Oakland Temple

Oakland Temple

Friday, December 25, 2015

Week 13-Transferred to Modesto

Well surprise surprise.  After we'd already got transfer calls Monday, saying I was staying with Hermana Alcaraz in Turlock, President Palmer called us Tuesday during companionship study and told me to pack up all my belongings and head into the mission office.  That means one thing.  I was getting transfered.  I didn't know where or with who I'd be with. So that was a hard last minute goodbye to all the missionaries in Turlock.  Well I'm now in Modesto with Hermana Kyrie Carpenter.  She was my sister training leader the first transfer.  I was very intimidated of her but now it's great.  We are a lot alike.  She is from Spanish Fork and has been out 14 months.  I can't wait to learn from her and experience a new branch that is almost a ward.  This branch I am in is so different and so welcoming.  I love them and serving them this week was incredible. They help us in the work.  The branch president is Presidente Martinez and he is a convert of 3 years.  He is the best.  He works so hard in the branch and this branch is nearly a ward.  Baptisms here are crazy.

We have an investigator named Socorro who is 58 and just so prepared.  She has a baptism this Sunday and is already part of the branch.  All of the members love her and have taken her in.  She reads and reads all of the church manuals and Book of Mormon.  She downloaded the app on her phone so she does it everywhere she goes.  Gloria and Allen are both 20 years old, she is pregnant of 3 months and was baptized but is less active.  We are preparing Allen to be baptized, Gloria wants to be married in the temple.  Allen is being very attentive.  He has a baptism date for January 16 (still in this transfer so I'd be here) and then we are hoping that means when we invite them to be married first since it is a prerequisite for baptism at this point, that we will be having a wedding before then.  We believe it's possible they are very ready as well as they do not have a lot of money or any family around. 

Funny story about Allen and Gloria, so we were going to have a lesson with them at the church with a member present.  Well we knew that this member had to stay afterwards and Gloria and Allen don't have a car so she brought them.  She couldn't stay afterwards because she was helping with the baptism there.  And after wards the branch party was happening-they were already planning on going to to the lesson and the branch christmas party.  But we surprised GLoria and Allen with the baptism in between.  They were stuck at the church so they got to go to a baptism whether or not they liked it.  Lol.

My companion is still a Sister Training leader so lots of time has been spent traveling places for meetings.  That's been nice, meeting new missionaries as well as the fact that that means I am going to be going on a lot of exchanges.  Since she has to exchange with all of the sisters she's over in Stockton and Lodi, I will switch too.  I'll get to experience a lot of new things this transfer and can hardly wait.

We are having a Christmas devotional meeting as a whole mission the 24th of December me and Hermana Carpenter are singing in. so we'll see how that goes.  This is such a great time to be here.

Thanks for all the love and support back home.  I can feel it.  This Christmas Season is so special.  I am constantly reminded of what it means to have a savior.  In my studies this past week, I came across a scripture in D&C 123:17
 17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

I love this scripture and I have thought about it a lot this week. Do all we can possibly do with cheer.  You know what you need to do.  It's a gospel with straightforward doctrine and simple.  I hope as this new year rolls around you can reflect back and think what more you could do and if how you are going about things is cheerfully.  Keep remembering that we aren't perfect but become perfected through him.  I know living the gospel brings me the most happiness as well as supports me in my journey to become a better person.  

I pray for you all.  I really do.  Loves from Modesto California.

Hermana Waters

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Week 12-Still in Turlock! Yay!


So near the end of the week things got crazy.  So starting from the end, this past Saturday Elder Smith was not feeling so hot.  Him and Elder Guzman are in the same branch as us so we had lots of meetings that day.  He was puking, green, and in tons of pain. He insisted on going to the first half of the meetings but then we got a call from the nurse Sister Gilbert saying he needs to go to the emergency room.  Me and Hermana Alcaraz have a car but President asked that they look for a ride first since they have bikes. After no success, the stake elder's quorum president- Brother Ross Day said to just take our car and go to the hospital. They rushed to Emmanuel Hospital and we stayed to finish up the meetings.  After the meetings we realized that he'd taken our car keys with our apartment keys and we were stuck at the church with a cello and their missionary bags. We couldn't get a ride home with anyone since we aren't allowed to ride with Brethren.  So we hung for like 40 minutes until the Zone Leaders came and got  the cello and we geared up for the hour walk to Emmanuel Hospital with the elders 20 pound bags.  It was awesome.  That is when I felt like a real missionary.  Well after we left, Elder Smith and Guzman spent all day and most the night in the Emergency room-Elder Smith found out he has appendicitis. They scheduled him for surgery the next morning and so they spent 2 nights at Emmanuel.  Most of our time since Saturday has been spent at Emmanuel running the elders food, goodies, clothes for overnight, blankets, you name it. He came home today at 2:30pm and before he came back, we went and decorated his house and made a cake to welcome them home since it hasn't been too luxury for them.  
Well I was supposed to play piano in sacrament meeting with Elder Smith playing the cello but since he was in the hospital I was left to solo it.  I luckily had brought some other pieces so I planned to play one of them.  Well I get there the music director was upset and likes to have it all in control so when I told her I would play this piano piece for the intermediate hymn she straight up told me in English- FORGET IT.  I wanted to cry... So I just played a basic hymn but it's okay.
We had a Noche de Hogar (Family home evening) with this member Karem and her crazy little kids 7 years old and younger.  We had planned to teach the new church campaign and how God loves the children.  We gave them a pass along card of the video that has a picture of Jesus Christ as a baby on it and the 7 year old boy straight up took it and said he hated Jesus as he tore it up into shreds.  You should've seen my face.  I couldn't cried I was in rage.  My Book of Mormon was open and ready to start teaching about it and I just slam it shut and say, "You don't know what you're talking about." We are working with him.  But he also dreams of putting bombs underneath the benches in the church and setting them off when the people start singing, killing them all.  We are working with him, lets just say that.  I will not leave this area with this kid acting like that.
One of the members Hermano Luna (a convert of 6 months and is the branch mission leader) made us some jalapeno cream cheese bread.  It was so good.  New favorite thing.  Try it out :) 
The branch Christmas Party was so much fun. It started 2 hours late due to us waiting on the costco chickens to be delivered but when they came, we all were in the kitchen of the church tearing them apart together.  It was a blast.  We finished cutting up all 30 of the chickens in 30 minutes.  It was the best part of the night.  
Funny story, a lady named Concha submitted herself as a referral so we went to go see her.  That rarely happens here.  So we go, and get talking.  She's a sweet old lady that lives with 10 cats alone.  We found out she has dementia quickly into the lesson when we asked her about why she referred herself.  She didn't know what we were talking about.  Then she told us the same story 5 times.  It was so sad.
We found out one of our investigators was trying to scam the church.  Martha... yeah apparently she does this with a lot of churches.  She is a drug addict and prostitute. She sales her food stamps for drug money.  3 of her 5 kids have already been taken by the government.  
It's been a crazy week but time is flying.
Shout out to Elder Jarvis who is reading this.  Creeper status. but esta bien.

Love you alllll


Hermana Waters

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Week 11 - Turlock

Hola amigos y familia!

Sorry for the confusion, I was confused too.  Transfers are this upcoming week so we'll see what happens.  I really hope to stay here with Hermana Alcaraz!

Well today we were at Target having our weekly session of Retail Therapy as me and my companion call it when a lady just approached us smiling.  She has  a  missionary in Chile and is from the Turlock 3.  Her name is Sister Hamilton and she invited us over for food on Christmas and told us we could skype too if we wanted to.  We'll see, I could be skyping from her house.  So I have 30 minutes skyping with mom and 30 minutes with dad.  She was way nice and it's members like her that keep me going and really support a struggling spanish branch.  Love this church.

This week there were 3 investigators who went to all 3 hours of church! That is unheard of! Rocio (38), Laura Gaspar (55), and her son Gustavo Gaspar (28) came.  Gustavo Gaspar is one of my favorites because when he was 6 years old, he got in a car wreck- limiting his capabilities.  He has the ability of a 10 year old.  When we left their house after a lesson he came up to me and Hermana and told us how grateful he was that we came.  He asked when we'd come back.  So sweet that we get to have people like that here.

I had exchanges with Hermana Carpenter where I went into Modesto for 24 hours in her area.  I was so scared because she's my sister training leader and I just made her out to be this perfect missionary that was perfectly obedient and had it going.  Well we became good friends in that 24 hours and we had a funny contacting experience too.  We were trying to give out Libros de Mormon as we were knocking on doors.  We met this lady who refused the idea of a book other than the bible-which is common and just when we were about to give up, hermana carpenter starts going to the basics of telling who wrote in it and how it was buried then Joseph Smith was given the revelation to unbury it.  Well soon she starts saying 'Darmelo' before we are even done and then she interrupted and said, 'Darmelo eso libro!'  in english- 'Give me it, Give me that book'.  She took it, caressed it in her hands and said she was going to read it.  Those are the people we were looking for.  People that will treasure the book of mormon as much as it deserves to be cherished.
Tires were at 10 psi in the car this one day so we had to go fill it up with air thank heavens for the elders to help us out.

We have an investigator Martha who is 28, has 5 kids, no papers, no job, and a non supportive family.  She is so strong.  Apparently some church came to her door saying that they'd pay all her bills, give her food and give her a job if she was baptized into their church.  I want to tell you this lady is desperate.  They are without food, landlord is trying to hunt her down, and it's horrible.  She said 'No, I will not be getting baptized into a church save it be Jesus Christ's and Jesus Christ doesn't bribe.'  She's amazing.  What faith she has.  I probably wouldn't have had that must trust or let that offer slip by if  I were in her shoes.

We have a member having  a baby and we stopped by the baby shower with a gift and to get some food because it was our dinner.  Well we get there, no one is there and we have an hour until our next lesson.  We socialize as people come, welcoming them.  Then before we know it the hour is gone away and we are starving but have this lesson.  We had to do a McDonald's run at 8:30.  That was crazy because I'm so used to dinner at 5:00 pm every night so it was hard.  But people are more important that food.

The church's campaign "Ha Nacido Un Salvador" is crazy.  It's been awesome to bring members, less active, and investigators to this video that has been released.  It's short but powerful.  How great it is that we have a savior.  I know he's here to help us with the pains of life.  He loves us.  Check out the video if you haven't already.

oh and send me your home address if you want a christmas card.

Love you all
Hermana Waters

Friday, December 4, 2015

Week 10 - Turlock

So lets talk about Thanksgiving.  We went to the Paniagua's house to eat and holy cow.  I had turkey, ham, a potato, green beans, typical thanksgiving food thank goodness.  Later this past week I ate something called Menudo- it has cow intestines in it... The texture is horrible I couldn't swallow it.  The thought of a cow's intestine being in my intestines... Never again.  I am going to claim to be allergic to it.

Last night we got a text from one of our investigators who we believe may be lesbian saying that she wanted to tell us something personal when we had the chance tonight so we might be having a hard discussion tonight.  

This week was so hard.  Our baptism that was supposed to happen-Rocio-cancelled on us.  Her husband doesn't believe she's ready because she's not committed.  She is so prepared and ready but her husband wants to see more from her.  Her husband isn't a member but recognizes it's a big decision.  She's still planning on getting baptized, not sure exactly when.  
Transfers are next week and I am hoping I am staying in Turlock with Hermana Alcaraz.  That means we'd spend Christmas together.

I want to share a little about our part member family the Partida and Navarro family.  The little boy who is 5 is the cutest.  His name is Uriel but his nickname is Woody.  He always volunteers to say the prayer and insists we get on our knees too.  He often uses the word Senor, meaning Lord in his prayer and is so sincere.  He is such an example to me of a humble prayer.
The day before Zone conference I got a call from the Zone leaders to give a training on the Christlike Attribute of Virtue and I was so nervous.  I was responsible for leading the zone on a discussion.  I studied hard.  When we got here (after biking in the cold because we didn't recognize it was as cold as it was) we were all waiting to start the meeting.  Then the sister training leaders walked in-they intimidate me sometimes.  I mean I love them but just get so nervous.  I start sweating.  Literally 2 minutes before we started, the assistant to the President, Elder Jones walked in.  That only means one thing. That President Palmer was here.  Then he walked in.  I began to sweat like crazy.  It went so good though and he said some really nice things to me.  I am so lucky to have an awesome mission president like President Palmer.  Such a great leader.
The following day, me and my companion were going to help with a baptism since ours fell through and we have an investigator named Laura Gaspar who we are helping prepare for baptism.  I played the piano, Hermana Alcaraz was offering a prayer.  Before we left- we get a call from President Palmer's wife, Sister Palmer.  That can be scary.  She just called us up and invited us to go to lunch on her since she was coming out for the baptism. At the baptism Laura our investigator felt the spirit and told us she felt so good.  We cannot wait to talk with her more about everything since she's had several years of lessons but never was invited to attend a baptism.  We think that is just what she needed.  We went to lunch at Olde Tyme Bakery here and it was so good.  I learned that my president and his wife met because He was Her home teacher when they were students back in the day at BYU.  I thought that was cute.  

I do have to say the work gets really hard when I start focusing on me.  When I catch myself thinking about myself, I try to turn outwards and that is when we see miracles happen.

Funny story- we were visiting a member who broke her hip and is in a rehab facility this week and were reading the book of mormon with her.  Afterwards when we asked her what we could bring her, she said cookies.   We said okay and started heading out when she said, 'wait i'm diabetic... you could bring me water.'  lol we were like, oh okay that's probably a good idea. We'll figure out some good food we could bring that wouldn't mess too much with her blood sugar levels.  if You've got any ideas please share.  

I was sick for part of the week with a fever, dizziness, and migraine and so one of the days I was passed out on the floor of our apartment (during our lunch time) when I wake up to my zone leaders at the door.  Elder Andreason and Elder Sheppard.  I popped right up, wiped the drool off and said, 'hello.'  They laughed a little.  They heard I was sick and just wanted to check up on me.  We laughed for a little and I think that combined with my nap was exactly what we needed.  
The weight gain has stumped and I'm starting to lose again thank heavens.  It's an answer to my prayers.  
The people here I love. The place is great.  Hope to stay so I'll let you know next week if I'm in the same area with Hermana Alcaraz.  Time is flying.  I love you all.  Be so safe.
Hermana Waters