Monday, April 30, 2012

chasing trains.

I hope nobody is offended by this, but it must be shared.
Yesterday,  we were having a lesson with Ricardo. He has mentioned that he was lifting weights the other night, so as good little missionaries, trying to make everything apply, we decided to use that for an analogy. We were going along the lines of "just like you need to exercise your body with weights, how can we exercise our spirit?" aka all the typical answers.
nothing out of the ordinary.
The question was played, "Ricardo, why do you exercise and lift weights?".
without skipping a beat he says, "so I have no problem jumping the border. they'll never catch me"
I was crying. mainly because I knew how dead serious he was.
well.....somehow we taught an entire lesson on the atonement being related to jumping the border.
and it's actually one of the best/spiritual lessons i've been in.
If I was watching myself, I would be proud.
Also, have I told how great my previous stalking skills have come into play on the mission? It's nothing short of marvelous. We were driving down the street going towards G-units house. Except we were really going there with the intent to teach Blanca (Because if we got G-unit and Gabriel they would just talk and talk and talk and no lesson would be taught). As we are on our way, we see Blanca walking home, but about 6ish blocks away. Somehow we had to make it non chelant that we would "just run into her", somehow at her house, at the exact same time as her, withour her dad knowing. Aka we had to be at her house, without being seen by her or her family. Not so easy when you are in a little red car, in a place where not a lot of people have cars. Hence where stalking comes into play.
We take this really weird alternate route, where i'm pretty part of it cars are not normally allowed. We take the back entrance of the trailor park and drive painfully slow. Yes, all the neighbors just looked at us and thought "it's the mormons at it again". We got to a corner where our car was hidden and Hermana Wheatley sticks her head out the window, watching for blanca. As soon as she started coming up the street, I turn the corner, just slow enough we would still catch her, but her dad wouldn't see us first. We finally drove through a crowd of pigeons and passed her, going the opposite way, just before she got home.
We then pretended like it was some miraculous serendipidous event that we just happened to pass by her. She obviously bought it and started freaking out because she was SO happy to see us. She started crying as we had an opening prayer.
Then her dad came out, and the lesson turned into a huge talk about marriage advice. Who would have thought the bible would be the next 17 magazine dating guide? They are already making bets on when Hermana Wheatley will get married. I pulled the "I'm still here for over a year! can't pick on me!"
Did I ever tell you about Daniel and how we are helping him with his alcohol addiction? Well a week or two ago we go over, he's drinking whiskey. I'm sick of it, cause he's always drunk. So we put a picture of the temple on the front and a list of people he loves on the back label. I then told him to go dump out his bottle. Which he did. It was actually super cool experience, besides me smelling like whiskey, mcdonals and dogs because of it. He said that was the day he would stop drinking. I think he was doing good, but the other day we drive up. Hermana Wheatley was on the phone and looking for him. I see him around the corner with a can of beer. He saw us, freaked out and dove into bushes. this man is almost 80 years old. I guess that's one way to avoid the missionaries
And as if my life couldn't get funnier,
we were with the Elders at Antonio's place doing a pass off lesson. We were all getting into our cars and I look at the door and I see this bright light which looked like a fire. I got super nervous for a second because we've had 2 huge fires in our area this week alone. But then I thought it must be my imagination. He then flings open the door, holding a HOME MADE TORCH in his hand! He ran our with this huge flame and said "THIS IS LIKE THE SPIRIT. LIKE A FIRE BURNING".
This is not real life. I must be making this up.
But I'm not.
And the crazy thing is, amongst all of this, and a bunch of other stories that I haven't even touched on we are teaching like crazy. Knocking on tons of doors, passing out Libros de Mormon like hot cakes. I thought a mission would be all serious, but most of my spiritual experiences have actually been paired with some of the funniest experiences. And we're having a blast. Is that legal? I don't even know. But I do know that this church is special. We not only have the opportunity and authority to have eternal life, but we have the reason to enjoy life here! It's a message of hope and purpose, and I love that. and I'm so lucky to be a part of it.
Well that's about it. Incase you couldn't tell, I'm just cracking up right now and can only think of the really funny things. Also, I ate cow stomach lining/intestine soup (actually I'm not entirely sure what it was) yesterday. all the members were amazed that I tried it. But I had to, just to say I did.
Enjoy the last few hours of April! I can't believe it's May already. Make sure you party hard for Cinco de Mayo.....cause it's gonna be nuts down here. it already is.
Love You. Can't wait to hear from you. Keep sending awesome stories (like the pink 5K...loved hearing about that) and keep me updated!
hermana aguas

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

there were sometimes I couldn't face Goliath on my own

Mikayla Shay, name that song.
Thanks for the love, letters and prayers. Life is crazy, nuts and so good...but welcome to the mission. This week has been non stop finding and contacting, talking to everyone and we are meeting some awesome people.  Like Maria and Fransisco. Maria said "I love my life, but I'm looking to change. It's time to change" and Fransisco, when we showed up for the second lesson he said, "get me ready for my baptism in May". His friend Brian is still in shock though, because as soon as he found out we were also called Mormons, he's like "no your not. you're not mormon mormons, you're normal. You're not the same religeon as those guys riding bikes in white shirts right?" We just laughed and said we were the girl versions. he was speechless.
Hey, my goal is to astonish people.
mission accomplished.
But not really, cause I still have my whole mission to serve :P
Here's some little miracles and tender mercies this week:
Janaika, she's in the picture with all the little kids. We saw her in the street and she said "are you blood sisters"...we just laughed and said no. And she kept asking all these questions about God and what not. Then after about 10 minutes Hna Wheatley said,"Wait, Janaika. You're Janaika! we've been looking for you!"
apparently, way before I came two sisters taught a lady who was babysitting Janaika. Janaika heard the first vision, and told the sisters "when you said that story, I felt a boom in my heart."
they've been looking for her for months, but since she was being babysat nobody knew where she lived.
...and she found us...
now we always see her in the streets, and she says to all her friends "I don't wanna play. I wanna talk about God"
now all those kids come up to us and ask questions about how they know if God is talking to them, how to pray and what happens when their pets die.
all those kids will be baptized someday- too bad none of their parents know they are talking to us.
another tender mercy.
after that whole dramatic thingy (whatever you call it) with Antonio, Hermana Wheatley and I were just drained. We went to go see the Hoyos, whom we haven't seen in FOREVER... we walked in and there was this overwhelming peace in that home. Dayra (the mom) was just so willing to talk and to learn, and you could just see her love in the home. It's one of the only places I feel GOOD here. completely safe, and at peace.
I had a good talk with President about it a few days later. There's just been a lot of things going on, that have brought me down to my knees and reading the scriptures, and the talk was definitely needed. He asked me how I was feeling spiritually and I told him about the peace I felt. How in a moment where I should have been at a complete low, the spirit made me feel like there was no burden.
He said, "I've been thinking about you and what's been going on. And those feelings affirm that you have done everything right, and you are doing EVERYTHING you are supposed to be doing"
I respect and love President Killpack so much. We also had dinner with him the other night, which was hilarious. Pretty sure I see him more than the average missionary.
But the best thing, was going to the temple today. We took a little 2+ hour road trip to the Gilla Valley. It was so refreshing to get out of the city, and see a temple again! I forgot how kind temple workers are, and one of them is a Waters, so naturally we talking for a long time. I don't know what it was, but something about this session...things just clicked. Mum, you know how I just love asking and learning and everything to do with the temple, but some things just stood out and I just felt...ah I can't describe it. But I just felt, there is so much more. How loving our Heavenly Father is, and how much He is just WAITING to give us. I definitely had a good chat with my Father in Heaven in that Celestial room. And that same peace came back. I recieved so many answers. I felt like I was home.
I had the hardest time leaving that celestial room, and I almost died taking off that temple dress, but I know that it's just added strength, and that there is a lot more for me to do.
I am also praying that sometime in my mission I get called to serve in the Gilla Valley, so I can be near the temple. So help me, I'm gonna live in the temple someday :) Not really, but you're gonna have a hard time keeping me from there when 2013 comes around.
what else. oh, have I told you how much I love the Hoyos? I'm a sucker for their little girls Shayla and Kayla
we knocked on their door sunday morning to see if they were coming to church. Their hair was all done and they were in cute little pink dresses. Shayla (4) said "I'm going to a party!"
her brother Miguel (8) said "no you're not. we're going to church"
she also thinks that I paint my hair because it's not brown like everyone else's in mexico and she always says as she brushes my hair, "your hair is kinda beautiful. but really. it's beautiful"
also. I ate cactus the other day. Ya, those green prickley things. I should be on fear factor. 
Keep loving life and GO TO THE TEMPLE LOTS ( I know you are mum). It is my own heaven on earth, God's house and a place of peace. Anybody who would deny themselves of that needs a big reality check.
Well I love you all, and have fun with the birthday girl this week! don't eat too much cake.
Also...what part of Arizona are grandma and grandpa in? make sure they take some of this heat back to Utah. We're getting over the hundreds these days. (come July I.Will.Die.)
aka hermana aguas

Monday, April 16, 2012

"i miss saving the galaxy" -elder sharp

This week.
I can't think of a word to describe it.
unexpected.curve balls. exahusting. no sleep. drained. testimony builder................and it's taking too much energy to think of words.
had you asked me to write this email yesterday, I wouldn't have done it. maybe written my testimony or something, but now I'm good. happy. stable and good to tell you a story.
(mom, don't be concerned. nothing happened regarding me, my safety, testimony, salvation....It was just a dramatic experience. Did you take a deep breath? ok great)
So Antonio. Yes, the investigator I talk about all the time. He is absolutely fantastic. When we first met and started teaching us, he was kind of a space cadet (I mean that with all the love in my heart). He just had all these really dramatic things to say and things never really clicked. He just liked talking to us.
Well, the past few weeks, especially after conference. It all clicked. It was incredible. Everyone was blown away. He would bare testimony that he knows that this church is the only true church, because we have the fullness. Everyone else has parts, but we have the fullness with the priesthood and another testament of Christ, the Book of Mormon. He has said that He knows with every part of his heart that Christ atoned for our sins,and he needs to be baptized again so he can be completely clean and have the spirit. He has said all of this. He even had a dream that he married an LDS girl in the temple! He knows everything. He believes everything. He's taught US lessons. We ask him everyday if he has doubts, concerns, problems. And he says none. he believes it all. He's what every missionary would call the elect. President Killpack even brags about him.
Well, we had an AWESOME lesson on friday night about the family. We read the proclamation to the family and showed pictures of our family and the temple. It was perfect. He was set to have a lesson in the chapel Saturday (a week before his baptism) to try on his jump suit and see the font.
Saturday morning, during studies, we get a call from Antonio. He said, "so my friend stopped by to see me today, he's at my house right now and now I'm having some doubts. can you please come over?" we heard a member of the ward in the background Hno Limmon saying "another testamant. another testament!"
We show up, and the friends is a pastor from the church antonio was baptized in 2-3 years ago. We didn't want any contention,we felt we weren't supposed to stay, and we technically had an appointment, so we made sure we could still have the chapel lesson that night and he said yes. The missionary me said "you need to leave. do not talk right now. only talk in the chapel" but Kaitlyn wanted to get into it. Don't worry mom, I followed the spirit and we left.
All day we were distracted thinking about him. We actually had dinner with the elders and Hno Limmon and he told us everything that went on. Apparently the pastor was pulling out all this stuff on the book of mormon and how all we need is the bible....all that bashing stuff... and Hno Limmon (who is a fairly recent convert) didn't know how to answer him on everything and felt really defeated. Hno Limmon was okay but I guess it shook up Antonio.
We get to the church at 6:15.....Antonio shows up, with the pastor and another man with two members Ashley and Santos (who we called). First of all, we had been waiting all day for this, and were a little worked up...and super nervous.  PLUS it doesn't help this is all in a language I just started learning 4 months ago.
As soon as we sit down and they started going off, Hermana Wheatley says "we will NOT have contention here. Especially in the church. We'll start with a prayer so we have the spirit, then we will answer all your questions". Everyone agreed. A prayer was said.... and then everything came out.
{I'm just gonna say right now, I don't have time or energy to write what things were said...and I actually would feel sick writing about it again, but I'll tell you someday} Let's just say I was in that room from 6:15 until 9:30. Priesthood. Authority. Spirit. Baptism. Book of Mormon. Prophets. Christ's church. False doctrine. False Interpretations. I just kept thinking what Christ said on the cross "lord forgive them, for they know not what they do"
...all of that went down.
mehr. it was never contentious, however it was really heated in a few parts. Santos saved us, with the spanish though. For the most part I just watched Antonio. His entire countenance had changed. He looked so lost. Like a little child. He couldn't follow any of it. He had his face in his hands and just didn't know what to do. When it was getting to be 9:30 (we are supposed to be in our apartments at 9...and we still had a 20 minute drive) we just had to leave. We all bore our testimony and said, "we know this is hard to hear (after they kept getting mad at us for answering their questions) but we believe and have spiritual confirmation that we are the only true church upon this earth that has the authority from God. It is the SAME church Jesus Christ established, and for this reason, the way we recieve eternal life is through baptism in this church"
Antonio came up to me after and he's like "im sorry i'm sorry. please forgive me. relax. they just came and now I'm so confused"
I just told him (before I got interupted...the friends did that all night) the salvation is personal, and he has the agency to decide what he wants. not what the friend or what we want. what he does.
His friends took him home that night, and they said he wont get baptized
the next day (yesterday) we get a text from antonio saying, "i can't come to church today. I'm too tired. I worked all night"
We left ward council, telling the elders what went on and to cover for us. we drove (with super dramatic mo tab playing in the car) to his home. I honestly felt like I was going to war. I knock on his trailor. No answer. I start banging on his trailor and he finally comes. He said he was too tired, he still wants to learn. but not today. there was no way that was happening.
he said "be honest, are you afraid you are going to loose me?"
we said "yes, because you are our brother and friend yatta yatta yatta"
long story short. we get him to church. he was dead tired. he works graveyards, and the time he was supposed to sleep on saturday the friends took him to their home and showed him anti mormon videos on youtube. ALL. DAY. about the bom. the temple.
I have seen a few of those, and they make me sick. they are scary. and he was just so confused.
I'm almost out of time. but we had another HUGE lesson with him, with our ward mission leader.
I kept having the thought of the allegory of the olive tree (jacob 5) where the Lord says "it grieveth me to loose this ONE tree" and the servant begs his to just try one more thing. to wait a little bit longer.
We will NOT loose him. and I know i'm sounding dramatic. But this really is a big deal. It's the difference in Salvation. I feel like a super protective mother trying to protect him from the world. He has huge things in store for him. I KNOW it. Satan has been working so hard.
As for right now, he says he knows in his heart it is true..but his mind is confused. We went step by step what we are going to do to help him. And he said, for himself, he still wants to be baptized. as of right now...its still on for saturday. But this week is gonna be the kicker. I'm willing to wait longer. I want to make sure he feels ready to defend his testimony. I want it for him. but now it's up to him.
I wish I had more time to better describe this. But it has consumed my thoughts. I haven't slept. Everything we are studying is for him. the whole branch has banded together with us and the mission president to get him back. to get him baptized.
I always thought people would go to baptism easy.
but Satan doesn't work that way.
Everyday has felt like we are going to battle, and we are pulling out the front line
man I'm exhausted.
well..times up. thanks for listening. please pray for Antonio. I know he loves this gospel. He even called his mom in Nicaragua to have us talk to her, and she just said we are an answer to prayers.
it will work out. God always wins.
well...i'm off to the zoo.
i'll try and get a post card off today!
love you all!
hermana aguas

Monday, April 9, 2012

we watched a blind man chase a chicken

it's a new tradition. Instead of hiding eggs and getting baskets, we watched Randy, and blind man, chase his chicken.
how's that for imagery? 
sometimes I can't believe my life.
Well. I hope your Easter was wonderful! I've decided from now on I'm calling it Pascua. I'll save you the explanation as for why, but let's just say the spanish translation is a lot more focused on Christ than the word easter. We had an awesome program for sacrament, with a musical number that was unreal. And then we in sunday school we watched Bruce McConkie's talk about he resurrection. It was paired with a video of the crucifiction, and it was super powerful. Antonio had a really rough time seeing it, but it touched him. A lot!  He said that was the best part of the entire day and that he wants more pictures of Christ in his home. Which leads me to the good news....drum roll please.... HE PASSED HIS INTERVIEW! so on 21 de Abril, he will be baptized a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and confirmed on 22 de Abril. He's already telling his friends about it, and that this is the only true church on the earth. So proud of that kid. He already wants to be a missionary.
Pretty much that whole process has consumed my week,. I was so exhausted last night I collapsed on my bed and passed out for 30 minutes while Hna Wheatley did calls. So I don't really remember much that happened this week, other than the hilarious things...which should probably not be published on the interweb :)
so maybe I'll just do a bunch of shout outs?
ok great.
1st. Bobby. GOOD LUCK IN AFRICA! Let me know if they let you ride zebras or elephants. If so, I will gladly trade you my car.
Kirkles. make sure you check your mailbox. I wrote you an epic letter a few weeks ago. hopefully you got it.
Kylie. so glad the papers are going well! you got my letter right?
Elissa Butler. enough said.
Erik Kolste. that's way fun you saw him mum. can you get his address (SUU or Home, doesn't matter) for me
Matt: kudos on the pink cake. and how was mexico?
McKay and Kelsey. videos work here. SEND SEND SEND. (wow. I sound like I'm on price is right)
Brett: WELCOME a few days!
LaLa: congrats on your mission call! that's where my brother served his mission. You will love Florida!
Heather (Stacy): guess what happens in a month?
So, uhm. remember how this email is awfully short? It's alright, I'm over it. But I do have one thought before I wrap this up.

Every Easter we get the wonderful opportunity to celebrate. It amazes me how many people don't realize the reason we even celebrate, when really we should be yelling to the world that Christ was resurrected. How amazing is it that we get to celebrate Christ's life? Well...we don't only have to celebrate it on Easter. We get to remember Him, every week during the sacrament. Every time we take the bread and water, we are remembering His sacrifice for us, and that we, like Him, can live again. To find rest in Him (cue Mindy Glendhill's song "I will rest in you") We are in such a unique church, because we remember Him this way. Every week. But remember, that's not enough. It should be everyday. We should work everyday to be better and keep Him the focus of all we do. To be an EXAMPLE of the BELIEVERS.
welp, that's my soap box. i'll whip out some better stories later!
loves!!! good luck with all your sugar highs.
-Hermana Kaitlyn Waters

Monday, April 2, 2012

I swear he's a reverse warewolf...he changes at sunset

HOW WAS CONFERENCE?! I hope everyone watched, and if you didn't...make sure you watch it online!
I hope you not only listened to the words said, but the impressions you recieved. I also hope that everyone recieved the same inspiration and felt a burning in their hearts when they heard David A. Evans say that you need to write letters to the missionaries. It's something tangible showing that you love them.
if that's not a prompting from the spirit saying, "write Kaitlyn. write Kaitlyn." then I don't know what is :)
and man...some moms were super lucky. having their missionaries singing at conference. has that ever happened before? I saw about 4 of my friends, and yes I saw Lindsey Kindlespire! A few people laughed at me when I started freaking out that I saw people. also...I went through temple withdrawals again when I saw the Salt Lake temple.
This week has been such a rollercoaster, but full of miracles. To go into big stories would take too long but I'll give you the gist.
We have been teaching a woman and her husband, Elena (G-unit) and Gabriel. The other week she told us she wanted us to teach her daughter blanca who doesn't believe in anything. Well, we went by to visit the other day and Blanca came in and started talking. This quickly turned to her asking questions about us and so forth. We've done service at her house a few times and it's really impressed her. She used to be really stand offish to us, but now she runs home when she sees our car and kisses us on the forehead like we are her daughters. She has a 16 year old daughter June, who is a lot like me. Really into medical field and whatnot. We talked to them for a little bit, and then June wasn't there. after a 2 hour "lesson" Blanca asked to say the prayer. She said the most beautiful prayer I have ever heard in my life, and basically said, "thank you for sending me these angels, because they aren't like all the other girls you see now. they are good and honest. and the reason why I know they are is because after they left, June told me she could see the honesty in their faces. You could tell they believed every word they say. and when she went to school the next day all she could remember was their faces". Her dad began to cry, and it was a super powerful experience. as soon as we were leaving she ran out and said, "I've been watching you. ever since you've been coming over I've seen how like magic things are turning right. I've watching you pray in your car everytime before coming inside, and I always wondered why. but now I know"
It amazes me to know that everyone always notices. That we are a "peculiar" people. That we always need to be reflecting Christ's countenace, because people WILL notice. And they will wonder.
It's like what Niel A. Anderson said "What think ye of Christ"...well "What think He of me?"
are our actions reflecting what Christ would want us to do?
As for conference, the best reaction was from Antonio. He had a huge trial of faith on Friday and Saturday. We called us friday night asking us to come over the next day, and we found him bawling outside his trailer. I'll spare the details, but it got to the point where I just told him to get up and pray. After awhile I finally got him up and he collapsed, still crying over what had happened. feeling like he couldn't be forgiven. saying he didn't feel worthy to be taught by us. he poured out his soul, (it was nuts) while we read enos and talked about the atonement.
we decided to fast, all three of us, to prepare him for baptism and conference.
Honestly, I was so nervous he would back out of his baptism on the 21st.
the next day we go to conference, and he stayed for both sessions! (we watched it at the stake center)
he asked me if I was tired and I said "kinda" and he said he was exhausted. After a few more questions we found out he had been doing a "complete fast" denying himself everything. He didn't eat. he didn't sleep. He had gone almost two days with without sleep!
He stayed up the whole night reading the book of mormon, and after conference he was in disbelief. He said "I feel like a little child in the presence of God"
this guy is unreal. every missionaries dream
and then a girl came up and asked when his baptism was. He's never remembered before. and we didn't know if he was still going to.
but he said "21st of April" and then in english said "see...I remembered"
after we said goodbye I ran into the relief society room and Hermana Wheatley and I had a dance party. I've never felt so happy on my mission as I did yesterday.
I KNOW there is so much power on this earth. And it it through the words of our beloved prophet and the apostles. Because they are speaking for our loving Heavenly Father. The words being said are what Christ needs us to be. Uctdorf said it best by saying "this gospel was designed to change hearts", and I have seen first hand that it does. The atonement is real and it heals.
Make sure you apply what we heard in conference. It was so much about faith, love, deliverace and healing. this is not a gospel of despair, it is completely of hope. And this session of conference prooved that.
well I love you all! remember to follow the words said at conference and to write me!
happy conference. AND HAPPY EASTER!!!!!
remember His Sacrifice, and how it was especially for you!
hermanita Kaitlyn Waters "aguas"
p.s. good luck on your farewell Bobby!