Hello family and friends! I hope everybody is doing well. Mom, thank you so much for the piano music! I can't wait to go practice it! And thank you Emily and Lindsey and Mom for the letters. That was very nice of you. I really liked them! I'm still waiting for a letter from Alesha and Andrew though!!!! I would like to hear from other people too. But I understand. It is a really busy time of year. I hope everybody is ready to finish school and have a good summer. I love summertime! Emily is going to be a big senior next year!! She is going to love that!
Today we had Temple P-day, and that's why I'm e-mailing on Wednesday instead of Monday. We drove through the city part of Beverly Hills on our way to the Temple, and it seems like a nice place. The Los Angeles Temple is really pretty! It is so huge! The inside of it is amazing. The walls are painted with really pretty scenery and it is beautiful! Our zone got to go do a session, and then afterward we went and played some football by the mission home. We get to go to the temple every other transfer, so about every 3 months. It is a blessing to have a temple in our mission! The Spirit was very strong in the temple, and I know that we can receive answers to our prayers there.
Monday was my 1-month mark! I've made it this far!!!! Time is already going by pretty fast!
The average weight gain in this mission is 40 pounds!!!!!!!! Can you believe that??!! So far I've lost weight since I've been here! Just a few pounds. The Latinos make some pretty good food, and aparently it's the tortillas that pack on the weight. But it doesn't seem to have an effect on me! Yesterday we had some homemade brown horchata, it was a pretty crazy drink. The Latinos are really nice. Sometimes they make meals just for us, and they watch us eat. Yesterday, a couple from our Spanish ward made us some food, and they came and dropped it off in our area because we are on bikes. They are very thoughtful. Sometimes they feed us so much that it feels like my stomach is going to blow up!
We have a couple we are teaching who have been waiting to get baptized since last year. But the sister is waiting for her divorce papers from her husband in Central America, and she lives with her boyfriend right now. The boyfriend is a member, and they come to church every week. They even to scripture study together! She is very ready to get baptized, but she can't get married until she can get divorced and then get married to her boyfriend. Her papers are supposed to be coming soon. And she will get married right after, then she will get baptized later that week!!! We are hoping for the 17th of July!!! We are hoping to get another couple married whom we are teaching. They are really nice people, and they have 2 kids. But they aren't married! So we are trying to help them realize that marriage is the right thing to do. But they are afraid they are too young, and they said they might get married in January. But that's too far away. We can only pray and to our best, and hopefully things will turn out alright. We are having a hard time trying to find people to teach. There are a lot of people who say they will listen to us, but then we can't contact them after that, or we start teaching them and they aren't committed or something like that. So we are still in the developing stages of our area. But it will all turn out in the end.
Spanish is still a roadblock for me. I don't think my mouth and brain were meant to function in another language haha. My companion says I'm behind where I should be with my Spanish, so I'm going to work harder on it.
Dad, you need to come here someday! There are so many beautiful plants and flowers. I know you would love it! Just about all kinds of fruits grow here. I saw some banana trees by the mission home today. And we have an avacado tree outside our apartment. My companion thinks I'm weird because I'm still amazed by the palm trees. But he's from Tonga, and palm trees are normal for him. There are tons of different types of palm trees. You should try to plant one at home and see what happens. Just don't let it get snowed on! And mom and sisters would really like all the stores here. There are thousands! And Alesha would like all the different types of people here. And Andrew would definitely enjoy the fire departments here. I hear firetrucks all day long! But I wouldn't ever live here. I prefer the small city in the mountains.
Well, "that's all folks"! If there are any questions you want me to answer feel free to ask! And feel free to send e-mails to this address! Good luck finishing school. And good luck to Alesha with summer "coolage"! I love you all very much! I pray for you! Thanks for letters and support, you are the best!!!!!! I know for sure that this Church is true. I know that it has been restored through a modern day prophet, and we continue to sustain the Church of Jesus Christ today! We are so blessed to live in these times. When times are hard, it helps to think of the pre-existence. We knew, before we even came here, that we would be able to do what would be asked of us. There is nothing we can't do if it is right and we have God on our side! Keep working hard and keep being awesome, and keep smiling!
Elder R.M. Watkins