Monday, April 28, 2014

Hola Familia! I had transfers!

In the caves
My little friend from Honduras.  She is so cute.
 Hey! I had transfers! So crazy I have so much to write about this week. I probably won't be able to finish it all. So I got the call Tuesday night and my zone leaders told me that I would be going to Huancayo in El Tambo. I asked them if they were joking because that's where I had served the first six months of my mission. They said they weren't joking but when they told me the area I got really excited. I'm in Concepcion which isn't actually Huancayo at all. It's a city just outside of Huancayo. It's far away from everything and my area is huge! It's actually the entire city of Concepcion with all the little pueblitos or little towns and villages outside of it. We spend a lot of time walking and traveling to other parts of our area. We go to a little city called San Jironimo a lot which is about 15 or 20 mins outside of Concepcion. Right now we are in a city called Jauja (pronounced howhuh) that's 45 minutes away it's our district leaders area. We rode here on a bus standing up the entire way, I call it bus surfing. I think we will hang out here for pday. We will be doing lots of traveling in this area because we go to Huancayo every week for district meetings and sometimes for internet on Monday too.
In Huanuco my old area in the caves for pday
My companion and I, so sad to leave her.
In the caves
I'm also training in a trio again! So crazy! Both of them came in at the same time and have six weeks in the mission. We get a long well and laugh a lot. One is from California and the other one is from Florida so the climate is a little freezing for them both. I hate the cold too so we all deal with it together. Neither of them speak much Spanish so it was a little tough this week since I was sick and had to do lots of talking.
My zone with our matching shirts. So funny.
I'm also going to be in charge of five other areas here as a sister leader. Four of them are in Huancayo which I am super excited about because I am in charge of my old area!!! I get to do divisions there and see how my old ward is doing. So fun. I'm also over an area in Huancavelica which is 3 hours away and it is supposed to be the poorest city in Peru. It will be an adventure for sure.
Other things about my area: Its been having very little success. It has had one baptism so far this year and they were used to teaching one lesson a day! They didn't have a single person with a baptism date this past cambio. That's such a big jump from my other area but we have lots of ideas to work smarter and do less traveling so we can have more lessons. One lesson a day would kill me I think. I like to be busy. Also my area doesn't have a church. We have what is called a casa capilla or a house church. Its pretty small and homey. It has a fireplace in the biggest part where we have sacrament meeting. If we need to baptize someone we can either baptize them in the river or we got to Huancayo. When I found our ward list I discovered that there are 260 people in this ward but only about 40 were there at church on Sunday. There is just so much work to do here especially with inactive members. 
I remember when I got set apart as a missionary, in my blessing it talked a lot about working with inactive members. I was told that the lord was preparing people for me that I would be able to touch there hearts and bring them back into full fellowship. It mentioned that in several parts and I had wondered my entire mission why. I had worked with them off an on as always but we mostly taught investigators. When I was sitting in the little church house I had a confirmation that this was where I was supposed to be and it was part of the plan all along. I was a little stressed out this week because it's a lot of responsibility. Every cambio I feel like things get a little bit harder but now I feel like I'm in missionary work level ten. Training two and being a sister leader is already lots of work but right now I also feel lots of pressure to help my area. I am grateful that it's the lords work and all I have to do is do the best I can and search for the spirit so that the lord can do the rest. I'm grateful that when I don't know how to do it all he does and will help me. I think it will be a great transfer and I am excited to see the changes and miracles that will happen.
I forgot to area is really green and very beautiful. I do have my work cut out for me though. I don't know how I can handle it all. Like I said missionary work level ten. lol And that one of the guys I taught in Huanuco and then he ended up getting baptized in another ward... he is putting in his mission papers. He sent me a really nice note before he left saying thanks for all I taught him. He is so active. Goes to institute a few times a week even though it's the same class, and went to the temple to do baptisms for his grandpa a bit ago. He loves being a member of the church and is so happy. 

Hope you all have a great week!

Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hola Familia! Hey people love me this week!

I had so many letters in my inbox that this might be shorter than usual. But thanks everyone! You are all the greatest! Also Happy Easter and Happy Birthday to my dad this week!
  This week was busy and so tiring. We are preparing for that phone call of cambios tomorrow, we had interview with president and I did three divisions with hermanas that all turned about to be struggling more than I expected going in. Divisions wear you out but you definitely learn a lot from each of them. I wasn't supposed to do as many but the assistants called and asked me to do some for hermanas that I'm normally not in charge of because I have a special talent of speaking English and Spanish. My companion did awesome while I was gone, I am always so impressed with her and how well she takes charge of everything. She ended up teaching a golden family we contacted together in the street twice and that all accepted dates to be baptized. So awesome! 
I love these little boys. So cute.
I love that forts are universal no matter where you are in the world. It doesn't matter if it is made of blankets and chairs or rocks and wooden boards.
Cambios or Transfers are this week. I'm not really sure whats going to happen. President told me that he honestly hadn't decided about my change yet but he knows that I have been in my area for 6 months already which means my next area will be my last area. He said he usually likes to keep trainers and trainees together the entire training time 12 weeks but when my companion told him she wanted to stay with me he laughed and said You are going to keep her here with you that long?? I really don't care what happens but it is my companion's birthday on Wednesday so if I do I will have to say goodbye to her and travel that day. How sad!
Cute little old lady. I asked if I could take a picture of her and she said why? I responded because you are so beautiful. She said really? Then okay. It was cute.
This week was Semana Santa or the holy week all week long. During this week especially the end of the week its really tough to find anyone in their homes. Some traditions are that everyone doesn't eat meat, only fish all week long and that they do lots of reenactments of Christ's last week. Everyone in our area walked up to the hill with thirteen crosses and they did a huge program there. We couldn't find anyone for hours and then at about 5pm we saw thousands of people coming down from the hill. Lots of of them go to the mountains and fields to be with family and do large gatherings.

I was able to take time out in the midst of the busy week and think about what I consider to be the happiest words in all of scripture. He is risen! After all the prophets had testified and prophesied that he would come he did, and he did the will of his father and suffered, died and was resurrected for us. I know that he was resurrected and that he does live. He lives who once was dead and because he did we will be too. I am grateful for him and all he has done for me.
Ten points for anyone that can figure out this picture. Its like a cow thing and the rest of them are holding fake bread and running through the street with a band and beer. I took this right outside of our front door. lol

I hope that you all had a great week!

Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hola Familia. This week was awesome!

The group
I'm going to start from the beginning, starting with Monday. We hiked up a pretty good sized mountain for pday with our zone and another zone. Peruvians call them cerros which means hill. I always argue with them. I'm like that is definitely not a hill it is a mountain.
Not a hill but so pretty
The hike was hard because it was almost straight up without any switchbacks and it was hot. But right at the end it started hailing really hard and I was trying to hike but ended up sliding for a good part of it. In most of my pictures I am soaking wet. Just lovely. But the view was beautiful. You could see everything from up there. It was also cool to see the airplanes flying quite a bit below us.
Our hiking group
From the hike
My Area
Hermana Whitlock and Jones. Both great girls.
Hermana Whitlock and I
The zones
That's half way up the mountain if you zoom into the top you can see the cross.
I feel like this week I found out why I stayed in Huanuco for another transfer. An older really active couple in the ward introduced us to their grandson who has just moved here from Lima this past week and his wife. It turns out I have a lot of connections to this family, we taught and baptized his youngest brother (I don't know if you remember Diego) and reactivate his cousin who had been inactive for two years. When I met him he reminded me so much of them both and I knew so much about their families that I felt like we had already known each other for a long time. They both accepted a date to be baptized in the first lesson. We ended up going to their home later that week in Culpa. That is the far out beautiful, jungle looking part of my area. Their home is gorgeous. You have to go down a bit and follow a natural stream next to this path that leads to their house and they have tons of trees, its just so pretty. Whenever I am in Culpa I never want to leave this area. In that lesson they both mentioned how they felt like this religion is going to change their lives. They have a beautiful five year old daughter and they realize that this is going to be the best for their family. We love them so much! 
It is so pretty in this part of my area.
So pretty the stream that follows to their house.
Another one of the great joys of missionary work is seeing recent converts and their progress. Almost all of them were at church on Sunday. Ronal is sharing the gospel with the world and receives the priesthood next Sunday. Jenny moved to another area really far from here. I had been so worried that she would go inactive but I received a call from two missionaries in Pulcapla who said that she contacted them in the street and told them she needed to go to church but didn't know where it was. They told me that she came to church with her mother and is an excellente missionary. We are sending her records there which is sad for us but are so happy to hear that she is doing good and is firm.

Random highlights of the week that I don't know where to put in....
Mosquitos are starting to come back since winter is over. NOOOO! And bugs too. It's that time again where you have to look through all your bread and rice really good.
I had an exciting discovery that avocados grow on trees. I don't know where I thought they came from my whole life but now I know. They are so good here.
We had lots of breastfeeding lessons this week. Man I feel so bad for elders sometimes.We are used to it.
We had lots of success in our area this week. 8 out of the 10 new investigators accepted dates for baptism. God is blessing us a lot.
This is an avocado tree.
One thing I have come to appreciate so much about this culture is their gratitude. There is a phrase that Peruvians use all the time that has taught me a lot about gratitude. After everything in daily conversation they say, Gracias a dios. For example, I say how are you, they say good gracias a dios. How is your work or family, Good gracias a dios. It literally means good thanks to God. I understand the meaning of the phrase humble yourselves that ye may live in thanksgiving daily for the many mercies and blessings that he gives to us daily as Amulek taught in Alma 34. I hope we can all recognize a little better those daily blessings we receive. 

Hope you all have a great week!


Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, April 7, 2014

This week was so great! Conference was wonderful too!

Crazy fruits. Yum!

 It started with a crazy trip to Huancayo again. A normal 8 hour trip ended up being 12 hours because we got caught in a landslide mess on the way there. It was crazy and destroyed a lot of houses. It's only a little two lane highway on the side of a cliff and it was all backed up as they were trying to clear out the huge rocks and things. It ended up taking 5 hours to pass through it because Peruvians don't know how to wait their turns. They were trying to fit 4 cars/semi trucks in this little road to pass and then cars would pass and couldn't and we would try to back up an entire line of cars by just inches. It was so crazy and a little scary when you are the one on the outside next to the cliff and river. We ended up arriving in Huancayo at 2am. Sister Henderson answered the door and said President says you can sleep in. The training isn't until the afternoon anyways. The funny part is after a year of 6:30 am my body physically couldn't sleep in even though I had permission. I woke up early and studied.
The training was great. I went to the training with three specific questions I had and came out realizing that all of them are answered through applying the Atonement. I realized my purpose as a leader is to confront each person and problem and help them apply the Atonement. Christ already suffered for all these things and there is already a solution.

I have felt so grateful this week to be serving among people with such great faith. I learn so much from them and their examples each week. Some heart touching, faith building stories from this week...A woman we have been teaching and has been attending church for quite some time but is unable to be baptized because she can't get married yet taught me about keeping commandments. She had just lost her job and hasn't been working but she said she had felt so blessed by the lord that she wanted to know if she could pay tithing to the Lord even though she wasn't a member of the church. 
 Another family that lived on the street also some members in our ward found out their 7 year old boy had a very serious blood infection and was taken to the urgent care last night. The members of the church walked to every member and neighbor who lived in the nearby area to invite them to a home at 8pm in order to pray for this little boy and his family. What great love and faith!
Conference was awesome! I am so grateful for having such long prayers and songs every conference. They probably don't realize it when they are doing it but there are some missionaries in Peru running up and down mountains going to pick up investigators and trying to make it to the church on time. We were so sweaty when we finally got there. We had a mother and her daughter who live way up come with us. Everyone here knows their neighbors so they saw them all dressed up and shouted at her as we hurried down the mountain. Where are you going? She replied, I am going to the church of God want to come! I love these people so much. 

We watched conference in English on a little computer screen that paused every minute for about thirty seconds. It took us an hour longer to watch it than those who were watching it in Spanish. But we were grateful to hear it in our native tongue and to have the opportunity to take lots of notes during the pauses. haha. I learned so much from conference but I went to conference with the question of how I can love the people I serve a little bit more. President Monson directly answered my question as did many others. I felt the spirit teach me lots of things. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to listen to servants of the Lord speak for us in these times.

Love you all. Have a great week!

Hermana Rhoten 1