Monday, August 26, 2013

Hola Familia!

This week was a good week as usual. We taught a lot of lessons, it was the highest week of lessons in my mission so far. We have investigators that are progressing pretty fast and we should have a baptism each week this month. 
One of my favorite investigators is an older lady who never learned how to read. She lost both of her parents when she was seven years old and spent her childhood searching for food and clothes for her three younger siblings on the outskirts of Huancayo without family. She learned to make clothes and worked as a very young girl. She told us that she has always believed in God and she remembers praying with all of her little siblings as a little girl asking for him to help them find food and he was always there with them. We felt that we could promise her that if she tried to open her Book of Mormon everyday she could learn to read. We have been teaching her letters and stories from the Book of Mormon along with the lessons. 

We are starting to feel like we know everyone in this city. I have heard when you are in an area for awhile it gets to be that way. It probably helps that we stand out. But we walk down the street and it seems like we always are running into people we know. We also know where about everyone lives. When Hermana Soliz goes out of town and I have divisions I feel like I can explain more than the members who have lived here their whole lives can. This street is the ex husband of that member who is now dating a less active member who used to live on this street, the next door neighbors have a scary dog, the next street over is a woman we taught three times named with three kids...etc.

One person we always seem to run into is a moto driver named Jesus. We see him everywhere. He was one of the first people that we taught when we got here and the past two weeks he started progressing really fast. He started calling us and reminding us of our appointments. One of the saddest moments of this week was his phone call to my companion saying that he is in love with me. Basically he is a snake, and we think his intentions aren't real. We decided to let the elders teach him and baptize him if he wanted still but when they called him he didn't show up to their appointment.This has happened to us twice before but it was really sad because we felt like he was really progressing and he was so close to his baptism date.

With transfers Hermana Orellana got a new companion. It is Hermana Procell, one of my first companions from the MTC. Its so fun to have her here and to be able to talk with her at every meal. She had a tough first week in Huancayo though, she got bit by a dog, had to stuff pig in her underwear and was pretty sick from food. I have to explain that we have really strict rules in this mission about what we can and can't eat and pig is something we can't eat. The pensionistas follow strict guidelines to make sure that food is clean but every Sunday we eat at members homes for one meal just to be with them and strengthen our relationships. Sometimes members forget our rules and we don't want to make them feel bad so we have to find a way around it like stuffing it in our clothes and bags when they aren't looking. I usually have space in my bag and just wash it later. Anyways its been fun to have her here and help each other figure out words in Spanish.

Hermana Soliz and I have just been really happy this week. We feel like we are so blessed. We had one little miracle this week that showed us Gods love for us. We were walking down a dark dirt street at about 8:30pm completely exhausted from the day. Our last appointment fell through and we were trying to contact for the last hour but no one was out in the streets. We passed by a little tienda or store and my companion said ¨I really want a chocolate right now. I was like yea me too. But we didn't have any money so we went our way. As we were walking down the street about ten minutes later we heard someone yelling our name running down the street. It was a member of our ward and he called for us to come back. He told us that he wanted to buy us some chocolate and took us to a store and bought some for us. It was something little but we know that the Lord was walking beside us, he knows who we are and how we are feeling and that he loves us. We call it our miracle chocolate. 

I have a testimony that God lives and that Jesus Christ is my savior. He loves us unconditionally. We can always turn to him.

Tenga un bien semana!

Hermana Rhoten

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hola familia! This week was really good. We taught a ton of lessons and worked really hard.

This was taken at the Johnson's house
 I don't really know what to say about this week so I will just write my list of happy moments from this week.

Tuesday we got a phone call that said we have cambios. The word in English is transfers, I asked someone else who spoke English. We have cambios de cama or transfers of beds. Meaning we get to stay in Huancayo for another 6 weeks. My companion and I were so happy. 
This is a girl that I love who was baptized.
We got a cell phone this week! My companion is one of the new leaders of hermanas so we get a cell phone. Its really exciting because I am so sick of pay phones and phone cards. It makes the work so much easier when you can contact people.

We had an activity this week and we had a lot of investigators come. Like 10. But the best moment was watching little Fran who was baptized only two weeks ago inviting one of them to come to church with him on Sunday. It was really sweet.
At the Johnson's house
I lost my camera this week for a day. I looked everywhere and went to all the places we had been. Finally that night when we got to our apartment and I fell on my knees and prayed that God would help me found it. I found it 2 minutes later deep inside one of my tennis shoes. I´m not sure why it was there or how I felt to look there so I know that it was an answer from heaven.

The little boy that we are teaching that I told you about last week whose mom was drunk is getting baptized and he is so excited. My favorite moment with him this week was his prayer. He loves to pray, and he told us that he always talks to god. He started out by saying, Good afternoon Heavenly Father, and his prayer was like a real conversation with him not something he had learned. He prayed that the things he would learn might bless future generations and because we told him he could ask anything he wanted he asked God why so many people are divided in their beliefs about him. We proceeded to teach him about the apostasy and the restoration and how we newly have prophets and apostles on the earth. He was so excited. 
Just your average everyday soup with chicken legs
These things are berries in the clear hair gel type jello.  They are pretty good.
We have been visiting a less active member who hasn't come to church for about four years. He is about our age and all of his family is inactive. The first couple times we just went and talked with him at his work and didn't share anything. He is an amazing guitar player and writes his own music. We invited him to participate in a talent show and he said maybe. One day this week we called him and said we were nearby and asked if we could visit him. He said yes. We came over and were there for too long but after awhile he opened up to us about everything. He told us he was happy where he was and he wasn't going to go back to church but he hoped that we wouldn't think less of him. He said he had been talked to by so many missionaries and none of them had changed his mind. We asked him why he had let us in. He said I don't know, Ive never met missionaries like you. In the end we didn't ever tell him he needed to come to church but we did invite him to pray and after fighting it, he did. He made two of my happy moments this week. Watching him kneel on the ground and pray for the first time in a long time was one. The second was watching him and his whole family walk in through the back of the chapel and sit down at church. It was a huge miracle. 
This is the less active who came to church. 
The most dangerous play toys I have ever been on.
Last week for pday we went to a sports facility and just had fun while all the Elders played soccer. Hermana Gale and I found two baseball gloves and a baseball. We played catch for about three hours. I was so happy with a baseball and glove. I wish I would have brought one because it was really stress relieving and they are super hard to find in Peru.
I don't remember if I have talked about Pamela or not in one of my previous letters but if not I will tell you anyways. She is one of the very first people that I met here in Peru. She is a little girl that we taught with her brother. Her parents are always drunk and they beat her. The first time that we went to take her to church she went to ask her mother and we heard her mother screaming at her and hitting her in the background. She came back out and quietly told us she couldn't go. She turned around to go back in the house and we realized she was crying. We hugged her for a long time, wiped away her tears and told her to be strong. Every time we walk down her street she runs to us and wraps her arm around our necks. She is such a sweet little girl. This week we found out that she has been going to church with a teenager that takes her for some time and that she might be able to get baptized. It was the highlight of my week. I hope that she can. 
Above and below pictures are both at the Johnson's house.
I have to go but I hope all of you know that I have a testimony of this work. I know without a doubt that God lives and that Jesus Christ is my Savior. 

Hope you have a great week.

Hermana Rhoten
Note from Miranda's mom: The Johnson's are a family that Miranda is teaching. She talked about them a few weeks ago.  Their home is a museum of all sorts of jungle animal skins and they have real parrots too.  It is like a real museum that people pay to go and look at things.

Monday, August 12, 2013

This week was a good week. We have cambios this week on Tuesday.

I really don't remember the word in English sorry. Its where we might switch areas and companions. We find out Tuesday night what the plan is. My companion and I are really hoping that we don't change because we love this area and are working well together. I feel like I haven't seen her much this week because we had two divisions this week where I was with another sister for two days. After each division I felt really confident. Each of those two days we had high numbers, our lessons went great, my Spanish was functioning and one of them we had 6 new investigators with a baptism date. It was really exciting. Hermana Soliz is like a proud mother because she was my trainer.

It rained every day this week. After about day three I gave up on hair and makeup. It always started out looking sunny but then it would randomly start pouring rain in the middle of the day. One day it showered and we got soaked to our underwear. If you can imagine us running the streets, just drenched that about sums up my week. We have really great investigators that lent us clothes so we could still teach without going to our apartment because it is really far.

We found a really great family of five kids this week and taught them the first lesson. They were so excited especially the father. It was one of the best first lessons of my mission. I hope I stay in this area to teach them a little longer.
Two zones of sisters in Huancayo
I had a really bad week of men this week. I got asked on two dates, asked if I was interested in marriage, called baby, precious, love, all sorts of stuff, and a 35 year old man invited me over to his house but he didn't want my companion to come. He said he would make me dinner. All of them say they will come to church and want to know where it is. My companion and I have started including in our prayers that we will be able to discern between those people who really want to hear the gospel and be able to avoid those who have other motives. I know that I have been protected by the Lord many times. 
On the mountain last Pday
My Spanish is getting a lot better. I'm starting to think in Spanish and dream in Spanish. I had one last night. It is a weird sensation that I can't explain to anyone who has never learned a language before. I occasionally make mistakes though. My worst one I think was one time when we were at an investigators home talking about an experience and I wanted to say that I was embarrassed. Estaba embarazosa. But there are two words that are really close in Spanish, embarazosa which means embarrased and embarazada which means pregnant. I used the second one and told them that I was pregnant. Luckily my companion was there to explain otherwise it would have been a whole lot more embarrasing. :)
One night this week we were contacting near a park and a really drunk lady came up to us and practically threw herself on us. She was crying saying that she wanted to change and she wanted us to pray for her. So we prayed for her in the park. She told us that she wanted us to meet her son and told us her address. To be honest she was really drunk and we didn't think much of it but the next day we were waiting for the Elders to show up to one of our appointments with us and as we were waiting we realized we were on the street of the drunk lady. We somehow remembered the address and found the home. It looked like a little barn more than a home. But we knocked and a boy who was about ten years old answered. We started teaching him. He was the most intelligent ten year old boy I have probably ever met. We asked him questions like if he knew how Jesus was baptized. He said yea, first john the baptist was teaching the people and then he said another man would come who was better than him and then Jesus searched for him to baptize him....It was a lot more detail than that and he was quoting scriptures. We asked him if he knew of any prophets and he went on for like 15 minutes about prophets of the bible. He said he loved to read so we said great we have a book for you. He was excited about what we taught him and I am excited to go back and teach him. It was a miracle of the Lord to be  guided to his home.
We have a really nice apartment. Its super nice. One of the nicest I have seen here. Its about 200 soles a month or 70 dollars.
I'm doing great. Love you all. Hope you have a great week.

Con amor,

Hermana Rhoten

Monday, August 5, 2013

The only two gringas in Huancayo

Me and my cake
Hola familia! This week was awesome. I really had a really great week. We are emailing late today because we hiked a mountain with president and his wife for a special p day. We found out during it that it is their 36 wedding anniversary today. How cute is that! It was a pretty good hike, we were at high altitude so it was hard to breathe a little but I was fine. There were a bunch of llamas and we hiked until we got to a glacier. It was really fun and everyone had a good time.
Llamas in the middle of the road today.
This is where we were at today.
We had the baptisms and confirmations of my favorite family this week. I can't really express in words how much I love them. They are like family to me. They have been my companion and I happy thought for several weeks because they have just brought us so much joy. The best part about it is that we as missionaries didn't do anything. They were prepared by the Lord to receive the gospel. We didn't have a single trial while teaching them. We would teach them a commandment and they would say okay, we will change. They asked us how our church does tithing before we even mentioned anything about it because they wanted to pay it.They bore their testimonies on Sunday and the father said that all he wants to do is travel the world and share this message of the gospel and how much it has changed his life. The baptisms and confirmations were really special. One of the highlights of my mission. The confirmation of the parents was great but what was really special was the blessing and confirmation of their 10 year old son. The spirit was so strong and he was told he will be a powerful instrument in the hands of the Lord. I hope that I can go to the temple with them in a year when they are sealed as a family. I will get down on my knees and beg president if I have to.
The family that we baptized this week on my birthday.

America at her baptism I wish i could have captured her face. It was the most beautiful thing i have seen. She kept saying how beautiful she felt inside.
I felt super loved on my birthday. We still taught lessons and worked hard but everyone here spoiled me. My pensionista made me hamburgers and it was the best Peruvian hamburger I have had. After that we went to the family we baptized to teach them or so I thought and they made us a second lunch and bought me a cake. It was really sweet of them. In the evening we went to the bishops house for a meeting and he bought me a cake too. They turned out the lights, covered me with stuff and cracked an egg on my head. I have to pause for a second and tell you that the bishop was an army guy and is kind of like a drill sergeant. I have always been a little bit scared of him. But this night he and his family went around the table individually and told us how much they loved us and the good that we have done for this ward. They said they haven't loved missionaries as much as us since the ones that had baptized them. I think it was good for my companion and I both to hear these things. We contacted with egg in my hair up until the very last minute that night.
This is me covered in stuff on my birthday with the bishops family. I felt super loved.

This is me on my birthday.
I had all sorts of stuff on my clothes so we decided to wash them. I didn't tell my companion that I have never washed my clothes in a bucket with a board before but I didn't think it would be that bad. I started washing them and my companion being her blunt self said, Oh dear, you are never going to find a husband until you learn how to wash clothes. So she taught me. There is actually a lot of technique to it. You put it on the board and go up and down with the scrubber  and then you rub the two parts of clothes until you cover the whole thing and rinse out all the soap really good or it will be as stiff as a rock. By the end I was really getting the hang of it. Now I should be able to find a husband someday. lol 
My companion and I on the bus
On Thursday this week we were in a taxi and right in front of us there was a collision between a motocycle and a taxi. I saw the two men on the motocycle fly in the air and hit the ground hard. Without thinking I opened up the door of the taxi and ran to the man who was lifeless in the middle of the street. I quickly found a pulse and checked for breathing. My companion was talking with someone to call for help. I opened up his clothes and he started to breath normal. I stabilized his head with my Book of Mormon and got blood all over but not important. I knew it was important for him to stay concious so I tried my best to talk to him and get him to talk back. I told him I was a missionary and that I was here to help him and that everything would be alright. I did my best to keep him stabilized until help came.When we left my companion was like how did you know what to do. I said to be honest I didn't, I don't know where that came from. 

The next day I found myself in a situation where we had contacted a man who was suffering of sadness. He had lost his father suddenly a month ago and was really sad. I found myself saying almost the same words to this man. I told him we were missionaries and here to help. I didn't know what to say to him but words came. 

I have learned that in the fight of mortality that all we really need to do is have the will to act and be obedient. I understand a little better now what Nephi meant when he said he was guided by the spirit not knowing beforehand the things that he should do. I know that in Gods work he helps us to know what to do and say when we need it. I have seen it time and time again, even this week. 

I love you all, hope that you have a great week. 

Hermana Rhoten