dear family,

The Zone Leaders just called informing us that we have interviews with President today, which means that we are madly running around trying to get everything done before making our way to the offices. So in short, this week was full of all good things and glorious reminders of why I have come to love the mission so much:

— We ate hamburgers with the bishop on Tuesday while sitting and listening to him relate his hopelessly hilarious six month story of how he finally won over his wife. After eating and talking he had us sing "How Great Thou Art" for everyone by the hamburger stand. We are slowly becoming a two man show, my companion and I, because everywhere the bishop takes us, he makes us sing. He has recorded our last two performances with the threat of putting it up on FaceBook (which we would be worried about until we realized that he doesn't know how to put videos on FB). 

--We pretended to want to buy fruit so that we could contact a reference from one of the members that works at the fruit stand by the baseball stadium (did I mention we have a baseball stadium? Makes me miss America every time we walk by). Our super sneaky contact tactics would have worked out if he didn't come right up to us and ask if we were looking for him. Ummm. At least everything turned out well. We are now currently teaching almost the whole group of workers that work by the fruit stand. They all gather around and sit on empty fruit crates as we sing and teach them and read the Book of Mormon. One of them that works at the gym right next store came to church on Sunday. We met him Saturday, invited him to baptism, and then he was there at the church bright and early with his way too nice motorcycle. His name is Luis and he has about a month living in the Yucatan. He has never gone to church because by the time he was six he was taken out of school to go work on a ranch. He never learned how to read and his mother never taught him about God, but He believes in Him and wants to find Him for the first time. He is really great and the ward has been really nice to him. They are going to teach him how to read so that he can read the Book of Mormon. 

— We watched the Face 2 Face with Elder Rasband because they transmitted it in our ward building. It was strange seeing part of home and all the teenagers that look ten years older. We are now afraid to come home because we do not know how to get ready anymore and are used to people thinking that we are pretty just because we have blue eyes. 

— We taught two lessons this week that especially made me realize how much I love the mission and how unique of an experience it is to be able to sit in people's homes and talk to them about things that go far past the material and right to the soul. We had the thought to go with an inactive couple that hasn't gone to church in more than five years. We sat at their big wood table and listened as they told us of how they came to know the Gospel to the time the had everything and then lost more and how they now feel the consequences of not living what they knew all along to be true. We simply listened and then sang a hymn and bore our testimonies and left. The next day as we passed by their house, the dad came out and told us, "I felt great joy and happiness within me when you came to visit. I know that the Lord is with you because I felt His presence." And then they came to church yesterday for the first time in a long time, and we felt great joy and happiness within us, too. The second lesson was with Cesar, a single father of three who wants to stop drinking. He is a very good person, despite his choices. He does everything for his children and listens to us because he used to be religious until he decided to start drinking and left the church he was attending. On Saturday morning we taught him about the Atonement and read 3 Nefi 9, when Christ invites us to come unto Him and be healed. He read the scripture out loud and then with tears in his eyes just looked at us and proclaimed, "Oh, how I wish I could be like you."  It made me realize how lucky I have always been to have the Gospel, and how lucky I am now to be able to share it with others that need it so much more. It really is a privilege to be out here serving God and seeing His hands and the grace of His Son manifested daily in the lives of His children. 

Wishing you a happy week! Love you and missing you always. 


Hermana Rhondeau


dearest family,

We celebrated El Dia de Los Reyes this week, which is definitely not a holiday in the United States. I think that they make up a lot of excuses to celebrate anything and everything here. They commemorate the day that the Wise Men came to find Christ — a sentiment that I have come to love and also look forward to, and not just because there is a giant bread cake with cream cheese involved. We ended up eating about three of those (the cake things: is there really not another word for bread in English that has the same connotation as "pan"?). They have little hidden, plastic baby Jesuses and the person that finds it in their slice of bread has the promise of good luck all year, and then they also have to buy tamales for everyone the 2nd of February. I don't really get it, either. But I love it.

We did a lot of visiting and walking this week. We are now master fast walkers and have the shoes to prove it (i.e. we both have perfect holes in our shoes and socks). We visited Maria de Socorro, an eighty-something year old that is the great grandma of two boys that we are teaching. She is hilarious. She makes us spaghetti and sits with us outside on a wooden bench because she likes how we sing. On Friday she found out that we are leaving in March, and she promptly told us that she would not be accepting "ningun mormon" after we left because she liked us too much and didn't want to have to learn to like other ones. She also knows everyone and calls out, "buenas noches, gordito" whenever anyone passes in the calle (which, roughly translated, means "good night, fatty." I thought Daniel would appreciate that one). We love her. We also contacted some really promising investigators, who immediately told us their whole life story. I had forgotten that that is not normal in real life, because everyone seems to tell us everything they have ever felt or thought or gone through within the first few minutes. I think that has been the greatest and most daily miracle — the miracle of knowing people without even asking. It has become one of my most favorite things of the mission, being able to sit in a stranger's home and just listen to them and come to know them. 

Love you and miss you and can't wait to see youuuuuuu.

love love

Hermana Rhondeau


rejoice, o my heart

hola querida familia,

As the weeks go quickly and my heart and mind try to transition to a new year that will not entirely be lived under the Yucatan sun (setting goals at the end of a mission and at the beginning of a year, turns out, is actually quite hard...), I feel full of gratitude for the small moments of eternal happiness that God has allowed me to glimpse and feel here with His children. They are small, glorious seconds which have made up a complete and whole type of joy that is not just felt, but also lived. We had our baptismal interview with Rebeca this past week (this has officially been the hardest baptism in the history of my mission, AND SHE IS NINE but oh my goodness so stubborn it is ridiculous). We walked to the Stake Center with her and little Jonatan who drinks out of my filter without asking and who always manages to steal the mission cell phone out of our bag. Then we had races up and down the calles. They ended up winning every time. That night we ate hot cakes (or pancakes?) with two hermanas from the ward who eat them with sweetened and condensed milk instead of syrup. The next morning we helped Rebeca's mom plan her talk for her baptism that day. We planned it while sitting outside on broken chairs surrounded by the smoke that was coming from two large pots of baked beans that were cooked with literally ten kilos of salt. I have forgotten that some things like that were not normal before. That night we had the baptism; Jonatan wore a purple tie that was so not tied right and we sang "How Great Thou Art" and everyone thought that we should try out for the MoTab (I will probably have really low self esteem when I come home and no one is amazed at my slight ability to sing). We had a leadership meeting at a fancy hotel and ate papaya and other fruit that was cut fancy. People would call that "fresa" here, which means strawberry but also overly fancy/rich. 

We walked in the really hot sun (isn't it supposed to be winter?) for over three hours every day this week, contacting people that were so Yucatecan it was hilarious, running to the last minute baptism of Don Peach that the elders taught, waiting for the bishop that showed up on the back of a bicycle because the bus took too long. Hermana Wilson and I have both realized that there has never been a bad day on the mission — there are days that are longer or harder or more trying than others, but I don't think there has ever been a bad one. Just days full of learning and changing and rejoicing.

"Rejoice, o my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my Salvation" (2 Nefi 4:30)

Wishing you a week of rejoicing -- love you and miss you, always. 

love love,

Hermana Rhondeau