Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 29: Zone Concert, Transfers, and House Mouse

This week we did not receive a family letter or pictures or recordings :( Elder Watkins checked his email really late on his Pday, so it was early in the morning for us. We did "chat" for a bit, meaning that we sent emails back and forth. Following is a summary of our conversation:

Zone Concert - The Zone has been practicing for a 10 song program themed "Come Unto Christ" for the  Mission President and the Asia Area Presidency. Three people will be speaking, then a recent convert, Elder Watkins will give a closing testimony, followed by either President Martino (Mission President) or the Area President. Although Elder Watkins is nervous about speaking, he is looking forward to listening to the speakers!

Transfers - this next week transfers are coming. Elder Watkins expects that he will be transferred to a new area since he has been in Cabanatuan for 3 transfers. He will miss the ward members and the people he has been teaching. It will be sad to leave, but is looking forward to serving in another area. 

Something Funny - This morning while Elder Watkins was getting ready to go on a nice jog with Elder Gordon, Elder Watkins was brushing his teeth a mouse crawled onto his foot!!! From his email it sounds like he thinks it is really funny, but EWWWW!!!!

That's the gist of what we chatted about...he says there will be pictures next week!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Week 28: Quiet Promptings, A New Convert's First Sacrament Meeting Talk, and a Baptism

Hey Family :)

So the time is absolutely absurd here! I can't believe I'm already sitting at the computer again writing to you all. Also can't believe that I am going on 7 months! Time just goes by so fast. It's exciting.

So highlights of the week.

1) I chipped my tooth! 

I was eating some rice and then chomped on a rock on a rock... someone didn't clean the rice very well haha... It isn't very bad at all. You can only tell if you look directly at it... it's my bottom tooth, like the third one from the middle. It kind of has a sharp point so if you look carefully and use your imagination, I look like a vampire :)

2) Quiet Promptings

Yesterday we were walking quite briskly to an appointment. We had been low on lessons this week so we were trying to get in as many as we could this Sunday. As we were walking I saw this guy maybe 18-20 years old, long hair, a beanie, and wearing a cross necklace. He didn't look too friendly on my first impression. And I just said, "Magandang hapon!" or "Good afternoon!" as we walked past. He kind of nodded his head acknowledging my greeting. As I passed I had a feeling to talk to him but I ignored it. I thought to myself, "We have a lot of people to meet and very little time. We need to keep going." Again I felt that I should go talk to him as we continued walking...It wasn't a super strong feeling but it was just a thought. I decided to turn around and return to him. I just said, "How are you doing brother?" He responded by saying, "I'm Mormon also." We started talking and we found out that he has been wanting to return to Church but he doesn't know any of the people. He asked if we would take him next week to introduce him. I was so happy that I heeded the prompting. Sometimes we may think we need a strong feeling or evidence that a thought is from the Holy Ghost and not just our own mind. My main man President Hinkley said that anything that is good or invites you to do good, is likely from the Holy Ghost. The only way to know is to act on that thought or feeling. I know that as we act on our positive thoughts and feeling we will increase our spiritual sensitivity to the Holy Ghost.

3) Sis Nela's talk

Sister Nela is a girl that I baptized back in December. She gave her fist talk in Sacrament meeting yesterday and was super nervous. But she seriously killed it! The whole congregation was like bawling... Sis Nela has such a strong spirit, it was so cool to see. She's just so good and possesses so many Christ-like attributes that she just radiates the spirit. I loved being able to listen to her speak and feel her testimony.

4) Rochelle's Baptism!

On Saturday March 22, Rochelle was baptized! I was so happy for her! The entire day she was texting us updates as to how much time was left until her baptism. It ended up being a great experience for everyone that attended. Normally only a few member show up. But at this one, there were around 20 members there! Rochelle bore her testimony after and my favorite line that just kept replaying in my mind over and over was "Ang gaan ng pakiramdam ko ngyn" or roughly "My feeling right now is light." When she said that, there was so much happiness in her countenance. I couldn't stop smiling the rest of her testimony.

The work isn't always glamorous. The work is hard, tiring, and often straight up frustrating. But the hard times always just fall away. The good memories are priceless to me and are so worth it! They will be the things I remember. I love being a missionary.

Love you all tons :)

Have a great week :)
Elder Watkins

Family Home Evening with neighborhood youth.

Fun Family Home Evening with the Youth. 

Brother Gaspar and Elder Watkins

Elder Choresca, Sister Rochelle, Elder Watkins
March 22, 2014

Elder Watkins, Sister Rochelle, and Elder Choresca
on her baptism day!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Week 27: Cousin Baptisms, The Missionary Posterity, and a visit with Elder Bitters?!

So we received a lot of pics this week in lieu of a family letter. There was a cousin baptism on March 8! Marianne and Angela asked Elder Watkins to baptize them, which was a great honor for him :) Their decision to be baptized brought many family members back to activity. As you will see in the family picture, there are quite a few! This is so exciting for the family. Marianne and Angela are great examples to their family and the Talavera Ward.

Marianne and Angela Benedicto baptism. March 8, 2014  
Elder Choresca, Marianne, Angela, and Elder Watkins
The Benedicto Family with Elder Choresca and Elder Watkins

The Posterity - Elder Gomez to Elder Watkins to Elder Chroesca

Santo Nino wearing a Chicago Bulls onsie...
Don't know which I like better, this one or the
Santo Nino wearing the Angry Birds t-shirt

This is a bridge that Elder Watkins walks by almost every day.
He thought he would take a pic of it.

Elder Watkins getting a little too close to a carabou...

Elder Watkins and Elder Bitters?!!
Haha This isn't really Elder Bitters. Just an Elder Bitters look alike.
Elder Blackham was the AP when Dustin arrived in the mission and was
the first missionary he met in the field. Elder Blackham was at the apartment
when Dustin was really sick. Elder Blackham stayed up with
Dustin  for a few hours just talking to him.
 Thank you Elder Blackham for taking care of my missionary!
Big hugs for you!!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Week 26 : A Nagging Distraction, Reactivating Families and Baptism, and Embracing the Gospel with Enthusiasm!

Hello everyone! I hope you are all well :)

This week was kind of slow for me... I cannot get rid of this cough/cold! It has been over 2 weeks now. I honestly do not mind being sick, actually I am used to it. However the cough is so annoying! I will try to teach and I just start coughing! To me it is really distracting to the Spirit because I am trying to teach something that could change their lives and I'm hacking a lung! Oh well just another trial that will somehow make me better.

This Saturday we had two baptisms! Angela Benedicto and Marianne Payongayon. They are 9 and 8 year old cousins. Their family had been less active for a long time. Elder Gomez and I began teaching them and they returned to activity in December! Then we found out that the 2 girls had not been baptized. Now that their family comes to church they basically double our attendance. There are the parents and grandma plus a flood of 11 kids that attend with them haha. So Aaron and Mike are 2 of the kids that returned and they were ordained teachers recently. So their whole family is starting to be more active in the church! Hopefully they can keep it up :) This Saturday we have another baptism of Sister Cherry Lyn Cawit. She's 13 and another less active family that has returned to activity and is now getting baptized. So re-activating is really the way to go. 

Then on the 22nd Sister Rochelle is getting baptized! I am super excited for her :) Last week she sent a text to us at like 6 AM saying "I had a dream again last night about my baptism. When you come over today will you teach everything I need to follow?" Upon arriving at her house she told us about how she had stopped drinking coffee and wants to know what else she can do to be better prepared. This week we will teach the 10 Commandments to her and she has this St. Nino statue in her house, and he wears a Chicago Bulls onesie... so smooth... But we are going to ask her to move it and instead after her baptism we will give her a nice picture of a temple. She loves the temple! I am really excited for her. 

Well family I love you all and miss you tons :) Have a great week!
Elder D. Thomas S. Watkins :)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Week 25: Transfers and Pictures

So no family letter this week :( but we received information on transfers and pictures! So Elder Watkins and Elder Choresca will continue to be companions. Elder Bausing was transferred. Elder Gordon's new companion is Elder Lungay from Bohul, aka Chocolate Mountains of the Islands.

Elder Watkins and Elder Bausing before he is transferred.

Elder Watkins and Elder Choresca - Companions!

Elder Choresca and Elder Watkins rocking long sleeves in the P.I.

Some of the people from the ward at a very successful stake conference :)