Sunday, September 28, 2014

Week 54:

Hey Fam!

haha sooooo... you are likely curious as to where I transferred, who is my new companion, kabahays, all that good stuff...soo...Imma make you wait till the end :)

Anyways, so I hope you all enjoyed the stories of the crazy drunk dude and stuff from last week, but it doesn't stop there. So, yes, another crazy story this week... may not as crazy as last week, but good nonetheless...sorry Mom.

So it's like 2:30 AM and the phone rings. I think it's an alarm and am like who has a meeting at this time? I think I don't have anything going on. The ringing stops and I cease thought and start falling asleep, when suddenly again the phone rings! I realize it is my phone! I look at it ans see a member named Roselle is calling. I thin in my head, "Roselle, why the blazes are you calling at this hour???..." I answer groggily, "This is Elder Watkinssssss...zzz..." All I hear back is a frantic voice and bawling. I can barely understand anything she is saying. So Roselle is 17, was baptized in July, works at a burger machine right next to our apartment. The burger machine is similar to the Waffle Love truck in Utah, except it is open 24 hours. All I understood from her gibberish was "You need to come down... gun... money... man..." I'm like, "What the heck?!!" So I wake my companion up, we go down and she is just bawling out of control... So I guess since 8:00 PM two guys had been spying on her, and that at about 2:00ish they came up and put a gun to her and said don't scream or we'll shoot you. She gave them all the money and then drove off. We just tried calming her down. We gave her a priesthood blessing of comfort, then called her manager. And the dude was like, "How much money did they take?" LOL really??!! So we ended up staying there until 5:30. She cooked us some hamburgers and then was ok :) there is always exciting stuff going on in Arayat...  :)

Anyways, so now on to the news about transfers.... I packed my bags, and I'm.......(drum rolll.....)....staying in Arayat! hahahaha ya I even have my same companion! The only change is that Elder Drake was transferred :( which I was super sad about :( but I was way happy to stay with Elder Ofiana in this area!! Most people here say I'm going to be here until Christmas... haha so I actually don't have any changes to report to you guys about! :/ Our new kabahay is Elder Dejino from Visayas. He is in my batch, which means we arrived in the mission at the same time. So 3/4 of the missionaries in our house are batch haha. Also 3.5 Filipinos living in the same house...We'll see how this goes haha  :)

Well maybe some of you are online right now! so we can chat :)
Love you all :)
Elder Watkins
Have a great Conference weekend!

Elder Watkins 

A member of the ward drew this 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Week 53: In the Hollow of His Hands, Holy Ghost, and Tatay Nestor's Gratitude

The story that Elder Watkins refers to happened on the way home from celebrating Daniella's birthday (the little girl in the first picture) with a spaghetti dinner and Family Home Evening. Elder Watkins, Elder Ofiana, their room mates, and others traveling with them stopped to aid a blood-covered man they thought was injured in an accident. It turns out, the blood wasn't his, he was drunk and carrying a gun, and threatened to shoot Elder Watkins. Fortunately, none in their group was hurt, and the man was escorted home. He did not remember their encounter the next day. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who hold His missionaries in the hollow of his hands. 

Hey Family :)

So this week was a superrr exciting week! I'm sure Mom and Dad have shared the story with you about the crazy dude already, so I'll just skip that  :) but it was a way good experience for the memories and journal entry haha. How many people can say they have been asked, "if they've wanted to be shot?"  probably not very many :)

Anyways this week is transfers... So this Wednesday I will find out where I am going and then Thursday I will either be staying the same or traveling somewhere new in the Philippines! I am really sad to leave if I do.. I really am close to the people here, and especially a lot of the investigators and people we've baptized... I'm going to miss them a ton regardless of leaving this week or in 6 more...

One story that was a cool experience for me:
So we have been teaching Robin for like 3 months now! and the first 1 1/2 months his wife Jeraldine would always leave and go hide in a different room when we came over...she is crazy shy. I could never even get to the point of shaking her hand. One day randomly she started listening and letting us teach her, and now we are like best friends and she came to church yesterday! She even let us know of her desire to be married and baptized... Well, yesterday at church in class, the lesson was the Holy Ghost. She was asked by another Elder who was teaching the class is she has ever felt the Holy Ghost in her life. She responded yes, and shared her experience. She was say how she was super shy and whenever Elder Ofiana and I would come over, she would always listen in the next room over. She said, "every time they came over, something told me to listen to them. I was scared to join them in the room, but I would just listen. I knew what they were teaching wasn't bad, because when they taught I felt good about what they were teaching. I finally got the courage to talk to them and now it has changed me. And now here I am at your church."

Yesterday, as well, we went to Tatay Nestor's house after he attended church. We had a lesson on daily scripture study. At the end of the lesson I asked if he had any questions, and he said no, just something to say. He went off and cried about how grateful he is that we teach him. He said I see your efforts coming to my house even when it is flooded or rainy. You came even when I couldn't come to church. He then talked about how he is praying for his health to get better so he can go to church and be baptized...

I think the Lord may be revealing stories like these to me because I may be leaving the area this week...The more I think about it, the more I want to stay...The more I think about missing the people, it just makes me more sad, but I will go where He wants me to go.

I am so grateful to be a missionary and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of the Philippines. I am a first had witness that it changes lives. I love being a missionary.

Love you all,
Elder Watkins

Celebrating Daniella's birthday with a spaghetti dinner and
Family Home Evening. 

This is me and a grandma that we taught.

This is what part of our area looked like after the storm. The area flooded and those
are trees submerged in water...It's like 10- 15 feet deep.

This is Robin and his family after going to church. In a letter to me, he wrote
that he wants his whole family to be baptized and go to the temple.
Super cool family! Love them to bits :)

This is Tatay Nestor and some of his grandkids. He is prolly one of the cooler people
I have met in the mission. In this little city, I'm like the barkada leader of all the little kids.
Barkada is like a gang haha. All the kids here know me :)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week 52: Little Acts of Service, Acting on Promptings, and Preparing to Receive Blessings

Hello Everyone!

I am now officially over my year mark and it was great :) I received the package and than you very much :) My kabahay (roommates) and I have already plowed through the M&Ms, Sour Patch, 2 bags of jerky, 1 mixed berry jam, and a jar of Biscoff :) You could say life is sweet :) On my year mark we made some bomb french toast, and topped it with the jam, Biscoff, and of course syrup. Everyone was a big fan :) Thanks Mom and fam! You're the best! Speaking of food, I learned how cook chicken curry this week. It was the bomb. This week I'm learning how to cook sweet and sour chicken and tinola. I'm pretty pumped! Elder Drake and I are into cooking and learning new dishes now :)

I just want to tell you how much little acts of service mean to people. Specifically me. Sometimes you wake up and it is not under ideal circumstances. Sometimes you feel like poop and are not in the best mood haha. Well, I had one of those days this morning. I went to work out and when I came back, my companion made my bed and cleaned the kitchen! I came back in and just could not continue my mood! I was instantly happy! I'm not sure if he know that I woke up not happy or what, but he served me and now it totally changed my whole day. He probably to this second doesn't even know he changed my mood for the entire day :) He's a great companion.

The Lord always has blessings for us. Most of the time he tries us before they come. As a missionary, your blessings are way different. Blessings are new people to teach, when others read the Book of Mormon or go to church. It is really cool as a missionary that much of your happiness is derived from others living the Gospel. Anyways, one day this week we had been walking for who seriously know how long without even talking to a single person or teaching anyone. It was absolutely pouring rain and since my umbrella broke, we were sharing my companion's...We were SOAKED. It's very difficult here to find people to talk to in the rain because, of course, everyone is inside. It would have been really easy to say, "Oh let's just take a break and wait out he storm under that pavilion" or some kind of excuse, but we just kept walking. Not really knowing where to go, we decided we would go to a less active family that is never home...  Turns out they were home and actually let us in to teach them! We taught a lesson on love, then at the end I felt prompted to apply what I read earlier in my personal study "Ask everyone for referrals" So I asked. Turns out they said they would look and get back to us on Thursday. Well, we returned and boom! They had two super prepared investigators who were ready to receive the Gospel. Even yesterday they came to church, and then invited us over to teach them at their house after church again. Way cool.

I just think what if we took a break, and didn't continue? or we didn't ask for a referral? The Lord always has countless blessing for us, but we need to ready ourselves to receive them.

Love you all! Hope you have a great week!
Elder Watkins

This is Barangay Santiago!! haha family!

Elder Ofiana and me after a rainy day

Elder Ofiana and Elder Watkins enjoying some Hump Day french toast.
Elder Watkins is holding an adorable camel that makes a hilarious noise.

Elder Drake and Elder Watkins 

Jhan Jhan and Elder Watkins doing work

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Week 51: Year Mark!, Reflections, and Testimony of the Book of Mormon

Well, first a shout out to Mindy for her birthday!! And again I'm not in town to celebrate it with ya... :( sorry. I swear I am always gone when it happens :( But I'm sure you had a good one :)

Also secondly, I just received the package this morning! I'll be opening it later tonight :) So thank you very much!

What is going on in the Philippines...Well, this week, September 13, I will hit my true year mark!! What?! That is so fast! I only have 10 months left...  :( I like the way Dan put it earlier in my mission... "Only 10 months left to change people's lives" So true. As I reflect over that time, I can't help but think how much I've grown. I am still a solid 5' 8", I've actually lost weight and still don't look a day over 16...(and I turn 20 in 2 months LOL). I have grown so much in other ways. Learning to speak to people how to teach how to study, how to work hard, clean, money living on my own, getting along with others, integrity, love and patience, the lost could go on and on...But of all these thinks I am most grateful for my spiritual growth and growing closer to my Savior. What a blessing it's been and is and will be. I am also so grateful for each of you. Without you, I wouldn't be on my mission. Specifically Mom and Dad. Thank you so much for the support you are giving to me. I feel your prayers and love. Thank you for raising me in this church and teaching me correct principles and letting me govern myself. Thanks to your teaching and example, and of course I wasn't perfect, but I was able to avoid the big pitfalls of high school and be here on a mission :) Thank you.

These past months my testimony of the Book of Mormon has been growing and growing I have always had a testimony of the divinity of this book, but I am experiencing more spiritual growth than ever because of it. I just think back to before the mission where I would maybe read the BoM on a Sunday and that's about it...I always used excuses such as busy, tired, entertainment, the list goes on. Sometime it didn't even cross my mind to read it. Now that I am here in the mission the 1 hour of personal study a day is not enough time! I am truly feeling changes in my life and seeing it in the life of the people I teach. The people who don't understand or don't go to church are the same people who don't read the BoM. On the contrary, the people who read are progressing and gain a desire to learn and overall become more happy. The Book of Mormon is the way to peace and joy in this life and the next. By reading, pondering, and applying the principles learned we come closer to Christ and become happy. When I face trials or hardships, where do I go for comfort or help? Internet? Friends? Family? Though these may be good sources, why not go to the best source? He, who understands us more intimately than we even know ourselves. I just wanted to share my testimony of the Book of Mormon with you all because I am a witness of how much it is helping me in my life right now. I love you all so much and want that same thing for you! I know that as we keep reading the Book of Mormon we will be blessed and guided in a that we do :) What a great promise in  2 Nephi 32:5

Again, love you all. Have a great week :)

Elder Watkins

Feeding a caribou and her baby

Mount Arayat

Elder Watkins "next to some river"

Companions!! Elder Ofiana and Elder Watkins

Caribou friends :)

Left to Right: Bryan, Jhann-Jhann, Elder Watkins, Irish, Elder Ofiana, Bryce
Front row: Newton, Sis Buan