Tommy's Release Date

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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Hello - April 30th

This week has been CRAZY! My companion and I went basically 2-3 days without hardly even seeing each other! We had to do splits with some of the other companionships in our zone and weren't together hardly at all for all of Wednesday and Thursday. It was an interesting being with other missionaries for just 1 day. You start to get in to a bit of a rhythm, and then suddenly the day is over, and you split back up again.   It's been nice though. I'm really starting to learn how to love the other missionaries, and respect each of their situations and life stories. It's incredible to see where they all have come from to get to this point of being missionaries of the Lord here in Utah.  Moral has been a little bit low lately in our zone, and so we decided to do something special this last week. We went around and contacted at least one (if not 2 or 3) of each companionships recent converts, asking them questions like "What impact has the Gospel of Jesus Christ had on your life" and "What impact have the missionaries had on your lives." The answers that they gave were pretty remarkable. We were even able to get our mission president and his wife to record a short segment talking about the incredible impact of the missionaries. Then we compiled it all, made a 10ish minute video. We have a meeting every week together, so we decided that would be the best environment to show everybody. First of all we shared the following true story, and then we shared the video.

The following event took place in a ward in Salt Lake City in 1974. It occurred during Sacrament Meeting and was told to me by a Regional Representative of the twelve, who was in the meeting. A young man, just before leaving on his mission, stood in Sacrament Meeting and bore, in essence, the following testimony. "My Brothers and Sisters, as you know, during the past few weeks I have been awaiting my mission call. During the time I was waiting I had a dream I was in the pre-existence and was awaiting my call to come to earth. I was filled the same excitement and anticipation that I had before I received my mission call. In my dream, I was talking to a friend. He was a very dear friend, and I felt a special closeness to him, even though I've never met him in this life. As we talked, a messenger came and gave me a letter. I knew it was my call to go to earth. In great excitement my friend and I opened the letter I gave it to him and asked him to read it aloud. The letter said: You have been called to earth in a special time and to a special land. You will be born into the true church, and you will have the priesthood of God in you home. You will be raised with many advantages and many blessings. You will be born in a land of plenty-a land of freedom. You will go to earth in the United States of America. "My friend and I rejoiced as we read my call. And while we rejoiced, the messenger returned. This time he had a letter for my friend. We knew it was his call to earth. My friend gave me the letter to read aloud. The letter said: You have been called to go to earth in circumstances of poverty and strife. You will not be raised in the true church. Many hardships will attend your life. Your land will be frought with political and social difficulties which will hinder the word of the Lord. You will be born in Costa Rica. We wept, my friend and I as we read his call. And my friend looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, "when we are down on earth, you in your choice land and me in Costa Rica, my friend, come and find me." Then this young missionary, with tears in his own eyes, said, "Brothers and Sisters, I have received my mission call. I am going to Costa Rica. There is a special sequel to this story. About a year after this Sacrament Meeting, the Bishop to this Ward received a letter form the Missionary in Costa Rica. The letter had one sheet of paper in it, and on the sheet was written in inch-high letter four word: I FOUND MY FRIEND. (From the Journal of Floyd A. Hill.)

Needless to say, pretty much everyone was in tears. This IS the work of God, and we ARE his missionaries.

That was only one of the major things that happened this week.  We also had a leadership training meeting which was pretty cool, we had to make (and will finish as soon as I'm done with this email) our next ZPA (Zone Plan of Action) for the month of May, and had to go and teach a couple non-members with an incredible knowledge of the church, who kinda wanted to prove us wrong. You know the crazy part? As 2 20 year old boys, talking with a 70 year old couple who have studied the scriptures for their entire lives, and know the history like the back of their own hands, we were speaking as equals.  They have been alive and studying for 50 years more than us, and yet we were able to hold our own against all of the obscure historical facts that they threw out at us. It was incredible for me to see how close they are to the truth, and how almost everything that they were telling us are things that we know to be eternal truths, they just have it a little bit mixed up a bit. More evidence that what my dad once told me is true: "No matter what they say, no matter how they try to convince you, you are right. You have the true gospel. That's a slight advantage."

Well, unfortunately that's all the time I have for today.  Love you all!
Elder Williams

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles

Kimberly and Tommy have both mentioned that they are memorizing "The Living Christ."  Below is a copy of this printed testimony of our First Presidency and 12 Apostles who are at the head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is a very powerful testimony of Jesus Christ and I encourage you to take a minute and read (or re-read) it.  We have a lot to be grateful for and should take more time each day to give thanks!

The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles
"The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles," The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles, (2000)

As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.
He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.
He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary’s cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.
We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.
He rose from the grave to “become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among His “other sheep” (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised “dispensation of the fulness of times” (Ephesians 1:10).
Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph wrote: “His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:
“I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father” (D&C 110:3–4).
Of Him the Prophet also declared: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
“For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—


“That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:22–24).
We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth—“built upon the foundation of … apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20).
We testify that He will someday return to earth. “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isaiah 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.
We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.
The First Presidency
Description: signatures   (I cannot figure out how to copy their signatures, but they are on the original!)
January 1, 2000
The Quorum Of The Twelve Apostles
Description: signatures of the twelve  (I cannot figure out how to copy their signatures, but they are on the original!)

April 23, 2012

Our mission president has challenged us to go do at least a half an hour of contacting every single day apart from knocking doors. He said to just go find a corner somewhere, and talk with everybody that walks by.  Well, we decided to do that, and we've been seeing some pretty cool things happening (besides all of the sun-burn :P).  The other day we decided to go spend that time walking in front of a strip mall here in our area. We didn't go in any of the store, or camp out in front of any store in particular so that nobody would get mad, just kinda walked by and talked with people. Well, we were walking, and we saw these three Hispanic guys walking towards us.  As we got closer, one of them actually said "hola" to us before we said anything to them (A pleasant surprise). What was ever cooler was when we found out that they were from Guatemala, non-members, and wanted to learn about the gospel! Unfortunately for us, they live clear out in Delta Utah (A couple hours north I think?) So we can't teach them, but we sent off the referral, and hopefully the missionaries arrive there to their house sometime this week!  Directly after that experience we decided to go walking through a park (it was a Saturday afternoon, and we thought that maybe there would be some people there) So we went. When we got there we noticed two things. First of all, there was a big group of people from the Spanish ward having a birthday party for some kid, and secondly there was a Hispanic looking guy playing basketball by himself. We were going to go over to the party, but then we decided for some reason to go over and to talk with the guy playing by himself. It turns out that he wasn't Hispanic at all, but he was a Native American. He speaks Navaho, and English perfectly. He tried to teach us some words, but it's surprisingly difficult.  Anyways, we played a little basketball with him (I think my companion is starting to get really annoyed with me and how much I always want to play basketball.....but in this case it was a good opportunity :D) and we talked about him. Apparently he was baptized in to the church (The LDS Church) when he was about 12-13, and went to church faithfully till he was about 18, but then he moved, and he's been inactive for the last 30 years since then. He now smokes and drinks and does drugs and stuff, but he was very interested to talk to us, and he wants to change his life and come back to church. After playing for a little while (a couple of the adults from the Spanish ward saw us playing and came over to fellowship and see what was happening, and ended up playing some ball with us) the guy invited us to go back to his house for some water. We went, and talked a little bit more about the Plan of Salvation, and how God loves us.  I'm excited to see if we can't help this guy change his life back to the way it should be.  Later that night, we were out and a lesson cancelled. Well, we were kinda sad at first, but then we saw these two guys working on a couple cars on our way back to our car, and decided to go talk to them. We had an utterfully delightful conversation with them, and we're going back there to teach them some more this week!  We were starting to get worried about our area here because it seems like everyone we've been teaching have gone stagnant and aren't really progressing, and don't really want to act, but it appears that we're finding some new people to teach so that's a good thing.
 
Life is awesome, we're seeing miracles every day (some days more than others, but still).  This last week or so has been pretty humbling as well. We'll see what adventures this next week decided to bring us.
 
Also, I've been memorizing The Living Christ (I actually started before I found out that Kimberly was memorizing it as well.....) and it's pretty incredible thinking over all of the incredible things that Jesus has done, and all of the promised things that he still will do.  It's honestly kinda boring to just read through, for some reason I have a hard time focusing on it, but while taking the effort to memorize it, it's come alive.  We've been memorizing things like crazy for some reason here. We memorized the oath and covenant of the Priesthood, the Living Christ, and some other stuff. It's pretty brain stimulating, especially when it's about Jesus Christ.
 
I've also been reading through Doctrine and Covenants. It's incredible all of the things that are found there! It's interesting to discover as well where all of the cliche sayings in the church come from. I've realized that the majority of them come from the D&C. Fun stuff.
 
Last thing: una adivinanza:
 
Question: Porque es que el nino llevo su escalera a su primer dia de la escuela
 
 
Answer: Porque fue su primer dia del HIGH school...
 
Yeah it's not that funny, but I laughed when I heard it!
 
Love to all
Elder Williams

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sometime in the middle of April

Since last week, life has been absolutely crazy! I've had basically no time to do ANYTHING. On Monday we had p-day, and played soccer with a bunch of other missionaries (I voted for ultimate frisbee, but there's an AP from England who outranks me who wanted to play soccer, as well as a Brazilian missionary who's pretty dang incredible at it, so I didn't complain too much). I have realized however, that I am basically not very good at all at soccer. It's not my sport. My legs hurt for about 3 days after we played as well. It appears that I'm getting pretty out of shape! ugh. Tuesday we had lessons all day, and had to plan a training to give at Zone Conference. Wednesday we had an all day zone conference (8:30-3:30) which sapped up the majority of the day, and taught lessons all evening, Thursday we had a District Training Meeting (DTM) with one of our districts, did Zone Leader interviews afterwards, went to lunch, and then tried to salvage the afternoon, Friday we had another DTM, more Zone Leader interviews, and then weekly planning, then taught lessons in the evening. Saturday was full of baptismal interviews, contacting in parking lots (awkward, but yet quite interesting. I've discovered that I have a really hard time with going obviously out of my way to talk to people. I find it extremely awkward. However, I am starting to overcome that hopefully. Sunday was filled with CHURCH CHURCH CHURCH! This Sunday was pretty exciting. We had Elder Alonso from the first quorum of the seventy come to the sacrament meeting of the branch that we cover. That was pretty awesome. He actually stayed the entire 3 hours, and taught a lesson for the combined priesthood meeting the third hour. That was pretty dang incredible. He talked about Luke 5:1-10. I'd explain it, but I'm short on time. We had some pretty cool "coincidences" happen this week. We were trying to find a guy that apparently doesn't usually open the door to the missionaries, but when he does, the lessons are incredible, and both times that we went there he happened to be outside, and we had some pretty incredible lessons with him.  Interesting story actually. He's in probably his mid twenties, and he's got this girlfriend who is a catholic. However, she never goes to church, has no idea what the catholic beliefs are, and has never read any of the bible. Well, she also happens to be pretty much anti-Mormon, even though she knows absolutely nothing about religion in general. Well, we happened to be over there talking with this one guy (named Luis) and she shows up. Not only does she show up, but her mom shows up. We start talking politely to the mom, asking her her name, introducing ourselves (not even saying anything about religion at all) and she starts going off about how we need to respect her and her religion as much as she respects us and our religion. I'm not exactly sure how we warranted that, but whatever, we've gotten worse before.  Anyways, so they left, and we walked around back with Luis, and started teaching him. Well, about 10 minutes later, this lady comes back and starts trying to drag this guy Luis away from us saying "Hey Luis, I came here to take you out to get margaritas. Lets go. (He completely ignored her, didn't even look at her) then she started hissing things like "Be strong! Be strong! Don't let them trick you"  I was fully considering going and ripping this lady apart from top to bottom explaining to her exactly why she should go crawl in to a hole and pray for forgiveness until the second coming, while quoting nothing but the bible that she believes in but has never read, but fortunately it appeared that Luis was just as annoyed as I was at the hypocrisy of this lady, and completely ignored her, so I chose to do the same.  It became quite apparent that she did not respect our religion as she had said.  It's very interesting the kinds of experiences that you have as a missionary.  If only people actually knew what they believed, and had open hearts, then we could just show them, and they would accept it because it IS THE TRUTH! but I'm getting somewhat tired of people who say "You're wrong, because I'm right, even if I have no idea what I believe" It's somewhat difficult to teach people with that attitude.

In any case, all is well, the work continues, and THE CHURCH IS TRUE! Otherwise there would be no opposition. Every step the adversary takes augments my testimony of this divine work, and my divine calling.

Love to all!
Elder Williams

Monday, April 9, 2012

Yet another miracle!

Yesterday we were at church, and one of our investigators didn't show up, so we decided to go to his house (just a couple blocks away) and bring him to church.  As we were on the sidewalk walking towards his house, we walked into a man with VERY dark skin. He was walking towards the church with a Book of Mormon in his hand.  We talked to him for a few moments, found out that he was from Haiti, and that the missionaries had taught him before, but he was planning on going back to Haiti at that point, but he ended up never leaving, and he moved and didn't know how to get in contact with the missionaries.  Well, on this Easter Sunday, he felt the impression that he should get dressed up, and come to church. He was really scared because he didn't know anybody, was concerned about his English being good enough to figure stuff out, and had no idea if the services would even be going on, but he dressed up, grabbed his book of Mormon, and started walking to church.  We found him on his way.  I can only imagine how he felt as he saw us walking towards him. He was lost, and had no idea where to go, or what to do, and God sent us. He put us in his path, to help him. We took him to the chapel, introduced him to the English bishop who was VERY excited to meet him, and he was able to go to the last hour of church with the Elder's quorum.  It is INCREDIBLE how God can put us exactly where he needs us, for who he wants us to help.

April 9, 2012


This week has been a week of MIRACLES, and disappointments.  let me share a few

This last Thursday we had absolutely nothing to do, and so we went to go contact a couple potential investigators. We went to this one house, and the lady we were looking for wasn't there, but her mom was, and she invited us in.  In the next 20 minutes, my mind got completely blown.  We started talking about the book of Mormon, and she shared an experience with us of how she came to know the Book of Mormon was true. Then we started talking about how God wanted her to be a part of His church, and she said "Yeah, you're right." We've moved a LOT of times, and the missionaries always find us again. I think God finally got annoyed with us and decided to put us right in front of His church to tell us we need to go" (side note, the chapel is right across the street from her house).  Then she asked how long it generally takes people to prepare to get baptized. We answered, asked her to be baptized, and she accepted. She will be baptized the 5th of May. Hopefully her daughter will feel the same (She had priorly expressed interest in getting baptized, so that's not too much of a stretch of the mind).

There is another investigator we've been teaching. She is catholic, and her husband is a returned missionary. He got back about a year ago, and they got married about 6 months ago? Something like that. Well, in the beginning she was very closed off. She would listen, but she didn't really pay attention. It's been a couple of weeks, and we have honestly seen an incredible difference in her. She honestly appears to be glowing every time we go over there now. We told her we had noticed that change in her, and asked her if she'd seen the same, and she said "Yeah, I honestly feel happier." We bore solid testimony of the Holy Ghost, and how he is changing her life, and her heart little by little, and how all she has to do is open her heart even more, and he will fill it up! She then told us about a dream she had recently about how she was in a store somewhere, with a Book of Mormon in her hand, telling everyone that "The BOOK OF MORMON IS TRUE!" Trying to convince everyone that it was true.  We have some pretty high hopes for what will happen with her.

We had 2 couples of investigators come to church yesterday for the first time! It was incredible!  One of the ladies wants to be baptized, but her husband hasn't really been all that interested, but they showed up to church together! We're very hopeful that they will continue to come, and that can get baptized together SOON! :D

As for the hard times and stories, we're not going to worry about that. God will soften their heart, and by the time I'm sending my email next week, miracles will have happened, and they will make the list of WEEKLY MIRACLES! :D

It's incredible to see people changing their lives for this gospel. I just wish that more people would listen, and change! I love how when people really grab on to this stuff, they start to glow. You can  see that light building up inside of them. I wish I could explain it better, but that's the best I've got. When you walk in to a house to teach about the gospel, and you look at those people, you can truly see them as sons and daughters of God. Those times, and those lessons make all the other tough times truly worth it.

Love to all!
Elder Williams

Monday, April 2, 2012

Conference!

This week I had the incredible opportunity to go to GENERAL CONFERENCE!! It was probably one of the highlights of my mission! We got to go to the Sunday afternoon session. The mission has a big 12 passenger van, and for some reason they picked me to drive me and 11 other missionaries up to conference. That was pretty dang fun driving that massive van all the way up to Salt Lake! I wish I had taken a picture, but I forgot, and my camera died...  The conference center is SOOO MASSIVE!!! and it was completely filled, basically to capacity! There was maybe 50 seats empty in the entire place? If that.  We got to sit right down in the front, but all the way off to the right. We were basically looking at the left side of all the people who talked. We got to wave at everybody as they came in though. It was pretty cool.  Oh, I got to see Landon Young there as well. That was a nice surprise.  I was also somewhat surprised at how many of the speakers spoke on the topic of forgiveness.  It appears that we all need to humble ourselves and forgive people. I think this especially applies to me. There have been missionaries who have done little things that have annoyed me, and I realized that I've been holding on to those things in my mind. It's time to let them go I guess.  I love how much I get humbled on the mission. The only problem with that is that every time I get humbled, it makes me better, and then I realize that I'm better than before, and get all prideful, and then I have to get humbled again. It's quite a strange, yet useful cycle. Hopefully it continues.  I especially liked how President Henry B Eyring spoke about how we should ask for challenges, or opportunities to prove to God that we will follow him no matter what. It might be hard, but I think I'm going to try it sometime in the next couple weeks.  We'll see if I pass the test and get to see miracles.

We had transfers this last week, and my new companion is Elder Jensen. He's a little bit short, but he's an awesome missionary, and he definitely knows how to work. He's pretty funny too. We get along really well.

Well, I gotta get running.  Have an Incredible week!
Elder Williams