Monday, January 27, 2014

Maputo - Week 93

Weekly letter.... From Beira

This past week was quite the experience. There was about one million things going on. And there is a lot to tell! 
I left for Maputo last Monday afternoon. Elder Greenman came to come pick me up and then we left for the house. Leaving Matola was a hard thing for sure. I felt like it was my home! It was definitely the "special area" of my mission that I will never forget. Everytime I talk to someone from Matola, I get excited!
After getting settled in on Monday, we were able to get out into the area and do some contacting. We work in the neighborhoods called Aeroporto and Ximpamine. It is a super good area, and there are tons of people! It isn't too far away from the Maputo chapel either, so our investigators won't have that hard of a time getting to church. The past few transfers, Elder Greenman had been very busy working in the mission office for end of the year stuff, the mission audit which happened this past week, and the arrival of Elder Hamilton of the quorum of the seventy. So he hadn't been able to be in the area very much. Right now we have 3 investigators that are progressing... so we will be focusing on finding new families with the time we will have in the area.
But even with all the work we got to do in the mission office, the Lord blessed us with 5 new families! It was amazing to see new families wanting to sit with us this week. President said that our area needs to be the example area for the mission, so we are going to need a lot of blessings from the Lord. And he has already blessed us so much! We will pray so that some of these families will be able to progress and be baptized in the short future. The AP area hasn't baptized a family since March of 2013. So we hope to change that, soon. We will need to be extra diligent in the office so we can find time in our area. We are excited to see it grow!
We were super busy in the office this past week preparing for zone conference. We got to put together 2 trainings for President Kretly. One for the members, which was about the importance of holding a temple recommend; and the other was the zone conference training that he will be giving this week to all the missionaries. It was a good experience to play a role in that, and I am learning a lot about computers! Elder Greenman has helped me a lot with computers and has been super patient with me, so I'm grateful for that. It's probably not the easiest thing for him to have me always aasking him how to do this, and how to do that. But I have seen a lot of improvement this week. As the weeks go on, I will learn so much more!
Church was also good! I was able to talk to the branch president to get to know him and tell his that I'm excited to work with him. It is very important that we have a good relationship with him. He seems like a super nice guy!
One very interesting experience this week was driving. I drove for the first time since I've left on my mission. We drive a brand new Ford Ranger. It's super nice, so I was super nervous to get behind the wheel. But I am already used to the steering wheel being on the other side of the car and driving on the left side of the road, so I didn't have too many problems. Although it is a little weird shifting with your left hand. But I picked it up pretty fast!
This week, we are especially excited to have Elder Hamilton of the seventy visit our mission. I loved his talk from last general conference on 'holding on to the iron rod.' I am very excited to meet him, we will be hving a few meeting with him this week, and me and Elder Greenman will get the chance to do some proselyting with him as well on Friday or so. Zone conference will happen in Beira tomorrow, and in Maputo on Thursday. Since it is a very special zone conference with Elder Hamilton, Elder Greenman and I flew up to Beira to help prepare everything and make sure that everything runs well. So right now, I'm in Beira! I am sitting in the internet cafe where I always wemt when I served here. Tonight we will be sleeping at the Beira 2 house where I used to live. It is so good to be back. We flew up early this morning, and we will be flying back tomorrow night after the conference. Right when I got off the plane, I ran into a member from Manga 2 that I haven't seen for almost a year! He didn't forget me, and he is the one that came up to me. I'm glad the memebrs haven't forgotten me. I worked so hard in that branch! Since today is P-day, me and Elder Greenman will try to find some time to visit families that we taught here, and in Manga. But we'll see if we have time. 
Well, we are going to leave! We need to go prepare some things still for the conference. But I hope everyone has a good week! I know that this is the Lords work, and I'm so grateful to be a part of it. Thanks for all your examples. Love you all.
Elder Williams

Monday, January 20, 2014

Maputo - Week 92 (Call to be an Assistant to President Kretly)

This week was a very interesting week. And a very good way to end my time here in Matola.
  "Canned beans?"
Elder Walker and I were very excited going into the week. We are teaching many families that are progressing, and we were excited to help these families progress even more and help them get involved in the branch. That is exactly what happened. We taught a lot of lessons this week with members present. And over 66 in the zone! We have focues so much on this over the past few weeks. We know that the frequency is directly related to how we worked with the members throughout the week. If we work through the week with the members, they are more excited, and they help our investigators feel more comfortable at church. It has been a real blessing. 
Gxxx and Jxxxx, are doing well! Her parents said that Gxxx and marry her as long as he pays "lobolo" by the end of this year. Their baptismal date is marked for the 15 of February. The same day as Fxxxx and Vxxxxx, who are also progressing very well and showing lots of faith.
We also sat with lots of new families this week! One of them is Fxxxxx and Lxxxxx is are possibly the most humble people that I've ever met. They came to church the first week, and they will progress so fast. The Lord has definitely prepared them. They really are amazing. 
Elder Williams & Elder Walker in Matola
Another family is Cxxxx and Mxxxx... They are unbelivable wealthy. They have multiple cars and their house in unreal. They are very intelligent people, and could help the church out a lot. They are catholics, but aren't super strong. We taught them the restoration, and they accepted a baptismal invite on the condition of knowing if the Book of Mormon was true. It was a vary good lesson. The next lesson, we took Sxxxxx and Gxxxxx over there which is a pretty well off couple from the church who could kind of relate to them. It turns out, that when we showed up at Cxxxxx house, they already knew each other! They work with each other with their businesses. So the second lessons was very good as well! For some reason, we decided to teach baptism and confirmation. It was very good and I think this family will progress since they already have friends in the church. Sxxxxx and Gxxxxx will pass by there every once and a while to read with them. So that will help out a lot.
Me and Elder Santos were busy this week with divisions as well. I walked with Elder Barroso, and Elder Santos walked with Elder Bigelow. We were able to have a meeting with the district leaders this week in anticipation for the next transfer as well. As a zone, we had a very succesful transfer. Next transfers should be even better in this zone. 
Another excited thing that happened this week is a training the President Kretly gave to all mission leaders. He talked about the 7 habits of highly effective people. If there is anyone to give that training, it's him. He is without a doubt the most effective person I know. I have learned so much from him, and hope to learn more. 
Another highlight of the week, was the random transfer that happened one week early. Because of zone conferecences next week, President decided to do transfers one week early to avoid transportion problems. So today is a transfer day! He came to our house last night to get to know Elder Walker and to talk a little bit about transfers. He surprized me by telling my that I would be getting transfered today. After six transfers in Matola, I will be leaving today at 5 oclock. I have lots of good memories in Matola, and it will be an area that I will never forget. 
Elder Greenman & Elder Williams (AP's in the Matola 2 Branch) 
My new companion will be Elder Greenman. We will be serving together as president's assistants. I like Elder Greenman a lot and I'm excited to serve with him. Below is a picture of us together on our split. We will serving in the branch of Maputo 2. I have now served in Manga 2, Beira 2, Matola 2, and Maputo 2! Everything 2. I'm excited for the chance to serve and this should be an interesting week.
I love you all a lot! have a good week! Sorry, I'm out of time. 

Elder Williams



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Call to help: White shirts for Mozambique Elders!

Dear family, friends, and followers,

On Christmas Day we had the privilege of speaking to Elder Williams via Skype.  We had a wonderful conversation and again felt of his love and devotion to the people of Mozambique.  We have begun to get teary at the thought of pulling him out of his beloved country in April, however we know that this is all part of the "plan".

We have wondered how best to help Zachary continue to assist in the work of the Lord and to aid in the transformation of Mozambique to the rest of the world.  As we discussed some options with him, we realized that one of the greatest needs is to ensure the Melchizedek Priesthood continues to grow and that young men in this country continue to have the opportunity to serve a mission.  As we have seen from Elder Williams letters, missions change good young men into Priesthood leaders who impact those around him.  We have decided to put together a charity opportunity that first starts with ensuring any young man from Mozambique that would like to go on a mission, has access to fresh clean white dress shirts.

Over the next couple of weeks we will be putting together instructions on who you can help with this endeavor.  Our desire is to take as many white shirts with us to Mozambique when we leave on April 17th to pick him up.

If you are interested in helping with this cause, please email us directly to toddwilliams0@yahoo.com and we will be in contact with you.

Thanks so much for your continued faith and prayers for all missionaries serving throughout the world.

Todd & Cheryl Williams
toddwilliams0@yahoo.com


Please share, tweet, Facebook, google+ as we want to get the word to as many as possible.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Matola - Week 91

sou mo├žambicano

Good afternoon!
I hope everyone had a great week. Glad to hear that Taylor's homecoming went well. He was without a doubt, a special missionary. I look up a lot to his example. I loved the pictures as well. Him and Jason look exactly the same...
For me, the week was good. I learned a lot of patience, and I learned that continual obedience always brings blessings. 
We defintately walked a lot this week. Elder Walker isn't used to the walking yet. But he is doing a very good job and I'm very impressed with his effort. His portugues is getting very good as well. As we walk, I say phrases of the lessons in english so that he can translate them. He is doing a good job with that, and it's been helping. It also gives me a chance to touch up on my english a little bit. Sometimes he gives me a hard time about my english... I have become very insecure with my english because of him! haha. I feel like we worked our very hardest during the week. We still saw some disappointements, but we saw some big miracles during the week. 
Our two "locked in" families are doing great. They are Gxxxx and Jxxxx, and Fxxxxx and Vxxxxx. They are doing very well coming to church, and have changed a lot through Book of Mormon study. I continue to be amazed at how people change as they read the Book of Mormon. If the Book of Mormon wasn't true, there is no way so many people would be changing. It's a big testimony strengthener to me. 
Joana, didn't come to church yesterday because she went out of town to tell her parents that she's getting married next month! Joana was very nervous. She thinks that her parents won't be too happy with her. Gxxxx and Jxxxx are very young. They are both 24 years old, and their parents are very old and very into african traditions. Hopefully her parents don't disown her. We'll find out this week. I'm so grateful for her faith and that she is willing to stand up to her parents to live the commandments.
Fxxxxx and Vxxxxx are progressing very well. I remember when we contacted him a few weeks ago... And I (wrongly) judged him. He was wearing dirty clothes, (etc). But man, I love him. He is so willing to follow Jesus Christ and help his two little sons as well. They take 2 chapas to church each Sunday. They live in a house made of Metal sheets. I can't even stand up striaght in their house. But they are already saving their money to get married. He loves sharing his testimony and is giving lots of references! He really has, "become a new creature." That is one of the signs of true repentance. 
This week, we had 22 new investigators. Amongst these new investigators, the Lord led us to a family of 14 members. 11 of which have the baptismal age. The parents are Exxxxx and Mxxxxx. We found them doing door to door, which was a miracle. We taught them the Restoration, invited them to be baptized,  and marked a return visit. We then focused really hard on the Book of Mormon and gave them a baptismal date. The Spirit really worked on them during these lessons. It was amazing to see. When we invited them to church, they said they wanted to go but it would be hard. They live so far away. For them to get to walk to church with all the kids, it would be about a 2 hour walk. And the kids would be exausted. For them to take a chapa, it would cost 330 metacais for the whole family. That is a fortune. We offered to walk with them, but they said it wouldn't be possible. We closed with a prayer, and left. About 20 minutes later, he called me. He said that he wanted to go to church and he was willing to walk with at least the older kids who would be able to make the journey. Before hanging up he said, "estou muito interessado." Which means "I am very interested." Exxxxx showed so much faith as we walked together to church. And he liked church a lot! I know he was touched while he was there. I know that the Lord will bless him so much for showing his faith. I don't know how, but the Lord will bless him! We are excited to go back there this week to see if they are always willing to make that sacrifice. 
With all they rain, the Lord continues to bless us! He is giving us physical rain, while he continues to shower his blessing over this amazing people. 
We had a very good week, and I know that this week will be even better. I will be doing some splits this week, so that will be a good experience too. I really am so grateful to be a missionary. I hope you all have a good week!
Elder Williams

Monday, January 6, 2014

Matola - Week 90

Mais Milagres!

I have been blessed to have witnessed a beautiful miracle of the Lord. My time in Matola might be a lot, but I will never get sick and tired of seeing the Lord bring to pass his work. One more testimony builder to me that this is nobody's work but the Lord's.

After a week of rain, the sacrament frequencies have been very low... Matola 1, 70. Matola 2, 59. And T-3, 69. Weeks like that aren't going to help us acheieve the Lord's goal to split the branches here in Matola. So me and Elder Santos thought long and hard about what we need to do to help the frequency. We came up with a few ideas and thaught the distrcit meetings in the zone. We established a new goal of at least 5 lessons with a member present a week for each companioship. This will help the members be more excited about missionary work, and they will invite more people to church. Well this week, almost all companionships attained the goal of 5 lessons with a member present! We also did a zone wide fast so that we could raise the frequency in the zone. While we were in the middle of the fast, we saw big changes in the frequency! Yesterday, Matola 1 had 203, Matola 2 had 171, and T-3 had 195! It really was a miracle! If we maintain this frequency, the branches will be ready to be divided here in no time.

Sorry, I am kind of writing fast today but I hope that everyone will still be able to understand how amazing the week was.

Elder Walker, is doing great. He isn't used to this kind of work, this kind of heat, this kind of culture, language, or anything else. But he has been diligent and I am very impressed with the effort he has put out. Besides for all the blisters on his feet, he is very healthy! He had also participated in his first mission fast which was a good experience for him. I reminded him to drink lots of water Friday night and Saturday morning so that he would be able to make it from Saturday afternoon til Sunday afternoon without drinking water. He assured me that he would be okay and that he had fasted before. But it is a lot different walking around in the african heat all day. When we got home from church on Sunday afternoon, I watched him down 4 liters of cold water, which he threw up about 5 minutes later. He underestimated fasting and how much of a sacrifice it would really be. But now he knows what to expect for next month. He really is a very good missionary. He just didn't know what to expect. I'll share some statements that he said to me this week:

"Wow... this is a lot harder than I thought it would be."
"I guess I totally underestimated missionary work before the mission."
"Elder, are you tired and thirsty all the time as well?"
"They told me it would be the hardest thing I ever did. They weren't lying."

I have shared these quotes with his permission, and this expresses the thoughts and feelings of a missionary after the first full week of work. We did work hard this week, and the Lord blesses us in our area. We had some very good lessons, and the Lord blessed us with an amazing new family Jose and Amelia that the Lord put in our path as we were doing door to door contacting. He is picking up the language very fast as well. He is a great missionary and will help a lot of people on his mission. I am very excited for him.

His teacher in the MTC was Elder Workman! So that is kind of a coincidence. He sure learned a lot of good things from him and Elder Workman was able to get him off on the right foot.

I don't have that much time to write today, but I hope everyone has a great week! The work is going great, and we are excited about the way things are going!

I will be sure to write in more detail next week. I love you all.

Elder Williams