Updates by Email

Did you know you can receive my weekly updates right in your inbox? To receive my updates via email, enter your email address here:

Powered by Feed My Inbox

Out of the MTC!

Sorry for no post last week-- out of the 5 P-Days I've had so far, I've only been able to email on 2 of them (until now). So I'm out on the mission now.... for real! I'm finished teaching fake investigators and role-playing at the Missionary training Center, and out doing it for real! Or... in other words, I'm out in the ocean after fishing in the MTC (empty sea... get it?)

FYI, my address for at least the next 5 weeks will be: 6970 E Cedar Bldg C #704, Denver, CO 80224.

So, I'm serving in the Crestmoor East area of Denver with a companion named Elder Stamper whose been out 20 months. I have been lucky/blessed with several things: 1.) the largest apartment in the mission. 2.) a FREE bike from a departing elder, and 3.) a fairly easy-going companion who is really good at fixing and tuning bikes.

All English Elder areas use bikes, and almost every mission has a car with limited miles for use in long commutes. Unfortunately, ours is one of the few missions with no car-- bike only. Plus, in addition to it being my first time riding a bike in 6 years, my companion is Speedy Gonzales on the cycle, so it's... interesting trying to keep up.

Oh, and I may possibly get a Spanish mission after all! The Spanish Elders and Sisters heard me talking Spanish, and they started conversations. They're recommending me to the President for a language transfer, and my comp is sure it's going to happen within two transfers. I'm not as sure, but it would be nice, because Spanish areas are so big they never use those confounded bikes!

Also the work is progressing well. My comp says there hasn't been an elder that cares about the area for about 2 years, and no one has reached the kind of numbers we've reached this past week, nor the success we've experienced. We have a ton of New Investigators to go teach on Monday. The only problem is, half the people we contact speak Spanish, so I do most of the talking. Still, I enjoy it.

I can honestly say that this work has made me the most tired I've ever been, but in a good way. I go to sleep satisfied and happy (waking up is a different story-- 6:30 doesn't suit me well).

I'd include pictures, but the USB slot they have here doesn't like my microSD to USB adapter. Looks like I'll be getting a USB extension cord pretty soon. I'll send pictures next week-- Colorado is what Mom would call "beautiful." We live on the 7th story of the largest building in the area, so you can see for miles from our patio.

Ooh, of course I must tell you about Colfax. Colfax is a major street that we OYM (Open Your Mouth) or contact almost every night. It's a great, busy street, but the problem is, we tend to attract lunatics.

We usually run into an average of 3 crazy people over 2 hours of contacting. The funny thing is, none of them call us Mormons, but use the Church's actual name (The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).

There was one guy named William who accosted us and pulled out of his wallet one of the cards that missionaries pass out-- a Faith in Christ Referral card. It has a picture of Christ coming out of the tomb. While he was homeless in Louisiana, he fell asleep at the foot of a Jesus statue. When he awoke, he found this card and a dime sitting next to him (I think it was some Elder trying to be funny).

Well, William decided that it was God's message that Christ was always watching out for him, so he taped his newly-found "sacred Jesus dime" underneath Christ's outstretched hand,"as if to say, 'here-- have a dime'" William so eloquently stated. He's carried that card and dime around with him for inspiration for 3 years, and would not let us leave until we promised to make such a card-dime combination ourselves, and to tell his story to others (I assured him that I have a blog, and people would definitely know ☺). William told his story no less than 7 times over again, and sent us off with a solemn testimony of our "divine calling against the adversary in a crazy world," and sang "Onward Christian Soldiers."

That one takes the cake, though there are plenty more I will have to share later because I've almost exhausted my 30 minutes. I know that I'm doing a good work, and I love serving this people! I know that the things I teach are true, and I love it.

God bless you all!

Two Weeks Down, One to Go

Hello all:

First, thanks to everyone who's sent letters, dearelders, and packages. I love hearing from home all the time at the end of the day. Quick note on the dearelder.com site, you need to select "Provo MTC Mission" in order for it to send it to me for free.

Second, Konstantin, I met an Elder Watkins who IS serving in Russia-- sorry buddy! =) (PS, Konstantin, send me your address on dearelder)

Sorry I can't attach pictures until I get out into the field-- the computers here are very restrictive on what you can and can't do-- it's kinda annoying a bit that technologically inclined knuckleheads ruin everything for the rest of us, but that's OK, because I'll be out in the field with real computers in a week anyway.

Everything here is going weird. You know that Scripture in Matthew (Ch. 24, I believe) that says the Lord will "shorten the days?" Well, I'm sure God's been messing around with how time works here; it's really weird: a day feels like a week, a week feels like a day, and P-Day feels like Christmas (it never seems to come). Oh, and for those who don't know what P-Day is, it's preparation day, when I can actually email and write letters, do laundry, get supplies, attend the Temple, etc.

Other than the space-time continuum being altered, everything else is alright. I can't wait to actually go out to Colorado and start "real" missionary work. Right now we're still training and role-playing, which starts to get on my nerves a bit. I want to talk to real investigators with real questions.

I get to do that, actually, in the Referral Center. Dad asked what that was-- it wasn't here until about 5 years ago. You know when you see those TV commercials, hear the radio commercials, or see the banner ads for the Church or a free Book of Mormon, Bible, or DVD? All those 1-800 numbers get routed to us in the referral center. Also, the mormon.org "Chat with a missionary" page goes to us, and we talk with or chat with real people investigating the Church. After the several hours I've spent there, my companion Elder Jensen and I have investigators that we're working with long distance. It's pretty cool.

So I've gotten a lot of questions about the MTC food. Here it is: I eat too much, and it's good, but leaves you feeling SO tired during class. It's hard to pay attention a lot of the time, so I'm trying to cut back. They have grapefruit like I used to eat with Grandpa Watkins, and I have it every breakfast with lots of sugar and oatmeal. It's nice to have that nostalgia.

Well, there's a HUGE difference between the Elder and the Sister missionaries here. Sister Tsai and Sis. Munn are fantastic-- driven, focused, and full of the love that makes the Church what it is. Rachelle and Leah are REALLY going to love serving their missions with these wonderful sisters.

On the other hand, we Elders have short attention spans, but lots of creativity. Being deprived of the normal delicacies of life (radios, TVs, musical instruments, etc) hasn't limited our fun-- we've invented many new sports: including "cafeteria orange catch," "shoot a rubber band in Elder So-and-so's mouth," and my favorite: "Let's use those huge elastic band thingies they gave us to exercise with, and launch various objects down the apartment hallway and put sugary dents in the ceilings" (later modified to have a human target 30 feet away). Also, Elder Rambe made a functional guitar out of a Krispy Kreme box, rubber bands, and ballpoint pens.

So, we're doing alright entertainment-wise. Elder Chapman is the zone's favorite missionary because his ward (local Church branch) sends him LOTS of food every week. This week it was 3 boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts.

On a more spiritual note, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland came to give a talk on Tuesday. Everyone thought the Prophet Thomas S. Monson was coming since he was giving a devotional at BYU earlier that day, but Elder Holland's Talk was fantastic. It's always great to hear from one of the Twelve Apostles of God.

This will most likely be my last entry for a while, at least until Colorado. I will email then.

I know this Church is true. I can happily say that the MTC really hasn't made that much of an increase in my testimony because I already knew that the things we're teaching are true. I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve in my area, and to come to the MTC (for however long I'm here). I look forward to serving the Lord in this work, and appreciate all the support I've gotten from all of you. I love you all, and miss you, and will see you in two years. My 30 minutes is up, so I've got to go. The Church is true-- read the Book of Mormon and Bible, pray about it, and you'll know; I've done it.

Have a nice day!

-- Elder Watkins

First post at MTC

Current Address:

Elder Matthew P Watkins
Colorado Denver South Mission MTC Box #243
2005 North 900 East
Provo, UT 84604

Feel free to write, or use http://www.dearelder.com to send free letters printed and delivered daily to the MTC-- like an email, but not against the rules =). Feel free to write or dearelder me anytime.

OK, so I now have my email address, and can send email (and receive from family). I've only got less than 20 minutes or so left, so this will have to be short. I'll send pictures next week. I only get to send email on Wednesdays, so that's when I'll be doing it.

So settling in at the MTC was hard. The shuttle bringing me here was late, and we arrived to an empty place. Another elder asked, "Well, isn't anyone going to tell us where to go?" Another elder responded, "No Elder-- it's not until you go start knocking on peoples' doors unannounced that people will 'tell you where to go.'" I think it went over his head.

I got my badge and keys from the front desk lady, and ran over to meet my district, which had just finished orientation. Our district is composed of 10 companionships-- 8 elders and 2 sisters. The sisters are SO much better missionaries than the elders-- Leah and Rachelle are gong to love their companions when they head out to serve-- they truly are angels.

So my companion (hereafter abbreviated "comp") is Elder Jensen, a great guy with a slight speech impediment. He has a good testimony of the Gospel, and I'm sure he will meet good success in the mission field despite having, like Moses, a "slow tongue."

Time apparently doesn't exist here-- a day feels like a week, a week feels like a day, and P-Day feels like Christmas (it never seems to come).

Other than that, things seem to be going OK-- I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve and look forward to the chance to go out into the field and do work.

Oh, and I get a bragging moment: In our Church, we believe in spiritual inspiration. I had a moment where that happened. I was in choir, joking around, and I turned behind me and saw someone: Elder King. I felt prompted to ask him where he's from. I did, and he revealed that he's from the Southern part of Denver, Colorado! Being the good missionary I am (and humble, too! =), I of course asked for referrals, and he gave us three names of people to look up and share the word with. We even got an address and phone number for when we get out there! I'm kinda excited about that.

The RC (Referral Center) is really cool here-- we get to chat with and talk to investigators about the Gospel, and I've had some really cool experiences I will have to share later.

Well, I gotta go get my laundry out, and get ready for my next meeting.

I know that I'm doing a good work, and as a missionary instructed to bear testimony "at all times and in all things, and in all places," I witness that Jesus is the Christ, and that His work is going forth to the different nations. The Standard of Truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing.

Well, until next week, ¡Adios!

--Elder Watkins