Monday, January 30, 2012

Teaching Like Crazy

This has been an awesome week! We have been teaching like crazy this week! About time! The people we have been finding and contacting are finally working out! And it looks like we may baptize next month!!! We are really excited about next month!
I have been praying for a miracle lately, and it looks like God has answered my prayers! We have been trying for weeks to contact and set up an appointment with a less-active sister in our ward, because she has two daughters that aren't members. Things kept falling through, but finally we had a lesson with her! We taught her one of the lessons and invited her to come to church and bring her daughters. Guess what? THEY CAME!!! They had the chance to go to Disneyland with their dad, but they came to church instead! One of them came to the USA less than a year ago from Guatemala, so she doesn't speak much English. They both really liked church. The best part is that the mother is really supportive. So it looks like some good news in the future. We are going over tonight with a member that is from Guatemala, and we are going to teach them and invite them to be baptized next month. Pray for them!
Tomorrow we will have Zone Conference at the LA Stake Center. Elder Hernandez and I will be giving a training for the zones in the breakout meetings.
I love you all and hope you have a great week! I love the gospel and am really grateful for the blessings it has brought us!
Elder Watkins

Monday, January 23, 2012


Hello family! Transfer calls came in..............and.............I'm staying and training a new zone leader! This is my last transfer, and I will be staying in the same area "Los Feliz". I'm glad I get to stay. My new companion's name is Elder Hernandez. He is from El Salvador! He is pretty good at English because he has been out for about 18 months. And, of course, he is helping me a lot with my Spanish. It is funny because most of the people in our area are from El Salvador. So every time we talk to somebody my companion goes off talking about where the person is from. There have been a couple times where they know some of the same people from El Salvador. Elder Hernandez even went to the same school as one guy. People just kinda brush off the gringo though. They aren't very interested in where I'm from haha.
We have been working super hard this week! Lots of hours out on the streets contacting people. We found a couple people that we thought were "golden", but then they turned out to be a little more bronze than anything. But we are still on the lookout for that golden investigator! It will happen this transfer, I know it will! We have been meeting with an investigator. She was going to come to church on Sunday, but is seems like something got in the way. Pray for them please!
Our bishop texted us the other day asking for me to play the piano at a funeral. We showed up Friday morning, and they told us that we were going to perform a special musical number too... Yikes! So I volunteered my companion to sing a solo while I played the piano for him, and it ended up turning out pretty nice. He has a really good voice, so he wasn't too scared.
Yesterday we had stake conference! It was really awesome because I have spent my whole mission, except one transfer, in this stake. So I got to see a bunch of people from South Gate ward and Sexto Ward! They are all doing well. That is music to a missionary's ears!!!! Wow! It was a huge boost to see all those people there! WOOHOO!
Since it is my last transfer I get to start inviting people to my Departing Missionary Fireside, which is held down in Torrance. It is a farewell for all the missionaries leaving this transfer. They do it each transfer for the departing missionaries. So they allow us to call people from our old areas and invite them to it! It will be the last Sunday of the transfer, just before we leave. So I'm pretty excited to start calling people and invite them to come!
I love the gospel, and I'm very grateful for the Savior and all that He does for us. This is all possible because of Him.
Love, Elder Watkins

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fire, Ups and Downs

The new mission home up in flames Saturday night.

The new living quarters of the mission president was basically unharmed.
A few of us from the Griffith Zone.
A great family!

Helloooooooooo!!! It is good to hear from yall in form of printed text. It sounds like things are going well. I'm glad to hear there is snow on the ground. Winter in Vernal isn't the same without snow and frozen windshield wipers.
This week has been a really up-down week! By that I mean really good and really hard. We had a couple rough days, but they seemed to end up in miracles! On Saturday all our appointments ended up falling through with our solid investigators, so we were stuck on the streets. So we went to work. We walked and tried talking to people. Knocked some doors. Thought a lot about where to go. Wondered when dinner was going to come around. Then BAM! New investigator!! We had decided to track a certain apartment complex near our apartment and we found a woman crying because her day wasn't going too well. We sat on some chairs by the porch and taught her a little. We found that she had stopped going to church when her mother died, and her family was falling apart. We taught her a little about the Plan of Salvation and she happily accepted a return appointment! It was a success! It showed us that sometimes God waits to see how faithful we are before He pours out the blessings. But when the blessings come, it makes all the hard work worth it! Then Sunday rolled around and we were expecting our investigator to show up for church. We called her before the services and she told us that she wouldn't be coming and that she had some things she needed to talk to us about. YIKES! That is the last thing a missionary wants to hear. She had a baptismal date for this next Sunday, but we will see tonight when we go over to answer her questions. Her husband seems to be questioning the credibility of our teaching. We think he might be playing a part in her doubts. She has a strong testimony though. PRAY FOR HER!! She needs it. Pray for us too. We need it! Then, after church we got to see one of the nicest baptismal services I've seen on my mission! A sister from Mexico was baptized! The elders in the area next to us have been teaching her. Her family from Mexico came up to see the service. Her grandson baptized her, and her son-in-law confirmed her. The second she came out of the water she starting crying "gracias, gracias!" because she was so happy to have finally joined God's fold. She bore her testimony to the group afterward, and she is a truly converted person. Wow! All the women (and some men) were crying. It was great. I think my eye-ducts have gone dry. I haven't worked up a tear in a while. Maybe all the smog has glogged the glands that create the tears. Who knows.
Welp. That's just a sliver of what happened this past week. If you want the exhaustive story you will have to read my journal. My brain can't remember all the good things that happen every day, and it chooses not to remember the bad things that happen. Life is great. The mission is awesome! I'm starting to get nervous for my last transfer. I'll let you know next week what's going to happen. I hope I get to train! I love you all and thank you for your support. Hope you have a good week shoveling snow while I get a farmer's tan!
Elder Watkins

Monday, January 9, 2012

Wallet stolen and Korean BBQ

This is the sort of thing that terrifies a mother of a missionary!
Assessing the damage.
Ross says this restaurant has great food, it looks a little sketchy to me.
Eating lunch today at a Korean BBQ Restaurant.

What a crazy week! I'll start with the most exciting/crazy part. The wallet. The story goes something like this:
So on Wednesday morning we were in our apartment talking about parking tickets we needed to pay. Then we realized that we would need to get one of the tickets out of our car so that we could send it to the mission office. So we stepped outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather all the way to our car. Then when we arrived at the car we noticed that we had parked in a "no parking zone" for Wednesday, and we had a big fat ticket on our windshield. We were pretty bummed about that. Then my companion said, "Hey, somebody broke into our car." I looked over and saw that somebody had bashed in the front right window of the car!!! They had gotten into the car and shuffled through all the stuff in the dash and the glove box! We were pretty startled about it all, and decided to call it into the mission office to inform them. Ticket in hand, we made the walk back to our apartment in the beautiful California sun. I turned to my companion and said "Well, the good thing is that our day can only get better from now on." We got back to the apartment and I realized that things weren't about to get much better when I checked my backpack to get my wallet out and realized that I had left it in the car the night before!!! We went straight back to the car to find that my wallet had been stolen!! I immediately called the financial missionaries in the mission office to make sure my mission credit card as well as my home credit cards got canceled before it was too late. The robber had already made 5 hits on my mission credit card and spent over $100! But the worst part is that my drivers license was in my wallet. I called President Baker to inform him. I don't have driving privileges anymore, and my companion hasn't had driving privileges for a long time. So we found ourselves in a pickle. A big, fat, juicy pickle. Because in the zone leader areas we are required to have a car. We didn't spend too much time mourning the loss, and just went out to work old fashion style, on foot. We had splits arranged with the Korean missionaries, so we ended up doing that the rest of the day. Then the next day we walked, and had a pretty good day with a new investigator! Then we got the long awaited phone call from President telling us what would happen with our handicapped companionship. He assigned a new missionary to come in with us for a couple weeks, until the end of the transfer, to drive for us! Haha he calls himself the "Zone Leader Chauffeur"! Things are going well. We have had some great success the past few days, and the work keeps going, no matter what tries to get in the way. Chances are pretty good that I will get sent to a new area next transfer to fix the situation haha. The only thing I'm worried about is getting some ID. As of right now I have nothing to prove that I am me. We'll see what happens. We got the car fixed, so all is well with that.
So that is the wallet story. I am a poor man now. But all is good. The work is the same. We set a baptismal date for Saturday! We have another baptismal date for January 22nd! (and her tough I love you all!
Elder Watkins

Monday, January 2, 2012


This is his new look for the new year, same ole Ross!
These are the Watts Towers, missionaries like to take pictures of them.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Wow that is pretty crazy! This past year went by SUPER fast! It was a really good year. Lots of hard work and sweat, and some awesome people that entered the waters of baptism. These next two months will be full of miracles! We are working hard and finding some really great people. Yesterday was a real letdown though. Nobody showed up to church! We were expecting 4 people. Next week will be better. A couple of investigators have been going downhill a little due to all the fiestas and busy things going on. But we are meeting with them tonight, and we hope to set a baptismal date! We talked with one last week and asked her to pray about the 22nd for baptism and she responded "do I have to wait that long?". Haha! We told her to pray about the 15th instead. We have another lady with a baptismal date for the 22nd. We taught her yesterday and have another lesson today! We asked her to pray about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon last night, and we are expecting a positive result today.
We had a really nice New Years devotional with President Baker! He is awesome! We went over the new standards of excellence for the year. They are super good! But I won't go into much detail because that is the kind of thing that makes only missionaries excited, and isn't too interesting for normal people (referring to anybody that hasn't been set apart by somebody holding the proper authority to be a full-time missionary of God).
Guess what?! It is smoking hot out here! It feels like the middle of summer! I'm sweating as I type! This time last year was really rainy. But this year it has been pure sun for weeks! I just wanted to make you folks in Vernal feel a little jealous.
Today we had a district activity for p-day. We went to downtown LA and checked out "Little Tokyo". I felt like I stepped outside the USA for a little while. The only thing that made me feel like I was in LA was the reassuring sound of people speaking Spanish in a couple of the shops. But even then, that is still a little foreign. But it made me feel a little more comfortable.
On New Years Eve all the missionaries got with their zones and had an activity in a church. We went and played volleyball in the LA Stake Center. It was really fun! Then we went to bed at 10:30 and I totally forgot that it was New Years Eve until I woke up to the screaming and booming of fireworks at midnight haha! It is funny how we tend to forget about holidays as missionaries. We had a really nice church meeting. The Bishopric spoke and gave some really nice words about a new year. We have an awesome bishopric.
Welp, have an awesome week! I'm really grateful for my mission. It continues to change me a lot. I just had the chance to finish the Book of Mormon this past week, and my testimony still stands firm that the Book of Mormon is definitely the word of God. I testify that it can bring us closer to God each time we read it, if we read with an open heart and real intent. I love you all!
Elder Watkins