Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday afternoon thoughts by Elder Williams' Father

Words can't describe the emotion that I have felt as we have arrived in Maputo.  We arrived late Friday evening after a few very long flights.  As we walked down the ramp from the plane and took the shuttle to the international arrival terminal, my wife and I were as anxious as the day he arrived in our arms.  After passing through immigration and then customs, we could see a missionary (Elder Bigelow) through the tempered glass.  As my wife anxiously passed through the breezeway and caught the attention of Elder Williams standing off to the right she dropped her bags and ran into the arms of her waiting son.  I quickly joined as the three of us shared common tears at a joyous reunion.   I can tell that Elder Williams has (and at this writing probably) profound feelings at the prospect of leaving this wonderful country.  He is truly not the young boy I left at the curb two years ago.  Like everything that we give to the Lord,  he multiples and leaves us eternally in his debt.  Elder Williams, like everything else that I own, belongs to the Lord.  He is our strength and our guiding light.  The work that is being done by the Lord here in Mozambique is unique and priceless.  These young men who have been called to serve in this amazing place are being guiding by His hand each and everyday.  Elder Williams has learned that when we are obedient to the commandments of God,  he can bless us as we heed the promptings of the spirit.  As Elder Williams’ earthly father, I will always be thankful to the Lord for sending my son to such a humble place with such loving and kind people. I share my testimony with that of Elder Williams that I know he has been engaged in spreading the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know that He lives for I have seen his guiding influence in the lives of these Mozambicans.  These humble pioneers are leaving their families and the traditions of their fathers to join His church.  I have as much admiration for them as I do my own ancestral pioneers that joined the church in the British Isles and traveled the lonely seas and dusty plains to arrive in the Salt Lake Valley.  As I have met and hugged and kissed the people here in Maputo and Matola I have felt their love for their Savior as they try to humbly keep the commandments as taught to them by ordained ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ.  

I will always be grateful for the experience my son has had in Mozambique, for it gave him what he needed to always remain faithful as he continues to strive for eternal life.  And… along the way, he took me with him.  


Monday, April 14, 2014

Maputo - Week 104 (Last letter home)

Today has been so crazy... we have been running around all day doing all sorts of stuff. We thought we would have a little bit of down time this afternoon, but we ended up having a very important meeting with President this afternoon about transfers. So this is the only time we have to write. We have a little bit of time before we go to the airport later tonight to pick up a missionary.
Well, I never thought this week would come... but it came. And a lot faster than I had expected. I appreciated the emails I received today. Some of them made me very emotional. I kind of had an emotional breakdown this afternoon...
I was asked to share two things in my last letter home. First, all that I have learned over the past two years; and second, my testimony. It will be absolutely impossible to share all the I learned over the past few years. But I'll share the top few things.
1. God is our Loving Heavenly Father- I didn't even almost understand this before the mission. He really is so aware of us. He only wants one thing for us which is our happiness. It's no wonder that this is the first topic in the first missionary lesson. I have felt God's love for the mozambiquan people, and it's real. 
2. Atonement- Two years ago, I had no idea how much I was going to need to rely on the Atonement. The Atonement is what carried me through each and everyday. Everytime we were rejected, everytime it was hot outside, everytime I was thirsty, everytime I slept in hot mosquito net, I knew that someone else had been then before me. Someone a lot better than me.
3. I am not even close to perfect- This one might be a surprize. But this is one of the most important things I learned on my mission. Everytime I studied the scriptures, everytime I did companion study, read Preach My Gospel, studied the Christlike attributes, I realized how much room I have to improve. Sometimes, I felt llike I wanted to be perfect in all Christlike attributes. I really did come to realize that, ''I can't be perfect know, but in the Lord's time and with His help, I can become perfect.'' I can't wait for that day!
4. Obedience brings happiness- This applies in misisonary work and in life in general. The happiest missionaries, are the ones the follow all the mission rules. Also, the people who follow our Heavenly Father's commandments are the happiest. Commandments are our guidelines to a fullness of joy.
5. Revelation is real- So many times, the Lord made things known to me about investigators/district/zone. Revelation come to those who diligently seek it with a sincere heart, having faith in Christ. It is one more proof of our Heavenly Fathers love.
I could go on and on... I really have learned so much. But because of time, I won't be able to. I am so grateful for these eternal truths that I have come to know. If it wasn't for the misison, I may never have gotten to know them.
I bear my testimony of the truthfullness of all of this. I didn't just spend two years on an african adventure. But I participated in our Heavenly Father's work. I know he loves us. For I have felt his love. I know that his plan of happiness really does bring happiness and salvation to all uf His children. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the universe. Everything revolves around Him. It is only through his Atonement that we are able to joyfully live this life and voltar to the presence of our Father.
I know, the in the year 1820, Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. I know he was a true prophet of God and the the Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the Gospel, It really is true that,''man will become nearer to God by abaiding by its preciepts then by any other book.'' I know that true temple work and preisthood ordinances that families can be together forever. I am so grateful for this knowledge that I have.
I love misisonary work. I can't wait til I can serve again! For the rest of my life, everytime I hear the word 'mission' or 'missionary' or 'elder' or 'africa' I will think about my mission. It's been the greatest gift to me. I now know why people say ''I wouldn't trade my misison for anything.'' Because it's so true. They really are the best two years. Thank you for your support.

Love, Elder Williams

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Maputo - Week 103

This week was maybe one of the most meaningful weeks of my whole mission. I have learned so much, and I have had so many experiences that I will never forget. 
Tuesday, we touched  up some final things for zone conference and made sure that everything was ready  to go. The Matola zone leaders did a very good job setting everything up and cleaning the chapel before. We also got that sticker (which you already saw) put on the back of President Kretly's car and on the back of our car. It says on the back, "Queres ter uma família feliz?'' Which means, "Do you want a happy family?'' Then, it has the assistant phone number. Someone already called as well! It was a man that lives in our area. We marked with him, but the lesson ended up falling through. We know that prepared people really will call! 
Zone Conference...was unbelievable. Even though I helped prepare the training, I learned just as much if not more as I have in any other conference. President Kretly taught so well, and the Spirit was so strong. I learned a lot about family history and our purpose as missionaries. We also learned about the pride cycle, (which was one of the last second things we felt needed to be included). We talked about ''mission life'' and ''real life.'' That our mission life prepares us for our real life. If we can't learn to be obedient now during our mission life, then we won't be obedient in our real life. Also, the rules of real life are a lot harder and less fair than the rules of mission life. So really, our mission prepares us for the rest of our lives. I was really touched by that part. 
So after lots of preparation, zone conference was a complete success. I'm very happy with how it turned out. The missionaries loved it as well. I had the chance to bear my testimony at the end of the conference as well since it is my last one. I'm grateful for that chance.
As for the rest of the week, I worked in the area! It has been really nice. There were some problems going on in a few areas so President needed to move some things around in some areas. I have been walking a lot with Elder Kanaga from Mesa, Arizona. His area is in the city of Maxixe. But until he receives his companion, he has been working with us here. We have had the chance to ''kill two birds with one stone'' and work in the area and the office. Elder Kanaga is a really good missionary and I've been impressed with him. He is speaking good portuguese, and he teaches really well. We have learned a lot from each other. Together, we participated some very spiritual lessons. One of which was with Michael and Joyce. It was an unbelievably powerful plan of salvation lesson. At the  end Michael said that he will never think of life  the same ever again. He asked, ''how many ways can I receive an answer that the Book of Mormon is true?'' After explaining that there are many ways that they can receive an answer, he said, ''this message took out lots of doubts that I've had my whole life. And all of the answers were in the Book of  Mormon. I know that it's true.'' The spirit was so strong! They are very smart, and we prepared lots of scriptures to help them understand the plan of salvation. All the scriptures touched them so much, and they accepted a baptismal date. As we were planning that morning, I felt like Michael and Joyce would have lots of questions about Adam and Eve and that we shouldn't talk very much about it because they would have enough questions. I expressed that to my companions, and we planning according. It ended up being right. As we talked about the pre earth life, Joyce had already thrown out a Adam and Eve question, and we were prepared. We were able to respond with the scriptures we had prepared, and they understood. The spirit really did help us during our studies so that we were prepared to teach the right things. I am so grateful that the Spirit helped us and prepared us.
We have also been working with an inactive member named Dxxxx. He was baptized by Elder Workman in Marromeu. he now lives with his wife, and he wants to come back down the right path. We have been working with them,  and we are so excited for them. His wife is also excited to get baptized after they get married. 
Another new family that we are excited about is Fxxxx and Ixxxx. They have had all sorts of problems together... they are struggling to find happiness. But we are trying to help them apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ in their lives. I won't write that much about them because I don't have time. (I'll write it in my journal). We are going to go teach them right now!
Cxxxxx and Axxxx and Rxxxxx and Ixxx continue to progress as well. We had 6 full investigating families at church in our companionship. The Lord is really blessing us as we are diligently  working in our area. 
This week, should be interesting... It's Elder Greenman's last week. We'll lose him on Friday. He has been doing good, and is working hard until the end. This work really does bring satisfaction. I'm so happy doing this work. The lives of these people really are changing. I'm so grateful for it. I love you all.

Elder Williams  

Monday, April 7, 2014

President Kretly's letter to parents... It's a Miracle!

Dear Parents and Leaders of Missionary from Mozambique Maputo Mission,

Your missionary is doing great. All are in good health and today we are having zero problems with that and obedience. The mission is growing and the Sacrament attendence is growing each Sunday.

About 20 months ago the Sacrament attendency was 1,700 in 18 branches. Today the Lord blessed us with 3,200 total attendance in 24 branches. It's a miracle! What your missionary is doing here is amazing and we have no words to thank you for preparing such a great missionary. I think we can have wonderful missionaries in other missions even great ones like we have here, but not better. We really enjoy working with them and my wife loves them as her own sons and daugthers. They are adorable!

Please, keep praying for them, and the families that they are working with. By the way, since we started to measure that, (Dec 2012) the Lord blessed us and they baptized 274 complete families! Is this not a miracle? More than 85% of them are still active on the church!

Our next big goal is to send these families to the Temple this year.  This will be a big challenge  but with God nothing in impossible and our missionaries knows that.

Thanks again for all you doing to help them and lift them.

With love and appreciation,

President and Sister Kretly

PS. Please, be aware that today is holiday here in Mozambique (Women's Day) and your son or daughter will write to you tomorrow.