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!


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 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