Tuesday, February 28, 2012

meth alley

We had just finished an appointment, and were driving down the street. One that we knew well, but never stopped on. We saw a lady walking down the road, in a hurry and sister wheatley slammed on the brakes and pulled over. "We need to talk to her", she said.
Her name was Michelle, and she was trying to catch a bus. We said we could walk with her, and she said "okay, but as long as you go directly back to your car after. You don't want to be in this part of town."
We said we would be fine, but then she got this face like she had seen a ghost and said, "no. you do not want to be here. They call this meth alley. I have never met people like this before in my life. they won't listen to you unless you give them money, and the women do nothing but sleep around just to get high. If they see your car they will plan on stealing it, and if they know your face...then you have what they want. Can't you go up to Mesa or something? You girls really should not be around here."
I said we would be fine. I wasn't worried. I actually laughed and said, "can't wait to tell my mum that I'm tracting in meth alley"
anyways I saw she was carrying constitutional law books and asked what she was studying. She's going to be a paralegal. When I told her dad went to law school, she freaked out and completely opened up. She said that her mom had just died and her sister stole all her inheritance because she forged her mom's signature on the will (the sister). Then her dad was so upset over the death of his wife, that he starved himself to death and the sister called the cops blaming it on Michelle and got all of the inheritance off that too. Michelle has been living in her truck, and somehow got mixed up with staying in the home of a guy who is just trying sleep with her and take advantage of her. She only stays because she needs to pay for school and needs a place to wash her hair to look professional for law school. she wants to get out so bad.
She said she has read part of the BOM before, her old employer in Gilbert was LDS, and she said if she was mormon she would want to be sealed to her daughter. But she wishes it wasn't too late to be sealed to her mom who has already passed away.
ding ding ding. I said, "but you can! because of temples, we are able to do work for those who have passed away and you can be sealed to her and your dad"
you know it's good when  you get chills in the desert.
she started to cry and said "can you tell me more?"
I knew she missed her bus for a reason.
we haven't seen her since, but hopefully we can get a hold of her. She doesn't have a phone, and doesn't want to bring us to where she lives...but we have meeting spots so hopefully she remembers.
we've also seen some crazy miracles. I was dying the other night of a migrane during a lesson with the Silva family. I always thought Edgar might be the only one interested in the church, and he's been praying for people to change. He's been looking this whole time for an answer.
Well, as I was dying, I was trying so hard to pick up on the spanish. But it just wasn't working. It wasn't for sister wheatley either. all I know is that his dad was saying something about drinking. I'm thinking "oh great. they found him drunk a few weeks ago. this will NOT help edgar" but then I heard him say "I've been sober for 15 days. I'm completely clean"
I perked up and said "WHAT?!" and just started muttering out all these spanish words. Sis wheatley still hadn't caught on yet...and they were all laughing from my reaction. We then asked if they wanted to come to church, and all of them said "yeah. tomorrow. tommorrow. tomorrow"
change is happening. they are coming closer as a family. I feel like Edgar's prayers are so strong and the spirit is helping them start over.
gah. I love the gospel.
Also. Damian. Have a told you about him. S.T.U.D. love that kid. He's 19 and has gotten into a lot of stuff. He was kinda "whatever" when I met him about church. But he's come the past 2 weeks. and we asked him if he's prayed and he said "I prayed about baptism" (ok. what?!) "and I got my answer..it's whenever I'm ready"
sis wheatley then asked "will you pray to see if God wants you to be baptized" he said, "I already got my answer"
again. what?! if a cartwheel would have been appropriate then, I would have done one. But I didn't. I was wearing a skirt.
things have clicked in him, and he said, "when I'm at church, I feel like God is right next to me. I feel like myself when I read. and I just feel so different."
so many more miracles have happened. but those will have to wait.
I hope you are all doing well, and how are you all doing with reading the ensign? some of those talks still blow me away. (when is the deadline again?)
thanks for all your support. fam. friends. ward members. it means a lot.
hope you enjoy the pics. most of them are from a hike we went on this morning as a zone. We climbed an entire mountain of cacti. I even went to the top peak. take that fear of heights.
oh. and sis kindlespire. it's funny. things should scare us out here...but it doesn't. missions do crazy things to you.
also. shout out to bekah arnesen. sister king, your old roommate? we are in the same district. I adore her!
love you!
hermana aguas

Monday, February 20, 2012


that's what we call one of our investigators when she's not around. She's 78 years old, tiny little woman from chihuahua Mexico who every time I see her she is wearing a XXXL red hoodie that says G-unit. It's even funnier since she doesn't speak English and she always tries to pick fights with us. She read her Libro De Mormon with a magnifying class and a light, in the daylight. Oh bless some people's souls.

It's a whirlwind type of feeling when in a matter of one week you go from white walls and object lessons to:
knocking chained doors and walking the streets of trailer parks where it smells like sulfur and cat food. Where you see cacti more than trees and all your clothes hold the stench of drugs, though you have never touched them a day in your life.
It's having all your appointments cancel or not show up and deciding you'd rather street contact than eat dinner at home. It's the "random" thought to eat at a park to make up for cancellations and realizing it's a miracle when you find your investigator on the side of the road drunk.
It's fighting fatigue during your studies just so you can help your families and being told by the J. Dubbs what we're doing isn't worth our time. It's feeling the spirit so strong with a person, and seeing how people feed their doubts while we are away.
It's struggling with the language and fighting with yourself to be bold at every doorstep. It's jumping out of the car just to talk to one person about God's plan.
It's getting the impression at 8:47 at night that there is someone else you are supposed to find and to listen to anybody you run into. But when a man turns a corner you hear someone "NOT HIM" and realize as you pass he has a gun. It's knowing that somehow we are protected, when in normal circumstances, we shouldn't be. It's having the ward make jokes about how I'm the only blond white girl amongst the sea of Mexicans.
It's about finding a man living in a van, whose only desire is to give us pistachios and fall asleep and never wake up. It's hearing someone say they know it's true, but they will be disowned if they listen to us. It's leaving a house knowing they'll go back to doing exactly what they were doing before we came.
It's hearing a woman break down in tears because she wants to be baptized but can't for another year. It's trying to understand drunk Spanish and avoiding dogs in the dark. Not to mention coyotes on the street.
It's about discouragement and heart break and watching people come so close...but not yet.
It's about hearing a man's prayer, pleading for the Lord to help him, and calling us his angels.
It's about people unloading their whole life on you because their whole life-nobody would listen.
It's about seeing change, and joy. Seeing how you can fall in love with people the moment you meet them and wanting so badly for them to listen. It's realizing how grateful you are for a clean home, clean air and a reason to wake up in the morning. It's about knowing where you are going to go after this life.
It's about finding that one lost sheep
and looking for the ones that don't even know they are lost.
It's going to bed at night and praying, "what more do you need of me Lord?" 
and He says, "everything."
It's about seeing miracles everyday

and it's only been a week since the days of white walls.

We have quite a few investigators who are so close to baptism...they just have a few things holding them Back. The Hoyos family (my favorite) is a couple and 4 kids. They believe it all, they have been taught for over a year, they have passed the baptism interview. They just wont pick a date. She is SO excited and ready to go, she just wants her husband to be just as ready. So we are going through all the basic lessons and hopefully they pick a date this week.

We have this one lady Eva, bless her heart. She was basically homeless and this one church said if she signed a contract with them to attend their church for three years and paid tithing she would be blessed. A week or two after, she got a trailer and a job. A little while later she ran into the missionaries and just fell in love with everything they said. She thought that was one of the blessings too. However, she doesn't feel like she can get baptized while she still has that contract with the other church, and she doesn't want to break the contract because she feels that would show she's not grateful to God.
Complicated? ya.

We are teaching this family, and one of the Boys Edgar is 19 and loves it. He wants to get baptized, but his dad won't let him (even though we are teaching him too). I asked him last night if he's ever received an answer to a prayer and he said, "I pray every single night for an answer, I pray that he will change some people's hearts so I can have peace in my heart. I pray everyday for this. I hope it happens." I left that house wondering what it's going to take to not convert the boy, but get the dad to open up. We have that problem with a few of our investigators. They want it so badly, and they are ready...but their parents wont allow it.

Ramone has been great, he has a baptism date. But he all of a sudden went missing. We went up to a street and I saw two men and said "they are so drunk"...turns out one was Ramone. We pulled him aside and asked him how we could help. He prayed and broke down saying, "Dios, Ayudame. Ayudame"  "God, Help me. Help me." He said his brother died from drugs and alcohol and he hates it, but he doesn't know how to stop. His own wife doesn't even believe in him. He called us his angels because we are the first ones who actually think he is worth it.

We met this man Marvin who lives in a van. After just talking to him and asking him if he wanted a pamphlet, a prayer or a friend he said "no thank you. You girls are pretty, but i've done all I can do. All I want to do is go to sleep and never ever wake up."

We are teaching a few more, and my hearts are completely devoted to them. Every time I think about them I just get this paradox of how happy I am they are allowing God in their life and they have some sort of a desire to follow him, but also leave with a sadness fall over me because I know they aren't doing the things they need to. Some little circumstance is holding them back. Then there's those people who flat out tell us to our face they don't care about anything we have to say and not to bother them. That's the less colorful version.

They don't prepare you for this. I have heard and seen more things in this week than I have in my entire life. Some people listen. Most don't. But we still go out everyday. I love it here, but it's exhausting. Not because we wake up early, or study for hours and go around the whole city. It's because you put all your thoughts and heart into people, and they turn the other way.

But with God, we can do all things, and I know I'm doing something.

Send my love to everyone! 
hermana aguas

p.s. there's a saying in Mexico "Aguas! Aguas!" and it basically means "look out! It's coming!".......so everyone always laugh when they hear my name and they say "watch out. she's coming to baptize!"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

the place where everything is dead. and if its not, it wants you dead.

that's what the told me when I got into the desert.
oh wait. I'm in Tucson? weird. But I already love it.
First off, it was so fun talking to you guys yesterday even though it was really brief. I'm pretty sure I had a couple hombres peeved at me and sister rupp for using up the phone, but I felt completely justified. Sorry I couldn't hear that well, I'm still recovering from the flight. And the exhaustion. My mission presidents and the APs picked us up from the airport (and you're right mom, Sister Killpack is "hip" and dresses cute. She actually is A LOT like you). Also President Killpack and I have A TON in common. anyways. They took us first to the Mormon Battalion memorial and gave us a quick run down of Tucson's history and on the street we tried talking to people about the bom and mormon.org and whatnot. they avoided us. YAY REAL PEOPLE!
We then went and got pizza. I forgot how good real food tastes. This rough and tough looking man came up to president (mind you there are 11 missionaries then he and his wife) he comes up and says "I just can't get away from you". President asked why...after a little bit he said "I've been a member of your church my whole life. I was born and raised in the church. but 5 months ago I decided it wasn't for me. I just didn't want to do it anymore. I moved in with my girlfriend and I was done. As soon as I made that decision, I keep running into missionaries." President said "I think the Lord is trying to tell you something." He said, "I think so too." President Killpack then asked if he wanted the missionaries to visit and he said, "a set has stopped by every week lately" So president said "here is my card...if you ever need ANYTHING you give me a call" The man started getting teary eyed and said ok. today at transfer meeting, we he told an Elder to go find him.
then we went back had some singing, talking, cookies, interviews (p.s. president gave me special permission to have my violin...i'm still deciding. i'm super nervous about transporting it) then we went on a nature walk. I have NEVER seen so many kinds of cacti in my life. It's absolutely beautiful here. a different kind of beautiful, but I'm just amazed. it also helps that the mission mansion (aka mission home) has a view of the entire city. then we had a big dinner with the senior couples helping in the mission office (again, blown away by the food) had a testimony meeting and watched the sunset then looked at the city scape of tucson. Such a good...LONG...day. But I was out by 9:30
Transfer meeting was today and I met my trainer! Her name is Hermana Wheatley from Heber. Remember how I was super nervous about my trainer? No worries. She is fantastic. She's a ton like me, actually she's the fourth of six (4 boys, 2 girls..sound familiar...oh and they even look like our family, kinda) and is cheesy like me, and big time into soccer. Are we going to play soccer with an investigator Damian. Why yes, yes we are. Baptisms from soccer, I'm a fan.
I'm serving in the valley right now, I'm (pretty sure) I'm serving in West Tucson. I'm here right now, I just don't really know where I am. It's fine. It's more of the city, so I'm not in the flatlands of the desert right now. I get to meet a few of our investigators tonight, so I'm really excited/nervous right now. Except Hna Wheatley already told them I'm new and they aren't allowed to make fun of me. :)   (though some of it will be in english)
We are having dinner tonight with an investigator family. I'm super excited to teach them, from what I've heard they have two little girls who are super sweet. Then we are teaching 3 other families after that. I would write down their names, but I left my planner in the car. A ton of what we are teaching tonight is about the Plan of Salvation focusing on the atonement and eternal families. Hopefully I didn't loose too much spanish on the plane. (Did I tell you I passed a man speaking spanish and I had a freak out because I realized I'm supposed to speak that. It's okay though, he had an argentinian accent--it's harder for me to understand those)
oh by the way. HAPPY LOVE DAY. I forgot that was today, until I walked into the library and saw all the hearts around. As I was getting my library card (are you proud mum?) the librarian and I were chatting and another one came out and she said to her, "you're gonna like this one!". Bless their hearts. I'm also gonna pass around valentines. maybe. possibly. yay for disney princesses!
I don't really know what else to say, it's really surreal right now. Last night when I was just looking over the view I said to myself...I'm IN MY mission. I am actually here. I'm ONLY supposed to be here right now. (Then the tangled song "I see the light" came into my head). I was in Utah, the mtc yesterday, and now I'm here. the mtc seems like a dream right now. I already miss Hermana Spencer, Hermanitas and my elders, but I wasn't called to serve in the mtc..I was called here.
I can't wait to meet the people who I've been waiting for.
love you all! I loved talking to you.
and send my love to all my friends, espcially Heather. (LOVE YOU HEATH!!! sorry I couldn't talk to you!)
have a wonderful love day.
hermana aguas
p.s kayci rae..I met your friend. Elder....S something. sounds german. He was yelling my name in the parking lot and I was standing next to him. good times.
p.p.s my pdays are on MONDAYS now...so make sure you write me before then!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


So, remember how I was supposed to leave on February 13th? Well, I caught bronchitis (remember how I always got it a few years ago). Well it's back and they want to keep me here until the end of February. Aka my whole district is leaving. Aka I'm loosing my companion. Aka I'm not leaving yet :(
I guess I'll just be able to learn more spanish. Maybe I'll just jump into another class and learn portuguese or something. You never know how bad cabin fever is, until they tell you that you really can't leave.
I'm really not sick. I got my flight plans the other day! *it's okay mum, you can breathe now. hopefully you continued reading this email and didn't call the mtc to fight*
I leave Provo Monday morn at 4 am. I don't have my actual flight plans with me, I completely spaced on that front BUT I will write you the exact times. My flight leaves around 7:05 (I think) and so *hopefully...if all goes according to plan* you'll be recieving a call from between 5 am to 7am monday morning. *p.s. did you send that calling card?* 
I arrive in Pheonix around 8:30 ish..and then have about an hour layover until my Tucson flight. But I think it will be just enough time to check in at the gate, so not sure if I can call again. I'll be arriving in Tucson around 10:26.
As far as I know, there are 7 people traveling with me....3 English Sisters, 3 English Elders and 1 ASL Elder. ....only one speaking spanish....this should be good.
quick overview of what happened this week:
our good pals Russel M. Nelson and Jeffrey R. Holland stoped by to visit. Really wish they would have stayed longer. I could have stared at Jeffrey R. the whole time. Oh wait, I did. Pretty sure he saw me too. It would have been super great had I shaken his hand. oh well, I'll have plenty of time for that in the celestial kingdom :)
Christian (have I told you about him?) He's our youngest investigator. 17 years old. Well he's getting baptized on the 10th! *When we committed him I figured we would say the end of february to make sure he was taught everything, and just have other elders baptize him once we left* But Hna Spencer was like "so...you wanna be baptized on the 10th?" Let's just say I exploded with laughter during the lesson. Probably should not have done that. I'll work on that.
Speaking of laughter, we scared the life out of our teacher the other day. Hna Spencer and I always get to class early. Hno Parke was sitting in the classroom by himself, I looked through the peep hole and saw that he was coming to the door. I said "don't go in yet, he's coming". We hid by the door and and soon as he opened it, Hna Spencer jumped right towards him screaming. His face turned white and then red...he was all out of breath and he said with wide eyes, "bueno....buenos dias". Oh that child. our new daily goal is to scare him daily.
I also had a dream *short story* that Hna Mullen took us on a field trip to California to decorate her wedding reception. Elder Lebaron accidentally caught one of them on fire, and burned the entire thing down to stop the wedding. (hna spencer's letter probably has a better version)
oh...and Hno Brown stole my dictionary the other day, rolled away on a rolly chair and started cackling as he did it.
I will be best friends with them when I get home.
In case you can't tell, I love my teachers.
Sorry this is so random, I forgot my journal and planner so everything is all blending together. plus I'm getting super stoaked to head out to Arizona. We have infield orientation this week (and one of the teachers is Izzy's brother) and packing. All on top of all our other classes and teaching appointments. It's muy loco how fast time goes here.
Speaking of which, If you see Lindsay, tell her good luck and that I'll look for her on Wednesday! I'm not hosting anymore, so I'll just have to go back to good ol fashioned stalking.
P.S. did I tell you I bore my testimony in sacrament AND sang for the musical number. MOM I SANG IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. aka, one of my biggest fears. This mission is paying off :P
P.P.S. can you somehow get ahold of Sarah Fisher, and find out if she got that internship in D.C. pretty sure she'll either be finding out, or leaving this next week.
The gospel is so true. And I can't tell you how VITAL prayer is. God has ways of directly communicating with us or through other people. The other day I had a question that I've been wondering about for a few weeks. I hadn't told anybody about it, but I was just praying and was planning on fasting for the answer. On Thursday, Hna Mullen had us teach each other as ourselves. No more being investigators, just us. Elder Henze started teaching me one lesson..and then just stopped on got quiet. He said *completely in Spanish by the way*..."I feel really overwhelmed right now. In a good way. But I feel like I need to tell you your Heavenly Father is SO proud of you right now. And that he's just waiting for you to get out into the field. he is SO proud" He then said something word for word what my patriarchal blessing says and then answered my question. I know there is NO way he said that. It was only through the spirit of revelation and prayer that I was able to  hear those words. The spirit is real, and the church is true. We all have agency to accept that or not...but our happiness will THRIVE and GROW if we accept it.
I love you family (and friends). You are all answers to my prayers. I see every single one of you, and notice how each and every one has helped in some part of my converstion. You are all missionaries to me, you don't need a tag to wear Christ's name over your chest. (even though it is an awesome feeling)
Mum, I think it would be really cool to do something different with scripture study. I know you started over again right before I left..so hopefullyl if you're not too far into it you wouldn't mind starting over. I want you to get a cheap copy of el libro de mormon...and each night you read with the fam have the kiddos and dad mark a verse that has helped them sometime in their life. Whether it was through our tough times, or if it's just a super cool verse. WRITE IN THE MARGINS WHY...and maybe a date? If any of them are favorite scriptures, write their name next to it. You can even have bruce and all those boys write in it when they come over too. Kasja, erik, heidi. All of them. It would just be fun to get a big group marking session. I just think it would be more fruitful in reading and then I can read it (either when you finish) or when I get home. So will you do it? I promise it will be a lot more meaningful, and you'll remember a lot more than running out the door trying to fit in a few verses. I know i have learned so much more as I've done this, and I've recieved a lot more answers.
Well, I am WAY over on my time. But I will HOPEFULLY be calling you on monday, bright and early! ya ya!!!!
dear elder me while I"m here, but other than that start sending mail to tucson.
"so i'm leaving on a jet plane....."
love you all. be good. read the conference ensign. bear your testimony. have a conversation with God everynight.
kait....hna aguas.