Tuesday, August 30, 2011

18 months, Baptism,and a Flat Tire

Ross has now met the 18 months mark of his mission.

Baptism of a contact in his former area.

Changing the flat.

What a crazy week!!! I've never been so busy in my whole life!!! We lost a missionary in my district due to sickness, so they added a new companionship to our district, and they are in a trio with the elder that was left over. We have also been going to tons of trainings and meetings. Yikes! It has taken us out of our area a lot, so we are always really excited to be back in our area working. We have been doing fundamental trainings for my trainee, and they are 6 hours long!!! We had two of them this past week, on top of 2 other leadership meetings with president. Yikes!! But it is helping us out a lot. President is going to come with us to a couple of lessons this week! I'm nervous/excited. It should be a good experience.
Guess what?! I got a phone call from Elder Carver from North Lynwood, telling me that a lady I found and started teaching was going to be baptized!!! We found her street contacting! So I got to go down and see her baptism yesterday!!! It was awesome. When I saw her going into the water it made me think of when we first talked to her. She was washing her car, and she was really excited to talk with us. Very awesome!!!
We got a massive screw in our tire the other day, and the air was slowly leaking out, so Elder Gonzalez and I had to put on the spare before church yesterday. Then we went to Pep Boys and got the flat fixed today. Good experience.
We are going to start teaching a Book of Mormon class on Wednesday nights! I'm really excited! I got the idea from the Zone Leaders. They are doing it in their ward, and they have had some success from it. We hope the same.
Welllllllp, I'm just about out of time. I love you all and pray for you at least every 24 hours. I'm so grateful for such a happy family! I'm really grateful for the gospel and the impact it has had on our lives. Jesus is our Saviour, and His church is restored. Awesome huh! Love, Elder Watkins

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Awesome week

This is the Westwood Zone, with the visiting authority Elder Duncan ( front and middle), Ross is behind him. Click on the picture to make it larger.
This is a picture of the new trainers in the mission, Ross is on the back row.

We had an awesome week! I went on exchanges with 3 different Elders in our district this past week, so it had been really busy! It is always fun to go to different areas and see different things going on.
Hey, remember we had an investigator from last year? We helped him get married and baptized last year. After I left the area he went less-active because he got a job working on Sundays. But after coming back to the area, he has been free on Sundays, and he is active in the church again! And guess whaaaattt?!!? He got the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday!!! It was awesome! He is happier than ever before, and now he is focused on having an eternal family! It is truly a blessing to be back in Jefferson Park!
Another awesome thing: There was a family in our area last year that had family in the ward, but they were the only ones that weren't members, and we tried working with them last year, but they were never interested. But we have been focusing on them lately, and trying to show them how the Gospel blesses families, and we got them to church yesterday!!!!! It was the first time the husband had ever been to church. The wife had been a few times before, because it is her family that are members. We are excited to go back and help them progress.
We have been doing lots of finding lately. Lots of tracting and street contacting. We have been finding some good people. Even though we have a car, I really like walking. We try to spend as much time out of the car as possible. They give us 1000 miles a month, but I don't think we could ever reach that! We have a pretty small area, so we don't need very many miles.
An investigator got confirmed yesterday!!! Her family is doing really well. Her mom was inactive before, but now she goes with her daughters, each week!
I know this church is true. All these people out here with anti-mormon stuff have only helped my testimony grow. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that we have a modern day prophet! This is God's true Church!!! Awesome!
Love, Elder Watkins

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Crazy Awesome Week

Ross with companion, Elder Gonzalas
This is a chili manzana, hotter than a habanaro!
This is a rare scene, the Los Angeles Temple with no grass!

Wow, what an awesome week!!! First off, it sounds like you had an awesome weekend. I miss the family. Best regards and such to all. I really liked the pictures that were sent to me! It's good to see what everybody looks like! Hey dad, I had a dream the other night that you and I were wading in lake and fishing together. Awesome huh?
But seriously, we have seen a lot of miracles this week. We have been trying to boost our faith so that we can boost the miracles. And it works! We got a referral last week for an 11 year old young man in our area. We went over and contacted him and he ended up being really interested. We invited the mother to listen too. We taught them the Restoration and set baptismal dates for them on the 11th of September! After we invited him to be baptized he got really excited and wanted to know how we baptize people, and he asked us "after I get baptized, does that make me a mormon?" haha he has family that are members of the church, so he's heard a lot about the church. His mother felt the spirit soooo strong that she started crying. Now the next step is for the father!! They are from Honduras. Very nice. Please pray for them!
The other day we were doing tons of street contacting and knocking doors to try to find some new investigators. We had been walking for about 2 and a half or 3 hours and I wanted to get in the car and go somewhere else because I was pretty tired and we had had some good success. But the the Spirit prompted me to keep walking and finding on that street. So we kept going. As we were walking down the sidewalk we saw a bald latino man talking to somebody in a car, so we quietly gave him a card and moved on. We turned the corned and started knocking doors. After about the 5th door we saw the bald man come around the corner and call us back! We approached him and he started telling us that he wanted us to teach him!! We asked if we could go back to his house and sit down with him and talk, and he gladly accepted! It was sooo awesome! . He is from Guatemala. Very nice. Please pray for him so he can come to church.
"W" got confirmed this past Sunday! She is very happy to be on the right track. Her only support at home is her mother. Her husband isn't too excited about her decision. Please pray for her family. We tried teaching her little brother, but he just wants to argue and bring up anti-mormon things. Pray for him too. He has lots of potential.
You are probably wondering why I'm writing on Tuesday instead of Monday. We had an awesome Zone Conference yesterday instead of p-day. Elder Kevin R. Duncan from the Seventy came and held an 8 hour meeting with us! It was awesome! I learned so many good things. He talked about boosting our faith because the bounds are infinite for those with faith. He also talked about loving the people we meet with even more. I'm starting to learn that love is key in missionary work. Sometimes it's hard to love people when they just want to bash, or if they treat others poorly, or they live inappropriate lifestyles. But if we look at people how God sees them, our missionary work and our charity will increase! Awesome huh? I liked it a lot.
Hey guess what?? I've broken 180! I weigh just over 180! That's a new record in my life. All those pupusas are really starting to build up. We got up early this morning to go run before regular exercizes. Your son will be a tank by the time he comes home. Look out Dad and ANdrew!!!
We got to do temple service last week!! It was awesome! They are tearing out allll of the grass in the lawns! It looks terrible! Apparently they do it every 7 years and they re-plant it so it always looks nice and thick (like the hair on my head before my mission). But we got to do service inside while everybody else labored in the heat outside. My companion and I got to clean chandeliers. We got on ladders and took tons of little crystals off chandeliers and cleaned them in a solution, then put them back up. It was really tedious and took a long time. Kinda scary too. It was amazing to see how clean they keep temples! The clean every little crack! We wiped down marble and air conditioning vents after that, then we got to clean some glass. It was neat to see how many rooms there are in the temple that most people don't get to see usually. That temple is gigantic!!!
So that was our week. REally awesome! God has given us some great blessings, and we keep working harder and harder so we can give back to Him. Thank you for your prayers! I love you tons! I know this is God's work. His plan is perfect! I know the Book of Mormon is true, and Jesus Christ is our Saviour! Love, Elder Watkins

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A great loss and two Baptisms

Ross lost a good friend Friday, August 5. Sgt. Daniel Gurr, a U.S. Marine was killed in Afghanistan. Ross played soccer at Uintah High School with Daniel for 3 years. He said, "Daniel was one of the best soccer defenders in the state, and he died defending freedoms for those who do not have them. He was a great man, and will be missed. I am so sad to hear of his death." We hope all will remember the Gurr family at this time of loss, our prayers go out to them.

OK, other than the first week in the field, this has been the craziest week of my mission. We have been all over the place. First off, my companion Elder Jung passed on to the real world. He finished his mission with honor. His parents came and picked him up. He stayed in Los Angeles until today. He was at our baptisms yesterday! Then, on Wednesday I got my new companion! His name is Elder Gonzalez. He was born in White Plains, New York, but has been living in Orlando, Florida since he was 12, and he was baptized while in Florida when he was 13. He is a Latino!!! His parents are Colombians, so he speaks Spanish with a really different accent. He is really good at basketball, and he is a super teacher! REally hard worker. We have been doing really well. He is so good that I don't even feel like I'm training him! And he's helping me with my Spanish! It's awesome.
Soooooo, the most important part of the week: Sunday. It went really well!!! Two of our investigators were both baptized!!! It was awesome! Elder Jung was there with his parents, and he baptized one, and I got to baptize the other. It was a lot of hard work to get to that point, but they are both super strong. One of them had been going through a lot of opposition this past week. Satan stroke 3 times to try to stop her from getting bapitzed! The first time, we were in a lesson with , and we got a phone call from her uncle telling us that she wasn't going to get baptized on Sunday. So we ran over to her house after the lesson to clear everything up. Her grandma tried convincing us that she should wait to be baptized, but we persuaded her otherwise. Then we got a text from her a couple days later telling us that she was having some health issues and that she wouldn't be able to be baptized. So I called her that night and talked her out of it. Then, a half hour before her baptism, her boyfriend called and told her to not get baptized!!! I couldn't believe it! She went into the bathroom and cried as she had a really loud conversation with her boyfriend on the phone. By that point, everybody was set and waiting for the baptism to start. So we sent a member of the relief society presidency to go talk to her in the bathroom. Then she went and talked to the bishop, and he helped her through it. By that time, eveybody in the baptismal room had been waiting for about 35 minutes for her to come in. Finally, she walked in with teary eyes, but ready to be baptized!!! It was a miracle!!! They both entered into the fold yesterday, and they are both really happy!
Sooo, I have a lot of other things I could tell you, but I'm out of time!!! I love you a ton. I hope everything is fine and dandy at home. Thanks for all your support. And thanks for the candy mom! I love that Austrailian Liccorice. Yum!! The church is true, there's no doubt about that.
Elder Watkins

Monday, August 1, 2011

Trainer and District Leader

Dearest family! This past week was super crazy! We have been working so hard and teaching tons of people! Guess what!? An investigator got baptized!!!!! It was awesome! We have been working really hard with another investigator, and she has a baptismal date for next Sunday. She was going to be baptized yesterday, but we ran in to some minor difficulties with the husband. But everything will be alright. Another is still waiting on divorce papers from Guatemala, so her baptism will be a little bit down the road. But she is super solid. Also, "V", she is waiting on her baptism because she wants to be sure she is making the right decision. She will have to make some big changes in order to make that covenant with God. But pray for her, and things will work out. After seeing her sister get baptized she has a true desire to change and be baptized as well. The baptism also helped their mom come back to church! She has been away from the church for many eons, and now she's back!!! She will be an awesome member of the church. She already has friends and everything in the ward.
Yesterday was a really nerveracking Sunday. It always feels like you're standing on the edge of a cliff looking down at the lake before jumping in. You never know for sure who is going to make it to church. Sometimes it hurts when you hit, and sometimes you go in the water nice and smooth. Yesterday was a tall cliff, and it only slapped a little when I hit the water because we had about half of our people come to church. My companion spoke in church. He has really good Spanish! It was a great talk. Then I got to play the "We Thank Thee oh God for a Prophet" piano arrangement after his talk. My companion said people cried. Probably because of all the wrong notes I hit! Haaha it's been a long time since I've performed a piano solo. I also got to play the organ for the hymns! It was awesome! I knew that organ class would come in handy. Hey mom, remember how you always told me I would use my music skills on my mission. Well, you could call that prophecy coming true. It's great. Then we had the baptism. I'm the official pianist for baptismal services. I played an arrangement of "When I am Baptized" from the childrens' song book, and my companion sang to it. It was really nice. Then my companion performed the baptism. Then we went to the "Departing Missionary Fireside" for my companion. Since our mission is so small, we have all the departing missionaries meet in a chapel, and they invite all their recent converts, investigators, and people they worked with, to come listen to their last testimony. My poor companion is dying tomorrow. He has already started dying. "Some say he stinketh, but to me he doth not stink". He has been an awesome companion! Super hard worker. And he's going out with a BAM! His parents are coming to pick him up, and he will stay for a week. So he's going to be here for our baptisms next Sunday!
So I just had an interview with president. I have some exciting news! I get to train next transfer! I get a fresh new missionary!!! He also asked me to be a district leader. Which means I'm keeping the car. I will be staying in Jefferson Park. We will baptize. I love changes. Really fun. Welp, I love you so much! Thanks for all the candy and dinero. I'm excited for the drink mixes! Thanks for Cory's letter too! It's always good to hear from him. And thanks for your letter mom! I love you! Have an awesome week. I testify that this church is God's true church. Jesus Christ is our Savior!
Love, Elder Watkins