Jose can you see, by the dawn's early light, what so proudly we hailed... We had an awesome 4th of July! President Baker had us go out at 8 am to start working, and he had us come back at 6pm because of the craziness of this city. So we did studies in the evening instead of the morning. My companion and I hailed our country by teaching a bunch of lessons, street contacting, eating some hot dogs at Weinerschnitzel and watching the fireworks from our apartment roof before bedtime. AERIAL FIREWORKS IN UTAH IS GOOD NEWS! I've been waiting for that law to pass all my life! Everybody here had them. I'm pretty sure they are illegal here. We live in a duplex with Elders that live next to us, so we all got on the roof in the evening and watched the zillions of shows going on throughout all of LA. I can honestly say I have never seen so many fireworks in my whole life. USC was going crazy! Saddly, we couldn't go to any shows or light anything ourselves, but we made the best of what we had. And don't worry, we got to bed on time. I thought a lot of home. I couldn't believe how many people had their personal firework shows. I think the cops just gave up! It was insane! Everywhere we looked there was a giant firework flying through the sky. I felt like I was really in a war, and it reminded me of the purpose of Independance Day. It was one of the greatest days of my mission! We found some awesome new investigators too.
You may be wondering why I'm e-mailing on Wednesday. I forgot to tell you last week that we were going to have temple p-day this week. So we went out and worked on Monday, and today is our p-day. The temple is so pretty. I say the same thing every time, that it is the most sacred thing in Los Angeles, and when you leave the temple it's like walking back into Babylon. But with that extra Spiritual strength, it makes Babylon a little more bearable. But, according to the prophets, Zion is where the saints are gathered, so my companion and I carry Zion around our little section of Babylon, which is called Jefferson Park.
We confirmed the two kids that got baptized the week before. I had the opportunity to confirm the girl. And Elder Jung confirmed the boy. They are twin 12 year olds. Their dad got baptized the week before them, and their mom was already a member, and now they are on their way towards the temple. That is an awesome thing! I get to be part of bringing somebody to the temple. Of course, that will be a year away, but it's still really awesome. We went over and had breakfast with them on Sunday morning, and we taught them how to fast, and we all fasted together on Sunday. I love the line in "Praise to the Man" that says "sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven". I know that line is true. God notices and blesses us for all of our sacrifices, both big and small.
Missionary work is beautiful in a car. I now arrive to lessons without helmet hair and sweaty backpack straps. It feels really different, but it's really effective time-wise. The splits have begun. My companion is the District leader, so we go on splits with the other Elders in our district all the time. It is a great learning experience. Yesterday I went on splits in the USC area and I saw a bike rider get hit by a car! It is a crazy area! The campus is beautiful, but since it is a private school, missionaries aren't allowed to proselyte on-campus. But once you cross the street from campus, it's back into dirty LA. Some guy told us it costs 84,000 per semester to go to USC, but I'm not sure I can believe that. But the area is awesome. There are tons of people from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico.
I want you all to know that the work is going awesome out here! Thank you so much for all your prayers! I miss good ole Vernal. I always brag about how Vernal is the greatest city in the world. Sometimes people don't believe me, or they just act like they believe me, but at least I believe what I'm saying. Say what they may, Vernal is the promised land! Welp, I know this church is true. I feel it every day. I know the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion, and we couldn't do without it. Thank you for your prayers! Keep being good, it's worth it!
Love, Elder Ross Watkins