frozen mangos with chile that I thought was strawberries until I ate it and almost died because it was so spicy.
dearest family,

Have I ever told you about the moto taxis here? The little motorcycles with seats and a covering attached to the back that they use for transportation? They are slightly hilarious (maybe google a picture) but also convenient, and Hna Pitcher (my new companion) and I have decided that we are going to invest in one for our traveling adventures in Provo once we return home. We have become quite seasoned travelers in the moto taxis because Hna Pitcher is under doctor's orders, so she can't walk for long periods of time and has to avoid certain types of food, which means I get to enjoy the benefits of payed transportation and more healthy meals (the perks of having a sick companion). I absolutely looove Hna Pitcher — she is from Utah and has been out for exactly a year. It has been quite the luxury being able to speak freely in English after six months of non-stop Spanish, remembering Utah summer nights and Bear Lake raspberry shakes and family movie nights and sleeping in a bed. I absolutely love working with her and learning from her and being reminded of a home that is far away but never forgotten.  

Some of the things I liked this week:

·  eating a chocolate cake that tasted like our family chocolate chocolate chip cake. As much as people love their sweets here, they dont know quite how to make them like the Americans.

·  sitting outside on a patio under the scorching sun, listening to Hna Rosita and Hna Grecia (recent converts) talking and not being able to understand anything Hna Rosita was saying. She is the sweetest elderly lady that was baptized a year ago. She has taken the initiative to start learning how to read and write in her later years, and has just learned her vowels. We talked about Christlike attributes and she talked about charity and we just loved her a little bit more because she is charity and light and love and is the type of person that I would have liked to know when she was young with her eight children. 

·  learning the words for 'kill joy' and 'spoil sport' in Spanish, which directly translated mean "water party"

·  practicing how to be baptized with two little girls that we have been teaching that are going to be baptized this Tuesday — brought back memories of when dad practiced with us in our front room before our baptisms — keeping the Rhondeau traditions alive here in Mexico. 

The greatest most wonderful experience of this week happened on Saturday when we went to visit Hno Tony (note: I might just talk about him in every single email). He has been praying for weeks to receive an answer that the Book of Mormon is true — it was one of his greatest necessities (one of the sister training leaders here told me that an investigators greatest necessity is the thing that is preventing them from fully coming unto Christ and receiving the fulness of the Gospel — I liked that definition). When we arrived at his house, he began by telling us that he read a chapter in the Book of Mormon, prayed, and had received an answer that it is true. He then followed by asking us when he could be baptized. My heart has never felt as full or as happy as it did in that moment, hearing someone telling you that they know the same things you know to be true; hearing then tell you that they have felt that same joy in receiving an answering and knowing.        
Sometimes missionary work is hard (i.e. walking and not finding, teaching and not feeling the Spirit, eating things that you would rather not eat, missing home and the people and places that make it home, failing yourself and failing others and failing God). Yet all the hard things are quickly forgotten when someone that was once a stranger and now a friend tells you that they know what you know is true.  

The mission is becoming so much more to me: changing, progressing, failing, trying again, learning, relearning. I love it. I love that God and His goodness are so clearly and fully manifest here through the people we contact and meet and teach. It is amazing and awe-inspiring to think that four weeks ago, Tony was just a name on a reference sheet from missionaries that had contacted him one year ago, and that now he is a person that thanks his Father in every single prayer for sending the missionaries to his home and giving him the means to make a great and good and real change in his life. This mission is so good. Life is so good and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so good and so true. 

Wishing you a good week, dear family of mine. Miss you always but love you more.

Hermana Rhondeau

last day working with Hna Huerta —we celebrated with a popsicle and a mango smoothie that they put in a coffee cup. 

our merida house. we love it quite a lot. 

did I tell you we ate shark?


dearest familia,

It is so hot. Sweating is the new normal. To beat the heat, Hna Huerta and I have been finding new ways to stay cool, i.e: freezing bananas during the day and making banana ice cream for a midnight (10 o'clock) snack, eating frozen mangos with chile (I just found out this week that Mexicans eat everything with chile. Literally everything. Hna Huerta taught me the list of all the types of chile they consume in this part of the world, and it was quite a long list), showering with cold water (even though we are the only missionaries in the whole area of Merida that have hot water), and trying not to jump into every kiddie pool outside of every single house. Among the highlights of this sun-filled week: 

1) teaching Hna Sitlali, a 20 year old who can't hear. We contacted her on the street earlier this week and then returned to teach her, putting our faith in the fact that the Spirit speaks all types of languages and could help Hna Sitlali understand our hand gestures and scriptures. It was perhaps one of my most favorite experiences of the whole mission, sitting outside in plastic chairs on a hot patio while she was swinging from a homemade swing, reading along to the words of hymns and smiling the whole time. She is a great person of light and goodness, and for a moment I was almost brought to tears in gratitude to my Heavenly Father for giving me a small moment of seeing one of His children as He sees them — I saw her as one of the most valiant and purest and perhaps one of the most loneliest, being reminded of the fact that there are a lot of people that live lonely lives because of their circumstances. We are hoping to find someone in the ward that speaks sign language so that we can continue teaching her. 

2) Hno Tony is progressing a lot and we just kind of love him a lot. We teach him every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday outside his house with his little five year old brother who always accompanies us with his new kitten that he is obsessed with (literally, he is in love with his cat. Whenever we sing, he places the hymnbook in front of his cat so he can read, too, and whenever we pray, he crosses the cats paws as if he were praying, too. I hope I explained that well, because it is hilarious). Hno Tony is still having a hard time accepting the Book of Mormon to be true, but is still preparing for his baptismal date and always ends the lesson with a prayer, thanking God for bringing great joy in his life, and asking for this joy to stay. 

Today we rode the bus into Centro really early. Usually when we have to take the bus in the early light, we end up standing and holding onto the railing. Most times, I like being able to stand up in a moving bus and view the sea of people sitting on the two rows of plastic chairs lined along open windows. I always feel a greater love for these people every time I see them and wonder about them and their lives. Today, I wondered a lot about what every single one of them were thinking. While the wind and the blasting radio created a type of noise on that 20 minute bus ride, everyone else rode in silence. No one talks to anyone on the bus, and for this very reason I found myself wondering about what they were thinking and where they were all going and why they were all on this same bus and what motivates them to wake up early in the morning and take a crowded bus that only moves them farther away from home. I've been thinking a lot about what motivates people, especially in terms of what motivates a person to the point that they are really converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every conversion story in the Book of Mormon talks about a true conversion that comes after hearing the words of eternal life and repenting in order to obtain that great promise. I suppose that this is part of a conversion — really understanding what it means to have the promise of eternal life, what it means to repent and use the Atonement of Christ in order to get that good blessing. But I also suppose that a true conversion is different for every person that this good Gospel finds and changes and converts. The Gospel has found and changed and converted me because I came to love my Father and my Savior with such and deep and wide love that I feel as if I would do anything in order to please them and return to their presence. I guess my conversion came about after I came to really understand and feel God and Christ in my life--a conversion that came out of love. 

Wishing you a full and happy week,

Hermana Rhondeau

P.S. the assistants just called and we have special changes tomorrow — I am staying here and getting a new comp that is sick (¿? details are nonexistent) and Hna Huerta is going to another area — we are kind of sad. kluvubi 


Hna Yajaira (an investigator) and Hna. Damaris (a member of the ward who is literally the most beautiful person I have ever met, and who has a personality that matches her loveliness)
La Familia Uh Colli, a family that we have been trying to reactivate for months. We absolutely love them, despite the fact that they never smile in photos (I don't know if this is a Mexican thing, or an Uh Colli thing)
we made a fort out of a mosquito net while waiting for transfers. yep, this is what we do for fun.
Hna Carmen and Hno Alfonso Jr — we stopped by because I thought I would be getting transferred and we hadn't been able to visit Hno. Alfonso (their dad) in weeks. There are three more of them in their family, but only these two were home — oh how I love them!

our district. there are only four elders in our zone (the zone leaders and our district leader and his companion), so they call us the Relief Society.

 Hna. Eloisa, a woman I began teaching with Hna. Martinez and who lives in Hna. Martinezs are, got baptized this week (!). It was lovely and she looked so lovely in her white dress

buenas tardes familia mia, 

This will be a quick overview of the week because most of the pictures I sent speak louder than the words I can write about this life over here in the Yucatan:

+  we got transfer calls last night aaaaaaand ... I am staying in Mulsay for another transfer! With Hna Huerta! I think I will have about seven months in total in the same area, which is great because everyone says Hna Huerta and I started the mission in paradise — which is perhaps true because we have a great ward and a Costco-type store real close and a house that is first class. We are re-opening a part of our area (kind of, sort of), because they closed the area of Hna Martinez, and so Mulsay 2 will go back to its original form. 

+  we had the worst first lesson ever on Thursday. It was a reference from the offices and we went to teach him with a member. I think our conversation included just about every single principle and commandment that we have in the Restored Gospel. As in, the Word of Wisdom, Doctrine and Covenants, baptism, the preisthood, and a whole other bunch of doctrine that really shouldn't be included in a first meeting. However (miracle of miracles) he accepted another visit and we are just believing that he will really be there when we go back. 

+  a member informed us that a lot of the Chinese restaurants in Centro were shut down because they were selling dog meat and saying it was chicken. It just so happens that Hna Huerta and I ate Chinese food in Centro. Two times.

These past couple weeks I have been reading a lot about the life of Christ in the New Testament, learning about his ministry and his example and his divine goodness. A feeling of gratitude and a type of eternal love for our Savior has grown within me even more as I have begun to see other people coming to a knowledge of their Savior. Hno Tony (our fave investigator — can we have favorites? I don't know) didn't really have a solid foundation of faith in God and in Christ, and it's perhaps for this reason that his conversion process has been my favorite. Because now through the scriptures and through true doctrine, he is coming to know his Savior and Redeemer and is beginning to believe in his divinity and his power to rescue us and to heal us and to be our friend. I thought a lot about how we can come to know Christ in a real and solid way, and not just as a divine but distant person that gave his life for those of the past, present and future. I found a little bit of insight and greater light in a quote from Charles Edward Jefferson, who explains:

"To be a Christian is to admire Jesus so sincerely and so fervently that the whole life goes out to him in an aspiration to be like him. We may come to know him through the words he spoke, through the deeds he did, and also through his silences."

Through his silences. I like that we believe in a Savior that was not prideful and one who did not seek attention, but rather one who taught us more through his humility and his silences.

Aaaaaand, due to lack of time: wishing you a week of joy and silences, in which you can find and know your Savior a little bit more. 

love love, 
Hermana Rhondeau


con la familia Vargas, a family we are trying to reactivate.

dog on a roof

this good gospel

dear family,

It is a nice and almost not-too-hot night here in the Yucatan. Sometimes I wish that you could all visit me for just one minute or one hour or one day so that you could all see the sky that looks like heaven and feel the sun that beams its light a little too close and a little too much. Beneath the heavens and the sun this week, a lot of good things happened. But before the good things happened, I started off t with a really bad haircut. Like super bad. I don't know if it was my lack of Spanish skills or just a really bad understanding, but it resulted in Hna Huerta having to re-cut my hair and console me with the fact that hair, like most things in life, will always grow back to normal. U'm, Im just hoping that it grows back really soon. 

Despite the haircut, this week was full of good lessons. On Thursday we taught Hno. Alberto, a sixty-something year old man who has listened to the missionaries once before. I loved him even before he opened his wooden door, and I knew that you would each love him to because his house is hidden under the branches of a grand tree that guards a home of hanging plants and wooden ladders and green doors that lead into rooms full of bookshelves with old books and old globes and old notes from his grandchildren. To make this all the more better, Hno Alberto is the picture of an old weathered sailor. We think he worked on a ship for years because he wears navy blue shirts with anchors and sail knots, and he has the hands and disposition of someone who has learned how to work hard. We taught him about God and His eternal happiness and how this great plan leads us to eternal life. He started crying because his wife passed away four years ago — four years and he still cries because he loved her and still loves her in an infinite and real way. I want to learn how to love like he does. 

We have also begun teaching an investigator that is progressing really, really well. We have been praying for a long time that God could lead us to the people that are truly prepared to receive the Restored Gospel, and God answered our prayers by leading us to Hno. Tony. He is a twenty year old without a religion, and for the first lesson we taught him about the Restoration outside his house under a starlit sky while his five year old brother accompanied us with his two newborn kittens. It was perfect and in that moment I knew that God gives me experiences like these to remind me why I am here and to remind me that there are always good people who are looking for good truth. Hno Tony is one of these good people; he is someone who has always believed in God but has never felt like any of the other religions have filled his expectations and beliefs in God and His principles. He came to church this Sunday to watch General Conference (which was probably slightly overwhelming for his first time at church, but hey, he came and he liked it and he wants to go back). I am always the happiest on the mission when people start feeling the good seed of the Gospel begin to grow in them, and when they start acting on these feelings. I like it when people promise to do things that will help them come unto Christ. I think it takes courage and bravery and faith to do that, and I like it when we find the courageous ones. 

The other happenings of the week included a missionary activity for our Stake, which included a mini Visitors Center that we created in the Stake Center, full of rooms depicting the life and miracles of Christ (shoutout to mom for sending me with things that other missionaries don't think they need, but that save the day when we have to create our own mini visitors center — you saved the day). We also got to watch Conference on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday I got to watch it in English with all the other Americans, and it felt so good knowing that my Father still speaks to me best in English. I have been able to feel the Spirit much more strongly lately — I feel him speak through me and touch my heart more than before. I felt the Spirit really strongly during the first Saturday session of Conference, testifying to me that every word from these called prophets were good and right and something joyful. The Gospel is perhaps the most good and joyful thing I have ever experienced. It is something familiar, and something that I want to have forever. 

So happy to hear that Coronado was just as good as it has always been. I thought about each of you more than usual this week, knowing that you were all together. Love you and miss you always. 

all my love,
Hermana Rhondeau