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It's beginning to look a lot like...

Hello all:

Hope all is going well. Good news-- our members had a tree ready for us to put up (see pic attached).

We also had an interesting dinner last night:

We're teaching a part-member family here that reminds me a lot of my family. The Mom got married right out of high school, is going to school full-time (stressing over finals), has four wild, crazy little boys ages almost 2 through 8, she enjoys scrapbooking, and hates that her house gets trashed every 30 minutes or less. Gee-- is this my family?

Last night. watching the kids fight, quarrel, and play with uncontrollable energy was a HUGE trip down memory lane. The youngest dumped sprinkles all over the floor, and the gingerbread houses they were making ended up all over the walls. After the mom cleaned up the youngest one (almost 2, named Joseph), Zachary (age 6) came in with her expensive lotion all over his hands. Zachary tried to blame the older child, Christian (age 8, who was at the time jumping on Elder Mooney and trying to feed their puppy to their blind monitor lizard).

After cleaning off Jacob, little Jacob (age 4) came in with an unwrapped (*cough cough*-- "female hygiene item) in his hand and was playing doctor-- pretending to give us all shots with said item. Then, Zachary pushed little Joseph off the chair so that he could get into the raw meat and piroulines (we were having fondue). After being expelled from the chair, young Joseph screamed, and came up to receive consolation by wiping the frosting off his hands and onto my slacks.

This was all a big trip for me, and it felt very nostalgic to see/ hear/ clean up so many of my childhood memories. I got a big kick out of it, and definitely enjoyed the visit.

Well, gotta go. We have a baptism Saturday-- yay!
-- Elder Watkins
Colorado Denver South Mission
999 E. Tufts Av.
Cherry Hills Village, CO 80113

Mission rule changes


Hello all:

I decided to get a little festive with my text above-- forgive the 80s style, but without access to any other website, I'm relatively limited in my decorative abilities. =)

I can't believe I'll be calling home in a few weeks-- has it really been 7 months since Mother's Day already? And to think I only have one call home left after this one! Gah! This whole mission time vortex is starting to annoy me.

The transition of the mission under direction from the Lord continues on. Almost all mission rules that aren't specifically in the White Handbook are gone. Pres. Monson said:

When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates (See Ch. 8 in PMG).

But at the same time, Pres. Packer and other general authorities tell us that (can't quote it exactly):

To the degree that your mission is regimented, to that same degree will the Spirit be absent from your mission.

I guess it's all about finding that happy medium of responsibility and accountability.

I've found that having that much freedom and opportunity is both liberating (we can be more personable and happy with everyone when we're not stressing over numbers), but it's also more difficult, because we have to get more creative with our work-- we can't just "do as told." It takes revelation and the Spirit, both of which are extremely hard for me to obtain and recognize. Well, we'll see how it all goes.

Also, we've been really pushing our "Give the Gift" member missionary program. And we've been seeing some success! It's interesting-- I've found that the Lord's ways truly aren't our ways. it's not a "Keep a commandment in category A and get a blessing in category A" sort of thing-- often it's "Keep a commandment in category A and get many blessings in category N." As the members have been praying for missionary opportunities for themselves, the Lord has been giving more to us. We've been finding more results from inspired tracting.

A member also referred his son's fianceƩ for us to teach. She quit smoking and coffee before she came to the US. We had a fantastic 1st lesson (The Restoration). We issued the baptismal and prayer invitation, and she prayed out loud at the end, asking if the Book of Mormon is true. After that question in the prayer, there was a long pause, and then, "and now that I know it is, please tell me Lord if I can get baptized next Sunday." She opened her eyes crying, and described the warmth she felt.

It was pretty cool. We explained that she still had 3 lessons, a time or two more at Church, and an interview to accomplish first, but that the Lord certainly must admire her enthusiasm... as do we =). Anyways, she has committed to be baptized on December 18th. The Spirit was palpable-- definitely one of the more powerful experiences of my mission.

Anyways, there's my rant. Hope you all have happy holidays.

-- Elder Watkins
Colorado Denver South Mission
999 E. Tufts Av.
Cherry Hills Village, CO 80113