Tommy's Release Date

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

Monday, February 27, 2012

February 27, 2012

This week has been a week of miracles. Unfortunately I don't have all that much time to write about them all today. This morning we met with an incredible woman. This is the 3rd or 4th time that we've met with her. We had Sister Castillo with us as well in the appointment (Incredible member who got baptized a few years ago and has an INCREDIBLE testimony!!)  We were at a really cool part of the lesson, the spirit was super strong, and sister Castillo asked her if she believed that the church was true. She responded "Yes."  We invited her to be baptized on the 24th of march, and she accepted as well.  It was a pretty incredible experience. There's still a long ways to go with her, she doesn't have a very firm grasp on the gospel topics, but she feels it. We're working on helping her to be able to feel the truthfulness of the gospel "in her mind and in her heart" as it says in the scriptures. She knows it's true in her heart, but is somewhat confused because she doesn't really understand WHY it's true.  I'm excited to see what happens with her!

Another day of the week we were visiting a family. The dad has been coming to church for awhile, and basically wants to be baptized, but doesn't want to commit to a date. The wife is basically of the track of thought that she wants to see the results of her husband getting baptized, and then if she "feels like it" she'll follow along. Well we had an incredible lesson with them about baptism. We taught about how in Matthew chapter 4 when Jesus calls some of his disciples how he called them, and they came immediately, two of them even leaving their father standing there in the boat.  We then invited the husband to follow the example of Jesus Christ to be baptized by someone with the authority to baptize him, on the 17th of march. He initially said that he couldn't put a date, or set a goal.  His wife started asking some interesting questions, trying to figure out why the invitation was just for her husband, or if it applied to her as well. We talked to the husband for a few more minutes, helping him to see the importance of setting goals, and he accepted the baptismal date of the 17th of march. Then my companion turned to the wife and asked her if she would also prepare herself to be baptized on that day.  She immediately said: "Yes"  It was a pretty incredible moment, and it completely blew my mind! I love those moments. It's incredible to see the change that the gospel can make in people's lives. When people get excited about it, you can honestly see a light within them start to glow, and if they continue, that light also continues to grow up until they get baptized, at which time they come up out of the water as completely new people basically.  It is really incredible to see that change in people. I LOVE it!

There are sooo many people here who have been prepared for YEARS for this very moment for us to come talk to them. It is truly incredible.  Just last night we were out at about 8:40, and decided to go knock one last door before we went back to the house.  We knocked went up, and started talking to this lady at the door, and she accepted a return appointment. Then my companion said to her "There's a reason we're here right now. You need this gospel, and we're here to give it to you"  She looked back at him and said: "I know"  It was a pretty incredible thing for me to see. So many miracles are happening, I wish I had more time to share, but unfortunately we got a late start to our day because of our lesson this morning, and I gotta go.

Love to all!
Elder Williams

Monday, February 20, 2012

February 20, 2012

This week has been a roller coaster. On Wednesday I had to move all of my stuff over to my new apartment about 5 miles down the road.  It's a lot bigger which is definitely a nice thing, but I still haven't really had time to unpack, so it doesn't really matter.  It's nice to have your own kitchen, and not have to study in your bedroom though.  My new companions are pretty awesome. Elder Clark is from Florida, and always talks about how incredible Florida oranges are (Probably like me and how I always talk about Shuckstons Strawberries from Oregon).  He's been out for about 19 months, and we get along really well. He's basically just a solid missionary who knows how to do everything basically just the way it's supposed to be done.  Elder Datwyler is from Logan Utah, and is waiting for his Visa to go to the Barcelona Spain mission. He's a pretty fun guy, and really enjoys being a missionary. He speaks really good spanish too for only being out in the mission field for about a month.  Unfortunately, he's getting moved about a half mile down to road to another area tomorrow.

So just this morning we had a pretty incredible experience with a lady named Cathy. She just moved in with her family from Mexico. They all lived here before, but then they decided to go back for a couple years, and now they're here again trying to do the best they can. She is really quite a remarkable lady. I don't know her very well, but she is incredibly nice, and incredibly accepting of the gospel truths.  We were talking to her this morning with another sister from the ward (Sister Castillo) and even though the missionaries have only really been teaching her for about a week, she told us that she believes that it is all true, that she feels it in her heart, and she's going to read 2 Nephi 31, and pray about it to know basically when she should get baptized.  She really wants this for her family. Her husband currently isn't all that accepting of the gospel (From any religion), but she knows that she has to set the example, and she has faith that if she does, that God will soften his heart to follow along in the path.

Belia and Andres got married and baptized this weekend!!!!!!!!!!!! I was SOOOOOOOOOOOO happy!  Brother Dallin came to my current area and picked me up, and then we went. It was incredible to see all of the people from that ward again. I'd only been transferred for about 2 days, but it felt like it had been months since the last time I had gone.  I was taking pictures all over the place, smiling like I had never smiled before, and just basically extremely happy.  It's incredible how happy being a missionary can make you.  I'm pretty sure I haven't had a sad moment in a long time.  Of course there are a lot of extremely stressful moments, but I've been sincerely happy for quite a while now.  It's truly incredible how much you can come to love people in such a short time knowing them.  As missionaries we pray for people, study for them, visit them, share experiences with them, tell jokes, it's basically like they're your own family.  I feel extremely blessed with the people I have gotten to know up until this point, and I can't wait to find even more incredible Latinos here in Utah.

Every day my mind is basically blown that I can speak and understand Spanish.  I had an experience that was pretty interesting a couple weeks ago. I'm not sure if I've already shared it, but here we go: This Mexican lady was telling us a story, and I'm pretty sure that she doesn't speak English that well.  Well, she was talking, and I started to think "Wait?! I thought this lady didn't speak English"  and then I realized that she was speaking Spanish, and I was just understanding everything completely.  That was a pretty mind-blowing moment.  It seems like every day more and more I'm forgetting English.  Fun stuff.

anyways, I gotta go, but I want to testify of the power of God. I've seen soooo many miracles here on my mission. People who didn't believe in God, who when they truly developed the desire to know, asked him if he was there, and they received their answer.  Incredible stuff.

Love to all!
Elder Williams

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February 13, 2012

This week was a week full of surprises.  Elder Harker and I have been telling president Pitts and the assistants to the president that they can't transfer us. That we both have to stay together in this area, but on saturday afternoon we got a call from president telling us that we were going to be split up. He said he tried to keep us together, but in the end he just couldn't. So I'm now getting transferred about 5 miles down the road to serve as a zone leader in the University Zone.  My new companion is Elder Clark, and I know absolutely nothing about him. Should be fun.  I'm definitely going to miss all the people from this area though. I've made some pretty incredible friends, and met some pretty incredible people while I've been here.
 
So we had some baptisms this last week! We actually had a pretty strange/incredible experience with one of them.  We baptized 3 teenage girls (ages 14, 16, 18). Well we were there the night before, and as we were leaving, the two older girls were both leaving to a party.  Well, after we got home that night, we were all three unrestless, and for some strange reason, we were all extremely concerned about teh girls.  We ignored it at first, but decided to call the mom and tell her we were feeling uneasy. We talked to her for about 20 seconds and her and her husband said "ok we're going to pick them up now."  The girls were planning on staying out till about midnight, and this was at about 10:30. We kinda felt like dorks, because we were the cause of the parents going to pick up there kids early from their party. They got baptized and confirmed and everything, and then their mom told us that it really was inspired taht they went to pick up their girls early that night. The girls didn't do and weren't planning on doing anything wrong, but it was basically just a really good thing that they left early.
 
I apologize, I'm somewhat distracted today with transfers coming in a day or two, and I've got a lot on my mind, so I can't really think of much else to write right now, but I wish the best to all, and I hope you all have a great week!
 
Elder Williams

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pictures from Elder Williams (Tommy)

Elder Williams & Friends

More good times on baptism day

Baptism Days are the GREATEST!

A very happy baptismal day

Merry Christmas!

Great-Grandpa Steere & Elder Williams (4th Generation)

Freeze-a-dactyl
More Friends!

Monday, February 6, 2012

February 6, 2012

God is a God of miracles, and that God loves me :D  This was evidenced by the happenings of this last week.  So as you all know, I've been put in a biking area, aka, no car for the first time in my mission.  Well, last Monday after I sent off my weekly email, we got a phone call from the mission office telling us that we were going to be getting a new missionary, and that we needed to prepare the apartment and everything. Well, we got everything figured out, and went on Tuesday to the mission office to meet the new missionary (straight out of the MTC!!).  Lately I've been giving the office staff and the AP's a hard time (just jokingly) about giving me a car in my new area, but I never thought anything would come out of it.  Well, When we got there, Elder Langford (The vehicle coordinator) came up to me and said "you're never going to believe me, but follow me)  He took me out to the parking lot, stopped next to a Toyota Corola, handed me the keys and said: "Here's your new car."  Needless to say, I was dumbfounded.  The new missionary we got had surgery on his arm, and can't ride a bike because of it, so it turns out that we get to have a car!.....(Until his arm gets better and he leaves to Mexico at which time the car gets taken away and we're on bikes again, but we don't think about that).  It was a pretty good moment.  Our new missionary is named Elder Noriega.  He's been out in the mission field for about 6-7 days now, and he's pretty pumped for the work.  Even better, we've got a lot of people getting baptized this next weekend, so he gets to see how exciting things really are.

Other miracles: the mom of one of our investigating families ad a pretty incredible experience with the Book of Mormon this last week. She was sitting in the car waiting for one of her daughters (She dropped her off, and didn't want to waste the gas to go home, and come back so she just stayed there for about an hour or so) and she had pretty much nothing to do while she waited.  Then she saw a copy of the book of Mormon sitting in the back seat, and retrieved it.  She said that she'd never really had much interest in it, never really understood any of it, and pretty much just fell asleep every time she read it, but this time she just randomly opened the book and started to read.  Once she started, she couldn't stop.  The things she was reading applied 100% to her. She felt as if Nephi (The prophet who wrote that section of the Book of Mormon) was speaking directly to her.  She said she began to get an incredible feeling that started in her chest, and spread out to her entire body.  Suddenly she realized that she was crying uncontrollably.  She had received her testimony of the Book of Mormon. She shared the part that she had read with us, and started crying again (as did we...). It was incredible to see how applicable the Book of Mormon is to the lives of EVERYONE.  Read it, Pray about it, Know that it's true. It'll change your life as well, I promise.

So one of our investigators had a birthday this last week, so we decided to make her fudge. Not only did we make her fudge, but we wrote:  "Feliz Cumpleanos Veronica" in fudge. Needless to say, she loved it :D

If you've never eaten Chilaquiles, do it. They're incredible. 

Another interesting experience: I had someone try to convince me that I needed to try beer. It all started with him asking if Mormons could drink beer. I told him "Nope" and he said something along the lines of "that's stupid".  From then on we had a pretty exciting conversation.  It got even better when I told him that I've never tasted beer in my entire life, and that I had no intention, or attraction at all to doing things like that.  He continued saying things like "you have to try it," and I continued saying: "But that's stupid" It was interesting, because the more he tried to persuade me, the more he realized how empty his arguments were.  He wouldn't give in, but he realized that what he was trying was 100% fruitless, and gave up.  It saddened me to see how tightly some people are enveloped in the things of the world.  If only he could get his mind past all the pot, alcohol, shrooms, and other stuff he was talking about, and really see the happiness and jay that life has to offer.

The gospel is here to make us happy. If you're not happy, it's because you don't understand the gospel, or aren't applying it correctly through living the precepts that it implies.

Last funny story.  On Sunday, we were in a couple of different correlations, and 5 times, my mind completely blanked on words in English.  It was really strange.  It's not the first time that it's happened, but it's definitely happening more and more often.  Exciting stuff.

Love to all!
Elder Williams