Oakland Temple

Oakland Temple

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Week 9-Turlock

It has been 2 months since I entered the MTC and I feel like time flies. I love it here and am dreading March 23, 2017 already.  I appreciate all the love and support from home.  I hope you all know I love you and pray for you daily.

This week was another great one.  I went on Splits with the Sister Training Leader-Sister Carpenter and I was so nervous.  She is so intense but it was good because she never lacked the confidence to talk to someone. While we were contacting, we encountered (my first) a lady who told us we were completely wrong.  She said we were wasting our time and that we didn't know what we were talking about.  I was kind of bummed about the whole situation but now just isn't her time apparently. 

I used my bike for the first time to bike to Rocio's.  The lady who is getting baptized this saturday.  It's been a hard process.  She is having doubts and her friends aren't helping her. Her same friend that recommended the missionaries to her decided she wants to through a party the same day as her friend's baptism.  Of all the days she wants it the same day and time.  Rocio really wants to go to her party but we are teaching her the importance of priorities right now.  We are praying the baptism will happen this Saturday...

My companion Sister Alcaraz is a trooper, she learned to bike 2 weeks before we came here so we've been practicing using gears and stuff.  She's so awesome.
We had a person on the street literally run away from us on the street.  I can't believe it actually happened but esta bien :) The things we do for that one lost but prepared sheep waiting for missionaries.  

Funny story: my companion wasn't feeling well while at a member's house and they noticed.  Hermana Luna (the member whose house we were at) offered her an ibuprofen.  She took it and 15 minutes later I hear the word Oxicodone in the mix of spanish.  We ask her about it later because my Hermana started to act weird.  She said, 'oh yeah, I gave her Oxicodone'  I wanted to cry.  I get on the phone with our Nurse, Sister Gilbert and she freaked out at me.  I was in the pharmacy already buying prescriptions for my companion and I had the phone up to my ear, and my companion was so out of it.  I wanted to cry.  But long story short, Sister Gilbert told me to take her home and have her lay down for the rest of the night.  It was 6:30 and so we just went home, she fell out of her bed and hit the ground in her sleep- that was interesting.  I decided to make cookie bars for all the people that helped us that day while she slept.  It was a stressful day to say the least but she's alive!

We had a great experience in a part member home.  This family is dear to my family and we have been trying to invite them to church and become active.  The father was a Jehovah's witness then wanted to start his own church.  The mom is going through her fair share of trials.  We went over to read the Book of Mormon with their daughter Gizelle who is determined to activate her family.  Her father usually kicks us out of the house and doesn't welcome us at all- swearing he'll never read the book of mormon.  Well a miracle happened. He came, sat down with us, and read.  He said a prayer with us and has been so open.  Miracles are happening before my eyes.  We went back again and he even said the prayer for us.  Seriously feel so lucky to be with these people.

We have not been able to have a service activity opportunity yet.  We were on the phone with our district leader, Elder Graham just mentioning if he knew anywhere we could volunteer and he said no.  Not longer than 20 seconds after we hung up, Turlock 3 elders called us- Elder Brough and Elder Brower- and said they were putting a service project together for the following day.  There was a tornado in Denair-part of our area- earlier that week that destroyed multiple homes so he had gotten in contact with someone affected. We couldn't believe that we had just had an answer to our prayers.  We screamed for joy.  So the following morning at 8 am, 10 Elders and my companionship went out and cleaned up debri.  It was so special that they trusted us to care for their home they loved so much.  The husband was emotional and I felt so much love for this sweet older couple who gave us this priviledge.  What a great way to help out.

Well yesterday was crazy for me.  I gave a talk in Sacrament which was way cool but the night before I found out that me and Hermana Alcaraz would also be teaching the Gospel Doctrines class on the law of chastity but that's my favorite topic to teach so it was exciting.  We were just scrambling to prepare it.  Then in Relief society I played a song that only exists in spanish for the first time as they sang it and it went well.  But then get this... The sacrament piano player wasn't here so I played in the same sacrament meeting that I talked in.  It was good.  I butchered a couple of them but hey... I know that by stretching myself  I will become better. It has been awesome to be so involved in such a small branch.  I hope to live in a branch in the future.
Anyways.  God loves all his children and invites everyone back.  I know that this is Jesus Christ's church and through him, he is the only way.  God is ready to bless you.  To love you. and to strengthen you. 
Con gran amor,

Hermana Waters

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Hola friends and family!

So Goodwill is my new favorite thing.  Mom- if you see me in any clothes you don't recognize, it's probably from there because cheap and not too shabby.  I actually was shocked at what I found.  I don't know if it was good stuff but yesterday in church, a branch presidency member came up to me and told me that I looked like a hippie.  My hair was natural, i was wearing my black Dansko dress shoes and some beige tights and the dress I wore to my farewell.  I was like ok cool... He said I should go to Hollywood and be a hippie actress.  not sure how I feel about that but all i said was thanks and nodded my head up and down.  
We got dropped for the first time here.  I hadn't met this guy yet so it didn't completely tear out my heart but it's still sad.  I made my companion a cookie cake, covered in cream cheese and we just had a sad session during companionship study.  He said he was appreciative of  all the hard work he's just been busy and unable to put the effort he wants.  He will be ready later, just now isn't his time.  
I got a watermelon and cut it up.  You can only imagine my excitement.
On Tuesday- we were knocking on doors and having no luck.  A drunk guy had opened one of the doors, several homes where no one answered, a guy who we couldn't understand at all (my companion is a native so that's saying something) he said something about a fiesta and Jesus, and then a fall out appointment and you wouldn't believe how God blessed me and Hermana Alcaraz.  We knocked on this one door and a beautiful man, with light brown eyes, tan skin and one shade darker hair-curled just enough to tell it's wavy, came out.  I was left in shock.  This was the house where I was supposed to do the talking according to my trainer but I was like hushed.  So my Hermana stepped in and saved me.  He said he would love to talk about it sometime so my Hermana made an appointment and I got his number.  I didn't recognize that I didn't say why (to send a reminder text because that's what works best) and she saved me then too explaining why.  I am a retard. Whatever though.  awkward hermana right here.  Pray for us.
We had dinner at the Gonzalez family's house. The husband is a Jehovah Witness and wife a member.  They have a 17 year old with a baby, a 12 year old girl Gizelle who lovessss the elders, and  a 7 year old girl who has sass.  I love it.  The mom had to leave for a little bit and of course the little 7 year old girl runs and grabs her paint kit.  She starts begging to paint my face.  Of course, I tell her if she promises me she will be baptized in a couple of months when she turns 8 that I will let her paint my face.  She promised so of course I got my face painted. Paint was in my hair, nose, ears, eyes, and mouth despite her promise to not get it anywhere else. Long story short it dyed my face purple and we had appointments afterwards.   At one of those appointments, our investigator had pet bunnies so of course I wanted to hold them.  Well I did and they both peed on me.  So I came home looking pretty beat up. but esta bien. 
Grandma sent Beano because she thought it would be funny so I thought it would be funny to give it to the elders.  The Elders doorbell ditched us, leaving their dress slacks for us to fix up because they are torn.  This morning, me and Hermana grabbed the Beano, put a bow on it and wrote a sweet note on a card 'Note from the Sister Missionaries' saying that we heard their 'toot'ing horns at a member's house when we were there for dinner and we wanted to return the favor.  We told them we think they could actually use this and that we knew it wouldn't go to waste with them.  We dropped it off and ran off laughing.  All the neighbors in our apartment complex were laughing and having a good time with us.  I feel right at home here.
Daisy, she is progressing so awesome! I am shocked.  She lives with her boyfriend and commited to live the law of chastity.  She is so ready and knows why it's so important to God.  There are some difficulties to work though but she has a bright future. 
It was miracle too because Daisy's boyfriend-Donald I thought hated us.  He would always just hang somewhere else and act like we weren't even there.  Well this week, we came for a lesson and the whole family was sitting together on the couch.  He turned off the tv and I thought he was going to get up to leave.  Nope, he stayed.  At first he was making fun of prophets and the bible so were were worried.  But within 10 minutes his heart was softened. He was helping Daisy understand.  We were shocked.  He loved it and we asked when we could come back again, he said you can come back tomorrow, and the next day and the next day, whenever you want.  It was awesome the insight he contributed.  We are hoping they both will prepare to be baptized.   We screamed when we got back in the car.
My companion doesn't have her boot anymore wooohooooooo.  so no more crutches we just have 1 week of driving only still until we can bike.  She has pink eye right now so I'm glad that she doesn't have the boot too.  
Food is good as always.  
We are looking for more investigators who are ready to progress.  We have done contacting and had a cool day Saturday.  We were stopping by a less active members house and were leaving a note on her door because she didn't answer when a guy on a bike pulled up and was friendly. He also believed that God, Jesus, and the Holy ghost are 3 seperate beings and he's catholic! I was so excited.  He took a book of Mormon and headed out right when a homeless woman biked up to us.  It was so sad.  We had a good talk about God and about the plan and she took a book of mormon. He uncle was a mormon and recently passed away, she said he would probably want her to have it.  We had a lemon honey water night because all the missionaries in Turlock were sick so all the Elders came standing outside our door coughing. We made some warm lemon honey water and gave it out too all.  We all were so sick.  
Rocio is getting baptized this Saturday and we are so excited for here! So that is where I will be next Saturday!
We were street contacting Saturday and it was hard.  It's hard to walk up to someone and just start talking about religion.  After many people had brushed us off and I was really discouraged, I said out loud, 'God please send someone to come up to us for once and talk with us.' Hermana Alcaraz laughed and literally 10 seconds after I said that, God sent us this man walking up to us.  He said, 'Hello! How are you guys?' We responded, 'so good.' and he asked us what we were doing.  So we were so set up to share it was crazy.  We explained a bit and withing 2 minutes we had all of his contact info because he wanted to know more.  You better believe I was praising God all night long.  Prayer is the realest thing.
In closing, me and my hermana had a really awesome companion study where we read 'Crying with the Saints' by Glenn L Pace from 1980's it was so awesome.  Look it up.  I know it can be hard to be a member and have sinners laughing at you but just because someone thinks what you're doing is weird or different, it's okay.  You have strength from the other side.  You are never alone.  

Love you all,
Hermana Waters

November 11, 2015

Hi!  It is me from Modesto - Turlock!  Wow is this place AMAZING!  The members care so much about missionary work.  I go to a branch of about 100 members.  It's so small since only 30 usually show up on Sunday.  Relief Society consists of 8 other ladies next to me and Hermana Alcatraz.

You all would love to hear, there are so many stray cats here!  It's unbelievable!  Every night I try to have a moment where I can just sit outside my apartment and pet them.  (Of course, I then wash my hands).  They love the attention so I am willing to give it to those that are interested.  Today I had a sad experience while knocking on doors.  At one door, after explaining who we were, the guy said, "Oh I am catholic so we aren't the same you know?"  I responded "Who is God to you?"  He replied, "No one, nothing."  It was a shock to me and my companion that we were not prepared for.  It was sad and as we headed back to the sidewalk to the next house I couldn't help but think of how much knowing who God is has blessed my life.  I didn't think I would be this passionate about our beliefs.  That God is our literal father, who loves us as a father would and does.  I want you to know God is everything to me.  You guys add to my testimony of that because I know our family was created by God, a perfected being.  He doesn't get these things wrong.  I promise.

Love Always,
Hermana Aguas

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Hola from Turlock.   It's so real.  I love it here.  The latino people take such good care of us.  Lets just say I'll never go without food.  Beans, eggs, rice, arroz con leche, y bolillo is life. 

Dad surprised me at the airport. Turned out he bought a plane ticket on the same plane so it was nice to see him and talk.  I also saw the the Zabriskies.  That was cool since he was the man who gave me my patriarchal blessing.  

So when I came they have been having a drought.  Well today and the last couple of days it's been pouringgggg.  It's so good.  The people love it and I do too.  My new companion is Hermana Denisse Alcaraz.  She has only been here 6 weeks and she is awesome! She is from the Bay area of California and speaks both spanish and english.  She is a great help and she always knows what to say when I need help.  We get along great.  She is beautiful too.  She popped out her Cuboid bone in her foot 4 weeks ago so she has a huge boot on for a brace.  We have driven everywhere so it's different than I thought.  We go to the Doctor's this Wednesday to check in.  Hopefully then it'll all be well.  It's been pouring a lot of rain so no complaints about having to use the car.  We get it anyways but we have a limited amount of miles.  So it's so helpful.

The first night I slept at the Mission Home, where Presidente Palmer lives. it is beautiful! It has a pool that we just look at and imagine ourselves in it. So it's hard but we can at least dream.  
Our theme is "We are One with the Son Doing the Will of the Father." It is beautiful. 

First day they threw us out in the streets of Modesto to talk with people.  It was really difficult.  I am not sure how I feel about street contacting yet.  Knocking on doors is great.  

My first lesson taught here was with a real investigator who this was her first lesson! So both of us were in for a treat.  Her name is Daisy and she has 2 kids, 11 yr old girl, and 9 yr old son.  She lives with her boyfriend (not the father of the kids) and is 3 months pregnant.  She doesn't have a job so it's really sad.  She is so prepared and we've returned multiple times.  She told us she killed someone one of the lessons and we didn't ask too much about it so we are afraid to find out the details because then it has to go through the Mission president if she's ready to get baptized.  Hope that talk goes good.

I got asked to give a talk on following the prophet in my branch and I'm so excited.  The 22 of Novemenber! My branch is awesome. Presidente Hernandez does all he can to help out and goes way past the extra mile.  He is thinks of the smartest things to do.
We are so well fed. Like I eat nearly 3 dinners every night.  Members here are so passionate about God's work.  I love it.  

We have a baptism for the November 28.  Her name is Rocio Vasquez and she is so prepared and has a family who we have begun teaching. We went to a baptism in Modesto to show her what a baptism was like.  She was unsure but afterwards she knew that's what she wanted.  We celebrated by going to Ihop with her and a couple of elders.  it was a joy.  The day she was promised for baptism the first lesson happens to also be the day that her husband doesn't have work for the first time all month.  She couldn't believe it.  the 28th is literally a blessing from God. Her son is so cute, Jorge, He told her if she was going to get baptized, so was he.  He's 9 by the way. 

We have been working a lot with the less active members.  Hermana Ruth Paniagua is literally my second mom here.  She cooks so well and is always inviting us over.  She has such a passion for the gospel and for taking care of us.  She recognizes that we don't have a mom here so she's taken on that role.  We had really nummy street tacos she made.  best food i've ever had.  I ate 7.  yes.  I'm going to be rolling back to utah.  She has a son who is 19 named Angel and when he introduced himself it was way awkward because he just shook my hand and said 'Angel' and I was like what... I thought he called me angel.  but apparently not because then he said, 'oh my name is Angel,  sorry....'  Okay cool.   lo siento.  

Our Elders- Elder Emmett Guzman and Elder Steven Smith as well as Elder Jory Brower and Elder Jordan Brough- take such good care of us.  They are always coming over  to help with groceries, whatever we need.  We make them Abuelita hot coco in exchange for their pancakes some mornings.  They live nearby and that is a huge blessing.  Sometimes they steal our car but for the most part they bike in all the rain and cold, no complaints.  They are trying to teach me spanish so estoy muy agradecida por lo.

Alexa (18) is a girl who is an active member but her brother, Fransisco (20) is baptized but not active and her mom Ana is not a member.  I love her.  She tries so hard to bring her family all together and hold a lesson but it's been a struggle.  

We had a Relief society activity- nearly 4 women were there and we knitted together and ate cake.  It was good but as all the women were hard at work knitting away, all these scarves for the homeless, I was stumped.  They would try to explain to me how to do it but I didn't understand them because it was all spanish.  spoken quickly.  So my scarf was 2 inches long but heyyyy I think they got the memo I needed one of them to finish it for me....  

We really are all working together to gather God's family once more. 

I am going to live here when I come home.  Love this place and people.  Missionaries have a good reputation and are respected here.  So it's been really great. I feel so lucky to be here.  Time is flying.  Love you all. Hope it's well. 


Hermana Waters
4300 Dale Road

Modesto, CA 95356

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Okay apparently it's Halloween, like what?

This week was really exciting and tender and sad all at the same time.  Lots of lasts. Tonight is the last night of our time with our teacher Hermano Christian Clark and we already had our last lesson with Hermana Hope Thomas.  They have definitely aided me along this challenging yet great journey.
Neil L. Anderson gave a devotional here just on Tuesday and the spirit was so strong from the moment he walked in the door.  I go to the MTC choir and we sang More Holiness Give Me before that devotional and know that Heavenly Father loves us so much.  At one point that night he said, 'The Savior never receives a sacrifice in which he does not return a thousand times.  He just doesn't.  Give it to him.  The Lord never has us in his debt." and that a sacrifice is something that is what you normally wouldn't give up but for the Lord you will.  Make sure you're sacrifice is acceptable for the Lord.  Are we really giving this life all we can, making the most out of our time?  I know I haven't been doing all so it really got me thinking.  I decided to create a list called 'Hermana Abigail Waters' Alter of Sacrifice'.  On it, I've chosen things that I have not quite let go of yet and need to, in order to move on and grow from this experience.  I know I haven't left all that I could've at home so this list has been a constant reminder for me.  It aids me in every decision because if it's on that list-ex. my ungrateful heart-it's done and I've given it up.  I love it.  It has become the greatest strength.  Recognize what you are giving up and what you need to so you can become closer to Heavenly Father.

I got released as Sister Training Leader this week which was sad but it probably was a good thing because troubles arose and no longer was it on our shoulders.  So it was nice having somebody else make sure all the companionships are doing well.

I had my last gym time and nearly sobbed because that means that no more four square as a zone.  I had gotten good too.  Who would've thought four square was my thing but I love it.
I have ran into many missionaries heading to Modesto (but english speaking) so it's exciting to think we will all be headed out together to hit the ground running in Modesto.

Last lesson with Benjamin and it was incredible.  I feel like my teaching skills have skyrocketed here and feel so grateful to have been. here.

I saw Elder Taylor Kofford the other day as he came into the lunch room so I jumped out of my seat and ran over.   Mis companeras knew that I had been looking for him so we were all excited.  He looked so happy to be a missionary.  It definitely was nice to see a good friend here too.
We had a member skype appointment with a man named Eduardo Rico who lives in San Jose California.  He is 25 and him and his brothers are the only members in his family.  It was cool to talk with him.  He shared a lot about his family and the struggles.  I shared the DC 100:1,2 scripture about families being in the hands of God.  He was so awesome he said, 'Can I share a scripture with you?'  We were excited.  He said DC 31:5-6 He asked a question and I didn't quite catch it so once we were all looking at those verses, I asked who he wanted to read.  he said, 'you' and pointed at me through the camera.  I was like ok! So he had asked me and I didn't recognize it but it's definitely a spiritual lesson I hope to never forget.

In a lesson, we got asked a challenging question about why nearly everyone will be in one of the 3 kingdoms since her son was in Pakistan and fighting in war getting hurt by them.  It's a hard question to answer in english let alone spanish.  I left that feeling frustrated and not satisfied with the answer I could give back.  

Infield Orientation was yesterday. 8am-5:30pm of straight lessons which was crazy but so beneficial.  They taught us how to use the ward in missionary work.  Members are essential.  It seems when the members get involved, work is just pedal to the metal.  I learned about how I should be a missionary worthy of referrals.  That if I want members to suggest friends and family to receive a visit from the missionaries, I need to act like the type of missionary that members know I wake up at 6:30, that know I follow every rule with exact obedience, and one that they know is here to serve. I want to work my tail off and be really close with the ward.  It's important to me. I hope it's important to my companion.  I cannot wait to meet the spanish people of Modesto, and my mission president, and his wife, and life is good.

God loves you.  He's real.  I invite you to create your own Alter of Sacrifice and think about what God wants you to give up and what you already are giving up for him.  You'll love it. I promise that you will enable Jesus Christ to be a bigger part of your life and you will see improvement.  

Love you all,
Until Modesto,

Hermana Abigail Waters
D&C 31:5-6