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