Monday, December 30, 2013

Matola - Week 89

Well this week was a blessing. Finally were able to see Hxxxx and Fxxxx in the waters of baptism. It was a miracle. They have been through so much as they have prepared to get married and baptized behind their families backs. As missionaries, we help people develop faith in Jesus Christ. But in my whole life, I don't know if I have met a couple that has more faith in Jesus Christ than they do. It is a complete honor just to know them, and it was humbling to play a part in their conversion. The baptismal service was beautiful, and they are happy! We will see what kind of callings our Branch President will give them over the next few weeks. I am excited for that.
That was the big exciting news of the week. The other excited news is that my companion is here! Elder Walker landed in Mozambique on Saturday afternoon. He was actually brought to the Matola chapel at the end of the baptismal service and had the chance to meet Helder and Fatima. It was interesting to see him, minutes after landing. He was in culture shock for sure, but he has already grown a deep love for the people, and he has the eagerness to serve.
He was doing a good job adjusting to the time difference until about yesterday afternoon when his jetlag kicked in. I felt super bad for him. But he is hanging in there, and doing great! He seems happy as well, which is really important. 
His first full day in the country, he had a very crazy experience! It had become something so normal to me, so I was grateful that he was there to help me recongnize the experience we were having. This is what happened... We woke up early Sunday morning to go pick up some investigators. It had rained all night, and it was coming down hard. I don't have an umbrella, and Elder Walker's umbrella was in his luggage that didn't exactly arrive in Mozambique yet. We also have yet to buy rain roots. We left the house at about 6:30 am, knowing we were going to get soaked. We walked 40 minutes to our investigators house. Puddles were everywhere, so our journey consisted of us jumping puddles, scaling walls, and walking in lots of water.. Our shirts were got a little dirty, and there was not a dry spot on my body by the time we got to the investigators house. Our investigators thought we were crazy! But they got ready, and joined us in our journey for another 40 minutes to the church. The path to the church included a very full chapa ride, (Elder Walker's first.) That was quite the experience for him. We all got to church soaked! I laughed as I explained to Elder Walker that we need to do EVERYTHING to get our investigators to come to church. Gxxxx and Jxxxx showed a lot of faith as they were willing to go to church in that weather. Our investigators really are learning the importance of following Jesus Christ.
Zone Conference and the Christmas party went well, I had the chance to direct zone conference again since it was here in Matola. President Kretly inspired me once again. I always learn so much from him.
The Christmas party was a little weird as we sat around and talked at the mission office. I'm not used to sitting around like that... it was kind of weird. 
We are excited to work this week, and we know the Lord will bless us. I pray that everyone will have a happy new year! I pray that we will use this next year to become more like our Savior. That is what the Lord expects of us. Have a good week!
Elder Williams

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Skype!


Looks like I'll be skyping on the 25th at 17:45. They told me that was 8:45 AM your time, but I'm not sure. I hope thats a good time. If I have any trouble, I'll just call you. 

(Editor's Note: His Mom couldn't be happier... and makes for a very special Christmas morning for the Williams family).  

Matola - Week 88

Feliz Natal!

We just finished the first week of the transfer, and it was a crazy week. I still do not have a companion! My companion is Elder Walker who is currently in the MTC. He was supposed to come during the weekend, but he got stuck in Salt Lake during that snow storm. He was at the airport waiting, but his flight was cancelled. He will be coming in on the 28th now. 
So for now, we have been walking in a threesome. Me, Elder Santos, and Elder Ebmeyer. Elder Ebmeyer was serving in Matola 1, and just got done being trained by Elder Bigelow. Elder Ebmeyer is a good Elder. I am very pleased with his growth, and is speaking the language pretty well. We are excited to have him be apart of our branch in Matola 2.
This week, we entered into Tslala. I don't know if missionaries have ever consistently worked out there. It is packed with people. A lot of peole were very curious to talk with us as well as they were wondering who we are. We were able to teach a few new families out there, and we even found a nice family Manuel and Lucia who were willing to show their faith the first week by walking a solid hour to church. So our first impressions of Tslala are nice. it has a lot of potencial and we are excited to see what the Lord has in store for the people the live there. 
We have also been working in Liberdade. We are doing our best to work in both of the areas. We founf some nice families this week! Felizberto and Alzira is a couple that is legally married and they recieved an answer of the Book of Mormon the first day. He is very smart, and said after reading the introduction pages of the Book of Mormon and the first 3 chapters of 1 Nephi, he said that there is no way the book isn't true. They are very strong in their church and he is worried about leaving his church, although he understands that he needs to. Helder and Fatima went to the same church that they go to, so we plan on bringing Helder and Fatima over to their house. We are excited about this family.
We took a new family to church this week as well, Gito and Joana. We had two good lessons with them this week. And we picked them up early Sunday morning and walked to church together. Those are our Sunday mornings. Waking up early to go get our investigators. We need to do everything in our power to help these people keep commitements. Our other prrogressing families are doing good as well. Especially Sebastiao and Celeste. They always show so much faith saving money to get their marriage documents. It is very impressive. They usually have to take 2 chapas to church, and two chapas home. With time, that money adds up! 
Not to mention the distance that they live away from the chapel.they made a big sacrifice and walked to the branch christmas party on Saturday with their almost two year old baby. Super impressive. Don't take your cars for granted.
Recent converts are getting callings as well which is good to see. Faustino and Sonia were called to be family history leaders, and Sonia also teaches in Relief Society. Manuel was also called to be second counselor in the young mens presidency. They are all doing well! 
The branch christmas party was good as well! There were a few weird things that went on... but it was a good experience for the investigators that were there. 
We also watched the Christmas Devotional again here in matola. We did our presentation as well for the members. We sang many Christmas hymns, and it turned out very nice. I'm so grateful for Christmas and this season.
We will be another conference tomorrow as well here in Matola. It will be our Zone conference/ Christmas party. I am so excited to here another training from President Kretly. He always gives the best! Zone conference always leaves the missionaries pumped to work even more. Looks like that's what we need now in the zone. T3 has been struggling a little bit lately. But there are some good Elders there that are helping others be obedient.
Helder and Fatima have been interviewed, and will be baptized on Saturday. That is with out a doubt the best Christmas present I could ask for. It's been a long battle with them! It's been like 6 months now. I have developed a relationship with them that I have never developed with out investigators before. I know them so well. I absolutely, knew them before this life. I will have an eternal relationship with them. I really do love them.
One thing that I have been focusing on is Christlike attributes. I strive so hard to develop the Christlike attributes. But man, I have so long to go. I feel like I'm not making any progress! Developing Christlike attributes is something that will takemy whole life for me to develop. But I am able to recgonzie my weaknesses and work on what I feel I need to. Elder Santos told me of an apostle that once said, "We don't realize how imperfect we are, until we strive so hard to be good." I can testify of that.
So that's how the week was! Other good stuff happened as well but I can't talk about all the good things that happen. There just isn't time. While I was halfway through this letter, the power went out and we had to come back to finish. 
But I hope everyone has a great Christ-centered Christmas. We always try to focus on Christ during this time of year, but He also needs to be the focues of our lives. Each and everyday, we should remember of Him and strive to become more like Him. My strongest desire, to be completely honest, is to be more Christlike. I know that through the Atonement, it's possible. We can all become better. Have a great week!

Elder Williams

"For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Begotten Son. That whosoever would believe in Him, should not perish. But have everlasting life."

Monday, December 16, 2013

Matola - Week 87

O nascimento de nosso Mestre

This week was completely unbeliavble. One of the most memorable weeks I've had on the mission. The Lord has been so good to us, and is blessing our area as we are diligente and obediente.

I'll start off with news of transfers... I have been in Matola for 5 transfers, but I had reason to believe that I would stay for my 6th. That's what I was hoping anyway... And I'm staying! I am so excited to still be apart of this amazing work in Matola.

With some public manifestations that have been going on recently, President didn't want to change many things for transfers. But 2 new Elders came in so there had to be some changes. 

When I saw the transfer slide, I knew that it was the Lord's will. On Friday, I had an interesting conversation with Elder Greenman one of the AP's. He asked me if our house would have room for one more companionship for the next transfer. I said, "Elder Greenman, tell President I can sleep on the floor for the next transfer if it means that our branch can have one more compaionship. And they granted us our wish! We will have one extra companionship in the branch! Me and Elder Santos are splitting, and I am training one of the new Elders. Me and Elder Santos are still the two Zone Leaders, so we will still work a lot with each other. We will just have different companions.

The Lord knows all things. With more missionaries, we will be opening up an extra area in Matola. I think it will be Tsala which is the area right after our area, Liberdade. For some reason, me and Elder Santos started teaching two families in Tsala this week! We decided that we should go out there more. With this transfer, we will for sure be working out in Tsala more. I'll probably send Elder Santos and his companion Elder Ebmeyer to go work out there. It is amazing how the Lord prepared us this week to start working out in Tsala. I had never worked out there ever since I got here. But me and Elder Santos felt impressed to start this week. We were truely led by the Spirit, unknowingly!

Me and Elder Santos gave a training on friday. It ended up running very well. We spent a lot of time on it during the week, and hoped and prayed that it would turn out well. It was a prezi presentation.  The Lord helped us and inspired us a lot. It was on "How to baptize one family per month." That is the goal in the mission right now. And in the past two months, Matola has baptized 5 families. 4 of them from our area. So we need to do more to help the other areas. So we talked a lot about Preach My Gospel. All the secrets to missonary work are in Preach My Gospel! But just about all the companionships in the zone, have families that are progressing. We just need to continue to work hard so the the Lord can bless us even more! 

Even with all these blessings, there are always problems. (It is necessary that there is opposition in all things). 
Some obedience problems scattered over the zone here and there. We had a good talk with President Kretly this week as some very serious problems came about in the zone this week. But the missionaries are good now, and are focused! For the most part.

We weatched the Christmas devotional last night! We also presented a program to the members in Maputo. The missionaries sang, and Pres and Sis Kretly were the narrators. It turned out really well. I have grown a true love for music. I used to hate singing hymns! But now I'm obsessed with it! Sometimes I like to sing a hymn alone before I go to bed. It really is a way to worship, and invites the Spirit. I am so grateful for music and what it offers. We will be doing the same program for the members in Matola this next week.

Hxxxx and Fxxxx are getting clser to baptism! They will be getting in the water on the 28th of the month. It's about time! Me and Elder Lake found them in July! But they are so strong in the church. It's been unbelievable. I love them so much. That will be a special day.

To be honest, I could go on and on about the week and the amazing things that happened. But I don't have enough time. You can ask me all the questions you want when we talk on the phone. I don't know when that will be. I think next week.  Just be patient Mom :)

I love you all so much, and I will tell you about my new companion next week! I don't even think he is here yet... Have a good week! Merry Christmas!

Elder Williams

"And He shall be born of Mary in a town called Bethlehem..."

Monday, December 9, 2013

Matola - Week 86

This week went by unbelievablely fast. We are now entering into the last week of the transfer! This transfer seems like it was just two or three weeks... it's geeting scary!

To start off, i will answer the question that everybody asked me... why was I wearing two different shoes during the basketball and soccer activity at the Matola chapel?

Well my nikes, were stolen. So I recently had to buy a new pair of athletic shoes. The pair I bought, were also stolen. So I got stuck using old shoes from the Matola 1 house but they only had two different shoes! Beggers can't be chosers. I decided to not buy any more shoes.

Elder Williams (6th from the left) is conspiculously wearing two different shoes.  We believe that his companion (Elder Santos) is far left. 
This week, Txxx and Axxx were baptized with their 13 year old daughter Hxxxx. That was a very special day. It seems like yesterday, me and Elder Brandao ran into Axxxx in the road and she said she wanted to be baptized! The road has given us some very prepared people to work with. Txxx took some time to get his head on straight... but he has a testimony now. He has seen the difference in his family, and he isn't going back. It was a humbling day. The highlight is always watching the recent converts bear testimony after being baptized. The Spirit always hits me so strong when that happens. I truely am grateful to the Lord for the chance I had to teach them. 

During the week, we watched a video with Txxx and Axxxx on temples and eternal marriage. Txxxxx got a little emotional and asked to watch the video again. Axxx totally called him out and gave him a hard time on getting emotional, because that isn't how Txxxx is. That was a very special moment for all of us. I won't forget the feeling that was in their home during that lesson.

This week we were very busy. We had our mission leadership council this week which was good. It is a chance for all zone leaders to get together and talk about zone things that we think could help the whole mission. It is amazing to see how each leader prepares something different that ties beautifully into what the other leaders talked about. Me and Elder Santos kind of related it to General Conference. Each apostle talks about something different, but everything is necessary for all members of the church. Same with the mission leadership council. We hear different things from different mission leaders on how we can improve our zones. me and Elder Santos talked about patience with our investigators. We need to be patient and help them with their problems instead of dropping them when problems occur. Lots of missionaries in the zone are looking for "the perfect family" and when problems arise with a family, they take it a a sign that the family isn't prepared. But through the Atontement, imperfect families can be turned into near perfect familes. 
Well I have two minutes... the past 30 mintues has been used for these workers to fix these broken computers with viruses... So frustrating.

I will be sure to write extra good in my journal this week!

Elder Williams

ps. Don't worry, I am happy, and healthy! Love you all!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Matola - Week 85

The week here in Matola mentally and physically exhausting. Sometimes I feel like begging for mercy... but it was also very rewarding and lots of good things happened!
This week we had a mission wide fast. We thanked the Lord for the many miracles he has blessed us with, we fasted to recognize his hand in the things we do, and we fasted so that the miracles can continue. When lots of missionaries fast together, the Lord will bless us even more. We are already starting to see some of these blessings!
This week, me and Elder Santos have been working and focusing on working better with the members. We have been attending meeting with the branch presidency, and we are starting to work well with them but we still have a long way to go. This week the branch said that they will start taking over the lessons to all recent converts. That will be a blessing to us as we will have more time to teach new families and to find more. There are currently 27 recent converts in the branch that have been baptized within the last 6 months. Preach My Gospel teaches us that it all starts wih our relationship with the branch president. We have a very good relationship with President Cunguara. He is a very good branch president and is a true blessing to the branch. He has developed confidence in us as well.
Elder Santos... is unbelievable. I love him alot. I feel a true love for him. He is very spiritual and we lift each other up. We often talk about the christlike attributes and how far away we are from where we want to be. We are trying to develop them together. He is very patient with me and with our investigators, and recgonizes his weaknesses. These are some things that I have learned from him, and that he is teaching me. It truely is a pleasure to serve with him.
We had the opprotunity to participate in the district meeting of Matola 1 this week. It was a good district meeting. Elder Bigelow gave a good training on 5 things we can do to help our investigators solve their problems, from preach my gospel in chapter 10. Then we did some practices with real problems that investigators have. I left the meeting uplifted spiritually. I admire all 6 of the Elders in Matola 1. They are all working very hard. It could very well be the stongest district in the mission.
T3 is coming along as well. Little by little they are working to try to find and teach. Elder Barroso (district leader) has a true desire to help each missionary individually. He is doing an amazing job as well.
This week was interesting in our area... since me and Elder Santos have been trying to develop more christlike attributes, earlier during the week i had asked the Lord for more humbling experiences. And He gave them to us! Street contacting has become very difficult. People reject us often, and even say things that hurt sometimes. It is very hard to not say anything, and move on. It reminded Elder Santos and I of the book of Alma when Alma and Amulek were rejected and people cast them into prison and began to curse them. I like the part when they just ignored the people and kept their mouths shut. They were true representatives of Jesus Christ. I have become more patient with the people, but we still have a long way to go to like Jesus Christ!
The Lord was able to bless us with 2 new families this week as well. Jxxxxxx and Mxxxxx, and Axxxxxx and Hxxxxxx. We have had good lessons with them this week, so we are excited about the potencial. This week, we will focus on bringing members to get to know them. We had an interesting experience leaving Jxxxxxx and Hxxxxxxx house this week. It was a little overcast when we went into the lesson, but as we left, it started sprinkling. Then in a matter of 5 mintues, there was a storm that I had never before seen! You would not believe how hard it rained. The lightning was unbeliavble as well. The lightning was non stop in every direction of the sky. I was scared! We ran to Hxxxxxx and Bxxxxxx houe which was close for shelture. We taught them a quick powerful lesson in candle light since the power was out. We were grateful that they lived close by!
This week, Txxxxx and Axxxxxx were interiewed for baptism. They will be baptized with their daughter Hxxxxx this Saturday on the 7th. It seems like just yesterday came up to us in the road wanting to be baptized! It took a while with Txxxxx... he didnt care very much at first. But he has changed a lot and has seen changes in his family. I am grateful I had the chance to teach them. They will be getting married in Saturday as well. So we are really excited for this week!
Thanks for the questions that were asked! I usually eat pasta... it is the only thing I can decently make. To be honest, I havent learned much about cooking... But I can make a mean peanut butter and jelly sandwich! I have also recently learned how to make a good egg salad. Macaroni and chesse is getting a little old... but the corn flakes never get old!
Investigators usually make rice, or sheema. Sheema is like flour and water mixed. I think it is pretty similar to what the pioneers used to make. But my favorite mozambiquan dish is matapa with rice. That always gets me excited.
The spiritual experiences that have changed me are the many frequent experiences we have. Some with investigators that I will never forget. Whether it is answers to a prayer, or giving blessings, or spiritual lessons. These three things have been spirtual experiences for me.
And what I have learned about myself, is that I like serving! Before the mission I didnt serve people as much as I should have. I will always have the desire to serve people, but that is what makes me happy. Service will carry me to have a happy life.
Being the time of thanksgiving, I want to thank you! Tiffany sent me a letter reminding me of how lucky we are to have the parents we do. That is so true. Thanks for the little things you did for me when I was young. The little things made the biggest difference. Have a good week!

Elder Williams