Oakland Temple

Oakland Temple

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Week 60 - Turlock

WOW what a week.  Let's not even talk about it.

I am staying here in Turlock with Hermana Rodas! That means Christmas and Thanksgiving will be here in Turlock.  
We have 2 miracle baptisms this Wednesday, for Sarai and Emily Covarrubias, 19 and 18 year old girls who have been waiting since they were 8 to be baptized since their dad wouldn't let them.  Truly is a blessing to be able to help others and teach them.  
We have 2 others on date right now, Erika and Susanna.  We are super excited as we go out looking for these people ready.  It is the season.  Also look out for the new initiative that gets released Friday! Go onto LDS.org and check it out Friday.  
Also keep up the hope.  In my weeks of discouragement and anger, I often find myself doubting my service and mission.  I had a spiritual experience where I had Heavenly Father confirm to me that I am supposed to be here and right now.  I did learn a lot about enduring, that really, God is in charge and after doing all we need to do, he will take care of the rest.

Keep up the faith, don't give Satan a reason to smile and don't do anything that would distance you from the spirit.

love you.
sorry it's short
I'll be better next week.

Hermana Waters

Week 59 - Turlock

4 month friends and family!

I miss you and love you all.  Definitely it was a crazy week. Transfers are next week I'll keep you posted if I stay or if I go.

This week was great! Erika is still going to be getting baptized still November 26.  Crazy story with her, on Sunday in Relief Society they taught the word of wisdom and at this point we hadn't taught Erika the word of wisdom. Well that Thursday we return and teach her the word of wisdom for the first actual time and she told us since Sunday she has been living it.  We were amazed.  She was drinking it every morning and now is completely off of it.  She isn't even letting her husband drink it and he's not even listening to us... Poor guy. She is fire.  

Can I just express my love for President Palmer? I believe I have the best mission president on the face of the earth. Wow time has gone too quickly.  I cannot believe we have got 4 months.

keep up the good work at home. I love you 

Hermana Waters

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 58 - Turlock

Exciting news! The mission has gotten the approval that we may go to the Oakland temple (outside of our mission boundaries) to do baptisms for the dead with any recent convert or less active member if they bring a family name! The elders called us since they got word of it a day before we were supposed to find out and it got released.  We were out biking and I am pretty sure all of the people thought we were crazy as were running around, screaming, and jumping all at the same time upon hearing the news.  A big push for family history work which is exciting.
We have been having a big push to find the over 200 less actives in our branch since there are only 20-25 active people, only 3 or 4 priesthood holders not including the elders.  We called one of the sisters which hasn't been to church for over 6 years and has a family of 5.  When she answered she was annoyed since she was working and told us she wasn't supposed to answer her phone during work, we had no idea she was working.  We were worried but had already set a return appointment with her the following day and we doubted even going too.  We had an escape plan all figured out in case she opened the door and blew fire on us.  lol.  Well she didn't.  We entered in. And the atmosphere felt so tense.  I did not want to be there.  Well we started to do How To Begin Teaching with them from Preach My Gospel and I shared a few scriptures with them.  That is when everything changed. The spirit flushed the room and we were amazed.  We had one of the most spiritual moments we have had together.  She has a 9 year old son Damian that we are going to start teaching and preparing for baptism.  He was a bit distracted as we talked but it changed too. I offered a prayer and after, I got up to talk with Damian (oh and by the way he has read the bible several times) and told him that we were here for him and that whatever he needed, we are here to help.  As I was talking big tears welled up in his eyes. I asked if he was ok.  He said, starting to cry, 'Life is so hard.  I am just starting to realize that.' His mom and family looked at him as if they had never seen him like that.  The mom promised him to take him to church and next visit we will set a baptismal date for him.  So sweet.  The gospel is true.
There was a baptism this weekend which was incredible! After 3 weeks of investigating the church this 30 year old man was baptized and shared a powerful testimony after his baptism.  I was amazed.  His mom (nonmember) got up and bore her testimony and said not too long before she'll be entering this waters and has not even had a lesson yet.  We were thrilled to have 2 investigators there, Erika and Margarita.  Erika has already began to invite people to her baptism on the 26th.  She shows up to church before us, she shows up to activities before us, she calls and reminds us about anything and everything.  Her strength amazes me.  The husband has no interest at all and it's amazing to see her follow the impressions of the spirit and her answers no matter how hard it may be.
Turlock has so much potential. I have started getting sick thinking about how little is left and how real life will resume.  I love the gospel.  I love studying the scriptures. I love meeting new people who are nice.  I love being able to really focus on Christ.
We have no reason to feel anything but joy.  Everything will be made right.  
Be good. 
Love y'all

Week 57 - Turlock

Hola friends and family!

We received tons of rain which means that God is answering these Californian's prayer and ours too.  The streets were flooded by the end.  Biking afterwards was so BOMB.  
This week lots of things happened.  First off, we had exchanges and I went to Modesto with Hermana Dayton.  Well we got up there to finish off the night and then the next morning we got up and did our studies.  Well after doing our studies, we eat lunch then head out.  I had ate several little chocolates that they had given me for Halloween and then my lunch was an orange.  Not to much later, I was puking on the side of the road...  Hermana Dayton called Sister Palmer who told me to stay in and rest.  This was the first and hopefully last day I have to spend inside.  So here I was in Modesto (not even my home apartment) in bed (my sheets and blankets) with a Bible video playing and a puke bowl.  I kept puking and my stomach was not happy.  I fell asleep for 4 hours when Hermana Dayton woke me up and said that it was time to swap back companions and that the exchange was over.  I hobbled out with my sheets and bag and returned to Turlock.  After that day I was fine but I was stupid enough to try just 1 chocolate the next day and I felt sick again.  I believe I must be allergic or something but yeah.  I won't be eating anymore chocolate. :( 
Then there is Erika a WONDERFUL lady we are teaching and she is progressing like crazy.  She is going to all the activities, all 3 hours of church, and we are going by to teach her tonight and invite her to a baptismal date!  
I wrote my homecoming talk this week and feel pretty satisfied with it and my return date.  Less than 5 months and my companion and I agreed that we are going to say 4 months starting tomorrow since it will be November and we go home in March... Geeze.
I love you all so much.  Read your scriptures, pray to your Heavenly Father (not virgin maria) and go to church.

Hermana Waters

check out this beautiful video that was posted on LDS.org

Week 56 - Turlock

5 months left and I know President Palmer and Sister Palmer are already counting down, my name is on the list of farewells in a couple of transfers that's posted in the office.​  In not too long my flight plans will be sent out. 

one of the many miracles this week: We were called up by a lady named Erika (40 years old) to come to her house and teach her. I had never met her and neither had Hermana Rodas.  We set up a time and went to the house unsure if she was a member that is less active or a potential investigator.  After talking, we learned that her sisters are all members as well as her mother.  She explained that she had seen the power in our prayers as Elders had came many times and given blessings.  She wanted us to return a couple days later. We did. We were excited and had everything planned out.  Restoration focused on what a prophet is and why the Book of Mormon is key.  We start and it's going no where.  She just keeps responding how the catholics do it and seemed to care less to our message.  We knew we should just wrap it up and head out.  Well half way through the lesson, she ran inside to grab something and me and my companion gave each other the look,  and concluded Hermana Rodas was going to have the last say and peace out. THIS IS WHEN THE MIRACLE HAPPENS.  Erika returns and it's as if everything was flipped on us.  She sits down and opens up how she knows she is missing something.  She goes on to tell us about our message and doing everything to know if it is true.  We could not believe it.  She came to church this past Sunday with her 19 year old daughter and 2 year old son.  She stayed all 3 hours and afterwards said she had loved it.  She doesn't have the support of her husband but we have faith that one day his heart will be changed.

In personal study this morning, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for my mission-all the people I have come to love, the things I've learned, and more than anything the changes I've made.  To think that everything will change in 5 months makes me nervous.  The power of the gospel has brought me here and has made my love grow greatly for this area of Modesto, as well as these people.  The Lord has given us everything and as we live day to day, let us remember to show our gratitude by loving his children (everyone) and keeping his commandments.  I love you all and know that the gospel is true.  

Love you,

Hermana Waters

ps. always have to have an animal photo so here i am with Roma, Paniagua's bunny

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Week 54 - Turlock

So, first off, miracle.  We have been having problems with our car's battery so this morning we were sent into Modesto to get it checked out.  As we were waiting in line, a lady that looked really really family walked in and stood behind us.  The name 'Ana' came to my mind and I remembered that she was someone I had talked to when I was in Modesto.  She recognized me and gave me a big hug. Her house was given as a referral.  She is a single lady with 7 children.  Every time we had gone by her house​, the gate was locked and nobody outside.  She does live in a dangerous area so it made sense.  Well we continued to try over 10 times all with the same results.  Me and Hermana Carpenter prayed specifically the next day that it would for some reason be open, well 8 pm that next day, we went and there it was unlocked.  God wanted us to be there.  We knocked that door over 7 times until she would answer.  I knew she was there and I knew we shouldn't leave.  She opened the door and we taught her but due to business we had never been able to follow up with her again.  Today was the first day since.  I know God loves us.  I know he is aware of our situation.  I know that as we love God more, our love for his children grows too. I know we are brothers and sisters. On the same team.

I love you all,
Hermana Waters

Week 53 - Ceres, Hughson

Transfer calls came, I will be going to Turlock with Hermana Rodas and Hermana Trejo will be going to Ceres with Hermana Robison!!! We both are saying bye to Hughson.  It's been good in the small town of Hughson, I am going to miss it that's for sure. I have served in the same branch as Hermana Rodas before but never as a companion.  I'm excited though, she is super sweet and guatamalan.  All these native companions I don't even know what to do.

This week we saw many miracles and I have felt great love from my Heavenly Father.  I have been reflecting on Alma 17 as well as the circles of influence and concern (see below picture).  I hope many of you have already seen these circles. 

If anyone knows me, they know that I am a perfectionist.  and that I am pretty downright hard on myself and others.  This past week, I was able to meet with President Palmer and reflect on how I can better work as a missionary.  After much contemplation, the reminder of what my MTC branch president had shared with us in a leadership meeting came to mind.  That was these circles.  We have a very small circle of influence-the things that we can control such as how we feel, what we think,, what we say, and what we do.  Around that circle we have the circle of concern-things that we worry about but nevertheless are out of our control. Then outside of the circle are the things we don't have control over and that we don't seem to care about at all. 
I found myself getting so hung up on the things I worried about and related everything that happened wrong and that didn't work out to something that I or we had done wrong.  My circle of influence may be small but there are several things I can do.  These circles really helped me as I specifically put things I could change into goals.  

I want to say that if you don't feel happy where you are, doing what you are doing, then make your own circles of influence and concern and study the doctrine of Christ.  Combined, they are great sources to further feel the peace and love Heavenly Father has for you.  Agency isn't just given to everyone else but us too.  As we focus on bettering ourselves, the satisfaction here on this fallen world will grow.  We will arise from the dust and feel an awakening.  I know that God is in charge of all.  I know that Satan is going to work hard with us to convince us that our weaknesses are to great or by saying you've done enough.  I love Heavenly Father and in closing Moroni 7:48:

 48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

love you,
Hermana Waters