Monday, May 23, 2011

Another super week

Elder Garces, me and Elder Carver

We had a great past week. Some bad news though. They took Elder Garces, the visa waiter, and put him with another Elder. The other elder's companion went home, so they decided to put Elder Garces in a regular companionship of just 2. So now it is back to just Elder Carver and I. But the work is still going really well. We've been working really hard to bring members to lessons with us. It is kind of hard because we have 5 companionships that are all trying to take the members to lessons with them. But members are a huge help when meeting with investigators. We even took some members over to visit one of the less-active families in our area. Missionary work through the members is the smartest way to do things, although it is quite a bit more complicated to line everything up with investigators and members.
So church. I was pretty bummed at church. Some told us they would be there, but neither of them could make it. But, some good news! We had an investigator go to church in Burbank! He often goes out of town on the weekends, so we got him the directions to the nearby chapels in Burbank (which is just outside our mission), and he went to sacrament meeting over there! That is really good news! Other really good news, we set a baptismal date with an investigator. We set for the 12th of June! It was awesome! She didn't make it to church, but I assume she was sick, because she was a little sick when we talked to her on Saturday night. We are meeting with her tomorrow, so we will see what happened.
Four of us companionships went to the church today to practice a song for Zone Conference. We are singing a spanish version of "Love one another". We are going to sing it in church next week too. We are having a missionary sacrament meeting. Each of us missionaries will share a short experience and testimony, and we are handing out referral forms for everybody to fill out during church so we can get some new people to work with.
Haha, funny experience: When Elder Garces was here with us, I had him use my bike, which only has front brakes, but they are really strong brakes. So we were riding down the road, and I rode through a two way stop, and saw a car coming, so I tried to signal for him to stop because he was following behind me. He didn't see me, so when he saw the car coming, he hit the front brakes really hard and flipped over his handle bars! hahaha! Thankfully he didn't get hurt, so I didn't feel bad lauging at him.
I know that this church is true. I'm really grateful for the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, because it proves the restoration! It is all true! I'm really grateful for the Spirit which guides us to talk to certian people. Last week we were riding down the road, and I saw a woman sitting at a bus stop. She smiled. We kept riding, and I felt a really strong impression to go back and talk to her. I ignored the feeling because we were running late to a dinner appointment. I told Elder Garces that I felt like we should turn back and talk to her, and he said that our dinner appointment wouldn't be going anywhere, so I decided to turn around. When we got there, the woman started crying because she was so happy that we turned around to talk to her! We wrote down her information and referred her over to the Elders in the area next to us, because she didn't live in our area. But I was really grateful for that experience. I love you all and thank you for your prayers!
Elder Watkins

Monday, May 16, 2011

Transfer 10 is here

As Paul would say: My greetings unto the brethren in the promised dinosaur land. My salutations be unto my father and mother. May thou greet one another with an holy kiss.

This week has been AMAZING! We saw so many blessings! I'm really excited right now, so I'll try to organize my sentences so they make sense. Tuesday night at ten P.M. I found out that I would be staying in my area. Elder Cottrell got sent to Carson to be in an English ward. My new companion is Elder Carver from West Valley City, Utah. He is a great guy. This is his 5th transfer. Then, on Thursday I recieved a phone call from President Baker, telling me that we would be recieving another companion who would be waiting in Los Angeles to get his visa so he could go to Spain. We went up to the mission office on Saturday and picked him up. His name is Elder Garces. He is from Lindon, Utah. He is a Latino! He speaks Spanish pretty well. He was born in the US, so he is trying to brush up on his Spanish before he goes to Spain. We don't know how long it will take for him to get his visa, so we are taking advantage of the time we have now. He is an awesome guy! He really reminds me of Tyler a lot! We get along really well. After we picked him up, we went over to the Visitor's Center.

Once the three of us got back into the area we were on fire! We talked to tons of people, and we ended up having 5 lessons and 5 new investigators at the end of the night! It was a true blessing. I've been amazed at the strength God has given us, and it's amazing to see it take effect on other people.

Some bad news. We taught the law of Tithing to an investigator and it turned out really bad. He just wanted to argue with us. It was a really sad lesson. He thinks that the missionaries just go out to get more money for the church. We explained that nobody is paid in the church, and that the tithing goes to buy things like the Book of Mormon that he had in his hands, and the church that we go to, and the visitors' centers. But he told us he thought he wanted to stop meeting with us at that point. I could tel the spirit had been disrupted, so I was prompted to open up to Alma 7, and read a few verses about the Atonement. Things calmed down, and the spirit flowed more smoothly. We talked a little more, and ended up setting up a return appointment for tonight. Please pray for him. He is going through a really hard time in life. He is having a hard time quitting smoking too.

Good news. We've been trying to contact a recent convert in our area for a few months, but with no success. She was baptized last year, so I had never met her before. I saw her name in the records, and we've been trying ever since. But, as we were riding our bikes down the street on Saturday, I felt prompted to turn on her street and see if she was there. We had tried MANY times before, with zero success. We rode up to their house, and heard some noise out back, so I hollered over the fence and we found her there! We talked to her mom, who hadn't been to church in a while as well, and we set up a return appointment for friday. We are going to take the primary president over for the lesson, because the recent convert girl is in the primary. It was awesome to see the spirit guide us to her home! Or else we may have never found her!

There is a lot I could say, but I'm almost out of time. I love you all and I'm really grateful for your support. I know that this church is true. I know that it has been restored to the earth through a prophet named Joseph Smith. That is really awesome! We have a lot of reason to rejoice! Have a great week!


Elder Watkins

p.s.-we got the bike thing figured out. we had to get an extra bike for my new companion too. so we have a kitchen full of bikes! and, the new bike i have now is even nicer than the one i had before, and i got it for free from an elder! AWESOME!

Monday, May 9, 2011

End of Transfer #9

A funny billboard found all over Los Angeles
Flour on my face after a service project.
In enemy territory at USC doing volunteer work.

This past week has been a good one. It was really nice to talk to everybody at home yesterday for mothers' day! Happy Mothers' Day mom!!! I wish we could have spoken longer, pero no se permite. Oh well. Everybody sounded the same except for Lindsey. I thought I was talking to Emily when Lindsey got on. She sounds a lot older! There were a lot of really happy missionaries yesterday, because calling home only happens twice a year! Saddly I didn't talk to Alesha. Hopefully she remembers me until Christmas.

For those of you who I didn't talk to yesterday, I have a story: Elder Cottrell and I went to go eat some dinner a few nights ago. As usual, we locked out bikes up to a street sign before we went in to eat. We used one of the combination locks that has 4 sets of numbers on it. We went in to eat, then we came out, and the bikes were gone. ROBBED!!!! It was even on a pretty big road with cars and people. But somehow they figured out the combination and took both our bikes. So we've been hoofin' it since then. I will be getting a bike from one of the Elders who is going home this week.

We had a really neat opportunity to go do some service at USC on Saturday! They have a big cancer walk each year at the USC Coliseum, and they always have one of the zones do volunteer work for a few hours. So all of us Metro Zone missionaries got to help with the event. It was huge! There were thousands of people there, and it was really fun. I got to walk around with a megaphone and tell people they could come to us if they had any questions about where to go. So we talked to all kinds of people and helped orient them to find things at the event. Then after that our district went over to our bishop's house to help him clean up his backyard. So we got to do lots of service!

So our investigator is doing really well! She came to church this past week and loved it! She even invited us to eat dinner with her the day before. The Nicaraguan food is really different from Mexican food. I was telling mom that they eat lots of fried plantains. They don't eat many tortillas like the Mexicans we eat with. We really hope she gets baptized this month. She won't accept a baptismal date, but she is warming up to it. It seems like she already has a strong testimony. She prays and reads the scriptures and she is now coming to church. She says she is still waiting for an answer from God, but I think she's already received it. We just need to help her recognize the answer. Her husband is interested now too! When we went over there for dinner, she was saying her baby boy was going to be an Elder someday! WOOo! That's a good sign.

Another investigator is going well too. But, saddly, he is moving back to Nicaragua this week. So tonight we are going to go to the Visitor's Center with him, Sister Munoz, and Dennis! Sister Munoz invited Dennis to come with us! So it will kind of be like a spiritual kick off before he heads out to Nicaragua. We are going to send the missionaries to his place in Nicaragua so he can get baptized down there! We had a really funny/frustrating lesson with him last week. We decided we needed to teach him the Word of Wisdom. When we told him he can't drink alcohol, smoke, or drink coffee he just laughed at us! He laughed really hard. We didn't think it was that funny. It was an obvious sign that he needed to change some things before he could get baptized. But he understood the doctrine and he said he would need to make some changes. He sells coffee, so that makes it a little more difficult. He tried persuading us that the coffee he sells isn't bad for you. But we just told him it was a commandment from a prophet, and he would have to live it. So we will see him tonight at the Visitors' Center!

It sounds like there are going to be a lot of changes this transfer. Our district is going to have lots of changes. I still don't know if I'm leaving or staying....I find out tomorrow night. I get nervous every transfer! I'll let you know what happens next week!

Welp, that's all for now. There's definitely more, but I can't remember it/it wouldn't be very interesting/not very important.

I love you all, and I'm glad to hear you're all doing well. Nothing worse than a bloody nose since Christmas is pretty good news. I want you to know that I KNOW the Book of Mormon is true. I know this church has been restored to the earth, or else I would rather go home. Preaching a restored church without a restored church doesn't make much sense. I'm especially grateful for the Atonement of Christ. It makes everything in the plan of God possible.


Elder Ross Matthew Watkins

Monday, May 2, 2011

SO Busy!

This past week was soooo busy! We had temple p-day on Wednesday, special trainings on Thursday, a special meeting with Elder L. Tom Perry on Friday, and Mormon Helping Hands on Saturday, then a good day at church yesterday! It was sooo busy! The meeting with Elder L. Tom Perry was really awesome! Our mission combined with the Arcadia mission in the LA Stake Center and we got to listen to Elder Whitney Clayton from the presidency of the 70, and from Elder Perry himself! It was a really spiritual meeting. Elder Perry spoke about teaching and how we can be more effective teachers. When he went to the MTC it was only 5 days long, and they didn't have a Preach My Gospel. We are really blessed to have all of that. He said that we have the potential to be a really powerful missionary force because of the resources we have. Elder Clayton taught about reading the Book of Mormon out loud in the language we are learning to become more fluent. So I've committed to read the Book of Mormon in Spanish again! It has more pages, so it takes a little longer to read than the English one, but I'm going to read extra at night before bed so I can teach better in Spanish! For Mormon Helping Hands we went over to South Central LA and helped clean weeds and trash from the side of the roads. It was hot!
So all of these meetings and things took a little time out of teaching, but the Lord blessed us with great success this week!
I know this church is true. It is perfect. The gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect. And God's plan is perfect. Thanks to Mom and Dad for raising me the way they did. I wouldn't be here without them. "Shalll we not go on in so great a cause?" I love you all and pray for you. Cuidense mucho. Les quiero!
Elder Ross Watkins