Monday, September 14, 2015

Goodbye Oklahoma (Week 104)

Well this is my last email being a full-time missionary. I'm so grateful for all of the experiences I've had as a missionary here in Oklahoma. The people here will always have a place in my heart. My mission has taught me so much about love and obedience. I know the memories I've had here in Duncan will last forever.

This week has been a blur. It has flown by so fast. Where do I begin?

We got a new investigator on Friday while me and Elder Norman were on exchanges. He walked up to us while we were contacting a farmer, and asked us to come over to his house after we were finished with our conversation. So we did and taught him about the Book of Mormon and left him with a copy. He is really interested. We are going to go back on Tuesday to teach him more!

We were very bold with Br~ on Saturday. He is frustrating himself by looking to prove the Book of Mormon (Which he just finished a couple of weeks ago) by physical evidence. We bore our testimonies of the Book of Mormon. We read Alma 7:5-17. The only way that we can receive testimony is from the holy spirit, the spirit of truth. It was a good visit. The Book of Mormon should be read by the mind but it should also be read by the heart.

Sunday was amazing, I'm going to miss the people in this ward a lot. We had a great turn out for attendance, as a district we had 10 investigators and 8 less-actives come to sacrament meeting. Incredible! Both Elder Norman and I gave talks in sacrament. It was an amazing service and all of the talks were great. J~ came to church! She walked in right as the invocation was finished and walked up to the podium. She enjoyed church and hopefully will be coming again next week.

After church we had an amazing meal at the Z~'s. Oreo cooked us rib-eye steaks with baked potatoes. They love the missionaries so much, I'm so grateful for them. I hope he gets baptized soon. He has some stumbling blocks he has to move first. Keep them in your prayers.

Wednesday morning I'll be driving up to Moore with Elder Sheffield for transfers. At noon the departing missionaries will have lunch and then we will go to the temple for a session. I am so excited! I'm not sure what we are doing after that. I'm sure we will have interviews and then spend time with president.

I want to thank everyone for their love and support while I've been out here. Your words and thoughts have taught me so much! I have felt your prayers. Thank you for everything!

I'm so excited to come home and visit with all of you!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

 The Z~'s

Bishop Cross and Sister Cross

Stake President Petersen and Sister Petersen

I met Steven Spielberg! aka Marlon

Me and Br~

Almost done!

Brother McDaniel and K~

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Last Days (Week 103)

This week has been splendid. We are finding a lot of new people to teach!

We have started to teach a new part-member family! Their name has always been on the roster, but it was missing an address. Well a couple of weeks ago, it showed up! Since then we had been knocking their door every time we came through their area, but there was never any cars in the driveway and no one would answer. Well one day our appointment fell through so we decided to drive by and try them again. This time there was a truck in the drive way. So we anxiously knocked it and they invited us right in! We got to know them and learned more about the husband's religious background. He was raised catholic and has Hispanic roots. He is awesome and wants to learn more about the church. His wife has tried to explain the church to him, but she has been away for so long its been hard for her. He works in the oil field so he is gone a lot. He also shared with us that his job has been hard because he feels like he is one of the only guys who is married and has a family. Then on Sunday we talked to a couple of the young oil field members that have kids who work a similar shift of 6 days on and 3 off, and it turns out they know him from their crew at work. They are going to start fellow shipping with him at work and invite him to activities and church. That was a pretty cool miracle.

This Sunday we had a very less active part member family come to church another whose name was also on the roster but had no address. We got to visit with him and his wife (non-members) for a bit after sacrament and got their new address. Which turns out to be on the same street as the Lewises! - one of the amazing families in the ward that lets us have investigators come to their home every Thursday night for activities and lessons. We told him about it and are going to invite their family for our next Thursday activity as soon as his work schedule permits. He works 27 days on and 10 off so it will be tough, but we will make it happen.

After church we got word of another part-member family that just showed up on the roster who moved into Marlow! Is this real life? We Got the new address from the Clerk, and last night we went up and knocked their door. The member answered and we had a really good conversation with Him on his porch and got to know him. He is a young mechanic in the Army at Fort Sill. He's been married for about 2 years and has two kids. He hasn't been to church in a long time and wants to come back. He asked us for all of the church services information and said he is going to try and make it this Sunday. We will be visiting with hopefully his whole family Sunday evening.

Another eventful thing that happened at church was that the bishopric asked me to give a talk for my last Sunday in the field which is cool because this is the only ward I haven't spoken at yet. I'll be the concluding speaker so I'll prepare a 15 minute talk while I also prepare my homecoming talk for the following Sunday, it should be a busy week of studies. I'm thinking about just giving my homecoming talk for both because they are both on missionary work.

Time's up, I love you all! See you soon!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

 Scrap'in and paint'in

Elder Sheffield pulling a Michael Scott/Han solo

The Womack's had us make concrete squares with our names in them
Bowling on p-day as a district
 A pond in a gated community in Lawton. Beautiful
Found this 1970's camera in its original box at Good Will for 5$

Monday, September 7, 2015

P-Day Pictures

A kind member in Elder Watkins area sent the following picture text to his Mother today. It read:

"Just wanted you to know that we had Elder Watkins in our home today. We love him, and as a result, we love you and are grateful you prepared him to be a wonderful missionary."

Needless to say it made our day. 


Monday, August 31, 2015

Construction Junction (Week 102)

This week has been most excellent. We were blessed to help a lot of people with service planned and unplanned, which has lead us to some good teaching opportunities.

Tuesday we did our weekly service at goodwill. Wednesday we helped our less active member at a job site he had been working on. It was inspiration that we called help him because he had been doing the job by himself and technically he Isn't suppose to be working because of his health. We got there just in time to help him dry wall the trickiest part of the ceiling. I wish I had gotten a picture of how we got the dry wall up. Craziness! Thursday afternoon we had some of our appointments cancel so we decided to swing by and help T~ our investigator (who also should not be working because of his health and injury from the military) at his motel maintenance job. We did some weeding in the garden beds and painted one of the bathrooms he repaired. He's still going through a really rough time with his family and finances. After we finished painting we took a break and got to visit with him for a bit. We found out that one of his goals is to eventually quit smoking. We explained to him the program we share as missionaries to help people overcome their addictions and his eyes lit up with excitement. He wants us to walk him through the program as soon as he gets a day off. He is so awesome.

Saturday we helped out a member family in our ward build the frame for their sons tree house. SO MUCH FUN. We did pretty good for the resources we had. We used the salvaged wood from the old garage we tore down (I think I emailed a picture of it a few months back). A lot of the wood was warped but we were able to clap it down and pull it all together.

Sunday, okay this one was crazy. So we have a part member family. Really the whole story is really long and complicated, so I will spare you. They were going to get a divorce a week after their son had his birthday (last Saturday) But things escalated and we got a call during the 3rd hour of church that she was getting kicked out of her house. Thankfully because it was the 5th Sunday we had Priesthood, Relief Society, Young Men, and Young Women altogether in the chapel. We notified the Elder's Quorum President and he made an announcement after the meeting. It was amazing 25+ members came with us to help move her out. It really helped Sister J~ realize how much the ward loves and misses her. I know this change will be for the best. She will be able to freely practice her faith now and share it with her son.

As for teaching we had a solid lesson with Oreo, Br~, D~, and T~. D~ should be coming to church this coming Sunday. Tonight we are having a family home evening with Oreo and his wife after dinner. Hopefully it's Venezuelan food again.

Well I'm out of time! I love you all see you in 2. ;)

Sincerely, Elder Watkins


 Dry Walling



My son Elder Sheffield

The Treehouse

Elder Norman in the Jeep

Driving back from helping Sister J~ move her stuff to Marlow: Chillin in the back of the EQP's Jeep.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Time Pilots (Week 101)

The weeks seem to be passing faster. I love being a missionary and I suppose every missionary experiences this at some point. I guess its been happening for awhile but time doesn't want to slow down. A member gave an interesting quote in their talk last Sunday on time and productivity "Time fly's, good thing I'm the pilot." Maybe it's cliche but I found it interesting. Are we pointing in the right direction what is our destination? Are we who we want to be? I've learned so much from this journey as a missionary. I'm grateful for the attributes I've obtained that continue to develop everyday. Time shapes hills, forms mountains, carves statues. Heavenly Father uses time to shape and mold us but only by our trust and faith in Him does He transform us in that process. Truth be told!

This week was good! We taught D~ the restoration on Tuesday which went really well. He has so many similar beliefs. He is very much on key with the doctrine he believes. He is such a meek and humble guy. He reminds me a lot of you Dad except the Okie version. Haha I don't even think D~ knows how many farm animals he has; it's so much fun to pull into the property next to his house and watch his 6 goats and 20+ birds follow us. Haha they are hilarious.

This week we did a lot of digging through our former investigators, and kept finding more and more teaching records. We have tried a lot of them but we are hoping for more success with that this week.

Like I had mentioned last week our ward has not done very many activities or ward get-togethers (we have not done any since I've been here). As a district we have begun to organize monthly missionary activities where members can invite the families they home/visit teach, and where members can invite their non-members friends to learn more about the gospel and fellowship. This last Saturday we had our first activity where we had a movie night and showed The Testaments movie on the big screen in the cultural hall. Our district teamed up and invited everyone we could. We made pass along cards to give out as we went tracting or street contacting. Well the Sunday before that Saturday we found out the county fair (Stephen county's biggest event of the year) was going to be happening the last 3 days of the week with Saturday being the biggest day. We were a little discouraged but we had faith that we would still have good attendance. We set up everything the day before and it looked awesome! The night of the activity with about 5 minutes before the movie started we only had about 12 people. Well no worries we didn't forget about MST (Mormon Standard Time), about 15 minutes after the hour we had 35 - 45 people in attendance. Three of our investigators and tons of less-actives from the other Elders area came. It was awesome! Bishop told Elder Sheffield that he was surprised and said more people came than he was expecting. We were so grateful that everything worked out. Br~ came which was a shocker. We were really excited to see him getting fellowship with a ton a members. He said he really enjoyed the movie and is eager to read 3 Nephi. He is currently in chapter 42 of Alma, he is getting close.

Next week is looking good. Our district is seeing a ton of miracles and growth with the people we are teaching right now. The other Elders pulled in 9 new investigators last week! So awesome! And they all basically fell into their lap. I'm excited for them to see those people grow. The work is hastening.

I love you all! God bless!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Monday, August 17, 2015

Ask, Seek, Knock (Week 100)

This week has been BUSY. Lots of driving, finding, and teaching.

Tuesday we had a leadership meeting in Moore where we went over President Kimball's talk "Jesus, the Perfect Leader." Its got to be one of my favorite talks. I enjoyed going back over the talk and I'll probably go over it again this week.

On Thursday we had a temple trip with the zone to the Temple in Yukon, OK. It's such a blessing to have a temple in our mission. I had a powerful experience worshiping in the temple and reading the scriptures in the celestial room. I love the peace and direction the spirit gives. I know Heavenly Father is aware of our needs and knows what will help us most.

I had a powerful study on the well known verse Matt 7:7 last week during my personal studies.

7 ¶Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

I read this while I was preparing a training on finding and I guess this is an example of when a really simple scripture becomes deeper from listening to the spirit. We pray for a lot of things and we receive those things when it is expedient in the Lord that we should receive them, but how often do we ask and forget to seek? We forget what we asked for and float through the rest of the day unaware of the prepared blessing right in front of our faces?

Finding in missionary work is a 3 step phase; ask, seek, knock. We have to have faith that God is preparing everyone around us, they might all be at different points in their progression but every one has equal potential. If we don't seek and talk to everyone we meet we might pass someone the Lord has prepared for us to find.

It seems the last month or so the weeks have alternated back and forth from mostly teaching to mostly finding. This week was one of the mostly finding weeks. It was good though, we have been able to help a lot of people that God has guided us to. We have been able to find a lot of new people in Marlow to teach that we now have setup to teach this coming week. Tomorrow is going to be awesome! We have four super solid appointments lined up.

This coming Saturday we have organized a missionary activity where we are going to be showing a church film (The Testaments) to give our investigators an opportunity to learn more about the Book of Mormon. It will be good for our less-actives and those we are teaching to fellowship with the active members. This Ward really struggles with doing activities.

We had a pretty solid lesson with Oreo where we read Genesis 22, the story of Abraham when he was commanded to sacrifice his son. We had a really good discussion about sacrifice and blessings, and the importance of obedience to God's commandments. I love the scriptures and how they illustrate God's love. Everything that God gives us is out of his love and concern for us; commandments, blessings trials, miracles, weaknesses, and strengths. We are getting a better idea of what is holding him back from being baptized. He is close he just needs to connect a few of the spiritual dots and DO IT!

Well, we are just about out of time at the library. I love you all! I'm excited to share this weeks miracles next time!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Lawton Zone Temple Trip

Oklahoma City Temple

Monday, August 10, 2015

August Rush (Week 99)

This coming transfer is looking good. I'm so excited for this final stretch. I can't wait to see the miracles that lay ahead. It's going to be crazy. The zone leaders gave me the crazy plans for the transfer on Wednesday night. We have a LTM (Leadership Training Meeting) in Moore, a temple trip in Yukon, and an STM in Lawton. And all of this is happening within the next two weeks. Craziness. I'm excited to have two temple trips this transfer, it feels like forever since we went last.

Training is going well. Last night me and Elder Sheffield had a good talk about seeing others as what they can become, especially when it comes to talking to people at the door or on the street. He seems to get a little down or discouraged from tracting and finding. We talked about how every positive contact people have with us gets them closer to hearing the gospel. That's the joy of talking to everyone. We don't always know the point when that will happen so we have to have faith that God is leading us to those who are searching.

Okay where do I start, A'ight we had a church tour with J~l and we were able to get Sister Foreman to join us in giving the tour. It was such an amazing tour, Sister Foreman was great; in fact, she did most of the tour. She connected with her really well and was able to answer questions that fellow mothers could answer. It was neat to see J~'s smile as we stood in the chapel. She recognized the spirit in the chapel and told us she would save her questions for after we exited the chapel. Haha she is awesome. She is excited to come to church this coming Sunday. After the tour and after we had walked her to the lobby, she left and we went about turning off the a/c and what not when she came back inside and thanked us for taking our time to teach her. She is so wonderful and sincere.

Last week's tracting and finding paid off. We got four new investigators which is really good for this area. Me and Elder Sheffield are delighting in the tiny victories the Lord helps us achieve every week. This area has grown a lot over the last four months and things are only looking better.

For district meeting we all held council together as a district and set some good goals as a district and established some expectations. We are all going to be working on being more diligent in finding and setting baptismal dates.

Thank you for you support and love! Remember to read the scriptures today!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

The Duncan District (Elder's Sheffield, Norman and Quinney)

Elder Sheffield making a mess in our kitchen ;)

Its only begun

Planner Cover?

An old wedding chapel in Marlow's park

Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 98

This week was a little slow, but it was good.

This week we got to teach a full lesson with J~. Which was a mess at first, but it's all pretty funny looking back. We arranged to meet at the library for the discussion, because she felt a little self-conscious about it being messy inside her house. I assumed that meeting at the library would work out great because I had done it all of the time in Shawnee and Ponca City, and it had been a great, peaceful atmosphere for teaching lessons. Well we got to the library 10 minutes early and asked if we could use one of the glass rooms. It turns out it's library policy that no political, social, or religious group is allowed to hold discussions in the library. Yeah... I don't feel like that's right but whatever. Me and Elder Sheffield quickly counseled what we should do. We felt inspired to have the discussion at the church since J~ hadn't been to the building yet. We gave her a call, met her outside the library, and had her follow us to the church. Okay so we are almost there and it occurred to me that there wouldn't be a third male at the church and President just so happened to be meeting the district at the church for interviews right around when we would get finished with our discussion with J~. Yeah, awkward situation. I said a little prayer in my heart if this was alright, and I felt that this was all inspired. One of those higher law moments.

The discussion went great and we we're able to help J~ better understand the plan of salvation and the atonement. At the end of the discussion she asked if there was a way she could get a copy of the plan of salvation lay out. Neither of us had any picture copies of it on hand so later that week we came by her house to drop off a copy of the illustrated layout I had drawn earlier in my mission. Her teenage sons answered the door and J~ asked us to come in. Haha really? It wasn't a mess at all. It was all very ironic. Inside their house we were able to watch a Mormon Message with one of her twin sons and invite him to browse the church's website. This coming week we are going to do a full church tour with her and possibly her sons.

We weren't able to have dinner with our investigators D~ and C~, because they had a last second show come up that he performed down in Dallas. They are rescheduling for this week though.

We have dinner with our Venezuelan part member family again this Thursday so that should be good.

This week we weren't able to do a lot of teaching so we really focused on finding. We have 5 or 6 solid appointments this week for teaching new investigators so it should be a great week!

In other good news president decided that our area should keep the car! Yeah for work in Marlow!

Last night we got transfer calls, Elder Nelson is going home to Wyoming and we are getting Elder Normon!! I'm super excited! I served in the Enid zone with him while he was getting trained. I'm going to be District Leader for my last transfer. I'm hoping to do my best to help this district before I leave.

Thank you for you support! I love you!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Elder Sheffield took this one. This is "some" of our investigators
goats. He took this picture right as one goat was ramming another.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Corey's Baptism (Week 97)

This week was great! Lots of good stuff, chronological or order of awesomeness? I'll just recite things backwards.

Well on Saturday Elder Sheffield and I were blessed to attend  Corey's baptism of in Norman, OK. He was the investigator we worked with for 3 months until he and his member wife had to move to Noble for work. Well as soon as they moved we got in touch with the missionaries there (Sister Boulter from Lone Peak and Sister Duerch). They have helped Corey the rest of the way and on Saturday he was baptized! It was a great baptismal service! You could sense Corey's anxiety and excitement. It was cool. After the baptism the sisters, us, and some of the other missionaries signed the back of a picture of the OKC temple and wrote our thoughts and encouragement. They are working to be sealed in the temple next July! Just listening to their excitement about going to the temple filled me with joy. I am so excited for their family!

On Friday we arranged for our native american investigator C~ (who is huge into native lore) and his two sons to have a pow wow for the boy scouts in the ward. Friday evening we got to go to a members property out in the country where the boy scouts were camping and got to watch 20 minutes of D~ and M~'s performance. It was pretty cool. They loved the experience and got to meet some of the church members they go to school with. The boys want to go to Wednesday night activities now. Hopefully they can make it this coming week.

On Wednesday we picked up two new investigators, Dn~ and Cl, a young couple that has only been married for 3 months. We met Dn~ from knocking doors. He and his wife are both from a small town in Texas and were raised as Baptists. He has actually been to Salt Lake temple square and BYU, Provo campus for tours. He told us that our religion has always fascinated him. He told us that this was the first time he had met missionaries. He invited us to come back. So last Wednesday we arrived for our set appointment and got to meet his wife. They are a super chill young couple. He is working for Halliburton and making music with his buddies on the side. I think he and I will get along. We first got to know them, and then he told us that he wanted to ask us questions (from a piece of paper) after the discussion. I was a little skeptical at first, not knowing if they were really his questions or stump the Mormon questions off the internet. Haha. Well, we opened with a prayer and we shared the message of the Restoration with them. We focused on families and eternal marriage. The whole time he was very open, respectful, and receptive. It was a powerful lesson taught to their questions, knowing that afterwards he'd go down the list. He said well you answered a ton of my questions. Haha, he had a few about the priesthood and couple of other common ones, but we were able to answer them simply. His other questions will be answered next time when we share the Plan of Salvation. Pumped for that. Before we even got out a Book of Mormon to give him, he asked for one. Before our stomachs even growled, he offered to feed us next Friday. They are awesome!

Monday, we taught Oreo and his wife after they fed us an amazing Venezuelan dinner. We taught him the Restoration with the Jenga tower and he basically taught it to us, haha. It was a lot of fun watching him and his wife work together.They are so funny. He is a great guy, and wants to know the truth for himself. There are a few members who are going to arrange a dinner or an activity in their home to invite them to which would be awesome!

For P-day we are going to Lawton to spend time with a few of the missionaries who are departing August 5th. It should be fun!

I love you all! thank you for you love and support.

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Corey, Brandy and their two adorable daughters Gracelyn and Pacen

M~ and the drum

M~ and D~

They did four dances total. I will see if I can get some video from one of the members before I leave.

Bricks we made for a service project we did. Fun stuff.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Maps (Week 96)

This week had some good sun. Each week it gets hotter here. Cold water in a bottle is a good friend.

Me and Elder Sheffield had a pretty amazing experience on Saturday. We parked the car in Marlow and offered a prayer that Heavenly Father would guide us to an area and street where we would find people the Lord had prepared to receive the restored gospel. After the prayer we looked at our small map of Marlow. I had an idea where we should go, but before I shared it I confirmed with Elder Sheffield where he felt the spirit should have us go. He pointed to the exact area I was thinking of and then I asked him what street we should go to, and he said the exact same street that was in my mind. It was crazy. We drove there and talked to three people and all of them were very receptive and productive visits. Two of them, we are going to come back and see this Tuesday to teach. We are excited to see the fruit of our faith from that.

Sunday night we made a last second decision to try our eternal investigator. Logically there might have been a few better places to try, but something told me we should swing by. When we knocked the door our new investigator T~ answered and invited us in. It has been hard to meet with him because of his work schedule and how far away he lives. We had just happened to catch him over at the Busby's visiting family. Brother Busby was busy but asked us to visit with T~. We shared the doctrine of Christ and focused on the power of the Holy Ghost in our conversion. The spirit was strong and you could sense the hunger that T~ had to learn more. He is such a great example of faith and long-suffering. He has been through a lot these last two weeks, and it has been rough on him. We left him with a promise that if he would read the Book of Mormon and pray, his needs would be met. Keep him in your prayers.

Tomorrow we are having dinner at Oreo's, and we are going to be eating Venezuelan food. At church he explained to me that he has been investigating for about a year, but he hadn't been to church until three weeks ago when we first met him. His interest is growing every week. Sunday he and his wife stayed for all three hours of church! It was awesome.

We have found a lot of potential investigators this week, so next week will hopefully be filled with teaching new people. Keep praying for us!

I love you all. You're in my prayers.

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Monday, July 13, 2015

Week 95

Its been a good week with some good progress.

H~ (Oreo is his nick name) was at church again with his wife! I think I told you about them last week. They are from Venezuela and just recently moved into the neighborhood by us. His wife is a member and they have only been married for a couple of years. He is Christian and is always looking for ways to grow his faith. It was really cool to watch him participate in the Gospel Principles class we teach at church. We taught the chapter Faith in Jesus Christ. It was one of the greatest classes we have ever had. Everybody was baring testimony and sharing their experiences with their faith. Oreo really enjoyed the class and added a lot of thought to the class. At the end of the class we got to talk to him and his wife a little bit more. He told us that his wife usually feed the missionaries from time to time. He told us she cooks really good Venezuelan food. We are really excited. We looked at our dinner calendar and they had signed up for next Monday! We will get to teach him in his home and eat really good food!

We got a new ward mission leader a couple of weeks ago, Brother Tezen from Guatemala! He is awesome! He is very organized and has a lot of good ideas to help the ward council. Last week we got to take him over to teach Br~. Br~ loves to talk and had a lot to share about his studies. It seems he gets tied up with the logic and analyzing it. We read about being focused on prayer and listening to the spirit through the Holy Ghost. We shared with him a few scripture out of Alma 32 and explained that the word must be planted in out heart and we have to nourish it first if we are to know if it is good and of God. Brother Tezen invited him to church and we bore testimony that it would help him get his answer. By the end he told us he would come one of these Sundays. It will be a big step for him.

This coming weekend Duncan is having a city wide yard sale for 3 straight days. It's suppose to be crazy! It will be good for proselyting and getting to talk with people on the streets!

Oh and I finished the Book of Mormon today! I'm excited to start again!

Elder Sheffield is my favorite! He is hilarious! It was funny the 12 o'clock tornado siren went off and Elder Sheffield freaked out. We all went with it and told him we had to get to a cellar. Haha we had him going a couple of minutes.

Every week is an adventure in the mission field! I love you all! Thank you for your letters and love!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins



 Storm Shelter


 Canon AE-1

Henderson Building

Duncan Donuts

Elder Quinney

Elder Street

Elder Mierau

Into the Cellar