Monday, February 24, 2014

Hola Familia

At the conference
Como estan ustedes? Bien? Espero que si. Estoy super feliz and super occupada. These next couple weeks are going to be so busy! I have a bunch of divisions including going to Cerro de Pasco this week, and then going to Huancayo for council the beginning of next week and the next week is cambios. Its a lot of crazy.
 We started out the week getting over the colds that we have had, and I ended up taking my companion to the clinic. It was a little bit difficult to work though sickness when I would lose her voice and she would start coughing but usually we were blessed to be able to talk when the other one couldn't. We still had really great lessons and were able to keep positive. I think sometimes my companion feels the stresses that I have been a sister training leader and trying to think about everything at once but she handles them so well.
From the conference
We had a conference and pday with President this weekend! It was really great and uplifting. We played soccer! The hermanas got an entire field to themselves since there are so many of us here in Huancuo we could actually play. Soccer is so popular here that it is usually a joke asking what we are going to do for pday because all the elders want to do always for everything is play soccer. I love soccer too but we usually can't play since we can't play with elders so we were all really excited to play and we woke up pretty sore the next day. We learned and focused on learning to be better preach my gospel missionaries and committing to living the principles that are in there. 
Watching soccer. We played too but we were still a little sick so we watched the elders play.
These are all the people from my MTC district that are still in the mission. Elder Layton is now working in the office so he came for the conference.
So there are these special nuts here that people always eat that have a hard shell on them and they themselves are pretty hard, and I don't even think they are very good but everyone loves them. My innocent companion got offered some during ward council on Sunday from a member and I declined them because I was fasting. She had never seen them before because they are foreign to us and she didn't have me as an example of eating them so she just stuck them in her mouth without taking the shell off. It cracked so hard that we thought she had broken her teeth and it echoed a little bit. The entire ward council seemed to see it and we were all laughing until we were almost crying. It was so funny. I think she was a little embarrassed but took all the laughter really well.
From our ward activity. I guess bobbing for apples is an international game.
This is a jungle dish that I don't remember what its called. It's basically fried bananas that you eat with a hot mango sauce. It is pretty good.
I did a division with an hermana that has been having a really hard time this week. She had been crying a lot which everyone knows is my favorite because I just never know what to do. She has been struggling with feeling forgiven from past sins that she has already repented of. During the division we talked a lot about being forgiven and the atonement. She had expressed to me that she didn't understand how god could love someone like her for everything that she had done. I was surprised to have felt my mind go to the Book of Mormon in a chapter that I hadn't studied recently or very thoroughly in Spanish.The more I talked and we read I was surprised to find that there were lots of details that fit her situation and feelings perfectly. We compared the love of god to him watching a child. We don't lose love for a child when they trip as they are learning to walk, we don't get angry when a child honestly says a sincere I'm sorry for the things they did, nor do we continue to remember and feel upset after they are long over because of the love we have for them. I came to the conclusion that I don't think that our Heavenly Father gets mad at us when we trip in learning to love and be patient nor does he continue to feel upset over things that we sincerely repent for. I think he just continues to love us and help us.
Sometimes we have huge bugs in our house and they jump on the shoes we are trying to kill them with.
Les quiero mucho! Espero que tengan una bien semana. 

Hermana Rhoten

Monday, February 17, 2014

Bringing people to a knowledge of the gospel is such a happy work. I love being a missionary.

This week was a long week because we are both fighting a little bit of flu bugs. Sorry I didn't get to send a lot of pictures. But even in long weeks on a mission there are always lots of tender mercies. This week we might have a baptism on Sunday and we have a fun pday planned on Friday with a conference with president on Saturday.

Some of my favorite tender mercies from this week were:
Having a woman contact us in the street and then going to her house and her accepting a baptism date right away.
Teaching the elderly man and having a succsessful prayer after the lesson! It took us awhile but we finally got there.
The miracle of an investigator that we didn't think would come to church came to church.
I had some of the best scripture studies of my mission this week while my companion was sick.
Being able to eat the hugest plate of food at a members house when I thought it would make me throw up.
Listening to the honest prayer of a little boy. 
Reaching our goal of 100 street contacts in the midst of all the lessons that we taught. Funny story actually, we finished talking to the 100th person right next to a butcher shop and my companion turned to me and said Do you smell that? I said the smell of dead chickens? She laughed and said no, it's the smell of success we just hit 100 contacts. Oh, so that's what that smell is. 

This was our attempt to make Mexican food in Peru. Tribute to Marissa. Don't ask me what any of that is because I couldn't tell you. It's some sort of concoction.
If you have ever wondered what missionaries do on Valentines day, well I will tell you. You go to all your appointments and they all fall through, then you stop by other investigators, members, or less active members houses and no one answers. So then we spend a lot of time walking around the streets counting couples and trying to contact them so we can give them law of chastity pamphlets. Just kidding about the last part, we really didn't do that but we did count couples. There were lots. But all is well I got to spend it with my companion and she is the greatest!
My Valentines Day card from my cute companion
There were also lots of men yelling at us this night and we were a little bit nervous about going home because there were so many people that were watching us so one of us pretended that we were knocking on the door while the other one sneakily used the key to open the door. Then when it opened we pretended that we were greeting them. Just playing it safe. We aren't supposed to let people know where we live so we take safety measures. :)
This is tocush. It is a food they eat here that smells awful. You can smell it from a long distance. What it is is they put rotten potatoes in water for 8 or 9 months and then eat them. They say it has a lot of penicillin and that it cures everything. I mean everything, even cancer. It's a mission rule that we can't eat it as missionaries and I have never been so grateful for a mission rule. I don't think I could even get a bite down it smells so bad. It's always the center of mission jokes too. If someone looks like they aren't feeling good we say they have been eating tocush.
Speaking of how my companion is the greatest, this is the second transfer we have been together and we are learning that we have a super power. Its called reading each others minds and feeling exactly what the other person is feeling. It's sometimes a little bit creepy because our feelings are very specific like I was going to ask this exact question in that lesson but as I thought it, I heard my companion say the exact one. Or we turn to the same scripture at the same time. Or we have the same pain in our left knee, or we both really want yogurt at the same time. Its really weird but it has helped a lot in teaching. I feel like we have such great teaching chemistry and we are always on the same page about where the lessons need to go. Especially as my companion is learning Spanish and can't always find the words she is looking for.
This is out a ways in our area.
My other favorite tender mercy of this week that I forgot to mention is from one of my favorite investigators. We were sitting in sacrament meeting by each other and she turned to me and whispered so when can I get baptized? I said well your date was for Saturday but we haven't really talked about it since the beginning of the week. She said I want to be baptized then. I just feel in my heart that its time and I have felt so much peace lately. Bringing people to a knowledge of the gospel is such a happy work. I love being a missionary.

Have a great week! 

Hermana Rhoten

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hola Familia. Sounds like Rissa is doing great!

I just glanced over her email and she looks good. I'm glad she has her pday before me so I can read them. Also thanks dad for writing me three weeks in a row. It's a miracle!
This morning it was a little rainy. 
We had such an awesome week. I went to Huancayo on Tuesday and Wednesday. I think I forgot to mention that last week that I was going. And about the goat pictures. I meant to say that trying to teach lessons with goats in the living room is so difficult. It really is.

This is the new mission home! They just finished it and we got to see it when we were there. So pretty. It must be the nicest house in Peru.
President's desk
The consejo (training/council) was great we talked about how we can help others become autosufficient. Is that a word? Autosuficiencia? Someone who speaks Spanish can help my mom. Maybe being self sufficient might be the English word. Anyways it helped me ponder a lot on the topic because it applies to everything I do as a missionary. My goal is to help everyone, recent converts, investigators, less active members, my companion, the sisters I'm in charge of, and myself become self sufficient in a testimony of the gospel.
Just the drive to Huancayo
Drive to Huancayo. Our driver was nice and let us go take pictures. This is just off the side of the road.
Drive back to Huanuco
I also was able to stop by a family that was baptized while I was serving in Huancayo. They are doing great. David just got called to be the new ward mission leader, America his wife is in young womens and the two boys are as crazy as ever but sharing the gospel with their friends at school. They have a temple date to be sealed as a family in August!
David and America with the two missionaries that were together when they were baptized. Love them. I think this is such a funny picture. My hair looks like a lion because it was raining in Huancayo as always.
They made a scrapbook of their family history and included a part about us and how they came to know the gospel. So cute.
I didn't mention it last week but Carnival is still going forward with full swing. On Sunday we were walking down the street and I got an entire bucket of water thrown on me. I was soaked when I went to go pick up our investigators for church. My companion right after that got pegged in the back with a water balloon. If only we could play back! It's funny because when they do stuff like that they say such loving things. Like I love you, I'd give my life for you, you are beautiful and they make kissing noises at us. They have such an odd way of showing love here. They also throw baby powder on each other. My companion got some of that all over her back yesterday too. Another part of Carnival I haven't really mentioned is that people cut down big trees and dig a hole and put them in the middle of the road. They decorate them with random things like clothes, baskets, etc and then have a drinking party with bands and all until the tree falls down and they collect the stuff. Our little recent convert Jordan said they were like pinatas for big people. Haha. There were about five of them by our house on Saturday. I'll try to send a picture.
This is that tree..haha
My two funny stories of the week. We were invited to a house of a member of the church who passed away. In Peru when a person dies they clean out all the furniture in their living room and the dead body and the coffin stays in the house for about three days or more until the funeral. It smells so awful because it's hot here. We were invited to come sing hymns for a bit next to the body in the house. We started singing but we had two other members that sang with us and it was just awful. The worst singing I might have ever heard. I kept my cool but my companion started laughing. She had to cover her face so that the people couldn't tell she was laughing and when she covered her face everyone thought she was crying and looked really concerned. They mouthed to me "is she okay" and I was like yea she's fine don't worry. We just should go soon. It was so funny.
Hermana Alpaca put this up for all the missionaries that served in Camino Real. she even put one up for me. :)

The other one was from a lesson we had with one of our investigators who is 80 years old. He came to church on Sunday and really wants to be baptized. He was in jail for awhile and to receive benefits whle in jail listened to "the word of God" He knows a lot and when we invited him to be baptized he told us that he has to do it and told us how important it is. The funny thing is that he is a little slow and we have to explain things very carefully to him. Our first lesson we thought we explained how to pray and started to explain the Book of Mormon to him but got off subject really quick talking about things like baptism. We realized we needed to end the lesson quickly and go so we asked if he would pray. He ended up saying a fifteen minute prayer from his heart but not like anything that we explained to him including lots of glory to god and he said thank you to us for giving him this book of songs to praise god. My companion and I left the lesson thinking what did we even teach him? I wouldn't say about prayer, and we can't say we taught him about the Book of Mormon because he thinks it's a hymn book. Missionary failure. But we plan on going back and teaching his wife this week. We have some clearing up to do.
Mangoes. I love them.
We saw God's hand in the work a lot this week. He really is helping us so much. I am so grateful that he lets us be a part of his successes. We had been praying and fasting to find and teach families. We ended up finding and teaching three complete families by the end of the week and at least one member of each family came to church this week. One complete family showed up themselves even though we didn't expect them too. It just so happens that we had thought of two people to help with their conversion in the ward and they were already friends with them. One of them even spoke in sacrament meeting and one of our investigators leaned over and said that is just what I needed. I have said it before but I really do know that God listens to us, and helps us with our individual needs. I know that he lives and this is his work.

I hope you all have a great week.
Hermana Rhoten

Monday, February 3, 2014

Hola Familia. Marissa is leaving this week!

How crazy is that. I'm super excited for her. I have a few last words of advice/ hopes for her before she leaves but I'm going to write a little about my week first really quick.
frogs to eat...yummy

This week was a little crazy. We had cambios and Hermana Abbott left as we had expected. Hermana Whitlock and I are staying here together and I am going to finish off her training. After training new missionaries for three transfers in a row I am excited to finally be able to finish someones training. It was hard to say goodbye but I am sure she will do great in her new area in Huancayo in the cold. ;) We also got our keys stolen this week to our apartment. I left them in the door for all of one minute because I had stuff in my hands and they were stolen right out of the door. It was crazy because it was right before we had to take my companion to send her off to Huancayo. We changed out the lock, but i guess we must have moved into a pretty safe neighborhood.
All packed in with all their suitcase. Three of us were on each others laps.
We also had Sheyla's baptism this week. She was so very excited and very cute. She was ready plenty early and was there waiting for us when we went to get her. I know that she will be a faithful member of the church.
Sheyla baptism

She's pretty cute and was really excited.
I did a lot of Sister Training Leader stuff this week. We had to make an emergency run to the clinic to help out a sister who has been really sick and then fainted after walking in the street. We were there in the clinic really late and were really tired. I also was able to face my fear of the thing I have been not looking forward to doing since I was asked to be a Sister Training Leader. There was a new Sister that just arrived from the MTC that was crying and refused to leave her room. I never know what to do when girls cry, I'm just really awkward. What we ended up doing is going on divisions so that my companion and her companion could go to the zone meeting and they left me there with her. I brought chocolate and she came out of the bathroom and after talking for a long while she got ready and we left the house together. She ended up doing so well that day, and even recited the first vision in a lesson. For me that's about as big of a miracle as it gets. I am learning that God helps those who he calls. 

Other new and exciting discoveries:
We have families to eat. (We helped out in primary for what ended up being an hour and a half and that was an answer to the question why do we have families.)
You don't eat frogs only toads and they taste like chicken.
Primaria -They are the craziest kids ever.
Teaching lessons in dreams doesn't mean your investigators are any easier. I taught three full lessons in my dreams this week. 
Lucuma is gross in everything except ice cream. For those of you who don't know what that is it is a fruit that is greenish black on the outside and orange in the middle. Its not really good. Ive tried it in every form but its only good in ice cream.
If your stomach hurts you pee into your hand and rub it on your stomach and it will feel better (or so I have been told by a member in our ward giving advice to my companion). That's about all for this week.
Advice and Hopes for Marissa. 
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside an ocean of missionaries. Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens.
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance.
And when you get the choice to sit it out or share the gospel, I hope you share. 

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Or never settle for the path of least resistance.
A mission might mean taking chances but there worth taking.
Loving someone might be a mistake but its worth making.

Don't let some non believing heart leave you bitter. 
When you come close to selling out reconsider.
Give the Heavens above more than just a passing glance.
And when you get the choice to sit it out or share the gospel, I hope you share. :)
Also remember when it feels like everything in your existence is changing, focus on the things that are constant and will never change. God still exists and your family still loves you and will be with you forever. Where ever you are in the world you can drop to your knees and talk to your Heavenly Father. I know you will do great! I look forward to reading your emails.

Love you all and have a good week.

Hermana Rhoten

P.S If at any point in this letter you think I am quoting LeeAnn Womack I might be. My companions and I are really good at changing lyrics to songs