Monday, April 21, 2014

Double Referral

For all those who want my address, the mission office is the place to send it!

6265 N 82nd St
Scottsdale, AZ

They forward everything the same day they get it, but for packages they have to be sent by USPS to be forwarded. So it'll just take like an extra day or 2 to get to me. I don't know our real address up here because it's a PO box and we share it with other missionaries (we don't even have a key), but I'll figure it out for next week and let everyone know!

Anyways, missionary work! We FINALLY met a double referral this week. We had gotten his name twice from other missionaries and we had called and called and had never got the chance to meet him. We heard he was always found at either a park in Taylor or Snowflake, with his fancy blue truck and two little pomeranians, but we had never managed to see him like everyone else. But anyways, we were cruising near the park in Taylor, looking for a certain trailer, but just kinda felt like we should ditch that plan and go to the park. Lo and behold, Ruben was there! He was chatting on the phone, so we played with his little dogs for a minute (one of them has only one eye), and then we got to know him!

He's a member, but he hasn't been to church in so so long, like since the early nineties. He's kind of homeless and he's going through a rough time right now, but he is ready to come back and receive again the blessings of church attendance. So hopefully things will go well with him!

It poured all day Saturday, which was kind of fun until we remembered that basically 80% of the streets in Snowflake and Taylor are dirt and rocks, so poor Unicorn, our car, got caked in mud. We never got stuck, though! There was a lot of running in the rain and standing at doors getting soaked, hoping people would answer. It was an adventure! We got a lot of good stuff done that day!

Anyways, I hope everyone had a good Easter! Just like Christmas, it was nice to be able to focus on Christ and His sacrifice instead of easter eggs and bunny rabbits, as fun as those things are. Its nice to have an excuse to eat a lot of candy, though! I'm just so grateful, though, for Jesus Christ and the chance we had to share the story of His Resurrection with everyone. What a blessing we have, to be able to live again! I know He died for us so we could have that chance.

I love everyone, have a great week! Keep being strong!
Love, Hna Watkins

Trish emailed later with this info. It sounds like the mission office address is still very reliable, especially since PO boxes sometimes have delivery limitations. But, if you'd like to send a letter directly to Trish, here's her address:

PO Box 901
Taylor, AZ

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ah, I got so many emails this week, I'm running out of time!

This has been a good week, though, if I can even remember anything that happened!

First off, the Christmas Devotional was yesterday, and it was great! We watched it in a member's home with Jaime and 3 of his kids (or 1 of them, and the other 2 are someone else's kids? I'm not sure). They all really liked it. We actually had a lesson with him and the kids a couple days ago, and we taught them the 10 commandments with the hand signs to help them remember them, and they loved it! Then we talked about baptism, and they're all super excited to learn more about it and to come to church! Jaime is still looking for an apartment, but now the tricky thing is that he wants to stay where he is to have Christmas with his kids. We can't really tell him no, because it's his own decision, but now that his kids are getting more excited about the gospel, they can all get baptized together!

Also, I spoke in church this sunday! It was scary, I was assigned 12 minutes, and I can't even speak for 8 mintues in english! But it went well. I talked about Joseph Smith and how he overcame so much adversity, and how we can do the same in our lives and learn from his example. Church has been so great! We've been working with recent converts a lot because a ward temple trip is coming this saturday, and we want them to be ready to do baptisms! Almost everyone has their recommends, and we're prepping them for waking up to do baptisms at 6 in the morning :) it should be good!

Also, before I forget: There is a thrift store here called Mesa Thrift, and it is AMAZING! Everyone that knows me knows that I am not a fan of DI. Well lo and behold, I walked into Mesa Thrift and it's like heaven! Well, not really, but it's so awesome! I got a 2 cute skirts for like 3 bucks each, and I found a super nice Banana Republic jacket for 20 dollars! So wonderful. Missions really do change people. I like thrift shopping!

We also had a really great lesson with our 14 year old investigator, Evelyn. She gets a little crazy when we sit her down with her mom to teach them, but we were really firm with her and started reading some verses from the Book of Mormon. Finally she came out with her doubt of whether Joseph Smith really is a prophet. She was kind of confused because in so many catholic churches, the members really worship and pray to the Virgin Mary, and she felt like we were doing with Joseph Smith. So we went really slowly and followed the spirit, and taught her about how prayer is the way she can find out for herself, and that we definitely don't worship or pray to Joseph Smith, but we are grateful to him. She felt so great after and promised to sincerely pray about it! (meaning no more prayers about justin bieber or that cute guy in her english class, haha.) We kind of just floated around for the rest of the night, it was so good! Hopefully we'll start to see some more serious progress from her!

Okay, last thing: we had tortilla sandwiches for dinner last night, and they were AMAZING. They sound so weird and they looked kind of suspicious, but they were so good! Imagine beans, lightly fried tortillas, salsa verde, and chicken all on a yummy Mexican roll and lightly toasted on both sides. SO GOOD! I will make those for anyone that wants to try them when I get back. So wonderful!

I love you all! I'm out of time!

Love, Sister Watkins

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Surprise! I moved!

But just to a different house. Sister Stratton and I survived transfers, so we're together again for 6 more weeks! We moved from the Morales' house to the Hernandez's house. They're great! It's just different. They've got 3 young boys, and the youngest is a real cryer (but not a screamer, thank goodness). They're super sweet though, I really like them a lot!

Okay, this week was GREAT! We have been working really hard but still struggling with member-present lessons. All you ex-missionaries know that there's sections on working with members in Preach My Gospel, and that President Hinckley teaches us that the best way to do missionary work is through the members (let that be a warning to all you folks out there who say you're busy when the missionaries ask you to go teach with them). That said, we had the loosely-set goal of 10 member-present lessons a week, and we were averaging about 7 or 8. Well, this week we saw miracles. We got 13 member-present lessons! And in one day, we got 4! (That actually happened again yesterday, but since this email is late, I'll count it as a miracle for this week!)

The members make a huge difference. Sometimes they can just lay out what we want to say but in the exact way the investigator needs to hear it. Sometimes they have experiences that relate perfectly to what the investigator is doubting, or sometimes they just have wonderful testimonies that move people to change. They are so wonderful and help so much, so everyone, go out with the missionaries! You will change lives, even if you don't think you can see it!

We've got 2 baptisms lined up for this Saturday! Yajaira, Ruth's daughter, and Ricardo, who's visiting from Mexico (but we got okay'd to teach him and baptize him!). Yajaira is adorable, she's almost 10. We've basically finished teaching the lessons, so when we go over to teach her, we read in the Book of Mormon. She can't read in spanish very well, but she can read even less in english, so we just go really slowly and make sure she understands everything. No matter how hard she tried, though, she could not get the name, "Lehi" which is pronounced like lehy-ee (sort of) in spanish. She just kept making up things, and in the end she just kept calling him Lechuga, which is lettuce in spanish. It was hilarious.

We also had a great lesson with Ricardo about the Word of Wisdom! We had it in the Zazueta's house, and they are super smart, so they could answer all his questions. Ricardo is a bit tough, he likes to speak abstractly and metaphysically or whatever, so we have a hard time understanding him at times. But he's pressing forward and is really progressing, and he really can't wait for his baptism on Saturday! It will be great.

Last thing: there's a tradition in Mexico (mostly in the south, I think) of celebrating el dia de los magos on January 6th. They celebrate the wise men coming to visit Jesus when he was born, and I think that's when kids get their presents, instead of on Christmas, cause the Wise men are the ones that bring the presents. So they have a tradition that involves a giant pastry ring, called a rosca de reyes. It has all these gross gummy things on top and has a hidden baby jesus baked into it. They slice it up, and everyone starts eating, and whoever ends up with the baby Jesus has to make tamales and bring them to the host family a few weeks later! Or something like that. But we got to eat some rosca with the Castanedas and Ricardo's family, it was super fun! I didn't get the little baby Jesus, but it's for the better because I have no idea how to make tamales. Hopefully one day I'll learn!

Well well well, this was a great week! A lot more happened, but I'm out of time. I love you all, choose the right!

Sister Watkins

Monday, December 30, 2013

I made an actual list of this week's events! Hopefully this email will be more interesting than those of the past :)

Okay, it was a great week! We were riding home last night and Sister Stratton and I just kind of looked at eachother and said, "This week was amazing." Our area is really picking up!

First, we had a lesson with Claudia, a forever investigator (not the other amazing one I talked about a few weeks ago). She is great, but she's been struggling with the idea of modern prophets, and she's got 2 crazy kids so she feels like she has no time to pray or go to church or anything. And to top it all off, her brother just got killed over stupid drug stuff, so her family is going through a pretty rough patch right now. But the other day, we had a lesson with her and an amazing member, Hermana Hernandez. Claudia told her the whole story of her brother (like the 3rd time we've heard it, haha). She kept talking and talking, hardly taking a breath, and we were trying to talk about baptism and nail her down on an official day, and her kids were screaming and being crazy, and it just wasn't working! Then finally there was a pause and Hermana Hernandez chimed in, and it was AMAZING. Everything went silent and she just sweetly started to share her testimony of the gospel and baptism, and the spirit was so strong! Claudia started crying a bit, and really opened up to what we were saying. She said she would pray about baptism, and really take the time to read more about Joseph Smith and pray about him too. So great! We have a return appointment tomorrow :)

Ricardo! He's still doing great. He's set for baptism on the 11th of December. After a turn of events, we ended up having a lesson with him and our stake president, President Burnham, in the chapel, and it was great! They let us schedule another one the next day in their home, which was just as wonderful. He also got to see a baptism of a kid in our ward, and he's super excited for his! The funny thing is that we were telling him that he could choose who he wanted to baptize him, and he chose president Burnham, haha. He keeps calling him Juan el Bautista (John the Baptist) which probably isn't super appropriate, but he's super happy, and we're really excited for him!

Oh yeah, and we had Christmas! It was great to talk with my family! I didn't even cry til the very end. My poor companion, though, started bawling when her camera was held up to another screen and she could see her sister that is serving in El Salvador (and is almost done with her misison, how exciting!). It was a great day, we stayed really busy and ate lots of posole and tamales and all the good stuff. And we even got to celebrate like the mexicans! We opened all our presents in the evening on the 24th, so thank you to everyone who made our Christmas great :)

We have another baptism set up for the 11th! Her name is Yajaira, Ruth's daughter (a recent convert). Basically every time we see her she asks if she can get baptized the next day. I wish! But we've only got a few more things to teach her, and then she'll be good to go! We're working hard on her brother Braulio and her dad Cristian.

The confusing thing is that we just started teaching another couple named Ruth and Cristian! They're a little bit crazy and we only just met them, but we think things will turn out well with them! This Ruth is already a member and mostly speaks English, but her boyfriend/husband (we're not sure what their relationship is) doesn't know much about the church or Christ, for that matter. So we're going back to night, we hope things will work out with them!

And to make things a little bit more crazy, we found another Cristian to teach! He can be Cristian #3, haha. He's the son of some inactive members we just found (who sadly were asleep when we stopped by). But we had a good chat with their son, Cristian #3, and we're going back tonight too! We're thinking things will go well with him.

That was mostly our week! Evelyn, our 14 year old investigator is doing great. She's progressing slowly but surely! We just have to ask every couple of minutes for her to listen and stop talking about Justin Bieber. Nevertheless, she's doing great!

I love you all! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Make some good goals!

Love, Sister Watkins

Monday, December 23, 2013

Feliz Navidad!

Question of the week: How many chickens have you eaten in your lifetime? Every egg counts as one...

That was the conversation starter at a dinner this week, courtesy of our Zone Leader. Haha, there have been chickens everywhere this week for some reason! We saw one crossing the road on the way to church, and the answer as to why it was crossing the road is sadly because it was really just lost, poor guy.

Anyways, this was a good week! We'll start with Saturday. We had the BEST ward Christmas party EVER! Tamales, posole, menudo, and 5 pinatas. Count 'em, 5. And a wedding, to start the night off on the right foot! We wandered around and talked to/set up appointments with basically everyone, so Christmas Eve and Christmas day will be super full, giving us no time to be homesick. And we worked out our skype calls and everything, which is super exciting! The only sad thing is that the family we live with left on Sunday afternoon for Utah, so we're home alone this whole week. It's so lonely! But we're going to be spending so much time outside the house this week that we won't have so much time to think about it.

Okay, what else... We have a recent convert named Ruth, who has a 9 year old daughter named Yajaira who wants to be baptized. She's super adorable and loves the lessons, which is super great! We've been trying to find time to meet with her 14 year old brother Braulio, though, who's been tough to get a hold of. Well finally, this week we found him at home when we visited Yajaira, and we had a great lesson with him! He had tons of questions and was kind of confused about some things, but we think it went really well. We had just read a talk together called Will You? and it's super great (I think it's from CES Education Week back in the 90s if anyone is interested). It just talks about how Will you? is a yes or no question and lots of other good stuff, so when we asked Braulio if he would pray about what we had taught him (mostly the plan of salvation, but basically it was a little bit of everything), he responded with, "I don't know." So we both just turned to him, looked him in the eye, and Hna Stratton said, "It's a yes or no question. Will you pray about the things we've taught you?" And he was kind of surprised! But he paused for a second, got pretty serious, and said yes, he would pray. So we're crossing our fingers and praying a ton that he actually will! It was a cool experience.

What else happened... Why can I never remember what happened during the week?? Haha, something cool we did this morning was a little self-defense class with a guy in our ward! He just taught us basics, so now I know how to elbow and knee somebody properly, and what I should do if by chance a girl gets in a fight with me and grabs my hair, hahah. It was super fun!

Oh yeah, one awkward, funny encounter we had this week with 2 really drunk people at 11 am on a week day: We were passing an apartment complex on our way to visit a less active, and we saw these two people sitting in front of the sign just chatting. The guy got up and started singing John Denver songs with his own words thrown in and started saying, "Jesus is coming" in Navajo, and the other lady got upset, saying, "Can I just talk for one minute??" so we got the other guy to calm down, and she slowly said, with great concern, "Is it true that... the volcano is gonna erupt?" And that's where we just stopped and said we had to go, haha. It was super funny! I'll never forget the guy's rendition of Rocky Mountain High, it was so classy.

So that was our one interesting experience for the week! And now it's almost Christmas, I can't believe it! Time has just flown by.

I love you all! Merry Christmas!

Hna Watkins

Monday, December 16, 2013

Nacho really is a nickname for Ignacio. Who knew!

Oh my gosh, we've had a great week!

But now I don't know where to start! I always have to go back and read the last email I sent so I know where the last week ended and where this one began, haha.

We have an AMAZING new investigator named Claudia! She was kind of an accident, but she's been wonderful! We were having a tough day, and everything was falling through, so we spent most of the afternoon just wandering, trying to contact former investigators and really un-progressing ones. We were getting pretty hopeless, and our feet were hurting, so we didn't have the best attitudes. We were wandering through an apartment complex, and knocked on a door where a former lived. Nobody was home, but we saw the guy's niece drive up, who the other sisters had sort of talked to but had never really gotten anywhere with her. And this was Claudia! We told her we were looking for her uncle, who wasn't home, so we started giving her the whole invitation to the Christmas lights and what not, and then we got an actual conversation going about her religious background, and she came out with a lot of questions. So we went inside, sat on the couch, and had the first lesson. It was INCREDIBLE! She was absolutely ready to hear what we had to say. The spirit was so strong, and she just kept saying how good she felt and how warm her heart was. Such a good lesson!

Then we went back on Saturday to go over The Plan of Salvation (we had given her the pamphlet), and she had actually written down questions and had read everything we had given her! I've never taught anybody so willing to learn, haha. So we had a great lesson and invited her to be baptized! Her date is for the 18th :) So basically she's golden, and I am immensely enjoying teaching someone so prepared. There will definitely be more news to come about Claudia!

What else... The Rubios! Have I talked about them yet? They are good friends of some members in our ward, and after a long time, they're finally opening up to the gospel! We've had 2 great lessons with them, and they're working towards a baptism, but it'll have to be far in the future, because Hno Rubio is still married to someone in Mexico, even though they've been separated for years. So that's always a bit of a process. But He and his wife (not his actual one, just the one he's been with for 18+ years) talked to the bishop to learn more about what they should do to get married so they can get baptized! So they're super ready. They also come prepared with questions and read all the chapters we give them. It's so exciting to be teaching so many people with so much desire!

There was lots of other stuff this week, but I can't remember right now (don't worry, it's all been journaled, so at least it's on paper if it's not in my brain). Oh, some recent converts got to go to the temple to do baptisms for the first time, which was great! And we got to do a session too! We get to go to the Mesa temple every three months for a session, and after this trip, we had a big missionary dinner after where they passed out tons of mail and packages. Guess who had the biggest stack? This girl! Haha, it was awesome! I have pictures, but this computer is kinda old so I'll have to figure it out some other time.

I love you all, I gotta go!

Love, Sister Watkins

Monday, December 2, 2013


What a crazy couple of days!

This new area is great! It's waaaay smaller than my last area, but there is still a ton of stuff to do. Where to start...

Thanksgiving! We spent the day visiting basically EVERYONE. I don't think I've ever ridden a bike so much before in my life as I did last Thursday, haha. We helped a recent convert, Yenisbel, and her 2 kids make a cake cause they had never made one before (not even the boxed mixes, like the easiest things ever), which was really fun, even though they're from Cuba and they drop syllables all the time so I can't understand what they're saying, haha. Then we visited a lonely single guy, Hno Trujillo, who showed us pictures of his family for like an hour and asked us to find him a girlfriend when we asked if he needed anything, haha. Then we had dinner with our family, Familia Morales, and it was super good! Not quite the same as mom's Thanksgiving (mexican style turkey), but it was still very satisfying and delicious! We also went and played flag football with the english ward in the morning. Overall it was a great day!

So there's one apartment complex in the corner of our area that's huge and we visit it every day. Basically everybody knows us or has talked to the sister missionaries at some point or another. But it's great because there's so much great work to do there! There's an investigator named Jaime that has a baptismal date for the 14th that lives there, and he's awesome! I think he was super hardcore into drugs, but went to visit the visitors center for some reason and started reading the book of mormon, deciding he wanted to change his life. The sisters have taught him everything, and he's basically ready for baptism, just that he needs to find a new apartment, away from "the mother of his children", haha. So he's super awesome, is reading so much from the Book of Mormon, and is so ready to get baptized!

We're also working with some recent converts to get them ready for the temple. One sister is named Ruth, and basically lives in the most humble circumstances ever with her 3 kids and husband. She works a lot and does a ton for her family (her husband is kind of a bum), but is so willing to do anything to live the gospel. So great! We're working with her to get a reccommend for baptisms, so that's pretty exciting for her!

Then we had Fast Sunday! Everyone is suuuuper nice in Mesa. I'm not going to say that Phoenix is a rough, mean place, but in comparison to Mesa, it kind of is, haha. Everyone is friendly! The members all said hi to me and complimented me on Spanish and stuff even though I had no idea what was going on, haha. I didn't really get the chance to meet the bishop, but they all seem very nice and welcoming. Woo!

Also: I ate the best tacos al pastor the other day. If anyone is ever in Mesa, go find a restaurant called La Merced, and get 3 or 4 tacos al pastor. They are HEAVENLY! I would eat them every day if I could! so good.

Well this week just flew by, and I can't really remember any details! It's been good, though. I really like Mesa a lot!

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! And happy December!

Hna Watkins