Tuesday, September 28, 2010


This is the mission home, you can see the temple in the background. It is going to be demolished and rebuilt soon.
Elder Cruz and Elder Watkins

This is me first thing in the morning!

First off, thanks for the package and letters! The elderberry jelly is really really tasty! And the rhurbarb jam is as good as ever! They will be all gone really soon. And thanks for the camera charger! I can take pictures again! YAY! I'll try to attach some pictures to this e-mail.

The weather has gotten REALLY hot lately! I don't know where it came from! It was nice and cool last week, but then on Sunday the temperature went way up. I heard yesterday was supposed to be 106! We would ride our bikes to appointments and once we got inside, my whole body would start leaking sweat! The worst part is that most of the apartments and houses here weren't built with air conditioning. For some reason they all have heaters, but no AC. Our apartment was super hot last night. I took a cold shower before bed because I was really sweaty, but then I just started sweating once I got out. Hot! But it's all good because we're doing the work of the Lord! I'm sure this weather is nothing compared to Tyler's mission though!

Things have been going pretty well in our area. We have been really busy with appointments, riding our bikes all over the area. last week I went on splits with one of the zone leaders, Elder Ortiz, in my area. We found this old man , and we started teaching him. Elder Ortiz was really bold with him,. But now he is progressing and doing really well! He started reading the Book of Mormon, and he says he believes everything we teach him! He is planning on attending church next sunday! He accepted the baptismal committment, so we are planning on baptizing him in the near future! He is a really humble man. I really like teaching humble people. They are a whole lot easier to meet with.

I really liked all the letters from the cousins and aunts and uncles! I can't believe Drew got knee surgery! I liked the picture of him and Keaton running in the parade. I liked all the burned letters too! I would have done the same thing if I was there! I liked all the pictures grandma put in the packet. It's nice to see and hear how everybody is doing! I'm really grateful for our awesome family! We are really blessed to have such a united family! I don't know what I would do without them.

Mom and Dad! You are online right now! That is super craZy! This is the closest I'll get to talking to you until Christmas! hahah! By the way, I am serious. I want a Christmas tree for Christmas. 8 ft tall. Short needles. Maybe some snow too.

Elder Cruz and I are doing really well together. I'm betting that I stay in this area for at least one more transfer. President wants everybody to start staying in their areas for longer periods of time now. He wants us to stay for 5 or 6 transfers, which is a really long time, because a transfer is a month and a half long! That means I could end up only having four areas my whole mission! But whatever the Lord wants is fine with me.

Mom, have you ever heard of Arroz con Leche (Rice with Milk)? It is a really good desert that the latinas make. I'm trying to get the recipe from a recent convert, and I'll send it to you.

We are teaching a guy . He is the husband of our recent convert . WE have been trying to get him baptized, but he is a tough cookie. He has a testimony, but he wants time before he gets baptized. We don't want him to procrastinate his repentance, so we will work hard with him! Pray for him so they can have a family of members!

I love you all, and I thank you for your prayers and support. I pray for you, and I'm really glad everything is going so well at home! Keep working hard and the Lord will bless you! I know the true gospel has been restored to the earth. I'm very grateful for it's influence in my life.

Love, Elder Watkins

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bike Wreck, Grasshopper and a Fireside

First off, thanks for all the letters and everything! It is really helpful to hear from everybody so often! And secondly, I'M SUPER EXCITED ABOUT THE HOUSE! I can't believe it! We're going to be Dry-Forkians! Nature! Wooooooo! If I weren't in a library I would probably jump for joy! That is really really good news. Plus, we will be close to the Larsen family! Wooooo! I know the Lord has heard our prayers.

This past week was full of really really good stuff hahaha! Elder Cruz had a little encounter with a car the other day! Haha! We were riding in a parking lot, and Elder Cruz turned around to tell me something, and right as he turned around a car pulled in front of him and he hit it straight on! Hahahaha! I didn't even have time to tell him to watch out! I just said WOAH, then he smacked into it, and it knocked him off his bike! He hit his head on the car (luckily he had a helmet on), and his handlebars got twisted. The man got out of his car and asked him if he was OK, and while he was doing that, I looked at the car and saw that the car was worse off than Elder Cruz hahaha! It had a nice dent in the front left fender and a few scratches. Elder Cruz was fine though. He straightened his handlebars, and we were off doing missionary work.

We just barely got back from the woman's house. She is a less-active woman who the Bishop asked us to go see. We first met with her about two weeks ago, and we found out that she had lost her job and had to move because she couldn't pay the rent. We've been meeting with her lately because things have been really hard for her, and she has been coming to church again. She will be moving up to Utah in the near future to look for a job. She hardly has any money at all. It is just her and her son who live in the house. They barely have any food at all, and most of their furniture is gone. But she is really nice, and she really wanted to feed us. So she, with her daughter's help, prepared a nice lunch for us today. It was amazing to see a woman with so little, prepare such a great meal for a couple of missionaries. We sat in the living room, with boxes as tables, and she fed us really good carne asada that she cooked outside on a little grill. The people here are very humble and loving.

The other day we were at (our recent convert), and we were sitting at the table eating bread and hot chocolate (it's super good the way they make it). And there was a bug on the table, and she started telling us that the bug was called chapolin, and her son Bryan picked it up and ate it!!!!! AH! She told us that in Oaxaca, Mexico, they eat these chapolin bugs. Chapolin is Spanish for grasshopper!!!! Haha! Her mother sent a whole bag of them from Mexico because they don't sell them here. So the brought out the bag and asked us if we wanted any. I TRIED ONE! It was kind of salty and weird, but not too bad. It was just kind of gross because we were eating hot chocolate and sweet-bread. Grasshopper. That, so far, is the weirdest thing I've eaten on my mission....so far.

Oh yeah, just to settle the argument: Yes, I did whitewash the "U". Emily, mom is always right. It's not even worth fighting it any more.

On Sunday we had a really good experience! Elder Cruz, our ward mission leader, and a bunch of us other missionaries have been organizing a fireside about missionary work! We have been working on it for a few weeks. We got together four special musical numbers and three speakers and it was amazing! I got to sing in 3 of the musical numbers! And an Elder and a Sister sang an awesome duet for the other one! Elder Cruz was one of the speakers, and he gave a really good talk. And we had a returned missionary speak, and a member of the stake presidency. It was a really awesome meeting. I got to play the organ for the opening and closing hymns too! Wooo! It was really uplifting and we had a good turnout too!

Sunday was also stake conference. There were soooo many people there! It went way back to the stage!

This past week we had an interesting situation with a man. He is the guy that got married a little while back so he could get baptized. His probation ends next month, so we are really excited for his baptism. But last week he was having some serious financial/work issues. We were working in our area, and I had the idea to call. So I called him and asked how he was doing, and he gave a really sad "not too good" answer. So we went straight home and made some cookies really fast, then we took them over to their house. When we showed up, he was standing outside their apartment, on the verge of tears. Things weren't looking too good for his family, and they were going to have to move because they wouldn't be able to pay the rent. So we came back a couple days later and he had gotten a job at another place! It was a miracle! He seemed 100% happier. We explained that the Lord blesses us when we keep His commandments. Their family hadn't been coming to church, and he hadn't been reading his scriptures or praying. So we comitted them to start reading, praying, and coming to church. They seem to be doing much better now!

I'm glad to hear that things are going so well at home! It's weird to think of all the changes that are happening while I am over here. Going home will be a whole new adventure, but that's forever away! haha. Mom, you asked if there is anything I want for Christmas. Well, I would like an 8 foot tall pine tree. Preferably short needles. And ornaments. Not a fake tree. Live. That is all.

How is school and work going? Is Emily the Homecoming Queen?? If not, she is still the same awesome sister that I love! I'm really happy to hear about the house! That will be a really fun change! We might need to equip our cars with brushguards so we can protect them from all those deer who play frogger on the roads up there.

I love all so much! I am very glad for this gospel in our lives! I know that we have been blessed a lot. This restored gospel is true. Nobody could persuade me otherwise. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I love you all! Have an awesome week!


Elder Ross Watkins

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Beans Made By A Gringo!

We had another good week in Jefferson Park. We have some great people we are working with. How is everything at home?? I haven't heard from anybody except for Emily and Tyler for a while. It sounds like Emily is having a ton of fun at UHS! Woo! Those were some good years! I'm glad to hear she is doing super well! School will probably be a little more relaxing without Student Council and Drill Team too. Enjoy relaxing in high school while you can! But still work super hard! What is the news on our house? Is it selling? How are Cory's parents? It must be weird for them to have their oldest child gone for good! He sounds like he is doing really well in the MTC, so that is good to hear. How is work for mom and dad? Is Lindsey liking school?

This past week was a super fast one! Time is going by fast fast fast! Haha I have a funny story! I've been trying to make beans lately, because they are really yummy when the Latinos make them. I have already failed making them once, but I decided to try again on Sunday. The first step for making beans is to soak them in water for 24 hours. So I did that. Then the second step is to slow cook them for a couple hours. So I tried doing that. I turned the burner on a low temperature, then we left the apartment. About 2 hours later I thought "oh no! I left the beans on the burner! Our house is going to be on fire when we get back home! There will be smoke everywhere! I'm going to get kicked out of this mission! I need to go back home and check the beans!", so about a half hour later we arrived at the house. We could smell the beans from the street outside our apartment. I said "I can smell burnt beans!", so I rushed inside. Thankfully there wasn't any smoke. But I found a pot of dried, burnt, stinky beans. And the pot sprayed brown bean-juice all over the oventop! It made the house smell like coffee! And our apartment still stinks! It turned out that I didn't put enough water in the beans, and I left them on the burner too long, so it made for a really crispy mess! Gringos aren't meant to make beans, but I'm determined to get it right next time!

My mission is going really well. It seems to get better and better! Elder Cruz is a good companion. I'm thinking I'll probably stay in this area maybe one more transfer. But this might be my last here. I don't know really haha I just like to speculate.

Ooooohhh! Try saying this word: PARANGARICUTIRIMICUARO. It is the longest Spanish word I know! Spanish is starting to get better and better. It definitely helps having a Spanish speaking companion. He has a different accent than the Latinos here though, because his parents are from the islands.

Another funny story. Yesterday we bought chips and cheese to make nachos like we make them at home in Vernal. My companion is a Latino, and he has never had nachos the way we make them. HE LOVES THEM! He will probably eat them every meal until they are all gone. And, about 2 weeks ago, I showed my companion how to make Ramen the way I like it. He fell in love with Ramen, and he ate it every day until it was all gone!

Last week we had interviews with President Baker. He is awesome! He is a really good man. He used to swim for the BYU swim team too! He is a really smart guy.

I fixed another flat tire yesterday, and I had to buy another tire because my tread got a hole through it and the tube would poke through. I'm trying to not use my money from my home card, but we aren't allowed to use the mission money for stuff like bikes and personal things. We can use it just for food, hygene, and cleaning stuff.

I got to confirm Adriana in church on Sunday! It was pretty neat. It was in Spanish and everything! This past Sunday was kind of a let-down. Not very many of our people came to church, and appointments fell through. Sunday on the mission is either the best day of the week, or it's the worst day of the week. But the day ended up being pretty good, because we went up to the Visitor's Center with a recent convert and his wife. She is a new investigator. Elder Hopoate and I taught her a while back, but she wasn't very interested. Elder Cruz and I think there might be some potential though. We haven't been able to get her to church yet. Her husband really wants her to join the church and he really wants to have an eternal family. He has a strong testimony, and he shares it a lot. She just needs to find out for herself if the church is true, and that is what we are there for.

Our investigator should be getting baptized next month! He is the one that got married last month. His probation will end in October, so I'm really excited for that. He has recently missed a lot of church though because of work. But he is trying to find another job so he can go to church on Sundays. I wish we could just have a bus so we could pick up everybody for church on Sundays! Sometimes that is the hardest thing, getting people to church! Lots of people work, or they don't have a car, or they don't try hard enough to get there. Yeah. Mission busses. But, part of God's Plan is agency, and if they don't choose to go to church, then they don't want salvation bad enough. Or they just don't understand how important church is. Oh well. I still like the mission bus idea.

I know this church is true. This life is just a brief moment, and if we endure it well, there are many blessings that await us! I love you family! I'm so glad we can one day be eternal! I know that Jesus Christ's gospel has been fully restored in these latter days! I'm very grateful for the knowledge I have of this awesome plan!

Have a suuuuuuuuuuuper week.

Love, Elder Ross Watkins

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


This is the Coliseum at USC, we ride by sometimes.

everything is going really well. Alesha, your trip to D.R. sounds way awesome! You made my companion trunky (miss home) with the pictures you sent. It looks like a really nice place. Wooo! speaking of vacations, I'm here in the best mission ever! Things are going really well. our zone went through a bunch of changes this past week. They put a whole bunch of sister missionaries in our zone. We have about 10-12 sisters in our zone now. Some of them work at the Visitor's Center. We've been trying to take as many people to the visitor's center as possible, because it helps investigators and recent converts a whole lot. The visitor's center and the Temple are both in our zone, so they aren't very far away. But we don't have a car, so we get rides from recent converts, investigators, or we take the bus (the bus is really awesome because there are all KINDS of people in there).
So on Sunday we had an awesome baptism! It was really amazing! She brought her husband and both her kids to church too. It was the frist time her husband had been to church. We are going to work hard with him to try to get him baptized too. The baptismal service was really nice, and we did a couple of musical numbers. Elder Johnson and I sang "I Stand All Amazed" in Spanish and it invited the spirit really well. Then Elder Cruz and I sang "Te Hallare mi Amigo", which is a song about missionaries finding their friends and teaching them the Gospel. It was a really nice service.
I have a good story! So on Saturday, Elder Cruz and I rode our bikes from our chapel to our house, which is only about 3 miles. We decided to count all the churches along the road. WE COUNTED 30 CHURCHES IN 3 MILES! And they were all different churches, and only one of them was completely true (ours). And that was just one road. There are TONS of others all throughout our area. The End
Dad, I really want to hear some of your mission stories, and what your mission was like. Andrew too. I'll bet you had some awesome experiences!
Mom, thanks so much for the package! MMMMMMMMmmmmm! you definitely know what kind of stuff I like. That orange-chocolate stuff almost put me in a coma because it was so good. And apricot jam is a reaalllyy good choice. It was a relief to have some doughnuts too. Doughnuts are like medicine. I can't go too long without them or else I start losing my focus and I go cross-eyed. So thanks a bunch.
It is cloudy today! WOOO! I really miss overcast days. The clouds almost always go away around midday here, and it rarely rains. It has not rained all summer. I love you all a whole bunch. I know this church is true with all my heart, and I know it changes peoples lives. That is one of the best things of the whole thing, is watching people change into happier people. Since his baptism and confirmation, he has turned into a different person. He seems so much happier and more kind now. It is amazing. Keep working hard. I love you all! have a super week!
Lover, Elder Watkins