Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Temple P-Day!

Contemplating eating the HOT pepper Me, the man, eating the HOT pepper!

My name tag

This week was temple p-day. That's why I didn't get an e-mail off on Monday, because temple p-days are always on Wednesday. So, I'm here in Santa Monica, in the basement of the Visitors' Center in the family history center doing e-mail with tons of other missionaries. Some missionaries from the San Fernando mission were at the temple having a temple p-day as well, it was neat to see other missionaries. The temple was really nice today. It's always really relaxing to go into the most holy place in Los Angeles. But, sure enough, we will be back on the streets tonight to preach the gospel.
Hey mom, I miss your zuccini bread.
Thanks for the letters. It sounds like you had a fun FHE! I really liked the update on my friend David too! We have a new rule in our mission; we're not allowed to read mail until p-day. So we get letters on fridays, then they just sit there and taunt us until we can read them on Monday! But this week we had to wait until Wednesday to read them because of temple p-day! Oh well, it's all for our well being I suppose. It's the same rule with packages, so don't send anything that could mold in a couple of days.
We didn't have any success bringing investigators to church this week. But we did get some less-active members to church! Our investigators are making really slow progress, but they are going somewhere at least. We have a really awesome lady who is interested. She was a member referral, and she is really interested. I think I already told you about her. She is from Nicaragua. We dropped by her apartment yesterday and gave her a Book of Mormon. She has a lot of faith, and she is praying to know the truth. It makes me glad to see people make progress! She just needs to make it to church! Her husband tried persuading me that it was OK to drink beer yesterday. I didn't believe him.
Our investigatorhas been missing and canceling lots of appointments, and we are having a really hard time trying to get her to progress. So we dropped by last night and she told us that she has been busy trying to get things ready to paint her apartment and put in new carpet. BINGO! That was our chance! We told her that we would help her with her project, and she happily accepted. Service tends to open peoples' hearts. Our investigator is going through a rough time. The bank is taking over his house, and he might be on his way back to Nicaragua next month. He has been reading in the Book of Mormon, and he said he is going to come to church with his daughter this Sunday! He has a lot of weird doubts because he has read a lot of books about "religious ideas", and he is full of false doctrine. Pray for him. He needs a stronger testimony. We got dropped by a couple investigators this past week. They didn't want to change. Carina's baptismal date seems to have fallen through. We can't seem to get her to church...or appointments. So we have been doing lots of finding lately in order to find some new people to work with. We had a really loud lesson with a new investigator . Her son was yelling and making noise the whole time, haha it was a super awkward lesson.
I love you all and hope things are well. You are in my prayers always. I know this church is true, and this is God's work.
I'm looking at Jordan Haslem right now! That's crazy huh!? And Ester Flake is right behind me! She's in Elder Haslem's district. He is a district leader, and a really good missionary! Easter was nice. We had a nice ward conference. Our ward is kind of suffering right now. Our ward mission leader gave up, and he's trying to get out of his calling. We don't have any ward missionaries either. It's been kind of rough, but the work still goes forth. Guess what! I ate a FIERY HOT HABANERO CHILI, then I manned through the pain and didn't eat or drink anything afterward! I did it at night after nightly planning. It made my face all tingly, and I almost cried. But I'm stronger than peppers, because I'm doing 200 pushups each morning! wow! que fuerte soy! Thanks for sending me pictures dad! It's weird to think that people are getting older, and everybody will look different when I return. Dad, did you get a new grey suit? I saw it in a picture that Tonya sent me. Sharp. I've been reading in the New Testament. Corinthians is a little weird, but I love the New Testament. It really helps me gain knowledge. There is a lot of false doctrine in this city. There are a lot of people here that try preaching to us. We've even been approached and told the we should join their church. It's rough, but it helps build my testimony in the end. I know this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I'm excited to hear that Alesha is graduating, and Emily will be next month! How is Andrew doing? Is Lindsey doing well with her soccer? I love you all. Please pray for our investigators!
Elder Ross Watkins

Monday, April 18, 2011


WHAT AN AWESOME P-DAY! WE HAD BEACH P-DAY! It was the first time I had seen the beach on my mission! Our zone and a couple other zones went over to Dockwhiler beach for a few hours for a specail p-day! It is something they do each year in this mission, but I was in the MTC last year when they had it, so I only get one of them on my mission. It was really awesome! The beach is just south of Marina del Rey, right by the airport, so we watched tons of airplanes take off while we enjoyed some volleyball and other games. I saw Elder Haslem and Sister Flake there too and I took a couple "Vernal reunion" pictures with them. Sadly, we weren't able to go near the water. We weren't even allowed to touch the wet sand haha! I got a little sunburnt on my neck where my collar usually is. We will have to go back there in a year! This week was a hot one! Lots of hot sun and hard work. We invited tons of people to church this week, but not many came. We are having a really hard time trying to get people to come to church. We have lots of investigators we are teaching, but none of them make the effort to come to church. I wish we just had a big church bus to drive around and pick them all up! I had a really cool experience this past week. Elder Cottrell and I were riding our bikes down a street, on our way to eat lunch, and we both saw a lady on the side of the road. We continued riding, and I had the impression that we should turn around and talk to her. I just wanted to go to lunch, so I ignored the feeling. Then it came back again, but we were already far from her. Then, all the sudden, my companion turns around and starts riding back to her. He said "I can't take it", because he had obviously been feeling the same impressions. We went back to talk to her, and she was really interested. She said we can't meet with her in her house, because she lives with a woman from another faith, and she probably wouldn't let us in the house, so we set up to teach her at the park! It was impressive to me to see how the Holy Ghost can tell two people the same thing at the same time. Sadly, I didn't follow the prompting. But that's why they put us in companionships, so we can make up for eachother's faults. , our two investigators with baptismal dates, didn't make it to church this week. . A less active woman that we have been working with came to church! And she brought her 9 year old daughter who isn't baptized. That's a part member family! The mom's boyfriend isn't a member either, and we will be meeting with them tomorrow night! Welp, that's all folks. We are working hard and trying to help the people here in South Gate and Lynwood. We can just do our best, and pray that they use their free agency to choose the right path. I know Jesus is the Christ. I'm grateful for this time of year that we have to remember the Atonement, and specifically the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because of Him, we will all live again! Have a super week! Elder Ross Watkins

Monday, April 11, 2011

Good day from the Pacific Coast!

Buenas tardes! And a good afternoon it is! Weather is perfect. Sun is warm. My farmer's tan is getting a little more intense. And the church is stil true! Times are good! This past week was full of hard work and lots of preaching the gospel. I decided to name my bike correcaminos. It is Spanish for "roadrunner". Neat huh? Hey grandpa, cool story about the car and the gas. That sounds really intense! Nobody made it to church this past Sunday. People are busy on Sundays! But that is no excuse. Other investigators couldn't make it, but I think they'll be able to make it next week. . We have a new investigator ! She is a referral from a Sister. We went over and taught her this past week. She is great. Her brother is a member of the church, but he lives in Nicaragua. She wasn't able to come to church on Sunday either, but this next week is her week! We set a baptismal date with a person ! We met her about 3 months ago, and we only had 1 lesson with her, then she was impossible to contact after that. Finally we got contact with her and had a lesson. She accepted to prepare for the 8th of May! Please pray for her. Hey mom, thank you so much for the package! I got it on Friday! It came super fast! I really like peanut butter m&ms! And the music is awesome! I have been practicing on the keyboard in our apartment, and I got to practice at the church today! It is really nice! Thank you so much! Sorry I don't send very many things home. I haven't sent a package since the MTC! Is there anything you would like from me?? I'm glad to hear that the family is doing really well. That is nice to hear. It sounds like your trip to BYU was fun. I saw the article in the Ensign for the art at the MOA. It looks really nice. Alesha sounds like she is doing well too. I really hope Andrew does well with his testing (or that they will just be really nice to him and give him the job haha). This morning for exercise we went on a run through Compton. I'm really sore. Riding bikes and running are really different. I hope you all have a great week! May the Lord bless you and take care of you. I'm really grateful for this restored gospel, and the chance that we have to be a part of it. We are way blessed. I've been reading the New Testament lately and I've been really impressed by the strength of the apostle Paul. He is a perfect example of enduring to the end. A lot of people really didn't like him, but he knew that he was on the Lord's errand, and that was the only thing that mattered to him. I love you all. Love, Elder R. Watkins

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Real Hot and plenty to keep two men busy

Hello again! Guess what?! I'll be staying in North Lynwood for at least 6 more weeks with Elder Cottrell. This area has taken a full 180 turn since I came in January. God has blessed us with a lot of people to work with and teach. And we hope to be able to baptize some (or all) of them! The weather has gotten really hot lately. We are doing lots of bike riding! How was Conference! I was soooooooo excited for Conference this year! I was really excited all week long! We preach about living prophets all day every day, so it is nice to hear from the person we tell everybody about. I really liked the talks about service. That is really important! I remember dad always telling me how important it was to serve. Of course, I didn't really want to, but now I'm starting to understand why it means so much to God. If we don't serve others, life doesn't really have purpose. Living for ourselves isn't enough; but to serve God (by serving His children), we find ourselves and our purpose in life! How awesome is that! I especially liked Elder Bednar's talk on revelation. That was a really powerful one! I'm excited to get the Liahona so I can draw in it and look at the neat pictures, and read the talks too. We watched the conference broadcast at the Huntington Park chapel. They broadcast it in Spanish and English. I watched all of it in English except for the last session, Watching it in Spanish is kinda weird, because you don't get to listen to their words, and the improv jokes aren't funny. But other than that, it was SUPER! We had a cool experience this past week! We were contacting and giving people pass-along cards in a giant park in our area. We talked to a bunch of people. At one point, there were a lot of people walking by us that we weren't talking to, then I picked out a woman in her 50s and went to talk to her. . She didn't have much time, so I just asked her if she would like to hear a message about Christ at her home. She said she didn't know her address, so I put down her phone number and that was pretty much it. I called her later, and she gave me her address, and she said we could come by on Sunday. So, after conference we went over to her house and sat down with her to share a message. After a few minutes of getting to know her, we found out that she was actually baptized in the church about 13 years ago! She had a lot of problems in her life at that time, and she felt like God had forgotten about her. We had a Spiritually moving lesson with her, and we set up a time to return and talk with her! I felt like God led us to find the 1 "lost sheep" of the 99 in that giant park! It was really awesome! I'm happy to hear that there are so many missionaries in our ward! That is really awesome! I'm really grateful for this time God has given me to find "His sheep" and do His work. At the same time, I feel like he is helping me to find the way. Life is really hard, but super worth it. I think it was Elder Ballard that said that we grow from the hard times in our lives, but we have to endure patiently. I love you family and friends. Keep enduring patiently. AND ENJOY EVERY MINUTE OF IT! I love God's plan of Happiness for us. Cuidense mucho, y nos hablamos en una semana. With love from every fiber of my being, Elder Ross Matthew Watkins