Tommy's Release Date

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

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

Love,
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 missionary....it'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 lds.org, 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 all....so 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