Monday, May 26, 2014

Hola Familia! What a crazy week! It went by really fast but I have a lot to say and lots of really awesome pictures.

I hope that I will have time to send them all. Shout out to Kelsie Brown, thanks for the letter I got it this week and will try to write you back soon. The sad part of this week is that we have been missing a companion since Wednesday! Another hermana had her companion go to get her immigrations paperwork so we have had to lend our companion. It's been sad and we want her back but we should get her back on Tuesday hopefully. I have council this week and I'm supposed to go to Huancavelica this week too so should be busy.
Last Monday we went to the ruins of Tunan Marca which aren't the ones that are in my area they are a city of ruins that is located outside of Juaja. I still want to go find the ones in my area but I have heard it's a pretty good hike. Our district leader had been before so he knew how to get there. All of the ruins in these parts were cities built on the very top of hills or mountains. The legends are according to the locals (the elders pension) is that they did that in order to be able to throw rocks down to kill their enemies for protection. Most all of them have a wall around them and towers near the walls that were a little bit bigger then the other buildings which were also used for protection. There are some other ruins that we just saw passing that have 6 huge towers right in the front way before the city even starts. It was so sweet to visit them at the same time I have been reading in the war chapters of the Book of Mormon and realize that they set up their cities the same way and that they used similar tactics. The Book of Mormon is true!
picture of the entire city of ruins
So since Rissa always talks about how people give her things in her letters I just had to mention that people here give us gifts all the time too. Last Monday we got offered three raw potatoes each just off the street and we were like well what in the world are we going to do with these so we gave them to our pension family. We also get offered unlimited soda crackers. Man these people just love soda crackers. Every time we go into a little store or something we get them. It's not like getting offered to go to 6 flags but they are still so kind. :)
Comp picture, not sure why we all decided to wear black.
We found more ways to do service this week, we were able to help a lady clean a freshly killed oveja, man what's that word, oh sheep. Right up my alley. But not up my companions. And we pealed a total of about 2 hours of potatoes while we taught lessons. We also got to help a lady with her baby carry the heaviest bag of corn ever a few blocks down the street. I love doing service.
This is what Peruvians wear when they go dancing. They are so ugly and so unflattering in every way shape and form.
Reality of revelation: We had a really awesome experience this week that we are sure was guidance from the Lord. Our relief society president and her husband who was our second counselor in the bishopric hadn't been to church in about 2 months and every time anyone had gone to see the relief society president she turned everyone away. As we were walking down the street my companion said we need to go visit her right now. I was like well we had other plans but lets go. Do you know where she lives? No. Me neither. But lets try. We started walking and ended up right at her door. We knocked not knowing before hand what we would say. She opened the door, and we started talking to her. She started to cry and hugged us for a long time. She said her husband had left her and she hadn't had the strength to come to church but that she plans on it in the future. We left astounded that we had left right in the exact moment that was needed. We hope to be able to help her again over the next several weeks.
This is what I mean when I say pueblito. Little village. They all look about like that.
One of the coolest experiences of the week was going to a ward baptism on Sunday with our investigators and pastor friend. We don't have a baptismal font here so we baptize in the river. The moment of the baptism was so calm and peaceful. I lead the music while everyone else sat on the banks on the side and I remember feeling the spirit so strongly. I know that God was pleased with his decision to be baptized because of the way it felt to be there. 
In my area we baptize in rivers. This is a little bank off the side of the river that's really calm. He wasn't our baptism just one from the ward that we brought investigators to.

All girls group picture
I hope you all have a great week! 

Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, May 19, 2014

Hola Familia! Feliz Lunes!

This is the purse I bought last week!! Isn't it so cute?
  We are going to visit an old city of Incan ruins today. I'm so excited. I'm feeling adventuros and excited to go hiking. 

This week was so funny. Starting out with a funny story. We walked into a family home evening with a recent convert and smelled gasoline. As we walked through the hallway and there was a bunch of tools and what looked like used to be a wooden broom but we didn't really take much notice. During the middle of our lesson two 12 year old boys run in with their homemade firearms and started fighting.  Basically they had cut up the broom and dipped it in gasoline so as they smacked them against each other the flames were huge. We were a little worried about the fabric couch and wood furniture but in Peru fire in homes isn't a big deal since everything is made out of concrete and bricks or dirt. Later they came in with a homemade blow torch out of sunscreen. Silly kids. Picture of them is attached. We did end up getting them to read some scriptures with us in the end.
This is the family with the homemade firearms. haha so funny
Our ward really starting to trust us and love us. Its starting to show in our numbers. We have two that are progressing towards baptism which isn't much but its a huge deal for this area who didn't have anyone the entire last cambio. My companions and I are happy. They are so funny, we laugh all the time. I wonder what will happen with this cambio in two weeks because they will both finish their training. 
We went to hulhuas last week and they have the coolest homemade stuff there. They are famous for their blankets and things. These are the machines they use and these are alpaca stuffed animals out of alpaca.
more of looking at cool stuff last week
I've decided that the most talented people in the world are the people who sleep on combis. They are just amazing. The drivers are crazy and there are tons of speed bumps and music and bags of dead chickens and I just don't understand how they do it! Some people even sleep standing up. We beat our record this week and got 40 people in a 17 passenger van. I don't think I have ever been so uncomfortable in a van. 

Happy Agriculture Day everyone! If you didn't know it was Peruvian agriculture day its okay, I didn't either until I saw everyone parading and marching around in vegetable costumes on Saturday. I was surprised at their grand appreciation for them because if you were to ask me how many servings of vegetables I ate this week I would say three and two of them were servings of onions. I love these people! 
This is a grave. Their grave stones are always very bright colors. If you pass graveyards they are all rainbow.
I have learned on my mission that the Lord really does prepare people when he knows that they will have an opportunity to hear the gospel. A woman we are teaching who is separated from her husband was invited to go drinking with her family and went home and got all ready makeup and everything but then decided to stay home for the evening. The next day we taught her the word of wisdom and she told us the story and said that's why I felt like I shouldn't got with them. The night she prayed and asked if the Book of Mormon is true she said she felt a calmness she hadn't felt in a long time. She slept for the first night in a month and has slept every night since then even with all the stress she has experienced. I know that the Lord must prepare these people in order to recognize his hand or the spirit when we come. 
There are dogs everywhere. always
I can't deny the many small miracles that we experience as missionaries. If our message wasn't true I think our experience would be much more ordinary. But it is true. People receive answers to prayers when we invite them to pray, receive the specific blessings that we promise them and experience real changes in their lives. How great is Heavenly Father's work that we are apart of! 

Hope you all have a great week!

Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, May 12, 2014

Hola Familia..Well Feliz dia de la madre a todos!

I hope that all the mothers out there had a happy day. It was so fun to talk to my family yesterday and my sister in Mexico. It's crazy how many things are the same and how many things are different. Turns out we both use combis but they call them something different. And that no one is married there either. So funny.
This week I have divisions planned with my old area and another area. I'm excited to go back there.  We are going to try and see the pre incan ruins in my area next Monday with our Elders. Hoping that it works out. They said it's a little bit of a hike so hopeful we will be online the same time.
I think I look like my mother in this picture. It's weird. We ate banana splits for a zone activity. Also this is the alpaca sweater I bought. cute huh? 
In Peru Mother's day is a little bit crazy. It's like most of the other holidays in Peru, a huge party. This weekend everyone was throwing big parties, we walked by several people in Concepcion in their native dancing clothing, saw lots of people dancing in the streets and lots of drinking. Lots of the schools have the little kids dress up and they put on dance shows for their moms, it's so cute. We had a really awesome ward activity for Mother's day this weekend in our ward too. The priesthood put it on. They had chicken and whole potatoes and we ate it with our hands, then they just turned on music and told all the relief society to dance and celebrate. And they did. No shame there. It's definitely a dancing culture. They all love to dance.
We found American candy in a store and bought it for after we talked to our families as a special treat.
We are teaching a bunch of really great people right now. I love my investigators. 8 of them are golden but more than half of them have to get married. Story of the mission. It's so hard to get people to get married. I have been studying this week about how to teach about eternal families better. 

My beautiful area
In the middle of that we were contacting two women in the street and as we handed her an invitation with a picture of a family on it. She said something along the lines of, of course I get the one with the family just as my family is falling apart. We asked her if we could come visit her and strengthen her. Our first appointment was full of distractions but the spirit was so strong and she accepted a baptism date. In her prayer she thanked God for sending three of his servants to her house for showing her the way.
This is the beautiful house of Charo, the Elders pensionista.
I feel like we are making progress with the ward. I got asked to speak on Sunday and I taught the gospel principles class. Before the sisters didn't do that so I take it as the ward is starting to trust us a little bit more. The gospel principles class was tough because their was a pastor from another church there and he wanted to contend with me as I was teaching. He had a scripture for everything and wasn't a very good listener. But as I listened to him I realized that the promise from the Lord, "you will not be confounded before men" happened in that class, even in Spanish. I understood his perspective and with each calm answer or scripture that I gave he seemed to lose words and I could continue teaching. I have often thought to myself how amazing it is that the Lord can take such young unknowledgeable people and turn us into missionaries in his work. I feel like if this wasn't the lord's work it would all fall apart. He was an elderly man who had studied the bible all his life and I was a 21 year old girl serving as a missionary. Another testament that this is the lord's work. 

Have a good week! 

Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, May 5, 2014

Hola Familia! Things are going great here!

All of us stuffed in a car
Best companion picture haha we were sight seeing in the elders pensionista's car last Monday.
I'm finding out that our area is bigger everyday. But it's also more beautiful and big and open and I love it! It's a big change for it to be quiet on occasions and to come in contact with more cows than dogs. We do have to travel forever to get places, right now we are in Huancayo and we have to come to Huancayo three times this week. I guess we did last week too though because I had mission council. We walk a lot too sometimes it takes 30 minutes to an hour to arrive at appointments since lots of it is farmland but I have learned to enjoy walking and talking.
At a lake in Jauja

Speaking of the whole traveling thing, we usually travel in vans called combis. They are really 17 passenger vans that have routes and we just jump on them and get off wherever like a bus system except they are a lot cheaper. We only pay an equivelent to 50 cents a person to travel from Concepcion to Huancayo about 40 mins to 50 mins. So cheap! The only thing is that they pack people in them like sardines to not waste any space so its not always very comfortable for us because we are too tall for them. Many of the Peruvians can stand up straight and hold on to the bar but when we stand we have our neck pointing down. I can't believe how many people they fit in one sometimes, this week I think we broke a record or something. They had 34 people and two large sacks of potatoes in the back part, not counting the people sitting up front. We didn't even need to hold onto the bar because we were so squished and they couldn't close the door so people were almost hanging onto the outside. So Crazy! Everyday is an adventure because you never know what you will get.
Lots of photos this week
My district
This week we had a lot of success. More than this area had had the entire last cambio. When our district leader asked my companion what we were doing differently, she responded, without skipping a beat said, its because one of our companionship goals is to eat ice cream or chocolate everyday. We all laughed. Our companionship gets along well and it increased our ability to work I guess. But even with the jokes we were talking this morning and we honestly don't know what is different. All we know is that it is the Lord's work and we have to trust in him and his timing. We are so happy to be part of his successes!
Catholic churches are everywhere here
Women washing clothes in the river
Happy moments and awesome miracles from this week are.....
- having a family with a recent convert answer the door that hadn't for the entire last transfer
- having an inactive member that hasn't come for months show up to church that we visited
- finding one of our little old cute couples that we teach in the church Sunday morning trying to find their way to church
- having a woman come to church for the first time in 17 years and bringing her two daughter investigators after giving lots of excuses. Lots of people hugged her at church and were happy to see her, many that had been baptized the same time as her. So cool.
Church house where we meet on Sunday

Hope you all have a great week!

Hermana Rhoten 1