Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Good Day to Ye!


Things are really going well here. We have an awesome investigator! I can't wait till she comes to church! It is always really rewarding to sit in Sacrament meeting with investigators and less active members there with us! We didn't have any investigators at church this past week, but next week will definitely be better. We are reactivating a family, from Honduras. We went over and dedicated their home this past week. They came to church again this week! We have been finding some good members to work with in our area. We are excited to take him out to some lessons with us!

I can't believe Jessica is getting married! That is really crazy. And I'm really excited to hear about g-ma and g-pa's mission call! Maybe they will come to the CLAM! That would be the best! We have an awesome family history center here! Maybe they will serve there! That is sad they won't be home when I come home! But if they serve here, it won't be too bad because I'll just come back and visit them when I finish! That is really awesome that Tyler is a Zone Leader! That is some serious leadership responsibility! I'll bet he is an awesome leader! Thanks for sending David's messages back and forth, that is really nice. I finally got his letter! It took 6 weeks to get here!

The other day we were eating at a recent convert's house, and he asked us if we wanted chile with our food, so we told him yes. He gave us cerrano peppers, which are SUPER HOT! When he ate his he just about lost it because he ate it all at once, and my companion was in pain because it was so hot, but I was fine. I'M TURNING MEXICAN! Woo! That is good news. I took some chile seeds and planted them in some dirt in a cup in our apartment, so maybe we will have home grown chile's!

Alesha, I'm glad to hear you have obtained a washer and dryer. Emily, stop breaking cars. That is a bummer your car broke down in winter time! I'm really glad to hear you are still going to the temple each week! That will be a huge blessing in the near future. Lindsey, you need to send me pictures of soccer once it starts.

Dad, we have been finding some neat people to teach. The Mexicans are really nice people. Almost everybody we teach (like 95%) are Mexicans. She is an awesome investigator, and we are really hoping she feels the prompting to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized the proper authority!

So, I figured that there are TONS of people that live in our area. We have at least three high schools within like 5 square miles! There are always people on the sidewalks, cars on the streets, firetrucks on the run, and plenty of people to share the gospel with. Andrew would be super busy here!

So lately we have been having more of the "fundamental trainings", where we learn a new style of teaching that the First Presidency wants all the missions to do. It has helped a lot. We focus a lot on asking inspired questions and teaching to peoples' needs instead of just reciting lessons. We rely a lot on following the Spirit, which is how it should be. I don't think Alma and Amulek had memorized lessons that they practiced before they taught the multitudes! So we have been spending a lot of time in these trainings.

Spanish is getting better. I try to practice, and I study hard during Spanish study. My friends who are serving in hispanic countries will probably blow me away when we get back, but I'm trying hard! The most important thing is that we can preach the gospel in these peoples' native tongue.

We went to the temple today. It is so nice to go to the temple! It is like sitting in heaven in the middle of L.A.! And guess what!? They started tearing down the old mission home! It is sad! It has been around for more than 60 years as a mission home, and now it is half gone! Some of the missionaries were taking bricks from the building to take as memorabilia. But I don't really want to lug around a 20 pound brick for the next year, so I passed on that one!

Did I mention that the weather is still perfect?

Hey mom, thanks for the updates on Cory and Tyler's blogs.

Hey, this Sunday I'll be playing the piano for the other missionaries in our ward who will be singing for Sacrament meeting! Then next week I'll be playing for some departing missionaries who will be singing at their "departing missionary fireside". I'm really glad God is giving me opportunities to share my talent!

Family, I know, with all my heart, that this church is true. God's plan is perfect. The way back is simple. I really like the idea of becoming better for the rest of eternity. Eternal progression. That is what we are offering people. A lot of people don't understand the way back to God. Or they do understand it, but they just don't do it. JUST DO IT! It's as simple as that. We are blessed to already have a knowledge of the fullness of the gospel. I'm really grateful for our awesome family. Keep being happy and doing the right thing. It's like grandma Watkins always says in her letters "keep being good, it's worth it." God be with you my friends and family.


Elder Ross Watkins

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Los Angeles Temple grounds are beautiful especially at Christmas

Lights on a palm trees, different from lights on a pine tree!

As you can tell, this transfer has turned out to be the refiner's fire! We are working hard and not finding much success, but things will work out eventually. I know that to be true. It may not happen anytime soon, but I know it will happen in one way or another.
California is having a really nice HEAT WAVE at the moment. It is so hot right now! I can't believe it! It feels like summer in Utah (plus some extra smog). The palm trees are waving in the wind, the avacados and mangos are ripening on the trees, people are playing in the parks, the sun is warm, and I'm here riding around in my church clothes! Haha it is really really nice! Alright, that is enough with making everybody jealous.
I have come to really like church here. I liked church before my mission. But while I've been here I've found that church can be a really spiritual experience! I especially like Sacrament meeting, where we get to renew our covenants with God, and in return, he blesses us with the Holy Ghost. Sacrament meeting is a really nice time to recieve revelation as well.
Next week I will be sending an e-mail on Wednesday because it will be temple p-day!
Yesterday we went to visit a member who's daughter is a recent convert. The live in a small, garage sized house in somebody's backyard. The humble mother asked us if we had eaten yet. We didn't have a dinner appointment planned, so she offered to make us dinner. She told us she didn't have much, but she went on to cook for us. She made us eggs with ham. It was really good. I was overwhelmed with the kindness of her and her daughter! They were really nice people. They have less than anybody I can think of, yet they offered us everything they had. We weren't allowed to go into their house because it was just her and her daughter, so we sat outside and ate in the nice weather, then we shared a nice message about service. It is people like that that help me to realize what service and humility are. It was really uplifting to see such a poor person be so generous with what she had. If only everbody could be like this family, think of how happy the world would be. I remember dad would always talk about how service was so important. I never really understood what he meant until I came out here. Serving others is one of the most important things we must do in this life. Blessings are multiplied when we forget ourselves in the service of others, which, in turn, is service to our God. Thanks for that lesson, dad.
Guess what? I got a really nice package from aunt Ronda! It had lots of candy, and a big bag of CIRCUS PEANUTS! I opened them up and put them in my sock drawer, just like grandpa, and I eat one when I put my socks on in the morning. And, she sent me a really awesome family calendar! I put it up on my wall! It is really awesome! Who made it? I like it a lot! So, thanks aunt Ronda!
Well, things are going well. We're working hard and being obedient. And we are just trying to find some people who are ready to accept the gospel! I guess Amanda is married already yeah? That is so crazy! She could be a momma when I come home! One of my Zone Leaders, Elder Chambers, is from KC, and he knows Amanda, Tera, and the guy that Amanda is marrying! He says that he is pretty cool. When is Alesha due?
Well I hope everything is well at home. Things are well here. The church is still true. Jesus Christ is our Savior, and His Atonement is powerful. I love you all! I pray for you, and I know the Lord is blessing you. Que Dios les bendiga!
Elder R. Watkins

Monday, January 10, 2011


MTC group that came out last year, we all met up at a conference.
This is the menudo soup I ate last week.
Lynwood sign in my new area.

So we are ALMOST THERE! We are finding tons of people to talk to, and we talk with bazillions of people, but we haven't had very much success yet. We were knocking doors, and we found this awesome guy that invited us in to watch a football game with him. We told him we weren't allowed to watch it, and we sat down and shared the Restoration message with him. Then his wife showed up towards the end of the lesson, and they started asking us questions about missionary work and what we were doing. They were really nice. And it was really nice to get in to somebody's house and share a message wtih them. They accepted a return appointment, so now we are just hoping they will be there when we come back! They have one son, and they seemed fairly interested. We found quite a few other people to teach as well. We taugh a lady named Maria Marciel. She is a former investigator. She is really awesome, and I have no doubt she would be baptized if she could go to church! She works every day and she can't ever go to church :( . We found another family that let us in to share a lesson. It was a really awkward lesson, but they miraculously accepted a return appointment. The less active family we have been working wtih didn't come to church on Sunday. I wasn't very happy about that. But we did have one less active girl come to church.

I got to play the piano for Sacrament Meeting yesterday! I will get to play for the next 3 Sundays because the girl that usually plays will be out of town. My district leader, Elder Bluth, was really happy to find out that I could play the piano, or else he would have been the one to try to play the Hymns! But I'm glad to be of service again.

Elder Cottrell's bike got two flats and a broken chain this past week, so we made a couple pilgrimages on foot to the bike shop.

Have I mentioned the fixie bikes out here? Every Latino boy has a fixie bike. They are all over the streets around here! I don't know if you've seen them before, but they are HUGE in California. They are really skinny. Street tires. Really skinny handlebars. Single, fixed gear. And they are really colorful. My companion rides one haha! But I still feel more manly with my orange mountain bike.

I'm still working hard on my Spanish. Still losing my hair a little. Gaining a little weight. I'm healthy (not to mention really really really strong). And I'm having a good time serving the Lord.

I love you all. I'm glad you got to go to the visitor's center over in Missouri. That sounds nice. It sounds kind of like the one here. We'll come back and visit the one here someday, if you haven't been here to see it already haha! Hey guess what?! I'm going on splits in Watts tomorrow with our District Leader! Woooo! I'm pretty excited to see what it's like over there.

I've tried attaching the pictures again on this e-mail, so let me know if you get them. The picture of the soup is the menudo I ate last week, and a little piece of intestine. And the group picture is all of us that came out to L.A. last year! We all met up again at a big meeting a couple weeks ago.

Well I hope you all have an awesome week! I miss you all and I keep you in my prayers. They Lord is watching after each one of us. I know this work is true. This church is true, and the Book of Mormon, as well as the Bible, are the word of God. I like the scripture in Matthew 5:14-16 where it talks about how we are the light of the world, and we should show our light to everbody. I love this gospel.


Elder Ross Watkins

Monday, January 3, 2011


So, to start out, we got transfer calls last tuesday night. We first found out that Elder Deleon was getting moved! Then we found out that Elder Doh and I were getting transfered tooo!!!!!!! I couldn't believe it!! Our area got flushed, and all three of us got sent to different areas! I was only there for 5 weeks!!! I was really surprised, and all three of us were pretty sad. I really liked Hawthorne. But, guess what?! I went back to the Spanish program!!!!!! I'm really really happy! I'm in an area called North Lynwood. It is about 2 miles north of Compton. Probably about 80% of the people in my area speak Spanish! It is like a little Mexico! I'm really happy about that. I'm still on a bike. My new companion is Elder Samuel Cottrell. He is from Kaysville Utah. He is white haha. We both came out at the same time, but I didn't know him in the MTC. He has been in the English program for almost all of his mission, so he is still learning Spanish. So I get to speak tons of Spanish! And I love it!
So this has been a crazy week! We had to pack all our stuff up and get the apartment ready for sister missionaries to move in. That is why they flushed the area, because they needed to put some sisters in a new area. So we got transfer rides from some members, and we all took off to our new areas. We left a lot of work in Hawthorne, so I spent a lot of time trying to write down everything the Sisters would need to know. I might be going back to Hawthorne this week for a pass-along lesson with a couple investigators who might have a hard time accepting the new missionaries. Sometimes it is hard on investigators when they flush out their missionaries.
I had an awesome experience with the gift of tongues! Last transfer, when I was in the English program, I was sure to study Spanish really hard. I finished the Spanish Book of Mormon just a couple of weeks ago. Then they sent me Spanish speaking again. And guess what?! I feel like I can speak more fluently than when I was in Jefferson Park! It has been pretty awesome! God is a faithful God, and he always increases blessings when we do our part.
Guess what? I ate some menudo the other day! I remember before I came out, that Omar told me not to eat the menudo! But I did it anyway! It is a soup made out of garbanzo beans, animal stomach, and animal intestines! It wasn't too bad. But the texture and the look was nasty. It's not a very nice looking food. But I ate the whole bowl! My companion couldn't handle it. Who's the man? Yo soy el hombre!
My new area is right next to the edge of the mission. Part of my area is the border of the mission. I could ride my bike for probably 5 minutes, and I would be in the Arcadia mission. Don't worry, I won't do that. There are lots of missionaries who have accidentally left the mission before because our boundaries are so small.
The other day we had a big New Years' meeting with some other zones. And guess what? My whole group that flew to L.A. from the MCT was there! So we got a picture together. Elder Fourr is looking fat.
Well family. I love you a lot. It sure was hard to come to a new area so quickly. But the thought of a loving family helped me through it. I always have pictures of Christ and my family above my desk (and one of Joseph Smith too). We are working hard. I miss you a lot. But this is way too worth it to come home.
Hey mom, I used that gift card to buy an overdue rainjacket! I'm really happy to have one now! Thank you a bunch! I know you wanted my to buy something fun, but I think it will be fun to ride a bike with my own rainjacket!
Let me know if there is anything I can do for you! I know with all my heart that this church is true. I'm really grateful that I was raised by PERFECT parents that taught me to hold to the iron rod. I'm really grateful for my awesome grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles, and sisters, and my really cool brother-in-law. You have all helped me a lot. I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true.
Your extremely manly friend,

Sunday, January 2, 2011




This has been a good transfer for me. I have learned a lot in my new area. The people we are working with are great, but they still need some extra preparation before they can be baptized. We are planning on 6 baptisms in the month of January if all works out well. We are working hard and trying to help people receive baptism and the fulness of the Gospel. I have been trying really hard to finish the Book of Mormon before the end of the year like you challenged us to do. I have felt my testimony grow a lot. This morning I was reading in 3 Nephi, in Christ's words, and as I shared about what I learned to my companions, I really felt my testimony grow, and I felt the Spirit testify of true doctrine. Thanks for that commitment. We have had a hard time trying to get people to church lately, so we decided we are going to focus on teaching the Sabbath Day this week to our progressing investigators. Things have been really busy for investigators lately because of the holidays, so we are hoping things will settle down soon so we can get people to come to church.


IT WAS SO GOOD TO TALK TO YOU ALL ON CHRISTMAS! Wow! It is nice to hear from you! It sounds like everybody is doing really well! I wish we were allowed to talk for more that 40 minutes! I wanted to say a whole lot more, but we'll just have to wait for Mothers' Day! Dad, I'll be starting my intensive workouts really soon, so you and Andrew will need to be prepared when I come home. I'm glad to hear that Emily is so determined to learn Spanish! Maybe she will serve a Spanish speaking mission some day. I never heard from Grandma and Grandpa on the phone, but I hope they are doing well too. If you haven't driven home yet, I hope you travel safely.

I wanted to thank everybody for making my Christmas such a nice one. Thank you for the gifts and cards and letters. I didn't feel too far from home this Christmas (probably because I'm really not that far anyway hahaha). But it was really nice. Mom, the tree will be staying up for a while. I'm wearing the green tie that g-ma and g-pa Watkins sent me. I really like it. And I wore the tie that mom sent me to church yesterday.

Funny story: Elder Deleon tends to aquaint himself with the pavement a lot when he rides bikes. And last night he was riding on the sidewalk while Elder Doh and I were riding on the road, and he tried riding his bike without hands and he wrecked into somebody's Christmas decorations in their front yard haha!

Today has been a good p-day so far. We went and played soccer as a zone on a really muddy field! It was really messy, but it's always really nice to play soccer! I miss running around and getting real exercise.

Transfers are coming up on Wednesday. I'll probably be staying.

On Saturday we found out that a couple of our investigators weren't going to make it to church. We kept calling and trying to get a family to come to church. We called Sunday morning to wake them up, but only the mom ended up coming because the kids wanted to sleep. But it was good to have her at church. She has a pretty bad smoking problem. We are working hard with them so they can be baptized in January. She has wanted to quit smoking for a long time, and she is finally going to do it. We commited her to not smoke on Christmas. She almost made it. She smoked half a cigarette. Which is a serious upgrade from what she has been doing. Blake is having a hard time giving up smoking. He is only 16, and he has been exposed to all kinds of things. His little sister, , is quitting smoking too. She is 15, and she gave us her lighter! She wasn't as heavy into smoking the mom though. But the whole family is staring to notice a difference in their lives. They know what is right and what is wrong, and they want to do to right thing. They have been reading a little as a family, and their mom is trying to set a good example for the kids. Yesterday we went over to a lady'shouse. She is starting to notice a difference in how she feels when we come over. She is starting to make better decisions, and she is discovering the power of prayer. Our visits are helping her to resist temptation. She lives in the more ghetto part of our area, and she is surrounded by evil things. She has been through many things in her life, and she needs the gospel more than ever. She hasn't come to church in a couple weeks, and she hasn't been reading her Book of Mormon, so we need to help her keep these commitments before she can make a baptismal covenant with God.

Another investigator has been doing pretty well lately. He has found lots of strength in the Book of Mormon, and he is really far in his reading. We just need to get him to church!!!! Missionaries have been teaching him on and off since last February and he has never been to church! That's why the missionaries before us stopped teaching him. But we WILL get him to church. He really wants to go, but something always comes up.

I love you all a lot. It is always really nice to hear from you. Thank you for your prayers. I pray for you as well. God has blessed us so much. I am grateful for this opportunity I have to be a missionary. The work is hard, and really really really really worth it. I know the Book of Mormon is true, and that God has restored the gospel in it's fulness. Thomas Monson is a prophet of God, as well as his counselors and the 12 Apostles. I love you all! Cuidense!


Elder Ross M. Watkins

P.S. Feliz Navidad! From the bottom of my heart!