Monday, February 24, 2014

Maputo - Week 97

Good morning! I hope everyone had a great week. I am so excited to tell you all about the amazing things that happened today here in the World's Best Mission. 
Sorry I wasn't able to send my email from last week, I had started writing it but I didn't get to finish it or write everything that I wanted to. The plan was to save it and then finish it this week when I had more time. But it's hard to remember everything that happened so I ended up sending the message like it was anyways. Sorry about that. Last P-day, we spent most the day at the hospital... we were playing basketball and soccer and Elder Greenman rolled his ankle pretty bad. So we went to go do an x-ray. But it isn't broken and it has gotten a lot better. President didn't want us to work in the area for a few days, but I was able to go and work with other missionaries in our area. 
The week was full of very good things that happened, and also a lot of sad things... it is so hard to watch people use their agency incorrectly. We're losing Paulo and Elsa and Augusto and Rosalina. We had such powerful lessons with them this past week. We watched ''It's a miracle'' which is the 10 minute video of mozambiquan couples leaving the traditions of their fathers to follow Jesus Christ. Paulo was very emotional and he realized that he can get married without doing the traditional african marriage stuff. We had a powerful lesson with Augusto and Rosalina as well! Embora que (Although that) their kids were crying and yelling just about the whole lesson. But they really were able feel the influence of the Holy Ghost. But after these lessons, their pastor of their old church went to visit them and convinced them to go back to their church. At that church, they have more friends, and it isn't a 40 minute walk. Satan really is going hard after these families. But there is always opposition when a family starts progressing. (2 Nephi 2:11).
So right now, they aren't progressing anymore. I feel like the only thing that can help them is Book of Mormon study. So we will continue to help them in their reading so that they can make the right decision.
The Lord is being very loving by putting more families in our path. He blessed us with a family of 10! Caros and Ana. This is very interesting how they came across our path... we had contacted him in the road, but the lesson fell through the next day. A few days later, we ran into him again! He said that he was sorry that it didn't work out the first time and that he was willing to hear our message. For some reason, I was being hard-hearted and said that since we had already tried to sit with his family, it was not going to work out. He said, ''Ok well here is my card anyway, I'm free tomorrow.'' And he handed me his business card. That was very impressive when he did that. And I realized that I had straight up denied him the gospel. I thought a lot about that experience during the day, and repented of that dumb mistake I had made. The next day, when we were out in the area I realized that I had forgotten his business card at home... what a mistake! But you won't believe this... that same day, we ran into him again on the road! We were so grateful. We walked straight to his house with him and taught his whole family the Restoration. They are pretty strong in their church, but they accepted a Baptismal invite if they know the things to be true. We left the Book of Mormon there, and came back to teach with the Branch President 2 days later. Carlos was already in chapter 16 of 1 Nephi! We had a very good lesson with them, and then Carlos came to church with his son on Sunday. Ana wasn't able to make but we have lots of hope for her as well. This is a proof that as misisonaries, sometimes we make incorrect decisions... but the Lord loves his children so much that he was willing to give us multiple chances to teach a prepared family. I'm so grateful for that. This family has so much potential.
Another family that was put into our path this week was Ronaldo and Iva. We found them by knocking on the wrong door! The day before, we had contacted a man and marked a lesson for the next day. He pointed to where he lived and we said we would be there. The next day, when it was time for the lesson we started walking to his house. There was a little bit of confusin of where he lived, but i was assured that we were at the right house. We knocked on the door, and it was the wrong house! Ronaldo answered the door. We talked to him and ended up teaching him the Restoration right then and there! They accepted baptism and to come to church 2 days later. On Sunday, we picked them up and walked to church together. They are a super nice little couple and have lots of potencial as well. We will visit them tonight as well and we are excited to see their spiritual progression. 
One intersting experience we had this week was to take part in the local television here in Mozambique. The number 1 news channel in Mozambique did a segment on the church at the Matola chapel. President Kretly had us invite some misisonaries to be there, and they ended up interviewing 4 of the missionaries. 2 Elders and 2 Sisters. I was interviewed with a missionary from Mozambique. They asked us what we do, and a few other questions. It was a good opprotunity. The news segment will come out this weekend. So, I'm going to be on TV. Sister Kretly was also interviewed. 
So, the work continues to go on! And so does the time! It is so scary how fast it really goes by. We are trying our best to make the most out of our time. We are happy, trying hard to share the good news we have! But don't get me wrong... it's hard as well. Lot's of stress. But it's worth it. Thanks so much for everything!

Elder Williams  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Maputo - Week 96

February 17, 2014

This past week was very busy and exhausting! We had lots of things to do and I feel like we worked effectively throughout the week. It was "the week of meetings."  On Tuesday we had staff meeting, Wednesday we had Mission Leadership Council, Thursday we had a zone training, Friday we had district meeting, and Saturday we had two sessions of District Conference. So we were very busy with meetings. Even with all these meetings, we were able to see miracles in the area and be effective in the mission office. 
This week in the mission office we have been doing all lot of research on family history because the next Zone Conference will be focused on family history used in missionary work. I don't know much about family history, so it's been good to learn more about it. It is actually very interesting! Now I know why G-pa always wanted us to do indexing with him. I've learned that missionary work and family history work are two parts of one great work. I needed to create a family search account and it didn't accept my myldsmail account so I had to use it through gmail. But I ended up finding out that as I missionary, I already have an account! But I'm excited to learn more about family history and get zone conference ready. Zone conference will be the first week of April.
As far as the meetings are concerned, they all went well. Mission leadership council was good and all the zone leaders shared insightful and inspiring counsels about what will help the mission and each area. Elder Greenman and I talked about "passing on the vision" to the younger generation of missionaries. That was something that Elder Hamilton wanted us to share with the zone leaders. It is important that we pass on the desire, hope, faith, and vision that we have, to the younger missionaries so that these miracles can continue and that more mozambiquans can come to a knowledgeof the truth. It was a great meeting.
We were also very busy this week with District conference here in Maputo. It actually needed  a lot more preparation than I had expected. There were some problems with sound, video, and space, but for the most part, it was a success. A total of 807 people attended the conference. Almost 200 more than last time. That shows how much Maputo is growing! The Matola chapel was full!
We saw lots of growth in the area as well this week.
I have a lot more to say, but today is kind of crazy. I will send a better email next week!

Love, Elder Williams  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Maputo - Week 96

Parents Note:  We are convinced that Elder Williams forgot to hit the "send" button yesterday as we didn't receive an email from him this week.  But we know he is well as Elder Greenman ( wrote of the miracles that they experienced together.  We are grateful for Elder Greenman and Elder Williams and their obedience and diligence in moving the work of the Lord forward in Maputo!

Todd & Cheryl Williams

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Maputo - Week 95

This week was very good, and full of miracles. I am going to write this letter a little bit differently than I normally write them. I will talk about each day and the many amazing experiences and miracles that we were able to participate in.

Monday was a holiday here in Mozambique, so it wasn’t a typical P-day. Preparation day was actually moved to Tuesday. Since it was a holiday, lots of families were at home and not many men were at work.  We did the best we could to take advantage of the holiday and we were able to see some blessings. We sat with a new family Juvensio and Tereza. They are a family that we had found as we did street contacts in our area. He was coming back from work, and he was very hard to miss considering he had a bright orange shirt on. We ended up going to his house to teach him and his wife. They live in a very small house of metal sheets, and no electricity. We taught them in the candle light of their home. They didn’t understand the restoration as good as they could have because their kids were making so much noise. But they definitely felt the Spirit and they was enough to help them get to church! The wife came with the 3 kids. He was unable to get off of work, but has plans to go next week with us. And somehow, they are legally married! So they have potential to progress quickly. They are very humble and we are excited about them.

Another highlight from Monday was teaching with President Kretly. He sat in on the lesson as we taught 2 families the restoration. The Spirit was very strong, and he bore powerful testimony to the family on everything that we had shared. The families accepted baptism!  It was very tight for all of us in their small home; it was very humbling to see these families in these conditions. But they were so humble, accepting the invite to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized. That was a lesson that I will never forget!

Because of the holiday Tuesday became the p-day. But we still had so much to do! We participated in staff meeting like we do every Tuesday. The staff consisted of President and Sister Kretly, all missionary couples, the secretaries, and assistants. It has been a good experience to participate in staff meeting and see how the mission runs. I have grown a love for it! I always look forward to staff meeting. But besides that, we sat with a new family on this day as well! Their names are Samito and Ancha. They have 6 kids! They are very smart, and could be a real help to the growth of the church here. But once most important is that, this family can become even more special through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We had an unbelievably powerful lesson with them when we taught the restoration. A member was also present. We have been seen a big difference as we teach with members. Even from the very first lesson. They all accepted baptism, and we are very excited for them. We plan to teach them this week with a couple that was baptized this past week in our branch.

Me and Elder Greenman have been focusing a lot on having more effective Restoration lessons. We studied about that during the week on some things we can do so that this specific lesson is more powerful. And the Lord has helped us as we’ve been striving to get better. We have seen a BIG difference in our Restoration lessons as we’ve made a conscious effort to get better. Our investigators are benefiting a lot from our effort as well. This will help our investigators keep their commitments if they are able to feel this big difference from the very beginning. We know this will help out not only our area, but the whole mission. I am grateful that the Lord poured out his Spirit amongst our investigators this week!

Wednesday was also a very good day and the Lord blessed us with another family. Each and every day we work very hard in the mission office so that we can get to our area as soon as possible and find the families that are “far from the truth because they know not where to find it.” We usually have enough time to do a little bit of finding and teaching. And blessings that we have seen for the amount of time we have in the area has been incredible. That is one more proof that this is the Lord work and he backs us up 100%. As we talked to everyone on Wednesday, we ran into a family that just so happened to be the neighbour of Augusto and Rosalina which is one of the families that we had taught with President Kretly. We taught them, and they accepted baptism as well if they received an answer that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. It’s a miracle that the Lord had been preparing two families that lived right next to each other. They will be able to support each other through the commitments that we extend. So we are excited about that. The Lord is doing a lot of things to help these people keep commitments.

Thursday- We had some very memorable experiences, including sitting and teaching two new families. One of these families is Michael and Dinizia. He is from South Africa and doesn’t speak any Portuguese. She is from Mozambique, and doesn’t speak any English. They communicate through their African dialect languages. It is pretty interesting. Michael is a man that I had contacted the week before, but when we called him to meet up for the lesson his phone was off and we weren’t able to get a hold of him. Well, this week we ran into him again! But this this, he stopped us. He owns a little store, and he called after us from his little shop. We could tell he really wanted to talk to us! He said that his phone ran out of battery and that he wanted to hear our message. His wife was with him, so we sat and taught them the Restoration inside of his little store that he has. We taught in English and Portuguese. We would say a statement to Michael in English, and then in Portuguese to his wife right after. It didn’t know how it was going to be teaching life this, but surprisingly enough, it was very powerful. And they accepted everything! Since we’ve been back they also said they have already received an answer to the Book of Mormon. There is only one problem... his mom is a witch. Like a legit witch. She is traditional curer. And those things are completely of the adversary. She doesn’t want him going to church, so Michael now knows that he could possibly put his relationship with his Mom at stake. We are going to do our best to help him Follow God, and not fall into the false traditions of his parents. But they do have a lot of faith. I know he will make the right decision!

We have been trying really hard to work with the members of our branch as well. Since I am new in this branch, I am doing my best to develop a good relationship with the Branch President. This week, we started weekly correlation meeting with our branch mission leader. There hadn’t been a correlation for a long time, and that needed to change. There needs to be good communication between the branch and us in order to see real growth and to help the most amount of people get to know the truth. There are 9 full time missionaries in our branch. And so we need to take advantage of this number and do the work the right way, which is with the members. There is no reason why there shouldn’t be multiple families baptized each month in the branch. So this is the vision that we need to have. We need to rely on the Lord as well and recognize that we aren’t capable of having this success by ourselves, but that it is his work. I know that as we do this, the Lord will be with us, and He will make us instruments in his hands so that we can bring “many unto the truth.”

I didn’t get to write even close to the amount of things I have to say about this week. I learned so much, and I’m so grateful for the experiences that the Lord is giving me. The mission that I have had so far has really be “customized” just for me! Everything I have experienced, has been for my own good. But what’s more important, is that I get to share the gospel with the people I love.

I know that this is the Lord’s gospel. The world is full of people... and everyone is different. But one thing that everyone has in common is that we all want to be happy! The only way they can truly be happy is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. That kind of puts into perspective how important our purpose is. “to make these things known to the inhabitants of the world.” I love you all and have a good week!

Elder Williams

Ps. You are getting this today because yesterday there was no internet. I wrote this yesterday on Microsoft word and saved it on my computer.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Maputo - Week 94

The past week has been so crazy. I think it was by far the busiest week I've had on my whole mission! But I had some experiences that I will never forget as well.

The trip to Beira and Zone Conference there went very well. Elder Hamilton taught us so much in the leadership meeting and in his training he gave during Zone Conference. Sister Hamilton also taught us the importance of having companionship unity. It was like a General Conference, but all about missonary stuff! It was good to be able to be up in Beira to help President Kretly and Elder Hamilton with all the preparations. And it ran super well.
Zone Conference - Maputo (Elder Williams is 2nd row far right)

Last Monday Elder Greenman and I were able to visit come people that we had taught up in Beira and in Manga. We weren't able to visit everyone because of the time, but we were able to visit Lua and Recy, Nharingue and Lucinda, Sabado and Laura, and Samo and Mimi. All 4 families are doing really well! Lua and Recy now have a new house which is a lot bigger (blessings of tithing), Lucinda is the second conselor in the relief society presidency, and Samo and Mimi had a big surprize to share with me. They will be going to the South Africa temple in April to be sealed for time and all eternity. As you could imagine, that made my day! Ever since the beginning that family has been so willing to follow Jesus Christ and they are now almost ready to make the biggest covenant of all! They invited us to be present during the sealing as well... but it depends on what day they go. They will keep me updated, so we'll see if it will be possible! If I were present for the sealing, I would have witnessed the whole process of conversion with them.... from street contact, to baptism, to the temple. That would be a very special experience. I feel blessed and humbled to be apart of this with them. I will send some pictures of last weeks visits with these families.
Zone Conference in Beira (Elder Williams is 2nd row, 2nd from the left) 
Zone Conference here in Maputo went good as well. President Kretly's training was about the need to recognize the hand of the Lord in all the miracles that have happened until now. He used the example of two Bible servants, Gehazi and Samuel. Gehazi saw many miracles, but saught the glory of the world and didn't rocognize the hand of the Lord in the miracles that had happened. He was cursed with leprosy because of it. Samuel on the other hand, was an obedient servant from the very beginning, and was extremely blessed by the Lord. Me and Elder Greenman put together his training for him, and it was amazing to see how President Kretly presented it. He is such a good speaker and teacher. I've learned a lot from how he teaches.

One highlight from Zone Conference was getting to know Elder Hamilton. Elder Greenman got to know him especially well and that was a neat experience. He gave me so much life advice, and taught me a lot about the church. He is a a man full of wisdom, and full of the Spirit of the Lord. He was without a doubt, called of God. I already had a certain respect for him after hearing his General Conference address from October. He said it is an unreal experience giving a talk in front of the whole world. But I couldn't even tell that he was nervous. I will never forget Elder Hamilton.

I have been thinking a lot about what Elder Greenman and I can do to help other missionaries fulfill their purpose as misisonaries. The idea of referals kept coming back to my head. As a mission, we focus so much on street contacts that we forget to ask referals from everybody. So Elder Greenman and I put it to test, and then Elder Hamilton had us share our experience during Zone Conference. We ask for referrals from everyone! We saw that lots of people were willing to invite friends to here the Gospel, even if they weren't interested themselves. That is a new mission focus... ASK REFERRALS FROM EVERYONE. Elder Hamilton promised that ''the missionaries who do this will have so many investigators that they won't be able to handle them all.'' We are excited to see the number of new investigators and progressing investigators go up. 

Because of all the things we had going on this week, we weren't in the area very much but we still found a good amount of time in the area. That was another thing that Elder Hamilton made clear to Elder Greenman and I... That we need to be the best missionaries statistically and spiritually. I am trying so hard to live up to that so that the missionaries in the mission have a good example to look up to. But the one family that was progressing last week, started having a lot of marriage problems and looks like they will seperate. We tried so hardd to help them, and we taught them everyting that they needed to do to have a family, and successful family. But we need to respect the agency of people as well. It was very sad to see. It didn't help that the wife was only 17 years old…

But the Lord blessed us with 2 new families! Paulo and Elsa and Augusto and Rosalina. They were a street contact, and we taught them for the first time on Saturday night at about 9 o'clock. Because of the time, we talked to them about our purpose and made plans to come to church together the next day. They are so humble that they accepted without any problems. When they were all at church, something very bad happened.... their oldest child got lost! After Primary, he got confused when the Maputo 1 Branch left so he left the church by himself. We looked all over the church grounds and we even drove around and sent search parties to go look for him in the city. After a few hours, he was found! This 6 year old boy was able to walk home all by himself. A little over an hour of a walk. Because of this experience, many members were able to comfort them and they already made lots of friends! So it could be a good thing. Plus, President Kretly wanted to meet them as well so he taught them the Restoration with us last night. It was a very powerful lesson. We are very excited about the progress of these two families. We feel like they will both get baptized sometimes next month. 

So that pretty much sums up my week! It was so crazy, but I learned so much. I'm so grateful for the many experiences that I had and the miracles that I saw. I thank you so much for being such a good support system during my whole mission. I really have been so blessed. I know this is the Lord's work. If it wasn't, so many good things would not be happening! I know He loves each and every one of us. Have a good week!

-Elder Williams