Oakland Temple

Oakland Temple

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Week 42 - Ceres, Hughson

Buenos Dias mis queridos,

First off, my new companion Hermana Trejo is awesome! My fourth Mexican companion! ahh natives.  They are blessings.  Hermana Trejo is from Chihuahua Mexico.  We find ourselves humming to the Beverly Hills Chihuahua song 'ay chihuahuaaa' Hispanics in general say ay (sounds like I in english) a lot like oh is used in english and so when she says ay, I say chihuahua.  So 1st invitation, listen to that song for me and think of my Chihuahuense companion and I.

This week there was a stake activity at Zions Park that we were able to attend.  They had horses, canoeing, hiking, rock climbing, dancing, movies, oh and family history for those who weren't tempted to do any of the above. That was a 40 minute drive out with the Juan and Isabel Ortiz family.  We got a bit lost which was scary until I remembered that I had a handy dandy GPS.  

We sang hymns with our investigator Juanita.  SHE LOVED THEM. We have it all set up on her phone so that she can listen to them whenever! 
Juan Abraham is almost done reading the Book of Mormon completely after 3 weeks.
amazing... we are working on coming to church
we got a bunch of referrals from strangers this week and that was awesome! They have lots of potential we just keep working.

I have to say how much satisfaction I get from working.  I get tired when I'm not working but when you get to work, you forget how exhausted you feel. 
Missionary work is great. I have too many stories to even write them. Trust me after the mission, everyone is invited to come up AF canyon, pitch a tent for a week and share all that happened in their lives these 18 months.  I know you are all doing good things and I am thrilled to share and hear our memories!

love you,
hermana waters
oh and ps. i hit 10 months this past saturday-------> how?

Week 41 - Ceres, Hughson

 This week was crazy. Lots of emotions. We found several new people to teach while at the same time struggling to return and find them home. I am sad to see Hermana Pimentel go but looking forward to knowing Hermana Trejo better. We met this young mom named Maria and her boyfriend Efrain. Maria has 3 children and Efrain has 2. When we knocked her door after meeting her the previous week, she explained that we were her friends and invited us in. They explained that they met through work and although were dating, were not living together. In the end of the time spent knowing them better and sharing the Book of Mormon, the invitation we extended to Maria to give the closing prayer was accepted. It has been a while since I had seen that invitation be accepted in the first lesson so quickly and so willingly. As we all prayed-Maria, Efrain and Alejandro (son of Maria), she prayed fervently. She asked Heavenly Father that we would be protected and that she would come to understand the 'new but beautiful things' that we were teaching her. A spark of hope lit inside me after this long week of feeling like maybe God didn't hear my pleads or maybe I wasn't doing something right. I remember not wanting to leave her presence. As they followed us out of the house and walked us to our bikes, watching us until we were out of sight, I feel like that is why I am here. In my studies this morning I was reading in 1 Tim 4, I was reading and came across verse 10 'For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.'  We are out on the streets giving it all we got, not expecting people to accept us but because we trust in God. That there is a point that we are here. A thought that I lacked the the many days before. To remember the promises of the Lord brings me comfort. Jeffrey R. Holland said in the Broken Vessel video that after we have done all we have done, we need to hold to ''the Light at the end of the tunnel and blessing at the end of the day.'' 

Isn't the gospel beautiful?

Love you all,
Hermana Waters

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Week 40 - Ceres, Hughson

It was nice and cool this week.  We lucked out since our air conditioner broke yesterday so we just leave the back door and front door open to keep cool air running through while we are there. 
I got a flat in the other tire so back down to Turlock we went and I got a stronger back tire with slime between the tire and the tube.  We walked near the end of the week which wasn't to bad since it was nice and windy.
Today as we were washing our laundry, 5 investigators passed by with whom we talked.  It was awesome.
e to see them and follow up on the commitments we left with them.  To our sweet knowledge many had been reading in their Book of Mormon and praying.  We just need to help them understand the importance of church.  We hear, 'oh all the churches lead you back to God' or 'oh but it's all the same God.' And it all goes back to the apostasy and restoration. We are working on teaching that more clear which becomes more and more easier with a growth in vocabulary and testimony.  We have found some really solid new investigators who are so interested in the Book of Mormon so we are looking forward to knowing them better.  
I find myself wanting to leave the house right after we get ready to go out an talk with people.  In studies I just get stuck thinking and when I think, I go crazy.  Someone told me I should run 5 miles in the morning in 30 minutes-so now you all now know what my workout will be everyday. 
On the downhill of the mission, I have felt a yearning for home.  A yearning to just be with my family again. I find myself as a missionary with constant changes in who you live with, who you talk to, who you eat with, who you teach, and where you are.  Nothing ever seems sure.  A quote shared by my mom says, "Great things never came from comfort zones." Socrates said that the secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.  The point of this life is to become new.  
  • Matthew 9:17

    17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into
    ​ ​
     new bottles, and both are preserved. 
  • Ether 13:9

    9 And there shall be a new heaven and a new
    ​ ​
     earth; and they shall be like unto the old save the old have passed away, and all things have become 
    ​ ​
  • Doctrine and Covenants 75:7

    7 And I give unto him a new commission and a
    ​ ​
     new commandment, in the which I, the Lord, chasten him for the murmurings of his heart; 
  • 2 Peter 3:13

    13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness
  • Luke 5:36

    36 ¶And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17

    17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
  • Ezekiel 18:31

    31 ¶Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
  • How many times does God invite us to become new.  to leave the old us and move on in strength.  Old parts he wants you to drop are not only sins but those things that keep you from progressing or distractions.  As well as laziness.  
  • Be born again is a common other phrase. As a missionary we teach that the investigators need to become clean by starting habits of repentance which leads to baptism.  To less actives we teach to practice repentance which leads to the Sacrament. 
  • In the Infinite Atonement by Tad R. Callister, He quotes C.S. Lewis and his view of the atonement and how we may become perfect using it. He uses his experience with the Dentist as he explains
  • He says, "When I was a child I often had toothache, and I knew that if I went to my mother she would give me something which would deaden the pain for that night and let me get to sleep. But I did not go to my mother—at least, not till the pain became very bad. And the reason I did not go was this. I did not doubt she would give me the aspirin; but I knew she would also do something else. I knew she would take me to the dentist next morning. I could not get what I wanted out of her without getting something more, which I did not want. I wanted immediate relief from pain: but I could not get it without having my teeth set permanently right. And I knew those dentists: I knew they started fiddling about with all sorts of other teeth which had not yet begun to ache. They would not let sleeping dogs lie, if you gave them an inch they took an ell.
        Now, if I may put it that way, Our Lord is like the dentists. If you give Him an inch, He will take an ell. Dozens of people go to Him to be cured of some one particular sin which they are ashamed of or which is obviously spoiling daily life. Well, He will cure it all right: but He will not stop there. That may be all you asked; but if once you call Him in, He will give you the full treatment.
      ... ‘Make no mistake,’ He says, ‘if you let me, I will make you perfect. The moment you put yourself in My hands, that is what you are in for. Nothing less, or other, than that. You have free will, and if you choose, you can push Me away. But if you do not push Me away, understand that I am going to see this job through. Whatever suffering it may cost you in your earthly life, whatever inconceivable purification it may cost you after death, whatever it costs Me, I will never rest, nor let you rest, until you are literally perfect— until my Father can say without reservation that He is well pleased with you, as He said He was well pleased with me. This I can do and will do. But I will not do anything less."
  • Let us all invite others to become new through the Lord with fresh starts doing so in his way.  
Love you all,
Hermana Waters

Monday, July 11, 2016

Week 39 - Ceres, Hughson

July has arrived and it's hot hot hot.  I've adjusted to the warm water, soaked armpits, and red skin.  The need to spread the gospel doesn't stop.  We are out on bikes and boy people look at us like we are crazy. Maybe we are. But I love it. 

We found a couple new investigators this week who have family members in Mexico that are members and that told us about how much they have seen the gospel change their lives. Just confirms the truth that we are seen and the changes, no matter how difficult, are recognized.

 I have to recount what a beautiful fast and testimony meeting we had yesterday.  Yesterday was a tender day since the day before my grandmother had a heart surgery on Saturday.  Something I was afraid of since I lost a little sister in the middle of a heart surgery.  Sunday, being left with the curiosity and anxiety of not knowing, I felt sad and nervous.  In hopes that I would find peace yesterday, it didn't start out too smoothly.  A less active member's friend we had been teaching had committed to meet us at the church (with the less active member) 1 hour before church to have a lesson.  We arrived on time and as time went by they didn't show up nor pick up their phones.  Every moment like that makes me a little more sad.  We went through church-all 3 new investigators that had committed to come didn't show up. As we were in the fast and testimony meeting, nearly 20 spanish youth had gotten up to bear their testimonies.  That was something I had never seen before.  The youth here in this Ceres branch are so strong.  I started to cry as I realized the gratitude I really have to be here and get to serve with these strong people. I realized leading up to that meeting I'd been feeling a desire to return home.  To do the work there.  As if the work here was value of nothing.  We had few progressing investigators and commitments weren't being kept.  Hermana Pimentel and I had a great conversation about how only God may know what good our work is doing, what will happen with all those we talk with, and the point all the hot days in the sun.  As I sat in the meeting though that true feeling of peace and gratitude swept over me.  As we sang the closing hymn 'Tengo gozo en mi Alma hoy' 'There is Sunshine in my Soul today' I couldn't help but sing it with my heart through the tears and worries.  It's true.  The rest of the day miracles happened every where we went. 

The first miracle was that at dinner yesterday with the Branch president and his wife, they mentioned that a bunny had showed up out of no where that morning and they had put it in their back yard.  I jump up out of my seat and run to the backyard.  Sure enough there in the shade a lop bunny laid.  I wrapped it up easily in my arms(it was very friendly and chill with me) and held it as I had with my bunnies at home.  It made me feel right at home as I refused to let go. Good memories rushed to my mind.  

The second miracle that happened was that at that dinner, Hermana Rojas had mentioned paletas she had for us (popsicles mexican style and they are better than our popsicles) so I was hoping and waiting she'd bring them out. She must of forgot and we left without.  I mention it to Hermana Pimentel about how I really wished we got a paleta since it sounded good.  Well the next door we knocked, a man named Roberto answered the door. A complete stranger, ok? and right before we started sharing a lesson with him outside (since there wasn't a woman in the house) an Ice cream pulled up right in front of his house and parked.  You all know what I was thinking... I wanted to run over and buy one but before I know it, Roberto asked us, 'Do you want a paleta?' We had just met him so of course out of courtesy we said, 'oh no, I'm good.' 'Well,' he said, 'is it okay if I go get some?' Of course! So we were sitting in the fold up chairs outside thinking about what Roberto needs right now when he walks back with a box full of ice creams.  He said,'I know you want some, which one do you want?' So lo and behold I received a paleta.  It may be stupid but I know that God really did hear my desires and send me a little something to feel loved.  We insisted on watering his plants before we left as some sort of service in return.  

I know my heavenly parents love me, just as I know my earthly parents do too.  It brings me a deep joy in my heart I cannot deny. 

​Love you all,
Hermana Waters