Monday, April 29, 2013

Beira - Week 53

Uma semana de desafios. Mas, valeu a pena.

Hello family!
Im glad to receive the letters, and it looks like everyone is doing well back home!
As for me, we had an awesome week! But to be honest, it was one of the hardest weeks Ive had on the mission so far. But that means I have a chance to learn from things that happen and become even better!
First of all, Crayton and Albertina... were dropped. I am completely devastated. Some of the most spiritual lessons I've had on the mission, have been with them. It was a family that was completely prepared by the Lord. I know that it was a special family that we were supposed to find and that would change my life. They humbly accepted the gospel in their lives. The only problem is, marriage. They arenºt willing to get through this difficult process of paperwork. She has documents in other parts of the country, and they said they just canºt do it right now. They have such a desire to be baptized and they understand that this is the true Church. If it wasnºt for these challenges, they would have already been baptized! The plan was to have all paperwork completed this week, buy they brought these problems up really late. They understand they are living in sin, and said that they will not leave the church. Itºs justthat our time as missionaries is precious, and we only have time to work with those who can do these things NOW! So we are taking a break with them, and they wonºt be getting baptized this next week like they were supposed to. After the lesson, I was a complete mess. I couldnºt stop crying for 10 minutes. I just love that family. if it was possible, I would trade in my baptism and give it to them! Weºll see what happens over the next few weeks, if they decide to get their heads on straight.
Our week was an emotional rollercoaster. Which is pretty much how every day and every week is. A lot of disappointing things happened, but a lot of good things happened as well!
We found two money families this week. One is Joao e Rute (John and Ruth), and the other is Andre e Philomena. We contacted Joao in the road, and then visited him and his wife the following day. We had a great lesson on the Restoration, as we tried to identify their personal needs. They understood it well, and commited to be baptized in the first lesson. The first few months on my mission, I never gave many baptismal invites. But Iºm learning with time, and I never teach a first lesson without giving a baptismal invite. Itºs super nice, and helps the investigator understand how they can change their lives. Joao e Rute came to church, and seemed to like it. Weºll be going over there tonight as well.
And as for Andre e Philomena, they were a reference from Lucinda, who is the women that we baptized last transfer that participated in the wedding. She is a saint. If there is anyone in the world that is keeping their baptismal covenant, it is Lucinda. She gives tons of references, and loves doing missionary work! She wants other families to have the peace of mind that she now has. Itºs cool.
So last night at 6 o'clock we went over to Nharingue and Lucindaºs to go teach this neighbor of theirs. Which is Andre and Philomena. He has never participated in any church, and she goes to some other church every Sunday. As we explained who we are, and our purpose as missionaries we started to teach them the Restoration. It was nice to have Lucinda their as well, because they were able to feel more comfortable. As we were talking about Joesph Smith, I noticed that Andre was paying a lot of attention, and was getting a little emotional. We then asked him how he was feeling. As he tried to express himself, he got even more emotional saying that he was grateful for the messgae they had recieved. In the middle of this strong spirit, we gave the baptismal invite, and they both accepted. It was a cool experience. I donºt know if he really understood the importance of the Restoration, or even all the little details. But he felt something that he had never felt before, and Iºm so grateful he felt it. Iºll keep you updated on their progress and what happens this week. 
We did a fast as well for another investigator family Jojo and Luisa. They came to church the first Sunday, but he wants to be certain that this is the true church. A great young couple that would help the church out a lot. I know heºll receive an answer. I have such a solid testimony on fasting. 
We also got to watch general conference on Saturday and Sunday! It was unbelievable. Each conference gets better and better. We played it at the church with the branches Beira 1 and Beira 2. Itºs a little weird watching it with the translation, but it's not too bad. The talks were very direct and very powerful, I especially loved President Eyring's powerful testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ. It was also very cool to watch Elder Neil L. Andersen's talk with the people of Mozambique. As he talked about it and showed the pictures, the Spirit was so strong in the Beira chapel. I was surrounded by couples who were in those pictures! Cool experince for them, and the Spirit gave mt the reassurance that this really is the Lordºs work. And Iºm so grateful to be a part of it. And Mormon Tabernacle Choir was unreal. Although it was a little weird to see so many white people in just one shot. Iºm completely obsessed with the choir. I cannot wait to watch Music and the Spoken Word for the next time. The BYU choir was also very impressive.
Time is flying by, and so Iºm trying to live in the moment. I understand that 2 years is absolutely no time at all. To be honest, I am dreading the time when all this comes to an end. So for now, we are working! I'm so happy to be this this amazing work so that I can help this amazing people. I love them. I don't have any doubts that this is The Lord's church. If it wasn't, all these miracles would not be happening. I love you all so much, and hope you have an amazing week!
Love, Elder Williams

Monday, April 22, 2013

Beira - Week 52

Boa tarde. Gostei dos photos que enviaram. Estou a pedir mais!

Hello everyone!
First off, I loved the pictures that the family sent. I want to get pictures every week from you guys, so keep sending them! Let's make a deal, everytime that I send pictures, I want pictures in return the next week from the weeks activities. 
We had another good week here in our area which is called Matacuane. We had zone conference this past Wednesday, so President and Sister Kretly were able to fly up to give us an unbelievable training. I cannot explain the love and respect that I have for my Mission President and his wife. They have taught me so much. We are so blessed as a mission.
He gave us a great training and talk about the missionary handbook. As a mission, lots of miracles are happening. But there are also missionaries who are completely disobedient. President is putting his foot down, cause he doesn't want missionaries who are obedient to suffer because of other missionaries. By putting his foot down, 3 missionaries have been sent home in the past few weeks. I know that as we become even more obedient as a mission, more miracles will happen. The Lord's blessings upon this country have only just started. But it all starts with us.
He also talked about mission stats, and that the mission baptized a lot of families in the month of March. He talked about the many miracles, and even showed us Neil L. Anderson's General Conference talk. What an amazing talk! He talked about miralces in missionary work, and finished his talk with the miralces in Mozambique. I guess President knew he would talk about that in Conference, he just didn't tell anyone. A few months back, Elder Andersen called President Kretly and asked for details because he felt he should share it in Conference. It really is humbling to be apart of this amazing work; here, at this amazing time.
Wednesday morning, I also got a phone call from the assistants down in Maputo. They were calling in behalf of President Kretly. They just wanted to let me know that President was thankful for the work that me and Elder Vestia did while we were together, and that our hardwork did not go unnoticed. I appreciated the phone call and was able to learn a lot that day from President at the zone conference.
The progress of Elder Biddulph, is coming along really well! His desire is in the right place and he is very obedient. Which is a blessing for me. I love having willing, obedient companions. His portuguese is also coming along very well. He just needs to speak with confidence, and then he speaks very well. But I am able to help him, because I've been there, and done that before! It reminds me of the blessing the Lord has given me to be able to speak this language. I really am grateful!
The work in our area is coming along. Our golden investigators, Leo e  Alice are dong very well and have gotten all documents necesarry to get married. The have to forget a party, and sign the documents so that they can be baptized. That required a lot of prayer and some scriptures we needed to show them. But they have commited! This week we are working with Crayton and Albertina and their paperwork as well. Hopefully we can open the marriage process with them this week! So I'm excited about the way things are going, and we are finding as well. A new family, Jojo and Luisa were found this week as well and came to church together the first week! It's a young couple, he is 22 and she is 18! But they have a lot of potential and even committed to be baptized the first lesson! So well see how their progress goes this week.
There was a sad story with another family that we found this week. We contacted a man named Abel. He was very interested, and said that it would be something good for his family. When we went over to teach him, we realized that his wife had passed away. We testified of the Plan of Salvation, but also that we know of this plan because the true church was restored. He understood the restoration very well, and even explained in in his own words. We invited him to pray that night and ask our Heavenly Father if these things are true. I was shocked with his response. He said: "Fica para outro dia." Which pretty much means, I'll pray a different day. He was to lazy to ask God if these things were true. I was honestly devastated. I even got a little defensive and expalined the opportunity that he would be missing with his family. I was a little angry, but mostly sadened. That just gave us more incentive to find those who are willing to ask God!
Well, I better go but I hope everyone has a great week! I am so happy here, so don't worry about me. I am starting to eat super good as well, so that will help. Last week, I downed 24 eggs! So I'm getting plenty of protein! This work is so true. I'm so blessed to be a missionary at this exciting time. I love you guys!

-Elder Williams

Monday, April 15, 2013

Photos - (Beira & Manga)

Baptisms in Manga

Elder Biddulph & Elder Williams in Beira

Rice field in Manga (we think)... could be Beira.  

Beautiful African jungle

Proselyting African style

Taxi in Quelimane

Proselyting in Africa

Baptisms in Beira

Baptism in Beira

Amazing couple in Beira (Temple goal next April)

More weddings and baptisms in Beira

Gardner at the Beira Chapel

Baptisms in Manga

Flooding outside our house in Manga

Boy that was always outside our house in Manga (with Elder Fontes)

Beira District in Beira - All great Elders...

Beira - Week 51

Hello family,
We've had a good week here in Beira, yet again. I received my new companion, Elder Biddulph (bid-off) this past week. He is a great kid from Ogden, Utah. He is ready to work, and has a big desire to serve the Lord. He is one of the 18 year old missionaries as well! So it's cool to see 18 year olds serving! It was kind of funny, becuase he flew in on Wednesday night pretty late at about midnight. So when I woke up Thursay morning, there was some kid laying in the bed next to me that I had never seen before! Interesting way to start off the companionship. Haha
But our first day together was great! We got out of the chapa, and he contacted the first man he saw in the road. It was quite impressive! I obviously had to help out, because he's only been speaking Portuguese for 6 weeks, but the fact that he is willing to work, is nice! He will be a very succesfull missionary if he continues to work hard!  I'm excited to help him develop the language and develop good missionary habits. I'm glad I have the opprotunity to help him and I'm excited for the challange. The only negative part is that we now have one less hour in our area because we are going to be doing the 12 week program, which is for trainers and new missionaries. I like having as much time in the area as possible, but the 12 week program when I was with Elder Fontes helped out a lot.  And it helped me out a lot as well when I was trained by Elder Workman. So I'm excited about it and it will help Elder Biddulph out a lot.
There is also another new Elder in our house who is actually from Stansbury. He was actually in Jarrett's seminary class one year as well. His name is Spencer Stubbs. So tell Jarrett that we are living in the same house. Speaking of Jarrett, what are the mission plans?? I'm excited to hear about when he decides to go.
Investigators are progressing, and we are helping more families get closer to baptism. We should have another pretty succesfull transfer of baptisms in our companionship, and in the branch, if paperwork runs well. I'm excited to see hat happens. 
Crayton and Albertina are still progressing. We passed by there Friday, and they had a few doubts about mariage. They said they want to be baptized, but right now is not a good time to get married. They live in a house of mud a sticks that is falling aprt everyday. They are builiding a house of blocks on the side of their house and they want to wait until that's done to get married. They understand that they are living in sin and that marriage in important so that they can be baptized. But when Mozambicans think marriage, they think of all the African traditions that come into play. We explanined that that is not the marriage they need to do, and that they can just sign the marriage documents. But they said they want to do it on THEIR time. I explained that the commandments cannot be lived on OUR time, but on THE LORD'S time. They understood, but they didn't understand the inportance of commiting now.
I gave them an analogy. I asked them if Christ himself came to their house and told them of the importance of these commandments, what would they do. Albertina answered and she said that she would personally do anything to live the commandments in that moment. We testified that we are the Lord's representatives called to tell them exactly what God wants them to do right now in their lives, and that they need to pray to know what they need to do. They understood the concept, and commited to pray about it. I hope the Spirit will continue to work on them as they make a decision. And I know it will.
Gabriel and Matilde is another family that is progressing nicely and have commited to be baptized on May 18. They are without a doubt the poorest family finanially that I have taught. And they don't have a very high level of understanding, but I sure do love them! I took about 5 or 6 lessons to help them understand just the Restoration alone. But they are great. They have absolutely no religious background at all, but they now come to church and they realize that it is something that they need in their lives. It is going to be tough to help them get ready spiritually and financially for the 18th of May, but it is definitely possible!
We also have Leo and Alice who are our Golden Investigators right now. We should be opening the marriage process this week, and then everything will be ready! So the area is coming along and we are having some nice success. I'm excited about the way things are coming along and I'm really excited to work with Elder Biddulph! He helps me better appreciate my surrondings. Sometimes he'll say, "wow this place is beautiful." And it reminds me that this place reallly is beautiful! It's easy to forget after being here for awhile. 
You guys got a lot of pictures this week because the internet is running very well. I hope that you guys know that I am happy! I love doing this work every single day.  It's so hard but so worth it. I'm blessed to be among these amazing people each and every day. Thank you for the birthday wishes! I had a good birthday, even though I honestly forgot during the day. I celebrated by eating a piece of cake a night. Haha.
I hope you all have a good week, and I want to recieve pictures from you guys as well. Love you all!

-Elder Williams

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Beira - Week 50

Transfers: Part 2

Good afternoon! I'm emailing on Tuesday, because today is our P-Day! On Sunday we had a holiday, National women's day here in Mozambique, and that was probably the craziest holiday I've seen since I've been here. Pretty much what happens is all the women in the country go out with other women and party. They dance and drink a lot to very loud music. It was quite the experience. So because of the holiday, internet places were closed yesterday, so today is our P-Day!
We've had a very good past few weeks. We had the marriage of one of our families, Nharingue and Gracinda. They have changed so much over the past few weeks as they have prepared for baptism. The marriage ran very smoothly, although we had a hard time finding her a dress throughout the week. But we were able to do it! The Spirit was very strong in the ceremony, and we understood that this really is the will of the Lord that these couples get married. 
The even better part of the weekend was the baptismal service. Nharingue and Gracinda were baptized with 3 of their older children on Saturday. It was great to see another amazing family make a covenant with our Heaven Father. 
The end of the weekend also brought transfers for us here. It was by far the fastest transfer I have been a part of so far. I was unsure about what transfers would bring, since last transfer was such a surprise. But my time with Elder Vestia, has come to a close already. We only served together for 6 weeks, and he was transfered to Beira 1. I will be getting my new companion, Elder Biddulps tonight. He gets off a plane tonight at about 9 pm, straight from America!  I've never trained an American before, so I'm excited to get to know him and help him get into the Mozambique missionary mode. I will be training him in the area I'm in right now, Beira 2, so there is not a better area to train in. It's the country's strongest branch and a lot of good things are happening right now in our area. Our Zone Leaders came to me last night and said they think our companionship baptized more people than any other companionship in the mission. (But they didn't confirm it). In six weeks, we baptized 3 complete families (13 people).  The Lord has blessed us. It really isn't anything I did, but the Lord has really prepared these families. I'm excited to keep working and see more results this next transfer with the new Elder!
Crayton and Albertina are continuing to progress! Albertina even participated in our Relief Society activity with one of our recent converts. They are starting to feel that this really is Christ's church. Other families are progressing as well, but they are my favorites! So humble, and so willing to be obedient. 
We have some crazy mission news as well. As of this week, we have Sister missionaries here in Mozambique! But for now, just one companionship. There is a Sister from Idaho and a sister from Angola. More Sisters will be coming in the future as well. I'm excited to see the help that they will provide in helping baptize more families. 
We had a crazy experience happen last night after one of our lessons. So me and Elder Vestia were walking down the street leaving a lesson when we saw a man and a women arguing in the road. We tried avoiding them, but as we continued walking, the lady started running away from him. He chased after her, caught her, and started beating her right in front of us, and right in the middle of the road. I was completely disgusted with the sight of watching him beat that women. As missionaries, we shouldn't really do anything, but I couldn't help it. We stopped the scene and helped the lady run away. We talked to the man afterwards, and he said the most inappropriate thing about that lady. To be honest, I wanted to hit him! I don't care what that lady did, but she does not deserve to get beaten like that. It was so sad. Anyone that touches their wife, deserves to get beaten themselves. It's so sad. Something that was really hard for me to watch yesterday. Mozambique has plently of crazy, but sad stories.
As for me, I'm so happy. Time is flying by at a scary rate. I think soon I'll be in the process of trying to extend my mission a few more months. There is nothing I would want more. And I'm being completely serious. There is just something about helping these people that I don't want to trade for anything. Sunday night I got a text from an old investigator in Manga who received the priesthood on Sunday. He thanked me for everything, and he was grateful to be a priesthood bearer so that he could bless his family. It's so great to be an instrument in the Lord's hands. Priceless moments like this, are so humbling. 
I'm so grateful to be on a mission, especially in the country that is starting to explode with the gospel. This is the church of Jesus Christ on the Earth. I'm so grateful for the Restoration, and the knowledge we have about Eternal Families. I love you all so much, and I hope you have a great week!

Love, Elder Williams

ps. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is more than avoiding the bad things of the world, but becoming a better person each and everyday. -Quote from Elder Bednar. I kinda used my own words... I can't remember exactly what he said.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Photos - Beira - Week 49

Hey so I'm sending a lot of pictures! it's super sweet! I don't have time to write a lot cause it took awhile to upload these photos. But from now on you'll be getting photos weekly! I hope you guys are keeping all my emails. I want to keep every email that I've ever sent with all these pictures. That way I'll remember forever!  Couldn't be happier...
Wonderful family in Beira

Really BIG Spider!!

Great family in Beira

Can you find the Monkey in photo?  (No, it's not the handsome missionary on the right)

Monkey in Beira

Sixteen People are Baptized in Beira (Elder Williams back right with Elder Vestia)

Amazing family we baptized in Beira

Wedding documents are finally completed for family below!

An amazing family in Beira

Elder Fontes (Companion on Manga)
Transfers in Manga (Leaving for Beira) - with Elder Fontes

15 year old stud member in Beira... (so sick).