Tommy's Release Date

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

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