Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Week 17 - Exact obedience and Defend your beliefs

McKenna sent us this video. She really loves the rain in LaPorte :)

We had the most incredible week this week. :) I really wish I had time to tell about all of the amazing things that we were able to see happen this week. We celebrate little victories every day. Awesome things are happening in our area. I love it. :) But because of time I think I will just share two experiences we were able to have this week.

This week we had to take our car into the shop to get some repairs done. So all day Wednesday and most of the day Thursday we didn't have a car. :) For most of where we needed to go we were ok to walk and if we couldn't walk we were super blessed with members who were willing to help us out. But Wednesday after mutual we didn't have a ride home.

After the run home
We figured out that we lived about 3 miles away from the chapel, and by the time we were able to get out of the church it was about 8:30p.m. Mission rules are that if you aren't teaching a lesson you need to be in your apartment by 9:00. :) We knew that we needed to go decently fast so we could get home on time. So we started running. :) We would run until we couldn't run anymore and the even then we would walk as fast as we could. We were carrying our bags and books that we needed to take home to our apartment and When we got about half way it started raining. Neither Sister Raccuia and I were wearing shoes that were made for running in the rain, so when we got home we both had sores and blisters. The whole time we were running home we sang as loud as we could. :) We found a lot of strength and motivation in some of our very favorite hymns. We sang "I Believe in Christ", "I know my Redeemer lives", "Count your blessings" and "I stand all amazed." It was one of my very favorite moments so far on my mission. :) running down the street bearing my testimony through some of my most favorite songs. We were totally determined to be exactly obedient, and I believe that it was an absolute miracle but we walked in the door to our apartment at EXACTLY 9:00!! Sister Raccuia and I were so unbelievably happy. :) We jumped up and down, soaking wet, sore, beyond excited, and so grateful. It is literally a miracle that we got home at exactly 9:00. We did everything that we could do and tried our absolute hardest to be exactly obedient and I know that Heavenly Father absolutely helped us.

I had another really interesting experience this week that I have thought about a lot. We were teaching a less active member in our ward who is going through a lot of really hard things right now. We felt that for our lesson we should talk about the Book of Mormon and how much we loved it. I bore my testimony about how I have come to know the Book of Mormon is true and how much I absolutely cherish the book.
Sister Raccuia and I both felt the spirit so strong in that lesson and we felt like it was going really well. But as soon as we finished talking she immediately starting bashing the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, the church as a whole, and then my own personal testimony. She told me many reasons why my testimony was false and why all the things that I love with all my heart are fake. I have never felt so attacked, little and heartbroken in my whole life. But immediately the words from Elder Holland came into my mind "Be strong. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them." So with the biggest smile. I could muster I told her that I respected what she had said and that I loved her, but that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and that I had a testimony of my own. We ended the lesson and she left. I was heartbroken for her, but I found comfort in the fact that we had done everything that we possibly could have done.

I feel like the lesson that I have learned this week is that I absolutely beyond any shadow of a doubt KNOW that I have a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and that I WANT to be serving as a missionary. I WANT to run home in the rain, I WANT to go tracting, and I WANT to be a missionary because I love the gospel with all of my heart. I know that these things are true not because I have been told them all my life, but because I have had powerful and real experiences that have solidified my testimony and have helped me come to know these things for myself. I love the gospel and I love my mission. :) I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to serve and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Carried Christ one whole day

I love you all so much and I am so grateful for all of your prayers and support. :) I appreciate it SO much. I LOVE YOU.

Love, Sister Watts. :)

p.s. fireflies are real

The District

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Week 16 - Cruise Night and Priesthood blessings

Ariyanna's Baptism 
We had the most incredible week this week. :) We worked super hard, we had a blast and a half, and we saw some incredible miracles happen this week. 

We started the week off with an absolutely incredible Zone Conference. :) I love Zone Conferences. They are always so powerful and are the best recharges in the world. The whole conference was on being obedient to the promptings that come from the spirit. A big portion of the meeting was just missionaries sharing experiences where they followed what the spirit prompted them to do and then the miracles and blessings that came because they were obedient. :) It was so powerful and just an absolutely incredible meeting. I learned so much and Sister Raccuia and I have been trying super hard to apply what we learned and the things that we felt we can improve on into our area and it has helped us so much this week. :)  

Cute Sign
We had the funnest experience this week. :) We were driving down main street in LaPorte and there were people outside? LaPorte is honestly so tiny that there usually is not a whole lot of people outside doing things. So we were super excited to see people outside so we jumped on the opportunity to talk to people and parked our car and went out and started talking to people. :) I guess once a month LaPorte has this thing called "Cruise Night" where they close down main street and a bunch of really old cars basically put on a super cool parade. TONS of people come out and set up blankets and chairs and just hang out with their families, they play really old music and just drive these rad cars down the street for a few hours. We left before the actual thing started, but we were able to talk to a bunch of people. :) We met tons of people who have never seen missionaries before and who were way excited about the message that we have to share. We met the cutest pair of twins who have literally done everything together since day 1. They are about 50 years old and are just joined at the hip. :) They said that one of their favorite things to do is to read Christian books together so we gave them our favorite Christian book (The Book of Mormon) and told them why we loved it so much and testified of how it is the best written testimony that we have of Jesus Christ. :) We invited them to read it and they said they would. They really seemed so excited to read it. We met the coolest guy while we were out walking down the street. :) His name was J*****. He is about 60 years old and was just so excited when we started talking to him. He is the definition of a family man and you could just tell that he loves his family with all of his heart! He got really emotional when we was telling us how special his family is to him. Sister Raccuia bore the most tender testimony about how families can be together forever. He was so excited about that. We are going to go over this week hopefully and get to talk to him again. :) He is one of the sweetest old men ever. We found a lot more people and were able to talk to some really amazing people, it was so much fun. :) 

Phillips Family
So. :) We went on a fun little adventure Saturday morning. Most Saturday Mornings we go to a Farmers Market in Chesterton, which is where the Sisters in our District are serving, and we go and talk to people and try to find people who are ready to hear the Gospel. So we got down there this week and when we got there we called the sisters to find out where they were so we could meet up, but we found out that they were sick. :/ We couldn't be out of our area without them, so we had to leave. Sister Raccuia was wanting a blessing so we decided that we would go and meet up with the Zone leaders so they could give her a blessing. :) We had really good intentions in telling the Zone leaders that we would be about 5 minutes away, but somehow we got SO lost. Oh man, we were seriously all over the place. We drove forever trying to find the Elders. It was super stressful at the moment but something that is so funny now. :) We probably drove for about an hour. When we finally got there we were able to have one of the most incredible experiences ever. We were decently stressed out because of our little adventure, but as soon as those Elders started the blessing the spirit INSTANTLY flooded the room and there was an unmistakable calm that came so powerfully. It was amazing. The peace that was immediately felt was so profound. :) We met with M**** earlier this week and had a pretty similar experience. She was struggling a lot and gave us a pretty long list why she was stressed and not happy, so we offered her a blessing. :) A few hours later we were able to go over there with a member and he was able to give her a blessing. Almost the exact same thing happened. Right when he started the blessing the spirit was incredibly strong. I love the priesthood so much and I am so grateful for it. I feel so blessed to have been able to grow up in a home where the Priesthood was always there and we always knew that we could find comfort in the Priesthood. I have been so grateful since I left and especially this last week with Fathers day for my incredible dad who was always such an amazing example to us of a man who respects and honors his Priesthood responsibilities. I just wanted to say Happy Fathers day to all of the men who mean so much to me and who have been such incredible examples to me. :) 

Thank you so much for everything you guys are doing. I love you so much and I am so grateful for your prayers and your support. They mean more to me than I could ever say. :) I LOVE YOU.

Make a great week. :)

Love, Sister Watts 

Sister Paulson's temple recommend

Playing in the rain
Brother Magglio's Work
No really...come inside

Monday, June 9, 2014

Week 15 - The Holy Ghost teaches & planning a parade

Hello Everyone. :) 

Beautiful Indiana sunset
We had a really fun and amazing week. I am loving what I am doing and I feel so grateful for this opportunity that I have to be a missionary. I love it so much. :) Like usual we got to see so many miracles and blessings this week and we have incredible experiences all the time. :) 

We had some really amazing lessons this week! We got to meet with M**** and it was so neat. I was so impressed! M**** has not had a car for the past two weeks, so when we meet with him we have to meet somewhere close to his house so that he can walk to or ride his bike. So on Friday we had a lesson with him in a members home and in order for him to get to there he had to run for about 35 minutes! He was running a little bit behind all day so in order for him to be on time for the lesson he had to run as fast as he could to get to the Johnstons home. He was pretty wiped out when he got to the Johnstons but we were so amazed at his dilligence. :) We were able to feel the spirit so strong while we read the Book of Mormon with him and had a really neat discussion. He is starting to love the Book and he is just throwing himself into it. Its so much fun. :) The thing that I am the most amazed with about M**** is his willingness to learn and his excitement about the gospel. Instead of just saying that our lesson was too far away, or canceling on us because he was a little bit late he hightailed it out of his apartment and ran as fast as he could all the way to the appointment. :) It is so fun to see someone who is so anxious about learning and so excited about feeling the spirit of the Book of Mormon!

We got news this week that a recent convert named Kayla has recently moved into our ward. She tracked down our phone number and was so excited to call us and have us come over and meet with her. :) So we scheduled an appointment where we could meet her at the library. We went over there and she pretty much ran up to us and said "Hi. Im Kayla. I have a friend here who wants to meet with you." So we walked into the library and went in to this conference room where she introduced us to C****. She had only met C**** a few days before that and had mentioned to him that she would be meeting with the missionaries in a few days and she asked him if he would ever be interested in meeting us! :) C**** had a lot of questions about the church, so we answered them the best that we could and were able to teach him about the restoration of the Gospel. We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and we invited him to read it and he said that he would!! He came to church on Sunday and he ended up staying for the whole three hours, which was amazing. :) We were so excited about it! He has been reading a lot and he said that he really likes the Book of Mormon. C**** doesn't live in our Ward boundary, so we will have to move have other missionaries take it over from here, but he is so amazing! Its really incredible how so many people are so prepared and ready to hear the gospel. We just have to invite and then miracles happen. :) 

My favorite thing that happened this week was probably our lesson with K****. :) We got a text from her one night that said "I am so sad, but I just don't think that this whole LDS thing is for me." Ahh man. I was so heartbroken! We were so bummed to get that text! As soon as we could we said a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to help us know what we should do so that we could help her the best that we could. We decided that we would go and see her the next day and just ask her what her concerns were and to talk to her about what questions she had. We prayed so hard that she would be able to remember the special experiences she has had and that we would know what we should say. We went in and were talking to her and everything was so good. :) We love her so much and it was just fun to get to be with her. :) We started talking about the questions that she had and the things that were worrying her. We ended up talking to her about the moments where she had felt the spirit and where she had known that the path that she was on was the path that Heavenly Father wanted her to be on. We talked about the time when she came to church and felt so good that after the meeting she said "I don't want to leave" because she was feeling the spirit so strong. :) When we started talking to her about these special moments she has had with the spirit she was able to find the courage to continue on this path. It really is amazing to me how incredible the Holy Ghost is. I could not have convinced her to continue wanting to learn but the Holy Ghost can and does all the time. He is the real teacher and the one who touches the hearts of these sweet people that we get to interact with and love. :) I love more than anything getting to be an instrument in Gods hands in this amazing process. I love it.

One of the things that we are most excited about is that we are going to be in the 4th of July Parade! Sister Raccuia and I were talking one night about how we could most effectively use the 4th of July as a finding opportunity to find those people who are ready to hear the gospel. So we were brainstorming different things. We started talking about how cool it would be for the stake to get to put together a float and have primary kids and ward members singing primary songs in the float and have the missionaries walk in the parade and hand out pass along cards, mormon.org cards and candy. We were so excited!! But it was 10:31 so we had to turn the lights off and go to bed. :) The next morning we called President Woodbury, The stake President, the city and got everything approved and now, we are going to be in the parade. :) Sister Raccuia and I are so stinking excited. Its going to take a lot of work, but we are hoping that it will be a successful finding opportunity. LaPorte actually becomes the capitol of Indiana on the 4th of July because so many people come to the parade. :) SO we are super stoked. Pray that everything goes well ok?

I love you all so much and I am so so grateful for all of your prayers and thoughts. :) Thank you so much for everything that you are doing.

Love, Sister Watts 

Maglio's huge dog
Sister D's 99th birthday

With Melissa's Mom

Monday, June 2, 2014

Week 14 - BLESSINGS :)

Sister Raccuia and Sister Watts
We had a really fun week this week. :) I am absolutely loving getting to serve with Sister Raccuia. We laugh a ton and just have a ball while we are out doing missionary things. It is so much fun. :) We were able to teach a bunch of lessons this week which was way fun!

We had a really amazing lesson with M**** this week. He is doing so awesome and is starting to really love the Book of Mormon. :) He is reading it a lot on his own and is loving when we get to read it together. It's amazing to me how strong the spirit instantly is as soon as you open the Book of Mormon. We had an awesome talk about how God is the same forever. And We both felt like a lot of things clicked for M**** during our lesson. After the lesson we were driving away and M**** texted us and said "That was a great lesson today sisters, I learned a lot." :) haha it's not very often that your investigators let you know that you are doing a good job, but it was super nice of him and just a great little boost.

We were super super blessed this week and we are starting to teach two people temple prep. :) There isn't anyone in the ward who has been called to teach it so we volunteered and it has been so amazing.
Sister Raccuia and I absolutely love the temple with everything that we are, so to be helping these sweet people as they are preparing to go to the temple is one of the biggest blessings in the world. I am so grateful for the temple in my life and I can't even imagine not having those blessings. Sister Paulson and Sister Ames will both be going through the temple really soon. 

I think one of the biggest miracles I have seen since I have been on my mission is in the Paulson family.When we first started visiting Sister Paulson we were just going over for her and she has just totally caught fire and has been so excited about everything that we have been talking to her about and inviting her to do and she is DOING it. Because of her example her son was baptized a few months ago, her whole family is coming to church, and her husband is talking about going to the temple for himself, they have a goal to be sealed together forever has a family. :) Words don't even describe how happy I am to see their family grow so much in the gospel and come so close together. Sister Paulson's example has had the most profound ripple effect on her family and it has been beyond incredible to see. :) Heavenly Father really blesses us so much when we do what he asks.

Funny story of the week. :) For some reason the drivers side door in our car doesn't want to open anymore. It will open from the outside, but it wont open from the inside at all. So for a while I was just climbing over the middle compartment and was crawling out through Sister Raccuias door. :) It was always super funny and super dorky but way fun. We had the Elders look at it at district meeting and they told us that there was nothing they could do for us.  They laughed super hard when we told them how I have been getting out of the car lately. :) They told me that it would be way easier if I just rolled down the window and opened it from the outside every time. BRILLIANT.
Haha I dont know why I never thought about that but Its a whole lot easier getting out that way. :)

I really love getting to serve. I am finding so much joy in getting to serve my Heavenly Father
Gift to neighbor

with everything that I am and getting to wear the name of my savior every day. I had a special moment this week when we were at dinner with the Scroggins. We invited them to pray and fast about someone that they could invite to learn more about the gospel, after they accepted our invitation and said that they would do it we were able to promise them blessings. :) We promised them that they would be able to feel more joy and happiness, that the spirit would be more present in their home, and that their family would be more unified. The spirit was crazy strong and I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that those blessings that we promised them did not come from us it came from our Heavenly Father. :) with tears in her eyes Sister Scroggin said "that's exactly what we want." :) It's incredible to me how willing our Father in Heaven is to bless us. If we just do what he asks of us he will ALWAYS bless us more than we could ever comprehend.

I love this so much, I'm happy. :)

Love Sister Watts. :)

Brother Yocum
Staining Brother Yocum's porch