Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Feliz Navidad!

Hola Familia y amigos!

so much singing this week. my voice hurts. we went and sang carols for lots of people this week. we sang in a preschool and in a department store and in contactos and knocking doors and went caroling for a ward activity. but carols really help, people are able to feel the spirit and people who dont want to talk to us are usually more open to ask us about the church or where we are from and that can open up infinite possibilities for conversations about the church. 

we had intercambios this week! I went with hermana Zavallos de Peru to her sector and i got to be in a trio with her and hermana Coombs! Hermana Coombs companion had to fly to santiago to renew her visa. I discovered that trio companionships are a lot of fun and i want a latina companion! (but i still love hermana jenkins) hermana Zavallos is the cutest and so sweet and she taught me a lot of important things. intercambios are awesome. 

on thursday our ward had an once for christmas. we ate lots of food and watched a folk dance group perform and there were a ton of people! it was so much fun! and there were empanadas! our ward is the best on the planet. 

friday, the stake threw the missionaries a surprise christmas party! there was tons of food, cake, cookies, people sang christmas songs and a family from our ward put on a comedy show haha. it was so fun and so sweet of the stake, they even had every bishopric get a gift for their missionaries. we got a penguin keychain and new watches! 

on saturday we had a ward activity were we made cookies, decorated them and went caroling at houses of some less active members and investigators. it turned into just a missionary activity because the only people who showed up were us, the elders, Juan and his sister. haha, but it was a lot of fun. the elders and juan are our best friends. 

mom i recieved my package on friday! and the stockings, im so excited to open everything. the stockings are soooooo cute and thank you for the christmas music and the garland! i love the garland, its hanging across our ceiling. 

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave His only Begotten Son" 
I know that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world, He is the only begotten son of God the Father and I know that through Him we can gain life eternal. I have felt his redeeming power and love in my life. I know that through Him we can change, we can be better, and we can become like him. this is my christmas testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

love, Hermana Williams

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dec 14 - Oh the weather out side is. . .actually the best weather we've had in 3 months!

Hola familia y amigos!
 I cannot believe that its almost christmas because its been warm and sunny for the past week and absolutely glorious. okay not exactly hot but not freezing cold which has been a blessing for hermana Jenkins because she's experiencing the sudden temp drop in punta arenas, shes cold all the time. its like how i was my first couple of week here haha. but right now its raining again... it had to happen. 

Hermana Jenkins and i are doing just fine. it feels like we've been together as companion for forever. shes super hilarious and i love it. shes really good at being friends with everybody, the members adore her because shes not afraid to joke around and have fun with them. Hermana Baker was like a mom because she taught be how to be a missionary and how to act like a representative of Jesus Christ but Hermana Jenkins is like a sister or a best friend, shes teaching me to work hard and have fun at the same time. 

she gets along really well with Nibaldo, the elders and Juan our ward leader mission leader. we're all best friends now. i feel like i have 4 little brothers to babysit because they are all act like they are 12 years old when they're together but they're the best. 

we are so busy this month with  a whole bunch of activities planned for christmas. we've been giving service by helping people decorate their houses for christmas haha. we helped Juan and his mom decorate their house because their house is huge, we also helped clean out her huge kitchen haha. it was a lot of fun to hang out with Juan and his family. 

you probably already saw the pictures but we had a stake primary christmas activity and all the missionaries sang, it was fun but super packed with people. Victor, Monse y Maite came and i think they enjoyed themselves, at least Maite did. and yes the biggest struggle for me as a missionary is to resist the desire to pick up Maite and hold her in my arms because she is the cutest haha. Victor and blanca have taught her a trick where they say "Como hacen las Hermanas" what do the sisters do, and maite will fold her arms and bow her head as if to pray! 

we are going to sing carols in the plaza and in the mall and go caroling as a ward and its so exciting. 

Nibaldo recieved the priesthood and i didnt know!!!! he recieved it last week, they announced that he would be recieving it in sacrament meeting but i thought maybe next sundaybecause no body told us when or where and nobody invited us. we found out in the middle of the week! i was slightly disappointed, i really wanted to be there. but he has the priesthood yay! and hes hopefully going to pass the sacrament this sunday

we decorated our little casa for christmas! we cut our paper snowflakes and strung tinsel over our windows and we have a paper chain counting down the days. 

there are a lot of tourists here in punta arenas right now, a lot of cruise ships. today we were walking through centro and two elderly couples stopped us and were all like "hermanas! misioneras! como estan!" in really bad spanish haha. they were two mormon couples from utah vacationing on a cruise that is stopping here in punta arenas for one day. they were super nice and we got to speak english with them, which was hard! haha. they wanted to take us out to lunch, but we already have lunch plans with Nibaldo today, so they gave us money to pay for our lunch hahaha! they were so nice!

we had a family home evening with Victor and Blanca and the family of the second counselor in the bishopric. their family is amazing and super strong. la Hermana gave us decks of Uno cards for christmas! victor and blanca brought maite to play with their little son efraine. during the lesson we turned around to see little efraine with his pants down peeing in a bucket and maite watching him hahaha., it was a little embarrassing but everyone was laughing like crazy. 

made christmas cookies with Nibaldo and read the book of mormon with him. we finally met his mom, although she wasnt very interested in talking to us. or rather Nibaldo was embarrassed to have his mom around haha. 

we went to Juans house yesterday for lunch with his family. we got to walk through the campo (like farmland and fields, wilderness) and pet horses and it was absolutely beautiful. i want to live in the campo of Chile for the rest of my life! (dont freak out mom, i´ll come visit) hahaha. 

this week was great, i had a lot of fun. i am very excited for christmas to talk to everyone. plus Juan invited us and the elders to his house for the 24th and 25th. we can go hang out with members all day for christmas eve and christmas and on the 24th we have to leave the members house at 11pm

I love Punta Arenas and I love my mission! I know the church is true and i know that the Book of Mormon can change lives and bring  neverending happiness in this life and the life to come. 

love, Hermana Williams

Dec 7 - Tis the Season

This week was crazy fast. we spent all of tuesday running around punta arenas saying goodbye to people and taking care of last minute things before hermana baker left. we met with Nibaldo for the last time and then went to the funeral (day 3) this time there was more of an actual service, we sang again, and then we all walked in the streets and followed the hurse to the cemetary. i guess people do that here. we taught victor and blanca for the last time, super sad. they showered hermana baker with gifts. they gave us matching journals and victor decorated a little glass vase for her, he etched a flower, a profile of Christ and her name and Punta arenas. it was so sweet. blanca knit her a scarf and victor wrote a three page letter. we sang for the last night, we sang Abide with me tis even tide and blanca cried the whole time. it was so bitter sweet. 

Hermana Jenkins is my new companion, shes from Utah and has only been in the mission for about 6 months, not much more than me. but her spanish is super good. shes very different from hermana baker and it took me a couple days to get used to her. shes super funny and the members and investigators already love her, shes just super chill and laid back and willing to joke around and have fun with them. shes also completely okay with staying completely silent for 20 minutes while we walk which was hard to adjust because Hermana baker hated silence and was always coming up with conversations, so now its my turn to break the ice haha. but shes great and we're getting to know each other more and more everyday and its fun. 

im leading the sector now which is kind of overwhelming and its a sink or swim moment now but i feel like im swimming. seriously, wednesday, my first day without hermana baker was a day of miracles. i was actually able to understand victor and blanca and talk with them. suddenly spanish doesnt seem so hard, i can speak without thinking. its still hard and i still make lots of mistakes and there are still people i cant understand but im a lot more confident know. i feel like now i  can really say "yes, i speak spanish" and its fun to see that progression. 

we taught Nibaldo and we tricked hermana Jenkins into thinking he could only speak spanish. in the middle of the lesson he started talking in english and she started freaking out. it was hilarious. we got to teach him in english and she felt so weird, it was her first time ever teaching in english. we have a rule with nibaldo that we cant speak english with him in public, but if he wants we can teach him in english. Nibaldo is hilarious, hes like our best friend. he had his interview with the bishop and is probably going to recieve the priesthood next sunday! and his mom is in town here in punta arenas, we're hoping to be able to talk and share a little with her. 

im out of my training so now we work in the morning before lunch and its hard because no body is awake or wants to answer their doors. we dont have very many people to teach because we just had two baptisms and we focused all our efforts in that and now its kind of "now what?" lots of contacting and knocking doors. exploring parts of our huge sector that ive never seen. its been kind of hard. 

dad thanks for sending your testimony to victor, he probably didnt respond because he just doesnt know how to 

i wish i was home to help you decorate the house mom, im gonna miss that alot. tonight we´re going to help Juan our ward mission leader and his mom decorate their house for christmas. their house is enormous! we're excited! with Juan we're planning to have a ward activity to go caroling and drop off cookies for menos activos. 

i dont know a lot about christmas here. i know that people have nativity scenes theyre called Pesebres. and their not huge, or super common but people do decorate like crazy with santa clause stuff. its interesting, more people are into or excited for the new year than for christmas. 

i dont know if you all have already seen it, but this week we've been sharing the video " He is the gift" with everybody. in spanish its " Él es la Dádiva" its fantastic, i love it. please share it with everyone! put it on my facebook! 

I know that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world and through him we can gain the life eternal. i know that this church is true, i feel it everyday. there are really hard days but im really glad im here. 

love, Hermana Williams

Dec 1 - Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!
sounds like thanksgiving in Bothell was super relaxed. we didnt do much for thanksgiving, we forgot about it until right before lunch. we did eat potatoes and chicken, sort of like turkey. to celebrate we bought pie from a bakery. 
we had zone conference with Presidente Obeso! it was awesome, he had some really great things to say. the conference was from 9am to 4pm and we ate lunch in the church building.  it was super great and i could understand him! yay!
it was Nibaldos birthday this week! we bought him ingredients to make smores (this is an inside joke) and wrote him a card and taught him about the gift of the Holy Ghost.  hes on track to receive the priesthood in like two weeks and hes super pumped.
our ward  combined with another ward and we had a talent show! i think you all already saw the video, that was pretty fun. and the little toddler that is standing next to me is Mite, shes the granddaughter of Victor and Blanca and shes the cutest. we ate sopepies which are scones with carmel or jam, super rico.
ARACELI GOT BAPTIZED!!!!! yay! we had a combined baptism in the stake with three people baptized. it was so fantastic to see the whole first pew filled with people dressed in white. Hermana Baker and i sang I stand all amazed acapella and it went really well. Araceli is the greatest. 

the next day, sunday both she and nibaldo were confirmed with the gift of the holy ghost, it was beautiful. afterwards we said goodbye to araceli because she leaves for port venir for vacation and wont come back to punta arenas until march. we're a little nervous that shell be gone for so long, we dont want her to become menos activo but we really felt she should be baptized right now and she recieved her answer so we are going to have faith that she'll stay strong.
the son of a hermana in our ward passed away yesterday, he had special needs and was 26 years old and it was expected. we ended church early in order to set up the funeral service for him. apparently here in chile funerals last all day and into the night. people come and sit and talk and eat for hours. hermana baker and i sang lots of hymns. and today is the vieiwing which lasts all day and all night until midnight and tomorrow is the burial in the cemetary. it was interesting to see how it is here in chile.
Victor and Blanca didnt come to church yesterday... im a little sad about it.
we found out our transfers this morning: Hermana Baker is going to Porte Montte to be a sister training leader and im staying here in punta arenas and my new companion is hermana jenkins, i only know that shes only been in the mission one transfer more than me! 
hermana baker will leave on wednesday. we're sad to leave each other but we've  both realized that its time for a change.
hope you all have a great week, i love you so much!
love, Hermana Williams

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Nov 25 - the end is near..... and penguinos!!!

Today is the beginning of my last full week in my training. next wednesday is transfers and we're guessing that im going to stay here and hna baker is going to leave. super sad, i love hermana Baker. 

this week was fantastic! first of all, monday felt like christmas because i recieved the two packages. thanks so much for all the warm gear and hand warmers and thank you for sending me Lindsay and Jadens wedding announcement i almost cried when i saw it haha. mom if you could find out her email address for that'd be great. thanks for the candy from france and just for everything in general, i loved it. 

i also recieved the postcard from france and the halloween card from grandma on wednesday! thanks so much! i loved them both and they're taped to the wall in our bedroom. 

on monday after we returned from emailing and shopping we realized we had locked both of our sets of keys inside our house! luckily Bianca our neighbor was home, and Bianca is tiny. we had her climb through the tiny bathroom window into our house. we had to borrow a ladder and push up and into the window. she did it though and we were able to get inside! yay Bianca!

Elder Marshall (the new companion of our district leader elder Lopez who is also in our ward) got bit by a dog this week and had to go to the hospital. i also found out that he's best friends with Elder Thomas, my district leader from the ccm!

hermana baker completed one year in the mission  this week! we bought her one balloon and i decorated it with sharpy and we had brownies and ice cream for breakfast with one birthday candle haha. 

Victor and Blanca need a lot of prayers. their son and his girlfriend were in a car accident. they're okay but it shook them all up a bit. i dont want to give all the details but they're hoping this is a wake up call for their son. and they're struggling with applying the gospel to their lives. we invite them to come to church, that this is going to help them recieve the guidance they need but then they dont come because they´re too sad about their son. its hard, Victor wants to be baptized but he keeps saying not yet. they need a lot of help. Mom and Dad, if you would like, its fine with me to share your testimonies on facebook. 

we are going to have zone  conference this week with Presidente, and hna baker and i are going to sing a christmas song medley with some other elders. 

Araceli passed her baptism interview! shes on date for the 29th of November.

it all came together. we were a little stressed out but he was baptized and thats all that matters. he asked me last week to give a talk on charity, i had spent the whole week working on it. i had notes, scriptures, words that i didnt know in spanish written down. the baptism started and i was leading the first hymn when suddenly i realized that i had left my notes and my scriptures in my backpack in the other room and i didnt have time to go and grab them! i was the first person to give a talk, after the Bishop announced me i went up, asked if i could use his book of mormon and flipped open to Moroni 7: 45-48 and basically gave my talk from off the top of my head and what i could remember from my notes. i was nervous but my spanish wasnt awful which was a miracle from Heavenly Father. super exciting. 
hna baker and i sang with some other elders, which we threw together ten minutes before the baptism started. 
the relief society provided cake afterwards, we took lots of pictures. Victor and Blanca came! it was really great! Nibaldo is going to be confirmed this upcoming sunday. 

for pday today we went with all the other hermanas and got to see the penguinos! real penguins! they were tiny and kind of far away but i offically have a picture with the real penguins of punta arenas! it was super fun. 

congrats to Michael on his mission call!!!!! yay!!!! you're going to love it, the mission is the best decision you will ever make in your life! the mexico ccm is awesome! make sure and talk with the Latinos there! they'll help you with your spanish! and make the most of it, the ccm is super fun. 

thanksgiving doesnt exist here which is weird, i forgot about thanksgiving. people have already started decorating for christmas. and all the stores have summer clothes out with christmas decorations its so weird. its summer here but its punta arenas, therefore it still feels like winter! and windy! we took pics with the ropes on the side of the roads today! 

love you all, have a great thanksgiving, i'll be thinking of you!

love, Hermana Williams

Nov 17 - There can be miracles if you believe!

Hola Familia!

I think the greatest thing that happened this week was an absolute miracle from Heavenly Father. I mentioned last week about Araceli and Magaly. we invited araceli to pray about baptism, whether this was her time or not. a week passed and she never called us and we didnt talk to her. then this past tuesday we were sitting in our casa planning for tomorrow when suddenly we got a call. we picked up and it was araceli. She said to us "Hermanas, I prayed and I got my answer..... I want to be baptized" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! our jaws his the floor we were shock, we could not believe it!!!! she even already cleared it with her parents and her friends. Magaly is okay with her decision but her dad is a little uneasy, but hes still letting her do it. we met with her the next day and set up all the details. shes going to be baptized the 29th of November!!! we're so excited. and we're going shopping with her today to buy a skirt to wear to her baptism. 

it really was a miracle. Hna Baker and I did nothing. Heavenly Father really does answer prayers. 

Nibaldo's baptism got moved to the 23rd of November. everythings okay, it was just a matter of scheduling. he had his interview yesterday and he passed! so its going to happen, hes super excited and counting down the days. he hosted his own family home evening in his house last night and invited all the young single adults in the ward. he's doing really well and we're almost done teaching him all the lessons. but we did have a little bit of a scare. aparently a lot of people have been asking if he's already a member of the church because he's so receptive and learned everything so fast and aparently when some people asked him he said yes he is a member. we were thinking he said yes because he doesnt know what it means to be a member when people ask this. we looked up his name in the church records and it says hes not a member so we're good! there wil be a baptism this sunday!

Victor and Blanca are doing well. Victor told us he wants to get baptized but not yet and blanca is still working on getting there. we have a problem of when we stop by to teach them they just end up feeding us and talking for too long. we're going to try going into their house and starting to teach immediately before they can bring out food for us haha. and yes dad, victor takes lots of pictures. and we havent taught him all the lessons yet so that might explain his facebook haha. 
we´re crossing our fingers and praying extra hard that they can decide to be baptized while Hermana Baker is still here in punta arenas. 

we had the devotional with Elder Nelson it was amazing! i loved it! we watched it through skype. sister Nelson spoke and i really loved her talk, she spoke about if we're using our time wisely so we dont have regrets after the mission. elder Nelson talked about lots of stuff, specifically d&c 31

thank you so much to the ekstroms! i loved the little packages, hna baker was super grateful she got one too. she gave us each two pairs of tights and new warm socks which was exactly what we needed. plus some candy and chocolate and some mangoes! thank you thank you thank you. 

we had an activity in another capilla called puertas abiertas. it was a tour of the church open to the public. hna baker and i explained the sacrament, it was really cool and a great idea. not a ton of people came but enough that we felt good about it. victor and blanca came and of course victor took pictures. 

went to a baptism with araceli, it was her first time seeing one and she cried several times. so sweet, shes an angel.-  the missionaries that were there ended up singing a last minute musical number. i sang the first verse of come follow me as a solo and the rest joined in on the other verses. it was fun. 

yesterday was suuuuuuuuppper windy. the windiest ive ever experienced. we had to hike up that big long hill again for our almuerzo and we had to walk about an hour to another capilla to have church. our chapel is closed for renovations. we got lost and it was raining and windy so we said a prayer that a member would drive by and offer us a ride. five minutes later an hermana in our ward pulled up next to us and told us to hop in. Heavenly Father answers prayers!

only araceli came to church. it was a little disappointing not to see nibaldo or victor or blanca. 

we walked a lot yesterday. so windy. but we had fun with it, we took videos of our hair flying everywhere. my name tag kept flying up and hitting me in the face and at one point it fell off and blew away. we looked and looked. i found the actual nametage but the clip disappeared. 

I love being a missionary. at times i just get filled with an overflowing love for the scriptures and for this gospel. it truly is a gift.  I know God loves us and that her answers prayers and miracles happen everyday. We just need to trust in Him with all our heart, might, mind and strength. 

love you all, have a great week!
love, Hermana Williams

Nov 10

Hola familia!

wow this week went by so fast and we had a lot of fun adventures. 
first off, Nibaldo is doing just fine. he´s super excited for his baptism and last night for a family home evening we watched the testaments about Christ appearing in the americas. it was super good, super fun. tell the russian sisters that they´re the cutest, thanks so much for praying for him. is there an investigator of theirs that we can pray for too?

We invited Victor and Blanca to be baptized this week but they said their not ready yet. Victor wants to but he doesnt feel prepared enough and Blanca isnt comfortable with the idea of changing religions yet- we invited them to pray about it and continue reading the book of mormon and coming to church in order to recieve a spiritual confimation that baptism is the right thing to do. please pray for them. they've been having some hard family problems. 

we had a lesson with araceli and magaly which took a turn for the worse. we invited araceli to be baptized... again... and she said she doesnt feel worthy, we´ve been working with her on this but she still hasnt made up her mind. her mom magaly is still super skeptical and we think that this is rubbing off on araceli. we were sitting in the lesson when suddenly magaly started asking us what we can or cannot do in our religion. she started comparing us to other religions and then told us that we were wrong because we have the sabbath on sunday and that the advent church is the only church that follows all of the 10 commandments because they have the sabbath on saturday. she basically was trying to prove us wrong, make us slip up, and this all happened right after we invited araceli to be baptized again. it was hard, it broke my heart, i wanted to cry. they've been meeting the missionaries for 6 months but they're just not ready to accept baptism. we're considering dropping them because they're just not progressing. i dont want to, but we cant continue in this battle with magaly anymore. 

that same day we passed by for a reference named sandra. turns out sandra is the mother and lives in the same house as Javiera. Javiera is the woman that read all the anti-mormon material to us like a month ago. sandra wasnt home but Javiera invited us inside. we didnt want to be rude and we thought hey, maybe shes more receptive now. it started out just fine. she showed us a whole bunch of christian songs and music videos on youtube and we showed her some mormon messages on and it was great! then she went to youtube and typed in "the bible vs. the book of mormon " and it all just went down hill from there. it was a video made by a methodist church about whether the book of mormon was true. as soon as the video started the spirit disappeared, we said we had to leave but she insisted that we stay to watch, to make things worse her 4 year old son was so annoying! he kept yelling, throwing stuff at us, climbing all over us, and she didnt do anything about it. 
she stopped the video and then started telling us why the book of mormon isnt true. and the bible is the only word of God on the earth. we listened patienly, i invited her to go to if she had more questions and i bore my testimony that i know the book of mormon is true. she didnt listen, she just kept trying to argue with me. we just decided to stand up and leave, we kissed her goodbye and left. she said " oh no, now you're mad at me" and hermana baker said "no, we're not mad, its just that you're not listening" we left. i dont think we're going to go back. 

It was an adventure and it is reinforced my testimony. we went home and sang hymns and bore our testimonies to each other haha. I realized that I wouldnt have come all the way down to Chile, leave my family and friends behind, if i wasnt absolutely sure that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is the church of God. 

we had intercambios with our new sister training leaders! Hermana Westover and Hermana Zavallas. they're the best. they both came to work in our sector. we split up have the area and have the work and they slept out in the other room. it was cramped haha. i was with hermana Westover and she has three weeks left on her mission! she was great, gave me lots of good advice. i had to lead the sector with her, becuase i know where everything is and all the people. it wasnt that hard, it was fun and refreshing to be able to feel in charge and not like a newbie. 

oh we had lunch at the home of our ward mission leader, Juan, with all of his family- their house is huge, they live out in the boonies of punta arenas and their house is filled with stuffed animals, like taxadermie... there were hawks, a beaver and a life size emu... it was very interesting. for lunch we had meat.... like the most meat ive seen in my entire life. chicken, pork, beef and lamb. huge trays just filled with meat. they served us huge ribs of lamb that were too big for our plates. i realized that i dont like lamb. his family was crazy and loud and i couldnt understand them. it was stressful. hermana baker and i felt like was broke the word of wisdom for eating that much meat in one sitting but its okay we repented... (exept they sent us home with meat... i dont even want to look at it)

we have devotional this wednesday and Elder Nelson is going to speak! since we're down in punta arenas we get to watch it through satellite. but we're super excited. 

i guess its kind of getting warmer here, there´s still lots of wind. 

i want to bear my testimony that i know that the atonement of Jesus Christ is real and it works. It can wipe us clean of any sin, guilt, regret, saddness or heart ache. we can be made clean, healed and brand new. It will hurt, but we can be perfected in the Lord Jesus Christ. we just have to be humble enough to let Him in. 

I hope everyone has a great week and remembers that we are all sons and daughters of loving heavenly Father. 

love, Hermana Williams

Nov 13 - Happy Dia de los muertos y dia de los santos

Hola familia!

this week was pretty chill, not a lot happened. halloween was the most exciting part. people celebrate halloween down here with trick or treating but its actually new, it spread from the US to santiago and down from there only like 10 or 20 years ago. there are a lot of people who still remember not trick or treating. because halloween is a two day holiday here. dia de los muertos y dia de los santos. friday or the 31st is dia de los santos and people honor the saints of the catholic church and then saturday is dia de los muertos where people flock to cemetaries to put flowers on the graves of their ancestors. there are a lot of people who dont celebrate halloween because they think the 31st should be given more respect. 

it was still really fun to see all the little kids running through the streets trick or treating. because costumes are expensive a lot of people just wore scary masks or fake blood or facepaint. even little kids. 

hermana baker and i dressed up like each other! we switched clothes, shoes, watches, jackets, backpacks and nametags. i even wore her glasses around. there were some people who didnt notice or get it and just asked me if i got new glasses or something haha. it was super fun so go visit and show people. 

saturday we got together with the rest of the missionaries in punta arenas and went to the cemetary. okay downtown punta arenas has one of the biggest most beautiful cemetaries ever, i think its one of the biggest ones in chile, its really famous. its fantastic, reminded me of france a lot. we all went and sang hymns and passed our cards and plan of salvation pamphlets. it was super fun, and a really great experience. they served us empanadas afterwards too :)
we´re still teaching Nibaldo, he´s doing really well. he´s really excited for his baptism and he told her parents about his baptism too, their members and their super excited for him. we got together with him today to have lunch. he took us to this little hole in the wall diner in centro thats like a tradition in punta arenas. we ate chorripan which is bread, carne, queso and mayo. and we drank banana milk. it was super authentic chilean and super delicious. Nibaldo is studying tourism so he showed us around the plaza here in centro a little bit and treated us like a tour group haha. 
we finally got  to meet his grandma and some of his cousins! we´re trying to teach them now... its a slow process because his grandma is still very much in mourning from his grandpa passing away and she isnt willing to listen right now. 

im so glad you got to see the videos and the photos! Victor and Blanca are the best! they always want us to visit them like everyday. we have a family home evening planned with them tonight. 

mom, the time is still the same here in chile as far as i know haha. and i asked around and i cant recieve mail straight to púnta arenas, we dont have a mailing address here. it has to go through the mission home. im excited to recieve the package though, im glad it at least got to the mission home. 

it snowed this past wednesday and today its super sunny and warm... oh punta arenas haha. i love it here though.

the spanish is still kind of hard. sometimes i think i can understand people and then i we meet someone new and i think nope nevermind. slowly but surely. i have three weeks left in my training and that thought kind of scares me. that one day i wont be with hermana Baker and i´ll have to speak spanish without her help. im just going to pray a lot for the next three weeks. 

hermana baker and i have been practicing savior redeemer of my soul. we´re gonna try to convice nibaldo to let us sing it at his baptism haha. it feels good to sing it again. 

i was reading the scriptures the other day in 2nephi 9 and i just was filled with the thought that this gospel really is a gospel of happiness. the plan that Heavenly Father has for us is so wonderful and merciful and reason enough to be happy all the time. we are so blessed to have the scriptures and the prophets to help show us the way. these things are evidence that God is our loving Heavenly Father, he cares about us and he has given us help and the example of His Son Jesus Christ so we can return back to him one day. i know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that through the gospel of Jesus Christ we can be happy in the life and the life to come. 

thanks for all the love and support, have a great week!

love, Hermana Williams

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Hola familia!
This week has been great. Although I cant remember, did i mention last week that i gave blood for the first time? yeah that happened. It was a service project with all the rest of the missionaries.
I made the almond thumbprint cookies mom and brought them to our district meeting, everyone loved them. thanks for all the recipes.
Friday our neighbor Bianca pretended to be a missionary with us all day which was super fun, it felt like being in a trio. We had a lesson with Nibaldo, hes having a tough time at home with his grandma and we were talking and reading from mosiah 18: 8-10 about covenants and bearing one anothers burdens when he suddenly stopped to think and then said¨  "so i want to be baptized... but i dont think i can do it this weekend, can we do it like next weekend?" our jaws hit the floor we were so surprised and excited. you have to remember that weve only taught Nibaldo like three times. He said that hes ready to make the first step and start fresh with his journey towards Christ and even though he doesnt know everything about the church yet he knows that the things weve taught him so far are true and he knows baptism is the first step. we read the baptismal interview questions with him and briefly explained the word of wisdom, tithing, law of chastity, sabbath day etc. and he was totally fine and completely willing to live all of them. his date is in three weeks and we`re madly trying to figure out a schedule to teach him everything in that amount of time. he said that he wants me and Hermana Baker right up on the front row with him and he wants us to give talks and sing haha we`ll see if that actually happens. but we`re super excited and even better he`s super excited.
he definitely still needs a lot of prayers at this time while he prepares to make his first covenant, thanks for all you prayers so far.
I almost got bit by a dog last week... we were walking down a street and usually there are always dogs just lying around on the side of the road. there was a normal looking dog sitting outside a fence and he looked like he was asleep. as we got a little closer he suddenly started growling and barking and came at me starting to gnash his teeth. he started to go for my leg when suddenly a car came around the corner and zoomed inbetween us so the dog ran one way and we ran the other and afterwards the dog had disappeared. I was so freaked out, my heart was pounding. i for sure thought i was about to git bit, my body was preparing for it. but God takes care of His missionaries and that car came just intime. I promise im alright, just a little more cautious around dogs now.
we were at Victor and Blancas house the other day and they have a little electric keyboard so hna Baker started playing and i started singing hymns and victor took videos and pictures. we helped him find our dads on facebook, so dad! if you get a friend requeset from someone named Victor thats him and he has photos and videos to share! Victor also bought me and hna Baker little penguin keychains that say punta arenas.
we had stake conference yesterday, three people came with us. Nibaldo, victor y blanca. Hna Baker had to play the piano so i sat with our investigators. an area of the seventy came and spoke to us, Elder Jimenez, he invited everyone to go on a lesson witht he missionaries at least once before christmas yay! I could understand the words they were saying but it was hard to stay focused and follow the line of thought. i sat next to nibaldo and he would translate parts to me so i could actually understand.
today we had lunch with Victor and Blanca, thats why this email is so late. but they drove us around central a little bit and we saw penguins!!!! at least we think they were penguins, they were kind of far away... but we took pictures and we were so excited. so yes, there are penquins down here in punta arenas.
they do celebrate halloween down here but its not as much as a big deal. like kids go trick or treating and they sell candy in the stores but its a lot more low key, ive only seen a couple houses decorated. we`ll see what people actually do. hermana baker and i are going to be each other for halloween, we re going to switch nametags and clothes, i`ll straighten my hair she`ll curl hers and i`ll wear her glasses. we`re excited.
the packages still havent come. soon hopefully, and the card from grandma too. i think punta arenas is the end of the world and things just take forever to get here.
I have a short story, a couple days ago we took a collectivo (taxi) to our lunch appointment and we ended up sharing the car with a hermano from our ward. we talked and made conversation with the driver. when the hermano reached his stop and was about to get out of the car he turned back and said to the driver " listen to their message, it will change your life·". the driver didnt respond really and nothing came of it, we mentioned our message but he cut us off and started talking about something else. even though nothing happened i was still so impressed by the conviction of that hermano. and it made me realize that he`s right. this message, this gospel changes lives for the better and forever. there are so many people searching for a better way of living they just dont know where to find it. as a missionary my purpose is to give others the opportunity to "come and see" to take part in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I also realized that members can have the most profound influence. just because you`re not a fultime missionary doesnt mean you cant preach the gospel.
the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is true and can change your life for the better. this is my testimony and this is why I am here in the end of the world :)
i love you all so much, thanks for the prayers. have a great week!
love, Hermana Williams

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Torres Del Paine!!!

Hola familia! 

Today I only have half an hour to write so im going to make this fast. 
yesterday we went to torres del paine and it was amazing. we had to be at the church at 5am for the big charter bus to pick us up and the ride was five hours long. one elder brought a guitar and played and sang songs for us. we played lots of little road trip games and shared food and talked in spanish and english and it was super fun. it was also nice just to look out the window and see the chilean country side. 
when we finally got to the national park we drove around and stopped places to take pictures. we took one hike up to a glacier lake with all these ice formations, it was beautiful. you can climb up to the top of a vista and see all of the mountains and glaciers. it was a little cloudy so the torres (mountains, tower) were a little hidden. but it cleared up later in the afternoon and they were so gorgeous. 
next stop was a waterfall and an up close view of the torres. it was just so amazing, there are a whole bunch of turquoise lakes and rolling green hills. and tons of sheep with brand new lambs. also a weird form of llama, i cant remember the name but it looks like a mix between llama and a deer. oh and we also saw  emus!
we didnt get back to the church until 9am. i was so tired. we planned super past and went straight to bed. we were so exhausted. we had so much fun though. 

today was cambios, transfers- so our district was together for the last time. i dont think ive told you a lot about our district but they are the best. we have a lot of fun even if i cant understand eveything that goes on in spanish. our district leader elder lopez is amazing, super nice and he just radiates christlike love, he´s from Bolivia. his companion elder wilson is from utah and hes hilarious. then theres elder Montiel, he tries to speak english to me all the time, hes actually not bad and his companion elder fonseca just went home today, he finished his mission! 
elder wilson, and our zone leader elder parsons are leaving so we´re getting some new people. its both exciting and sad, im gonna miss our district. 

we had four investigators come to church! Nibaldo who`s been super into our lessons and the book of mormon, araceli, victor and a new investigator maxi, hes 21 and going to one of the universities here. it was a party! and a serious miracle!

I have to tell you about Victor and Blanca, they`re a slightly older couple, like in their 70s and they are the cutest. Victor talks forever and i can never understand him but his face just lights up when we knock on his door, blanca always tries to give us food like bread and sandwiches, they fed us lunch this past week. They`re like our adopted grandparents. and Grandma Jean i promise, you are still my #1

mom, im really proud of you for going out with the sister missionaries and yes please encourage others to do the same because it is the best thing ever to have members in lessons. it will make any missionaries day.

I havent recieved the package yet or the post card. things take a really long time to get down here. it might be another two weeks for the package and i have no idea about the post card. but thanks for sending the other package with all the warm gear. from what you listed, thats exactly what i need, you are the best. im super excited to get everything! 

thanks for the advice with contacting people. the spanish is still kind of hard. but im learning more and more everyday. 

thanks for all the emails and love! hope you all have a great week! 

love, hermana williams

Punta Arenas 4 seasons, 1 hour


well the days of sunshine and warmth are gone. the weather took a turn
for the worse right after i emailed you all last monday. now we go
through sunshine, rain, and snow practically everyday. and the wind is
super strong! and the rumors are true! they have ropes up between
light posts in downtown for people to hang onto when it gets windy!
saturday we had to trudge up this huge hill for our lunch at a members
house and the wind was the strongest i have ever felt. it could hold
me up if i leaned forward and a couple times it almost knocked me
down. dirt kept getting into our eyes and mouths. and while we were
trudging up we just start reciting Helaman 5:12 (though the devil may
send forth his mighty winds... it will have no power over... because
of the rock upon which you are built) haha. it was an adventure and i
felt like i was in the punta arenas everyone told me about.

all the hermanas in our zone got together and played volleyball last
monday. it was so much fun! i want to do that every monday.

but today we have to deep clean our casa and do our grocery shopping
for the next two weeks because this next sunday all the missionaries
in punta arenas are going to Torres del Paine! its a huge kind of
national park here in chile and its one of the seven wonders of the
world! im so excited! we`re taking a huge charter bus and leaving at
4am and not getting back till 9pm. its a four hour trip just to get
there. so next monday i wont be able to email until tuesday, so sorry.
but hopefully ill have some cool pictures to share! also mom and dad,
to go to torres del paine it will be about 80 us dollars... its kind
of a lot i know, we thought it was going to be a lot cheaper when we
signed up but things changed... so if its alright with you can i have
80 dollars on my debit card to take out?

we`ve had a lot of great teaching opportunities this week! we
offically taught Nibaldo, basically all of the restoration and he was
super receptive to it. it felt really weird teaching him in english.
he said when he was 14 he dew away from the catholic church because it
wasnt helping him and he felt like something was missing. we testified
to him that the church of Jeus Christ of Latter day Saints has that
missing link. He came to a baptism with us on saturday night and
really liked that and then came to church on sunday! and it was fast
and testimony meeting and he got up and bore his testimony! he said
that he really liked the church, he felt the spirit very strongly and
could sense the truth. we`re excited about his progression.

the relief society president here has an awesome family, her husband
isnt a member but she has three kids that are. we stopped by their
house last night and ate once which is like a small meal they have
around 6 or 7pm with tea, hot chocolate and bread or cakes. it is my
new favorite meal. it is so cute, i love it. and their family is
fantastic, hermana baker and i feel right at home with them and i feel
pretty comfortable speaking spanish. the husband is hilarious and has
a twin brother too so we swapped pics of our brothers. we really want
him to get baptized, he would be an awesome member.

fredy is okay, we finally met his wife and his adorable grandchildren.
we`re gonna keep coming back and visitng and getting to know her. we
fasted for them the other day.

magali and araceli are great too, we read alma 32 and magali is
finally starting to open up a bit and be a little less skeptical.

well thats all i have time for! sorry, no pics this week maybe next
week. i love you all so much!

love, Hermana Williams

General Conference = Christmas for Missionaries

Hola Familia!
Wasn´t General Conference the best thing ever! man it felt like Christmas! I dont think i´d ever been so excited for general conference in my entire life. Hermana Baker and I couldnt stop smiling the whole weekend. I absolutely loved all the speakers and talks. They were amazing and so much more meaningful now that im a missionary. we had three investigators come! Nibaldo, the twenty four year old we met on the street and then Victor y Blanca, a 70 something old couple we`ve been teaching. they came sunday morning and Nibaldo came for both saturday and sunday afternoon.
I loved President Uchtdorfs talk about recieving light and understanding truth. and Elder Christoffersons about how the church and our salvation is not determined by our opinions, that there is such thing as universal truth. oh it was just all so fantastic. It makes me regret all the times i didnt pay attention to conference when i was younger.
I was able to see the womens broadcast but only in spanish. i could understand what was being said but it didnt really sink in or resonate because i was using all my energy just to keep up and understand the words.
i loved how it was all about covenants and temples though.
Not many exciting things this week... the weather is getting warmer! the sun has come out a couple of days this week and i havent been needing my gloves and hat as much! although i heard a rumor that the wind doesnt really pick up until November. this makes me nervous because its already pretty windy here. you can send the warm clothes if you want mom. i dont know if this warm weather is a fluke or what to expect in the later months but better be safe than sorry. stil havent gotten the package yet, but im super excited!
Hi to evan and lizzie! congrats to lizzie on her calling that is so much fun! and Evan, yay for helping the missionaries with an investigating family. you probably already know how much it means to missionaries to have members help out. i wish i would have known this early, i regret how i didnt help the missionaries more.
shout out to Scottie! hope conference was as great for you as it was for me! thought about you! did you stay awake for Elder Scott?
Last monday we got some people girls together and played¨basketball. it wasnt real basketball, more like toned down half court with other basket shooting games, but it was super fun. Nibaldo came and last time we talked to him we mentioned that we`re not allowed to watch tv or access internet and our phone doesnt have texting. he came to play basketball with us and said he had a gift for us. he pulled out a brand new smart phone and just gave it to us! he said he got a new one and didnt need it anymore. he gave us a cell phone! we tried to give it back but he wouldnt let us. now its sitting in a box untouched in our casa. we´re gonna give it to our friend Bianca to sell or something.
Bianca is a 19 year old student here in punta arenas and she is one of the strongest converts i have ever met. shes the tiniest person ever and she joined the church three years ago. she has such a strong testimony and shes always willing to accompany us to lessons. she ends up teaching and testifying better than we do. she wants to serve a mission and i know she´ll do great.
Mom i tried this pastry called a Berlin, its a sweet bread roll stuffed with cream. it is so unbelievably delicious. the cream is super thick and oh it was so good. i thought about you and how much you would love it.
we contacted the less active son of a member in our ward. He and his wife were both baptized but havent been to church in years. His name is Fredy. we were able to talk to him on his door step last night. he knows the church is true but his wife doesnt like the church, so he doesnt bring it up or go in order to cause any problems for them at home. He basically bore the most beautiful testimony ever on his front porch. It was amazing and i could understand everything he said and the spirit was super strong. it was inspiring to hear him talk about how he knows the church is true. He asked us to pray for his wife´s heart to be softened and then stop by again next week to try to teach a lesson with her. Hermana Baker and I are going to concentrate our efforts on him and his family. we`re super excited.
I was able to invite one of our investigators, Araceli, to be baptized. shes amazing, she has a really strong spirit. her mom Magali is a little more skeptical. whenever we teach something new, she comes the next week with a list of scriptures from the bible that prove us wrong... we showed them both a video of President Monson speaking. Araceli began to cry and said she felt the spirit super strong. Magali said she didnt believe he was a prophet because he didnt look like a prophet. we invited araceli, shes going to think and pray about it. we hope she makes her own decisions for herself.
theres a talk that the mission home puts into every missionaries binder called The Fourth Missionary by Lawrence E. Corbridge from 2002 and it is the best thing ever, i recommend reading it.
we found a girl this week whos super christian and has a wonderful love for God and Christ. it was super nice to talk to her, she was really open about the book of mormon and told us she would go and pray about whether it was true. we came back a couple days later and she had a list of anti mormon notes from the internet and scriptures that supposedly proved us wrong. she continued to ask us questions and show us scriptures but wouldnt let us answer any of them. we listened and then left, she didnt even give us time to testify of anything. although the lesson was disappointing it confirmed by testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and the importance of having this testimony. if we know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God then we know that The church of Jesus Christ has been restored on the earth again, we know that we have the priesthood, we know that all revelations are of God and not of Man. We know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
I want to bear my testimony that i know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, I know the Book of Mormon is true, I have felt these truths testified to me through out my entire life. I have a strong testimony that God is our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ directs this church today.
Ïf any of you lack wisdom, then ask of God and He will answer you.
Love you all so much, its hard but i love being here. through a great trainer, prayer and the atonement of Jesus Christ, no matter how hard my day is i always go to bed with a happy heart.
until next week!
love, Hermana Williams

September 29

Wow this week feels like a blur. I can barely remember anything.
This week we had my first exchanges! with the sister training leaders!
I went with Hna McNeil to her sector and her companion Hna Petitt
stayed with Hna Baker. I was a little nervous in the beginning. it
felt like my first day all over again. But Hna McNeil is amazing and i
learned so much from her and she was super patient with me. she only
has two months left in her mission wow! It was fun, and they live in
the same casa as Hna Coombs and her companion so I got to see Coombs
again! yay! we had lots of appointments that day, 5 which is a lot. it
was fun and at night we bought chocolate alfrijoles and they were the
best thing ive ever eaten.

yes the people here put mayo on everything. and they always drink
either coca cola or juice. never water. yes i have eaten a completo,
they are delicious and yes they have mayo and avocado on them. the
bread here is the best thing in the world.

My third suitcase came this week! yay! i was so excited to go pick it
up... only to discover that someone had put a lock on it and failed to
give me the key. i had to wait an extra five days until we could find
and borrow some heavy duty screwdrivers to pry it open haha. it was an
adventure. but man opening that suitcase was like christmas i was so
excited haha.

A miracle happened yesterday! we were praying super hard that our
investigators would come to church. we have a mother and daughter
named Magali and Araceli investigating and the daughter is golden but
the mom has doubts. they havent been able to come to church because
theyre only down in punta arenas for week days and then go back to
Port venir on the weekends. they were the last people we expected to
come to church, it seemed impossible. but guess who walked in right
when sacrament meeting started! Magali and Araceli!!! it was amazing,
none of our investigators came except for them, we were so shocked!
and the talks and lessons were absolutely perfect for them, oh it was
a miracle from God for sure.

On Monday we were walking, and a guy rode past us on his bike and we
said hola like we always do but he turned back and said hello in a
very american accent. we called after him and he stopped and started
talking to us. HIs name is Nibaldo and his parents are chilean but he
grew up in kansas. so he knows english and spanish really well. hes
here in punta arenas going to school. it was so nice to talk to
someone in english! he was super funny, he didnt want to call us
hermanas so he gave us fake first names, like im hannah and hna baker
is kelly. we did not condone these names but he just calls us them
we dont think he was very interested in hearing our message but he
wanted to take us out to lunch and play basketball on our next
pday.... yeah not allowed but we`re gonna find a way to talk to him
within the rules. he could be a really good investigator. it was just
so exciting to speak english haha

this week has been kind of hard. lots of appointments falling through
and lots of contacting. im not a huge fan of contacting but i should
be. i just get stressed to have to talk to people haha. i make a lot
of mistakes everyday. it is definitely humbling. i really have to
accept the fact that im limited right now and theres not much i can do
about it, just time and patience and practice. i have this joke with
hermana baker that i should keep tally of all my mess ups every day
... Mistake #537 of today haha
The other day the woman who washes our clothes called, hna Baker was
in the bathroom so i answered and she just started talking and i said
ok, esta bien and she hung up. the only word i caught was ropa and
when hna baker came out and asked i said i wasnt sure what just
happened, something about our clothes.... she could have said she was
about to burn them and i could have just agreed to it... i dont was a little embarrassing haha.
oh and i accidently hung up on another hermana, that was fun.
we got a lot of good laughs this week.

i like being a missionary though :)

the ward here is the best ever, i love all the people, they are so
nice even though i cant understand them. its a great area and im
starting to get used to it. its hard, but its worth it.

love you all so much! have a great week!

love, Hermana Williams