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)

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.