Dear Family and anybody else who stumbles across these words,
WE HAD AN AWESOME WEEK! Our investigator was baptized yesterday!! WOOOOHOOOOO!!!!!!! It was awesome! She asked me to perform the ordinance. It was a really good service. Hey mom, remember the "We thank Thee, oh God, For a Prophet" piano solo? I played it at her service! It was awesome! She shared her experience about how she came in contact with the church and her testimony during the service! It was nice to hear her talk about how she would always see the missionaries walk by her apartment complex, and she wanted to go to their church. I had walked by her apartment complex a zillion times without ever talking to her before because there is no way to get into the complex. So she told her husband she wanted to go to our church, wherever it was. Then they looked it up in a phone directory and called the Los Angeles Stake Center and got in contact with some missionaries. The missionaries then called us and told us that their was a person in our area that wanted to go to church. So we called her that morning (this all happened Sunday morning on December 18th) and got her a ride to church with one of the members that lives nearby. Then it was all downhill from there! We hit a few rough spots because of some family situations she has at home, but that didn't stop her. Now she is baptized and really really happy! She said she never wants to leave this church! That's pretty nice to hear coming from a new convert!
Guess what?! I'm an official "man" now! 21 years old, and at least 21 less hairs on the front of my scalp. But that's ok, because I think the hairs are migrating from my scalp to my facial hair. I'm ok with that. You can always buy a toupee, but you can't buy facial hair! Sadly, my birthiday wasn't exactly "fun". I got pretty sick the night before and I spent all day trying to keep my nose from flooding Los Angeles, and we had to come in about an hour early at night because my body wouldn't keep going. But, the good news is that we bought doughnuts to celebrate! Woohoo! I got an apple fritter. Dad, I remember you saying that apple fritters are your favorite. I think I'll have to join you on that one. I guess it's a rite of passage into manhood to like apple fritters more than the youthful "filled doughnuts and cake doughnuts". The manly change has already begun. So I ate my doughnut and we planned, then I knocked out for the night. Kind of a downer b-day, but we had a nice lesson with a less-active family! And they bought us some chinese food for dinner. That is a plus!
Funny story: Right after our investigator came out of the water at her baptism, a little kid from the primary said out loud "Se ahogo?", which means "did she drown?", and everybody laughed. It was bien chistoso.
I can't believe how fast things are going by now! Honestly, it is kind of scary. I don't know how to be a normal person anymore. All I know is missionary work. That's all I've done for 2 years! They need a returned missionary training center. That would be nice. This week we have a departing missionary training for all the missionaries leaving this transfer, then we will do a session in the temple afterward! I'm excited! It will be my last time going through the Los Angeles temple for a good while. We will also be getting songs ready for the Departing Missionary Fireside, which will take place on February 26th. I have been calling to invite past investigators to it.
Tonight we will be visiting two investigators, who are the daughters of a member. They weren't able to make it to church on Sunday because one was sick. We will be teaching them the Plan of Salvation and we are going to invite them to the Visitors' Center. We will also be going to the Visitors' Center this Saturday with a couple. Please pray for her husband! He has been challenging to work with, and we hope that he will join his wife in getting baptized sometime soon.
Bummer. I can't seem to get the usb thing to work on this computer, so I don't think I'll be able to send pictures this week. It's always a gamble with these public computers. You'll just have to see the pictures live in a couple weeks I guess.
I love you all! Thanks for the gifts from mom and dad, Grandma and Grandpa Merrell and Watkins. Thank you for your support. I'm very grateful for this work. I'm grateful that the church has been restored to the earth. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Thank you for your great example and for all you have taught me!
Love, Elder Watkins