Monday, September 29, 2014

Hola Familia my last letter home.

Hey guys! 

First off, Madison is hilarious for sending me this talk about helping missionaries transition from the mission to home life. Not going to lie I will probably read all of it. You are the best. Secondly, to Marissa Sublimes are the best, especially the white chocolate ones. I sent some home for Christmas, not sure if you remember. I promise we will send some to you.

So first here are a few of the highlights of my week. Its been pretty busy here. My new companion is realizing that this area is huge and she has lots to learn really quickly. Shes also an hermana leader which means she has areas and I have areas that I am in charge of as well. That meant doing four divisions in the last two weeks of the transfer. Ahh! 

I really like my companion though she is from Nasca, Peru and has taught me some pretty cool things about Peruvian history. Like this week I was reading in Mormon where it talks about how they sacrificed women and children. I shared that with her during comp study and she told me that there are ancient temples in her home where they sacrificed only women and children on alters and then later repented and tried to cover it all up. Pretty neat.

On Saturday we got stuck in Huancayo after the women's conference because our taxi driver didn't have a license and had to go to the police station. It was partly a blessing because he had backed into a car in our first five minutes with him and there were tons of people in the car including several in the trunk. 

I completed 18 months as a missionary on Saturday! 

Yesterday I was leading music and there was a dog next to me in the church so I tried kicking it to get it to leave while I was leading but it just kept going circles around me. Everyone laughed. Not sure I will miss dogs in the church. 

The best part of my week was watching a 91 year old man from our ward get baptized yesterday! It took 7 attempts to get him completely under the water and was very difficult for him. Every time he came up he asked him if he was ready and he responded yes with lots of determination. Finally they had the elder step on his feet and he went all the way. In the end the man said in his own words if there are commandments of the Lord, they are to be completed. An example to everyone.
The 91 year old man who chose to be baptized this week. And those who came. He was baptized in Huancayo in the stake center so that there would be warm water.

Lastly, I know that many of you have heard my testimony but I want to share a piece of it with you today to let you know that I don't doubt the things that I have taught this past year and a half. I know in reality that God lives and that he loves us. I know that he listens when we pray because he has listened to me through out my life. I know that Jesus Christ is the son of God, the savior of the world. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can be cleaned from sin and return to the presence of god. I know that if we confide in his sacrifice then we can overcome all of the pains, trials, difficulties that this life has to offer. In my time in Peru I have seen people of great faith overcome the most difficult of trials and change their lives for the better.

I know that Jesus Christ organized a church when he was on the earth and that his church has been restored by the prophet Joseph Smith in this dispensation. I testify that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I have searched diligently, page by page and then prayed to ask god if it is true. I cant deny the answer I have received and I know that it came from God. I know that as we are obedient to the laws and ordinances of the gospel that we will receive peace in this life because I have felt this peace. I know that these things are true.

See you all soon! 

Hermana Rhoten 1


Monday, September 22, 2014

Hola Familia! Well this week was super busy.

This is a deer. I know crazy. Some members just have a pet deer that they keep in their yard. We were playing with it and it decided to eat my companions hair. I have never seen a deer in Peru, I wonder where they got it from.

We taught lots of lessons especially member lessons. When you leave an area you realize how much the people love you. Lots of them found out my companion is leaving and we got sent tons of gifts, and thank you notes and things this week. My companion is still with me she doesn't leave until tonight. She was supposed to leave on Saturday but it got postponed a little bit. At five today I will drop her off in the mission home and then I will go pick up my new companion and her stuff and come back to Concepcion. I already know her pretty well, she is Peruvian and is another hermana leader. I'm a little bit worried about being able to teach her all of the area in only two weeks because its a really big area but I'm sure we will make it work.
Our ward mission leader and us
Our ward
So General Conference is postponed in this country because of elections. By law they can't hold meetings because they would keep people from voting on October 5th so everyone is going to watch conference the next week and the missionaries won't go to church. Crazy huh? I might get to watch part of it on Sunday because I will be in the mission home but if not you guys have to record it for me so I can watch it when I get home.

Funny or interesting things that happened this week: A lady answered her door with smashed tomato in her hair. At first I didn't really know what it was because I just saw that it was dirty and had lots of seeds in it. She apologized for it and said it was because she had a really bad headache. Peruvian medicine. :)
We made tacos this week! My companion taught me to make homemade corn tortillas. We made them at a member's house who is from Costa Rica so she had the plancha and everything. I will have to make them when I get home.
My companion teaching me to make tortillas
 We were teaching a lesson in a store behind the counter and another religious man came up and started preaching to our investigator. It was funny because we were trying to teach and he was at the same time. He didn't want to leave. There are lots of religious teachers here that just shout repentance in the street so people are really used to that kind of thing. Also when they ask us how long we serve for and we say a year and a half or two years they are like oh only that much? It's because there are many missionaries from here that work and do missionary work all their lives. An example to follow.
Every area you go to has a different type of bread and they sell it like this in the streets.
It's been raining a ton here! One day we got stuck in a rainstorm in San Jeronimo. We went into a member's home for refuge. When they saw us soaked and our feet soaked from water in our shoes they pulled out all sorts of clothes and shoes for us to wear home. We looked hilarious. The pension opened the door and just laughed, especially my comps tennis shoes. See attached picture.
This is what the members dressed us in when we came out of the rainstorm.
I have been working on my goals paper for after the mission this week. I honestly don't really know what I am supposed to do nor do I really have any type of plan. I studied and pondered this week and learned a lot from the three Nephites. The nine wanted to rest in the kingdom of God when their lives work of service had finished. Christ responded that they would be blessed for their service and would receive rest. But to the three Nephites who wanted to continue he said, more blessed are ye. I imagine Christ asking missionaries who are finishing their missions the same thing and to those who have served faithfully will be blessed from their missions. 

But to those who continue will be blessed with great things because that is a desire more like Christ had. After he completed his mission he went to the spirit world and kept working. The three Nephites received many blessings including protection, received great things from heaven and received a fullness of joy like God and Christ. My goal is to be able to keep working and serving the Lord all my life like the three Nephites desired. 

Hope you have a great week! 

Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hola Familia,

I just scanned though everyone's letters and am excited for Marissa´s cambios and that dad got called to be the 2nd counselor. That will be great learning experiences for both of them. Whenever someone stays in an area for six months my companions say that they have the Rhoten curse because of me. I think Marissa might have that same one. :) 
Sorry I don't have pictures again this week. My companion has been sick and we haven't been out as much. At the conference we weren't allowed to take pictures. But I figured you will be seeing me in three weeks so you don't really need them. :)
The sad news of today is that we found out my companion is going to be sent home this week for medical reasons. I am pretty sad about it.  She always use to tease me about how little time I had left and now she will be home before me. President told me in the interview this morning that I would be getting another companion to finish my mission with and I have only a few weeks to show her the area.

It would probably just be a whole lot easier to make a movie of my week than write it all down. It was so busy and fast. On Wednesday we had a member of the seventy come and visit the mission, Elder Uceda. I was with him all day for about 12 hours. We had leadership counsel in the morning, a multi zone meeting with him in the afternoon, and another meeting with members and him in the evening. I learned so much from him and was really humbled listening to him speak. To the missionaries he spoke a great deal about the changes that need to take place in missionary work. He said we are here to baptize converts with testimonies of our message not just anyone in the streets like has been done in the past. In the multi zone meeting I was asked to give the closing prayer and it was a little nerve racking in Spanish in front of an authority but when I finished he shook my hand and told me in English that it was a beautiful prayer.

The next day in the morning I left for Huancavelica, that crazy three hour trip. We had great lessons in our division, we also happened to have another meeting with Elder Uceda and President while I was there so we helped with that. The zone leaders needed mattresses for other missionaries so the four of us gringas were carrying mattresses through the plaza and that made quite a show. It was a good meeting and there were 120 people there which is awesome for Huancavelica. My companion was sick so I was with another Sister Training Leader, and we were able to share the gospel with the other three people in the car the three hours on the ride home. 

I learned a lot of things this week. I learned about patience, trials, listening, and the things that in the end are the most important. Something I loved that Elder Uceda said was If you want to know what things are most important to God, look for what has the most opposition against it. In the mission I thought of lots of things, baptism, getting people to read the Book of Mormon, pray and come to church (the last ones the worst haha). I can testify that these things change the way trials are faced. I know that as we look for the Lord in those moments we will be blessed with his light, help and wisdom. 

Have a fantastic week! Love you guys!

Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hey familia,

 So another week came and went. The happiest part of the week was that Alexander got baptized! Yay. After five months of teaching, worrying, helping, praying and fasting for him, ups and downs, he finally got baptized. He has come to church every Sunday for five months (only missing one), and working though trials but we did it. He was so happy. He told us that when he came out of the water he felt like a huge weight was lifted off of him, or like a black coat that was covering him was removed. He showed up at church very early for his confirmation and couldn't stop smiling. The truth is neither could we. 

For pday we made completos. I sent a picture of the one I made. There is a Chilean sister in our zone that helped us make them. They were so good and I ate the entire thing. My stomach is so bad that it just went right through me. haha

The mission sent me a packet of papers to fill out this week with things like my testimony, things I have learned etc. It gave me some time to reflect on the things I have learned. My first thoughts were of the funny things like that I can now get past any barking dog, contact multitudes of people, or that I can fall asleep through just about any loud noise or music. I know how to make 25 different plates of food using rice, chicken and potatoes, and I have learned how to not laugh in really awkward situations or make conversation about people's table cloths or anything really.

But then I thought of the spiritual gifts I gained, my love for the scriptures especially the Book of Mormon, understanding that revelation is real, gaining a greater testimony of the blessings of obedience, learning to work with others, the faith and hope in knowing that all will be made right through the Atonement and a ton of other things. I was left feeling really grateful and realized how much I love my mission.

I learned a great lesson from the Jaredites this week. I learn a lot from the book of Ether. I was studying about their journey in chapter six and realized it applies to us too. We are required to prepare diligently for the things that will come. God has not allowed that we should travel in darkness and has given us great tools by his hands. God causes the furious winds to blow so that we move forward. There are times were we will be buried in waves of trials. If we are prepared the waves won't hurt us they will only bury us for a moment. As we continue forward we will shed tears of joy and gratitude for the tender mercies we have received in the place where we have arrived. I was impressed that they were grateful not only in the end but through out the journey, even though it was 344 days in a boat with animals and things. It makes me think of how the prophet has said that we shouldn't wait to be happy but to ¨find joy in the journey now.¨

Well hope you have a great week! 

Hermana Rhoten

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hey familila y aleros! (the word for friends in honduras)

Happy Anniversary to my parents today. 24 years is a long time! 

So I'm going to turn into a catracha because my companion and I are staying together again! I'm finishing my mission here in Concepcion. We were really happy to hear that part. Then the zone leaders told us the bad news, they changed our area. They took away San Jeronimo and our Pueblitos and we just have the city of Concepcion. It was dumb but it felt like someone had died when they told us, all of the ward lives in San Jeronimo, and because of references all the investigators. We made a list of everyone we knew that lived in our area and we realized that we now only have two investigators and four families to visit because the rest went to the elders. It's basically like we are opening up an area.

We walked a ton this week, Some days of pure contacting, the kind where you get home and sit down and your legs shake. We were rejected a lot but found people to teach. But I think the Lord recognized how tired we were and gave us miracles right when we needed them. We were walking and a man called out to us in the street and asked us if we were religious teachers. When we responded yes he asked if we could come and teach him, he told us that he really needed God in his life. We have an appointment with him tonight, story to be continued....We also were also saved from angry dogs three times this week by rocks, a member that hasn't come to church the entire time I have been here came after we taught him on Saturday, and after many months one of our eternal investigators is getting baptized this Saturday! 

We went out to some of the ends of Concepcion this week and we found out that we have a cemetery. We walked by it and saw a group of people dancing and drinking in the middle of the cemetery! It looked so out of place. There is a funeral home near there and we were teaching a little girl that lives there. She told us that she wanted to grow up to be a doctor to save people from dying. It was cute.

My mom always asks about how our stomachs are doing. The truth is that my stomach is so messed up that President just told me to get it checked out when I get home and try and treat it there. He said we will do another parasite treatment before I go home. But I did forget to tell you that last week President announced that we are now forbidden to eat at members homes through out the mission. President didn't even decide the area did because there were too many missionaries who were sick. My companion and I love the members but we secretly shouted for joy in our room. 

Well the work that we are doing is still true. We have felt more than ever that he has helped us this week!

Love you guys! 

Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hola familia, This week went by so fast again.

 Tomorrow we have transfers, I don't think I am leaving but its weird that today I started my very last agenda of the mission. If I don't leave I hope my companion and I stay together because she is the best and I have learned a lot from her.

Hmm, what happened this week? Well we went to Huancavelica again and the best part of the divisions was being able to do interviews. They have been a really spiritual experience for me to be able to interview sisters and feel the influence of the Lord as I question them. We also helped with the family history fair at the stake center on Saturday for a few hours. That's what the pictures are from. It was cool to see old Peruvian stuff.
So I love this family so much. Also has anyone seen Emperor's New Groove lately? his poncho reminds me of that movie.
There was also a huge party in Hualhuas. I'm honestly not sure why but they were dancing, drinking and selling a ton of hats. A drunk man grabbed me and my companion told me I needed to stay closer to her so that she could protect me. I just laughed because my companion is maybe a hundred pounds. She is a little stick.
These are mantas from different time periods. I was wondering because people of the same age group wear the same kinds of mantas.
My companion and I have been teaching so well together. We had a really spiritual lesson with a new family as we taught them about the restauracion. It was received with understanding. When we asked the mother about how she felt about what we had taught her and she said she was scared. She responded, Do you realize what this means if all of this is true? Knowing their situation we responded, of course we do, it means that you will have to change, it means that your family might hate your decision, and that your might have to find other work but we promise that greater blessings will come into your life.The message that we carry changes everything but it also brings great blessings.

I have no idea what these costumes are.
There is a dog here next to me as I am writing this and it won't leave me alone. Haha

Cool stuff from the family history fair.
Something cool I learned from the scriptures this week was about the process of receiving the Lord's guidance. I have read in Nephi 8 (about the vision of the tree of life) many times and I always thought the first verse about them gathering seeds was so random. I was like that's cool that they gathered seeds but it doesn't have anything to do with anything. I learned that them gathering seeds was being obedient to commandments of the lord and that Lehi's family passed though a similar process to the Jaredites. They were both promised a promised land, sought the lord in diligence, faith, and humility, God commanded them to prepare (gather seeds, flocks), and he gives them a specific place that he will meet them. Only when they did what God asked and they were in the correct place did the Lord lead them. This process can be applied to many different situations but it can also be directly applied to missionary work. As we are prepared doing what the lord asks and we are in the place where he has asked us to be he says to missionaries as he said to the Jaredites, I will go before thee. (Ether 1:42, D&C 84:88)

Hope you have a great week! Love you!

Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hola Familia!

My weeks are so busy that honestly I don't remember most of it. I always have to look in my journal before we leave to know what to write about. The gist of it is that we had a multi-zone pday, and conference, two divisions, the stake activity all day Saturday in Huancayo and the confirmations on Sunday.
Recognize her? She is a convert who was baptized when I was in Camino Real at the beginning of my mission. And her son. So cute.
Fun facts of this week:
- One of our investigators came to church drunk this week. It's always a bummer when that happens. It's like they are progressing but not really at the same time.
- David and America's family are getting sealed this Saturday! I talked to them all at the stake activity we had this last Saturday. So exciting. Wish I could go.

- We did two divisions back to back this week, one with a new sister that lives so close to home (The Dalles, Oregon) and a sister that lives in one of the farthest things from my home (Iquitos, Peru). It's jungle, you can only get there by several day boat trip or by plane, she had a pet baby crocodile and monkey, and they don't knock on doors to call people out of their houses but make an owl like sound. I'm practicing it so I can freak you all out when I get home.

- Remember how a few months ago I made fun of people for falling asleep on combis? Well I fell asleep on one standing up this week. That's what I get I guess.
our ward's table, us and the elders of our ward
The green dish was made by our ward. It was good.
Basically all the pictures I sent were from our stake activity. They assigned each ward to bring a typical plate from an assigned part of Peru and they did typical dances from each part too. I sent lots of pictures of food so you guys know what I eat here.
In case you were wondering what I eat here.
It's not a good picture but this is made of alpaca and potatoes well a type of potato called yuka. Not the same thing. Peru is known for its potatoes, they have like 30 types.
The peppers are ricota rellena which is a dish from Arequipa where my second comp was from. It's really good.
Our ward won third place for food overall, but that guinea pig won first place.
   The guinea pig won the contest.
Everyone loved it. So weird. My companion has a hard time even seeing it because one time we walked into a house right when they happened to be slaughtering them putting knives in their throats.
all dressed up for the dances
The dances were so cool. I recorded a bunch of them so remind me later in life to show them to you. These people love to dance and they all know how even to the littlest ones. It turned out to be a success, it was packed and we had investigators that went and received an awesome reference too.
Dances from my old ward. David and America's family danced too.
I am learning that God has a perfect knowledge and understanding of what he does and why he does it. He has perfect mercy and justice at the same time and that everything he does gives us the best chance of returning to him.

Have a great week everyone! 

Love, Hermana Rhoten 1