¡feliz ano nuevo!

hola familia,

So happy that I got to see you on Christmas day, even for a short forty-five minutes. I feel especially grateful for each of you during this Christmas season and with the promise of being with you in the New Year (did we ever think 2016 was going to happen?). Since it hasn't been all that long since we last talked, a small run down of this past week that we had in the Yucatan:

— everyone thinks we are twins, and because of our American heritage people have taken to calling us queens and princesses. Someone also asked us if we were really from this earth (aka: ¿son terrenales?). We think he was trying to tell us that we were angels?

— we had two, almost 12 hour meetings this week during which I managed to eat an entire chicken for lunch one of those two days. I don't know when the whole meat thing happened, but I don't think it will be going away anytime soon. 

— we got shots for the flu and I still got scared. 

— we listened to a lot of Christmas music, avoided a lot of drunk people, and listened to a lot of pop music throughout the night (because listening to loud music all through the night is a normal thing here. The neighbors never complain).

— we ate a whole coconut (juice and all) which made me feel very native and also very healthy. 

— we found a new family to teach and they became our best friends in under two seconds. We have been searching a lot for new people to teach, mostly because we have been having a hard time finding people that are really prepared to recieve the Gospel. Then one night a man on a bicycle stopped to ask us if we were Mormon and we had to hurry and talk to him and write down his address because it was late and we had to be home. We kind of forgot about him until this last Saturday when one of our appointments fell through and we passed by his house and decided to try. He ended up listening along with his son and his daughter-in-law. It was one of those moments and times when you remember why they came on the mission. It made me think that I would serve a three year mission if it meant finding only this family, if it meant finding only one person. I realized that Christ probably felt the same, because He always sought after the one. Elder Bednar had shared a story with us about how he had gone to a restaurant when he was here in May, and at the end of the meal he asked everyone that was there (the waiters and all) if they wanted to ask a question or if they had something to say. He said there was silence for quite some time until one of the waiters started crying and told him about his wife that was dying of cancer. Elder Bednar didn't say anything to him — he just hugged him, and then he told us that it was for that one man in the restaurant that he had come to Merida — he hadn't come for us or for the conferences or because he was on assignment. He came for the one.

 I know that Christ did the same, that His birth and life and sacrifice was infinite and eternal, but also personal and kind. Wishing you a Christ-filled December and a joyful New year!

love love,

Hermana Rhondeau


pics pics & more pics

found my favorite graffiti wall
Zone picture taken with the timer
hammocks (feat. Hermana Corporan, who was with us for a week).

cooking with the Relief Society. (that's tofu)
singing Christmas carols as a zone
last meal with Hna Canseco 
beach themed ward party
we found a fair


Pictures from the Christmas dinner with all the missionaries, which include: Hna Gonzalez with the tacos that were really good (I think I will be eating meat upon my return), generation pic with the elders from the MTC and the Latino elders that also came with us, and other pictures with all of our BFFs. 

I do believe in miracles, I do, I do

update: HERMANA WILSON AND I ARE COMPANIONS. Best Christmas miracle/any miracle of all time. Maybe I had prayed that God would send me her in this transfer? Maybe we asked president? De todos modos, WE ARE SO HAPPY. Because of my joy that is almost too much, I am going to send you many emails with many pictures that will probably explain these last two weeks better than my words can. Love you all oh so much and am missing you even more during this Christmas season. 

love love,

exchanges with Hermana Ellgen (just minutes before this picture was taken, we encountered a glowing Santa Claus on a stick and a mob of horses went running through the street. I love Christmas in Mexico). 
Rebeca and Jonathan with a clay heart that we made after a lesson. I might be bringing them home with me.
with the bishop and his wife
with Familia Brito


on being still

dearest and most beloved family (can you tell that I am feeling super sentimental this Christmas?),

It does not feel like Christmas. How sad is that? It is still really hot. I haven't heard Christmas music in a good two days. No one says "Merry Christmas." There are maybe three houses with Christmas lights (and a bonus house that had a glowing Santa Claus on a stick). Despite the sad state of the Yucatan this season, I hold a lot of gratitude in my heart for many things: We are now in a trio with Hermana Corporan — she got here from Campeche last Monday and has ever since been gracing us with her bright, Dominican Republic disposition. She is tiny — literally tiny — with crazy hair and a voice that should be in one of those really good, dramatic movies. We love her a lot and have been grateful to have her with us, even if it is only for the last two weeks of exchanges. We feel the Spirit more in our lessons, and have decided that it is because there are now three witnesses of Christ in one room. I am grateful for her. I also had exchanges for TWO DAYS with Hermana Ellgen #Christmascameearlythisyear. I went to Vicente Solis to work in her area. We bought way too much Mexican bread that I love with Philadelphia cheese, but I justified it with the fact that I will not have this same luxury in three months (WHAT). We sat outside of their apartment building every night because their cell phone doesn't get service in their house and because we had to practice singing over the phone with an elder that was going to play the ukulele with us for the Christmas talent show (more on that later). I am grateful for her friendship that has become a great and eternal one. Other things that made me happy this week:

— seeing a less active from the ward praying along in a Catholic church. We really thought that she was going to come back to church with us. (note: this didn't make me happy, but it was really funny). 

— running after a moving bus for literally one calle because I was so determined to have it stop for us. It never did. 

— lesson with a recent convert from Vicente Solis that said he didn't believe in life after death because no one had ever come back to life, but then we were like, "um, Christ?" And then we all just started laughing. 

— Hermanita Rebeca now wants to be baptized. THIS IS A MIRACLE. She wanted to get baptized in the Catholic church the whollllllllle time we had been teaching her. Then she received a priesthood blessing and everything changed. I am grateful for the power of the priesthood. 

— celebrating Christmas with the mission yesterday. It was lovely, seeing all of the people that are now some of my dearest friends, listening to President Garcia and his wife bear their testimonies for the last time with all the missionaries gathered, watching all of the talents (and yes, Hermana Ellgen convinced me to sing with her. We sang "be Still My Soul" with the help of Elder Wasden on the ukulele. Wish I could send the vid, but nothing goes through here). I loved it, celebrating the Christmas season and feeling so whole and well-loved. It was so nice just being there. It reminded me of a quote from an archbishop (don't remember who...) that talked about prayer, 

"I think I am trying to grow in just being there. Like when you sit in front of a fire in winter, you are just there in front of the fire, and you don't have to be smart or anything. The fire just warms you."

 I have tried to apply that more in my prayers. Instead of talking and talking and saying the same things, I have tried being still, focusing on just being there with God. It has changed my relationship with Him. I feel His presence, His warmth, His love, His very Being. I think that is what He wants that for us — that we can feel of His reality and His desire to be with His children, to really be with Him as if we were there in His heavenly home, if only for a minute. 

So, maybe that is my Christmas message to each of you: to focus on just being there, on being still. 

Love you mucho mucho mucho and can't wait to talk to you kind of soon!


Hermana Rhondeau 

p.s. I was going to send a lot of photos, but something is happening to the computer and I am too technologically challenged to try to figure it out. Next week!