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Happy Spring!

Well, Colorado has welcomed in the new spring with blizzards and a whole lot of wet snow. On the plus hand, though, this is fairly normal (March and April are Colorado's snowiest months), ad providing much-needed moisture. Also, weather here tends to produce 60-70⁰ days immediately following an onrush of snow ad 10⁰ weather, so it usually melts really fast. Attached is a few pics of a minor blizzard when we felt daring enough to get out our cameras. People thought we were crazy for going out and knocking doors in that weather (and by people, that includes the members who were driving by), but that's how important this message is-- even if it gets down to -30⁰ and 6 feet of snow, we will still be out there pounding on your door sharing our message (although we may elect to tract some roofed apartment complexes for part of the time).

As far as the work goes, it going forth "boldly, nobly, and independent." "No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, and calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth... 'til it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in ever ear, 'til the purposes of God shall be accomplished, ad the great Jehovah shall say 'the work is done'" (Joseph Smith).

Can you tell I'm still super-pumped from Zone Conference a few days ago? =) Zone Conferences, if attended with the right spirit, are always really life-infusing to missionaries, and get them through the ext transfer.

We are very proud of our two primary investigators, who are starting to really show their commitment and faith in trying the fruits of the Gospel and keeping their commitments. If everything goes well, we should have at least one baptism coming up in April.

Last night, we got even more snow-- I'm guessing somewhere near a foot or more. We spent all night on the corner of Quebec and Dry Creek helping push cars up the slippery hills and getting them out of ice and mush. It was so good to help people in a moment of need like that. Maybe people don't like the Mormon missionaries at their front doors, but when we're behind their cars in a snowstorm, they're a bit more appreciative.

I thought of something interesting as I worked there. Many times, the cars don't see us helping them through the darkness and the heavy snow, and they just realize that there's an unexpected shove from behind when they get stuck. I remember the Willie and Martin Handcart company's experience as, when they couldn't push their carts one more step on their own frozen wintry journey, the handcart would seem to move on its own and push them. I wonder if that was from angels behind the cart, and if they felt the same joy of service that I felt last night.

I really love this work, and I hope I can stay here forever. I wonder if that's what our super-missionary role-model Ammon meant when he was brought before King Lamoni, and declared that he wished to remain in the land for "a time," and even added that he may wish to remain all the rest of his life. What dedication! Perhaps I may not wish to stay all my life (at least not yet), but I certainly don't feel like leaving anytime soon-- esp. a mere year and a half from now!

But I must put such thoughts of departure aside. I always thought they told missionaries not to count their time because they would get trunkie (always thinking and wishing for home), but for me it's just the contrary-- I keep getting terrified about how quickly time is passing, and now that I'm training my greenie "son," as usual, he makes his "father" feel really old.

Well, my time is short, and I must run and get back to work. I am so happy to serve as a missionary. I love you all, and God bless you!

Elder Watkins
Colorado Denver South Mission
Hello all:

So I'm still alive and well. Still serving in Willow Creek and loving the work. We work hard, too. Last week, we found out that we put in almost 50 hours in lessons and tracting, not to mention the many meetings and transfers prep that went on last week. Surprisingly, my old companion Elder Baker stayed close by-- serving only a few miles away in Cherry Creek.

Attached is a picture of my new companion-- Elder Andersen from Rexburg, Idaho. He definitely has that admirable greenie fire, and is super obedient to every mission rule. It'd nice not having a companion with a disobedience issue to deal with. He is that caliber of missionary that is bound to be a Zone Leader someday.

So we had an interesting experience yesterday: we got yelled out of a neighborhood by a very irate lady that is convinced that what we are doing is illegal and that we ought to just be shot for sharing our message, so we changed plans and went tracting on Magnolia Court North of Costilla (not that I expect you to know where in the world that is). We were out for all of two minutes there when a Golden Retriever came running up and started frolicking all over the cul-d-sac. We got him to hold still long enough to read his tags (his name was Chase) and call his owner to leave a message informing them of their dog's whereabouts. They weren't home, so we had to get Animal Control involved, but until they could come, we used my belt as a makeshift leash and walked around with him for a while. What a playful little thing! No teaching appointment came of it, sadly, but it was neat to be able to help out a little.

Now news in investigators. Our primary investigators are doing wonderfully. They have made huge turnarounds this week, and it seems that with the oncoming of Spring, that they are starting to take this missionary thing a bit more seriously. It was wonderful to see them finally feel the Spirit that the message brings and to recognize that it is testifying that the principles we teach are true. They are finally realizing that the source of our message and a testimony of it is the Holy Ghost. To quote from D&C Section 6: "...what greater witness can you have than from God?" That's really why our message is so powerful. We literally call God as our witness to testify of the truth of this wonderful message. Whether opponent or amigo, every person will freely admit that our message-- that God speaks today through a living prophet, that the Heavens are not closed, that families can be together through all eternity, and that God has a plan for His children, made possible through our eldest brother Jesus Christ-- if true, is the most wonderful message the world has ever heard. Those who despise us call our message too good to be true, in fact.

Well, that's about all I have to report on (or vent about) for now. Have a great week!

Elder Watkins
Colorado Denver South Mission
Hello all-- I have big news

Well, I'm pregnant! If you are familiar with mission slang/lingo, you will know that far from the literal and altogether disturbing implications of such a statement, it is simply a way of saying that I have been called to train a brand-spanking new missionary from the MTC. Continuing my mission slang, my "first-born in the days of my tribulation" will be born tomorrow (at transfer meeting) from the pre-mortal spirit world (the MTC). So.... I'm a daddy! =)

So that's the good news-- the bad news is that Elder Baker will be heading out. We hoped to stay together and work hard this next transfer, but at the same time we were both praying individually that if one of us had to leave, that it would be the other one. This area is just such a great area and a fantastic ward that we didn't want to leave. Well, my prayers were answered, so I get to stay. I guess the Lord just likes me better =)

The work has gone very well while he and I worked here. We even achieved 20 lessons last week! Also, we have a new investigator. He's a young man that is friends with several current missionaries from his high school. He wants to know why they're doing what he's doing, and what this whole religion and Mormon thing is all about. He's a very bright intellectual agnostic (at the moment, anyway). We're helping him to learn to recognize when the Holy Ghost prompts him. He's interested and honest. He also has a sense of humor and is as much a music theory geek as I am. Great kid.

We also received a request for a visit from a Catholic Priest. We were a little hesitant about that one-- whether or not he would be open or friendly. We are proud to report that he was and we had a wonderful discussion and answered many questions about our theology, our doctrine, our practices, and even our organization-- how the Church is run and how meetings are conducted. It was awesome to sit down with such a good man and have such a great conversation.

Well, it looks like it will be an interesting transfer-- lots of work to do, and we're glad to do it. A personal note to Dad: You were right-- it is possible to work hard, give all your energies, and love the work. I enjoyed my jobs at the school cafeteria, and even more at Tekelec, but although those jobs were fun and fulfilling, they can't quite compare to the wonderful feeling of coming home after 9 or 10 hours of missionary work with no energy left, but that sweet feeling of knowing you gave it your all.

Well, I guess I can report back next week on my new baby companion. I saw the list of new elders coming in (there are 9), and my official prediction is Elder Mullenhall, but we will see. Until next week, bye! Stay warm!
Hello all!

Hope everything's going well for everyone! Being a missionary, I don't get to watch, read, or listen to news (distracting-- go figure), but I have heard something about earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, and other "diverse places," some killer whale incident, and snow covering the east coast. Hope everything's OK back home anyway.

This week has been pretty good. The work here is really picking up-- we are so close to getting our requisite 20 lessons per week that I'm sure we can achieve it this next week. Also, we are now up to 5 solid investigators! This is fantastic-- the members are finding people, and the Lord is blessing us in helping us to know where to tract to find people receptive to our message. We expect that at least one will respond to our invitation to be baptized by the end of March or mid-April, and hopefully more soon to follow. Gah-- this transfer is ending too soon. On March 11th, it's possible that I will have a new companion (and possibly a new area). I sincerely hope that I get to stay here and help out the work in this wonderful Willow Creek Ward, but "qué será, será, y no murmuraré ni quejaré, porque sé que el Señor guía a este misió, entonces, confiaré en él siempre."

Sorry-- I don't get much of an opportunity to practice my Spanish very often in this area.

Well, keep up the good work on the home front. I know this work is true, and that Jesus Christ guides this Church. I'm glad for the opportunity to share the message in Colorado and all over the world. I just wish more people would listen, even just to one 20-minute lesson. Or even let us do some yard work-- when they see the white shirt and ties, they never let us help out in any service whatsoever. =( Oh well, we'll keep up the good work.

Thanks, and love you all!