Monday, November 29, 2010

I Keep Breaking Umbrellas!

Well, this week has been quite a roller coaster. Let me start with the beginning.

Monday, after emailing we went back to the apartment to do a spring cleaning. Elder Cranford cleaned the floor Argentina style (soapy water with a squeegee type broom) and I cleaned out the fridge, scrubbing it and removing all the ice. It started raining in the afternoon so we didn’t do much after. I didn’t feel like writing so I fixed a couple buttons on my pants, a shirt pocket, and stitched my name on the inside of the funda por mi biblia, the protective cover for my bible. After that we left and started the work.

Oh the weather here. If it’s hot for a couple days, its sure to rain the 3rd or 4th day. Its a good 30 degrees Celsius and then it rains. And every time it rains I tell myself I need to buy an umbrella (the three I have bought have broken within a week.... maybe I should spend more money and get better quality....) but afterwards I always forget... Ooops.

Tuesday through Saturday we spent a good deal of time preparing the two baptisms we had planned this weekend, Wanda and Lautaro. We ran into a bit of trouble with Lautaro and his father so his baptism has been postponed for a bit... (hopefully this weekend). But we finished teaching them the things they needed to know before baptism. We held the baptismal service for Wanda right after Church on Sunday and it was awesome. A ton of members were there and as well as some family members of Wanda. Overall it was a great baptism. :D

Well, my mind just blanked out so I guess I am going to end this letter… I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He loves us. He’s always ready to help us get up when we fall, that’s why He suffered and died for us. Without the Atonement that He suffered for us, we couldn’t return to our Father’s presence again. Our Father commands us to be perfect, but as we can’t be, He has provided a plan of mercy. The only way to receive His mercy includes the Atonement of Jesus Christ as well as His Gospel. We cannot receive mercy freely, but only through faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, and Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins by the proper authority, receive the baptism of fire or the Gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the end. All the Father asks us is to keep the commandments. Yes, we will fall and make mistakes, but that’s why we can repent and get better. It’s like riding a bike. When we fall, we have to get back up and keep on going. And if we try to learn from our mistakes, we won’t fall as much. This process of showing our faith by keeping the commandments, reading the scriptures and praying daily, going to church - (even when we are in the most difficult times) will lead us to feel sorrow for our actions and we will repent. Repenting leads us to baptism and after baptism leads us back to church to partake of the sacrament, renew our baptismal covenants and leave the heavy backpack of sin behind. We don’t just go to church to learn, but to be free from sin. The learning helps us to not sin as much as we gain spiritual strength and knowledge. Being clean helps us to have the Holy Ghost with us so that we can make the right decisions and press forward with steadfast faith in Christ. As we fulfill our part, God will help us to do what is right, but we have to act first. Without action there are no responses. Action = blessings = more action = more blessings, and it keeps on going. We just have to keep going. Love you all. Be safe. Be good. Always remember our Heavenly Father and His expectations for us. Psalms 85:6 and Romans 8:16-17… He’ll never command us to accomplish something we can’t do.

Gotta go, Love you,

Elder Michael C. Watson

Monday, November 22, 2010

Families, Agency, Chastity

They're Out There, We'll Find Them
Buenas tardes a todos!

This week wasn’t all that exciting. We did confirm Cecilia from last week because she arrived a bit late last week...

With the work right now we are teaching a lot of kids. We are trying to teach (or find...) their parents and bring whole families into the gospel… The problem is that either their parents aren’t interested in religion (better to say that they are more interested in the things of the world) or that they work all the time. It’s hard to find a complete family here. This has helped me to realize that the Law of Chastity is sooooo important. God wants a couple to be married before they have children. There are too many reasons. With their parents just together, there is no commitment, no loyalty. When times get rough, they split. Being married brings many blessings as well as many responsibilities. Responsibility to the wife (or husband), the children, to provide for the family, and to raise the children with love and unity. When there isn’t a mother or there isn’t a father, the children not only lack someone to provide for them or someone to care for them, but they lack the role models and the teachings that children desperately need these days so that they won’t fall into Satan’s traps. There are too many reasons for this law and the power to have a family should not be played with or treated lightly.

Well, we are really busy trying to find people to teach and help those that we are teaching progress towards their baptisms. Next week I will send a list of 17 points that list characteristics that the true Church of Jesus Christ should have. It’s pretty neat. And I like it.

Well, that’s about it. We have two baptisms this weekend so I will inform you about them next week. Sooooooo excited! :D Missionary work is the best!

OH! We watched a clip when Elder Bednar came to Argentina. He was speaking in English with a translator by his side. But he is awesome. Basically he said the power of faith comes by action. If we pray (the example he used) that the people who didn’t come to church this week can come next week, is a faithless prayer. He said for us to go out, find a less active (better a nonmember friend!) and help them. Go to church with them, walking, giving them a ride, visiting their home, lending your ear. It will take faith to help them because many (if not all) times we don’t know what to say or do beforehand. But like the Lord says many times in the Bible to his apostles and to us in the Doctrine and Covenants to not worry about it beforehand and it will be given to us in the moment we need it. Like Obi-wan says to Luke, trust your feelings. That’s how the Spirit guides us (Galatians 5:22-23) and we will feel what we need to say more than we think of what we need to say. Anyways, Elder Bednar is awesome!

Well, gotta go. Love you all. Be good. Stay safe. Happy turkey day. I would have forgotten about it if I didn’t read it in your email to me. Haha. Love ya,

Con Mucho Amor,

Elder M. Watson

PS. We get mail tomorrow!!!! (I don’t know how much because we just received it like 3 weeks back, but still... MAIL! HAHAHA!)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Transfers came and went. We weren't touched! :D

Hola a todos!

I am soooooooooo excited! I am still here in "Tortugas" with Elder Cranford. This transfer is going to be so awesome. We have a ton of people we are teaching and have many possible baptisms! :D

Mom... You have more cakes than years old! 23! What’s up with that?

Anyways, my week. We had a baptism this weekend. I baptized Cecilia Peralta. They are 3 siblings that live together. Their parents have passed away, their father a couple years ago and their mother passes away a couple of months back. They are in their mid 20’s (Cecilia is thirty) but it is hard for them to keep everything up. What has given them hope is that they can do the temple work for their parents. Their dad didn’t get baptized and their mom did. In a year they are going to go together to the temple to do all their work and get sealed as a family. We are really excited for them and are helping them so that they can complete with their goal. (Cumplir con su meta)

We had a lesson with a less active member yesterday. She was baptized when she was 14 and stopped going to church a little while after. She is teaching and learning English. (We often talk in English to help her out! Fun! :D ) So yesterday we started out with the primera charla o sea la restauración. (the first lesson, the Restoration) We ended up talking a lot about apostasy and about Joseph Smith. She asked us how he died and I think this was one of the first times I have been able to testify about his martyrdom. It was so hard trying to find the words to use but throughout the lesson I was able to bear my testimony about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and I could feel the Holy Ghost so strongly. Joseph Smith really was a prophet of God and restored the Church of Jesus Christ back on the Earth and you can know it through the Book of Mormon! (Ask the missionaries or members... They are very willing to help you know how you can know for yourself that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church upon the face of the Earth.)

As we share the gospel and bear our testimonies, God is willing to testify to us, His children, by way of the Holy Ghost. Any member and every member should share their testimonies with others. If we don’t feel like we have that strong of a testimony, read the Book of Mormon. Get on your knees and really pray to God and ask if it is true. You can ask Him about anything. Any commandment, any prophecy, any revelation, anything (Moroni 10:5). Pray to God and ask Him if Joseph Smith was a prophet, if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church with the authority of God to perform sacred ordinances, if we should pay tithing, if the Book of Mormon is true. The Holy Ghost is ready to testify to us the truthfulness of ALL things. Every time you ask with real intent, you will receive an answer. Every time. Study it, ponder it, and ask God. I promise you as a Representative of Jesus Christ that He will answer you and you will come to know with all your heart that all the things I have testified and shared are true. It’s not only my religion and beliefs. It is the ONLY way to return and live with God again. Baptism by the proper authority and confirmation in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the door that leads to the straight and narrow path back to God (camino angosto). And as you strive to live the commandments and understand why you need to obey the commandments, more understanding will come to you and you will gain a testimony of it or your testimony will be strengthened. Like Alma says in Alma 32, that you need to plant the seed (the word of God) in your heart and nourish it. As you nourish it, you will feel it grow within you and you will know for a surety that it is good. God will not give you a commandment you cannot live. Have faith in Him and all things will be possible for you. You can overcome any temptation. Any habit. Anything. Our Heavenly Father wants you to be happy and only by obeying all of His commandments can you really attain true happiness.

Other than that, the week has been pretty quiet. We are working hard to find people that will listen to us and choose to follow the example of Jesus Christ. I am so stoked for this week. It’s gonna be great! I love you and hope all is well. If you need any help or have any question, doubts, or comments, please write me. I feel like Ammon and Aaron and just want to serve and help people. I don’t judge and just want to be able to see you again with our Father in Heaven in the Celestial Kingdom. Love you all. Stay safe. Time flies when you are having fun and a year has almost gone by.... too crazy. Anyways, see you all soon.

Con Mucho Amor,

Elder Michael C. Watson

Monday, November 8, 2010

Zanja (Zan-Ha) - Ech!

Well, this week has been way crazy. We’ve gone on splits twice and tons of other stuff has happened. I will try to remember todo.

First off. I know I can’t email on Thursday the 11th of November so HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! HAHA! 21! Again! :D :D

I got my packages and letters! :D Super excited. Thanks to the Pitcher clan for all the goodies! I LOVE it! :D I also got my packages from the parents, the first one and the Christmas one. I put my stocking up in my closet with the stash that was inside. I won’t wear those until Christmas and my Birthday! :D And the ballot. I got it after Election Day so it is void. But, I still voted. And even though I had no idea who was who, I knew some people and made sure my vote counted for Fillmore. ha! Even though it doesn’t do anything. Bummer.

Alright the week. Tuesday I went with Elder Rodriguez on splits in Del Viso. He was the first missionary I saw in my area. Elder Garay and I were walking to the apartment and I saw Elder Rodriguez leaving to go down south. Now he’s back as my district leader. Too cool. And miracles always happen in splits. Always. We found a woman by asking for references and she was praying for someone or something to help her. Too awesome.

Thursday we had a baptism! My foot. In a water ditch. More like a zanja (Zan-Ha). The main difference is what is inside. In a water ditch you would expect to see water, no? Well, I guess you can call it water. Except it stinks really bad and there’s a lot of stuff inside the zanjas that really shouldn’t be there. Anyways, I was pulling out a mint and a little kid that was playing in the calle asked if he could have one. So I stepped over to give him one and didn’t see the zanja because there was grass covering it. Well, my foot, ankle and pants sunk into sludge. I pulled it out gave the kids their mints and left as they were laughing at me. It was pretty funny I admit. But when I am cleaning my shoes in the sink and black is everywhere... So not cool and they still stink. I might have to give them a better cleaning. I did use some liquid soap but I guess that didn’t work. Anyways, yea. Zanjas.

Friday was divisions again with Elder Ramirez from Chile. He’s brand new on the mission but way old. Like 25. He’s finished most of his medical school and is cool. The best part is that he likes Star Wars so we got a long. Hahahahahaha. But that was a good experience.

Sunday we brought 5 kids to church. One is a grandson of a less active woman and the other four live in the back house. The family in the back is literally de diez, 10 people that can be baptized. And 2 of them have already gone to church and liked it. Oh yea! This next transfer is going to be way awesome.

So the weather. When it gets really hot here in the spring (33 degrees Celsius - how much is that in Fahrenheit????) the following day or days it will rain. So today it rained. Even with the foul weather we went to San Fernando so that Elder Cranford could sign for some packages and I went with the companions who hadn’t received packages (pobrecitos nosotros... haha jk) and we went and got the best ice cream in Buenos Aires supposedly. I’d agree! :D Yum! hahaha! So it’s starting to warm up. And they say it’s nothing. This summer is going to be full of a lot of water drinking. For sure. But I like it more than cold! (I say that now)

Anyways, I am happy and the world is rolling and I gotta go. I love you all. Smiles aren’t enough. Keep it on!

Con Mucho Mucho Mucho Amor,
Elder Michael C. Watson
Vamos Vamos Argentina
Vamos Vamos a Ganar

Monday, November 1, 2010

White Rabbits!!

White rabbits! Haha. I may have actually done it today, but I don’t know. December I will do for sure! Haha.

Well, this week was interesting. Tuesday we had District meeting which is always great. This week we learned how to help our investigators to pray and learn the importance of it. There is a DVD that we use called The District. They just did the second part so we are watching every District Meeting one segment or two. It’s pretty awesome to watch other Elders teach with the Spirit. Also they are teaching in English... I don’t think I could do that. We are thinking of trying to teach a less active in English because she is learning it and teaches it, but we’ll see. It’s probably better we do it in Castellano (Spanish but South American version it’s not the same as Spanish as many people have told me) but it would be awesome to try!

Wednesday was the national Census. We had to stay inside until a census worker came by and asked us some questions. I was thinking that if they didn’t come until the afternoon I would die, but they came in the morning so it was fine. The thing was, that we could only go to citas fijas...uh fixed appointments... How do you say that in English? We couldn’t knock on doors or anything (which we never do... toooooooo busy) but that means we couldn’t go by people that we hadn’t been able to get a hold of. We were walking down the street and some women called us over and had a ton of questions. They are from the province of Fermosa and son Paraguayas... um from Paraguay. Anyways, they had tons of questions and one of them came to Church on Sunday so we will see how much they progress.

Thursday was planning and too much didn’t go on. Friday we had interviews with President Gulbrandsen and his wife... in our apartment. If we hadn’t received future notice and if we were lazy that would have been disastrous. But we received notice and we worked hard to clean up after the missionaries who were before us (it looks like that had a BBQ "asado" on the porch because there was a bunch of charcoal. and a bunch of broken stuff) so it went fine. We learned a lot of stuff and it was awesome the 10 or 15 minutes they were with us.

Saturday was our day to go by a TON of people and we actually were able to teach a lot. It was good. Sunday was Halloween. I was sad because I don’t have a black and orange tie so I could really celebrate it. Nothing really happened. In some places the local stores have treats for the kids, but other than that, it was just a normal Sunday night. There is this one less active family, the Gutierrez Family, and we are teaching them and all their family (a lot of success is found in part-member families!) and there are always a bunch of kids. They asked us how Halloween was in the States and so we told them a general scope of it. Maybe one day Argentina will do it like the States, but that’s a long way off.

That’s nice of mom to take Rice Krispies Treats over!  Rice Krispies treats don’t exist here... Mainly because marshmallows don’t. But the Gutierrez Family keeps asking us for some. Maybe if we go to one of the stores that sell American products we can find some. But we would have to search and travel a bit to find some.  What they need to start selling in the States are alfajores. They are awesome! I was talking with a member in Villa Adelina and he told me that they exist in Utah. So I will be looking when I get back! Haha. And the funny part is that there are a lot of American companies that make alfajores.

Well, that’s what happened this week. Well, some of the things. Really, there are just too many things that are go on. I hope that everyone is great and that all is well. I will be getting mail tomorrow in District meeting so that should be a lot of fun! And I have a couple packages so that makes it even better! Haha. Anyways, stay safe, keep studying the scriptures, praying and striving to keep the commandments. As you do so, the Lord will provide the ways (proveer los medios) so that you will be able to keep the commandments and follow the example of Jesus Christ. (1 Nephi 17:3) Well, until next week. Un beso y abrazo muy fuerte.

√Čl Amoroso Querido Watson - "Elemental, mi querido Watson" ---> Our foundation is Jesus Christ and his Gospel- Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism by the proper authority, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the same authority, and Enduring until the end (building your faith, keep on repenting and going to church to renew your baptismal covenants and keeping the commandments)

Love,

Elder Michael Watson