Tommy's Release Date

Since you asked, Tommy will be returning to Beaverton on October 25, 2012.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

11-24-10

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
Elder Williams

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

11-17-10

Hola!
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!
 
Boo-yah!
 
Elder Williams

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

11-10-10 YAY

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!!
 
Elder Williams!!
:D :D :D :D :D

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Week 2 - MTC Update

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
 
Hasta Luego!
Elder Williams!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reminder!

If you want to send a little note to Tommy, you can e-mail Mom Williams at janet56@comcast.net.  I will print it out and stick it in mail.  If you want to send your own letter, just check this blog for the current address.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Letters to Dad & Mom

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!"