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