Thursday, April 29, 2010

Here Comes Another Week in Rio Rancho 03/22/2010

Hello Family,

Thanks for working my class schedule out. It’s exciting to see it all come together. It should be a fun semester. The only class I am dreading is my Political Science class. I’ve heard that it is a beast and mostly deals with Statistics. You’ll remember from my senior year how much I love statistics. Gag. But it has to be done sooner or later. Thanks for making all those phone calls. I really appreciate it.

I don’t really have much to tell you about this week. It was a good week though. Our baptism is looking like it will still go through next Saturday, so we’re excited about that. Everything has been thrown together super fast, and we are rushing to finish the lessons, as a formality, but he has been studying the church for three years prior to meeting with us, so it’s not too much to worry about. I am always on “pins and needles” when it comes to Baptism dates, I just don’t want anything to go wrong.

Also, we get transfer news next Saturday as well, so it will be an exciting day. I have no idea what will happen. Although guessing is a futile effort, it’s still kind of fun to try. I think there is a good chance I will stay.

We got to teach a lot of people this week that we had almost given up hope on meeting with. We even tracted into someone we met at Tavern Guy’s house. That was kind of fun. We gave away a couple Book of Mormons to people that seem like they will actually read them.

I like the High Range ward. There are a lot of rumors going around that it will split in April when the Stake Center is finished and when there is Ward Conference. So, we’ll see what happens.

I love you a lot. Sorry this is so short, but I’m at a loss for what to say this week.

You might be interested to know that I am putting in my request to stay the late transfer today. I don't know if it will work or not, but I decided that I would see. I figure six more weeks isn't that long, if this is the last time the Lord is sending His servants out into the Vineyard.

Love you tons!

Sister Waters

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

But Even When You Have the Perfect Kill Shot, the Work Isn't Even Finished Yet. You've Still Gotta' Pack that Sucker Out of There! 03/15/2010

Hello Family

This was a great week. Things continue to go well here in High Range Ward. Sister Allred and I had to give talks yesterday in church. Sister Allred’s talk was hilarious. She was talking about member missionary work and likened the scriptures unto herself in regards to the comparison between member missionary work and hunting. Quotes include:

“Imagine that a local comes up to you, tells you where all the good draws are, and then gives you permission to kill on his property! That’s so much better than scouting out the area for hours.” (Tracting stinks)

“But even when you have the perfect kill shot, the work isn’t even finished yet. You’ve still gotta pack that sucker out of there.” (Talking about keeping converts active and ready to go to the temple)

“Think of the joy you feel when the garage is all washed down and the meat is cut up and placed in the freezer, and how much MORE joy can come from sharing the gospel.”

Her talk was VERY well done, and she had the ward wrapped around her finger. Sister Allred…the fairy tale princess at first glance who doubles as a Bambi’s mom killer. We all love her.

Our ward mission leader spoke and he said the reason it is difficult to share the gospel with those around us is NOT because we are afraid, but because we as a society have stopped letting people into our lives. As we really get to know people on a personal level, the gospel is a less intimidating topic. Do you eat? He asked the congregation? Then you can share the gospel. How hard is it to invite our neighbors over to dinner, where they can see the pictures in our homes, and get to know us better? His talk was also brilliant.

Guess what?!?! We have a baptism date set for March 27! Yay! This is how it all fell into place. Last transfer, we tracted into a gentleman that said his friend was LDS, and that he was reading the literature given to him by his friend. His friend is in the Star Heights ward.

We stopped by a few weeks later, to follow up with this man we tracted into, and found out he had an appointment to meet with the missionaries in the Star Heights ward.

The Elders taught a couple lessons, and then invited us to help them teach.

We are finishing up the lessons, and if all goes well, the 27th will be a Baptism day! He came to church yesterday for the first time, and I think it all went well. Kind of awkward that his first Sunday was the Sunday we were assigned to speak, but it all went okay.

We also met the most amazing family tracting this week. They all sat down to listen to the message (a rarity on the mission) and even the teenage daughters were excited and asking really good, deep questions. Their father is from Ireland, and he is fascinated with other Christian denominations. He’s really been studying and searching, so he invited us to come back in an hour. We grabbed a member from across the street, (because at the time, he was the only adult home) and we basically went through all the lessons in one sitting. In Ireland, there is basically only one religion, Catholicism, so since moving to the US, he has been surprised to drive down the street and see so many different churches, and see people actually attending regularly. He’s been to a handful of churches already. Hopefully, we’ll get to visit with them again this week or next!

One of our other new investigators said this: “Were you praying for me? . . . I could tell.” He’s been pretty good at reading from the Book of Mormon lately, although he didn’t make it to church yesterday, we were sad. He is the investigator that lives way out on the edge of our area, we found out he hasn’t had electricity for the past two years.

So Yay for having people to teach!

Also, I asked President about the option of going home the late transfer. He said that it is an option, since plane tickets haven’t been purchased yet, but that he’ll look to see if there will be an even or odd number of sisters coming into the mission. If we are left with an even number, it would be a bad idea, because it would create a trio. But if there are an odd number of sisters, it might be a really good idea. I have mixed feelings on the subject. I think I’m just going to wait and see if President gets back to me on that. Part of me really wants to go home in June, and part of me thinks it would be great to stay out longer. My MTC companion is here in Albuquerque today for some medical stuff. She is also thinking about going home the late transfer, so that would be fun to have another sister to go home with. I heard they sent the “trunky papers” to all the parents a couple weeks ago. Any thoughts on the matter?

Well I love you tons.

Thanks for all your support. I love you and hope you’re having a great week!

Sister Waters

Friday, April 9, 2010

Being Resourceful with Old and Unwanted Ties from the Elders

Miracles 3/08/2010

This week was amazing! Heavenly Father really helped us out. I don’t know why we had so much success this week compared to others. It could be one of two things. A) Heavenly Father knew I would just about gauge my eyes out if the work didn’t start picking up, and therefore blessed us with people to teach in order to prevent my imminent destruction. B) We finally got help to remove the couch in our apartment. President asked us to only have one couch in mission apartments. I also made a more diligent effort to exercise at least a little bit each day. I don’t know if these little improvements in obedience made the difference, but I do know we were lead to people who would receive the gospel.

We found FOUR new investigators this week. This is huge! Let me describe some of the miraculous things that happened.

First, on Tuesday morning, we were headed out to tract a particular neighborhood, but I felt strongly that we needed to check on a less active member who we heard was sick, and the ward asked us to go by, so we changed plans a little bit and went to visit her. When we got there, we found her to be in perfectly good health. Ok. Maybe it wasn’t really a prompting after all. Then I felt like we should follow up with a lady that we met tracting a couple weeks earlier. We stopped by her house. No one was home. As we got back into the car, the Spanish Elders pulled up and flagged us down. They gave us the name of a woman they had met tracting and told us that we should stop by…we were parked just a couple of houses away from where she lived. That’s how we met Kathy. If we hadn’t followed earlier “impressions”, we wouldn’t have been in a position to meet her that day. She is amazing! She asked us for literature, so we gave her a couple pamphlets, and she looked at us and asked, “Is that all you’re going to give me?” So we taught her about the Book of Mormon and gave her a copy of her very own. She began to ask us questions about why people die horrible deaths, etc. And we were able to use the Book of Mormon to answer some of her questions about death. So we set up a return appointment for Sunday and taught her the Plan of Salvation. Apparently, her grandmother was LDS. As we taught her the Plan of Salvation, she had some of the scriptures we used in 1 Corinthians 15 and Jeremiah highlighted already. We talked about why we have opposition in life. At the end of the lesson, we told her that she could pray about these things and gain knowledge for herself, because she is a precious daughter of our Heavenly Father. We asked her “If you came to know these things were true, would you be baptized?” Now, usually when we ask these questions, people try to dodge it or else protest that they have been baptized already. Do you know what Kathy’s response was? “Well, you would have to be!” She told us that she felt really good. She told us that she knew God was very proud of us because of what we were doing. Kathy had been praying to know truth, and that’s when the Elders found her at home, just a short time later, she has a very strong belief that the Elders were an answer to her prayer. At the end of our lesson, she began to ask us a lot of questions about how to deal with challenges in her family, and we were able to point her to chapters in both the Book of Mormon and Bible that would help her with these questions. She thought that this might be her only chance to get these answers, but was glad to hear that we would come back. That this was more than just a onetime visit. She’s excited to keep learning! Yesterday was such a great day! We also taught a great lesson to another gentleman who also became a new investigator.

On Saturday, we stopped by another less active family’s home. We weren’t sure if we should visit them or not, since the husband’s truck wasn’t there, but we went to visit his wife anyway. When we opened the door, she said, “I’m taking you girls to meet someone.” She grabbed the keys, and we walked down her street to meet with her neighbor. She introduced us to him, and told him that we would be stopping by to visit him. He is in his 80s, and just gave up his dog because he couldn’t take it on walks any more, due to his failing legs. This sister asked us to help him clean up his house (which is full of boxes he could trip over). She says that gradually we can begin to teach him the gospel.

When we got back to this Sister’s house she told us that she was praying this morning about her neighbor, and Heavenly Father told her that the Sister Missionaries would stop by today and that she should take us to visit her neighbor. This good Sister has a heart of gold. She has a long list of neighbors, and friends that she takes care of, and fellowships. The list was starting to weigh down on her, and she came to the conclusion that she should begin to introduce these people to the church and the missionaries one by one. She has poor health herself, and she knows that when she goes, the church can help fellowship all these people that she feels responsible for.

Did we feel prompted to go visit this Sister? Honestly, no, but Heavenly Father is aware of everything we are going to do before we even get to it. I learned a lesson that day, about how Heavenly Father can use us in answer to someone’s prayer without us even being aware of it ourselves. Sometimes we get promptings, but often times, he already knows that we’ll be in a position to help. God really does use us in neat ways when we make ourselves available. It’s a neat thing to be a missionary and hear someone say, “I knew you would come today.” Or “This is an answer to my prayers.” It happens only occasionally.

We met another woman whose nephew is preparing to either serve a LDS mission, or go to minister school. (His grandparents raised him LDS, but someone else in his family is Baptist.) Anyway, she invited us in right away and let us teach her the gospel. Her husband is Muslim, so religion has always been very “general” in their house. Her mother also died a month ago. I’m excited to teach her the Plan of Salvation this coming week!

We also started teaching another man who is so sincere! Missionaries, a long time ago, gave him a Book of Mormon. It was neat to see him pull it out along with pamphlets and reading assignments, they had given him. I am so grateful for those missionaries who planted that seed years ago. I am lucky to teach him at a time in his life where he has time to devote to listening. We brought along a sister who just got off her own mission to Thailand this past August. It was interesting to compare the differences in teaching people who already know the Bible very well, to her experiences teaching people who really didn’t even know much about Jesus Christ. The message is the same, but we approach it so differently depending on the culture of our area.

Also, one of my favorite families from my last area moved into this area! It was so fun to see them at church! That was the first time I had ever seen the husband actually come to church. And now, they are here! Yay!

Also, a part member family invited us for dinner this week. I think it was the Catholic wife who was most enthusiastic.

I am really beginning to love this area. It is neat to see things finally begin to blossom. To really see how the area could transform. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for blessing us so much this week. There is no way that we could have accomplished this by ourselves. We were led so often this week, without even being aware of it. All we had to do was get out and keep working. Heavenly Father will use us in his own time and in his own way so long as we keep doing as he asks; even when it seems like nothing is happening.

I love you all, and hope that all is going well back home. I have the best family in the whole world!

Sister Waters