Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sayonara... Nagano

Transferees and bffs

Bye-bye Nielson Shimai!

Me and Yama on a yama.

Peterson Shimai & Nielson Shimai hiking.

Good morning.

   We got up a 5 am this morning to go to the eki to watch Nielson Shimai take off on her first train to home. She didn't get to go yesterday because they didn't reserve seats on the bus. (Trains to Nagoya are still down from the typhoon.) Needless to say, it was one of the most pull at your heart moments of my mission so far. I have been with Nielson Shimai longer than anyone else out here and she has changed my life. She is one of the greatest friends I've ever had.

   And later today, at 3 pm, I will get on a bus to leave Nagano. That's right, I'm transferring. It is hard but exciting too. I will be in the Seto Ward in the Nagoya East Stake. Aichi Prefecture, hottest place in the mission, oh boy. I will be with 3 other Elders and my new companion is Elder Jackson, from Salt Lake City Utah. I talked to him on the phone, he sounds like Elder Chapman haha. He seems way cool. I'm really excited to go there, even if it's hot.

  Elder Yamada will come back to Nagano with a new bean chan, just like I was when I got here. And Sister Peterson will be with Sister Takahashi. Elder Beck in Ueda is also transferring to the Tsu Branch, Yamada Choro's old area, he's way excited. Elder Mueller will be with Elder Takayama. So a lot of this district will be Japanese.

  So I've been packing my whole life up for the past 2 days in order to prepare. We went on a branch hiking activity on Saturday in the mountains. It was so pretty there. It reminded me of camping with the boy scouts, and doing the big family camping trips. It was also hot out. I was able to look around and see family all around me. While in the woods we got phone calls and I was able to hear from my friends Elders Tanner, Smith, Brown, and TuAkoi.

  I felt the same as I gave a talk in church yesterday and looked at every member and realized that I love each one of them. They said many kind things to me yesterday. Hikari chan even hugged my legs. So cute. I gave out my business cards (meishis) to all the members and some said they would look me up on facebook. We also dendoed with the Branch President and Dendo shinin (branch mission leader) for my last time with them. I felt the spirit as we visited some less active members.

   As I was packing, Tezuka Kyoudai came to say bye. I will miss him. He told me that I was his friend and that he will miss me. I realized then that while I didn't baptize him, (he was already baptized when I got here) I played an important role in bringing him to Christ. And he changed my life too. I understand more than I ever before did the pure love of Christ. I have charity for every single person in Nagano.

  Now as I leave, I take the things I've learned and the memories I've made. I will go forth in the spirit to the next chapter of my mission. And let me tell you how much I love that a new Bean chan is taking my place fresh out of the MTC. Because I was such here in Nagano, I dendoed in the snow and rain, biked long distances up hills, climbed mountains, made eternal friends, and I became a missionary. Nagano will always be a special place in my heart because here I became.

   So my dear family and friends, I now go to Seto. And as I go I will sing in my heart "Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before."

Love always,
Elder Cullen E. Watkins






After hiking

After hiking


Nielson & Peterson Shimai hiking!


Lunch on the hike.

My last Eikaiwa (English Conversation class) in Nagano.

My last Eikaiwa (English Conversation class) in Nagano.

The Matsuhashis

Sister Nielson's bye-bye book that we made.

Sister Nielson's bye-bye book that we made.

Last page of the bye-bye book for Nielson Shimai.

Bye-bye Nielson Shimai!

The Okazowas

The last hurrah

The last hurrah

Puppies at pet store, cute! (Cinnamon is cuter) :)

Puppies at pet store, cute!

The Takatsukas

Yukine chan!

Song practice

Transfer call!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Companion x2

Playing basketball.

Peterson Shimai is a pro at basketball!

Dear everybody,

I had a kokan this week with Elder Moretti from Brazil. He's our Zone Leader along with my old companion, Elder Chiba. Speaking of...Chiba choro came back to Nagano and dendoed with my current doryo, Elder Yamada. Two of my companions together. haha.

  I went to Matsumoto were there are 4 elders in the same apartment. One of them, Elder Wilkinson, is finishing his mission next week. It goes by so fast. It was way funny to see the craziness of a 4 elder (yonin) apartment. It was way fun! It was also Wilkinson Choro's birthday and President and Sister Yamashita called to sing Happy Birthday to him. Way nice!

  Well this is week 6... Transfer Calls and Nielson Shimai's last week of dendo. Next week will be kind of sad with her and maybe me leaving. She is going to the Mission Home Sunday right after church and we will probably see her off at the Eki (train station). We are excited for her though, she is a great missionary.

  Last night we had a great lesson with our Recent Convert Tezuka Kyodai who was Baptized by TuAkoi choro before I came here. He has had a rough life and still struggles with some things, but the gospel has really helped him. He is way nice and says he wants to go to the Temple. I haven't seen anyone quite like that except for him so far out here. It is really amazing to see how the gospel can change lives. That's what I love to see.

  So wish us luck and keep all of Nagano in your prayers. We will try our best for Nielson Shimai's last week, for that last week of the transfer, all the members and investigators, whether I transfer or not, and for the Lord, Jesus Christ who I know loves these people, even more than I do.

I pray for you all to have a great week as well!

Love you all,
Elder Watkins
Those are moths flying into the lights, freaky!

Those are moths flying into the lights, freaky!

Elder Chiba's coke.

Elder Chibas american name tag.

Rainy Sunnyness



Members chillin at shokujikai (food after church).

Members chillin at shokujikai (food after church).

Kamen Rider Gaim Kiwami Arms

Tokkyu 6's Megazord

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

With all the force of a Great Typhoon!

Shyabu shyabu resturaunt last Pday. Oishii yo!

Do these make me look smart?

Last week the biggest Typhoon in 3 years was hitting Japan. Very big, very slow. Everybody was batting down the hatches. There have been clouds and rain and a little thunder everyday recently.

  Then Thursday, the day it was expected to hit. During morning studies we get the text message from the Mission Office; "The following areas are not allowed to leave their apartments today due to the typhoon. Do not leave your apartment today, even if it looks nice out." The list of "lock-down" areas included the entire mission except for twelve missionaries in Kanazowa Zone. So we were stuck inside all day. And the best part? The Typhoon was NOTHING. Just some rain, like usual. So disappointing. But we stayed in just in case as ordered, and cleaned the apartment, updated records, planned, studied, and took a nap. Also made some awesome Hayashi Rice. It was boring but also a nice break.

   After that I went on one of our famous kokans with Elder Beck in Ueda. We had Baskin Robbins! 31 flavors of yum! We also sang High School Musical's "Scream" by Troy Bolton while dendoing haha. It was fun. Then we went to Matsumoto for interviews with President Yamashita. There was also a big multistake Super Saturday for the Seminary kids. So it was busy there. It made me miss youth activities again.

   Interviews with Yamashita Kaicho were great, very spiritual. He gave each of us a Priesthood Blessing. I haven't had a blessing given to me since I left for my mission. Then President Yamashita came out and gave a talk to all of us missionaries. The spirit was so strong in there. He talked about how he's been Mission President for a year now and he's been thinking about what he's done and how to improve. I love when he speaks, it's always so powerful and inspiring.

   Well I hope you all are having a good summer. It's hot here in Nagano ken, but there is a nice breeze around.

Take care and have a great one!

ワトキンズ 長老
Baskin Robins, yum!

Chiba Choros picture in the Matsumoto church, haha!

Doctor Who meets Missionaries.

Toy store with Elder Beck.

Full moon

Mister Donut, so good!

My planner

My wall

Homemade Power Rangers poster.

Old First Presidency above my desk.

My toe socks :)

Yama chan making some food.

Yamada choro being bored.

The so called Typhoon.

Nagano Zone chillin

Nagano Zone chillin

Nagano Zone chillin