Monday, June 30, 2014

Buenas tardes! Can't believe another week has already passed!

The time flies on the misión. There's always so much to do and so much to improve but I am loving my time here and learning a lot :)

We had our zone activity this morning and made jerseys with spray paint and played soccer. It was way fun. I am starting to get better at it too. Everyone plays soccer here. One of our investigators came too! He's 17 and had some hard trials in his life. He's pretty quiet but always willing to listen. He said that he wants the góspel to be true and he is searching for an answer so we know he will find it :) I think he really enjoyed getting to play with all the Elders though!
Zone activity shirts!
World cup is huge right now! We planned our baptism yesterday for the same time Mexico was playing on accident. Not a ton of the ward stayed... but it still turned out really good and the room was still full :) Mexico lost 2-1. But everyone still partied. Lots. We might have found a few people passed out drunk on the streets.
Bautismo ayer!
The streets during the game yesterday! Mexico was playing in the world cup. Totally empty and silent and then every one cheers and screams at once. They lost though.
This week my companion and I really tried to focus on charity and truly just loving each and everyone of our investigators. We have a good amount right now and it's hard to know how we can help each and everyone of them. We have been trying to rely on the Spirit a lot to tell us what to do and say to help them come unto Christ and participate in the blessings of the góspel. I feel like all of my thoughts are centered on them right now and there really isn't time to think about or focus on anything else. But I hope everything is going good back home! I will print off your emails and read them soon :)
Cleaning out the font because the drain wasn't working!
I was really happy to get grandmas letter this week! It's always fun getting letters in the mail. Also Happy Birthday to her today! I hope you have a good one and everyone spoils you good! Actually would you mind sending me a picture of all my grandparents? I can put it on my USB drive and print it. I have a good collection of fotos in the house but don't have any with any of them in it. My companion and I love telling stories about our families and sharing the things we have learned from them.
Ready for the rain!
I can't really think of any good stories to tell this week. We had a pretty crazy experience last night.. but probably better to wait and tell that one when I get home. Oh we had an awesome zone conference Friday with President and his wife. It was all focused on The Book of Mormon and how important it is in our personal conversión and in converting our investigatores. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon in my life and know that it was translated by the power of God. I am almost finished reading it in Spanish and love that the Spirit can really speak to us in different ways no matter how many times we reread it or what language. I know that our Heavenly Father knows and loves us perfectly and He wants to bless us. Better get going but hope everyone has a good week!
Con mucho amor,

Hermana Rhoten 2

Monday, June 23, 2014

Another week living the dream in Mexico.

I really love it here and especially right now. We are working really hard and seeing lots of success too. 

I'm not sure if I've said this before but in our area, every street is bosques de and a country. Its pretty fun! Before we had the Americas and Europe sections and now we have Asia and Africa too. They are grouped by continent so we are getting really good at our geography skills. And learning all the countries in Spanish. My companion loves it too! We joke everyday how we are literally walking all over the world. It's pretty entertaining.  

This week... we had lots and lots of RAIN. Just last week I think I mentioned how crazy hot it felt and how we were missing the rain.. but yeah it came back. everyday we have lots and lots! Tuesday it flooded like crazy!!!! We walked all they way from a lesson in Mongolia to France then home to Colombia in the pouring rain and hail with my tiny umbrella. An RM in our ward came to the lessons with us. We were completely soaked but had a good time running and jumping trying to dodge puddles. I really wish I could've taken pictures of the street we had to go through. It was almost knee deep and dark and really really cold! We couldn't run through fast either cuz there are random holes that you can't see. It was a pretty sweet adventure :)
Came home soaking wet once again.... and this time we had umbrellas too! It was crazy!! Lots and lots of houses flooded and streets like rivers. We felt like pioneers having to walk home in it. Our feet were frozen!!! It always rains lots during this time of year but they said it hasn't been like this for four years.
Lots of houses flooded.. including ours. But our neighbors let us shower in theirs upstairs since ours was full or nasty water. The first real shower I've taken since I've gotten here. I was SO grateful. I've gotten so used to the bucket I forgot how nice it feels to take a real shower. But we also mentioned that to our neighbors and it sounds like they are going to fix our shower soon :) After our showers we made hot chocolate and cleaned the water out of the house. Lots flooded again last night. It's given us some service projects though! This morning we went to help mop and clean an investigators house. Their white floor was totally black. 

We also had citas like crazy this week!!! All day running from one to the next. We are really happy about all the work in our area right now and excited to keep working hard! Agenda is just about full again for the next week! But it sounds like next transfer President is going to put another companionship in and split the area again like how it was before because its pretty big but were excited to have it all for at least another month :) 

The hardest part about being a missionary is having to accept that other people have their agency. It happened twice this week with families that we had just began to teach and were sincerely interested and already reading in the Book of Mormon and excited to learn more.. then they talked to their pastor from their church and were told they needed to read their own Bible and quit listening or else they would get confused and have new ideas and it would be bad for their family. It sure is hard when we really love and care for them so much and know of the blessings they could receive. I can't imagine how our Father in Heaven feels sometimes when we choose to deny the blessings of the gospel He wants so badly to give us. I know He loves us and has a plan for each of us.

On the brighter side this week we also had five people accept a baptism date. We now have several that we are helping prepare and SO happy for each of them. One of them is named Blanca. She is the sweetest lady EVER. She should be a Disney Princess. It's fun to teach her because she pretty much already believed everything that we believe. She just didn't know where to find the truth. It's so fun to see how happy she is to have found the path. 

Another new family from this week is Alejandra and Hector and their two little kids. They are way cool too! Alejandra had been less active for few years and Hector isn't a member but we are going to help him prepare to be baptized. They recently got married and have a goal to be sealed in the temple and have an eternal family. They came to church yesterday for the first time. Since he works until late we got permission to teach them early and study after. Wednesday morning we have a cita with them and she told us to come hungry and she's gonna make gorditas! Never tried them but I've heard they're pretty good :) 
Diana bought me a natural sweet dark chocolate chunk wild honey peanut butter while she was in Arizona!! I was SO happy :) Shes the greatest. It's WAY WAY good. I took a picture of it :)
Anyways... I love all the people here and could spend lots of time talking more and more about them but I'm pretty sure my time is up! Hope everything is going well back home! I really am planning to go shopping soon and send a package home... hopefully :) Hope the first week of swim lessons went well for Madi and Siena and the Hatch reunion was super fun! I haven't read your emails yet but I will print them now :) 

Love you and pray for you lots! Have a good week!

Hermana Rhoten 2

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hola!!! Wow. What a good week!!!

Last picture with Hermana Burrola at the transfer meeting! Saying goodbye.
I'm exhausted. I feel like I worked harder this week than any other week in my mission. Probably partly because the rain went away this week and it was nice and toasty all day everyday :) With transfers I got a new companion and now there are only 2 other Elders in our ward instead of 4. They gave us the area that they closed so our area just doubled and we have lots of work to do! Our agendas are already just about full for the next week! Which is great! We never have to think of what to do next because there's always someone to visit and work to do here. I am so happy to be in Bosques another transfer and feel like our area has a lot of potential right now. I hope I stay for a few more months. I love being busy though and am really really excited to take over the other area.
Mom made the agenda this transfer cycle :)  And Christ.. but He's made everyone so far.

My companion is Hermana Fowler! She is from Wyoming and has the same amount of time in the mission as me. It makes it a little difficult sometimes because we both have to work really hard to understand everything. Before we both had fluent comps that could help us but we do good still and can pretty much understand everything :) I love her already and it was a lot easier than I thought to adjust our teaching and living and everything. She works really hard and I have already learned a lot from her. We are both really excited about the members and the work here. It's gonna be a good transfer for sure! We also have a really awesome district and zone. This week we received references like crazy!! That rarely ever happens. The ward is really supporting us. We are so blessed :)
My new companion!! Hermana Fowler. We might look kinda gross... We were all hot and sweaty from the activity at the park... but we needed a photo :) 
Most random thing ever. The week of Easter when mom sent me my candy package, My comp and I were eating the chocolate covered coconut almonds on the way back from our district meeting and shared a couple with Milton, a guy that we pass by a lot and asked us to teach him English but we can't cuz he's not interested in the gospel. But anyways, the other day he stopped me and asked what those chocolates were and where he could find them. I thought it was way funny cuz it had been so long and he was so serious about it. They really are that good though. He said he would pay for them if you send more. :)
And my scavenger hunt team from today! President and Hermana Anaya planned the activity for the Visitor's Center Sisters but they needed a couple more to make the teams even so they invited my companion and I :) It was pretty sweet. We got third place.
Tuesday night Romina planned her first family home evening :) She invited the Bishop's family, the young women's presidency and their families and some other friends she has from the ward and us :) I just love her and love watching her progress! She LOVES sharing the gospel and is always willing to go to lessons with us. We had a ward activity Saturday that we had been planning for awhile with our ward mission leader. It was an open house deal with all the organizations in the church so people could learn more about our services. The turn out was awesome and we found some new investigators that are excited to learn more :) 
Missionaries have fun too :) The secretaries and assistants went to help out.
I can't even say how much I love this ward and all the people here. We are so truly blessed :) Were cutting email time short because we still have lots to do but I love you all and am so grateful for the support I've received. Oh! Also super sorry that I forgot to wish Dad a Happy Father's day last week! All the days blend together and I forgot what week it was. I hope it was a good one Dad and hope you know what a great example you are to me. I have learned so much from you that is helping me serve here more effectively. I am grateful that you taught me how to work hard and be diligent. I love you lots and will be excited to go hunting and fishing with you when I get home. Seeing all the pictures from Roosevelt makes me a little jealous. I miss yours and Randy's fish! We pretty much never get fish here. BUT... Hermana Benita (Diana's mom) has made me some the past two Sundays.... :) Yep. They are the greatest! Honestly. They help us so much. She is home doing my laundry right now.....and her husband said he could come fumigate all the cockroaches out of our house :) There's lots right now with the heat. We are so grateful for their service and friendship :) 

Have a good week everyone! I know that this work is real. We see the Lord's hand in it everyday and know that the promises blessings are sure. I know that God loves us and we are His children. He wants each of us to return to live with Him. And He has provided the way, which is Christ. I know that He is my Savior and Redeemer and King and because of His sacrifice, we will never be alone. I know that change and repentance is real through His grace. Through sacred covenants, we can feel the hope and the power of His Atonement in our lives. I am so grateful for the gospel in my life and the opportunity I have to share the joy and blessings with the people here :)

Con mucho amor, 

Hermana Rhoten! 2

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hola! Another great week!! We have transfers tomorrow!

I'm staying here in Bosques but Hermana Burrola is getting transferred!!! We just barely found out! So we have lots to do today!
Taking photos of myself this morning so I could show you the cool sweater that a girl gave to me! Its way cool.
Highlights from this week.....Tuesday night the Elders had a baptism in our ward!!! And!!! They asked Romina to give the talk on baptism and share her testimony!! It was the best thing ever to see her up there and hear her testimony. I gave the talk on baptism when she was baptized and used the bookmarks I made with Grandma with the baptismal covenant on it to explain what we promise and what Heavenly Father promises us in return. Then when she was talking she pulled out her bookmark and did the same. It was a really cool moment. All the scriptures she shared to were ones that Hermana Burrola and I had shared with her. It's been amazing to watch her change!! She made a goal to read the Book of Mormon in two months and is already in Mosiah 10!!! She is constantly giving us all references and loves going to lessons with us too. She is amazing!! 

We've been working a lot with an Hermana in our ward named Shulamit and got some AWESOME references from her this week!! Shes really an amazing woman! Her daughter is Rebecca that was in my photo last week. She is constantly thinking and praying of how she can do missionary work and has been inspired of many ways to help us. I'm pretty sure if every member of the church was as motivated to do missionary work like Shulamit we'd probably be ready for the second coming. She's really great! One of her friends is crazy prepared!! She signed up to have us for food, coming to church and has accepted everything. It's so cool to see that the Lord really is preparing people to hear His message and accept His gospel. 

Family Diaz is doing really good too!! We have been working with them a lot and it's way sad that Hermana Lucy isn't there anymore but it's been cool to see too because her daughter Gaby has totally taken her place. She hadn't been that interested before but now she inherited all of her mothers scriptures and study material and is really progressing and becoming active again. Her faith and desire to share the gospel and strengthen her family in this hard time of losing there mother so quickly has been really inspiring.
Oh Thursday my comp had a training meeting and I went with the other training leaders comp Hermana Young to her area :) It was way fun! Shes really awesome. She actually went to school with Mindy Strong at BYU Hawaii. She's from Olympia. One of their recent converts, Claudia, had this really sweet sweater on. I told her that I really liked it and wanted to know where I can get one. She said that she wasn't sure how to get there but she could probably find one.. then she had me try it on and then was like actually I'm just gonna give it to you. I tried to offer her money or something but she wouldn't take it! The sweetest girl ever! She's only 20 and studying to be a nurse and learning English too. Another very inspiring person. And its seriously the coolest sweater ever. I'd been looking for a new one because the only comfy jacket I brought was stolen a couple months ago.. I forgot it outside at the park though so it was my fault. But yeah I was WAY happy!!

This weekend my companion has been really sick! Saturday and Sunday we did divisions a couple times and Diana went to teach with me and Hermana Burrola stayed home with her mom. It was WAY fun! Shes going to be an incredible missionary!!! Their family has seriously helped us SO much!! I don't know what we would do with out them. Well.. think I'm out of time and we have lots to do today so I better go!! But I know that this church is true and this work is real. I love being a missionary and am excited for this week! Its gonna be a good one. Way sad to lose Hermana Burrola though. We've become really great friends! 

Hope everything is going well at home! Love you lots and lots. Have a good week!

Con amor,

 Hermana Rhoten 2

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hola!!! Another AWESOME week!

At Rebecca's house for our comida before the rain.
I can't believe how fast the time goes by! I usually try to write a little note card through out the week of things I want to say but I didn't have time so hopefully I can remember. So many good things happen on the mission and I've had lots of cool experiences. It's hard to fit all of them over email. 

Yesterday we had a crazy Sunday! It's always hard picking up everyone in the morning because church starts at 8 so lots of times we pass by and people aren't ready. We had one investigator that was confused and took the camion to the temple! We felt so bad!!! But it was an awesome fast and testimony meeting! Lots of investigators came between us and the other four Elders. I really love this ward! 
Walking back in the pouring rain. We forgot umbrellas but Rebecca was coming with us to our next appointment but she couldn't find any umbrellas either so we all put on big coats and walked to grab some from our house. It's a good 20..25 min walk from her house and my clothes were soaked through the coat! Crazy rain.
Us with Rebecca! She helps us lots with lessons! She just barely turned 19. We are hoping she will decide to serve a mission :)
Saturday night some Elders in our zone called and asked me if I could come play the piano at their baptism. I can play a few songs so for our zone meetings I've played but just like three songs I practiced before my mission. They must have not sounded too bad because for some reason people think I know how to play the piano now. It was for a 10 year old girl so they wanted me to play I'm trying to be like Jesus while they sang. I told them I didn't know how but I could try the right hand. They were all like yeah yeah that's fine. It would be really special for her. So they got President's permission and we headed over there after the first couple hours of our ward. I prayed a lot and practiced a little and was able to get through with the right hand sounding fine. It was a honestly a miracle though! I'm impressed that Mason could play that song so well for my farewell! It's hard. Tell him  not to quit ever... because it will come in handy on his mission for sure! Now the other Elders in our ward want me to play for their baptism on Tuesday. But an easier song :) 

The little girl was really thankful that we were there though! People aren't really used to seeing Hermanas so they treat us like celebrities. It was pretty fun! After the family of the girl invited us over to eat with the Elders. It was super good too :) When they asked where I was from Elder Rodriguez told them Guadalajara and they totally believed him! I had already been talking for a while so I guess my greenie accent is getting better :) I've been told by lots of people that I learned really fast. After we went straight to another baptism for some Elders in our district. The whole district went to sing and support them. It was a beautiful service for a young family :) 
I ate crickets this morning at Diana's house. I had been told that they are really good. I really just did it for the picture at first but they actually aren't bad at all. Once you put it in your mouth and bite down. That's the hard part but after they are way good :)
Also last night we had a family night with the Diaz family! We LOVE them and it turned out really good! It's interesting because they are all in different places with their testimony. Ivan recently reactivated, Gaby starting to reactivate the past month, her husband Paco starting to have some interest but not a member, their dad inactive and angry with the passing away of his wife. We taught the plan of salvation with all of them and talked about how they can strengthen their family and prepare to have an eternal family. When I laid out my plan of salvation visuals on the table, Paco was up out of his seat to get a better look at it. The look on his face was like I had just revealed all the answers to life. He was so fascinated it was cool to see. We really do take for granted the blessing of having the gospel in our lives. The Spirit was really strong during the whole lesson and we had a really good time. They are such an awesome family and we really really want them to be together forever. I know they can get there. 

We received some golden references this week too from a member we love working with! There really are people prepared to accept the gospel here and we are really excited to teach them more! One of them went to mutual Friday with her daughter and the other already came to church with her father and signed up to feed us this week too! There are the nicest people here and we still feel like we have lots of work to do so hoping neither of us get transferred next week! 

I think that's about all my time! Sorry for writing late again! We had a zone activity at a park and took most of the day. But it was super fun!!! We played capture the flag and ultimate frisbee and played around with footballs and volleyballs. My companion doesn't like to play but it was fun playing with the Elders. Mission life is the best! I am working hard and learning a lot and have seen so many miracles! So grateful for the opportunity God gave me to be a small part of His work! The Church is true :) 
Zone activity today! Missing a couple. Bunch of Elders had special changes today! Weird cuz we have cambios in a week. But it sounds like they are moving a lot of people around.
Have a good week everyone! Good luck with finals Madi! Love you lots!

Con mucho amor, 

Hermana Rhoten 2