Monday, February 23, 2015

"EXCELLENT!" (Week 75)

"This Week has been EXCELLENT!" (Unison of Bill and Ted's voices)

Where do I start. John will be baptized on Saturday, March 7. Tomorrow night we are going to create the program and go over who he would like to baptize him and give talks at the service. We are so excited for him, if only the 7th would come sooner. He has such a strong testimony of the gospel and is anxious to serve in the Lord's church. Karri will also be baptized next week, so keep her in your prayers, we still have a bit to teach her.

Sunday services were awesome! We had 6 investigators at church! Such a miracle! The Johnson's daughters brought their three prom dates, whose families we have started teaching, we had Josh, and then Greg and Nora Came! AHHHH! So awesome! We had the most powerful gospel principles class teaching on the Holy Ghost. You could see it in the class' eyes. I love that. There is nothing greater than watching other people feel and recognize the spirit. It was so cool to see Greg and Nora come to church. Nora is so prepared, she reminded me of Jennie Fultz when I was in Davis. It all just clicks and she gets it. Nora has been reading the Book of Mormon and is on chapter 5 of Nephi. Considering how many times we have taught them, that is a lot of reading. I think we have really only had two sit down lessons with her.

Saturday night we went over to their house with Brother Critchfield and visited with her. She told us that she wanted to go to church and that she had talked to her mom, and told her that she has questions that need answering and that is why she is meeting with the missionaries and investigating the LDS church. She is awesome! The Critchfields are planning on having them over for dinner with us next week! SO PUMPED!

Joesph... He is still struggling. We had to apologize last time we went over. We felt like we have been kind of pushy and overbearing. We have been so excited for him to be baptized, but he isn't ready, still because of smoking. He wants to quit but everything seems to be piling up on him. We have postponed his date for now and we are just helping him make little steps. He has a friend that he is trying to help move into Ponca City from Texas. His friend is also interested in quitting smoking and being baptized so when he moves up here they will be able to quit together and have a support system. We want everything for him to be baptized, but it's just going to take more time for him to prepare. We want him to be 100% ready. Keep him in your prayers!

Thank you for all you do! I love reading your emails and getting updates! I hope you have a wonderful week!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Elder Bill Matthews                           Elder Ted Watkins

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ups and Downs (Week 74)

This week has been weird. Strange. Surreal. There we go, surreal.

Things are going well. On Sunday we got transfer calls, and I'm staying in Ponca for another 6 weeks! Which I'm pumped about. A ridiculous amount of anxiety was building up last week, wondering whether or not I'd be getting transferred or not. I did not want to leave. I love this area, and things are just starting to pick up, so I'm grateful that the Lord wants me to stay.

Joesph's baptism date got pushed back to the 26th, he is still struggling with completely giving up smoking. He was really discouraged when we went over last. Withdrawals have been really painful for him. We have been helping him with the Stop Smoking Workshop (a program that the church puts out to help people quit), and we are focusing on the main steps #1 Prayer and #2 Avoid temptation. #2 is pretty hard for him because he lives in a home with two chain smokers, so he is around it all of the time. We are meeting with him today. Keep him in your prayers.

Tonight we are going over the baptismal interview questions with John, and I will let you know how that goes. Karri was sick this week so she wasn't able to come to stake conference, but you could tell that she was so sad that she wasn't able to go. I'm trying to remember if I told you we set a baptism date with her. Well we did! It was amazing, and had to be the most powerful spiritual experience of the transfer. We've talked about it a great deal with her, and she just wasn't sure if she was ready to set a date. We invited her to say the closing prayer at the end of our visit and ask Heavenly Father if March 5th would be enough time to prepare. While she prayed I had the most amazing experience, it felt like every fiber of my being was floating, I had to open my eyes to make sure I wasn't 10 feet in the air. I knew Karri was praying with all of her heart. After the prayer we asked her how she felt. Haha she responded "Kinda weird, like I'm in a dream or running though a beautiful field of flowers or something." We explained that it was the spirit that she was feeling. We told her that God was confident in her and so were we. We told her that we pray every morning for the ability to see others as God sees them. I told her, "I can see that you are ready." She confirmed, "I know you can, both of you have a wonderful gift to see people like God does. I can feel it." She told us that March 5th would be enough time. We are so excited for her, we are going to teach her later today.

I wasn't going to talk about this much, but I attended a funeral on Saturday in Shawnee for my recent convert Danny. He passed away a couple weeks ago. It was an amazing service and the spirit was so
strong. A lot of family from California came, and all of the missionaries that knew him were there as well. At the end of the service, I was able to talk to Danny's mom for the first time. She lives in California and is not a member. I asked her if she had found a necklace with the Armor of God on it. Her eyes filled with excitement and she moved her jacket to show me it was around her neck.
I explained to her that I had given the gift to Danny before his baptism to help him fight the temptation to drink. I was so happy to see her wearing it in remembrance of Danny. I pray one day she will listen to the message of the restored gospel and enjoy the same blessings that Danny received. Keep his family in your prayers.

Well my time is up, sorry if the email is complicated to read, that's kinda how this week has been. I love you all!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Our District

All of the missionaries that knew Danny and their companions. Danny's Grandmother is in the front she was baptized three months ago.

Danny Pennock

Monday, February 9, 2015

Church Attendance (Week 73)

 This week has been another crazy one. not sure where to start.

On Saturday We went over the baptismal interview questions with Joseph, haha he totally googled them before we came over. We would be half way through asking the question and he would finish it and give a bold yes. He is ready. He has developed a firm testimony of the restored gospel all he needs to do is quit smoke completely by the 12th of February. He is so excited to be baptized. Everything is starting to come back together in his life. Him and his dad found a car (a super legit Chevrolet 70's Wagon). The Newland's offered him a part time job to help around the auto pit, and on Thursday he went to some thrift stores and got some church clothes and a light tan suit. He looked awesome!

John will be baptized on the 26th and we will be going over the interview questions with him tomorrow.

Sunday was amazing, a member of the bishopric, a member of the high council, and President Bowmen spoke. We had five investigators at church (Karri, Joseph, Jimmy, Josh, and John) and 10 less-actives. It was amazing! No doubt one of the best Sunday services I've been to while I've served in Ponca City. Karri is progressing really fast, she will most likely be baptized next month. Church is the greatest thing in the world to her. She looks like she is floating from class to class. It's rewarding so see her smile at the end of church. Her joy is full. She is praying still to find an answer if she should be baptized. I think she has already got it.

I have bittersweet news about James. He is not doing well and is in the hospital again. He sleeps most of the time and when he is awake he is out of it. We got a phone call from the mission office with news that when he passes his grandson plans on doing his proxy work. I know that he will quickly accept it. He has been a big blessing in my life and I am grateful that I got to teach him and see him spiritually grow. We found out the day before he went to the hospital he was telling everyone about his baptism. He is one of the greatest missionaries I know. He was never afraid to share what he knew was true. The first time he got admitted to the hospital (when he fell) He taught the nurses the whole restoration. He will make a wonderful missionary in the spirit world. Keep him in your prayers.

Thank you for you emails and letters. I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week full of spiritual experiences!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Film Photos


Marland Mansion

Above the Banister

Come Unto Me

The Lounge

Everlasting Arms


Ponca Lake

Elder Matthews and Elder Day

Digital Photos
OKC Temple! 3rd Trip!


Monday, February 2, 2015

Spirit Punch (Week 72)

The Sister missionaries in our ward use this terminology: "Spirit Punch." It means what it sounds like. It's when the spirit punches/rebukes/softens-the-heart/edifies your investigator or less-active member. The spirit has done some damage this week.

We have had some really good lessons this week. Our week was packed with appointments. We have struggled with having a few less-active families keep commitments. One recent convert/less-active family had a wrestle with the spirit. We have struggled a long time to build our trust with them and help them keep commitments. On Thursday I was on splits with a zone leader from Enid. We went in to the home with the plan to just listen and discern the problem. While we were in the home
the spirit whispered to us exactly what we needed to teach. We talked about the atonement and faith. We helped brother M~ make the connection that faith is a principle of action and Heavenly Fathers commandments are for our growth and protection. We made a whole analogy off of building a house, a house of the Lord. The spirit was strong in the room and you could see brother M~'s attitude change. The spirit softens the heart and helps us change. They all committed to read the scriptures a little each night, and they all gave a firm yes.

One of the reconverts that we have been trying to contact for two months has finally come to us for help. Since she stopped coming to church and living the gospel her whole life has been falling apart. She is in the middle of a divorce and having to work more than ever to support her two children. She invited us to come over and visit her. We came over with her home teacher and listened and talked with her about the atonement. While we talked about the atonement she burst into tears. We taught her how the atonement is used through faith, repentance, renewing our baptismal convent, receiving the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. As we testified of God's love for her she wiped away her tears and smiled. The spirit was so strong in the room, she told us that she was going to do everything that it takes to get back on the path.

Our investigator Karri came to church again and loved it. Earlier in the week we visited her and she told us how much she loved church the week before. She said all week she has felt a joy that she hasn't felt in a long time. We answered her questions and taught her the plan of salvation. We talked about baptism but she still isn't sure. We left her with the commitment to pray and ask God if she needs to be baptized by someone holding the authority from God. Karri is awesome. She has so much faith and a great desire to do good. It was amazing to walk to the Relief Society room and to see her come out with a smiling grin on her face. She is becoming a different person, a joyful person.

God has blessed us greatly this week. Time is flying so fast. I'm worried that I'll be transferred on the 18th. I wish it would all slow down. I love you all and pray for you! Have a wonderful week!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

OSU Crew

Telephone Skyline

Refinery Steam