Monday, August 17, 2009

Stories From Off The Reservation

It has come to my attention, that I haven't written many stories in awhile. I will try to remedy that in this e-mail, although I cannot guarantee that I will be successful.

Bloomfield continues to be the same. We showed one of our investigators the film "Finding Faith in Christ" earlier in the week. This particular investigator always likes to ask a lot of questions, most of which are repeated from week to week... Sigh. But there was one line in the movie that stuck out to her. The Apostle Thomas was explaining that Christ had the ability to perceive the hearts and thoughts of men. After the movie was over, there was a pause.
"So," she asked. "Jesus had mental telepathy?"
We thought the wording was pretty funny.

We were talking to a man this week who was telling us exactly how the reservation is like a different country. In Arizona, at least, the U.S.police cannot cross reservation lines to issue a ticket. One particular person knew that if he could just out-drive the police and get across the boarder, he wouldn't be arrested for a DUI. As soon as he crossed the reservation line, he swung the car around, popped open a beer and stared right at the cop on the other side of the line. This story shows that the "wild west" stereotype is still very much in effect, even years after the typical western cowboy and Indian images we think of. I love hearing stories from the rez!

On a more serious note, we had a wonderful experience at church yesterday. Three of our investigators in Bloomfield came to Sacrament meeting. In our gospel essentials class, we were talking about signs of the second coming, one of which is that the Lamanites would blossom and become a great people. Sometimes I get nervous when the Lamanite issue comes up around the Navajo people I teach, but this topic ended up being amazing!

One of our investigators told us that his grandfather was a medicine man. He and his cousins would sit around their grandfather and listen to him preach. He remembers his grandfather telling them as children, about the latter days, about desolation and famine and other things. But the thing that gave me goose bumps was the fact that his grandfather told him that the day would come when they would all need to join a white man's church.

Our ward mission leader was in the class with us and said "Read 1 Nephi 8. In it, you will read about Lehi, who is another one of your grandfathers. He is begging you to come to the tree of life and partake of the fruit. And after you are baptized you can do the temple work for your own grandfather. He is up their just waiting for you! He is cheering you on!"

I love this part-member family; they both have a strong testimony of the restored gospel and will be absolute power houses in the church.

We also talked about how when the Savior comes the second time, his mission will be different. He won't be here to preach the gospel. He did that the first time and has entrusted that role to the apostles, and also the missionaries in preparation for his return. Now is the time to prepare. Our ward mission leader made that comment. And it hit me. I have a mission to fulfill that the Savior himself came to the earth to perform, but has since been entrusted to members.

We are teaching an investigator who already took the missionary lessons, and wanted to get baptized, before recently moving to New Mexico. She knows everything, and is so eager to move forward! She is in Farmington, along with most of our progressing investigators. So after September 1, I won't get to see her anymore, but it is so nice to teach investigators who are accepting of the doctrine!

That is most of the news from this week. There are a few other silly things that happened, but they probably won't fit into print very well.

Oh. I got an envelope in the mail this week that was missing the card inside. I know that some of my mail gets lost as if I don't respond to letters, I probably haven't received them.

Well. I think that's pretty much everything worthy of an e-mail. I love you all dearly. Have a wonderful week!

Sister Waters


This week in Zone Conference we were committed to do a new type of planning program. We are now planning out every hour of every day ten days in advance. President Anderson basically gave us permission to get creative with our time. Instead of tracting, we could do things like give soapbox lessons like they used to do 100 years ago, plan creative projects etc. He wants us to be crazy and creative. I am really excited about this. Usually, I get frustrated with planning because I just figure I will work as hard as I can and then things will just fall into place. But recently, I have come to the realization that there are just too many things to do on the mission, too many expectations, and that planning allows us to prioritize our efforts in a more focused direction. The problem here in Bloomfield isn’t a matter of NOT having things to do, but rather making sure the most important things get done first. I have been feeling very overwhelmed the past few transfers, and hopefully planning everything out ahead of time will help me make sure I’m not forgetting anything or anyone. I feel like there is so much to do, and I can’t do it all. We’ve let the ball drop a few times this week… thank goodness it was on less important things dealing with members and logistics and not on our progressing investigators.

Sister Lotulelei and I were talking about the challenges of being in a trio, and I think we finally pinned down what was frustrating us both. The problem is, we are working, but it is very difficult to keep our minds focused on the mission because there are three of us. It is so easy to get to talking, and end up on a tangent that has nothing to do with the work. The Spirit is the most important thing in this work, and it has been a struggle to have it with us. It is scary to feel like you’re flying by the seat of your pants.

One thing that stuck out to me from Zone Conference was the quote, “Without the spirit, you will never succeed regardless of your talent or ability…with the spirit you can do miracles for the Lord in the mission field.”

I think I’ve hit the point in my mission where I KNOW I can’t do it by myself. I feel like we are always working…but we don’t utilize the Spirit to its fullest potential. I feel like I have to WORK to get the Spirit there.

Two of our baptismal dates backed out this week. One of them dropped us yesterday because she wants to go back to her traditional beliefs and her medicine man. She would like to learn how to be a medicine woman. This is really very painful for me. I feel like in the seven months I have been out, very little good has happened. I love this area so much! And I know I should be grateful to be in such a wonderful area with so much potential. So many missionaries would kill to have the investigators I do…but you see that’s the painful part. I see the AMAZING potential in these people, and I just can’t get them to progress. I just want to be a better missionary, but changing is difficult. I have all these goals of how to be better, but even the goals seem overwhelming.

We got a new investigator this week, that normally I would be elated about. He accepts the idea that God would prepare someone like Joseph Smith to lead his people in the latter days. We are teaching him in a member’s home, and he has come to church. He even said that he could accept the Book of Mormon as a companion to the Bible. This is EXCITING! He is basically golden. But I have thought this same thing about so many of our other new investigators, that I am beginning to expect rejection before it even happens. I do not want to be this way!!! I need to remember to be grateful, and focus on the good things that have happened here, like how many new investigators I’ve picked up since being here, and how one of the referrals I gave to the Spanish Elders got baptized, and how some of the other referrals are getting close. Intellectually, I know how to have a good attitude, and intellectually I know how I should respond to these pitfalls. After all, true conversion to the gospel isn’t an overnight phenomenon…testimony building takes time. But emotionally, it’s another story.

For the most part, the area is good. Our ward has really started to do well with the L.Tom Perry Mission Plan, and I have the most fun companions ever! The ward wrapped their arms around us yesterday when they found out we had been dropped by one of our investigators. I think we’re all just momentarily 'bummed' by Pam telling us she wants to go back to her medicine man ways last night. Even though this email is kind of a downer, we will make a healthy rebound. This work is too important not to!

In other news, we helped our investigator with her wedding on Saturday. She asked us to help, and we thought it would be easy. Yeah, Sister Boisselle and I have basically both sworn off big weddings. They can be a lot of work! But it was beautiful, and the food was great!

Anyway, I love you all dearly. Thanks for praying for our investigators. I know Heavenly Father answers prayers, and it will be interesting to see how they are answered. Maybe this week is a blessing in disguise!

I love you all so very much. Thanks for the letters. I don't have much else to say!

Sister Waters

Monday, August 3, 2009

A List for My Weekly Letter

This week was full of challenges, but it is easier to handle them when you have fun companions!

In summary:

  • Our car battery died.
  • The air conditioning went out.
  • It sounds like our investigator might want to wait for her husband to get worthy to baptize her which would be a long delay in her baptism date-the whole situation is getting frustrating.
  • Our investigator Ben gave us a list of 11 reasons why Mormonism is wrong, and
  • We helped one of our investigators move out of her house so that they can move into a storage shed.

But when they say the mission is an emotional roller coaster, they don’t lie. Here are the high points of the week.

  • We got to eat dinner with the sweetest German lady!
  • I followed a prompting to knock on a particular door that ended up being the daughter of our investigator who is supposed to get baptized this month!
  • We prayed that our investigator would make the effort to find her Book of Mormon and she did!
  • The sweetest deacon/teacher? in our ward made us dinner this week. He passes the sacrament each week and is saving up for a mission even though his dad isn’t active in the church at all. He invited us over and made the meal basically by himself.
  • We made brownies to bribe someone to come to church…it worked!
  • We committed a young man to stop smoking …WITH a PINKY PROMISE
  • I got to fiddle with Mr. Brown, while he played guitar and Sister Boisselle sang…we finally got him to open up.
  • The spirit helped us so much with one of our lessons in particular and the investigator came to church!
  • Pistachio home made ice cream!

Thanks for the letters and especially for the See’s chocolates. My companions and I especially needed them last night! This transfer is so much fun. We laugh all the time and get to teach so many people every day! For Preparation Day, we are having lunch with the Sisters from Shiprock, and helping one of our investigators make centerpieces for her wedding. It should be a fun day.

Love you more than you know!

Sister Waters