Monday, June 29, 2009

No Clever Title for This Week

I love Bloomfield, but I think I’ve tracted almost the whole town. I recognize people I've only had a two minute conversation with on the street! Anyway, we went to the Bloomfield Hot Air Balloon Festival this week. Since we might not get to see the one in Albuquerque, we figured Bloomfield’s might be the next best thing. One of our investigators invited us to go with her, so my companion and I decided we would get up super early in the morning and go with her since it’s only a few blocks from our apartment, and we’d be back inside before we needed to begin our proselyting.

I have really enjoyed being in Farmington a few days out of the week . It’s been refreshing to visit with a new set of investigators. Some of our investigators in Bloomfield have had the same attitude for the past five months, so it’s been refreshing to teach new people who I don’t already know how they are going to respond to commitments. In some cases I feel like I can be bolder even! I'm surprised that I don't feel quiet and shy around these new people...I must have grown more than I realized!

On Wednesday, one of the girls Sister Abney had been teaching in Farmington agreed to get baptized in August. She said she received her answer and was so excited that she wanted to get baptized the very next day after her wedding! (But then she realized that might be a little bit too hectic.) Anyway, she even offered to say the closing prayer, which Sister Abney said was a first for her!

We also contacted a media referral last Monday. We began to introduce her to the Book of Mormon and one of her very first questions was… “So, how would I go about joining the Mormon church?” Perfect! That’s what every missionary wants to hear. I hate how all the golden investigators are the ones who are super busy and are difficult to catch at home. We haven’t seen her in a week. Hopefully, we’ll get to see her today.

One of our investigators here in Bloomfield has a huge problem with the fact that we claim that there is only one true church. She says that God is a tree trunk, and all the different branches of the tree are different denominations that all lead back to our Heavenly Father. Well, we found her copy of the Book of Mormon (when she wasn’t around) and bookmarked Jacob 5 (the parable of the olive tree, how corrupt branches were taken out). We left a sticky note telling her to read it and pay attention to references to trees. I thought it was so clever of us to do. I hope she reads it. Her brothers are always standing up for the missionaries…they tell her to listen to what we say. She’s Navajo, and sometimes when we ask to set up another appointment with her for the next week, she’ll say: “White Man’s time or Indian Time?” She’s pretty funny.

We also helped one of the investigators in Farmington clean out her house. If there was ever an incentive NOT to smoke…this house would be proof. I just wish I had my camera with me. Her walls were all brown and orange. As we scrubbed the ceiling, big huge splatters of orangey/brown smokey grit dripped all over me! It was so disgusting. This was just second hand smoke that clung to the walls. I can’t imagine how black a smoker’s insides must be!

Sister Abney and I received the best compliment ever this week. We were teaching one of our families, and the dad told us that he could really tell that we LOVED sharing the gospel. He said he has talked to other religious people before who looked like they couldn’t wait to get done with it…they acted like it was a job. But that this time it was different. I do love sharing the gospel, and I told him that almost no other job is more important.

That’s pretty much the summary of our week. It was a good one, and I love having a companion who is a hard worker! Hope all is going well for you! You’re the best! And I love you very much!


Sister Waters

Farmington and Bloomfield Here We Come!

This week was wonderful . I love my new companion a lot. She is a hard worker, and has been really good at asking our investigators questions that make them open up in ways I hadn't seen before. She's also good at getting out of the lesson before the spirit leaves. So I am really excited to see what happens this transfer. We are so glad they put us greenies together! It's going to be a great transfer.

I did feel bad for Sister Abney on Sunday, however. Sister Weatherston volunteered us to speak in church before she left Bloomfield . . . and Sister Abney had to give a talk her very first Sunday! It wasn’t so bad for me though, since I've been in the ward forever.

Also, we will be covering both Bloomfield and Farmington 4th Ward this transfer, which is exciting. Sister Abney has some investigators in Farmington that are pretty close to getting baptized!

Remember back in April, when we visited that man who plays violin/guitar/mandolin? Well, before Sister Crossley left, she said that he is part of the reason why I might be staying in Bloomfield. I have been feeling for a long time that I needed to go back and see him . . . but I kept putting it off. Anyway, we went to visit him, and long story short, he let me borrow one of his violins for the day. Sister Abney had the brilliant idea of filling his violin case with scriptures and all sorts of little quotes; so that when we returned it...we were sneaking the gospel into his house. It was brilliant! He says, "Hi", to us all the time. I think we may win him over yet!

I really felt strengthened this week. I could feel your prayers, and I feel a lot of excitement about this transfer. I love being out here. I love the missionaries I am serving with...and I'm excited to be in the same Zone as Sister Crossley when she gives her departing testimony. She goes home in July.

I don't have too many stories this week. Nothing too much was out of the usual last week, pretty routine.

I love you all. Thanks for your prayers and support.

Ah Hey Ha = Thank You


Sister Waters

Transfer News

Wow, what a week. You've probably heard that the MTC has swine flu. As a result of the quarantine, we weren't going to get our new missionaries on President decided to postpone transfers by a week. Then, a few days ago, we heard that transfers would occur as originally scheduled. So, we made transfer predictions....and waited for the news on Saturday. And. . .I'm staying in Bloomfield for another transfer. I will hit my 6 month mark while in Bloomfield. But it gets more interesting. . . I am now the senior companion! Crazy. I'm still in my greenie area, and I'm going senior after just 4 1/2 months in the field. Hopefully, I can remember how to drive. My new companion will be Sister Abney, from Missouri. We were actually in the MTC together.

All is well here.

Love ya bunches!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Hello everyone!

All is well in New Mexico! This week was difficult . . . when they say the mission is an emotional rollercoaster, they aren’t lying. But there were several tender mercies this week, so before I start writing, know that there is purpose behind it.

On Wednesday, I was feeling so overwhelmed. I was feeling very discouraged because, although we’ve been working, I felt like the work I was doing wasn’t making a difference. I was on the verge of tears. Tons of discouraging thoughts kept flooding through my brain. Silently I prayed, “Please let me talk to someone who will listen, Heavenly Father. Please help us find people who we can help influence!”

Within a couple minutes my prayer was answered dramatically. My companion and I were looking up potential investigators (people missionaries have talked to before, but weren’t ready at the time). We finished talking to one gentleman, who . . . you guessed it . . . wasn’t interested, when we heard someone call us from across the street. It was Mitchell! We see Mitchell everywhere, but have never gotten the chance to talk to him. He was dating one of our investigator’s daughters. So we’d see him at the house all the time. Then we’d see him at the library on P-days. He told us that he was baptized into the church when he was 18, but refused to go back because he didn’t believe the Book of Mormon was true anymore. But in his face, it was clear he missed the church. He even admitted to the fact, saying “I didn’t want to leave, I LOVED the church!”

Well, we had Mitchell all to ourselves. I don’t think I’ve ever been so bold before. I was NOT going to take NO for an answer. I asked him how long it had been since he read the Book of Mormon, and he said it had been 21 years. No wonder you don’t have a testimony! I promised him that he COULD know it was true. That he didn’t have to leave the church. He kept making excuses. I asked him if he would let us teach him the lessons again, and he said, "no". My companion and I bore our testimonies of the Book of Mormon and of its importance. “Mitchell!” I finally said. “I’ve come out here on my mission. I’ve left my family. I don’t get paid. People don’t really listen to us. But this message is so important. The whole world has to know about it, what else in the world could get me to leave all that! Will you at LEAST think about letting us teach you again? Please!”

Then came the revelation, “I have been thinking about it since the first day I saw you over at Mrs. Gomez’ house!”

As much as he said he didn’t want to learn, and as much as he said he didn’t believe anymore, the fact remained, simply seeing the missionaries got him thinking about this. I hope the Holy Ghost is pestering him to NO END!

Like I said…I went into this conversation refusing to take NO for an answer. “OK Mitchell, do you still have a copy of the Book of Mormon?” He affirmed that he did. “Well, will you go home and pray about it?”


My prayer offered just a few minutes before was answered. I got to talk to someone who would listen! Then my companion and I went back to our apartment, and guess what?!?! My prayer was answered a SECOND time! One of the couples we’ve been working with called us back! We had been out of contact for a while, and they called us back! (Investigators don’t call you back toooo often, just FYI).

We left the apartment, and I exclaimed out loud, “Heavenly Father really does answer my prayers!”

I was startled at myself for exclaiming that out loud. Of course I already knew that. I bear testimony of that all day long. But today…it was my own prayer being answered. And I felt reassurance, that Heavenly Father IS AWARE of the work I do. Even on days when doors get slammed in your face.

The SECOND difficult thing about this week happened Thursday. Before I got my mission call, one of my good friends on a mission wrote me a caution in one of his letters. “Courtney, I have to warn you. No one can prepare you for how much your heart will ache for the people you teach.”

I thought that was interesting advice. There have been many times on my mission when I was surprised at myself for NOT being more emotionally involved in the lives of the people I teach. I wanted to have that same level of charity that the missionary who wrote that advice had. So I made it a matter of prayer.

Be careful what you pray for. One of the less active families in our ward said we could teach their family a lesson. The ward had warned us that this particular family had gotten into a lot of anti-Mormon literature. So we spent three days preparing a lesson and praying. But when we showed up on Thursday night, the father bluntly told us that they didn’t want anything to do with the church and that they didn’t believe it anymore. I felt like a horse had just kicked me. The wind was completely knocked out of me. I have faced rejection nearly every day. But this time was different. Even now, I can’t explain why it was different. It just is. The only explanation for my grief is that we had prepared so much, and that it was clear that there had once been a light in this family’s life. That light was now gone.

I went home and sobbed. All I could do was write my testimony. And explain that despite what pseudo-intellectuals say, truth comes NOT as the world says it does (by looking at every side of an issue for example), but through our Heavenly Father who is the source of real truth, as manifested to our hearts and minds through the Holy Ghost. Once you have felt the Holy Ghost’s illumination, the world makes sense, and you KNOW the source of real truth.

We also got two new investigators this week. The daughter is awesome and was SO excited to get a copy of the Book of Mormon. I've never seen someone so eager to accept a commitment! Teaching a first lesson to a new investigator brightens your day like nothing else.

Yesterday was good too! We got to help with a Fireside for the Youth on missionary work. It feels like I was just attending those! Now I'm talking at them! Oh Boy. Time flies.

Anyway, I’m basically out of time. But I love you all. I love being a missionary. This work is so important to our Heavenly Father. P-day will be super relaxed today! I’m excited just to sleep in, write letters, and go out for lunch!

Love you all! Thanks for all your love and support. Have a wonderful week!