Monday, February 29, 2016

fotos :)

First:  Noche de Rama (Branch Night) activity - learning how to paint nails.  (The men played soccer)

Second:  banana pancakes for our collaboration meeting with our branch mission leader in the home of Teresa because she is just awesome
 (Our branch mission leader is named David Legal.  And he's a lawyer.  No joke.)

Yeah, she's my favorite :)
How was Elder Bednar?  (We heard last week that he would be speaking to the missionaries in her area, as well as the surrounding missions, via satellite).

OH! Elder Bednar was incredible! He is my favorite apostle! (I say that now, but when Gen. Conference comes around they're all my favorite.) But we learned so much from him! I think that we learned more from his example, because he taught us as if he were the missionary and we were the investigators, than from what he actually said. For me, kind of the theme of the meeting was to learn as agents. As children of God, we are endowed with power to act, not to be acted upon. For example, when we study the scriptures, are we reading just to know what they say and fill our heads with information, or are we actively seeking revelation and inspiration, answers to the questions in our soul? And when we teach, do we invite the people we teach to become active learners, or do we treat them as objects, trying to fill their heads with information? He commented that one of the foolish traditions of the church is to play "guess what's in my head" - a game where the teacher asks questions looking for specific answers and the student tries desperately to guess what the teacher is looking for. When Elder Bednar taught us, he asked us several questions and had mikes running around the chapel so that the missionaries could respond to his questions. And none of his questions was looking for a specific answer. (For example, he had assigned us some reading, and he asked us what we learned from the reading. He wasn't looking for a specific theme from the talks we read or a key phrase or anything, he just wanted to know what we had learned.) So my companion and I are now working on teaching investigators as agents to act and not as objects to be acted upon.

Monday, February 22, 2016

We need to talk . . .

So we're planning Thursday night and we realize that we haven't found any new investigators all week and it's already Thursday! And we feel a little bad, so we schedule in an hour to look for people who are prepared to hear our message.

On an unrelated note, we also make plans to visit an active sister in our branch who lives in the area we plan to work in. We call ahead to see if that's okay with her, and she says, "Yes, please do stop by! I need to talk to you."

I don't know if you've noticed, but sometimes when people say, "I need to talk to you," it's kind of scary because you don't know what they want to talk about and you're afraid you've done something wrong and they're just going to chew you out. . . So we say a prayer before visiting the sister that everything will be fine.

We get to her house, and she says, "Hermanas, I have a cousin who is very sick. She wants to come to church. She lives in kilometer 28. Would you like to visit her with me right now?"

And we say, "Sure!" because we are very relieved that it was something good that she needed to talk about and not something bad.

So we all pile in her car and her husband drives us out to kilometer 28, which is farther than I have ever gone before (the farthest being km 24). And we meet Lilian and her nine children, Liz (15), Yenifer (14), Rosana (12), Daniela (11), Belen (8), Luana (7), Celso (5), Fiorela (3), and Maximiliano (1.5). Lilian is very sick as a result of an operation she had about four months ago, but her children take good care of her.

Except for the little ones, everyone participated in the lesson. We taught them about God's Plan of Happiness. We talked about the purpose of our life on earth and how our trials help us to learn and grow. And on Sunday, Lilian and Yenifer both came to church.

Thus we see that God answers the righteous prayers of His children, and when we do our part, He does the rest to lead us to those people who need our help, who are prepared to learn about His gospel.

Hermana Watts

p.s. We made no-bake cookies this week (thanks for the recipe Mom!) and played UNO with the other sisters. Lots of fun! (We also made banana bread but I forgot to take a picture. . . it was gone too fast)

Monday, February 15, 2016

In God We Trust

My companion and I had a thought-provoking conversation the other day about trust. What does it mean to trust in someone? Who do you trust? Why do you trust those people? I thought about the people I trust most in this world - Mom, Dad, my mission president. . . . and I laughed because I trust each of them in different ways. I trust my mom for somethings and my dad for others. (Like, I don't know if I could trust my dad to help me find cute clothes at the mall - Sorry Dad!) There are some things I discuss with my mission president that I don't talk about with my parents, like the needs of investigators. We talked about what it means to trust someone - maybe you tell them all your secrets, or you always go to that person for advice. And why do we trust those people? Because we know that they really have our best interests at heart.

It was funny, as we talked about trust and defined it in different ways, different people came to my head. But in the end, we realized that no matter how we tried to define trust, there was always one person who fit the description: our Heavenly Father. He knows all our secrets, and He will always give us good advice. He always has our best interests at heart. No one will take care of us better than He will.

We were able to share a few of those thoughts with our investigator Ana, who has been facing a lot of trials in her life and in her family. The most recent began Saturday night, when her boyfriend came down with a fever. Sunday morning we passed by to see if they were ready to come to church and found him in a very bad state. (Yes, he has dengue.) He tried to participate in the lesson and lasted maybe five minutes before he had to go lie down. So they couldn't come to church this week, and he can't go to work until he gets better, and with that and everything else that's been going on, we can tell that their family is getting a little discouraged. But we talked to Ana about trusting in God and learning from our trials, and she has so much faith. "I guess it could be a lot worse," she says. "I try to look on the bright side of things."

When we put our trust in God, He will help us through whatever difficulty life throws at us. He will never let us fall. He loves us!

Hermana Watts​

Monday, February 8, 2016


​This has been a week of miracles. And a little bit of heartbreak, but mostly miracles. We are so grateful to be healthy and back to work!

Do you remember Norma, the lady with the groceries from a few weeks ago? She is just wonderful! We went to visit her twice this week. The first time, we found her niece, Alicia, who is staying with her for the summer. She reproached us for not visiting in so long. (Sorry, we had dengue.) We taught her and Norma about the plan of salvation, and they ate it up! By the end of the lesson, they had committed to come to church, as long as there wasn't a huge rainstorm. We went back again on Saturday, and Norma's son and nephew were out front drinking terere. We sat down with Norma and chatted for a few minutes, but when it came time to begin the lesson, she stopped us to call the boys over. They all participated in the lesson and agreed to come to church with us. We made plans to be waiting for them when they got off the bus so they wouldn't get lost, and we prayed that it wouldn't rain. Saturday night, we became worried when dark storm clouds began to gather, but we just prayed harder and Sunday dawned bright and sunny - a tender mercy of the Lord.

But during our morning studies, we received a text message from Norma. She apologized and explained that she wouldn't be able to come to church because she wanted to avoid problems in her home. (Her husband is not a fan of the church.) Despite our best efforts to convince her otherwise, she wasn't able to come. But I have confidence that this faithful woman will find a way!

Funny story: Norma and her husband, despite having lived together for some 20-odd years, are not married. But she told us that she has commissioned a friend to make her wedding dress. She wants it to be a surprise for her husband. "O se case conmigo o se va," she told us (either he marries me or he goes). She is incredible!

I hope you are seeing the tender mercies of the Lord in your lives.

Hermana Watts

p.s. Missionaries being silly :)
This was to remind me to print off my Mom's banana bread recipe - it's backwards so I can read it when I look in the mirror.  Can't forget something important like banana bread!
We made banana pancakes and ate them with maple syrup, chocolate syrup, and peanut butter.  So worth it.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Free At Last!

Six blood analyses and one priesthood blessing later, I am finally free from dengue. This morning the doctors gave me the go-ahead to get back to work. Yay!

I can say that I have seen many tender mercies of the Lord during this illness. My companion and I have had a LOT of time to get to know each other, and we are more unified than ever. Hermana Martinez is wonderful!

I think the most frustrating thing (which was also a blessing) was that I didn't really feel many symptoms of dengue. I didn't get a bloody nose or cough up blood, I didn't have a super high fever, and I didn't experience severe muscle pains. I just felt really tired all the time, and the first few days I did have a mild fever. The thing with dengue is it makes your blood platelets drop dangerously - and if they drop too low you have to be hospitalized. And no matter what we tried, my platelets just kept dropping. Finally, I decided to ask for a priesthood blessing. 

The next day, my platelets were back to a normal level.

There is power in the priesthood.

How blessed we are to have the priesthood on the earth today. It is the power and authority God gives to men to act in His name. It is the power that the Savior used to work His miracles, and it is the power held by every worthy man of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Have miracles ceased? No, they have not. 

God lives! He loves us!

Hermana Watts


My blood analysis at the super Catholic laboratory Corazón de María came back dengue-free . . .
so we celebrated with ice cream :)

Hermana Martinez made pizza!  It was delicious :)

Teresa had a birthday on Sunday, so we celebrated with pizza and cake!  (Teresa is a less active return missionary that Elena wrote about way back in November).  The following are pictures of the celebration.

And . . .

Our Christmas packages finally arrived!  Now we can regain all the weight we lost when we were sick with dengue.  Thank you family!!!