Tommy's Release Date

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

Monday, October 22, 2012

Last one... crazy!

I'm not exactly sure why, but it really hasn't hit me that my mission is over yet...and I don't think it will until friday morning when I wake up in my bed in Oregon. We've got some awesome lessons tonight, and we're excited to get some more work done before I have to go home.  This area is really picking up, and I'm excited to hear what happens here in the next few months.

This sunday was crazy!! They all found out that it was my last week, and decided to make me do EVERYTHING...but I enjoyed it :D.  First of all, we were just barely able to obtain a system to do live translating of the speakers in sacrament meeting for those who come to sacrament meeting who don't speak spanish, and they had me translating that part.  They also had me conducting all of the Hymns.  Then, there were a couple of talks in english, and I had to go up to the podium and translate their talks (First they say a sentence or two in english, and then I repeat it all in spanish over the pulpit, and then it continues.  I was pretty much running back and forth from the translating thing, to conducting, and back to was pretty exciting! And at the end, they asked me to come up and share my testimony.  It was a pretty wonderful experience.  My back has been doing a lot better......until today. We went out to Duchesne this morning and played basketball and Volleyball (I didn't participate in that latter because of my overwhelming dislike for the "sport") and I strained my back a little bit. Not too bad though. I'm still fully functioning this time.  I guess I'll just have to take some time this next week or two when I get back to lay on the couch and watch football or something :P  Everyone always says: "You can rest/sleep after your mission!"  I never thought I would actually be needing to do that, but I guess I will.  Unfortunately, we're running behind, and I've gotta get going, but I just want to end saying how much of an incredible experience this really has been.  It has been exactly what I needed. It's incredible how customized this experience has been to ME. I have grown sooooo much, and I may not be ready to move on to the next phase of life, but I have been well prepared an am excited to continue on.  This gospel is so incredible, I could never give it up for anything.

Love to all!
Elder Williams

Monday, October 15, 2012


Heads up!  This is the last week to send anything in the mail to Elder Williams.  He is coming back and will be reconnecting with all of you as soon as he is able.  Thank you for your love, support, letters, notes and prayers.  ~Mom Williams

October 15, 2012

This week has been pretty interesting! We spent the week "lowering the cane" on a bunch of investigators, dropping a few, finding a bunch more, and seeing miracles! and all of that happened while I was suffering through a really badly pulled back.  It all started about two weeks ago when we helped people move for about 3 days straight and I strained my back pretty badly.  After that went on for about a week, I went to go play raquetball with a couple of other missionaries, and twisted my back really bad.  Then the next morning I went and played basketball and pulled my back.  then a couple of days later when I was in Roosevelt with some other missionaries, I pulled my back again really badly playing basketball once again.  Needless to say, I will not be playing basketball this week, and I feel like an old man.  It's really annoying having a pulled lower back. I'm not sure I realized how often we make use of that wonderful part of our bodies. Now, no matter how I sit, or where I sit, my back hurts. and of course this all had to happen on my last week when I want to play basketball with EVERYONE! but that's alright.

In addition to that, some hilarious things have happened this week! When I was on splits with the spanish elders in Roosevelt, they had to fill up their truck (pick-up truck) with gas.  While we were there we decided to take it through the car wash we had there. Elder Johnson was driving, I was in the passenger seat (with my backpack at my feet), and Elder Taylor was in the back seat.  As we entered the car-wash, Elder Taylor commenced to tell us that the last time he went to that car-wash, he was with his last companion Elder Guzman, and about half-way through the car wash Elder Guzman says: "Oh CRAP! OUR BACKPACKS ARE IN THE BACK!" And he got out (in the middle of the car wash) to rescue the sopping back-packs.  Elder Taylor finished telling the story, and we all laughed pretty hard, and then about 10 seconds later, Elder Taylor says: "OH CRAP! MY BACKPACK!!!" and Elder Johnson says: "What?! OH FREAK MINE TOO!!!" and Elder Taylor jumped out (half-way through the car-wash once again) to rescue the sopping, soapy backpacks.  That might just have been the most ironic moment of my life! I was glad to have my back-pack safely seated with me in the front seat :D

Another fun moment came when we were eating lunch the next morning.  They have 4 missionaries that live together in that apartment, and we were playing scripture golf while we ate.  Elder Johnson says, "I'll be right back" and goes to the back room.  Then he comes back about 15 seconds later with the phone: "Oh crap! They're coming to do apartment inspections this morning!" Then he goes over to the front window and looks out: "OH CRAP! THEY'RE HERE!!!!" And all 4 of them start scrambling to clean up the apartment! It wasn't too messy, but they definitely could have used a half an hours notice.  Fun moments with other missionaries! :D

The next day when Elder Lopez and I finally got back to our area, we had some really cool experiences with new people. It's really good because we've been struggling to find new people.  There's a couple that we've been wanting to meet for a long time, who are the neighbors of a recent convert lady, and on friday, we showed up to share a quick spiritual thought with the recent convert, and the couple was there with their kids! We taught them a wonderful first lesson and have a return appointment! They were really excited to learn, and to apply this stuff in their lives! I think they've been having some problems lately, and are excited for a change in their routine.  Apart from that, it's been really fun to go around town, and have basically all of the kids know exactly who we are! Since we went to visit all of the seminary classes, kids have been really excited to see us, and to talk with us. It's been pretty cool. We often hear "HEY! IT'S THE SPANISH MISSIONARIES!" fun stuff.  Apart from that, there is a wonderful program called the "Daily Dose program" here in the mission.  What happens, is that retired couples can apply to, and be called as Daily Dose missionaries. Their purpose and role is to go in to the houses of the people who don't speak english, and to teach them english with the program that the church has established.  This is especially useful to help us find new investigators, because the older retired couples go in to houses where the people would usually not be very receptive to our message, and soften the hearts of the people. One of the lessons is even on how to pray in english! Then, after their hearts have been softened, we are invited in to the home, and we can teach them the gospel.  It's a wonderful program! And even if they don't accept us (the full time missionaries), they can keep taking the classes, no commitment required.  Well, there used to be one retired couple, and then they called another, and these two couples got so excited that they talked with their stake presidents, and got 3 more couples called! Now this is pretty dang crazy. Especially since for some reason, they expect US to be the ones to go find them people to teach english to.....and we were kinda about to freak out because we don't even really have time to find ourselves investigators, let alone time to find people for others to teach, but then we were talking with one of our ward mission leaders for a new ward (a ward just got split, and some boundaries got readjusted) and this new ward just got an apartment complex with about 120 apartments, plus about 100 town homes, with MANY spanish people.  The ward mission leader wants to get out and get to know everybody, and was VERY excited about the option of taking these wonderful new and excited daily dose missionaries around to all of the doors to see if they can't get some students for them. It's exactly what all parties needed, at exactly the right time.  It's incredible how God's timing works so perfectly every time :D

Well, I gotta go! This should be a really good week. I think that we actually get to stay in our area all week! (Not including a couple short unexpected trips to Provo of course.....) Should be a wonderful, miracle filled week!

Love to all!
Elder Williams

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Look who I found!

I accidentally (it really was an accident, I promise!) found Elder Williams on Temple Square right after the Saturday Morning Session of Conference!  I feel like he's taller... but maybe my perception is skewed!  Excited to see him again in 2 WEEKS! :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 8, 2012

This week - just as crazy, if not even more crazy than last week. Quick review of the week.  Monday= p-day. Also, went to Provo to pick up Elder Lambert's new companion. We were going to get another missionary who's waiting for his Visa to go to Spain, but apparently he broke his leg, and is being kept in the MTC till he heals.  Anyways, then we got back to Heber, and went to the Spanish branch's family home evening.  Tuesday we went to Provo for a Zone Leader meeting, came back, planned a zone meeting for Wednesday, and taught a couple lessons. Wednesday, Elder Lambert was sick, so we went on splits with them (Elder Lopez was also not feeling so well) and Elder Bird and I went out to work. We taught 2 wonderful lessons in our area, and spent some time in their area as well, then had a correlation meeting.  On Thursday and Friday, we had a really incredible opportunity.  About a month ago, I got an idea, so we talked with the resident Stake President, got it approved, then talked with the seminary president at the local high school (Wasatch High), and then all of the seminary faculty, and on Thursday and Friday, between 6:30 and 2:30 we went in and gave a 15-25 minute presentation to all 900 and something seminary students in 33 seminary classes at the high school.  Two other companionship were supposed to come and help us out in the effort, but both cancelled the night before, which left us teaching between 3-4 seminary classes each period on Thursday, and then on Friday for a total of 15 classes.  Fortunately on Friday we got some help and finished out the other 18 classes. It was a wonderful experience teaching and testifying to the youth about missionary work, and how to be member missionaries, as well as the wonderful opportunity that they have to do that here.  There were even some non-members in some of the seminary classes, as well as recent converts, and many tears were shed before the end of the classes.  For some reason we felt that we needed to do all of that right before conference weekend, and I think it was wonderful timing!  Right after the last class on Friday, we went in to Provo to pick up Claudia (the 12 passenger van) and then ate dinner, and drove straight out to Roosevelt, picked up the missionaries who would be coming with us to the Saturday morning session of Conference in Salt Lake, and then drove back in to Provo, and stayed the night in the Mission Home.  The next morning, we all loaded up, and drove up to Salt Lake, and got to watch the first session of Conference.  Must I say, It is such an incredible opportunity to be there. I caught myself crying many times during the meeting (especially since the missionaries get to sit all the way up in the front, on the very right. Right where all of the general authorities and their family come in). President Monson is incredible. He really knows how to MOVE! He doesn't waste any time whatsoever coming in, and then on his way out, he pushed his wife out in her wheelchair.  Anyways, afterwards, we went out, took some pictures in the conference center, and then went to go walk around temple square. Right as we walked in to temple square, I saw Kimberly standing there! That was pretty cool.  Anyways, eventually we loaded up, and went back to Provo. Unfortunately, they needed Claudia (the 12 person van) to get Elders to the 6 o clock Priesthood session of conference, and there was not time for us to take all of the elders and sisters back out to Roosevelt and get back before they would need the van, so we stayed in Provo to watch the other two sessions. Then at about 10 o clock, they finally arrived back with the van from Salt Lake, and we loaded up again, and drove back out to Roosevelt. We pulled in just after mid-night.  Then we got to enjoy the 2 hour ride back in to Provo, because they needed the van again early the next morning.  We arrived at the mission home at about 2:30 am, Sunday morning (it took some extra time because I was drinking a lot, and we had to make some stops, as well as stopping in Heber to grab some stuff we'd forgotten, and then filling up the 30 gallon tank as soon as we got back to Provo. And we got to sleep at about 3. The next morning, we went and watched the first session of conference in the home of some recent converts in Orem, and then finally made our way back to our area, watched the next session at a non-member family's house, went back to our place, and crashed.  Our dinner appointment cancelled, so we got a couple hours of sleep in, then dragged ourselves out of bed, and finally got to teach a couple of final lessons.  WHAT A WEEK!!  I have felt the Love of God sooo much this week, but I gotta admit, I'm pretty drained both physically, and emotionally, while being completely spiritually filled.  I wouldn't give it up for the world!  Fortunately, this next week we'll actually be able to be in our area for 5 of the 7 days, and we're looking forward to pounding some doors.

This gospel is true.  I feel it every time I testify of it.  I love this work so much. Anyone who does not believe in these things, must not have taken the time and energy to understand the things we preach. Many people think that they KNOW, but do not UNDERSTAND. There's a massive difference. I now know, and understand, and my understanding grows every single day.

Love to all!
Elder Williams

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1, 2012

Holy crazy week!! Here's the list of all the driving we got to do this week: Wednesday morning, from Heber to American Fork for Zone Leader Council with Elder Kolliker (1st quorum of the 70), then to Provo, pick up transfer van, drive out to Roosevelt, pick up missionaries, drive back to Provo, stay the night in Provo. Thursday morning, drive to Orem, Zone Conference with Elder Kolliker, Drive to Roosevelt, drop off missionaries, drive to Provo, drop off van, drive back to Heber.  Thursday, follow-up ZLC with Elder Kolloker in Provo, drive back to Heber. Saturday, A couple from the Spanish branch in Heber got sealed, and there was a baptism in Provo, so we drove to Provo, then back to Heber. Sunday was nice, we got to stay in Heber all day.  Today, we have to go to Provo to pick up a couple new missionaries. and tomorrow we have another meeting in Provo we have to go to.  I calculated all of the driving time from this last week, and figured out that if I had used all that time to just drive home, I would have easily gotten home with all that time, even if I drove the speed limit :D  haha, but I'm still here, and we had some cool things happen this week.  First of all, we've been in a trio which has been pretty exciting.  Unfortunately, Elder Lambert who has been with us, is getting a new companion today (a missionary who is waiting on his visa to go to Spain) and so he will be leaving us.  HOWEVER, we are also getting a visa waiter, so there will still be three of us! :D We leave to pick him up in Provo (about a half hour drive) in about 2 hours (there goes p-day once again).  Oh, exciting news! I finally decided to buy myself a reeses peanut butter ice cream cake for my birthday that was almost a month ago! I'm quite excited to eat it!

Ok, now for the truly good news.  About a year and a half ago (in my first area) I was teaching a couple of kids named Mario and Luis. I'm pretty sure I shared most of this story a couple weeks ago, about how they finally got baptized, well this weekend I was able to go down to Provo to see Luis baptize his dad! It was one of the more precious moments on my mission.  That family has really had a change of heart. I was talking to Mario, and he said he even caught his mom reading the Book of Mormon! They're excited to have the mom and daughter get baptized shortly.

I am SOOOOOOO excited for general conference! First of all because I get to go to the Saturday morning session! Secondly because I get to drive the massive 12 passenger van to it, and thirdly, because it's GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!! :D  I always get sooo pumped up during these things.  Especially as a missionary.

If you get some time, you should go look up the talk "A Teacher Sent from God" by Elder Holland from 1998. I listened to it recently, and completely agree with it, and absolutely LOVE many things that he teaches! I HIGHLY suggest it.

Many other miracles have been happening lately, and I apologize that I'm slightly too distracted to think of them at this moment, but we really have had some awesome stuff happen lately.  I really enjoy being a missionary here in Utah. I feel so much love and support. The gospel is true, and it burns within me.

Elder Williams

Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24, 2012

Wonderful things happened this week! First of all, we'll start with the interesting. We are now a trio! Elder Lambert had a trial missionary as his companion (the church occasionally sends out potential missionaries on "trial missions" of 12 weeks if they are not sure if the candidate will be able to complete the full two year service for medical reasons), well unfortunately, the trial missionary had too many problems and was not able to stay out for more than a week, and that put Elder Lambert with us! It's pretty exciting. For the first time in my mission I'm teaching people in both English and Spanish. It's really interesting to try to adapt all of the teaching skills and examples over to English. Some of it comes really easily, and other parts of it are pretty difficult.  I find that I'm forgetting more and more English every single day. It's an interesting thing.

Also this week, we've been doing what we can to get more visible, so that people see us, and know that there are missionaries here in Heber, and talk to as many people as possible. Well, a couple of weeks ago, I started pursuing an idea that I had to go and talk to each of the seminary classes and get them excited about missionary work.  This week we were finally able to meet with the seminary president, and talk with him (as well as the other faculty) about this idea, and they are really excited about it! So in about a week and a half, right before general conference, us, and another set of missionaries are going to block of basically two whole days from 6:30 till 3 and will be giving about a 20 minute presentation about missionary work in 33 different seminary classes! I'm pretty dang excited, it's going to be AWESOME!  In addition to that, we've gotten in contact with the mission prep classes here in the Heber valley, and have begun attending the mission prep classes. It's really incredible to sit there and reflect on when I was there about 2 years ago. These youth have no idea how many blessings there are waiting for them in the very near future.  I'm excited for them!

In addition to that, we had a baptism on the English side of things this last Saturday (I didn't really have anything to do with it, but it was still cool!)  A lady named Stephanie (late 20's in age). Her husband is currently in Iraq, and they've got a little boy at home.  Anyways, one of her co-workers invited her to come to church, and she accepted without hesitation. Then the missionaries got involved, and very shortly she accepted the invitation to get baptized.  She was ready, and the Lord guided her to where she needed to be. She was incredibly excited (as was her member husband) to get baptized. It was AWESOME!!!

This week should be incredibly crazy! We've got 3 trips to Provo, and 2 out to Roosevelt, so hopefully we can find someone to stay here in our area with one of us three and get some work done!

Ahhh, one more thing.  This Sunday we were able to watch the temple dedication of the Brigham City Utah temple by broadcast to the local stake centers.  It was a wonderful opportunity! It was really awesome because only baptized members of the church who had a current temple recommend, or those who had gone to their bishops to get a temporary recommend could go, and during the dedication (as it was explained to us by our mission president) the stake centers where the broadcast was shown became extensions of the actual temple! There were priesthood holders at every door checking the recommends, and during the dedication all the exterior doors to the chapels were completely locked.  I found myself crying at multiple times during the dedicatory services. It was really a cool experience.  Elder Boyd K. Packer was presiding at the dedication, because the was his home town, and President Monson really wanted to make this a special event for him.  President Packer was the most lively I have seen him in a long time!  He mentioned that a few years ago when he was informed about the temple that would be built in Brigham City, he prayed fervently that he would live to see the dedication, and there he was.  I feel that he will pass on to the other side shortly.  Towards the end of the service, he spoke, and gave a brief overview of his life, and then just kinda joked around, and talked about various things.  I felt a strange connection and understanding of what he was saying.  It seemed to me like he was speaking of his preparation to pass on to the other side of the veil, reflecting on his life, and here I am, almost out of time in the mission field, about to pass in to the next stage of life.  I don't necessarily enjoy knocking doors, but I love being a missionary, and I am not ready to give it up.  Never will be.  It's true, and it's worth it

Elder Williams

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pictures - Oct 2012

September 17, 2012

I had the incredible opportunity to go and spend a day in my very first area where I started my mission! Tuesday was Elder Jensen's last day in the mission. He had his final interview with the mission president on Tuesday afternoon, and they didn't want to make us drive back to Heber, just to come back the next day, so they just sent me out with a companionship there, and it was in my first area! Bueno, the missionary who was there had only been there for about a transfer, and was going to get transferred the next day, so he didn't really care where we went (His companion had to go to a meeting in the Mission Home) and so we basically just went and visited people that I had taught about a year a a half ago when I was there.  They did have one appointment though, and I'll talk about that in a minute.  First off, we went to a correlation with the Ward Mission Leader (Brother De La Cruz) Who was quite surprised to see me :D And then we went out and visited people! We went to a couple places, talked with a kid I baptized while I was there who's gone a little bit less active, then went to a family Gabriel and Mirna Cota.  When I was there before, Mirna was about 6 months pregnant, and the pregnancy was really hard on her. She was having lots and lots of health problems, and right before I got transferred we gave her a blessing that she would be alright. Well, apparently the blessing worked, because when we showed up, a 1 year old baby greeted me at the door! It was crazy! Basically like walking through a time machine!  They're working on a few little things that they have to clear up, but before we left, the husband told me that he's going to get baptized, and that he wants me to come back and baptize him before I go home!!! MIND BLOWN!! :D  After that we went to go visit a family that the missionaries had an appointment with.  We no sooner walked in the door, then my mind was completely blown again!  I knew the family!  in April of 2011, we were teaching a couple kids (Mario age 15ish, and Luis age 19). They were really excited about the church, and had a desire to be baptized. Well, we ended up getting them tickets to go to General Conference with us, and them, and another one of their friends who got baptized about 3 years ago, and we were really excited to go. We even got permission from our mission president to go and ride up with them to Salt Lake! So 2 days before General Conference, they tell their dad that they're going, and he tells them that they can't go, and schedules a family reunion that very day so that they will have no chance at going at all. Every time we went over there ever since the beginning, the mom and the dad always gave us the evil eye, and basically hid from us.  After that occasion, the Kids were never home, and I basically never saw them again.  Well, apparently, they both got baptized about a month ago, and have made pretty big changes in their lives! The dad went to the baptism, felt the spirit really strong, and now him and their sister are going to get baptized in a week and a half!!  It was incredible because the teaching appointment was with the dad, and he felt really really bad for hiding from us, and for trying to keep his kids from learning.  The mom is still terca but they're all praying that she'll come around soon.  It was one of the most spiritual lessons that I've taught in awhile.

Anyways, now I'm here with Elder Lopez, and things are going great!  We're seeing some pretty incredible stuff happen.  With this one family, there are like 8 people we're teaching there (slight exaggeration). There's Lulu (recent convert, Grandma of the family, probably about 50-60 years old. Nellie and Marichui (Daughters of Lulu, 30ish, and 11ish years old) and then Yanixza, aliya, chiquilin, and 2 other small kids (11, 7, 4, and younger), and then Lupe (Living with them temporarily, probably about 30 years old). It's been really hard to get all of them on the same page, and to focus, so we decided to make a competition out of it! (because I'm way too competitive of course!)  Anyways, we made a calendar that started yesterday, and goes till the 20th of October, and split each day in to 2 sections. Praying in morning/night, and reading the scriptures/pamphlets that we've left them for 5 minutes. If they do that stuff, they can cross them off for that day, and they get 1 point for each. Also, if they come to church on Sunday, they get 5 points!  With General Conference coming up, they will get like 5 points for each session that they watch as well!  The winner of all that gets to go out to lunch with the missionaries ANYWHERE THEY WANT for free.  It was kinda funny because we went in, and started talking with Lulu (she loves the gospel and is super supportive of anything we do) and then we just sat there at their kitchen table and started making the calendars.  Then slowly everybody started showing up, and were trying to figure out what we were doing!  Finally we told them, let them choose their calendars, write their names on them, and they got started! They've all been reading and praying every single day since! :D :D :D :D :D. 

Another quick fun story before I go.  So this weekend there was a MASSIVE regional conference.  It's like stake conference, but there was a broadcast on Sunday morning from the Marriott center on BYU campus, and all of 146 stakes from the Provo valley, as well as Heber watched it at their corresponding stake centers (Except for 16 YSA stake that watched it at the Marriott center).  About a month ago, I had an interview with my mission president (President McCune) and asked him if the conference was going to be transmitted to Heber as well, and after revising his notes, he told me yes. I asked him where they were actually going to be having the conference, and he told me the Marriott center.  I asked him if we could go, and he thought for a minute, and said "Sure!"  So then he told us to be there at about 8:15, and said that he'd try to see if maybe we could go up and talk with the apostle that was going to come!  So anyways, yesterday the day finally came. I thought for some reason that he told us to be there at 8:15, so we showed up right at 8:15, and the doors were still locked.  At about 8:55 the doors opened (for some reason they started with the door that we were at) and we were able to get in, and got to sit right in the second row!!  So anyways, we sat there for awhile, talked with people, saw Nikki Barney from the ward back at home, talked some more, then President McCune came out and told us that we were going to meet Elder Oaks after the meeting.  The meeting eventually started, and was INCREDIBLE! President McCune spoke, as well as the Primary General President, and Elder Maynes from the presidency of the Seventy, as well of Elder Walker of the seventy, and then finally, Elder Oaks spoke.  He was pretty hilarious, as he spoke of single adults compared to a person in a star gazing club (ask James to explain the rest of it, because I'm sure he was watching it from one of the other stake centers in the valley).  After the meeting, we got to go with about 8 other missionaries, and talk with the seventy, Elder Oaks, and their wives for about 15 minutes, shake their hands, talk 1 on 1 briefly, and then take pictures! IT WAS INCREDIBLE!!!  He is a funny, brilliant, and powerful man. I would love to just stand there and talk with him for hours and hours.  But alas, I'll take the chance I had any day of the week.

Love to all!
Elder Williams [See attached picture]

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10, 2012

I remember growing up, and how if my birthday was ever on a Sunday, I basically hated it because then I couldn't do anything  "fun" on my birthday, but yesterday (Sunday) was my birthday, and it was really quite enjoyable! We got to go to church twice, and did a special musical number in one of the wards, then went and ate pork ribs with a family up in midway for dinner, and then went out and taught some people in the evening. Pretty enjoyable, pretty low key, I'm satisfied.

In other news, my companion has a total of 3 days left as a's pretty crazy seeing him pack everything up for the very last time. Kinda depressing.  As far as my new companion, as I've mentioned, we share the Spanish branch with another set of missionaries (Elder Butler and Elder Lopez). Well, Elder Lopez will now be my new companion! He's coming all the way down the street....about a 5 minute walk :P should be pretty exciting! Him and I actually came out of the MTC at the same time, but he was only in the MTC for about 3 weeks, so he'll finish up his mission at the beginning of December. He's from Guatemala too which is pretty exciting! That means that I will have had companions from 10 different countries, and a total of 15 companions! Canada, Chile, Mexico, USA, El Salvador, Panama, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Guatemala.  WOW.

Unfortunately, only 1 investigator came to church for my birthday, out of the 8 or so that told me they would come...but that's alright. Maybe this will make them feel bad about not coming for my birthday and they'll finally act and start reading, praying, and coming to church. It's incredible how many people just will not do the simple things, and it's incredible to see how the people who DO the little things, really see much bigger changes in their lives.

BTW, favorite scripture of the month: 2 Nephi 4:27-28 (I like it more in Spanish for some reason.)
27: And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh?  Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul?  Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
28: Awake, my soul!  No longer droop in sin.  Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.

Apart from that, we've been teaching some new people, and things are going pretty well. We're teaching a man named Julio Chavez. Him and his daughter are pretty incredible. The mother isn't really that interested, but she is cordial towards us at least. We were also able to get the Daily Dose missionaries (They teach English to people for free in their homes) so there should be some good stuff coming from that! He's very accepting and really thinks through things, and comes to conclusions on his own. It's really nice to not have to put words in people's mouth when they really just aren't paying attention, or have no individual thought.

It any case, actions are important. Act, act, act, act, act! Interesting thought for the day. It's way too much to really go in to, but I'll say it anyways. The word Grace in the new testament comes from the word "hesed" in Greek. This word implies "Love based on a covenant relationship" aka, God loves us, and more importantly blesses us, based on the covenants we have made with him.   For example, a husband and a wife have a covenant relationship. They covenanted to each other, became husband and wife, and they love each other based on that covenant that they have made.   When they have a child, their love for each other increases, because they have expanded that covenant, and made a new covenant to work together for the well-being of said child.  It is the same with us and God. Many people think that we are saved by GRACE alone, and that there are no works involved, but if we look at Grace in this view, as love based on a covenant relationship (As I believe it should be) then we actually do need to act. We desperately NEED to make covenants such as baptism by someone holding the authority, and other covenants, so that God can pour out his love even more abundantly upon us.  Hopefully someone gets what I'm trying to say, and finds this interesting.

Bueno pues!
Love to all!
Elder Williams

Friday, September 7, 2012

September 6, 2012

This week has been wonderful! Despite the fact that I've been sick all week...I'm not sure if I mentioned that in my email last week, but we were at a house last Sunday evening I believe, and there was a sick baby in the house.  This baby ALWAYS tries to climb up me (and even Elder Jensen every once in awhile) as if I were some kind of mountain worthy of being traversed...well anyways, I for some reason was letting it climb, and I guess it got too close, and it got me sick! That night I felt the little itch in the back of my throat, and the next morning the fun began.  We tried to go out and teach some people, but weren't having any luck whatsoever, so we went back to the house, and I slept like a baby. On Thursday we were supposed to go out to Vernal the Assistants to the President to do some exchanges with the elders out there, but I was basically bed-ridden and would not have been much of an asset to the missionaries out there, so my companion pawned me off on some other missionaries, and I spent the day between them and another companionship. We went out and did some work, but it was just basically a day of getting baby-sat. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to just sit and chat with some of the other missionaries in our zone, and I really learned a lot about them, and fully enjoyed the experience.  Friday my companion came back, and we were able to get out and do some work!  On Sunday I thought I was finally feeling better, and we went to church (at 8:30 in the morning). I realized quite quickly that I was still pretty sick. I was trying to sing the opening hymn, and my voice was not working at all...I'm sure I sounded like a cow  trying to sing in pig-latin...anyways, after that we went back to the house, ate, and I crashed. My first real Sunday afternoon nap in a LONG TIME! It was wonderful! Then we went out and taught some more in the evening. Monday was p-day, but nothing was open so we really didn't do much. Yesterday was an incredible day! We had our September ZLC (Zone Leader Council). We all met up at the mission home, and then found out that we were in for a surprise! Out in Goshen (Just a little bit further south than Santaquin) they have built a movie set, to be able to make the church videos about Jesus Christ (If you've seen any of the new ones on, this is where it was filmed) And we got a guided tour through the entire set! It was incredible! We were basically walking through a mini version of Jerusalem. After the tour, we sat down in the middle of this mini city, ate lunch, and then had our meeting. It was pretty incredible. This place is gated off, and nobody can get in or out without permission, so after the tour ended, and the guide left, we were left alone in this city. Nobody walking by, no traffic, no noises, no nothing. I quite enjoyed it! The only annoying thing was the lack of a table to write on....but that's alright.

This last week we've been having some miracles happen! We had a lady who is from California come over here to Utah, and by bad luck, she was with the wrong people at the wrong time, and the police showed up, and she (as well as the others) were all taken to the county jail, where she's been spending the last three months. Well, she got out, and has been living with a recent convert while she waits to go back to California (She isn't allowed to leave the state). So while she was in jail, she started going to church (The LDS church provided church services for those in jail) and began to read the Book of Mormon. She has basically completely changed her entire perspective on life, and is doing INCREDIBLE! She came to church this last Sunday, and was basically crying the entire time. She's been finding verses from the Book of Mormon that explain exactly how she feels, and are exactly what she wants to hear, see, and feel. It's pretty incredible!  We're really really really excited to see where this goes with her!

Apart from that, we picked up an awesome new investigator this week! His name is Julio. He was at the house of a guy who we've been trying to visit who's really not that interested at we dropped the other guy, and now we're visiting this guy at his house!  He's a very simple guy, who really understands the things we teach. We tell him something, and he says: "Of course, that makes complete sense!" His young daughter is excited too (She to go buy a candy bar, but her dad didn't have any $1 bills, so I gave her one, and she went and bought candy! and now she loves the missionaries!  It was almost awkward though because we were teaching the second lesson, and she asked her dad: "So how did my spirit get from heaven in to mommy's belly? He wittingly avoided the question, and life continued on happily :D

Apart from that, life has been pretty calm. we're driving around like lunatics, preaching the gospel like obsessed people (you could say we're obsessed with the gospel...), and been loving every moment of it (Except the being sick part...).

Also, my birthday is this next Sunday, so I've been having a lot of fun inviting people that I've never met before to come to church as their birthday present to me!  It's surprising how many people have actually said that they're going to come! It's really fun to joke around with Hispanics.  I love it!  The fun part is when they ask me if I'm going to go get wasted for my 21st birthday...I think it shocks some of them when I tell them that I'm not planning on ever drinking beer in my life....(not to mention that I'm allergic to it as well... :P)

anyways, love to everyone!

Elder Williams

Monday, August 27, 2012

August 27, 2012

This week was a really good week!  We ended up having to drop a bunch of people who haven't been progressing, but with the extra time, we've been able to find some new people to teach as well! There is a man who lives here in our area who I believe is pentecostal. Him and his wife actually apparently go out and do some preaching of their own. Well, when we knocked on their door, the husband was really receptive, and we shared with him the message of the restoration. He seemed quite intrigued, and was listening attentively. He asked some awesome questions, and we left him to pray and read the Book of Mormon. When we came back about a week later (We had some crazy stuff come up and weren't able to get back any sooner) they let us in, and told us that his wife was going back to Mexico. (I think there are some family problems, and her mother might be close to passing away).  I was surprised how accepting of us they were, and how much they opened up to people that they're really never met before, and everything. We left them to read from the beginning of the Book of Mormon where it talks about Lehi and his family having to leave everything behind to go do hard things, and hopefully they read it. By the time we left, they were in tears. Unfortunately, the wife is now back in Mexico, but we're excited to go teach the husband again tonight.

So lately my companion and I have been diagramming the Book of Mormon (aka we made a list of all of the chapters in the Book of Mormon and are now writing by each chapter just the very basics, such as who is talking, and what's going on) And we're linking together all the chapters that are a connected. For example, we linked 1 NE 3-4 because they're both about getting the brass plates. It's been pretty incredible, because the order of things in the Book of Mormon is really starting to make a whole lot of sense, and I'm beginning to understand a little bit more the whole context of when things are going on, and why, and all that great stuff!  Also, We've been trying to memorize the whole entire Sermon on the Mount (in Spanish) Book of Mormon version. It's been actually kinda hard. I was surprised. The order of things is impeccable, and it's hard to get things just right. I can't even imagine hearing those words first hand for the very first time, by the very mouth of Jesus, and just having my mind completely blown! It would be pretty fun, I gotta admit!

Well, the church is true. I get a greater knowledge of that every day. It's slightly unfortunate because the more miracles I see, and the greater testimony I receive, the harder I have to work to make sure that I'm exercising my faith, because lots of things are no longer faith, they're knowledge, but I'm alright with that! ;).

Love to all!
Elder Williams

Monday, August 20, 2012

August 20, 2012

I finally go to do something that I've been wanting to do for awhile! This Sunday at church, they had two people giving talks, and neither of them spoke Spanish, and they invited me to come up and translate for one of the speakers! It was pretty cool, he would say a sentence, and then I would translate it and say it in Spanish. It was really fun. It's basically like a massive puzzle that you have to put together and doesn't end until the translating is over. It really gets your brain going. I LOVE IT! Now I just want to try live translating where you don't get a break to think about what the person is saying, and then translate it, but where they are talking in to the mike, giving their talk, and I am sitting in the back with a mini microphone translating what they're saying as they talk, and having it transmitted to people with headphones that need the translation. It seems like that would be incredibly difficult, but incredibly fun!  In any case, this week was pretty fun!

On Monday, we got to drive out to Roosevelt again, pick up the missionaries, and take them to Provo, where we stayed the night. The next morning, we all got up, and went to a big 3 stake zone conference in American Fork. The zone conference was pretty incredible! I learned a lot about the effect of my mission on the rest of my life, as well as how to be even better while I'm here. One of the big things that they talked about was silence. In the American culture, we hate silence. Someone always needs to be talking. President McCune is an incredibly successful business man, speaks Japanese, and would often go to Japan to negotiate with other companies. He mentioned how the Americans always had things that they didn't want the Japanese to know, and vice versa. During the meetings, the Americans would talk, and then when the Japanese would leave silence, they would get nervous, and talk some more, and more and more, and at the end of the meeting, the Japanese would know everything, and the Americans would know nothing.  He then mentioned that when they allowed the silence to happen, and waited (an uncomfortably long amount of time I'm sure) for the Japanese to respond, they were finally able to get the information that they wanted and needed. He also mentioned that the leader or head of the Japanese group almost never talks, he just sits there and observes. He then applied that to missionary work, and how there is ALWAYS one of us who is not talking, who should ALWAYS be observing, and trying to discern the needs of the investigators, and seeking revelation on what to do next. I really liked that example! We also did a role play where we had to just wait a little bit longer than usual, take our time, and not rush things. If we had nothing to say, then we should say nothing until the words are put into our heart by the Holy Ghost. It was a really cool role play, and I'm excited to apply the principles even more in my mission. 

After the zone conference we drove the missionaries back to Roosevelt, took the van back to Provo, and finally got back to Heber by about 10:00 (I committed to drive the speed limit for the rest of my getting places is taking a LOT longer! It's annoying, but I'm hopeful that God will bless me for my obedience to the laws of the land....we'll see how long this can last).  There was also a fun escapade of dropping off a mattress for some other missionaries, and having it fly out of the back of our truck on the way there, and then having someone try to steal it from us.....good stuff!  Apart from all the red tape and driving that we've been doing, it's been a really good week though!

We met a lady who got baptized into the LDS church when she was 8 (none of her family were members of the church, she just felt that it was right, and de hecho, todavia siente igual, aunque sus acciones no siempre lo reflejan) anyways, she ended up getting married to a Catholic guy, and he was really not that religious and was in to some questionable things... She really wanted  to help him out, and knew that he would not accept the LDS church at that time, so she started trying to help him by taking him to the Catholic church, even though she didn't really believe in it's doctrine. They had kids, and although she shared her experience and how she got baptized in the LDS church, her actions in the Catholic church spoke louder than her words, and her kids are confused Catholics (aka they're not really sure what they believe, but they consider themselves Catholics because they always went to that church with their parents.) So now, we're found her, and we're starting to teach her and her husband, and he seems really receptive, and the light and spark is starting to light within the wife as well. She's starting to remember how she felt when she got baptized when she was 8, and now she wants her entire family to come with her to the LDS church. (She's been inactive in the LDS church for years! ) It's a really cool experience to be in their house and teach them the gospel. I am so glad to have this opportunity to be a missionary, and to help bring light to the lives of many people. It's truly a unique experience!

Love to all!
Elder Williams

Monday, August 13, 2012

Five VERY happy missionaries!

August 13, 2012

This week was absolutely crazy! We had to go in to Provo for a Zone Leader meeting on Tuesday (INCREDIBLE MEETING!) I really love our new mission president and his wife. They are really doing everything possible for all of the missionaries, all of the other leadership in the mission (aka stake presidents and bishops) and really pushing as hard as they can in every direction. He and his wife have been going to as many baptisms as they've been able to get to, as well as going and taking the missionaries out to lunch just to talk. I am incredibly impressed. So on Thursday we were planning on going out to Duchesne (about an hour away) but that evening we felt like we needed to go up and spend the evening with those missionaries, so we left right after dinner and went straight out there and spent the night there knocking doors, and teaching with them. It was a really good thing we went up there, and a really good experience (I got to go with Elder Rantz from OREGON so of course it was incredible!) Anyways, the next day we had our first ever ZONE TRAINING MEETING! Aka, Elder Jensen and I got to train all of the missionaries in our zone for 2-3 hours. It was a really incredible experience. We found out how young our zone really is. Out of the 24 missionaries in our zone, 4 have been out between a year and a half and 2 years, 0 between 1 year and 18 months, another 4 between 6 months and a year, and 16 MISSIONARIES BETWEEN 0 MONTHS, AND 6 MONTHS!! Soooo much greenie fire, I love it! Our zone is doing pretty incredible. Anyways, on Saturday there were a couple of baptisms in the branch! A family of 4 just got baptized. They are incredible! Apparently the dad wanted to get baptized about 8 years ago, but then they moved out to Park City, and his life got wayyyy crazy and he didn't have any time to meet with the missionaries any more. Well, finally things calmed down 8 years later, they moved back here to Heber, and requested that the missionaries come and baptize he and his family. Moments like that absolutely blow my mind!  We spent basically all Friday and Saturday morning inviting people to the baptism, but unfortunately nobody that we invited showed up :(.  Our mission president, President McCune actually came and baptized the father of the family! It was a pretty incredible service.  Well unfortunately we've gotta get going. We have to leave for Roosevelt in a little while... btw, I wrote a tag for the Hymn Redeemer of Israel. I'm sending it attached.

Have a wonderful week!
Elder Williams

Monday, August 6, 2012

August 6, 2012

First interesting event that happened this week was on Tuesday morning! We were in the middle of studies, and all of a sudden we got a knock at the door. Elder Jensen went to go answer it (We thought it would be other missionaries). He opened the door, and to his surprise he saw two short Hispanic ladies at the door. THE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES! He started talking for a couple seconds, then I came to the door. You could see the shock on their faces when the giant (I) suddenly appeared in the door. They were trying to share a scripture with us about how God's name is Jehovah, and how we should say "Jehovah" every 3-4 seconds (obvious exaggeration added) and while she was sharing the scripture, her finger was physically shaking, and her voice sounded a little bit scared. This was all in Spanish of course (I'm pretty sure somebody told them we lived there, because that started talking Spanish from the instant that the door opened...).  We asked them a few simple questions, and were thinking about teaching them on our doorstep :D But then the main lady (who had out her Bible and one of the watchtower magazines) put away her stuff, gave up, and they left.  I was somewhat disappointed. I hope they come back sometime so that we can talk some more. I kinda doubt it though. Then we had transfers on Wednesday! We now have 4 OREGONIANS IN OUR ZONE!!!  In other news, we've been making a new Zone Plan of Action for our zone, and as a part of it we asked all of the missionaries in the zone for their 3 favorite scriptures! It's been a really cool experience to go through all of the favorite scriptures and see how many incredible things the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price really have!  Lastly, we were trying to go find some new people to teach, so we looked at this one map, and noticed some apartments on the extreme end of one of the wards, and we decided to go contact them. We drove over there, and felt that it wasn't quite the right time, so we went somewhere else, and went back to the apartments about an hour later. We parked around the corner, got out, and walked up to the apartments. Right as we were walking up, a car pulled up, and a lady got out. We went up and talked to her, and found out that she had just moved in the night before. She had been replaced in her old job at Park City after being there for 4 years just from one day to the next, and basically lost everything. Apparently she didn't even get her last check that was supposed to be for about $1,000. CRAZY! She also mentioned that she had talked with missionaries before, and almost got baptized, but then crazy things happened and she was never able to follow through with it.  BOO-YAH! Unfortunately, she didn't speak Spanish :( so we had to pass her over to the English elders. but that's alright, it was a miracle none-the-less.

The church is true, the book is blue, and even you can know it too!

Elder Williams

Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012

Transfers are coming this week!! But I will be staying with my companion Elder Jensen again. This is the third transfer we will have had together, for a total of about 4 months.  Pretty much everyone else in our zone is training new missionaries though. I believe that there are about 22 new missionaries coming in this Wednesday, and we will be getting more than a quarter of the new missionaries in our zone, and lucky me, I get to drive the transfer van all the way out to vernal to drop them all off! another 5 or so hours driving on Wednesday, and then back out there again on Thursday. Don't worry, we're driving a TON, but we still get some time in our area. I'm not sure if I mentioned this last week, but there's this one guy that we've started teaching, his name is Beto, who is ALWAYS outside with his friends drinking every single night! It's pretty impressive actually! For some reason, when we've gone over there, it seems like every time we go talk to them, he's super friendly, and interested (even if he is drunk). So we got to teach him twice now, and he's told us that he wants to "meterme en su religion" (Become a part of our religion) and that he wants to quit drinking, and start doing things right. We took away all of his beer cans that he had there, and told him to not drink until we came the next day. When we stopped by the next day he wasn't there, but we stopped by again yesterday, and he was there with all his friends who were drinking, and he had a massive jug of tomato juice that he was drinking! I gotta give that guy some serious props. I think he can do it! He also mentioned that he wants to come to church, and that he will be there next week. We are REALLY REALLY excited to see what happens with this guy.

Interesting story: Up until this last P-day we've been having to take all of our laundry to the laundromat to get it washed, but this last week we helped a family move in to an apartment, that already had a washer and dryer installed. Aka, they didn't need to use their own washer and dryer, and were looking for somewhere to store it. We quickly, and happily suggested our apartment :D and they consented. So we went to install the washer and dryer, and we realized three things very quickly. #1, one of the tubes to connect the faucet on the wall to the washer was bent badly enough that we could not even get it on, #2, we didn't have one of the aluminum lint tubes to go between the wall and the dryer, and #3, the power cord on the dryer was three pronged, and the outlet on the wall was 4 pronged....about an hour later, and $40 poorer we showed up, and hooked everything up, turned on the faucets, and they started leaking.....aka, p-day ruined. We went and requested a repair-man from the apartment complex, and went and waited at the house. About an hour later he showed up, and about an hour after that, finally got the faucets to stop leaking. (We found out that he was an in-active member and committed him to go back to church though :D)  But now we have a washer and dryer in our house, and we don't have to go to the laundromat every week! :D YAY!

This Saturday, I got to go back to Payson and baptize somebody! That was a pretty cool experience. It was a lady that I taught while I was there about a year ago, and apparently she wanted me to baptize her! It was really cool! A ton of missionaries showed up, and even our mission president showed up. It was SWEET!

Well that's about it for this week. Interesting sidenote. We've been collecting some pamphlets and brochures and things from other churches, and I took some time to look through them and study them this week, and it was a pretty revealing experience. I was really surprised at how much confusion there is in a lot of the churches about certain things. Many don't believe that God has a body, just that he is a big spirit up in the sky somewhere, others don't even believe that we have spirits ourselves... I am SOOO grateful for the revelation that we are able to receive from the living day prophets who cut out all confusion whatsoever, and tell us where the truth is, and how we can apply it in to our lives.  The gospel from the perspective of our church goes SOOOOOOO deep. The roots almost never end. I mean no disrespect to any other religion, but I fail to see the depth, and perspective that we have a members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in their doctrine.  There is a lack of understanding of the progression that God has planned for us.  I am interested in further study to strengthen my testimony of this divine church, gospel, and work. This church is true. It has the answer to EVERYTHING!

Elder Williams

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 23, 2012

This week we had some pretty interesting experiences! First of all, on last monday evening we went to the house of a family of investigators to teach them. This family has been pretty incredible. We started teaching the mother by knocking on her door, and little by little, the rest of the family (except for the dad) have been coming and sitting in on the lessons. This time was no different, and even the 3 year old girl Ruby came in to participate in the lesson. After about 30 seconds, Ruby started basically going crazy (all with a crazy big smile on her face of course). We were teaching the restoration of the gospel, and had given pamphlets to everyone. So of course she runs right up to me, and grabs my pamphlet. That was alright with me, but then she started spinning in circles, and threw the pamphlet in the air! So then I picked it up quickly, and she ran over to me and wanted to grab it again. So I asked: "are you going to throw this in the air again?" "NO! She responded" So I gave it to her, and she instantly commenced spinning around in circles and threw it again! Then she started head-butting us, yelling, and basically just being annoying. Her sister tried to grab her and calm her down, but she just started screaming even more. Fun stuff. If only you know how loud she got when we started sharing the story of Joseph Smith! Incredibly though, in spite of the distractions, the family understood what had happened, and the incredible story of Joseph Smith! It was pretty cool. We went back a couple of days later, and only the mother was home, but she let us in, and we talked with her about everything we've been teaching, asked if she had any questions, and she started asking questions. We invited her to get baptized, and she said that she would pray about it. It should be interesting because she just barely got a job, and they make her work on the weekends (aka sunday) but I'm pretty sure that we can work through that. We're pretty excited about this family. Besides that, this tuesday we had a leadership training which was pretty awesome, Thursday we went out to vernal and went on splits with some other missionaries which was a pretty awesome experience by the way. I always love going in to another area and not having to worry about where to go, or what to do, just following along and making the most of the situations you're put in, teaching and testifying always.  We got back in to Heber friday afternoon just in time for dinner. Saturday we helped a guy move, and did some of our weekly planning session. Sunday we went to church, finished our planning session, and met one of the stake presidents in our area. It's been a pretty eventful week, but I'm definitely excited to get back to work this week and hopefully teach some of our own investigators here in our area.  We ALMOST had a really cool experience this week. haha. There's a less active family here, and they can't go to the spanish branch because the husband has to work on sunday mornings and doesn't get back until about 11:30, and church ends at 11:30 at the spanish branch. So we went over there, and offered to take him and his family to an english ward and translate everything for them. I was pretty excited because I absolutely love translating! But sunday rolled around, and they didn't show up to church. We went to their house, and either nobody was there, or they just didn't answer the door. I was pretty disappointed, but we're faithful that they will come this next week.

It's incredible how true this work is. There are wayyyy too many "coincidences" for this to not be true. My testimony of this work, and the Book of Mormon and Restoration is growing daily.  I LOVE IT!

Elder Williams

Monday, July 16, 2012

July 16, 2012

This week something happened that I've been waiting my entire mission for! So last week we had 0 investigators at church. We had committed like 10 people to show up, but not a single one of them did. (Quite frustrating as you can imagine).  So on Tuesday afternoon, we get out of this one lesson, and we see these three Hispanics (One was about 17 years old, another about 22, and the third about 30), and one of them had a basketball in his hands. We were headed back to the truck and I decided to go talk to the kids. I started talking to them about basketball, and they started talking smack. So we challenged them to play. We had an appointment in about 10 minutes, so we weren't able to plan then, but we set it up for the next day, told them to bring some friends, and we told them that we'd bring some other missionaries.  So the next day, we all met up (they showed up about 20 minutes late, and we thought they were going to skip out on us...) and we played. We beat them the first game, and then challenged them to another, and raised the stakes :D We said, alright if you guys win, we'll buy you all lunch at the Dairy Keen (Incredible fast food place here in Heber), and if we win, then you all come to church!  One guy looked at another, and said, "well man, we're about to lose, so you want to go to church this week?" They agreed, and we played, and WON!! :D and guess what? One of them showed up to church! One had to work, and another didn't get up on time, but they're going to come next week :D  I've been hoping to be able to do that my entire mission, and I'm glad I finally got the chance.

In other news, we got to dig a grave this week. That was pretty exciting. We were at a correlation the other day, and we told one of the ward mission leaders: "We are willing and have some time in the afternoons to do some service. Could you ask around your ward to see if there's anyone who needs some help with anything?" So that evening, about an hour or so later we got a phone call from him: "Elders! So when I got home this evening from the correlation I had a message on my answering machine, with a lady from our ward requesting some help from the missionaries to come help dig a grave for her grand-kid's dog that had just died. (Coincidence? I think NOT!) Anyways, so we got in contact with her, and went over the next day to help her dig the grave. So apparently they were going to get a pretty decently sized box for the dog, and so they wanted a hole about 2X3 at the top, and about 4 feet deep.... That wouldn't be a problem, except that the ground in her back yard (and I imagine in all of Heber) is basically just a bunch of rocks piled on top of each other, with packed down dust filling in all the space. In other words, it was basically impossible... After about an hour and a half, we had gotten down about a foot and a half, and had massive blisters on our hands from the shovel, and the pick-axe. Fortunately for us, she was a really nice lady and made us brownies and pizza (neither of which I could eat, but don't tell her that). We went back the next day with a couple other elders, finished digging the hole, put the dog in it, filled it back up (I don't think anyone is going to have to worry about other animals digging this dug up. We packed the hole back up with rocks :D) Oh, and she made us PIES! (Of which I could not partake...) but she was really nice!

Yesterday, we talked with a 25 year old who lives here in Heber, she's lived here for 16 years, and NEVER talked with the missionaries before! That absolutely blew my mind. They live a little bit away from the main concentration of Hispanics, but still, 16 years, and never talking with the missionaries? Dang....We're pretty dang excited to see where this goes. She seemed somewhat interested, but it just appears that nobody has invited her to church, or anything.

Life is going GREAT! The mission is pretty dang incredible. I'm learning incredible stuff pretty much every single day. It's a pretty humbling experience.


Love to all!
Elder Williams

Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9, 2012

This week was absolutely crazy! We spent all Tuesday driving to Provo, then Roosevelt, and back to Provo, Wednesday (July 4th) we marched in the Provo Parade, then drove back out to Roosevelt, and back to Heber. Thursday, we had to drive all the way out to Vernal, and got back at about 5, and finally got to do some proselyting! YAY!  Besides being out of town for half of the week, things went really well! Nobody told us to "go read the Bible" this week which is always a nice thing.  We've been meeting a lot of really cool people who are interested in learning more about the gospel, but it seems like pretty much all of the live in either Park City, or up in Salt Lake.  Seeing as I was born in Salt Lake, it's always interesting to hear about what's going on up there. It seems somewhat strange though, because it seems like all of the people who live here in Heber, are always going up to Salt Lake and Park City, and everybody up there is always passing through Heber. I'm not sure I understand, but that's alright. Unfortunately, seeing as we weren't here in Heber for most of the week, I really don't have all that much to share this week. I've been studying some stuff in my personal study lately though which has been pretty enlightening. I read Abraham chapter 3. Most people read just verses 22-23, but as I read it, I especially liked verses 24-25. It's really nothing new, but I enjoyed it. Apart from that, I've been studying King Benjamin's discourse. I find it interesting that King Benjamin invited his people to come up to the temple, in order to give them a new name to distinguish them from the other people brought from the land of Jerusalem (Mosiah 1:11), called them to repentance, and then they all wanted to make covenants. After reading that part, I continued on to Mosiah chapter three where King Benjamin basically throws down. I was meditating on that when my companion and I started talking about something I found very interesting. I think there was a verse in there somewhere that talked about judging people, and how we are welcome to judge people, but we have to judge righteous judgement.  My companion then mentioned that in order to recognize people, we have to judge them.  For example, when people see me, and then I come back for a second time, people are able to recognize me because they think: Oh my goodness, the massive white guy with light brown hair and a blue backpack is talking to me in Spanish again!  Or if someone has a mole or something on their face, you recognize them for that. It's not that we're making fun of them for their physical attributes, but the only way that we can recognize somebody, is by judging them in some way, shape, or form.  I found that pretty interesting.  I'll have to keep studying on what the scriptures say about judging others.

Anyways, Have a great week!
Elder Williams

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2, 2012

This last Monday after sending off my weekly email, we went to go do our laundry. While we were sitting there waiting, a lady walked in and started to do her laundry as well (We don't have a washer or dryer in our apartment so we have to go do it all at the Laundromat) Anyways, I started talking with the lady, and found out that she was a very very very devout christian who thought she knew the scriptures. Needless to say, after a 20 minute conversation with her about the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and various other religious topics, she was quite convinced that she needed to go study the Bible some more, because we had asked her a bunch of questions that based on her knowledge and religion she had absolutely no idea how to answer.  It really is amazing how many things there are in the Bible that support the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As well as with all that, it all just makes sense, and when people from other religions realize that, I think it scares them.  Unfortunately she lives in Colorado so we weren't about to set up a return appointment.  It honestly blows me away that my companion and I, some measly 20 year old boys, can have a full on gospel discussion with 40 year olds, 60 year olds, pastors, anybody, and that we can completely edify our doctrinal points, and show people who have studied probably a lot more than us where the truth actually lies. That alone, is a testimony to me that what I'm doing is correct.   I've really been humbled a lot lately. I'm really beginning to understand what the prophets mean when they say "I know that I am nothing."  One of the hardest things for me to give up to come out here on my mission was my pride. God keeps scraping it away from me piece by piece, and hopefully it's almost gone, because I'm not sure there's much more to scrape off.  I've had so many incredible experiences so far, and it is quite apparent that none of it has been my own doing. Every Experience I've had so far, has been the hand of God. That's the only way any of this could happen.  It's incredible how many hard-hearted people there are in the world currently. I don't understand how people think that they can just go do whatever they want, not read the scriptures, not pray, and then when we stop by all of a sudden they feel justified to say "Yeah, God and I are best friends, I think about him all the time..."  Something else, there are a TON of people use "OMG" in both English and Spanish. That's always annoyed me when people say that, because to me it's a direct mis-usage of God's name, taking his name in vain. Lately whenever people have said that (especially in Spanish) I've been trying to make an effort to correct it, and the first time I tried to do that, the offender said "Yeah, I don't see anything wrong with it. Every time I say that I'm just remembering God, by using his name."  I'm not sure I've ever heard a more perverted excuse to break a commandment (aka, #3 of the big 10). Nevertheless, for every 10 people here that drive me crazy, we always find at least 1 that makes up for all of the rest.  This last Saturday, we were out knocking some doors, and after talking to a bunch of people who were just annoying me with their sanctimonious ignorance (not to mention the little dog that was chasing us around the neighborhood barking at us incessantly), we knocked the door or a less-active lady from the Spanish ward named Carmen. We started to talk with her, and found out that she generally works on Sundays at the hospital and hence can't come to church very often, but that she wasn't going to be working the following day (SUNDAY!) The only issue was that she is in the process of moving to another part of Heber, and wanted to use the day (Sunday) to clean the house, box stuff up, and just get ready in general, and wasn't going to come to church for that. So we told her: "Ok, we're coming in RIGHT NOW, and we're going to help you get everything done, so that tomorrow you can come to church! Deal?" She agreed.  We went in and helped her for about an hour and a half, she gave us a watermelon (I LOVE WATERMELON) and we were on our way.  The next morning, SHE WAS AT CHURCH! :D I love it when people use their agency to do good things! In any case, things are a bit rough right now in this area, but it's slowly picking up. The work shall go forth! 

Love to all!
Elder Williams

Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25, 3012

Reminder that the Mission Home office address has changed to:  Elder Thomas Williams (line 2) Utah Provo Mission (line3) 85 North 600 East (line 4) Provo, UT 85606.  Elder Williams would love to get some mail if you feel like writing a note.

Holy cow, it's incredible how much your life can change in a matter of days. I've been basically in the Provo/Orem part of the Valley for the last 20 months, and now here I am in Heber.  This last week has been pretty crazy! So we had transfers on wednesday, and as I've mentioned, I got transferred to Heber. Elder Jensen and I are back together, and we are the zone leaders over the Eastern Utah Zone. aka, we are over the missionaries about 2 1/2-3 hours to the east, all the way out in Vernal. Well, I'm one of the few missionaries authorized to drive the massive 12 passenger van, so I was asked to drive all of the elder from Roosevelt (about 2 hours to the east) and vernal with all of their stuff out to Roosevelt, where they would go to their respective areas. Well, about 2-3 hours later, we arrived in Roosevelt, everyone took their stuff out of the van and trailer, and then Elder Jensen and I got to drive all the way back to provo to drop off the van, and then climb in our truck (yes we have a pickup truck!! :D) and drive the 30 minutes back to Heber.  So that was about 6-7 hours of driving my first day.  The next day, we had to go back out to Roosevelt for a meeting with the missionaries there, and then another 40 minutes out to vernal for another meeting with them, and then drive back to Heber. Aka, in my first two days in this area, we spent about 12-13 hours driving.  Fortunately, for the rest of the transfer, we only have to go out there about 2-3 more times (Unless something crazy happens which we're praying doesn't).

As far as my current area, It's been a little bit rough. I really haven't been able to meet very many of our investigators yet. Only one of them came to church, and haven't been answering the door. There's a LOT of work to be done here. For some reason, the people here are a lot different than the people in the valley. It will be interesting to get to know them better, and to get to know the difference in culture.  It seems like all of the latinos here are from Guerrero, or Michuakan (sp?)  However, there is one thing here that I absolutely love: DAIRY KEEN! There is a restaurant here that has agreed to let missionaries (all 8 of us here in Heber) to come and eat there for lunch FOR FREE twice a week. AND THEY HAVE GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS! It's pretty sweet! I've already gone there twice and gotten gluten free hamburgers. It's pretty awesome. Besides that, there's also a Dominos Pizza here who has said that I can come in and get a gluten free pizza once a week as well :D

Another interesting couple things. We share the spanish branch here with 2 other spanish missionaries! It's the only ward/branch in all of our mission that has 2 sets of missionaries. It's pretty fun to always be near, and around another set of spanish missionaries. It's the first time that that's really happened with me.

Finally, I got to give a talk this sunday at church. It's incredible to think back to my first time giving a talk in spanish, and to think that now, it's really not all that much of a big deal :D

Anyways, love ya all!
Elder Williams