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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

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