Monday, June 10, 2013

I'm in Peru!

This keyboard is different but I will try my best to type quickly. I don't have time to write everything about Peru and what has happened the past week because there is just so much. I will just share with you some of my blessings this week and hope that that will suffice.

The first couple days I got here I was in Lima and we were with the mission president for training. I was assigned to open a brand new area in Huancuyo! This also means that I wont be in the Lima Peru East mission anymore, I will be in the new Huancuyo mission when the missions split in two weeks. I felt like I knew that was coming and had been prepared for it. Nothing thus far on my mission has worked out according to plan, I'm just grateful that my Heavenly Father trusts me enough to change my plans and know that I can be flexible enough to handle any of the changes. My new mission contains all the jungle areas, Huanuco, Huancuyo and the highest city in the world Cerro de Pasco. It will definitely be an adventure. The way my area was first described to me was that it is a missionary paradise. They said in this mission we expect about 20 baptisms a week from each area except for mine they expect much more. The people here are amazing and I am so lucky to be serving here. To give you a quick idea we teach up to 10 lessons  a day, everyone we contact on the street is like yea ill come to church and bring my whole family, and the ward here is on fire. I have never seen anything quite like it. We were given 22 referrals yesterday from the ward and we are working so hard. I am so blessed.

My companion is Hermana Soliz and she is from Bolivia. She is beautiful and we get along great. She has been out on the mission for 9 months. As you probably have guessed she doesn't speak English so I am learning the language as fast as I can. There is no other option than to speak Spanish. Everyone here tells me that my Spanish is really good for only being here a week. My companion says I am about the same as her last American companion that had been here 2 months and that I like to talk more than she did. My companion was serving in Lima and as soon as I finished training we got on a bus and traveled for 9 hours to Huancuyo. I am so blessed to have such an awesome companion.
my companion in our apartment
One of the first things I noticed when I got here was how crazy the drivers are. I am grateful for all the crazy drivers in my life that kinda sorta prepared me for Peruvian driving. They tailgate really bad, spin out and tend to speed up when I think they should probably start breaking. We ride taxis or motos when we can. The blessing of this is that we have set up an appointment with every single taxi driver we have met.

The first few days in Huancuyo we were homeless. We stayed with  two other sisters in their apartment. One is from Mexico, the other from Bolivia. They also didn't speak English. We heated up water in little pitchers that plugged into the wall and would use the water to shower out of a bucket. The sisters always insisted that I go first because I am their baby. I am so grateful I got to meet them because they are so sweet.
I am blessed to be serving in an area of miracles. Here are two that happened recently that I heard when I first got here. One woman who was being taught was 85 years old. Her grandfather was a part of an indigenous people and she said that she remembered sitting around a big fire as a little girl and her grandpa telling stories. One of the stories was about a white haired man who came to the people. She read the story of Christ coming to the Americas in the Book of Mormon and said it was the same story. She was baptized. Another woman told missionaries about a dream that she had had about a white castle. She said her family was inside and happy but she couldn't enter. The missionaries started to teach her about the temple and she was baptized soon after.
me in my

I have come to the conclusion that I might be the only white person with not black hair in the entire city. All the other missionaries in my zone are Latin. I get stared at everywhere I go and they don't try to hide that they are staring at me.The past few days I have been whistled at multiple times, the recipient of cat calls, been blown kisses, and been told that I am beautiful and pretty by random men off the street. When we will be out late or are going to a more scary part of town the sisters would dress me up in a long black trench coat, a hat, leggings and my boots so that as much of my skin and hair is covered as possible. I think I look ridiculous but it definitely helps the staring. I wouldn't normally say this is a good thing but I do have to say that it is awesome when street contacting. I mean the people have stopped whatever they were doing already and have been staring at me the whole way down the street so all I  have to do is smile and start introducing us. When I don't understand what they say, my companion takes over. Its a great system.
There are dogs everywhere here. There is always at least one if not five in my sight. Most of them don't bother us but we were attacked by one. I threw a rock at it. I didn't hit it but I startled it enough for us to run. I am so grateful for all the dogs. They have become my lifeline, my tracking system. Most of the dogs stay in the same areas. The only way I ever know where I am going or where I am is by recognizing familiar dogs. For example, I know that the dalmatian is near our pensionista's home and the big white dog means we are almost home. I thank Heavenly Father for them all the time.
We have a pensionista that cooks all our food. We just come to her house at certain times and its ready. She is so very sweet and so are her daughters. The one who is my age told me that I look like a Barbie and asked if my hair color is real. The food here is very different but its good. Most of the time I can recognize that there is some sort of potato, meat, and rice but sometimes I don't have the slightest idea what I'm eating or drinking. But i just eat it and its usually really good and none of it has made me sick like I was told to expect. I am super lucky.
I have been blessed to learn to rely on the Spirit more this week. I had an experience teaching a lady who was missing a lot of teeth and I didn't understand a word she said. I was prompted to share thoughts and scriptures even though I didn't know what she said and I found out later from my companion that they were exactly what was needed. I am grateful that I am able to completely rely on the spirit.
Sunday was great! I played the piano again because not a single person can play. Everyone was so excited because they don't get to hear the piano very often and everyone told me I played beautifully. We also introduced ourselves in Spanish and bore our testimonies. My companion volunteered us to sing and we sang my favorite hymn, Lead kindly light. She sang the first verse in Spanish and I sang the second in English and then we sang together in Spanish the last one. I think that's the first time I sang a solo since third grade. Never have the words, "I am far from home, lead though me on," hit me so hard as they did then. Oh yea, also I was volunteered to teach English classes for two hours on Wednesday nights for the ward. I have never taught English and I don't know how to teach English but all is well. I have already started writing up a curriculum for it. It will be a wonderful experience.
I feel like the luckiest missionary in all the world. I am so blessed everyday and am loving my mission.
Con amor,
Hermana Rhoten

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