general announcement: 

We went to Costco with Hna Garica and now have no time to write — however, definitely worth the thirty minute trip in search of peanut butter and trail mix, which is practically non-existent here. Just so you know that all is well in the Yucatan. The bishop contunes to treat us like his daughters, we taught three conferences in two days and realized that traveling is tiring, ate a cheesecake and cinnamon rolls, celebrated Thanksgiving with macaroni and cheese, and found a lot of people that are prepared to receive the gospel. Love you and miss you!

love love,

p.s. I won't be writing until Tuesday of next week, because we are celebrating Christmas next monday so our p day will be tuesday. kluvubi


after the trial of your faith

hello dearest family,

These days have been full of rain and more rain, a time of season that reminds me of home and mountains and real comforters. I found that I can almost make my hammock feel like a bed during the fall if I pull the end half up to my head so that it covers my whole body (like a cocoon?) (is that weird?). It rained so much this week that our bedroom filled with water. We wondered why and then we discovered a crack in the ceiling. Nonetheless, we are happy and well and still the best of friends. I think these last eight weeks with Hermana Canseco have been the most fun and different weeks of the entire mission. I am already missing her, as she leaves for home in only THREE WEEKS. I am dying. Sometimes it is hard changing companions. 

We walked a lot this week (again) and contacted many of our references. Turns out no one wanted to listen to us for a good four days. It's funny, because I use to be okay with people not wanting to listen so that I didn't have to speak Spanish. Now it makes me sad (and also frustrated). For example, we contacted a man that had just lost his dad and he had a lot of questions about life after death that his pastors in the Catholic church weren't able to answer. We answered all of his questions and talked about the Plan of Salvation, and then all he asked us was how we knew what we know and how he was always going to be Catholic. At times I find myself getting frustrated with other's ignorance, but most of the time it makes me sad when people reject doctrine that just simply makes sense. We had a good, long trial of faith, which was only made better with hermanita Rebeca telling us that she wants to get baptized with her grandma in the Catholic church . . . we are going to have to work on that. 

We talked about why we weren't having success because we felt that we were doing everything that we could. We decided that we needed to be more grateful for the small miracles and hands of God that we are privileged to see and feel out here in the mission field. So we started to be more grateful. I was grateful for the way Rebeca and Jonathan yelled "good night" in English out of their large front window; for the act of sitting outside with our neighbors under a starry sky to sing hymns; for the small boy at church who wore all blue with water-slicked back hair and socks that obviously did not match. Gratitude does good to one's soul. It lightens your heart and opens your eyes to the small moments of glory that remind us that God created everything and saw that it was good so that we could experience joy. 

I feel especially grateful for you, dear family, during this Thanksgiving season (which I am definitely still going to celebrate, even if it be with pizza and spaghetti). I love you and am grateful for the eternal glory and happiness that will continue to be ours to share. Happy Thanksgiving!


Hermana Rhondeau


increase of joy

dear family,

The bishop in our ward continues to remind me of how Papa probably was (i.e. doing things in his own way because it is most always better, without really bending the rules, but kind of sort of). We went to visit a less-active member with him on Saturday to share a short message. In the car ride over he informed us that we would be watching a twelve minute film entitled, "Man's Search for Happiness," a short video that he had used on his mission (how he found it and translated it into Spanish, we do not know). We were thinking we would show the movie on the portable DVD player that we have, but as we were pilling out of the car, he was searching for his bright pink laptop and large, white projector. It turned out being like a drive-in movie and it was hilarious. 

This week was full of fun and new adventures: we did a conference with the new missionaries and their trainers, went to the airport to pick up a new missionary that came in late (that awkward moment when you are waiting for an Hermana Oaxoca to arrive, but an Hermana Salazar comes instead — "Um, are you sure you are in the right mission?" Turns out her last name is Oaxoca Salazar...), celebrating Hermana Canseco's seventeen months on the mission with pizza and spaghetti (the pizza here always comes with spaghetti?), giving the spaghetti to our neighbor's dog, Sasha, who slips between our fence and barks at us because she doesn't like us. We think we won her confidence with the food. 

We contacted a lot of references this week, which meant a lot of walking. Despite the extra exercise, we were guided by the Spirit without even knowing it. While looking for a reference, we ended up finding two less active families that had just moved to the area — a 21 year old student from Campeche and a family of four from Kanasin. We found them without searching for them, and I knew in that moment that God knows each of His children and what they need in order to be happy. We visited hermanita Rebeca a lot this week and she accepted a baptismal date (yay) despite her fears in the beginning. We think that it was love that changed her — we told her that we loved her one day and everything changed. She gives us wild flowers and fake jewels and sits by us at church every week. When you give love, they love back. There was one night when she and her mom and her brother took the bus to the church with us. She and Jonathan sat in between me by the window and I taught them buenas noches in English and before I knew it they were opening the bus window and were waving and saying "good night" to everyone that we passed. It was one of those eternally happy moments when one feels an increase of joy — not a greater or fuller kind, just an increase within one's soul. 

"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light, they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation and increased the joy -- they joy before thee according to the joy in the harvest..." (2 Nefi 19:2-3)

Wishing you a week with an increase of joy. Love you and can't wait to see you for Christmas (yes, we are already listening to Christmas music).

love always,

Hermana Rhondeau


finding home while away from home

hola familia mia,

Quintero is another heaven. God has given us the ability to love without really knowing another nor really knowing why. I have realized that that is the most important thing on a mission, learning how to truly love someone that one did not know before. We have been teaching hermanita Rebeca, a nine year old that lives with her mom (an incredibly beautiful and kind single mom that should be the main character of a Sundance film) and her little brother, Jonathan (an incredibly energetic seven year old who tries to kiss my cheek every time he sees us). They live in a blue house with a wood door engraved in circles. Rebeca doesn't want to get baptized now because the elders that were here before told her that she would only be under the water for the amount of time it took her to say a prayer. I think they were trying to help her, but she got scared ... whoops. Her mom works every Sunday, and so she and Jonathan wake up on their own every single Sunday and get ready by theirselves in order to go to church. This Sunday she wore a blue dress and had jewels in her hair. They sat next to us and were absolutely slightly terrible. I felt like a mother, giving them paper and pencils and hymn books and being slightly stressed until they went to sing a primary song and I felt like crying just seeing them singing. They are so good and I felt so grateful for being a part of their lives, for however small of a moment it may be. 

Other good things about Quintero: 1) the bishop is absolutely HILARIOUS. Like, one of those old Italian grandfathers that is a little over-protective of his daughters. He treats us like his daughters, driving us to our appointments, yelling at us outside of our house to see how we are doing. He is an English teacher in elementary school and always sends us texts in English. His daughter married an American that she served with on her mission (it just about killed him), and she lives in Utah! So he already has plans to visit our family this April. Get excited. 2) the second counselor is an intelligent, artsy man. At lunch we talked about the anthropology of the Book of Mormon and then we ate pumpkin (it's the one dessert I don't really like here — pumpkin steamed with some kind of juice and sugar. Yucatecans are so funny sometimes). 3) Our neighbors are all families and are always super interested in all of the missionaries that have lived next to them. The only down-side: one of our neighbors likes to sit on the top of his roof with his friend and blast Mexican love songs, starting at one in the morning until 6. No es bueno. We are excited to be here for another change (there were changes last night, but we are staying together — yay!). We have to create a perfect area, because all of the sister missionaries will be coming to our area to work with us every week. We still don't really know how this is going to work, but we are just going to do what they tell us. Trying to get over the fear of having to have a perfect area and trying to trust that God will make it happen. 

We talked a lot about home this week. The second counselor taught us about how the majority of the people that convert to the Church are those that find it while they are away from home, and that those that have always been a part of the Church usually find their true conversion while away the place where they started. It made me think about home — I thought about my conversion as I have been away from you these past (almost) fourteen months. I wonder if we find our real eternal home while we are away from our earthly one because we have to find out where we really came from and who we really are without the four walls that we grew up in —we discover God and our origin, we discover our heavenly home and the person we have to become in order to get there. Finding home while being aways from home. I am grateful that my earthly home and eternal one will be the same, filled with the same people.

Hope that all is lovely and bright on Yale, thinking of you always.


Hermana Rhondeau


hola hermosa familia,

Everyone used to make fun of me for having nine months in one area — to the point that they put the name Merida, Mulsay Mission next to my name at every opportunity. This week I got them all back by living in four different areas in six days. To say the least, it has been a crazy seven days. They took us out of our dear Zazil-ha one week before transfers which meant that we were nomads for a short little while. 

Highs of not having a home:

— living in the nicest house in the mission in Centro for one and a half days. We were with two American sisters and they gave us peanut butter and nutella. 

— hanging out in the offices for a full day and driving around with Hermana Garcia to visit sick missionaries and buying Dairy Queen and Krispy Kreme donuts. I have never eaten so much sugar in one day than we did with her. She is absolutely hilarious and told us all about her and president and their fam and we got to listen to pretty instrumental music in her car. 

— sleeping in the mission home = beds and hot showers 

— last minute dinner changes = making a real, American-type dinner at the mission home. Costco salad with nuts and cheese, just like mom makes it.

Lows of not having a home: 

— not being able to sleep in the beds in the mission home and not having hot water by the time I showered

— living out of a suitcase is not as adventurous as it sounds

— not having an area or people to love and visit. we felt without purpose this week and it makes me scared for being home and not having a designated area and people to visit (i.e. I might be a little weird when I get back). 

We are now serving in Quintero, an area that is not too big nor too small. The people have a little more money than those in my other two areas, which has been a slight adjustment. The people were very poor and humble in Mulsay and Zazil-ha, so I am back to getting used to bigger meals and more people with cars. Our house is the prettiest house I have ever lived in: white walls, two palm trees out front, two bathrooms, and a real kitchen. We took the whole morning cleaning it and it is almost perfect now. We love it (Hermana Canseco and I, because we are still companions!). We went to the ward yesterday, and it is literally perfect. I had the first really effective ward council meeting for the first time ever here and the bishop took us to visit people yesterday without us even asking. We love it already and feel that we are really here for a reason — it feels right and we are excited to work. 

Not much to report this week, and so hopefully next week I will have more things to tell with this new area and new people and new experiences. Love you and miss you oh so much !

Hermana Rhondeau