Sunday, January 26, 2014

Week 20: Pictures!

Short and sweet this week. Elder Watkins is settling into his assignment as a trainer; Elder Choresca is doing well. Strengthening the Talavera Ward includes involving ward members to be active in teaching investigators and fellowshiping when they are baptized. Brother Angelo, the Ward Mission Leader, was happy to baptize Sister Marina Dohinog last week.

Sis Marina Dohinog baptized January 26, 2014 with Brother Angelo
(Ward Mission Leader), Elder Choresca and Elder Watkins

"Troubled bridge over water"
Elder Watkins overlooking a rice field at sunset

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Week 19: A New Assignment and Faith in the Lord; A Baptism; and 'Hito" and Dream Fulfillment

Well, I am a lucky missionary mom this week! Lots of pictures, a letter, and recordings! The Lord truly watches over His missionaries. In his recordings last week, Elder Watkins spoke of the care and kindness of a store owner who helped him...From the beginning (this is probably not for the faint of stomach..) Elder Watkins and Elder Gomez were walking. Elder Watkins wasn't feeling well and said he needed to sit for a bit. As they sat outside a little shop, from nowhere (well, we all know from where) projectile "firehose" (his words) vomit uncontrollably spewed forth, backsplash going everywhere. Luckily Elder Gomez was able to avoid the forceful expulsion of Elder Watkins' stomach contents through his mouth and possibly through his nose. A woman brought Elder Watkins some water and brought him into the store to get cleaned up. After that, she brought him and Elder Gomez some soup. I am so grateful for those who are kind to my missionary and take care of him while he is on the Lord's errand. These are the angels He sends to aid those in need. These are the tender mercies he sends to missionary moms. 

Elder Watkins and Elder Gomez were able to share a message of glad tidings with this wonderful woman who showed love and kindness to them. 

Hey Family. Hopefully you still read these haha. 

Anyways I'm a regular missionary now! Not a trainee! I finished the training program! So as I was waiting for transfer announcements I was anxiously waiting to know where I would be going! I found out that I would be staying here in Talavera... After going to the mission home in Tarlac. Which means that I'm pregnant! That's what it is called here when you train... So my 'anak' or child is Elder Choresca. He is from Davow Philippines and is 25 years old. He's been less active since 8 years old until 2 years ago and then decided to serve a mission! He's a little shy but has a strong testimony. I think we'll become great friends and accomplish some great things here in Talavera Ward. 

My thoughts on training... well I had a little warning as a few missionaries were hinting that I would be which made me nervous. But I was just happy taking faith that the Lord qualifies whom he calls. Even though I feel inadequate, and young in the mission, I take comfort in the fact that this call to be Elder Choresca's trainer is from the Lord. He knows me better than I know myself, and if he has called me to do it, I have faith that I will be able to do it.

So we have a baptism this week! Sister Dohinog! I'm really excited and happy for her. Her kids are too young to be baptized so it's just her. This will be #3 of my whole mission which I am super excited about. 

Sister Nela, the last girl who was baptized is so nice. She bought/made these hankerchiefs for me that have my name on them! She's too kind. She is also the one that brought us food when I got really sick. I'm really grateful for the kindness here in the Pino Islands :)

Cool experience of the week. So on New Years we were walking home and Elder Gomez wanted to buy some food. We walked past this house that was selling 'hito' or catfish. We stopped and talked to the father of the home named Rick. He invited us to teach him but we had to decline since we had a curfew at 6 o'clock that night. He seemed really eager for us to teach him. We returned and taught him and his 2 sons Tuesday. We asked why he was so interested in speaking with us. He said I'll tell you maybe later. So we continued the lesson and after he was shocked. He explained the night before he met us. He had a dream that he was following a very bright light. Once he arrived at the light an old man in white clothes was there waiting for him. Rick said somehow he was on his knees and the old man put his hands on his head similar to the picture we had shown him. NUTS!!! Anyways I'm really looking forward to meeting with him again this week. And hopefully he and his whole family will attend church this week. :) 

Anyways love you all :) :) :) 

Elder Watkins
P.S. The picture is me and my anak :) 

Elder Watkins with his "anak" new companion Elder Choresca

Elder Gomez and Elder Watkins wearing their zone tshirts
and throwing down some zone signs...

Elder Watkins and Elder Howlette, MTC companions
and tie twiners!
Elder Watkins and Elder Gomez with the Gaspar Family
Elder Watkins with Javen, Gliddel and Javen's mom

Elder Watkins with Sister Nela (in the purple shirt, who was
 baptized a couple weeks ago) with her two children and her sister Leah.
I have been asking for pictures of the apartment...
Here is Elder Gordon in the kitchen/living area.
Bathroom - toilet, water bucket, and tabo (I could have probably
 been fine not seeing this...but he aims to please his mother!)

Elder Watkins contemplating the mysteries of the universe
as he stands on the bank of a river next to a rock wall.
(Haha or maybe he is just wondering where the best spot on
the bank is to do his laundry...with a "rahk"!!!) sorry for the
inside joke that probably only his cousin Joseph and a couple
others will understand...
Elder Watkins with Arvil Levigne. He is hilarious! (Glad it is
 just a picture of a girl...He is so adorable!)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Week 18: Pictures!

A rice field
Hitting the links on flip flops 

Elder Watkins at the golf course on PDay...wearing his "Turk" shirt

Basketball P.I style

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Week 17: New Year Celebration, A Baptism, and Answer to Prayers

I post this letter in its entirety with a bit of hesitation ;) teehee. Those familiar with the Church's standards will understand why...

Sup Family!

2014! Wooo!!! Hope you all had a great New Years, as mine was fantastic :)

On New Year's we had a curfew at 6 because it gets pretty crazy here I guess...Plus no one is really apt to being taught then anyways...
So we returned home early, bought some ice cream and cat fish to celebrate. On the way home I nearly fell out of the Jeepney and could have died, but minor details na lang...upon arriving at the house, we prepared for the party for us 4 elders. We played chess ha! it actually was super fun, and of course, yours truly, was undefeated champion. After that, we played our own rendition of blackjack/poker; each of us bought a 50 piece bag of sweets to use as bets. Of course, I came away with over 125 of the 200 total candies. As Dad knows from Mexico, I own at blackjack. Then we stayed up to watch the fireworks which are ten times better here. We just watched from our deck and it sounded like a war zone. Here in the Philippines the only thing that matters is how loud the fireworks can be. And there are stands everywhere to buy them and they are super cheap. So everyone has them. Overall, it was a great night with the elders and night of relaxing.

Then, back to work :)

We have one planned baptism this month on January 14th. Her name is Sister Dohinog. She has a really difficult time understanding so we try to teach as simple as possible... but she has attended church a ton so at least she has the desire...
Transfer date for this month is January 15th. Normally upon finishing training, the trainee (me) stays in the same area, but there is a good chance that Elder Gomez and I get transferred. The Zone Leaders hinted at an area getting white washed (both missionaries get transferred) and we feel it will be ours. So in 9 days I could be moving to a new area in the Pino Islands! :) We'll see though as anything, of course, could happen.

So one story of the week - We met this girl named Yuri Suzuki at the plaza this week. I was actually with Elder Gordon. He's 4 weeks into the mission and really nervous to talk to new people. So I just started pointing at people and we would have to go up and talk to them. Haha - two Americans, one a 6'6" redhead! Anyways, we were just doing it mainly for practice then this girl actually became really interested. Come to find out, she lives in  my area. So we got her barangay, or neighborhood, where she lives. Later in the week we tried finding her house and could not! No one could tell us where she lived! I said a silent prayer asking to find her house. I felt we should go down this street that we had literally walked like four times. We asked a random guy and it happened to be the barangay captain and he lead us straight to here house! Crazy to me that my silent prayer was answered so fast and we 'happen' to ask a guy who know where she lives after asking around 15-20 people who didn't stuff :)

All in all I am doing great, improving in the language and still loving the mission life :)

Love you all
Have a great week :)
Elder Watkins

Elder Watkins by a river

Elder Gomez and Elder Watkins in the shrubbery by the river
New Year's feast
Elder Gomez and Elder Watkins eating ice cream and celebrating the New Year
New Year's Eve with the kabahays
Elder Gordon, Elder Gomez, Elder Bausing, and Elder Watkins

Beautiful picture taken by Elder Watkins