Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hola familia! I hit my three month mark this week.

I can't believe how fast time is flying. Also Happy Birthday to my Grandma Hatch yesterday who has always been an example of a righteous woman in my life.

Birthday of my pensionista. The older woman is her mother she is about 87 years old. They are the ones who are teaching me Quechua. The others are missionaries and her daughters.
This week we welcomed in the new mission with full force. There is so much excitement for a new mission in Huancayo. On Saturday we had a big celebration in the coliseum to celebrate the new mission and welcome the new mission president. The coliseum can hold about five thousand people so my guess was that we had about three thousand people who attended. I was one of the missionaries who greeted at the door. I fake kissed and shook hands with hundreds of people. When we got done my companion and I literally went to the bathroom to wash our hands and cheeks. My job was to talk to them and find out if they were members or not and if they weren't members they were assigned to another missionary who gave them a pamphlet and got references from them. There were so many non members who attended. The program consisted of speakers usually stake presidents, the new mission president and his wife, special musical numbers and then about an hour of traditional Peruvian dances from members of the nearby stakes. It was fun to see the traditional dancing and clothing. I wanted to get more pictures but we were busy working, talking and teaching people throughout the entire program. 
Me at the randomly beautiful park in the middle of the city
From the moment I saw President Henderson I knew that he was called of God to be my mission president. We haven't been able to meet him yet but from when he spoke I could tell that he has tons of energy. It was pretty obvious that his wife doesn't speak Spanish but I felt her testimony as she struggled to sound out the words. I definitely felt for her, being able to relate to that part of her big change. President Henderson's Spanish is pretty good, he said in his talk that he learned it on his mission in Peru. 
This was a randomly beautiful park that we visited last pday.
I am on a bunk bed and this week my alarm clock fell of the bed and broke. We are only able to buy things on Monday so we were planning to have the other sisters call us and wake us up. They forgot the first day but it ended up not mattering because a rooster started crowing about fifteen minutes before we were supposed to get up. We had never heard a rooster before and that morning we looked around everywhere for it but couldn't find it. Everyday this week that same rooster has woken us up fifteen minutes before we need to be up and we still cant find it. Its our little miracle. Thanks Heavenly Father.

Also there was a dog that joined us for sacrament meeting this week. The doors are always open in Peru because there are no such things as heating or cooling systems and a stray dog just walked right on in. We had a couple people trying to chase it out of the chapel. The joke was that it wanted to join us. Only in Peru.
This is a man dressed up to dance at the festival.
The longer i have been a missionary the stronger my testimony has become about the adversaries attack on the work. I have began to always expect that in the most spiritual parts of a lesson there will be a distraction, being interrupted by something when bearing my testimony, technology never working the way it should and unexpected trials with our strongest investigators. We have an investigator named Alex who is unfortunately not an exception to the pattern. He is incredible and I have no doubt prepared of the Lord. He is seventeen years old, lost his parents when he was really young and is living with his aunt and uncle going to school and working full time to support himself. On top of that he is the happiest and one of the most intelligent people I know. He knew about the great apostasy and answered before we could why there are so many churches if Christ only organized one. We taught him about the restoration and he prayed sincerely to gain a testimony and the next time we met with him he said he wanted to be baptized. The only problem when he told his aunt and uncle for permission they were very angry. He tells us that he prays everyday that he will be able to be baptized. He is such a great example to me.

I street contacted an old lady in the park this week who told me about a dream she had about her family. In the dream she talked with god and told him she wanted to be with her family forever. She then went on to tell me the vision of the tree of life with her family in it. I thought that was pretty neat. I hope she keeps her appointment with us so we can read from the Book of Mormon what her dream means.

My pensionista and her mother speak Quechua so they have started to teach us during meal times. Quechua is a native language of Peru and a lot of older people here speak it. I have a Book of Mormon in Quechua and was told to start learning it because I will probably use in in some of the jungle areas. Here is a little taste of Quechua...Hinataq noqa Nephi taytayta nirqani risaqmi ruwamusagtag wiraqochaq kamachiquanta. That is the first part of 1 Nephi 3:7. I was so proud that I could translate that. 
I always talk about motos so I thought I would send you a picture of one. Its not a super great picture. Basically these are dirt bikes with three wheels and a cart. We ride them everywhere because they are much cheaper than a taxi. Its the best when they decorate them with Christmas decorations and lights. I always thought that dirt bikes could only hold one to two people max but I've seen people put almost their whole houses on these things. It's nuts.
Yesterday we were walking down a street when I had a thought that we should turn back and go talk to someone. I told my companion and we started walking until we came to a corner with a woman sitting on the ground. Her hair was so big that it was difficult for me to see her face but when you got close enough you could see that her face was black but her neck was white. Her clothes were filthy, the soles of her shoes were almost completely detached and her pants were soaked in urine. We introduced ourselves and began to talk with her. She was difficult to understand because she had no teeth but she wasn't crazy. We went to a store and bought her some juice to drink. That was when I noticed that she had very little use of her hands. We started to teach her about God and Jesus Christ. We told her that she was a daughter of god and that she was very special to him. We sang I am a child of God to her right there in the street corner, one of the only hymns I have memorized in Spanish. We watched tears roll down her face as we sang. We asked her where we can find her and she told us that she lives on the streets but we could meet her back in the same spot today to give her some new clothes. I hope she is there. My companion and I walked away wondering why we are so blessed. And as I have thought about it I'm still not sure. But I do know that God has a plan for each of us and that faith in God can bring hope into even the hardest of trials.

Have a great week everyone! Sending my love and prayers home to each of you.

Con amor,

Hermana Rhoten

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