Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Read Your Scriptures

Emily's uncle Weldon was flying home from Houston and was on the same flight as Emily's trainer Hermana Wilzbach. She has now completed her mission.  Here is the picture he took.

Something I learned this week is the power of the scriptures. In Jacob 2:8 it says, "And it supposeth me that they have come up hither to hear the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which healeth wounded soul." Not only to the scriptures teach us about our Heavenly Father and Savior, but they have the power to HEAL us. Just think of all the heartache, depression, sickness, trial, tribulation, confusion, and grief that we deal with in this life. All of that can and will be healed by daily scripture study. I that to be true and I have witnessed it throughout my mission, not only for me personally, but for those who I teach the have for greater trials than me and they have been cleared up through their daily scripture reading. I also know as Alma 13:20 says, that as we wrest the scriptures it will be to our own destruction. God has laid out the laws and His plan. If we don't do the small and simple things it will be unto out own destruction. God wont destroy us, but we will. I found that to be pretty powerful and I know that it is true... so read your scriptures :)
Lottie's Lane for my niece Charlotte

This week was amazing and filled with blessings. It all starts with last Monday. We were out with one of our members trying to find some former investigators and also try some referrals. After trying one referral and setting up a lesson we went and got in the car to plan out where to go next. A man walked by my window and I waved, and had a feeling to get out and talk to him, but I pushed the feeling aside. As we drove off I kept looking in my rear view mirror and kept receiving the impression to talk to him. Me being awkward we flipped around and pulled up to him and started talking. Turns out he was praying for someone to help him and give him direction in his life. His name is Ruben and he lives in a transitional home with 9 other guys, one being the referral we just tried. We set up a lesson and ended up teaching him every day this week. He soaked everything up and was quitting his job to come to church this past Sunday. Every time we went and taught him a new roommate would come out and we are now teaching 5 of the guys that live there and 4 of them have dates. :) Well yesterday we met up with Ruben at the Sunnyside park so we could teach him a lone without the distractions of his roommates. After the lesson we got on our bikes and I started going and he stopped my companion and gave her a letter.... well long story short we get back to the apartment and he wrote her a big long love letter...... and he told her that he will be moving, but wanted to express his feeling for her before he left. Sadly our most legit investigator took the feelings of the spirit the wrong way and we will no longer be teaching him :( :( But we learned a lot of lessons, and we feel like God was just testing us to see if we would be willing to follow every impression we feel. Now were going to go out and find FAMILIES!!! 

Tuesday was a super awesome day. We had 7 amazing lessons and we didn't have enough time to go home and eat, but like the Savior teaches we must not fret over what we shall eat or drink, but seek you first the kingdom of God and all that ye need will be given thee. Everyday this week the Lord provided us with all that we needed. 

We have an amazing investigator named Kendre. He met with the missionaries earlier this year. He accepted to be baptized and is really excited to go to church next week. The lesson we had yesterday about the Plan of Salvation was so powerful and spirit lead. His finance died last year, and I know that she was there with us. 

All the trainers and trainees had a training with President this week about the atonement, and how the trainees can build their testimonies in the mission. I love the atonement!! 

Like I've mentioned, God really wants us working in the south part of our area. So every night we go down and ride around on our bikes and talk to everyone!! We were really blessed this week to find some really interested people. Some of the have actually met with the missionaries before and are excited have us come over. 

This week was a huge blessing. We over passed all of our goals that we set and we are excited to keep working hard and finding those that are the elect. 

I love you all!! Have a wonderful week. Share your testimony with all those you come in contact with. You will see lives changes by doing so. 

Con mucho amor, 
Hermana Watkins 

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Time is Now

The time is now!!
If I haven't expressed this enough I want you all to know that our Heavenly Father loves immensely. That has got to be one of my favorite lessons I have learned on my mission and I'm still learning and understanding it each and everyday. My heart has been filled with his love and joy, especially going over the past week.
Monday morning I helped Sister Jackson pack up and then dropped her off and the mission home. Like I said in last weeks email I was the placed in the Memorial area for the time being with Sister Bearnson until transfers on Wednesday. I loved Memorial SO much. I fell in love with the people instantly. Sister Bearnson and I had a lot of fun together and it just felt like we had become companions. While on exchanges I felt prompted to talk to this black lady that was outside playing with a baby. As I approached her she looked up at me and began to get very excited. She told us all about her life, and all the crazy things that have been happening to her. She said she's been looking for a new church and has been praying for God to place someone in her path to help her. We then taught her and she accepted to be baptized. She was super excited to ocme to church to learn more what her Heavenly Father has planned for her. I hope to hear soon how she's doing. Another lady we met only speak Swahili, the sisters have been teaching her through different ways of charades :)
Wednesday came and I got my trainee (baby) Sister Carisa Elliott. She is from Toelle, Utah. She is 22 and was going to school down at SUU and was actually good friends with my best friend Hailey Sprouse... small world. I love her so much!! She is a very hard worker and is willing to go out of her comfort zone and do the Lords work. I'm pretty sure she was already trained, because I basically feel like I am with a missionary that has been out for a year. :) :) Oh the tender mercies of God. Almost everyone in our zone is training, so we have lots of babies being trained in the ghetto. The best place to be trained.
Emily's new trainee Sister Elliott
Right now we have this super legit investigator named Craig. We have daily contact with him and he is getting ready to be baptized. The only thing stopping him is the Word of Wisdom. After we taught it he went from smoking 15 cigarettes a day to 2 :) MIRACLE! Yesterday we all fasted together that he will be able to stop smoking and be baptized in two weeks. I am so excited for him. He is teaching all of his neighborhood friends and we actually have lessons planned with all of them this week. :) He is doing very well and loves the Gospel.
 I mentioned President Ashton and God have asked that we focus more on the South part of our area. We went down there on bikes this past week and it was a huge trial of our faith. NO one was outside... but we didn't give up. Sister Elliott and I are pressing forward with faith. All the people that were outside rejected us instantly and told us they weren't interested or like a man did to us yesterday they yell in our faces and try to tell us we are wrong. I just find that to be the saddest thing on earth. Sister Elliott was a champ to stand through 20 minutes of a middle age man yelling at us and swinging his BBQ tongs in our face. Being respectful we stood and listened to what he had to say. We then shared short and simple testimony and invited him to pray for himself, and then we left. I think the main thing we will be working on is praying fervently that the hearts of those in the south part of the area will be softened and changed to be ready to hear the Restored gospel.
Emily and companion talked to these two little girls every day, they were finally baptized!
Saturday was full of bike riding and talking to people on the roads. I LOVE MY BIKE!! I just don't feel like a real missionary without it. We had a long day getting shut down by those in the South. We decided to get on the side of the road and say a prayer that Heavenly Father will place those that are ready in our path. After closing we pressed forward with faith riding in and out of the neighborhoods. Through the grace of God we ran into a lady who is from the Philippines. She started crying when she saw us and told us that it was fate that we ran into each other. She was on her way out to walk her dog. We walked with her and taught the Restoration. She was so excited to go home and read the BOM and to pray to know if it was church. We will be meeting with her this week, and I am so excited.
Emily in a members Camaro
A couple other things that happened this week were: we did service at the local food drive. It was kind of like bountiful basket, but for those who cant afford food. Because we were volunteers we got all the left of fruit and vegetables :) We also got a BRAND NEW CAR today :) its a 2014 Toyota Corolla and it only have 300 miles on it :) :) and the phone is bluetoothed to the card.. Coolest thing ever. I have no idea how to work new technology though.... good thing my companion just got here from the world. haha
I love you tons. I am excited for this week and to tell you all about it next week. 
Con mucho amor,
Hermana Watkins

Monday, July 14, 2014

Transfers and 32 Baptisms

Real quick I want to tell you about a huge miracle the mission received this past week. Last fast Sunday we had everyone in the mission; members and missionaries fast for missionary work. We have been setting a goal as a mission for 14 baptisms a week, but we've been short each week. The week before the fast we hit a low 6 baptisms. President announced this morning that we had a whopping 32 baptisms this past weekend. The mission record is 39. What a humbling experience it has been to see the love of God. President Ashton expressed how we honestly don't deserve to have these numbers, but God always follows through with his promises. When a sacrifice is made he will ALWAYS bless us! 
Our Zone

The past week was full of mini miracles and blessings. It was the last week of the transfer and we went out and worked our very hardest to make sure that Sister Jackson's last week was going to be amazing. We are still doing a lot of finding. God blessed us with 5 head quarter referrals who are people that are all super excited to learn more about the gospel, and one of them Jeanie has actually gone to church before, and loved her experience. 

One huge blessing we received this week was getting fed lunch and dinner everyday this week. The members love us here and all wanted to feed sister Jackson one last time. We had some really powerful lessons with them. I love feeling and seeing the unity that missionary work is bringing into the branch. 

I pretty sure I am meant to have health problems for the rest of my life, but I have come to just accept it as it comes. I have been having horrible hip problems... that I've actually have had since the plane ride to New York years ago. But it's been progressively been getting worse on the mission, and especially the last couple weeks. So Dr. Bergenson is in the Mission Presidency and he is  chiropractor. He gives the missionaries free service. This past week I went in twice, because he was so worried about the pain that he did an X-ray. Turns out it's not my hip, but my back. My two lower disks are touching each other and it's causing my sciatic nerve to cause pain all down my right side. This week I have another appointment to get an hour massage, and then next week he is putting me on a stretcher. He said I will probably be a little taller afterwards :) 

I went on exchanges this week while sister Jackson went on the temple trip. I started to day off with Sister Haynes, and then when her companion got back from the temple I was finally companions with Hermana Johnson and Olson, and we covered both of our areas. I got to teach a couple lessons in Spanish with them..... it was kind of discouraging to see how much spanish I have lost, but I'm just putting that in Gods hands for now. 

We have really been working with the youth in our branch, and this past week Desirae came out with us 3 times, and loves it! She is super awesome, and is really good at beat boxing. 

Last miracles we received came to us Thursday night when we were driving down the road to visit a referral when all the sudden we see or former investigator Sharne  walking the street. We pull over to talk to her. Come to find out she is still reading in the Book of Mormon and is actually reading it with her Boy friend, who the elders are teaching. We had two lessons with her this weekend, and she came to church!!! And then last night we had a devotional and Sharne decided to come to that too :) :) Happy day!! 

Last but not least I received the call that God has been preparing me for the past two transfers that I will be a TRAINER!! I am really excited and humbled to be in this position. I really have put myself in Mommy mode, and all that is on my mind is all the things I can do for this new missionary. :) I am so excited!!

Well I love you tons!

Hermana Watkins

Monday, July 7, 2014

Happy 4th of July

Her own street sign
We are so blessed to be living here in America, and to have the freedom that was so necessary for the Restoration to come about. I am so grateful to be living here and serving here. Here in Sunnyside you meet people from ALL over the world. So far I've taught/met  people from Africa, Jamaica, Ethiopia, France, Islanders, Samoa, Haiti,   Dominican Republic, Russia, Netherland, Greece, and every country in South America. From what I can recall every single one of them said they love their Country and they talk about how beautiful it is, but they all talk about how dangerous their countries are and no matter how hard the work is here they are more than willing to live here. Man we are so blessed!! 

The Elders finally  blessed us with two referrals. Sadly the first one doesn't actually live at the address given. But the other one Fire is super cool. He actually lives right down the road from us and he lives in this run down home with his cousin Pablo. They are both from Jamaica and just moved here the beginning of the year, and yes they say," Ya man." Haha Fire doesn't believe in God he believes in a being called Ya?? I think.... that is his name. We taught both of them about the Restoration and they asked a ton of hard questions, but luckily the spirit was able to teach them that these things could possibly be true. We have another lesson with them this week, so I'll let you know how the Jamaicans!! Oh I forgot to add that Fire has dreads down to his thighs.... yeah it's pretty legit!
We have a couple really solid investigators that are progressing really well towards baptism. One is a referral we received from the Spanish hermana's and he had a stroke 3 months ago, but is recovering really fast. He loves the messages that we share, and he is diligently asking God to know if these things are true. I love seeing how fast the Gospel can change someones life if they truly have the desire to know, and apply.
Last Tuesday we were inviting our Police officer friends to our 4th of July BBQ and I picked up out phone and next thing I know it completely died and gave up it's spirit. So we went over to one of the members house in our area and we had to stay there for 3 hours so we could be in contact with the mission office.... needless to say this member is really poor and felt bad that she didn't have any food to feed us... so she gave us Vienna Sausages.. I don't know if that's how you spell that, but they are the little sausages that come in a can.... I can't believe people eat those. I of course was very polite and ate them, but man they are NASTY!! I would rather eat any foreign food the hispanics give to missionaries than those thing
Pizza party

s. Gross!  But after a long 3 hours and a trip to Sugar Land we got a new phone. It's a brick and I have no idea how to work it, but it's something different.
Our investigator Solomon is the cutest old guy you will ever meet. We've taught him almost all the lessons and he really wants to be baptized, but his wife is a different story. One lesson we invited  him to be baptized and he told us that he would like to be baptized in September, but after the prayer he told us that if it's possible he would like to be baptized sooner :) We're just praying his wife will let  him.
The 4th of July was a HUGE blessing from God. We had 6 rockin lessons just full of the spirit! We finally got to meet one of our Less Active members who has 3 boys over the age of 9 who are not members. She ended up having company over, but invited us in to teach all of them. Her friends were visiting from Oregon and actually have friends there that are Mormon too. They loved the lesson about the Atonement and allowed us to get their information so we can send missionaries to their house :) We visited with another less active family that is moving from the Spanish branch to English, because the kids like English better. The oldest son loves going to church and is planning on going on a mission in a year :) After a wonderful day we drove from the bottom of our area back up to our apartment with a beautiful sight of fireworks going off all over :)
Saturday we had a HUGE branch BBQ and we had tons of food, members, and games. :) One of the families we talked to on the side of the road a couple weeks ago, who ended up being in the elders area, came to the BBQ!! I'm telling you all the work we do blesses all the other missionaries. At least the work is getting done :)
I love you all with all my heart. 
Hermana Watkins