Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Two Years or 104 Weeks...

Elder Nathan B Watkins Week 104 (Two years since he left)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hey Everyone,

Well things this last week were crazy as usual. I guess I’ll start off with this morning I woke up and went down to get some toast. The windows here are different and one of the panes was missing and things had been knocked over in the kitchen sink. Someone had tried to get in our back door through the window. They also tried to break the door handle luckily both of which failed…and it was done last night while we were sleeping. Even if he had managed to break the lock the door has 3 dead bolts on it and a chain so there is no way he was getting in but, he still tried...

We taught Ebie and Ecal about temples and then she asked us how many people can we get baptized for in the temple and we are like, as many names as you got we suppose and her jaw dropped and she was like, no way! Then she said; man I want to get to the temple, how can we go there.... Then we told her the YW were going there in August and that she could go and she was super excited and happy so she is going off to the temple and the Wieland’s are going to work that out. 
Ebie (pronounced Evee) and the crew
Baby is doing well but, he might be going back to KG for a while so we are worried a bit.... He should be gone for 2 days maybe but, again with KG you have no idea... So if not he should be getting baptized this weekend or the next weekend...

Ebie also I almost forgot but, she got baptized and it was great and super awesome.... We are now just working on making sure she has got a bunch of friends to aka fellow shippers so she'll stay strong.

Roger and his wife are doing good, it turns out they actually don't like their church a whole lot and love ours a lot more than we thought. We invite them to be baptized and they said; yeah then went off about their church so it wasn't a super strong commitment so we are going to do it again later this week when we see them again.

Sister Jennifer and her aunty came this last Sunday and it was great she wants to get baptized so we are excited but, we just need to get the Lee's there with us again so we can get her to understand what this thing is and what exactly she is getting into before she says yes.. That is mainly because she doesn't understand that kind of Malay and we need someone to explain it it Chinese.

Ecal should be getting baptized soon as wellm her schooling should be transferred down to here and things seem to be going as planned, she is way cool. The mom is also doing great and wants but, she is just still trying to get off on Sunday. She is super supportive and working hard to get Sunday off.

But, things are good and just working hard to find new people to teach like always... Just working hard to the finish and trying not to think about it but, it is super hard because everyone is telling you that you are going home soon and are asking about it... Every time someone talks about it around Sister Ning her eyes tear up and it is super sad and hard it is definitely going to be hard to leave because there are so many awesome people that I will be missing, Man, it is rough, the people here are the greatest people on earth.... 

I had to include the picture of "No Way, a made bed"....Nathan never made his bed at home...and I was always on his case about making it at home. That is why he sent that picture.  His bed has been made now for the last two years.  I can hardly wait until it isn't made again. It won't be too much long now!
I figure I’d just throw out some thoughts at the end of this letter... So anyone who is out there who is Senior Citizen discount age or of the Young Men age of preparing to going a mission. The mission is the "BEST" thing you can ever do in your life. No schooling, no things that you might see your grandkids do, or sports you'll miss, or your girlfriend, your car, or even those video games, nothing and I mean nothing can compare to the things you'll have on your mission. You of course will have so rough times but, seeing the smiling faces of the coolest people you'll ever meet as they read the Book of Mormon or when you see their face as they just come up out of the water is the greatest feeling and the greatest experiences you'll ever have in your entire life. You will be as happy as you ever would be in your life and you will miss the people but, the blessings of the gospel are the greatest things you can give to anyone and it will last forever. Yesterday in the bus a Muslim girl told us we were “buang masa” or in English we were throwing our time away... It is not true it is the greatest use of time. There was a quote in the mission office and it is still there for the senior couples. “Serving a senior couple mission is better than sitting at home and watching our birth certificate expire.... Get out there!” Well that is my rant... I love the mission and I love the people so much. To me they are why I am here and I will do anything I can to help them find the truth and Christ for themselves. 

Mengin Aku Seikaw,
Elder Watkins 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Guatemala, Quetzaltenango Temple

Quetzaltenango Temple in Guatemala...Jeff's picture of the temple looks like it could be on the cover of the Ensign :)
I thought I would share just a little bit of Jeff's letter this week to Nathan while he is in Guatemala helping do the final punch on the Quetzaltenango Temple with Ben Davis from his work.


I am just sitting in my hotel room in Quetzaltenango Guatemala. It has been a long day. I left SLC at 8:10 pm Sunday and flew all night to Guatemala. Then there was the 4 1/2 hour drive to the Temple. It is getting close to finishing. It is a very pretty Temple. This will be the last trip here for Ben. They are going to dedicate the Temple in November. It is 65 degrees and rainy. See the attached picture.

We head back to the city on Tuesday night and then leave early on Wednesday morning. We are coming home a day early.

Guatemala is a lot different than when I was here on my mission. They have tons of fast food places. They now even have Walmarts. They were not here last year. It still is a very poor country. There is definitely a lower class and a upper class. They probably drive here just like they do in Malaysia.

Love ya,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

89 people at Church with Nine of them Investigators!

Hey Everyone,

Well this last week was pretty dang sweet. We had a total of 89 people at church this Sunday which is I am pretty sure is a record for Sandakan with 9 investigators at church. We had Elder Kampenhout down from KK for exchanges also. He did Ebie's baptism interview and she passed! So we are pretty dang excited Elder Browne especially was because this is his first baptism so far. We also found out that her sister wants to learn and get baptized because she is not going back to Kampong any more. Their mom is also way interested the only problem is that she is working on Sundays so it is hard because she can't get to church. She has gone to a couple of activities and loved it.

Roger and his wife are also doing great they came to church this last Sunday. He brought with him his less active daughter and grandchildren so it was so awesome to see so many people there. They are super sweet and we are super excited for the progress he is making. This week we are hoping to put them on a baptism date.  Their knowledge of the Bible is amazing. It is really great because it is bringing some inactive back to church who have been members for 10 plus years.... The member is also very excited cause she wants her father and her mother to be baptized cause they are the only people in her family that are not members, her sister is also a member.  But, they are super awesome.

Baby he is still doing great we put him on a baptism date for July 16th, so that way we have time to prepare him and help him understand everything. He doesn't have a Christian background but, he is a dang, smart kid. We are pretty excited for him. Well sister Lucy is back from Kampong and we had an amazing lesson with her family and her husband and Brother Alex followed us to it. Well it turns out that Sister Lucy husband is actually a Christian he just isn't super active and well he really liked it. He knows our purpose the only problem was his Malay isn't the best. So we brought Brother Alex. Brother Alex was amazing and he helped out a ton and made the lesson great. Well he wants to come to church but, last Sunday he couldn't make it because he was fixing the road. He works for the government repairing the roads and he has got quite a bit to repair right now cause of the floods. But, he came to the end of priesthood and Brother Alex did a great job of fellowshipping him and even got him some of the cake for Father’s Day. The crazy thing is we ran into him the other day at the Ning's... We just had finished teaching Baby and I said; “Elder Browne that is Ah Ken's truck and he goes, nah; I stopped and looked around and then we looked up on the road above us and there was Ah Ken and his crew fixing the broken bridge ha-ha…so, we ran into him and he was pretty happy.

Jennifer and her auntie and son are doing great again they got anti'd but they had us come back because of our trust with them she wanted to ask us personally. Well the aunty wants to get baptized but, she thought that she couldn't go to the graves and clean them and respect her ancestors any more well... We brought brother, Lee and his wife and man they took care of that and so next time, we are going to invite her to be baptized.... They are super cool and Sister Jennifer is such a sweet lady...
Last week we also saw a guy named Jaffirin he is Sungai and he and his family actually lived in Texas for 2 years. He speaks good English and is a Jungle ranger guy (I think that is how you would say it). His son is #1 in all of Sabah in his age group for Badminton. We aren't going to be able to see him this week cause he is going to KK for a week and be in meetings all day for a week but, he said when they get back we can meet up.

Last week we also found out that they have a mini basketball league that you can just like drop in any day from 4:30 to 7 p.m. so we are going to play with them a bit today. They have some legit guys playing b-ball and they have a nice court. They have legit jerseys and basketball shoes and the works so we are pretty excited... Well that is pretty much it for us.

Mejumpa Vagu Mengin Aku Dikaw. 
Elder Watkins

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Where's Elder Watkins???

I emailed this photo out a few weeks ago...I have attached a picture of Elder Bednar's Visit...Can you find Elder Watkins in the picture??? 
This was my nephews reply...Hey Aunt Joan! I think I found him! Ben
I thought I would share his photo shop talents with everyone...I certainly got a good laugh!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 new companion is Elder Browne

Hey Everyone,

Everything is still going good in the far off and exotic land of Sandakan and it is nice to be back and getting to work after learning some awesome things and then being able to apply them.

Saturday night we went with the Wieland’s and they had found Roderick!!! A Recent Convert who had dropped off the map for a couple weeks.... Well he basically changed his number so now we got his new number and his new home and now he is back in the action. He is still good and he said; well Elders you need to come and teach me twice a week now to get me all caught up. So we are excited because he is back.

Roger and his wife are now out of the hospital and we are teaching them at the home. They are super amazing and their knowledge alone that they have gotten from the Bible is amazing and his ideas pretty much match the Lords church and he got most of it from the Bible but, he is way pumped because the Book Of Mormon is exactly what he likes, it is helping him understand the fullness of the gospel. They are way cool and quote lots of scriptures from the Bible but, even just the other day the wife quoted one for us from Mosiah 13. The daughter, Sister Dosy is a member and so it works out well. She has hopes that they'll join the church they would be the last ones who are members in their family. Man…they would make a some great members they are super smart.

We are still teaching Baby, who is going great, he is a smart kid and reads the Book of Mormon and he so far has prayed and it’s going really well. He is getting along great with the members too.

We also just got a referral from some members here named Lovely and he is pretty good so far. Hopefully we can teach her again, she set up a return appointment, we have high hopes for her.

Ebie is still doing amazing and moving right along for baptism. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and Word of Wisdom, which went well but, she loves to drink Milk Tea so she is going to do her best. We will see her again tonight to follow up with her on it. She says she wants to stop but, it is her favorite drink so, we’ll see how it goes. Her phone broke so it is hard to get a hold of her.

Rosmini is still doing good as well with no complaints she is way funny and is doing great. They just came back from Mile 30 so, they can come to church again ha-ha....
Tonight we go with Elder Wieland to teach a contacted referral from Youth Conference. They live out at mile 14, we are having high hopes for them because they have a car and speak English.

We are also teaching an Iban guy form Johor, who Elder Browne used to teach there. He recently moved here so we are excited to go and see him. He should be good…speaks English and is new to Christianity.

Irene is still doing good we read with her 2 Nephi 33 and it went really. It is probably one of my favorite chapters too, she is still really worried to read it on her own. She said she is scared if she reads it something is going to happen…well its true but, maybe she worried about what will happen if she joins the church or if it isn't good or something.

Things are good and just trying to finish strong and keep my eyes open for those who are prepared to hear the gospel. I know that they are out there but, they are hiding sometimes from us.

Oh yeah…BTW… my new companion is Elder Browne from Pleasant Grove, UT.  he is cool and played football. That’s all.

Mejumpa Vagu Ingin oku Dikau
Elder Watkins

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Turning 21 in KK...

Nathan got his wish.  He was able to go back to Kota Kinabalu for his twenty-first birthday.  Elder Martin had to go to Singapore for his Visa Run so Nathan went to KK because the Wieland's where going there for Youth he had to go along...I don't think he was disappointed about seeing old friends.
 Hey Everyone!

Well this last week was a good one. First things first, I am emailing you all from my old stomping grounds of KK. We have just been seeing all of my recent converts here and helping the elders teaching their investigators.  

My companion Elder Martin is transferring to Sibu Jaya in Sarawak so I’ll be getting a new companion for my last 6 weeks named Elder Browne. He has just finished his training so it should be good. I really have been thinking about my last 6 weeks and how Elder Browne and I can kick some butt in Sandakan and find some awesome people to teach and get her done before I go home.

This last week was dang good we had a lot of activities going on and it was good for some of our recent converts and investigators to get fellowshipped into the Branch.  Jeffrey Tiga got baptized last week which was way good and it was great to see his whole family back together. His mom was way happy because their family is now complete and they have a new goal of getting to the temple but, they just have some other things to work out first. 

A sad thing though is we lost Rosmina... She went back to Kampong.... Her husband is still in Sandakan so we will hit him up and keep it up with him but, it sad that she is gone...

Melvin is still good but, we will have to try and hunt him down because he will no longer be coming to the member’s home and we have to go and see him at his work place.

Jennifer, her son, and Auntie are still doing good they are just taking it slowly. We are just really focusing on getting the auntie to come unto Christ and understand why he is important and how he can help us. She reads and understands and come to church but, we haven't gotten her to pray she is just way too shy and I don't think she understands why she needs to yet,

We are also working with Ebie she is so awesome. She can read and then explain it back to us and so far she loves it. She even asked us if she could get baptized the other week, we were already planning on inviting her but, she invited herself so… it’s even better. She fits in very well with the Branch and is well fellowshipped. Her mom is also learning but, she works on Sunday so it is hard because we can’t get her to church.

The Nings brought us a new referral from their Kampong…it is their cousin, his name is Baby; yes, Baby ha-ha…which is crazy I know but, he is tight and so far loves church. We are also teaching his dad, Wilson too. Hopefully something good will come from it.

But, tomorrow I am on a flight over to KL for a MLT again so it will be my last time in KL for meetings. We are working hard with a lot of Part Member families but, the last week was rough for seeing them because of the holiday most of them weren’t there. But, they are doing good and have sincere desires. We are just trying to build a relationship with all the members to try and get referrals and get them to help us out so we can get some good work done down in Sandakan.  

Irene is still doing good but, she is still having a hard time reading the BOM so we are just reading it with her at our appointments but, she didn't make it to church because she said she couldn't bear to see Elder Martin again since he was leaving... but, she is still willing to learn and come to church so, we will work with her and hopefully we can strengthen her faith and help her to find the truth.  Well that is about all I can think of. Talk to you later.

Mejumpa Vagu Ingin oku Diikau,
Elder Watkins

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Week 100

Elder Nathan B Watkins Week 100 (23 Months)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hey Everyone, 

Well this last week was good no complaints. Last week after KL we were pretty dang busy trying to see everyone that we missed and just working on getting Jeffry Baptized. So with that, he is getting baptized tomorrow, June 2nd so, it should be good. It turns out he likes to fish so he and Pres, Wieland went fishing this morning so it should be good since Pres Wieland is a pretty big fisher also so it should be some good BRT. When we were there last time I helped him fix his fishing rod just like Dad used to help us do so many times while we were fishing on the river. He had a tangled line with the arm on the reel broken so I fixed them both for him.

Monday and Tuesday of this week was Ka'amatan which is the harvest festival down here basically when the harvest ends and they just celebrate. In KK it is pretty huge and they have a big party selling stuff like beads, swords, clothing, and yean.... since Saturday things have been really quiet because they have school break for 2 weeks and everyone is gone back to Kampong and then with Ka'amatan even more have gone back so things have been a bit slower.

Yesterday we went in search of a lost recent convert here. He apparently moved to a new place called Sungai Kayu which is far and far from where he used to live. We were pretty unsuccessful in finding him over there...  It was a pretty, dang huge area and a lot bigger than we were told.

Afterwards we went and taught Rosmini and her daughter their RC lessons. We went and saw a PM/LA Family and as well. The father is the only member he has 3 kids and his wife that are not members and the only reason they didn't learn before was because the elders didn't speak Malay or Chinese and church was in English. But, now they are willing to listen and learn so we are going back on Saturday night to teach the whole family he was a pretty nice guy.

We also contacted a cool referral from a sister here…it is her niece. Her Name is Ebi, she is Christian but, never really learned a whole lot from the Catholic Church and really didn't understand it, she said it was just hard. So we taught her the restoration and it was a good lesson and she asks good questions. She is really looking for an answer. Another cool thing is she reads and she understands the scriptures too.

Rosmina and Melvin are doing well but, didn't make it to church last week cause of Ka'amatan. We will have to push their date back another week because of that. We thought after Ka'amatan Rosmina was going to move to Kampong for 3 months and Melvin would still be here and work but, he only went back to kampong last week and she is staying for another month or so, Melvin will still be here working for a lot longer.

Irene is doing alright she still hasn't read a whole lot of the Book of Mormon on her own but; we have been reading it with her and talking about prayer. She is still coming to church which is good we just hope we can get her to read and then pray about it on her own.

Next week is Youth Conference here and they'll all be heading up to KK for it so there won't be a whole lot of people here in Sandakan for 4 days.

Well I can't think of anything else really.  I am going to KK on the 6th and then, I go to KL after for a MLT (Missionary Leadership Training) it’s about the new things they are doing with the simplified doctrine that they have to teach everyone here. All the new missionaries get it in the MTC now so they are just teaching the me.

Mejumpa Vagu Ingin Oku Diikau,
Elder Watkins

P.S. Congratulations on the Babies.

Picture from Sister Wieland...Here is a closeup of the bracelets they just learned how to make using glass beads. Elder Watkins learned how when he was in Sarawak, where they make beautiful beadwork vests that sell for hundreds of dollars, and he agreed to come teach them.  Next week's YW lesson is making hot peppers and lizards with beads. (I can hardly wait to see those pictures)