Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 75: Transfer Week aka Organized Chaos, Missionary Recovery Center, and Overcoming Addictions with the Atonement

Hey Family!

Sorry about last week and no family email! :(

Well, we survived. It was transfer week and it is actually quite amazing to see over 250 missionaries spread out through the Philippines receive instruction on Wednesday and then travel Thursday morning by bus, jeepey, or tryke and arrive in their new area and get to work! It's pretty crazy to think about. Of those 250, probably half are foreigners from 18-20 or so years old, and traveling around the Philippines to places they have never been  and no one gets lost! It's crazy but it happens. It is the Lord's work.

With this transfer over and the new one starting, we now shift our gaze to prepare for MLC again and uh oh, zone interviews...All 11 zones. So from March 31 - April 14 we will hit all 11 zones and have an MLC in the middle. It is going to be a super busy and exciting time! We have started to prepare for interviews. And we are all really excited for our training. We are trying to shift this transfer to focus on application. The past have been more on instructions and us teaching, but now we are really going to dig in and involve everyone. We are coming up with some cool ideas for our workshops of how to get everyone involved and make it a super interactive experience. Actually, I don't know if any of you care about this... I just realized this is probably boring to you, but it gets me excited haha

But last week my companion Elder Mabalot got sick and had to go to the emergency room. He had some serious stomach pain. Well, it was just a result of lack of sleep due to stress. The past few months he hasn't been able to sleep and his body has been suffering because of it... :/ So after that he got sent down to Manila to the MRC or Missionary Recovery Center for 2 days. He came back and is doing better. I am lucky to have him for 6 more weeks. He is such a work horse and the most humble person. I wish you could meet him. He may move to Idaho with his aunt. It's funny like it's not very common to go to America, but of my companions that I have had Elder Gomez, Elder Choresca, Elder Delante, and Elder Mabalot all have chances and hopes of moving to America!

While Elder Mabalot was in Manila I was able to work with the Office Elders in their area. We actually had a really cool teaching experience. We were reviewing the  plan for the day and on the list of people to teach was a lady named Gina. I asked about her story - she was a long time investigator, about 50 years old and has been coming to church for almost 6 months now. She wants really badly to get baptized. Her concern is that she is a big time smoker. They said she used to smoke about 20 sticks a day, but is now at around 8-10 a day, which is improvement but she can't seem to drop any lower. They asked what should we teach?! I asked if they had used Chapter 10 'Teaching Skills' in Preach My Gospel in helping people overcome addictions. They said no. We went there and read together the doctrine and principles and some application ideas. We together chose one that we felt could help Sister Gina. We went to the lesson and upon teaching we found out she had started smoking when she was 11 and became heavily addicted and has been ever since. She has NEVER gone without smoking - amazing. Anyways we asked how many she had smoked that day and she said 8. We talked to her about what smoking is causing her to miss now and what it will cause her to iss in the future. We talked about her desire to be baptized and why she wanted to be baptized. We then committed her to stop smoking. She then said Ok I will try "unti unti" or little by little. We said no, now, tomorrow you will not like a single cigarette She said she had never done it tomorrow but said she felt inspired to do so The next day, the Elder followed up and reported back to me (because we are roommates) that she smoked ZERO cigarettes!! The next day they reported again that she still had not smoked a single cigarette!! They said in her house where the usual packs of smokes were, are barren! All that remains are the pictures of Jesus Christ we put in those places where the packs were and where she feels tempted to smoke! We also put one in her wallet so that when she feels like she should buy some, there is one more reminder for her. It's awesome! Hopefully she can continue to keep it up and get baptized this April! :) It's so great to see the Gospel and the Atonement of Jesus Christ help people break free and obtain joy in their lives :) I love this church!

Well family I hope all is well with you...You mean so much to me.

Love you,
Elder Watkins

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