Monday, March 31, 2014

Hola Familia!

Hey! Como estan todos? Well my week was good. I'm on a little bit early today because I am traveling to Huancayo again today. If you are asking didn't she just go I would respond yes, it feels like those three weeks went by so fast. Another long drive but it will be better to leave today instead of at 5am tomorrow like we usually do. 

Remember that man that we contacted in the street last week that was baptized as a boy but hadn't been in 40 years? He went to church yesterday all by himself even though we invited him at the beginning of the week. So happy.

I completed a year in my mission last week. We didn't do anything crazy like burn clothes ( I guess they have some crazy traditions like that) but we did get ice cream. More than the number I was happy to realize that I have kept a journal for the past year and have an entry for every single day. That's definitely the longest I have ever written in a journal. I usually start, miss a day and since I am a perfectionist feel like I have to start over and tear all those pages out. As I was looking at my journals this past week I realized how much I have actually learned and grown.

We were able to watch the General Relief Society broadcast on Saturday. My companion begged me to find a way to watch it in English so we ended up being in a little room watching it from a computer in English. It was cool that the first speaker mentioned Peru and Mexico in the same talk. One of the speakers asked a question that for some reason made me ponder a lot. She asked "What does it mean to you to be a disciple of Christ?" I pondered a lot on that question. I guess this week being a disciple of Christ meant helping a little old lady carry scrap wood to her house to take a little bit of the load off her back, reading to people out of the scriptures who don't know how to read, comforting and teaching a set of parents about the plan of salvation who just lost their oldest daughter, helping a little kid catch their pigs that some how got off the leash, and inviting everyone to follow Jesus Christ even if it, means being in the rain.

My companion said something really profound this week. She said it's cool on your mission that your joy comes through seeing the changes and successes in other people. It's different because its not about you. As I have studied about the character of God I have realized that he is a lot like that. He is happy for us when we are happy and sad when we are sad. The biggest joy that we can give him is the changes that we make in our lives to be closer to him. 

Hope you all have a great week! 


Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hey family. This week was so great. So crazy how much the Lord blesses us in this area.

I don't even have time to write about all of it so here's the short and condensed version. 
My companion and I have been praying to find new investigators and to be able to teach families this week. The Lord answered us though references of members and a few of his own miracles. One woman came up to us in the street and asked if we could come and visit her. Of course we said yes but the problem was that she lived in the hills and didn't have an address or a phone. She told us to just follow her to her home about a ten minute walk from where we were and invited us into her home. We taught her and her family two nights in a row. We are teaching three other complete families with the help of members and are hoping to see progress in them. We had some crazy golden questions this week from parents. And we taught one of those directly in the middle of a construction zone. I guess you can feel the spirit anywhere even though its not ideal. 

Another tree
We also found an inactive member by contacting him in the street. He was like where is the church? We explained to him and he told us that he was baptized when he was a kid and hasn't been for about 40 years. He was so nice and invited us in to start reteaching him. 

Cute Bishop of ours at our ward activity.  Love him.
Also it was Ronal's baptism this week! It was one of the least stressful baptisms of my mission. Maybe I am finally getting the hang of it. After he came out of the bathroom from changing out of his wet clothes he walked over to sit down and shook my hand and told me thank you for all the time that I had spent teaching him and helping him to come to this point. He was so happy. The smile didn't leave his face all day at church and everyone said he was glowing.
We also had some of the normal Peruvian obstacles this week like we lost light two nights in a row and water for a day. One of the nights we lost light we were wandering in darkness with my cell phone light up the hills at night to have a family home evening with a family in our ward. We ended up singing Jesus is mi luz (the lord is my light) and talking about the coming of Christ in the Americas after three days of darkness all by candle light in their home. I realized how grateful those people must have been in order to be restored to light and how Christ saying that he was the light of the world must have been an extraordinary statement. I thought about what it truly means that he is the light of the world. He has power over darkness, and brings understanding and clarity. I'm grateful for the light he gives me in my life. I am so happy to be following him.
Lunch at a member's house haha

Hope everyone has a great week this week! Also Feliz Cumpleanos to my sister Madison and my best friend Mariah! Love you both

Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hola Familia! Well we had cambios!

And I'm staying in my area so that will be 6 months by the end of the cambio. I will have a year in my mission and 2 areas. But I'm also training again! A new missionary fresh from the MTC. I was really surprised to get asked to do it again because I have been literally training my entire mission since I left my trainer. Most of the sister training leaders aren't training this cambio either since there were lots of people who finished their training. But I'm really excited and think it should be a good transfer. I really do love my area a lot. Training again means I went back to Huancayo again, another 8 hour trip each way for the training. I have been traveling so much that I think I am excited to stay in my area for a while. 
Saying goodbye
So about my companion. She is an American, from Salt Lake City, Utah, la fabrica de todos misionarios. haha. That's what all the members say here. It means the factory of missionaries. She is also beautiful. I always get such pretty companions which never helps with drunk men or people yelling at us in the streets but she is really great. I have seen already that we are going to work hard and well together. She is really happy to be here and is really positive. 
My new companion! So great.
I was reminded of the joy that the gospel brings and the change that it brings to peoples lives in a visit to Jenny this week. She was always sad and whenever we would ask her how she was doing she would say mas or menos. Which is like I'm doing okay. This week we visited her and she said she was doing so good and she was just so happy. She has received incredible blessings since her baptism and she says she just feels peace. We ended up teaching both of her sons this week too. 
This is a mango tree.
We were way out in our area this week! It's beautiful in the farm lands.
I'm not very educated about banana trees but I had never seen that big flower at the bottom of it kinda cool.
We were told in the training in Huancayo that you see more miracles while you are training than you will probably see in all of your mission. We have already seen that this week with one of our investigators. We had a lesson on Friday with him and he had been progressing so well, he had come to church for several weeks, has all the lessons and is in the tenth chapter of the Book of Mormon but he wasn't sure about being baptized. He kept thinking he should wait. We testified and were really bold with him. We left the lesson with him still feeling unsure about everything so we just invited him to pray again. He called us the next morning and said I have been thinking about baptism all night and I think I need to be baptized and that I shouldn't wait. He wanted us to come over right then to plan it but we couldn't since we were studying so we went over that afternoon and scheduled it for the next Sunday. So exciting! 
farm lands
On a funny note, we had my companions first lunch with members yesterday. It really is a ton of food, especially rice. I'm more used to it but she couldn't finish all the rice so when the lady left she started wrapping it in toilet paper and sticking it into her bag. (They always have a roll of toilet paper on the table because they use them as napkins). As she was finishing a rice toilet paper ball the lady came around the corner so my companion put both of her hands on her plate to cover the toilet paper. She happened to be sitting directly in front of the pitcher of boiled grinded apple water so she couldn't see and without missing a beat I started asking the lady questions about her family to distract her and my comp finished her rice ball and quickly stuck it in her bag. Fhew!
This is our apartment in case I haven't showed you.
Other than that all is well. For Spanish study today we tried to translate on command English church songs while we were cleaning and I studied about condemnation this morning in Alma 12. I learned so much about the love and justice of God about this topic. Always learning a ton from the scriptures. Love you guys a lot. Have a great week. 

Hermana Rhoten 1 (That's for Marissa)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hola familia! This week went by so fast! I was all over the place this week.

With Angelo our recent convert he was writing in our recuerdos books.
 We went to Huancayo for council and I learned a lot like normal. It was hard though because there are a lot of people going home this week and they had everyone give their final testimonies, including my trainer who I was with for 4.5 months in Huancayo. The spirit was very strong. I might go as far as to say one of the most spiritual testimony meetings I have felt. I think there must be something powerful about hearing a testimony of the Lord from those who not only believe but have been serving him actively for 2 years or year and a half. 
My trainer is going home this week. I said goodbye to her this morning. We were together for 4.5 months.
We have been feeling really blessed by the Lord this week. I cant really think of anything big but that he has been helping us in everything that we have been doing. On Sunday about an hour before church I pleaded with the Lord that a way would be opened so that an investigator we have been working with would come to church. He came even though it was a little late. On Monday night we really needed our recent converts mother to sign a paper that I needed to take with us to Huancayo the next day and we went and she wasnt there. The family said that she is guarding land. There is a lot of invasions going on right now with land and people go camp on their land to keep people from taking it. Its so hard to find people home sometimes. They said they didnt know how long she would be there or if she would even be back in the next few days. Right as we were leaving and saying goodbye, she pulled up in a moto. Thanks Heavenly Father. He also kept me safe in all my travels this week. 

This might be the last day with my companion.....sad
Speaking of staying safe while traveling, the drive from here to Cerro de Pasco was crazy. Peruvians are nuts when driving. We were in a car and we passed a police man going 110 km with a sign that said 35 km. Just a little bit over the speed limit. We didnt get pulled over though. We would swerve back and forth and be going head on with large trucks or other cars that we didnt know the speed limits for around blind turns.My companion and I both said a little prayer that we would make it their safely and we did. 
Llamas or in Spanish. Yamas lots of them driving to Cerro.
The mine in Cerro de Pasco, out of a taxi though. this is the center of the city and everyone works there.
It's pretty cold in Cerro. In our sleeping bags.
I'm wearing 6 layers in this picture. All ready to go to bed.
Cute little kid from Cerro de Pasco. this is where they use ponchos a lot. Like from the Emporer's New Groove.
He also helped us be able to eat lots of crazy foods this week. When my companion and I were in Cerro de Pasco we got wrangled in to helping judge a dessert night for their ward. It was basically fear factor. This one sweet old lady made this drink called masamora de chunyo that is basically rotten potatoes grinded up with some sort of wheat stuff. It smelled bad and tasted bad. We were trying to drink it without laughing but couldnt so I told them that we needed to laugh while eating all of them so they dont feel bad. It was really close to tocush. Yuck. Then on sunday this cute little old lady made us food. She brought us out a salad, then soup, then main course, then masamora de peaches, then more fruit and drink. Including extra potatoes and two chicken and 7 other potatoes on the main dish. We got full off the first plate and then we kept thinking she was done and then she would bring out more food. It ended up being 7 plates each in total and we were pretty much ready to throw it all up. We sure love her but we were very sick. We had stopped after the third plate and asked that heavelnly father would help us eat it all and he did. 
Maria, the one who fed us on Sunday. Weird picture but none of them were good.
This was that drink that's kind of like tocush. really gross. I did good though.
Our pday potluck. In the pitcher is mac and cheese that someone brought. Best thing ever. haha. We made the brownies on the end.
This is sting ray I was told. It was pretty good.
I realize that he is always helping us. Things constantly work out. We pray for help and strength and he gives it to us. Missionary work would be lot harder without it. Im just so grateful!
Sheep in the road
Latin elders attempting to play American football. None of them know how to throw it. So funny.

Hope you all have a great week! 

Hermana Rhoten

Monday, March 3, 2014

Hola Familia! This week was so great!

I didn't end up traveling like I had planned to because there has been so many landslides and Hermana Soliz ended up taking a trip to Lima so we are hoping to do that all next week. I have council on Tuesday and Wednesday in Huancayo and then we are planning to go to Cerro de Pasco on Thursday and Friday. It sounds like it will be a busy week. I feel sad to be out of my area so much especially right before transfers but they should be good experiences. My companion is great and even though she won't admit it she can run everything in the area fine by herself. I hope that we don't have cambios but I think that we might end up having them because we have already been together for two cambios and she needs to train. ;) Someday when she reads that she will laugh.
This week was the last week of Carnival! Hallelujah! I got hit in the head on Saturday by a water balloon and I think I am starting to be ready for it to be over.
Getting hit in the head with a water balloon
It's a fun idea and things but when you can't play back and are just getting hit by things all the time it's a little bit less fun. The last four days of Carnival is called Calixto where they have sort of like a festival of colors. There are hundreds of people running through the streets throwing water balloons and colored chalk (that's why in the picture the water is all red in the street).
The streets are running with red
The route just barely touched our area but I was on divisions with Pedro Puelles this week and it was crazy there. There was also a lot of parties going on with the trees in the middle of the road.
The tree next to our house for the big party
The pictures I sent were right directly outside of our house. They had a band and were drinking and dancing until 3a.m. We didn't get any sleep even with our earplugs and the music was so loud that our doors and windows were shaking. 
Party outside our house until 3a.m.
We had baptisms this week! Tuesday was a really great day because we were able to get permission for a boy we had been teaching to be baptized, we confirmed Jenny's baptism and another person we have been teaching finally accepted a date! On Saturday and Sunday we had combined baptisms for our ward (we share a ward with our zone leaders too) and they turned out so great. There were lots of people all dressed in white.
Everyone in white. Lots of baptisms for our ward this week.
Baptism pictures from Saturday
The parts that touched me the most were the testimonies after though. The little boy said the water was cold but I didn't feel scared. This is probably insignificant for most people but knowing that he has a great fear of water made it really special. He also said when he was baptized that he felt like a son of God. After Jenny's confirmation on Sunday she turned to me and whispered I think I get what you were trying to tell me about the Holy Ghost. It's like you feel it in your heart and you feel a great calmness. Its indescribable. I think she hit it right on the head. It confirmed to her that she had made the right decision.
Jenny's baptism
Baptism pictures
I have realized recently how well Christ was able to relate to the people he is teaching. I like to imagine that he is teaching Peruvians sometimes because a lot of the symbols that he used relate so well to them as I imagine that they did to the people of his time. The symbols of him being the light of the world, bread of life, and our shepherd work so well to people who don't have light in there houses, who have to leave to the store to buy bread everyday and people who actually own and work with sheep. When we travel outside the city I always see large groups of sheep and a person leading them and it always makes me remember that Christ is our shepherd. He simply wants us to follow him. Sometimes he is calling out for us and we don't listen (Alma 5). If we follow him we will receive his protection and his love.
Silly Peruvians trying to translate things directly into English.
Have a great week. Love ya!
Hermana Rhoten