Sunday, March 1, 2015

Week 73: Countless Blessings for the Faithful, Big Fish, and Missionary Leaders Council

Hey family love you all tons!

So this week was awesome. I was able to go on exchanges with the Zone Leaders here in Tarlac and we went to visit one of my recent converts, Sister Abigail Ong, along with her whole family. Of course, I get to see their family every Sunday at church, but it is different being able to sit with them and have a discussion about the Gospel and how it applies to their life. Anyways last time I was able to meet with them at their home was early January, only a few weeks following her baptism. She had expressed some deep concern to Elder Delante and I about how her life is getting so much more difficult after she got baptized and started paying tithing. She said she didn't doubt she had made the right choice in joining the church, she said God made known unto her the truth, but she was looking for those promised blessings desperately. And that was back in January. Now fast forward to this week. We went and visited the Ong family, I was with both Zone Leaders of Tarlac and I was just observing basically the lesson as they taught faith and repentance. When they looked at me indicating it was my turn to share, I didn't have much to add because they had spoken a lot and covered the material extensively. So I just asked Sister Ong if the things they were saying were true. "Has faith in Jesus Christ and sincere repentance brought the increased peace and joy you are looking for?" I was listening intently for her answer because last I had checked, she and her family had been struggling. She looked down at the floor and seemed to be pondering. I saw a tear flow and fall to the floor as she nodded her head in the affirmative, after another pause she explained how she and her family have been the recipients of countless blessings. She started crying again as she explained that God was blessing them so much that she didn't feel like they even deserved. She even went on to say how trials are actually getting more difficult and things are still not improving financially, but they feel at peace in putting their faith in God. Knowing he will provide if they stay faithful.

Moments like that just melt your heart as a missionary. I wouldn't trade that feeling of joy for anything. Not a touchdown, state championship, or money. Can't wait for those of you who are coming to meet the Ong family. Also this last Sunday Bother Jesus Tolentino was able to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood!! How amazing is that!! Baptisms that go through and receive the Melchizedek Priesthood are what we call "Big Fish." He has now arranged his working schedule so that he can attend all three meetings at church. Since October, he has not missed a single Sacrament meeting. His wife, Sister Tolentino, who has fully returned to activity, was called to the Relief Society 2nd Counselor and bore a powerful testimony yesterday about how the church is changing the direction of their entire family. I also saw ninay Lolita and Carlos at church again this week! They never miss!!! Ninay keeps telling me she she's getting smarter as she reads the Book of Mormon daily. Sister Teresa was also there, another recent convert who was baptized in December. She always attends but she was fellow shipping an investigator! We show up to church ad she was sitting next to an investigator who attended church for the time. She was talking to her about the hymns and sacrament and what we do for fast and testimony, it was way cool!!! It is way hard to get member to to fellowship even when you ask them, but Sister Teresa was all over it and she is just a brand new member!

This coming week will be the busiest of the entire transfer...Tuesday we have a 12 hour training session (MLC) at the Mission Home. We will be training all the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders. After which, Wednesday we interview all the Zone Leaders and discuss the work in each zone. Thursday we have 4 training sessions of 2 hours each training Trainers and Trainees, and also all the District Leaders. After which Friday we have exchanges up in Baler. I'll be going on exchanges with Elder Gordon so that will be cool. Then Wednesday the new arriving missionaries come, and that is a full day of training; then Thursday is the transfer day which is chaos at the office haha... So it is a loaded week filled with opportunities to serve, work, and learn. Super exciting.

Well, I love each of you and I love this work. I love being a missionary, and serving my Father in Heaven and my Master, Jesus Christ. They live and love us.

Elder Watkins

This was just a view I thought was beautiful. The picture didn't do the scene justice...

My companion Elder Mabalot and Me

This is me at the temple with the sisters who were in my district at the MTC!
They are going home now so I was able to take them to the temple for their last visit. 

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