Monday, April 28, 2014

Hola everyone! We had an awesome week!!

Lots of ups and downs with investigators but overall good :) Looks like the birthday parties were fun this weekend! Dads 46 now right? Pretty old. And Lewis tomorrow is 2!! He is so cute with his cake. Love the photos of all the cousins :) I got your Easter letter this week!! I loved it. Thank you so much!
 The super good ice cream fruit things the Perez family always gets us.
The weather here has been way cool! I didn't mention it last week but everyday the past two weeks we've have thunder lightning and lots of rain. Sometimes hail. Except for today actually :) But its still really warm! We love the rain!! Especially walking outside all day in the heat. Definitely an answer to our prayers :)
Our investigator Jorge works here.
 He gives us free ice cream or in this case frozen bananas dipped in chocolate and granola. He only works weekends tho.
Me and my banana
The other day while we were planning we went through the area book of past investigators and there was an Elder Ward that served in my area. Sydney Ward's brother served in this mission yeah? I asked the Perez family yesterday and they were all really excited and started telling stories about him and how great of an Elder he was. It's cool to make connections like that. Even though I don't really know him. Hopefully I get to serve in one of the wards that Lance served in. That would be way cool! I also found out that I'm the first American Hermana in this ward in the past 25 years or so. It just sounds cool :) 
Pretending to crash on the couch at the Perez's house today. I really miss having a couch. 
Transfers are tomorrow but my comp and I are both staying in this area which is what we expected because I am still in training. We are both WAY stoked tho! We didn't want to leave. We have lots and lots of investigators right now but not lots that are progressing. Everyone is very kind and willing to listen to our message and be our friends but they don't actually want to change or go to church. We are praying to find the people that are really prepared to hear and accept our message. We are trying hard to be totally consecrated to the work and exactly obedient in every way. We feel like we are planting lots of seeds but not many are growing right now. Ive been told that this is one of the harder areas in the mission because people have a little more money and don't think they need anything else.
Last Sunday in our ward before transfers.  One of the companionships is leaving.
Our area is like a little town with tons of little stores and the there's a bunch of gated neighborhoods. We teach lots of people from work which is really fun! Everyone knows who we are by now and is always looking out for us and offering us food or flowers from our flower shop friends :) I love my companion and am excited to work with her for another transfer! I have learned a lot from her. Our ward is working with us more too :) I am excited to skype in a couple weeks and share more stories. I'm out of time to type any out right now but I love my mission and am so grateful for the opportunity to serve.
We went out to breakfast today with the Elders and Diana.
Breakfast this morning
Diana did my nails today.  She is crazy good at it.

Guess what?! One of our investigators just barely called and said she wants us to come by tonight :) We are WAY excited because we had been teaching her almost daily since I got here and she was on date for baptism and gone to church and felt the Spirit testify so strongly when she was at the Visitors Center but she didn't want to accept it and told us last week she was done because she didn't want to change and accept that Joseph Smith was a Prophet. She is 17 and has come SO far the past few weeks so we really didn't want to lose her. Hopefully everything goes well :) We really love and care about her. 
My decorated desk area
Anyways I'm out of time! Sorry nothing too exciting this week. But all is good and love being here in Mexico! I have learned a lot and truly seen that through faith in the Lord we can accomplish great things. He is our Savior and King. 

Have a good week! 

Hermana Rhoten 2

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hola! Feliz Pascua ayer!

   Sounds like you had an awesome week! I love all the fun pictures :) 

This week was really great! I learned lots and my Spanish is skyrocketing!! I love the language and am way excited cuz I finally have a personality in Spanish. Like I can joke and laugh and understand much better. My comp and I would always joke that I am a different person in Spanish but its finally getting to where I can be myself which is nice :) I can hold one on one conversations in Spanish and talk on the phone too. And I got to speak yesterday in church and everyone told me they could understand everything!! I talked about love and charity relating it to missionary work. Although I'm sure they wouldn't say if they couldn't. We have an awesome ward. All so kind. 
My district
This week was the Semana Santa here in Mexico. So break from school for the kids and lots of people out of town on vacation so it made it a little hard to schedule appointments but we still stayed very busy :) They don't celebrate Easter like we do like candy or the Easter bunny which is sad but my comp and I decorated anyways! Thanks so much for the package! I shared lots of it with our district. The chocolate covered coconut almonds didn't make it to Easter Sunday..... :) But they were really good!

Me being the Easter bunny Saturday night.  We decorated the ironing board.
I also got grandmas card in the mail! Thanks so much! I would write back but I realized I don't have any international stamps. I will try to find some. About food, we eat with members once a day around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. For breakfast I either have an omlete with oregano, avocado, lime, tomato and cactus flax seed corn tortillas... or a protein shake with frozen bananas or spinach smoothies or oatmeal. Then well have a snack around 11 or 12 after studying before we head out to work. Usually a granola bar or apple or mango. Then in the evening we might have a fruit or snack or not. Just depends. But they food here is great! We eat good for sure.
My spinach smoothie. Green for my Easter breakfast.

Our soymilk collection. We are obsessed and always have to stock up. we thought it was funny there was so many tho. This brand is wayyyyy good. lots of different flavors. you should see if they have it in the US
 Otro picture is yesterday we ate at Diana Perez con su familia y had this way good ice cream stuff in a pina. 
This is so good!
Since my companion is one of the Sister Training Leaders for the mission we have divisions with other Hermanas 5 times every transfer cycle. Since there aren't many Hermanas in this mission and they just started coming in December, almost everyone is training still or just finished training. When ever we do divisions I go to the other area with that trainer and the other new missionary goes with my comp. It's been way fun to see other areas and get to know other Hermanas! They are all so amazing! Friday morning I was in an area about an hour from mine and we had an earthquake! It was pretty sweet! It wasn't that strong but it lasted quite a while. Well I thought it was like 30 seconds but everyone I've asked says it was more like 2 mins. But it was way cool! Everything was shaking and we pretended we were surfing :) We've been told they have them a lot here and sometimes they can be pretty bad... so well take more precaution next time... tehe :) 
All of our zone today.
One day I was with Hermana Brasga and her area is a little more sketchy and with two American Hermanas... we got so many looks and calls but it was fun too! A group of little girls ran up to us and were all excited and begging us to speak English for them. It was really cute! :) Lots of people here will call me gueta which means blondy. 
Candy from the zone activity
Yesterday I started memorizing the Living Christ in Spanish during my study. I hadn't gone through it in a while and was grateful for the chance to reflect on my Savior and His life. It reminded me of how much the Atonement has helped me in my life and how it strengthens me everyday. I know that Christ lives! I know that He is our Savior and King. He is guiding this Church and directing this work. "He is the light, the life and the hope of the world. His was is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His Divine Son."
I met Tracey Porter who is a friend of James Olsen and his family at the Temple visitor Center. Last night they had a thing at the visitors center where the hermanas there sang and President spoke. It was for investigators. So many missionaries from all of Mexico city were there! We brought Romina with us. It was way cool!

I am so grateful for my calling and opportunity to be a missionary! Hope you all have a great week! Oh! And Happy Birthday to Padre this Sunday!!! Love you and hope your day is extra special!! I will be sending a birthday gift package sometime within the next month. So... your gift is coming really late but it will come :) I gotta find something really cool and Mexico.. ish. I want to find a Mexico tie because you always wear Miranda's Peru tie....But well see :) Love you all lots!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Rhoten 2

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hola familia y amigos!! I feel like I just barely wrote!

The time goes by so fast on the mission. I had an awesome week though!! I really love it here.

I'm going to use some of my email to reply to Emily Cabbage's questions from a few weeks ago. Sorry it took me so long to reply. Email time goes by quick! But I was happy to hear from you and hope you and your family are doing well. Have you moved to Spokane already?
First was about the families we teach here. We teach the coolest people. Really. We have some awesome investigators and less active people we get to serve and work with everyday. Story time. Last week we contacted a family on the street who has a taco stand we pass several times a day. Not like a normal taco stand... like tacos de nasty stand. Its called carnitas here. But the meat is like all swirly like intestines or there's the flat flubbery stuff and other random chunks. Its smells too. They were so so nice and agreed to meet with us again and hear about our message. We passed by again and Alfonso wanted us to try one of his tacos. We were terrified. But luckily we had just eaten so we didn't have to make up an excuse that time. We kept avoiding it all last week til Tuesday after our district meeting we were walking back and he called us over and we couldn't ignore it. My companion confessed that she was vegetarian and then they asked me. Well I couldn't lie so I said no and agreed to try one. They are honestly some of the sweetest people ever so I felt bad making up excuses. His face lit up and smiled big. How many do you want? Three.. four? Oh... One... two.. is good. He pulled out the swirly flubbery nasty meat stuff and chopped it up with a huge knife and slid it onto a couple tortillas. Then they throw on some onions and lettuce salsa and lime and handed it over. I added extra lime hoping to drown out the texture and smell. At first it really wasn't that bad. Then the meat started falling out and my stomach started churning. I choked it down with a smile and as he was helping another customer (yep people buy them) I snuck the fallen meat in the trash bag. I was SO proud of myself and handed him the empty plate so relieved. And then! He put on another one. My heart broke. My companion saved me by saying we had to hurry to an appointment. I asked to take it on a paper plate so I could eat it on the way. Phew. We went back to the house and took some pictures then threw it away :) Later when we described it to the Elders they said they were pretty sure it was brains. But they were proud and bought me a mango :)
I could taste the taco the whole day no matter what else I ate to cover it up. It was so gross and my appetite was gone. Later that night we had our first lesson with their whole family. Alfonso, his wife, Myriam and their two boys. Alfonso began describing his love for God and the Savior and how their family prays together every night. I couldn't help but smile. This was the family we had been praying to find. I must have been smiling pretty big cuz he stopped and told everyone to look at me.

 He referred back to the first day we contacted them in the street. My comp was talking with his mother and he started going off about his whole life story and his faith. I was trying hard to listen but my Spanish skills are still in the works so mostly just smiling and nodding. Out of no where he asked. How do you feel? I paniced a little bit cuz I had no idea what was going on. I was like uhh right now? or about the gospel message we share? He replied. No. How do you feel all the time? Yes. I can answer that! I then bore my testimony to him of the Savior Jesus Christ and of the hope and joy that comes through living His gospel. And that I wanted to share that joy with the whole world. He didn't really say anything back so I wasn't sure if he had understood my broken Spanish. My comp was done talking so we left. 

Back to the lesson. He began to share with his family what I shared with him that day. How hope and joy can come through the Savior. He told my companion and I that our hearts were clean and pure and he could feel it from the beginning. He told me that when I told him I wanted to share the joy of the gospel with the whole world there was a light around me and he decided that he needed this joy in his life. My companion and I smiled. They were prepared to hear our message. I had never been so touched and suddenly that brain taco didn't taste so bad anymore. 

We had their trust and were ready to share :) They accepted our message and now we are just trying to get them to quit working on Sunday so they can go to church and get baptized.

I'm getting low on time but another cool family we found this week asked for us as we passed by their shoe store. Lots of families here live together. Like Grandma and Grandpa with their kids and grand kids all in one house. It's pretty fun :) The grandpa, Roberto, is pretty deaf so he is hard to teach. And his wife, Ana Maria, is half paralyzed so she can't communicate very well and can't write either. But she can hear and understands us very well. Yesterday we taught her the Restoration and she began to cry when we shared the first vision. She is so kind and an inspiration to me. 

The other questions were about the food.... 
The ice cream here is way good!! We eat tortillas with EVERY meal. But they are way good too. We get lots of cactus and beans and chicken. Usually fruit for dessert or rice yogurt stuff. Lots of soups. Lime and salsa with everything! I really like the food here :) 

Children here...
Since lots of families live together the kids get to play with their cousins lots :) They do a lot of things like we do in the US. The other day a little girl was watching Enchanted just in Spanish. The children in are ward are adorable and love the missionaries! Yesterday we had a testimony meeting and I was shocked how many children got up to bare their testimony here. There was a line on the stand. It was really cool. 

Well I better get going! Hope everything is going well at home! Love you and talk to you next week! 

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Rhoten 2

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hola Familia!

I took a picture of myself Saturday cuz I realized I didn't have any from the week. Proof I am doing well.

Sounds like you are all doing well. This week has been great :) I'm getting a lot more comfortable with the area, people, language and everything now. I had been SO excited for conference and heard that missionaries get the choice to watch it in English or Spanish. Then Tuesday at our zone meeting they announced that President wanted everyone to watch it in Spanish. I wasn't all that excited but decided that I was going to work extra hard listening and comprehending in Spanish all week so I could understand the messages. It was difficult at first and I was trying to translate a lot in my head and follow the mouth of the speaker to read what they were saying in English and then put it onto my notes. But gradually through lots of prayer and concentration I was able to understand just about everything that was being said. It really was a miracle!

Later Sunday evening we were visiting a member's house and they were just about to watch the Prophet's talk from the morning session... in English :) (their daughter is an English teacher) I felt SO very blessed and don't think I've ever in my life been so grateful to listen to the Prophet's voice. After working so hard to understand in Spanish all weekend. This was my sweet reward.  
Yesterday after conference together the Elders wanted to take a picture to remember the day. Goes me then my comp then Elder Inguez, Macias, Welch, and Gallardo.
We have been trying really hard to work with the members in our ward more to get references and investigator lessons in their house. In the MTC my teacher emphasized that we often think the missionaries are in the ward to do missionary work and then the members help out with our work when they can but instead it should be the member's work and we are there to guide them through and help them out in every way we can. We set dates to do FHE with all the members in our area this week and challenged them to bring neighbors or friends. We are hoping this helps! And on that note... family back home... I want to hear about your missionary opportunities :) 

We had so many little miracles this week! Some really really good days and a couple that were a little tough. But even on the hard days when we feel like everyone is rejecting us and we've been walking all day with little success, we still see the Lord's hand in His work and know we are not alone. Friday was one of those days. Everyone bailed on us and we were really struggling to find people to listen. And it was hot. About 6 in the evening and still hadn't taught a single lesson which was discouraging coming from having 11 opportunities to share the gospel the day before and an investigator we've been working with since I've gotten here commit to baptism :) Anyways that was a good day. Really good day. But back to Friday..we past a little store that is owned by a less active member family. We literally didn't even have to try. They introduced us to their friend and told him he should listen to our message. We talked for a min and it was clear that he had been prepared to hear the message. We set an appointment and were about to leave when they were like aren't you going to give him something? He loves to read. I pulled out a Book of Mormon and bore my testimony of its truthfulness. It doesn't sound like much but after feeling so beat and rejected all day, having the chance to share this divine truth with all my heart to someone who was ready and willing to listen was the greatest blessing! I love sharing the gospel and am reminded every time why I am here serving and struggling to understand a new language and culture. And also they gave us a mango popsicle :) And as we were leaving I found a peso in a bush. Yep we were happy. 
This is Deana. The one who made us breakfast today and is going on a mission.
One of my favorite talks this past weekend was Elder Uchtdorf about gratitude and how we can choose to be grateful in any circumstances. My companion and I made a goal to help each other become more grateful people. To not only share the hope and happiness that comes from the gospel but honestly live it too. There is ALWAYS reason to rejoice. And that reason is the Savior. I also loved David A. Bednar's talk about coming unto Christ and letting Him take our burdens. I can testify that I know this is true. It is possible to live with a PERFECT BRIGHTNESS OF HOPE because of the Savior and His infinite sacrifice. We are never alone in this life and I am so grateful for this knowledge.
I also loved the many messages of families! I can't even express how grateful I am for my family. That's something I've noticed more since I've been away from home. I am so very blessed and love and miss you lots! 

Con mucho amor!

Hermana Rhoten 2