Tuesday, June 23, 2015

400km adventure on P day..Macedonia, Lake Pogradec and Korca

All the elders that toured with us, including
my companion Elder Befus in the front

Again, no time so I’ll be brief with my remarks! I’ll try plan for more time next week but man, transfer calls are coming so I’ll probably have no time at all next week as well... that’s mission life for you, busy busy!

Well, yesterday was an awesome P day. The reason I am writing today on Tuesday is because I completely ran out of time yesterday! We rose and left the house by 6.30am and got home at 9.00pm, drove about 400km's, taught a few lessons, crossed a few borders - man it was awesome! 

A little Macedonian shop, the lady spoke no english or no albanian, 5 minutes from the border
A little orthodox shrine in the township
So the Assistants to the President called and told me I needed to leave the country to sort some visa stuff out, and then after that they wanted me to teach some received referrals in a southern city called "Korca", which is not open to missionary work at the moment. It was an awesome trip and I had so much fun. The lessons we taught were great and it looked like there could be some awesome potential down there. Maybe it will open up soon. I also met an Australian family down there, which was both strange and awesome! The husband was albanian so the kids understood both english and Albanian. Really sweet.
Did I mention that I was driving? Haha craziness. This right hand side driving business is great. Slightly terrifying given the arrogance and selfishness of most drivers here, but it was completely great, I loved it. Being behind a wheel again inspired a feeling of trust and confidence.

Wednesday we have a conference as a mission in Elbasan. It should be a really good spiritual experience, I’m excited. Our mission president is awesome. I really look forward to any time I spend with him, because I know I’m going to learn a lot. And thats the purpose of a mission right, and in a greater perspective - life - to learn? 

Mission life is great. Probably the hardest thing I've ever dealt with in my life, but by far the most rewarding. The lessons here have been invaluable and I am so grateful that the Lord has found me fit and entrusted me with stewardship over a part of his vineyard. I know the Lord qualifies those that He calls, whatever he asks that we do, it is written and the promise is true that he will provide a way for us to accomplish that.

I hope you are all well. I brought a new watch. I bargained it down from 35 to 25 (dad, you would have been proud of me in my element) so I thought it was a steal, it's a beautiful thing and I intend to take care of it! I only got it because my watch was breaking and killing my wrist of its circulation, so I thought it was a justified spend :) 

I love you all - Until next week!

Elder Waters

Lake and township Pogradec

The view overlooking Lake Pogradec

A catholic church, it was really really pretty inside

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Kastriot gets baptized!

Our brother Kastriot Skënderaj on his special day
Well Im glad you love photos because I've got a few this week. I've been trying to be better with taking more photos, because you only have one mission right! That and journal writing, I brought a brand new Journal and a flashy fountain pen and since then I haven't missed a day, of which I am really grateful! Its a hard thing to do if you don't have a set plan, but since I restarted, got all nice fresh new equipment it became easy and fun to do! - Much like repentance.... Haha, see what I did there? I love the mindset that being in the service of the Lord puts you in. Everything is spiritual, your spiritual horizons are enlightened and the beauty of life increases as you realize how loving and generous our Heavenly Father is! 

All spiritual tangents aside (haha), Are you considering coming over here to pick me up? Because that would be totally awesome. I would absolutely love that. I know it's a pricey pickle, but if you do everything you can to get here I promise you I'll treat you to the best of Albania I can! Hopefully by then I speak a little better Albanian, know a few more people and places, so I'll be able to show you the potential of this Beautiful country. 
Me and Elder Cani studying.  He is the Elder that can read the Greek font on the Apolloni Temple Pillars
Apolloni is beautiful! The view was great, man I loved it. It was just like this awesome massive hill with a 360 degree view of an awesome countryside. Yeah the history is crazy. One of the Albanian Elders that was there had lived in greece for a little while, so he was able to read the old greek writings on top of the massive temple pillars, which was sweet! It was really cool.
The font from down under. It is such a battle to put up and take down, it's a workout!
This week was interesting. It was awesome and it had its hardships, highlight was definitely our brother 'Kastriot Skënderaj' being baptized! He was probably the happiest man on the planet, it meant the world to him. He's great. I gave him a shirt and tie to get him started on his Journey in the church, he loved it. I know I didn't write home much about him but I’ll tell you a little bit about him now, he came along to a ward activity about 9 or so weeks ago, loved it. Has come to church every week since but has struggled to understand basic principles of the gospel, but ever since day one he has just loved the gospel and his desire to serve God has been unparalleled. Even though he doesn't understand a lot, it was really enlightening and inspiring to see him work so hard towards his baptismal day, constantly he would say, with a driving passion in his voice, often banging his hands on the table as he exclaimed that "I have entered into this church, I have chosen this road, I have faith and I will serve Him (the Lord) until the end!". It was a great experience working with him. Your prayers helped, I tell you that!
Us with Kastriot and Endrit. Endrit baptized Kastriot
The weather is a killer here man! She's super hot, I often find myself drenched in sweat every time we get home, it’s great! We have received a commitment from our Zone Leaders based on a scripture found in D&C 123:13, a piece of which says that we should "Waste and wear out our lives [in preaching the Gospel]" and when I get back home and I’m covered in sweat and dust, eyelids almost on the floor I’m so tired, I feel like I'm giving the Lord my all! What a great feeling. 

The new boulevard that they made, its actually really pretty and completely full with people during the night

Fier Branch is crazy, the members here are crazy and I love them. I truly love it here. The city just built a new boulevard near our house and it is real pretty, everyone walks it every night, the city gets busy and everyone is just happy. Its what this place needs, a bit of happy! (And we got it :D) 

If you can’t tell, I’m still buzzing about being here. I love it. Truly grateful for the grace of our Lord and Saviour, for the gift of the Atonement that He has so selflessly offered and for the many things that we can become and accomplish because of Him. Its all because of Him. I know its true. 

Love you mum.
Elder Waters

 Ylli, (Pronounced ew-lee), We are working with him. That shop right there is his. It's where he works.
'Kujtim' . One day we were street contacting, I said to him at his door after he answered "We are missionaries and we talk to people about faith" and he responded by saying "Why outside? Come in Come in!!" Which is a serious miracle here in Albania. We are working with him now.

 One of our investigators, Kleard, he's awesome and should be baptized on the 27 june!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Photos.. And a beautiful letter to his Dad.

Dad, It might sound funny. But Im proud of you too. You are an awesome father. 

The other night I was laying awake in bed, thinking about how ridiculously merciful the lord has been to me (as per usual) and I was thinking about how much of a hard worker you are, providing for your (sometimes ungrateful) kids, and by that I mean me. I remember, and always will, how one time you told me that you used to shave dry (without shaving cream) Just so we could we could have weetbix on the table, to eat. By the way I’m starting to understand the beauty of shaving cream because I’m actually needing to shave daily now, haha. Dad I love you, you have sacrificed much for me, and worked even harder to keep me living and feeling loved. I am glad that I am bringing you honour now by serving my mission. I was reading a section of my Journal where I was staying in the Mount, And bishop had called me and told me that I could be going on my mission in two weeks - and as we both remember I didn't sound too excited (In your own words) - And I wasn't, because I was dead scared. A big part of re deciding to serve my mission and re-doing everything I could to get out was based on the legacy that you have always told me that I would start. That I would be the First "Elder Waters", the way you would look at me as you would tell me this dad - That is the look of pure love - I can’t Explain it any better. Your Righteous desires for me has helped me be a better person, I know you love the Lord. You're an awesome example. You and mum are incredible. The longer I serve the more I begin to understand that this is true. Truly you are my heroes. My heart is always with you two. 

But anyway. Just a little tear shed, here in amongst this rowdy, smoke drenched internet cafe that I stand in. Haha - ain’t that funny, how one can stand amongst such a foul environment but feel the spirit of the Lord ... - anyway not what I wanted to talk about. Time is short. Always. 
Dad I am so glad you are finally doing the work for our family! I have made a goal to go to the temple every week when I return. I never want to miss a week dad. Never again. Never. Never! It would be awesome if we could go together too. It is so important! I’ll say it again, when I get back I never want to miss a week!

I had a dream the other week. That I had returned from my mission and was working back in burger king, I was doing the same old stuff, in the same old mindset, with the same old attitude -"I cant wait to finish work and go home". It was highly symbolic and as I began to understand the symbolism, my heart began to sink. The significance of it was basically this "You spent two years serving the Lord and when you came back home, you returned to your old habits and your old ways, you did NOT change, and fell subject to the same temptations that subdued you beforehand." 

Can you imagine that? Spending two years in the service of the Lord and not changing at all? Well I was forced to imagine it and it racked my soul. Dad I’m not a disobedient missionary, I try pretty hard - but Am I doing enough? When I go out to work each day, to do the Lords work, is my heart fueling every single feasible effort? Or am I just labouring with my might and strength, and withholding my heart and mind. The principle lesson to my dream was this - are you efforts towards serving God really changing you? Are they changing your natures and your core values and beliefs, or is it just a mere temporal adjustment to your behaviour? 

This dream has stayed with me dad and it keeps me on my toes. Every single act we commit that honours our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ should change our natures for the better, and we should do All that He asks with a willing heart. 

May the Lord bless you and our wonderful family, wherever we are in the world.
Elder Waters

Theres is this place called a 'creperi' and they sell crepes, which are like pancakes wrapped up with different ingredients - I go there often and order a "Waters", which is the white chocolate crepe you see in the photos... Yup, I got it so much that I asked for a nickname about it!  And now, every time I walk in, I ask for it hahaha. It's great!

Me getting a haircut at this awesome albanian barber... it costs me only $2 every time for a quality, FAST (oh man he's ridiculously fast it's so cool) haircut. He is awesome. And then afterwards he even cuts my sides up with a straight blade and slaps me with aftershave! All for $2 each! Awesome.

 More photos that were taken in Apollonia of the ruins..Can't be certain if the apostle Paul actually preached the gospel here or not...

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Heavenly Father is always there.

22 years together.. That's awesome Mum..

It's been an eventful week for me too.  I barely have any time or energy to write, its been full on and we've been working hard and playing hard too. Today we went to Apollonia, I'll send more photos next week, so I can focus on writing you.  My email is pretty full, people are so nice and love writing me haha. Bless their souls - I can't find the time to write them back! 

The photos of the ruins were taken at a place called Apollonia, A place where Paul, according to the Bible, preached the Gospel. Pretty cool huh!

Tahei is going! Oh man thats awesome. Give her a big hug for me, she's going to be an awesome missionary, once more :D 

That's crazy cool about Jordi and Kyla coming to visit too - she sent some photos as well, Thats really cool mum! She said she whipped you in 5 crowns..

Our investigators are good mum! Kastriot (one of our investigators) is getting baptized this week, it should be good, expect photos! Also our family is set for 13 of June. It's awesome seeing people act on their faith and make changes.. One highlight of my week was after one of our shorter lessons (25ish minutes) I asked if they liked the lesson and they were like "Yeah.... but it was a bit short", HA! I was surprised, I was like wait... you want longer lessons? They were like yeah we want longer we want longer! Hahaha it just shows how much they love feeling the spirit, it was beautiful. A beautiful moment.

But perhaps the most beautiful experience that I had this week was my (unprepared) talk at church. This week was a difficult week. Our branch has been struggling and its been affecting the work.. So when we got to church I started playing the Piano as usual, setting things up, doing this doing that and 5 minutes before sacrament another missionary comes up and says "Hey, you're speaking in sacrament today, you'll be the first speaker". Haha this guy! I totally thought he was joking and I kinda kept on playing the piano, thinking "nahhh, surely he's not serious" . Surely enough, I went and checked with him, got off the piano and inquired. He was dead serious. I was dead scurred! As the assigned speakers had not shown, Branch President Gjika had asked us 3 missionaries to speak. Immediately I quivered with fear, and doubt and worry quickly filled my thoughts. Who am I? I am not prepared! I barely speak Albanian! This isn't fair! .... Soon after my instantaneous and immature reaction, came a still calming thought "Fear not.. Only believe". Never before had these words of my Savior came to me with more force and appeal than now. In that moment my fears had ceased, truly just vanished. For a moment I felt so spiritually at peace and enlightened, so comforted, as if everything was going to be alright. And then the nerves came back, but deep down I knew it would be alright. Even until I was walking up to the pulpit to deliver my talk, I didn't really know what I would say.. But I bore my testimony of the Savior and what I knew to be true. From there everything seemed to flow and I ended up talking about Charity and how we need to develop it in the ward, shared a few scriptures and ended up talking for around 15 minutes or so. (Dad, I am an Albanian minute-man! :D )

Mum, I've never felt like a mouthpiece of the Lord more in my whole life. Looking back I was preaching some pretty strong repentance to the whole branch, it's such an interesting thing, as I gave the talk I was completely comfortable, even in Albanian. I have no doubt that the spirit of the Lord was upon me, I found myself in a position where all I had to rely on was the Lord and of course, he delivered me. The promise recorded in D&C 82:85 is true, the spirit filled my voice with Gods word and I was given utterance. 

God fulfills all of his promises to His Children. I know this is true, I have seen it, I have lived it. He provides a way for us to complete every commandment we gives him. Whom the Lord calls, He qualifies.

I have been fortunate to see the Hand of the Lord in the work and, even though at times it was ridiculously difficult, and I often fell, the Lord has always been there, and always accepting of us no matter what we have done. Every night I laid in bed before I slept, I reflected on my day and I am touched so deeply by the apparent mercy of the Lord in my life. My heart pangs, that the Lord can have so much love for me, in all my weakness and inadequacies, even though I can sway and dwindle from his path, and at the end of the Day he still loves and blesses me. He is always there.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

EXACT Obedience brings blessings!

Hi mum!
Happy Birthday Nivies!!!
That’s so funny that Nevah got the day off school for his birthday, oh and that he has an Iphone? the lucky punk! hahaha. Man ain’t he just the coolest? How is he going anyway? Big 14 wohoo!! Nevah can now prepare AND pass the sacrament! What a soldier haha, good on yah nivs! Thats so cool.

Here's a little bit of what happened in this awesome, yet tough, but mostly awesome..week.. oh man, this week was Incredible! I cannot adequately express how merciful the Lord is and has been to me.

First of all I would like to share an experience I had on an exchange with my district leader, Elder Linderman.

We were out on the street during the evening contacting and Elder Linderman had a prompting that we needed to have a street meeting in a local park called "Xhaxhi Park" where all the Old Men (or Xhaxhi's) meet to play chess and dominoes and talk about communism. I will say it is not a "hot spot" for missionary work because a typical Xhaxhi will not let
you talk but will lecture you on communism as opposed to listening to your message, So most of the missionaries don't bother going there to the Xhaxhi parks. But I am not one to deny my companions spiritual impressions, thus we unanimously decided to have a street meeting, like missionaries of old. After a short stroll to contemplate everything a street meeting would encompass, and to kindle and control our fears, we finally came to ourselves and went into the Park. I stood up on one of the tables in the middle of the Xhaxhi park, before maybe 50 xhaxhi's, and with a loud voice called their attention, explained who we were and invited them to gather together, exclaiming to them that we had a story to tell them about Joseph Smith. So for the next 5 minutes or so, Elder Linderman and I took turns standing at the top of the table, teaching and testifying before everyone that would hear us, about the Prophet Joseph Smith. Determined, we delivered our message and afterwards approached those whom appeared interested. We only talked to 2 people individually about our message that we shared but regardless, it was AWESOME. I felt so empowered by the spirit. I felt great! There was no one in that park more influenced and touched by the message that we shared than Me and Elder Linderman. In that beautiful moment, I opened my mouth, the spirit supported me and I Feared No Man!!!   Something that is not easy for me to do. I feel like the Lord gave me the strength to do this and realize that "Yes, Elder Waters, you can do Hard Things". And Oh how much did my confidence and courage increase!

Secondly, was the success we had with finding new investigators and teaching people. Elder Befus and I tried our hardest to be EXACTLY Obedient this week, and I know with surety that we were blessed because of it. We were blessed insomuch that we achieved the "standards of excellence" set by our mission president, the first time in my mission. I very deeply attribute this to the mercy of the Lord. This week I witnessed Miracle after Miracle and I know it was only through Him that we achieved our goals.
However, the greater Joy I experienced was in our new family that we found this week, they are incredible. We found the elect! And they are all incredible. The lessons we have with them are drowned with the Spirit of the Lord, so much that they have all (3) accepted baptismal dates, keep their commitments and even call us to confirm appointments! Exclaiming "When are we going to meet? When are we going to meet?" . They are a family truly prepared from the Lord, to hear this beautiful message that we share. 

 I saw miracle after miracle after miracle this past week. But before we saw each miracle, we were basically dragged through the coal and discouraged in the morning, and then (afterwards) the Lord poured miraculous blessings upon our heads in the evening. We really did only "receive a witness until after the trial of [our] faith", and it was so humbling. It was such a roller coaster ride. Truly I can say, with experience as my guide that the Lord is truly Merciful unto his children. Unto me.

So if your in the middle of being dragged through the coal right now... Just endure! Don't give up! Because the blessings of Heaven are juuuuuuust around the corner, the miracles are there! Keep going and you will see them, I promise you! Keep the course!

Love and miss you deeply all so much! 

Elder Waters

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Short on time..

Sorry mum, like the foolish man who built his house upon the sand, I have also placed my internet time upon the sand, and soon it will wash away!

Saying goodbye to my companion was good mum. It wasn't sad at all, It was just like, well good luck my friend! He's an awesome missionary and I got to know him pretty good for the 6 weeks we spent together. But what will be harder for me, is seeing all the missionaries from my original MTC group go home. I think that'll be a pretty big slap in the face wake up call. Then its all counting down from then on! But hey thats a little way away and we don't have to think about these things. I'm thankful that I haven't been struggling with things like home sickness or worrying about things at home - my mind and heart is here. 

Now I am with Elder Befus, I give him heaps! I love him, he's great. He has served for the same amount of time as me so we get to struggle and learn together at the same pace. He's really awesome. He's from Utah... (It was going to happen at least once in my mission, haha) and we're gonna do some fine work together. 

Given that he hasn't got much time here in Albania, and almost none at all in Fier, I have found myself in a little bit of a leader-ish position. Meaning, I have to lead the planning's and everything as opposed to relying on a senior companion and whew it is rough! Haha. I truly would love to sit here and tell you all about it but time grows short. I am so glad that the Lord qualifies those whom He calls. Without His divine assurance, I would not be able to do any of this work. My efforts would be in vain and I would struggle in vain. But God Lives and he Loves! And he has assured us that we can accomplish all of the things that he has asked of us (1Nephi 3:7 Anyone?). 

Perhaps the most touching experience that brought me to tears was a conversation of Elder and Sister Bednar that I heard, which can be listened to here:

It is the first few remarks that Sister Bednar gives, that really hits me. And should be personal to all of us (Our family), because what she testifies of as being such a wonderful opportunity, has had a direct correlation with our lives. O how great the wisdom and the love! Oh how merciful the Lord is to us and our little family. Let us be faithful in our service to Him!

With love

Elder Waters
This is outside our chapel, me with an ex-sister missionary. Sister Molifua, shes awesome! Mostly because shes the 2nd Polynesian to serve in this mission (she's samoan), I'm still the first Elder tho, wohoo!! (We might have been the only 2 polynesians in the whole of Albania at that time hahaha.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mothers Day Skype!

hey mum :)

Talking yesterday was awesome. It was so good to see everyone and I'm glad things are good - busy is good!  

Well. Something I didn't tell you is I get a new companion this week, Elder Befus, who came into the country same time as me, who also returned back to the field after being out here! I've met him before and all I can say is that it is going to be an awesome transfer!  He is a super awesome missionary and I look forward to it.

Okay I don't have much to say, I said it all yesterday! Haha and what a blessing it was... All the missionaries in my district are buzzing and so happy they got to talk with their families. One of them is my district leader, Elder Linderman, he says hi. He's super awesome, from california, really great missionary, ex assistant to the president, so I get to learn a lot from him.

Hows nan and pop?

Love ya, talk in a week!

Elder Waters

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

.... Before the blessing:)

Hi mum! Well what A week I had this week! 

First of all, Zaim was baptized! Wohoo!

We had 2 other baptisms at the same time.

I am sure you perceived from my last letter that it was a pretty rough week! Thankfully, God is good and this week was so so sweet. Inasmuch as we have those rough times in life, often we forget that the blessings from our trials are just around the corner - This week was awesome. 

Mum! Zaim was baptized! Oh man, the journey with him was so sweet. We found Zaim on the road, on 7 April, invited him to a devotional (watching the video "Because He Lives") and he really liked it, so he wanted to meet after it, taught him, invited him to general conference, he came to 6 Hours worth of conference! (More than 95% of the members here, haha) And continued to meet with us, showing some incredible faith and willingness to follow the divine path of the Lord Jesus Christ, and within 4 weeks was baptized a member of His church, wow! He was very much prepared by the Lord, I have no doubt about this whatsoever. Mum I say it once again, witnessing someone act on their faith and make covenants with God is one of the most beautiful things you can ever witness. He is so cool and so incredibly loving! He will make a great member of the Church.

My companion was sick this week, so I had a wonderful opportunity to serve him and had a lot of personal time to study. It was good. It gave me time to put things into perspective, learn more about my own spirituality and gave me plenty of opportunity to recognize the hand of the Lord in my life. And oh how merciful he has been! 

In a discussion with my companion, we were defining what makes a great missionary (or man). The mutual answer we came up with was that "Greatness is the capacity to Sacrifice and devote yourself fully to God." I have been reading and thinking a lot about true consecration, true devotion and the discipline required to achieve both of these things. I realized that the essence to it all, the true success of a missionary really hinges on one thing - Charity - the Pure Love of Christ, which I believe to be a condition or state of mind, rather than an act. If a missionary has Charity then not only is his behavior changed, his heart and nature is changed as well. Charity changes and transforms the state of the heart into what the Lord would have it be. I may be doing all the right things because I want to be obedient, but what is my heart saying? Moroni Chapter 10 promises us that when we pray, we will receive a spiritual confirmation only on the terms of a "sincere heart, with real intent having faith in Christ", if not then our prayers are in vain and the Lord will not bless us accordingly!  Are our actions and the desires of our heart acting in harmony? Are the desires of our hearts aligned with the Will of God? Are we ready to accept His Will for our lives? If we develop the charity in order to do so, our natures begin to change, it is then that we begin to transform ourselves and the rate at which we become more like our Savior is hastened. It is then that we are living how the Lord would have us live!

But what has this got to do with the rough week that I had?

I can attribute the feelings of extreme joy that I felt this week to my Loving Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ, and the perfect love that they have for us. Often times we don't understand the trials they put before us are designed in one way or another to benefit us. It is summed up nicely in this mormon message here: 

As we are tested, we learn patience, long suffering and an increased capacity to wait on the Lord. We are Refined. We become better. We learn Charity. As we submit to the will of the Lord, he will always be there with us, blessing us every step of the way. So much for a rough week!

Time grows short, This email groweth long.

Zoti ju bekoftë!
Love Elder Waters

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Happy Anzac! ..

Oh thats awesome! Neeson has the priesthood? Man that is crazy he’s a big boy now! That is awesome. He must be taller than me as well like all the other youngans these days -_- Give my love to the Conollys! We are actually so lucky to have solid friends in Christ. They are so important. Aren't they an awesome family mum? Aren't we just surrounded by awesome examples in Ngaruawahia Ward? 

Man you all sound like your lives are almost as fast paced as mine! Thats hilarious about the Whangarei crew coming down, just 'notifying' you that they’re on their way... haha! You must have strengthened your relationships so much since I’ve been gone. I know they love you and dad (and the rest of us) soooo so much. They are so grateful for everything that you do for them, you know you are massive examples to them, I’m glad you love having them because I know they feel loved, accepted and safe when they are down at Ngaruawahia - a feeling that every Child of God deserves. 

This week has been a rough one indeed mum! Its been the most pressing week so far, An Elder wisely said to me on my way to Fier at the start of the transfer that this would be one of the hardest transfers for me in terms of language - oh and have I felt that in Fier! We've been working hard and for the most part its been super good. I've seen the Hand of the Lord in the work Every day, but man I have been challenged, I've been stressed, I’ve been pushed to the limit, I have definitely felt that this week! Having said that I think this last recent period of my life has been one of the most productive, soul searching times where I have learnt a lot about myself, my spirituality and my relationship with God.

 A quote entered my mind from the talk "The Quest for Joy" given in the Provo MTC, which says "Joy is no stranger to pain".. To experience the greatest of joys, we must have the capacity to endure the pain, necessary for us to appreciate the joy and beauty that will naturally follow, when we are obedient. I think of  the saviour as He suffered in the Garden for the sins of the world. What was on His mind at the time of His great agony? I do not know for sure but if I had to guess, I would imagine he was at one time thinking about us, the cause of His pain. The purpose of His suffering. He knew very well that if he performed this selfless act of incredible love and pain, we could obtain the immeasurable joy of eternal life. Pain was a necessary part to obtain this true joy.

This is relevant to me and my own personal pains. The Lord refines his disciples so that they are more capable to both feel joy for themselves and their own personal lives, and perhaps more importantly, to share it with other people. 

Although in the moment it may be hard to bear, although our thoughts and emotions may betray and overcome us, the Saviour knows perfectly how we feel. In his Atonement, I am confident that we can overcome any weakness that we possess, any inadequacy is strengthened in Him and truly all of our trials will one day be for our Good! We just need to be patient.

Biiiig surprise I found out that the root of all my worries was a lack of patience. I need to work on being patient and I know the Lord will support me! He has never left me desolate before. He never will. 

I love you all! Excited for mothers day I am! I'll let you know next week what time I'll be on to skype! (Better start perfecting my Albanian, don’t wanna disappoint you... haha!) Oh and I’m sorry to announce this but... I'm losing my accent -_- So i might sound a little American but hey... thats okay :D

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Elder Waters letter to his Dad

I have been incredibly humbled today in terms of finance. I told someone working in a fast foods place here that when I was working back in NZ, a whole week of hard work would be roughly $600 for me (thats a tough week for me), and then they told me how much they make.... $600 every 3 months, or in other words the equivalent of $6 a day, of the same hard, perhaps even harder works, without breaks, and still happy. Incredible dad. Wow. I wouldn't know how to live on $6 a day! Every day I am amazed at the lifestyle here.

Dad I gotta go soon. Sadly I don't think I'm gonna have time to write much more, say Hi to mum, nivs, and raya for me please! I love you all so much. I think about you often, it helps me focus actually. Gives me something to work harder for. I know the Lord will bless me if I serve him with all my heart might mind and strength, If I lock my heart and deny myself all ungodliness, deny myself the natural and carnal thoughts that so easily pertrude my mind. I know for my service that you are receiving blessing. Blessing of health, happiness and prosperity. 

It comforts me to know that I am amongst one of the most prayed for group of people in the world. I hope the thought of me praying for you each, individually, my beautiful family, comforts you as well. I love you like nothing else in this world. And I'm so happy we have eternity to spend together. Isn't that just the most wonderful blessing anyone can ever imagine? To spend all eternity with the ones you love? I encourage you to be faithful to your covenants! Those that you have made at baptism and especially in the temple. Heed to the word of the Lord! Therein lies safety and peace :) :D

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April Conference

Hi mum! 

Sounds like its been a busy week for the whanau back home... never a quiet week even though ya live in Ngaruawahia aye!  It seems like every week you's have done something craaaazy. That's awesome that some of the crew came over! happy to hear :D Awesome about dads work tho! A bit of a change for the first time in 4 years dad was saying..

We went to Vlore and played beach volleyball with the other missionaries today! Oh and what a wonderful sensation it was to feel fresh warm sand under my feet once more! It was awesome! I have a friend (who by the way, sends his love) his name is Elder Linderman, he's the old AP here, ending his mission this transfer and he is awesome. He's from California and loves the water. He's been surfing and knows a few beaches in his area and in Costa Rica (his mum owns a place out there) so we've been talking a little bit about surfing, I love it! 

This week was probably one of the best weeks of my mission. We've been working hard and the Lord has been blessing us with little miracles here and there, but the biggest miracle I would have to say is one of our investigators that we found this week - He Loves the Gospel of Jesus Christ! He has been super receptive to what we've shared with him, and get this, he came to 6 hours worth of conference! Awesome! I barely made it to the Sunday morning Conference when I was home. He was awesome man, he just loved it! He probably would have come to everything but he had to work... I love him - he is great! We had a powerful lesson with him and he accepted the invitation to be baptized early next month - which is awesome. Oh man, the Lord is Merciful!

Speaking about conference, wasn't it just awesome? Not that I understood a heck of a lot (all in albanian, enough said) but I definitely felt the spirit! And I received some answers to a few questions I had, which is always sweet. I hope you enjoyed conference, and all the crazy things that have been happening around home! 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fier, a new companion, and we're living like Kings - yes that's right - we have a microwave AND a toaster!

Oh man this week was awesome! I just wanna express to you the deep gratitude I have towards the Lord.. I'm finally set up in Fier. I live on the 8th floor of the most beautiful apartment. I am living like a king!  My apartment is GLORIOUS! It's soooooo so sweet. In comparison to my old apartment, I have my own bathroom, my shower is like a water blaster, we've got 2 aircons that make life a dream, we have a toaster and microwave (Life is rough without 'em, so I've learnt to appreciate their presence!) and it's just so pretty! I'm seriously living in a palace, hehe.

Elder Matson is the one taking the photo
My new companion Elder Matson is awesome.  I have a tonne of respect for him. He's from (sweet home) Alabama, USA, and he's the oldest missionary in the field right now, 6 weeks and he's off home! He's awesome, he has a solid desire to be obedient and he works hard. Love it. He loves music, often times we both just break out into singing and it's great! He loves the guitar too. I also showed him a video of a haka and a maori song, long story short we are learning "kia tau" and he's almost got it all down! In a week! Legend. The pronunciation for maori is really super similar to Albanian so it helps a tonne. Sometimes I'll be in the other room getting changed and I'll hear him singing it, hahaha it's great. We are gonna have an awesome time together! My new district is awesome as well.

The members are awesome. They're crazy and I love them! I don't really know them all but you know I'm working on it! I had a goal to bear my testimony every fast sunday of my mission but I literally couldn't this sunday! This small branch (there was some 40 members in church on sunday) had no silent moment! Everyone was really keen to bear there testimony. They were pretty much fighting for the stand! Hahahaha it was hilarious actually. The Elders Quorum President behind me, stood up and started walking to the stand but then one of the little boys in the front stood up and beat him there, and he was mad! He was muttering under his breath "ugh I'm gonna kill him! Who does he think he is I'm gonna kill him!" Hahaha, and then at the very end the branch president fully cut off his wife, who was walking up to the stand, and told her to sit back down because we ran out of time! hahaha, oh it was great. So I'm not sad I didn't get to bear testimony, seeing the members burning desire to share their testimonies and feeling the spirit was an incredibly rewarding experience in itself. It was great! I loved it.

President Gjika (the branch president) invited us missionaries over to their house and they feasted us! It was great. They have such an awesome family - President Gjika is probably one of the most happy optimistic people I've met over here - He's missing one of his arms (factory accident I think), but he is just blooming happiness! Always joking around and has a mad love for biking and running. He wakes up at some ridiculous hour of the morning (before 3am) and runs! And he owns over 5 bikes himself and actively uses them... He's just so happy! Man and then Sister Gjika is awesome too... Such a happy, blessed family. They're seriously awesome. You can really see the difference the gospel makes to a family! It is a beautiful sight.

I hope you can feel the love that I have for my new area. Sad to see the old one go of course, but no use dwindling on the past! The present is here and there's plenty to do. One thing I really admire about Elder Matson is his testimony of the Atonement. I can feel his undying confidence in the Atonement when he testifies. It's awesome! He's so sincere about the healing grace and power that we can receive through it. The word healing always sounds like its only applicable to those that are smitten or stricken with some sort of disease or condition, but the truth is, we all stand in need of healing, no matter who we are or where we are on our spiritual journey. We all fall short of perfection, thus we all stand in need of the Atonement. Of course it requires courage on our part, but our Saviors arms are open to us whenever we are ready - "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 16:33.
I'll be happy if he keeps this up when he gets home!
I truly hope you are as happy as I am right now. If not, center your lives in Him and you will find it. Promise!

With Love
Elder Waters 

Friday, April 3, 2015

A transfer to Fier, a Haka and Seizure free for a year:)

I don't have a heck of a lot of time right now because guess what... I'm getting transferred! (packiiiiiing!!!!)

I will be serving in Fier with Elder Mattson, it's in the southern Zone where they speak some of the cleanest Albanian in the country, so I'll be learning the 'pure language' and I plan to really up my game when I get there! I am so excited! Sad to see Tirana go and all the beautiful families and members here, but it's the Lords will, so I will place my confidence in that! 

That's so funny about the mission mamas page! Thats such a Kiwi thing to do, hahaha. Good ol Kiwi mamas - thats special!  Such a neat idea. Speaking about kiwi things to do, there's this senior missionary couple (the Smiths - they're awesome) whom, Elder Smith, a former mission president, had served around a Kiwi Elder (Elder Klein?) in Thailand, and he had done a haka for him, both a solo and as a district - the man! So Elder Smith was really fascinated by our culture and of course, tha haka. So after a solid 20 minutes of nagging me to do a haka for them, I decided to do one. I did a solo Haka for my american and Albanian brethren (taukato hi!). It was cool, I’m such a whiteboy but they don’t know the difference!! hahaha. They loved it.

Man, Ngaruawahia ward is AWESOME! We have such a cool ward, seriously, I love Tirana 4th, but Ngaruawahia Ward is hard to beat! How are our missionaries going? Give them a fala! (It means say hello for me) Tell them they're awesome.

Every night as a part of our daily planning, my Companion and I have the wonderful opportunity to reflect on our day and ask each other the specific question "How did you see the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ Today?" And it really keeps you on your toes! Not that it's hard to find, but that we need to adjust ourselves to be constantly looking for it! The first time my companion asked me that, I was like woah, wait, what? Is this like a thing? It took me totally off guard.  I answered, but I realized eventually that asking this question not only gives you the opportunity to testify of Christ and grow your gratitude, it softens your spiritual eyes so they become more sensitive to the things that are available to us through the Atonement. I have seen the power of the Atonement every day. It is a real force, it is powerful! And it is there for us to access if we humble ourselves unto Repentance. Amongst such a confused, scattered world, I have found the deepest feelings of peace and security thanks to my Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ. It is truly so beautiful. 

Well mum, my last P day for my first Transfer is almost over. This is actually a really special week, on top of easter and everything happening this month, this Celebrates me being seizure free for 1 year! Wohoo! (Unless I have one before next Monday, bahahaha then I'll be seeing you soon -_- ). I love albania. I adore it.  I’m so stoked to be here.

I hope you are happy!  Even as happy as I.

Love Elder Waters