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 pĂșnta 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