Mulsay Merida Mission

the puppy that the members here have gifted me.
 they are not kidding. we have to come back in a year to take him home....
quick update since time is nonexistent today:

transfer calls came last night, aaaaand......'Im staying in Mulsay! Again! With a new hija! Her name is Hna Guerra and she's from Panama, has a Perry the Platypus obsession, and likes to run (my first companion ever on the mission who wants to exercise — woohoo!). Basically, I think we will get along quite well. And basically I think I will be in Mulsay for my whole mission. 

I'm going to send pictures to update you on the last three weeks, and promise a real email the next. Love you and miss you always!


Familia Mena, my favorites. They moved all their beds outside and sleep there every night. They are so cool

a door that I want to have when I am older

Hna Soriano teaching Hna Romina how to read. Isn't she lovely?
Hna Lupita's baptism. She is incredible. As in, she came to church fasting, paid her tithing, and came with us to visit new investigators. Her new life goal is to follow God, and well, she's doing just that. 

Hna Soriano with her lime leaves. She would pick flowers off every tree we passed. 

Cruising in our moto taxis


dear family,

It seems like this whole transfer I have been living by the Dan in Real Life mantra: "prepare to be surprised." In the middle of our morning lesson on Tuesday, we received a call that brought another change of companion — I am now with Hna. Soriano, a 79 year old that is serving her second mission here in Merida. Her name is Esther, and her whole character and level of faith reflects the same depth and strength of the Bible character. We get to use umbrellas and sombreros (just one of the perks of having a senior companion), and as we walk under the shade that covers us from the Mexico sun, she tells me about her life and her husband and her faith. She went to school three times — first to study accounting, then psychology, and then computers. She got married at the age of 40, had one child and a good and full eleven years with her husband until he passed away suddenly from a heart disease. Sometimes she talks about how much she misses him, and sometimes she doesn't have to tell me that she misses him because his absence is just felt. She calls everyone chicos, hermanitas, jovenes, etc. and the other day during personal study, she informed me that the entire time she was reading she heard a heavenly chorus in her mind and in her heart. I am beginning to believe that my new companion exists in a world that is closer to the heavens than that of the earth, because she really means what she says and lives what she believes and says what her spirit feels. She is new in the mission, and so we have begun her training which will last another week until transfer calls come on Sunday. I love her so much and think I want to be like her when I grow up. 

Despite the rounds of changes and learing to adjust to changes, I think that perhaps the hardest part about a mission is beginning to see others as God sees them and feel for them as God does, too — at least a particle or fraction of what a Heavenly Father feels for his children. We had two lessons this week that taught me of God's happiness and sadness — one when we were teaching Hno Alonso, and the other with Hna Lupita. Hno Alonso is an 18 year old who has been a member for four years. He started turning away from God one he started making choices that moved him farther from Him and farther from his potential. I am beginning to realize that that is all bad decisions do; move one farther away from their Eternal Father and their eternal potential/being. As we sat outside the doorway of his one-room pink house, my heart began to feel heavy with sadness that had never found place within me ever before. It was of a heavenly kind, and one that I am sure our Father feels every time one of His children chooses to forget Him and who they are. Alfonso is entrenched in a world of drugs and bad friends and bad choices, and it is so apparent that he isn't really happy at all, even when he pretends to be. And then there is Hna Lupita — our recent convert of two days (yay!) who makes me feel Gods happiness everytime I enter her home and her presence. She has given up everything for her Father — her coffee and tea and her Sunday job. She gave up all these things of the world so willingly, perhaps because she began to realize who she is and who God is and what really matters. 

The most interesting part about these two lessons and these two feelings of sadness and happiness is that in both scenarios, I was able to feel of the love that God has and feels for these two very different people. He loves the one who has separated himself from him, and he loves the one that has just begun to follow and know Him. I am beginning to believe that that is the greatest mystery of God: His mercy and His justice. Yet after everything, I still think that His mercy will far out rule His justice, and that HIs hands will be stretched out still in the end. How grateful I am to believe and know a God of justice and righteousness, but also of love and mercy.

Wishing you a week full of God's tender mercies and love. I love and miss you, dear family of mine!

love love,
Hermana Rhondeau


gozo celestial

dearest family,

My heart is still full of a type of eternal joy after seeing you and talking to you and realizing that everything and everyone is still the same. Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky — how out of all the families across mountains and seas, God gave me each of you for this life and the next. Perhaps this is one of the greatest things the mission has given me: a realization of the eternal and most important. And, well, I am just happy that you are each the most eternal and most important to me. 

There were so many other words that I wanted to say during our short time together, such as: the mariachi band that our bishop hired for the Mothers Day activity (full blown costumes and singing and dancing — it might have been my favorite thing to experience so far here, and I might be listening to mariachi music all the time once I am home); the baptism we had for Hna Esmeralda and Hna Marilyn, the daughters of two less-actives that have started coming to church again and have started to prepare to be sealed in the temple (sidenote: Hna Esmeralda had to be baptized three times due to technical difficulties, and it was slightly funny but also horrible because things like that always seem to happen to her); riding in the back of our mission leader's van, which happens to have no seats, which meant that we were sliding around on plastic chairs and a wooden bench (don't worry, we are actually really safe here. And yes, I got this experience on video); another accidental lizard killing, this time including a door; preparing a baptism for this week and then having to cancel it again because of problems with the Word of Wisdom (have I told you that this has happened to me three times? Like, every time we have a baptism prepared, our investigator drinks coffe or tea and then we have to wait another week? It is so sad its almost funny how many times this has happened to us. Our Zone Leaders are probably beginning to wonder if we fail at teaching this commandment); and experiencing the best Sunday in the history of the mission, because one investigator surprised us at Church, the other one came like he said he would, Hna Esmeralda and Marilyn had their confirmations, and we ate cake during lunch. One quickly learns on the mission that seeing other people doing the right thing is a sure way of becoming happy. 

One of the greatest things that happened this week was Hna Lupita. We had our first lesson with her last Monday, and within the first few minutes she had already informed us that the previous week she had bought a white dress and that she would like to be baptized. She is literally the coolest fifty year old I have ever met. She rides a motorcycle, bikes around every single day to sell her bread, gives us fruit and cake and jello every time we visit, and likes to surprise people in a good way. She waits for us every morning in her one-room house, sitting in her plastic blue chair next to her small wood table that holds her Bible, her Book of Mormon covered in a map of the Yucatan, and all the pamphlets that we have given her. Sometimes she tells us about her great and tragic love story — how she loved one but married another. Sometimes she tells us about her loneliness, sometimes about her search for God and the person that wouldn't let her find Him. But most of the time, she tells us about her happiness and the eternal type of happiness that she has found in the true Gospel of Christ. She told us how she had never felt true happiness before she started learning about the Church, and that a small hole has slowly been filled with each word and each eternal principle that we have begun teaching her. It made me realize that the only way to true happiness is through living what we believe, because:

pues he aqui, tan facil es prestar atencion a la palabra de Cristo, que te indicira un curso directo a la felicidad eterna. (Alma 37:44)

Wishing you a happy week, dear family of mine. Miss you and love you always!

love love,
Hermana Rhondeau


not the best quality, but the only picture I have of my companion. we were teaching Hna Yajaira, who is wearing my comps glasses, and who was answering all of our questions in English. She is the cutest.
dearest family,

This week we felt like we went on vacation, because 1) we made about six trips to the hospital, and 2) we were ordered three days of rest, which meant we really didn't work at all this week. Moral of the story: not working made me realize how much I love working. On the plus side, we got to take taxi rides on the freeway (who knew Merida has a freeway?). I liked this part — traveling across a foreign country with low, cloudy skies and heavy raindrops, and yet not feeling quite so foreign to this part of the world anymore. I love it here; the colors, the faces, the words, the language, the kindness, the humility, the buildings, the hands that made these buildings. It has become a home away from home, and one that I hope to keep and hold forever. 

With only two days (kind of) of working this week, there isn't a lot to report. Only that we got to eat IHOP and Dairy Queen and pizza — we thought each of these food options were really good ideas, until we actually followed through with these great plans and ended up feeling all the worse after. I guess we have become a little too accustomed to Mexican food/Mexican culture, because we felt super out of place when we went to the mall right next to the hospital that made us feel like we were in America. We didn't like feeling like we were in America. Besides our food adventures, we ended up finding ways to entertain ourselves while confined to our little jail cell (house), such as watching "The District" (1 AND 2), replying to all of our received text messages with scripture references (yes, it is possible), and starting to read the Book of Mormon in Spanish for the second time in order to prepare ourselves for when Elder Bednar comes to visit (in three weeks!). 

With the few lessons we had this week, I have started to think a lot about the law of sacrifice — how much we are really willing to give up in order to do God's will and be His true disciples. There are so many people here that are willing to give up things of the world in order to fulfill the laws of heaven and obtain those eternal blessings from God. We taught Hno Tony the Word of Wisdom last week — something that we were a little nervous to teach because he has friends that he knows are not good influences, but who have always been his friends and who he continues to choose to spend time with (sidenote: everyone should just choose good friends that make you want to do the right thing and be the right person). In our following lesson with him, we asked him how everything was going with the Word of Wisdom and he casually answered that he hasn't been drinking for the past week and a half. He told us that every time his friends start drinking, he drinks apple juice, and with that response we loved him a little more and awed at his faithfulness and strength and also about the fact that he wasn't embarrassed to drink apple juice in front of his friends. He is starting to leave the things of the worlds to follow the ways of God. 

There are so many people here that do that — choose their Heavenly Father over everything else. This land really is full of people with believing blood; people that believe in something greater than themselves and want to talk about it, too. They are willing to sacrifice and live that law of sacrifice. The girl that didn't eat for two days in order to have enough money to travel to enter the temple; the family that wakes up early for church every morning so that they can pass by for a person that wants to believe in God and go to church to show it; the couple that pays their tithing even when they don't have enough to buy food — each of these faces and these stories are lined with markings of sacrifice and faith. How grateful I am to be in a place with a people that is teaching me more than I could ever teach them.

Wishing you a bright week/CANT WAIT TO TALK TO YOU IN SIX DAYS! 

love always,
Hermana Rhondeau 

a picture of a sign that we pass by every sunday, because every sunday people sell and buy cochinita here. we don't know why, but it is so Yucatecan and we love it.