Thursday, January 28, 2010

Como Les Van?

Hola! :D

First things first, I do have my card. I will send back the other one with my memory card. I am thinking of putting little descriptions on each one, but that is A LOT of work... The video I am sending home is a Zone 50 tradition of singing “God Be with You Till We Meet Again” (in Spanish) whenever a district leaves. That's the only video I have on there.

Mom, that is so awesome that you are teaching history! That is so awesome! Thank you for not giving people my email address. I hardly have enough time emailing you! Dear Elders are great though! (Hand written is better but DE's are free...)

Dad, in the end of Preach My Gospel (PMG) Chapter 1 is a bunch of quotes from General Authorities about missionary work. I don't know if it’s appropriate, but could you put them up on the wall at the ward building? They are so amazing and I wish every member could/would read them! I also have some other things in the mix in my mind to help out with the work, but I will talk to you about them when they are spot on. I hope everything is well with you!

I can't say it enough! The MTC is so awesome! It gets better every day! Although we do the same stuff from week to week, I get more from each study and each activity I do every time! :D

One thing I have learned up here is how to set specific, meaningful goals. I am still not perfect at it, but it has helped me so much! In chapter 8 of PMG President Monson says, "When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates." I have only been here for 22 days, but I have already seen how true that quote is! Also Coach Wilbur and the Free Throw chart during HS Basketball has helped me see this quote really works.

So I have been singing in the MTC choir lately. We sing twice a week, once on Sunday to learn a song and twice on Tuesday, once to perfect the song and once to perform. This week we sung "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" and it was amazing! The director pointed out that every time we, as members and missionaries, sing this song, it is our (or can be) our testimony of the next best thing to have happened since the Life and Atonement of Jesus Christ. Oh, and I get to sit next to Elder Watson and Elder Raymond, so that's a plus! :D How sweet is that?

Yesterday my district watched a talk by Elder Holland given to just the MTC in 2000. The video doesn't exist outside the MTC so I took a LOT of notes! It was absolutely amazing! I know now why Elder Holland is so passionate about the Gospel and about Missionary Work. I hope if he ever stops by Argentina and sees my work he will be proud of it! It will take everything I have, but that's what I am supposed to be doing, right? One thing that he said really touched me. "Salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation was not cheap (or easy) for Christ" and neither will it be for us. (I don't remember how he said the last part so I took it out of quotes.) As we are the Saints of God, we must suffer a SLIGHT portion of what Christ suffered. If we didn't, can we call ourselves disciples of Him? We have to give everything we have to do the will of God and suffer with Christ to earn that eternal reward of living with God again. When we do the will of God, we are not giving up our agency. Rather, we are CHOOSING to follow God and his commandments. Life is so much happier and joyful if we are obedient! Exact Obedience to the commandments will bring peace, joy, and happiness. It has for me and it can for you too. Elder Holland emphasized the five steps of the Gospel, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism for the remission of sins (by the proper authority), receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. As long as we do and have these things faithfully, we are pretty well off. Everything is based off of these five steps and as we follow the Servants' of the Lord counsel for us, we can return to live with God.

Well, I hope everything is well! If I don't answer anyone's letter, it means I didn't have enough time. I would really like to be able to answer everyone, but there just isn't enough time on P-Day to do it. I will get back to everyone ASAP, however. This I promise. Anyways, gotta go. Love you all!

Elder Michael C. Watson

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Week Two in the MTC

Querido mis padres,

Thanks for the shot updates! I don't think I will need them right now, but they are nice to have. I can't wait to get my box so I can play basketball!!! :D

My zone, Zone 50, has what they call pass-a-longs. When a district leaves, they sign some random object that has been passed to them or they want to pass down, and give it to the other members of the zone. We were lucky enough to get this "perfume" thing that makes our room smell amazing! Best Pass-a-long Ever! :D

At the MTC they have removed all of the word processing programs. They really just want us to have thirty minutes. If those Elders are at the MTC, they are using a long, complicated method to copy/paste. Some of the Elders in my zone were showing some of the Elders in my district, but I have more important things to do than find my way around the Church computers.

Elder Raymond received a letter and a four-pound jar of jelly beans and he couldn't figure out if it was from you or Uncle Chris and Aunt Jen. Just throwing that out there.

That must have been nice to be able to sit together! I am sure President Uchtdorf and Elder Holland had some great things to say! We had Elder David F. Evans of the seventy and his wife talk to us at the Devotional on Tuesday. Sister Evans talked about Obedience and shared a story about an Elder in Elder Evan's mission when he was a mission president. Elder Evans promised this missionary if he was obedient and worked diligently he would see a baptism before he was released as a missionary. Well, the end of his mission came and he had been faithful, obedient and worked really hard but he didn't have one. Long story short, he was able to baptize his father the night he came home and before he was released. Obedience is really necessary for everyone to acquire! It will bring so many blessings!

Elder Evans talked to us about using the Book of Mormon more when we teach because we are not using it enough. Elder Gillette and I had just taught lesson one, The Restoration, in the Teaching Resource Center and I was contemplating how much of the Book of Mormon we could actually use before we introduced it. We need to have faith in the Book of Mormon and the power it possesses. President Ezra Taft Benson said, “There is a power in the Book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the Book of Mormon."

I can testify of this. I went out and got those crayon-like scripture markers and started studying and marking (according to a key I made) the first ten chapters of the Book of Mormon. I feel like I have gotten so much more out of the Book of Mormon and I felt the Spirit SO much more!

Elder Gillette and I made a weekly goal to be exactly obedient. We did really well except we were a couple minutes late (and I mean JUST a couple) to maybe like 3 classes. Exact obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, prophets and standards of the Church will bless your life. Elder Evans said that we, as missionaries, are authorized to promise spiritual blessings. I promise anyone if that they will "do (God's) will, he shall know of the doctrine and whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself" (John 7:17). I also promise that if one will sincerely read the Book of Mormon and pray to the Father with a "sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it to you by the power of the Holy Ghost" (Moroni 10:4). You must have a real intent to act upon the answer you will receive and I promise that if anyone will take this challenge, they will receive an answer that the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith did indeed restore Christ's Church back on the Earth. I know this because I have done this myself. God will answer your prayers. He loves us and wants us to be happy in this life.

I am enjoying the MTC so much. The spirit here is incredible! I love you and want to thank you so much for instilling gospel principles in my life! I hope everything is well and I will be praying for Dad. Prayer is an amazing thing!


Elder Michael C. Watson

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Elder Watson's First E-Mail Home (P-Day is Thursday)

HI! :D

The MTC is absolutely amazing! I love it so much! I am learning so much about the gospel and am picking up on Spanish well. Let me go through and answer your questions and letters before I go further.

I just received my DL and the goody package. Am I supposed to share the cookies/good stuff with David? Oh, and can you send up my ankle braces? Running shoes do not provide much ankle support... I hurt my ankle yesterday, Wednesday, playing Volleyball. It's not too bad. I can walk on it and such, it just looks like I have a second ankle... I am going to be going to the trainers every day to ice and for physical therapy so it should clear up quickly.

I was just called into travel services and they let me know that I do not need a visa, so the FBI clearance is not as important. But a visa would still be nice.

I did spend money at the Health Center, but not for my cough. I needed an updated tetanus (sp?) shot and I will have to get my Hep A shot in a couple weeks. My cough is almost gone so I am really glad! I just need to get rid of this runny nose! Also, I may spend more money at the MTC bookstore for a t-shirt and other such stuff I may need. (I actually don't need the T-shirt)

I get to read letters everyday. The only restriction is that I have to be in my room to read them. Dear Elder prints in the mail room I think every night and we get them pretty quickly. I can only respond to letters on P-Day, electronically and paper, so please don't think I am ignoring all of you. I really wish I could do sooner, but in all reality, I really don't have enough time. I hope today I will have enough time to write. I may not even have enough to answer all the letters I got.

Oh, and by the way. I LOVE letters!! :D Thank you for sending me them! They make my day!

I talked to Elder Raymond last night about getting a group shot of the three of us. The hard part is that we are all 45 minutes apart in our schedule.... We will try but it will take a bit of coordination. I have no idea what Elder Day's schedule is like, but I will try to make it happen.

My district is made up of ten elders, who are the Best! We get along so well and everybody is spiritually strong as well. My district leader happens to be my companion, Elder Gillette. He is from Gilbert, Arizona and is really good at soccer and volleyball. He is cousins will Connor Gillette who is a friend of Alexis and Christine up in Santa Barbara. Small world! Elder Gillette is really awesome and I am so grateful that I have him as a companion.. He is going to Resestencia, Argentina though, so I won't see him out in the field. Oh yeah... He is a twin and his twin is in David's district! Pretty Crazy!They are fraternal so it's pretty easy to tell them apart. ;)

My classes are great! I love my teachers! They are Hermano Williams and Hermana Mejia. Hermano Williams served his mission in Mexico and has spoken Spanish for the entire class since the day after we came in and surprisingly, I understand most of it. It's the talking part that's hard. Hermana Mejia is from Peru and served her mission in Pocatello, Idaho. She is really nice and sweet, but the other Elders are a little louder when she is teaching. Perhaps it's because she teaches us at night and we are wiped out, but we all agree we like Hermano Williams better. I mean she is an awesome teacher, but we get more done with Hermano Williams. I think it's because its her first teaching, but she does great.

I was able to talk to Reuben a bit before he left on Tuesday. He was so excited to see us. I guess everything worked out with his clearance and such. I have been able to talk to Elder Day and Elder Raymond a lot. We see each other all over. It's really neat! I have also seen a couple Elders from my Missionary Prep class, and that was way awesome!

This week has gone by so fast. It seems like yesterday was Sunday... It's hard to keep track of what day it is here. Everything is just a blur as we are all working really hard to become the best missionaries we can be.

Elder Gillette and I taught the first discussion in English on Tuesday in the Teaching Resource Center. We spent the first 15 minutes practicing contacts in Spanish which wasn't too bad... I thought I did pretty well. We still need a lot of work. The lesson went really well and we felt the spirit a lot. I went way too in-depth on some stuff, but that's alright. We know what we need to practice and work on.

We have all of our MDT (missionary directed time) in the mornings so this is when we do our personal/companion study and practice the language.

Well, time is running out... Literally. I am grateful for all of your support!


Elder Watson's First Letter Home (Paper - typed up by Dad)

Mike's first letter home was a paper letter written on January 9, 2009.  He had some free time so he penned out a letter home.  I have typed it up so that we could share his news.  Here it is:

Dear Mom & Dad,

Wow.  The MTC is like no other place.  There is so much work to do!  This is my first actual free time all week.  I have put all of my effort into studying.  It seems like I don’t have enough time for everything my teachers assign.  The Elders that have been here awhile say that it will be like this for the first two weeks and then we will have more time to study.

It’s so weird that I am already thinking in Spanish.  I was writing down notes today and I was trying to find an English equivalent to the phrase I was thinking of.  My Teacher, Hermano Williams, Has committed himself to speak only Spanish for all 9 weeks (except for the first day).  I never knew how much I could already comprehend Spanish.  The Spirit has helped me so much with understanding the language and speaking it.

I think I am beginning to understand how the Spirit affects me.  I feel really “full” I guess.  Like every part of my body is warm, I guess?  Hard to explain.  I can also tell when it leaves.  I am trying to listen for guidance and teaching, but I guess that comes with time.  I am trying really hard to keep my thoughts clean so that I can have the Spirit to be with me always.  The MTC is a lot like BYU.  You have the goof-offs, those who have fun, the serious ones and the plain-out spiritual guys.  There are three other missionaries in my room.  My companion is very awesome.  His name is Elder Dallin Gillette from Gilbert, Arizona.  He is cousins with Conner Gillette who is friends with Alexis.  Very Weird.  He plays soccer and baseball and is very athletic.  During gym time he plays volleyball and he is pretty good at it.  He is also assigned to be our District Leader.  Being his companion means I am probably going to have some waiting around time BUT… I also get to have first dibs on the mail! ?!  The other two guys are, (I mean Elders.  We are supposed to refer to people by their titles) Elder Moore and Elder Everett.  Elder Moore is from South Carolina.  He has a slight accent and is very hilarious.  His is 5’6”, or around there, built and very strong.  Elder Moore has a non-member girlfriend back home and he tapes daily records to her telling about his day.  We make side comments here and there to be funny and hopefully that will brighten his tapes a bit.  Elder Everett is (Elder Everett says Hello! LOL) is from Bountiful, Utah.  He plays Hockey and is very nice.  I am blessed to have the three best companions!  I am very sad though because they are all going to Resestencia Argentina and not to my mission.  Their mission is the one in between David’s and mine.

Oh!  Elder Gillette has a twin brother who is in David’s district!  Kinda crazy that we both have twin brothers and they are in the same district!

I am glad to hear you guys made it home safely.  I hope all is well and that you both are keeping busy.  My P-Day is Thursday and I will write more in my letter.

Until then, Love!

Elder Michael C. Watson

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Elder Watson Has Entered The MTC!

Elder Watson entered the Provo Missionary Training Center on January 6, 2010.  We will post more information on his current activities after his first letter home.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Well, I am at home sick with some kind of chest cough drinking some liquid that my friend Michelle suggested to me. It's a half cup of warm water mixed with honey and cayan pepper.
I've packed most of my stuff that is here at home. I hope I have enough room for everything. I still need to get some bed sheets, pillow cases and some towels. I am just waiting to be approved by the parents so I can zip them up.
Tonight I will be set apart as a FULL TIME Missionary! :D It's so amazing! :D I spent my whole life preparing for this moment and now it is finally here. I am excited and anxious at the same time. I just want to get into the MTC already and start working! :D