Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy New Year 2015! (Week 67)

Okay yesterday something really crazy happened. We had the prompting to go bike to a less-active part-member family around 8:10. We bike there, parked our bikes, and knocked their door. There mom wasn't hope but their 18 year old son was there. He invited us in and we visited with him and his two younger siblings who have not been baptized yet. Their living situation is very complicated, their home is like a foster home. Their mom takes in teenagers who need a place to stay. The oldest daughter was smoking and sitting with her friend D~ on the other side of the room. While we were sharing our message on keeping the sabbath day holy with the three other siblings we all began to notice a strange smell. It was a burning smell but it didn't smell like cigarette smoke. The young kids thought it was the neighbors so D~ got up and went outside to check. We started to teach again when D~ came rushing back through the front door and kicking open the bedroom door on the other end of the room. Bright orange flashed from the room. The back bedroom was in flames! We rushed for water and the fire extinguisher. We threw a few buckets of water and stamped up the flames. Once we stopped the fire we evacuated the house. The fire came from an electric heater. Thankfully we got everything under control. It was all pretty intense because if we had found the fire a minute later the whole room would have been on fire. Crazy stuff. Quite a miracle.

Besides the crazy fire incident we had another great Sunday. Joesph and John both came to church to hear me and Elder Matthews speak in sacrament. Church was a very revelatory experience for Joesph and he told us that every meeting was directed to him. Super cool! We set a baptism date with Joesph for February 19th. He has almost completely quit smoking, he is down to 3-4 cigarettes a day. John is still looking for the answer to his prayers but is reading the Book of Mormon a little each night.

On Friday I went on exchanges with Elder Adamson in Blackwell. We had a good exchange, in fact some random girl proposed to me and I'm getting married next week. This random young woman and her friends pulled up to us in their car while we were walking to our next appointment. She calls out to me, "Hey my husband has run away and left me with two kids will you marry me?" Haha that's a first. Me and Elder Adamson had a good laugh and told her that we were missionaries and for two years we put those things on hold. We gave her a pass along card. She was a little embarassed (probably dared to do it by her friends), but she accepted the card and the car drove off. Crazy Blackwell...

This new year I'm recommitting myself to work a little harder. I'm working on keeping a better daily journal. I want to remember these crazy experiences the rest of my life. This week is going to be good
we are starting to meet with a lot more convicts. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but all of them are ready to change and follow God.

I love you all and hope you have a happy new year!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

The Belts had me dress up as Santa for their kids on Christmas eve... 
It's a long story... maybe I'll tell it next time.

Ocean Way

Brother Phetvixay, me and Elder Matthews in our ugly sweaters.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Best Christmas Ever! (Week 66)

Gosh I wish I had enough time to tell you every miracle that happened this week, but I don't. :/ But I will tell you about the crowning event of the week... Sacrament meeting!

We had two of our most solid investigators come to church and it was the Christmas program (we sang In Wondering Awe with three other members). John and Joseph both came and loved it. John and his family could only stay for Sacrament, but Joseph stayed for all 3 hours. It was a miracle! Before coming he'd mentioned that it would be hard to leave his parents unattended for very long, but something in my heart told me that they would be okay if he came. We only expected him to stay for the Sacrament hour but as soon as the meeting was over he told us that he felt like his parents would be okay if he stayed. Between Sacrament and Sunday School we showed him around the church and gave him a quick tour. He loved it and everyone was talking to him. It was a cool experience to watch friendships begin to develop. After we taught the Christmas message for Gospel Principles class he said that he would stay for the last hour! So awesome! He loved it, and will hopefully come again next week.

For Christmas Eve we are going to go caroling with the Newlands. We are going to sing to most of our investigators and our less actives that live in the nursing home. It's going to be awesome!

Sorry this email is so short. We are in Enid for zone p-day and the library doesn't give us as much time. I love you all and hope that you have a wonderful Christ-mas!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Here are some pictures from this week and last week.

Marland Mansion

Me and my buddy Santa (Brother Newland)

Katana for Christmas?

Our festive home

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Marland Mansion (Week 65)

Man, this week was awesome. How do I start...

First we started out the week with a tour of the Marland Mansion for P-day. Really cool. We took a guided tour and the whole tour lasted about 3 hours. The place was huge! The history behind the mansion is really interesting, in fact next year they are making a full length movie about Lydie and E.W. Marland. We can expect the movie to be skewed and filled with fiction but it's kinda cool that it's being made into a movie. My favorite part of the whole tour or the estate had to be the artisan studio. While the mansion was being built the artisans used a 400 ft long underground tunnel to get back and forth between the studio and the mansion. The sculptor and artist that did most of the work was also the sculptor who did a lot of the marble statues in Washington D.C. In the studio, they had a lot of the models he made for his big projects, like the statue of Abraham Lincoln that sits in the Lincoln Memorial and the the statue of King Henry the VI. I'm going to see if I can get this computer to send pictures...

Second, we got to teach Joesph the Doctrine of Christ. He is one of my heroes. He is one of the most sincere, honest, loving persons I've met on my mission. This week I've been praying to see through the Lord's eyes and I tell you I can see Joesph is going to become great. I know one day he is going to change a lot of people's lives. He is an amazing example to me, he has such a big burden on his back and yet he is still willing to sacrifice and change. We taught him that the Atonement of Jesus Christ allows us to become clean and change for the better, and by taking small steps and making small sacrifices, the Lord will lift our load and we will become stronger and wiser. He wasn't able to come to church this week, but we took a member over to visit him on Sunday and the member volunteered to bring his family breakfast, lunch and dinner on Christmas day. You could see joy and relief fill Joseph's being. Our members are awesome!

Third, we had a day-long Christmas Conference in OKC. It was amazing to hear from our leader and receive revelation for our area. A lot of talks on finding and helping members do missionary work. It was good to see my old companions and friends. Thank you Mom and Dad for all of the letters and love!

Fourth, on Friday I received a phone call from the Assistant to President Peterson (AP).
AP Peterson:"Guess whose house I'm at?"
Me: "Whose?!"
AP Peterson: "It starts with an F and ends with a Z."
Me: "NO WAY! The Fultz?!?
He was on exchanges with the Paul's Valley zone leaders and the Fultz Family (my recent converts from that area) just so happened to be feeding all of the missionaries that night. I got to talk on the phone with Billy and Jennie for a little and got the news that they will be going through the OKC temple this Summer to be sealed!!! The news was the greatest Christmas gift ever! Their family is doing great and the branch I was serving in is going to become a ward!! They had over 100 members at church four weeks in a row! The work is hastening!!

Fifth, we got 5 new investigators this week! Our area is booming! So many miracles, one right after the other. I wish I could write you about all of them but I'm running out of time. I love you all and wish you a Merry Christmas!

SHARE THE GIFT!

Sincerely Elder Watkins

Monday, December 8, 2014

Deck the Halls (Week 64)

It's finally starting to feel like Christmas and it's great! Almost everyone has their decorations and lights up. We even had some members drop off Christmas stuff (our house had none). We set up a tree and even put some lights on the outside of the house! We are festive. We even put our tree right in front of our big window for the whole street to see that we celebrate Christmas.

This week we had a pretty cool miracle with our investigator. we met Joesph while we were trying to contact his dad who has lung cancer. The first time we spoke with Joesph he told us that he had met
missionaries before when they lived in California but lost contact after they moved to Oklahoma. He expressed that he wanted to meet with us but that it would be very difficult because he is currently taking care of his his parents who both have cancer and lung problems from smoking. We asked him if he also smoked and if he wanted to quit. He told us that he tried to quit but kept falling back into the habit because of the people around him were smoking. We started teaching him about the word of wisdom on his porch and promised him blessings that he would receive from showing the desire to keep the commandment. We left him with a word of wisdom pamphlet and told him that we would come back the next day and share more. The next day when we came back he told us that he read the pamphlet over and over and hadn't smoked since our last visit, he also told us that he had been productive with fixing up the house and yard to keep himself from temptation. Pretty awesome! We taught him about the Book of Mormon and he asked if he could have one (he couldn't find the one he got in California). We gave him a Book of Mormon and taught him the blessings that come from daily scripture study. The spirit was so strong as we taught, you could see the look of hope in Joesph's eyes. We are so excited to watch him progress and grow. We are going to see him again this Tuesday.

We set a baptismal date for January 10th with our investigator John last Monday! We shared the restoration and invited him to read, ponder and pray about the Book of Mormon. It was probably one of the best lessons I've taught as a companionship in a long time. Elder Matthews is an amazing missionary filled with the spirit. I'm grateful for his energy and enthusiasm.

This week has been amazing. So many blessings. I wish I could tell you more but our time is about up. I love you all. Merry Christmas!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins





Monday, December 1, 2014

He is the Gift (Week 63)

This week has been good. On Thursday we had a specialized training meeting in Enid where we were introduced to the "He is the Gift" Initiative. A missionary movement to share the true meaning of Christmas, the birth and life of our savior Jesus Christ. The first gift given to man kind.

On christmas.mormon.org the church has created videos and interactive pages for people all around the world to watch and explore; to discover, embrace, and share the message of Jesus Christ. It's amazing what the church is doing to spread this message. Times Square will have the message and video displayed all through out December and on the 7th the video will be the banner for YouTube in North and South America. Pretty amazing. I encourage all of you to check out the video "He is the Gift" and share it on your social media for the world to see. Flood the earth with the message of Jesus Christ!

This pass few days we have been using these new tools to find and teach people on the streets. On Saturday when what felt like all of our plans fell through we were able to establish contact with some of out old potential investigators. It was almost curfew and we stopped and talk with them on their porch. Now much more receptive to our message we shared the video with them on their phone (can't wait when we get iPads to show people videos). We showed them the video and as soon as the video ended their friend said: "I want to share that!" and then Jamie... "Tell me when you're done I do too!" Haha so awesome! We began teaching them about Jesus Christ and how his birth was also prophesied here in the Americas. We had to get going so we left them with a prayer and we set up a time to teach them more. So pumped.

Most of our investigators have been sick or out of town for the holidays. We found C~ in the Jailbirds (Newspaper in gas stations). He isn't in jail for any serious reason so he should be released soon. Today we will go over and visit his parents to get an update.

I hope you all had a great thanksgiving. I sure did. SO much turkey and pie! Keep me updated, I love you all!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Turkey Bowl Football

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! (Week 62)

Elder Taunteang is in Kiribati and Elder Matthew is now in Ponca.

This week has been crazy, but good. Tuesday us and the Blackwell Elders left to Moore to drop off Elder Taunteang at the mission office and then stayed in Moore and did splits with the Moore 2nd and the Zone Leaders. It was nice to see missionaries from my last zone and to spend the day serving with Elder Park and Elder Davis. After spending the night we had transfers in the morning, and I got to see old friends, companions and leaders.

My new companion is Elder Matthews from Spanish Fork Utah. He is a fairly new missionary who just got done with his training. He is awesome and we get along great. We are learning a lot from each other (in a positive way).

This week we have been going through our ward roster and meeting all of our less-active members, and building relationships with them. We are finding a lot of part member families and we are going to start teaching a few soon.

Bad news C~ is in Jail... But from what we have heard is that he shouldn't be there long. We don't really know what happened but we are hoping that we can get a hold of him soon.

A lot of our investigators are struggling right now so keep them in your prayers. We are starting to do a lot of finding through tracting, street contacting, and visiting former investigators. So far we have found a few but we hope to fill up our teaching pool by the end of the week.

Since It's Thanksgiving I thought I would write a quick list of some of the things I'm grateful for.

I am grateful for:
My Family and their love
My friends and their support
My mission and the experiences I've had
The Atonement of Jesus Christ
The Restoration of the Gospel
My health and strength
My weaknesses that make me stronger

The librarian that cuts our time short... (yeah...)

Well I love you guys and I'm grateful for all of the blessing this gospel gives. The book is blue! The church is true!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Monday, November 17, 2014

Time is Too Fast (Week 61)

Wow, it feels like just last week that I arrived here in Ponca City and now the transfer is over and Elder T is leaving tomorrow to his homeland. I've learned so much from him and I'm so happy I was blessed to serve with him for 5 weeks

Tomorrow Elder T leaves to OKC and because he leaves before the actual transfer on Wednesday I will be going on splits with one of the elders in the city for a day. I will get my new companion on Wednesday, his name is Elder Matthews. I don't know anything about him except that he just got done being trained. I'm excited to serve with a newer missionary. He had a good trainer so I'm not too worried.

Things are going well in Ponca City. We just got our first big snow storm and the roads are pretty icy. Our side of town has a big network of culverts, and they provide us with quick ways of cutting around town. We have been trying to think of even quicker ways of getting around since we can't really ride our bikes on ice. So we might just start rounding up the stray dogs in town and use the culverts for a bob sled track.

Two birds. One stone. Dead.

This week has been interesting because Elder T has preparing to depart Oklahoma, and it seems like all of Ponca City has the Flu/Cold. Almost all of our investigators have been sick with something or other, but that hasn't stopped us from finding people to teach. This week we have found a new less-active family that we didn't know about. One of them (the Cb~ family) has been less active for quite some time so we are going to start teaching them the discussions to help them find the answers to their current questions.

We set a baptism date for Calvin for January 8th. He is doing great and has started reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it. We can tell his mom isn't very fond of the the church or us coming over so we are hoping to establish trust with her, and help her understand we are only here to help her son come unto Christ. It's been hard to get a hold of him because he doesn't have his own phone, so we have to get a hold of him through his mom's phone.

Zane and Nakisha have been really sick this week, but Zane told us that he has already read 6 pages of the Book of Mormon on his own and has really enjoyed it. We meet with them this coming Thursday, and we are hoping to talk about a date for their wedding so we can work towards baptism.

Well I gotta go, I hope it has been a good first week of winter for y'all. Keep me posted!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

 First Snow

Bonfire

 Me and Elder Taunteang

Monday, November 10, 2014

Messengers of the Lord (Week 60)

Sorry for last week's short letter. This last week has been great even though the weather hasn't. This week it's suppose to snow and ice over... Bikes on Ice.

I wanted to tell you guys about C~ last week but I didn't have enough time. I had so many emails to read in an hour (first world problems). You guys are awesome thank you for all of the love and support! Okay so C~, last week we had all of our appointments fall through, so we had a member drop us off back at our house and we walked to visit a less active member. During the walk we handed out two Book of Mormons and two Restoration pamphlets. Super solid finds. We arrived at the member's house and she wasn't home. Hmmm, we had 45 minutes left until 9 o'clock. We pulled out the roster and looked for a member to visit.

There turned out to be a inactive member that lived just up the street and around the corner. We knocked on their door. A man in his late 20s opened the door. We asked if Sister Bb~ was home. He told us she was his mother, but she wasn't home. We asked him for his name and we reached out to shake his hand. He hesitated on shaking our hand (he said he was sick), but told us his name was C~. We introduced ourselves and told him that we were representatives of Jesus Christ. We told him, "We don't want you to be out in the cold while you're sick, but when would be a good time to catch your mom home?" He told us but then abruptly told us to come inside. Me and my companion looked at each other, shrugged, and followed him in. We were slightly taken back by his invitation considering he had been really sick. We stepped inside with faith knowing the Lord would keep us from getting sick. He sat down on his couch and asked us if we could share with him our message. A little shocked by his eagerness, we said we'd love to. We taught him the Restoration and he loved it. The whole time we shared the message he was commenting and asking questions (the best!). We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and invited him to read, ponder and, pray about its message. At the end of the message he told us that he had been praying for help and direction and when he saw us at the door he knew he needed to invite us in and hear our message. He recognized us as messengers of the Lord.

So, that all happened last week, and yesterday we saw him again. He was literally standing by the front door. He invited us in with a smile on his face. We planned on sharing the plan of salvation with him but something told us he need a different message today. We asked him what he has been up to this week and he said, "Just fighting my addictions."  We asked him what his struggle was and he told us he has been fighting a drug addiction since he was 18. We changed our lesson plan and talked briefly about the word of wisdom and the different tools the Lord has given us to fight Satan's evil influence. We told him about the church's Addiction Recovery Program and gave him a pamphlet with more information on it. Sister Bb~ his mother walked in and you could tell she didn't like the church too much. During our visit we had been reading verses from the Bible and the Book of Mormon. She just so happened to walk in while we were sharing Ether 12:27. Being irritated she asked, "Why do you guys always read from the Book of Mormon and never the Bible?" C~ jumped in, "Mother they just read a scripture from John." So awesome! We explained to her the importance of God's word, and how both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are both testaments that Jesus is the Christ. She told us of a bad experience she had with a church member a long time ago, which lead her to leaving the church. We explained to her humans aren't perfect but the gospel is. We continued to teach both of them the importance of the restored gospel we bore our testimonies. Sister Bb~'s heart seemed to soften. She sat in for the rest of the visit and listened as we gave her son advice to read the scriptures and pray every night. By the end of the visit Sister Bb~ seemed to have a different attitude of understanding and love. She told us she wants us to continue coming by as much as we could.

The Spirit softens hearts.

This will be Elder T's last full week in the mission field. I'm going to miss him. He has taught me so much about love and hard work. He has been a wonderful example to me of how a missionary should finish their mission.

Thank you all for your emails and support, keep me posted!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

P.S. We are getting three new missionaries in the district, and two of them are greenies. No I'm not training yet, but soon. I can feel it.

 New Glasses

Members Concert

Thugs

Before Pen

After Pen





Monday, November 3, 2014

Happy Halloween! (Week 59)

Sorry the email this week is going to be ridiculously short because we have to leave early for zone p-day in Enid (80 miles away) but next week I'll be sure to make up for it!

This week has been awesome. We had an amazing turn out for the ward Halloween party. We had to squeeze 3 extra tables in the cultural hall. A lot of less actives and non-members came. We had Our investigators Z~ and N~ show up. Their kids are awesome haha. Elder T was struggling with a ring toss game so their younger son walked up to him, "Here I got it". He got it on his first try.  Z~ and N~ are awesome, they apparently know a lot of members of the church. Well I guess everyone knows each other in Ponca City haha. We are hoping to teach them tomorrow night, and go over the restoration with Z~.

We have been finding a lot of investigators to teach and our teaching pool is filling up. We had one night where in an hour we found 2 potential investigators that we left Book of Mormons with and a prayer, and taught a new investigator on the spot (I'll tell you his story next week). Super cool.

Once again sorry for the short email. I love you all.

Sincerely, Elder Watkins






Monday, October 27, 2014

Splits, NBA (Week 58)

I neglected to mention last week that we live in a house. Say, "Hello House".

It's a pretty nice place... missionaries have just been living in it, haha. It needs some cleaning and rearranging, but over all it's great environment! We have 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room, dining room, kitchen, a back yard, and a basketball hoop in the front! All of our neighbors love us and we talk to them all of the time. In fact a couple of days ago our dinner appointment fell through so we ate a quick meal and shot a few hoops (Elder Taunteang will probably play for BYU and then go into the NBA and play for the Thunder after his mission, he is ridiculous). Anyways our neighbor came outside and came over to us and started shooting hoops with us (he was pretty good for being intoxicated). We talked to him about the gospel and our purpose as missionaries. He opened up a little and told us about his life. We encouraged him to pray and read the scriptures for guidance. He told us he would try, and then we promised him blessings.

Yesterday we were biking down Highland and we heard someone ask "Hey! are y'all Jehovah Witness?" We stopped our bikes and pulled up onto to the sidewalk to these two men. We replied, "No, we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints." We of course got a look of confusion, "We are Mormon missionaries" in unison. "OOH, Okay". We got talking to them, and they told us their stories. Both of them lived at the Ponca City halfway house as prisoners. We asked them if they were allowed to read. The younger one replied, "Yes, do you have a book we can read?". We pulled out two copies of the Book of Mormon, and gave them a summary and went through the pictures at the beginning of the book. We left them with the copies and gave them the promise that the Book of Mormon would help them get back on their feet and give them direction towards their Savior. The spirit was so strong as me and Elder T powerfully bore our testimonies of the Savior's Atonement, and the Restoration of the Gospel. After we biked away to our next appointment I was left with a feeling of peace. This work is so rewarding.

Later that night we taught Z~ and N~ the Plan of Salvation. This was Z~'s first time hearing from the missionaries and he's known as not being very religious. They are a young couple with 3 little kids. We taught the message and the entire time Z~ was listening and asking questions. The spirit was powerful as we talked out eternal families and temples. Temples caught N~'s attention and she began to ask questions. We told them that after baptism they would be able to prepare for their family to go to the temple and be sealed for time and all eternity. I could tell that the spirit was testifying to N~. We left them with the commitment to come to church and read the Book of Mormon. Z~ loved the whole message and told us it made 100% sense to him, and that he was impressed. He is excited to start reading the Book of Mormon, they even said they are going to try to make it to the Book of Mormon class this Wednesday. So cool!

Anyways, time's up! I hope this week has treated you well! You are in my prayers! Keep me posted.

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

P.S. S~'s baptism date got dropped but we are working on getting her ready and prepared for baptism.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ponca City (Week 57)

Well I'm here now in Ponca City, and I love it! It's amazing here. We cover everything west of seventh street. We are on bikes but we don't have to go out of town because the sisters have a car and visit the distant towns. Ponca City is a lot like my first area in Shawnee. It's an older town with a ton of cool history. Downtown is like walking through the 1920's. The original mayor founder of Conoco Oil built a lot of the old buildings and the architecture look a lot like something from a foreign country, like India or the middle east. I'll have to get some pictures so I can show you. Our area mostly covers downtown, the south shady part of town, and the middle-class northern neighborhood.

My companion is amazing (I figured out how to spell his name finally) Elder Taunteang. He is from Kiribati (an island in the Gilbert Islands in the South Pacific), apparently on their island they cook dogs for food. One night we were talking before bed and our neighbors little dog would not shut up, so I said, "hmmmm, Elder Taunteang... how do you cook a dog?" His response: "Like a chicken" Hahaha he cracks me up. He goes home in 5 weeks. :( He is an amazing hard working missionary and is enduring to the end of his mission.

Me and Elder T have already seen so many miracles just from the 4 days we have served together. I don't even know where to start or how to explain. A couple of days ago we were walking down the street (on the "darkside" of town) when a middle aged man called out to us from his porch. We approached him and started to talk to him. He asked us what church we were with and we start to explain who we were and where we were from. We got into a good discussion about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration. he seemed skeptical but interested, we told him our purpose and how the Book of Mormon has blessed our lives. He opened up a little bit but was still stand offish. He told us he wanted to swing by later sometime after he has done some research. We stopped him and invited him to read the Book of Mormon for himself and go to the source of all truth, God. He accepted the Book of Mormon and afterwards said, "I wasn't sure why I called out to you guys because everyone knows that is unlike me. I guess I felt prompted to and I'll leave it at that." Pretty cool stuff, we are going to swing by and see him next week.

Yesterday we fasted for our investigator S~ for her to come to church (she has a baptism date for this Thursday and she needed to come or we would have to push it back). She came and she had an amazing experience, she was able to stay all three hours without schedule conflicts. Later that day we went over to teach her with brother Critchfield and talked about the qualification of baptism in D&C Chapter 20 and the baptismal interview questions. She is such a sweet lady. She is so sincere and honest. She told us that she wants to be baptized, but she is worried that the emotions of losing her husband a year ago (this month being their anniversary) are getting in the way of how she really feels. We told her that we are on the lord errand and he has put us in her path because the gospel will fill those feeling of loss and sorrow. She is so sincere and worried about doing it right. We comforted her and reassured her that she is ready for this step. She is so ready! We are going to go over today to teach her the last discussion on the law of tithing. She going to be baptized this Thursday, things are looking good!

Well the computer is going to log off soon, I best wrap up. I love you all and I'm excited to tell you all about the baptism next Monday!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Elder Taunteang and Elder Watkins

Planning with Elder Taunteang

Monday, October 13, 2014

Transfers (Week 56)

I'm getting transferred. I'm going to Ponca City West and I'm going to be companions with an Elder From the Marshall Islands, Elder Tonteung. I am super pumped! But also super sad! I've made so many close friends here and it's hard to leave, I know I will come back for P~'s baptism and hopefully C~ and M~ continue to progress. Elder Staheli is taking over the area and is training a new missionary, we don't know who until the day of transfers. Elder Staheli is going to do great. I'm still waiting for my own posterity, but I know it will come.

This week has been a good last week in Yukon. We got to teach P~ twice! On Wednesday we took the Bynums and talked about receiving answers and listening to the spirit. We watched a couple of general conference talks and discussed the importance of having prophets and apostles. At the end of the lesson Brother Bynum invited P~ to go with them to see Meet the Mormons! and she said yes! Later that week on Saturday we saw her again with Brother Richens. We asked her about the movie and she said she loved it. Her favorite story from the movie was the Missionary Mom, she said she never realized what missionaries sacrifice to share the gospel. That night we watched a Mormon Message with her, On the Road to Damascus. It was super inspired, it mentioned everything that she was struggling with - recognizing an answer from the spirit and coming to church. We helped her make the connection that coming to church is going to be a step in receiving her answer. A BIG STEP. She told us that everything our church stands for and teaches is what she has looked for in a church. I think she is finally starting to see where her answer is going to come (Hint: church). We told her tomorrow was fast Sunday and that we could join her in a fast to receive her answer. She told us that she isn't going to commit but we might see her there. She is so funny. She didn't come but we are going to help her by getting a ride next week.

We are going to see Sc~ one last time on Tuesday and share the plan of salvation with him. It should be good. My favorite story that I've recently be reading and studying in the Book of Mormon is Ether chapters 2 and 3. When The brother of Jared is directed by the Lord to find a way to have light in the vessels. The brother of  Jared brings 16 stones back and prays to Lord to give them light.

4 And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea.

 5 Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men.

These are some of my favorite verses in the Book of Mormon right now. God can do mighty things through the power of faith. Sometimes in a trial we must first ponder and think of what we can do to fix or better our situation and then bring it to the Lord so he can lead us through.

Sorry for another short e-mail. I promise a longer one next week. (I gotta stop ending my emails like this...). I love you all! I hope you all have a great productive week!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

The Cardon Family

Our Investigator P~

Grandpa and Grandma Tucker

Brother Snodgrass (Ward Missionary)

 Our Investigator Family C~ and M~

 The Hooser Family

Service with Rodney (RC)


video
A sweet ward member sent this to Russell's Mom

Monday, October 6, 2014

General Conference (Week 55)

Smack down on prophets and missionary work! General Conference was AWESOME! So much inspiration and revelation!

I loved Elder Robbins of the Seventies talk! It was very bold and straight forward about God's law and keeping the commandments. It was very similar to Elder Holland’s talk The Inconvenient Messiah. We are saved by grace after all that we can do. God gave us commandments for a reason; God and His requirements are unchanging. We will have to show some of our investigators his talk haha. I also loved the theme on prophets and the importance of personal conversion.

We tried so hard to get P~ to the church to watch General Conference. She watched all of Saturday’s sessions including priesthood lol. She enjoyed all of it and loved President Monson's talk. Everything in conference applied to her. Last week I failed to talk about our church tour with her. We planned it right before the General Women's broadcast dinner and session. She loved it and stopped at every painting in the building, she loved it when we got in the chapel we could feel the spirit so strong. Brother Bynum bore a powerful testimony of the sacrament and its purpose. After the tour we had Sister Bynum invite her to the dinner. We tried so hard to get her to stay. She was so close; instead she watched it at home on her iPad. I'm starting to think technology is a hindrance. Haha, I'm kidding.

A couple of nights ago we got a call from the APs, Elder Staheli will be training next transfer, lucky guy. We were joking all day about who was going to get trainer calls. Sure enough Elder Staheli and Sister Young will both be training, which means I will most likely be getting transferred. It should be interesting where I go next. I’m super sad to leave this Ward and all of the close friends I have made. This place has really grown on me. The Bishop said he's going to convince president to have me stay. I'm going to miss the Bishopric here. I'll let you know on Monday where I’m getting transferred.

I love you all!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

 
Brother D~ and his Son C~
 
Sunset over Mustang

Sunset on Reno Ave.

Doodles

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Intellectual Historians (Week 54)

Sc~ is a smart guy, but does he have the fullness?

This week we visited Sc~. The investigator Elder Staheli and Elder Bues shared the restoration with a couple of weeks ago. We had to speak with him to reschedule our new appointment we set up with him and his wife. While we spoke to him on the porch I realized we were dealing with a pretty smart guy. He sort of reminded me of C~ from Shawnee, you know that guy who took IQ tests and scored something around 180 IQ. We got into a good conversation with him on the porch and he ended up inviting us inside. Sci-fi posters and merchandise decorated the walls of the living room. After he took 30 minutes to explain to us the plot of Star Wars Episode 7 (lol) we got out the scriptures and started talking about the gospel.

I soon learned Sc~'s story. Around the age of 12 Sc~'s parents and him were converted and baptized into the LDS Church. He attended church with his parents until he fell away in his late teenage years. He slipped into drinking and smoking and felt lost for many years. He studied and searched the scriptures. He got deep into the study of history and religion. One day while he was reading the scriptures the spirit bore witness to him that he needed to be "saved."  He went straight way to the closest Baptist Church and was baptized. He felt the holy ghost from his commitment, but then fell away and went into inactivity, and now he's set on that there is no need for organized religion. Good thing our other appointments fell through, we ended up teaching and discussing with him for two and a half hours. The spirit inspired me and Elder Staheli. A clear question entered our minds.

"Sc~, do you believe God is a God of order?"

He sat there puzzled for a moment. He pondered and then asked us to expound.

Do you believe God is the same yesterday today and forever? Do you believe God would allow and leave his children to dwindle in confusion until his coming?

He thought and pondered the questions. He knew what we were getting at. The need for a prophet. We reminded him how prophets and priesthood authority are essential to our salvation. After teaching him the doctrine of Christ (Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost, Endure to the End) we made it plain and simple and told him either the Book of Mormon is true or it's not; and the only way you're going to find out if the church is true or that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God is by reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. He accepted the invitation and told us that he would sincerely study the book. The spirit was strong the whole way through. As we left I thought about the scripture that talks about how the servants of the Lord though weak they will confound the wise. The spirit works through us and guides our minds and prompts us what to say.

This week was good, we had a church tour with P~ and she watched the General Women's Conference broadcast. Super awesome! She is moving along. Sorry for focusing the email mostly on Sc~. AHH I'm running out of time! I love you all! Have a good week!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Almost walked into this guy whilst tracting...

Finshed (Geometry)

Goodbye Lee... gave him his last English lesson... he's going on a 3
month trip back to Vietnam :(

Monday, September 22, 2014

Half Way... (Week 53)

It's very surreal how quickly time has passed. It's kind of scary really. Wednesday night after nightly planning I sat back and reflected on the year. I thought about all of the people I have taught and all the lives I've watched the Savior heal. I thought of all the friends I had made, all of the memories of dangerous storms, slammed doors, people praying with us under the influence (not the spirit). So much behind me but still so much in front.

This week has been good! Lots of tender mercies and miracles. A few of them I missed while I was on exchanges, DANG IT!

First off P~ is super close to baptism! We taught her the Word of Wisdom and she committed to follow it. Her foot is almost completely healed, that priesthood blessing is working fast! She is pretty far into her reading/listening. She loves the Book of Mormon and her testimony is beginning to sprout. While I was on exchanges down in Mustang, P~ basically told Elder Staheli and Elder Bues that she knows the Book of Mormon is true.... darn exchanges....

We took our Bishop out teaching with us on Thursday and taught some of our investigators. Including the D~ family (the in-active family with the 11 year old who has never been to church) which went really well. Brother and Sister D~ really opened up and admitted they need to change. Their testimony's are still there and Brother D~ basically told us his conversion story. They just need to make the effort and come to church. There is only so much that we missionaries can do. After the appointments we talked to our Bishop about the ward members and missionary work. We discussed with him the things that were discussed in our training with Elder Foster on creating a vision. Bishop is on fire right now, he basically told us all that was going down in the ward and what we need to do to fix it. We came up with tons of ideas to get the members more involved and excited about missionary work. After the conversation he invited us to bishopric council on Sunday morning to talk about our vision. Awe yeah!

Yesterday before church we went to the bishopric council. Bishop is on fire and he is ready for the Mustang Stake. We created a list of goals that will help the ward achieve its vision: To create an atmosphere in the ward where members are actively involved and participating in personal missionary work and being motivated and filled with the pure love of Christ. Things are going to change in the ward. Everyone is on board.

Dang it I'm running out of time... I love you all! I'll email you more about P~, and C~.

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Good Times



Monday, September 15, 2014

Prayer and Our Connection With The Father (Week 52)

This week I've learned a lot about prayer. We started the week out with a mission tour (where half of the mission gathers for a training from a General Authority). Elder Foster from the Quorum of the Seventy came to our mission and gave us a training on prayer and our connection/relationship with God. It was very inspiring and powerful. He read the scripture from Moses where God appears to him and tells him that he is a son of God, then later Satan appears and tries to deceive him by calling him the son of man. We watched a couple of videos that went into the science of the Earth, existence and how perfect living conditions are for us to live on it. The whole training made me ponder God's infinite love for us. We also talked about member missionary work, of course. We talked about the need of having a vision of ward missionary work before we set goals. Kind of a no-brainer, but surprisingly it's something wards struggle with establishing. Members don't always see the true reason for missionary work.

Later we even had our training in district meeting on prayer. In district meeting, each companionship accounts for their week and addresses a concern they are having with a family or individual they are teaching. Then the missionaries in the district offer inspired advice and insights, they have learned from similar experiences. This week we discussed P~, the super solid lady we have recently been teaching. Her big stumbling block is prayer, she prays on her own but when we invite her at the end of the lesson to say the closing prayer she shuts down and gets really shy and won't pray. Our goal is to to help her be able to say the closing prayer by the end of the week. We role-played and studied it out. Then on Wednesday, we taught her a whole lesson on prayer. You could tell she knew it was coming. We invited her to pray and.... no go. BUT she promised to say it next time (Saturday), we still had time to help her pray. Okay so on Saturday! SHE DID IT! It was awesome too! She even accepted our offer to give her a blessing for her foot to recover (a reason she can't come to church). It was so powerful, she loved it! All we have left to teach her is some commandments and we will have taught her everything. She has been listening to the Book of Mormon on CD.

This whole week has been about prayer. It's nuts.

Last night after I poured out my heart in prayer I laid in bed and stared at the ceiling and thought about how it was all possible for our Father to love the infinite sand of souls He created. Of course something none of us can comprehend as mortals, but a thought occured to me. He is living eternal life, time is infinite for Him. He has no limitations, He is our personal and loving Heavenly Father, we mean everything to him. It was a peaceful thought and I knew it came from my Heavenly Father.

UGH! I'm running out of time, can't type fast enough. This week has been good we have two new solid investigators that I'll have to tell you about next week! I love you all! Keep me posted!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins


 Our Vietnamese friend learning anatomy. lol


Geometry

Monday, September 8, 2014

Bikes and Rain (Week 51)

This week has been interesting, all of our plans got changed and moved but everything seamed to work out okay.

We had transfers this week but nothing really changed in the district. Me and Elder Staheli will be together for another 6 weeks. AWE YEAH. The only change is that we now have a Marseille Elder in the District, super cool!

This week has been difficult to meet with our investigators but thankfully we were able to meet with P~. We taught her the 10 commandments, something that basically every oklahomian knows. We can tell that she is really sincere in here investigation. Lately she has been asking really good questions, she is already jumping ahead into the doctrine and covenants haha. We have been taking members with us to teach her and its been great! The members in the ward are finally starting to get excited about missionary work, in fact they almost start teaching the lessons on their the own... yikes. Haha it's hard sometimes but you just have to help them remember the purpose of missionaries and members in hastening the work. Missionaries are the teachers, and members are to bare testimony and fellowship with the investigators.

P~ is moving pretty quickly and will probably be baptized sometime in October if she continues to prayerfully study and come to church. Lately its been a struggle because of her ankle injury, we might try to give her a blessing next time to hopefully speed up her recovery.

Other than P~ we really haven't been able to meet with our progressing investigators, but we have still seen some pretty cool miracles. On Saturday it rained pretty much all day. We had four hours of outside service planned that got canceled. So on Saturday morning Elder Staheli and I had to alter our plans completely. We decided to see members on the outskirts of our area (excellent idea for a rainy day right? haha). Well no one answered. No one. We were pretty discouraged, so we decided to take a pit stop at the gas station. Elder Staheli and I were hungry so we got some Texas Rolls. On the way out we noticed an older man in the left turn lane of the busy road pushing his broken down car. We ran over to him and helped him push his car out of the street and up into the parking lot. The man spoke Spanish so he was a little hard to understand. We smiled and gave him a pass along card and told him we were missionaries. He lived in Moore so we told him if he saw missionaries there to say hi (there are Spanish speaking Elders there). Just helping him out made our day. It's amazing how God places people in our path. It reminds me to always be aware of those around us, there are opportunities everywhere to serve.

This coming week should be good, we have a lot of solid appointments set up. I promise next week will be more interesting! I love you all! I hope you have a wonderful week!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Castles Bro'

Aquarium

Frog

I am on a Foreign Mission


 
Coralstra


 
Deep Dream

Lakeside

Laundromat

Late Night Snack

Afterhours