Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Three Musketeers

I am really loving Bloomfield. We set two more baptism dates this week, for a grand total of four! Out of these four individuals, I think three will actually get baptized. But two of them will probably need to push their date back a little bit so that they can finish the lessons/build testimony. But Crystal has agreed to August 22, and she tells us she thinks about her baptism every day and is so excited! She told the Bishop at church yesterday that she wants her family to be sealed one year after her baptism. Yay! We had four investigators at church yesterday too! Yay!

I LOVE my companions dearly. I think this transfer is going to be one of my most fun! Our biggest problem in the first week was staying up later than we should giggling and laughing. We need to work on that. 

Sister Boisselle is from Vancouver Island, Alberta Canada. She is hilarious! Her story about why she decided to go on a mission almost had us rolling on the floor. She came out one transfer before I did, and I love her a lot.

Sister Lotulelei was born in Tonga, but her family has been living in Utah for the past 11 years. She is wonderful! I feel like I don’t even need to train her. In the MTC I remember that I LOVED new missionary intake days each week, because there was just a fresh excitement about everything, and a breath of fresh air. I feel the same thing in regards to new missionaries entering the field. They are so excited and have that MTC zeal. Sister Lotulelei has six older sisters who all served missions, one of which is in Brazil right now.

So I am very happy about this transfer! It’s going to be fun. We worked so hard our first week. We have so many investigators, that our new sister was surprised that there wasn’t even time to knock doors on a few days. We just had teaching appointment after teaching appointment.

On Monday, four of us sisters drove down to Albuquerque. I LOVE long car rides with these sisters. They are brilliant. Then eight of us stayed in the Sisters’ apartment in Albuquerque. Which was fun, but none of us slept until almost 1:00 am, and then had to get up early for transfers. On Saturday, Farmington had the biggest Pioneer Day picnic dinner I’ve ever seen. It was pretty fun since they don’t celebrate it at all back east.

The Funnies of the Past Few Weeks:

•On the last district meeting of each transfer, the district will take district pictures. The elders usually wear these nasty colorful polyester suits that they find at thrift stores. Our district leader asked if sisters ever do anything funny for these pictures. He said. “The Zone Leaders give you permission to wear your nose rings and belly rings. And Tell Sister Abney that she can roll up her sleeves and show off her tattoos.” So, Sister Abney and I decided to wear “tattoos” to district meeting. Mine had a cross with CTR below it. Believe it or not, I have actually seen someone with this tattoo in real life. Needless to say, we got some fun pictures.

Mom, it’s hard to think of just one investigator to fast for because I love them all, but if you want to, just fast that they all will recognize spiritual experiences and that they will be prompted to read the Book of Mormon and have the courage to make changes that will bring them closer to Heavenly Father.

I loved your stories about Girls Camp. I’m glad you enjoyed it even though it was camp. It sounds like you and the girls had a fun time staying up late and doing silly things.

Well, I love you very much and hope everything is going well.

Sister Waters

Friday, July 24, 2009

Transfer News

Hello All!

OK. It’s transfer time again. Every single elder in our district, and even our zone I think, predicted that I would be transferred this time. One of our investigators even gave me a going away present because she sensed that I would no longer be there. But I get to prove them all wrong!

On Friday, I came home to a voicemail from President Anderson (which is usually NOT good news.) When I called him back he said he was thinking about putting a trio of sisters in our apartment, and he wanted to know if we would fit. OK, no big deal. He said he’d let us know if it would happen later.

Then on Saturday morning, I got ANOTHER phone call from President Anderson asking me if I would train the new sister that is coming into the mission. OK, I didn’t really see that one coming. Not many missionaries train in their OWN greenie area! But it should be fun, because we WILL be in a trio. I will be co-training with Sister Boisell, who I think is from Canada. Tonight I will be driving down to Albuquerque and staying with the sisters there so that we can be at the Training Meeting early tomorrow morning. It will be really fun to drive down with the sisters who are going home, including my own trainer! Getting a 3 generation picture of trainers is not too common, but I think it’s going to happen.

I am excited about being in a trio. While it will be awkward for tracting, I think it will be fun for everything else. Instead of one friend to talk to I get 2! But I have a LOT of cleaning to do today before I leave. Our apartment is kind of a mess, and I’d like to decorate it before the greenie gets here. One of the families in the 1st Ward threw me and Elder Miles a greenie party back in February for our first day in the mission, and they are already planning another one for tomorrow. They are pretty excited I’ll be at another greenie party at their house. SO that should be fun. Also, we are still covering BOTH Bloomfield and Farmington, but my old companion is going to Gallup.

People are the same wherever you go. Each of Heavenly Father’s children is equal in his eyes. SO it doesn’t really make a difference where I serve. Hopefully I can start implementing some new things I’ve been thinking about this transfer.

Plus, I will be here when one of our investigators gets baptized on August 15. If all goes according to plan, this will be my first baptism. And I am so excited. It is a part member family, and the mom told us she got her answer! The feeling in their home is very different than when we go to other investigators. They are excited to learn more, and they eliminate all distractions. I guess you can say they’re golden. SO that will be another highlight of the upcoming transfer. We had a lesson with their family on Saturday, and the grandma, who first introduced her daughter-in-law to the church, was there. It was one of the neatest lessons I’ve seen. They were talking about how their Native American teachings can fit in with the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Part of the discussion had to deal with ancestors, and how the church doesn’t take away from that spiritual connection, but adds to it. “Can you imagine 7 generations of Native Americans being sealed in the Temple?” Their mom asked. “That is what I have been doing.” She is so excited at the opportunity of being sealed to her son and daughter-in-law and their children. I am thrilled for them as well.

OK. In other news, we went to visit one of our investigators on Wednesday, and she was in the middle of a Bible Study with the Jehovah’s. THAT was a little awkward to say the least.

We also got to help with the Primary’s Activity Day. Which was interesting….I forgot how small children’s attention spans are.

I celebrated my 6-Month-Mark this week. It’s tradition to burn panty hose on the 6th month mark. But nylon doesn’t really burn, it melts, and stinks. But I got some fun videos.

We also met with a pretty neat new investigator this week. He is only 19 or 20, but studies a lot of different translations of the Bible as well as Hebrew and Greek. He wanted to understand more about LDS doctrine. He is VERY smart, and pretty nice. But I don’t think he is very receptive…yet. He basically told us we had been deceived and that we would not be saved. But as missionaries, you get that a lot.

Dad, I just wanted to let you know that I got your last letter on Thursday. It was a little mini miracle in my week, because it should have arrived earlier than it did, but I got it on the day that I needed it MOST. My companion and I had just had a little fight, over nothing incredibly serious, but spending 24 hours a day with someone is a very unnatural concept, and so there are tense days in every companionship. But anyways, THAT was the day I got it. And it said exactly what I needed to hear. I just cried and cried. I let my companion read some of it too, and she marked her scriptures with it. So Thanks.

I loved hearing about all the updates on the ward, and about all the recently returned missionaries in your letter mom, I love hearing those pieces of information! I hope Girls Camp went well and that there weren’t any injuries.

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!

Sister Waters


Yah-tah-hey! (What's up?)

OK, so I didn’t get to e-mail until later in the afternoon because one of the sisters in the ward volunteered to do our hair today. She gave me some highlights and now I am VERY blonde. Very. But I’ve been almost every hair-color before, so it shouldn’t be that much of a shock. Hopefully.

We got to help out at the LDS Farm this week! It was pretty fun, and they let us bring home some fresh green beans, peas and peaches. We even got to take some to an investigator!

Then we went out to Blanco (one of two even tinier small towns in our ward) and tried to find a referral. We stopped at the post office to get directions, and one of the workers was a lady in our ward. She was cleaning out some old things and so we helped her load up her car with some heavy items. New Mexico is known for being the birthplace of the Atomic Bomb. So she found some “What to do if there is a nuclear attack” booklets that showed you how to make a shelter. They dated back to the late 50s early 60s. It was pretty interesting. At least the postmaster back then was prepared to send out material in case of a disaster.

Our investigators are making baby steps of progress, which always makes me really excited! But then they always stumble backwards too. SO that’s been a pretty frustrating pattern. That’s life though.

Here’s a great scripture I found studying this morning . . . I Corinthians 9:16-19. I love the phrase “a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.” I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but as missionaries today, we help move the work of the Lord forward in this, the final dispensation of the fullness of the gospel. What exciting work! The real trick is to remember that . . . even on the hard days.

I hope girl’s camp goes well! And that everything is good back at home. I love you all very much and pray for you often.

I don’t have much else to say. Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Love, Sister Waters
Shideezhi Twoh (how you would say "Sister Water"in Navajo)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Almost Six Months

Happy Belated 4th of July! The 4th of July in New Mexico feels absolutely nothing like it does in the Washington D.C. area. I didn’t feel the same exuberance to be an American! But some of that may also be because I am a missionary, and missionaries don’t get holidays. Oh well. We all came into our apartments early (7pm). But some of the members in Farmington invited all the missionaries out to have a BBQ at their house for lunch. These people are always doing nice things for us missionaries.

From everything I’ve heard here, it sounds like the Swine Flu in the MTC really DID change the way missionary intake day will go from now on. One of the members in Bloomfield just left for his mission a few weeks ago and his family couldn’t go inside. They also said this would be a permanent change. But I guess only time can tell. I hope they change their minds.

In other news, I’m starting to talk poorly! I caught myself saying “It don’t matter” the other day. I better be more careful! Sister Crossley, my trainer, served in Farmington wards for 7 1/2 months, so it has been fun to be in her old area. There have been at least 3 different people who have said we look alike and have the same mannerisms. What a great compliment!

I have been here so long, that I have tracted ALMOST every street within the main part of Bloomfield; so I sometimes I get stumped when it comes to finding an area to tract. I told Sister Abney that she could just pick any street and we’d tract it again. As we tracted that street, I could pretty much predict which houses would reject us and which would be nice. But I didn’t tell Sister Abney what happened last time until after we knocked the doors. But, I do have a firm belief that it is good to retract areas. Because on that VERY street we found a woman whose Grandfather was a Patriarch, and she herself never joined the church…but she invited us back to teach her today! She wants to learn now, and it sounds like her children do too! Monday is her day off work. We decided it was important to squeeze it into our preparation day activities. I’m pretty excited!

One of our Navajo investigators showed us how to make traditional soap out of cactus roots. She said that medicine men use this kind of root. She finally read on her own from the Book of Mormon this week! I’m so proud of her. I feel like some of our investigators who had been closed off before, are starting to open up again, so that’s exciting!

We got to show “Special Witnesses of Christ” to a part member family that is getting baptized in August. I LOVE using this because it not only lets them see different church sites, but also allows them to hear Apostolic testimonies. We watched the segment about the temple, and the couple just got so excited. I love days like that.

Our investigator who came to church last week LOVED it! She said she wanted to sleep there she liked it so much. (This is the woman who decided to stay for all 3 hours because her children liked Primary so much.) Her little 6 or 7 year old girls told her mom she felt like crying for no reason in Primary, and her mom explained that she was feeling the Holy Ghost. The next time we came to their house, this sweetheart was practically jumping up and down to see us! I LOVE her sweet children so much. A few minutes later her mom said her daughter wanted to ask us to explain what the Holy Ghost was. The dad was so impressed with the experience his wife and children had that he said the WHOLE family would be at church on Sunday. I love this family so much. They told us we can come by any time and their home can be our home away from home. We stopped by to remind them about church yesterday, but they had to get his welding machine fixed, and didn’t know if they’d be back in town in time. I sure hope this excitement doesn’t wear off! I’m tired of people having spiritual experiences and then getting distracted by life! What about ETERNAL life people?

Yikes! I’m 8 days shy of my 6 month mark! Time is certainly flying. Almost everyday, I think of President Calderwood’s advice before I left to “leave everything on the field.” I’m by no means a perfect missionary, but I do feel like I work hard. I want and desperately NEED to be better. Sometimes I look at my last six months and get awfully discouraged because I have no baptisms to show for it. I look around at other areas and wonder why my investigators won’t progress the same way. I feel so much like the little boy in one of the books my mom read to us as kids. The little boy, Li, takes care of the flower seed which he was given…every day he waters it…and nothing grows. Each child was given a seed to take care of, but his will not grow. He looks at all the other children who are growing beautiful pots of exotic flowers, and he wonders what he is doing wrong. He continues to water his little seed. Finally the day comes when all the children are taking their flowers to the Emperor of China to see who will be his heir. Dejected, Li takes his little pot to the Emperor and the Emperor smiles at him. Each child was given a boiled seed…no wonder Li’s seed wouldn’t grow! The emperor could see Li’s hard work and dedication and was rewarded because all the other children didn't use the seeds they were originally given. I’m not saying that other missionaries cheat, not at all. I feel so privileged to be around some of Heavenly Father’s hardest working, most elect sons and daughters. But I do feel like Li... Fruitless, but honest in my work. Could I have done things better these past 6 months? Yes. But did I try to be obedient, find the elect, teach and work everyday? Absolutely.

Love and miss you SO MUCH!



Friday, July 3, 2009

Can You Go On a Date If You Stick Together?


We’re going to Chaco Canyon today! I am so excited. I was looking on the map Spencer (my younger brother) gave me for Christmas, and read a little about Chaco. It has something like 13-16 different ruins within the park. So it should be really fun!

We had Zone Conference on Tuesday; it was so strange to see Sister Crossley and Sister Mailo give their departing testimonies. They are the sisters I looked up to…now there are only 3 or 4 sisters that have been out longer than I have! We’re getting more English speaking sisters in 3 weeks, so I guess that means our group isn’t the youngest anymore!

After Zone Conference, we taught a lesson to one of our investigators. Her husband sat in on the lesson this time! It was so exciting! After we finished, she let us help her weave a traditional Navajo rug she’s working on. It was so fun! She explained that there are a lot of rules about the tools they use and the direction they weave that tie into traditional religion. Then… she and two of her kids came to church on Sunday! They were originally just going to stay for Sacrament Meeting, but her kids loved Primary, and so they stayed for all three hours! The ward was so good! And they said they would come back!

We were up in Farmington on Wednesday, and a member took us out to eat at Los Hermanitos. (I was so excited due to the similarity in name to Los Hermanos in Provo.) It was really good! On the way home, she had to make a quick stop at Staples, so we helped her get some office supplies. I picked up some more batteries for my camera, and Sister Abney was about to go back to the car, but then realized that she needed to wait for me. The store clerk that had been helping us (and following us around a LOT I might add) noticed that we couldn’t be separated. As he helped the lady load the paper into her car, he started asking questions about missionaries…where we can go, what we do, etc. Then he asked if we could go on a date, if we went together. The lady we came with told him a resounding NO, but said that other missionaries could teach him about the church if he was interested….he asked if we could teach him, but she responded by saying that we were busy. The whole thing was a little awkward, but mostly hilarious. There are too many crazy things that happen on the mission.

We taught about repentance to one of our investigators this week. After the lesson, I felt like I had taught something wrong, I felt like I had focused too much on the hope and relief that can come as we turn our lives over to the Savior. I worried for most of the evening, like I always do whenever I worry, but then I took the time to analyze why I was so worried. I came to the conclusion, that Satan WOULD want me, especially as a missionary, to change the way I teach repentance. He would want people to feel like there is no hope. After I realized this, I was able to stop worrying. It’s fascinating what you discover when you analyze why you do certain things.

Here is my favorite quote from yesterday. “All of us have a good heart; it’s just what we do with it.” We were talking about service in Relief Society yesterday, and one of the ladies said that, and so I wrote it down. I truly believe that almost everyone has a good heart. Everyone has the light of Christ. There aren’t many people who wake up and say, “How can I destroy someone else’s life today.” But it comes down to work. We may have good intentions; we want to be good people, but we have to USE our good hearts.

I love you all. Have a wonderful week! I’m sorry I don’t have much more to say.

Jesus Christ Binahagha Akee di Dayyoolkaalgo Ya Naazinigii = The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (spelled correctly for once! In Navajo, but missing the tones. Oddly enough Navajo is somewhat of a tonal language as well.)