Thursday, November 28, 2013

Feliz dia de gracias.‏

In the Jungle at the top of a waterfall.
Surprise! I get to write you today. It has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, its just because we didn't get to write you on Monday when we were in Tingo Maria. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here but we were telling my pensionista about how we celebrate and she is going to make us a pineapple pie. Close enough right? She is so sweet. 
All the sisters of Huanuco! I love Hermana Henderson's face.
Since its Thanksgiving this week we were thinking about things that we are grateful for and I made a list of things I have come to really become grateful for.
I'm really grateful for the ability to learn. 
I'm grateful for my companion because we get along so well, she understands my sense of humor and never denies when I say I think we should go buy ice cream out of a tienda. 
I'm grateful for my mission and all the wonderful experiences I have had and the people I have met. And that we get to go to the jungle on pday sometimes. :)
I'm grateful that I have teeth. So many people here don't have teeth and I think it would be miserable to not be able to chew.
I'm grateful for prayer and the ability to talk to God.
I'm grateful for the invention of sunscreen, insect repellent, anti itch cream and any modern medicine in general because I probably couldn't function here without these things.
I'm grateful for my family because they are the greatest. My mom sent me a pack of chocolate chip cookie mix awhile back and we finally made it. It was delicious.
But most of all I'm grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for me. I'm not sure how he did what he did but I know that he did. And that he love us so much. 
A real house
Tingo Maria was beautiful. My eyes really opened up to the world and how beautiful each creation is. I sent a ton of pictures this week from there but I am kinda disappointed because it doesn't really show how pretty it is. We ended up going on a hike and we got to see a bunch of waterfalls. It was so peaceful there. It was a little bit dark inside the actual jungle part but near the waterfalls and stuff it was a little lighter. We ended up being there the entire day Monday and then Tuesday we had a multi-zone conference. I thought it was funny that we talked about stomach problems and how to handle them because everyone in this mission always gets sick from the food. We also talked about just how to be more efficient missionaries and it was really edifying. There are lots of ways that I can be better. 

Our area started to pick up this last week and finally had investigators at church. Two of them were a miracle that we found from a prayer. We were tired and a lot of our appointments fell through. We ended up stopping and praying in the street and found this family. We taught them just outside their home but we didn't really feel like they were going to progress. But we invited them to read and pray anyways. We returned another day and asked if they had read and they had so we started talking about that and I forgot to ask them if they had prayed. This little nine year old girl stopped us, looked us straight in the eyes with what seemed like apostolic wisdom and said Oh and I prayed. Its true. We were a little bit taken back. We asked her if she would be baptized and she paused for a long moment. I felt like i knew what was going on. I said are you scared. She said yea. I'm really scared of water. I don't like rivers or taking baths. I told her that before my mission I was a swim teacher and promised her I would be there at her baptism to help her. That seemed to gain her confidence and she agreed to be baptized. On Sunday we went to pick them up to go to church. Her mother was sick but she was all ready with her little brother. They were usually such dirty little kids but they were both all washed up in the best clothing that they had all ready to go. The little girl had a skirt and the boy even had his shirt tucked in. It warmed our hearts.
President and Hermana Henderson
This was right as we were entering the jungle.
I know that miracles happen. I am grateful for the Lords hand helping us in this work.

Love you all! Have a great week!

Hermana Rhoten

Monday, November 18, 2013

Another great week in Huanuco.

 Things are starting to progress but it still feels like the work is moving slowly. Before I forget I need to tell you that we are traveling to the jungle next Monday as a zone with President Henderson. If I don't write next week that is why, we still might get to we don't really know. It's two hours away and I'm not sure what we are doing there so I guess you will find out later.
Our pensionsita
I got three letters that asked about my showering situation these past couple weeks so I think I will mention that even though its not really that important. It's kinda funny actually. I think the shower I have now is one of my favorites. Through out my mission we have had all sorts of different ways of showering, from buckets, showers of freezing water, hot water that turns freezing at any given moment, and sometimes they just randomly don't have water for five days anywhere in the city and then you are really grateful for the freezing cold water. That happened this week and once when we were in Huancayo. The bathroom we have now is about three feet by four feet and it has a toilet and a sink and a big drain in the floor. At the bottom of the sink there is a hose with a really powerful spray nozzle on it and the water is freezing. It reminds me of when you get all dirty when you are a little kid and your parents spray you off with the hose to get you clean. We make all sorts of funny jokes about it.
We started teaching the nephew of my pensionista this week. We kinda felt like he was obligated by his aunt because he didn't act like he really wanted to listen to us. But we decided to start teaching him one day when he was over during dinner. We taught the first lesson and we thought it didn't go very good but we made another appointment to meet with him to see if he would keep the commitments that we gave him. The next appointment we had he came 20 minutes early. We asked him if he had read what we had given him from the Book of Mormon and he told us that he had read that and a lot more. He had read the entire first part of the Book of Mormon and about ten chapters of third Nephi when it talks about Christ in the Americas. He had a few  questions for us and we explained them. He was really excited about the gospel and asked us who was going to baptize him. The first time we asked him he told us he didn't want to be baptized. I have seen many times in my mission the power that the Book of Mormon has. I have seen people who sincerely study and ask for a confirmation from God receive answers. I love the Book of Mormon. 

I got to go on splits this week. Hermana Soliz went with my companion and I went with her companion who is a newbee from Texas (Hermana Silvester). I went to their area and taught some really great people. The first lesson that we had we were able to get permission for a fifteen year old boy to get baptized. He was really active in the church for quite some time but his mom was catholic and didn't want him to get baptized. She not only agreed but she said that she would come to his baptism on Saturday. That was a huge miracle.While we were street contacting we went into a little store that they have on every street and met a man who had a monkey! It was awesome. I usually don't have my camera but I happened to have it so I sent you some pictures of him. When I got back on Sunday it was crazy because we only had an hour to run up the mountain and talk to an investigator and then I needed to write a talk for church. We ran up the mountain the fastest that we ever had and my talk went well.
This is from Hermana Silvester that Miranda went on splits with: A few days later I was companions with a gringa Hermana Rhoten (so much fun) and we were walking and she just went into the tienda where the angry old man works and guess what!! He had a MONKEY!! A tiny little monkey that lives in his shirt!! And I got to touch it!! (I feel like I should explain that the angry old man is angry only when he talks about Joseph Smith, he likes the missionaries hahaha) he also has a beautiful Dalmatian that lives with him in his tienda!! And a gold tooth. It’s pretty sweetsauce
This is the monkey that we met when we were contacting in the tienda.
Before my mission I remember watching missionaries come home from their missions being people that had really changed. I had always wondered silently in my mind what kind of experiences that they must have had in order to have changed so much. I think I had one of those experiences this week. We were walking on the side of the mountain when a young woman called us and invited us into her home . We stepped inside this little one room home made out of dirt and rocks. It had a bed  and two chairs and two buckets of water for showering. I was humbled to find out that seven people lived there. Laying on the ground on top of some cardboard was a very skinny old man who looked very ill. He had a large bump on his stomach. The family asked us if we could pray for him because he was very sick.They must have recognized us as religious people and called us into their home. I told them that we could say a prayer. I said a prayer praying for the man and for the family to be comforted in this time of need. I felt the spirit so very strongly in that home as I prayed. Before we left we knelt down next to him and held his hand. As he looked at my companion he told her that he was going to die tomorrow and asked what was going to happen to him. We were caught speechless. We left his home just feeling so sad for this man that he had never known the gospel of Jesus Christ or his peace. I realized that there are so many people in the world that don't have that and that there is so much work still to do. We had a new motivation to move forward and to try to share our message with everyone we could.
The people that live in these hills are strong. They can't use cars to take things up to their houses.
That's all for this week. Hope you all have a great week and a great Thanksgiving if you don't hear from me! And tell Sister Pulsipher Happy 100th Birthday on Thanksgiving for me.


Hermana Rhoten

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hello from Huanuco. Holy buckets! It is hot here.

We finally got moved into our new apartment on Friday and we are starting to feel a little bit more settled in now that we have met our ward. The ward and bishop are awesome. We are excited to really start working now. Things were a little slow this week because we really didn't have much to work with. We didn't have an area book, we didn't know any members except our pensionista, or our area, or really even where our limits were. The zone leaders were running around like crazy people so we just started taking things into our own hands. We started contacting the whole world to find people to start teaching near my pensionista's house. We met a lot of great people and taught some great lessons.

Last pday we had a water balloon fight. It was so fun since it was so hot. Hermana Procell is in my zone! For those of you who don't know her she was one of my companions in the MTC.
My companion and I
One of the lessons we had this week was with our pensionista's husband. She was an inactive member for a long time and married a non member. When she started to go back to church her daughter decided to be baptized too. This week we started talking to him over dinner and we ended up teaching him a lesson. My pensionista's daughter shared her testimony and told her father how much it would mean to her if they could be sealed as a family in the temple. We asked him to pray at the end of the lesson and he did. My pensionista cried because it was the first time that he had ever prayed in their home. He accepted a baptism date for the end of this month. He works as a truck driver back and forth from the jungle which is only two hours away bringing fruit to Huanuco. There are always boxes of fruit laying around the house and we eat a ton of mangoes, papaya, bananas and pineapple. Its the best!

About half of our area is on the side of the mountain.
The view from the top of my area
There are just houses made out of dirt, rocks and metal roofs covering the hillside. It is a good workout everyday right at the hottest part of the day because we aren't allowed to go up the mountain after six at night. I honestly don't know how people live up there because there aren't roads that go up there or really even pathways to get up there. Its like hiking and making our own trail climbing up and down the rocks.
This is my companion climbing when we were returning from an appointment. My area is on the side of a mountain.
My companion is so awesome and we are getting along great. She is a little frustrated this week because a lot of people aren't able to understand her but that will come with time.  I know that she will make an incredible missionary. 
It's a good thing that most of my area looks like this or I would probably be gaining a ton of weight from all the food that my pensionista is giving me. There are stairs like this about one fourth of the way up and the rest is a hike.
I'm starting to really get used to the smell of sunscreen and mosquito repellent in the mornings. Our room always smells like girls camp. I now have over 100 mosquito bites. I reached the one hundred mark on Friday and then lost count. There are so many mosquitoes. I take good care of them though and wash them twice a day and put itch cream on them so that I won't wake up in the middle of the night itching them, I always carry insect repellent with me because it sweats off through out the day. 

I remember after a long day just looking down at my mosquito bite covered, sunburned, and very tired body and I just had to laugh. I looked pathetic. But its okay. I have realized that my love for the people here has outgrown any physical impairment that I am experiencing. I have learned it is in the moments that you go forward that the Lord blesses you. And if I would have decided to not go up the mountain I would have missed a really beautiful experience.

The day before we had went up the mountain contacting and met a little girl who had a birthday was the next day. We decided to return and take up balloons to her on her birthday because my companion happened to have some. We climbed up the mountain and blew up balloons for the little children there.
Balloon birthday girl. She is the one with the white balloon.
They kind of weren't sure what to do with them at first because I don't know if they had ever seen them. We showed them how to play with them and left down the mountain a little ways and started teaching a woman sitting near the side of the cliff making thread out of sheep wool. We sat down next to her in the dirt and started to teach her a very simple lesson.
One of our investigators. If you look closely you will see that there is a little pig sitting next to her.
As we did I realized that there were lots of people who started to watch us out of their houses and slowly one by one they came out and started to gather around to listen to what we had to say. By the end of the lesson we had quite a group of children and mothers. We showed them pictures and taught them about Jesus Christ, that he loved them and he was a way they could return back to God after this life. It was a beautiful moment sitting on the side of the mountain. I wish I could have had it on film. We promised that we would come back this next week and teach them more.

I am so happy to be here in Peru teaching such beautiful and humble people about Jesus Christ. I don't think there is a better message in all of the world than the one that we get to share everyday. 

Have a great week everyone!

Hermana Rhoten

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hola Guess What? I am opening a new area in Huanuco and I am training again.

Indira's farewell party- She left for her mission in Kitos Peru this week. I love her and she will be a great missionary. She helped us out a ton in my time in Huancayo.
Man I have tons to write about this week. You already got the news that I am training again, this time an American! And we are opening up a new area in Huanuco. We arrived yesterday after being in a van for about 8 hours. Huanuco is the most north city we have in the mission and we are closer to the jungle. It's not like being in the jungle but it is greener than Huancayo and very hot and humid and has palm trees. Its weird though because we are in a valley surrounded by mountains.
This was at a friend's house. Typical Peru.
I was like where in the world am I? I arrived and within the first fifteen minutes we got attacked by mosquitoes. I sent a picture of my leg before we could get to the repellent. Others got it worse than me, I was pretty lucky. As we were finding out where our pensionista lived it started to pour rain and I started to feel right at home like I was in Huancayo again. We got soaked and there were rivers of water running down the streets, it was actually kind of hard to cross. There is a lot more mud here than in Huancayo.
Welcome to Huanuco. My leg after 15 minutes of waiting for our suitcases. Looks like insect repellent is necessary.
My companion is great too! Her name is Hermana Krupp and she is from California but her dad is from Germany and her mom is Danish. Her and her brother were born in the U.S. She studied Spanish at school so her Spanish is pretty good but is still getting the hang of trying to explain things in Spanish but I know that she will pick it up really quickly. I will have to be careful because it is really tempting to speak in English a lot since I know that she speaks it. :) 
We got here yesterday and we found out that we have a place to live but they are finishing building it and it won't be done for a few days. So right now we are sleeping on the tile floor in the Huanuco central sisters apartment. I didn't mind it at all because even with the rain it was still about 80 degrees in our apartment at 10:30 last night when we were ready to go to bed and the tile floor was coldish. I slept fine without a blanket on top of me. Our room is really nice though and we will be doing great once it is finished. It is in the upstairs part of my pensionista's house. My pensionista is so awesome! She has wanted to give pension for a long time but wasn't allowed to because there had always been elders and she has a 16 year old daughter. She is so very excited that we are here and can't stop smiling. She treats us so good but gives us a ton of food. I am going to have to talk to her about that. 
They don't use taxis here. Everything is in motos. Putting our suitcases on to take us to the room. So funny.
Our ward will be shared with our zone leaders and since it will have four missionaries that shows me that it is a hard working ward. Everyone that I have met has proved my assumption correct. Every ward member we have met has given us at least 2 references and the ward has already given us a list of members ready to help us from the Relief Society and Young Women's. They are excited to have sisters.
This is the view from the window of the other sisters apartment


 I am really excited to be here but sweating hot as I am writing this. I was sad to leave my area in Huancayo. I will miss it and I heard that there were a lot of people crying at church when they heard that I had left. That's what happens when you are in an area for a long time. This week in Huancayo was successful but a little weird. We had three holidays in a row which can only mean one thing. Everyone is drunk. There were people passed out all over the streets. We had Halloween which was so fun! There were little kids everywhere all dressed up. We bought candy just to bribe them to take pictures with us. They are so cute. The next day was their Day of the Dead celebration. It's where they go visit the grave sites of their family to celebrate them. Really it's just more drinking. But they do make awesome bread and the favorite food of their family member and all get together. The next day was the Day of the Living. Haha. And really that day is just an excuse to not work and get over their hangovers. 
Other Halloween pics of some kids I know
On Halloween we bought candy just for the sake of bribing little kids to take pictures with us in their costumes. They are so cute! She was my favorite. Blanco nieve. Snow White.
One awesome highlight of this week was that we finally got Johnson to accept a date to be baptized! Hermana Soliz and I had taught him for so long and we dropped him for awhile because he always said he would be baptized but wouldn't accept a date. Hermana Alpaca and I prayed and prepared well so that we would be able to answer to his needs. And we did. I think I taught with more power and authority in that lesson than in any other lesson in my mission and he accepted for the 17th. I won't be there but I am excited about his decision to be baptized and I know he will make a great member.

I know that this is the work of the Lord and that he his helping us. I feel his spirit speaking though me as I teach. I know my Savior lives.

Have a great week!

Hermana Rhoten