Tommy's Release Date

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

Monday, December 26, 2011

December 26, 2011

Christmas is so incredible!  We were able to talk with so many new people this week, and most of them were really receptive. (and the people who didn't want to talk to us were even more blunt than ever).  One experience that we had kinda shocked me just a little bit, happened the other evening. We were trying to contact a family we hadn't see in a little while, and they were actually home! Well, we talked for a little while, read a scripture, and then invited the father of the family to try and find someone in need during this Christmas season, and to help them out in some way, whether that be to give them a hug, help them out with Christmas, or whatever that be, to help them feel the real spirit of Christmas, and of giving. Well, he said no. He would not even look for someone during the Christmas season that he could do something for.  Needless to say, I was shocked.  So many people forget about what Christmas is all about, and it makes me pretty dang sad.

On another note, we were about to find another family this week, and they're going through a pretty rough time. The father of the family got sent to jail for something, and he's going to court in a few weeks to see if he's going to get deported or not. The family had to pay $500 for the attorney to even go SEE the father of the family in jail, and so they didn't have any money at all for Christmas.  Well, we were able to talk to the bishop of the ward and he said that he knew of somebody that had offered to buy Christmas for another family, but they were still looking for someone to help, well that person ended up buying some presents for the family, and got them over there on Christmas eve! That was really cool for me to see how charitable some people really are, even if there are some others who don't want to help others at all.

Another quick story, there's a family in the southern part of my area. They've been investigating the church for YEARS and YEARS. Well, they're having a kinda rough time right now, and we've been over there trying to help them out a little bit, but we didn't really think they were progressing. Well, about a week or two ago, for some reason we didn't stop by  for about a week, and then one afternoon we decided to stop by. So anyways, when we got there, the mother was really happy to see us. She told us that they'd started to get worried that we'd been transferred and that we weren't going to be coming back. We sat down and had an incredible lesson with them that afternoon. After that, we talked with the ward mission leader of the English ward that covers that area, and we found out that they were aware of the situation of the family, and they had a lot of people who wanted to help. So pretty much everyday for the last week or so, there have been people just showing up at their house giving them plates of cookies, dog treats for their dog, presents for them, caroling, and just trying to be as friendly as humanly possible to help them through their tough time.  My companion and I made some Christmas cards for all of our investigators, and we decided to take theirs to them yesterday (Christmas). When we walked in the door, the mother was so overcome with love, and thankfulness that she came up and gave us both massive hugs.  She has truly received and felt the true spirit of Christmas.  All she ever asks of us is that we pray for her, and her family, and it's incredible to see all of the blessings that they receive.

There have been so many incredible experiences that I've had in the last couple weeks. It's also incredible to see how comfortable people can get when they have everything they want, and how they won't really take the time to listen to the messengers of God, but then something happens, and suddenly they don't have anything, and they finally start taking the time to pray, to read the book of Mormon, and actually to try to get closer to God.  So many people think salvation is easy. "Just say the name of Jesus Christ and you're saved!"  That is not even close to what Jesus taught. He taught "Leave everything behind, and follow me."  I invite you all to open your eyes, and look for what you can do to help improve the lives of those around you!

Love to all,

MERRY CHRISTMAS and feliz ano nuevo
Elder Williams

Monday, December 19, 2011

December 19, 2011

Hello all. This week was COLD! I'm glad it never gets this cold in Oregon.  Lately my companion and I have been knocking a lot of doors trying to find some people to teach. I've discovered something very peculiar from doing this. People do not know their neighbors! We go knock doors, members excitedly answer their doors, and we ask them if they know of any Latino families that live in their neighborhoods. They say, "nope, everybody here in this neighborhood are white members." We say goodbye, and go to the next door, and to our surprise, a Mexican guy opens the door, and doesn't speak hardly any English at all! How is it that people don't know their neighbors?! It makes absolutely no sense. Who cares if you're best friends, or hardly know each other, you should at least know if the guy next door speaks a different language than you.  The crazy thing is that this happens on almost a daily basis. The other fun part of knocking doors is when you get people who really just don't want to talk to you at all. They open the door, and start laughing. We ask them if we can share a short Christmas message with them and their families, and they say "NO". It's amazing how many people want nothing to do with Jesus during this time of year. The other fun part is when people tell us that they're too busy with Christmas to learn about Jesus Christ.  That one just confuses me.

Miracle of the week: we just started teaching a man named Leonardo. He has been extremely receptive to the gospel, and has been progressing a lot. Well, we somehow got out of communication this week, and weren't able to see him until yesterday. During that time, one of the men who just got baptized about a month ago found this guy at work and started sharing the Gospel with him, and telling him all of the incredible changes that he's seen in his life since he joined the church. Well, yesterday we stopped by, and not only caught Leonardo at home, but his wife and another guy named Juancarlos (not sure if he's related or not). They are all incredibly interested in learning more, and they want to come to church and everything. JuanCarlos said that he's never really had much of religion in his life at all, and that he's never ever even touched a bible. I handed him mine and said "Here you go man, touch it. This is the first step to the rest of your life." He laughed and grabbed hold of it. It's kinda silly, but I really like the symbolism that comes with that. He just grabbed on to it, and is ready to learn and accept.

It's incredible how true this church is. The thing I've been most impressed with lately is prayer. We pray a LOT as missionaries, but the thing is, it always works. Everything that we pray to GOD brings answers, and brings incredible changes to my life, and the lives of the people that we teach here in Utah.

I hope that everyone can take a look at themselves this Christmas, and do something for someone else. Go the extra mile, or for some of you, go the first mile. :P I know that's where I'm at for sure.

Love to all, and Feliz Navidad!
Elder Williams

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 12, 2011

So for the last couple months that I've been in this area, I've been telling everybody how much I love picante (spicy stuff).  Well it just so happens that I got food poisoning this week. Friday morning, I was laying in bed at about 1 o clock in the morning, and I got this terrible feeling. It's the feeling you get when you know that you're about to have to take a very unwanted trip to the bathroon, but you reallly really really don't want to ge up, and get out of bed. Well, the feeling got worse, and worse, and worse, until suddenly my smach surged, and I started running for the bathroom (In complete darkness). I only made it to the garbage can in the hallway. Between then and about 24 hours later, the bathroom and I became very good friends.  So the next day, I was feeling pretty good, and I decided to go out and work. The day started off pretty decently, up until dinner with an investigator. They remembered how much I said that I loved spicy food, so they made ceviche (sp?) which is basically raw shrimp, and some other stuff. Another thing about ceviche, is that it is pretty much ALWAYS super spicy, and has lots of lemon and other things like that. Well, I got through my first bowl, and couldn't take any more.  The acids have been destroying my stomach ever since.  I hope that I never have that happen to me again.
You know something I've been having a hard time understanding lately? How it is that people get started worshiping or praying to things other than God. I kinda understand the Catholics worshipping the Saints, that makes sense, and even though I disagree with that practice, I can understand where it came from, but there are some other things that people pray to that just scare me.  Yesterday we were talking with a man, and he told us that he prays to something called "La santissima muerte" (The holy death) or something like that. He showed us a tattoo he has of it, and it's basically like the Grim Reaper. I respect his belief of course, but it honestly scares me to think about people praying to the grim reaper, or to death, and I don't understand where these ideas come from. He said he wants to stop, but he feels like if he doesn't keep praying to it, that the sun wont come up in the morning, or basically that he'll die.  Hopefully we can help him out of that hole.
Lately, I've been reading in the Bible, and in the Book of Mormon, comparing the Sermon on the Mount given in the Bible, to the similar version given in the BoM. It's pretty incredible to see the similarities and differences in the two. One of my favorites is how it mentions in the bible that every Jot and Tittle WILL be fulfilled, and in the BoM it mentions how every Jot and Tittle HAS been fulfilled.  I never really noticed that before.
Anyways, life is awesme. Christmas is such an awesome time of the year. People are so open to talk about Jesus Christ and what he's done for us.  I just wish that everyone could understand that the message we share as missionaries is exactly what they're looking for, they just don't know it.
Love to all,
Elder Williams

Monday, December 5, 2011

December 5, 2011

This week was the exact opposite of what I was expecting.  Last week, we decided to go knock a door where we have seen a lot of hispanic people outside. We ended up knocking it at about 8:30 at night. The man who answered the door was obviousy annoyed, but he said that we could come back, and we set up an appointment.  Just as we were about to leave, I asked him if we could have his phone number, so that we could call him the night before to confirm the appointment. He looked at me even more annoyed, and started saying numbers. He ended up saying 9 numbers.  I looked at him and asked "are you sure that's your number? you gave me 9 digits.  He said, "Oh sorry, erase the last 2"  Needless to say, when we called that number to confirm the appointment, it didn't work.  Well, we showed up for the appointment, and we had in mind about 3 or 4 places that we were planning to go to when the guy didn't show up, because we honestly did NOT think that this guy would show up.  Well, we knock the door, and to our surprise, it opens! I about to start talking to try to see if the guy would let us in, when he opened the door wider, and with a smile on his face invited us in.  My mind was utterly blown.  We sat down and began to talk with the man. He has a somewhat mentally handicapped daughter who was there with us, and it was incredible for me to see how much love and patience this man showed towards his daughter.  Well, we had an incredible lesson about the plan of salvation, and how some day when we are all resurrected, his daughter will no longer have her handicap, and that they can be together forever. It was really an incredible lesson. We are very much looking forward to going back to that house.
On a somewhat sad note, one of our investigating families decided that they want to go to an english ward instead of the spanish ward. I think it will be a good change for them, but I am a little bit sad that we have to pass them over to the english missionaries.
Besides that, pretty much everything is the same. We're trying to find new people to teach, and having some pretty good success. Some of the people that we were really hoping would be receptive, ended up just being nice, and really didn't want to listen to our message, but other who seemed at first to not want anything, have really opened up. There's a lot of potential here. I really hope that when transfers roll around in about a month that President lets me stay here a little bit longer.
It snowed yesterday, and we happened to drive by one of the other missionaries we decided to have some fun. We quickly found a shovel, and completely COVERED their windshield with about 5 inches of thick packed down snow. Gotta love it. Needless to say, I'm pretty sure they're going to get us back soon, but we're ready and planning our next course of action should it be necessary.  Jesus always taught us that we need to love our brothers, but he never said exactly how we have to express that love for them :D
Last thing.  This last week, we've been giving out copies of the Book of Mormon (If you haven't read it, I would personally suggest it) to members, and inviting them to write their testimonies in those copies, and to go give them to non-member friends. Well, it just so happens, that one of those families prayed and decided to give their book of mormon to the mother of one of the friends of their daughter. Well, it just so happens that this lady is one of the people we've been just starting to work with lately, and has needed a little push in my opinion to really start going. Well, I'm pretty sure that this could be the little push she needed.
It's incredible what a little bit of faith, and a prayer can do.  There are way too many "coincidences" that happen in this life, especially as a missionary. Honestly, I don't believe in coincidences. Everything happens for a reason, and that reason is because God wants it to happen.  I know that is true. Go test it if you don't believe me.
Elder Williams

Monday, November 28, 2011

Another week gone by already!

This week has been a week of jokes (adivinanzas (sp?)). Everywhere we go, I've been asking people for more and more jokes in Spanish. Here are a couple of them. Try them out on somebody Spanish! I'm going to type them the way that they sound, and then I'll type them the way it actually is.
  "Una vez, fui a la tienda. Vi unos tenis, y los compre. Que compre en la tienda?" La respesta es: "hilos!" Otra Vez: "Una vez, fui a la tienda. Vi unos tenis, HILOS compre. Que compre en la tienda?" 
 Ok, here's another one. "Tengo ciento cincuenta sillas, y ciento cincuenta changos (monos). Cuantas sillas vacias me quedan?"  La respuesta es: 100!  Otra vez: "Tengo ciento cincuenta sillas, y SIENTO cincuenta changos. Cuantas sillas vacias me quedan?" 
 Una otra: Cual es el animal que anda con sola una pata?  La respesta: Un pato.
 "Porque la bola rueda?"  Respuesta: Porque esta sucia.  (Porque lavo la rueda)
 now for one in english: Who do missionaries have such good bladder control? Because they only have one P-day a week.
 y la ultima: Cual animal tiene ojos pero no puede ver, tiene boca pero no puede morder, tiene patas pero no puede caminar, y tiene alas pero no puede volar?   La respuesta: Un pajaro muerto
 Hopefully somebody could read, understand, and enjoy those. That's been pretty much the highlight of this week. We've decided that we're teaching a lot of people right now who are kinda stuck. They're not really progressing, and a lot of them really can't for some reason or another. So we've started the search for new people to teach!  Needless to say, we've been knocking a LOT of doors lately, and we've actually had a lot of success! We found a family of 4 who have been living here in the US for 3-4 years now, and somehow have never talked with missionaries before, never really been very actively religious, and are very excited to talk to us, and to learn more! We've found about 4 or 5 other this week as well who are all about in that same situation, and are all really excited to learn about what we have to share with them, to come to church, and to really make a change for the better in their lives.  It's incredible how when you really get out there and start doing the hard stuff, God puts his part in, and it all comes out to a happy ending.
 Oh, almost forgot. Thanksgiving was pretty exciting. We got to go eat about 3 thanksgiving dinners, roll on home after that. I find it incredible that I've already been out for over a year, and that this thanksgiving was the very last one that I'm going to have my entire mission! Next thing you know it will be Christmas, new years, Mothers day...then I start getting scared.
 The mission is soooo incredible! It's amazing how many miracles really happen every single day.
 Send me some jokes! I need some new ammo to shoot at the people here. Even if they're in English, that's alright. I'll try to translate them, and if they don't make sense I'll just tell them in English, and hope they laugh.
 Lastly, I might have mentioned this in prior weeks, but I suggest reading 2 Ne 32:8-9 and thinking about how prayer might be able to help you out even just a little bit more in your life, and then to try it! Awesome stuff.
 Love to all, and I hope you all had a happy turkey day!
 Elder Williams!

Monday, November 21, 2011

weekly awesomeness nov 21 2011

This week was a pretty interesting one. Every week we have a meeting where all the missionaries here in Payson get together (all 8 of us) and we talk about how to be better missionaries, and how we're doing and everything. Well this week, we talked a little bit about how to help people get over addictions.  We all decided that we would pick at least one bad habit, and that we would try for at least a week to stop doing that one thing. Well, I chose three. One of them was cracking my knuckles, another was popping my neck (Not sure how I got started doing that one). It was insanely hard to stop. I was really really surprised at how difficult it was to leave behind those few simple habits. The first couple days were especially hard, but I was able to succeed for the most part. I've still definitely got a lot of work left to do, but it's been a pretty exciting experiment.
Elvia Briceno got baptized this weekend!  BOO-YAH. I'm sooooo happy!  She's the only one in her family who is a member, and she's super duper happy to be a member of the church!  She definitely felt the spirit after her baptism, and even more after her confirmation. All she wants now, is for her family to follow along.  We'll see what we can do about that. They're all coming to church with her, and hopefully not too far behind.
Some other incredible things have happened this week that have cemented my testimony even more that this church is true, and that what we have really is from God. I'd love to share it all right now, but unfortunately I don't have time.
Have a great week, and a happy turkey day to all!!
Elder Williams

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14, 2011

Bishop Burton (Presiding Bishop) came to one of the stakes here for stake conference yesterday! It was pretty awesome.  He talked about Chocolate chip cookie days, and how everyone needs to store up on the good days of life, so that when bad times some you still have some chocolate chip cookies (wheat free of course) left to keep ya going. Unfortunately today we are really pressed on time, and I can't really go in to much more detail about that.

Today, my trainee goes to Argentina! His Visa finally came, and he's already to go. We went around saying good-bye to people, and in about 3 hours he flies out. It's been a pretty incredible experience training someone how to be a missionary. I'm definitely not even close to perfect, but I've really really enjoyed the opportunity to share my experiences and knowledge that I have learned with someone else. It's helped me a lot to be able to see my own personal potential as well. It's kinda hard to really see how far you've come as a missionary, but I've been able to see a little bit of the growth that I've had since the beginning as I've studied, and taught with Elder Arroyo.  Unfortunately, like all other things in this life, everything has to come to an end.  Fortunately, I still have a solid companion Elder Bosch, and I'm excited to get out there with just us two and do some work.

A couple quotes from the last week that someone might find funny:
-After watching Elder Uchtdorf's Mormon message about the 4 year old kids and marshmallows: "I guess I'm just a one marshmallow kind of guy"
-During a baptismal interview with a 9 year old while talking about prophets: Me-"Why is it important to you that we have a living prophet today?" Him-"Well it's really good because I don't think we've had one for a really really long time!"
-Talking about somebody, I have no idea who (I couldn't remember the animal "Cat" for some reason)- "Oh she's just a scaredy pig"

Well that's all the time I've got today. 

Last thought: Look for miracles, they're out there

Elder Williams