Monday, January 27, 2014

Snowing Miracles

You have already heard a lot of what happened last week, because my last email was on Wednesday and it was jammed packed with miracles and blessings. Well not only did it snow miracles, but I believe Sheri Dew brought Utah here with her. We woke up Friday morning to sliding across our balcony on ice...... brrrrrr. All day Friday we had our Sister Training Meeting from 8-5 and the drive to Sugar Land was DEATH!!!! But the power of prayer truly does exist. All of the freeways were super slippery. But me being a cocky, I was thinking that these Texas drivers don't know how to drive... so right when I got on the Freeway I started speeding past everyone... and for a little while everything was fine... until the car started sliding everywhere, but don't worry  everything worked out fine. We actually still made it to the meeting on time. I think we saw over 30 accidents and then they ended up closing down all the freeways. Crazy Texas weather!! 

The meeting was amazing and I learned a ton. Especially from our guest speaker Sheri Dew :) She is Hermana Baer's aunt! She gave us a lot of homework to do, and so far it's really helped me to see even more how much the scriptures talk about us. The prophets always testify of Jesus Christ that he is coming or that he has already come, and then they testify and preach of our times. God saved us for these last days. We really are so important and have so much to do here. She also asked us to do some homework to see how as women we really have the Priesthood as well. We may not have the actual keys or the authority, but we have the power with us at all times. We are under those who hold the authority, which means we have that power as well. 

 Some of the things that happened this week were that one of the recent convert families that was in the elders area moved into our area last week and they are LEGIT!! The father is actually excommunicated, but started the process to be baptized again. Since he began his wife and three daughters got baptized in December. They are from Puerto Rico and I honestly cannot understand like half of what he says. They are so hard to understand, but good thing they speak English as well. We had a testimony meeting with them to better understand them, and we were all sobbing. The spirit was so strong and it was the first time that the girls have born their testimonies and WOAH. You can definetely tell when someone has been taught by the Holy Ghost. I love them, and the girls are really excited to come out and teach lessons with us :) 

The less active family that I've been telling you about that we found through a referral... THEY CAME TO CHURCH!!! The son came up and told me at church that he wants to be baptized :) They are so legit and I feel at home when I'm with them. Her daughter  is going to start coming out and teaching with us as well. She really is starting to think about going on a mission. She told us that she wants to help people receive the joy she received the first day we knocked on their door. Also another one of our less actives came to church and is still planning on going to the temple. 

 Oh yeah one last thing.... my companion is getting transferred. :(I love changing, but I would really like to be with my companions longer than 3 or 6 weeks. But He has a plan for me and I'm excited to see what is going to happen in this transfer.
Well I love you all sorry I might not have time to send pictures again :( but just know that I love you all soooo much!!

Hermana Watkins

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Vernalite in the Houston Temple!

This past week was jammed pack of goodness!! This past transfer has really just been full of miracles and I know that these are the fruits of our labors. Hermana Hubbard and I have really been working on giving our will over to God and we have really seen how important it is that we do that so we can receive all the blessings he has in store for us.

We changed our pday to today because we went to the temple!! We have been trying the last couple weeks and finally our member was able to take us this week. This was actually her first time in the Houston Temple. I was of course SUPER excited and emotional to go  back to the temple because it's been since August or July. Our member  got lost driving their so we ended up missing the first session, but man oh man I am so happy we did. While sitting in the chapel waiting someone tapped me on the shoulder and I turn around to see Sister Robb, Madi Robb's mom sitting right behind me. We both began to bawl. Sister Robb and I both worked in the temple together in Vernal and I was so happy to see her. I went to the temple wanting to have a better understanding of the love that God has for me and each of his children. And he showed it perfectly through a familiar face from Vernal. After the session we spent time in the Celestial room holding hands and crying/ talking about my mission and Vernal. God has such a personal relationship and plan with each and everyone of us. He loves us SO MUCH!! I can truly testify of that. As can the temple. All the new things are SO amazing and help us better understand everything. I love the temple. I am so jealous of all of you that have a temple near by where you can go whenever to receive more blessings whenever, and feel of the spirit. I LOVE IT!!!!

Last week we received a referral from the Elders and he turned out to be a less active. He hasn't gone to church in 15 years. He's gone through the temple and used to be a ward mission leader and has a daughter in Mexico getting ready to go on her mission. He now lives with a woman who has a husband and he smokes and gets drunk almost every night. The lesson we had with him was so spiritual. He told us that he really doesn't feel like God can forgive him. But after testifying with the Holy Ghost how much God loves him, he wants to change. He told me that he had a dream about me dressed in white, and I told him that I was going to come and save him. I have taught people who have murdered someone, get drunk all the time, and so forth, but in every lesson I've had the spirit testifies to me how much God loves them. He is sad when we mess up and do the wrong thing, but his love is unconditional and just. After that lesson he told us the his sister lived two trailers down from him, so we decided to go try her, and I received a very strong testimony of how important prayer is. We met with her and her daughter and she told us that she has been praying for the past couple weeks that God would send someone to help her brother so he will stop drinking. God truly does listen! On Sunday we had a devotional for investigators and less actives and her and her other brother and her 3 kids all came!!!! WOOHOO :) And we had another lesson with them yesterday and the daughter is going to start coming out with us so she can start to prepare to go on a mission and the whole family is excited to start coming back to church! Her youngest son is 13 and is not baptized, but told us he will think about it. MIRACLE!!!
This is Sister Spencer, an older missionary who is leaving soon.  Emily loves her so much. 

 Another one of our recent converts/ Less actives went to the conference with Elder Nelson and since then he hasn't had any coffee, changed his job so he can now come to church on Sundays, and he wants to start coming out with us and prepare to go to the temple!!! YAY!!

We have two angels we are working with.The first one is the one that told us that the Book of Mormon is her life and she always finds her answers in it. Well we were both impressed to talk to her about baptism and extend a date. She excepted with much pleasure and we asked her if she has prayed to know of the things we teach are true, and she told us that she doesn't need to pray when the spirit has already testified that all of what we say is true. She can't wait to be baptized and is a very prepared daughter of God.

The second one we met one day while riding our bikes we passed her and I decided I was going to talk to EVERYONE! So I pulled off ahead of her and we got off and talked to her and set up a lesson with her. We had that lesson on Monday and she was bawling the whole lesson and was really feeling the Holy Ghost testifying of the truthfulness. We have another lesson with her tonight and I can't wait.

We have found a lot of really prepared people the last couple days. We have one little girl who is 9 and she and her mom and put together like a little party of her friends who are all coming over tonight and we are going to have a little study together. I'm so excited!!!!!!!!!!

I love you all! Don't forget to go to the temple! The blessings await!
Oh and Sheri Dew is coming this Friday and we're having a womens conference with her.... She is Hermana Baers aunt! YAY!!

Les Quiero
Hermana Watkins

P.s. It's 70 degress here :) 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Half way and Stake Conference

WOW! Saturday and Sunday we had Stake Conference and we we're one lucky Stake to have Elder Russel M. Nelson come and talk. :) :) This story all starts with Saturday night we were driving to the Saturday night session and we were all talking singing good o'le motab and right when we pulled into the parking lot we were all FILLED with the Holy Ghost. I knew without a doubt that Elder Nelson was already there and we were on very sacred grounds. 

The Saturday session was amazing and exactly what the stake needed. The whole session was about Missionary work, and President and Sister Ashton spoke and then Elder Hansen in the Quorum of the Seventies spoke and the Elder Nelson had missionaries come up and talk about their wards and if the members are helping with the work. He really helped all the members see how important it is that they help us with this work, and that they need to! At the end of the session we all got to go up and shake his hand. 

Something that I really have learned this past week and learned even more from Elder Nelson is sharing basic truths. Also, with the Restoration we start off with God is our loving Heavenly Father. This basic point is crucial! A lot of people say that they know God exists and that he loves them... but it's almost like they say it because it's tradition. I KNOW he lives. He LOVES us. This plan shows how much he loves. John 3:16 show's his love perfectly. Elder Hansen used to be a mission President in the Houston mission and was telling us that he realized that all the Spanish missionaries received more lessons and more baptisms and he didn't understand until he had the Spirit of Elijah teach him that those that speak Spanish are descendants of those who are in the Book of Mormon. Really would not have this church without the Book of Mormon.

Sunday session was the coolest thing I have ever been a part of. I don't believe there are words in the world to describe what happened. The spirit was SO strong. President of the temple and his wife came and spoke about the blessings of the temple and all the members need to get there. This is something the stake has been struggling with. It's been really hard to get recent converts and less actives to the Temple. So the talks were perfect and made me cry... A LOT!!! I love the Temple! The coolest part was when Elder Nelson spoke though.  He talked a lot to the parents and telling them that they have to teach their kids about their Heavenly Father and help them to know that he is their for them. Teach them more than one language, and the language of love and the spirit. He then had all the children stand up and he asked them all the sing Soy un Hijo de Dios... or in English I am a child of God. Everyone was balling!!! The spirit was so strong and you could really feel the love that God has for the children. I loved it!! Almost all of the speakers had a translator with them.... which made the meeting a little longer, but Elder Nelson at the end of his talk he told us that he wants to make this experience a once and a life time thing, so he asked us all to give him all of our faith, and he turned and said something to the translator and then turned back and started speaking FLUENT and FAST Spanish. I know this church is true!! I wish you could have all been there to witness a true apostle of God using the Gift of Tongues right there in front of us! Lets start repenting now, and follow every teaching we've been given. We will fall, but we have the Savior with us at all times. I know that it is true! I am a witness of the truthfulness. 
Astro Stadium
Dancing on her mission?
Friday we celebrated/ mourn that I was hitting my 9 month mark..... time is flying, but we had Papa Murphys pizza.
Emily visiting Astro Stadium

Last but not least yesterday night Hermana Hubbard and I were super pumped after conference to just go out and talk to everyone and to share this amazing message that we have about how the church has been Restored. We had a lot of fun talking to everyone, and then we had a feeling to go and see one of our new investigators that we only had one lesson with. Right when we walked in the spirit was already there, because sitting on the coffee table was her Book of Mormon opened and being used. We then taught the most powerful Restoration I have ever taught. Just baring witness over and over again that God loves us soooooo much!!  I don't believe I have ever felt so much love for a person before. I know that God loves each of us very much. At the end of our lesson we talked about the Book of Mormon and asked her how her reading has been. She then looked at us and told us that she knows this book is true. Every time she has a question she immediately goes to the book and prays and then opens it and there's her answer. She said that the BOM is her companion and she needs to read it everyday to feel good. HOLY COW!!! What more can I say. The church is true!! God truly is preparing people to hear the truth. This is his plan, and she is his daughter. I LOVE IT!!!

I love you all so much!!! And I know that God loves you all and is grateful for everything that you do. Remember to read the Book of Mormon everything we need to know is in that book. I promise! Next week I would love for everyone that emails me to email me about what you read in the Book of Mormon this past week. Oh and real quick this morning we went  to the Astro Stadium and it was Awesome!! I will send pictures. :) 
Hermana Watkins

Monday, January 6, 2014

9 months on Friday

 I will be hitting my 9 month mark this week. I don't know what I think about that right now. I can't believe Charlotte is now 1 years old. I thought when you go on your mission the lives of everyone back home freeze, and then start up again when I come home??? I'm just happy to hear that all is well back home and your all still missing me :)

Last week was so different from the week before. We tried visiting all of our new investigators and people that we met on the road or wherever, but for some reason no one was home this week. But we still saw a lot of miracles. We were able to meet with all of the members that are in our area and to help them understand their role in this work. We now have many of lessons planned with the members coming out with us, and them having family home evenings in their homes with us and investigators. In our area we have President Rojas who is the in Stake Presidency and we had an awesome lesson with him and his family last night. They told us that they want us to use their house as a missionary tool, and have investigators go over their all the time and have lessons and eat dinners with them. Oh and next week we are going to the temple with them. :) They're amazing! The week he is going to pick up Elder Russell M. Nelson from the airport, because we have our Stake Conference with him this week :) AHHHHHHHHH!! 

Other things that happened this week, we got lost on the bus.... again... on Saturday... again... haha so we ended up getting off and walking for an hour back to another bus stop. Those are always fun memories to have on a mission. 

Mom and Dad you both told me in your email that you will be making goal charts today for FHE. Me too! I actually have been doing a study on setting goals and I found some scriptures that I really liked, but I just realized that I left my planner in the car... so I will share those with you next week. :) We had some awesome lessons with some of our less actives. Mauro and Ramon or Tamon and Pumba are like our best friends! We went and celebrated the news years with them and made little goal charts. They both set little goals to accomplish their big goals of going back to church and eventually entering the temple this year. :) I love them both sooooo much!! 

Well I need to hurry and email my President before time runs out. :) I love you all. Remember to set goals that will help you reach spiritual growth and make you stronger in the church. When we do that I know that the things that we need like a car or clothes or food will come after. God knows what we need. 

Oh and I almost forgot. Fransico bore his testimony in Sacrament yesterday. It was AMAZING!!!! I love him so much! You should see how much the ward loves him too. Bishop can't wait for him to be member so he can give him a legit calling. And President Ashton thinks that we might get his letter this week saying if he can get baptized are not. 

Love you all!! Have a wonderful week and beginning of the year. 
Les Quiero
Hermana Watkins

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Merry Christmas!!

Where do I even begin? I'm just going to start from the beginning of the week, and sorry but this might be the longest email of my mission. But it's JAMMED packed with the love that God gave me and my companion and this area. 

Monday we had the super awesome Christmas Party with the whole mission and got to enjoy a day full of the Christmas spirit and fun. Then that night we had a fun FHE and a yummy Guatamalen dinner... ( I don't know how to spell) 

Tuesday- MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE/ Pday :) Had a awesome pday and cut Hermana Listers hair. That was an adventure. She is the one with super short hair, and I cut like 2 inches off. WOAH!! Miracle number 1. haha After pday ended we went to one of our less actives families and had Christmas Tamales :))) <- those are my double chins. And they lit off fireworks and they invited all of their family over for us to teach them a message about Christ. That night we went and tried some potentials and had a feeling to go visit our Best Friend Mauro who is a less active/ recent convert from June. We show up and he was BBQing fajita meat and sausage with tortillas. Once we showed up he ran in and pulled out some plates and invited us to eat with him. We then started asking him about his family, and we found out that he has lived in Houston for 11 years and hasn't seen his kids since then :( I don't think I have ever seen so much sadness in someones eyes before. I am so happy that we followed the spirit and got to celebrate that day with him. I love him!! We then went home and opened our PJ's.:) Thanks mom and dad!!!

Wednesday- MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Well first of all I got to talk to my family :) :) I was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo excited to talk to all of you, and man I have a good looking family! It was a miracle skype worked for me because my companion was having a lot of problems with it. Charlotte is adorable and tell her happy birthday for me Sunday! We went and had a really good lesson with one of our recent converts and he is preparing to go to the temple with some family names :) Then we went to one of our members home and had some more tamales. And then we finished then night off with our investigator Blanca with more tamales and frijoles :) Our fridge is now jammed packed with tamales. And all through out the day we talked to everyone on the street about Christ and passed out Cards about Christ.

Thursday- is our day of weekly planning, and after planning we had 3 really spiritual lessons with some of our less actives/ recent converts. And one of our investigators Edgar came with us to one of our recent converts Ramon's and had a really powerful lesson where Ramon shared how AWESOME this church is and how true it is. It was so spiritually powerful and I loved seeing the excitement that Ramon had while sharing his testimony.

Friday- This day was and on are just FULL of miracles. So we have been running out of miles for a car, because each area is given a certain amount for each month, so we decided to try out the bus system. The first thing we did after studies was hope on the bus and see if we could figure out how to get around. We met the coolest people on the bus and it was an awesome finding experience. We also met 2 members. One of them was our bus driver and before we got on the bus she hoped off and showed us her church library on her phone, and she thanked us for all the work that we do. She was so awesome! We then had a lesson with one of our members Hermana Potter and we had planned for her to come out with us after her lesson. We went and tried people but know was home so then we asked her who are the people she has taught with the missionaries before. She told us about Gustavo and was like lets go see him right now. Off we went and him and his wife were so excited to see us and invited us in for dinner and fed us some amazing Honduran food and we had a great lesson with them and they want us to come back!!! HUGE MIRACLE!! I'm not very good at describing how awesome this day was. The rest of the day we went around talking to EVERYONE!! And God blessed us with people that right when we started introduing ourselves they would ask us when we can come over and teach them!! WOAH!!

Saturday- First thing after studies we hoped on our bikes (in December) and went out to try and teach some of the news that we met and some of the referrals that we received. While doing this we came in contact with this cute old lady that told us about all the times God has saved her from not dying. We then asked her if we could come back some time and hear more about her experience and if we could teach her. She said, ya you can come teach me and my family right now. So we went in and taught a big family about the Restoration and then her daughter gave us a free facial... and my face still hurts from it, but it was worth it! We then rode our bikes to one of our favorite complexes to try some more potentials and this random lady came up to us, and asked us who we are and what we do. She is from Honduras and I LOVE people from Honduras, and I told her that, and that I love their food... so she invited us in and gave us a huge plate of Chicken and fried bananas with cream and lots of yummy things. We then taught all of her family :) and her son-in-law was helping us with our Spanish and gave me this Legit Spanish dictionary, because the one they give us for the mission is Spain Spanish and no one here knows those words..... Then after the miracle lesson her son took us to his brothers apartment and asked if we could teach them. They we're about to leave, but we set up an appointment with them for this week. :) After all these crazy miracles. We went to the bus stop and this crazy drunk guy came up and talked to my companion for an hour.... I apparently didn't exist... but I was okay with that haha. The bus on Saturday are an hour apart so we got to listen him talk for an hour about Presidents and NASA :) Then the bus finally came and we had know idea where it was going and it turns out it took us to Houston East Mission and we didn't know where to get off, but we felt like we needed to stay on. So we taught like 3 lessons on the bus, and met some super cool people. After an hour of not knowing where we were we called our leaders and got off and found another bus that took us home just in time for our last set lesson with Ramon. And he had some awesome news to tell us that he is going to quit his job and find a new job where he doesn't have to work on Sundays so he can prepare to go to the temple!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!! That day was AMAZING!! MIRACLE AFTER MIRACLE!! One of the families I talked to on the bus really wants to come to church and said that we were an answer to their prayers. 
Sunday- MAURO AND LETY came to church!! Two less actives that we invite every week to come to church and haven't come for months now, and they both randomly showed up this week!!!!!!!!! Also we had two investigators come, and all of our services were all about la obra de misional or missionary work. After church we went and taught one of our potentials Javier, who is also from Honduras.. like everyone else in this area. I LOVE HONDURAS!! And then we had a super, super spiritual lesson with one of our members. She had a really hard day because all of her siblings were getting baptized in another church. So we went over and she was chilling in bed and we came in and talked about how awesome this church is, and she wants to come out with us like 3 times a week and wants to feed us :) Then we received a referral from some of the English sisters and they are so prepared to be baptized. We talked about the Gospel with her and gave her a Book of Mormon and she is so excited to read it and to come to church this week.

Well you may not be able to tell how awesome this week was, but my companion and I decided this week that we are just going to turn our will over to God and to be grateful for EVERYTHING and talk to EVERYONE! And he blessed us mucho! Yesterday we added up our weekly numbers and found out that we received 10 news, 12 referrals and we had 19 lessons. Coolest week of my life!!! I love this gospel and I know that it is true, and I have received an even stronger testimony that when we truly do what God has asked us to do we WILL receive blessings.

I love you all soooooooo much!!!

Les Quiero

Hermana Watkins