Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Happy 18th!

Happy Chile independence day! this week was crazy but actually went by
super fast.
Tuesday we had district meeting and i got to meet some of the other
elders. the lesson was in spanish, and i can basically understand
everything everyone who is not chilean says but i have to really pay
attention. sometimes my thoughts wander and i get completely lost in
what they are saying.
wednesday president and sister Obeso came down to Punta Arenas with
Elder Vinas from the seventy. We had a all missionary conference in
the morning and elder vinas was so cool. President and hermana obeso
sp0ke too.
it was so fun seeing all the missionaries from our zone and i got to
see Hermana Coombs! she finally got her passport back and flew down
tuesday. shes still feeling a little sick but shes doing okay. i was
so excited to see her.
that night Elder Vinas gave a devotional for everyone in the ward and
any investigators interested. he basically taught all the first three
lessons in 45 minutes. it was amazing. sometimes in our lessons we
spend 45 minutes just on half a lesson. but he inspired us that if he
can do three lessons we can do 1.
Thursday was independence day and the whole city was shut down and the
streets were deserted. everyone was inside sleeping, eating or
partying with family. every house had a chilean flag outside. our ward
had a huge fiesta! so much food and music and decorations. the whole
ward is amazing their like one huge family. everyone loves everybody.
they played traditional games that are similar to ones in the us like
tug of war, three legged races, relay races, musical chairs. but
everyone was super into it, like screaming and jumping around. it was
the most exciting ward activity ive ever seen. it was so much fun.
they had a folk dance group and perform the traditional dance, the
Cueca and sing songs. all the little kids were dressed in cueca
attire. the missionaries were able to learn! we couldnt dance with
anyone but they brought us up on stage and taught us the basic steps.
everyone can dance the cueca, everyone learns it when their a little
kid. they had an open dance floor where people would just go dance the
cueca. it was so cool. even little kids knew the steps.
they had soup, empenadas, a rice, apricot drink for dessert, bread,
cakes, everything was so delicious.
okay so they taught us the cueca and then they had us perform it for
everyone haha. it was crazy. hma obeso and presidente were there and
learned it with us.
in ward council this past week hna Baker let it slip that i knew how
to tap dance, so the hermano that was leading all the activities came
up to me during the fiesta ad asked me to tap dance for everyone cause
they had never seen or heard of tap before. So i borrowed some
character shoes from one of the girls int he ward and i tap danced on
stage for everyone haha. it was really cool, they were all really
impressed just because they had never seen tap before haha. it was
crazy. now when people in the ward see me they try to imitate tap for
me haha.
they sang happy birthday to Hermana Baker (oh yeah, her birthday was
on wednesday! shes 20 now) and brought out a cake for her.
it was an amazing fiesta, the ward is so great. im so happy i got to
exprience something like that.
this past week was kind of hard with teaching and finding people just
because everyone was out of town or busy with the 18th and everything.
we went to a baptism on saturday night with one of our investigators.
church yesterday was good, some investigators came with out us having
to pick them up or call them! it was great!
we taught a couple the gospel of Jesus Christ and i was actually able
to contribute and talk so hna Baker wasnt all by herself.
its still kind of hard to understand the chilenos down here, depending
on the person. some people talk really fast and really slur their
words. but its getting easier day by day.
the days all kind of blur together, its hard to remember everything.
but it was a great week. i took lots of pictures and im gonna try to
send some.

they´ll be showing general conference in our ward building and im
hoping they´ll have a room that can stream english, fingers crossed.
we are super excited for conference, hna baker said the other day that
for missionaries conference is better than christmas which now that im
out here i realize is very true haha.
Its very cold here. but im getting used to it. thanks for the package
and warm stuff mom. yeah my boots are wonderful, my northface jacket
and all my tights and leggings. ive accepted the fact that there is
always some part of my body that is cold. in the mornings and nights i
can see my breath in our little house. we dont have to chop firewood,
we have a gas heater in our main room, but it doesnt really reach the

congrats on getting past the deadline dad! yay!

More about Hermana Baker? okay shes from salt like, she has 9
siblings, shes the oldest, she went to byu before her mission, she
wants to be a music teacher or go into music therapy. she sings and
plays the piano. so we end up singing a lot, and we start our lessons
our with hymns. she is very fun and is doing a fantastic job at
training because i know it probably isnt easy for her or anyone. her
spanish is great, i can understand her to the point where if she
started switching between english and spanish i wouldnt be able to
tell. shes a great teacher, has a lot of enthusiasm for the gospel,
shes great. shes been on her mission 10 months, and has been here in
punta arenas for 2 months.

we`re teaching some great people. One girl Named Luz who is probably
our age. shes been investigating the church for like four months. shes
a tough cookie, she doesnt want to committ to anything serious because
she needs a for sure answer from God. but she is super fun and even
though we cant really understand each other we`ve become friends.

we`re teaching a family whos oldest son just got baptized three month
ago, hes 16. they have another son whos 6 and little twin boys only a
year old. so cute. they`re a rock solid family, we`re working to get
them baptized.

<Natasha is another investigator, she has a couple month old baby boy
who is the world to her. gosh ive never seen a mother love her baby so
much (except for you mom, because you love me). but shes moving out of
our ward this week which is very sad.

all the people are great. very nice, they wont let us into their homes
all the times, but they also wont slam the doors in our faces. i like
them a lot, i just wish i could understand them haha.

its hard to describe punta arenas... its right on the water. but my
area is a little ways inland. (for hna Bakers birthday we walked to
the beach and took pictures at the end of the world) our area has a
lot of unversities and schools so lots of college kids and students.
the houses are small and colorful and definitely have a european
influence. the streets are kind of dirty, lots of mud and puddles and
garbage. theres´lots of graffiti, but i dont know its kind of
beautiful in an urban kind of way. we do lots of walking. or we take
taxis or collectivos which are like taxis but with a fixed price.

some days are really hard but i think i really like being a missionary :)

well i dont have too much time left. hope thats enough details for
you. i love you all so much. i show off pictures of my family to
people all the time here. i miss you, have a great week!

love, Hermana Williams

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hola from Punta Arenas at the end of the world!

Oh my goodnesss so much has happened in just week. It`s going to be hard to fit everything into one email.
So I found out I was going to Punte Arenas and after I finished my letter to my family I found out that I had to take a small plane to my area and could only bring two suitcases with me. They would have to send my other suitcase on a bus but it would take two weeks to get to me in my new area! so I spent the rest of the night trying to repack and make sure i had everything i would need for only the next two weeks. i had a weight limit too, it was rough and stressful but i got it done.

Hna Coombs left her passport on the plane but they have in the santiago airport and they`re going to send it to the mission home. until then shes gonna hang out in a trio in orsorno.
I had to wake up earlier than everyone else the next morning to drive to the airport. It was just me and a couple other missionaries going. we landed and had to take a bus to the church building in Punta Arenas. there i met Hermana Baker! she`s so great and sweet and patient and I love her so much. she`s really good at spanish and only speaks spanish to me (unless i really down understand her) she`s from utah, has nine siblings and has been out on her mission for nine months. she`s the best, we have a lot of fun.
my first day was stressful we went straight away to have lunch at the relief society presidents house. I had no idea what she was saying, it was like she was speaking a different language...
The people here sometimes talk like they have cotton balls in their mouths, they`re lazy with their words and drop the last constenants like im not hermana williams, im hermana william
they had random slang words like po to the end of everything and words like cachai and bacan. its crazy.
Im getting a little bit better and better at understanding day by day. sometimes i get frustrated and i have to remind myself that it hasnt even been a full week yet, ive got time.
The people here are super nice and friendly. they all do the cheek kissing thing.
okay our casa is really small. there only three rooms. bedroom, livingroom and kitchen and our bathroom. We have a radiator for heat but it only really warms the living room, the bedroom gets really cold and the bathroom is an icebox.
It`s super cold here, and windy. It snowed on Friday. At night I have to sleep with six blankets and wear long thermal leggings, wool socks, thermal pullover and a wool hat. its really hard to get up in the morming.
the best thing i brought on my mission are by Bog boots, they are life savers.
its also super windy, powerlines get knocked down or snap all the time so we have to be careful.
this city is full of stray dogs, so many its ridiculous. and they poop everywhere. if you`re walking on the side of the road or in grass you have to watch where you step. sometimes dogs will follow us around as we knock on doors.
the main meal here is lunch. we eat something small for breakfast like cereal and hot herbal tea. then we go to a members house and eat a huge lunch with like three courses. we dont really have dinner. its just whatever we can find in the house when we come home at night. they eat a lot of pasta, sausage, chicken, rice, potatoes, bread  and tomatoes. the bread here is ridiculously delicious. the average desert is fruit, cakes or icecream. its delicious. way better then the food in the CCM haha.

we`ve had several lessons this week with some really wonderful people. I was able to invite a girl named Luz to be baptized. There are some lessons where I can understand and talk but then there are others when i have no idea what is being said and i sit there in silence
The things that prepared me most for my mission I think are seminary, my year at BYU and going to France, because of france im already used to sitting in silence and not knowing whats goin on haha.
we knock a lot of doors. we have goals like we always knock doors with yellow houses, green fences and we always talk to people who are smoking on the street haha (because the two times we talked to people who were smoking they were our best  contacts that day haha) (every house has a iron fence and if its locked we have to bang on the fence with a rock to get their attention inside)
the people here will never flat out tell you no, they tell you to come back another time. they`re super nice even if they dont mean it haha. and they love to talk.
Church yesterday was super fun. the ward is small but amazing, like one big happy family! they are all very welcoming. I had to get up and introduce myself and give my testimony, and it went pretty well.
the day before, saturday, the ward had a service activity and went to an old folks home. we sang hymns, passed out hot chocolate and cookies. some niƱos performed skits and plays and some young men and young women performed the traditional chilean dance the cuaca (not sure on spelling) it was awesome to watch. the girls wear big full skirts and the boys wear boots with spurs they dance around each other with handkerchiefs. it was so cool.
oh so much has happened. i really like it here, it feels like a blur though. i dont feel too culture shocked or homesick. i havent cried yet, only from the spirit.  i just really want to get better at spanish. i make a lot of mistakes everyday but i just laugh at myself. no pet penguin yet, i heard that in november is when they show up. Mom what i could really use if you havent sent that package yet is hand warmers and something to keep my ears warm.
the spirit is strong, i love reading the scriptures. being here isnt as hard as i thought it was going to be... but maybe it will get harder.
I know the church is true. I know that Jesus Christ is our savior, i have felt this testified to me time and time again. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to be a missionary. this truly is a message of happiness.
Until next week, i love you all so much!
love, Hermana Williams

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Last week!

Im almost out of the CCM! time has flown by so fast, it feels like i just got here. I picked up my flight plans on Tuesday - Hna Coombs and I leave the CCM around 4pm for our flight at 8:25 pm. we have an 8 hour flight to santiago then a 5 hour layover then another hour and a half to Osorno. Its going to be a long trip. but we´ll finally be able to take naps and read Jesus the Christ haha. Hna Coombs has never been on a long overnight international flight, actually the longest flight she´s ever been on was coming here from Chicago. we´ll see how she does haha. 

This week was a blur. Friday night the power in our casa went our for a couple hours and so all the hermanas in our house gathered into our room and had a mini party, we talked about the gospel and church and told cool spiritual stories and it was really fun, really good bonding experience. the lights turned on right in the middle of our group prayer before bed. 

I had a chance to teach part of my district, I led a study of the Book of Mormon in Alma chapter 5 and i think it went really well. its fun to be able to just sit and discuss the book of mormon with other missionaries. 

Hna Coombs had to give a talk this past sunday haha. and then all week Elder Neeley was specifically praying for the comedor to serve hamburgers and french fries. on our way to lunchon sunday he was telling us about it and how he was jokingly going to fast until he got hamburgers haha. while we were walking we smelled french fries and we all started to freak out. we walked inside and they were serving hamburgers and french fries! it was a miracle haha. the funny part it they ran out right as Elder Neeley was about to get one haha, its okay he was able to go back and get a hamburger later. just goes to show the Church is true and God answers prayers haha. 

i forgot it was labor day on monday... that was weird. 

Hna Coombs and i bought awesome scripture cases for our spanish scriptures at the tienda. they´re leather and have the Latin tree of life picture engraved on the front and then my name, mission and favorite scripture on the back. its so cool, i´ll try to send pictures. i chose 3 nephi 22: 10, 14

the ccm has a sand volleyball pit out back behind the gym and our district has been playing that this past week for gym. its super fun. 

we got new hermanas in our zone last week but they never sit next to us or talk to us, they´re extremely independent and made friends with other hermanas from different zones already so we never get to talk to them. so Hna Coombs and i just hang out with the only other hermanas in our zone, Hermana Nielson and Hermana Williams (No we´re not related we already checked) they are super fun and we love sitting with them. Hermana williams taught be a how to break and apple in half with my hands (i might have already told you that sorry...) and hna Nielson taught me how to do a cart wheel!  i wish we couldve all been together at byu or something cause we love them so much. 

there are a lot of people here i wish i couldve met at BYU or something cause i think we could all be best friends. being here is like a super hyped up byu or efy but way better. 

it poured down rain yesterday afternoon ( it does that a lot here) and so our district made paper airplanes and threw them out the window to see how far they would fly in the rain. then Elder Neeley and Elder Winn made planes out of huge pieces of paper and this morning we went up to the top floor of the Thomas S. Monson building (which is the tallest building here) and threw them out the windows to see how far they would go.... it was a pretty epic build up but due to the awkward angle of the windows, both planes just dropped straight down... it was a but of a let down. 
I promise we focus and study but sometimes we just end up doing stuff like that. its district bonding and we´re building zion in unity haha. 

I love you all! 
I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is true and that Heavenly Father loves all of His children. I know that he will protect me and watch over me as I head off to Chile. I know that he answers prayers and performs miracles in our lives everyday. I feel so grateful to Him for all he has given me.

Until next time!

- Hermana Williams

our district graduating from the ccm ( yes, those are our book of mormons on our heads)