Monday, March 30, 2015

Goodbye Ponca (Week 80...)

Yes I am getting transferred. I don't even know what to say.


I had a feeling I was going to go. It has been an amazing 6 months here. I've seen so many miracles and different things grow and develop: the ward, the faith of those we have taught, my testimony, my knowledge, my calves (biking), everything has received an increase here. It just goes to show that the Lord is behind the wheel and the work is hastening. The members here have been wonderful, I am going to miss them greatly. I am so greatful for their love, support, and the time that they have sacrificed to help us in this great work. We could not have accomplished anything with out their help. I don't think we have gone a single week without 10 members going out teaching with us since me and Elder Matthew's have been here. They are amazing!

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow are and will be crazy. Yesterday we had three meals with members and the same thing has been arranged for us today and tomorrow. The people here are wonderful. Today for P-day we are fishing with some of the members on Ponca lake. I'll be sure to send some photos.

Yesterday we had 7 investigators at church! UGH why must I leave :(. The S~ family who have a baptism date for April 18th came as well as one of their cousins and a friend. So awesome!

Carri was at church as well and is still good for her baptism date on April 25th. She went to General Women's conference with sister Barron, and she loved it! It seems like everything is piling on top of her to bring her down. It's scary how hard Satan tries to bring Heavenly Father's children down. After Women's Conference she felt so much better. Tomorrow we are eating with the B~ family and saying goodbye :(. I'll be back for their baptism as well.

I am getting transfered to Duncan south, clear on the south end of the state our area touches texas! I'll be with Elder Hoopes who has been out a little longer then me.

My new address is:
1710 W. Plato Road Apt. 208
Duncan, OK 73533

Sorry this e-mail is short, today is so busy. I love you all! Thank you and God bless!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

The Ponca hunted theater. "Be excellent to each other." -Bill and Ted

The Ponca Theater contains more hand painted movie art then anywhere in the nation, with a value estimated at 2 million dollars.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Tick Tock (Week 79)

Time is... surreal. Our mortal memory is so short time just seems to fly. Looking back everything looks like a blur. A really constructive refining blur.

This week marks 18 months on my mission which just seems unfathomable to me. I've been doing a lot of reflecting. A ton of amazing miracles have happened over the last year and half. All I can say is the restored gospel is amazing and I love sharing it. Our potential as God's children is limitless. I learn something new everyday!

For church we had six investigators and nine less-active members come... and the whole Blackwell branch combined with us for services because their building is being remodeled. It felt like a packed house. It was a wonderful Sabbath day. Karri was there, the whole S~ family was there (except the mom), and one of the H~'s kids was there with her "Super G-ma". I am so excited for the S~ family it seemed like everything was falling apart for them over the past month and now all the pieces are starting to fit together again. The church is true, it fixes family problems. This week we are going to set a date with them for all four of the kids to be baptized. Zander the youngest is turning eight this coming month. We are hoping to help their dad become worthy so he can baptize them. We are pumped!

Karri is doing great. This morning she sent us a wonderful thank you text that brought a smile to my face. She is amazing. It has been wonderful to see her change and watch her wisdom grow. She has such a powerful testimony I know she is going to do amazing things for the Lord's kingdom. Her baptism date is set for April 23rd. I will probably get transferred at the beginning of next month but I'm sure I'll be able to get permission to attend.

Yeah... I'm not sure about getting transferred. I know it's going to happen eventually. But who knows I might stay.

Sorry this email is so short. I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week in the warm weather!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Our members neighbor has a husky/wolf mix. Adorable

 Spring is here!

The playhouse is done! It will be donated a month from now

Monday, March 16, 2015

"Diggin up up oh diggit!" (Week 78)

Things have been great here in Ponca City. The weather today will be in the high 80s... and I thought Utah had bi-polar weather. A week and a half ago it was 22 degrees with 3 inches of snow on the ground. Crazy stuff.

John is doing great and will be working toward receiving the Aaronic Priesthood by next week or so. Karri is doing well. We reset her baptism date for later next month to give her more time to work on
giving up some addictions. She is doing great though. I love her she is the craziest lady I've ever met but I love her. She has the greatest sense of humor and always has me and Elder Matthews laughing.
We quote her all the time. She is the best.

We are teaching Joseph still. He knows everything is true and we have taught him everything. He needs to get a few things in order first. This last Saturday DJ gave us permission to help work on Joseph's Koi pond in the backyard as a surprise. Me and Elder Adamson felt like Caveman and Zero from the movie Holes as we dug out the base of the pond. "Diggin up up oh diggit! You've gotta go dig them holes!" Joseph told us later when he saw the backyard he was really confused how the dirt dug itself. We had a good laugh.

The B~ family is doing good. We showed Christina the Gospel Library app and she was freaking out. It was like a kid on Christmas morning. She was so excited to start using it. They have already read several chapters into Nephi. So awesome. This week we also started teaching a man from Poland! He's got a pretty cool story and an excellent beard. I'll make sure I get a picture with him so I can show you guys. He speaks English as his second language and German as his first. He has a lot of interest in our message and wants to learn more about the Book of Mormon. Today we are going to read the introduction of the book of Mormon and a selection of scriptures that illustrate the Book of Mormon's purpose and power. We are excited!

We also started teaching a man named Juan who is from Mexico. He was a referral from the Blackwell Elders who are teaching his parents. Juan is in his Mid 40's and loves the missionaries. He use to feed the Elders when he lived in Mexico. Last week we taught him the restoration and he loved it. He knows that if he asks of God he will receive. We invited him to read, ponder and pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true.

Things are good I'm lovin' life. I just wish it would slow down. Thank you for your prayers! I love you all!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Not usually a cat person but these kittens were adorable

Yup. best buds
Cute baby bunny (he kept jumping out of my hand)

Zone Temple Day (taken back in January)

Goodbye Johnson Family!

Ponca City Refinery

Jenga Restoration lesson

Our foggy backyard


Monday, March 9, 2015

Phase 3 Ward! Spring weather! JOHN'S BAPTISM! (Week 77)

This week has been amazing. Period.

Our ward is starting to bloom (no pun intended), and everything is starting to fall into place.

Awhile back in September we had an excellent training from Elder Foster of the Quorum of the Seventy. He talked about the three phases of missionary work within the ward/branch.

Phase #1
Missionaries do all of the finding and work (tracting/street contacting).
Avg. Baptisms per month mission wide: 30

Phase #2
Members Help missionaries by going out to teach and fellowship.
Avg. Baptisms per month mission wide: 100

Phase #3
Members do the finding (referrals), missionaries help with teaching in the members home.
Avg. Baptisms per month mission wide: 300 (Note this is if every area in the mission was at phase 3.)

This past week we have started to teach lessons to our investigators in members homes. We had lessons with Karri in 2 different members homes one of them even had her for dinner. We have had 4 lessons total in a members house this week! We had received tons of referrals from members active and less-active, even some of our investigators have given us referrals! Last night we had dinner at our investigators house, The B~'s (referral from the Johnson's), and we invited all of them to be baptized on the 23rd of April and they all said yes! I hope I stay one more transfer. The ward is catching fire. I never want to leave.

The weather has finally calmed down and we have started to get warmer weather. Today we are going to do something outside as a district.

John's baptism was amazing. I was worried at first because 15 minutes before the program we only had 7 people show up, but of course everyone's watches were set on "Mormon Standard Time." At 7pm on the dot and the room was packed. I think next time we will use the chapel. The spirit was so strong. Karri was able to come for the service as well as some of the Sister's and Blackwell's investigators. As John stepped in the water I could tell it was cold, oops, but after he went under the water you could just see the joy in his face. John became clean he was a new man. While John was changing we handed out 4x6 note cards for people to write down their thoughts, feeling and testimonies on. It all worked perfect. I gave the closing talk on the Gift of the Holy Ghost and then we sang the closing hymn, Battle Hymn of the Republic. John picked a good one :). After the closing prayer we gave John two big envelopes stuffed with the note cards. Never have I held so much love than those two envelopes. On Sunday Brother Stolt (John's Father-in-law) preformed the confirmation bestowing the Gift of the Holy Ghost and gave a powerful blessing. I am so grateful to be blessed with the opportunity to help John and watch his life change.

The work is great and the gospel is true!

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Elder Watkins and John

Elder Watkins, John and Elder Matthews

Monday, March 2, 2015

Winter's not dead! (Week 76)

It has snowed every weekend for the past 3 weeks! Its been insane. It just needs to be spring. Surprisingly church has not been cancelled once this whole winter, wind, snow, ice, or hail the work goes on!

John is doing awesome! Last Tuesday we took Bishop over to his house and arranged his baptismal program. John picked out the hymns, the members who he wanted to speak, and members to preform the baptism and confirmation. His father in law will be preforming the confirmation. This is going to strengthen his family 10 fold. We are so excited. We are going over tonight. He will be baptized on Saturday March 7th at 7:00 pm.

So for Karri... we dropped the word of wisdom and the law of chastity on her last week. Don't worry it wasn't in the same visit. I think her mind would have exploded. She still has a few things she struggles with so we are going to give her some more time to prepare. Her baptism date has been postponed for now. She has been coming to our Book of Mormon class and she loves it! It's so fun to watch her learn and grow. Pray for her!

We started teaching a new family this week! The B~ Family. They were referred to us by the Johnson family just before they moved. Christy is from Texas and Blake is from Louisiana (he is very Cajun, so awesome). They met with missionaries two years ago that gave them a Book of Mormon but they never came back. They had a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon that never got answered. Since the Johnson's moved the B~'s have volunteered to feed us every Sunday in place of the Johnson's. We had dinner in their home yesterday and had some of the greatest steak I've had in a long while. After dinner we shared the message of the restoration of the gospel. No doubt is was one of the best lessons of the transfer. The spirit was so strong. All four of their teenage boys were participating and answering questions. It is so hard to teach kids sometimes but it was perfect! They understood everything. At the end of the message we answered their questions and gave them their own copies of the Book of Mormon. They are excited to read and build their faith. At the end we asked, "when would be a good time for us to come back and share another message?" Their boy Arron said, "Tuesday" with a smile. Blake and Christi looked at each other and said, "the sooner the better, Tuesday works great." I love being a missionary.

Thank you for all of your support! This coming week should be good. Today we are driving to Enid for zone p-day. Pray for us there is still a little ice on the roads and the sisters are driving ;) HAHA. I

Sincerely, Elder Watkins

Stuck in Blackwell on exchanges lol

Week 1
Service for habitat for humanity, 
building a playhouse for CACA

Working on the frame

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4 almost done!


New planner cover, Genesis 1:16

SNOW. I'm a thug