Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kota Kinabalu

Jean Michel drew this picture for Nathan depicting his excitement in get to serve in East Malaysia.  He found the elephant  alphabet online drawn by a Malaysian Artist...he figured he could do the same!  I think it is a perfect rendering of Elder Watkins :)
Hey Everyone,

This is my first email from the far off and exotic land of Kota Kinabalu! Things here are pretty awesome. Everyone here speaks Malay and it is super awesome. We can see the ocean from our house and it’s not all brown ha-ha. There are us and a set of sisters, Sister Zafar from KL and Sister Rinet from Kuching they are both cool. If you remember Eder Wong, he is from here and so I am in his stomping ground and it’s pretty cool to be here. The people are super awesome and they love the Elders here a ton. I just replaced Elder Leavitt (his trainer from Butterworth) and they just baptized everyone they had on date so, now it’s back to the drawing board searching for referrals and searching for new people to teach and to put on dates.  I am super excited to find some cool people and set some awesome goals and hopefully destroy the sisters’ ha-ha… because they are super competitive and we are going to be number one.

It is still a busing area but, the buses are on time but, a lot smaller and no AC on them…it’s all 10 windows down going 50K/h ha-ha. The people here are pretty cool though yesterday we saw some of the members, we saw Sister Leslie who got baptized 3 months ago and Jacob and Maria who both got baptized two weeks ago. So we will just have to hit them up for some friend’s ha-ha. But, they are all super cool and speak some of the best Bahasa I have heard of my mission so far. They also speak a little bit different than the rest of Malaysia. Instead of Lah they use the word Bah (Sabah).  Apparently pearls are also really cheap here FYI. But, so far things here are sweet except our house sucks because it’s super dirty so I spent a lot of this morning just cleaning our home and my bathroom.... But, what to do.

So this last week we pretty much just saw members and people before I left. I found out Tuesday that I was leaving so we just saw recent converts and all my friends. We saw Sister Yanti and Dewi a couple times. They were super sad that I was leaving but, I am pretty lucky to be going back to KL again at the end of November for another one of those conferences so, we will go and see them again when we get there. But, they were super sad and cried and then I felt sad and almost cried but, then I didn't ha-ha… kept you in suspense that I may have cried. The members in KL were sad but, someone of them, Brother Siow *cough, ha-ha he always gave me crap why don't you just get out of here… you've been here too long, we don't want you… all joking and stuff the next week I was going ha-ha he is super funny.

In our finding efforts last week we found a sweet Tamil family that was pretty excited to learn so, Elder Carter and Elder Lewis will go see them this week.  But, not a whole lot happened besides seeing lots of members, RC, and friends before heading off. We had Wendy’s with The Brown’s one night and I had a frosty...... so good ha-ha. Then on Monday night the Ho Sisters took us to Swensen’s an ice cream place where I had a thing called an earthquake which is 8 scoops of ice cream and 8 toppings. It was super good. It was all American ice cream. I had Lime, Orange, and strawberry Sherbet, Banana split flavor, Old fashion Vanilla, Mango, Oreo, and Brownie.  It was super good I’ll send a picture of it. But, they truly wined and dined us.  Before we met them I went and bought a thing of Johnsonville Brawts and 3 Dr. Peppers from the Xpat store.  I had one that night and then for breakfast I had the brawts and a Dr. Pepper before I left on the plane. When I go back I’ll have to stock up again ha-ha.

I don't know what to say that is super interesting for you guys but, I am sure I’ll have some stories for you guys next week… hopefully because we go to KL for 2 days again... But, things are good and I am super excited to tear up this new area and work hard and find some sweet people to teach and baptize. 

Elder Watkins

Pictures for the week

Ice Cream Earthquake

Elder Watkins, Devid, Aasis, Karsen & Elder Carter at their Baptism

Sister Dewi, Elder Watkins in his "suit" at church, and Sister Yanti.
Looking out at Kota Kinabalu from the Airplane

Looking out from the deck where we live in KK

Kota Kinabalu Wikipedia

Map of Kota Kinabalu, East Malaysia
The city of Kota Kinabalu often known as K.K.

Kota Kinabalu (pronounced [ˈkota kinaˈbalu], formerly Jesselton, is the capital of Sabah state in Malaysia. It is also the capital of the West Coast Division of Sabah. The city is located on the northwest coast of Borneo facing the South China Sea. The Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park lies on one side and Mount Kinabalu, which gave the city its name, is nearby. Kota Kinabalu proper has a population of 617,972 while the larger urban area has an estimated population of 900,000. It is the largest urban centre in Sabah and the sixth largest in Malaysia.

Kota Kinabalu is often known as K.K. within Malaysia and internationally. It is a major tourist destination and a popular gateway for travellers visiting Sabah and Borneo. Kinabalu National Park is located about 90 kilometres from the city and there are many tourist attractions in and around the city. Kota Kinabalu is also one of the major industrial and commercial centres of East Malaysia. These two factors combine to make Kota Kinabalu one of the fastest growing cities in Malaysia.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Friday, October 22nd

Last day of training for Jeff till about one and then we are heading on the Eurostar to Rome…we should get there about 6:00 p.m. Out the window we are enjoying the scenic countryside…vineyards, chateau’s, villas and small villages.

We arrived in Rome at 6:00 p.m. we got off right at the Coliseum and it was just getting dark and that made some pretty pictures…then off to find our Hotel Morgana we were all on the same floor one couple had like a beautiful suite with two balconies overlooking a park.  We stopped and had dinner at side restaurant called Trupini’s…more pasta.  We headed off to see some of the sights at night.  We hit the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountains, Pantheon, and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which is the newest of all the ruins.  We ended up back at the hotel about one in the morning. 

Trevi Fountain

The Pantheon

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Saturday, October 23, 2010

An early start to the day we hooked up with a tour at the Coliseum which was incredible and then took another tour at Vatican City which included the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel and ended at St. Peter’s Basilica.  After all of the picture taking I doubt if we can remember all of what we say.  On the way back we stopped and got the boy tee-shirts at the Hard Rock Café and had a very late lunch.
The Coliseum

Vatican City

We are now on the train heading back to Milan.  Rome has some amazing things but, a lot more people than Milan.  We will leave for home in the morning. We found out today that President Monson is here for the ground breaking of Italy, Rome Temple…it is about 30 to 40 miles from where we are at. This has been an amazing journey we have been on.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lake Como & Bellagio

Wednesday, October 20th

They gave the men a day break in the middle of the week from training and we all head to Lake Como…we took a  private motor boat with a guided tour along the lake.  We had lunch at the Suesse in Bellagio another two hour lunch and then headed through the town for shopping.  We bought Jeff and the boys ties and a couple of beautiful scarves for me.  The weather was absolutely beautiful. We went in to the Cathedral in Como when we arrived back and had a quick tour there too.

When we arrived back we had dinner again in the Hotel with the group again.
Lake Como

Lunch in Bellagio

Walking the Streets of Bellagio

Leaving Bellagio and heading back to Como

Lake Como, Italy

Last week in Kuala Lumpur...Getting transferred to...

Hey Everyone,

Well this week sister Jhenny won't be getting baptized sadly. She got anti'd by her mom and she really respects her mother, one because her father passed away when she was 5 so she is super close to her mom. But, she will get baptized eventually and she still is willing to learn and come to church, which is good. still awesome and is going to do well and probably won't get baptized while I am here. She basically was on the phone with her mom and told her mom she was getting baptized next Sunday and how happy she was then her mom said you better not be getting baptized without being a 100% sure it’s right or I’ll be angry kind of thing. So we were worried she was going to drop us. So we went and saw her Sunday night and brought Sister Yanti her cousin and Brother Eder and taught her about baptism authority and why we need it. We went through and asked her some questions, how she came to know for herself that she knew it was true. She said I want to be baptism but, I am scared of what my mom might say. Sister Yanti being the awesome member she is then pulls out the Liahona and shows her a bunch of examples of converts who also faced the same thing then it helped her a ton. She then committed to continue to read and pray every day and to continue to learn and come to church. Things started to go really well. We then closed the lesson and threw out some high fives and made sure she was happy.

But, Rita the lady with the visa problem is going back to Indonesia this Sunday and comes back on the 29th and should be baptized still on the 6 of November. She is doing good despite all the problems in her life right now. We haven't been able to teach her just because she has been out of town waiting for her boat to Indonesia.

Ayo is doing awesome though. We almost didn't get to see him before church on Sunday because he canceled the appointment on us but, then this last Saturday the Lord gave us a ton of help ha-ha. As we were wandering around Mentari Court we actually taught 3 of our investigators without any appointment cause we ran into them as we were heading to go knocking and we taught them and asked some great questions and had some awesome spiritual lessons. One of those was Ayo as we were walking off I saw him and we went up and he was like, yeah, I got time to meet now so we went and sat down to teach him. It went really well and he is super excited for his baptism. We taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ and it went really well, he has some great insights to the Bible and the Book of Mormon. He is super awesome and is doing well. His baptism is also on the 6th of November but, he is debating changing it back one week. He is also super excited that once he joins the church to share with his other friends and family to bring them salvation. We told him how he can baptize people and even go to the temple some day. He at first thought he could only go to the temple in his life 2 times ha-ha and he was pretty stoked about that then when we explained that could go like twice a week he was freaking out ha-ha.

Then before that we got a call from a member who just got back from his mission in Auckland, New Zeeland and he was here in KL with his non member sister. So we went and taught her and it was pretty cool. That Saturday I haven't had so many things just come in like that it was crazy. His sister is Methodist but, came to church and she got a new friend at church so I think things well go really well for her just because of that. They are pretty sweet. Brenda is doing awesome. We taught her last night just about the word of wisdom it went really well. She did have any problems with any of them until tea. But, with coffee she was confused she was like all my lecturers and fancy business women drink coffee so why is it bad ha-ha. Then we are like and the last one is tea and her mouth dropped. She was a little sketchy at first if she was going to give it up. She said she didn't want to waste the little bit of green tea she had left so she went and got her tea and it wasn't a little ha-ha so I tried to stick it in my back pack to take it and throw it away then she said she'll give it up and just give her tea to a friend so it’s not wasted ha-ha. She at first wasn't super willing to give up her green tea but, then we asked some inspired questions and she solved her concern herself. They were pretty simple they just basically helped her understand that God knows what is best for us and once she figured it out in her own head she was down to follow it. This new training we got really has been helping out a bunch. Basically if we just listen to what they say they can solve their own concerns and with a member also.

Devid and Aasis are doing awesome and this Sunday they will receive the Holy Ghost and they are super pumped. It is sad though that Aasis is going back in less than 3 weeks but, he said he might move to where the church is with his wife. But, he also told us for 150RM you can fly from his home to the base camp 2 at Mount Everest. But, they are doing awesome. And that is pretty much it for the week, nothing else to report.

Elder Watkins

I forgot to tell you…on purpose to keep you in suspense but, I am getting transferred to East Malaysia in Sabah as a ZL (Zone Leader) in Kota Kinabalu :) I go there next Tuesday woo-hoo. Elder Carter takes my place in KLang with Elder Lewis and Elder Thurman will get a new companion.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Monday, October 18th

Jeff started training and they had a guide and two ladies from Spirax Sarco that were our companions.  We went to the Duomo and climbed the stairs to the top and walked around up there.  Also went to the La Scala Theatre and to the Gallerie.  Across the street from the Duomo is the galleria were all the famous shops are...Prada, Louis Vitton, and Gucci...etc.  The Prince Di ring was bought at one of the stores.  We had lunch outside on top of the restaurant of the huge department store like Harrods’s in London called la Rinascente across from the Duome.  It was like sitting across from the temple at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. 

In front of Prada
La Scala

Lunch outside at la Rinascente

Monday night we had a big dinner at the Restauante de berti to welcome took about 3 hours...course after course and Jeff and I sat across from the Pres. of Spirex Sarco of Italy and another guy that was high up.  We had some real interesting conversations.  The people here have been incredible to us.  They have wined and dined us all day.

Tuesday, October 19th

They had a lady from Spirax Sarco named Nadia take us around the city for shopping. She showed and explained all about the Fashion Designers and showed us the Golden Quad where Armani and Prada etc have their design houses and the private parties etc during the Fashion shows and all the VIP's come.  They took us to lunch for pizza and the waiter was what you always picture in your mind a true handsome older Italian with bright blue eyes.  It was a fun. We had gelato after at store called Grom....yummy.

The Fashion Windows...
The Pasta...

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The Ladies in our Group

Tuesday night the six of us from VBFA went on the metro down by the Duomo to a local Italian restaurant where the locals go and when Jeff asked them for a menu in English the older Italian just rolled his eyes at us.  That was the fastest dinner we had…they wanted us out of there quick…since didn’t speak Italian.  We walked over and took some really neat pictures of the Duomo at night.
Thursday, October 21st

The man went back to training and we got to take a guided tour of the city sights and even got to see the Last Supper at the Santa Maria delle Grazie.  It takes months to get tickets to see it.  They only allow 25 people in the room at a time now and for only 15 minutes at a time.  It was absolutely incredible to see…it was truly priceless.  I feel very fortunate to have seen it.  We also saw the Castello Sforzesco, the La Scala and the Duomo.  That night we had the farewell dinner at Al Cantinoani downtown Milan with the Spirax Sarco group, another extremely nice dinner.

Castello Sforzesco

The Last was my favorite thing to see in Milan by far.

Milan, Italy

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Sunday, October 17th

 We went took a two and a half hour train ride up to Venice and it rained so we didn't get the true feel for it but of course it was still really neat and fun.  It was pouring and blowing so hard when we first got there and of course when we got of the bus they were selling cheap umbrellas to everyone who did have them...we had only gone a block and hit this open area were these gusts of winds just hit your and all the cheap umbrellas that people had just bought were ruined and broken.

All the umbrellas that people had just bought...ruined from the gust of winds that turned then inside out...Jeff couldn't resist taking a picture.

I did get a purse and a couple of really pretty sweaters. The little place we had lunch at in Venice so we could get out of the freezing rain had the most delicious hot chocolate.  I was so creamy.
Some of the interesting Little Shops

Towards the end of the day the rain stopped and we walked across the bridge and saw a museum of Leonardo da Vinci's Machines.  That was neat.  

When we were walking back Ben wanted to touch the water and walked down these three steps and it was really mossy and he slipped and fell in… clear to his knees.  We laughed so hard and this Italian guy saw him do it to and laughed too.  Only thing that was hurt was his pride...we will always remember Venice as were Ben fell in while touching the water. 
Ben after he fell in the really had to be there...we laughed so hard! 


We came back and they had a dinner in the hotel here at the Hilton in Milan with VBFA group and Doug and Annette Wilkinson from Long and Assoc. joined us too.