Monday, September 30, 2013

Hola! Mexico city better watch out!

I had been trying to be patient all week to check my email to know where Marissa is going on her mission. It was really tough. Last week my mom sent me an email during the same time that I was online and said she had her call but wasn't there to open it. That only made it worse. Mexico city better watch out! And mom and dad too because we are going to be talking in Spanish together when we get back. That's so awesome. I'm so very proud of her and excited for the experiences that she will have there.
We ride vans a lot. They smoosh you in there. I wish you could see how many people are really in this van. Its crazy. 
 Well this week was crazy for us with transfers. Hermana Soliz and I were running around like chickens with our heads cut off. Really though. We had all the new missionaries and the trainers staying with us, made tons of trips to the office and just trying to get everything ready. I didn't have transfers but Hermana Soliz left to Huanuco. I am about ready to change my mission call to mission Camino real (my areas name). But the big news is that I am training! I was a little bit terrified when I got the phone call from president. I was like Hermana Soliz is here you can talk to her, but he said he wanted to talk to me. I was nervous about my Spanish but I have found that this week I am doing fine and I know this area well so I am comfortable with it. 

My companion is Hermana Alpaca from Arequipa Peru. I couldn't think of a better last name for a Peruvian. She is so little! I became a giant overnight. I really love her already, she is so good, and so obedient. She will learn quickly. The only thing is that she is scared to talk so I have been doing all the talking this week. I know that she will get over that with time. Especially just talking to people in the street. In this mission we go up to everyone in the street introduce ourselves and tell them we are here to baptize them. Its the truth but when you first arrive on the mission it takes some adjustment. She has a strong testimony and I know that I will learn a lot from her. By some miracle we have a baptism on Friday and she is so excited about it. 
My little companion and I.
Wednesday we were in training all day together and I really learned a lot during that time. I made a lot of goals of things I plan to improve. We had pizza that day from pizza hut. It was the greatest. Thursday we were out on the streets. The first thing we did together was talk about what is important to us in missionary work. One thing that is really important to me is that we teach people like people because they are real people. I try to treat every conversation like I am having a heart to heart with a friend and share scriptures that actually apply to them. We have had a lot of those lessons this week and one thing about our companionship is that we gain confidence really quickly with other people. Something that is really important to her is that we help less active families, which we have a ton of. This week we called every single one and tried to make an appointment with them. In my opinion less active lessons are the hardest lessons but I have seen lots of miracles this week and hearts soften as we have talked with them and reminded them of the covenants they made at baptism. We had three of them at church this week at that was really special. 
Foto from pday...We were playing volleyball out in the country in a big field.
Pics from pday typical Peru. This woman dresses how every old women dresses here. The skirt hat hair in two long braids with the fabric sac on her shoulders is really typical to see on the streets.
Yes those are cows in the street near our home. Its pretty common to see that too.
I know God lives and loves each of us. Have a good week! Love you all!

Hermana Rhoten

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hola familia! This week was crazy. Really crazy.

at the fish hatchery

We are getting ready for transfers this week. We find out Tuesday night if we have them. Hermana Soliz and I have been here for the same amount of time about four months so we are guessing one of us will go. She is feeling like it is her so I might stay here for another transfer and be with another companion. But really no one knows. We have been getting the house ready for lots of people and we had another missionary stay with us last night. We also had dinner with the president and his wife last night! We had chicken alfredo and strawberry shortcake. We usually aren't allowed to eat strawberries as a mission rule but Hermana Henderson knows how to clean them well enough so that we can eat them. It was wonderful to have a meal without potatoes and rice. I'm sure when I get home from my mission it will be a long time before I will want to eat anything with potatoes and rice. 
preparing for cambios....more beds still to come
more preparing for cambios, putting beds together
Last week for pday we went to another city about 30 minutes away and ended up visiting a fish hatchery in the rain. I learned that the word for trout in Spanish is trucha. All I really wanted to do there was go fishing but we did try to catch some with our hands. 
at the fish hatchery last week
I finally tried the South American soccer capris. they are super comfortable. I might have to buy some before I finish my mission. They are super popular here (these are Hermana Procells).
We have been teaching a woman who has been participating as a Jehovah's Witness. She has told us that she has been so happy with each visit that we have had with her. She felt like the Book of Mormon is true and felt the spirit really strongly at church. But we hit a trial this week when she told us that she has also been meeting with Jehovah's Witness missionaries and that they asked her to be baptized on the exact same day as us. It was crazy. Now she isn't sure what to do. We pleaded with her that she would just pray and ask God if the church was true. I know that if she prays will real intent she will receive an answer. She has a lot of faith.

I had divisions with Hermana Gale this week! It was really fun. If being a white girl in Huancayo isn't fun enough try being two white girls in Huancayo. We are realizing that our Spanish is better than we think it is and we had some really great lessons together. We got stopped and asked questions by a lot of people and it made contacting really easy.

sheep being herded in the street
Before I explain to you the next story of our crazy activity I need to explain something. The church here is a church of converts. A questions that is normal to ask for the members is when were you baptized. They all have a date and names of missionaries who baptized them. As such there are a few things that they are still learning how to do and how the church is to be run. With that being said I hope you find this as humorous as we did. So this week we had a ward activity that was to be a karaoke night. There were only about 10 people there when the activity was to start, almost all of them were young men and women and about half were investigators. The bishop had invited the patriarch to share a message before we started. He was all dressed up and ready to share a message about families for 15 minutes. He ended up talking for 55 minutes about how the man isn't without the woman and the woman without the man, procreation and all sorts of things. I felt bad for the young men and women that were there because they were so bored and felt so awkward. Anyways he finally finished. Then the bishops wife got up and said I hope we all came to learn and apply what we learned today because if we know things and don't apply them, greater will be your condemnation. 
part of the festivities
costumes of the dances
people in my ward after they danced
If that wasn't enough we started the karaoke and the Elders closest to our area came in and said they had a problem. We were like okay whats the problem. They said we found out that our  our investigator who is supposed to be baptized this week is a heavy drug dealer and he is here with his drunk friend. Awesome. That's just great. They said that he says he cant leave because there are people who want to kill him. I don't really know how the elders took care of that one but we left because it was almost time to be home. We walked home laughing in the pouring rain just soaked and my companion said what more can happen.... For future reference don't ever say that. Its like a magic word or something. We got home, turned on the lights and the power went out. It was a crazy day.

our little home
I learned a lot from the scriptures this week. Especially from King Benjamin and his example to his people as well as the things that he taught them. I learned what it really is like to be a servant of the Lord. I hope that each of you know that I love my Heavenly Father. I love him so much. I hope that I can continue to serve him with all my heart might mind and strength.

Have a great week everyone! I hope to hear about Rissa's call soon!

Hermana Rhoten

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hola Familia! I had another good week.

This is me because I didn't take a lot of photos this week and it lets you know that I am still alive.
Yesterday we had a conference for this region of Peru that was awesome. We were able to hear from Elder Bednar and Elder Scott. It was a really uplifting conference. I didn't know that Elder Scott could speak Spanish, but his Spanish was really good. We were able to bring investigators to the conference which was great. I was a little bit stomach sick this week, I dont know what's going on maybe something I ate so they have me on medication for that, no worries.
We taught a daughter and mother this week that are really struggling with their family splitting apart due to a divorce. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and they were so full of joy. Especially the mother. They told us that they have never heard of such a joyful message, they knew we must have a purpose to life but they never knew what it was and they didn't understand the real purpose of the sacrifice of our Savior for us. They both came to the conference and loved it. I really hope the best for each of them.

Funny things that happened this week consisted of getting soaked by the rain as usual, praying to have space in our stomachs to be able to eat whatever it was that they were feeding us and getting stopped in the street and asked for an interview. They assumed I spoke English and needed someone who spoke English to do an interview on camera for them. They asked me basic questions like what is your name, where are you from, what is your work and what do you like about your job. This was my response. My name is Hermana Rhoten, from the United States. Right now I am working as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love helping people change their lives and turn to the Savior. I don't really know where it will get used but it was pretty sweet. 

I'm going to take a good chunk of this letter and write to my sister Marissa and advice I wish I would have known as she is preparing to serve a mission. I am including it in this letter because it is advice that I would give to anyone who is preparing to serve a mission at this time. 

So Marissa,

If I were home right now we would convince mom that we were going to bed, wait for her to walk down to the bottom of the stairs and walk into each others room like always and talk about everything. I would tell you everything I wish I would have known and done to prepare for a mission. But I'm not home and I don't have much time or space to write you so I will include the things that I think are the most important. As far as physical things go I have learned from the Peruvian people that you really don't need much to live, a pair of clothes, food, water and something over your head. Everything else you can live without and life goes on. As far as knowledge I could tell you to study Preach My Gospel and the scriptures and memorize them and that would be great but really you will get here and learn from the Spirit what you really need to know for specific people so don't worry to much about that. Just continue to study. So I have come to a conclusion that the best advice that I could give you and the thing I wish I would have done is prepared myself a little bit more spiritually.

From all the scripture study that I have done I have found three attributes that lead to spiritual power and help from the Lord. I realized that what I wish I would have known is the practical application of these three things. 

The first one is faith. Faith is the act of having confidence in the Lord. When it comes down to it, it is nothing more than living a righteous life. You increase it by praying, studying the scriptures and keeping the commandments. Every time you work towards a righteous goal you exercise this faith. The thing I wish I would have known about faith is that it is something that should affect your actions a lot. The missionaries that pray in faith to ask what door to knock is the one that receives the miracle. Trust that God can do all good things for you according to your faith. 

The second is humility. When you arrive on your mission and put on your plaque not a lot changes. You are still you with a plaque learning how to do missionary things. That is going to be incredibly frustrating to you as it was for me. As it still is for me. You have the idea of the missionary you want to be but you are you. There are two ways missionaries change this. You are either humble and change through repentance or the Lord gives you trials to do it. I have learned that repentance is a better option. Learn how to repent. Everyday. Elder Bednar taught that members of the church don't use repentance like they should. They are really good at changing habits but that isn't repentance. Repentance involves using prayer and the Atonement of Jesus Christ not just changing the habit. This will help you change the things you want to change and be the person you want to become.

The last one is obedience. But its not just obedience like you follow rules obedience. There is an important difference between living by laws and principles. A law of God is any commandment and a principle is anything that is given with a promise. We all initially start out living by laws and then change to living by principles. If you live by laws you wont really change you will just do what you are told. You have to be obedient for principle. Your homework is to learn how to switch to living by principle. Study it out in the scriptures and look for examples of how people change to live by principles. If you can't figure it out pray like Enos all day and all night. :) 

If you can learn to apply these things you will be a powerful missionary. The Lord will be with you and you will have lots of miracles. Work on that. If you aren't perfect then you are human. God still loves you. I love you and know you will be a good missionary

Sending my love to all of you and hope you have a great week. I know this is the work of God and that this is His gospel and church. Have a great week. 

Hermana Rhoten

Monday, September 9, 2013

Our mission is never boring....

I'm excited to hear where Marissa is going this week! I sent her my guesses Georgia and Brazil. This week was not normal. I'm starting to wonder what a normal week is like. Hermana Henderson was accompanying us for a day this week and she said something that is really true. "This mission is never boring". I really am never bored here.
We moved into our new home. Its huge. It has one big room and three small ones. We have a room, the hermanas del tambo tiene un room and the huge one will be for all the bunk beds when the hermanas come. We have started dancing in there in the morning to EFY music for exercise. I'm learning some traditional Bolivian dances. I mean why not, I live with two Bolivians. When we got to our house we didn't have a shower head so the Elders came over to install one for hot water! The funny thing though is that they installed it wrong and water entered into the electrical part and fried it. We were getting electrocuted so we were showering out of buckets from the sink all week. I actually prefer the bucket if it is going to be freezing anyways. They installed a new one and now we have hot water! Awesome.
Our mission president wanted us to get more people to come to baptisms.  Looks like successes to me.
There is another baptism, possibly two this week. We have such good investigators right now. We started teaching a woman that is progressing really fast this week.  She prayed about the Book of Mormon to know if it was true and had a dream where she saw Jesus Christ and kind of a vision of the restoration. She feels like that was an answer to her prayer and is sure that the church is true. She says that she feels like the gospel came to her at the right time of her life and she is excited for her baptism in a few weeks.

Hermana Orellano is leaving.
We celebrated Hermana Soliz and Hermana Orellanas one year marks this week. And then right after we found out that there are transfers for Hermana Orellana. She leaves today to Huanuco. It was really hard for her to hear that because she has been in this area for more than five months. She was one of the first people that I met when I got here to Huancayo and we will miss her for sure. Hermana Procell will be with a mini missionary for two weeks until transfers. We are really tired today because we had a missionary stay with us last night that had to leave at 4:30 am so sorry if none of this is making sense. 
Studying on the roof for last time before we moved.
Like I said earlier we were with Hermana Henderson for a day this week. In the time we were with her nothing went according to plan. Even better than that we had a talent show planned for that night with all three of the wards together. We got there late to set up and when we opened up the church we realized that it was flooded with water! There was about an inch of water through out the entire first floor of the church, in the chapel, hallways and rooms. We all grabbed brooms and mops and started pushing the water out the door to get it cleaned up as quickly as possible so it wouldn't ruin the floors. All of our shoes were soaked. What happened is that we never ever have water in this church and someone had turned on the sink to see if there was water in the bathroom and didn't turn it off. The drain was plugged and when we had water it ran for days. We ended up starting the activity really late because of other complications but a lot of people showed up and it turned out alright in the end.
working hard to get rid of the flood

Tenga un bien semana. 

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Rhoten

Monday, September 2, 2013

Hola Familia!

This week was a long crazy week. My companion is the leader of the hermanas and we got a call this week saying we needed to find a new place to live that could fit ten or more hermanas. We are going to have a lot more hermanas coming and they will need a place to be before they are sent off to their areas. So we are moving today. All of our stuff is packed up and we are spending our pday moving. The elders really weren't too happy about it. We are going to try and finish quickly so that we can do something fun too. 
Some of my favorite kids
A lot of this week was spent looking for a place to live. Whenever we had an appointment fall through we would look for apartments because we had to find a place to be by this week. We had some fun adventures while looking for apartments. We thought we were following a reference from Elders for an apartment and we ended up walking out into the middle of nowhere land Huancayo. There we found the city of dogs. I have never seen so many dogs in my life. There were hundreds and hundreds, on top of buildings and just everywhere. We ended up finding a place to be on Thursday. It is huge but it really isn't very nice. At least its painted though, most of the places we looked at were concrete walls or didn't have floors. We will be living there with the other two hermanas of Tambo and the ten beds for when hermanas come. We are sad to leave our other home but it will be better because it is a lot closer to the pensionistas house. We usually have to walk twenty minutes or take a moto.
inside a moto with one of our moto driver friends
After pday in the rain with my district
It rained a ton again this week. It always is sunny for part of the day first and then it rains out of nowhere. On Monday we played volleyball with my district and got soaked. It was fun though. I was team captain and we won both times. I usually hate volleyball because I always get smacked in the face but I am getting a lot better. One night this week it was pouring rain and we had an umbrella from a family who lent it to us and it broke because it was raining so hard. We rain to a moto but couldn't get the umbrella to close and were in a hurry so we shoved the open broken umbrella into the moto just drenched. The moto driver thought it was so funny. All we were thinking was that the Elders are going to kill us for being late for informes. I don't remember the word for that in English either. When we call and give our numbers for the week. Haha. 
I couldn't resist. Look at this baby so cute.
We had a great zone conference this week on humility. My goal for this month is to develop better humility and to line up my will with the Lords.
I am super excited to tell you about the miracle we had this week with meeting our goal for the month. At the beginning of the month we had prayed to know what our goal should be with a number in mind and we both felt very strongly that it should be another number. We were scared a little because it was a high number for our area. This week we were lacking two baptisms to meet our goal. We fasted to know who they should be.
Jessica after her baptism
Jessica's baptism
One of them was Jessica but the other person we thought it was fell through. We were disappointed that we didn't meet the goal. We got a call on Thursday night from our district leader to say that the other hermanas had been teaching someone that was in our ward boundaries and he was ready for baptism just in time for the end of the month. We ended up completing our goal. I know that God had a plan for this area and he knows more than we do. This is his work and not ours.
Joel's baptism
Have a good week!

Hermana Rhoten