Monday, October 28, 2013

First Area: Cabanatuan! Teaching, Gift of Tongues, and Flying Rodents

Elder Watkins is in the mission field and having many great experiences! He only had time to make three recordings since he was busy packing, moving, unpacking, and settling in. Some things he mentioned in his recordings were: He loves President and Sister Martino! and thinks they are amazing; is fed by everyone they teach, usually fudge bars or Filipino twinkies and soda; lots of teaching! 

One of the funniest things he talked about was when he got to the AP's apartment - a bat flew in and started flying toward people! As everyone was taking cover, the AP took a broom and swat the bat mid-air! Elder Watkins was the first to dive onto the bed and take cover! haha


Oh how I miss you all!!...not even kidding. Sorry about last week - not sending a family letter - we were so busy with leaving and packing I didn't have much time. But this week has been crazy. First week in the field and a lot of new experiences!

So my Zone is Cabanatuan and Area is Talavera. Here mainly the work is re-activating people. Tons of people are baptized but don't attend church. So a less-active return is basically just as important at a baptism here. A LAR is when they attend 4 consecutive weeks of church. We have 8 investigators with baptismal goal dates, but they also have to attend 4 consecutive weeks. We hope to be able to baptize this month, but one is questionable. The other 6 have a really hard time attending church. We only had 4 of the 8 investigators attend yesterday and of the 8, even though 7 said they would attend. The one who said he would not attend is Joey Gasbar He used to be a priest for the Catholic Church. He said he couldn't come but would try next Sunday. I appreciate his honesty. He believes Joseph Smith is a prophet, but he is having a hard time accepting that we are the only true church - which is kind of contradicting! but we will keep working with him :)

So the language is going well. Most people are surprised when I say that I've been here less than a week because I can speak a lot of Tagalog. The thing is they don't know that I have no clue what they are saying back to me. I just nod my head and say "opo" which means yes and laugh when they laugh! But I really need to work on conversational Tagalog cause that is a weak point as well right now. So the gift of tongues is awesome but I'm still waiting for the gift of interpretation :)

So this week I also learned that there is no toilet paper and no showers! So we have a bucket with a "tabo" that you wash yourself with. I never go to the bathroom in public places because there isn't even a tabo and you just use your hands! So that's exciting news. As far as our apartment goes, ours is considered really nice I guess. We have a water filter and fridge and a fan for each person which is amazingly nice. However, we don't have a lock on our apartment which is actually terrifying, but the Lord bed occasionally has bugs but for the most part it is nice :) My trainer is Elder Gomez from the Philippines. His is 19 and speaks perfect English. I initially thought he was American when he spoke but he said h learned how to speak from TV. He's been out 3 months which means he just finished being trained and is now training which isn't that common. So we are learning together. He's a cool guy and I like him. He's really smart and will e able to teach me a lot. Once I get things down I think we will be able to do some really good work together. We eat rice like every meal and a can to tuna or something with it and a banana. This week I plan on buying eggs to get some diversity. I thought I would be coming home skinny, but I might come back fat! Every lesson the people give you like chocolate or a version or twinkies and make you eat it! They occasionally give soda in a glass bottle that is rusted and you have to drink it! You can't refuse, of course, because it would be rude. So I'll be coming back fat! :(

My favorite lesson this week was last night. We taught sister Mari Corpus in her house. She has a house of sticks the size of our main floor bathroom with a dirt floor and small bed. We taught with a candle for light and it was so humbling. It was really great, and my first lesson I led. She was so humble and still happy. It just made me feel so happy, and made me realize how fortunate we are. I love being here even though I miss home like crazy. This was the hardest week for me by far because a lot of thing reminded me of home. thinking about you all was really hard, but I really need to stop. It makes me so sad, and while I was chatting with mom and dad earlier on email, I just broke down here in the small shop of computers...I really miss you all and love you all, but I know this is what is best for me and I need to help people like sister Mari Corpus. I LOVE being a missionary! and I love you!

Have a great week family!
-Elder Watkins

Elder Watkins with President and Sister Martino

Elder Gomez and Elder Watkins

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Week 5 MTC: Last MTC correspondence

Unfortunately, we did not get a family letter this week :( but fortunately we did get pictures! No, Dustin still has not received the packages we sent which included his camera cord; but he was able to figure out how to download some pics to send! So this week we received recordings and pics. I can't believe that he will be leaving the MTC already and truly be in the mission field! His P-Day will be on Mondays so we won't receive an email until October 28th.  We didn't receive any information on who is in the pictures, but I do have dates. He hasn't changed the date on his camera, but he is 14 hours ahead of us so the dates might seem off. 

He mentioned in the recordings that he was called "tall" twice this week!  

Sept 23:  Elder Watkins with Elders at the MTC 

Oct 17:  Elder Watkins on splits in Manila. 

 Sept 13:  Pet monkey or...?

Sept 13:  Elder Watkins first day at the Philippines MTC

Sept 13:  Elder Watkins doing great at the MTC! Always smiling :)

Sept 23:  Elder Finau, Elder Waktkins, Elder Latu - Roomies!

Sept 23:  Elder Howlett, Elder Watkins seated in front.

Sept 23:  

Oct 7:  Elder Howlett and Elder Watkins in front

Oct 18:  Elder Finau and Elder Watkins at the Manila Temple

Oct 18:  Elder Latu and Elder Watkins at the Manila Temple

Friday, October 11, 2013

MTC Week 4: Manila, Proselyting, Faith, and the Spirit

Almost daily Dustin records messages to the family and emails them to us on P-day (Preparation Day is the one day a week he has to take care of personal things. These include answering and writing emails, doing laundry, weekly shopping, attending the Temple, etc). His letters are getting a bit shorter, but his recordings are super fun to listen to! Hearing him laugh on the recordings is the best! He still has not received the two packages we sent; but we are still hopeful!

Hey Family!!
So hopefully everyone was able to listen to the recordings and listen to what's up and what's not. I'm listening to the recordings and Cambri!! "I'm doing bad in school?!" What?? haha I'm sure  you're doing great :) and Wow Coops! ten bucks and spelling cat - that's awesome Bud! Super smart! Following in your uncle's footsteps...and what - scored a goal! Wow Bud! And Cambri please don't cry, that made me sad :(

So let's see what happened this week...

Highlight was going to metro-Manila this week and proselyting for 4 hours. The experience was mind blowing...I can't believe it. The poverty shocked me. They have huge buildings, but then all the houses in between are in 3 feet wide streets and full of water and mud. The walls of some houses are just fences of metal and the roof is a metal sheet but it only covers like half the house. This one house I was in had a cement floor and all wet inside because it had no roof. They had a little boy and he asked me what my name was; it was the cutest thing ever. The kids were the only ones I could really talk to. Everyone else talked too fast and in long sentences.

So the last guy we taught was my favorite and best lesson. He said he could kind of understand English. I started speaking in English then changed to Tagalog because I could tell he didn't understand me. Then I started talking pretty smoothly and it was pretty good! I felt the Spirit and he understood what I was saying. It was good! But just cool how you need to show faith, just open your mouth, take an action, exercise that faith, jump and the Lord will catch you. It's amazing. I knew how fortunate I was to live in the home with the family I have. But now I wonder why I am so fortunate. I just want to share with everyone here. I can at least share with them the happiness of the restored Church. They can know that they have a loving Heavenly Father and  a Savior who know exactly what they are going through, exactly how they feel, and He loves them. He can comfort them and heal them. He loves us enough to call a prophet and direct His church. At least I can share that message with them.

Funny of the week: There are always funnies but I'm drawing a blank. The farting story!! Oh I may have talked about it in the recording...idk... So Elder Howlett and I were walking down the hall and there are two sisters behind us like 10 meters or so I'd say. Then I farted and it was so loud!! I turned immediately to Elder Howlett and was like, "Dude!! What? There are sisters here!!" and he just started they totally thought it was him, and every time we see them they just bust up laughing. He tries to blame me and I just laugh. The sisters are like "Come on, Elder Howlett, just admit it was you." So he's just burying himself deeper :)

Every day something hilarious happens and it really relieves the stress. It helps that I love my roommates and companion. They are all funny guys and we get along. But there are a lot of hardships too. A sister companionship in the district is still having major issues and I talked to one of the sisters for an hour and a half the other night, and finally got her to see the MTC President. But its hard to see them struggle so much with each other. She asked for a priesthood blessing because she has been so stressed and she vomits 3-4 times a day because of it. Elder Howlett gave her a blessing; it was his first time exercising the priesthood and he did a good job. I was so proud of him :) He thought it was a good experience and after said he was so nervous but glad he got to try it.

Anyways love you all so much! Thanks for the love and support. I leave the MTC in a week and a half :)

Elder Watkins

Saturday, October 5, 2013

MTC Week 3: Boxing, Blessings, and The Spirit

Elder Watkins has not been able to send us any pictures because his camera cord did not make it into his luggage :( We sent it off in a package today; hopefully he will receive it. He has not received a package that we mailed on September 6th, but we are still hopeful it will arrive :). We are fortunate to receive digital recordings via email. Hearing his voice each week is reassuring and lifts our spirits!

Hey Family!

So this week has actually, now that I'm looking back, gone by really fast! I feel like I was just here writing you guys! But during the week it feels a lot slower...Anyways, we got fed some more fish and rice; I'm not sick of the food, however, I feel bad for the sisters here. Well, at least the sisters from America!

Funny of the week: uhm I'm not sure which ones I said on the recordings, but Elder Finau and Elder Faamusili were air boxing. Elder Finau Actually hit Elder Faamusili square in the face and floored him! It was hilarious! I was in tears! Everyone in the room was laughing, except Elder Finau; he was holding Elder Faamusili and trying to get him to stand up. Elder Faamusili had a huge bump on his eye the next day :) sooo funny :)

Spiritual of the week:  We were in the middle of district meeting when a sister asked for a blessing. I asked what the issue was and she said that she gets really irritable and has a hard time feeling the Spirit cause she always wants to hit people... It was pretty awkward cause the district all heard and we are the ones she associates with so she probably is referring to us when she wants to hit someone. So I gave her a blessing and I only remember saying one thing about anger and controlling those feelings, and the rest I don't remember! but after she came up crying and said she was more worried about those other things I said but she didn't want to bring them up in front of the district. I just smiled and said it was the Spirit, cause in my head I'm like thinking, "Uh, what did I say?" but I know the Spirit was able to touch her heart and it's so powerful. I'm grateful for the priesthood and the power it has.

This week my companion Elder Howlett is improving. He can basically read anything and sounds a lot better now - not too white - but still having a hard time retaining the information. He knows the words but gets a little confused which word is which, but we're working on it :)  He bore his testimony for the first time in a visit which was awesome! So definitely progress there :)

So this week I talked a lot on the recording! So that's why the emails are shorter and I outlined how I'd like the emails to be sent. But its alright cause Mindy and Dan are the only ones from the family who wrote me! [Theirs are the only emails he received, not the only ones who wrote!]. It's ok, still love you all :) At the end of the recording I tried bearing my testimony in Tagalog so don't judge..

Love you all! :)  Talk to you next week!

Elder Watkins