Hello! The missionaries have a mean joke they do to the new missionaries in Los Angeles. There are airplanes constantly flying over us, so the older missionaries ask the younger missionaries how far away the plane is, and the new missionaries say "hmmm, I don't know, maybe 4 miles", then the older missionaries say "no, IT'S 2 YEARS AWAY" hahahahaha they did it to me. Very mean. Now we ask Elder Hopoate how far away the planes are and they are less than a month for him! He will be leaving us on the 18th of August. Too bad for him. He will be missing out on some awesome missionary work!
The work is going really well here. We teach a lot of female Latinas. Dad said he taught male Latinos, but they are always at work for us, so it's usually the wife who we teach. We had a really really awesome experience this past week!!!! There is a recent convert we have been teaching. She is probably in her 60's, and she has a son who passed away in 1997. She is a really awesome, faithful convert, and when she found out about baptisms for the dead, she really wanted the work done for her son. She got the name ready for him and everything and we were able to go to the temple with her for her first time ever, and we were able to see a returned missionary in our ward be baptized for her son! It was so awesome! She was soooo happy that her son was able to receive baptism, even though he was passed away already. The Spirit was very strong, and my testimony of work for the dead was strengthened. Now he will be ready waiting for her when she passes away. The work is moving forward!
On Sunday we had four people who have baptismal dates who didn't come to church. It was a bummer. It is really hard to get people to come to church sometimes! Especially since so many people here don't have cars or they work on Sundays. But hopefully this next Sunday they will be able to come. The recent convert, walks about 2 miles to church each week because she wants to go so bad. She is very faithful.
Oh yeah, I have a new companion! I forgot to tell you! His name is Elder Cruz, and he is a Latino from Boston, Massachusetts! He is half Puerto Rican, and half Dominican Republic. He is a pretty awesome person. He is really short and speaks fluent English and Spanish! It is really nice to have him around. We still have Elder Hopoate too. We are in a trio until he leaves in August! It is really fun being in a trio. I am still in the same area, Jefferson Park.
Yesterday we had a really awesome preparation day! The Assistants to the President, some other elders, and our companionship went up to the HOLLYWOOD sign! It was pretty awesome! We drove up through Hollywood and hiked up the mountain (it's really a hill), and we went up to the very top and we could see the city to the north, which is another mission! We could see the Animation center for Disney productions, and we could see the graveyard that Michael Jackson was buried in haha! Anyway, so we hiked up to the top and we could see the city of L.A., Hollywood, Santa Monica, and the city north. I guess people call the northern city "The Valley", but I don't know it's real name. We couldn't go touch the HOLLYWOOD sign though. There are fences around it and everything, and it's against the law to cross them. But we were just up the hill from it. It is REALLY BIG. The letter are HUGE! On a clear day you can see the sign from miles and miles away. I can see it from my area sometimes.When we went up it was a really really smoggy day, so downtown L.A. wasn't really visible haha. We saw wildlife too! There were lizards and we even saw a snake!
That is pretty awesome that Alesha is going to the Dominican Republic! Elder Cruz says it is tropical there! He has been there a lot before. Alesha sounds like she is having an awesome summer!
Funny story. The other day we were eating at a member's house, and she made us a cucumber juice. It was pretty nasty! We didn't really like it, but I drank mine anyway. But my companions couldn't put it down, so when the sister wasn't in the room they poured it back into the pitcher!!! Hahaha! I'm pretty sure that's a transgression! Haha Elder Hopoate said it tasted like she took a cucumber salad with Italian dressing and put it in the blender! It was salty too. Haha
The Merrell camp sounds like a ton of fun! I'm pretty sure I've been to that lake before on a scout camp with Brother Collett. It's very nice up there, and I believe there is a forest fire watch tower up there too. It's a big white wooden tower. We tried convincing the younger scouts that there were snipes up there and that we should go snipe hunting hahaha, it didn't really work out though. I really hope everything works out well with moving and everything. That would be really awesome to move up to Dry Fork! Oh, and mom, you can e-mail me Tyler and David's e-mails. That is allowed. I'm just not able to receive anything directly from people other than immediate family. But we are allowed to communicate to others through our family, so you can just forward their e-mails to me if you would like. That is the same for anybody else too.
Well, I love you all very much. The work is going forth very well. I will work hard to do the Lord's work well. It makes me happy to know that I have such a strong, large family to support me while I'm out here. Jesucristo es nuestro Salvador, y por medio Su Expiacion, podemos vivir juntos despues esta vida. Yo se que Dios nos ama. Vivimos in el ultimo dispensacion, y la obra de Dios progresera. LES AMO mi familia. Vayan a con Dios, y tendran la vida eterna!
Hello hello! It's Preparation Day again! How is everything going at home? It was really good to hear from everybody! I really enjoy your letters! I'm glad everything is going so well. This past week has been pretty great! We had a lot of good things happen! On Saturday we had one of the best experiences I've had while I've been out here! We have been working with an unmarried couple for awhile. On friday we convinced him that he needs to propose to his girlfriend so they can get married. He said he would do it, and we told him we were going to make a nice dinner for him at the mission home and we would set everything up for him on Saturday. He said he would do it. So we went out saturday morning and got everything ready for the dinner, and Sister Baker bought roses for the occasion. We had everythin ready, then they called and said they wouldn't be able to come! So we were really disappointed, then we remembered that we had been working with another unmarried couple who live together. We met with them on Saturday morning, and a miracle happened! They said they had been thinking about marriage! So Elder Hopoate convinced them that we should set a marriage date with them. They said they wanted to get married in October, but that is too far away, so Elder Hopoate convinced them that they should get married on August 7th, and we set a baptismal date with Richard for the next week on the 15th! And they agreed! That night we had them go on the temple tour, and we had himdo an official proposal to her at the mission home! Haha it was pretty awesome! It all worked out perfect! Especially since the two couples had the same situation, but since one cancled on us we were able to ask the other couple to do the same thing. And guess what we made for dinner? PUPUSAS! A sister in our ward taught us how to make pupusas so we went to a Latino store and bought all the ingredients and we made them for dinner! It was really awesome! Then the next day they were at church with their daughter. We are still hoping that others will come around sometime soon so they can get married and then get baptized. But everything will happen in the Lord's time. Last week we were knocking doors and we ran into a young man who was a member of the church, but he hadn't been to church in about 5 months. We asked if we could come in and share a message with him and he accepted. After we came in we found out that he had a part-member family and that he had a sister there who wasn't a member. We asked if we could teach her, and she accepted. After we said an opening prayer she asked if she could invite her son to join us. So we had the less-active member and his sister and her son who weren't members, and we taught the first lesson. When Elder Hopoate was saying the First Vision the Spirit was so strong! We committed both of them to baptism for August 8th and they both accepted! It was a really neat experience, and I think we were very blessed to find those people. Unfortunately they weren't at church on Sunday, but we will be meeting with them on tuesday night and hopefully they will be at church next sunday! I read Elder Tyler Larsen's e-mail you sent me. I can't believe his mission! He said he is 10 hours from the mission home! In our mission you are never further than a half hour from the mission home! Our missions are very opposite from each other. Cory's mission is going to be very different from both of ours though. From what he says, there isn't really religion where he is going! That is very different from L.A. Here there are hundreds of churches all over the place, on every corner and everywhere between, and in many different languages! Mom, you drew some pictures of fireworks in your letter to me, and that night I had a dream about a firework show. It definitely made up for not being able to watch fireworks haha! fAnd last night I had a dream that you came to my mission with a ton of extended family and you sang happy birthday to me! Haha! I'm really excited for Cory to enter the MTC! That is going to be so awesome! Then Cody enters next month! Right now we are in an internet Vegan Cafe because all of the L.A libraries are going to be closed on Mondays from now on because of the bad economy, so there may be some days when we e-mail on tuesdays instead of mondays. Oh yeah, I don't remember if I told you, but I felt an earthquake the other day! It was really small but the ground swayed back and forth a little bit! Last night we were eating dinner at a recent convert's house, and one of her friends came over after dinner. So we took advantage of the opportunity and we taught him the first lesson! We have a return appointment with him this week! I am excited to see how everything turns out. Things are going well out here. It is very hot, but the work is going well. I love you all, and I thank you for all your letters and prayers and support. I feel your love constantly. Keep being strong and faithful and all will be well. I am so grateful for this gospel in our lives and I know that our family will be eternally blessed by following in it's principles. Vayan bien, Elder Ross Watkins
Hello, it's Preparation Day again. It seems like we just had one yesterday! The days are going by faster and faster. It was really good to hear from mom and dad in their e-mails today. And I really enjoyed the pictures from Alesha last week. Her hair looks really nice too. I can't believe you let Emily drive the car to Provo. When mom first got the car she wouldn't let me drive it without signing a contract and selling my soul to her first. The Big-A camp sounds like it was a ton of fun! I wish I could eat those fish you caught! I can't wait to see all the cousins again in a couple years! It sounds like you all had a really good week. That is crazy that dad has read so many books! He must be really bored. I can't believe that Cory's farewell is on Sunday!!!!! That is really exciting! You will have to let me know how it goes! Oh, and it sounds like Cory and Cody are going to see each other in the MTC for over a month! That will be pretty awesome. Cory is going to be there for an eternity, but he will love it!
Yesterday was a weird day. Sundays are busy for missionaries! Last night we had a President's Fireside for recent converts, and Elder Hopoate and I were waiting for a couple people to arrive. Then the Assistants to the President came in to the church and one of them had me come with him (Elder Ellett), and the other one stayed with my companion so he could be at the fireside. I didn't really know what was going on, but it seemed like an emergency. So then Elder Ellett and I went down to the Harbor area to a hospital where President and his wife and some other missionaries were. It turned out that one of the missionaries got hit by a car pretty hard and was in the hospital. He is doing fine now. It was really fun to be with one of the Assistants to the President for a few hours. He is a really nice guy from the dusty city of Loa Utah. He has one arm, and he's really awesome. So that is my crazy story for the week.
Things are going well in our area. Transfers are coming up next week. I will most likely stay in the same area. Elder Hopoate leaves to go to UVU on the 18th of August, so maybe he'll see Alesha there! There will be some sort of companionship change next transfer, but we're not sure how it's going to work out yet.
Funny story. So my companion tells me that I have been sleep talking a lot lately. He says I sleep laugh too! He said I sleep walked one time. Another time he said that I tilted my head up and started whistling in my sleep! HAHAHA!!!!! He has a little recorder and he said he's going to record me next time I wake him up!
Oh mom, I lost my camera cord....ooops...so I was wondering if my camera box is still at home and you could go pick up a new cord for me, because without it I can't charge my camera and I can't send you pictures of how big my biceps are. If you can't find the box (I may have thrown it away), then just let me know and I will give you the information for my camera. Also, I need David Feltch's phone number for the mission office. Dad already sent my his address, but they need his number too. They are supposed to have all the missionaries' Bishops' information for some reason. Oh yeah, and I have been using my personal card a little. I will try to not use it too much. The missionary card wasn't enough for the first little while because we flushed in to two new areas in a row, but now things are more settled down.
Last week we found and taught this lady from Nicaragua. She is really awesome! We found out that she is half Latina and half Chinese! Crazy! ! Haha I'm excited to see how things turn out for her with the Gospel. She seems really awesome. We taught the Restoration to a woman this morning and she seems really ready too! I just hope we can teach her husband soon too.
Yesterday we baked a large cake for a recent convert we are meeting with. We aren't very good at baking things, but it turned out okay. We took two different cake mix flavors and put one on top of the other and then did the swirly thing that I've seen mom do before with cake. I really wanted to eat it, but that isn't very charitable or missionary-like. Then Elder Hopoate frosted it and it looks really funny! I'll have to send you pictures!
Spanish is coming along piece by piece. We speak a lot of English, even though we are in the Spanish Program, but we get to teach a lot of Spanish lessons. Sometimes we teach in Spanish and English at the same time because we have families where it is easier for some to learn in Spanish and some in English. When I come home I am going to give my talk in Spanglish, which is a common dialect in Los Angeles haha. There are a lot of people who speak Spanish then all of the sudden they will throw in an English word haha! It's weird to transition between the two but it works!
When I come home, remind me to tell you about the 6th Ward singing experiences hahahaha they are awesome!
I hope everybody is doing well back at home. Things are going well out here. Thank you for your prayers. I feel them help me a lot. I pray for you all the time! I am so grateful for family! It is one of the greatest things we have in this life, and definitely the best support system we have on the earth. I am glad to hear everybody is having a good summer. I love you all so much! Keep being strong in the gospel. It will be worth it! I know that Jesus it the Christ. He died for us. Heavenly Father's Plan is perfect. We are part of His plan and it's our duty to help the church grow. I love you all.
Hello family and friends and people who are far away! Things have been going really well lately. Time is flying by soooo fast right now! I can't believe it! My second transfer is more than halfway over! I liked the letter from Emily, but she sounded half asleep haha because she wrote it at 1 in the morning. I really enjoyed Alesha's e-mail! It was super funny! I liked the story about free corn! It sounds like Alesha and Andrew are having tons of fun! And I'm glad they decided to name the baby Lucy. That will be a good boy or girl name. That is super awesome that uncle Chris got you BYU season tickets! That will be so awesome! I met one of his players today. He is serving in this mission. His name is Elder Lakip. He played for BYU soccer before his mission, and he plans on playing for them next year. He's really good.
Alesha, you asked if we drink weird drinks here. Yes, we do. Some of them are really good! And some of them are lacking goodness, but we drink them anyway. OH, and if you want to, e-mail is fine if it is easier for you. And you could spend that 44 cents on Ramen noodles instead of stamps since you are in college and everything. But whatever floats your boat.
So yesterday we had a super fun preparation day! Almost everybody in the whole mission (200 missionaries) went to Bell Gardens and we played tons of SOCCER!!!!!! It was soooo fun to play soccer again! And it was really fun to meet the other missionaries in the mission. We're really blessed to be able to meet together so much because we have such a tiny mission. Oh yeah, and I have had a nasty tanline where my collar is, and my white skin got burned in the sun because I was wearing excercise clothing. My watch tanline faded a little bit too, but it will be back in no time!
You are probably wondering why I'm e-mailing on tuesday instead of monday. We apparently yesterday was part of the holiday weekend, so the libraries were closed, so we are e-mailing today instead.
Hey mom, guess what I had for lunch today? DOUGHNUTS!!!!!! 6 of them. I know that is an unhealthy choice, but they were so good.
Haha, the other day we were tracting and we ran into a guy that wanted to bash with us. His door said "No Jehovah's Witnesses", and he was really passionate about his religion. He hardly let us talk and he kept reading us stuff out of some bible reference book. As we were leaving he said "don't let your religion destroy you". We wouldn't preach it if we didn't know that it brings eternal salvation, so it wasn't much of a faith-shaking experience. There are a lot of people here who are really smart with bible things. But we know that the fullness of the gospel comes with the Book of Mormon and modern revelation. The Book of Mormon is so awesome! It is so full of truth! I figured today that the Book of Mormon is a record of over a thousand years! From the time Lehi left Jerusalem to the time Moroni buried the record was over one thousand years! And the best part is that the same principles are taught throughout the whole book. There is no doubt in my mind that it is true.
The 4th of July was a pretty interesting day haha. We weren't allowed to proselyte after 6 or 7 so we all got together as a zone and had a "deep doctrine" activity. They usually play baseball or have a BBQ or something, but it was Sunday so we couldn't do that stuff. We weren't allowed to watch fireworks so we went back to our apartment and heard the BANG BOOM BANG for a long time. By the time I come home I will have missed being home for four 4th of Julys in a row!
The work is going well here. We have been getting a lot of referalls lately from the English Elders, so we have been busy running around trying to set up appointments and teach lessons. We have a family we are teaching who we have been trying to get to church for the past couple of weeks. They came on Sunday!...But the doors were locked so they couldn't get in the church! And we had a confirmation on Sunday, but she was late for church so she missed it. Big let-downs, but next week will be better.
We met our new mission president on Saturday! He seems like a really nice guy. His name is President Baker, and his wife's name is Sister Baker haha, and together they are President and Sister Baker. Sister Baker seems pretty shooken up by everything, but President Baker is doing really well. They have lived all over the place, including Chicago, New York, Washington D.C., and Utah. They were living just outside the boundaries of our mission when they were called to serve here, so they aren't too far from some of their family. They came to the soccer activity yesterday. He knows my name too! He has been stuying everybody's names so he knows all of his missionaries.
Mom, that jam is super good, and it's almost gone.
Thank you so much for everything you do! I love you all very much! Sometimes, when times get really hard, I like to think of my family and all the support I have, and it makes things easier. Keep being awesome! It is really good to hear from you! I know that this gospel will help us live together someday, and I am very grateful for that. I have the best family in the whole world! I couldn't ask for more. This is the work of the Lord, and it is going forth!