Monday, January 28, 2013

Manga - Week 40

Good morning!
The weeks continue to go by, at an unexplainable rate. It really is amazing how times flies by. We had another good week this week! Full of teaching our current families, and finding new ones! It's only 11 am here, but this morning has already been a crazy and long day. It's raining here in Beira right now. We left our house very early this morning to help our investigator get papers ready for the marriage that will be happening in a few weeks. We left the house this morning at 6 am in order to get to our investigators house at 7 am. From there, we went to the house of the secretary in the area of our investigator to get a paper that he needs to start the marriage process. From there, we went to another government building in our area to get a few last documents. And now we have all documents and papers necessary to start the marriage process this week! I'm so excited. Our investigators name is Sabado. And he and his wife Laura will be baptized on the 16th of February. Sabado lives in a mud hut in our area, and has been saving up money in order to get these documents ready so that he can be baptized. He loves studying the gospel! The Book of Mormon, principles of the gospel, and the liahonas. He really is ready for baptism! We just need to do this marriage process. If everyone was already legally married, there would be baptisms like crazy all throughout the country. But with the Lord's help, there will still be baptisms like crazy as we overcome this legal obstacle.
This past weekend we had district conference here in Beira. All the branches in Beira met together, and President and Sister Kretly came up for the conference as well. We were also pleased to have the presence of Elder Usi, an area seventy here in Africa. He is from Kenya, so it was good to have the people of Beira here the words of an African church leader. He talked about following God and not following old traditions of our parents and country. It was perfect! After the conference I was able to introduce our investigator, Diogo to him. Diogo as well had the chance to speak with President Kretly. President asked him what he learned at the conference and Diogo responded saying that he learned he needs to forget old traditons and finally get married. We've seen many miracles with Diogo and his wife Gida, and they should be getting baptized here in a few weeks. We're planning on starting the marriage process with them this week as well! We'll visit them tonight at 6, so we'll see what happens!
President Kretly brought up some mail for me as well the past weekend! I received letters from people in the ward for Christmas, as well as a little package from Bishop Stewart with lifesavers, scripture markers, and the world's best invention... pocket size preach my gospel. I was so grateful! (still haven't received the package from home). Tell Bishop Stewart thank you for me! Also if you give give an individual thank to each family that sent me a letter. So far I've received letters from the Criman's, Lowry's, Merrill's, Trewartha's. Swim's, Farrer's, and he Taylor's.Tell them thank you and that I loved receiving letters from them. I especially appreciate the message that Brother Merrill left, telling me how good his Olive Garden meal was. Hahah! I laughed pretty hard. Thanks so much!
The language is awesome! I really have grown a love for the language. In the MTC I hated it... I thought it wasn't going to be possible. But the Lord has blessed me and helped me a ton. This week, an Elder who lives with us Elder Monteiro from Cape Verde, told me that I speak better Portuguese than any other American that he's ever met. So that was quite the compliment! It helps that no one that I live with speaks English! I really am learning a lot, and learning to master the language.
Well that's pretty much it for me! We're continuing to help of branch grow, and these new families that we have found that are coming to church are really helping. I know that the Lord will help us and them, defeat the legal battle so that they can get married and get baptized in the Lord's church.
Glad to know that everything back home is going well! Even though it's so cold! It's either super hot here, or raining unbelievably hard. And I'm liking it. Although it is difficult to walk as much as we do with rain boots. Two weeks ago, we walked a whole week straight with rain boots! 
Well I hope you all have a good week, I know this is the Lord's kingdom on the Earth, and I'm so grateful to be a part of it. I love you all!

-Elder Williams

Monday, January 21, 2013

Manga - Week 39

Crazy week here in Manga. The week before last was a discouraging one, with baptismal dates falling through, but this week was very promising! Me and Elder Fontes made some good goals of finding new families and helping our current ones progress. We marked two more families to be baptized this past week, so that's exciting! And we have plans to mark a few more this next week! I'm really excited about the area right now. Our area hasn't baptized a single family in years, like dead serious. So it's amazing what the Lord has done for us as we stay diligent and do our very best every day.
So this past week, we recieved the November 2012 Liahona which I guess is lke the Ensign. And I was flipping through it, I recognized a picture... then I read the caption, "missionaries and members in Quelimane, Mozambique." I was so excited! If you have the conference addition at home, flip to page 66 and you'll see it! It is a picture of when we were watching conference in the Osborn's house. But I got cut off... But still cool! The women in front with braids is my investigator that I found and that was baptized. Super cool!
We also recieved the January 2013 Liahona. As I was flipping through it, I was surprized to see my cousin Tanner Anderson in the Liahona! that was cool as well. So tell Tanner that he's famous! Even here in Africa.
So we had no problems with energy and power in our house this past week, so that was a blessing! And we only went one day without water... so that wasn't bad.
Our little branch here in Manga 2 is slowly growing. My first week here in the branch, back in October, there was about 30 or 40 people... But the 4 of us missionaries in the branch have been working really hard! We've tried to get members involved as well. The branch doesn't have meetings, and presidencies such as relief society and Elders quorom don't meet at all. I held a meeting with all branch leaders, and we talked about things we can do to help less active members, and how we can fortify the new members coming into the ward. The members and missionaries are starting to work together here. The branch will change dramatically over the next few months, and is already starting to. We now have about 121 people comming to church. Big change in a short time.
I also played the piano yesterday in sacrament meeting. Sacrament meeting without piano is very bad... especially when many people don't know the music. I figured I'd go for it yesterday, and I played all 4 hymns! We'll see how next week goes...
Sounds like everything back home is going well. Keep reading the scriptures as a family everyday! .
Mom asked the question of what is the most difficult experience? Or something like that... I think it would be managing stress. I wouldn't say that I'm stressed out, but I always have things on my mind. Whether it's an investigator, a member, something in the branch, how to help investigators keep commitments, progress, finding new investigators, contacting, etc. There is just so much to do in so little time. It seems like some days the days aren't long enough. It's tough to manage the million thoughts and feeling that I have daily. Missionary work really is the hardest work!
I was glad to recieve an email from the Nichols family this morning. Sounds like a great family, and hopefully I'll run into them while they're here in the Beira area! Mom and Dad, you'll have to keep in touch with them. Especially once they go back out to Utah.
Well, I hope you all have a great week! Thank you for attaching the friend newsletter. I was glad to hear from all of them! Don't worry about me here, I'm busy, but happy! I know this is the Lord's work. I don't have a single doubt. Something false could not change so many lives, like it's changing the beloved people of Mozambique. I'm humbled to be with them. This really is ZION!

Love, Elder Williams

Monday, January 14, 2013

Friends Newsletter - January 14, 2013

Friends! What up!
This is my first time writing an actual letter for the newsletter. In the past I haven't had much time, so my parents have just posted letters that I have sent home. But I'm excited to tell you all about my experiences!
It all started April 18th when I entered the MTC. I really feel like I have changed so much and grown as a missionary, person, and a disciple of Christ. I don't know how you guys felt about the MTC, but I loved it! I had a cool district, and the spirit at the MTC is unlike any other place.
I didn't really know I felt about coming here to Mozambique. I wasn't really nervous, just anxious to get out there and apply everything that I had learned in the MTC. I struggled with Portuguese in the MTC. I was by far the worst in my district, But once I got here to the country, I picked it up pretty fast. 
My tranier was unbelievable. He was such a stud. A learned a lot of things from him that really got me going. I'm so glad he was my traniner.
My first area, I was in a city called Quelimane. UNREAL. I loved it. The people I met there are amazing. People that I will definitely visit again when I return. I had some companionship problems with my second companion in Quelimane, but I learned a lot. I learned patience, and I'm grateful for the experience I had to be with him because I really did grow as a missionary. After about 4 months, I left Quelimane. I was so sad to leave! I cried for hours the night before I left. I was transfered to a city called Manga. I got some responsibilty thrown on my shoulders as well. I was thrown into the branch presidency here, and was assigned to train a brazilian elder in my 4th trasfer. This really helped me grow as a missionary! And I'm grateful for the opprotunity to really help the people here in Manga. The word Manga is portuguese for the word mango. I arrived right in the middle of Mango season! It was so nice! The mangos here are unreal.
When transfered to the new area, there was not a whole lot going on here. 1 or 2 progressing investigators in the area. It's difficult because it is a long walk to the chapel. It really is a tough area.
The past two trasfers, we have just been finding. We've gone through tons of familes trying to find those who are ready to hear the gospel. We have families now that are progressing, and will be baptized over the next few weeks, depending how legalization of marriage goes. 
The biggest challenge here is that most people aren't legally married. So in oder to live the law of chasity, these people need to be legally married. The marriage process here is a long one, and many people don't have money suffient to do it. So it is a struggle to help people with this. But we've figured out ways to help these peole. So we'll see what happens!
My Portguese now, is great. I don't have any problems. It's alot easier to pick it up when all I speak is Portuguese. My last 3 transfers I've lived with all forgein elders who don't speak english, so it's been nice. I'm speaking like a native!
So as for now I'm still in Manga, and loving it! My testimony has grown so much, there really is nothing more important than the gospel.
Something I studied in Preach My Gospel the other day, that I would love to share with you all. I studied about "Praying with Faith."
I invite all of you to "meaningful prayer" everynight. I noticed that as I have really focused on having meaningful prayer, the Lord is more willing to help us because we are showing humility when we pray sincerely. I also invite each of you to study that section. It's a good one!
I also invite all of you to continue to do your maximum. As missionaries we have many challenges, especially those of us living in third world contries right now. But just do your best to help people. It's easy to get discouraged, so just smile!
I am excited to hear from each of you!
Wilkes- Argentina baby! People sell little fruit candies in the streets here that are from Cordoba. So thanks! Haha
Moonbeam- Are you serving with speed yet? ruru later?
Chamberlain- I hate the Lakers. I can't believe steve nash...
Natedog- Welcome to the mission field baby! I hope the MTC was good! couragette? so sick.
Well I'm outta time, I gotta get going... But keep working hard, whever you are in the world. I love you all! I know this is the Lord's work and I'm so grateful to be a part of it. Talk to you in a few months!

-Elder Williams

Manga - Week 38

Tempo... passa bem rapido.

Thanks so much for the emails this past week. I don't have much time to write, because I used most of my time to write to Mom for the newsletter, and to President Kretly.
Nothing new here! Transfers are today and I'll be staying with Elder Fontes. I'm super exited and hopefully we can get our couples married so they can be baptized this month.
I was super excited to hear about Andrew's game! Keep taking those close shots.  That's the way to play affective. But when the defender doesn't respect your inside game, you gotta show them that you got outside game as well. Next week, I want 26 points. With a majority lay-ups. 
When I was younger I LOVED to shoot 3's. I had a coach, Coach Ortega, he asked me why I shoot 3's when I'm the fasted guy on the court.  He told me to just dribble right past the defender and get to the hoop everytime I touched the ball. That will help Small Babe play effective. Attack the hoop and try to get a layup EVERYTIME you touch the ball.
Well we had energy in our house this week, so that was nice! Truely was a blessing.
I also heard that sister have been getting mission calls here. And it is true. They should be arriving over the next few months. They truely will help the work here!
Congrats to Sam for joining the navy! Try not to die!
Well I hope you guys have a great week! Full of the Spirit of the Lord. I hope you guys are doing daily and family scripture study, as well as family home evening every week!
Well I love you guys! Talk to you next week!

Love, Elder Williams

Monday, January 7, 2013

Manga - Week 37

Well it's been awhile since I've sent a nice long letter! Sorry about that, but there was nothing I could do about the fact that internet was closed. It's been a good couple of weeks! I a lot of good things have happened, but it's been stressful as well. First I'll tell you about a cool/stressful experience that has happened over the past few weeks.
So ever since I've been in the MTC I've always tried to focus a lot on the Christlike attributes in Preach My Gospel. I think I've done a pretty good job developing attributes over the past few months, but a few weeks ago I decided I wanted to focus on patience. I developed a lot in Quelimane, but I want to be more patient with situations that I can't really control. For example, the power goes out here in Manga a lot. And that's so annoying. I always get frustrated when the power goes out. 
So what I decided to do a few weeks ago was to pray for experiences an situations so that I can develop for patience, and have situations where I could show patience. And our Heavenly Father was quick to hear my prayers. That is one thing I have learned on my mission, is that God really is listening to our prayers. Because He definitely gave me an opportunity to show more patience, because we didn't have power or energy in our house for 10 days after I prayed! But the interesting thing is that it was just our house. All the other houses around our house had energy, except ours. And I can honestly say that the worst experience in the world is sleeping in Africa, in a mosquito net, without air-conditioning. It is miserable. 
But I really am grateful! I kind of just laughed about the situation that was given to us. It made me so much more grateful for the circumstances that I have been blessed with back home.
But I really didn't complain about the situation, I'm grateful! Because I really did develop more patience in those 10 days. 
But something else happened as well that helped me to develop more patience. So we had 3 families, marked for the wedding and baptism that will be happening the last week on January. They are great families who really have applied the gospel in their lives and have seen changes. Well each family is now not going to be able to participate in this combined wedding because a member of each couple needs to leave town for a few weeks for work. Such bad luck! 
But we will excited for what will happen with Diogo and Gida, Rudy e Edna, e Sabedo e Laura after the trips. We have some nice goals set for the wedding and baptism that will happen after this one. It's just a matter of getting financial things ready. Because spiritually, these people have already made commitments to follow our Heavenly Fathers plan!
So those are some things that happened with us over the past few weeks. The conference we had this weekend was really good! Elder Carl Cook is a stud, and I learned a lot of stuff from him on how we can become better, especially in our companionships and how we plan for our investigators. I got to talk to him as well, and he definitely remembers Elder Reynolds! He said he was a great missionary who really had a love for his mission. Sister Cook even remembered where he was from! So that was surprising! 
Sounds like things at home are good! Super cold there, and nice and hot here! I sweat more than I thought was possible to sweat!
But hang in there! It will warm up there in a few weeks.
Small babe, do not settle for the 3-point shot. You are faster and have better ball-handling skills than anyone else on the court. So take it to the rack, and get yourself an easy layup. And yeah lets get him on a better team as well... I'll coach the team when I return home. 
Dad, make sure you take Mom skiing before the end of the season! She needs to go and remember what it's like! It's been way to long. 
Well I better go because I'm gonna try to send some pictures... I got a lot to send! So we'll see how it goes. Have a good week! I love you all!

Love, Elder Williams

ps. Yeah I'll prepare something for the friend newsletter and send it to you next week.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Manga - Week 36

Sorry I didn't write back. The internet places were closed on the 24th and the 31st. So President Kretly told us to do internet today to send in our statistics, and email him. But I don't have very much time. So I'll talk to you guys next week!
This week we will have zone conference with Elder Carl Cook of the seventy. He was a mission president in new zealand. Ask Geoff if it was his mission president??
I'm so sorry to hear about brother Stapley. I love that guy! He's was my young men's leader for a long time, and one of my favorite's for sure. I haven't seen him for years, but it still does hurt. I will pray for the family. 
Dad, I think we learn something very valuable here. Elder Fontes, my companion's dad died while his brother was on his mission. He as well, died of an unexpected heart attack. I DO NOT WANT THIS TO HAPPEN TO ME. You guys need to start eating healthier and watch your cholesterol. I'm completely serious.
That is my new years advice for my parents this year.
Have a good week!

-Love Elder Williams

ps. Happy birthday to the world's best mother :) Thanks you for everything you do for me! In my patriarchal blessing it says that I will be eternally grateful to my mother and father. And I already know that that is true! Thank you and Love you!