Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Better than Santa?

Elder Brown & Elder Watkins

Hello Kyodai to Shimai tachi!

      Christmas was a blast! We had a missionary talent show and Hyashi Choro dance with a bottle on his head! Many great musical performers were there too.

        Then, we had a huge feast followed by a devotional. Brown Choro and I were with Smith Choro and we waited in line. We could feel the excitement. We all stood up tall as we welcomed in, David A. Bednar and his family!

     Elder Bednar did something that had never been done before. "We're going to have a Q and A" he said, "This is being broadcast to other MTCs so you are probably wondering how. Well, I have a magic ipad, and I can receive text messages on it. 'But we don't have phones Brother Bednar' wait, it's coming." He gave a wink and to our great astonishment, cell phones were passed out to the audience. He gave us his phone number. "I know what you are thinking" he said with a smile "We will not use these phones to call home. All in favor please make it manifest by the raise of the right hand". The vote was unanimous.

       I couldn't believe that I was actually about to text an apostle of the Lord. I asked him a question through text. And he answered all of the questions as best he could. He introduced us to his family, and left us an Apostolic Blessing. The Seirei (Holy Spirit) was strong.

       After, my Doryo, Smith, and I went out the back door, were we were told to stop. After a few minutes we found out why. Around the corner came Elder Bednar to greet us! One by one we shook his hand. He said to me "Merry Christmas Elder, thank you for serving." I replied with "Merry Christmas Elder Bednar, thank you for visiting." It was pretty special.

         Later on we enjoyed a concert and watched Mr. Kruger's Christmas. Great Christmas.

     I learned from Elder Bednar's devotional that the best missionaries get over them selves and "turn out" as he likes to say. That is my personal challenge and I invite you all to join me, Let's all Turn Out and get over ourselves this new year.

       Minna san, Ai Shitte Imasu. Ja matta!

Watkins Choro

 Daisempai and our Branch Presidency

Liddell Choro and his signature scarf

Our Zone

Shimai and Aulick Shimai our Oneesan tachi (big sisters)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wise Men Still Seek Him

On desert plains wise men saw a star which showed them the way. Today we are distracted, work, media, entertainment, but that star... that star still shines on.

      It helped a man cross the sea. It helped a General to win a war. A young boy, aged 14, turned to it seeking answers to the most important question ever asked. Pioneers trudged through mud and snow following it's light whilst they chanted "Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah for Israel!"

        And today... today men, women, and children alike look for it. And when they look... they will find it's light shining round about them,  and they will know where to go.

       As they travel far and wide following the light, the find it's source. It's not the Tardis or a Doctor, Doctor Who? Nor Captain Jack Sparrow and his pirate crew. It's not riches or glamour or gold, but a lowly manger, humble and bold. A young child there sees a baby boy, young and pure. She asks "who is he papa?" A wise man responds, "Tis Christ, our Savior, Master and Lord of all!"

       Wise men still seek Him as Angels sing "Glory to the new born King!".

         I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, for no matter how small or far away, Christ the Lord brings us together eternally.

    As always I love you all! And so does He. Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas to all!

Elder Cullen E. Watkins

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

White Christmas with District 27A

Mearri Kirisumasu!

   I am becoming really good at writing in hiragana. I will eventually mail you my planner so you can read my goofy daily schedules in the future.

     Interesting week. We saw Ronald A. Rasband of the 70 last Tuesday and the BYU Mens Chorus! Great stuff. No Apostles yet, but they say Santa Claus in coming! And maybe even Bednar Choro! We shall see.

      We did TRC last night. That's teaching real Nihonjin Kyoukain (Japanese Members). I had previously relied too much on dictionaries and language tools too much in our lessons. It felt like a script. So this time I went in with just my Morumon Sho (BofM) and let the Gift of Tongues kick in. IT IS REAL. I spoke nihongo, not perfectly, but well enough that the members could understand. It was great. Elder Brown is working hard on nihongo too, I give him a lot of help an encouragement and he helps me to teach by the spirit. Kanzen Chowa (perfect harmony)

       We walked to the Temple in the snow this Sunday. I totally slipped and fell on my bum on the ice. I was fine though. I laughed a lot.

     My district is awesome! We are like brothers, we have our differences and such, but we love each other. We watch a General Conference talk in our class room every night and have a "Hot Seat" were we all ask questions to whoever is in the hot seat. It is so weird how similar we all are. Elders Olivera and Bills are both converts with strong testimonies, they have mission call videos on youtube too. Kindred spirits.

   I also love my Sensei-tachi (teachers) Brother Huefner Sensei (the red head), Brother Horne Sensei, and Sister Tsukamoto Sensei. They are awesome and fun, and full of the spirit.

   Elder Smith and Elder Moulten are our class clowns. They are having a "shenanigan war". It is just fun to watch them and their comic adventures.

    We have an MTC Branch. Our whole Zone makes up the branch and we have a Branch President with 3 councilors. Yes... 3. They are all returned Japanese missionaries from the old days (with the exception of Neilson Kyodai who served in TX) They are pretty cool and wise. They called me and Elder Brown to be sacrament planners! We have sacrament meeting all in Japanese, it's way cool.

      Will I will be sending you all something special tomorrow so look out for that.

Merry Christmas one and all!
Watdawg Choro o<:)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

MTC Address

My MTC address is:

Elder Cullen Eugene Watkins
2007 N 900 E Unit   6
Provo UT 84602

Here are some pics:

                                         Elder Brown, my doryo (companion).
       Stump, Decelle (the red ranger as i call him), Olivera, Hyashi, Smith, and Tanner.

                                        Elder McCarthy one of my Sempai.

Shuh, Moulten, Bills, Williams, and Brown.

Welcome to the Empty Sea!!!!!

Ohaioo gozaimasu!

     Elder Watkins here, or rather Watkins Choro as they call me. Choro being Japanese for Elder.

     John dropped me off after getting a huge "mini" shake and some of UT's famous fry sauce. That was cool. I was 15 minutes late to the MTC. I finally found my class with help of some Korean Elders and got my books. I walk in there and for the next hour I hear nothing but Japanese. It was nuts! But I understood a lot of it. And so does most of my District. I am not the only one with a background in "Nihongo". It is so cool.

     I love my District, they are different than my bro scouts at home, yet I feel the same love and spirit with them. It's like we've always been friends. Kindred spirits as Joe would say. All of us are elders, a rarity nowadays. And they say they've never seen a district come in with such fore knowledge of the language. It's awesome.

     My companion is Elder Nathan Caleb Kenji Brown. Brown Choro. He's from Canada. Calgary Alberta. It's interesting how different and yet how alike we are. We get along great.

     The MTC is a spiritual school of hard knox. Basically we spend a quarter of the day in a classroom. The same classroom. We go insane. Then when the insanity sets in, we become inspired followers of Christ. And it's pretty awesome actually! Like I said my district is a real blessing. Most of us are going to Nagoya, but there is the "Fukuaoka 4", Decelle (our DL), Stump, Olivera, and Hyashi. The Nagoyas are Smith (funny guy), Tanner (also funny), Moulton (hilarious), Shuh, Bills, Williams, Brown, and Watkins :)

      We have our first investigator, her name is Mai. She's Nihonjin (Japanese). Teaching her is a challenge because 1, no knowledge of Christ and 2, language barrier. But we are learning to teach the gospel in Japanese. Not learning Japanese, learning the gospel in Japanese. We even pray in Japanese.

      The spirit is strong, the food is good, it is a hard time, but it is the best time. I miss you all very much. But I love my new family here too.

      P-day is on Tuesday, I will send pics later. When I'm not doing laundry.

Much love and have a great week,
Elder Cullen E. Watkins :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Watdawg In Salt Lake Cizzle Utizzle!

Hello from the Valley!

     I'm here in the Beehive state with John and Joy Belcher (and Tyson too). I arrived yesterday morning off Delta airlines. Peaceful flight, I slept on the plane. Even got a complimentary cookie and water. My flight was delayed 10 minutes because... the plane before us hit a deer on the runway. A flipping deer! I laughed as I thought of Bambi's mom. Only in the south.

      When I got off the plane there were missionaries everywhere about to go to Mexico. I talked to them and they where so excited about me going to the MTC. They said Elder Ballard might be there next week.

     Weeelll, I got to tour downtown! We went to City Creek which is a big mall just outside of Temple Square. It is a magical place, the creek runs through the mall. It's where the early Saints got water. We ate at a fabulous place there called Kneaders. Yummy bread, yummy hot chocolate, yummy pastries. I had a chocolate mousse dome, it was divine.

      Then we went to Temple Square, it was incredible. I got to go to the Joseph Smith Building, the Visitor's Center, Assembly Hall, and the Tabernacle! There were a lot of sister missionaries that talked to me and two of them were from Japan! We spoke in Japanese and they congratulated me on my call. That was fun!

        Then we got a grand tour of the Conference Center. It is bigger on the inside. There are so many cool things in there like the hall of Presidents, and the original paintings that depict the Book of Mormon. You know the ones we see all the time, but the originals. The one of Christ in America is HUGE!

        I even got to sit in the Conference hall and watch them decorate for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas show. It was pretty cool.

           We went at night and took the track train to get to downtown. (A plane and train in the same day!) The Christmas lights were on and snow is EVERYWHERE. I look out the window and see clear across Salt Lake Valley and can also see big white mountains. Just in the Belchers neighborhood there are three churches, all different stakes. In fact there are LDS churches and Temples everywhere. They even have food storage stuff at Walmart! It's crazy and so cool.

        Well that's about it. Time for another adventurous day. I've included some photos and there are more on the way. Hope you like them!

        Have a great week everyone! My next letter will be from the MTC! =)

Elder Cullen Watkins


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Who, What, and Why about Missionary Work

Hello everyone!

    Welcome to my missionary blog! My mom will be posting my weekly email here along with whatever photos I send. I hope you are uplifted as you read about my missionary experiences these next two years. Be sure to subscribe to the blog to get an email every time my mom makes a new post.

    For my first post here I wish to explain the who, what, and why about my mission.

    Who: Jesus Christ. He is the grand designer of this mission. I will be spreading His word, doing His work, everything I do will be in His name. By way of His living prophet, Thomas Monson, and the Quorum of 12 Apostles I received a letter in the mail that was my call to serve in the Japan Nagoya Mission. I believe it is the will of The Savior that I was assigned to this area. There are people there who the Lord is preparing to give the opportunity, through me and my mission companions, to hear the message of His gospel, His love.

    What: The fullness of the restored gospel. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to a young boy with many questions. They called him to be their prophet and restore the Priesthood and the Church. Through this latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith, Christ gave us the Book of Mormon, another testament that He lives. I will be an instrument in sending this message of good tidings and great value to as many as will hear and give them the opportunity, if they so choose, to be baptized in the Lord's name.

    Why: Because I love Jesus Christ. I have a desire to serve God by being a missionary. I have been blessed so much throughout my life by His love and His church, which I believe is the true church. My greatest friends are all members of this church, my brothers and sisters who follow Jesus Christ. Because of His Priesthood authority my family can live together for eternity in His Heavenly Kingdom. How sad it is that many in this world know not such blessings. So I have chosen to share it with these brothers and sisters who have not heard it. And I also hope that my brothers from church might have the same desire to share the gospel of Christ and help save souls.

    I know that these things are true because I feel it in my heart. I have a testimony of Jesus Christ and His love for us. And I love many people too. My favorite scripture is Helaman 5:12 which reads "...remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of the living God, that ye must build your foundation... a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." That gives me strength. The work will be hard, there will be tough days, but my foundation is Christ, and with Him I cannot fall.

    So that is why I choose to serve for these next two years. I love you all and will miss you, but in the words of the 1st Doctor from Doctor Who "Someday I shall comeback. Yes, I shall come back. Until then you must move forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine." Brothers and Sisters, enjoy the blog, write me, and God be with you till we meet again!

Elder Cullen E. Watkins

Watkins Family at the Columbia, SC Temple