this is what dreams are made of*

waiting by the sea shore

dearest family,

This week was filled with the best and perhaps most happiest seven days of my entire mission (or entire life), because I went to Campeche. And I SAW THE OCEAN. We are still talking about it. Like, we can't get over it. It was a dream, the very best kind of dream. The assistants called us Monday to ask us to teach our Zone about purity the following morning in our mini Zone Conference (they called us at 8 pm, which meant we were up for half the night preparing for it. i.e. our goal of being exactly obedient this week totally did not happen). They talked about faith in the Conference, and we followed up with repentance — it went really well and we felt really grateful that the Spirit was there. They called us that same night asking if we could do it again with all the missionaries in Merida. We said yes, despite my fear of speaking in front of large crowds of people in a foreign language (just picture Shelby-me trying to do this, and you will understand). We fasted and prayed and went on Thursday to teach what we taught with our Zone, and it went really, really well. We did an activity with our missionary badges and by the end, everyone was sharing what they had learned and felt — it is definitely much better to teach and listen with the Spirit. If I have learned anything within this past transfer, it is that we cannot do anything without the Spirit. He teaches and lifts and enters the hearts that we cannot reach. We got a call that same night asking if we could cancel our appointments for Friday, because we were going to Campeche to do the same thing. I felt like we were on tour it was so hilarious: Zona Merida, Merida, Campeche. I secretly loved it. We woke up at three in the morning the next day to catch our bus to the promised land (it is true, everyone wants to go to Campeche, even the natvies have license plates with, "Campeche, quiero estar alli!"). The four of us took a two hour bus ride through a jungle of trees. I tried reading and sleeping but to no avail, I was so excited. It was like Christmas. We arrived at eight in the morning and I fell in love at first sight — hills and houses on hills, cathedrals, buses with black tickets instead of orange, ocean air. It is perfect (note: google it) We had the conference for three hours and then got to go on splits with the sisters there for two hours before eating lunch at a restaurant right on the ocean. Seeing the ocean felt like home; the blue and half-day light reminded me of what my parents had given me since childhood with T streets and tamales and coconut ice cream. I think I was always made for Mexico. I ordered pasta (I know, mistake) and my comp ordered breaded shrimp with coconut, which I ended up eating because it was SO GOOD. We are all going there because dad would love it. 

Then we had to take the bus back to Merida and I was sad. It was literally the best day of my life. It made me realize so many of the things that have changed within me -- not just the fact that I now like ham sandwiches and papaya liquados — but the things that God has allowed me to become through doing hard things and foreign things. I remembered what Elder Bednar told us when he was here: we cannot remain the same and please God. While sitting on the bus back home, I read in 2 Nefi 9, and learned how it talks about how we will be the same people in heaven that we became here on earth — that our happiness will become an eternal one, or that our sadness will become an infinite one. I am grateful for this principle of the Gospel, that God allows us to become what we want to be with Him. I hope that I am changing. 

There are so many more things that I could write, like the time we filled up a baptismal font with buckets for two hours because there was no water in the ward, or how we carried two dressers through a crowded city and empty bus. These experiences are changing me and giving me a greater happiness that I did not know before. So, thank you for letting me serve a mission, even though it has perhaps been long and distant. I miss you and love you always.

love love

Hermana Rhondeau

*only HIllary Duff can full express how I feel

fiesta in celebration of hermana cockerham's  birthday

hermana spencer modeling our rain coats
our church building — we have sacrament on the second floor
splits with sisters in Campeche
ocean for the first time in one year and one month = happiness 
they made us take this picture after lunch (feat. Elder Calmes y Elder Ferriera)


because I have been given much

hola family,

Hopefully you got the news that we went to the temple today, which meant that our p-day was changed. If not, I really hope that no one panicked and called the offices — I am alive and well and do not have chinkunguya. 

Last week felt like one year, and this week went by in a second. We are super, super busy. As in one Wednesday I came home and curled up in a ball on the tile floor with the fan on full blast with the intent of never moving my body ever again. I have never been so exhausted, but I have also never been so happy. I don't remember when the whole complete and full happiness on the mission thing started happening, but I am liking it. 

Run down of the week:

Tuesday: leadership meeting en Centro, which involved a kind of cool set-up of really long tables and blue tableclothes that made everything seem really official. Then we all started talking and I realized that we are still nineteen and twenty year olds trying to be missionaries, and it made me feel less scared. We ate Costco muffins and chocolate milk (shout out to Dan) which felt like home. 

Wednesday: house checks with Hermana Garcia and the assistants — we thought she liked our house, but then they called the next day and told us that we have to move. I guess they didn't like the fact that we don't have a shower head and have been showering with one blue bucket. 

Thursday: interviews with President, which proved to be the best one yet. I am so grateful for having him as a our president for the whole year and a half; he has taught me so much of things concerning the Spirit and obedience and charity. I maybe might have been frustrated with all the rules in our mission in the beginning, but now I am really grateful for them. Funny how that always happens, right?

Friday: intercambios with Hermana Ellgen = best day ever. It was literally a dream come true for us ever since she started her mission in my first zone. We spent one whole day together, which consisted of people staring at us in the streets because they had never seen two Americans together ever before. We ran after two buses that saw us but didn't stop for us, and then there was that moment when she got off the bus and I was still on it and so I had to literally jump off a moving vehicle. It was so fun. 

We worked a lot this week. We had a lot of lessons this week. Despite our work and despite the fact that we really are trying to make things better here in Zazil-ha, we didn't see the fruits of our labors from these last seven days. It's made me realize that if I have (hopefully) learned and applied one thing here, it is about how to be happy when things are not so happy. I have reallized that the whole "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy" thing completely depends on us and how we use our agency in order to reach God's hope for us — that we might be happy. It has been a liberating experience, being able to be grateful for hard things and happy for the sad ones.

Miss you and love you even more, 


Hermana Rhondeau


conference weekend

hola querida familia,

How beautiful was Conference weekend? I loved every minute of it, minus the fact that we missed the first half of the Sunday Morning Session because our disctrict leader told us that it was daylight savings and that we had to set our clocks back one hour. Turns out day light savings isn't until next week (right?), which means that we set our clocks back for no reason. . . slightly hilarious and we have still not fully forgiven our district leader for misinforming us. 

Everything is practically perfect here in the Yucatan. Hermana Canseco and I get along really well, despite the always slightly awkward first week of getting to know someone that you have to live with for six weeks — always awkward, but hilarious as well. She is twenty seven years old and is from Sanora, Mexico. She goes home in December and is really trying to learn English in these last two transfers, which means that I get to practice my English whenever we are in the house — she asked me how to say "good night, sister-in-law," which she now says to me every night before we try sleeping in our hammocks which have somehow become more uncomfortable. She has already betrothed me to her younger brother, so I take it as a sign that she likes me. We are both trying to figure out our new responsibilites, and are slightly failing until we have our training this week. 

We found a lot of new people to teach this week, which was what we needed after the family that was going to get baptized decided that they couldn't give up worshipping the virgin Mary. . . there are some things that I will never understand here. We met a woman that has lived with her two daughters for the past two years after her husband abandoned her, and another that had four children and then abandoned them and her husband. I felt really sad, listening to all their stories and coming to know their souls and the sad things that often happen here. I wondered if God felt sad. too, and wondered if He ever thinks that maye He should have never let us leave His presence. So many of these people and their stories weigh my soul. At times as we are walking under the Merida sky, I wonder why there are so many unfair things and so many of God's children that have fallen short of their inheritance and privileges. The Gospel is such a deep and profound blessing for me that it frustrates me when others do not feel the same. But then we went to Conference, and then I remembered that God is good and that He did not send us here to be sad or to be weighed down. He sent us here so that we could be learned to be lifted and carried by Him and His Son, and so that we could come to our own faith and knowledge of Him by our own agency. I loved Elder Uchtdorf's talk about simple discipleship — I think that all our Heavenly Father and Savior ask is that we come and follow them, which is pretty simple. 

Okay, sorry for the quick and slightly jambled (is that a word?) email — we went shopping, which makes me slightly angry/hungry, and I am still trying to recover from doing something that I do not like doing. Love you so much and missed you even more during this Conference weekend — sending all my love and joy,

love love,

Hermana Rhondeau

a picnic with my new companion during conference

all the American sisters watching Conference in English in a tiny office in Mexico. Hna Ellgen is my BFF. 
a family of 20 that we taught one time
cutest less active family that we love.