Greetings Elder Watkins' blog-goers! Thank you for your love, support and prayers during this anxious time for us! We have been buoyed up and comforted. Even though the missionaries in the Angeles Mission were instructed by the mission president to email home to let parents know they were safe, our email arrived two days after Typhoon Yolanda. I like to think that Elder Watkins was so involved in serving, he didn't think it was too important to email us. We did know that he was safe, but after hearing from him we were relieved. Yet there was still no news from my mother about her sisters and their families. I searched the internet and submitted inquiries on my aunties, I looked for lists of survivors, I searched Facebook for my cousins even send a message to a person who might have been my cousin. Nothing still, but I still had hope. Then on Tuesday, a great miracle! I tried Facebook again using the same searches I had used previously. I found and connected with my cousin Oliver who I had heard of, but have never met! Oh, the tender mercies of the Lord and the power of prayer! We have been sending messages back and forth, getting acquainted with each other.
Last week's recordings included a description of the service project they did last week (there is a pic in last week's post of Elder Watkins and Elder Gomez with some serious tools) clearing debris from a house after a typhoon (before Yolanda). It took quite a few missionaries to clear the debris outside the house and also in and around the house. Elder Watkins is really not fond of spiders. Of course, there were a ton! But even though he worked long and hard, and encountered many of those many-legged creatures, Elder Watkins declared how great it was to serve others. It blesses their lives, as well as his.
It's great to be able to have some time to write to all of you. For those of you who listen to the recordings, I'm sorry but due to the typhoon we had a power outage and had to go to a different city to use computers. For some reason my recorder isn't compatible here...so next week double recordings I guess! haha
I specifically apologize to Mariah because I had a really long one for her birthday but she'll have to wait to receive it...hope it was great Mariah :) watch out for them boys...
Oh and I'm alright from the typhoon. No serious damage. Just intense rain and wind which makes power go out. The rain and wind actually make the work even more fun. As we run around from place to place trying not to get soaked it is pretty sweet. It is also fun when power goes out at night because it goes pitch black for like 10 seconds while we run and you can't see anything. So we just wait till it comes back on. It is quite the adventure.
So this week we changed some things in our teaching. Elder Gomez was talking about the lack of success in this area. He has been here for almost 4 months now. There was one baptism in that time, and one month the goaled for a total of 10 investigators to attend Church! All four weeks! That is so low! But they didn't even reach it. We changed our approach from teaching lessons to teaching people, which is a really important fundamental in the mission field. Instead of trying to teach information of the restoration, or information about faith, we now teach why restoration, why faith. How do these things apply to your life? How do these things help you and why are they important? It really worked out well. We had 7 investigators with baptismal dates as well. We officially have 15...but 3 have had them for years...so really we have 12...but we are really going to do our best to have as any as we can be baptized in December. We will have one on November 30, and then hopefully a lot on December 28th :). Right after Christmas! We are trying to get the members excited about missionary work because there is no enthusiasm for them to grow in the ward. We are trying to get across that baptismal clothes are white and we want a flood of people dressed in white for Christmas. What better gift can you give than the Gospel of Jesus Christ?! And Baptism! The way that leads to Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven.
I am really excited about the work and am getting over the homesickness. I have been praying so hard to lose myself in the work and forget about home. I want to become that missionary who doesn't want to come home. I miss you guys and all, but I want to give everything I have to the Lord and these people. I owe it to them and especially Christ. John 15:13. Bitters wrote me and said one way he is losing himself is making the work fun. He tried trading a Book of Mormon to a guy for his car!...Sounds like Austin! I am starting to look at every opportunity to talk as a fun thing. Instead of every single time I talk to someone they need to feel the need to be baptized and if they don't it is failure. I a also becoming more patient with myself so that has relieved a lot of stress. All in all I am doing great; much better than the first week. Thank you so much for your love and support. I doubt many Elders are as blessed as I am when it comes to families. I love you all so much. I miss you too! but I know the Lord will protect my family while I am gone.
Thank you for all the birthday recordings! Dad says I have to wait till my birthday to listen to them. I look so young though. Everyone is like, "What 18?! Almost 19?! Crazy!" I need to stop telling people my birthday because they always invite us for dinner haha. Anyways, have a great week family! I love you so much and because of the mission my love and appreciation for each of you increases every day!
Mahal ko kayo! Love you!
p.s. remember when Mariah and I called Dan 'Bobo'? Why is that? The word for older brother is 'kuya'. I asked a native what 'bobo' meant and they laughed and replied 'stupid'. So we were calling Dan stupid all those years?! What the heck?!