Monday, January 20, 2014

C~ and R~ (Week 18)

This week started slow, but we have seen some pretty amazing miracles.

Towards the end of the week on Friday me and Elder Jenkins finally got in and taught one of our potentials that Elder Bushman originally found on exchanges. Elder Bushman first met C~ almost 3 months ago at a bus stop, and she was super excited to meet with us and knew a lot about Mormons. We tried meeting with her over the months and had no luck at catching her at a good time. We were basically about to drop her as a contact when one day me and Elder Cutler, on exchanges felt inspired to try her one last time. We walked to her house and there was a man with a NY Yankees hat sitting on the porch smoking. We walked up to him and introduced ourselves and sparked up a conversation with him. He told us his name was R~, and found out he was C~’s recently married husband. We told him we would love to come by another time and share a message with him and his family and he agreed.

Later this week on Friday night we knocked their door. R~ let us in and we sat down with him and C~ and their 8 year old daughter. We asked C~ if she had met with missionaries before and she told us she was Mormon. We were shocked at first and eventually she explained that her mother was Mormon and she had grown up Mormon but had never been baptized. We taught them about the restoration of the gospel and she loved it. She told us she really wants to get back into church and be baptized. R~ was quiet at the beginning of the lesson but we slowly got him more involved. It was crazy, I'm so glad we listened to the spirit and knocked their door one last time. Who knows how long it would have taken for the next set of missionaries to find them. We are teaching them again on Tuesday night.

This week our zone fasted on Saturday for investigators to come to church. Unfortunately we didn't have any investigators at church, BUT a very less active couple that we did service for came to church. It was really unexpected. They only came to sacrament meeting but they looked like they had a wonderful time.

W~ is in the hospital right now for double pneumonia. She is doing well though and she has basically quit smoking because of it. She told us she was so fed up of smoking and she is going to do everything she can to be baptized on Feb 8th.

Things are well and miracles are being brought to pass every day!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Investigators (Week 17)

This week has been legit, the Lord has blessed us with tons of new investigators and potentials! Things are so good in the hood. This week has showed me the amazing guidance of the spirit and how it works through effective and prayerful planning, that if we listen to it and follow its instructions, we will find those who are prepared to receive the gospel. We got 6 new investigators this week!
One of the investigators we have started teach is C. He is a senior who is doing school from home. We originally made contact with him at church. He was starting to date a Mormon girl and had become interested in what we believe. We later ran into him again while he was working at Braums, and asked him if he was interested in taking the lessons. He said yes and we set up a time to meet with him at the church building. We met with him right after Zone P-day and taught him a Restoration, it was a really good lesson and he asked some good questions, a couple of them were difficult to answer. One of them about speaking in tongues, a common Pentecostal belief that when you feel the Holy Ghost you start to yell out gibberish. Elder Jenkins politely explained what speaking in tongues meant and that when the apostles did speak in tongues, people of different languages could understand them. He is reading the Book of Mormon with his girlfriend and interested in finding out the truth. We committed him to continue to read and then pray to know if it's true. We are teaching him again today right after dinner.
Elder J and our desk
We also finally made contact with a referral that we could never get a hold of. We came by his house early in the morning right after studies and his car was there. We knocked his door and a big shirtless man in his 60s answered the door. He said, "Elders, Come on in!" We went in and he casually began to talk with us. He talked a lot and told us his life story, and showed us his sweet guitars. He apparently has been investigating the church on his own since he was 5 when he saw a temple for his first time. He has read practically every piece of church literature there is; the Pearl of Great Price, the Book of Mormon, D&C, and books written by the modern apostles. He told us he took an IQ test at OU and he has an IQ of 183 and I believe him. He could talk about 5 different things and tie them all together perfectly in 15 minutes. He is a former musician and was a local broadcaster. After talking to him for 2 hours about the church, we found out he's pretty much ready to be baptised. The only thing holding him back is his brother. His brother has done a lot for him, and he is worried about being disowned for joining the church. We helped inspire him to bear his testimony to his brother so he can understand why he is joining the church. We are going to be teaching him all the lessons this week, and get him baptized this month.
The Right Hand
We also made P an investigator and taught him a Restoration in his home. He is so funny and we enjoy talking to him and teaching him. We hope to see him again sometime this week. We have found so many more investigators and I wish I could write you about all of them, but I'm running out of time. I love you all!
Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Monday, January 6, 2014

Gangsters (Week 16)

This week has been good and I'm grateful that the holidays have finally passed, now we can meet with people. We have found a ton of people to teach and its all starting to pick up again.

This was on a door by our apartments

We had a pretty interesting experience the other day while we were tracting in the south part of town (aka the "ghetto"). We were actually just heading back to our car after knocking a couple or doors when a black man in his 50s hollered at us from up the street. He ran up the lawn of the house we were walking in front of. "Hey, come knock dis' door wit' me." Me and my companion exchanged glances. We had never taken an investigator tracting, let alone a stranger. We followed him to the door. "Dis is my friend Lenard's house, he's a good man but he jus' won't get out of bed."

I reached out my hand and asked him what his name was, and he shook my hand and replied, "I'm a gangster."
"Gangster" knocks the door. KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! "LENARD!"
From inside the house: "... WHAT?!"
"HUH?!" *Door opens* "UH UH!" *SLAM*
"COME ON, LENARD!" turns to us "Y'all got any literature?"
We hand him a book of Mormon "THEY HAVE A BOOK FOR YOU!"
*Awkward silence*, then from the back of the house, "Alright, go ahead."
"Gangster" points to me and I nod and begin to pray.

It was so strange and hilarious at the same time. After I finished praying, the man closed Lenard's door. "TAKE CARE LENARD! GOD BLESS YOU!"
We talked to "Gangster" and he told us his name was P~. We had a small discussion with him about the Book of Mormon and once I handed him one, he gave me a hug. He thanked us for our service and said he looks up to us. He invited us to go back and visit him on a later day.

We have also started teaching a young man we tracted into while we were Christmas caroling last week. We taught him a first and he said he has never been part of a church and he seemed really interested in the Book of Mormon. We have 2 months to baptise him before he joins the navy. This next week is going to be legit. Sorry this letter is short.

Zone Leaders are always on the phone

I love you all and hope all is well! Happy New Year!

Crystal Beast

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year! (Week 15)

This past week has been good, Christmas was wonderful. It was a little difficult to find people to visit with because we weren't allowed to tract or visit investigators without a set appointment, but we were able to meet with a bunch of members. On Christmas Eve night things got super slow, so we decided we would go Christmas caroling, -me, Elder Jenkins, and the Zone Leaders. It was a blast. We weren't the best carolers but we had a lot of fun. On one of the porches we sang ‘Away in a Manger’ to a family and we completely forgot the tune half-way through. Elder Moore could not stop laughing, he could not control himself. Almost every home we sang at Elder Moore would bust up laughing and we would all start to laugh. However, we got a lot better at singing towards the end of the night. At one door we sang Silent Night and you could just see on the family's face that they were feeling the Spirit.

This week we have been really working on getting our investigators to come to church, but things keep coming up where they can’t come or they're too lazy. The Sabbath is so important in the process to conversion; it is where the main fellow-shipping takes place. We as missionaries are only there in the ward for a certain amount of time and then we leave. If our investigators only have a relationship with us how are they supposed to stay active after we leave? This morning I was reading 3 Nephi 18, where Christ teaches the people to pray with their family, gather together for church, and pray for their fellow man and serve others. Our investigators and less-actives don't realize the blessings they are missing out on when they do not come to church and take the sacrament.

J~ is a new investigator we found this past week. We taught the restoration to him at the library and he enjoyed it. He is a father of two teenagers and he wants to clean up his life so he can be a good example to them. While we taught him the Restoration, we brought up priesthood authority, which really caught his attention. It was a pretty powerful lesson and the Spirit was really strong. We are going to teach him the Plan of Salvation this Wednesday. 

We also had a pretty cool experience out tracting while I was on exchanges with Elder Moore. We had just got done trying to knock a recent convert’s door, when I felt impressed to knock a door up the road and across the street. There was a man standing on the porch smoking; he looked at us and then went back inside. Elder Moore and I both looked at each other. We had Brother BC Rogers out with us (older man) and we didn't want to make him walk very far; but something kept telling me that we needed to knock the door so we did. It turned out the man was a member, a very inactive member. He invited us in and we talked with him. We got his information so we could later get his church records moved to the correct ward. He told us about his struggles and his two troubled teenage daughters. It’s amazing how the Spirit guided us to knock their door. Who knows how long it would have been for later missionaries to find them if we didn't follow the Spirit. 

Anyways, I hope all is well at home and that you guys aren't sick with the flu (it’s going around here). Thank you all for your Christmas letters I'm so grateful for all your love and support. I love you all and have a happy New Year!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins