Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas in Peru‏

My companions and I before I skyped you.
Hola familia. It was so fun to be able to skype you all this week and see how everyone was doing. We had a fun week for Christmas. It was a little different because of the holidays but I still felt like we had a really productive week this week in spite of it all.
My companions and I on their skyping day. They are beautiful.
Since we couldn't contact on Christmas or Christmas Eve we went around and visited families in the ward or less active members and sang Christmas songs. We sang in English and Spanish depending on what people wanted. One time we were singing some songs in English and there was a man that walked by us three times trying to act casual but we noticed. Haha. Some of them let us share a Christmas message with them and it was really fun.

My present from my pensionista on Christmas Eve. They open all presents on Christmas Eve.
In Peru they celebrate Christmas on the 24th. We got special permission to stay up with our pensionista's family and eat dinner at midnight with them which is the tradition here. At midnight they eat dinner and let off fireworks. There were tons of them. It was hard to sleep the rest of the night because of all the fireworks. The day before Christmas Eve the husband of our pensionista came home with a bag full of live hens. They ended up killing them the next day and that is what we ate for Christmas Eve dinner. One of my companions couldn't handle that we had just seen that chicken alive and now we were eating it so she tried to sneak all of her food to us. It was funny.

For Christmas day we read in Luke together for study. They switched off reading in English and I read in Spanish. It was special too. 
The rest of the week was good too. The negritos have started dancing but I haven't seen them yet! I have heard them though. We always seem to be inside when they pass. There was a group that passed by the church yesterday while we were in ward council and it was so loud that we couldn't hear each other. They were playing their drums and things. I really wanted to see them but I heard that we will see  them plenty the next few weeks.

Our zone on Christmas Eve. We got together and did a little gift exchange.
We contacted and taught a little lesson to a catholic church leader this week in the street. He had never heard of the Book of Mormon and was really interested in it. We answered the questions he had and gave him one to read. The problem is that he lives in the big catholic church on the Alemeda street so we can't teach him where he lives. But I am excited to see if he actually reads it. He was really nice.
Our little Christmas Eve party. I made the pumpkin spice cookies and the Elders brought chocolate milk. It made it really feel like Christmas and everyone was so happy.
This week we had several lessons with Diego and he is really progressing well. He is going to be baptized on Saturday in the early afternoon and we are really excited for him. He might be the first baptism for at least our area for the year. We don't know yet. During church he read like five chapters of the Book of Mormon. He was glued to it and he tried to answer every question in our gospel principles class. I hope that he will be a light to his family. It's so fun to see the change that the gospel makes in peoples lives. 
This is one mosquito bite that swelled up on my hand. It was the worst because everyone that shook my hand made it hurt so bad.
Hope you all had a great Christmas and have a Happy New Year this week! 

Love Hermana Rhoten

Monday, December 23, 2013

Feliz Navidad to everyone

Happy Birthday to my mother tomorrow. Hope it's a good one. I'm excited to skype with you guys too this week and be able to talk for a little bit. That should be fun.

This week was wonderful and a little stressful. Hermana Krupp and I were hoping that we would have transfers and I honestly wouldn't think that we would because we were new in the area and she was in the middle of her training. But I got a call at 11:30 pm Monday night asking if I could train again. So off I went to Huancayo again for the training and to pick up my new trainee. 

I got another surprise when President called out the name of my new companion he also called out another name and said that we would be in a trio. I have two companions for Christmas! haha. I love them both, and we get along great so far. Hermana Whitlock is from Arizona and is new in the mission. She is spunky and fun and sure reminds me of someone that I really cant put my finger on. Hermana Abbott is from Maryland and has 6 weeks in the mission. She is really sweet. The only trial I think that we will have together is with the language. Neither of them can speak or understand Spanish. It will be fun to be together on Christmas because we can sing Christmas songs in English on the roof and watch fireworks (everyone does fireworks here for Christmas).
Fruitcake for Christmas. We always get it.
We didn't really accomplish much this week because of the two days of traveling and my time in Huancayo. The trip to Huancayo is so long. We rode in vans and the roads were so bad it felt like we were off roading. It was worse than 38th street back home and it is an 8 hour trip. The best part about traveling in Peru is that there is about a 50% chance you are on the side of a cliff. Mom would have died. I didn't sleep much this week.
All the new sisters and training sisters.
Speaking of not sleeping much this week. I also got called to be a Sister Training Leader while I was in Huancayo. Its basically the equivalent of a Zone Leader but over the sisters. I get to go on divisions with them, and I will be doing a lot of traveling. I will be going back to Huancayo in about a week for the leadership training which I'm not really looking forward to that much because its a long trip. I will be honest and say that when President called me into his office to tell me it was a little overwhelming. I was already a little stressed to be training two new Americans. But after I felt really grateful for the opportunity to train and help other sisters. I feel really close to my Heavenly Father when I can't sleep at night and pray to seek revelation about how he wants me to do what he has asked me. 

We had a baptism on Saturday of a boy in a family that we had been working on reactivating. It went really well. 

This week I read in Luke 2 to be in the Christmas spirit. Something really cool that I had never noticed before is the role of the angel messengers. The messengers came to the shepherds and the shepherds listened. Through them they were able to find Christ. I am grateful to be a messenger in this season and to help people to be able to find Christ and find the joy that I have felt through him in my life. I hope we can all remember him this week.
Feliz Navidad!

 Hermana Rhoten

Monday, December 16, 2013

This week was great! I have focused my Christmas time on feeling close to the Savior. Really Jesus Christ was the greatest gift ever given to the world.

My companion and I. I like this picture but we look kinda sweaty.
First off....FELIZ CUMPLEANOS to Marissa tomorrow. Or Happy Birthday. I hope that you have a fun day. Something funny about Peru is that when they sing to people on their birthdays they always sing Happy Birthday first in English and then they sing it in Spanish. I dont really know why. But its so funny to hear Latins try to sing Happy Birthday.

We went to teach this girl on like the 4th hill in, it was a long hike. She was a reference from a member and is so very sweet. This was the floor of her house made out of wood, it wobbled when we stepped on it. Below the floor lives a pig. We had to teach over the sound of their pig....
This week was great! I had a division with Hermana Soliz (my Bolivian trainer) at the beginning of the week which was so fun. I love her and feel like she helped me find a lot of ways that I can improve myself as a missionary. She said I had changed a lot. I was surprised at how our chemistry of our companionship still worked even though we hadn't taught together in so long. It seemed that teaching came back so naturally with her and we were able to read each other so well. It's something you can't really explain unless you have had it before. We found and taught some great people and in the process we were offered fruit cake 3 times. I don't know how Hermana Krupp lucked out in avoiding the fruit cake of the week. It's really not that bad. I don't mind it but they just offer us such large slices and we have to walk around in the heat so full when they offer it to us.

This is a pretty view of part of our area.
This is a bridge in our area. It wobbles when you walk on it too and is kinda scary because it is always really windy there. Cool though.
Also my companion got bit by a dog this week. It was so odd, all the dogs bark at us and get close to us but we just act like we will throw something at it and they stay where they are. This dog wasn't barking it just came up behind her and bit her. We cleaned it really well and it looks better but it still has a big bruise there. We have been watching the dog to make sure there aren't any changes and we found the owners. There are so many dogs here and they are just such a normal part of life but after it bit her we became really aware of all the dogs around us. We are always a little bit on edge and looking over our shoulder. Before we just crossed the street for drunk men but now we have been crossing the street for dogs too.

The elders of our zone. 
The sisters of the zone with our hats. 
Something fun that happened this week was that we were asked to do a Christmas skit with all the missionaries in our zone for a talent show that they were having in our stake. We practiced a lot for it this week. It was about a missionary who had a dream around Christmas time. In the dream he was training his companion with district videos (the missionary training videos) and my companion and I were acting out one of the videos. We started out talking in English and then the missionary got mad at us and told us he forgot to switch the video to Spanish. Then we finished our part in Spanish. Everyone laughed and thought it was funny. I was actually really nervous practicing for it because during the practices I kept using Spanish words when I was supposed to be speaking in all English. I had to breath and practice speaking in all English. The Spanish part I didn't have any problems with. 
Our whole zone after the show. Minus the Tingo Maria missionaries.
We had a guinea pig in our skit. I don't know who just has a guinea pig costume laying around the house but somehow they found one....haha
The elders messing around at the practice.
I have been studying a lot about Jesus Christ this week and his Atonement for Christmas time. It hasn't really felt like Christmas here yet. It's just too hot and so very different from how Christmas is at home. But I have focused my Christmas time on feeling close to the Savior. I have really learned a lot about him and who he is. I have really felt him.  I know that he lives. I know that he loves us. I have learned a lot about the Atonement and how it can help us in our lives. Really Jesus Christ was the greatest gift ever given to the world. 

Have a great week!

Les quiero mucho!

Hermana Rhoten

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hola Familia

Hey, hows it going everyone? We are doing well here. Things are about to get a little crazy here in these next couple weeks. We have cambios this next week and then we have Christmas. They told us that we probably won't be able to contact in the streets during that time because there will be so many people drinking but we will get to visit investigators and families. I have come to the conclusion that all holidays in Peru only serve the purpose of drinking and not having to work. I remember Halloween, Day of the Dead and Day of the Living week in Huancayo there were drunk people passed out in the streets all over the place. I'm sure it will be the same here with Christmas and New Years.
In Huanuco they have a sort of celebration that happens every year beginning on the 26th of December. They call it the time of the negritos (or little black people). I know it has some sort of historical significance but basically what happens is that all of Huanuco dresses up in really fancy costumes and they all dance in the streets. They dance all day and night and they only stop to eat and get drunk. Nobody works and from what I understand the dancing goes on for about a week but the celebration carries on for a month. It's not an all of Peru thing its only here in Huanuco. I think it will be cool for about a day and then it will get really old. I wonder if it will make the work harder.

We were served this soup this week that tasted like dirt. We asked our pensionista what it was and she said that it was vegetable soup. It had weird worm looking things in it but we just ate it and found out later that it was cow intestine. Honestly I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. It was pretty gross. Plus I have been teaching people outside when they have cleaned those things. It takes a really long time to clean them, like half an hour or so. Nasty. 
Decorating for Christmas
So this week we went to visit one of our investigators almost everyday and we could never find him. He lives in a basement bar so we always just wait upstairs and knock. He is fifteen years old and recently lost his mother and moved here to live with his aunt. His aunt is a member and actually the bar in which he lives is owned by his cousin that is a returned missionary. He hates the place he lives and he escapes a lot. The one day we were able to find him he came out and told us that some drug lords came and got angry and they are scared that they are going to come back and cause some trouble. We might not be able to go back there for awhile which makes us sad because he is really great and is progressing so well. 
One of my investigators houses. We were bored waiting for her so I took a picture. Lots of houses here are made out of dirt like this. I'm not really sure how they stay up through all the rain.
I have been studying and learning a lot about love and charity this week. I have always thought as a missionary that teaching about God and his love is the hardest lesson to teach. Yea you can say that you are his child and he loves you but sometimes those are just words. I can share scriptures but those are just words too. The spirit can teach them but only if they let it. I wish I could just trade brains with them for a minute and let them feel how I feel it but I know that isn't possible. I have learned that the laws and love of God really do compliment each other and that we can find his love in everything that he created for us and every trial that we have. I have great love for my Father in Heaven.

Have a great week. 

Hermana Rhoten

Monday, December 2, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like christmas.‏

Hola familia. So I feel like I just wrote you on Thursday. That's probably because I did so I don't feel like I have much to write you. But I will still write a little bit about how things are going. 
I sent a ton of photos on Thursday so now I don't have too many. This is us making french fries for dinner. All of their potatoes are so huge. I was sunburned in this picture.
Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Huanuco. Not really because its still 100 degrees outside but people are starting to decorate for Christmas and we are starting to see Christmasy things in the little tiendas. My pensionista is going to put up her tree today and I think that we might get to help her. Christmas here is the season of fruitcake. These people love their fruitcake. The tiendas have pyramids of fruitcake and everyone is starting to buy it to share it with those they love. We have been offered it several times already and its only the beginning of the month. So happy fruitcake season to you all!
This is near the plaza in Huanuco.
So I love the Peruvian people but I have to say that Peruvians really can't sing. I don't think I have been in a single sacrament meeting where the music wasn't all over the place. It's so awful and sometimes so funny. Yesterday we sang angels we have heard on high as the closing song in sacrament meeting. Yea that's the one that goes G-L-O-R-I-A......It was so very off key and so very funny. There is also this church across the street from our house that sings all day and night. I don't really know when they sleep but it's like there is a constant 24 hour karaoke there where they sing praise to the Lord songs and drink. We passed by there and heard a Christmas song so that means that Christmas must be coming. 
Mosquito bites are getting better.
My companion and I are still getting along great. It is so different to have a companion that is from your same country. I just feel like we have so much more in common than I did with my Latin companions. I love that we have a secret language. If something is going on we can just say something in English and know that no one understands what we said. It makes missionary work so much funnier. Some funny things we have said, "Did you catch that? I think he just said something about how his wife just died. But then who is that lady?" "Hermana remember we don't contact drunk people? Are you sure he is drunk? Yes, I'm sure.""Why cant the bishop ever remember my name?!" "I think she is making us more food. We need to start thinking of an excuse to not eat it, I'm so full " It's fun to be able to understand each other.

This week we also met an atheist! It was the first person that didn't believe in God in Peru that I had ever met. Crazy. And we taught a lesson to a communist. That was kind of interesting to. Well we still invited him to read the Book of Mormon and he said we could come back so we will see what happens. 

We are teaching lots of youth right now. I have really been excited by the youth here in our ward and their attitude towards missionary work. There are so many young people who are such wonderful examples to their families. They come to church alone, teach others and bring friends. One of these youth that we are teaching is named Shayla. She is ten and has been coming to church alone for about two months. Her dad is in jail and her mom isn't supportive of her at all. We have become really great friends and before she wanted to wait a year until her dad gets out of jail to be baptized but recently decided that she wants to be baptized sooner. We are just hoping that we can get permission so that we can be here. We are teaching another family where the two kids were baptized and now the mother and father have started to come to church because of the change they have seen in their children. Youth have so much more power than they think to change the lives of their families for the better. 

Have a great week everyone!


Hermana Rhoten