Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Oh my Dana!



I'm staying in Takaoka! Yay! Elder Miranda is transferring to Fujieda
Branch in the Shizuoka Stake. Same place Elder Laumatia went, cept
Lama chan is transferring to Gifu. But anyways, my new companion, and
I don't know how this happens, but once again, it's someone I worked
with before. Y'all might remember Elder Dana in Nonami, he was Elder
Nilsson's comp when I left there. Well now he's my doryo. Hahaha! He's
a really funny guy, can't believe he's coming here.

 Well last week we had a district p day activity. We all went to
shyabu shyabu which I haven't had in a while. It was pretty fun and
gave us a chance to get to know each other, I think it brought the
eight of us closer, seeing as we are in three different areas, so we
can feel more unified. It was a good time.
Knocking on Hagrid's door

 Elder Miranda leaving is way sad. The ward loves him and we had such
a great time together. He got lots of presents from people at church
and from English class. I will miss him a lot. He was really a great
companion and I learned a lot from him.

  This transfer I learned about the power of testimony. Every night
me and Miranda did akashikai or testimony meeting. We shared testimony
with each other and stories from our lives that have strengthened us.
I learned a lot from his stories and my testimony grew as I shared my
experiences. It built a stronger bond in our companion ship so much
that when we testified to others it was like the ultimate attack. In
district training meeting, we all shared our testimonies with each
other, and it became one of the most spiritual DTMs I've been to.
There is power in testimony. And if you feel your testimony is weak,
go out and share it, tell it to your friends and family, and if no one
else the people on the street. That's what we do everyday. Even a
sentence can bring that spirit.

Well it will be harder here with out a Portuguese speaker, so we are
gonna need prayers. But while there are tough times, everyday I look
back and I can honestly say it was fun, I am thankful for each day in
these two years.

Please pray for Elder Dana and also for President and Sister Ishii who
are coming soon. I love you so much. Have a fantastic week!

Elder Watdawg Watkins

District Shubs

District Shubs

Good times

Good times
American cereal! Thanks members!

I make hot cakes!

Caramel apple mms!
Chocolate spoons!

Stir with chocolate spoons to make hot chocolate!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Fond Farewell to the Yamashitas

Me and the Yamashitas
This week was a bit more quiet but still good. A member took us to a
pizza restaurant so you know it was good, haha.

  On Thursday we had our last zone conference with the Yamashitas, it
was very special. We sat in a smaller room in a half circle without
tables and listened. Yamashita kaicho reviewed everything that we
learned from all the mission conferences since he came here. We've had
a lot of great times together including meeting an apostle. We also
reviewed many things the Yamashitas taught us, like being an Ammon
like missionary, 100% OYM, saying kind words to your companion,
studying the language harder with the Ninja, visit your "sacred grove"
each day, and many other things. I remembered all of it from back when
I first came to Japan.
Feast with the Yamashitas

    Then we had a nice lunch around a big table in the cultural hall.
The Yamashitas sat with us and chatted. It was a good meal. Then
Sister Yamashita announced the birthdays and we all sang, which,
singing happy birthday with Yamashita shimai is a very entertaining
experience. She also gave out the ninja award and sang the ninja song
for almost half the zone, including my companion who worked hard to
earn it.

    Then we sat back down in the room and had a question and answer
time with the Yamashitas where we could ask any question about
anything, dendo or not dendo. It was really good, they shared many
stories from their life. He also gave us advice and counsel, like he
gives to missionaries returning home, about dating and marriage. He
tells them to go home and go on one date a week, probably one of the most
difficult standards of excellence for me, haha. Also do 100% OYM (Open
your mouth) and 200% OYE (open your eyes). He also said if we plan it
right he can maybe do the sealing for us. That'd be way cool.
#Kanazawa Zone

  Among other things, he also talked about transfers, how we get our
areas and companions, and inspiration for that. He said there are no
perfect transfers, God is perfect, and He knows us and His work, and
what needs to be done. He said that it is no coincidence that we are
all here at this time with him. He said that they will always remember
the many experiences they have had with us these two years. Each of us
has impacted their lives, he said "you are all my hero and heroine"
you could just feel the love and the Spirit that was in the room.

   He left us with a final message, his last thing to say to us as
our mission president, "When President Uchtdorf called me to be a 70,
I committed to serve the Lord until I die. Elders and Sisters always
remember, my message to you, Elders, I put it on your mission tie,
wherever you go, even after your mission, you serve the Lord." As we
say in our mission culture, we love the Lord, trust the Lord, serve
the Lord. Then he left us with a song, a familiar one that hearkens
back to my primary days. He showed a video of a lovely rendition of
it, "I'm trying to be like Jesus". Ponder the lyrics, remember them
wherever we go, this was his message to us.
Ninja masters!

1." I'm trying to be like Jesus;
I'm following in his ways.
I'm trying to love as he did, in all that I do and say.
At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice,
But I try to listen as the still small voice whispers,

Love one another as Jesus loves you.
Try to show kindness in all that you do.
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,
For these are the things Jesus taught.

2. I'm trying to love my neighbor;
I'm learning to serve my friends.
I watch for the day of gladness when Jesus will come again.
I try to remember the lessons he taught.
Then the Holy Spirit enters into my thoughts, saying:

Love one another as Jesus loves you.
Try to show kindness in all that you do.
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,
For these are the things Jesus taught." - Janice Kapp Perry
Birthday people

I love the Yamashitas. They are like parents to us. I have learned so
much form them. He said we can contact him anytime after our missions
and see him at the mission reunions. I'm thankful for the opportunity
to serve with them. We will all miss them, but we welcome President
and Sister Ishii in a couple of weeks, I've only heard good things
about them.

   Let's all remember this great message. Y'all have a great week,
love you guys a ton! BTW this Saturday is transfer calls!

Much love,
Elder Watkins. :)
The Assistants to the President, Elders Emry and Strauss chillin with us (fun fact, Elder Strauss is my doki, we came to Japan together)

Himi beach dendo

Himi beach dendo

It is this hot outside guys.

Somethings fishy


Brings back memories

Add caption
More fun

Having fun!

My Transfer 12 Masked Rider Planner!

My Transfer 12 Masked Rider Planner!
Aw look at this doggy!

Aw look at this doggy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I get knocked out, but I get up Again

Me and my boy Elder Nakamoto on the kokan.
Go Go`s Curry!!!

Me and the cat at the apartment.

Hello! This morning I tried making cinnamon toast. Then I found out, I made paprika toast. Bleh. haha

Well turns out our yakusokusha didn't get to the water after all. He called on Wednesday and said he had become to busy with his preparations to return to his home next week. He was even too busy to attend church. He also moved from his apartment to a different place so we couldn't even drop in for a visit. He said he was very sorry and would like to try again when he comes back later in the year.

  We were so disappointed, he was so close! We and he couldn't control this obviously, but he was so close. We hope that he will get baptized in the future, but we are sad that we couldn't be here to see it. I thought I would finally get a baptism, but not yet I guess.

  But we don't give up! And we don't set limits. We had an amazing lesson last week in which we were permitted to the first time to enter our investigator's home and given hot chocolate by his mother, who'd previously been against us. We also got a tachiai in the form of a recently returned missionary from the Kobe mission. He still has very much of the dendo spirit and taught and testified with power. We extended the invitation to be baptized and our investigator agreed to pray about it. His mother had questions about the message too, and lo and behold, she became an investigator! Miracles still never cease.

  And yesterday after church we found 3 new investigators! That's like a record for my whole mission so far! And another guy came to church!

  I also went on a kokan with my District Leader, Elder Nakamoto, yep, the one I knew when he was a young missionary back in the Nonami District. He taught us his first DTM, it was way good. Weird to think tho that I am the oldest missionary in the District. I knew most of the others when they were beans. Yikes!

   Even though dendo has disappointing moments, and sometimes your work seems like it was for nothing, the Lord knows the way, He went through it all Himself. "Having set our hands to the plow, we will never look back, until this work is finished"(Jeffery R. Holland) and if we do this, though there be failures, we will yet see miracles. I have found time and again on my mission, in my life, and this week that this is true.

   Well just gonna keep bumpin to that base line! This week is our last Zone Conference with the Yamashitas, that will be quite the day I think. Love you all to the moon and beyond!

Elder "Watdawg" Watkins
Went to the port on a rainy day, no one there.

Then we waited forever for a train, so pictures!

iPad training videos
Surprise Eikaiwa party!

Surprise Eikaiwa party!

Eikaiwa iPad selfie
don't smoke
My new Kamen Rider Drive/Mach type Deadheat figure.

It's two riders in one!

Elder Miranda's monster

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Sach Mac Mon is true!

Me & Abe Choro

That's what they call the Book of Mormon in Vietnam.

This week was crazy! We saw the Lord's hand in the work a lot.
Yesterday we met our yakusokusha, he couldn't make the date of
Saturday, so we are now going for the back up date of this Saturday
the sixth. We were nervous about teaching the commandments. I
personally have never taught them before and we had cause to think
that he would have a problem with certain of them. We studied and
prayed a lot for this, then we went to his place to teach. We could
feel the Spirit just take control of that lesson. He was receptive and
understood everything, even before we'd said anything about it. When
we got to the presumed "problem" commandment, at the right moment, I
felt prompted to ask two simple questions. I did and his responses
changed everything. Turns out he had no problems with anything and our
grounds for worry were proven false. Elder Miranda and was able to
deduce further the details which could have only been the Spirit's
guidance. He committed to keep all of the commandments as had been
explained. We were so thrilled, now just 1 more lesson and an
interview with the District leader. Miracles!

  Other than that, last weekend I went on a Kokan to a very legendary
part of the mission called Takayama. Elder Beck used to work there and
he told countless stories from there. It's wayyyy out in the boonies, 4
hours by train, and very country, with mountains. Yet it is a way
popular tourist destination. There are a lot of gaijin from all over
the world in the streets. There's even tales of a local cult that does
dark magic type things, the rather large base of whom can be seen
peeking of a mountain from the missionary apartment.

  I went there with Elder Nakamoto 's bean, Abe Choro (AhBeh) from
Hokkaido Japan. He has only been on his mission for 1 week. It was my
first time dendoing with a nihonjin since a year ago when I was
companions with Chiba Choro. It was way fun! I was able to help him
with his finding and teaching skills. We practiced lesson 1 together.
Even though he already knows the language, he still needed help, that
was interesting for me to see.

   So many other things this week, we had a spiritual ZTM, 2 tachiai
lessons with some funny investigators, and so much more. I am so glad
I can see the hand of the Lord in my mission, and the miracles that
come with it. Please pray that we can have the baptism this Saturday.
We are going to do our best and work harder everyday.

Having computer issues today so the Takayama adventure pictures will
have to wait til next time. In the mean time perhaps something I took
with my iPad will suffice.

I love the Lord, my investigators, the members, and all of you.

Have a great week!
Elder Watkins

Here's some pics from my trip to Takayama, our pit stop in Toyama, the Fukuoka ski in Takaoka, and stuff. Enjoy!