Monday, June 30, 2014

Hey guys! I like that mom already has my count down up.

I still have tons of time left. lol Also Happy Birthday to my Grandma Hatch today! And thanks for your letter if you are reading this, I just got it this week and it made my Tuesday. 
me and a llama at the park
This week was full of trials and successes as always! Successes first. Alexander accepted a date for the 11th before transfers because he wants us both to be there. He wants to be baptized in the river. It's cool but he's crazy because the river is cold. lol He was looking at baptismal clothes yesterday with his friend at church and he is really excited about it. Also after a tearful inspiried spirit filled visit with an inactive family they showed up at church on Sunday. Even though our attendance is still terrible we had a fourth of our attendance yesterday was inactive or less active members of the church. 
Last pday we went to a pretty park called parque de mattes. Mattes are these gourd things that they carve into here. They are beautiful. This was a little shop just down the way from there. So cool.

This gourd is huge. It costs a lot of money too but they are cool. I can only imagine how long it took to carve and burn all of that.
We taught a lot of lessons about repentance and the plan of salvation this week. I love watching people change their lives through repentance. It's such a happy message that Christ gives to us. You can change! You can be clean! If you come to me I will give you a new start! The plan of salvation often brings just as much joy. We taught a man whose wife had recently passed away this week about this plan. After explaining that eternal life means to live with God and your family forever he asked, Can we really obtain eternal life? Of course we can! The atonement makes it possible for each of us. 
In other news, Sunday lunch with members is slowly murdering our stomachs each week. We have gotten sick the past three weeks so as you can imagine we are starting to dread it because we know we will be miserable after it. But we are grateful for the members. We love them and are grateful for their sacrifice and being so willing to give to us what little they have at times.
This is my zone. They are all so great.
Other things from this week, we got stopped by two huge herds of sheep crossing the road, a members pig escaped in the middle of a lesson so we had to go chase it down, my hand got pecked by a chicken during a lesson ( I was sitting on the ground) and yesterday a man was so busy staring at us that he fell down some stairs. Poor guy.
Like I mentioned last week. It's basically Christmas.
One of my goals for this week was to be more grateful. In Pres Uchtdorf's talk this past general conference he teaches us that its actually a commandment to be grateful and that obedience to commandments always brings us blessings.
He taught us that we should be grateful in our circumstances. Two examples from this week. My companion basically had a mental breakdown this week (okay maybe a little exaggerated) after using someone else's bathroom that didn't have a toilet. She just doesn't understand why people will have a computer or tv and they only have a squat pit outhouse. We laughed and realized that we were grateful that we had a toilet in our little room. It became something of a joy when we entered into our apartment everyday and my companion would say we are so blessed to have a toilet. Another example was my ingratitude for our all week of cold showers. I realized my ingratitude one morning and thanked the lord to have water to shower with. I went to shower and realized that the water had become bearable and I was so happy. 
my beautiful area
I testify of President Uctdorf's words that gratitude brings us the blessings of happiness, broadened perception,  and cleared vision. We can count on the promise in Doctrine and Covenants 78:19 that says those who receive all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious! 

Have a great week!

Love Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hey guys! Everything is going well.

Concepcion is super cold. And getting colder. Sometimes I can see my breath in our room because we don't have heating. If you were to see us in our study time you would all probably laugh at us because we have all the clothes on that we own almost to keep warm. We have been sleeping in our coats at night all bundled up. 
Pacha manca. They always feed this to us every Sunday here. It's good but we always get sick off of it when they just cook it on rocks in the dirt. I'm sure I have a bunch of dirt hanging out in my stomach right now.
This is what it looks like before we take it all apart.
Taking it apart. It's just right next to the rocks.
I was realizing the other day that I haven't really told you much about my companion Hermana Fitzpatrick. She is really great and we are best buds. I think she must be the most sarcastic person I have ever met. We are learning a lot from the scriptures and our Spanish is getting a lot better this cambio. Sometimes I bug her by singing Christmas songs. She always tells me that its not even close to Christmas. It's not my fault really. Peruvians have the Christmas spirit all year round. For example the table that we eat at everyday at the pensions has a giant Santa Claus on the wall next to the table and yesterday we were served drinks in Christmas mugs. Plus it's so cold. It might as well be Christmas.
Milena's little girl named Bianca. She is so cute. I love Peruvian children.
Crazy things from this week: So we saw a lady acting like a dog walking around on all fours this week, she even jumped onto a combi on all four legs and then sat down like a human. So weird.
We had a appointment fall through so we were contacting and saw some ladies pealing dry corn. Not sure how to explain that. But we ended up just sitting down in the dirt and helping them. I learned all about corn harvest and drying corn to use to make canchitas. We are so planting corn next year in the garden! It will help with my bucket list goal to learn to make tamales too. :) 

Yesterday we traveled into Huancayo for a stake conference. It was so good and we had a member of the seventy come and speak as well. We were excited that we had an investigator willing to come all that way with us, he was even ready in time and all dressed up in a suit. When we got close enough to see the church (we have to walk a few blocks from where the combi drops us) he commented on how big it was. When we got inside and he saw how many people there were he was so surprized and said it feels like all of Huancayo is here. It was just so funny to see his reaction because all he had ever seen was the casa capilla that's just so little. Even though he knew the church was worldwide, seeing the stake center really opened up his eyes to see how big the church really is. 

I also saw a bunch of people from my old ward in Camino Real at the stake conference and got some of the craziest hugs ever. This little old lady who used to accompany us a lot almost tackled me when she saw me. I saw several converts, members and even old investigators that we had taught. I don't remember if you would remember little Pamela, her and her friend Carolina with her family were there. So cool.  It is so cool to see the progress of an area that you helped open. Also David and Americas family have their sealing date! They are going to the temple August 26 to be sealed as a family for time and all eternity. The most beautiful news ever. I love them. 

The member of the seventy that spoke yesterday gave such a powerful talk and a message that touched me deeply. He spoke about our temperatures in the gospel based off the scripture found it Revelation 3:15&16. We can either be hot, warm or cold. In these verses it is taught that it would be better to be hot or cold than to be warm in our testimonies. Our temperature shouldn't change on the circumstances that we are in. He shared the story of the young mother who only had a tiny bit of flour and oil for her family but gave it to the prophet of the Lord who came to her home anyways and was willing to let her family starve to death. Her testimony was boiling hot and she was greatly blessed for it. When we act in faith we receive these blessings. He asked us at what temperature were we in things like scripture reading and the way we treat other people and asked us to ponder on how we can not only have warm faith and testimony but be hot. What are each of your temperatures? 

I love you guys and hope you have a great week! 


Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hola Familia! First off, Happy Father's day yesterday to dad!

Father's day here was so crazy. I'll talk about it in a bit. 

My companion and I have been switching off being stomach sick all week. Whenever that happens we always try and guess what food it was that made us sick. My companion always blames it on the fish omelets because she hates them. We don't really eat them that often so I don't think its always the fish omelets. We were looking back this week and realizing that we ate a lot of different food. Monday we ate cow heart and some sort of spongy part of an animal. Not sure I want to know what it was. We also got offered this fruit thing. It looks kind of like a two foot long giant green bean and you tear off the skin and eat the white stuff inside, its really sweet. Yesterday for lunch with members we ate pacha manca again cooked in the ground. It was really good but it made my companion so sick. Poor thing, shes had a rough go around. The first month of her mission she was sick the entire time and then they found out it was because her water bottle filter wasn't screwed on all the way. Our water isn't super safe here, but I guess its nice to know that our water bottles work.
People here get creative with their bridges to their homes.
My companion and I were daring each other to cross this one to contact a house.
We changed the limits of our area this week. We now have a few more little pueblitos including Hualuas and Santo Domingo (before it was the elders area but still in our ward) Our old bishop took us around Hualuas and it is beautiful. You kinda have to learn the short cuts and trails to get to peoples houses because its all hidden so him helping us helped a ton. We met a man who was converted not too long ago that had a very similar experience to John Tanner. He hadn't been able to walk since his youth but after listening to the missionaries he had developed a desire to be baptized. The bishop and the missionaries gave him a blessing then the missionaries called him forward and asked him to walk in the name of Jesus Christ and he did. Now he walks with a cane and is so grateful for the church. His wife died a month ago and he is so sad without her so we are going to go back and teach him about the plan of salvation again.
This is from Hualuas (this pueblito is famous for its tapestry and things)

Funny and sad: My companion trying to start conversation with a man yesterday to possible share the gospel with him asked what kind of leaves he was selling (assuming that it was some kind of herb) he responded that it is coca or cocaine. So funny.
Our district leader who is from Costa Rica got reassigned to a different mission this week in Ecuador. Some sort of problems with his papers. We sang god be with you till we meet again at our district meeting and it was so sad. We will miss him.

Yesterday for Father's day we only had 35 people at church! We had passed by the park in the morning and there were hundreds maybe a thousand people in the plaza dancing and things for fathers day. Maybe that's where they all went. It's crazy because Concepcion isn't a very big place. I'm not really sure where all the people come from. Since the wards here are mostly all recent converts the commandment to keep the sabbath day holy is really misunderstood. People buy food in the middle of sacrament, work on Sundays and go to church when they can. I have committed myself to re teaching the commandment to everyone in the ward. We taught primary the other week and were like drill sergeants trying to help them learn it. We would ask a question like Do we work on Sunday? and they would say NO! Do we buy things on 
Sunday? NO! What do we do on Sunday? We go to church! So cute. I think they got it.

Remember the mom who wanted to name her baby Joseph Smith? Well she had the baby and its a boy but she hasn't named it yet. The mom is pretty sick still and I guess hasn't gotten around to it. But we had the cutest lesson with her and her daughter about the plan of salvation. Our recent converts (the nine year old) dad died so it was cool to be able to teach the plan of salvation and explain to her that her baby brother was with god before he came to the earth last week and that her dad is waiting for them in the spirit world. There was a really special spirit in that lesson. 

Well the church is still true. Jesus Christ is still our savior and his work moves forward. Hope you all have a great week!

Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hola Familia!

So we had cambios this week! We got the call Tuesday night that Hermana Pulce was getting voted off the island and getting sent to Huancavelica. Sad news for us because I loved being in a trio with them. I've always loved all my trios. The saddest part of it all was when we were riding back to Concepcion after dropping her off in Huancayo and it was my turn to pay so I said to the door lady "three for Concepcion" and then Hermana Fitzpatrick turned to me and said Hermana Rhoten there are only two of us now. So sad. But now to the happy news....Hermana Fitzpatrick just finished her training so I don't have a companion in training!!!!! I feel like a proud mother who's kids are finally all out of diapers. I love training but I've just never had a companion who isn't in training and it will be a nice break I think
We went to our less active member's guinea pig farm. She sells them to restaurants and things 
I love the investigators that we have right now. They are so great. Here's a couple stories: 
We were finally able to teach our investigators nine year old son this week. We invited him to be baptized and he accepted. After that one lesson, the next time we saw them his mom told us that he had been taking his Book of Mormon to school everyday and reading it and he says that he wants to be baptized. He's so cute. 
It turns out that my pension and her husband are both returned missionaries and not sealed in the temple. I'm not really sure how that happened but I love them and want them to be sealed someday. In order to get there they need to make a few adjustments in the way they are living. We have an investigator who has been coming to church now for about a month who happens to be friends with our pension's husband. They ran into each other on Saturday and our investigator said Why don't I ever see you at church? He replied I am there I'm just really late. Our investigator didn't believe him so he said we will see who gets there first tomorrow. Our investigator and our pension were the first two people there on Sunday. It was the first time he had come for all of sacrament meeting in a long time because they normally work on Sundays.

The rest of the week was pretty normal, I got attacked by this same dog three times (it saw me all the way down the street and ran up to me to attack me, not sure what I did to it), we got asked if we were single by lots of drunk men, got saved by our little friend named Aladdin, that's not really his name but he just reminds me of him because he roams the streets stealing things and riding on the back of motos without anyone seeing him so he doesn't have to pay. He even accompanied us to a lesson once because he was protecting us from danger (he's about 10 years old) and always carries a whip like thing, and we lost water and light a few times this week but it's all back now. We ate cereal and milk once for breakfast this week it was amazing! 

I am so happy to be here and be serving a mission. It's so fun watching people progress in the gospel. It's fun to look back and see how much you have learned and changed. I have become so grateful for the little miracles and love that God shows to us. 

Have a great week todos!

Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hola Familia! I won't even say this week was great or crazy because I always say that but it really was :)

We have cambios this week! I kinda doubt that we will be staying in a trio but you never know. I guess we will see what happens. 
This is most of my area the city of concepcion
I started out this week with consejo in Huancayo again. It was really good, and I learned a lot as always. I finally got up the courage to ask president how long it should be before I am worried about stomach problems because everyone here has them but even though it hasn't been bad it has been on and off for over a month. He asked me about symptoms and he said yep you have all the symptoms of a parasite! He asked me if I had lost any weight and from weighing myself at the mission home I had lost 10lbs since last month. I asked president if I could keep him and he just laughed and said absolutely not! So I had to do a parasite treatment and stay in the room all day Saturday. Goodbye to my little parasite friend. 

This is the virgin that overlooks the city. It's nine stories tall and we see it everyday.
from inside the virgin's head
A few cute moments of this week. So I think I have probably explained before but we greet all the women-girls here with a kiss on the cheek. Normally we would with boys too but it is forbidden as missionaries for obvious reasons. So yesterday at church these two little junior primary aged boys (having been trained by their mother that they can't give kisses to sister missionaries) held up their stuffed animals to our faces and had their stuffed animals give us kisses. So cute. Peruvian children are so cute. 
Another cute moment, we are teaching a mother of a young recent convert. Her mother is very pregnant right now, like due at any moment. We had a lesson with her last week about Joseph Smith, watched the movie and bore testimony to them about him. I guess it went well because this week we went to her house to share a message and just striking up conversation we asked her if she had thought of any baby names yet. She replied, I really like the name Joseph Smith. Haha. It was funny because she's not even a member yet. 

I also wanted to say hello or g´day mate to Silvia Gonzalez in Sydney Australia. I went to Huancavelica this week and visited your daughter. She told me that you always read my letters so I thought I would tell you that your daughter is doing great, she is obedient and her Spanish is coming along. (It's really cute hearing her speak Spanish with an australian accent.) 
the Huancavelica sisters and us,
About Huancavelica and our trip, its about 3 hours from Huancayo by car so I went with another hermana leader Thursday morning. My pension warned me how terrible the drive was but I didn't take it too seriously because all the roads here are so bad. It was really bad. I didn't get too sick just a headache but my companion stopped and threw up three times. It's so windy with such high altitude. The city itself is beautiful and a new area to sisters. I sent pictures of their casa capilla and their homemade font so cool!
the city of Huancavelica
This is Huancavelicas casa capilla and their homemade baptismal font.
And the Huancavelica sisters studying in the sun on their mantas. It's cold there too.
We got stopped by cows six times on the way back. haha.
I had been studying this week the theme of the relationship between faith-power- to deliverance in the Book of Mormon this week. It's just everywhere. I have at least ten examples written in my study journal, one of my favorite being Alma the younger's story. Right before the angel left him he told him to remember that when his ancestors were in bondage god freed them, and later in Alma 36 when he tells the story to his son he said he called out to Christ and he was freed. It is obvious that he Lord wants us to know that if we have faith in him, he will help free us. From any trial, weakness, sin, suffering, natural man he can free us. I know that is true and that he loves us.

Hope you have a great week!

Hermana Rhoten 1