Tommy's Release Date

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

Monday, January 30, 2012

My bike tried to eat me (pictures)

My Bike Tried to Eat Me

So my bike tried to eat me this last week. It was kinda exciting....kinda not.  It all started on the way back to our house after going to get hair-cuts on Friday during our lunch break.  We were of course racing back to the house, and suddenly my foot slipped off the pedal.  My toe kicked the wheel, and my leg found refuge between the spinning tire of the bike, and the metal frame of the bike. Of course I didn't really realize what was happening, and so I cranked the handlebars back straight, clinching my leg even tighter between the wheel and the frame.  Fortunately, my leg works as a really good brake (Who would have known) and my bike slowed down pretty quickly.  I finally got the bike under control, and figure out how to get my leg unstuck, and got the bike stopped.  the tire burned through part of my pants, ripped my sock to shreds, and left me with some nice rubber burns.  My companion came back to see if I was alright, but I just got back on and rode the rest of the way home as fast as possible. I wanted to get home before it started to hurt, and right as we got home, it began. I washed it off as best as I could (That hurt pretty dang bad) and then did what I could to take care of it.  I'm pretty convinced my bike doesn't like me. First off, my first bike was stolen, then about a week ago the back brake locked up for some weird reason on our way home one night, and I had to ride a couple of miles with the bike brake about half way applied, and now it tries to eat me. I think we're going to have a heart to heart and see why my bike doesn't like me.  Hopefully we get somewhere.....Oh, and there's a really nice lady in the ward who has been taking care of me. We go over there every morning and every night for about 15 minutes so that she can rebandage me up. Good stuff!

Andrea Ojeda got baptized this week!!!!!!  That was probably one of the funnest baptisms I've been to. She was pretty much glowing the entire time! She and her mom and the only members in her family, but the rest of the family showed up, and the dad was crying pretty good during the service.  We went up and talked to him afterwards, and he said he's not really interested, but I think he'll come around soon.  He just needs to realize that he need the same change in his life that he's seen in his daughter's life.. Did I mention that Andrea goes to beauty school and gave up a the trip of her dreams to a beauty thing in California, so that she could get baptized?! She's an incredible example to me.

Other awesome news: I'm not sure if I mentioned this last week, but on Wednesday I got to drive the Transfer Van! It's a massive 15 passenger van, and somehow I got picked to drive it!  It was pretty legit. I don't think I've ever driven anything like it before.  Oh, and the reason is because we had a big zone conference, and I got chosen to play taxi.  We got to keep the van for the rest of that night, and in to the morning as well, so instead of showing up on bikes to all of our appointments, we showed up in a massive van.  It was pretty awesome.

The Mitre/Rojas parents are finally going to be able to get married, and the entire family is going to get baptized next Saturday! The divorce is finally going through for "Mama Mitre" and so they can finally take this step. They've been investigating the church for 6 years! and it's finally happening! BOO-YAH. I wish I had time to explain all the miracles that have been happening there with that family.

Thanks to everyone for your love, support, letters, and thoughts.  They are all very much appreciated!

Elder Williams

Monday, January 23, 2012

January 23, 2012

Cool miracle happened (I think it was this week? Time is flying by too quickly to tell.) We went to go contact some people, and we looked on the list of people that we were going to contact, and on the list there was a lady who had apparently requested the video "The Restoration."  We don't know if the missionaries ever got over there to deliver it, so we decided to go and offer her another one and see if she was interested.  Well, we showed up, and someone other than the person we were talking to answered the door. We talked with her for a minute or two, and she began to tell us a story. She said that her husband is currently in jail, and while he's been in jail, he started reading the Book of Mormon, and he absolutely loves it, and that it's changing his life. Well, unfortunately, he's going to get deported in about 3-4 days from now, and he wants a copy of the Book of Mormon to read in Mexico, so he asked his wife to find him a copy of the Book of Mormon, and to put it in his bags that he's going to be taking with him to Mexico, because the jail won't let him take their copy with him. His wife told him that she had no idea where she would find a copy of the Book of Mormon, but that she'd try.  Guess what happened next? That's right, the next day or so, we showed up on her front door step.  Coincidence? I think not.
Another miracle happened! It snowed! My companion is from Long Beach, California, and absolutely loves snow, as do I. We were in a lesson, and it started snowing, and since that moment, we have both been very content.  I also finally got to have one of my LIFE LONG dreams fulfilled. I have ALWAYS wanted to ride my bike in the snow, so guess what we did?: WE RODE OUR BIKES IN THE SNOW!  That was possibly one of the best moments of my life so far.  We didn't even fall over....well almost. We were doing so good, and we got to our garage and everything, but then my companion fell over while he was dismounting from his bike.  I felt kinda bad, but it was pretty hilarious.
Lately it seems like we can't do anything wrong. Everything we do has been leading to awesome things happening.  We decided to ride our bikes around in the snow just because we wanted to, and then the next day at church, we had a LOT of people come up to us and tell us what an inspiration we were to them because we were riding around even in the snow, and they're starting to really get excited about the missionary work.  This work is honestly incredible!
So yesterday I had an interesting realization. We were at an investigator's house, and the mom of the family commented on how I am always super happy and smiling all the time. I thought about it, realized it was true, and then on later thought, I realized that I am probably the happiest that I have ever been in my entire life.  We're having some CRAZY awesome experiences here, and I'm really starting to realize how much I'm going to miss the mission when it's all over. I've still got about 9 months left, but that's starting to feel extremely short.  I wish this could just go on forever.
Yesterday we got to see the prayer of an 18 year old girl answered right in front of our eyes. Her family is getting baptized, and she wasn't sure if she wanted to or not.  We took her off to the side and talked to her individually, shared some stuff from the Book of Mormon, and she started to cry. She now says that she wants to get baptized, and not only that but she wants to serve a mission, and do everything she can to follow Christ.  You can't imagine how incredible I feel right now. It's indescribable.
The church is true. Of that there is no doubt!
Elder Williams

Monday, January 16, 2012

January 16, 2012

Week two of miracles complete.  This week was honestly incredible. We had an investigator who really really really wants to get baptized, but he's not married yet, and unfortunately his wife never got divorced from her prior relationship. Well, they were having some serious problems with coming to church, and getting everything set up so that he could get baptized, but we took the bishop over there to talk with them, and they got EVERYTHING figured out, and even better, they showed up to church the next day! It appears that they will soon be able to get married, and that he will be able to get baptized within the next month! YAY!
Another couple miracles: We were out contacting referrals one afternoon (On our bikes of course) and we were having absolutely no luck at all with anybody, so we decided to take out a list of the past investigators, and to just go contact random people. My companion picked a random address, and we took off. Unfortunately, we soon discovered that we were going to have to go up a pretty big hill to get to the address.  This hill isn't all that steep, but it is REALLY LONG. I'm not sure, but my guess is that we probably had to climb about a mile up the hill to get to the house, and even better: we were fasting and suuuuuuper hungry. Well, eventually we made it to the house, we knocked the door, and a kid came to the door and invited us in. We soon found out that the whole family was members of the church except the dad, and that the dad was sleeping. The daughter went to go wake him up so that he could come talk to us, but his bedroom door was locked. Well, we talked with them for just a couple of minutes, when all of a sudden Brother Capella showed up (A member who helps us out a LOT LOT LOT!). Apparently he came, and the other guy was supposedly expecting him to come. So anyways, abou 5 minutes later of talking and stuff, the dad of the house woke up, and came down stairs. We said hi, and then Brother Capella and him went out to look at some golf clubs or something. We were going to leave, but something told us to stay there and wait it out, so we did. About 15 minutes later, they both came inside, and started talking. Apparently the dad of the house had had a dream quite similar to Lehi's dream of the Tree of Life, and we talked about that, talked about the church, he told us that he knows the church is true, and we talked about baptism. He said he wasn't ready to be baptized yet, and we left him a chapter to read (2 Ne 31), invited him to pray, and told him to call us that night whenhe got an answer to his prayers, then we left.  Well, he didn't call us that night, but when we passed by last night and asked him what had happened he told us that he read the chapter, that he knew it was true, and that he wanted to be baptized.
Another family that we've been teaching showed up to church for the first time this week, and when they introduced themselves, they said that they're going to be coming every week, and that they're very excited to "integrate" themselves into the church.
We had a baptism of a 9 year old kid just yesterday, and that was INCREDIBLE! His dad has been inactive for YEARS! He came to church yesterday, and then showed up at the baptism. I've only met the dad a couple times, and we always joke with each other about stuff, I tell him spanish jokes, and he tells me that I'm more mexican than him, but at the baptism, when he saw his son get baptized, he started to cry.  I went up and gave him a hug later, and he told me that it made hime remember his own baptismal day when he was 23 years old.  I see him as a changed man.
What else?  ummmmm, we were going to visit some people this last week, and they weren't home. We were about to leave when a couple teenagers from the spanish ward walked by and started talking to us asking us if we were the missionaries from their ward.  We said yes, and kept talking for a couple minutes. Just was we were concluding the conversation, the people we were really looking for showed up, and we went in and had an awesome lesson with them! One of them even came to church for the first time yesterday!
We even had a guy just randomly show up to church who said that he wants to be baptized. Unfortunately he was gone the entire week on vacation, but he called us and kept asking us things that he should read and stuff like that.
Miracles happen. Seriously. Pray for them, and look for them. If you don't believe in God, start believing because He's there, and He CAN guide your life if you let Him.
Here's my testimony: God loves you, and wants you to be a part of His church. I testify to anyone who is reading this the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is that church, and I do that as one of his authorized representatives. If you don't believe me, try it. Read the Book of Mormon, pray, and watch your life change before your eyes.
Love to all!
Elder Williams

Monday, January 9, 2012

January 9, 2012

This week has been a week full of miracles, and not having nearly enough time to do anything at all. I honestly haven’t even had enough time to unpack yet.  Let me start off with an interesting story. I'm now in a walking/biking area, and I actually had a pretty awesome bike. So we went to this one appointment, came out, and my bike had disappeared! Somebody robbed it. It was kinda strange because Elder Harker's bike was still there. Anyways, we walked to our next appointment, and that guy was AWESOME. (note: This was my first week in this area, and I pretty much just got to know the investigators this week) Well anyways, we talked with this guy, and he decided that he wants to start going to church and get baptized the 11th of February! Oh, the first person we visited that night also decided that she wants to get baptized the 28th of this month...Well anyways, while we were on our way walking home that night, we see a Latino guy smoking on the side of the road, so we decided to go up and talk to him.  He said that he has been wanting to give up smoking, and that he just didn't know how. He also said that he almost always walks the other direction down the road, but that today for some reason he came walking down in this direction.  Well, after an absolutely crazy chain of events with that guy, he gave me another bike, and we're hopeful to be seeing him soon to teach him more about the gospel.  Well, another night we had to split up, I ended up going to a correlation, and Elder Harker went to visit a family. I've been telling him over and over and over again that we're going to see miracles in this area, and we've been praying to see them, and guess what?! They've been happening. It might also have something to do with the fact that every single ward in the 5 stakes that we are covering are participating in a 40 day fast (1 person or family from each ward is fasting every single day for 40 days for the missionary efforts here in this area). Well, that night when we got back together, he (and the very excited ward mission leader) told me that this family of 5 who have been investigating the church since 2006 decided that they want to get baptized! Besides that, in the other Spanish ward that we cover, a guy showed up to church and apparently he wants to be baptized, so we have an appointment with him this week and we'll see where that goes.  Can you say crazy week?! Oh, and something else, we stopped by a less active family's house, and found out that they have a 10 year old girl (She's incredibly mature and intelligent) who really really really wants to come to church and get baptized. We're now working with the ward and the family to make that happen so that the family can all start coming to church again, and see the miracles that will happen in their lives.  Honestly, this area is just miracle after miracle after miracle. It's pretty incredible.

Now about my new companion. His name is Elder Harker, he's from Long Beach California, and a convert to the church of about 3 years.  He's been out for about 5-ish months, and is doing really incredible with his Spanish. (He did grow up in California so I think he had a head start, but in any case, he's doing REALLY well).   He already graduated and got his degree in Music Education, plays the saxophone, the piano, sings, and pretty much loves music just as much as I do, except for the fact that he hasn't really discovered the incredible world or barbershop. We'll work on that.  He doesn't let anyone pass him by in the streets, and even if somebody says "no", he tries to get down to the bottom of why they are saying that, and tries to help them to come closer unto Christ.  He's a great example to me, and I'm very excited to see what happens this transfer.

Pray for miracles. They happen. We've been praying for miracles every single day, and they've been happening, and changing people's lives.  Missionary Work is incredible. My testimony is strengthening every single day, and I love it!  This gospel is true. It makes so much sense that I can hardly contain myself. I just wish people would take the time to understand it all.

Until next week:
Elder Williams

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, January 2, 2012

HAPPY NEW YEARS!  Is it weird to say that New Years Eve, and New Year’s day felt just like completely normal days?  I can hardly believe it's already 2012 though. Let's just hope the world doesn't end soon so I can keep being a missionary.   This week was awesome!

Some miracles from this week:  There is a guy we've been trying to teach for a while, and is honestly an incredible man. He's about 22 years old, and works from 4 in the morning till about 8 at night 7 days a week. That makes him kinda hard to find, but when we do come in contact with him, it's pretty incredible.  We came in contact with him my first week in this area when he showed up to church. Since then, if there is any possible way that he can make it to church, he's there. I remember one Sunday that he got off of work at 7, got home at 8 (he has a 1 hour commute) made it to church at 9, stayed the whole time, and had to get back to work by 2 in the afternoon.  Well, we'd talked with him about baptism, but never really got any answers from him. Well, we randomly stopped by a couple days ago, and without us even asking he tells us, "I think I want to get baptized in February. He's decided that he wants to make the commitment, because he really feels like it's a necessity. He said he's going to go ask his boss to give him at least every other Sunday off, or at least enough time to come to church, so that he can make that commitment.  Did I mention that this guy is incredible?

Other news, we got our transfer calls, and I'm getting moved to a different area. I'm kinda happy, kinda sad about this. It's going to be hard to leave behind all the people I've been teaching, and all the people who have come unto Christ, but I'm also excited to get to know a new area, new people, new companion, and everything.  The only thing is that I'm going to an area that doesn't have a car, so I will be either riding a bike everywhere, or if there's snow, probably walking or getting rides. It's probably a good thing though. I could use a little bit more exercise.  I'm going to be in the Orem North area with Elder Harker. He's been out about 4-5 months from what I've heard, and loves the piano. Sounds like a pretty good mix. I guess we'll see.

Besides that, we were in a lesson with another lady that we've been teaching, and we were talking about prayer and receiving answers to prayer. We've been inviting her to pray about our message to know if it's true, and she's been kinda half doing it. While we were talking to her about it, I got the impression to ask her mother if she had asked and received an answer about it, so we asked her. We asked her if she had prayed about our message that we've been sharing. She said "Yes I have" We asked if she felt like she'd received an answer. She's usually very quiet, and doesn't really look at us much, but she looked right at us and said "yes, I feel something, and I know it's true."  What an incredible family they are. I wish I could stay in this area a little longer and see what happens with them, but I guess I'll just have to keep in touch and pray for them.

We had another incredible experience with a less-active white English speaking member named Brian.  One night Elder Bosch and I were driving around trying to figure out what to do, when Elder Bosch pointed out a house and said "let’s go knock it," so we went. I don't have much time to explain everything that has happened between us and him, but miracles are occurring in his life. He is in the process of completely changing is life. In only the three visits that we've had, he's decided on his on pretty much that he's going to quit smoking, drinking, and he's going to go to church and put a major effort in to it. When we committed him to all of it, he even called all of his family and wanted them to all be witnesses and to help him out with the commitment to change his life. Pretty incredible stuff.

Anyways, my time is gone.  Once again, I exhort you all (Gotta love scriptural terms) to read the Book of Mormon. Pray to find answers, pray to know if it's true, and then search. I promise you all that it's worth your time, and that it could very possibly change your life.

Elder Williams