Monday, July 7, 2014

Independence Day! (Week 42)

Happy 4th of July! This week has been great and we have seen a ton of miracles!

For the Fourth of July our mission president gave us permission to stay out until 11pm. We went to 2 BBQs back to back, I've never been so full of food in my life haha. The first BBQ we got invited to by a less-active member at her mother’s house. She ended up being an hour late so we showed up and ended up being the only members there haha. It was a little awkward at first but the people opened up to us and we socialized with everyone. It was awesome. Later we went to the 2nd BBQ at a member’s house. We visited and launched fireworks. Oklahoma is crazy about their freedom and country, it’s awesome and a little dangerous. People literally run around with roman candles in their hands and throwing firecrackers at each other. It’s crazy.

Later that night around 10pm we went with a family in the ward to Mustang to watch the fireworks at the park (one of the three cities in OKC where fireworks are legal). To give you an idea of what it was like imagine one third of all the people in salt lake valley all gathered within 12 square miles all of them launching aerial fireworks add in alcohol and rednecks to the equation and you have Mustang on the Fourth of July. We walked through the park with fireworks going off every which way. It was nuts! I don't think I’ve seen that many fireworks in my whole life. Don't worry no one died... that we know of.

A couple of weeks ago we knocked into an older Vietnamese gentleman. He spoke very little English but he invited us right into his home. He gave us some Hawaiian Punch to drink while we sat with him on his couch and listened to him as he struggled to speak English. Eventually I asked him if he had an iPad, he left and came back with two. We used Google translate to talk to him. We told him our purpose and he expressed his struggles with learning English and adjusting to the country. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and that Jesus Christ's pure gospel has been restored in it fullness. We used YouTube and showed him Mormon Messages about the family and the gospel and turned the Vietnamese captions on. He watched intently and we could tell he felt the spirit.

We came back a week later and gave him a Vietnamese Book of Mormon and the idea sparked in my mind to also give him an English Book of Mormon. We promised him that if he read the Vietnamese Book of Mormon side by side with the English Book of Mormon he would learn to read and speak English. After we handed him the Book of Mormon he looked up and quietly thanked God. My heart swelled with joy as I watched him smile with his eyes closed. He thanked us and we left.

On Friday me and Elder Bues went over and visited him on exchanges. Surprisingly he was speaking better English. He showed us all of the progress he had made in learning the language by showing us his notebook. We helped him pronounce the words he struggled with. Then he showed us the two Book of Mormon’s that he had been bouncing between and reading scriptures. I may be on a state side mission, but I can still serve the foreign.

AH I’m running out of time! One more thing we are having a baptism this Saturday for R~. He is so excited and ready. Even though I have only been here half of the time he has met with the missionaries, I've still seen him change so much. He has such a big heart and is going to make an amazing disciple of Jesus Christ. I'll tell you how it goes next week. I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Me during fireworks

Me, Elder Garner, R~ and Sister Bennet


The Plan of Salvation (unfinished)

Mustang 1st Missionaries
Me, Elder Garner, Sister Young and Sister Chevalier

Slow motion video of Roman Candles

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