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....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

18 Year Old Missionaries!!!

Dear Family,

Hey guys how’s it going?  I’m glad to know that you all like me, have
come out of shock after finding out about the news. 18 year old
missionaries!!!  That is crazy.  I really didn’t expect that.  It was so
great to be a part of that moment.  Modern Revelation.  I imagine that’s
how it was when Joseph Smith announced the Word of Wisdom.  This big
huge gasp went out throughout the whole crowd.  It was awesome.  I have
had tons of thoughts.  At this point, the only thing that will surprise me
more is when President Monson calls me up and tells me that he needs
all my shoes haha.  But when he announced the new ages, I really just
thought about Alex the whole conference.  I cannot believe that in
February he can put his papers in. I am so happy that he gets to go
right after school!!  That’s so awesome.  My friends that had to wait
seriously all had the worst years of their lives just waiting for the
time. That is really such a blessing.  I agree I think that more people
will serve missions. Especially sisters.  That is so awesome
about Carly!!  Wow.  But hey, I at least want some of the family to be
home when I get home.  Concerning Alex and his timing, I kinda came to
this conclusion if the Lord wants him to go right after high school,
and before i get home, that’s what he’s got to do.  As hard as it would
be to not see each other, if that’s what the Lord wants, it’s got to
happen. I would really love to have at least a couple weeks together if
we can. But I’m just so excited that he doesn’t have to wait. Alex was
born when he was born for a reason. He is supposed to go right after
school. Even though I thought about the new mission ages just about
the whole conference, I still really enjoyed it. For me I feel like I
got 3 words out of the conference.  Service, Love, and Faith. It’s
interesting how interconnected the three of them are to each other, and
to missionary work.  Hey maybe we can call up Tommy Monson and ask him
if he´ll send Alex to the Argentina Cordoba Mission. That would be way

This weekend was really crazy. We had transfers. I was really hoping
for 1 more transfer with Elder Ojeda, but he left. So now the Garage
in Brianless.  But this is the good news... I’m training again!!  I’m
really excited!!  On Wednesday I’ll be getting my second son.  Last night
Elder Ojeda left at 2 in the morning and so I slept with another
missionary in his apartment.  Right now I’m with Elder Edmondson. (I
lived with him in the MTC) he is training too. So we´ll work together
until Wednesday when we go to pick up our kids. It’s fun to be with him
again. I was with him at day one. Wow now we have 14 months.

We had a pretty crazy experience this week. Sunday morning we called
some investigadors to invite them to conference. They didn’t answer
though. So at 10 we decided to leave and go get them, even though it
was raining. We really just felt like we had to help these people get
there. So we left and went to stop by their houses. We went to 3
houses and nobody was home!! It was kinda disappointing. So we started
heading back. It was raining pretty hard. We waited for the bus to go
to General Conference and when it came we hopped on. We went to the
back of the bus because we noticed a member of our ward in the back
alone. His name is Hermano Cabana. He is about 75 years old. A really
great guy. He is way small and skinny. So we sat with him, and then
got off the bus with him and started walking the 7 blocks to the
conference center. At block 2, Hermano Cabana slipped and fell, and
hit his head really hard. It happened so fast. So I picked him up real
quick looked at his head and he had a giant gash above his right eye.
That instant it starting bleeding a lot!! It was raining and there was
nobody. I told my comp to stay with him while I went to go get help.
So I ran the 5 remaining blocks and went to the conference center. I
ran in the doors and called the 2 nearest guys. We ran back and then
asked neighbors for a chair and for toilet paper. About 2 minutes
later there were 20 more of the men from the conference all there. We
got him in a car and they went to the hospital. I felt so bad for the
little guy. But he is doing ok now. They stitched him up and he was in
his house about 2 hours later. I was so proud of the response of
the priesthood. The conference was already started but everyone was
outside helping this brother. I was so grateful to God that we just
happened to go look for investigadors and then we just so happened to
get on the same bus as him. The Lord knows each and every one of his
sons and daughters. We are never alone. I know that we can all be used
as a blessing in the lives of others.

Well Guys, I love you all so much! Thanks for your emails. Alex better
start studying Spanish because he´s coming to Argentina in the summer
of 2013!!!! Have a great week!

Love Riley

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Spring has arrived

To my awesome family,

Hey guys how’s it going?  I love you all so much and am so grateful for your emails. Yes its true; spring has started here this last week.  Right now the weather is really awesome. Still cool enough that we can sleep at night.

This week was really good and I have some good stories from the week.  I should just start talking about how much I love you all.  I could do that for the whole hour that I have.  On Monday I went on an exchange to La Calera again.  I was their until Wednesday.  I met a lady in this area who is originally from Argentina but has lived in Utah for 12 years.  Her husband died this year and so she moved back with her three grandchildren of 12 years, 7 and 5.  They were all born in Utah!  She doesn’t speak very much English.  12 years in Utah and no English.  Pretty surprising, right?  But the little kids speak better English than Spanish.  The grandma said they are going to speak English to each other so they don’t lose it.  She then told her grandkids they could talk to me in English. (At this point I had only spoken Spanish)  The littlest guy said, but how will he understand grandma?  She said, he’s from Utah!  But he didn’t believe me, so he started testing me on words.  He told me to say something.  So I said, I love the Utah Jazz.  He just got this big smile and said, oh me too!  And then he quizzed me for a little while longer and then finally believed me that I was from Utah. It was way funny. When we were leaving the little boy kept on saying, have a good night! Don’t get lost out there! Come back soon! It was way funny. I haven’t seen little kids that speak English in a long time.

Story 2. Remember the Rowley family? They are an older couple from Lehi.  He is the supervisor for the temple here in Cordoba.  Well they are now living in the Uritorco Ward.  They are so cool. We ate with them yesterday. She made broccoli and chicken casserole.  It reminded me so much of moms.  She also made guacamole which they don’t eat here.  It was the first time my comp had tried it.  We had a really great time.  My comp doesn’t speak a ton of English but he could understand a little bit.  He laughed the whole lunch because I couldn’t talk with out a como, que, si or pero slipping out.  It was a mess.  Brother Rowley speaks Spanish way good. Sister Rowley is learning.  I mentioned that I liked building and he talked a ton about his job and stuff that he has done in his life.  

I love you all. I hope that you all have a great week!!

Love Elder Watts

Friday, September 21, 2012

Four Areas

To My Wonderful Family,
The weather here is really crazy right now.  Right now it is really cloudy, but the weekend it was really hot!  I think that this summer is going to be really hot.  But its kinda nice to have a break from the ¨cold weather¨.

Dad thanks so much for the pictures of the hike. They turned out really great!  I’m so happy that you all have had the chance to go to the temple open house. I can’t believe that Utah will have another temple. That’s awesome. You will love the dedication. I can’t wait to hear about it.

This week was really great.  I was only in my area for 2 days so it was a pretty interesting week. It was fun to work with one of the Zone Leaders because we traveled all over.  I worked in four areas this week - Rosedal, Fuerza, Villa Independencia and 9 de Julio.  It was lots of fun.  I’ll tell you about the highlight of the week.  When I was in 9 de Julio we visited an investigador that they have.  Her name is Luz Maria.  She is really great.  She lives with her grandma who is a member of the church.  Her grandma’s name is Violeta and she has Diabetes.  About 2 months ago she had an operation and now can’t really speak or walk and is constantly moving her head.  It is really sad.  We had the idea to sing a hymn to her.  While we were flipping through our book for a hymn to sing she said she liked Rock of Ages.  It was really surprising because she said it so clearly. So we sang Rock of Ages.  We felt a really special spirit while we sang and she cried the whole song through.  We then offered to give her a blessing and she accepted.  We asked her who she wanted to give it to her and she pointed at me. It was really special because the instant that I put my hands on her head she stopped shaking. It was a really great experience and I was so grateful to be a part of it.

Hey mom do you think that you could send me a recipe for Chocolate Chips? I would really really love that. The cookies that they have here just aren’t doing the job. Ok that was a really random thought.

Yesterday we went with our bishop to take the sacrament to a member that is sick that couldn’t make it to church. Our bishop is a convert of 3 and a half years. He is really awesome. He has so much energy for the work.  He made a comment to me that made me think a lot. Right now he is worried about the ward because they really don’t do much to help the missionary work. The missionaries do everything. We keep hearing about all the success Buenos Aires is having because of the help the members give. He said that he doesn’t want the members to just do the basics. He wants them to truly be converted to the Gospel. He then said, Elder Watts you are from Utah, I have heard my whole time as a member that even though the members in Utah go every week to church and live worthy to have a temple recommend, they aren’t truly converted and only do what they do because it’s a tradition in their families. It made me think a lot. It hurt me to think that that is what some people think here. (This is not the first time I have heard that) Sadly I think that that may be true, in some cases. I then thought about Mom and Dad, our grandparents, my church leaders I had growing up, bishops, neighbors and even coaches, and I realized that they are truly people that are converted. People that truly live the gospel. Thanks so much for all the examples.

Well guys I love you all so much. Thanks for all that you do. I hope that you have an excellent week. You are always in my prayers. Until Next Week.

Love Riley


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Temple Dedication

Dear Family!

Hey guys! How are you all doing? I’m sorry that I’m a day late; we had a really crazy p day yesterday.  We did a very deep cleaning of the garage that took hours. I think we are the only missionaries that have ever cleaned this place.  It’s a pretty depressing thought to know that you are cleaning up after hundreds of missionaries (one of them being my dad aka Elder Maude haha. yep he was in Uritorco)  But now it is really clean.  Then we got together as a zone and made food and watched Work and the Glory.  I forgot how much I really like that movie.  It’s awesome.  At the end of the day we went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders.  I’m in the Zone Leaders area with Elder Lopez who is from Puebla Mexico. His area is called Rosedal.  It’s a pretty cool area but I’m glad its not mine though, its really tough.  All the neighborhoods are really wealthy. I guess that’s why the Zone Leaders are here. 

Well this week was pretty awesome mainly due to the rededication to the temple in Buenos Aires.  I wrote about 6 pages in my journal, so I hope I am able to explain and remember the parts that I liked.  So first we watched the cultural activity on Saturday night. Member and non member were invited to attend this event.  It was held in the River Stadium in Buenos Aires. (River is a huge soccer team here in Argentina. They are like the Heat of the USA).  The stadium is enormous and it was packed!  There were so many people. The camera showed all the people there and then all at once they all started cheering and screaming. The camera panned over and showed a golf cart coming into the stadium with President Eyring, Elder Christofferson, Elder Ballard and Elder Arnold of the 70.  They were all just smiling and waving.  It was so cool.  It was so cool. If someone didn’t know anything about the church they would wonder who are these men and what did they do?  They drove up to the stage and walked on. Then the area seventy gave them a present.  Immediately President Eyring opened it up.  They all got big red ponchos.  President Eyring put it on right then and there. Then the others did too.  It was great to see them all standing there with their ponchos.  Then they each gave a 5 minute talk. Elder Christofferson spoke perfect Spanish without any accent at all.  It was really impressive.  Elder Ballard said Buenos Noches haha.  He talked about how his Grandpa dedicated South America and had a dream that this place wouldn’t be like a sun flower that opens up over night, but that it would be like an oak tree. Slow to grow, but one day would be strong.  It’s so true. Argentina isn’t like Mexico or some other countries where the Gospel has grown really fast.  President Eyring said that the Savior approved their welcoming and is pleased.  Then tons of kids did tons of dances from all around Argentina.  Last but not least the missionaries from the Buenos Aires North mission came into the stadium singing called to serve.  I saw 5 people that I knew from the MTC.  The girl from dads ward was there also. I can’t remember her name.  It was really awesome.

I really didn’t think that Saturday would be able to be topped, but it was big-time. The dedication of the temple on Sunday was so amazing. We went to the 3:00 session with all the other missionaries.  We wanted to go to all 3 sessions but they didn’t let us because we had to stay at our church building in case someone forgot and went to the church and not the stake center.  It was very spiritual and very uplifting.  Elder Christofferson told an awesome story.  He said that when the Salt Lake temple was being built, a man was working alone one day when his brother who had died years ago walked in the room.  He asked him if he was real and what was going on.  The deceased brother told him that he only had a spirit and that he had returned from the spirit world.  In the Spirit world he went to a Mormon church and accepted the Gospel.  But he needed his brother to do the work for him.  The living brother said that he would and the dead brother left.  While he was thinking about what just happened another deceased brother entered the room, yet this brother looked a lot different. He appeared like an angel. In Kirtland the living brother had done the work for this brother and the brother was able to advance a little in the spirit world.  But he needed the living brother to finish the work.  He said he couldn’t take one more step forward until his temple work was finished.  How cool huh?  It was really awesome. President Eyring talked a lot about how the temple is the most important thing on the earth. I really loved it. I can’t wait to go to the temple again. We are so blessed to have temples!!

Well guys thanks for everything.  I love you all so much. Thanks for all that you do for me. I couldn’t do it with out you. I love you!

Love Elder Watts

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

One year Baby!

To the Greatest Family Ever,

I CANT BELIEVE I HAVE A YEAR!!  It really is so crazy.  It has gone so fast.  It still doesn’t seem real that I have a whole year in the mission.  I really feel like I just need to spend this whole hour thanking you all.  Thanks so much for all that you do.  I really couldn’t do it without you all.  I loved reading your emails so much. I loved hearing the story about the trolley in SF. I loved Alex’s talk and I loved hearing a little bit about the Olympics. Thanks for the party that you threw in my honor. The cake looked really delicious and the shirts are way sweet. If my guess is right Dad designed them? You are the best Dad.

I was really blessed this week because it was excellent. I’ll start from the beginning. Mom, I loved your print out and read later letter. To be honest it answered 2 prayers. First mine, and then later Alfredo Chacon! (The man that got baptized Saturday).  Tuesday we were talking about the spirit and he asks the question- “When I started going to church and started talking with the missionaries I felt so happy and I knew I was feeling the spirit so strongly.  Right now I don’t feel that way.  I don’t know why I am not feeling the spirit so strongly.”  I basically just told him word for word what mom told me.  It was so awesome.  When he started going to church he smoked, wasn’t married, didn’t pay tithing and fought with his wife.  He has since made a 180 degree change.  Of course he felt way different at first.  He went from bad to good, as President McKay put it.  I talked about being willfully guided and how the Lord wants us to choose for ourselves.  He wants us to be able to change who we are.  I also added a scripture of my own. D&C 58- The Lord shouldn’t have to tell us everything we need to do.  We need to be anxiously engaged in a good cause.  It was a great lesson.  I love it when the investigador understands 100% what you want them to understand.  So thank you mom!!  You deserve the credit for that one.

I’m not going to lie I still haven’t eaten at McDonalds yet. Tomorrow we should be getting our money for the month so I will probably eat there this weekend.  It’s actually pretty expensive and with the dollar rising they just keep jacking up the prices.  This week we went in to downtown because my comp has been sick for a little bit and had to get his blood tested.  While I was waiting I weighed myself.  If I told you how much I weighed you wouldn’t even believe me. So I won’t even say anything. But I’m not fat, just look at the baptism picture J.

I want to send some pictures really bad of my area but I still haven’t taken any pictures. We never bring our cameras or money just in case. I know that I will be perfectly safe here (not to mention it helps being 6’ 7”) and we don’t go in the poor areas at night. But I’ll take pictures as soon as I can. 

On July 27th I actually did do something to celebrate. Remember the Chacon Family that got baptized this last Saturday, Andrea is the name of the mom.  She had her birthday the 27th. So I bought a dulce de leche chocolate strawberry ice cream cake and we brought it to their house. This is one of the best parts- while I was buying it, guess what was on TV. The opening ceremonies! We were way lucky because it was showing Turkey so we just waited a few minutes and watched USA. I saw Jake and Sean, and Lebron and Durrant. I couldn’t help but feel so much pride for our country.  I really love the USA.  But it was really great to be with the Chacon Family right before they were baptized.

And now the Baptism. It was definitely the best baptism I have had my whole mission. There was tons of support from the ward, which was really great. First the little boy Franco that is 11 was baptized by his uncle.  Alfredo (the dad) and his daughter Violeta asked me to baptize them, so I went next.  Then my comp baptized Andrea last.  It was really special.  I can tell that they will be really strong in the church.  Last night we were talking about how they will get callings in the future and will be able to serve. We asked them what they thought about that. Alfredo opened up his Book of Mormon and turned to Nephi 3:7 - I will Go and Do. He read it with this big smile on his face haha. They really are so special. I feel so blessed to be a part of their conversion. I really was the one that  benefited the most from this experience.

Well guys I still can’t believe I have a year. It has gone FAST, and slow at times. But really fast for the most part. I am excited for the time that I have and for the experience, but I am kind of scared for how fast everyone says this last year will go. I just hope that I can learn everything I need to. I really don’t want it to end. I am being so blessed out here. I really owe it all to you guys. You are the greatest family that somebody could ask for. I hope that you all know how much I love you. Before you know it we will all be together again.

Have an Excellent Week!

Love Riley!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Dear Family!

Hey guys! Thanks so much for your emails. It’s funny how everyone has mentioned that I almost have a year.  I was thinking a little bit about that too.  Time goes by so fast!!  A year seems so long.  I’m sure the second year will go even faster.

Well you guys called it. I got transferred out of Dean Funes!  Even though it was really hard to leave I was happy for the change.  My new area is Uritorco.  It is right in the capital city, Cordoba.  We are 15 minutes from down town.  I love it!  It is a big ward with lots of active members.  Also we have the biggest and prettiest chapel in all of Cordoba.  All of the Zone Conferences are held there.  But the best news of all is we have a McDonalds and the only Wal-Mart in all of Cordoba in our area boundaries.  So that’s where we do our shopping. Wal-Mart.  I now have unlimited access to snickers, peanut butter and American hamburgers. I’m very excited.  Another thing that is different is there are 4 missionaries in the ward.  So we live in a apartment together.  It will be fun.  I got way used to being with only my comp.  I think a change will be good.  My comps name is Elder Correa.  He is from Chile.  He has 13 months in the mission.  I am hoping that this will be a transfer where I learn a lot.  I hope I don’t die in the apartment since I’m the only ´gringo´.  Only joking, I’m sure it will be great.  One Elder is from Buenos Aires, the other from Formosa and my comp from Chile.  Ok the other highlight about the change is I’m in Elder Andersons Zone.  So I will see him every week at our district meetings.  I’m pretty excited.

Hey did you get the pictures that I send last week?  Let me know.  I’ll send you guys a hand written letter.  I just barely sent one to Elder Thorne about 3 weeks ago, maybe it didn’t get there?  I wish we could just email.  I'll have to write another one.  Maybe it didn’t get there because I tried to smuggle him 2 pesos. :)

I really loved hearing about Scout Camp! That was way sweet. I can’t believe how big Joseph is getting. I think I know why they started crying. 1) Jay was singing with his guitar. Pork and Beans baby. Or 2) Tears of Joy because they didn’t have to go on the 50 miler.  Joseph is really lucky to have the group of friends that he has in the ward.

I had a pretty good last week in Dean Funes. I still can’t really believe that I’m not there anymore.  I was there for such a long time!  Sunday went really well, despite the low church attendance.  I gave a talk.  I talked about The Small and Simple Things.  Alma 37:6.  I talked about how when we do the small and simple things in life with faith and diligence they no longer are small and simple things.  In the Shadowbrook ward my primary teacher (I can’t remember her name and its killing me) taught me that we always need to kneel while we are praying.  By kneeling we show respect, humility, and love. It’s something small, but with faith and diligence it’s not too small. It’s something big and important. When we continue in faith and diligence and then add time, things that are big turn into miracles.  Mom the email you sent me last week was perfect!  I summarized the story and applied that principle.  By allowing that missionary to enter their house, lots of lives have been changed. If we don’t do the small and simple things, the miracles cease. Alma 37:41

If you guys could have seen the lunch that the Mahrs made me you would probably fall over dead!  She made soup and then she made these Ravioli things with this really delicious steak.  For desert we ate Elder Mahrs famous Vanilla/Dulce de Leche pudding and then a fruit pizza.  They are so awesome.  I will miss them so much.  They have really become to be family for me.  I learned so much from them and want to be like them.  It was pretty hard to say goodbye.  It was hard for him too.  I hope my old comp continues to work well.  Elder Mahr needs all the help he can get.

Then after that Bro Cabrera offered to take me around to all the houses to take pictures and say goodbye.  It was way nice of him because it was way cold and it was very windy.   I decided that I really hate saying goodbye. It’s not fun at all.  When we were with the Lopez family they were pulling off everything from their shelves trying to give me stuff. Oh and Sunday their 18 year old daughter went to church.  It was so awesome to see her there. They are going to send me a picture when they go to the temple in October.

Do you like the picture? hahahah That’s way to good huh?  Her name is Julia. She is 83 years old. One of the coolest members in Dean Funes. Three weeks ago her husband died and it has been really hard for her.  Mostly because she has a really bad memory and so she is always reminded that he died and she has to relive it almost.  But Sunday we brought her the sacrament.  It was really special.

Well I can’t wait to tell you about how my first week in Uritorco went. I love you all so much. Enjoy your summer!

Love Riley

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

20 Years Old

Dear Family,

We had a great week.  Just so you know, in May our Zone had the highest number of baptisms.  For June we set the goal even higher and had a Zone wide fast to start the month.  It was so amazing how quickly we started to find people and receive references. 2 weeks ago my comp and I made a list of 20 people that were possibilities for a June baptism.  One week ago we narrowed the list to 6 awesome people.  So this week we worked really hard for these people.  Two families Ill tell you about.  Family number 1 is Pedro Julia and Augustin.  They are pretty awesome.  We taught them and they said they would go to church.  Pedro is a man that has had lots of trials in his life.  At one point he said that there is no God.  But he has slowly humbled himself and now wants to really find God.  Family Number 2 is Incredible.  Grab a box of tissues.  The wife’s name is Carina.  She has 2 daughters named Rut and Catarina.  One month ago her husband abandoned her and took everything with him.  They were left with a few beds and their clothes.  They have absolutely nothing.  Carina has been looking for God for a long time and has lots of faith.  Rut and Catarina are 13 and 10.  Really pretty girls.  They almost have blonde hair and light skin.  Carina also has an older daughter that is 18.  Two years ago her daughter fell in love with this man here in Dean Funes and they went to `visit` his family in Santiago Del Estero (another providence like Cordoba).  Well it just so happens that this man is a Gypsy.  I have heard a lot of weird stuff about Gypsies my whole mission and everyone talks really bad about them.  Now I know why.  When her daughter got to this guy’s house he wouldn’t let her leave.  She has basically been a slave for 2 years.  The Gypsies live in groups.  They go and find their wives (preferably blondes) and then take them home and they never leave.  She is 18 and already has 2 kids.  The worst part about it is that when the kids become 10-14 years old they sell them.  Carina went to go get her daughter but they obviously didn’t let her.  She went to the police there but they are controlee by the Gypsies.  Its so horrible what they do to her and other girls that live in this group.  I really can’t believe that people can be so horrible.  After teaching Carina and her girls we were able to set a baptismal date with the 3 of them for the 23 of June.  This week has been great because they have been reading the Book of Mormon and have had so much peace between themselves.  I know that if they do their part their oldest daughter will be helped also.  We went Sunday to pick them up and.... Carina was called in to work.  It was pretty disappointing.  Pedro and his family didn’t go either.  All of our work seemed kinda hopeless.  It’s really interesting because everyone in the Zone had tons of problems Sunday.  But I have faith we can reach our goal we just have to find the people that are prepared. Trials really push us.

As sad as I was about Carina and Pedro and the little church attendance that we had, the day was great.  Of course Elder Mahr had to let everyone know it was my birthday and had me share my testimony.  After Church I was surprised with an ASADO from Elder Mahr and the Rios Family.  The Rios family is so awesome.  They have grown to become my favorite family here in Dean Funes.  They are so loving and do so much for me.  Oh that reminds me.  Mom, do you think you could buy a CTR ring for Sister Rios?  Her size is 18. I don’t know if that is different in the states, but that’s what she told me.  I would really love that. We basically just hung out at their house all day long.

Ok so then for p day we went to one of the most beautiful areas in all of Cordoba.  It’s called Capilla del Monte.  It’s similar to Dean Funes but lots lots cooler.  I really love it. Its little town in the Mountains. We went and ate asado and played futbol with all the missionaries from the zone. President Salas went also.

Hey Mom happy birthday in a few days!!! I love you so much. I hope that you have a great birthday. I can’t wait to hear about it next week.

I love you all so much. Thanks for everything. I hope that you enjoyed the photos. 

Have a great week.

Love Elder Watts

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

25 de Mayo

Dear Family,

The highlight of this week was Sunday. Finally, we reached our goal for church attendance.  We had 70!  It was really great.  We completely filled the chapel.  My companion gave a talk and then 6 other brothers’ and sisters spoke about their conversions.  It was really great.  I hope that every single week we can continue with these numbers.  Eduardo Lopez taught the class in Quorum.  Way awesome.  He is a good teacher because he really has conviction behind his words. He humbly taught the lesson on service with great examples from his life.  You could really tell that he wanted people to get something out of it.

Saturday we helped Eduardo work on his new house.  They have been working on it for 5 years.  He has built everything himself.  Every last brick.  When they stopped going to church they didn’t have extra money to work on the house.  Now they do.  Hmmmm, coincidence?  We put in a window and prepared a wall for painting.  It was lots of fun.

This past Friday, the 25th of May was Argentina’s Independence Day.  We were invited to an Asado at the Cabrera’s house.  Elder Mahr went as well as another member and her husband.  Her name is Marilina.  She is the most faithful member in the ward I think. And her husband isn’t a member (yet).  For the first time he accepted the invitation to eat with members of the ward.  He is really cool.  We got along great because he loved basketball.  He is loving the playoffs right now.  He invited us to com watch Game 7 of Boston and 6ers.  Elder Mahr was hilarious because he said, “Elder Watts I give you permission to watch as much NBA as you want because you work so hard”.  It was way funny.  Unfortunately the game didn’t start until about 10:30 so we didn’t go.  But he said he’ll keep us posted for another game.  Maybe I’ll see some finals action. The asado was way good though.  Beef, lamb, pork and chicken.  These people really know how to cook. We brought pudding ha ha

This week we are going to focus more on investigadores than members so we’ll see how it goes.  Thanks so much for everything.  I love you all so much. You are always in my prayers.  I love this work.

Love Riley

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day Phone Call

Riley called home on Mothers day.  We had a great conversation even though it didn’t last nearly long enough.  After about an hour he said he needed to go so that he could set a good example to his companion who is a brand new missionary.  He sounded so good and is enjoying his mission immensely.  He commented how fast the time is flying by.  He can hardly believe that he’s been out almost 10 months.

His letter on Monday was short due to our phone call on Sunday and a full P-Day on Monday.  Here is a little of his letter and a few pictures he sent: 

This week will be way awesome because we have the baptism of Joaquin Lopez.  It has really been the greatest experience to reactivate a family and now be able to see their son get baptized.  On Sunday he stood up in primary and said that he had an announcement. He said that this week he will be getting baptized and that his daddy will be baptizing him because, like the elders his dad has authority.  I thought that was pretty profound. They are such a special family.  They have a daughter that is 17 that was way active before.  Eduardo (the dad) says that she had the strongest testimony out of everyone.  She wanted to serve a mission.  But now she has a boy friend and doesn’t want to go. But she is really friendly to us.  After she sees the baptism this week we’ll see what happens.  It will be really special.  Elder Yasima and I are going to sing with 2 other women in the ward.  We practiced last night and it actually sounded pretty good. One of them knows how to mix the voices really well.  Plus she plays the guitar.  It’s a good thing she is really patient and I don’t mind too much if people laugh at me haha.  But my companion doesn’t exactly have the voice of an angel either.  It will be good.  I’ll see if I can have somebody film it and send it to you.

This week I decided that I am going to share the same message with every single member of the branch here. I am going to pray and find a special message to share with everyone. Something that excites. Something that picks you up. Something that makes you say yeah I can give it another day. And then we are going to make lots of brownies and then see what happens this Sunday. One thing that I have learned in these last 9 months is you can always do better. That’s why we are here on Earth.

Love Riley

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Dear Family!

This week was way sweet.  I feel like we really saw some success.  Now we didn’t get to our 70 in church, but there is a reason.  The first counselors dad died and so he his wife and their 5 kids went to Catamarca for the week.  So there is 7 there.  The Beas family didn’t go either and so there is 6 more.  With those 13 we would have had 70 J  But its ok.  

Ok the news of the week is the Lopez family.  When I got here I was reviewing the list of the members and saw the Lopez family on the list -  a mom a dad and 2 kids.  Elder Robles didn’t want to go to their house because he had heard some stories about them and how they don’t want to see the missionaries anymore and some other stuff.  But when he left and Elder Medina came I decided to go.  So we went and the wife answered the door and told us we couldn’t enter and that her husband would be way mad if he saw us.  Right when she said that we saw him in the house and we asked if we could come in.  He hesitantly said yes.  So basically we forced our way in.  So we sat down and then my comp (the little rat) asked if he could go to the bathroom to avoid the awkwardness.  So he got up and abandoned me.  I was going to kill him.  At first it was so awkward.  I was basically talking to 2 walls.  But it loosened up.  Hermana Lopez is a very sweet lady with a very bubbly personality.  She tried to act otherwise but I won her over in about 5 minutes.  She was laughing and I was showing her pictures when my comp finally got back.  We were there for about 40 minutes and the dad, Eduardo was still pretty closed. But we were happy to get in the house.  So then we went back the next week and it went even better.  In the third visit we brought up the church and found out why they had stopped going.  By this time Eduardo is really open and talking to us.  In the 4th visit (which happened to be with my son) Eduardo told us this hilarious story about how when he stopped going to church he tried to go back to being Catholic.  He could not do it.  He had a testimony and he couldn’t deny it.  Pretty interesting what the holy ghost can do to the heart.  Hilarious story though.  Well I am happy to announce that the Lopez family came to church yesterday.  It was so awesome.  The best part about it in my eyes, they got their ten minutes early.  That’s unheard of in Dean Funes.  For me this family is key here. 1- They both have testimonies 2- they will both be leaders 3- their son Joaquin isn’t baptized.  It’s the perfect package. 

This week we have a baptism. Her name is Yamil. She is the daughter of a member. They moved from Buenos Aires about 3 years ago and the sister was reactivated about 8 months ago.  It will be fun though.  I am pretty sure that Elder Yasima will baptize her. It’s great though because this will really strengthen her mom also. Since she has been listening to the lessons she has really changed. On Thursday we have lunch with them. 

Everything is going really well here. We are learning to work harder everyday. I love the members and love working with Elder Mahr and his wife. They are machines. We spent the majority of the p day in their house today. He taught me how to make this argentine pudding and then I taught her how to make beanies. She is thrilled out of her mind haha. Elder Mahr told me that he and I should switch companions haha. 

I have really noticed a difference in me these past weeks. I am truly being helped.  My Spanish is better. I’m more confident and have more excitement for the work. I am being so blessed.

Talk to you in a few days!!

Love Riley

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sleepy Saint Joseph

Dear Family,

Hey guys how’s it going?  I hope that you all are doing as well as I am.  We had a really awesome week this last week here in Dean Funes.  It sounds like you are having a pretty fun time too.  I really love Mondays to hear how everything is going.  Ok I really hate to admit this but I just finished writing the email and it somehow erased.  All of it but the first three sentences.  I really hate every single computer in Argentina – haha.   Oh well, I’ll see if I can rewrite what I already did....  I was really hoping that Caitlin would have had her Baby by the time you emailed!  I am way excited!  Caitlin and Tyler you are in my Prayers. (p.s. - Catlin you need to slow down a little bit so that mom has the strength to help with my kids when my wife is pregnant).

I was so sad to hear about Joseph needing surgery!  I hope he is doing ok and that he is taking the news ok.  We are really blessed to have the technology that we have to correct these types of problems.  But Dad is right maybe he’ll be left with some black man hops. Tell the Doctor to study the leg structure of MJ or Lebron James.  You may as well go extreme with this haha.  I hope that the kids help Dad out around the house.  Surely he has already gone to the store and bought pop tarts and captain crunch.  I wish I was there to enjoy it haha. I hope you guys have a great week.

We had a good week. I still feel like we take 5 steps forward and 4 steps back. But I really appreciated the scripture in Nephi that Dad shared with me (2 Nephi 28:30).  Line upon Line is so true.  A lot of time we forget that the members here have only been members anywhere from 3 weeks to 9 years maximum.  Sometimes as the missionaries we expect them to know everything.  We expect them to act as if they have been members for generations and generations.  The people are awesome here.  They are so different. So distinct.  Sometimes when I get frustrated inside for what they do, or what they don’t do or for laziness, I take a look at their neighbors and you can truly see the difference in the lives of the two families.  It’s obvious which family has the Gospel.  I really am learning a lot from them.  In Priesthood a Brother said it perfectly - Somos Pocos, Peros Somos Buenos. We are small, but we are good.  There was only 4 or us.  But it’s so true. It doesn’t change the fact that the church is true.  We are good.  We are doing what the Lord wants us to do and serving him.

Today was awesome. There is a man in our ward named Goyo Cabrera. We have lunch with him and his wife every Tuesday.  He is so cool.  He is insane.  He is 65 years old but acts like an 18 year old.  He is hilarious.  He has wanted to take us to the Sierras and to tour some little towns so today we did that.  At 8 in the morning we left.  I took about 100 pictures today. It was so pretty.  First we drove through the Sierras and went to a town called San Jose de la Dormida (sleepy Saint Joseph).  It is really pretty. Not too many people live there. Then we went to Tulumba.  I have been hearing about Tulumba ever since I got here.  It’s known for its cobblestone streets, wild horses, and Cathedrals. It’s kind of sad because the river dried up about 20 years ago.  Goyo said it’s practiculy a ghost town.  I wonder if it has more than 200 people.  But it was so pretty. I felt like I took a few steps back in time.
Everyone there was so nice their and so curious as to what we were doing. They have a hill in the town that is pretty big. It’s called Christ’s hill because it has a statue of Christ on top.  So we went and took some pictures of it.  It was a way fun P day.  I hope the email sends with the pictures... I guess we’ll see.  Thanks for everything guys.  I love you all so much.  You are and will be in my prayers this week.  Have a good week this week!

Love Riley

Here are a few pictures from Argentina:

Sunrise in Dean Funes:

The first Cathedral in Tulumba constructed in 1723:

Another Cathedral in Tulumba:

Elder Mahr (the branch President in Dean Funes) and Goyo Cabrera (our tour guide for the day):

The Argentine Sierra's: