dearest family,

Sorry for the short email last week — I read a chapter in Mosiah this week about how King Benjamin's people were so full of the Spirit and the mercy of God that they couldn't give words to their feelings. I guess that is how I felt last Monday — full of the Spirit and God's mercy and love. 

This week it rained and rained until we forgot what it was like being hot all the time. Lightning, thunder, and wind for a good two days. Then on Saturday it went back to being a hundred degrees plus again ... we are learning to find joy in the heat and in the sun. Because there are so many things in which we can be joyful, such as: 

1) Hermana Villalobos is now addicted to peanut butter. We both eat toast with peanut butter and bananas every morning — small victory on my end. 

2) The elders in our area are our new best friends. Elder Harris is training Elder Linares, who just got here two weeks ago from Mexico (I realize that I am in Mexico, but everyone here believes that the Yucatan and everywhere else in Mexico are two very different countries). Elder Harris is from Idaho and has a little more than a year on the mission. Sometimes we think he is like Mr. Knightley from "Emma," because he demands respect with his goodness and pure kindness. We get to eat lunch with them every so often during the week, which are now some of our favorite days of the week. They are wonderful. 

3) Recognizing the perfection of God's timing in all things. Mario told us about how he first came to know about the Church this week as we sat outside on his porch on metal rocking chairs that are actually really comfortable. He told us how he had been a drummer in a band with his friends, and that one weekend they traveled to Campeche to play in a concert. He was only there for two days, but on the last day he met a girl who happened to be a member of the Church. She is from Cancun and had gone to Campeche for the concert. They started talking and continued talking long distance for a year. During this year, he went to visit her a few times. He went to church with her and listened to the missionaries and started going to church here in Zazil-ha, but by this time there weren't any missionaries so that he could receive the lessons and be baptized. And then Hermana Villalobos and I showed up. And I started thinking, how did God know that a twenty-two year old needed to go to Campeche in order to meet a girl from Cancun in order to find Him and His truth? God is perfect — in His timing, in His wisdom, and in His love. Mario read Moroni chapter 10 this week, and even though everyone always talks about verses 3-5, he liked verse 32 the best: 

Yea, come unto Christ and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves all ungodliness and love God with all your might, mind, and strength, then in his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ. 

My heart is full of Christ's grace and His love. I will forever be grateful for this (almost) year that I have been given here in God's wilderness — learning to love His children and becoming perfected through His Son. It is hard, a lot of the time. But it is also glorious and joyful being able to know and learn from those that have heard the good word and chosen to be perfected in their Savior. 

sending all my love and joy your way,

Hermana Rhondeau


loving with the spirit and understanding

dearest family,

I feel grateful today — for the mission, for the people, for the hard moments and the glorious ones. It is a strange feeling when one gets to the point of not wanting to return to the same life as before. I read an article by Parley P. Pratt the other day which spoke to my spirit, giving me the words that I have been trying to speak for so long:

"I had loved before, but I knew not why. But now I loved — with a pureness — an intensity of elevated, exalted feeling, which would lift my soul from the transitory things of this groveling sphere and expand it as the ocean. I felt that God was my Heavenly Father indeed; that Jesus was my brother...In short, I could now love with the Spirit and with understanding also."

I feel as if my soul has been lifted from the transitory things and into a higher, more holier sphere. I have come to realize that we are spiritual children living in a not-very-spiritual world, but that even in this existence so far from God, we can still find Him. I hope that I have been able to find Him here, with His children, in His wilderness, and that I have been able to learn to love. I am learning that the power and feeling of love is a lot more holy and eternal than I once thought before. There is a difference between loving, and loving like God and Christ. Their love is acted on with the Spirit and with understanding; with depth and mercy; without selfishness and without recompense. I love them — my Father and my Savior — for their love and their understanding. My heart has been more than full with their love lately as I have come to love others in a way that I hope is unselfish and true. We taught Mario on Wednesday again and my companion and I rejoiced in feeling that our spirits, along with his, had known each other and rejoiced over God's plan before Merida and missions and miracles. He knows everything. He acts on his faith always. He is a good person that can only become better with the Gospel and Christ and His Atonement. 

I feel grateful today, to the point that I cannot write and cannot express. Hope that all is well and happy at home and that you know how much I love you, always.

love love, 
Hermana Rhondeau


 two of the most beautiful children. ever. like, how cute is this little boy? His name is Joshua and he doesn't want to get baptized because he is afraid of the water, but we still love him. 


My happiness is all but bursting and I don't quite know where to begin. Maybe with Mario? He came to church the last Sunday without us knowing him or teaching him or inviting him. He woke up at seven in the morning on Sunday with a need to go to God's house. He had gone there once before, one year ago when he started listening to the missionaries with his girlfriend in Cancun. He sauntered into the early morning meeting with his dark jeans and black shirt and a tired face from working late into the night just hours before. The speakers talked about eternal gifts from God and spiritual and mental burdens of depression and he stayed for the following two hours with a promised visit with us the following Wednesday. We could hardly wait for Wednesday — God had answered a prayer and fast that we had offered days before, wondering if God could really give us people (literally) for us to teach. And so he answered us with Mario, a twenty-three year old that decided it was about time to act on his faith and go to the house of the Lord. When we searched and found his house three days later, his mom answered the door and we sat down in wired chairs on his front patio. It was the easiest first lesson we have ever had. He already had the Book of Mormon and all the pamphlets and when we asked him to pray to know that all of these things were true he told us that he didn't need to pray because he already knew — had known for a long time — that it was all true. Everything and every word he had ever heard, he believed. These have been my most favorite and sacred moments of the mission, when one feels that the Gospel of Christ is good and true and then decides to act on it. We read in Matthew with him about Peter and how he had the faith to walk on water until he doubted and started to sink. Sometimes Mario doubts his belief because his mom is really, really Catholic. Sometimes his doubt over rules his fear. But we learned that fear cannot exist where there is faith, and that even though Peter doubted for a minute even though he had had faith before, Christ never doubted in him — because Christ was there with him and saved him when he started to sink and gave him the opportunity to have faith and act on his faith and grow in faith. I like knowing that Christ has faith in us even when we dont. I like knowing and seeing that Mario acts on the faith that he feels. We love him maybe a lot a lot and are really hoping that he and his girlfriend can be sealed in the temple after he gets baptized. 

Bullet points because no time: 

— Elders are coming to our area! Today! We are super excited to be sharing a ward with them and working together with them. We had been missing the energy that only elders bring. 

— lLearned how to make popsicles with a fruit that doesn't exist in the United States. That was fun. 

— We have decided that our district leader looks like the bad guy from The Incredibles, but in a good way. He is from Oregon but looks like he is from Mexico. We love him and we love our district. We have all the trainers and new missionaries in our group and we all get along just swell. 

Okay, sending all my love and happiness to you, dear family of mine --


Hermana Rhondeau

Familia Caamal — recent converts who were just sealed in the temple (yay). Their little boy of one year sometimes looks like a little man (like little James in New Zealand). They are wonderful. 
celebrating mothers day, because Costa Ricans celebrate in August instead of May. 

Jose got baptized! And he was so happy! 


hola familia,

This week was quite a happy one. After finally knowing our area and not getting lost on buses (even though we did walk in a complete circle for an hour on Sunday without even realizing it — God is still keeping us humble and and helps me remember that I am still directionally challenged...), we have decided that Zazil-ha is good and that the two story chapel on 52 is a little sacred haven that holds such noble and kind people. We experienced a few miracles this week — the greatest being the miraculous and heavenly changes we saw and experienced within these human hearts. We have been teaching Jose Trujeque for five weeks now — a thirty-three year old who is completely paralyzed on his right side and has had problems with alcohol for almost half of his life. He would drink in order to forget his disabilities—- choosing to forget that God had given him a life more difficult and more sad than most others have to experience. We were feeling sad and disheartened because he hadn't progressed and kept drinking every single Sunday. We prayed and fasted and he received a blessing and then we left everything up to God because that is what we have learned to do here — act in faith and then wait in faith. This Sunday we waited for him in the second pew of the chapel. He always comes to church. He never fails in this aspect, which is a miracle in and of itself because no one really comes to church here. We waited and he came like always, walking in with his same blue and white shirt and tan pants and a cane that steadies his walk. It is the type of sight that made me want to cry — imagining him waking up at seven every morning in order to catch the bus for our services at 8, making the long and painful trip up three flights of stairs with his cane and without any help. He looked so happy this Sunday, so full of light and life and hope. I have learned a lot about hope this week and the thought about how we always have the choice of choosing to be happy. I was feeling slightly disheartened these first few weeks here — missing the people I had learned to love in Mulsay, trying to love others in Zazil-ha, missing the feeling of God's direction, and trying to find Him again. But then I realized that He had been here all along, that He is always here and isn't that what gives us hope and a happiness that we cannot see? The hope that God exists and Christ exists and that they love us and that everything will be okay in the end?

 I learned a lot about happiness this week from Hermano Jose. He can't walk, his friends have abandoned him, he can't work but has to support his mom and sister, he doesn't know how to read, and yet he walks every Sunday to church and listens to discs of the Book of Mormon every night before he goes to bed. He told us that he felt joyful at church on Sunday and has a new light in his eyes that didn't exist before. Despite everything that has happened to him within these thirty-three years, he has decided to be happy and I have come to realize that I want to do the same — decide happiness and then be happy. I don't know why it can be so hard sometimes, fulfilling our purpose of having joy in this life, but I do know that all God really wants is our temporal and eternal happiness and joy and that we can choose to have it or not. I like choosing to be happy because I know that our Father is One that rejoices in light and happiness and human joy, and that that is what He made us for -- "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy." Might have joy. 

Sorry for the ramblings and un-organization (is that a word?) of this email. Love you and miss you mucho.

love love,
Hermana Rhondeau

chilling outside the prison. (don't worry, we are safe here, promise.)
with Jose and his family
sisters in my zone
typical Mexican dress that all the grandmas wear here

baby that we love and sometimes looks like a little man
I ate fish.


hola querido familia,

Sometimes the internet decides not to work here and I am left with little time to write you, so a brief summary of the past seven days:

— new baby lizard the size of a fingernail (literally) that now lives in our sink. I am now the official lizard whisperer instead of killer (hopefully) because we always have them in our house. 

— we discovered that the tienda that is so conveniently placed across the street from our house has been taking advantage of our foreign-ness and has been swindling us of our money since day one. We continue to buy their cookies. 

— new Sunday School president's (at times) unrighteous dominion. Shouldn't be funny but most of the time it is. He is twenty one years old and always calls us to join in "la obra misional," asking us when we are going to do missionary work and if he can come. Um, we do missionary work all day every day. 

— force-feeding ourselves two full plates of food during Thursday lunch. We were part crying part laughing and it was slightly horrible but we ate it all because the people here give us everything when they have nothing. 

— we spent another night walking under a black sky with hanging stars that covered us for a lot of hours. We didn't know quite what to do or where to go, feeling so un-guided and unsure of what God was trying to have us do. We helped a woman carry two buckets of water to her house that was ten steps away, and I felt like that was the only good we had done throughout the whole day. My companion asked me why God allows us to walk a lot sometimes if He wants us to find His children and help them and heal them. For a minute I didn't really know either. But then I thought about Christ and how God let him walk a lot, too. And then I thought about a scripture in 1 Nephi 11, when Nephi says that He doesn't understand a lot of the mysteries of God but that He does know that God loves His children. And I guess that was my testimony that long night — first, that Christ had to walk a lot, and second, that God always loves His children and for that fact there will never be anything that He does or invokes that will not be for the eternal and temporal welfare of His children. It is a privilege to walk on dusty roads that mirror the same ones Christ knew and followed, remembering that holier feet have walked where we walk and that eternal eyes and an eternal heart keeps seeing and loving us as we walk these long and sometimes hard but also happy paths of life. 

love you oh so much and think about you always,
Hermana Rhondeau