Monday, January 25, 2010

Elder Watson Expounds on MTC Devotionals

Hey Mom and Dad! (And Everybody!)

It's really good to hear from you guys. It means you aren't drowning! 'Cause that'd be REALLY bad! Thanks for the package! Packages are always great! As well as mail! :)

Just so you know, there are a few people you might run into that are connected to people in my zone here. Elder Hastings is in the Ventura Mission, and he is a cousin of Hermana Stout, who is in my zone. She and her companion, Hermana Dansie (sounds like Densie) are going to the LA mission where it is half proselytizing and half visitor’s center. Also, I think there might be an Elder Davis whose cousin is in my district. Or something like that. It's kinda funny to see how everyone is virtually connected to everyone else. The "six degrees of separation" is cut down to two or three! Hahaha. :D

So how much has it rained? Comparable to '04? I actually miss the rain, which is better than snow and ice, but once I get to Paraguay, I DEFINITELY won't miss the rain!

I'm glad to know that stake conference went really well! I'm sure you were happy to sit together in church! :)

Since I don't know what to say next, I guess I'll talk about the devotionals we've been having.

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles spoke to us on the 12th about being diligent, faithful, and having a strong testimony of the restored Gospel.

Last Tuesday's was given by Elder David F Evans of the Quorum of the 70. He spoke about using the Book of Mormon more in proselytizing and about Christ like attributes found in the Book of Mormon. He used a quote about Christ like attributes from President Ezra Taft Benson, but I wasn't able to get all of it. In addition to the ones found in "Preach My Gospel," I was able to write down 12 out of the 33 he mentioned. "Alive, Constant, Creator, Exemplar, Generous, Good, Gracious, Healer, Holy, Humble... Liberator... Mighty, Miraculous...." Hopefully I can find the quote while I am here.

Last night's devotional was given by Stephen B Allen, who is the Managing Director of the Missionary Department. He talked about how each mission call is extended by revelation, that each missionary has been called as a personal representative of Jesus Christ, and asked us a poignant question. "What price are we willing to pay to become Saviors on Mount Zion?" What he meant by "Saviors on Mount Zion" is that the Lord can act through us, and our actions, in order to help bring people unto Him. As a missionary, it is a very important question to consider, but I thought of a way it could be rephrased. "What price are we willing to pay to be able to return to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ? Also, what price would we be willing to pay to help others to do the same?" In other words, what are we willing to give up in order to have the opportunity to accept the Gospel and live the commandments of God faithfully, and worthily complete each ordinance that is necessary for salvation? In 2 Nephi chapter 31, verse 19 & 20, Nephi the prophet tells us of 5 things we need to do in order to gain Eternal, or God's, Life. I don't have my scriptures with me, so the wording might be a little off. The first thing he talks about is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (and his Atonement.) Second, we need to repent and change our hearts to be more like Jesus Christ. Third, we need to be baptized, by immersion and by one who has the proper authority and power, for the remission of our sins. Fourth, we need to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost so that we can be guided, given that we are trying to live righteously and to the best of our ability, throughout our lives in choosing right from wrong. Lastly, we need to endure to the end in righteousness. I just realized that sounds a lot like the fourth Article of Faith. An interesting thing - in Spanish, 'Endure to the end' is translated as 'presevarar hasta el fin' (Spanish 'Preach my Gospel', p. 1). Translated directly, it means persevere to, or unto, the end. So it's not just enduring, but persevering in doing what's right. Just an interesting translation, I thought.

Well, I am really out of time. I hope everything continues to go well with everyone! God bless and take care of yourselves!!


Elder David Watson

Monday, January 18, 2010

Second Week in the MTC

Hey Mom and Dad! (And Everybody)

I'm glad everything at home is going well! It's been pretty cold here, but it is Utah, so what can I expect?

Hahahaha! I can SOOOO picture Flash doing that! I hope everyone got a laugh out of it, 'cause I sure would have! {He is speaking of the picture where Flash is staring at the bookcase}

Life here flies by so fast! It's pretty routine, except for the times Elder Burley and I get the chance to go to the Teaching Evaluation Center (TEC) and work with return missionaries on contacting and teaching lessons. We went to the Referral Center this week as a district and made some outbound calls to make sure that people received the item that they wanted (a Bible, Book of Mormon, Church DVD's, etc.) and talk to them about the area missionaries and if they wanted to know more about the Church. You know how I hate talking on the phone, but I learned that if I go in with a positive attitude, it helps!

To answer your questions - first, I can read letters whenever I get them, except during class. "DearElder" letters come like any other mail, just usually during the evening sorting which is done by 5 PM. I just have to wait for Pday to write people back. Yes, we took a picture of the 4 of us {David, Michael, Alec and Joshua} and I just put it in the mailbox to be sent. I usually write my letters before and during laundry. After I study or talk with missionaries who have been here longer to get some good advice. My district has a total of 10 Elders, and our fearless leader is Elder Clyde from Bluffdale, Utah. There actually hasn't been any snow - just a little rain today. That's been the first precipitation since I've been here - so no snowmen. My classes are great! We either have one of two teachers, Hermano Hanson or Hermano Clarke, who are both excellent teachers. We normally study Spanish (grammar, vocabulary...) or how to teach Gospel principles. I don't really know how to describe it except that they are teaching us what we need to know out in the mission field.

I love you guys and I miss you! I don't quite know what else to say at the moment, besides that this is the second time I've typed this message because decided to reset. Take care of yourselves and always do what's right!

Love ya!

Elder David Watson

{The comments inside the brackets {} are side notes by me to explain what he is referring to.}

Monday, January 11, 2010

Elder Watson's First Letter Home (His Preparation Day is Monday)

Dear Mom and Dad (and everybody),

I'm glad to hear that you got home safely. I sure do miss the warm weather though. How is everything at home? Well, I hope! Did you get the flat tire fixed? I would think that Flash would miss Mike more, but oh well. I can always get a new one. Have you heard anything from the travel office yet?

Life here is great! It's getting kind of difficult to think in English though. I'm really picking up Spanish well. I've already written a couple of lesson plans in Spanish. Yay! I see Elders Raymond, Day, and Wilkes (one of the guys from my ward who is going to Argentina also) more than I do Mike. It's all good though. I really love how the Spirit is so strong here. It really assists in learning Spanish and the lessons that we need to learn.

It feels like it has been weeks here. There's a saying 'round here, and it goes something like, "The weeks pass like days, and the days pass like weeks." Each day seems like forever, but looking back at the past week it feels like it has been less than a day. It is weird, but if you were here, you would understand.

The typical day I spend about eight and a half hours in class, either learning Spanish or Gospel principles, or both; One hour in gym (the five days I have class); and about two hours in the cafeteria (breakfast, lunch and dinner combined); and about an hour of daily planning and review. I have classes Tuesday through Saturday, Sunday being the Sabbath and Monday my preparation day. On Sundays, I have a LOT of study time, a two hour block of church (Priesthood and Sacrament meeting), and an hour temple walk where we get to walk around the temple grounds. On Mondays, we attend a temple session as a district in the morning, and we have all afternoon for free time (writing letters, laundry, etc.) until 6, when we have class again.

My companion is Elder Burley, who is from Chandler, Arizona and is also going to Paraguay. He's a pretty good guy, and we work well together. What's funny is that Elder Gillette, who is in my district, has a twin. And his twin's companion is Elder Watson. Yup, Mike. Also, the Elder Gillette who is in my district is going to Buenos Aires North too. It's interesting to see how things work out here.

Well, my time's about up. I miss everyone! If you have the chance, please write! It's really cool to see how everyone is doing. I know that my time spent here preparing to serve the people in Paraguay, as well as my time spent serving the people of Paraguay, will be some of the best two years of my life. I know that God lives and loves each and every one of us, and His Son Jesus Christ came to the Earth to be our perfect example. If we follow Christ's teachings, especially love for our fellow mankind, we can greatly improve ourselves and the people around us. All we have to do is come unto Him - He is waiting with outstretched arms. If you have doubt about that, please pray to our Father in Heaven and ask if He loves you. I promise if you will sincerely do this, with real desire and faith that He will answer you, Heavenly Father will manifest His love unto you through the power of the Holy Ghost. It won't be amazing, loud or pronounced though - you will have to pay deep attention to how you feel. When I do this, I feel peace and comfort. I love all of you, and I only want the best for you. God Bless!!


Elder David Watson

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Elder Watson Has Entered The MTC!

David entered the MTC in Provo, Utah on January 6, 2010. We will post his current activities after his first letter home.