Monday, March 31, 2014

Maputo - Week 102

Mission Extension (April Fools!) 

I don't even know where to start... This week was very hectic in zone conference preparations and in other things as well. I learned a lot of things this past week.
Elder Williams, Elder Santos, Elder Greenman
Last week, we ''thought'' we had the zone conference training all planned and ready to go. We had sat down with President Kretly before he left and looked over it together and everything. But throughout the week... we kept feeling like there were more things that needed to be talked about, and other things that didn't need to be talked about. Lets just say, that the training that was done a week ago, and the training that was actually presented was quite different! I know, without a doubt that inspiration and direction was given for this zone conference. there was a few times when Elder Greenman, Elder Santos and I knelt together in prayer by our computers so that we could prepare everything that was necessary. The spirit literally guided us as we were able to finish off the last touches. We are very happy with they way it turned out. I personally feel, that it the Lord's will was talked about in zone conference. After looking over the training one night via Skype, Sister Kretly reminded us that zone conference is like the ''general conference'' of our mission. Each missionary will hear that with they need at that time to help them in the work. I liked that thought, and it will help me when we actually have zone conference here in Maputo on Wednesday.
As far as we know, zone conference in Beira went very well. During our follow-ups with the zone leaders they were able to tell us how it was and they said that it was spiritual experience and that the missionaries learned a lot. It was worth all of the late nights.
The area is coming along well. To be honest, we didn't spend as much time in the area as we thought because of some zone conference prep. But since there are three of us, we were able to be even more effective. Elder Santos was able to walk with Elder de Pina who came down from Maxixe for a couple of reasons. So although it was a busy week, it was an effective week. We sat with some new families as well which was good. One of which came to church yesterday,Cremildo and Célia. They are a very special family with a lot of desire to follow Jesus Christ.
And the other families are progressing well. Ronaldo and Iva and Nelson and Luisa. They continue to see changes in their lives through the gospel. 
We had an interesting experience with Carlos and Ana this week... we taught the law of chastity and Ana does not want to get married right now. Carlos was very clear to her explaining that they need to keep the commandment. Ana was saying that she needs more time to prepare family and a party and stuff. Carlos asked her, ''If you had to choose between a party and salvation, what would you choose?'' Ana justified it saying that it was different. Carlos pretty much condemned her with his words. He wants so bad to be baptized in this church. It will happen. With his wife. We are starting to see lots of growth with her. She started reading the Book of Mormon this week!! I was so happy. If she reads with a desire to follow Jesus Christ, she'll get baptized. The Book of Mormon is a lot more powerful than sometimes we think. it really does change people.
Time for a miracle story.... on saturday morning, we were doing contacts and we ran into a super nice looking couple. The wife, I had recognized from Matola. She sells bread at the local bakery by where I used to live in Matola. I talked to her so many times and I had a pretty good relationship with her. That helped them have confidence in us to accept to hear our message in there house. I had the chance to plant the seed for 8 months, then see some fruits. We marked for Sunday afternoon, but we had so much to do that it didn't work out. We dropped the ball on that one... Hopefully the Lord will forgive us and give us the chance to teach them this week. 
I am writing fast this week, because there isn't much time. I love you all and thank you for the encouragement! These next few weeks will be some of the most special weeks of my life. 
I really am so grateful for the chance I have to be a missionary. Love you all.

Elder Williams  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Maputo - Week 101

Looks like mom got me back pretty good on the subject heading... I was pretty nervous when I saw ''ambulance and paramedics ' as the subject. Now I know not to joke around in the future! haha sorry about that.
PD Activity in Maputo
This week was very stressful, yet very rewarding. We were very busy this week getting president's trip to Beira ready and getting zone conference ready as well. As I have said before, this zone conference we will be talking about two powerful keys to conversion. The Book of Mormon and Family History. We have been working a long time on the ''prezi'' for zone conference and we are now done with it! It took a long time... but it turned out really well. This week we finished another ''prezi'' as well which is the training that President Kretly gave this past weekend to the members in Beira and Manga on family history. They were two different presentations. I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to help with the presentations. We have received as an assignment one more prezi to make before the end of the transfer. We are going to get started on that as soon as possible. Because of a lot of zone conference preparation, we had very little time in our proselyting area this week from tuesday to friday. Including one day we weren't able to go at all. It was stressful, but it's good to know that zone conference is almost all ready to go! When we sat with president this week and looked over the presentations, he liked them a lot. I am excited to see him powerfully teach the missionaries on the importance of family history work. 
Elder Greenman
Our family home evening with Carlos and Ana went very well! We took Nelson and Luisa (progressing family) to Carlos's house it we had a lot of fun. There was so much lightening that night as well, so I think that made it more memorable. The spirit was strong as we had a little lesson on the importance of being obedient to the commandments of God. Obedience really is the only way that we can reap all the blessing the the Lord has in store for us. After the lesson we played a few games. We played ''agua na cada'' and ''batata quente'' which is hot potato. I'll have to explain these games another time. They all loved the games and they had lots of fun. It was incredible to see how much the family grew together through that small activity. The family proclamation really is true when it says that successful families are most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and that recreational activities are also important. And at the end of the FHE, we all ate cake! It really did help their family. We plan on doing more FHE's like this in the future.
Elder Biddulph & Elder Williams
Ronaldo and Iva, continue to progress really well. We had two-very powerful lessons with them this week. We taught the Plan of Salvation with the first counselor of the branch and his wife. And it helped Ronaldo and Iva see the importance of the decisions that they make in this life. The second lesson was very powerful as well and they had many questions about repentance and baptism. That lesson specifically was very powerful. They showed up EARLY to church on sunday as well and are just missing one document. Their baptismal date is for next week... so that is the goal. It would help the branch as well since our area hasn't baptized a family in over a year. The branch needs more members out where we are working. Ronaldo and Iva would be a great place to start.
Nelson and Luisa are progressing very well as well. They will get baptized for sure! But we don't know when... They don't have money for documents and he doesn't work. They they have done so well teaching their 2 young kids how to pray and they do so well reading the scriptures together. We just need to be patient with them and they will continue to progress. 
We are working with other families as well and doing our best to help them keep their commitments and follow Jesus Christ. Following Jesus Christ is not an easy task.... but it's what we need to do to be able to have true happiness. A lot of the people we meet don't understand that. 
Some people rejected this week as well as we did street contacts. It really is so sad to see, because they don't know what they are turning down! Now I understand a little bit better when Jesus Christ said ''forgive them, for they know not what they do.''
Elder Williams & Brandao
It's sad when people hear negative things about the church. But yesterday people heard positive things about the church on TV. Mozambique TV (TVM) did a program on the church and it came out yesterday. It's the number one watched TV program in the country so everyone was able to learn a little bit about the church. My interview made it as well. Today while we were doing shopping some people recognized that I was on TV yesterday. Hopefully it doesn't become to distracting. We heard that since it came out, a pastor of another church has become interested in the message we have and will be sitting with other missionaries. We hope to see more fruits from this program.
The work continues to go on! Don't worry, I'm healthy. I got a little sick this week with a cold, but I'm almost all the way recovered. We hope to spend the next few weeks working hard on this last prezi, and preparing more families to enter into the Lord's fold. I am excited to see what these next few weeks have in store and what kinds of miracles the Lord is going to do amongst our investigators. 
I love this work and this people. I honestly believe I am one of them. I feel like the Mozambican people is way closer to my heart than the american people. I'm grateful for the chance I have to serve them. I know this work is true. Thanks for all the support that has been given to me all this time. I love you so much.

Elder Williams

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Update on White Shirts for Mozambique Missionaries!


An update: 

Thank you for all of the support to aid in our desire to bring white shirts to Africa.  These shirts will be made available to young men from Mozambique who are called to serve throughout the world.  Due to the financial hardships that many young men face and the scarcity of high quality white shirts we feel it an honor to help these young men who will have such great opportunities to grow and then return to Mozambique as faithful, experienced leaders.   

My wife and I will be leaving for Africa on April 12th and will be bringing with us a suitcase full of white shirts.  We will leave the suitcase and shirts for these missionaries.  I have coordinated with Mr. Mac (Clothing Company in SLC) for very high quality shirts for $14/each.  I am hoping to bring close to 50 shirts with us.  Please email us directly for more information.  


Todd & Cheryl Williams

Monday, March 17, 2014

Maputo - Week 100


Dear family, 

We had a very good first week of the transfer. It was full of teaching and getting together things for zone conference. Zone conference is coming up fast so we are making sure we are staying ahead on things and not falling behind. Especially President's training. We are very excited about the training the President is going to give. It will help the missionaries open their eyes a little bit on the importance of family history. Zone conference in Beira will be on the 28th of March, and then here in Maputo on the 2nd of April. We are very excited!
It's been a privilege to work again with Elder Santos, and the three of us are getting along well. It is a little bit of an adjustment teaching with 3 missionaries all of the time, but we have adapted and we are always trying to get better. 
After going out to Matola to pick him up, we all sat down and talked a little bit about the transfer and prayerfully made some goals. We decided to start our divisions as soon as possible. So this past Thursday, we did a division with the zone leaders from Maputo. They work in Magoanine, which is place where the church has been growing a lot lately. I was excited to get the chance to walk out there and get to know the zone leaders area. I walked with Elder Heaton from American Fork, Utah in his area. He was called to be a zone leader this transfer and is an unbelievable missionary. He works very hard, and is always focused. We were able to have a very successful day together. It rained super hard that night, so we slept without power. And like I've already said so many times... sleeping without air conditioning is brutal. But it was a good experience to have another cold bucket shower... I haven't had one of those for awhile.
The day of the division was a very special day. The night earlier we had talked about some the goals that they had for the zone for the transfer. The focuses of the Maputo zone are 1) to train the District Leaders help establish a branch mission plan, and 2) turn contacts into investigators with a baptismal date. So the next morning we studying about these things and we were able to talk about what will help the zone do these things. It was a very affective study. Then we were out the door, and we saw lots of miracles. We sat with 4 new families that day, 2 of which we had found that very day. One of the lessons in particular was one of the most powerful Restoration lessons I have sat in on. We taught in unity, and the Spirit was so strong. It really was a good division. We learned a lot from each other during the division. Elder Heaton and I will be going home at the same time. 
Carlos continues to progress... he said if it was his choice only, he'd be baptized tomorrow. But he know that he needs to get married first. He doesn't miss church, and reads so well in the Book of Mormon. He know that this is the true church on the earth. HE KNOWS FOR SURE. It's been a miracle. His wife Ana, is struggling a little. But we are working with her. Tonight we are bringing the relief society president to help us out. We will be doing a family home evening tonight at their house. When Elder Hamilton was here he said that Family Home Evenings can be our ''Secret Weapon'' to uniting the family. So we have high expectations with this family home evening. We have planned a lot for it as well. I pray that Ana's heart may be touched tonight. 
With the relief society president, we will also be taking another progressing family with us to Carlos and Ana's house. Their names are Nelson and Luisa. They are progressing really well! The Lord put them in our path this week, and they cam to church together the first week at together with their 2 kids. They are such humble people and ready to received the restored gospel. They are such a cute little family. Especially Cintia, the 9 year old. They live very close the Carlos and Ana, so we think it will be a good thing. 
Ronaldo and Iva also continue to progress... they came to church again and are reading in the Book of Mormon. But we still feel like they need something else.... we just don't know quite what it is yet. We are praying trying to figure that out. If everything goes well, their marriage process will be opened this week.
We continue to ''shuffle through'' the families. We need to find and teach so many families, so that we can find the ones that really have been prepared by the hand of the Lord. One of those families is Julião e Âmparo. Last night, we had an unreal Plan of Salvation lesson with them. It really did give them a new vision on life. They have lots of potential. They live next door to Ronaldo and Iva, and we have already marked with the first counselor and his wife to teach them with us on Tuesday night. We are excited about a lot of these families!
When I was on my division this week, I realized something that I hadn't realized before... With each time that I teach the Restoration, i teach with more passion and from my heart. I realized that my testimony of the Restoration has grown so much since the beginning of my mission. I have taught the Restoration so many times, that it is apart of me. My life really does revolve around the Restoration of the Gospel. I am so grateful for the testimony I have gained of the Restoration and of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. 
I'm working hard! But it's hard. There were a lot of people this week that rejected us. There were some people that said bad stuff to us as well. That is the one thing that makes my heart hurt. But seeing the change that has happened in Carlos, is worth every rejection. I love you all. 

Love, Elder Williams
(don't worry I didn't get malaria, I just couldn't think of anything else to write as the subject)  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Maputo - Week 99


Hello Family!
This week was very very busy! There was transfers so there was a lot to get ready. We also had 5 new missionaries arrive from the Provo MTC so there was a lot to get ready for that as well. Not to mention the normal meetings and things we had going on in our own area.
It was an interesting experience as the new elders came into the mission this past week. It reminded me a lot of when I first came into the country. I remember that I had a thousand things going through my head as we were driving through the city after getting picked up at the airport. I was definitely able to relate to the new missionaries as they came in. I was and am so excited for them. They are coming into the mission at such an exciting time. They really have no idea what they are getting into, and they have no idea what kind of experiences they are going to have. It really will be the best 2 years. All of the new missionaries stayed here in Maputo, and 4 of them went to the Matola zone! So I was able to talk Matola up a little bit and get them excited to serve there. They are going to love it! I'm glad that we were able to spend a couple of days with them and get them even more excited about serving in ''The Greatest Mission in the World.'' Me and Elder Greenman gave them the training for all new missionaries which is called, ''Welcome to the Greatest Mission in the World!'' it was a good opportunity for us to start ''passing on the vision'' to these next generations of missionaries. All 5 of the new missionaries are very impressive. This mission only gets the best!
Another meeting that we had this week was Staff Meeting. We have staff meeting each Tuesday morning. But the Staff Meeting we had this past week was a little bit different than normal. President Kretly wasn't there, so me and Elder Greenman had the opportunity to direct the Staff Meeting and talk about the items of business. The meeting didn't run as perfectly as it does when President is there, but it still ran! It was a good learning opportunity. 
This week, President Kretly gave a leadership training to all mission leadership. He focused on just a few of the '7 Habits of Highly Affective People.' I always learn so much when he gives his trainings. He makes it very clear that the principles he teaches aren't just for our mission life, but will help us for the rest of our life. It was a very good training, and I'm already looking forward to the on that will be coming up this next transfer! 
And as for the area, it's going really well! Ana came to church with Carlos, Ronaldo and Iva showed up for the baptism and marriage that we had in the Branch, and we keep finding more! Yesterday after church we taught 2 very special families. One of them we had contacted the day before, and the other was a house contact that we ended up teaching right then and there! The lessons we very powerful, especially the second one with Nelson and Nayomi. It was raining so hard and so it was very noisy considering there roof is made of tin. Then, during the middle of the Restoration the power went out. So there were a lot of natural things against us during the lesson. But the Spirit was very strong. We were gathered up close together so that they could hear our message over the loudest of the rain. The only light we had were from phones and from lightning in the windows. They are a very special family. They were very touched by the Book of Mormon as well. They committed to read it without any problems, but then after we prayed and started walking out of there house, he stopped me and said, ''Elder, when I told you during the lesson that I would read the Book of Mormon, I was lying. But now, I really will read it.'' Something touched his heart to point of him reading the Book of Mormon. Maybe he was touched by the fact that we were about to walk in flooded roads without boots on or maybe when he said the closing prayer he felt the urge to read the Book of Mormon. It was a very special moment. I'm so grateful that the Lord touched their hearts. We will go back on Tuesday night to read the Book of Mormon with them. 
Other things are going well in the work! We are getting Zone Conference ready for the first week of April. We are very excited for the Zone Conference and lots of things will be learned. 
As far as transfers are concerned... The Lord's will happened again! It was great to have the chance to have a more active part in transfers and to see how inspired President really is. Lot's of changes happened in the mission. As for me and Elder Greenman, we will be staying together. But since we leave at the same transfer, it would be really hard for two new assistants to jump in after we leave and learn everything by themselves. So we are going to have a tri-panionship. Me, Elder Greenman, and Elder Santos! I have already served with Elder Santos. We served as Zone Leaders together in Matola, and i get to serve with him again! I Love Elder Santos so much. He is a very special missionary. So the plan is for us to train him to do all the things that he needs to so that he can not only be an Assistant next transfer, but train the next one. So he has a lot on his plate! But if anyone is capable of this challenge, it is Elder Santos. Tonight we will go pick him up from Matola. And it will work out perfectly because Elder Greenman goes home a week before me anyway, so then I will stay with Elder Santos and have a companion the whole time. I am really excited about this transfer.
I'm grateful for the chance I have to serve one more transfer. I am going to take advantage of each and every week and day that I have. It will be the best transfer of all! I love this work and I know that the Book of Mormon is a lot more powerful than sometimes we think it is. I love you all.

Elder Williams

''Work like it depends on you, pray like it depends on the Lord.''

Monday, March 3, 2014

Maputo - Week 98

Hello! This week was absolutely amazing! We saw so many miracles this week in our area, and in the mission in general. We are now starting to see the ball roll in our area, and it's ben truely amazing to see. 

Carlos and Ana are doing great! We visited them with President Kretly this week, and we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith, repentance, and baptism. It was a great lesson and they once again, accepted the baptismal invite. Carlos almost finished 1 Nephi already as well! He came to church with 2 of his kids as well. He is slowly starting to become converted... it's amazing to see. Ana, wasn't feeling to well, so unfortuneatly she didn't make it to church. But we have hope that she will come this next week. We want to teach them with the Relief Society president to help Ana out a little bit more. I think that would help her come to church. So that's our plan for this week.
Ronaldo and Iva are doing very well. They came to church for the second time in a row, and they accepted the baptismal date of the 29th of March. We'll gotta push to get them married by that time, but they already accepted to get married before that time. We commited them to go do some documentation today, so we'll talk a little more about them tonight when we visit them. We've brought a few couples from the church to meet them already, and Ronaldo and Iva are very excited about the church. We've already been able to see the difference in their countenance. That is one more proof that the Gospel is true... It changes people, fast.  

Another good family that we are teaching is Richete and Belinha. This is very interesting how they were put into our path. She was out in the yard and we started talking to her. She said her husband wasn't home, but that he badly needed a message about Jesus Christ. She said we could come back another day around 4:30 because that is when he is usually home. She said that if we marked a lesson, her husband would intentionally flee at that hour. So we decided to pass on day at 4:30, and he was home! Richete reminds me of Dwayne Wade. He is like 6'4 and 250 pounds. His muscles are so big, that he could play in the NFL. The first lesson, was interesting... But we were ale to notice something about him. We noticed that he is a very sensative man and wants to change his life. We were able to see the desire in his heart to know the truth as well. The first 2 lessons were very interesting. The second lesson, Belinha said that she didn't want to sit with us because she ''has her church.'' But she'll come around. She made sure to open the windows from the other room so that she could here us teach Richete about the Book of Mormon. He paid very close attention as we taught him about the Book of Mormon. There was one part of the lesson that was very special when the Spirit was very strong... I said this to him, ''Richete, you have a lot of potencial. Did you know that?'' He was kind of caught off guard by the question as he replyed, ''no i didn't.'' At that moment, he knew he could change his life. We expalined that it was only possible to reach his potencial through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm grateful that The Lord put into my mouth the exact thing that would touch his heart. The Spirit was so strong! he said he would come to church, and he did! He showed up in his car.... which we didn't know he had. He took notes during church and loved it. We remarked to go visit him again on Tuesday at 4:30. He is very special. I love him so much! He really does have so much potencial.
We are working with a few new families as well who came to church, Orlando and Felizmina and also Ernesto and Fernanda. Our focus with these families is to read the Book of Mormon and receive an answer from God of its truthfulness.
Lots of other excited things happened during the week as well, like going out to lunch with President Kretly as few times, and volleyball on the beach for P-day. But that stuff isn't nearly as cool as seeing our investigators people change their lives.
This week should be a very busy week. We have new missionaries coming in, and we will be giving a few trainings this week as well. It is the last week of the transfers so it should be a busy one. Elder Greenman says that the last week of all transfers and the first week of transfers are always the busiest. So it should be an interesting week! I'm excited to take it on.
I am learning so much as President Kretly's assistant. But I still have so much more to learn. I've learned a lot about leadership in the church, and leadership in general. My testimony has grown so much as I see miralces of the Lord in the whole country. Truly the Lord's hand is in Africa. 

Elder Williams

PS... I loved the quote... It's so true -  "Once the red clay of Africa soils your feet, you never wash it out." (Ernest Hemingway)

Elder Biddulph & Elder Williams

Elder Reed & Elder Williams