Monday, June 1, 2015

Week 76 Arizona

Just a warning...this is gonna be a short one because...well...I got things to do.  But, anyways this week...

The big stuff that happened:

On Wednesday we got Facebook again...not as exciting as I thought it was going to be. I got on and I had 5 wedding reception events. So that was lame...everyone is getting married. 

In Mesa there is this super fun charity thing set up that we can go to twice a week and give service. We pack food that gets sent all over the world. We go fairly often so I guess you could say that we're pros. On Thursday we went to Feed my Starving Children and we beat the national record!! It used to be 80 boxes packed in the 1.5 hour session, we packed 84. It was sweet!

On Saturday, Hna Kiel went to another baptism in Maricopa and so I went back to Tempe! It was really fun. I got to see Brenda and Katie again, I'm gonna miss them so much. I also found a good "treasure" while i was there...I'll send a picture. 

PS We also may have had a Bed bug scare...super not fun. So um...yeah I'm leaving a lot more clothes behind than I was originally planning on and...we're probably gonna have to wash some clothes a little...I don't want the scare to become more than that. 

See you soon!!!
Sister Raynor

PSS wow...that's the last time I'm gonna end a letter like that. 

 Here's the "Good Treasure."

Also...Hna Kiel and I have started a new thing. When people don't answer the door...we take a selfie with the door and send it to them on Facebook. It's been pretty funny 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Week 75 Arizona

Hey mamma!

So this week...big stuff that happened: I hit my 18 month mark on Wednesday, we had our Sister Training Leader Conference, and the picture reenactment. Actually, those are the three most exciting things that happened this week...and they all happened on the same day...and it was a rough day.

Background: my mission is ending very quickly (11 days.)

Tuesday: Last week I received the most feared thing in every missionaries life...their trunky packet. It is the infamous manila envelope that contains all the information that you could ever want about going home - your travel itinerary, your "it's time to send home your bike" papers and lots, lots more. I got mine a week ago and on Tuesday night...I finally opened mine. At that opportune moment, Sister Clemens starts talking to me about marriage and families and mother/father roles.

Wednesday: we had a Sister Training Leader Conference and it was not at all what I thought it was going to be. There are 10 Sister Training Leaders in the mission so we got to have our meeting in the mission home. I was thinking that we'd be talking about how to have more effective exchanges and how to give more powerful trainings...but it was not any of that. We (Sister Clemens and I) arrived at the mission home at 1. The first thing that President Toone said was "we are not going to be talking about missionary work at all today, we are going to talk about marriage, family, and dating..." So the first hour was Sister Toone talking about the joy of motherhood and the next half hour was President talking about how grateful he is that Sister Toone knows and understands her role and his role in the family and that she has held him accountable to his duties. After that we got to go to the Gilbert Temple to participate in an endowment session...its such a beautiful temple. After the session, the Temple President and his wife talked to us all about...the joys of marriage and why we need to keep the temple always in our sights as a couple. After that...we all went out to dinner and we got to know President and Sister Toone on a whole new level. We talked about...mission gossip - well, it was gossip about missionaries who have already finished their missions...all in all it was a fun day, but SOOOOOOOOOOOO much marriage talk. 

The Last thing on the list is the photo reenactment. Sister Clemens and I decided to try and reenact one of my favorite pictures of Sister Smuin and was pretty fun.

That's about it for this week. Love you 
Sister Raynor

Week 74 Arizona

Hey mama!!

So...this week. Well, we moved. The member that we lived with just had knee surgery so her son came to help. Then something happened and he had to get his toe amputated. So he started staying at Sister Barnes' house...not to bad, totally kosher with president and Sister Toone because of a ratio rule. But then he started taking some serious pain it was totally fine to have him stay there with us, but then he started making weird noises and tripping out on drugs so we felt...a bit uncomfortable so we called Sister Toone and they moved us in with 4 other sisters!! It is SOOO fun living with other sisters!!! It's a party everyday! One of the Sister's speaks Mandarin and one speaks Portuguese from Brazil and we speak Spanish and two speak English...we're so diverse! Its just been really fun, because now we live with 2 of my very favorite missionaries ever. Its awesome. 

So the big thing that happened!!! I got to translate at the Mission President's Devotional!! This time it was legit!! The last time I just kind of did it because the real translators were 15 minutes late so I did the prayer and the opening addresses and all that stuff, but since that MPD the normal translator guy has ended his mission so...I got called!! My name was in the program and everything!! It was a lot harder this time and a lot longer... I  am glad though, that they can never ask me to do it again.

Another cool thing, there is this awesome charity that just opened up in Mesa, it's called "Feed My Starving Children." Its super fun, we just go in and pack food and its just a party. All the missionaries go to it so it can get competitive. Its super fun.

Well that's about it for this week.

Also, this is our new address: 
146 W Dublin St. Gilbert, AZ 85233

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Week 73 Arizona

Oh man… This week. This week we had at least a two hour long event every day. Monday was p-day, Tuesday was district meeting, Wednesday we did service, Thursday he had zone conference, Friday we had weekly planning Saturday we had a ward Mother's Day party, and Sunday we had church meetings. So, I'm going to jump to Wednesday because that was the most exciting thing that happened… Monday and Tuesday were slow. So on Wednesday we did service  with an organization called "Feed My Starving Children." It was so fun. We packed food into boxes for two hours. There were more missionaries there than there were normal people. It was so fun.

Thursday, was my last zone conference. I had to get up in front of everyone and bare my testimony. It was a bit harder than I thought it would be. While at zone conference, I got some awesome news, I get to translate at the Mission President's Devotional!! I'm so excited and soooooo nervous, but mostly excited. 

Friday, we had the coolest experience ever! We ate dinner with our relief society president and hna Kiel gave the spiritual thought and she did awesome. While we were heading back to our area, she just had a little break down. Nothing to out of the ordinary, just not feeling like she is learning Spanish as quickly as she should and that she feels like there is no way that she will ever be fluent and all that stuff. About five minutes into my pep talk...we got a message from God. We are still driving at this point, and what turns in front of me? A vanity license plate that said 1NEPH37 aka 1 Nephi 3:7 aka the Lord will provide a way for us to accomplish what he has asked us to do. Pep talk over. 

Saturday we had our Ward Mother's Day party. We arrived 30 minutes late only to be told that we were going to be singing in 10 minutes. Lets just say that it all worked wasn't English Ward good, but it was definitely Spanish Ward good. 

Sunday, we had an awesome surprise. This lady just showed up at church and said that she wants to get baptized...that doesn't happen everyday. The highlight of the day was getting to talk to you all. I miss you all so much, but I'll see you again soon. 

Monday, today. This morning we got up at 4:30 to drive down to Maricopa (1hour away) to go hike a part of the Mormon Battalion Trail as a mission! President Toone is a huge church history addict and so he pulled some strings and we all got to hike it (minus Yuma). Yuma is going to get to go to the San Diego Temple and they are going to do a part of the trail down there. It was sooooo early, but it was really fun just getting to see everyone. Also we got to see President and Sister Toone in their normal was really really weird. 

That's about it for this week. Love you

The Last Raynor 

Week 72 Arizona

So this week...well...Tuesday.... The best day of my mission! I know, that's quite the claim, but I'll try to explain. So last Sunday night (I think I told you about this, but here's the recap either way.)  This last Sunday night: Tuesday Hna Kiel and I were going to go down to Maricopa (her last area) for a baptism. But as we were pulling up to the house on Sunday night we got a call from an unknown number 623 261 2771...I knew that number. We answered it and as I expected, it was Sister Sullivan! Sister Sullivan is the sister that came into Tempe when I left and she was also Hermana Kiels trainer. She got permission to go on an exchange so that she can go to the baptism! Which meant that I got to go work in Tempe, in my old/favorite/ best/ most beloved area for 5 hours!!!!! Everybody won! I got to go back to the area that I love and see the people that I taught and Sisters Keil and Sullivan got to go to the baptism for their investigator family from Maricopa. 

From what I'm told, the baptism was amazing...but what happened in Tempe was 10 billion times more amazing. The sisters had 4 appointments set up that night and all I really wanted was to see Brenda (perhaps my favorite recent convert) and her Family (Gustavo, Katy, and the new baby) but I had made the resolve...appointments first. Anyways, I got to eat dinner at the Marina's house- hno Marina is the Elders Quorum president and a total boss. He wrote the book on magnifying you calling. We went by some people and mainly talked about the area. There was this guy that Hna Smuin and I found named Everardo, everardo and his family got baptized. This less active lady that we found named Charito is active and her son got baptized and she is getting ready to go to the temple. Brenda's little sisters, Paola and Andrea are getting baptized at the end of the month. It was all just so awesome to see. 

Anyways we went and taught a whole bunch of lessons and talked to a ton of people and by the time we had gotten out of our last lesson it was 8:45...almost time to go home, but we were super close to where Brenda lived so we ran by and...they weren't home. So Hermana Poirier called Brenda and asked her where she was and she told her that we had a surprise for her. So Brenda said that they were at the laundromat by Food City so we ran over. We got there at 8:52. We kinda snuck up on them and I just tapped Brenda on the shoulder and she turned around and I gave her the longest hug ever and while we were hugging, Katy comes up and says "I missed you Hermana Raynor!" It was like it came from a movie.  I got to talk to her for a little bit and I got to meet their new little girl it was awesome. 

That isn't even the best part. After that I started talking to Gustavo and I just felt like I need to just be bold with him. So I asked him why he still isn't baptized, and he said that he's still been trying to get work off on Sunday's. Then I said that he's been trying to get Sunday's off for 8 months and he said that he knows. So then I asked him if he thought that God could help him get the money he needed for his family if he (Gustavo) stopped working on Sunday's, he said that he knows God can. So I asked him what is still in his way...then he said nothing. So I asked him what he was waiting for and he said nothing. Then I asked him when he was going to get baptized because I told him that I wanted to be there for him. He said that if he still can't get Sunday's off by May 25, that he is going to quit his job. Then he told me that if I didn't believe him, that I could call the Hermanas on the 26th and that they will testify. This is the best part. After that, he said, "...y después de eso, el 30 de mayo, voy a bautizarme, y quiero que estés allí, sentada con Brenda y Katy." (He said that after that, on May 30 he is going to get baptized, and that he wants me there, sitting next to Brenda and Katy.) I almost cried. I wanted to hug them so much (I didn't). Gustavo has never had a baptismal goal. This is huge!!!

After that high...well...the rest of the week couldn't really compare. We had our MLC on Thursday, and that was awesome was awesome. That was pretty much it for this week. 

I love you!!! XOXOxoXoO
Sister Raynor

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Arizona: LOST EMAIL from April this week. So this week was different than most weeks. We went to the temple on Wednesday as a zone and that was really awesome. We saw the presentation from the 70s. All I'm gonna say about it is poofy hair and bad acting.

On Friday we had something different. We had a mission wide conference for all Spanish-speaking missionaries. It was an all day thing. We focused on applying different trainings to Spanish wards, because the majority of the time they lack the same structure that English wards have, so we have to adjust. It was really fun, but at the same time the majority of my friends have finished their mission. It was a little sad. The conference ended on Saturday by us all going to the temple in the Spanish session. It was crazy president and sister Toone were "the couple" and it was just really cool to see how we don't need to understand a language to be able to feel the spirit. President and sister Toone don't speak Spanish, but they were still crying during certain parts and it was really cool to see how the spirit was working with them. 

On Saturday, well the rest of Saturday, was a little bit rough. I got really frustrated with Sister Christensen. We were walking through a trailer park and she refused to talk to people, so we went back to the car and I drove us to a church building and made her do role plays of talking to strangers (me) for an hour until she was ready to go back and work.

Today… We ran a 5K. In December President and Sister Toone decided that they want to focus on missionary health. So they gave all of us a training plan and told us all that we were going to run a 5K in April. I hated it. It's getting hot and so it was not fun but, we did it!

Well, that's all for this week. Love you,
The Last Sister Raynor Standing 

PS I found this in our area email...I thought you'd appreciate it 


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Week 71 Arizona

So this week

Transfer calls came on Tuesday...our zone got nuked! Every companionship was affected except one. Sister Christensen is finally leaving Mesa. She has been here for a third of her mission. She was definitely sad, but I think it'll be good for her. 

Wednesday night Sister Christensen and I taught an amazing lesson to this lady named Liliana. She is so prepared. She brought up the subject of baptism and so we challenged her to prepare herself to be baptized on the 23 of May. She was so excited. It was so awesome. Liliana is so prepared. 

Thursday: New Companion! Her name is Hna Kiel! She is the first companion that I've had that is taller than me. She is from Washington and seriously the coolest. She is so chill, it's awesome. I'd say that she was definitely a blessing sent to me for my last transfer. Now I'm not worried about getting trunky. Also, my most favorite elder in the whole mission is now in our Ward too for his last transfer. Elder Allen is so funny...we have a similar sense of humor...

Saturday: A little bit of a rough day in the lessons sense. Hna Kiel and I didn't teach a single lesson that day...nobody was really  home :( but it's okay, because that night we had a ward party thing/ fundraiser for the young women's girls camp. When we got there it looked like it was going to be really really boring, but then a mariachi band came out and played a few songs, and then our incredible young women's president got a Catholic schools Latin dance group to come and they did traditional Latin dances. It was awesome. There were some little little kids there in some huge sombreros. It was so cute!

Sunday: This was the weirdest Sunday of my mission. Elder Vorkink was a missionary who just finished his mission. He is from Anaheim. Our ward was the last one he served in before going home.  Anyways, his parents came to pick him up from the mission so that they could all do a "mission tour" of sorts. He and his family came to church on Sunday and we all got to meet his parents. 
          So...this is the absolutely strangest encounter that I have ever had. This is all going to be direct quotes...I remember them because Hermana Kiel and I quoted it all day yesterday. So, Elder Vorkink's mom came up to me and when she saw my name tag she asked, "do you have any family in Anaheim?" I said I thought we did at one point. She said, "is there a Cynthia Raynor in your family?" I said yes. Then she asked if I had any more aunts and so I said that we had a Nina and a Sabrina. She was just sooooooo excited about all of it. Then she said, "that makes Thales your dad then." I said yes. Now just imagine someone following "that makes Thales your dad then" with something like "he's married, right?" Do you have that tone of voice in your head? Now substitute married for dead! "that makes Thales your dad then." Me: "yeah." Sister Vorkink: "he's dead." Me: "yeah."
           It was super awkward. Then she left for sacrament meeting. Weird weird weird encounter. After that we went into the Bishop's office for Ward counsel and right after we finished, the other wards sacrament meeting ended. So then....she came back. Then I got a little bit more of the story. I guess she grew up with dad and was in the same primary classes with him and the same classes at school. She said how Cindy would always be there with dad because there were a lot of girls in dad's age group. She also told me how Papa Wally would always come up to her and ask her, "so, how's Thalesy doing in school?" And she would always say "good," because she didn't know what else to say. She said when she was 9 she had the biggest crush on dad. Those were sweet memories. Then she started to get teary eyed as she told me how she had lost contact, but that she still remembers the day that her parents called her and told her that dad had passed away. She asked a lot about all of us and missions and stuff and when I told her that we had all served missions, she called you one of the mothers of the stripling warriors... mothers that raised their children to be strong and to serve God, mothers that did it all on heir own. Really awkward experience at the beginning... really sweet at the end. Her maiden name is Gudmundsen, Joanne Gudmundsen. 

Sunday night Hermana Kiel and I finally got to teach a lesson together! It was awesome. We were so stoked! That was like the official start to our companionship.  

The very end of Sunday night: This Tuesday Hna Kiel and I were going to go down to Maricopa (her last area) for a baptism. we were pulling up to the house we got a call from an unknown number 623 261 2771...I knew that number. We answered it and as I expected, it was Sister Sullivan! Sister Sullivan is the sister that came into Tempe when I left and she was also Hermana Kiels trainer. She got permission to go on an exchange so that she can go to the baptism! Which means that I get to go work in Tempe, in my old area for 5 hours!!!!! Everybody wins! I get to go back to the area that I love and see the people that I taught and Sisters Keil and Sullivan get to go to the baptism for their investigator family from Maricopa. When we got the call we were both screaming and jumping up and down (mainly Hna Kiel) and just ecstatic. It was sooooooo awesome. I am sooooooo excited!

Love you
Sister Raynor

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Week 70 Arizona

So this week....well...the highlight of it was conference. I think my favorite was elder Hollands, the rock climbing story...I know what that feeling is right before your arms give out and you are about to fall. It felt real. Hijole! I loved it.  I heard that Elder Packers talk was really good...but I couldn't understand him. 

So, have y'all heard about the Church's new initiative? It's called "Because He Lives." It's really cool and they want us to show it to everyone so...we went tracting! Funny thing that happened while we were tracting/street contacting, we were looking for an apartment in this huge confusing complex. We saw a guy putting stuff into his car so we asked him if he knew where building 8 was (also this was at 7:45.) He didn't understand us so as we got closer we realized that he was from China...only been here a month. He asked us what we asked him and so we asked about building 8 and he pointed and said, "I tink its sumwhere ova der." We said thanks and as were about to start talking church with him he said, " dark...I'll walk you." So for the next 20 minutes we went all over the complex with our fresh off the boat Chinese guide. He is super cool and he will probably get baptized. We sent him off as a referral to the Mandarin speaking missionaries. 

Well that was about it for the week. Love you.

Sister Raynor 

Week 69 Arizona

So, This week...if I could give it a title it would be something like "The Week of Trunky." We had an all sisters mission conference in Tempe on Saturday and all that they talked about was covenants and marriage and being wives and mothers and all that jazz. Hijole!! Then we had the General Women's session aka more families and marriage and covenants, and not to mention the fact that President Toone went off about family traditions and let all of us send a text message home...week of trunky.

But...this is something cool I got from the sisters mission conference. When you think baptisimal covenant, what do you think? For me it  was take the name of Christ upon us, always remember Him, and to keep His commandments. The point was made that if that is the covenant that we make a baptism then we have all broken that covenant 1000's of times. Lucky for us...that's not the covenant that we made. We covenanted to be WILLING to keep His commandments, WILLING to take His name upon us, and WILLING to always remember Him. I loved this because it brings a lot of hope. It makes keeping our covenants seem a lot more possible.That's my thought for the week.

I love you

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Week 68 Arizona

So...dis week. I'm sooooooooo tired. With transfers being on Thursday and pday getting moved to made for a long week. Anyways...I got transferred! I totally was not expecting that. Now I'm in Mesa with Sister Christensen and I'm the sister training leader over her. Yep, we are the only sisters in our zone! Talk about a bro-fest! Haha.  Mesa has been completely different than I had expected. Over here we are definitely in finding mode, our teaching pool is pretty dry right now but...not for long. It's been fun getting to serve around some of the elders that I started my mission with. 
Love Ashley
Hey this is my new address  1001 S. Lagoon Dr

Happy Anniversary to ALL the Raynors!  Granny Jo and Papa....... Matty and Lindsay.....

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 67 Arizona

Ashley sent a great email this week, but I feel it is pretty private - possibly because she taught me a lesson I needed to learn - and by sharing that, it would expose some pretty big character flaws I'm dealing with right now.   I will share what I can - because she just amazes me with her thoughts.  

And I wanted to include a picture she sent that made me laugh out loud, which is something I haven't done too often lately.

Here's the scripture mixed in with the lesson taught:

Mom, God has given you the ability to be happy wherever you are. In Mosiah 24 there is a perfect example of this principle. The people of Alma...weren't in a good situation, they were afflicted, burdened down and enslaved...all by some wicked guy that just had it out for Alma. But against all that, they were able to be happy - they found a way.
Mosiah 24:15
And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, anthey did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord. 

Buying and selling houses, moving across the country, and finding..."sunshine" aren't going to last. Something that I have learned on my mission is that the "happiness" that comes from the outside never lasts.  The only thing that lasts is what comes from within.  We can keep chasing that happiness, that sunshine, or whatever it is, but we will never be able to catch it. We might be able to feel the warmth for a bit but it will fade. It'll be something to keep us busy, but to quote Mick Jagger, "I can't get no...(lasting)...satisfaction." Pretty sure thats a direct quote. Anyways, we can keep chasing the light or we can be the light. Mom, learn how to be the light.  There is a way. That much I know, but we all have our own and we all have to find our way on our own. To sum up this rant into a sentence or two...Don't let your happiness be dependent on external circumstances, we have the capacity to be happy all the time. 

I love you soooooooooooooo much

The Photo:  

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Philippines/America Week 71

Well, my mission has finally come to an end. It has been the hardest but most worthwhile thing that I have done. I am so grateful for every moment of it. I am headed to the mission home in a few minutes for final exit interviews and then to Manila to catch a flight but I just want to share my testimony as I go.

Alam ko po na buhay ang Diyos. Alam ko po na nararamdaman nya at alam niya ang nararamdaman natin.  I know that God lives. I know that he feels and understands perfectly what we feel. 

Alam ko po na tagapagligtas natin si Cristo. Alam ko na siya lang ang paraan para sa atin na makabalik sa kanya. Nagpapasalamat po ako para sa kanyang pagbabayad-sala. Mahal ko po si Cristo. I know that Christ is our Savior. He is the only way for us to be able to return to Him. I am so grateful for Him and I love Him.

Alam ko po na dahil mahal tayo ng Diyos, ipinanumbalik niya ang ebanghelyo ni Jesucristo sa pamamagitan ni Joseph Smith. Ang Salita ng Diyos ang Aklat ni Mormon. Totoo talaga ang aklat ni mormon.  I know that because God loves us, He restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ here on earth through Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It is so true.

Alam ko po na buhay propeta si Thomas S Monson at tumatanggap siya ng paghahayag para sa bawat isa ng mga anak ng Diyos. I know that Thomas S. Monson is our living prophet who receives revelation for each one of God's children.

Alam ko po na Ang Simbahan ni Jesucristo ng Mga banal sa Mga Huling Araw ay kaharain ng Diyos dito sa mundo.  I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's kingdom here on Earth.

I am so grateful for my time here in the Philippines Olongapo Mission. I am grateful for all that I have learned and for the people that I have met and loved here. I know that the relationships that I have formed here will continue. I will forever be grateful for the blessing of the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. 

I love you all. Love, Sister Raynor

Final farewell parties--every night. The baptism of the Alvarez family. Great way to end my mission. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Week 66 Arizona

So this was a crazy one. We had zone conference (happens once a quarter, we receive training by President Toone) up in northern Phoenix. There they told us that we are all getting brand new iPads, and they told us about how all of North America (excluding Mexico and South America) are getting iPads and most of Europe too. The church is buying so many iPads that they have bought and now own an Apple outlet. It's CRAZY. They also told us that we are going to have this big BIG meeting with a member of the Seventy and someone from the Missionary Department. My mission was an iPad "pilot mission," so they are going to give us our official training (even though we've already had iPads for a year and a half.) All interesting stuff don't you think?

We also got to go to the Visitor's Center twice this week to see Meet the Mormons. That has been an amazing, huge blessing. It is such a powerful movie. Have you gotten to see it yet? If not, repent! I know you're gonna love it. I also had an exchange this week. It was a good way to mix things up.

Love Hermana Raynor

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Philippines Week 70

Let me just start by saying that I am SO SO excited to be able to see and talk to you all! Sister Hart woke me up at around midnight and informed me that I will be seeing my family next week. We probably annoyed the other sisters by talking about it for a good hour. I love you all and I am excited to see you so soon. 

As for this week, it was so slow but fast at the same time. It feels like I was just emailing yesterday. But it was a week ago. THIS WEEK:

Monday- After I emailed, we all went home and slept. It was actually pretty boring. But while listening to Glorious by David Archuleta, Sister Hart and I decided that we wanted to give a final workshop together for the zone. So we texted the zone leaders and district leaders and offered to give the workshop the next day. It was basically a testimony meeting. But it was very cool and fun. Then we all went and had a family home evening with the Perfecto Family. 

Tuesday- We went to Olongapo with the elders. It was a super fun car ride because President Dahle recently gave the elders permission to listen to Josh Groban. Party. Then we went and did our workshop. After the Zone Meeting, Elder and SIster Gorringe took us out for a goodbye lunch. They invited Sister Hart and I to stay the night with them at their apartment before we go to Manila. I am going to miss those two so much. The have really become like parents to me.  

Wednesday- We had a huge family home evening with the Quijano family. The games involved getting lipstick drawn on your face if you lost. We looked like Lamanites.

Thursday- I taught my new favorite investigator Troy. It is super hard to teach him because its in English and my companion isn't completely comfortable with her English. But it was still super fun. He kept offering to let me drive one of his motorcycles.It was so funny. But boy, he sure loves to curse. We will work on that :)

Friday- We spent a lot of time working on the branch directory. We are trying to clean up the membership records in order to help the branch here to become a ward. So we (the missionaries) are visiting every member on the directory to verify addresses. We are having a lot of success with it. In just one morning, we were able to contact three lost members and meet 14 New Investigators. It was inspiring to see how the Lord truly finds and puts people in your path if we are willing to just put out trust in Him and be obedient to His commandments.  

Saturday- Baptisms! Sister Khate Stephanie and Jovelle Tacuyan.

Sunday- We had a really great day that ended with a HUGE birthday party. 

This upcoming week is going to fly by. We have tons of appointments planned out. Every night. The members are throwing farewell parties for Sister Hart and me.

I should be able to email next Monday from the mission home. But I love you all!

Love Sister Raynor

Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 65 Arizona

Hey Mama

So...this week was a bit crazy and there is no way I can fit it all into one letter, so I thought I'd share something that I've learned these past few weeks. The idea that the gospel makes things easier is the biggest lie that I've ever heard. It has never made life easy. The fact that Jesus Christ suffered the pains of the world is evidence against that. He is the gospel in flesh and bones and His task was not any easier. What the gospel does is it makes everything black and white, it simplifies things so that we can make decisions with confidence. It takes all the confusion and mixed emotion and just boils it down to two choices. One decision that we make over and over and over again: do I want to do what God wants me to do or do I want to do what I want to do? The gospel clarifies things, but it doesn't make making the decision any easier. Its like in  Beauty and the Beast. There is the part when the father comes to the fork in the road. One of them looks safe and well traveled, the other looks super sketchy and precarious. When the father chooses the sketchy one...does he choose wrong or right? Really argument could be made for both options, but for the sake of this letter we are going to say that he chose the path that God wanted him to go down. Lets be real, every time we watch that movie it seems obvious which path he should have gone down. The other path looked safe, it looked better, it looked happier. But if he had gone down the "happy" path...Belle would have never met the beast and would have probably ended up as an old maid or married to Gaston. The Path that the father took was by no means easy. He suffered, he was imprisoned, and then...he had to watch his daughter trade herself for his freedom. Sad stuff, but this is Disney and so we know that it has a happy ending, its practically a guarantee. Belle ends up with the love of her life, she is happy. When the father was sitting in the jail, I doubt that the father ever imagined that anything like that was going to happen. The majority of the time, the other path looks and feels so alluring, the path away from that doesn't. But if you keep making those good decisions, the happy ending is guaranteed. No matter how lonely and painful the path, we have the Lord's promise that we will receive our reward-everlasting joy. Doing these things that we don't want to do, we show the Lord that He can count on us, that we are on His team and that we intend to stay there, we show Him that He can trust us and that is a trust you never want to lose. Moral of the story: Trust Him and He will trust you.

Hermana Raynor

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Week 64 Arizona

Hey fambam!

So...this was a little bit crazy, but it was in a good way.
I went on an exchange with Hermana Mello. It was super fun. She has
been a missionary for about 6 months. I went with her into her area
and we just worked. It was a really fun. So on Tuesday, I woke up and my watch had stopped working (I'm working on getting a new battery) so I pulled out the watch that Kiki sent us all...I've gotten so many complements on it. 

Thursday we went and did service for a member. She called us pretty frantic that morning because the apartment above her flooded and so her apartment was flooded. We were helping her move things and since then all the lifting over my shoulder has been hurting, but its okay because I found some exercise band things and I can just start doing some of the exercises that they gave me when I did physical therapy.

Another cool thing, we have what is called "the president's challenge" in our mission. The challenge is to memorize the entire family proclamation and then recite the whole thing back to our mission president. Right now I have the first 4 paragraphs down, the fifth one is almost there.

Overall things are going really really well.

Love you
Sister Raynor

Philippines Week 69

This week has gone by really fast. It feels like I just emailed you all. This week was filled with spiritual ups and downs as we have been going through our area trying to help people to get ready for their baptisms in March. I am so happy for all of them but it is a little sad for me knowing that I wont get to be there for them. We've spent a lot of time this week working with the branch to make sure that our goals are in line with theirs. But other than that, this was my week:
  • Monday- We had a family home evening with the Tacuyan family.We played a couple of games. The penalty was getting lipstick drawn on your face--as you can see in the pictures, I won. (No lipstick for me:))

  • Tuesday- We taught a lot on Tuesday. Then we went to Nanay Silao's to pick some vegetables so that I could cook tinolang manok. There was also a HUGE birthday party at the Mercurio family's cousin's house.... In the Philippines, when there is a party, EVERYONE is invited. So we went and I was actually able to talk to their cousin who lived in America until high school and has been in the Navy. He is actually super interested-and it was fun to whip out some English... I'm not very good at small talk in English.
  • Wednesday- Sister Hart drank bad water... So the other sisters in the apartment weren't able to work. So we worked half the day in our area and then Sister Manilingan and I went home and Sister Manilingan and Sister Pinto went to work in the other area while I stayed with Sister Hart.
  • Thursday- I went on exchanges with Sister Bautista! It was super fun. I loved it. I've missed her. It felt so normal teaching with her (I followup trained her in Abucay for 12 weeks). But at the end of the night, we learned that the water pump at our apartment was broken-no water! So I spent about an hour on the phone with repair people, our apartment owner, apartment manager, and Elder Gorringe. All of these people informed me that it would not be able to be fixed for a few days. So I called Sister Dahle who sent President Dahle to pick us up so that we could go take a shower at the mission home. Perks of living down the street from the mission home.
  • Friday- We has mission president interviews and a big zone meeting. Kind of uneventful. We still didn't have water so we ended up showering and eating dinner at the mission home again.
  • Saturday- Worked all day. We've started incorporating Mormon messages into our work (my companion has a usb of them) and even though they are in English, they really help invite the spirit.
  • Sunday- We had a ton of investigators come to church! IT was awesome. Some of them even payed tithing-we were shocked. In our classes, we talked a lot about pagmamahal sa loob ng mag-anak.(Love inside the family) We were all talking about the ways to show love. It made me SUPER excited to see my family.I also went back to the American guy that we talked to at that birthday party. We taught him in English. It was hard. He is fluent in Tagalog as well but we were also teaching his 16 year old daughter who doesn't speak Tagalog. It was a good lesson- although he did drop a couple of bad words that I haven't heard in a really long time :)
SO that was my week. I hope everyone is happy and well.

I love you all and I'll see you in two weeks!
Love, Sister Raynor


Family Home Evening

a recent convert showing off his shirt,

 Me and Sister Bautista,

 Sister Manilingan asleep on a jeepney

My investigator who was a Captain of the Philippines Army.