Monday, July 28, 2014

Gracias for birthday emails! You guys are all the best.

Feliz dia de independencia! It's Peru's independence day today. Everyone is in fiesta and there are flags everywhere! I decided I need to buy a peruvian flag, I'm basically Peruvian now. 
This is Eloy. He is like an angel. He is so faithful. I just love him.
I've learned reflecting back on my week that God really does keep his promises that he gives to us as missionaries. It has strengthened my testimony so much to see that God supports us in everything that we do.
This picture is called my mom is the best.
Our area is huge so we walk a ton here and occasionally have to climb mountains to get to houses. We finish each day so exhausted. Despite this my companion has a really special talent of finding service opportunities. We have been able to serve almost everyone we have taught this week and have had really great experiences. Sometimes when the houses only have dirt floors we sweep the dirt so that it's nice and pretty and even. I have seen that we have been able to keep going despite being so tired fulfilling the promise that we will receive strength. 

I always photo bomb her pictures.
I know we aren't supposed to share things like this until we are home but i decided it's fine because it was a really spiritual experience. My companion and I were coming back from a lesson at night in an area that had lost most of its light, we were alone walking down the mountain when we came across a group of 15 drunk men, a group that I recognized. I hurried to pull my hood up to cover my hair color but it was too late and looked up to make eye contact with them. It was like they looked right at us and then went on their way, they didn't even say anything. Normally they would have at least shouted at us if not have given us more trouble. My companion turned to me and said Hermana, it's like they didn't even see us! They didn't even acknowledge we were there. We must have been protected. God promises that we will receive protection and power over our enemies. 
  An everyday occurrence. Sheep are everywhere. More than dogs almost in these parts.
We felt the spirit a lot this week that testified of our words and gave us the power of God to the convincing of men. We taught someone that had been taught many times and been invited to be baptized with much rejection. We taught to his needs, testified and boldly invited him to be baptized. He paused for a moment and accepted. 

This week was also super busy with hermana leader stuff. We made several trips to the office, helped with sick sisters, made a million phone calls, helped the new area of Jauja sisters who don't have anything in their apartment and I went apartment hunting all day Friday because they had to find one by this week and get all moved in. One of my responsibilities as an hermana leader is that my area is supposed to be an example area even as you complete everything else. When the end of the week came we realized that we had increased our lessons by a lot despite all of the to dos. The scriptures promise that God's arm will be our arm and it is true. 

We are promised that our joy will be great! Also true. There is nothing happier than helping other people. I love missionary work.

Have a great week! 

Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, July 21, 2014

Hola Familia! So I bring good tightings of new beginnings and happy news this week!

First off I we had transfers on Tuesday! I am still here in Concepcion with a new companion.  She's actually one of my best friends in the mission and when they told me I was so excited. She's from Honduras and I love her! She speaks really differently, and uses lots of different words. I sometimes wonder how she understood anyone when she got here because it's so different. If I finish my mission with her I will speak like a Honduranian and say things in vos. They call Honduranians catrachas so she is my catracha. She seems to have all the strengths for my weaknesses. And she is hilarious because she is very direct. She definitely doesn't let people walk all over her.  We have already decided that I am going to visit her when she gets home. Her home sounds beautiful, it's hot (and we are freezing) and there are Mayan ruins there. She has taught me a lot about the Book of Mormon from actual central American history. Anyone else want to go?
This is my companion! I love her she is my favorite catracha!
Saying goodbye to my other companion always sad.
When I said we are freezing I meant it. It hailed this week. And its been raining a bit too so sometimes we are wet. My poor companion came from the jungle and is freezing. But we just bundle up and have seen so many miracles.
It was hailing outside yesterday and she was freaking out because that never happens where she is from.
We have had such a busy week. Everyone was working so hard because we had a special ward conference Sunday. They had it in a local place near the plaza because they were trying to make it a big deal and if that was the case not everyone would fit in the little casa capilla. All the members were out in the streets with us Saturday inviting everyone to it. The conference went amazing! We had a total of 180 people there! The stake members spoke and at the end made a huge announcement! They have bought the land to build our church here in Concepcion! It's huge too! The third hour of the meetings we all went to look at it and had a little program there. We all sang the Spirit of God and some of the families that first joined the church and started it all here 30 years ago bore their testimonies. The Spirit was really strong, and their was definitely lots of excitement. Even though I won't be here to see the church finished it meant a lot to me. The church is growing, and the Spirit of God like a fire is really burning.
We were helping this man sort the sticks and leaves out of his abbas. He uses this tequnique  that only works if their is wind.
This is my favorite recent convert. 10 years old, only member in her family, lives 20 minute drive from church and travels alone to be there every week! Future missionary for sure.
This is a less active member that we have been reactivating! Shes came to church twice after many years of not coming. I really just took this picture because her baby girl Sofia is so cute. All women here carry their children on their backs like this. I was talking to her about how to do it and they told me I need to practice with a bag of stuff first and then I will be able to do it. They showed me how to tie the manta and everything. I guess I just need to practice. Watch me carry my babies around Walmart like that someday....just kidding.
My area is huge!
I learned a lot from studying about the relationship between our hearts and our understanding of the things of the Lord this week. Ezra prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord and do it. In third Nephi after Christ had finished speaking he told the people to prepare themselves for the next day, and they must have done it because in the next chapter they were taught and baptized and received the Holy Ghost. In a latter verse it says that their hearts were open and they understood. I am thoroughly convinced that they understood because they had prepared to seek out what they were supposed to do and did it. It really is true that we only receive a testimony after the trial of our faith. I have seen this so many times in my mission. Those who decide to act and be obedient receive such great testimonies, as will we when we prepare ourselves to always do the will of the Lord.

Hope you all have a happy week! 

Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hola Familia!

So before I start, the craziest thing just happened. We saw a group of German tourists just now and were in the combi with them. It was so weird. I couldn't stop staring at them. They were so white and just looked so out of place. I totally understand why everyone stares at us now.
Visiting Huancavelica last week again. I love these two, and the one taking the picture which was also once my companion.

The drive to Huancavelica is so pretty. Cameras don't do it justice. It's on a cliff the entire way.
Our trip to Huancavelica last week being stopped by a herd of donkeys. Normal occurrence. But it took a good 15 or 20 mins to get through it.
And now about my week! So the fiestas are calming down, my companion was almost kissed by a drunk man this week but other than that the city has been pretty tranquillo, meaning calm I guess. I like tranquillo better.

My week was mostly spent taking care of my companion who had the most lovely of stomach infections this week. It was a bad one, she threw up everything she ate for an entire week, even sometimes just water and we both didn't sleep much because she was up a lot of the night. We taught a few lessons at the beginning of the week and she had an emergency at a member's house in San Jeronimo.  The member led her to this outhouse with a bucket, a lovely experience for her and after that we called it quits until it got better. We finally went to the clinic on Saturday which is always a scary experience here but we survived. Seeing that the bathrooms didn't have any sort of soap or toilet seat and the nurse taking blood over full blankets not worrying about the spilling of it I would say that is a great miracle. We count our blessings.
This is from counsel this week. It's crazy how many of us there are. And how many gringas there are now. When I was called I was the only one. It's lots of fun though.
A highlight of my week was a visit from Sister Henderson who brought us a heater! She had remembered me mentioning that we didn't have one and with us being stuck in the room a bunch this week she thought to bring us one. She drove all the way out to Concepcion to bring it to us. So nice and thoughtful! I love her.  The heater is little and it sounds like a lawn mower (it's loud) and we can't use it to much or it will blow our circuits but we are so happy!
our heater and a missionary desk
The honest truth is that I have realized that I feel sad when I'm not teaching. I learned a lot from the scriptures this week being stuck in the room a lot but I hope that next week we can hit the week running full speed. When I started my mission I loved to study every spare second that I had and was always reading and I still do love to learn but I have realized that as time has gone on that my joy has been found out in the villages in the cold teaching and talking to people and just helping them feel the spirit and live the gospel.
Cute little old lady, our investigators wife. Not my favorite picture of me but she's cute.
I learned a lot this week from studying the sermon on the mount as a whole. (3 Nephi 12: 3-12 and Matt 5 too) Christ teaches us what constitutes blessings and being blessed and also teaches that for everyone who suffers there will always be a reward, opposite to what was suffered. Most of the time the fullness of these blessings don't come until after this life which shows me that this life is the preparation for a greater future. There is such great hope that comes from living the gospel and such great promises for a future with God someday. All will be made right in the end if we do our part now. 

Hope you all have a great week! 


Hermana Rhoten 1

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hey guys! This week was busy.

We had two divisions one in Huancayo and one in Huancavelica. I would have better pictures but my companion is super sick today and forgot her camera. Also happy Independence Day everyone! Last year my companion was Bolivian so we didn't celebrate but this year we kind of did. The Elders pension invited us over to make hamburgers. She even printed out American flags and put them in the window. It was so sweet of her.
The flags in the windows are from our fourth of July celebration.
Concepcion is a HUGE fiesta right now.. Every time I think that Peru has taken parties to the next level I am always impressed again. I thought it with Santiago, Purple month, Christmas, Carnival, and with the Negritos. This week of July 2nd to the 11th they are celebrating like three big festivals. One is the anniversary of the city of Concepcion,  the second one is the anniversary of the war that took place here against chile and they are also having a celebration of anise bread. That one's a little random.
This statue is in the plaza always. It's of the war from Chile.
Just so you guys get a taste of what its like here this morning while I was studying there were thirty bands passing through our block and in the plaza. It was so loud I couldn't hear my own thoughts. I guess today all of the bands are just from other parts of Peru but later in the week there will be some coming from other countries like Colombia and Mexico. We have seen thousands of people in costumes all week, wherever you are you smell beer, one of the days there were dances of little ones and another day there was all the adults dancing, multitudes of people. There is a huge market too. We always have a market but this one is a lot bigger and has a bunch of breads made into different things like turtles and dolls and things. They had some motocross thing going up by the giant virgin statue up on the hill. To be honest I didn't even know that Peruvians did motocross. Oh yea and the day of the anniversary of the war there was a huge reenaction of the war in the plaza, costumes and fire and the whole works. I guess Peruvians know how to be festive. With all the parties we haven't gone uninvited. We were invited to join in with the dancing even though we weren't dressed up or anything. This man even grabbed my hand after we said we couldn't and tried to dance with me. When we were in Hualuas the men on the combi also invited us to go to another party.
The city is Huancavelica
One of my favorite moments of this week was when we were contacting in one of the little villages. We started talking to some little kids and this little girl asked me Why are you white? I was like well there's this thing called genetics but it mostly has to do with that my parents were white. She seemed to be satisfied. Most of the kids out there have never seen white people before.
This picture was on our stake bulletin board and I thought it was funny. It says if your girlfriend says she is going to be ready in five minutes take a seat and read your Book of Mormon.
One of our jobs as missionaries is to boldly call people to repentance. There are lots of inactive members in our area and I feel like we have to do it often. This week I had a cool experience when relating the example of keeping covenants to a woman who always promises us she will go to church and never does. We talked about the converts of Ammon who had promised to never again take up arms. They were in a time of war where their friends were suffering and dying because they were defending these converts. They almost did but Helaman talked them out of it because he was scared they would loose their souls. We talked about how even though people were dying it wasn't okay to break covenants. 

Sometimes we will feel like the option to keep covenants won't have the best consequences. I personally don't think that sending Helaman (who to my knowledge has no military background) to be in charge of 2000 young men with weapons was the best option either. But the lord provided a way. They were protected and kept their souls. To those of us who have made covenants with God we must keep them. If we have broken them we must repent. The Lord has promised us that as many times as we repent with real intent we will be forgiven. Moroni 6:8) Let us be a covenant keeping people

I hope you all have a great week! 

Hermana Rhoten 1