about missionary work. The area is full of farms but has tons of houses I'd say it's more residential than city. It's close to the ocean but they're no oceans in our area. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Week 28 Arizona

Mom I think it is so awesome that you are doing so much missionary work. Keep it up. Missionaries need more members like you. This was another crazy week, we got 16 member present lessons which, on Sunday, seemed like a far off dream.   But as always Heavenly Father provided a way for it to happen.
          This week was a bit rough.  We had made it our goal to get 16 lessons with a member present. On Monday, we had 1; 0 on Tuesday; 2 through Facebook on Wednesday; and by Thursday morning I didn't know if we could catch up. Thursday was an absolutely awful day, but Heavenly Father turned it around for us.
          Around 1pm, our dinner cancelled on us, a little sad, but we were okay with it. We figured we could just grab something in town so we could get in some more proselyting time. We had a lesson at 1:30 and we had a member with us, it was an awesome lesson, but when we came out of the lesson, we saw that someone hit our car!! Super frustrating.  So, we called the mission fleet coordinator and he told us to sit tight and wait for the police so we could get a report...we waited for 3 hours.  It sucked. By the time we got going, we thought there was no way we could make our goal for the day. But then, we took another member with us and we got two lessons with her and by the time we were done, we had another member going out with us so we had to run to that and we got another lesson with her!  One last lesson with the Bishop and our investigators... we finished that just in time to be 20 minutes late to correlation meeting. We ended up getting 5 lessons that day in about  2.5 hours. We skipped dinner,  just worked and the Lord blessed us for that work.  It was awesome. The Lord truly blesses us for our righteous desires and hard work.

Sister Raynor

Philippines Week 33

I'm sorry if this is kind of a cheesy/dumb letter but I wanted to share the thing that mattered most to me this week. Of course, I am still in the Philippines and so things are still crazy and people do crazy things I have tons of funny stories but I feel like this is more important. I haven't been sleeping much lately. I guess I just have a lot on my mind with transfers coming up so soon. I also have been having the strange re-occurring dreams about one lady that I keep seeing. One night I was awake at about 3 AM and wrote about my dream:
The Lady in Green
Today I saw the lady in green. I've seen her many times before. Each time I see her, the hairs on my arms stand up. The spirit prompts me to speak but fear binds my tongue.
What if she doesn't understand me?  
What if I am rejected? 

The lady in green is special. 
She is always working. Probably the hardest-working person that I've seen in the Philippines. 
She works in the bukid from sunrise to noonday. 
She sells ulam on the streets from noon to eve. 
She works like Adam, by the sweat of her brow. 

The lady in green is beautiful but rough/
She has dark curls pinned back away from her face. 
She has deep dimples and wrinkles from smiling.
Her skin is darkened from the long days she spends in the araw.
She is clean-looking but covered in dirt.

Her eyed twinkle with exhaustion. 
This is her life.
She works to give. She gives all that she has to her children.

I've been searching for the lady in green for weeks.

Today I had my laundry with me on a jeepney.
Every time I pass the place where i saw her I search for her face.
I've passed her by 4 times. Right before we passed her area, I has a thought that if I saw her I would yell to the jeepney driver and stop.  
Even if I had all of my laundry and it was awkward to carry.  As wee passed the spot I searched for her hair and dimples. 
At the very last second, out of the corner of my eye, 
I saw the lady in green. As I silently thanked God, I became tongue twisted. I didn't say a word. 
By the time I said anything we had already turned and it was too late.
The next street over we stopped and got off. 
We ran back to the place but the lady in green was gone.
I asked everyone if they had seen the lady in green.
But no one remembered.
I lost the Lady in Green.

This is the biggest failure of my mission. Not that I lost the lady in green but that I failed to listen to the silent promptings of the Spirit.
In that moment, I know that the Spirit has prepared the lady in green just for me. 
I know.
No matter what the circumstance, we need to heed to the Spirit.
This is the only way.
This is the most-valuable lesson that I have learned on my mission-
I will forever be grateful of the lesson that I learned from the Lady in Green.

To my family and friends-- no matter what your circumstance. No matter where you are. Trust in God.
He will guide. 
He will help you.
When you have a hunch or a prompting.
Do it.
Follow right away.
Do not doubt.
It rarely comes again.

*bukid--farm/rice fields
ulam-- meal
I love you all. Happy Father's Day to all of the Fathers.  Spend time with your families heeding to the counsel of our Prophets and leaders.  I know that this is the only way. 
Until next week, Sister Katie.


         Baptism of jheilo and his family.

Week 27 Arizona

So, another crazy week in the AZTM. This week, Hermana Arellano and I saw miracles. On Monday, my companion Hermana Arellano got some bad news from home, her mother has had 4 months left to live for the past 3 months, and on Monday she was told her mom was in the hospital. It was a pretty awful way to start what I thought was going to be an awful week, but as far as stats, it was our best week yet. Last Friday, we made it our goal to get 10 member present lessons, but by Wednesday, we had 7, so we decided to raise the goal to 16, and last night we got our 18th member present lesson of the week. We have been working as if lives depend on it, which in the long run is pretty true. It was super cool, on Tuesday President Toone gave her a blessing that said that her family would be blessed according to the work that we do, and man did we do work! It was super cool, on Tuesday we even taught a lesson with Abraham Leach and with his wife Maria, she is super cute.

Sorry it's gonna be a short one.

Love you
Hermana Raynor

Philippines Week 32

Hi family! Tricked you!  I am emailing today, June 7th, because we have a mission wide activity on Monday. Yay! So I get to see Sister Hart and Elder Christensen.  I'm super excited.   This week went by really fast but that is probably because it is only Saturday.  I privately celebrated the birthdays of Cali, Dad and Aunt Nina by mentioning them in my journal.  
          We had a super fun Zone Meeting.  The lesson was about how in order to gain the trust of our ward leaders we need to be of more service. Like Ammon, when he first meets and impresses King Lamoni the king says marry one of my daughters but Ammon tells the king that he desires to serve him.  So he goes and takes care of the sheeps.  The idea/activity of the Zone Leaders was really good. Elder Heywood was King Lamoni and we all needed to serve him like Ammon and do tasks.  But unfortunately one of the tasks was "powder the kings face" it didnt turn out really well.  
          We also tried something really amazing. Its called God's Referral.  The idea is that if God gave you a referral, it would be the best that we would ever get.  So what we do is just ask God for a referral.  We pray for forgiveness and the inspiration of the spirit and then ponder and write down 10-15 street names.  Then we pray over the names until you narrow it down to 3-5. Then you compare with your companion, who has been doing the same thing.  Its amazing because some of the streets that you have chosen are the same as your companions.  You then pray for specific times.  We ended up going out to one street and knocked/yelled (no doors) every house.  After 4 houses, we already had 6 new investigators who let us teach them right away and had used all of the time that we had.  It was really effective and incredible to see the Lord play such a big part in our work.  This week has been crazy but so far in my mission, it seems like each week get crazier as I go along.  
          I am excited to be a part of this work.  I love you all and I hope everyone is doing well.
 Cubo. Sister Raynor

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Week 26 Arizona

So this was another awesome week! We are working so hard, sleep has never come so easy, we have been biking a lot, and yesterday it was 117* out! it was frigging hot! Yesterday we got to go to the Visitor's Center, its super nice just working in Tempe, because it's literally a 5 minute drive to the temple, so we can go like every week! We watched the full restoration video (they have a 45 minute one and 75 minute one.) Sometimes, I forget how powerful it is and then every time I watch it the Spirit is just so strong, its awesome.

So on Saturday, we had the craziest lesson ever! We went over to this lady named Eva's house. We met her a week ago, she was sitting outside crying (we think her husband is abusive) and we just talked to her a bit and tried to help.   Anyways, we went over to talk to her but she wasn't home...but her husband was.  As soon as he saw the name tags, he hung up the phone and started yelling at us and swearing, saying they're Catholic and they will never change, and all this stuff - now I'm pretty sure he's abusive.  I'm thinking, lets just testify and get out of here, but my companion asks if we can just sit and get to know him!  He was shocked,  I was shocked, but he said yes! We were there for an hour and a half and by the end he asked us to come back.  He gave both of us hugs and...he kissed my companion. It was sooooooooooooo funny. She was just frozen for a minute.  As soon as we got of there we just started laughing. It was so funny. It definitely made the journal. It's not everyday your companion gets kissed by a drunk man.

Also, weirdest thing ever, Abraham Leach is here, in Tempe. He came to my ward with his wife on Sunday. It was super weird and a bit awkward. I wanted to be all nice and friendly, but I still had to help our investigators at church, and it was just plain weird, talking about home stuff. I admit I was a little cold, but we are having dinner with them next Tuesday, so it can be a little more casual.  Just plain weird.

Sister Raynor

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Philippines Week 31

Another week has flown by. I can hardly believe that it is June.  This month is the half way mark on my mission.  I feel like I have changed so much but I also know that deep down I am still just Katie.  If there is anything that I want to share with you all this week its about prayer.  Prayer changes things.  I remember in the MTC, Rach once wrote me and said, that "love can break down and soften anything." I believe that the same can be said of prayer. This week I saw prayers soften the hardest woman that i have ever met. It was amazing to feel truly and completely understood because of a prayer. 

 I have also been focusing my study on my purpose here.  Sometimes I feel like I get lost in myself and in the flow of Mission Standards of Excellence and I just forget.  But this is what I learned this week:  I love the people here. I love the gospel. But if there is one thing that I realized this week, it's that I am here because I believe in the Plan of Salvation. My family can be together forever.  That is my purpose here.  This is just one way to bless my family and many other families.  Sometimes, I just pretend that everyone I meet is you or David or Caroline or Rach or Matty or Ash.  That is how I love the people. I know that as I work hard, they are receiving blessings because I am sharing the true gospel.  I want my family and all the families I meet here to be eternal.  

This is an excerpt from my letter to President Querido this week:
The purpose of trials are to prepare us for our future lives. These trials that we see all the time on our missions are for our benefit. They are here to help us become better people for the future. We have so much to learn, experience and do on our missions in such a short time. Sister Raynor

I realized that all this crap that we go through in this life is for our benefit.  This is making me a better more humble servant of the Lord, and a better person.   I'm definitely being refined!  That's what He does for us. He gives us challenges to refine us.

Other things from this week:
  • Exchanges with Sister Pilkington:  Sister Pilkington is from Dublin, CA.  She goes to BYUH and is friends with Chanel.  She is also awesome. I learned so much from her on exchanges.  It was fun to be kind of American again.  We had a lot of fun--mainly eating mangoes in the street and speaking a lot of English.
  • I miss David a lot.  
  • I hope Lindsay had a good birthday.
  • Shout out to my home girl Cali Ann.  I miss her so much.  
  • Ang Simbahan ni Jesucristo ng mga Banal sa mga Huling Araw is true.
I love you all.  Until next week, Sister Raynor

This is a picture of the gas tank in a jeepney that we drove in last week.  I thought that we were going to crash and die.  Super dangerous--its more fun in the Philippines!

Sister Bautista and I cleaned the kitchen. Pretty eventful just because I dont think that it has ever been clean. I am also the first missionary to ever check the water purifier filters...yuck.