Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Our district from last transfer

Richards baptism
My companion Elder Karnes

Hi! We had another good week in L.A.! We have been working with the ward mission leader and the other missionaries in our ward, and we set up a big Family Home Evening for investigators and recent converts! It was good! We held it outside a member's house! And we watched a short movie, then we had the ward missionaries give short talks, then we had a recent convert share her testimony and conversion story. Then we had TONS of refreshments. Wow! If you ask Latinos to bring food, there will be lots! Mom, you asked some questions. We eat with members from our ward almost every night. Sometimes it makes for some long bike rides, but it is good! There are lots of members who are willing to feed the missionaries! Sometimes our investigators feed us too! I think that is how Latinos show their love for people. And if you don't eat all the food, or you don't want some of it, they get offended! So I eat TONS of food. I haven't been gaining much weight. I'm only about 10 pounds heavier than when I entered the MTC, but my clothes are getting tighter. I am a man! On Halloween we aren't allowed to work after 6 p.m. I really miss carving pumpkins! The weather is cooling off, but it doesn't get cold here. There are some trees that lose some of their leaves, but for the most part everything is green. It will be really weird when winter comes and there isn't any snow!
Hey! I need the new Bishop's information, our new address, our new ward, and stake information and everything because the mission home needs to know about all changes like that. It is really neat to hear about the new home! It sounds REALLY AWESOME! It is neat to hear that you are going "unplugged" for a little while! That sounds like a really good idea! You can feel like a missionary for a little while! We always have to ask people to turn off their TVs when we go over to their houses, unless they turn it off themselves. Sometimes we teach lessons when there are tons of distractions! It is really hard to focus! The worst is when we teach lessons outside and there are helicopters flying around and cars driving back and forth and sirens going off! This is a loud place! It still amazes me how big this city is. You can drive forever and ever and never get out of the city! Just straight buildings and houses! We have been meeting tons of homeless people lately. They ask us for food and money a lot because they think we are rich. We never give them money, but we do offer to buy them food (I learned that from uncle Weldon). The other day this woman wanted 50 cents, and I told her "no", but that I would buy her a sandwich instead. I asked her why she wanted the money and she said it was because she wanted to buy a beer. I offered to still buy her a sandwich, but she didn't accept because she just wanted money for a beer!
Hey! Do you have Cory's new mission address?? He is way over on the other side of the world now and I want to write him a letter!
Well, I don't have much time today! We need to hop on our bikes and blaze down to a dinner appointment a few miles away. I know this church is true! It has power to change lives! I'm really grateful for my awesome family! I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you! I love you all, Mom, Dad, Alesha, Andrew, Emily, and Lindsey! Stay happy and strong in the gospel! Because nothing else will last forever!
Muchy love!,
Elder R. Watkins

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Seasons greetings! 'Tis the season to preach the gospel!!! I just started my fifth transfer last wednesday! I'm still in the same area, Jefferson Park. My new companion is from Tucson, Arizona, and his name is Elder Karnes. He's a good guy. We get along pretty well. He is half Mexican, but was born in Arizona, so he is learning Spanish along with me. His dad is in the Air Force, so he lived in England for a year before he came out on his mission, so he's technically an "international missionary". We've been working hard together. They made me the senior companion! It is good. We've been finding lots of people to teach. We were tracting last week and we knocked on a woman's door and we asked if we could teach her out on her porch. So we taught her the Restoration, and we found out that some of her relatives are members of the church. We will be going back on Saturday to teach her and her husband together. And she accepted to go to church on Sunday! The Lord is definitely helping us find those who are ready!

Mom, you asked some questions. Yes, many many of the people here are illegal haha! It actually comes up a lot in conversations. There are thousands of illegal immigrants here. But they are really nice people. Sometimes we hear stories about family members getting deported and things like that. It is really hard on families. I talked to one man who walked and swam for 3 MONTHS from Peru to get to Los Angeles! Some of them like it here, but many of them like there home countries better, and they are just here for work.

I can't believe everything about the new house! What a blessing! I I'm excited to see the pictures! Dad, a cow would be awesome! Trees, streams, stars at night, open land, fresh air, deer, no nearby neighbors, and the canyon sound super awesome! Woo! When I come home I'm going to be a sheperd, and I will raise sheep on our property. I'm not going to college. I would rather tend to the animals. haha just kidding! But that sounds like a dream land!

The weather has been cooling off a lot lately. There has been a lot of light rain lately, and I heard it's going to be cool all week. I really like the weather right now!

I got a letter from Elder Larsen, and he sent me a picture of his city Crato! It looks way nice! He wrote me some Portuguese, and it is really similar to Spanish! I haven't heard from Elder Seitz from the Baltic mission yet though. I'll bet it takes forever for mail to get over here. I didn't get Elder Larsen's letter until 3 weeks after he sent it. I got a really nice package from the Horton family! They sent me a bunch of treats and a card! It was really good to hear from them!

Yesterday for p-day we had a zone activity, then afterward some of us got together and played some street soccer on an outdoor basketball court! It was really really fun! Definitely one of my favorite p-days! I feel like an old man today because I haven't played soccer in such a long time. My huge muscles are pretty sore.

We have been teaching some pretty awesome people here! It amazes me every day that we continue to find so many people who are willing to listen to us! Our investigator is progressing really well! He is going to get baptized on the 31st! He is a really awesome guy from Oaxaca, Mexico, and he has a really good fellowshipper! Pedro is doing well too! He is trying to quit drinking coffee so he can get baptized! But he is going back to El Salvador next week, and he won't be back until December. So we hope we will be able to help him get baptized when he gets back! This past Sunday was a really good day! We had so many people come to church!! Lots of the recent converts and less-actives we are working with came to church. We also have a new investigator. Her husband recently left her to go to Mexico, and she is looking for some happiness. She came to church on Sunday, and we will be meeting with her tonight! We hope everything goes well!

We are planning a big FHE activity for all the recent converts and investigators in our ward! We have three companionships that work in our ward, and we are having them invite their recent converts and investigators to a member's house, and we will have a big lesson, and activity, and some refreshments. We're hoping it will be good for new members and investigators to meet eachother and have a good time!

Guess what?! I found a Krispy Kream Doughnuts in our area!

I love you family! I pray for you every day! It's always good to hear from you! Estoy muy agradecido por su apoyo por mi, y la obra del Senor. Les agradezco por todo que me han dado! Mi mision no seria posible sin su ayuda. Cada dia yo doy gracias al Senor por ustedes. Les quiero mucho! Mi ruedo es que puedan seguir adelante en lo que el Senor nos ha establecido, lo qual es Su evangelio. Se que por medio sus ensenanzas, podemos vivir para siempre jamas en los cielos con nuestro Padre Celestial. Vayan con Dios! I love you all a ton! I know this church is true! I'm really glad you are all doing so well.

Elder R. Watkins

P.S.- If you send a package in the future, I would really like some regular "conservative" ties, they are nice. Dad, I wear your brown tie you wore on you mission! I wear it all the time and tell people my dad wore it on his mission! Orale pues, tengo que irme, andale! I also don't have my camera right now! I'll try to send some pics next week!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


hELLO! First BIG NEWS! RICHARD SOSTRE GOT BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!!!!! It was really really awesome! We've been working really hard with him since June or July, and now he has finally entered the waters of baptism. It has been amazing to see him find comfort in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a gospel of repentance and CHANGE! And he has changed a lot for the better. We set his baptismal date for this past sunday, and we had the baptismal service organized and everything, WOO! Sure makes me glad to be a missionary for our Lord!

Transfers are tomorrow! I think I'm staying in my area for at least one more transfer, which is a good thing because we have so many good people to teach right now! Elder Cruz has been called to go be a trainer next transfer, so he'll be leaving tomorrow and I'll get a new companion. I've learned a lot from Elder Cruz; lots of Spanish, teaching skills, and how to work well with the ward. So now, thanks to him, I'm a better missionary.

Funny stories! The other day Elder Cruz told me that I sat up during my sleep and started quoting a scripture!!! Also, I've started dreaming in Spanish! I hear that is a good sign! And, the other night, I was having a dream, and Cory Seitz said something really funny, and I laughed so hard that I woke myself up!!! I didn't even know that was possible!!

Elder Cruz and I were riding our bikes last week, and I rode over some weeds that were growing on the sidewalk. Then I heard a sound as I was riding, so I looked down, and saw that my front tire was covered in THORNS! I started laughing, then we stopped and looked at my tires and they were COVERED IN HUNDREDS OF THORNS! Both my tires were caked in little pokies! So we scraped all the thorns off, and I heard lots of air coming out of my back tire, so we blazed back home! I was riding on the rim by the time we arrived at our apartment. I took the tube out and I found six holes (which is a miracle, because there were TONS of thorns). The tube already had 5 patches in it from previous flats too! We didn't have enough patches, but then I found another tube in our apartment which only had one hole in it. So I patched up that tube and we were off again! Amazingly, my front tire survived with only minor injuries.

So that is all the crazy stories I can think of.

I don't have my camera today, so I won't be able to send pictures. oops. I'm pretty sure you remember what I look like. If you forgot already, fear not, I will send pictures next week.

I'm excited to hear that you are moving this week!!!!!! I really want to see pictures of the house! Dry Fork! We will have lots of fun up there! (Dad, we are building a potato gun when I get home)

Hey mom, remember how you said that I would use my music skills here. Guess what? You were right! Again. I get to play for sacrament meeting each week, and for lots of other church meetings! It is great! And guess what? I'm learning new hymns. So MAYBE I'll be better than you when I get home.

How good are Alesha's hearing aids? I'll bet she could hear Jordan yell "DIRT" from Vernal. Mom, you asked what the majority of the culture is here. It really just depends on the area. In my area we have lots of people from El Salvador and Guatemala and Mexico. There are also people from Belize. And many other places too. And yes, there are tons of stores where we can buy Latino food!

Well, it has been an awesome week in Los Angeles. The work is going really well. We are finding and teaching lots! We are doing our best to find the people that have been prepared for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are lots of ready people, it's just up to us to find them and help them find the fullness of the Gospel. I know that this Church is true. It has the power to take a regular person and transform them into a servant of God. I'm grateful God has given me the opportunity to serve as a missionary so I can help others and grow personally at the same time. Jesus is the Christ. We have living revelation. And we are all part of this great and last harvest. I have all the reason in the world to be the happiest man on earth! I love you all, and I pray for you. I'm glad the family is doing well. I'm really glad to have a family based in the Gospel. Keep doing good and stay strong, and the Lord will bless you. Good luck moving. I wish I could help, but I have something more awesome to do haha! May God be with you and guide you where you should go!


Your loving son, friend, relative, or mere aquantiance,

Elder R. Watkins

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


This is a huge graffiti mural a couple blocks from our apartment.

Hello! This past week was a really good one! First off, it rained yesterday! WOOOO! It was the most moisture we have received since I got here! We were riding our bikes in the rain yesterday evening and it felt really really nice! The weather has cooled down a lot since last week. GENERAL CONFERENCE WAS WAY AWESOME! They just keep getting better and better. I really really liked Priesthood sesson! It was super good. I saw Ammon Flake in the MTC choir during Priesthood sesson! The talks were all really really good. I watched the first session in Spanish! Elder Christofferson did the Spanish voice for his talk, and he has really nice Spanish! Elder Richard G. Scott does the Spanish translation for his talks too! I watched the rest of the sessions in a different room in the Chapel where they had a TV in English. Needless to say, it made a lot more sense in English.

Oh, hey mom. Since you're moving and everything, I have a request. It's kinda crazy...... But you should definitely keep the microwave! It is a relic of our family heritage, and if you get rid of it, things just wouldn't be the same. And also, you need to plant rhubarb at the new house. Thank you for the letters from Tyler and Cory's e-mails. It's always really nice to read about how they are doing. Hey, I've heard about Bodey's conversion a little bit, but I want to know the story! Cory said it was really good in his e-mail you sent me!

I got a letter from Grandma and Grandpa Watkins! They are clear over on the east coast! I'll bet they are having a nice time over there. It's always nice to hear from family!

We have been teaching this guy . He is a Mexican from Mexico (haha), and he is really awesome! He has met with missionaries before, but he had never accepted baptism. He was at church one day with his friend (who is a recent convert), and we set up an appointment with him. He is great! He reads, prays, goes to church, and he is preparing for baptism this month! He has been prepared for us, and now he is about to make his first step!

Hey, I have a question. How many missionaries are in Vernal? There are tons and tons of missionaries here. We have 3 companionships in our ward. But I only remember seeing missionaries ever once-in-awhile back at home. Missionary work here is way different from Utah though. I heard that the missionaries in Utah just go to referrals all day and they never tract. I think Alesha and Andrew and Dad could answer that one.

We just got in from a couple hours of tracting just barely. Not much success though. We ran into a couple people who had talked to missionaries before. And we got a referral for the missionaries in Palmdale, CA.

Transfers are coming up next week! Who knows what will happen! I'm guessing I will stay. I talked to Elder Jordan Haslem the other day. He was at our stake center to watch General Conference. He has been with the same companion since before I got here! 5 transfers! That is a really long time! I would like to stay here for 1 or 2 more. I found out that they can switch us between Spanish and English programs because I was called "bilingual". So they could send me English. But I will do what the Lord wants.

I love you all! I hope everything is going well at home. It was kind of sad missing out on crepes for conference! But that means they will taste that much better when I come home! Hey mom, feel free to send me packages with warm chicken pinwheels. I pray for you all, and I know the Lord has blessed us a lot!

I know this church is true! I know we have a living prophet! I really liked the emphasis on faith in the living prophets during conference. There are a lot of people that have a really hard time believing that there are living prophets today. We are really blessed to live during these times of the fullness of the gospel! I know that Jesus is the Christ, and we can become clean through His atonement. Have a super good week!

Love, Elder R. Watkins