Monday, April 8, 2013

Conference in Argentina

 Dear Fam,

Ya know, one of the hardest things in the mission is to sit down in front of a computer on your p-day, and try to put the feelings from your heart onto the screen. Feelings such as, I can’t believe I’m in Argentina, or I know the Book of Mormon is true, or the week was hard, or I don’t understand Spanish, or just how much you worry for your investigators. But I think the hardest of them all, is what I’m feeling right now and what I felt time and time again during Conference.  And that is how much I love you. We have the greatest family. I don’t know what I did to deserve this family. You are all just so special for me. I hope you know it! The Gospel has truly brought us together and taught us how to be happy as we live God’s plan.

I loved conference. We were so blessed in this last week. In conference we had 7 people in church. I will tell you about all of them later on. First off, No Dad Elder Acton’s Dad didn’t work for Arthur Anderson. He is currently a mall cop haha. Elder Acton thinks that’s pretty funny. 2- I didn’t get my contacts. I’m going to kill this mailing system!!  They said I had one, and then it didn’t get to me.  I’ll just survive for 4 more months without contacts. They are way too expensive here, AND the elders say they are bad quality. So I’ll just wait. I use my glasses also here and there. I do have something I need though... There are no church stores here. I would love it if you could send me some stuff from Deseret Book! Espanol o no Espanol. It’s ok. I would really love that though. I learned so much in Conference. I wish I could just type for hours and hours about all I learned. I too feel like the over all theme was OBEDIENCE. I feel that I look at Conference so differently now. I loved the talks. I have to admit that we laughed a couple times while the choir sang as well. I loved Priesthood! I got to watch it in English too because in that session we didn’t have investigadores. I love Spanish, but English is better! Dad I really felt like I was just with you and Alex, and Joseph the whole time. I loved the thought that while I was singing Hope of Israel, you were too. At one point I thought I was going to look over and see you with your iphone getting the NCAA update haha ;).

Hey did you hear the news? ALFREDO L SALAS my president is a new Area Seventy. Like I didn’t see that one coming - haha.

I hope you like the pics. That is our apartment. We live above, to the left.

The other picture is the temple, and the other is my District. Tallest to Shortest, Me Elder Acton, Hermana Sepuerva( chile), and Hermana Rios(Bolivia).

Remember the Familia Quiroga? We had some opposition this last week.  They almost got separated. They were sleeping in different rooms and not talking. We went Tuesday and talked with them, shared a scripture and then had a really special prayer with them and all their kids kneeling. That night the dad, Roberto, said a prayer by himself from the front room from where he was sleeping. The next morning his wife asked if he wanted to drink tea with her, (sinners :) ) and so it was that over a cup of tea they resolved their problems and then all went to Conference this weekend. It was so awesome. The Power of prayer is so real. Well there is the time already. I hope you all have a great week! I love you all so much. Thanks for all you do for me.

Love Elder Watts

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Easter In Argentina

Hey family,

Hey how is everybody doing? Once again it’s so good to hear from you all! It’s incredible how far away we are yet how close we can feel. Ya know guys I feel like sometimes we fall into routines and we don’t find Joy in the Journey. One thing I learned in my last area was that attitude is everything. I’ve probably said that 50 times. But it’s so true! When we have faith in God we naturally have a positive attitude.  Lately I have been trying to find joy in the journey in everything. Starting with personal studies and ending with saying my prayers at night. This week went really well. Maipu is a great area. Ready for some Cordoba Mormon facts? In the 1950s the first chapel was built in Cordoba, Neighborhood Villa Belgrano. The second was built in 1964 Neighborhood Maipu. It’s the second oldest in Cordoba! 5 years ago they chose 2 sites for the temple. 1 was the Villa Belgrano site and the other was a big site in front of the only Wal-Mart on the west side of Capital. They ended up choosing the Villa Belgrano site due to the surrounding neighborhoods. So they took down the Villa Belgrano Chapel and started the temple.  So Maipu is the oldest chapel standing in Cordoba. All the other wards, branches, and districts have branched off from this ward. So with all that said, I was expecting a big strong ward.... Let’s just say that she’s not in her Glory Days. There are 400 members but only 50 or so attend church. Everyone is kind of just waiting on other people. The bishop is a good guy. He is a little bit older but has a strong testimony.

I really like Maipu though. It has a little bit of everything. The chapel is in a really rich neighborhood. My first day I told Elder Acton that we need to get in one of the houses before the transfer ends. Then later that day we were buying something in the supermarket and this guy named Oscar started talking to us in English. He was in the army. He asked why all missionaries are called Elder. We told him and then kept talking. He invited us to his house the next day. He lives in a huge brick house 2 blocks from the church. He owns a radio station and wants to interview us. I’ll keep you posted. I think more than anything he invited us in to be nice and speak a little English.  After explaining the Book of Mormon he was way interested. We are going by this week. 

OK I’ll answer a few of moms Questions ;). I haven’t gotten the contacts yet, but its been confirmed that I will get them this week. We get the bolsa Wednesday. Thanks for worrying mom :). When I got here there were only 2 investigadores, so we have been finding a ton. We are teaching this 1 family named the Quiroga family. They are so awesome! Right off the bat we hit it off and I can tell they really like us. What a blessing. Sometimes the transition of missionaries can be tough. They have 3 kids. They are married, and they are just amazing. The mom and kids have gone to church. The Dad wants to go but is having tons of opposition. They had all committed to go this week and then Saturday night they had a pretty bad fight. This guy Satan never gets tired! So they didn’t go and yesterday we went and they said they are getting separated. I know they wont, they just need to learn how to solve their problems. God is helping them get stronger. I love them so much though. For Easter she made us homemade Easter eggs out of chocolate. That’s the big thing here - big chocolate Easter eggs and lots and lots of wine. Yeah baby. There is an awesome sister that makes sure we have food. She’s really great. Ok guys if you saw the apartment I’m living in you would die. I tried to send a picture but the computer won’t let me. It’s way sweet! Its gotta be one of the best in the mission. We live above members who aren’t active. They are way cool though, well technically I haven’t met them because they are in Chile but they left us tons of food to make. I am really loving being with Elder Acton. He is great. We totally would have hung out in High School. He loves basketball too. This week has been great. Its weird because everyone asks is we are brothers... He is probably about 6’ 2” but he is blond. I guess we look alike.  1 year before the mission his parents got a divorce and it was really tough. Everyone stopped going to church but him. He is really a cool guy. 

Well Guys I think that’s about it. I want you to know that I love you all so much and am so happy to be part of this family. I don’t know what I’d do without you all. I hope you enjoy conference and have a great week. 

Love Elder Watts

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Alex received his mission call to the Sydney North, Australia mission last week.  He will be leaving on August 14, two weeks after Riley returns from Argentina.

Dear Family,

Hey guys how is it going? Australia!!!  I really can’t believe it.  That’s the last place on earth that I would’ve thought!  I am so excited.  There aren’t words for how I am feeling right now.  I’m just so happy for Alex because I know what’s a head of him in preaching the gospel.  That is going to be so great.  I’m not going to lie.... I’m so grateful that we will get to see each other. That is a huge blessing. We are so blessed as a family. It’s incredible.

Well we had transfers! I got transferred 15 minutes away to another Zone here in Cordoba Capital. I was in West Cordoba and now I’m in East Cordoba.  My area is called Maipu – Pronounced: my poo ;).  As you can imagine the missionaries have lots of jokes about eating, sleeping and working in Maipu. haha. It’s going to be great.

My new comps name is Elder Acton.  He is from Utah.  We are going to get along great. He loves basketball :).  My District is a little bit smaller this time.  I only have one other companionship.  I have the sisters that are in Nueva Cordoba.  I already met both of them, they are way cool.  One is from Argentina and the other from Chile.  The Sister from Argentina is the first sister missionary in all of Argentina that is 19.  She has tons of energy!!  

I had a really interesting week this last week.  Over all it was really good.  I really feel like I have grown in these last few months.  It wasn’t exactly easy.  I know I never said this but the week that I got to 9 de Julio the Bishop had a problem with tithing.  That’s why we were without a bishop for so long.  There were so many tests there.  I really feel like the lord was punishing the ward.  I just worked my hardest but never had the success that I wanted.  But that’s what happens sometimes.  I left the area better, and they are going to baptize a few families in the next months.  Sometimes there is only one answer in life--- Believe in God.  Believe that he is.  Mom’s famous scripture helped me a lot during this time.

Well guys that’s all the stuff basically. Next week I’ll do a better report on the members and investigadores and all that.  Thanks for everything! I love you all so much. Have a great week!

Love Elder Watts

Here are some pictures Riley sent with his latest email:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Boston is Home!!

Hey Fam!

Hey guys how is everything going?  It’s so good to hear from you!!  I hope that you all had a great week.  I still can’t believe that Boston got home last week.  I bet it was way good to see him.  Tell him to send me an email.  I think it’s funny that he got skinnier haha.  That’s not the case with this guy right here.  Just keep the Peruvian food comin baby.  There isn’t day lights’ saving in Argentina!  Crazy huh?  I think it’s the only country in South America that doesn’t have it.  Today we went to a big huge park and played soccer as a zone.  OK now I know that every time that I mention that we play soccer you all picture me and then laugh.  However, I want you to know that I have gotten lots better at soccer. Actually, I don’t even dislike it anymore.  I would play it after the mission too.  Not to brag or anything, but today my team won 4-2. I scored 3 goals :). It’s been fun being with Elder Gonzalez because he is way good at soccer. I have learned a lot. 

Big news in 9 de Julio!!  5 months ago there was a change of bishops.  Finally, we got a new one.  We were 5 months without a bishop.  We are pretty excited for the ward.  I’m sure that the work will really start to pick up.  This Sunday was really great.  We had 2 complete families in church.  Both will be baptized in March.  So I do think that things are getting better.  The Lord really blesses us.  I feel like this week I have really been looking for answers to help my district with some specific problems.  As you know when they get a new bishop he and his wife along with his counselors and their wives share their testimonies.  The whole time they were speaking I just really felt like I need to study humility & recognize the hand of the Lord in all things.  Those were the thoughts that kept running through my mind.  And now with what Mom said in her email its confirmed.  I think that’s definitely what I need to do. 

So the week had its ups and its downs. I didn’t get the contacts you sent.  I bet the packages didn’t get here together or something. I’m sure ill get it in April though. Next, I am really sad to let you know that Damian didn’t get baptized.  Everything was going good and he decided Saturday morning not to do it.  We did everything we knew how to do.  He said that he just didn’t feel like it.  I feel like there was something more. It’s really sad after all that the Lord did for him.  And then he and his family didn’t come to church yesterday.  So we are going to go see what happened.  But we are really sad for him.  Maybe a miracle will happen and he will be able to do it this next week. 

I’m so grateful for this opportunity to be a missionary in Argentina.  I can’t tell you enough how much I love being a missionary.  Even though it’s not the easiest thing in the world, I really do enjoy it so much.  I know that I am growing so much and am doing the most important thing.  I am so grateful for my testimony.  It really defines me as the person that I am.  I know that God exists and loves us.  I know that because of his love he provided us with this great plan to come to earth and be tested.  With that same love he sent Jesus Christ his own son to be sacrificed so that we can return to him.  I know that only through this church can we be saved and receive all that God has.  Every day I pray that I can gain more conviction in my heart about these things. 

I hope that you all have a great week! I love you all and am so grateful for you.

Love Elder Watts

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Working for 200

Dear Family!

Once again it is Monday.  The weeks really fly.  Thanks so much for your emails.  I’m so lucky that I can know every single week what you guys are up to.  As usual, I loved hearing about the mission calls!  Wow.  I had no clue that Katie Pendleton was going on a mish.  That’s so awesome.  Good for her.  That’s too bad its Chile....... J.  Chile and Argentina have the biggest rivalry.  If Alex ends up going to Chile I hope we can still be friends after. J

We had a good week.  In my letter last week it was titled 200.  That’s because our mission has the goal to get 200 baptisms this month and for every companionship to baptize.  This is something that has never happened.  We are working really hard to get this goal.  I testify that this work is real.  This isn’t just something good.  This isn’t just a way to meet new friends.  This is a sacred cause.  The cause of God the Father.  Because of the importance of this work there is lots of opposition.  Satan is so real.  He will do anything to stop us from reaching our goal.  He works hard because he knows we can do it.  There has been so much opposition in this week.  When I got here to 9 de Julio the area was kinda dead.  We had 2 investigadores.  But we are working really hard.  This last week we found so many great people.  This last week was the deadline to find someone and baptize them in this month (you have to go to church 3 times before your baptism).  So we worked really hard to try and get lots of people in church.  We also went to Uritrco and Alto Alberdi to help the sisters and the elders.  One thing that has been really tough for me is the attitude of my companion.  He is really negative.  He doesn’t have faith in anyone.  Sadly it really hurts our companionship.  I feel like I do everything alone.  But we had a really long talk last night.  I think this week will be better.  Even when my patience just leaves me I try and keep the attitude, ok the Lord put me here to help him.  I know that I can change his mission.  And that’s what I want to do.  I don’t just want to think, ok 3 more weeks with this guy and then he’s gone, ya whoo ( yes that does come to mind now and then J haha).  Last night he told me, Elder I have had lots of faith in people for 6 months.  I’m sick of being let down.  And really that’s something hard about being a missionary.  But it’s what you got to do.  We aren’t going door to door selling kitchen supplies.  This is the Restored Gospel.  It’s something we have and they need it.  We know it’s true.  If we don’t have faith in them, they wont get the chance to have the gospel.

So I’m sure you are wondering if we had lots of success this weekend.... We didn’t have the success that we had hoped. But, we still had a little miracle. Get this. We had 6 people with a baptismal date committed to go to church. They were so happy, and so sure they would go.  We were going to pick them up Sunday morning to help them go for the first time. One called us Saturday night, out of nowhere her son who just happens to be a Jehovah Witness showed up and took her to his house for the weekend.  She tried to stay, but he wouldn’t let her.  We called our other investigadores and they didn’t answer. Our investigadores were dropping like flies.  So we went to church.  I’m not going to lie, I was doubting a little.  We did everything and everyone fell threw.  But I still had hope that someone would go.  Success is a gift.  I was so sure that for the work that we did that week, fasting, and praying and praying and praying, leaving my own area to help the sisters and Uritorco, that God would grant unto us success.  And he did.  A random guy named Francisco went to church.  I don’t know how, I don’t know why, be he went.  I know that it wasn’t just something that happened.  I have faith that he will get baptized in this month.  Please keep Francisco in your prayers.

The sisters also had a miracle. They are kinda struggling with investigadores too. So we went to there area with a Christmas message and shared it with a few members. We committed them to bring someone to church.  One lady brought 3 friends.  It was way cool.  What a blessing.

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week I worked with my hijo (son) in Uritorco.  It was way fun to go back.  We had an unforgettable experience.  My first week with Elder Whetten we received a great reference.  Her name is Monica and her family owns a carneceria (they sell meat).  The live above their store.  Three months before we met her she left the store for a second and left her 2 daughters (17 and 20) and her grand daughter (1 year) to manage the store.  While she was outside the pilot light of a stove went out and the store and the house filled with gas.  The older girls fell into a coma and the 1 year old died.  The girls after a week in the coma woke up.  It was really sad for them.  Her family stopped going to church.  Right in the worst moment, we walked in the store.  The first 2 times she said that she didn’t have time for us.  But finally she started listening. We got her to read the Book of Mormon and that was the trick.  But we never really had the greatest of lessons with her and her husband Esteban.  We mostly just stood up and talked while they worked.  Well Tuesday I went with Elder Whetten to visit them. Esteban asked us if we know how to play the guitar.  I knew that was our in.  So of course I started talking about Elder Whetten and how awesome he is.  So they invited us up to the house.  Finally!  Elder Whetten tuned the guitar and then played his great Mexican song.  The 2 girls were there also with a friend.  You guys have got to hear his voice someday.  He has the greatest deep country voice.  When he started singing you should have seen the girls.  The only thing keeping them from getting their hands on him was the table in between us.  It was great.  I wish I had a good voice like him.  I’d trade my good looks and a pair of JordansJ.   So Monica and Esteban are having progress. Slow, but progress.  They are going to be leaders in the church one day.  They have tons of opposition with the family and friends.

I wanted to finish by sharing a scripture with you guys. I am reading in 3 Nephi right now. I really liked it.

3 Nephi 5:13    Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.

We are all Disciples of Christ.  Everything we do can have an effect on Eternal Life.  I love you guys so much.  I hope you have a great week.  I can’t wait to talk to you in two weeks!

Love Riley

And, Here is a great experience from Riley’s letter last week:

Right after I got done writing you guys last week I went to the Mission home for the new DL training.  It was really great.  I learned a ton!  It was fun to see who the new DLs are. There were 10 of us and Elder Anderson happened to be one of them.  It was great to be with him for the day.  He is in an area called Cruz del Eje... Sound familiar?  It’s from my old District in Dean Funes.  He told me something that made my day.  Get this, he said that while walking down the street the first day, completely lost with his companion, a lady rides by on her bike and says, hey elders! come to my house.  They walk about 3 blocks and get to her house.  Turns out that she is a recent convert.  She was baptized about 5 months ago.  Her daughter was also baptized.  She showed them the pictures of her baptism and told them that she had just finished the Book of Mormon.  Elder Anderson said, oh Elder Medina was your missionary, looking at the picture.  She said, well he baptized us, but my missionary is named Elder Watts.  One day I had to take my 2 sick kids to Cordoba.  I was waiting on the bus and was so sad and stressed out.  I sat down and this young man started talking to me.  He taught me about the restoration. Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  He took my address and promised that other missionaries like him would go by.  Our family will never forget him.  Do you remember Ana?  She’s still going strong.  Elder Anderson baptized the remaining 2 members of the family.  It really made my day.  It was definitely a tender mercy of the lord to hear that.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

9 de Julio

To the best family ever,

Hey guys how are we all doing?  I hope that you are all doing well.  Thanks so much for your emails!  I loved hearing about Thanksgiving and what you did.  I love hearing about all the mission calls.  The girl in Dad’s ward going to Anaheim will love her mission.  It’s the second greatest mission in the whole world.  I had no clue that Camille was going on a mission!  That’s way cool. I’m happy for her.

Well the first week in 9 de Julio went really fast! (Yes mom it’s called 9 de Julio.  I think it was their Independence Day, but we have a huge street called 9 de Julio in our area). We are working really hard.  When I got here there wasn’t exactly too many investigadores-2 haha.  But we are working hard to find, and its something that I think I’m pretty good atJ.   I actually don’t do much, everyone just talks to me.  The advantage of being tall strikes again.  I really love my new area!  It’s so cool.  We are in Down Town Cordoba!  2 blocks over from our area is the Time Square of Cordoba. Luckily it’s not in our area because it has tons of clubs.  We have one of the biggest cathedrals in Cordoba.  I’ll take a picture of it this week and send it next week.  So the ward here is known for 2 things.  1- It’s the strongest ward in the Cordoba Oeste stake.  It’s like how Hidden Valley is known to have the best basketball team. That’s what 9 de Julio is known for.  The leaders are so awesome!  There is so much unity in the ward its incredible.  I felt like a celebrity on Sunday.  After Sacrament meeting when I introduced myself ward members came up to me and asked me if they could take a picture with me. It was really funny. The ward really just loves the missionaries.  I think they like me especially because they are all from Peru. They are so short!  That’s reason number 2- the ward is known as Perusalem.  Perusalem, Jerusalem, get it? haha.  Just about every single person!  I swear the tallest person in the ward is 5’ 2”.  I am seriously a giant.  It’s going to be lots of fun here.  They are all really humble people who work really hard.  Its the opposite of Uritorco where there was a lot of wealth.  Every single meal has been Peruvian food haha. I’m lovin it.  Rice, chicken, hot sauce and more rice.  It’s great. Yesterday we ate this fish called sebiche.  It’s cooked with Lemon juice and onions.  Way way good.

I have enjoyed being the District Leader.  My first meeting went really well.  I liked what Dad said about leading by example.  I’m sure every week it will get easier and I’ll get better at leading.  I’m trying a lot to help my comp. He is really struggling. He’s not exactly loving the mission.  I kept wondering why the Lord moved me from Uritorco. I could have been the DL there, and finished with Elder Whetten.  I was just feeling like this month was going to be really awesome.  But this week that answer has been really clear. The Lord wants me to be here with Elder Castro.  I’m glad that he can trust me too. I hope that I can help my comp to catch the mission spirit. I am grateful for this opportunity, every time I get a little frustrated I just try and be patient and show him more love.

Well guys that’s about it for this week. I hope you know that I love you all so much. Thanks for all that you do for me. I love being a part of this great work!! Have a great week.

Love Elder Watts

A few weeks ago Riley sent us two discs of pictures.  Here are some of our favorites:

Monday, October 29, 2012

A thousand pictures

This week we received our usual email from Riley but we also got a special package in the mail.  Riley had asked Elder and Sister Rowley who were returning from their mission in Argentina to mail a few letters when they returned to Utah.  Included with the letter were two disc that contained over 1,000 pictures.  Don't worry I won't post them all on his blog.  I'll post a few below the letter we received this week.

Hey guys!

How’s it going?  Thanks so much for your emails.  It was great to hear about Frankenstorm! That’s so crazy!!  As you know you will be in my prayers and I’m sure that everything will be alright.  Up until now I haven’t heard anything about the storm. Here the weather is the exact opposite.  Its sooo sooo hot right now.  Everyone is kinda freakin out because we are supposed to be in spring. haha I cant wait to see how summer is.  If they send me to La Rioja or Catamarca (highest points north in the mish) I would literally die.  My comp is dying of the heat. Every time we walk outside he just keeps saying, “How is it this hot” ha-ha its way funny. I guess I’m a lot more used to it.

I am so relieved that my Pictures got to you!  It’s a miracle.  I hope you like them. When I get home ill have to tell you all the stories that go with each picture.  Dad, thank you so much for passing on the letters. I know that’s kind of a pain, so thanks!  I’ll keep taking more pictures.  I’m going to have to thank the Rowley family for doing that for me.

This week was really interesting. My poor comp is still adjusting to the food and water and so he has been sick just about all week. We only worked about 3 days. I think there are 2 things you can do when you get to a foreign country: 1- try and avoid eating stuff and only eat food you know where it came from and still get sick slowly or 2- just go for it and eat everything.  You get sick fast, but then you get used to it.  My comp is trying to do option 1 and it’s not working too well.  Option 2 is a lot better.  I know from experience.  But even though we only worked 3 days it was still a good week.  We had 1 day of service where we dug a foundation for a house and then we helped the bishop move.  And Friday we had a baptism. The picture I sent is of Abi.  She is cute little girl.  My comp loved it.  He was so excited about baptizing her.  I think in November the parents will be there also.  

This week we also had Stake Conference.  It was pretty great.  For the first 45 minutes they just had ex missionaries and missionaries getting ready to leave share their testimonies. It was awesome.

Well I love you guys a whole bunch. Thanks for everything! I’m so happy to be a missionary.  I love everything about it.  I know this is the church of Christ and that we are truly his hands out here.  I hope you have a great week!

Until Next Time. Riley 

Here are a few of the pictures he sent us:

 More to come....