Monday, November 26, 2012

Manga - Week 31

Hello family!
I hope thanksgiving was good back home! I had a really nice thanksgiving feast here in Africa! Oh wait... nope I didn't. But I still had a good thanksgiving! Sounds like thanksgiving at the Anderson's was fun! 
We had a crazy week. Lots of good things happened! But as well, we had some disappointments. We had two investigators baptized on Saturday, Luis and Nobre. So that was exciting! I had the opprotunity to conduct the baptismal service, so that was a good chance as well!
Speaking of conducting, yesterday, I conducted sacrament meeting for the first time. I thought I would be nervous, but I wasn't! So the was good. I know I'll feel more comfortable with time too, as I have more experience conducting. Me being the second counselor in the Manga 2 branch presidency, I will have plenty of opprotunity's to conduct many more meetings.
This past week we didn't have very much success finding new investigators... We do plenty of street contacts during the week, but it's difficult because we call those people to set up a time to meet, and they don't show up. That happened a lot this past week. But President Kretly teaches that when a situation like that happens, we need to be proactive. Which means we can't feel depressed but we need to just move on, and find others. So me and Elder Fontes are trying better to apply being more proactive.
If only you guys saw how much it rained last night. It rained like I have never seen it rain before! I honestly got scared. The power was out, but we had non-stop light because of lightning. Like dead serious. Within like 20 minutes of the rain, our apartment was flooded! It was coming through our kitchen door pretty fast! It was like 10:00 last night and we were all scrambling trying to sweep water out of our apartment, and stop water from coming in. It was crazy! But quite an adventure as well! It's still actually raining right now. It was difficult to get into the city, and right now, I'm soaking wet! 
When the power goes out, it makes it very difficult to sleep... we have an air conditioner in our room, but when the power goes out, words can't describe how hot it get. And you get eaten alive by mosquitoes. Even with the nets. The power went out twice this week, so that's two bad night's sleeps this past week. Haha. But it all good. And when the power goes out, no water as well.
Me and Elder Fontes are priesthood blessing like crazy. It's super nice! I didn't give very many in Quelimane, but here we've had members and even some investigators ask for them. The Spirit is so strong when we give these blessings, and it really helps the person's faith grow as they build a testimony on the power of the priesthood. I'm so grateful for these opprotunities and hope that The Lord will continue to give us these chances.
That's good you guys are sending a package! I don't know how it will work... but we'll see. I talked to Sister Hall yesterday, and she said that today she will give me a good address that you guys can send a package to. So I'll let you know that next week when I get it. What did you put in the package?
Before I forget I wanted to ask a question... Do you guys still have my mission call? Or did we lose it? I want to keep the letter forever, so if you guys could look around for it, I would be grateful!
Too answer mom's questions... The house we live in is fairly nice! I think it is a bit nicer than the Quelimane house, so that's nice. But it's absolutely nothing compared to your house! Haha.
I actually eat pretty well, we have an Elder in the house the loves to cook, and he cooks super good. So we cooks for everyone in the house every single day. It's super nice! But maybe it's not good because I'm not really learning how to cook... oh well.
The other Elders in the house are nice. A missionary house is not exactly what I expected... I really am trying to be an example on the way we should act to always have the Spirit with us.
Well, my time is up! We are going to go play soccer, so that should be fun! But maybe we won't because of the rain... I'm not sure. But I hope you all have a good week! Love you all!

-Elder Williams

Monday, November 19, 2012

Manga - Week 30

Wow, another week goes by. I feel like I'm at this internet cafe all the time, even though it really is only once a week! It's crazy how fast the weeks are.
First of all, I wanted to apologize to you all about my letters. I know I don't answer nearly enough questions that you all ask. So I'm sorry. Haha I'll try to get better and answer all the questions that you all ask me.
This week was another good week as usual!
I would say nothing exciting happened, but that would be a lie, because exciting things always happen! We are anxiously engaged in finding, and teaching right now. So we stay pretty busy. It's been good to see how new families we've found over the past few weeks, have started to make and keep commitments such as reading the Book of Mormon, and praying. These families really do see and feel a difference when they read and pray together. It really is amazing!
We found this amazing man Ugenio this past week, we contacted him right in front of his house and he was extremely interested so we marked a time to visit him and his family. We actually ended up return that night, and me and Elder Fontes taught them about our purpose and the Restoration. They were really interested, so we marked to come back two days later. That night, (Thursday) we ended up focusing a lot on the Book of Mormon. It was one of the most spiritual lessons I've been a part of on my mission. Towards the end of the lesson, we said he had a question for us. He said, he drinks and smokes every once and a while, and wants to change. He wants to do what's right and wants God to be happy with him. Words cannot explain the way in which he spoke. he spoke from the heart, in the most humbling way I have ever heard a man speak. I could feel the desires of this man's heart. All he wanted to do, was follow God. The spirit was unbelievably powerful as Elder Fontes and I bore testimony that God loves him and that the things we shared with him were true. They could not deny the Spirit that was there.
Another powerful lesson we had this week was with a man named Paulo. He's a young guy that has a wife and 2 young sons. We've had a good feeling about this man, and I know he's felt the Spirit in past lessons. As we sat with him, we were following up on the commitments we had left with him. We invited him to read a chapter of the Book of Mormon and to pray about it. As we asked him how the reading and prayer went, we were surprized with his response... After a few moments of silence, he said, "it was very emotional." As tears filled his eyes, we knew that he had received an answer the the Book of Mormon is true. We testified right then the it was the Holy Ghost testifying that the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith was called of God.
Very powerful lesson. Now we will work on the other people who live with him. Brothers, sisters, and their families to sit with us as well, who quite frankly think it's all a big joke. But clearly it is true, because Paulo received an answer from God. 
Thinking about these stories and experiences I had this week, really made me think. They sound like stories you'd hear from all sorts of missionaries. Because these things really happen. People are looking for the truth, and finding it through Christ's true church here on the earth. Everyday, God is answering prayers and helping these people find the right path. It's just humbling that God trusts me to play just a big role in helping these people. I will never forget the experiences I've had.
Dad, In this moment, I want to apologize for not helping you as much with like work and stuff around the house. Plenty of times you woke me up early on Saturday mornings, and I didn't want to help, or didn't help at all. SORRY! I honestly feel super bad. When I get home, I'm definitely gonna help a lot more. And continue to make Nick help you. And the small babe.
Sounds like things back home are going good! I hope Nick had a good birthday! 15 already? It really is crazy.
And dad thank you for those comments about my patriarchal blessing. I honestly think about that line all the time. And I had never thought that maybe that time had already passed. But I don't know... I really do have amazing friends! That's good you got to talk to Joe and President Wilkes. I can't believe Jason has been out a whole year! Time is going by way to fast.
Well, packages? I have a feeling it wont happen. Cause I have no idea about my address or anything. But to answer your question about where we live. We live on Passagem De Nivel. But our area is on the other side of the freeway, even past the Manga 2 church. We walk over the freeway everyday, and it it beautiful! Our area is after the freeway, until about the airport. A little past. So you guys can look up the street I walk everyday.
Well I hope you all have a good week! Have a good thanksgiving! Love you all!

-Elder Williams

Monday, November 12, 2012

Manga - Week 29

Another crazy week here in Manga! We've had a lot of good things happen, but some disappointing things that happened as well... typical week I guess.
We have found a lot of new investigators over the last few weeks, so now it's just a matter of funneling it down to the ones who will fulfill commitments. We had a few new families at church today, so that's always super exciting! But at the same time, we had some that should have been there, that didn't come. So that's super disappointing.
We had an opprotunity to do a nice service project this past week. We helped a famaily add an extension to their house. We used cement blocks and cement. My first time doing cement work, and it's actually more difficult than I thought! But the family was grateful, and I was grateful to help.
The next day, something very sad happened. A member of the branch died and the funeral was this past week. He was an inactive member, and died in a motorcycle accident. What's sad, is that last week, Elder Delgado and Elder Monteiro ran into him on the street. He was telling them how he was inactive and things like that that were going on in his life. Elder Monteiro said, "Well you better start coming to church! If you died right now, what would be the state of your salvation?" The man agreed and said he would come to church the following Sunday. But three days later, that man was killed. It probably wasn't the best comment thaat Elder Monteiro could have said, so the story really is tragic. Crazy right? Just a lesson on how fragile life really is.
The funeral was so sad. People crying and screaming in African dialect that I cannot understand. They are completely without knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. It made me think how sad and scary it would be to live in this world without a knowledge of the gospel. It gives me even more drive to teach these people.
My love for these people continue to grow as I serve them every week. Something super embarassing about that happened this past week. A man with complete physical disablites was walking down this dirt road, and me and Elder Fontes decided to contact him. As I talked to this man, this helpless disabled man, and looked him in his eyes, the only thing I could think of was how much I loved him. I got teary eyed DURING THE CONTACT! It was probably super weird for him, as some white guy is talking to him and crying. But I'm not sure exactly what he thought.
That's one thing that I'm trying to apply in my life, is looking at people through Christ's eyes as he would see them. Sister Kretly taught this to us at a zone conference, and as I consciencely strive to do that. There is a HUGE difference. It gives us a big push to help these people that much more.
Another thing that happened this week, is that we talked to President Kretly on th phone. He talked to Elder Fontes and said that he wants to see baptisms in Manga 2. I could not agree more with him. That is exactly what I want! Baptisms in Manga 2, but also, I know that's the Lords will, and that what needs to happen.
Whatever President Kretly says, I will do, because I know it is inspired of God. I have so more respect for that man, and I know that his way is the right way here in Mozambique. I honestly doubt that no other mission has a mission President like him. Like honestly.
So that will be our goal over the next weeks and months. Baptizing people. We invited quite a few people this past week, so we should see the baptisma adding up over the next few weeks. I'm super excited for that.
Allthough sometimes it feels like the work is slow, I know Manga has potencial to explode! Just like Quelimane is experiencing know. But it's completely up to the missionaries and if we truely have a desire to change this area. If we keep doing what we've been doing for years here in Manga, nothing will change. But this area needs to change so we need to do things different. With hard work and efffort, I know we can help change Manga!
The branch is great! I have a lot of responsibilties though, including doing tithing after church, meetings before sacrament meeting, and getting a lot of phone calls from the 1st counselor in the Branch presidency. But I'm learning a ton! And it's super weird to have people give you their tithing envelopes... haha way weird. But I'm learning a lot!
Sounds like thing back home are going good! Is it true Obama beat Romney? There is no way that would happen... I got to know. I was heartbroken when I found out.
Well, Have a good week everybody! Love you all!
Love, Elder Williams

Monday, November 5, 2012

Manga - Week 28

Crazy week here in Manga! But a good week as well. I'm finally starting to get used to the new rountine in my new area. Me and Elder Fontes did have a successful week this past week. I've really wanted to focus on finding this past week. We have a lack of investigators, so me and Elder Fontes wanted to change that.
We were successful in street contacting, and then calling those people, as well as occasional finding in houses as well. We ended up with 16 new investigators this past week. Those are people that we sat with, and marked return visits. So that's promising! That is an extremely high amount of new investigators in one week. When we do as much contacting as we do, we really do have a consistent stream of potential investigators. It's really exciting!
It was nice to play basketball with some of the guys last week! I haven't played since the mtc, so obviously I was a little rusty. But it was still a lot of fun! It was also good to get to know some of the Elder's that I haven't yet got to know.
Last P-day, we were all cleaning the house, and me and another Elder went outside to take out the trash. The sadest thing happened. I guess the kids that live around us, just LOVE missionary garbage. When we threw the 2 bags in the dump pile, 3 or 4 children were literally fighting and tripping to get to our trash first. I watched them as they ripped open the bags, and searched threw it like a kid looks through his stocking on Christmas morning. Honestly. I was completely blown away. It was an eye opener to me, that we really do need to be grateful for what we have. 
I get along with all the Elders in the house pretty well. I've kinda turned into a peace maker, cause I don't want to cause tension in the house. There are some Elders like like tension. It makes no sense to me... But I have respect for everyone in the house and everyone has respect for me. So I plan on keeping it that way! 
The church building here in Manga is a lot nicer than the one in Quelimane. Manga has two bulidings, one is expectionally nice, with a baptismal font inside and everything. But we are in a warehouse. It's still pretty nice, and it has a bishops house and a few classrooms. The Branch President is a cool guy. He's a about 30 or 35 or so. He actually served a mission in Maputo! It's funny, he reminds me exactly of Akon. Looks just like him! I'm excited to get to know him better and work with him more in the branch, with my new responsibiltys in the branch.
Sounds like everything back home is going good! Glad Halloween was good and everyone had a good time! And sound like the weather is PERFECT!
The weather here is actually pretty nice as well! It's a lot hotter in Quelimane, but it's a lot cooler here so that's nice. But I know it will get hotter over the next few months.
So right now I'm emailing from Beira. It takes us about an hour to get here from Manga. We get here by the means of Chapa's. Which are small vans that is pretty much the means of transportation here in Mozambique. Quelimane is the only city the doesn't use them really. And you would be amazed at how many people they cram into these vans. Honestly like 20 people, sometimes more. Thre is no way that these Chapa's are bigger than our car at home. It really is an art how the fit that many people in. Haha! But it's a cheap form of transportation, so that's nice.
The mangos definitely do not get old. We are now at the point where we are not paying for mangoes. The member love to give them to us! People gives us plastic bag fulls everyday, It's crazy. After we come hhome and do weekly planning, we like to spend a few minutes and eat all the mangoes we have. I love them.
Well, looks like I better go. Time to go to our shopping! But I hope you all have a good week! I'm happy here in Manga, even though the work really is stressful. It's amazing to see people change there lives for the gospel, and in the process, my life is changing as well. I love this work, this gospel, and our Savior.
Have a good week!

Love, Elder Williams

ps. Nick- Seriously? Beades is no longer on Sportsnation?? What happened? But it's all good, I love Charissa Thompson as well. :) haha