Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Those lips look like they could be used for something better than playing the clarinet!"

Hey Everyone!

So this week was pretty good and went by way faster than the first one. Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays are the days you just have to get through because Sundays are way relaxing. Mondays we do service and gym all morning. Tuesdays we just have class in the morning and afternoon, but then have the devotional at night. Wednesday is P day of course but sounds like this will be our last week going to the temple and getting temple food :(. We went this morning and did Initiatory work and I had 8 family names and everyone else only did 5. I don’t know how that happened but they had to wait for me for like 15 minute’s ha-ha. Had to take advantage of the last breakfast in the temple so I got an Omelet, hash browns, and bacon; pretty tasty.
Chillin' with Elder Keller at the fountain
David and Landon
Nothing really went on last Thurs, Fri, or Sat. except for Nike our first investigator left! Ha-ha and he is now one of our teachers His name is Brother Phan (Sam). He is such an amazing teachers and the spirit is so strong when he teaches. We got two new investigators now though. A guy named Sam, which is Bro. Phan, and a guy named Joe, which is Bro. Olsen. We taught Bro. Phan on Monday for his first lesson and it went way good. We taught him about the restoration and how to pray and we committed him to be baptized in 2 months. The new thing is to challenge them to be baptized the first lesson and set a goal in mind for them and tell them that we will help them prepare for it over the next while. The spirit was strong so it was cool. We haven't taught Joe yet, but we do tonight so that will be hard. The sisters said Joe is harder to teach than Brother Phan. We actually probably won't be teaching Sam for like a week or so because he is getting married this Saturday in the LA Temple so we are assuming he will be gone for a little bit. the older Thai group all leave on Monday at 4 for Thailand! So that means it will just be us starting next week.

I think Ely Hansgen gets here today so I'll see if I can't find him. I saw David again and he said that he got transferred to the West Campus, but he is probably leaving for Texas soon right? Today is finally the last time we have to eat in the gym then we go back to the cafeteria. The food in the gym has been even worse than the regular food. Thanks for all the snacks they have been great. Elder Crump and I bought some chips and Queso from the bookstore and it was the greatest snack we've had; we still have a little bit left.

So Sunday was the Worldwide Leadership Broadcast or whatever. That was way cool except the Marriot Center has the most uncomfortable seats of all time I think it’s worse than sitting in the seats we sat in at Fenway Park. You honestly can't sit normal and your butt gets sore and it you try to move you always knee the person in front of you. Besides that the talks were so good! You all have seen it by now I'm sure so there’s not much I need to say about it except for as soon as all the Apostles walked in you could just feel the spirits so strong coming into the room; it was amazing. It was so lucky that we got to go to that; it was way nice, but we were kind of disappointed that the prophet only joined us over video :/. Other than that though it was amazing. You should have seen the herd of cattle going over there and it just brought back memories of VBFA where the herd goes to get lunch. After the broadcast it was dinner so the herd all headed to the feeding trough and we just decided to go and spend some money in the vending machine and get hot pockets which was probably a good idea because people waited in line for an hour to get there food. Not worth it for that crap.

Then President Jackson and Sister Jackson (our branch president) came to our class at 8 for our district meeting and we all bore out testimonies and what we liked about it and President Jackson and his wife talked about what they liked; it was so cool. His wife said it shows how much trust the Lord has in us to use those social media things through the internet where they have been perceived as kind of evil. Kind of cool. 

Tuesday night we had another devotional at the Marriott Center which was way cool! We all went over there hearing it was some old lady who wrote music that was speaking thinking; Oh great this will be boring, but at least we can take a nap. Ha-ha well we get there and it was Janice Perry she wrote a hymn and 10 primary songs and stuff and her husband Douglas Perry. It was honestly one of the best devotionals. It was so funny and the spirit was amazing! Her husband spoke first and just talked about some mission experiences from way back when; but his talk was short; because his wife was the main speaker. His wife starts by talking about her and her husband. The first line her husband ever said to her was in a music class at BYU…"Those lips look like they could be used for something better than playing the clarinet." said Douglas Perry. Ha-ha the whole crowd busts up laughing and he stands up and walks to the pulpit and she’s like covering the mic so he can't say anything then he just grabs her and kisses her! Ha-ha this guy was 79 years old and barely could talk/walk it was so funny he got a standing ovation! It was just hilarious. She went to proceed talking about music and everything. Then we all sang a bunch of primary songs like 6 or so which was way cool, the spirit was so strong. She then went on talked a bit then closed with a song that he kind of made I think called As Sister's in Zion, Army's of Helaman. This song was amazing the sisters sang the first part then we sang Army's of Helaman then we all joined together. Honestly one of the strongest feelings I've ever had from the spirit. Nothing gets better than all of these missionaries singing that song together plus Army's of Helaman is like my favorite primary song ever it was just so cool!! That’s about all I got to tell you about my week.

Well that’s all I got, love you all!

Elder Watkins

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Landon's First Week at the MTC!

Hey Everyone!

How are things? Well finally the first week is over! It was a long week, but missionaries do say the days begin to feel faster.

So my companion is Elder Keller who is from Alaska. He is pretty cool. I love the district we are in though. There are 6 Elders and 4 sisters in ours and I think there are 4 Sisters and 8 Elders in the other district. That is of the new missionaries only though. In ours we have Elder Beatty who is from Copper Hills, Elder Crump from Olympus, Elder Keller from Alaska, Elder Smith from Jordan, and Elder Vance is from San Diego. As for the Sisters, there is Sister Bentley from Kaysville, Sister Downs from California, Sister Jackson from Skyline, and Sister Norrell from Alabama. We all get along pretty good and have tons of fun.

The first day we were completely immersed in the language. Our teacher is Brother Olsen he came back from his mission to Thailand 3 years ago and goes to BYU. He's way cool and a good teacher and puts up with us having fun, which is nice. We had a sub also Brother Thrap who got back from Thailand 8 months ago who teaches the Phii Thai's (Which is the older Thais that have been here 7 weeks now). The process goes like this; at least this is what the older Thai's say. You’re first 3 weeks there are Phii Thais, then the next 3 weeks we will be the only Thais which is 22 of us, then the last 3 weeks we get a new group of Thai's. So there are 4 total Thai districts. There are 8 districts in our zone starting today we only have around 70 people in our zone/branch. There are 5 Languages Thai, Hmong, Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian. 4 new Laotian Elders get here today, but they are the only ones and there are no Vietnamese ones here.

Days are pretty much you wake up prepare, eat, study and do other random things in the mornings, then have lunch. After we usually have class from 1-4 then times to prepare for our lessons to teach our Investigator Nike at 6 with dinner in between. So yeah we taught our first lesson in Thai to Nike on Friday. Yeah I know it’s a joke having us try and teach a lesson in Thai after 2 days of instruction. We just write down what we wanted to say in Romanized Thai as a script and literally just read to him the whole time. We taught again Saturday and did the same thing so both lessons weren't very good ha-ha. Good thing is "Nike" as we call him; we don't know what his real name is. He is a returned missionary, but was a Native Thai Missionary then moved here after his mission I think. He's really cool though and try’s to help us understand his Thai even though it’s like talking to little kids ha-ha. We are starting to get better though with the last two lessons we had Monday and Tuesday me and my comp didn't even use a script really at all and we did way good and even though he isn't a real investigator you could still feel the spirit it was kind of cool. We don't have to teach him tonight which is nice so we have time to prepare for tomorrow. 

On Sunday we had such a great devotional! Stephen B. Allen spoke who is a guy who like made LDS commercials back in the day. He was so funny and it just brought such a great spirit to everyone in the MTC. We had a devotional at the Marriot Center yesterday which was cool. Robert C. Gay spoke not really sure who he is just know he was like a mission president and works for the church now. He told some way cool stories about following the promptings of the spirit which was his main focus. It’s true though we all need to hear the promptings and act. No matter what we think about it just act because he said it could be life or death, but you don't want to find out when it was life or death.

The food here is okay nothing great ha-ha. The lines aren't too bad when finding meals we've kind of figured things out on how to get our stuff the fastest and where it’s least crowded. The only thing is though after this morning we went to the temple which was such a great way to feel the spirit and start off the morning. Our session was early this morning and lots of our missionaries were falling asleep but I stayed awake ha-ha. After they have a cafeteria in the Provo Temple who knew! Maybe they have them in others too and I'm just dumb, but we ate there after. That food was like amazing compared to the MTC food, but it doesn't cost money. I just got a Ham and Cheese omelet with hash browns, and it was so tasty. I can already hear Mom, “You ate a ham and cheese omelet!?" ha-ha. I guess I'm going to try and figure out my laundry then today if we can find somewhere to wash it. 

So for things I need or can't find. I could use some socks that aren't church socks unless you know where they are I thought we packed them but looking through my stuff I can't find them. Then besides that I can't think of much I need. Letters; I guess they are nice to read at night. I'm trying to think of other stuff that I'll add while I answer your questions.

So I already said this but there are 22 in our group I think or maybe only 20 that’s for ones that got here on June 12. Yes I did get the package from Andy which was way nice to get the cookies they were delicious. I did also get the pictures, newspaper, and bookmark from Grandma Watkins, tell her thanks. She is probably gone on her trip though getting me a hat right? Yeah I felt find after the Japanese shots I honestly didn't feel it at all, allergy shots are worse ha-ha. Yes we will get to go to the worldwide broadcast thing on Sunday we have to be there by 2:30 though so way early and sit there for a while they said. It’s so exciting! Who wouldn't get excited to see President Monson, Uchtdorf, Eyring, and the 12 apostles!! It’s like a little mini general conference here for us; it’s going to be amazing! You will all get to watch it and I’ll let you know how the spirit was at it since I get to go in person; I'm sure you’re jealous. 

We’ll talk to you all next week!


Elder Landon Watkins

Saying Goodbye!

Well this has been a crazy, amazing week for our family...It has been a week since we dropped off Landon at the MTC! We have gotten two written letters one Saturday and then another Tuesday and now his email today! 

I knew from sending Nathan how hard the inevitable day was so I thought I was prepared in my mind to say the goodbye and the feelings that follow, but I was wrong. It was harder than I expected that day and after the drop off. Nathan was very sweet and tried to comfort us with his humor on the way home. Nathan described it perfect to his friend on the phone; "Yeah it was sad, but it was a good sad". We are sad to have him go, but we are so happy and grateful he has chosen to serve the Lord for the next two years.
Some Family pic before we left for the MTC

This is what makes it see how happy he was while saying goodbye to  Jeff.
Heading off with his Host...