Oakland Temple

Oakland Temple

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Week 21 - Modesto

Hola Amigos!

Sorry LDS Email wasn't working the previous week.

This week I read a lot of things focusing on the same idea of being a light and example.  It started with President Thomas S. Monson's talk from this past General Conference 'Be an Example and a Light'  He says, We cannot afford to neglect these things ( prayer, scripture study, church attendance), for the adversary and his hosts are relentlessly seeking for chink in our armor, lapse in our faithfulness. Said the Lord, “Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good.”

I know that we cannot risk straying from the good things we know we should be doing.  In his talk he mentions the phrase 'we will stand out' and 'we will be different' nearly 7 times! The prophet said that.  It made me think if they were to take a random 19 year old girl and compare my way of living, habits, and desires would they find a difference?  The prophet clearly wants us to get from this most recent talk BE DIFFERENT.  

I read about the Stripling Warriors in Alma 56-57 about these youth who had their heart set on their families, their beliefs, and God.  It's what makes us different and what makes us strong.  The fight is not easy.  May we not be discouraged.  Helaman's army of sons fought most desperately, firmly and undaunted.  Obeying and observing every command with exactness.

Do we suppose the Lord will deliver me as I sit on a 'throne' and not make use of the means and commandments which he has proved me? (Alma 61)  I love the phrase Moroni then uses in Alma 61:24 'begin to be up and doing'  

When we work to be up and doing people in good causes we bring the light into the world.  We will be different and Satan will not have the power to close the gates of Heaven.  

I love one of the closing paragraphs of President Monson's talk:

"To each of you, say that you are son or daughter of our Heavenly Father. You have come from His presence to live on this earth for season, to reflect the Savior’s love and teachings, and to bravely let your light shine for all to seeWhen that season on earth has ended, if you have done your part, yours will be the glorious blessing of returning to live with Him forever."

May we strive to be those examples.  I Invite all of you to think about in what ways you can change your ways to be an example.  I look back and know I have plenty.  What are you going to do to be what the prophet asks, different?  I know that the promise is real.  We will live with him forever.  

Moses said it best (Moses 1:18)  will not cease to call upon God, have other things to inquire of him

Love you all, I know this is his church and that Jesus Christ himself is at the head of it.  May we feel cherished in his caring arms.  

Hermana Waters

Week 20 - Modesto

Feliz Dia de San Valentine!!!
I hope you had a great valentine's day with those you love!
We did with the baptism of Socorro this past Saturday and a regional conference broadcasted from Salt Lake City this Sunday

I have been getting stumped with feeling like I work really hard in one attribute and neglect attention to others and then it's this repetitive cycle.  Have you ever felt that way?  I love the Christlike attributes like Love, Patience, Virtue, Knowledge, Charity, Faith, Hope, Humility, Diligence, and Obedience.  They are the characteristics of those that will one day dwell in the Kingdom of God.  Our salvation depends on these qualities.  There is a talk by Jeffrey R. Holland called "How Do I Love Thee?'  I related this to all the attributes of Christ.  I hope that we feel support from the other side as you as we strive to become more like Christ. 

'And it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him [and her].
Wherefore, . . . 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 [and daughters] of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; . . . that we may be purified even as he is pure. [Moroni 7:47–48]
True charity, the absolutely pure, perfect love of Christ, has really been known only once in this world—in the form of Christ Himself, the living Son of the living God. It is Christ’s love that Mormon goes to some length to describe for us and that Paul the Apostle did as well some years before, writing to the Corinthians in New Testament times. As in everything, Christ is the only one who got it all right, did it all perfectly, loved the way we are all to try to love. But even though we fall short, that divine standard is there for us. It is a goal toward which we are to keep reaching, keep striving—and, certainly, a goal to keep appreciating.
And as we speak of this, may I remind you, as Mormon explicitly taught, that this love, this ability, capacity, and reciprocation we all so want, is a gift. It is “bestowed”—that is Mormon’s word. It doesn’t come without effort and it doesn’t come without patience, but, like salvation itself, in the end it is a gift, given by God to the “true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.” The solutions to life’s problems are always gospel solutions. Not only are answers found in Christ, but so is the power, the gift, the bestowal, the miracle of giving and receiving those answers. In this matter of love, no doctrine could be more encouraging to us than that.'
May we focus our efforts and time in self mastery.  Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, "If we make no effort to believe, we are like the man who unplugs a spotlight and then blames the spotlight for not giving any light."  Make sure you know changes can happen and changes can happen in other people.  As we look forward with faith and an eye centered on Jesus Christ, nothing can stop us. 
I have not words great enough to explain this beautiful talk given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.  I want to invite you to read it and email me back what you thought or felt stood out. (link below) Print it out why don't you? mark it up. 
I love you all,  I pray for you, and I appreciate the support,
Hermana Waters xoxo

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Week 19-Modesto

Hola! Things are starting to warming up and it's fun to be on the streets talking with people.  Socorro's baptism is this upcoming Satuday so hopefully next week you'll be getting some pictures from that.  

A new favorite scripture found in Mormon 9:31
Condemn me not because of mine imperfectionneither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections,that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.

This week  I thought about the changes I want to make when I get home.  I know that's far away but as I encountered this article from this month's ensign called 'Remarriage: An Adventure in Patience and Love'​
It's about a family who got combined when the kids were older.  I related that to what I have now.  My father is married and his wife has her 4 grown daughters and my mom will most likely one day have a husband who has his children too.  In the article it talks about the struggles they face and that it wasn't an easy switch.  I always have to remind myself of the change that is now part of my life.  Before the mission I never fully accepted that truth.  This family's story

The last part says "Putting two families together requires twice as much love and twice the patience.   There has been a lot of cooking and many loads of laundry to wash, but it's worth it.  We love our large family.  The blessings of having twice as many people to love are twice as great."

This is specifically for my family.  I thought about all the changes we've been through.  It's seems ridiculous that I mourned over the fact that my dad got married or that my mom is dating.  The idea that they have kids of their own that I'd be forced to loved and expected to get along with seemed miserable.  I mean, I am older and I have my own ways.  
But my perspective changed because of that little phrase.

I burst into tears recognizing that this new stage of life my family had embarked on was a chance for me to learn to love more people.  We are so lucky for this opportunity.  I think of the support that I know we can feel as we work to develop lasting relationships with once strangers who have become now family.  

It's maybe not what we envisioned but it's what we got and it's to our benefit.  Right now I look forward to growing closer to the newer parts of my family.  I don't think it will be so bad after all.

"The most important thing is to have the same enthusiasm for serving our Savior and the determination to strive toward the goal to be an eternal family. "

May we all look for ways to love more and accept more.

I love you all and hope you had a great week.


Hermana Waters

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Week 18

Donde esta Enero?  Yo no se...

And adios to January because it's February!  The 18th is my mother's birthday so if you know her,  tell her happy birthday for me! It's her 26th so don't mess it up ok??  

This week we made a bathroom break at a McDonald's after being on the street talking and knocking on a couple former investigator's doors.  Oh and I thought I might as well pick up a McFlurry too :) We go in to the bathroom and walk out. And a miracle happened.  Socorro (one of our investigators) was sitting at the table right next to the bathrooms and I yell, "SOCORROOOOO?!?!"  Hermana Carpenter looks and we run over.  Then this man at the table behind her starts waving his hand up in the air and hurrying out of his seat to come talk to us.  This man begins to tell us that he was a member and had the priesthood a long time ago.  He tells us he had fallen away but wants to become part of the church again because his life is a mess.  He insisted we send missionaries to his home in Ceres.  He explained his whole story and was thrilled to see LDS Missionaries.  He bought us cookies and gave us his information.  Crazy.  We thenhad a lesson with Socorro right in McDonalds as we all enjoyed the cookies Edgar (the man) had gotten us.  I couldn't believe it.  We really were in the right spot at the right time.  

As I reflect on this week, our first week of being full complete time missionaries without taking extra time to study or Sister Training leader responsibilities.  It was full of miracles I cannot even begin to list.  This week I've really recognized how lucky and grateful I am to be here right now.  I have also recognized that I want to be here right now too. 
With that Gratitude I evaluated my actions to make sure that not only were my actions in line with that feeling but were my inner most desires present upon action.  What.  I don't think that made sense.  Sure I wanted to be here but was that desire fueling me through my actions or were my actions fueled off of just having it be my responsibility as a missionary?
Along with that there is a article in February's Ensign called, 'The New Testament's Message of Repentance' (link below) written by Larry Y. Wilson that is fantastic.  He says
'With the Savior’s earthly ministry came different focus. He fulfilled the law of Moses and taught the higher law, which emphasized the inner attitudes:the condition of one’s heart and the motivations and desires that lead to all outward actions' 
I thought about my gospel living.  Is the Savior pleased with my way of gospel living? Is it desire or routine?  I had fallen into the trap of being a routine missionary.  The carnal law is that that only covers action, ensuring we are doing every action exactly.  In the Old Testament, there are 613 commandments that only cover the outward appearance of obedience.  This cannot be what God wanted.  He wants our heart and soul to be committed.  When Jesus Christ came, the focus changed to exactly what God wanted.  The ways of living he asks of us are not only just to be lived but to be a desire of ours.  Actions with Meaning.  
Think about it like a card.  A card is nothing if you don't write in it your desires, motivations, or your heart for why you're sending it to the person.  Now what you subtract all the writing within the card, leaving it blank and then sending it because 'hey you sent a card'? It would have little significance to the person receiving it.  It would have been better to not even send a blank card.  That is how God views his commandments. 
How could only our actions take us back to heaven?  Our heart and mind would not be prepared and who are we kidding, we wouldn't want to live the life expected in Heaven anyways.  Don't let the ways of obedience become only a habit or routine.  If you don't know why you do something pertaining to the gospel or feel like you lack the desire, ask.  The gospel raises the bar, making real, fundamental changes inside ourselves.  
I promise that as we fuel our actions with desire life will become more enjoyable.  There will be greater satisfaction with what we have and where we are going.  We will be satisfied knowing that Eternal life in God's presence really is what we want and what we qualify for.

I love you.  I pray for you at home.  Seek the desire to be a Saint.

Hermana Waters