Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas

AHHHHHH I am freaking out right now!! Tomorrow I get to talk to you, and see all of your beautiful faces!!!! Holy Moly I am totally stoked for this. We will be Skyping you from the Rojas families computer. :) He is in our Stake Presidency and is LEGIT!! They also said we can use their house phone just in case the skype is slow. :) I will be calling you around 12 p.m. here so it will be 11 a.m.there :) right.... I don't you can figure that out. I am superly duperly stoked. It really doesn't feel real... but it is!!!! YAY!!
So back to the mission. Yesterday we had a bomb Christmas party. The party went from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. :) It went a  little longer then it was supposed to, but it was totally worth it. We all met down in Lexington which is basically Sugarland. We started off with an awesome/ super spiritual conference. We had a patriach come and talk to us about the Abrahamic Covenant and a lot of really cool things that I don't have time to type. But I was super overwhelmed with the spirit of Elijah and I received an email today from Grandma and Grandpa Merrell that you guys have 14 family names to take to the temple!! You are all amazing! I can't wait to come home and do family history work. I can't wait to get to know all of my ancestors. I can feel them working with me and helping me out every single day. I love it!! We then had President and his wife speak and one of the Houston Stake presidents. We also had a really cool demostration on learning American Sign Language, because the ASL missiounaries in Houston cover all of Texas!! After the Conference we had movie time and I watch Ephraims Rescue.. have ya'll seen it?? I heard it is a new movie this year. If you haven't seen it, WATCH IT! It was super good. I was crying throught he whole thing. The movie also made me want to know my ancestors better. WATHC IT!!  After the movie we had some good o'le Texas BBQ :) and then we played some games, took lots of pictures, and then we had a big slide show that was put together of this whole year. I love my mission!!
You probably all want to know about my new companion. Well her name is Hermana Hubbard, and we have been in the same zone our whole mission. I LOVE HER!! And I have no doubt that God loves us. Hermana Hubbard, Shill, and I are like BFFL and I've now been companions with them both :) She is a lot like my dear best friend Hailey Sprouse. They do a lot of the same things and it kind of wierds me out a lot!! We are really excited to work together and to build this area up. We have already seen miracles after miracles. We have started putting together our vision for this area and we really want to work with out members and less actives right now to gain better relationships with them. :) We have like 5-6 lessons a day right now and it feels amazing :) I love working with Less Actives. Speaking of which my favorite less active from my first area, Marcos. HE CAME TO CHURCH SUDAY!!!!!!! It was the first time he has come in 15 YEARS!!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS to me and God!!!!! And he brought 3 of his friends with him and he told me that he felt amazing at church and wants to come back :) And then Fransico had an interview with President on Sunday and President then met with me to get some more information about him, and President told me that he said that Fransico is one of the strongest investigators he has ever met!!! He also told me that he is going to write his letter to the First Presidency this week and he said that Fransico can probably be baptized in the next month!!!! :) This is probably the greatest Christmas of my life. It would be 1,000 times better if my family was here. But right now I have my Texas family that needs my help and the Lords help, and I am so grateful for this opportunity. And I get to talk to you all tomorrow!!! :) AHHHHHHHHHHH I love Christmas... But when I looked at the temperature in our car today I really feel like we are celebrating Christmas in June. It was 70 degrees this morning!! :) How's the snow??? haha
This past week has been amazing! I love seeing God's hand in this work. It is such a personal plan and is so beautiful. Like I said before we have been working with the members and less actives this week and we watched the movie Joy to the World with all of them and the spirit in that movie is so beautiful and I cry everytime. I love this message that we have to share. The 'Good News' we have a Savior. We are not perfect, but through him we can be, and will be if we allow it. When we allow something to happen we have an action. This is something I learned a lot about on my mission. With faith comes action. Everyone here likes to tell us they have faith in Christ, but then they don't do anything he asks us to do. We need to action part in ourlives to move forward.
I Know that God lives and that this is his plan. We are his literal spirit children, and he loves us very much. Hermana Hubbard and I are like on the same level of Spanish and teaching and we have truly witnessed over and over again that God really does exist and that when we are doing what he wants us to do he gives us help. The spirit has been so powerful in all of lessons. Our spanish isn't amazing, but the spirit is. The spirit is what changes hearts. Everyone that we ask referrals from tells us that their friends aren't ready or their hearts are to hard. Well, if God can do anything can't he change someones heart. I am simply here to be the instrument or the mouth piece, but it is the spirit of God that changes the hardest of hearts to become people like Fransico that could some day be Bishops or a missionary or just an awesome member. I love this gospel and I tesify that it is true. We have a Savior who lives!
Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad!!
Hermana Watkins
P.s. So tomorrow I will probably call first from the members home and give you all of their skype information and then I will wait to hang up until the skype connects, and if skype is slow I will just have you call their house phone back so the phone bill goes to you and not them.
I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you all soooooooooooooooooooooo much. I don't want to stop emailing because I am so excited to see you all tomorrow. :) YAY!!! No crying... haha who am I kidding!! Les Quiero!!

Monday, December 16, 2013


Today has been super sad. I dropped off  my  friend/ companion off at the mission home this morning. It's so crazy to think that tomorrow she will be in Utah with her family. This transfer flew by. They just keep getting faster and faster, and I can't keep up with them... whew. We received the transfer call this morning and I will be staying in good o'le Houston 1 NE. I don't think I'm ever leaving this ward. :)

Dear family I am SOOOOO grateful for the 12 days of Christmas package. My companion doesn't sleep at night so the last couple nights I would stay up late with her and talk until midnight and then I would open my present and go to bed. I have decorated my apartment really cute. I forgot to send you pictures of the Christmas tree that we made last week. I didn't know that you were going to send one... so I made one :) It's pretty TEXAN!! haha I LOVED the tree you sent me though. The Cowboy decorations are awesome!! Thank you for all the hard work you did to put it all together. Trust me it was worth it!! It makes my day, everyday!!
Emily's homemade Christmas tree from an ironing board.
The Texas tree we sent her.

Tuesday we had an amazing Zone meeting and we practiced teaching the Restoration over, and over again. I and my companion were privileged to teach or zone leader Elder Levitt and then our Assistant Elder Case..... He scares me because he is so AWESOME!! But both of the lessons went really well. The spirit was super strong and really testified to me how true this message is.

After Zone meeting I was super pumped to go out and teach. We went right over to B's apartment. Now B is super legit and has really progressed a lot this past month. While we were at her apartment she had a friend come over and we invited her to listen to the message we had. Her friend then decided she was going to take over the lesson and teach her beliefs.... After she left B looks at us and says, " I know that this church is true, and my friend is crazy!!" Haha she's awesome! She really does have a strong testimony. She has been a little nervous about getting baptized so we had her pray with us to see if this truly is God's will that she gets baptized this year. The spirit was SO extremely strong and after the prayer she looks at us and says," I feel great, you're right I need to get baptized this week!" She truly is amazing and knows without a doubt that this Gospel is true. Well the next day we go to start feeling out her paper work to get her prepared for her interview, and we feel out all of it. Then at the bottom it asks about the persons spouse and when they were married and everything. She gives us all the information about him, and then we find out... they're not married! Both of them have told us numerous of times that they are.... I was super sad, but the spirit prepared me before we even went in. I just hope we can help her understand the Law of Chastity better and receive a testimony of it. Even though she wasn't able to get baptized this year. She was able to feel the spirit and understand how God speaks to her. I am so grateful for that and all the blessings we have received with her.

Other than that I've gone on lots of exchanges with Hermana Wilzbach and Lister because Hermana Washburn had the temple departing trip and other things going on. And the next two days I get to be companions with Hna's Lister and Washburn and serve in both areas.

Yesterday our stake put on a beautiful Christmas Devotional. It was all music and it was actually really good. We have some very talented singers in this stake and musicians. I love Christmas time. It really doesn't feel like Christmas here. The leaves are just starting to change and fall, and there's no snow.. but this morning we had frost on our roof. And who knows it might snow here if it snowed in Jerusalem. Super crazy!

I love you all very much. I can't wait to Skype you all next week. Enjoy the snow for me. :)
Les Quiero
Hermana Watkins

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Buenas Tardes!

Buenas Tardes!!!  
Como estan mi familia?? Saben que no puedo hablar in Ingles.. lo siento. Ojala google search puede traducir este correo :) jajaj

So crazy news!! I can't talk in English... only in my email home to family. Last week on Tuesday I was discussing my Spanish to President about my Spanish and then he gave me a commandment that I can't talk in English until the end of the transfer. So when we go to restaurants my companion has to order for me and has to translate every time we are with people that speak English.... It's been an adventure!! I have 9 days left and I'm pretty confident I can do it. It's almost like I have something in my mouth that is stopping me from talking in English.  I'm excited to finish this fast and see the improvement. I have improved a lot already, and I'm truly grateful for this commandment. Even though I have a headache like 24/7. Vale la pena!! President also announced it to everyone else in the mission that I can only speak Spanish... haha que divertido.. This is really hard writing in English my brain doesn't work in either language right now. 

Okay so this week spanishlishish... haha palabra nueava :) I got to go on two exchanges. I feel like I'm a sister training leader right now going on all these exchanges, but I really like them. I got to go back to my first area with Hermana Lister (my sister) :) We had some super powerful lessons with some of my favorite investigators and less actives. The lesson we had with out Less active was amazing! I met him my seecond week here and every lesson with him just gets more and more powerful. He wants to change his life to much. We we first met him he really didn't want to do anything with us, but the last lesson we had with him he broke down crying saying how grateful he was for us and the spirit and light we have brought in to his life. He is the one that was in a gang and almost died 3 times and has some crazy life stories. He has yet come to church, but I know that once he does things will change very fast. I LOVE HIM!! 

Our investigator Blance told us this week and she really wants to get baptized and she decided that she will get baptized 15 of December!! I'm super excited for her and this step that she knows is something that she needs to do. 

Yesterday my investigator Margarita who was in my last area with Hermana Groves and Carlson who got married a couple weeks ago... well she got baptized yesterday. :) YAY!! Her husband received the priesthood yesterday morning and he baptized her. It was so beautiful and spiritual. They had to baptize her 4 times because he couldn't say it right, but she is now a member and is so happy!! Two of our investigators went to the baptism, Hector and Lupe. They are both part of part member families. Hector is super interested and comes to church every week and didn't want to except a baptismal date until he saw an actual baptism. So hopefully this week he will except one. :) 

The other exchange I had was with Hermana Wilzbach and she came to my area. :) The whole exchange was AWESOME!! We finally got to see some of investigators that we haven't seen in weeks. Yeah miracles all around, but the one thing I want to tell you about is the experience we had with the Guerra family. They are the Jewish family and we stopped by their house Saturday night to see if we could teach them. Well they just happened to be ending their Sabbath Day and they invited us to do it. We started off with wine glasses. Us and the kids had grape juice, (Hopefully) ha and the parents had wine. And the dad would read out of the tora really fast in Spanish and Hebrew. Then we all drank the our drinks and he said more stuff, and then they turned off all the lights in the house and they had this candle that was blue and white chain that symbolized families and the light of God. After they read more stuff they distinguished the candle in some wine. And then they past around this goblet looking this that they shake and read something and it blesses their food for the whole week, and they passed it around and they would all shake it and sniff if.... Once it came around the table we just passed it along. And the 4 year old girl got really mad at Hermana Wilzbach for not doing it. haha At the end they all went around the table and they all had this memorized in Hebrew that they would all say. Even the little 4 year old girl had it memorized in HEBREW!!! It was super cool, but really different. I love all the different experiences that I've had on the mission though. :) After they ended their Sabbath we decided to teach them about Prophets. :) It was a really good lesson. I wanted to teach about the Sabbath, but the spirit said other wise. ha 

Well I believe that is all. I love you all so much! Thank you for all of the support and love that you give me. It really means so much to missionaries. :) 
Don't forget to share the wonderful message that we have about our Savior, Jesus Christ. Especially during this season. God is preparing people for each and everyone of us. Pray to see who they are. 

Les Quiero MUCHO!!

Hermana Watkins

Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas is in the air

Christmas is in the air... not really it's just the nasty cold humidity, but when I spray our apple cinnamon Christmas spray in our apartment, then Christmas is in the air. But even when I do that our neighbors weed over powers it so it smells like Christmas weed.... Not my favorite smell. It's weird that it's December and it's warm outside, well kind of warm. It depends on the day. If it rains then it's FREEZING, but the last couple days have been pretty warm. I can't believe I am saying this, but I really do miss the snow. Ahhh something is wrong with me!! It just doesn't feel like Christmas. :( Everyone here is super festive. It's crazy how the Hispanics can use so many decorations in so little of space. They have skills!!

This past week we had to stay in all week. Hermana Washburn and I just got the flu... yeah!! I'm feeling super good now, but her body is still trying to recover. Everyday I got to spend  8-9 hours in the scriptures and learn about my Savior. I read all of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. I started John yesterday and I absolutely love the New Testament. I also love the Old Testament I just don't understand all of it yet... I think if anyone wants to learn how to become a better person or they want to change something in their life, they should really read The Gospels and learn about their Savior, Jesus Christ. I have come to love him more and more and I hope and pray I can learn to teach like him. With all of the time that I had I also broke down my Patriarchal Blessing and did a giant study where I broke up a lot of my gifts that I've been given and then looked up each word and found scriptures of how I can either improve that gift or how I can better learn to use it. I LOVED doing this and if anyone is ever stuck in bed or bored at home or wants to just be awesome and sacrifice the things of the world of the things of the Lord than take time to do this study. You wont regret it!! I have learned so much about myself and have really learned my purpose here on Earth and why God gave me that specific blessing and gifts. He loves us SO much. He desires that we all come back to him, but he has given us our agency. And we get to be the ones that decide if we want to return back to him or not. Even though I have misused my agency and have made mistakes, I am so grateful for it. God trust us enough to make our own decisions. He knows that we will make mistakes and that we are not perfect. That is why he sent his son Jesus Christ. To be our Savior! We have the decision everyday to either be saved or lost. I pray that we all want to be saved. I testify that they both live and love us very much. They give us SO man blessings everyday.

I want to let all my cousins know that each and everyone of you is VERY important. God has a very specific plan for each of you. And you may not see it now, but we have all been SUPER blessed to be in born into this family. We have amazing grandparents that go to church each day and love this Gospel. We have also been given parents that do the same. The rules and guidance they give us is for our protection, not to hurt us. They love us very much and care for us. They are like our Heavenly Father. Our Heavenly Father does the same for each of us children here on Earth. He's given us commandments to protect. He knows the plan. Our parents have lived through the teen years. They know the things that you need to avoid. Listen to the counsel they give you. Have family prayer and scriptures daily!! Satan is really attacking the family. That is why years ago President Gordon B. Hinckley came out with the The Family Proclamation. He was preparing us for the things that are to come. And here they are. Cousins please, please, please listen to your parents. They are AMAZING!! I could write emails and emails about all the horrible family situations that I have seen out here. You have been blessed!!!! Enjoy your blessings. I love you all, and I am super lucky to have amazing cousins like you. Thank you for your examples and your letters. I love them!!

Well this week like I said was slow. The only story I can really think of was Thanksgiving Day. Hermana and I didn't want to cancel our dinner appointments, because we had to awesome families. They have just happened to be a hour apart from each other.... So the first dinner was awesome! It actually tasted like American food. She made one normal turkey and then one with chile on it. The chile one was SUPER good!! We had an awesome gratitude lesson with them and got to teach her husband who is less active and we haven't met him before. The second dinner we were terrified for our lives because we were already super stuffed and it was the first real food we ate all week long. We get to their apartment and they invited all of their friends to come over to eat and listen to a message, which was SUPER awesome. They are a less active family and they invited to couples over with their kids. The food was....... different. I think I had a couple tears roll down my face trying to have a pocker face, but I felt so sick. I really felt like a couple times I was just going to puke all over Thanksgiving. Thankfully my Heavenly Father helped me out. Oh sometimes I love getting fed, but it's really hard when the Hispanics expect you to eat five servings.... But I'm fat and happy and life is good. :) Haha mission stories.. got to love them.

I love you all so very much. The holidays are super hard without everyone, but I've been blessed with my mission family. I pray for you all everyday. Stay strong. Remember God hears your prayers. How awesome is it that we have the opportunity to talk to our God!! Pretty awesome stuff! Have a wonderfully cold Utah week. :)

Les Quiero Mucho

Hermana Watkins

Thanksgiving Week

Hello family,
Thank you, thank you all so very much for the Thanksgving letters from everyone. I got the package this morning at choir and I LOVED reading all the letters. I don't think you all know how much it means to me to recieve HAND WRITTEN letters from everyone. Even if it's just a couple simple words, it means the WORLD to me!!!! THANK YOU!! It's fun just see the changes in everyone just through the words that they say :) I miss and love all of you so much. Thank you for being such an AWESOME family. I am so blessed.

Speaking of blessed. This week is Thanksgiving and EVERYONE want's to feed us. We have two dinners on Thanksgiving within two hours from each other,and they are both families that want you to basically eat all their food and look the dish for them..... I might die!! Saturday we had our ward Thanksgiving party and I don't think Hispanics should try and make American food... haha I tried some really interesting dishes... haha I love my ward though. They had a DJ at the party and it was so hard not to get up and dance. All the missionaries were just dying, because we're not allowed to dance.... ahhhh!!! I was half tempted to go behind the curtain and just dance back there. :) :)

This week Hermana Washburn and I have been super sick, well the whole mission has been super sick. This nasty bug is going around and I felt like my body fights it off and then it comes back again.... probably because everyone we come in contact with is sick. It is FREZZING cold here. I and all the Utahns have agreed that the freezing cold rain in the humidity is A LOT colder than Utah snow. You are all lucky!!! You can never get warm in the humidity.

Since we were sick we only had 10 lessons and it was a super slow week. I didn't want to eat at all, but I like every lesson we had they would feed us. Lucky me.

Mom you had a lot of questions about the work, and I'm going to try and remember them and answer, becaue I know how much you hated how you would ask Ross lots of questions and he would never answer. So the work is only done now through members and referrals from them and people we teach. The work is a lot harder in this area. We have a lot of Hispanics, but we also have TONS of million/billionaires. Weren't not supposed to tract any more. We have yet started the electronic stuff... who knows when that will finally happen. The only family I can really think of that I would like you to pray for is Mary and Laila. ummm and now I can't remember all your questions.. sorry. I tried.

I can't believe I almost forgot to tell you. BLANCA came to church yesterday. Which means she could basically be baptized next week if she feels ready. I love her so much. She is from Honduras and has lived here for 15 years in the same apartment. Her brother is actually a member in San Antonio and really liked what her brother told her so she started taking the lessons the beginning of this year, but then the missionaries dropped her and Hermana Shill and Baer picked her back up right before I got here. :) I love her!!!

Well, I love you all so much. I am so grateful for you and for the testimonies that you all have. This Gospel means so much to me and I don't know what I would do without it. I don't think you all know how much your daily example already plants a seed of the Gospel in someones heart. People outside the church really do see something different about us. That it's self is a testimonly of how true this church really is!! I love you all.

Les Quiero

Hermana Watkins