Mission

Serving in the Sydney North Australia Mission

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hot Taree!!

How I love coming to the Taree Library for emailing each Monday and opening up such loving and excited emails!  I am so jealous of all the snow!!  It is just getting hotter and hotter here!  I am not sure what percent humidity it is here but the past couples days have been around 30-38 degree's Celsius.  That is blazing hot but I hear that it gets up to 45+!!  So it is very hot but so nice because it doesn't make me miss Christmas or anything so that is a bonus.  I have been waiting for a few weeks for Elder Freitag to stop by and drop off the stuff!  I am so happy he did!  He was the missionary that picked me up from the airport when I got in Sydney.  He was the Assistant to the President.  I love him and can't wait to be able to meet up in two years with him.  Olivia and Joseph! I hope you like the small gifts.  It costs heaps here to send anything but a letter so I figured this would be one of the only chances to send something home.  I hope you aren't too upset getting such an early Birthday Present ;) haha.  I hope that the IPod wasn't too much to ask!  I really appreciate it.  Elder Imeson and I get along so well and love talking but we drive to Port and Coffs at least 2-3 times a month and that is a 3 and a half hour drive and then to Sydney is 4 and a half!  But it is very fun ha we think of good games and things like that to do haha.  I can’t believe Brett is stuck in the Philippines.  That would be so hard!  I swear I would start swimming or something!  
I wanted to answer a few of the questions you have asked me.  Hopefully this will help you kno what my life as a missionary is like.  Each day we leave the flat at about 10:00.  Sometimes 11:00 because I am doing a "new" missionary training program.  We do service quite often and try to do it in the mornings because it is literally too hot to do anything during the day.  For breakfast I am still trying to find something I enjoy haha.  Heavenly Father has blessed me with no problems with my acid reflex because we eat some pretty awful things at times haha.  For lunch if we don't have time to go to the flat we eat at Hungry Jacks or Maccas.  Dinners here traditionally are these interesting types of Sausages with mashed potatoes, corn, peas and some fizzi!!  Fizzi is Australian soda and it’s carbonated x 100!!  It knocks you out it is so carbonated haha  They do have sprite but it is too expensive so everyone drinks what they call lemonade, which is carbonated water and is awful! haha  We stay out doing missionary work until 9:00. If we have an appointment we are allowed to be out til 9:30.  They don't have any cinnamon here. No cinnamon gum:(  No caramel apple suckers.  The caramel they make here is NOT good at all so E. Imeson got his mom to send a few Caramel Suckers and we gave them out and people were drooling haha!  But they have really good chocolate - Cadbury and another brand.  We are hooked on this Cadbury bar that is pretty cheap so we get it every once in a while.  It has jelly beans and pop rocks in it :) It is so good!  People love soda and really any candy.  The candy is very different.  Cheap branded and some of it isn't good but every once in a while when we go to Coffs Harbour, they have a candy shop that imports American candy so we stop by there:)   I think that is all the questions... I hope I answered them alright I love questions tho so keep them coming:)

A follow up on the lady we gave the Book of Mormon to with the Postie.  Her name is Kelly and she has two little boys that both have ADHD and are hilarious!  They have so much energy and we love spending time with them.  She is a typical Aussie, a bit stubborn and doesn't know exactly what she wants, but she is accepting and every time we meet with her she agrees to what we want her to do and what we teach her.  She said she will be baptized when she feels it is right.  We are just working with her and teaching her so that is going well!  We actually mowed her lawn the first day we met her because she was stressing about it and worrying.  It was about 34 C. !!!  TOO HOT!! haha but it was good, her yard is huge! 

            This week was full of excitement and Miracles. President and Sister Howes came to church on Sunday and spoke to the Taree Branch.  It was awesome!  We had dinner the night before with them at the Sicilian, a pretty nice restaurant that is very popular.  They are amazing.  I really want you to know how loving and amazing they are.  President Howes is a GENIUS.  He is so smart and knows so much. You should see when he speaks and his trainings he gives.  It is unbelievable.  He spoke to the Branch and totally rebuked them! haha it was awesome.  He was like, "Look at all these empty seats! Why is that?" He went on in a very loving way but talking about missionary work and how we need to open our mouths and have the courage to spread the Gospel. It was very good. 

One thing on food we ate this week was.... CAMEL!!  We went to the butcher thinking we were going to get some Roo (Kangaroo) for cheap and try it cause every loves it here.  We ended up walking out with some camel!  It was on sale for 4.50!  We pulled off the stickers and the original price was 28 dollars!  Let me tell you, that was the most disgusting thing I have ever had in my life!!  I was sick all night and finally in the morning got over it! hahaha it was a bad deal, but very fun:) haha

We have been having many encounters with the Jehovah's Witness. They are lovely people but just so lost and don't understand the scriptures. That is one thing that I really studied the other day after having a conversation with one of the JW's. They tried to convince us that we would call our parents by their first names and that is how God is.  We all know Gods name is not Jehovah, that is Jesus Christ, and we know it is respectful to call him Heavenly Father.  I thought that was interesting looking into that.  I have my testimony strengthened each day.  But one thing that is fact, everything that any other religion argues or tries to tell us we are wrong, you can look it up in the scriptures and prove it!  I know that Heavenly Father has allowed other religions because not everyone in the world is going to join our church.  People need other Religions to keep the world going and to have some moral standards.  I wish that everyone in the world would convert to our Gospel but that is one thing that I have learned is that we have our agency and that is how it is.

Christmas here is amazing!!  Not very many people put up lights but those that do go FAR OUT!! I have some really cool pictures of houses decked out with lights and everything.  It doesn't feel like Christmas at all but I know it is there.  It is a weird concept to try and grasp.  If you want to look on google maps my address is 176 High Street, Taree, Australia.  We are flat 5, the light blue one:)  

This week we have training in Newcastle that we are driving down to in a few hours and then next week we have the Christmas training/celebration in Sydney!  We will be out of our area for a while but things are going so good.  I am loving it so much!  Each day I wake up and feel so lucky and thankful for this opportunity to serve a mission.  I have truly felt that I am on a mission and It scares me thinking about coming home, mainly getting back into the real world.  It is so wicked and corrupt.  It is so sad how Satan is ruining people’s lives and taking hold of kids at such young ages.

I love you all so much! Have an amazing week mates:) 

Love, Alex


Monday, November 11, 2013

Spiders, Crocs and Kangaroos!

Family!

How are you all!  I am so excited to come to good Ole Taree Library and read your emails with about 50 80+ Year olds around me:)  They truly help me so much and bring such happiness to my soul.  This week has been INCREDIBLE!!!  Joseph, there are massive spiders everywhere!  We did some service for a Less Active member the other day.  He won 1600 bricks off ebay for 100 dollars.  Yes we moved every single brick to his backyard.  But at the bottom of the bricks this massive Huntsman spider came out of the stack and we smashed it with a brick.  The spider was no smaller than a large mouse.  We have also run over a few 2 meter long Brown Snakes which are the most poisonous in our area and in the top 3 in Australia.  We went to this Koala park the other week and they have a Croc that is 4 meters long and weighs over 600 kilos!!!!  We got to see them feed him. It was awesome!!




My companion is AWESOME!  He loves dirtbikes, and just being outside.  We really do get along so well! He reminds me of Riley.  Sometimes I feel like I am out here with Riles preaching the Gospel.  My Flat is amazing.  It is probably the nicest Flat in the mission.  The last missionaries that were here several years ago had the worst Flat and so they really tried to get us a nice one.  But it is incredible and I love being able to go back to it each night and have such a great place.  Each day we eat really anything for lunch and tea or (Dinner).  People have tried to make American Hamburgers for us and it just doesn't work out hahaha  I for sure miss a good Hamburger!  But we have heaps of fruit and everyone always feeds us Sausages.  In Salt Lake we put Ranch on everything but in Australia it is BBQ sauce.  If you go to anyone's home they will always have the same bottle of BBQ sauce so that is funny and pretty good.  The food really isn't that different.  Just different brands and tastes a bit different.  It is good though!!  We actually have a car. We have been trying to get bikes to save k's but fleet never comes this far up cause we are in Taree, about 4.5 hours from Sydney. But it’s all good, things are great!

This week has been crazy busy and so much fun!  We had a really good lesson with the Turra family and committed them to be baptized. Joe had something happen in his life and he said that he had to be baptized in April.  We aren't exactly sure what it is but we do have them on date to be baptized in April! haha yes pretty far away but it will be good to really prepare them!  We also are going to baptized Samson this Saturday!!!  I am so excited and can't wait for it.  Something that happened this week that was a blessing for us was we found a new Investigator we are now teaching.  Her name is Tanya.  We were going to visit this Inactive member and we got to her door and she didn't answer but this lady across the street yelled to us and said she wasn't home and what not.  We said thanks and got back in the car.  I had the strongest feeling to go knock on this ladies door!  Unfortunately I felt like we needed to get to another appt so we didn't..  The next day it just kept hitting me to go to this ladies home.  We finally did. She has had a VERY rough life and especially the last little bit has been going through some hard things. She just broke down and started telling us all this stuff.  It was heart breaking to see someone so devastated about her kids and all these other things.  At the end of our conversation she said, "I know that God sent you two angels to come help me, Even though I feel like God doesn't think of me I feel like He has told me I am of some worth and that I need Help."  The spirit hit me so hard and I had tears running down my face.  I knew that this lady needed the Gospel and we are meant to help her in her life right now.  It was such an amazing experience.  We are now just working with her and she actually has 3 kids that we think will be good to start teaching too!  We are just trying to catch her on a good day because she has anxiety and bipolar attacks that are really bad and she loses it. We just pray every day that she will be alright and be able to pray and strengthen that relationship with heavenly father.

I know that Heavenly Father is Hastening his work right now, here in Taree.  It is incredible to be a part of it!  I see miracles every day that normally wouldn't be happening in this area!  We are slowly building the branch up and Less Active members are coming back!  It has been so dry here but the last two days it has poured rain!  It has been soo BEAUTIFUL!!  I am so grateful to have all your love and support and the wards as well. The members really are catching our vision and we are becoming united.  We will baptize each month.  Heavenly Father will provide a way.  Words can't describe how happy I am out here.  One thing that I have learned and I keep thinking about is how important families are. The love and the learning and growth a family can have is Incredible. These people out here are all having all sorts of problems and I am so happy to introduce them to the Gospel.

I know without a doubt that this church is true. I am so honored to be a Missionary at this amazing time. Thank you all for your love and prayers. I DO feel them every day and in times when I need them.

I love you all so much! Have an amazing week and be safe!! 

Love, Elder Watts


Here's a few pictures Sister Howe's sent to us after a Zone Conference in Coffs Harbour:







Monday, October 21, 2013

Taree, Australia!!!

Dear Family,
           
Australia is amazing!  It is so warm here!  It is spring time, almost summer and it is beautiful.  Every morning we wake up to hundreds of tropical birds flying around.  Kookaburra - Joseph that licorice you love, is the bird on the package and is the loudest most beautiful bird you’ve ever seen!. Cockatoo's also are so pretty and are everywhere!  The food is pretty normal to America.  They have Macca (McDonalds) Hungry Jacks (Burger King) and a few other places.  But we eat heaps of fruit!  It is so amazing here!  A traditional meal for tea (Dinner) is sausages, fruit, bread and hopefully nutella.  They also eat vegemite :( and then fruit drinks.  It really isn't too different from the U.S.  But really it is beautiful here and we are in the REAL Australia.  The City has heaps of ethnicity.  It is the Melting pot of the world.  Taree is a really nice town with about 20,000 people. Really nice shopping area's and places to go. It is also kind of in the  country.  We have Koala's and Kangaroo's haha they are so cool!  The people out here are real Aussie's. As real as they get so the accent is VERY strong.  I am starting to not even think about it anymore though it’s great!  One interesting thing here is that Australia closes down from 4-6pm.  Literally nothing is open during those hours.  Everyone goes home or something!  So at 6 o’clock when we are going to get dinner, all the shops and most gas stations are closed!  I thought that was pretty strange.

My companion and I are serving in a branch.  We have about 6 pages of members but on average about 20-35 people come.  The area we are covering has heaps of old people.  Everyone is old!!!! hahaha  We have some great friends that are these old Grannies and always call us and give us drinks and just chat with us. I love it haha

Our first day in the area we didn't have that much to do so we just started visiting less active members and got to know the area.  The second day we decided to fast because we needed investigators and people to teach.  That morning we fasted and prayed to find someone to teach and baptize.  We stopped by the Lewis family, a less active family with about 6 kids.  We got talking to the dad who is 6 foot 3, 330 pounds, massive beard, long hair to his back, and hadn't showered in weeks.  His BO was beyond belief.  He was the nicest/ strangest man I have ever met but he is great.  We sat outside and to our disadvantage the wind was coming right at us the whole time.  His BO for one hour was plowing into our noses!!!  But it was worth it because at the end he told us he has a son that is getting ready to be baptized.  He is 10 years old and "they hadn't gotten around to it" Crazy!!  How do you not get around to Baptizing your son!? haha  We met with the son (Samson) and are going to baptize him in the next month!  What a miracle!  The following day we met a family of three – Dad, Mom and daughter that are not members.  The Dad has read the Book Of Mormon 3 times and has been "waiting" for missionaries! So we have a Tea Appt with them tonight!  Heavenly Father has this area planned out for us and we just need to exercise our faith and he will deliver people for us to teach!

Last night we had Tea with the Smith Family.  The Smit’s are a husband and a wife around mom and dad’s age.  They have 4 kids that have served missions and gotten married and moved out. The dad has Huntington’s disease.  They are literally the nicest, most loving, hard working, dedicated couple in this Branch.  The Husband with this disease is so amazing.  He built his home which is beautiful.  It is on a 10 acre lot with the most amazing view.  The entire time we were eating I was just crying inside for him.  To go through life like that, not able to talk at all, shaking and making weird sounds, is awful.  My love for him was so strong and I told him we would rebuild his deck for him because he was looking for help. That night I prayed and cried for him. (Something I get from MOM!!)  But just knowing people go through these trials in life and can't express themselves or anything. My love for mentally challenged people has always been so strong and I can't wait for the Resurrection and when I can hug him and have a real conversation with him.  It just made me really think of how blessed I am.  My life is amazing and I have such amazing support.  He really inspired me and I really felt like our spirits connected.  I will always remember him and how I felt in their home.

Alright, one last fun thing we did this week.  To get away from sad but amazing experiences like the one I just told you about, we went to a hub market!  It was at this place kinda like the fairground in Farmington, just heaps and heaps of shops and stores of everything in the world.  Down about 50 shops was a table, with two white missionaries talking about the Gospel!  Hahahah yes that was us!  We set up an information booth with all this stuff!  It was pretty fun and we have some ideas for next month’s market.  It was a great way to just get out and have people see us and for us to talk to people. 

Everything here is going so well and we are working very hard!  The members love missionaries and especially the less actives!  

I just want you to know how much I love all of you and I think about you every day. I think of the things you are doing and pray for you daily!  Keep asking questions and things you want to know!  My Companion is the best.  He has 6 months left on his mission and is just like Riley.  It keeps me working hard and happy.  I love you guys so much!  Enjoy every minute you all have to be together and say hello to my Indy Girl and Sugar Bea!!

Have a great week and God be with you!!

Love, Elder Watts





Thursday, October 10, 2013

Australia!

We received the following letter from Alex's mission president:

Brother and Sister Watts


Elder Watts arrived in the Australia Sydney North Mission safely.  Thank you for entrusting him into our care for the time of his mission.  Sister Howes and I are mindful of the great trust you have placed in us by sharing your son with us.  When he arrived, we met him at the airport and took him to the mission office, where he was introduced to the office staff and some of the other missionaries.  This was then followed by lunch and orientation.  We will email a picture of your wonderful missionary with us.


Elder Watts' companion is Elder Imeson from the United States.  They will be serving in the Coffs Harbour Zone.


Please note that all mail is to be sent to the Australia Sydney North Mission Office:

Elder Watts  
PO Box 2723
Calingford Court 
NSW 2118, Australia


We are sending a map of the mission which you may want to keep so you can see where your missionary is serving at any time.  Our mission is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world.  I am aware that the Lord blesses the families of missionaries in many special ways.  As your son serves, you will find that to be very true.  Your support is greatly appreciated.  You may contact the mission president, should the need arise, at 2010151@ldschurch.org at any time.  Missionaries are allowed to send and receive email.  They check it at the local library on preparation day, which is usually Monday but can change depending on weekly circumstances.


Warmest Regards,


President Philip F. Howes
AUSTRALIA SYDNEY NORTH MISSION


Here are a few pictures the mission secretary sent us:





Saturday, October 5, 2013

Visa has arrived


Dear Family!!

What an amazing past week I have had! I don't know where to start! I guess to answer some questions quick…. I got one package with all the food!  So helpful Mom!!  Thank you!!  The Tiki Cup was awesome and a surprise haha

Today we got to go to the Salt Lake Temple.  It is so beautiful but I was so nervous I would run into people in SLC!!  I sat in the Celestial room and had the most mixed emotions of my life.  I remember sitting in the same room with Riley and mom.  So weird, but awesome!!  I have a really cool picture of me and Riley in front of the temple.  Now it is Elder Ramirez in Riles place haha.









Wednesday night I wrote in my journal, "I feel like I am going to get my visa soon."  The next morning I got a call from the mission office and they told me I had received my visa.  So amazing how the Lord had told me in my mind that I was leaving!  I leave Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 7:00pm.  I bought a calling card in the MTC, hopefully with enough time on it for the airport when I call. I will call you when I am in LA at about 9:30 pm.  Hopefully that all goes as planned but just be prepared for me to call at a random time in case I have a delay or something.  But I am so excited!!  A little nervous to go to a whole new area and meet all these new people but it will be awesome!  Everyone I talk to says Australia is amazing!


Yes I am sooo sad to leave!!  We have 6 baptisms in the next 4 weeks!!  People that would not even listen to the missionaries all of the sudden would and just crazy stories like that.

General Conference will be awesome!  Ralph works at the DI and said he got a new suite to look "fly" for General Conference.  I have a few people that I plan to keep in touch with when I return home in 2 years.  I can't wait for you all to meet Ralph and some others when I get home.  I really got so lucky to be able to go to the Temple and be at General Conference before I leave.

I have two really cool stories that happened about 1-2 days ago. We were riding our bikes down the street and this lady we passed yelled at us to come over.  She told us she has two little kids ages 1 and 2.  She is covered in tats and is a shorter half Hispanic woman.  We set up an appt. to go meet her and one of her friends.  Later that night we find out she is from west valley just needing to get away.  She skipped her BAPTISM date to move and asked us if she could be baptized!!  Does that happen??? NO!  So that was really cool and we are working with her and she is planning on being baptized next month.
Next story, Sunday night we meet with one of 5 Ward Mission Leaders. He tells us about this random lady who walks into the church and says that God told her to come here. We got her address and headed over a few hours later. Her name is Hazel and she has had a very, very rough life. She said the first time she didn't cry in the last 3 weeks was Sunday morning when she had this feeling to go to Church. It happened to be an LDS church.  She said she needs god in her life and we put her on date to be baptized! 2 miracles occur in 2 days!  What a blessing that is. I know all mission work doesn't just appear to us like that but in this case it did.

Thank you all for your emails and support! I couldn't do it without all of you!  It has truly been a blessing to serve in SLC and be able to develop the relationships that I have developed.  The Testimony I have gained and the knowledge that I have will be awesome to take to Australia and get to work.  I wouldn't change a second of the Mission or rather be home.  This is amazing and such a great opportunity I have.  I am having the time of my life and I am only In SLC!  Wait til Australia!! hahaha 

Thank you so much for everything.  I am looking forward to working hard this next week and leaving the mission with a lot of baptisms and the opportunity to share the Gospel.  I love you all more that you can imagine! Have an amazing week!!

Love, Alex

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pictures from SLC East Mission

Alex's email was short this week but he did send the following pictures:



This was taken in the MTC after his district had been re-assigned and he didn't know where he was going. 




Elder's Ramirez and Watts



Riding the bike!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Salt Lake City Mission!! Crazy!!!

Dear Family

Holy cow!!  Where to start?!?!  How are you guys?!  It is so good to get your emails and hear from all of you!  So I am serving in South Salt Lake and my area is like 200 East to 700 East and  from 2100 to 3300 South.  Pretty crazy but I love it!!  Yes, it really is the hood.  It is a scary place but so amazing at the same time.  My Trainer/Comp is Elder Ramirez!  He is from Santa Ana, California.  He honestly is so sweet!!  We get along so well and have a ton of fun!  The area we were assigned to was white washed!  Literally no info or anything good in the area books.  So we started basically from scratch.  The First day I got to Salt Lake we went down to Temple Square and did Extreme Contacting.  Every companionship in the district did it and whoever gave out the most Book of Mormons and pamphlets and cards won.  We got back really late and didn't even add up scores but it was so cool!!  We talked to some incredible people and their stories are unbelievable.  

We have met a lot of other people and have been teaching like crazy!  The first few days we were on foot and then we got bikes!!  haha it is so fun!!  My comp is kinda clueless on how to fix bikes and his bkie is always breaking.  He has run over a few nails so I have fixed his bike 5 times. We are back on foot cause the bikes aren’t' working too well.  Like really??  I am in Salt Lake City!  Crazy!  But it doesn't feel like it! The culture here is so different.  We are assigned to 5 different wards/branches - The Napoli ward, Spanish branch, Korean branch and English wards. So a lot of different Cultures here for sure!!  I really love it!!  My comp is fluent in Spanish and I understand some so we do a lot of teaching in Spanish!

         One experience I wanted to share with you happened when we were given a referral in an apartment complex.  We went to visit this guy and he didn't answer.  We were almost done for the day but I had a strong impression to just knock some doors.  We knocked a few and nothing.  The last door we knocked was a girl name Nadia.  She is 15, her dad is Islamic and lives in Portland and her mom is a less active member of the church.  We have been teaching her and things are going really well!!  At the start of our discussion she said she wanted nothing to do with religion and wasn't interested but now we are teaching her and working towards baptism.  Yes, she was our first lesson and my first time asking someone to be baptized.  It was so powerful!!  The way the lord works is unbelievable.  

We have another investigator named Ralph. He is 63 and black as black gets. He is from New Orleans.  I honestly love him so much.  We have a baptismal date set for Sept. 28th!  He said he would get baptized if god tells him that it is the right thing to do.  So pray for him and Nadia!  It is so cool for someone to have a prayer answered or to read the BoM and receive feelings of the spirit.  But yeah, the mission is serious stuff...  We are teaching a lot of investigators and really working on helping Less Active members get back to church.  We had to speak in church yesterday! haha  I hope it went well.  I had a couple hours to prepare a 20 minute talk. That’s what the mission is about I guess right?!  If guys are planning on going to general conference... Maybe don't.. I am bringing a couple investigators to the Saturday and Sunday session... It is up to you..


Here is my mission office address:

3487 S. 1300 E. 
Salt Lake City UT. 84106 

I really am doing soo good!!  I thought I would die here but I am loving it and just working really hard.  God has a plan for me here and I just need to work hard and find people that no one else would have found.  The church is true!  Joseph Smith restored the One and only true church to this earth.  God is our Loving Heavenly Father and cares for each and every one of us.  I love you all and will talk to you next week!!!

Love, Elder Watts



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Serving close to Home!

Alex found out over the weekend that he is being temporarily reassigned to the SLC East Mission.  He said he would be taking Front Runner to his new mission.  He wasn't kidding.  Below is a picture we received today taken at a Front Runner station with his new Mission President.  We don't know how long he will be in this mission and won't hear from him until Monday, his P-Day.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Still in the MTC... For a few more days.

Dear Family,

I hope you are doing well this week!!  I have had an awesome week full of good and not so good hahaha.   But it has been an awesome experience and I have grown so much!  Today or tomorrow I will find out if I get my visa or a temporary reassignment.  There are 13 missionaries going to Australia including me and my old comps.  Nine of them got reassigned because they didn’t get their Visa’s and four are still here (including me).  The Mission president told me I have a good chance to get my visa so that is why I wasn’t reassigned with the rest of my district. I don't want to get my hopes up though!!  I’ll email you as soon as I know anything.  It was really hard saying goodbye to my comps and my old District.  I literally love them so much!! They were awesome!

I actually don't have a companion right now haha.  I am staying in the same zone but a different district and I just kind of do my own thing as long as I am teaching classes or in class learning.  It has been cool cause I have learned a lot so now I get to teach new missionaries!!  I mainly stay with Elder Hendricks and Elder Eagleston. Elder Hendricks is a Character!  I love them though!!  They will be serving in the Nampa Idaho mission with Chris!!  Pretty cool. 




Elder Eagleston, Elder Watts & Elder Hendricks

Thanks for the packages mom. Everyone thinks I have like 5 Girlfriends sending me stuff!!  I just tell them my mom loves me and they say well my mom must not love me!! Haha.  One benefit of being here longer is I get to go to the temple for a second time!  We go every P day and it is such a cool experience!  I am so excited to go and be able to receive some answers and figure things out.  I can't believe how incredible this gospel is!  Something that I learned was that The Prophet, Quorum of the twelve, the Seventy, and Missionaries are the only people on earth to be able to invite anyone to be baptized and can carry it all the way through?!  This work is incredible.  The spirit I have been able to have with me is so awesome. 

Tuesday night we had a devotional with Neil L. Anderson!!  It was so good!  He gave an awesome talk.  He said that sometimes things can go wrong in the mission.  He told a really sad story about a Missionary that had bought this brand new bike and a brand new suite with his own money and it was really nice stuff.  This missionary was riding home on the second day in the field and crashed his bike, breaking the spokes and handle bars along with multiple holes in his suit.  When he walked his bike home and got in his apartment he couldn't find his watch so then ran to his desk drawer and his monthly rent was gone!  $1,300 DOLLARS!!  He lost all of that in one day!  The next day he served.  The message was about service and loving people even though you are going to have hard times.  It is so much easier said than done!!  But it is true.. Service brings the spirit and the light of Christ and can lift your burdens. 

I just want you to know how much I love all of you.  The Gospel blesses lives like you wouldn't believe!  God works in very interesting ways but it is for the better.  He knows each of us and has a plan for every one of us.  I know that to be true.  Hopefully I will be calling you all in the next few days!! I love you!! Have a great weekend!!

Love, Elder Watts

Shortly after we received this email from Alex we got the following message from him:


Hey I hope you get this email. I just got reassigned to Salt Lake City East.  Honestly not happy but I have the Lord on my side.  Leave for SLC next Tuesday 6:00 a.m.  I think I take FrontRunner hahaha.  I'll let you know more as soon as I know more.    





Monday, August 26, 2013

First Letter from the MTC

Alex has had a great experience in the MTC.  He has written us several letters and one email which is posted below.  He was put in a threesome with a companion from Wyoming and a companion from Idaho.  He loves his two companions and his district.  He was called to be the district leader on the day he arrived in the MTC.  

His first letter to us indicated he had received his Visa and travel plans and would be leaving the MTC on Monday, August 26th.  We were expecting him to be traveling today but we received an email over the weekend that said there was a mix up and he didn't receive his Visa yet.  At this point he will be in the MTC until Thursday, August 29th. We are not sure what will happen then.

Following is his first email from the MTC we received last Thursday:


Dear Family,

Hey everyone how is it going in Kaysville?!  The MTC is great!!  I am for sure excited to get out of here but I also love it and will miss my comps and the rest my district so much!!  I wish the food was better at times but for the most part it is pretty good. 

          We have been doing TRC training and what that is, is the MTC brings in volunteers from off the street for us to teach.  We had two investigators and I want to tell you about one of them.  His name is Jose and is from Guatemala.  He moved to the United States when he was 26.  He had a really rough childhood growing up and worked very hard.  We were teaching him the first lesson and finding things out about him.  He was asking us where God was when he needed him when he was a little boy.  It was really hard cause he seemed so sad.  We taught him God gives us weaknesses or challenges in life so we can become strong.  A scripture came to my mind (Ether 12:27) that I shared with him.  We finished that lesson and went about our day.  We challenged him to read the BOM and Pray to know God loves him and cares for him.  The next day we taught him again and at the end of the lesson he seemed really engaged but confused a little.  I talked with him for a sec and asked him to pray right now and ask if God is there and if he loves him.  He said the most beautiful sincere prayer I have ever heard.  He had hardly any knowledge of the gospel but had faith.  When he finished the prayer I looked at him with tears in my eyes and said we love you Jose.  He started crying and said he felt the love of God.  It was an awesome experience!  The Lord blessed me so much to be able to communicate with the spirit. 

       Mom, the packages are amazing!!!!  Like everyone in the MTC looks at me like I am a celebrity cause of all the packages I bring into my room hahaha!  So thank you!  

Olivia!! the drawings and notes you have sent me are hung up all around my room and desk!! Thanks so much! They help a lot and I feel loved! I love you!! Have fun in school!!  

Joseph!!  Jr. High Baby!!!!  Heck yeah!!!  You will love it and good luck!!  Thanks for the notes man! They mean a lot and I read them every night!  I love you booz!

But mom thanks so much for the packages and Dad thanks for the letters and your testimony! The articles you have sent me help so much and I read them a lot!!  If you could send me a few hangers that would be awesome and maybe my CTR ring if possible!!

I really can't describe how much I love all of you!  The support is unbelievable and I feel so special.  Thanks for everything Mom, Dad, Olivia, Joseph and Riley!  You guys are my hero's!!  Thank you, thank you, and thank you!!!!  The church is true!  I know it is.  With out a doubt in my heart.  I love this gospel and teaching it to others and am so blessed to be able to go to Australia!!  I will send a few pictures and describe them and hopefully call you guys in a few days!!  Love you all and can't wait to hear from you!!

Love, Elder Watts


Here are a few pictures Alex sent with his email:

Alex and his two companions



Alex and Dillon Yokum



Davis High Missionaries