Monday, January 27, 2014

The good, the sad and the wet.

I have so much to say about this week that I don't know where to start. I am going to call it the good, the sad, and the wet. I said good first to make it sound a little clever but I'm actually going to start with the sad first.
The Huanuco lion
As I probably mentioned last week we have cambios this week. We also had interviews with Presidente this week. The day of the interviews we were trying to decide if we should tell him we hate each other and need to stay together to learn how to love each other or if we should just tell him he can't separate us. My interview with President he told me that I was going to probably be staying which made me happy but he also told me that there is going to be no need for trios in this next cambio. That means one of my companions is probably leaving. We think it's Hermana Abbot because at the end of Hermana Whitlock's interview President asked her if there was anything he could do for her and she said Yea. Keep me with Hermana Rhoten and he said there are very good odds for that because she is in the middle of her training. We were so sad to know that we are getting split up because it has been such a strong companionship. 
Negritos statues near the centro
The second sad thing that happened this week is that we had to move! We were sad because we love our pensionista's family and our little home. Our pensionista that went on vacation didn't tell us that she wasn't coming back so we had to find a new house and pensionista since we can't live alone with her husband for three months. We prayed specifically that we could find something that day because we knew we wouldn't have time the rest of the week. We found, bargained, cleaned, packed,and moved in that same day all within 6 hours. It was so fast and we were so tired. As of now we really like our new apartment. 
This is what Huanuco is known for. Since we aren't from here everyone always says how do you like Huanuco, the best climate in the world?
Despite the busyness of the week we had so many good things happen. Since they were in town we went to ask permission from Shayla's mom for her to be baptized with one of my favorite Chilean Zone leaders that became an Assistant and the Financial Secretary. We talked to her mother and her heart was softened enough to let her be baptized. She is getting baptized on Tuesday and is so excited. She is 11 years old and has been coming to church for 5 months by herself. It was beautiful to see our prayers and fasting finally answered in the Lords timing. 
Huanuco centrals area is beautiful.
The elders in our ward ended up having to leave for an emergency on Saturday so we took on their full schedule of appointments plus ours. We did divisions and Hermana Abbott went with a member to teach some and we took the others. We ended up going to one of their appointments at the very very top of the mountain and met the most humble beautiful woman. We talked about the Book of Mormon chapter that she had read and she told us about her life. Short story is that she ended up doing a kneeling prayer in the dirt to ask if it was true. It was the most sincere prayer and she told God she would do anything to know it was true and help her family. It made me realize the sacrifices we need to make to receive a testimony from God. During the prayer there was a storm starting and we ended up running down the mountain in the pouring rain, thunder and lightning. We finally got to the road which was more like a highway at the bottom of the mountain and there wasn't a single moto. We were drenched. I silently prayed that we could find a way to get out of the rain when our Relief Society President one of the only two people I know in the ward that has a car pulled up on the side of the road and told us to get in. 
Divisions with Hermana Redondo she's my cute little friend from Honduras.
You are all probably wondering what the wet is. Well if this city that I live in couldn't get crazy enough with the dancing drunk people in costumes in the streets, the dogs, motos and everything else we are starting a month of a holiday called Carnival. It starts at the end of January and goes until Feb. What happens is that every little kid, or teenager or sometimes it doesn't even matter what age they are carries water balloons around in the street and soak people. Everyone right now is walking around in the streets with water balloons in their hand. Its like a giant water war with the entire city for a month! They hit usually only the younger people and especially pretty girls. I have poor luck and have to walk around with pretty girls all day long and we are white so we are an instant target. I got hit with the first one on Tuesday when I was on divisions with Hermana Redondo. We were walking on the side of the road and someone who was inside a moto pegged me right in the chest. I was drenched.
Me soaked after I got hit by a water balloon.
Water balloons and water being squirted through the door at us.
There aren't any rules for Carnival either. We have seen people pouring buckets of water on people from the roof or throwing water balloons from there. We even got sprayed through a wooden door this week after we had knocked on it. (I sent a picture of that one). But the worst one was on Sunday. We were walking down the street when we saw a huge group of about 25 teenage boys. We heard them shout gringas (which means white girls) and they all started running at us with water balloons. We ran to a members house. Haha. But we still see them around sometimes and they are looking for us. Its scary and a little funny. 
 Negritos are dying off. It's usually only for January but yea isn't that so crazy? I was like what in the world. Since there are three of us we always have the person in front watch from the front, the one in the middle watches the roofs and the last one of us watches from behind so we don't get hit. Our protective instincts are getting so good.I was thinking that next year when I'm missing Peru during this time of year you all might have to watch out or I might get you a little wet. ;) 
But until then....Love you! Have a great week.
Hermana Rhoten

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hola Familia. This week was a busy one.

I can't believe Marissa leaves so soon. I'm so excited for her. Also before I start thanks family for all the letters this week. It made me happy to hear from you all.

Carrying buckets
up in the Cerros
This week was a busy one. But I think that this next week might take the award for being the busiest week of my mission. It looks like a whole lot of crazy but I guess we will see how it goes. I have three divisions here in Huanuco, one or both my companions might go to Lima for paperwork, lots of appointments, interviews with President and training, baptism, and getting ready for cambios next week. I feel like I'm becoming an old woman. My to do list is 6 sticky notes long and I forget everything. Yesterday I forgot the keys and my cell phone and my agenda all at the same time so we got locked out of the house. We spent the morning trying to contact my pensionista because she is out of town and waiting for her nephew to bring us keys. Its a good thing my companions are so pàciente with me. I guess in my defense I have a lot to remember right now.

We bought a toilet seat this week. Funny how much joy it can bring to finally have one.,
I went to Cerro de Pasco this last week. It was such a fun trip. But it is freezing. I can't lie. Its so very cold. You wake up in the morning from under your 7 blankets and can see your breath. Its really difficult to get out of bed because its so cold. The problem with Cerro is that you never really get a chance to get warm once you are cold because there is no heat in houses and things. Their clothes are always cold and it takes about a week for their towels to dry after they shower. I really learned a lot from these sisters though. They are so positive and are working so hard despite the few trials of being the frozen chosen. I did really well, I thought I would have trouble breathing or at least a headache but I was blessed to feel really healthy while I was there. Hermana Soliz was with the other Cerro de Pasco sisters and she had to be on oxygen for a bit so I was just feeling really blessed.
It snowed while we were there. Didnt really stick much though. Just enough to make a snowball.

Cerro de Pasco. Looks cold right? haha
This is the cutest baby ever. All bundled up in the cold. They are members that we visited.
Also while we were there (cerro=) we had to run for our lives from dogs. It was a little bit funny how that happened. We were going to an appointment up a hill. One of the sisters stopped us at a point and told us to pick up all the rocks that we could hold and said if dogs come we run back all the way down the hill as fast as we can. There's a big pack of dogs that lives in this area and if she hadn't hit one with a rock last time it would have bitten her. We tip toed our way across one street when we heard this pack of angry dogs start to run at us and continue to chase us. We didn't spend a second to look back and just ran. It was so scary. We ended up having to go the long way up the mountain.
Remember when I said I wanted to be able to climb up mountains like Peruvians with sticks on their backs. Well I wasn't kidding. They really do.
Another highlight of his week. For our service activity this week we were up in the hills and got to help at like a service kitchen. We had to carry buckets of water from the public water spout and then we helped sort rice. When rice comes it comes dirty with bugs and things in it so we had to pick out every grain of rice to make sure it was clean. It was so much fun. I wish we had pictures of sorting it.
My pensionista is funny. So story is that we came down stairs and found her with this bag of pig parts to eat. It has the tail, ears, feet and all gross parts of the pig. They then spent the night burning off the hairs of all of it over the oven. Our whole house smelled awful for days. It was so nasty. I have never been so grateful that one of our mission rules is that we cant eat pig.

We had a lot of new investigators this week. Including a woman who I already love so much. And she is married! Its a miracle! We taught her about the Book of Mormon and she told us she wanted to read the entire thing. She asked us if we would come back two times a week every week to help her understand it and answer her questions about it. We talked to her for quite a while and left with a prayer. I prayed for her and her family and when I opened my eyes she had tears in hers. She told us that we had brought so much peace into her home and reminded us about 15 times to make sure that we would come back. There is such a power of peace that comes from the Holy Ghost. It is real and recognizable. I feel blessed to be able to be an instrument so that the Holy Ghost can help and touch others to bless their lives. I know that this is God's work.
This is a palm tree in Huanuco.
Have a great week. Love you all!

Hermana Rhoten

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hola Familia!

Hey. This week went by really fast. My trip to Huancayo was good and went smoothly. We were praying that we would still be able to leave on time because of the landslides that had been happening and we did. I feel like an official Sister Training Leader now. They gave me a cell phone and I am kinda terrified of it. I don't remember how to use one. Plus I'm afraid of dropping it and it rolling down the side of a hill, figuring out how to answer it and it going off when its not supposed to. But I'm sure I will get used to it after awhile. And I have to make a lot of phone calls. It was kind of nice when nobody could ever get a hold of me. Haha. I was really proud of my companions this week. They did so well handling the area without me. I think they are better missionaries then they can see yet. I'm traveling to Cerro de Pasco this weekend to do divisions there. They bought me a sleeping bag to take up there when I stay the night. It will just be for a 24 hour division but I'm excited!
Me on New Year's night
So when you are training two sisters you watch a lot of the district videos (they are missionary training videos to help you apply things taught in Preach My Gospel.) Each of my companions have different parts to watch so it feels like we watch them a lot. Disclaimer is that I really love these videos and think they teach great principles but sometimes the things they do is a lot different than our mission in Peru. 

District Video: Make sure your area book is updated with all the information necessary so that the missionaries that follow you will have all the information that they need.

District Peru: What should I write for this investigators address? They don't have a street name or house number. Well you can say start at Jorge Chavez. Look for the big tree and count up 5 houses. Its a house made out of dirt with two doors. Ask for the name as you go up and people will know where it is. (That's something cool about Peruvian neighborhoods is that everyone knows everyone.) 

District Video: Ask them to turn off all distractions and do all that you can to invite the spirit.

District Peru:  Teaching lessons outside trying to shout over a lady singing off key at a church, kicking chickens at my feet while trying to share something about the Atonement, pigs and sheep passing through and distracting everyone, with fireworks that go off at any given moment or hour of the day. ( That's the best because my companion always screams when that happens because they startle you.)
lots of Negritos
Negritos more of them

more Negritos
I've realized that I'm so grateful to be in the mission that I am. I love my mission and I'm not sure what I would do if things went smoothly sometimes. I've really learned to enjoy the little parts of the culture that are different from my organized wanting to do everything well personality. You just have to find joy in the moments.

We met Scooby Doo this week. You can't tell me that doesn't look exactly like him. He was just hanging out in the street.
We had a really neat little miracle this week. It was the end of the day and we were looking for a family that we had met. We couldn't find their house anywhere. We had walked up and down this street a bunch of times and were feeling frustrated because it was almost the time for the appointment. We decided to stop and say a prayer that we would be able to find the house. A minute after we prayed we heard a little voice say Hi Sisters! We said hi back and almost walked right past without looking at who it was. It happened to be the youngest boy of the family we were looking for who was only 6 or 7 years old. He wasn't even relatively near his house, nor were any of his family members outside with him. He quietly walked us to his home and we taught them each a lesson about Jesus Christ. 

Hope you all have a great week! Love you. My district leader Elder Urruchua says hi to you all. haha.
Hermana Rhoten

Monday, January 6, 2014

Hola Familia! Feliz Ano Nuevo!

 Como estan ustedes? Feliz Ano Nuevo. This week was lots of fun and really busy. We taught a lot of lessons this week and met some really great people. I leave for Huancayo tomorrow morning at 6 am and I will be there for a few days for the leadership training. I am excited but not that excited about the drive and being away from my companions for that long. I am hoping that they will do fine on their own here, we have members to accompany them this week if they don't understand the Spanish.
We were playing with a parrot at another sister's pensionista's house for pday last week. It talks in Spanish. lol

This is a juanee a typical jungle plate that our pensionista made for us this week.
New Year's was fun too. It is basically the same thing as Christmas. They eat dinner at midnight and set off a million fireworks. It was the most fireworks I have ever seen in my whole life at one time. It was so smoky and so loud. We had permission to stay up with the family we live with again but we were just too tired. So we went bed at ten thirty and then woke up right before midnight. We went up on the roof and watched the fireworks for a few minutes and that's where I was when it changed to the New Year. It was a really cool moment standing on a roof in Huanuco, Peru watching all the fireworks go off.
New Year's
So dad asked me about meat in Peru...they like meat. I don't know if you can see how big this is. It was part of my New Year's dinner its from my companions camera.
This is from New Year's. I don't know why they put Santa hats on. Christmas and New Year's are kind of the same thing here.
This week we were in the hills a lot. Walking alone is tiring but walking straight up and down hills all day is really tiring. The body has always fascinated me and that's what I studied in college but I felt I have never really had as great of an appreciation for what your body can do until I have been in this area. Its crazy to feel so strong but to feel so weak at the same time and to keep going until you think you can't anymore. One day this week after a long day we came home and crashed on our beds for a few minutes before we started planning and one of my companions know that scripture that says we need to serve with all our heart might mind and strength? I feel like not serving with all your might and strength isn't an option here. It takes all of it to just get to your appointments in a day. It made me laugh. I am hoping that by the end of the transfer I will be able to get up and down those hills like a Peruvian woman. With a whole load of sticks or leaves on my back and holding a baby. Just kidding we aren't allowed to hold babies.
houses up in the hills
  Our hike strait up....
Diego also got baptized this week. It was one of my favorite baptisms of my mission. His smile when he came out of the water told the whole story. And his testimony was really sweet too. It didn't come without its trials though. When we arrived to have his interview he said I have to tell you something. I am moving to Lima tonight. We were like WHAT?? You can't leave you have a baptism tomorrow. He said it just kinda came up and that he decided to go. But we ended up talking to him and he stayed and was baptized. And he is actually still here because he hasn't been able to leave yet. 

Diego's baptism and Elder Alverado. He is one of the zone leaders from Equador that we share a ward with.
When you have a baptism you have five things to worry about. If you can get through those five things you will have a great baptism. Those five things are the person being baptized, water in the baptismal font, baptismal clothing, keys to the church, and other people to be there and support them. The day of the baptism I am happy when we check one of those things off the list in my head. I think every one of my baptisms in my mission have had problems with one of those things at first despite our efforts to plan so well. But it always gets worked out and then we have a great baptism. This baptism was no exception. We got there with Diego and were waiting for more people to show up when we heard that sound when water finishes draining. Our ward mission leader went and looked in the font and all the water had drained accidentally because someone who was doing yard work outside unplugged it. We ended up having to wait for it to fill back up before we could get started but it was a huge blessing because the spirit was so strong as we sang hymns and his grandmother was able to arrive just in time to see his baptism. His mother had died this past year and listening to his grandmother bear testimony for her was really special. Everyone was wiping tears from their eyes.The Lord works in mysterious ways.
Negritos - Everyone is dancing in the street.
I feel so blessed to be here on a mission and to be serving the Lord. Its is amazing to be able to see his miracles each day. 

Have a great week everyone.

Love Hermana Rhoten