This has most definitely been a VERY interesting, and very awesome week to say the least. I finished up my last week at the MTC and got shipped out to the Provo mission last tuesday morning. There were about 10 of us all going to the Provo mission from the MTC, and so they came and picked us all up in a big white van, with a dinky little trailer behind it. It was snowing alot (It had snowed about 6-8 inches just that night) and so the van ended up getting stuck, and we had to be pulled up a couple hills by some trucks. Anyways, we got to the mission home, met the mission president, ate food, talked for a little while, had an orientation with the mission president and his wife, then got back on the van and went about 5 miles away to a stake center. There we met some of the zone leaders, had another orientation, and had our interviews with the mission president. Shortly after that we all got paired up with our new companions and departed for our respective areas. All of this happened before about 11 o clock in the morning. My new companion (Elder Vivanco), I, and about 6 other elders then went out to lunch and talked a bit about the mission. Just when we were about to pay and leave the waiter came over and told us that someone had paid for our meals for us and that we could just leave whenever we were done. That pretty much blew my mind for awhile. Anyways, then we split up, and I got to go unpack for a little while. Shortly thereafter my comp and I went out and started teaching! My mind was thoroughly blown. Not 12 hours before, I had been in the MTC wondering about what would happen in the actual mission, and there I was sitting in a REAL investigators house who was asking REAL questions in REAL spanish. I'm not sure how otherwise to express the degree to which my mind was being blown. The first thing I noticed was that I only understood about a quarter of the spanish that was being said, whereas I was approaching 90-100% in the MTC. That was a bit of a shock to me. The other thing that I shortly realized was that every single spanish person speaks differently. My companion is from Chile and likes to leave out words here and there when he talks. Others are from Argentina, Mexico, Columbia...etc, and all of them talk differently!! It's definitely a bit frustrating. Apparently Puerto Ricans (sp?) and Spaniards are really hard to understand and I'm somewhat scared to meet any, but eventually I'll get this down. Even in just the last 6 days, my spanish comprehension has gotten a LOT better. I am excited for the day that I'll be able to completely understand what is going on. Learning another language is definitely more of a challenge that I first thought it would be, but I'll get it down with God's help.
Now, about the people here. I feel like I've entered a whole new world! The spanish world is such an incredible place. It's crazy to see the things that go on that I never even knew about before. The Spanish community is so close knit. Everyone knows everybody else, and they all either love each other, or want nothing to do with each other. At least that's the impression I have from my first week here. Another thing that surprised me was how many random words the spanish people don't know in english. It throws me off when they're going on and on and on in spanish, and then they randomly throw in some word in english. Anyways, the people here are really accepting, and I'm excited to be a part of the work here.
Christmas was pretty good. I got a bit homesick on Christmas Eve, but I got over it and moved on pretty quickly. We got a TON of candy from members for christmas which made me laugh. I pretty much am sick of candy in all types and forms now, because I've had sooo much of it in the last 2 months! I never thought it would be possible, but I'm beginning to grow out of my sweet tooth!
Alright, time for one of MANY cool experiences:
My companion and I were at the gas station filling up the car with gas (yes we have a car! BOO-YAH) And My comp told me that I had to go contact somebody while he filled up the car. I was about to go over to this one guy, but then I got distracted with something for some reason and when I looked up he was gone. Just about then this guy walks out of the door to the store with a box of Coronas and starts walking over towards his car. He glanced over to us and waved then looked back down and continued towards his car. He seemed preoccupied with something, and almost ran in to the side of his car! He looked stunned for a second, then he looked back over to us. He opened his trunk, put the beer down, shut it, and started walking over to us (I was walking towards him at this point too) We started talking for a little and I found out the he's not a member of the church, but that he's interested. He then looked at my name tag and asked me why it was in spanish. Then my companion walked up and started talking to him in spanish. We found out that he believes in God, and Jesus Christ, (He's Catholic) But that he feels there's more out there than what he's been taught. He said that he doesn't know why, but that he felt that he needed to come talk to us. We shared a bit with him, bore our testimonies (all in spanish of course), gave him a book of mormon, and set up a return appointment. He seemed really excited to learn, and we are realllllly excited to get back over to his house to teach him (and hopefully his family). Our appointment is for tonight, and I hope all goes well.
I love this gospel SOOOOOOO much. I have only been out here teaching for a week, and I have already seen miracles happen. The Church is true, that's all I need to say
Marry Christmas, Happy New Year, and hasta luego!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Elder Williams has been transferred out of the MTC (Missionary Training Center) and is now happily settled in a basement apartment of a home somewhere in the Provo area. We are looking forward to his phone call on Christmas morning (one of two phone calls home per year). His landlady called today and reported that "Elder Williams looks great and is a wonderful young man."
Friday, December 17, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Hola! Estoy animoso por esta proxmia semana, por que you podre salir entre el campo misonal. YAY. The last 2 weeks has FLOWN by. Holy cow, It's hard to believe how much I've learned since I came here only two short (MUCHAMENTE PEQUINO)-->(I'm trying to start making Tommy-isms [thanks Sister Woller for that term] in Spanish as well. We'll see how this goes.
This week my focus was on the gospel and the scriptures. The Spanish (as I've mentioned before) has come really quickly for me, and I doubt I'll really have all that much of a problem learning Spanish out in the mission field, but I realized that I really don't know the scriptures that well at all. That is something that came as quite a shock to me because I've been raised in the gospel, and been taught from the scriptures my entire life! There really are some freaking incredible scriptures in the Book of Mormon, and in the bible as well. A couple of the really good scriptures that I used this week were Matthew 5:48 (Be ye therefore perfect.....) and Ether 12:27 (go read it; it's got an awesome chunk about humility) Entonces, mientras de que yo he estudiado las esctrituras, mi conocimiento en cerca de todas aspectas de mi vida han crecido. QUE BUENO! I plan to continue to learn the scriptures and apply them daily in to my life, as well in to the lives of those I get the opportunity to teach.
BTW, I haven't gotten the chance to work in the referral center here because I'm a Spanish missionary. Only English missionaries get to do that.
Anyways, this is my last full week here at the Missionary Training Center, and therefore it's what we call my teaching week. Basically what this mean is that we spend all of our time teaching. We still have devotionals and firesides, and meetings, and mealtimes, and as a zone leader I have to spend a lot of time with the new districts teaching them how life goes at the MTC, but besides that ALL of my time is spent teaching. It looks like by the end of the week we will have taught about 40 half an hour lessons this week in TOTAL SPANISH! That equates to 20 hours of teaching this week, which in my opinion is somewhat alot, but my spanish is improving quite rapidly, and I'm loving the work. I'm soo excited to get out in to the field and teach people for reals instead of just practicing.
To sum this all up, I'm having an INCREDIBLE time; I'm learning SOOOO much; I'm becoming a better version of myself; I'm learning how to deal with really annoying people without always using sarcasm; and much much more. I wish that everyone reading this could have this incredible opportunity. It's tough work NO DOUBT. But the biggest rewards in life always come after we work the hardest, and the best part about it is that it's totally worth it! YAY!
Merry Christmas to all if I don't get to send an email out before Christmas. LOVE TO ALL!
NOTE FROM MOM: If you don't know Spanish, Google Translate has a pretty good site where you can get an idea of what is being said. Also, Tommy says that packages and letters can still be mailed to the MTC address and they will forward them on to him. After December 22nd, you can send letters and packages to the mission home listed on the home page of this blog. Any time you wish to send a note and just don't have the time to get it mailed, e-mail it to me firstname.lastname@example.org and I will print it out and mail it off for you.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
MADRE! This week I have been thinking A LOT about family, and I want you to know that I love you and I'm praying for you. I really appreciate everything that you do for me and this week I have really really really received a confirmation that our family is eternal, and that we will have all eternity to party together arriba en los cielos! I'm really really excited for that. I'm beginning to see everyone as part of our family, and I'm excited MUCHO to go back to live with our Heavenly Father. Simply this knowledge has changed my life. The message is simple. God is our father, and he wants us to return to live with Him. He can, will, and DOES answer our prayers EVERY TIME! Even sometimes if we don't follow through with our part of our promises. We learn all of this through the simple statement in Moses 1:39: "This is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." What is eternal life? Life with our Heavenly Father, GOD, in the celestial kingdom, but not only that, it's life with EACH OTHER as well. God want's nothing more than that. Just like on my mission, my goal is to be His instrument. I am not out here to improve myself, I am here to be His instrument. That is my only goal. And because of that I will learn and grow a lot, but that is not my purpose. Always remember your purpose in life. If you don't know what your purpose is, then figure it out, ask God what it should be, and live for that purpose. I love you a lot, and I can't wait to talk to you on CHRISTMAS!
For the general masses!:
HOLA! This week has been pretty crazy. I really received a great testimony of music, AGAIN, in my life. I was kinda stressed out this week for various reasons, and then my friend from my district and I got invited to go sing for this super awesome devotional thing. Somehow, out of 2,300 missionaries here, him and I were picked to be a part of this 16 person group that will perform in two weeks. We had a rehearsal, and My friend and I had a BLAST in the back just cracking jokes, singing awesomely, and basically just enjoying ourselves. (Of course I was completely respectful to the person trying to teach us the song, but I had a blast) anyways, at the end of the practice, I got all the basses together, had everyone put their fists in the middle, and I said, "Alright, Fish on three! One, Two, Three!" And they all said "FISH" and then they all realized what I'd made them say, and were really confused until I explained, "We're Bass" (Bass = a kind of fish) Anyways, I thought it was hilarious, and it basically made my day!
Besides that I wanted to address something that I heard someone posted on my facebook wall. The question was in response to one of my previous blog posts, and apparently it was something like this: "What do you mean that we can be influenced by satan." First of all, I'm sorry for not explaining my thoughts better. I don't really have much time today but I'd like to at least express a few thoughts about the matter. In the Bible, in the book of John, we read about Judas-Iscariot (Por favor perdon a mi with the spelling of his name. I don't have time to go look it up exactly) In John 13:2 we read:"And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him (him = Jesus in this case). In this scenario, not only did the devil himself put an idea in to Judas' head, but the thought was so strong that in was ingrained in his heart. I know there are probably other interpretations of this scripture, but this is how I perceive it. ALSO, in Matt 4 versus 1-4 we read about How Jesus himself was tempted by the Devil. I don't have time to write it all out, but I want you to think about this. I imagine that these were just thoughts in the head of Jesus, since he had been fasting for 40 days, you can imagine he would be hungry. But he realized that the thoughts in his head were not his own, he realized that they came from the source of all evil, being the devil. I've found in my own life that I like to let my thoughts simply wander around about various things. This is when we need to be most careful. If we always focus on listening to the Holy Ghost ( The third member of the Godhead, and God's messenger) and thus keeping our thoughts clean, then when we let our minds wander, they will continue to listen to the promptings therein, BUT if we allow ourselves to focus on the promptings of the Devil, then when our thoughts wander, they will go back to the promptings of the devil. I have seen some pretty incredible things happen in my life from simply keeping my thought clean. When I focus on these clean and pure things, it brings me closer to God, and closer to the person that I want to be.
I have about 30 seconds left, but know that I love you all, and just because I'm not there doesn't mean that I don't care about you. I care about you all. You've all made me into who I am today. Thanks for that, and I'll talk to you all again next week.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I am somewhat incredulous that it is already December. I've been here for SEIS SEMANAS! Este es muy increible. Entonces, Esta semana fue muy interesante. I had some really really good moments, as well as some really stressful moments. But first let me start off by answering a question that apparently a lot of people have been asking. I've been getting, and sending out about 5-6 letters a week, three of which are generally to family, and usually one to somebody else out on a mission. Alright, now for my week!
The week began on Thursday (I consider Thursday the first day of the week because I got in to the MTC on a Wednesday afternoon, and Wednesday is my P-day) anyways, last Thursday was thanksgiving, and we has a special devotional. My whole district waiting in line for like 3 hours so that we could have seats up in the front (it's hard to get a good seat when you're competing with 2,300 other excited missionaries. Anyways, we got really good seats, and then we found out that the speaker for the devotional would be none other than JEFFERY R. HOLLAND! MUY MUY MUY MUY MUY INCREIBLE!!! I've heard 4 apostles in the short 6 weeks that I've been here. Anyways, that was really awesome. I'm going to skip ahead just a little bit and say that yesterday we also got the opportunity to hear from the general relief society president. AWESOME!
Anyways, now about the stressful parts:
I get annoyed when people act stupid, and even more annoyed when they don't realize that they're acting stupid, and then EVEN MORE annoyed when I'm their zone leader and I'm responsible for all of the stupid things that they do. I'm not going to name any names because no matter what they've done I still respect them and their choice to come and serve their missions, but it's been stressful trying to solve problems without hurting feelings, or making people feel bad, however, I feel I have been successful! I am grateful for the opportunity to struggle and grow, and I'm sure that this wont be the end of the hard times on my mission. It's somewhat strange though, I've been tired and stressed because of these problems, and hence have had a harder time focusing on my own studies, but as I focused on others, I realized that my ability with Spanish, and my knowledge of the gospel have increased greatly. I am beginning to discover that love really is the secret to life. Without love, we feel worthless, and if we don't give love to others, then what worth do we really have ourselves.
Anyways, I definitely miss everybody, and all the great times I've had, but I know that this is where I'm supposed to be in my life right now. I love this gospel with all my heart, and I am excited to share it with the people of Provo.
3 WEEKS LEFT!
Thank you to all of you who are praying for me. I really appreciate it. I have a testimony that through prayer we truly can communicate with God, (our Heavenly Father) and that he truly has, does, and will answer our prayers, and I have felt the power of those of you who have been praying for me, and I am praying for each of you as well. Especially those of you whom I have been informed are going through tough times right now. I hope you all can feel my love and support, and realize that I can only give a TINY fraction of the love that God can give to us. Seek his love, and make sure you have a good relationship with him. IT'S OH SO TOTALLY WORTH IT! and after all, he is our Padre celestial! :D
Con mucho amor SIEMPRE!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
This week has been incredible! Para empiezo, voy a compartir un relato. This last week, my companion had to go get a couple ingrown toe-nails removed. I'm not going to go into the details of what that entails, but just know that we had to go about 5 miles away to a pediatrist. Anyways, as soon as we left the MTC I felt a little bit different. I had some flashcards that I was trying to study, and I just couldn't really focus on them very well. When we got to the pediatrist, we walked in and I continued to study while my companion filled out his forms (BTW, he's from Canada and found it hilarious that he got to just put "Canada" for his health care insurance company) Entonces, we were sitting there, and I gave up trying to study for a little while. I looked around and noticed I was getting kinda stressed out. It took me a few minutes to figure out why. Lots of people were coming in and out of the Doc, and none of them really looked happy. Of course this is to be expected, because the doctor really isn't a place that most people are happy, but this was different. Everyone was in such a hurry, and they all seemed insanely preoccupied with their lives to notice anything at all except what they were doing, and this STRESSED ME OUT! People were tapping away at their iPhones irritatedly, the receptionists were making phone calls and doing normal receptionist things. Then two things happened. First of all I saw a father and son (the son was probably 5 years old) sitting in the corner. The father looked stressed out a bit, but everytime he would look at his son I watched the worries get swept off of his face. SECOND, one of the receptionists came and talked to us for a few minutes about her son who is about to get his mission call, and it was incredible to watch her whole body relax as she talked about it. Entonces, my comp had his surgery, and we went back to the MTC, and it wasn't until I stepped out of the van that I really felt at ease again. I looked at my companion, and he looked at me, and just from the look in each others eyes we knew that we had felt the same thing. What I'm trying to say has two purposes. First off, if you're not happy, that's your own fault, and God is the answer. Secondly (yet quite similar), the MTC is an INCREDIBLE place. Everyone here is so happy, and EVERYONE is willing to talk to you. I have never experienced this to this extreme degree before, and I didn't realize the spirit that was here until I had to go to where people didn't have that joy. Now I don't know all the people we saw and talked to at teh Doc were members or not, but that was a testimony to me that satan is working hard to bring saddness, frustration, and distractions in to the lives of every single person on this earth. Dios nos envió a la tierra para aprender, pregresar, y tener gozo, feliz, y mas de todo, PAZ. I am soooo glad to have the opportunity to serve a mission. I am happier, and learning more than at ANY other time in my life! Seriously, in what other circumstance could I have learned not only how to besically be able to hold my own in a completely spanish conversation, but to have learned about myself IN ONLY 5 WEEKS! Today marks my 5 week mark btw. I've learned so much in the last 5 weeks. I realized this last week a very important thing: I came on my mission expecting to come home a different person, more particularly, a better version of myself. YET, as I've been out here, I've been working and praying for things like to be humble, and God has answered those prayers. I have been humbled in so many ways while being here, BUT, that alone would not make me a better person. I realized that in order for me to become better, I would actually have to change my attitude. (sounds simple, but it was a huge revelation to me) I've always felt like I've been pretty humble throughout my life, but I realized this last week how much that is not true. I realized that I take almost every opportunity to tell and show people that I am better than them, when in reality that is the furthest thing from the truth. I have changed my attitude, and I have started to become a better person because of it. I discovered that when I bragged, I would always worry about what everyone thought about what I said, but when I stopped worrying about my accomplishments, and my abilities, and truly tried to relate with people with out trying to prove to them how great I felt I was, I never had to worry. I hope you can understand the principle I'm trying to share. Humility and obedience truly are the secrets to life. We can be obedient to God, or obedient to Satan. Satan is real. I know that more than ever, but more importantly, God is real, and HE LIVES and CARES about us. I have made the choice to be obedient to God, and whatever that meand for me, I will obey. I hope the same goes for you.
I'm out of time! AHHH. More to come next week!
ADIOS! Con mucho amor
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I have been here for almost a month! This is craziness! Anyways, for those of you who have any idea about missions, My companion and I got called as zone leaders this week. That's basically the highest up you can get in leadership in the MTC. It's pretty darn exciting. haha. I find it somewhat hilarious that I'm younger than most of the new missionaries that are coming in, and yet they think I'm super old. It definitely makes me laugh just a bit. Time is definitely flying here at the MTC. It seems like just yesterday that I got here. It's also weird to think that I only have 23 months left. My spanish is coming along pretty well, and I learned a pretty awesome thing today. One way to say "Shower" is "Aqua cero" which directly translates to "Sudden fall of rain" or something like that. Anyways, I don't really have all that much to write today, so I'll just ramble a bit and hope that somebody gets something out of this:
One of the things that my companion and I enjoy doing is what we call "Noob hunting" Basically what this constitutes of is going up to a bunch of new missionaries and then just going off in spanish. It's really awesome to see their faces. And then we explain to them that they will be able to do that pretty soon, and it's fun to see the hope come back into their eyes. HOWEVER, occasionally, we run in to someone who is already fluent in spanish, and they totally dominate us at spanish. Moments like that are pretty awesome.
It is SOOO easy to learn here. I've always been pretty decent at learning things quickly, but here at the MTC (as I've said before) it's even more ridiculous! The other day I sat down for 10 minutes, and learned 20 new words in spanish! I still remember all but like 1 of them, and a few days ago I learned 70 words in one day, and then another 52 the day after that. I didn't think I'd learned that many, but then I went and counted up all the words and realized I'd learned like 120 in 2 days.
The scriptures are becoming my friends. There is some pretty ridiculously awesome stuff in the scriptures. For example, look up D&C 131 (the last two verses especially), 3 Ne 11 is exceptionally good as well, and I've quite enjoyed reading through Helaman again. It's incredible how applicable the scriptures are to every single situation. If you were to ask me for advice right now I would most likely just answer with a scripture and make you figure it out yourself :P.
Right now, I've had to focus a lot on patience. The spanish is coming, and it's coming quickly, but it seems like it should be coming faster. I'm doing pretty much everything I can, but it's taking time. When I look back to where I was at a month ago and realize that I didn't know hardly any spanish at all, and now I can almost teach lessons in spanish, it's kinda rediculous, but I want to be fluent NOW. Unfortunately I have to wait, and work. In addition to that, I realized that I can't pray very well in english any more. I have to think REALLY HARD to get any cognicent thoughts to come out in english, and it really throws me off anytime I have to hear a prayer in english. Spanish is so much cooler!
Well, I'm about out of stuff to say for now. I'll make sure to have some great stories for next week. I'll just finish with this thought: Who are you? I'd engourage each of you to consider this question. Do you know who you are? Who do you think you are? and Who do you want to be? I have learned here on my mission that I am not who I thought I was. I thought I would be "Tommy Williams who is serving a mission" but I now know that I am "Elder Williams, a son of God, and a representative of God, Jesus Christ, and their Gospel here on the earth" I am not here for myself. I am not here to learn spanish. I am here to bring people to Christ. Finally, I am not a representative of the Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I am a representative of God and Jesus.
I love the work
I am alive and happy
I still like ice cream
but I am a MISSIONARY!
Monday, November 15, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
MTC life rocks! It is really crazy to think that I've been here for 3 weeks already, but in the same way, it's even crazier to think that only 3 weeks ago I was sitting at home watching tv and being lazy. I do quite enjoy being lazy, but it's not very often that I get to do that here at the MTC and I am really beginning to see the blessings. So I've talked a little bit in my emails about the MTC, but this week I'm going to focus mostly on the people here, and some of the awesome experiences I've been able to have while being here.
First: My district. In my district there are ten of us. ME!
My companion Elder Boehmer: He's from Calgary Canada currently, but he's moved about every 9 months of his life since he was born. He's quite intelligent and he was studying to be a chemical engineer before he came out on his mission. He's decently tall, and as thin as a stick! We get along pretty well, and although he's a bit different than me in a LOT of ways, we have our similarities. Our biggest problem is that we both think very deeply, and therefore we often get really distracted by getting really really deep into scriptural doctrine.
Elder Partis: I really respect Elder Partis. He's the only person from my district going to Wisconsin, and he had to lose 40 pounds before they would even let him come on his mission. He is one of the funniest and most practical people I know, and he always has awesome responses to anything you ask him. He's going to be a great missionary. Also, he's pretty decent at picking up spanish.
Elder Jacobson: He's from Florida, and he is always putting himself in the middle of things. If the teacher asks for a volunteer he is almost always the first person with his hand in the air even if he doesn't know what he's volunteering for. He struggles a lot with spanish, but he's working to figure it out, and I know that he can do it if he really puts his mind to it.
Elder Taylor: He's our district leader. He is an incredible person. He knows how to connect with people without bragging or being stuck up. He is simply good at including himself in activities and he is not afraid to do something he's not comfortable. He took a lot of spanish before he came to the MTC, and him and I have a small competition going to see who can get fluent first. I really enjoy just sitting and talking with him about spanish, stick figures that we drew, or the gospel.
Elder Pederson: This Elder reminds me almost exactly of MITCH MATTHEWS! And apparently him and Mitch are pretty good friends. I really don't even know how to describe him besides that. He enjoys doing just about anything, and he is completely committed to the work. He is almost constantly working on memorizing new words and whether or not they are really applicable to what we need to know, he makes sure to use them!
Hermana Wheatly: She is short, but she can really eat! haha. We bet her one morning that she couldn't finish her food as well as a bunch of other food that we had, and she totally packed it all down! Incredible! Besides that she is super sweet, and really dedicated to the gospel. I love it!
Hermana Vawdrey: Talk about incredible! She got a 35 on the ACT and works harder than just about anyone I know. She truly inspires me to use my potential. I've been given many gifts from God, and it's nice to finally see what I can do when I use that potential for more than 5 minute spurts. I'm really glad she is in my district.
Hermana Dickson: Awesome spirit, awesome personality, awesome person! She loves music, and has a definite firm testimony of the gospel. What more need I say?! Oh, she's from Seattle, so we often complain to each other about the weather, or go celebrate when it rains.
Hermana Smith: She can truly connect with people. Her hair is long and brown, but she likes to put it up in a big poof on her head. I really don't even know how to explain it, except to say that it wouldn't look good on anybody, but somehow she pulls it off and it looks AWESOME.
Alright, I've only got 7:30 left so I'm going to try to tell stories quickly! Yesterday we got to hear from the Apostle David A. Bednar. RIDICULOUSLY INCREDIBLE!!! His wife is pretty awesome as well. So last night, all four of the people in my room left our keys in the room on accident and walked in to the bathroom. Then the door shut behind us. Lets just say that I got the opportunity to walk up to the main office in my PJ's and tell them how stupid I was, and that we locked ourselves out of our room. they gave me a spare key and I departed back to the residence hall through the FREEZING cold! It was not fun. Besides that I got an opportunity to teach in what they call the TRC (Teaching Resource Center??) Anyways, we go in there and we have to introduce ourselves in Español for like 7 minutes, and then teach the person a lesson (in english) Well the Lady in there didn't know hardly any english, and long story short we taught almost completely in spanish. As soon as I walked in the door my mouth started running away from me in spanish, and I really have no idea what happened. Iam really beginning to love the spanish people, and I'm not even out in the field yet!! I am really truly excited to serve the Lord here in Provo, and to help others come closer to God.
1 minute left! AHHHHHH
I know that this church is true. If you disagree, then TOO BAD. Go find out for yourself, because it is true, and it can bring JOY into your life. I'm seriously SOOOO happy right now! alright. ADIOS!!
:D :D :D :D :D
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Let me begin with a bit of my testimony. I would bear it in español but I don´t want to confuse anybody so here it goes in english. First of all, I know that Joseph Smith truly was a Prophet of God and that he restored Christ´s gospel back on the earth for us here in the latter days. I have never really had that testimony before, I knew it was true, and I knew that the Book of Mormon was the word of God as a companion to the Holy Bible, but I have recieved a personal answer to my years worth of prayers that he truly was a prophet of God. It was probably one of the strongest feelings I´ve ever felt and I know it to be true, and I will never be able to deny it as long as I live. In addition to that, I know that Thomas S. Monson and his Apostles today are truly called of God as well. Since I´ve been here I´ve had the opportunity to hear 2 of the Apostles (Richard G. Scott and M Russell Ballard) speak here at the MTC, and they truly bring with them a unique spirt. I know this gospel is la palabra de dios (the word of God) and I'm beginning to really get some serious conocimiento (knowledge).
Now for the fun stuff: The language continues to come pretty easily for me. I feel kinda bad for those who are having a hard time with it, and yet I'm not progressing with it quite as quickly as I would like to. I know that this is all my own fault and that I need to work harder at it, and that is something I am dedicated to doing. When I think about the fact that I knew almost no spanish at all only 2 weeks ago it gives me some comfort, but I want to be fluent NOW! This mission is really teaching me patience. As an example of how quickly the language is coming, I taught the first 4 principles of the first lesson (up through the first vision) in broken slow spanish yesterday, and although it wasn't even close to being perfect, I felt pretty great! Now I just have to stop worrying about it and just let it flow. MUY BUENO! Probably my favorite scripture right now is Joseph's account of the first vision in spanish. JS History 1:16-17: "ví una columna de luz, mas brillante que el sol, directamente arriba de me cabeza. y este luz gradualmente decendió hasta descansar sobre me....Al reposar sobre mi la luz, ví en el aire arriba de mi, a dos personajes, cuyo fulgor, y gloria no admitten descrición. Uno de ellos mí habló, llamandome por mi nombre, y dijo, señalando al otro: Este es mi Hijo amado. Escuchalo!"
Whether or not you understand the spanish associated with that powerful testimony, I hope that you can feel the power me my faith correlated to it. I know that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus, that they were two distinct personages, and that they taught him about the true gospel, and through him restored the gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth!
I've had many experiences here at the MTC that have humbled me even more than I expected last week. I've learned so much about myself. In coming here I really feel like a little child. I keep trying to do what I think is right, but I always end up discovering that I've been worrying too much about myself and not enough about the Gospel and the work that is going on. It's hard to lose yourself in the work. It really is. But I am doing the best I can, and I'm getting some pretty incredible results. I've discovered that I will never be the best, but I will always be just what God needs, and that is really what matters. Gracias por las oriaciones por mi y los misioneros en el mundo todo! Yo puedo sentir el amor en mi vive y yo se que Dios puede y a ser da muchas bendigas a nosotros, sus hijos.
I love you and miss you all! But you're going to have to get used to that for a while, I'm having way too much fun :D
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
Elder Williams snail-mailed letters to Dad and Mom which arrived today (YEA!!!). He reports that, "Life here is going pretty swell." Out of 10 Spanish-speaking missionaries in his group (6 Elders and 4 Sisters), 5 of them are going to the Utah Provo mission; 2 are going to Spain; 1 to Wisconsin; and 2 to Tuscon, Arizona. Spanish is coming to him fairly quickly and he is enjoying reading scriptures in Spanish and bearing his testimony in Spanish. His vocabulary is growing quickly and there have been many great experiences during his short time at the MTC. He also says, "Remember to pray always!"
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
All is bueno in the land of Utah! It's been a pretty freaking incredible week. I can hardly imagine that just a week and a half ago I was just chillin at home watching T.V. with nothing to do. Much has changed since then! It is really really really insane how quickly I am learning here at the MTC! I took two years of Spanish at Southridge H.S. and felt like I didn't learn anything the entire time, but here I am at the MTC and it is really crazy how much of the Spanish I remember. I have remembered almost every single word I learned during my two years in high school, and I've done that all in two weeks! I can now pray in Espanol, bear my testimony in Espanol, carry on a conversation in Espanol, and even just randomly talk about pretty much whatever I want. I'm remember words from high school that I never even thought I had learned! I'm remembering not only words that I have only seen once while in high school, but I am remembering the specific context of when I saw the word, exactly how it was spelled, and often whole sentences associated with them. IT IS INCREDIBLE! I've been focusing a lot on the language, and I can almost fight my way through reading the scriptures in Spanish. If someone is reading in English I can follow along in Spanish and understand most of what is going on. I've begun accidentally writing in Spanish without even thinking about it! Even in this simple little Email I'm sending home I've accidentally written alot of the words in Spanish and had to go back and retype them in English to make sure I'm getting my point across. In any case, I only have a half an hour to use my Email so I'm typing really fast. BUENO! Anyways, just to tell you a little about life here: Basically, every day goes somewhat the same way, we spend half the day studying, and half the day being taught. I wont waste your time by going to specifics about all of the divisions of my time, but that's basically it. Mom, I talked with the food people here and I'm getting food for every meal :D. In any case, let me just say once again that the spirit here is incredible. My first impression of this place was that I was finally in a place where there were more than a thousand people all dedicated just as much if not even more than I am to the gospel. I have really been humbled this week.
In other news: Every Sunday and Tuesday we have evening devotionals by general authorities or important people of some sort. This last Sunday we had a really good talk by someone I didn't know, but he got everyone excited about serving with the Espiritu Santo (Holy Ghost) and about simply being missionaries. It was great, but the speaker we had yesterday was even more incredible! Apparently last week Elder Russel M. Nelson came and gave the Tuesday devotional (I missed it by 1 day!!!! BOOOOO) and they don't usually have two apostles come in a row, but yesterday all of the missionaries here at the MTC had the opportunity to hear Robert D. Hales IN PERSON!!! It was simply incredible. He is truly called of God, and of that I have no doubt in my mind. Yo se que Robert D. Hales es el apostole do el Evangelio! He spoke about teaching with the spirit, and having the Holy Ghost as a companion to you in all aspects of your life.
In even more other news: I thought I would have to leave music behind while coming on my mission, and In a large part I did, but the music we sing here as elders and hermanas is mucho bueno! I sat in the very front for the first devotional (Sunday evening) and we sang 3 hymns as a congregation before the meeting started. In the middle of the second one I turned around and looked. Let me try to explain what I saw, although I doubt that I can do it justice. I saw 2,500 missionaries of the Lord singing with such gusto and gumption as I always do. For the first time in my life in a situation like this, I calmed my voice from the general quadruple forte that I usually sing at and sang at a volume at which I could hardly hear myself at all, and I could feel the power of all the other missionaries in the room. It was only when I stopped worrying about myself and truly let the spirit guide me that I was able to feel the power of the others around me. I don't have much time left so I'm just going to end with this following thought:
Forget yourself. Let the strength and power of God guide your life. We all focus too much on ourselves and those thoughts make our lives stressful. The way in which I have found happiness is to not worry about what others think of me, and to simply focus on what I can get from others.
I'm so excited to be here, and I love this gospel with all my heart. yo se que Jesucristo vive, y yo se que jose smith fue el primero profeta en el mundo do los ultimos dias! I have so much to say and express about Dio's amor for us, but that will have to wait for another time. If you know me, you know I will not lie, and I promise that I know this gospel is true. It's the only way my life could have turned out the way it has. If you want to hear more stories, just write me a letter. I would love to share my stories with you.
In the words of Robert D. Hales: "I know that Jesus Christ lives....because I know him!" I add my testimony to that and I hope to be able to have that same level of knowledge in some future day.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Tommy was set apart as an official missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday, October 17, 2010. He is on his way right now to Provo, Utah to serve the Lord for two years. Elder Williams is now one of the 53,000+ LDS missionaries who are serving around the world. (FYI: Mom now has his cell phone.)