Monday, May 25, 2015


¡Saludos de . . .


That's right, I have been transferred across the border. I am now working in the beautiful city of Oberá in Misiones, Argentina. Fun fact: Oberá is a Guaraní word meaning "brilliant."

Obera, Argentina
This is the Cathedral of Oberá. It's great because we can see it from anywhere in the city, so we're never lost.
My new companion is Hermana Monsivais. She is from Saltillo, Cuahuila, Mexico. Fun Fact: my dad served as a missionary there. Isn't she beautiful?
Hna Watts y Hna Monsivais
Saying goodbye to Encarnación was super hard. This is Rosi, one of my investigators. When I went to say goodbye to her, she told me, "I just feel like we were friends a long time before we met."
Hermana Watts y Rosi
But I'm excited to start a new chapter in Oberá. My companion and I are doing what missionaries call "whitewash" - which means we arrived in the area at the same time without knowing anything. There is a set of elders who also work in the city, but one of them is fresh-out-of-the-MTC new, so they didn't get here until a day after we did. The sisters who were here before had left all the information about investigators and members in the area with the elders, so for the first twenty-four hours or so, we just wandered around lost. To top it off, we don't have a phone. The office elders were supposed to give us a new one, but it hasn't arrived yet...

But I'm grateful for the challenge. For all the lack of resources, we have truly seen miracles in this area. The members are very warm and receptive and eager to help in any way they can in the obra misional. It makes a world of difference to have the support of the members! We have found several golden investigators with the help of the notes from the previous sisters, the members, and the elders in our area. There is a palpable feeling of unity in the branch, and it's beautiful.

¡Les quiero muchísimo!

Hermana Watts

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Glimpse of Heaven

I want to share one brief experience I had this week. We were visiting a family we had contacted on the street. It was our first time meeting with the mother, and she was quick to inform us that they were very Catholic. Igual, they were happy to invite us into their home and share a little of the palabra de Dios. They had a beautiful family, with father, mother, two sons, and two daughters, and there was a feeling of unity in their home - we could tell they loved each other very much. So we started talking about eternal families and used that to transition into the message of the Restoration of the Gospel.

There came a moment in the lesson when I opened my mouth to speak, and the words I was going to say disappeared from my mind. I paused for a moment and offered a silent prayer that the Spirit would direct my words. After what was really only a brief moment of silence (perhaps a second or two), I began to speak. I taught about the priesthood power and authority to bind families on earth as well as in heaven. I testified that that power is once again on the earth, that through this power, families can be together forever. When I finished speaking, the mother looked at me and said, "Me gusta eso mucho. Me hace sentir una paz escuchar su voz tan suave!" ("I really like that. It makes me feel peace to listen to your soft voice!")

The peace that this mother felt had nothing to do with the tone of my voice. She felt the Spirit testify that my words were true. Families can be together forever!

The best part of being a missionary is that there are moments when - if only for an instant - we seem to slip out of this mortal sphere and catch a glimpse of the glory that awaits us.

Have you caught a glimpse of heaven this week?

Hermana Watts

Q & A

1. You've mentioned how there are a lot of little shops there. Are there any larger supermarkets? Anything American like Walmart?

The closest thing to Walmart here in Encarnación is called Super Seis and it's basically the same thing just with different products. A little smaller than Walmart - maybe it would be more closely related to a Smith's or Raley's. There are also several smaller supermarket chains around the city - we usually shop at one called La Familia Villalba because it's the closest to our pension.

2. What about shopping malls or movie theaters? Have you seen anything like that?

Shopping malls exist, I think, but I've never been to one. Movie theaters also exist here. I think there are two in Encarnación. I know there is one that we often pass on the way to Rama 1.

3. Do kids wear uniforms to school like they did in Mexico? 

Yes they do. I was explaining to someone that in the United States students don't use uniforms, and he looked at me weird and asked, "How do you know if they're students if they don't wear uniforms?"

4. Do you know anything about the schools there - like what time the school day begins and ends or when they get out for summer vacation?

I know the school day is divided. I'm not really sure how the system works, but there are some students who go during the morning and some students who go during the afternoon. I don't know if their school day is shorter than ours or how that works or anything, but other than that, vacations seem to be about the same as for the United States - only summer is during December, January, and February instead of June, July, August. They started school in February or March.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Families are Forever

 ​Saludos de Paraguay! 

I loved talking to my family yesterday, and I loved getting back to work once we hung up the phone. Last night, we had a beautiful experience. I don't know if you remember the taxi driver I mentioned several weeks ago who was listening to the Book of Mormon audiobook in his taxi? His name is Juan. We visited his family last night. We pass by their house frequently because some of his daughters are less active and he has a niece living with him who is not a member yet (we're working with her), so we always feel like time spent with them is worthwhile. 

Last night we went with a member in the branch with hopes of talking to his niece. His wife, Timotea (who has more faith than anyone I have met), welcomed us warmly and invited us to sit down. She gathered her family, and although the niece wasn't home, we were pleasantly surprised to find that Juan was home. He had felt impressed to end work early and come home that night. 

Bear in mind, we visit this family on average at least 2-3 times a week. In the entire time I've been here, I have found Juan at home maybe 5 times, and never have I been able to sit down and share a message with him. 

We all gathered together, Timotea, her daughters and son, her nephew, our member friend, and Juan. And we talked about God's plan for his families. The Spirit was present as we testified that families can be forever. 

I love my family, and I feel that I have been exceedingly blessed to have been born, as Nephi of old, to goodly parents. I am so grateful for the hope and confidence I have that there is no power on earth that can break the bonds that bind my family together. That is why I left them and travelled 6000 miles - so that other families can experience the joy I feel. I want everyone to have this hope that I have. 

Hermana Watts 

Q & A

1. Have you had any experiences where you were fearful for your safety?

I don't really get scared. Nervous, occasionally, but I have faith that my Heavenly Father is watching over me. That being said, I would say that the terminal is definitely a scary place to be at night. When we went to Asunción, we left at like 11 at night, and there was a drunk guy that wouldn't stop bothering us. I wasn't really scared, because we were there with several elders, but it did make me a little nervous. Really, though, there's nothing to worry about.

2. Have there been times where you've had to go without electricity, or hot water, or water in general, or something else that we generally take for granted?

The power went out once when we were in a lesson with a less active family, but other than that, we generally have everything we need. Our shower's funny because in the summer it seemed that it only had two settings: ice cold and heat-of-a-thousand-suns. But now that the weather's cooling off, the heat-of-a-thousand-suns has calmed to barely-lukewarm. Weird. But I'm always grateful to be clean, so I just grit my teeth and deal with it.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Adventures in Paraguay

Hola familia!

Do I have a story for you! You are going to die laughing by the time I finish it. Unless you're related to me, and then you might just die of embarrassment. Because this is pretty embarrassing.

Saturday night we returned home at 9:00 like the good little missionaries we are. I reached into my bag for the keys to unlock the door and couldn't find them. After rummaging through my bag for a good five minutes, I determined that the keys were not there. Mildly distressed but not yet panicked, my companion and I thought back through the day to the last time we had had the keys: just two hours previously when we had stopped for a brief bathroom break at the church. I had locked the church and could distinctly remember putting the keys in my bag. But now they were not there. They must have fallen out somewhere along the way. We ran to check all the places we had visited in those two hours (fortunately we had been working in an area close to the pension). No luck. The keys were nowhere to be found.

And then, as if things weren't bad enough, it started to rain.

Huddled under a single umbrella, we made a mad dash for our pension to at least wait in the doorway out of the rain while we figured out what to do. It's now 9:30, we're cold, wet, and tired, and we can't get into our pension. (On top of that, I was in the process of getting over a head cold.) We called the district leaders to explain the situation and ask for advice. "Have you talked to the owner? He should have keys." Why didn't we think of that in the first place?

And so we rang the doorbell for the dueño, who lives just down the hall from us. He came and let us into the building, but he didn't have the keys to the pension. Well, at least we were inside....

We called the elders again. "Maybe we should just stay the night with the sisters in Rama 1?" (about a ten minute taxi ride away). "No, you'd better call a locksmith." So we went to the owner and got the number for a locksmith. "Can you come open the door for us?" we pleaded.

"Yes, I'll be there in half an hour. Or an hour and a half. Whenever the rain lets up," he said. Well, that's helpful. We called the elders again, and they were appalled. "We'll find a different locksmith," they promised. After a little while, they called back. "We called the branch president, and he called a locksmith, and it was the same one you talked to. But he said he'll come now!"

Not too long after that, the locksmith showed up and let us into our apartment. But in order to do so, he had to destroy the lock on our door, and wasn't able to come replace it until today. So we went two nights without being able to lock our door. Fortunately, God protects His missionaries and nothing happened. We slept very soundly.

But the story doesn't end there. Wait till you hear this...

The next morning after this whole fiasco was Sunday. I was sitting in Relief Society with my bag on my lap when they called on me to say the prayer. As I stood up, my bag shifted, and - guess what fell out.

That's right, the keys. They were in my bag the whole time. (I promise I searched the bag like 10 times - I even had my companion look through it!) ¡Qué vergüenza!

I was thinking about it, and I think there's a great metaphor here. I think of the Jews who were looking for the prophesied Messiah. They looked and looked and were so sure they knew what they were looking for that when the Messiah actually came and walked and taught in their midst they couldn't recognize Him. And I feel like sometimes we are in danger of the same thing. Perhaps sometimes we look and look and look so hard for God that we overlook His hand in our lives. Do we recognize His hand in our lives?

Let us be careful not to overlook the tender mercies of our Lord in our lives. Let us be grateful for the blessings He pours upon us abundantly.

All my love,
Hermana Watts