Monday, October 28, 2013

Hello errybody!

Where to start this week... We went to the visitor's center with Nereyda, a recent convert, her husband Octavio, an investigator, and their 5 year old daughter, Ashley, who's a mega fashionista, haha. It was really good! We talked a lot about eternal families and eternal marriage, which was really exciting! We had another lesson with them a few days later because Octavio had this whole week off of work, and he committed to baptism! His only struggle is the Word of Wisdom. But his date is the 16th of November! This is actually the 3rd time he's had a baptismal date, but the other day at our ward halloween party, he was talking to one of our Elders and confirmed the date and was discussing baptism and everything. So hopefully it'll all work out!

Speaking of our Trunk or Treat party! Mom sent me a mega-package full of cupcake decorations and cake mixes, and we went crazy! They were a huge hit! Everybody loves the missionaries now, thanks mom!

Okay, other people we've taught: Byron and Yarli, cousins from Guatemala that just moved into our area. Byron is super friendly and Yarli is a bit shy, but they are both looking for a church since they are new to the area, and they're really interested in our message. Byron really just wants to follow the path of Christ but never has been exactly sure how to do it. We had a second lesson with them on Saturday, and Byron committed to baptism, also for the 16th! It's so impressive to me to watch people as they open up to the message we have to share and see the changes they make to follow the example of Christ and be baptized. When people really feel the Spirit, they are willing to change anything. It's always such a good example to me!

We've also been teaching a 14 year old boy named Roberto. His dad and stepmom are both active at church, so he's been attending a lot with them. He's just come from Mexico and is going to high school and learning english at the same time. And he's a great student! That's so impressive to me. Anyways, we've been teaching him for a long time and we even had a baptismal date with him a few weeks back, but he's just been waiting for a special feeling to confirm what he's been learning, even though we're pretty sure he knows it's all true. The only hard thing is that he hasn't been very diligent with scripture study or prayer! We've been trying to help him understand that it's very possible to have that special experience that he's been looking for, but that he has to do his part. It has been tough the past couple weeks to try and find a nice way to say it, so finally we were just kinda tough on him and told him that he has to put in his effort. The Lord is always waiting to bless us! We just need to take that first step and show our willingness. So we taught him that, and we got through to him! He was kinda silent, but in the end he just said, "You guys are right. I haven't been doing my part." So he's gonna work harder now on prayer and scripture study, and he also committed to a baptismal date on the 16th of November!

We also have one more man who's ready to be baptized, Silvestre. We were walking into Gospel Principles class last sunday, and one of the elders in our ward pointed out an older guy sitting in the back that he hadn't seen at church in 4 months, but that he lived in our area. So Hna Arevalo and I went up to him and chatted a bit, and he invited us over this week! So we went by, and basically he's a member that hasn't been baptized yet, haha. The only problem was that he had a girlfriend that he was living with several months ago, but she's gone now, and he's started coming back to church after a few months of realizing that he was really missing it. So he's the fourth person we have for the baptism on the 16th of November! Bottom line, we've had some great miracles in finding and helping people commit to baptism. What a great week!

Everyone remember to do your part! Heavenly Father is waiting to bless you! Show him your willingness by being obedient and humbling yourself through prayer. It's hard but definitely worth it!

I love you all!
Hna Watkins

Monday, October 21, 2013

If anyone REALLY loves me they'll send me some stamps!

Yah! What a good week! It's kind of weird to write again after writing on Wednesday, so I'll try to think of some good stuff to write.

We got Isabel and Daniel and their grandkids to come to Church! First off, we told them that this week was the primary program, meaning they had to be at church at nine. So we told Isabel and Daniel that we'd come help them get ready in the morning, like ironing and brushing hair and stuff, which they were super grateful for because they have like 5 or 6 grandkids (I'm not sure how many, I keep losing track, haha). We showed up at 7:30, started ironing and pouring some cereal, and left them an hour later about halfway prepared. So we were just crossing our fingers that they'd be there in time to take the Sacrament. Then we showed up to the church, and no children were there practicing or anything. After asking around, we realized the primary program wasn't that Sunday, which was super embarrassing!! But the great thing was that Isabel and Daniel showed up about an hour late, so they were right on time for our church! It worked out perfectly!

What else happened.... we had a missionary fireside at our chapel last night, and it was so great! We sang a song with Hna Toledo, a blind woman in our ward who plays the guitar, and some recent converts bore their testimonies. It was really nice. And we got the Riveras to come! They're less-actives that we've been working with a lot, but they both work on Sunday mornings so they haven't been able to attend church. But we got them to the fireside! The only thing is that Yasury wasn't able to go, even though she was all ready to share her testimony! But her sister Yumiko, the pregnant one, has been having a lot of labor pains, and they were planning on taking her to the hospital! So Yasury was being the good sister and took care of her. And we'll have a new baby! Perfect to teach the plan of salvation :)

That's about it... We've just been doing the regular teaching and stuff, trying to get some of our regular investigators to start progressing. We're going to the Visitor's center tonight with a Recent convert named Nereyda and her husband Octavio, a long-time investigator. Hopefully things will turn around for him and he'll get interested again! I'll let everyone know how it goes!

Everyone have a good week! Being a missionary is the best!
Love, Hermana Watkins

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Yaaaay a baptism!

I honestly can't even remember what has happened since I last emailed!

Also, this email is 2 days late because it's transfer week! And for some reason, they change P-day to Wednesday during transfers. Nothing changed for us 6 missionaries in the Camelback 1st branch, so that's exciting! We're just gonna keep charging on ahead with the work!

Okay, so Yasury's baptism!!! You guys, it was AMAZING! It was a little scary at first cause we couldn't find a jumpsuit that fit well, and we were running around trying to search for more, when finally our district leader told us they were all hanging up in the boy's bathroom! So we had to sneak in there and get some of those, but otherwise, everything went very smoothly! Yasury (the mom) was baptized first. It was a little crazy cause some little kids were running around and yelling, but as Hno Curiel started with the baptism, everything just got really quiet and peaceful. Yumiko (Yasury's sister) was really moved by the whole thing, and Lorenzo, their dad, got to be there, which made it really special. There was a little problem with Yasurita's baptism cause Hno Curiel couldn't get her name right, haha, but it all worked out in the end.

And then their confirmations were on Sunday! Both the blessings were really special. It was Fast and Testimony meeting for us, so beforehand we asked Yasury if she would bear her testimony, saying that we would too (meaning I had to do it in spanish, so scary!), and she did! It was really powerful. She gave a beautiful testimony on her feelings about her baptism and the changes that she's made and feeling the spirit and stuff. So great! She is really special. She's definitely going to be a great asset to the branch and to the church.

What else has happened this week.... We made contact with a street contact from about a month ago, and it was great! Her name is Guadalupe and she has one son named Alexis (who is like 10 and has serious attitude, it's hilarious. The first thing he said when his mom introduced him was, "Soy gordo" with a huge smile on his face! It was so funny). She's been going through a really rough time for about a year now, and was really enjoying our message. We have another appointment for next monday, so hopefully everything goes well!

This week was interesting cause we weren't seening a lot of progression with our investigators like we wanted. We were planning on dropping a bunch of them this week after a final visit, which is always a scary thing cause you don't know if any of the referrals you have to fall back on will actually pull through. So we were just praying and praying that if we did decide to drop these people, we'd find more people to work with. And the Lord answers prayers! But diligence is required. We have worked super hard the last couple days, and the Lord has provided us with great new investigators and a change of heart in some of the old ones that are now progressing more than ever. So great! I love seeing fruits of our labors and answers to prayers.

Well I hope this isn't too long! Everything has been wonderful. Phoenix is full of weird people. A guy just walked into the library with an eyepatch. But I love it here! There are wonderful families like Yasury and her daughters and sister and dad, and great members like our branch. I absolutely love being a missionary!

OH I almost forgot! On Monday night we were leaving a member's house to go to FHE at the Guerrero's house with Yasury. We were pedaling along and were coming up to a corner when a car passed us and stopped right before the stop sign. We rounded the corner and stopped cause smoke was coming out from under the hood, and we were gonna ask if we could help. And then there was a huge boom and all these flames came out from the hood!! And the people in the car just bolted out! It was crazy! There was tons of fire, and Hermana Arevalo was just saying "Alejese, alejese, alejese!!" Finally a firetruck came, and it made me realize how brave firemen are! A guy jumped out of the truck, and before they sprayed the fire or anything, he walked right up to the car with a flashlight to find the problem and make sure nobody was still in there or anything. And then it was great, we met up with Presidente Alvarado, and he introduced us to a family he knows from his work! Potential investigators! So there you go, missionary work can come from anything, even an exploding car :)

Well great! Everyone have an outstanding week!
Love love love
Hermana Watkins

Our zone at the Mesa Temple.

Fiesta patrias!

Yumiko, Yasury, y Estrella at the Visitors' Center.


The baptism!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pretty sure this is week 11

Hi everybody!

This week was GREAT! I can't really remember how it started. That was like a million years ago. But we've had some great lessons with Yasury, who's official baptismal date is October 11th, with her daughter Yasurita. It's so exciting!! We can't wait for this Friday. It's like waiting for Christmas! The challenge now, though, is to help Yamiko and Estrella and even their dad Lorenzo to commit to baptism.

Estrella's baby boy is named Mitsuo! We were a tiny bit disappointed because Hermana Arevalo and I had thought up a name for him: Natalio Patricio (our first names masculinized). Haha, but Mitsuo seems to fit him very well! It was so awesome, they made it to a session of conference! It was Sunday morning, which is perfect because the Prophet spoke! Yamiko wasn't feeling to good so she didn't come, but Yasury and Estrella LOVED it! We were taking some pictures after, and Estrella was talking about how Mitsuo is a future missionary, which is so awesome to hear! They have such an amazing desire to learn more, and are willing to change anything in their lives that isn't in harmony with the doctrines of the gospel. I love their examples of faith!

And I finally figured out all their daughter's names, haha! Yasury's girls are named: Yasurita, Yukey, and Yza, and Yamiko's daughter is named Mitsue. So Japanese! Can you see why I was so confused until now?

We also made a great connection! We were planning on going to the Visitor's center with Isabel and her fam and The Rivera family, but rides didn't work out, so we had to cancel. We were over at the Cobarubias house (less-actives), and we were telling them about Isabel, and it turns out they're good friends! They had just lost touch over the years. So we gave them Isabel's number, and after talking about conference, they planned on inviting Isabel and Daniel and their girls to come watch Conference with them. So great!

Um also, this week I ate the most delicious hot dog in my life. Hermana Anaya truly is an amazing cook! Or she's just crazy and throws a bunch of things together and they turn out deliciously, haha. This is how it went: warmed bun, 2 american cheese slices, hot dog wrapped in bacon, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, diced onion, tomato, guacamole, grilled onion, and cotija cheese. WHAT. It was like three pounds and SO DELICIOUS. Thank goodness we had to go to an appointment, or I would have eaten another one, haha. Also, we had gigantic lasagna yesterday. It was heavenly. I love mexican food, but a little change never hurts, haha. It was wonderful to have a little break with some italian food.

Thanks for the emails and letters, everyone! I love you all!
Love love love
Hermana Watkins