Monday, August 18, 2014

Week 37 Arizona

So to this week I got my new companion!! Her name is Sister Blake Smiun (its like brewin except smewin or smurfin without the "rf") She is the best missionary ever! My favorite compaion.?. YES!! we have so much fun, and we are doing work. I'm pretty sure President Toone made a mistake putting us together because she needs to be a sister training leader.  It's just so nice, I feel like I can be myself around her.  We are more than coworkers, more than companions, we are friends, and that is awesome. 

So they also had us move apartments this transfer which was kind of lame, but we moved in with our Sister Training Leaders (super fun,) so it was kind of lame having to pack again but definitly worth it. I was a little sad to leave my desk behind (I made it look super cool) but sometimes you just need to sacrifice a little. :-)))

Sorry its gonna be a short one, but i have pictures!!

The Church is True, The Book is Blue and Moroni Stands on a Ball

Sister Raynor

The first two, Our investigator Brenda took these of me...I wasn't looking!

The next Two were from the baptism I got to go back to from my first area, this picture has all the missionaries that ever taught that family (including my trainer[who went home])

My desk...very sad to leave it behind...its really cool and now stinky elders are sitting at it :(

Me and Sister Smuin at our miracle baptism-we never taught this guy anything...he just read the book

Our last zone picture

Another funny thing we did in our old apartment... a transfer ago, we found this really funny picture in the I cut it out and glued it to the toilet seat in the other sisters bathroom...super funny...we left it there for the elders...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Philippines Week 42

     I saw several miracles this week.  The first was rather powerful for me. Joseph has been less active for 15 years. He was the Branch President for 4 years.  He went super Less Active- like word of wisdom and all. I have never met anyone in my time here that has been so hard.  I remember my first week here in Abucay (last April) when I met him he just said “no, I’m busy.” One of the blessings that I have seen during my 5 months here was the softening of this man’s heart.
      It started with a “magandang umaga” every time that we passed him. Then after about two months, he came up to me and asked for a lesson 1-The Restoration pamphlet. I thought that this was strange but I simply complied. The next week, “Sister Raynor, Lesson 2”. Then “lesson 3!!”. All the way until about the 6th pamphlet when he asked me if I would recommend a chapter for him to read in the Book of Mormon.  At that point, I just kept thinking “I’ve got to share with this man.” Eventually, he allowed us to share with him. We felt prompted to share about the repentance process and the story of Alma the younger. By the end of the lesson, he asked us to leave. We were really confused because we had really felt the Spirit. But as we were about to turn the corner, we looked back one more time to see tears rolling down his face.
     We had a really rough day on Friday. The whole day and only one lesson. I was so frustrated. I felt like I have been in this area FOREVER. But as we walked by his house, he yelled “Sister Raynor!”. We turned and went to say hi. He was crying before we even shook his hand. In a 20 minute conversation, that man changed my whole day. He told me that he was coming back to church because the church is true.
     On Sunday, for the first time in 15 years, Joseph went to church. He got up in the gospel essentials class and told everyone that the church was true and that as he was going to share it with everyone.  

  • I have a new comp. Sister Smith from Mesa, AZ.
  • Sister Hart is now super close to my area in Bataan.
I love you all. 
Happy Birthday to Kristi and Matty. 

Love, Sister Raynor 

Me in a trisome after Sister Savage left. The RS member that I did splits with. Sister Panal being all cute and tiny.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 36 Arizona

So this week we were supposed to have a baptism on Friday night, (spoiler: this story has a happy ending.) On Thursday night at like 9:55, we get a call from the Sister Training Leaders asking about lunch tomorrow, eventually we tell them that we can't go to lunch with them because we are helping Brenda move out of her house....
    BAPTISM OFF. It turns out there is a rule that people must be living the law of chastity for like 10 days before their baptism. They tell us to call President Toone to see what he says. He tells us that she needs to show true repentance. Heart Broken. Then, my companion tells me that she knew that this was a rule and that she just didn't say anything...
     I don't think I've ever been so angry in my life. She was going to rush it so she could see Brenda get baptized and now that it wasn't going to happen, I was going to have to tell Brenda and cancel the baptism while my companion gets to go to the temple?!?!? Biggest fight ever. 
     Next day, I was feeling better because I knew that in two weeks Brenda would be super ready, and I didn't want her to get baptized before she was ready.  Then during planning (on the way home from the temple) my companion calls and says that President Toone changed his mind. We get a text message from the Zone Leaders saying "OH YEAH! Brenda's baptism is back on!" that came from our phone.... 
    BAPTISM ON? Again, I got upset because from what she had told me, she essentially lied to the President. We get home, she's still traveling back from the temple, I call President Toone, because (I'm selfish) and I want a clear conscience. He tells me that he doesn't want to rush this and that he's saying no. (For the record, I wanted Brenda to get baptized the whole time, I just felt like we owed it to her to make sure it was right).
    BAPTISM OFF. My companion gets home and calls President Toone, after lots of tears...baptism off. Then, an hour later we get another call from President Toone. He tells us that he talked to our Bishop and explained all of it and that Bishop says move forward with it. We totally sustain the Bishop.
   BAPTISM ON!!!!!!!!!!!!  Yea!! Happy Ending!

Also the next day, we got to go back to my first area for a baptism there and I saw my very first trainer (the one that went home after 2 days.) That was suuuuper weird. Out of time. 
Love you

The Church is True, the Book is Blue, and Moroni stands on a Ball

Sister Raynor

We read about the Anti Nephi Lehis burying their weapons of war with one of our investigators...she decided it was time to pour out the booze...4 6-packs of it!

Brenda with her vodka and Katy with her jarritos.

Every transfer, on Sunday while we wait for calls, we make a transfer board...I really out did myself this time!  :-)

Brenda's baptism!!! Me, Hermana Arellano, Brenda, and Bishop Rogers.

Hermana Thomas, Me, Hermana Arellano, Brenda, Obispo!

All the missionaries that are serving in the Rio Salado ward...Me, Hermana Arellano, Hermana Thomas, Hermana Johnson, Elder Lopez, and Elder Guzman.

Another Lesson from Hermana Raynor (Week 35)

I'm adding these personal lessons that Ashley has shared with me because I am so proud of what she is learning.  She is constantly amazing me and I am so grateful that she is teaching me as well as those she is serving in Arizona.  This is an excerpt from her report to her Mission President - President Toone:
           .....All of that has been bothering me this week, and the cherry on top of it all was that we taught a lesson yesterday, and I was just totally lost and it was just awful. So this morning I was really sad and I was just doubting a lot. I had received a confirmation about 
serving as a Spanish speaking missionary weeks before my call even came and then when 
you and I talked about the possibility of a reassignment, I got another confirmation. But 
today I was just doubting. I was thinking, "Why isn't it easier?" "Why do I have to struggle 
so much?"  "I believe in the gift of tongues! So why can't I have it?""What am I doing here 
President?"  It really was awful. Then with personal study came revelation.

     This morning I was reading in the first chapter of Ether, there begins the story of the 
Jaredites with the Tower of Babel and all that good stuff. But as I was reading I began to 
wonder why the Lord decided to confound the language instead of going all Sodom and
Gomorrah on their wicked city, so I cracked open the bible and read the full account and 
then it hit me. He confounded the language because the people needed to be humbled.
They had built this high tower to reach God, to place themselves at His level. They were 
full of pride and they were trying to force their way into heaven by building quite literally upon 
the things of the world to get there. They needed to be humbled. That is when I realized 
why I needed to be reassigned, I needed to learn a lesson about humility and relying in the 
Lord. I wasn't as proud as the people at the tower construction site, but in English...
I was a bit proud. 
Not so proud that people needed to stay at least 3 feet from me to avoid being 
struck by lightning, but proud enough to feel like I didn't need the help of a companion.

Before my mission, I was a ward missionary, so I already knew how to teach the lessons 
and that whole part was easy. I didn't need to rely on my companion and didn't need the 
Lord's help there because teaching was one of my strengths (don't worry, I have definitely 
repented from this mindset.) Then, I got switched. I was humbled, I need the Lord's help to 
know what words to say and now I flounder without my companion. Without the language 
change, I would be stuck.

A few weeks ago I learned that Challenges + Faith = Miracles. I had faith, but I wasn't 
challenged, so I hadn't experienced the miracle that is conversion. I needed to be brought 
low.To quote you President, "real learning begins at a fine line between conceptual 
understanding and experience," I realize now how true the words are. But I choose to          
replace "learning" with testimony, so now it is "a real testimony begins at a fine line 
between conceptual understanding and experience." I believed in the enabling and 
ennobling power of the Atonement before, but it wasn't until I was humbled by Spanish 
that I experienced that power in my life and received an unwavering testimony of it.

Now, a little more humble
Sister Raynor

The Church is true, The Book is Blue, and Moroni stands on a ball.

Sister Raynor

Philippines Week 41

Magandang umaga!!
So this week was really production but quite sad. I really feel like I did some of my best work. We were in tune with the Spirit, the people and the language. The sad part of the week was that Sister Savage went home to Lehi, Ut. I am happy for her to be able to move on with her life and continue her progression but it still hurts a little to see a friend leave.  I can definitely say that we worked hard and we played hard. I am so grateful for all that I was able to learn from her.
As I look back on the last two months I think that this transfer has been the most spiritually strengthening transfer. Last night in my journal, I listed the things that I have learned from each companion.
·         Sister Enguito(my trainer)—how to be on a mission
·         Sister Pizon (my trainee)—the necessity of Christ-like attributes, sacrifice
·         Sister Bautista—how to love others and love the work
·         Sister Savage—How to be a missionary, importance of daily inventory with Our Heavenly Father
Our relationships were not perfect--of course we had our struggles. But as I look back and reanalyze our companionships, my love for each of those sisters grows.  I know that there was a reason that I was put with each of them. I thank those sisters for all that they have taught me. They helped mold me into a better person. In the scriptures, we read about the Refiner’s Fire. I think that sometimes, God sends us those that will help refine us and make us better. Of course sometimes the fire is hot but the end product of going through that process is so worth it.

  • It is now rambutan season! (The fruit that is red and spikey). It is awesome. They taste like grapes with a really big bitter seed in the middle. AND they are super cheap! We just bought 25 of them for 30 pisos (42=1 US dollar).
  • We had a zone conference so I got to see Elder Jarvis and Sister Udall from my MTC batch.
  • My "grandma" in the mission went home :( We lived together for my first three months.  But she will be studying at BYU so I will see her again.
  • We have transfers on Wednesday. I dont know what will happen.
  • Until transfers, I am in a trisome with Sister Panal and Sister Reguilab. Sister Savage went to the mission home yesterday to go home to AMERICA.
Well, I think that is pretty much it. I love you all. Be good.  Enjoy life!!
Love Sister Raynor

Well, I am no longer afraid of weird foods...  my current list of foods eaten includes: squid, octupus, dog, frog, snake, heart, liver, lungs, kidney, balut, and blood.

Sis Panal saying I love you

Batchmates, some nasty squid that I ate for lunch this week.

Baby of Julieann Sapinoro DeGuzman (less-active member)

Rivera Family. The two teenage girls decided to teach us the message of the Restoration. They are going on missions in 4 years.

This is too cute!  Sister Savage and Sister Panal breaking rules on Sister Savage's last day.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 35 Arizona

So we had an interesting weekend over here... We had this family get baptized!!! I think I told you about her in week 32, but they got baptized on Saturday...and it was interesting.

So we asked Hermano Gomez to baptize them, he is just awesome, he loaned them money for rent (after meeting them twice) and all sorts of other things. Super awesome guy, he's probably baptized dozens of people, right? Wrong! We found out after the baptism, that he has never baptized anyone before...never.

So to the actual baptism. There was Maria 37, Kevin 13, and Agustin 8. It was a bit touch and go on Friday, because we were worried that Agustin might not get baptized. He wanted to, but when he was 5 he almost drowned and so since then he can't go under the water without freaking out, but he said he was gonna do it. Then on Saturday at the baptism...Hermano Gomez's technique...there is definitely room for improvement. So Maria went first, and he had to say the prayer twice...not the worst thing ever. Then Kevin was next, and a little bit of the top of his head was still dry, like a silver dollar sized chunk. And then it was Agustin. this was the worst. He was so afraid, Kevin walked him down into the font, and Hermano Gomez said the prayer perfectly and when he put him under, his foot shot up. When he came up out of the water he was crying so loud and he just ran to his mom and cried for like 20 minutes. I didn't think he was going to be getting baptized, but then Maria convinced him to go down into the font with her, but he still wouldn't let them put him under the water, they tried again , but he wouldn't bend his back, so...(now its funny) they just had him squat down and after the prayer...Maria and Hermano Gomez sort of just pushed/dunked him... it was pretty good stuff.

Today during personal study...I received some serious revelation. I'll send it in another email because I wrote it in my ipad and I don't have wifi right now...but its good, trust me its good.

The Church is True, The Book is Blue, and Moroni stands on a Ball

Sister Raynor

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Philippines Week 40

This week, I studied a lot about the individuality of people. I feel like I am constantly meeting new people and seeing how different each one of us really is—different situations. We read in the scriptures that the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.  But why? Sure He is our Father. It must be harder to love us when we are willfully choosing the wrong.

Then I read in Genesis 18:26-32. Abraham is talking to God about the destruction of the city Sodom. Gods says that he will not destroy the city of wickedness id he can even find a few righteous souls. Even 10.
Helaman 10:13—“But blessed are they who will repent for them will I spare. But behold if it were not for the righteous in this great city, behold, I would cause that fire should come down out of heaven and destroy it.”

So, in my studying I realized that the reason that He loves each one of us individually is because He knows that we are human. God understands that we make mistakes and that the good days that we all experience are far more powerful than the fewer not so good days.
We are all striving to be better each day. God knows our desires and loves us even though we are not yet perfect like Him.

The funny Filipino moments this week:
  • A man that lived for two years in Lousiana told me: “There are a lot of American Idians and Mexicans in Louisiana. Too much. Too much Mexicans.” Hilarious that guy.

  • I saw a three year old fall down a full flight of outdoor wooden stairs and her mom yelled at her for falling. She was just crying and bleeding.  Crazy
Love, Sister Raynor

A noramal filipino lunch