Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 4 - Missionary Miracles :)

So we started this week off with Exchanges with Sister Bradley, and I loved every single minute of it. Oh it was amazing. :) Sister Bradley couldn't be more darling and we just had a ball together, she is an amazing missionary. It was totally crazy, but we have SOO much in common. We decided that we are long lost twins because we had so many of the same things in common. It was so much fun to get to know her and to get to learn from her this week. :) 

We seriously saw so many miracles this week. The Lord is hastening his work and we see evidence of that every day. I feel so privileged and grateful for this opportunity that I have to be HIS missionary.

We had so many miracles this week it's hard to get to tell about all of them. But we have been so blessed with one of our new investigators, K****. She is our apartment manager and is just a really sweet lady. We haven't been able to meet with her lately because she has been super busy so we went and stopped by her office earlier this week to see how she was doing. She is amazing. I guess when she sits at her desk she doesn't like to sit in the quiet so she 
has been listening to conference talks and LDS pod-casts. We were amazed and so excited! She has only been taught one lesson and we haven't been able to meet with her in probably a month but she is so ready and excited to learn about the gospel. It's amazing how much Heavenly Father truly is preparing His children to receive the truth. We invited K**** to come to a Relief Society dinner that night and she came. :) She loved it and the women were so warm and welcoming to her, it was awesome. When she left she said 'I love this. This is exactly what I need.' She ended up coming to Stake conference too and it was so neat. She felt the spirit way strong and she just cried through parts of the meeting. It was really special for me to watch someone feel the spirit for the first time. When the meeting was over she turned to me and said 'I don't want to leave, it just feels so good in here.' :) I love that.

We found a new investigator this week, which was another blessing. We started teaching a less active family who has a 9'year old son who wants to be baptized. It is so much fun getting to teach their family. They are so stinking cute and I just love it. We asked L**** and his family to pray about a date that he could be baptized on. We are so excited for him and for his family. :)

Like I said we had stake conference this weekend and it was amazing! It was honestly everything I needed and hoped it it would be. Not only did I learn so much from what was said, but I absolutely loved getting to meet more of the members from the Valparaiso Stake. The members here are amazing. They are so dedicated to living and sharing the gospel.Getting to meet them and talk to them was so fun. The missionaries got to sing in the choir at the adult session of conference and it was really special. I loved it. :) 

Here is the funny/shocking story of the week. Sister Hansen and I sat on the second row at the adult session and the whole time I just loved it. I took lots of notes, cried a ton, the spirit was just so strong. It was an amazing meeting. And the whole time I was there I just had this burning desire to stand up and bare my testimony. Totally random right?? Anyway, when we stood up to sing the intermediate hymn President Ames (the first counselor in the Stake Presidency) stood up, walked down off the stand, and came right over to me and said "Sister Watts, Elder Stansfield (The member of the 70 who was presiding at the meeting) needs you to bare your testimony." And then he walked back up to his seat. OH MY GOODNESS. I said a quick prayer as I walked up to the pulpit and was luckily blessed with the spirit. I don't have any idea what I said but  People were so kind to me after. I got some of the most genuine and sweet compliments I have ever received after the meeting. It was such a tender mercy for me to be able to stand and bare my testimony. It's amazing to me how truly aware of us Heavenly Father truly is. He knew exactly what I needed and He cared enough about me to make it happen.

As for things with M**** she is still doing amazing. She has completely quit drinking coffee. MIRACLE. And she has gone from smoking 3 packs a day to not smoking at all anymore. MIRACLE. It has been so special watching the power of the atonement work in her life and watching her come closer to Jesus Christ. She sent me a sweet message on FaceBook that said 'I just love you girls! Thank you for doing God's work. You all have brought me closer to Him and I am grateful. Holy Ghost has worked through me and in me today especially. In many ways. I am surrendering myself to God. He can take care of me better than anyone. Including myself. I simply can't go wrong. I love you girls. Thank you.' How amazing is she? There are so many blessings that  Heavenly Father wants to give us, we just have to be willing to turn to him. M**** wasn't able to come to church this week, so her baptismal date has been moved to April 12th. We are super excited to get to work towards that date and make her baptism super special. :)

One of the most tender moments we had this week was when sister Bradley and I went and saw Sister V. I love Sister V. :) She has been in the nursing home since December because she broke her femur. We went over just to see how she was doing, and when we got there she was in tears, she was absolutely devastated. That day in physical therapy they had started working on climbing stairs. She wasn't able to climb the stairs as well as she would have liked, so the date of when she wanted to leave the nursing home had to be pushed back. She was so upset. I couldn't help but just cry with her as she told us how discouraged she felt. We read Mosiah 24:13-15 with her and it was amazing. I asked her if she had felt Heavenly Father helping her and loving her along this journey. She told me she had and then preceded to tell me a miraculous story. She said that some nights she just lays in bed and cries because the pain is to much for her to bear. But in those moments she prays and says 'Heavenly Father I need to you take this pain away from me. It is to much for me to handle on my own. I need to to take it away from me.' And then he does. She said that the pain goes away and she is able to sleep again. WHAT A MIRACLE. I love that because in the scripture it actually promises that 'I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you CANNOT FEEL THEM upon your backs.' I know that promise is real and true. It happens in the Book of Mormon, it happens for Sister V, and I know that it can happen for us if we put our faith in Heavenly Father. He loves us more Than we can comprehend. I am so grateful for that. :)Before we left we sang 'I Need Thee Every Hour' and the spirit was so strong. It was powerful. When we got there Sister V was totally upset, but because of the spirit and through the Love of her a Heavenly Father she was laughing and smiling by the time we left.I KNOW that Heavenly Father loves us. 

Last Monday I had a moment where I felt discouraged. I went into my closet, shut the door and just cried. As I knelt down and prayed I poured my heart out to Him and I told Heavenly Father everything that I was feeling and told Him that I needed His help. I know that He heard that prayer and I know that He has been helping me and has been sending little reminders of how much he loves me every day. I love Mosiah 24:15 where it says "Yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord. "  I know that we are NEVER alone. As we turn to Him and include Him in our lives and learn to rely on him he will bless us more than we could ever comprehend. 

I love you all so much and I am so grateful for your prayers and support. :) 

Love, Sister Watts 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 3 - I love being a missionary

Hello Family. :) Oh. I am so excited to try to put into words all the amazing and incredible things that happened this week. 

On Tuesday we had Zone Conferences. And they were unreal. I learned so many amazing things and just felt the spirit so strong. I feel totally dorky saying this but when I was at home I would get so excited whenever I see missionaries and now I get to be surrounded by them always. It is the greatest thing. :) One of the Elders in our Zone said "I feel like I am working really hard and doing my best, and then I come to a training meeting and I am reminded that there is so much more that I can be doing." I 100% felt that way. There is so much that I don't know and so much that I still need to learn but I am willing and excited to be here and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is the Lords work and when we do it His way miracles will happen. I feel so privileged and grateful to get to be a missionary. 

We were invited to try and serve for at least 5 hours every week. I absolutely love that and that has been my goal. There are so many places and ways that we can serve and I have been trying to constantly keep a "What can I do to help" attitude. I have felt the spirit so much stronger as I have done this, I have felt so much love for my companion, the members, the people that we are teaching, and the people we run into on the street. It was been amazing. :) 

I was able to have a really tender conversation with President Woodbury while we were at Zone Conferences. He pulled me aside and asked me how I was doing. I couldn't lie to him and I told him that things honestly had been really hard.  As we sat there and cried together I felt so grateful for him and the compassion he showed to me.  He gave me some priceless advice, he testified to me that my Heavenly Father was aware of me, he loves me, and he has faith and trust in me. 

We had some amazing experiences with M*** this week. I told you all last week that she was being evicted on Friday and was quickly running out of options and money. It was really hard to watch her be so stressed and worried about what was going to happen to her and her family. I was so grateful that our message is a message of hope. We had some powerful conversations with her this week as we testified to her that her Heavenly Father was aware of her and her family and that He was looking out for her. 

Despite the weight of the concern that M*** was feeling she is progressing amazing. She sent us a text this week that made me smile the biggest smile. :) She said "Good Morning sisters, I just got done reading the Book of Mormon, saying my prayers, and I just threw out the coffee pot. I'm ready for the day." We were so excited. :) Everything that she learns she is so excited about. I have loved watching the power of the Atonement come alive in her life. We have Stake Conference this week so we had to move her baptism to March 29th. She is so excited and cant wait to be baptized. She has gone from smoking 3 packs a day to smoking a little less than half a pack. She is committed and on track to be completely done smoking by Sunday. That is a total miracle. M**** has been a heavy smoker for the past 30 years. Thank you so much for your prayers and your faith. Miracles happen when we pray in faith and we are absolutely watching a miracle happen right in front of our eyes. It has been amazing. I love M**** so much and I am so happy to see her coming closer to Christ and being able to see the happiness that it brings. :)

So a fun little moment this week that just made me smile. We have been trying to meet with the M**** Family who is a less active family that live in our ward and we were finally able to meet with them Friday night. I loved them. :) We had so much fun just laughing together and getting to know each other. They are an amazing family. We talked to them about faith and invited them to start reading the Book of Mormon together as a family. It was a powerful lesson and I could feel the spirit way strong while we were there. After the lesson Sister M***** offered to say the prayer for us she said a beautiful prayer and ended by saying "Oh Ya, and Heavenly Father thank you so much for sending the new sister to our home. We like her a lot. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." It was so genuine and honestly meant so much to me. :) 

A lady in Sister Hansen's last area asked us to go and stop by her aunt L*** who isn't a member. So we have been trying almost every day to stop by and to meet her but we weren't having any luck. So one night after knocking on her door a few times and finding that no one was home, I got the prompting to write L*** a note on a sticky note telling her who we were, our phone number and asking her to call us. We had knocked on her door probably 10 different times so we were about to stop trying, but I figured we should try everything that we could to get in touch with her, so we put the note on her door and left. The next day at we got a phone call from a number that we didnt know and it was L***. :) We were so excited to get to talk to her and set up a time that where we could meet with her and get to talk to her. She is super old and is in the process of trying to clean her house up so we are hoping that we can serve her and get to know her better. Just a little tender mercy. We worked so hard to try and contact her and the Lord definitely blessed us with success. It was amazing. :) 

I had an amazing week and had so many experiences that taught me so much. I love being here in LaPorte, I love my companion, and I love being a missionary. I am just happy. :)

I love you all so much, thank you for the prayers, support and love.

LaPorte street
LaPorte prettiness
Sister Hansen and Sister Watts
Kenna and Sister Dillingham
More LaPorte prettiness

Monday, March 10, 2014

Week 2 - Love and Book of Mormon answers

This week has been AMAZING. I have so much that I am so excited to tell you about. It really has just been incredible. :) So we got on the plane heading for Chicago, which was one of the craziest things I have ever ever done. I have been saying "I am going to Chicago" for five months now but to actually be on the plane heading there was absolutely surreal. Getting off the plane and seeing the AP's and President and Sister Woodburry was so exciting. I loved it. They were so sweet to us and were so excited to see all of us coming. It was the coolest feeling to step out of the airport and to finally be on MY mission grounds. I MADE IT. :) And I am so excited to be here.

After we got all of our bags all situated and everything loaded into a van, we all hopped on a train with a bran new Book of Mormon in hand and went to go find people. I met this sweet black woman who was so kind to me. We talked for about 10 minutes and just got to be sweet friends she opened up to be a lot and we just laughed and had an amazing talk. After we had talked for awhile she asked me about my name tag and why I was here. So I told her I was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She said What is that?? I was totally taken off guard. I am definitely not in Utah any more. :) So I told her about the church and about the Book of Mormon. Even though we were on a loud train with people all around, I had her undivided attention and I testified to her that I knew that the Book of Mormon was true and that it would bring her closer to God. I could feel the spirit there and I saw her countenance change when I testified to her. It was amazing. I gave her a copy before she got of the train, she gave me a hug and said thank you as she left. It was such a special moment for me. I loved it. :) 

After we got off the train we went and walked around Chicago. It is BEAUTIFUL. Oh my goodness. I absolutely love the City. It was super busy and exciting. I loved getting to be in the city is was too cool. :) 
That night at the mission home we had the famous Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. It was super yummy and was fun to finally be eating the real Chicago Pizza in Chicago. It was so cool. :) 

They next morning we woke up and ate breakfast at the mission home, got our iPads set up, and then went to meet our new trainer. Oh it was so exciting. My companions name is Sister Hansen. She is awesome she knows so many things and I am trying so hard to learn from her. She has been out for 9 months so she has a lot of experience. I have learned a lot from her. :) She wants to be a writer one day, so she has an incredible imagination. Its really fun to talk to her about all of her stories and things that she wants to do when she gets home. 

So. I am serving in a little town called LaPorte Indiana. I love it here. The first night I was here we went over and met one of our Investigators, M****. M**** is amazing and I feel so blessed to get to work with her. She is about 42 and she has two kids, K**** and A****. M**** has custody of K****'s 2 year old daughter E**** who is absolutely adorable. They are being evicted on Friday, So we worked really hard this week to help find them an apartment where they can live after this week. So pray that everything with that will work out alright. When I first met M**** she had just had a really hard day and she was feeling really overwhelmed. We just sat there and listened to her talk and tell us how she was feeling. As she talked I felt so much love for her. I love her so much and care so much about her, but I know that I cant even begin to comprehend how much our Heavenly Father loves her and cares about her. But the love that I felt for her when I first met her was such a tender mercy and was so powerful for me. As we have taught her she has progressed so much, it has been so amazing to see. We asked her to say the closing prayer during one of the lessons we taught her the other day and she basically said that she knew what we were saying was true and that she was grateful to have the missionaries in her life because she knew that this is what Heavenly Father wants her to do. It was really special. :) M**** has been smoking for 30 years so we are trying to help her quit that habit, it has definitely been hard and will continue to be hard to break a habit that is so addictive but I know that through the power of the Atonement we can do anything. We went over there the other day and read with her parts of 1st Nephi chapter 17. I testified to her that just as Heavenly Father helped Nephi build a boat he could help her quit smoking. It was so amazing and she is really committed to quit and to be baptized. :) Her baptism date is set for March 22nd and I am so excited for her. :) She came to church yesterday which was awesome and she had an amazing experience you could just see the light in her eyes as she continues to learn and grow closer to her Father in Heaven, its been amazing. :) She told us after church that she was actually really nervous to come to church because she wasn't going to know anyone and she was worried about feeling out of place. So she got our her Book of Mormon and started reading so she could find comfort and the strength to be able to come to church. She told us that after she read a few chapters her worries and concerns about going to church were completely gone and she didnt feel worried anymore. It was so amazing to sit there and hear her tell us this story. 1-It was just a total testimony to me that the Book of Mormon is true and that we can find answers to our questions and concerns if we read it. 2-That is an example of true conversion. It wasn't just us giving M*** a commitment and then her following through with it. It was her really needing an answer, and her knowing where to go to find it. She received that revelation all on her own. It was so amazing. :) She is so special and I love getting to work with M****. :) 

Sister V (Ward Member)
The members here are amazing. Seriously they are so involved with the missionaries and are constantly looking for ways that they can serve us and help us. My ward has about 75 members that are active and that come every week and they are all so amazing. I loved getting to meet them Yesterday at church and being able to start forming friendships with them. :) There is a lot of less active work to be done out here, so we are focusing on helping them a lot right now. 

I have loved being out here and getting to serve these people. I have learned so much in the last week and I am so grateful for this amazing experience. I have learned more than ever how to completely rely on Heavenly Father. He loves all of us and is aware of us. I would not have been able to make it through this week with out His support and His love for me. I love getting to be a missionary and for this opportunity that I get to serve him more fully. :) 

Thank you for all the support and love from back home I appreciate it and cherish it more than you know. :) 

Love Sister Watts. :)
Selfie in the apartment