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Give the Gift

Hello all:

Hope all is going well in the civilian world. Here's a quick update...

Not a whole lot going on in our area-- we're still working on building a reliable teaching pool.

It seems we get new investigators all the time, but none of them are very solid. We have one man that we're working with that seemed at first to have so much potential. H'e's somewhat of an archeologist. While doing work in Ecuador, he and his teams found metallic plates in some caves over there that talk of the city Babylon. He wants to prove the Book of Mormon is true by digging up some more plates and donating them to the Church.

We've been trying tell him that that's nice and all, but that faith and revelation are still crucial. It's hard because he has so many different theories he's toying with to explain religion and theology that the Spirit can't work very much with him. He just doesn't seem to understand that he needs to read the Book of Mormon and pray with faith and an answer will come. It can come no other way.

We've also got some great work going with members. We and our WML have put together a great activity for the ward families. It's called "Give the Gift." Basically, the best gift we've ever received is that of our Savior Jesus Christ. Hence, the best gift we can give to our friends and family this holiday season is the message that He lives, and that He speaks today. Members put together a family mission plan, read a missionary/prayer- related scripture each day, can pray each day and as families for the opportunity to share the Gospel. We have the full endorsement of the Bishopric (and their own note on the flier), so we expect some great success.

Already we've seen a few member referrals, a new member-referred investigator, and even some investigators from tracting(!) now that we've made a goal as a ward to involve the Lord and really focus on our member missionary duties.

I know that we receive great blessings of joy and our own spiritual growth when we share with our spiritual brothers and sisters our greatest treasure-- the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, of which I bear witness in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

-- Elder Watkins
Colorado Denver South Mission

Transferred to Peru?

Hello all:

Boy was this week interesting! Here's the pictured events:
  • Llamas: That's right-- llamas. While checking up on a media referral in an apartment complex, we stumbled onto a guy who was walking his pet... llamas. Couldn't resist a photo opp. (Wanted to tell y'all I got mission transferred to Peru and these are our mission cars, but the snow in the background ruins that idea.)
  • The Kemptons: Our wonderful senior couple who've been controlling our "frat house" are leaving. They are absolute angels, and we will all miss them..
Not photographed:
  • Prison visits: This week, we have visited a media referral and a less-active member-- both incarcerated. After an application and interview with the chaplain, we are now official clergy as recognized by the Jefferson County Sherriff's Dept. We visited these people (one in minimum security; one in medium) this past Sunday. What an experience that was! There is a definite spirit in that building into which I never want to immerse myself. To tell the truth, a lot of it looked like a high school inside minus the lockers.
  • Food poisoning: For this first time in my mission, I have missed a full day of work. =( It was definitely the most miserable day of my mission. Thank Heavens it's over!
  • P-Day: It's changing. Pres. Maynes decided we'd go ahead and conform to the rest of the Church and take Monay P-Days starting next week. I guess God is Lord of the Sabbath and preparation days, too.
We've also got some great progress on the way with some investigators, but that will have to wait until next week.

I'll go where you want me to go

Hello all:

Lots of time to email today-- be prepared for a long letter

We've been making a big push this transfer to tract better. Instead of just hitting random streets, we've been relying more heavily on revelation to find God's prepared children. Sometimes, we'll drive around a neighborhood for 20 minutes or so (one of the luxuries of having a car), praying and listening until we find a street that we feel we should visit (after 20 minutes we give up and just start working somewhere hoping God will help us on our feet). We have found the majority of our success in our area in this manner-- by prayer, by revelation, and by work.

This stems from a story in 1st Nephi 15. Lehi in chapter 8 has a dream that no one else in the family understands. Nephi comes up withe the bright idea: "If the dream came from God, then perhaps God might be a good guy to go to for the answer!" So he does, and receives 4 writable chapters of vision and "the interpretation thereof." When he comes down from the mountain, he sees Laman and Lemuel arguing (surprise!). Nephi later asks them what is "the cause of their disputation." They tell him they don't understand the dream. "Have ye inquired of the Lord?" Nephi asks?

Their answer is stunning: "We have not, for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us." TRANSLATION: "Nope-- because we don't think God's going to tell us."

I laughed out loud when I realized what knuckleheads these apes were. How logical is it not to even put the Lord to the test. Like Naaman with his leprosy, and like the Israelites with their brazen serpent, and like Lehi's family with the Liahona, Laman and Lemuel would not ask God, "because of the easiness of the way."

Later, when pondering on how to find more success in tracting and where to go, I had a conversation with God in which the Spirit asked:

"Elder Watkins, have you inquired of the Lord?"
To which, I sheepishly responded, "I have not."
"And why is that?"
"The Lord maketh no such thing known unto me."

Boy did I feel stupid! But I have learned to be less like Laman, Lemuel, Naaman, and Israel, and to be more like Nephi and Joseph Smith-- to inquire of the Lord. As I have applied this principle, I and my companions have found more success than we ever would have though we could tract and OYM for a decade or more. Only by seeking out guidance from the Lord have we found real success.


* A favorite poster in my room, and the theme of this letter
* We have elk! ALL OVER!!
* The city of Denver at night (I love this function of my camera!)
* A car driving by-- looked really cool!
* The foothills area
* Ran across (and almost into) a herd of deer-- they're everywhere!
* Me and "Batman" at the Ward Halloween Party

Hope you all have a good week!

Elder Watkins
Colorado Denver South Mission

I love temple Wednesdays

Hello all:

I love Temple Wednesdays! Today was significant because Elder Mooney and I decided that we'd prefer waking up at a reasonable hour and catch a different session than the rest of the mission. Consequently, we arrived to a practically empty Temple-- peaceful, quiet, and still. The Spirit is so much stronger in the Temple when it's not full of noisy missionaries. Throughout our entire service today, I marveled at how reverent an atmosphere silence can create.

Not much to report this week. Just a lot of the same old stuff. I'm finding that it often takes a long time to solidify potentials into progressing investigators. This area has so much potential-- even from tracting! It just takes forever to contact those potentials again and start the lessons (about 3 weeks on average). Still, though the progress may be slow, the work is definitely picking up. I'm am pleased to see our weekly progress records and how the cells are slowly filling up with honest people searching for truth.

Heard about the election. Sounds like Republicans have gotten a bit more of a toehold in the US Congress and NC Assembly (thanks for the update, Dad). We're glad the election is over; maybe people will start answering their doors now that politicians aren't coming by every week or so.
Well, no more news today. Hope everything is going well on the home front. Here's some pictures of the fall here in the Colorado Foothills!