Monday, March 31, 2014

Hola Familia!!!

Madison Rose!!! I am so glad to see your birthday party was a success. I love you so much and was thinking about you all day. And congrats on your cheer awards!!! So proud of you and sounds like softball is going well!! The volcano you were asking about is here in Mexico City but is not in my mission. I've heard there are awesome ruins and pyramids here too but also not in my mission. But maybe if you come pick me up in a year and a half we can go :) Crazy that you are driving now!!! Be safe. And a 22!! So cool. I'm sure dad will take you shooting soon. I expect to hear EVERY detail about this date. Not sure how I feel about that yet...
The giant tower thing we were in. We went up 41 floors in the elevator.

All my district. 3 elders from Mexico one from Ecuador and 2 from Bountiful from the giant tower thing we went in
We took so many pictures. Here is some from the top.
So many people
This week was great! Kinda crazy. We had to travel to the mission office/visitor center/temple area 3 days in a row! Wednesday my companion had to go get her finger prints and sign papers for her visa. I stayed at the visitors center with the other companions. I love the Spirit there. The Hermana I was on splits with had a shift at the front desk. It was really slow so I asked her to read with me en El Libro de Mormon and correct my pronunciation. She didn't know English and we only had the Spanish Book of Mormon so whenever I didn't understand a word she would act it out to help me understand. We had a lot of fun and it really helped my Spanish too :) Thursday my companion had a training meeting again so I went with the other companion and studied and gave some tours at the Visitors Center again. Friday I had to go get my finger  prints and sign for my visa so my comp had to wait this time. It made for a busy week and only half days to teach in our area.
Me in the Visitor's Center at the temple.
Mexico City Temple
The rainy season is coming!!! We had a few sweet storms this week here. When it rains it pours and sometimes hails a little... then it stops and everything is flooded. Like PERFECT puddle jumping status. I love the rain!! But we definitely need to start carrying our umbrellas :)
This was after I cut my hair yesterday before the rain.
My light brown shoes after the rain.
My companion and I after the rain
Life in the city is great! Food is great! Haven't been sick from it at all. I discovered a new obsession with guavas yesterday. They are SO good. SO GOOD. And the mangoes here too! Makes my mouth water just thinking about it. I sent a picture of our nasty beetle things. We find a few everyday and I check my bed every night. We have fun checking for them every time we get home and then spraying them and watching them squirm and die. We hear a cricket every night. Not sure where it is. I named him Roberto. Sometimes he makes me feel like I'm camping but then I'll hear an airplane flying above us and remember I'm in one of the biggest cities in the world.
Our crazy nasty beetle things. This is a few days worth.
The work here is going well. We are praying so hard to find a family to teach. Since a lot of our area is commercial, we are always finding people to teach that work here but don't actually live in our area. We give them as references and stop by to teach them when we can. Between less active member families and investigators we stay really busy. We were supposed to have a baptism Friday, but her boyfriend and her were going through a hard time and he's the one who had referred her to the missionaries and is a member. She ended up cancelling. She is really great though and we are praying that she will remember the answers that shes received and decide to be baptized soon. 

Saturday we took the Diaz family to the Visitors Center. They had been inactive for 12 years and are have been coming to church the past month and are wanting to prepare to enter the temple now. We have been helping them and talking lots about eternal families and the blessings of the temple with them. We've actually had a ton of lessons this week about families. It made me think of how grateful I am to have an eternal family! 
Taking the Diaz family to the Visitor's Center
My Spanish is improving quickly! Still a long ways to go but I am amazed by how much better I can understand and express myself already. This really is the Lord's work. We have seen His hand in it so many times this week just with the little things. I love being a missionary and being a part of His work. 

This week I was studying in Alma and LOVED reading about Ammon and Alma and their joyful meeting when they returned from their missions. Alma describes the joy he received from bringing souls unto repentance, being an instrument in Gods hands, seeing others truly penitent and come unto Christ, being given a calling to preach and being successful and lastly seeing the success of his brethren. I was thinking of how awesome it will be to see all the fruits of our labors. Not only mine, but Miranda and all my many friends and fellow missionaries here in Mexico City! It is such a great time to be a missionary!! 

Yesterday at church the last hour was combined and the whole thing was on missionary work and how we can hasten the work as a ward. It was awesome! Even though I didn't understand lots of what was being said, the Spirit was so strong and the ward members are really united in helping us work. I love my ward here. They are all so nice. Well times up! Hope you all have a good week and dad gets over his flu!! That sounds miserable. Love you lots!!

Con mucho amor, 

Hermana Rhoten

Monday, March 24, 2014

First week in Mexico!

I love it here so far!! The weather is great. I'm already getting some awesome tan lines. The food is way good. And all the people are really nice :) We take bucket showers but we have a fancy tool to make it I feel pretty spoiled :) Happy Birthday little miss Kennedy!!! 9 today. Then Ryker and Madison this week too!!! And Miranda hits her year mark this week! How exciting! Congrats Madison on passing your drivers test!! Be safe. I can't believe your 16 already!! Stay away from boys. They are no good.. til after your mission :) Oh and congrats Alyssa on your mission call!!! You will love serving in a Visitors Center. The one here is gorgeous. My comp is a sister training leader so I was able to give tours for a couple hours this week while she was in a meeting. It was pretty sweet! You will love the mission!
Our birds
Our dog Waffles. He is really nice and always greets us and is sad when we leave. He looks and barks really intimidating so he's like our guard dog. :) Not like we need one tho. Our area is really safe.
My companion is Hermana Burrola. She is AWESOME!! She is very obedient and passionate about the gospel and missionary work. We work really hard together. Shes 23 and grew up in San Diego. She spoke Spanish in her home growing up so she speaks fluent already. She has only been out 3 months and in this area for 6 weeks before I came. It's a newer area so we have been working hard to find new investigators. There isn't very many Hermanas in my mission. I was surprised because there are SO many at the MTC going to Mexico but not many here so pretty much all the Hermanas that are training just finished their training. Our mission is only 12 miles by 6 miles but there are SO many people here. 30 million in the city. They describe it as being the size of Rhode Island with close to as many people as the whole state of California. We live in part of a inactive members house. They are really sweet and we go over and share read the Book of Mormon with them a few times a week. I sent lots of pictures of where we live and more MTC goodbyes.
Our room
My desk
My Stuff
Our kitchen
The rest of the apartment
Saying goodbye to Hermano Wright
Saying goodbye to Brother and Sister Parks They were in our branch presidency.  Some of the nicest people ever.
This is my district with the other district from our zone that was leaving to Mexico from the mtc.
We don't like to carry our cameras around just to be safe but I'll bring it out eventually and get some fun pictures :) My area is Bosques de Anaituac and the Bosques ward. There are 4 Elders assigned to our ward plus my comp and I. We all stay busy! The members here are awesome and the church is growing fast. This mission wasn't a tracting mission for the past while but they just gave us permission a couple weeks ago to start contacting on the streets again because we weren't getting enough references from members. Our area has several little store..small business things. We teach lots of the people who work there and have made lots of friends. Jorge is one of my favorites. He gives us free ice cream and is very open to the gospel too :)
Park across the street I run at.
I love the food here! They make way good fruit juices and the mangoes and bananas are SO good! We eat with members everyday around 2 or 3. Usually feed us chicken with rice and salsa and ALWAYS tortillas. Warm and sometimes homemade. They are SO good. We had spaghetti at one house that was way good. They put sour cream with it or something. They don't ever pressure us to eat lots and I haven't been fed anything weird or gross :) I eat everything and am not picky. Dad would be proud. My comp is actually a vegetarian so I'm not the picky one for once :) Some people here really don't have much at all and others seem pretty well off. The first house we ate at had concrete walls and floors. They were feeding all 6 missionaries in the ward. The pulled out a wood table and some plastic chairs and covered it with a Christmas table cloth. We had to be careful because the ground was uneven so the table would rock. I couldn't even keep track of how many people lived there. The little kids were all so sweet and were serving us the whole time. It's amazing to me that people who have so little will give so much.
The breakfast we had the first morning at President's house. Was way good!
The language is hard but its coming. It's been very very humbling. Tuesday evening when we went out to work I felt totally useless. I thought I had the language somewhat well in the MTC but I literally couldn't understand anything. But its already gotten so much better! Now Ive gotten to where I always know what's going on but can't pick up every word. I've learned that I can't do anything on my own. I have to be completely dependent on the Spirit to know where to go and what to say. It's really quite wise how Heavenly Father works. Sending me to a new place with a new language. I am constantly praying that I will be able to understand and that I will know what is going on and what to say. I love the people here. I've realized that you don't have to know what someone is saying to get to know them and feel their Spirit. I know it will come with time and am way grateful for the opportunity I have to learn to better submit to the Lord's will. Wish I could write more and tell you more about all of our awesome investigators but I'm out of time! 

I love it here and am learning LOTS!! Hope everything is going well at home.

Con Amor,

Hermana Rhoten 2

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hola!! It's finally here!!

Provo Temple!
Today has been pretty crazy getting everything packed and ready to go, but we are all SO ready and excited to leave! The MTC is AWESOME but we are ready to get out and teach and inspire the people we have been called to serve in Mexico City!! There isn't a ton to say about this week! It went by so quick its hard to even remember what happened. Lots of learning and studying Spanish and the gospel like usual :) Devotional was great as always. Way good. Talked about how missionaries need to gain individual conversion through faith in Jesus Christ, learn to truly LOVE and invite everyone to come unto Christ.
Saying goodbye to Hermano Lebron. He's the coolest guy ever! He used to be like a legit cholo in Cleveland and then was converted and totally changed his life around, served a mission and married in the temple and now has a sweet baby girl. His story is was very inspiring! We will miss him!
My Hermanas!

Hermana Larsen, Nelson, Yost, Me, Jones, Walsh
Saying goodbye to Hermano Christofferson! He was an AWESOME teacher and our first pretend investigator.We learned so much from him. He'd joke saying we could ask him anything, anything in the world.. because he knows everything. And it's true! He always found some sort of answer to every question we had. He is way dedicated to studying the scriptures. It's pretty cool. Us Hermanas would always be so shocked. El sabe todo. No really. Sabe todo!  
Goodbye to Hermano Brown!! 
Thanks for the package! Just in time. Yesterday on the bus an Hermana said she recognized my last name from somewhere and I was way shocked cause nobody knows me here! It's way different than tri-town where there are Rhotens everywhere. She asked if I had a brother who recently got married in the LA temple! Apparently she was in the same ward as Rinamay in Cali! I was way excited! It's so fun to make little connections like that. Her name is Hermana Weeks and she is going to the same mission that Audrey Burton just got called to! I am SO excited for her!!! Congrats!! She said that it is just a few hours from Mexico City!! So cool. Excited to have another Spanish speaking friend. And congrats to Connor Kruetz too! Germany! Way cool. I love hearing about mission calls! Such a fun time to be a missionary!
My girls!
Last day at the temple!
Congrats Madi on making JV for softball!!! That's way legit! And your birthday is coming SO quick!!! 16. Dang. So old. Gonna be in Laurels with mom pretty soon. Sorry mom I don't have much more time otherwise I'd write more to help you out with your lesson but really quick... the first discussion we usually try to focus on making sure the investigator knows and feels the love and nature that our Heavenly Father has for us, understands the pattern of Prophets and how they were rejected... apostasy... so that they understand why there was need for a Restoration and then make sure they understand that the Book of Mormon is the evidence that Joseph Smith was a prophet and in order to know that they MUST read and pray about it with a sincere heart. Every lesson is different depending on the needs of the investigator though. And tell them to ask lots of thought provoking questions so its more of a discussion than a presentation. It took my comp and I a little time to figure out how to do that but lessons are WAY better when you ask lots of questions so that the investigator is pretty much teaching themselves. Sorry I don't have more time! That's really cool that you are doing that though!

Well I gotta get off but I love you all and am excited to talk to you on Monday! I will call in the morning before my flight to Atlanta. I know the Church is true and the Atonement is real. I am so happy I get to share the message of Christ for the next 17 months. I can't wait to see how much joy it brings into their lives as it has mine. Adios!

Con amor,

Hermana Rhoten 2

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Hola!!! Only one more week!!!!‏

Hola!! We got our travel plans yesterday!!!!! I report at 4:30 am next Monday and fly out of Salt Lake at 8:30 to Atlanta and then to Mexico City!!! I am SO excited!! I will be able to call you in the airport. We have a good 2 and a half our layover in Atlanta. This week was GREAT!! It is SO crazy how fast it goes by and how much we learn. Mom I got the shoes you sent! They are WAY cute. And really comfortable. I like them a lot more than I did in the picture and think I'll be set now with three pairs. So thank you!! I am going to send my brown boots home before I leave because they aren't waterproof like I was hoping and it is going to be warm in Mexico. If I need rainboots I'll just buy some cheap ones there. It was nice to have them while I was here in Provo though :) 
Hermanas that left the MTC this past week
And thank you Jana for the package!!! Totally made my day! Strawberries are a lost cause here at the MTC. Well on west campus anyways. Lots of bananas and apples and canned fruit but fresh strawberries......!!! My comp and I were WAY excited! And the dark chocolate coconut almonds. I told my mom I could do without them but I was wrong. They are SO good. Hermana Jones had never tried them so I've got her addicted now too. They are incredible. And butterfinger and peanut butter is the greatest combination. Those are way good too. 
This week we said goodbye to the district in our zone that we had gotten really close with. They turned the Wyview apartments into classrooms for west campus so they were the other district in our apartment and now it's just us. A little bit quiet and lonely but it was easier to focus and study this week! We had lots of fun with them though! There are so many AMAZING people  here at the MTC. I am blown away by the goodness and dedication of all the missionaries and teachers. It really is a special place and an incredible time to be a missionary!!!
Elders and Hermanas that left this week
I am getting really comfortable with Spanish and am not really nervous about the language at all. I know that the Spirit will be able to testify through my broken Spanish and with all the work I'm putting in it will all work out! My comp and I went to a Spanish session today at the Temple and we could understand about 60...70%... depending on how fast they were talking. But I love the language!! My thoughts and dreams are all in Spanglish. Its way weird. And since west campus is all Spanish missionaries whenever we are off campus like for devotionals or pdays we forget that others don't know what we are saying when we talk to them in Spanish. We get lots of funny expressions. 

Everything is going great! Don't know if there's anything else to say. My comp and I made a goal this week to make our companion devotionals each night completely centered on Christ. Each night we look over our many notes from the day and its amazing to see how everything testifies and points back to Christ. He is our Savior and King. I want everyone to learn of Him and the joy that comes through Him. He is the light and the hope of the world. I love being able to wake up every morning and see His name on my nametag. 

We really worked hard this week and it amazes me how much we learn everyday. My comp and I set some more goals on how to keep improving and how to better serve our fellow Hermanas. We are trying our best to give our whole selves to the Lord and hold nothing back. To do all we can each day to glorify God and follow the example of His Beloved Son. We hit our one month mark this past Wednesday!!! That was way crazy! It goes by so quick!!! Only 17 more now. Got to make the most of every  moment. Its the best feeling to come back to the apartment COMPLETELY exhausted every night knowing that we did our best to be consecrated servants of the Lord. We definitely aren't anywhere near perfect but we are giving are all and constantly thinking of how we can give more. My companion is awesome. And my whole district. It will be sad to say goodbye to them next week but SO excited for all the great experiences we will have!  I can't wait to get to Mexico!!! 

Time is getting close to up! Hope everything is going well at home!! And you are having a fun time in Vegas! Happy Birthday Kathryn this week!! And Brenda Sullivan right?! Today I think! That's cool that you get to see Cameron tomorrow. Hope he is doing well. Tell Madison good luck cheering at State! And hope Don and Tara had a BLAST in Hawaii!!! And thanks for sending pictures of the cousins. They are ADORABLE!!

Love you all lots and have a good week!!!

Hermana Rhoten

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Hola familia y amigos!!!‏

Hola!! The weeks go by SO quick in the MTC!! It seems like I was just emailing. I saw Amanda Whitlock on main campus last week before one of the devotionals. Its always fun to see familiar faces. I really love it here! Every week gets better. We learn so much and so fast. My district is very dedicated :) We lose a district from our zone Monday morning!! It will be way weird without them but I am SO excited for them all. The Hermana that was helping me as sister zone leader is leaving so President asked my companion to be the new leader in training!! I was SO happy he did. She is really the greatest. We get along so well and I love her. It will be easier to meet with Hermanas as a companionship and work together to help and serve the Hermanas in our zone. They are all so great. 
Aubrey Callahan and James Olsen - friends from home that are also in the MTC.
Some goals Hermana Jones and I made this week are to memorize a scripture each day either in English or Spanish. We have a good 5 min walk to and from our apartment so we practice reciting then and sometimes during gym time. We also started having a companionship devotional at 10:00 and reflect over the day and our lessons and share scriptures and thoughts and talk about each others strengths and any concerns for the Hermanas in the zone, then at 10:15 its silent time so we can each have our personal devotional time with our Heavenly Father, and lights out at 10:30. Its been so nice to take this time to reflect. It helps calm my mind down from the busy day and I fall asleep much faster. Our last goal has been to really strive to see everyone the way our Father in Heaven would. Not only loving them, but realizing their eternal potential too as a child of God. Its been a really cool experience so far.
Saying goodbye to Hermano Fullmer!! His last day working at the MTC. The teachers here are AWESOME :)
I don't know what else for this week. I do have my visa for sure. That's why I was in Salt Lake last week. They hold onto it with my passport til I leave. Should get my travel itinerary this Friday and fly out the 17th :) Can't wait to get to Mexico!! But I'm making the most of my time here as well! The MTC is a special place and I love being surrounded by other missionaries who are all striving to serve the Lord and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. There's nothing better than being a missionary!!

Have fun with the Hatch kiddos! Tell them I say hi and I love them :) Love you all mucho and hope you are doing well!!!!

Con amor, 

Hermana Rhoten