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