Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Jan 26 - Week 2 - we are poor


This week was super busy and so much happened. 
first of all, on monday hermana Conde got bit by a dog! we knocked a door of an old investigator and their blind dog came out, sniffered her foot and then bit her ankle, it came out of nowhere! it wasnt a bad bit at all, only a little blood and it wasnt deep. it looks like a vampire bite haha. so we had to go back to the house so she could clean and bandage and rest it. but that was the highlight of monday haha. 

a hermano in our ward, hermana Salas who is rich has been married three times and his family makes up half the ward. im pretty sure hes more well known than the bishop. anyways, he invited us to his house for a mutual activity to share something with the young men and young women because they were non member friends there. we taught the restoration using pizza haha. we made pizza and explained that Christ set up his church with the priesthood (pepperoni) scriptures (crust) prophets (sause) etc... but during the apostacy a whole bunch of people took stuff off the pizza cause they didnt like it or added ingredients that didnt belong and Joseph smith restored the original pizza haha. it was interesting, im pretty sure the yw and ym just wanted the pizza. but it was fun. 

we had zone conference on thursday! i got to see Elder Wilson from my first district in punta arenas. Hermana Obeso lets the hermanas call old companions on her cell phone so i got to call Hermana Jenkins! it was so awesome to talk to her, she says that victor and blanca are still progressing and that they've found a lot of really great people. 
I sang a special musical number for the conference. I sang "I know that my redeemer lives" in spanish, with hermana Maready (other hermana) and our zone leader on violin. it went pretty well. 

the past four days were absolutely crazy. we have an investigator, daniel, 18 years old, who lives in a cabaña behind the house of hermano salas. hes been investigating the church for a month and accepted a baptism date. he's really timid and quiet but really awesome and sweet. hes from a different city and when he was younger he was kind of a rebellious teenager and got into some bad stuff. he witnessed a serious crime and was a witness in a court case. Hno Salas was the lawyer and thought daniel had potential so he offered him a job and a place to live here in valdivia. Daniel completely changed his life around and is super prepared to recieve the gospel. the thing is, in his home town there are people looking to hurt him because he was a witness in court. he has so travel back to his city because his mom is sick. its complicated. 

on thursday we had a lesson with him and hno salas. Daniels baptism date fell through because he didnt have 3 church attendances but hermano salas said that he really felt that daniel needed to be baptized this weekend, like sunday (yesterday) he was very persistent. daniel said he wanted to be baptized and it didnt matter what day. but later than night after the lesson we called daniel and he said that he just finished praying and he recieved his answer that he knows the church is true and he wants to be baptized asap. we all felt that he should be baptized this sunday

so we spent thursday and friday calling district and zone leaders trying to see if we could get an exception of the rule of 3 attendances. it was stressful and crazy but we really did feel that daniel needed to get baptized. it finally ended up that the zone leaders met with him and they decided that he needs to wait until next week. so we accepted the revelation and authority of our zone leaders and decided to wait. he had his baptism interview and passed. so now we have a week to plan everything. but it was crazy. 

daniel is super special, ive only taught him twice and i already love him a lot. he`s very spiritual and the gospel makes sense to him and he can grasp things very easily and hes already really converted and its so great! 

after his interview we went to mcdonalds to celebrate and him and hermana conde ate their first every happy meals, we took photos. 

in church yesterday i sang the same song from the zone conference. i found out 10 minutes before church started that hermana maready and i were doing it. but it was fun. daniel came to church and now has his 3 attendances haha. 

there was a huge event this weekend, it was a beauty pageant, Reina de los Rios. there were tons of people camped out on the costanera and a huge stage set up and crazy music it was awesome. we contacted some people but didnt get too into the festivities. 

last night we accidently left our windows open during the day and we came home to find a huge bug on hermana condes bed. and when i say huge, i mean it was gigantic, the biggest bug ive ever seen. we screamed and hermana conde ran and hid in the bathroom and then we spent 20 minutes trying to get it out of the house because hermana conde didnt want me to kill it. the task included a bucket, a dress, two brooms and a piece of cardboard... it was crazy. i have a photo! there was a lot of screaming. 
Hermana Conde lives close to san martin de porres in peru! ella vive en los Olivos, i dont know where that is exactly but she says its in your mission. she likes to cook arepas with huancaìna sauce. dont know if you know what it is but its super rico!

this week was better, im starting to get used to the new area and the new people. its still hot haha. right now we are poor because we ran out of minutes on our cell phone to call any one but missionaries. so we've been calling the hermanas, to have them call everyone for us. we also ran out of gas in our house... so we cant cook anything on the stove and we dont have warm water... only cold showers. so we've been taking showers in the house of the other hermanas, they are good sports. 

for some reason i was really trunky yesterday and today. i feel a little homesick for punta arenas and bothell and i dont know why exactly. but Im gonna keep on working hard and trying my hardest and take one day at a time. 
i know that this gospel is true. i know it can change lives. ive seen it. im so grateful to be a missionary. 

love, Hermana Williams

Jan 19

Hola familia y amigos,
so much has changed this past week all at once and so much has happened. im going to try to remember everything. But know that i did make it to valdivia, im safe, i like my new companion and im burning to a crisp!

Monday and tuesday were hard. I spent both days packing up all my stuff. i had to send one of my suitcases by bus again and wont get it for about 2 or 3 weeks. I had to say goodbye to a lot of amazing people. a lot of people from the barrio and familias. had to say goodbye to our new investigators Daniel, cristian and ana. we had a lesson with them on monday. did a tour of the church, i sang savior redeemer of my soul for them and we taught them the rest of the restoration. it was so awesome and the spirit was so strong and they all said that they werent completely sure if the church is true yet, but they can feel something special and different in what we have to teach and that they have met a lot of other missionaries but with us, this time is different and they want to learn more. we are all best friends and it was so hard to have to leave them. i felt like right when we had new people to teach and everything was so perfect, i had to leave. 

tuesday i said goodbye to victor and blanca. we had a short family home evening with Juan, shared the Because of Him video and all bore our testimonies of the savior. I cried a lot. we ate the last supper together haha and took photos that im sure victor has already sent to you. they gave me a scarf that Blanca knitted and victor gave me a little penguin statue and carved a message underneath. 

also said goodbye to Juan (Johnnie) we're going to see each other In utah in a year because hes going to go to school. but it was still hard to say goodbye. he's my best friend and i already miss him a lot. 

on wednesday i had to be in the capilla at 10am. Victor and blanca dropped us off. Hna Jenkins and i spent our last precious time together and hanging out with Elder Lopez and Elder Marshall. I sang Savior redeemer of my soul for them again. saying goodbye to the elders was super hard, especially because i dont know if im ever going to see elder lopez again in this life. i cried with them and i cried for hermana Jenkins. its so funny because with her i started out real apprehensive, i wasnt sure if i was going to like her that much but she ended up becoming my best friend and sister and every moment with her was the best. 6 weeks wasnt enough with her. 

went to the airport, hermana coombs left too so we got to leave together. Victor and Blanca and their son victor antonio met us at the airport, they helped us with all our stuff and made sure we were good to go which i was really grateful for. we said goodbye, victor likes to do etch artwork in glass so he gave me a glass vase with torres del paine and punta arenas and their names etched into it. blanca gave me the footprints in the sand poem in spanish that she had bought one day and i said i loved that poem, so she wrote a little note on back and gave it to me. and victor gave me a handwritten letter that i will treasure and carry with me for the rest of my life. i cried real hard when they walked away. 

i remember back last year when i was still deciding whether or not to serve a mission, or when, and the impression came to me that the Lord has great things to do and people to meet in store for me, but i would never reach that potential or future if i didnt take the first steps to serve a mission. Victor and Blanca are part of that great future that God had in store for me. if i were to end my mission right now, or if victor and blanca were the only people i met for the rest of my time here, they make my mission 100% worth it. i will be eternally grateful for the opportunity to know them. 

wednesday was long. i ended up taking a plane and three buses to get to valdivia and i didnt get in until 10pm. so hermana conde picked me up and we went straight to the house and went to bed. 

Hermana Conde: shes from peru, close to Lima, she is the youngest of 7. shes been in the mission for almost a year and shes 21 years old. shes super tiny and short but really funny and sassy. shes definitely not sugary sweet molly mormon so we have a lot of fun together. when we first met she was a little icy because before me she had a gringa companion who refused to speak spanish, or speak at all. so after she tested out how good my spanish was and realized that i could understand her, i was willing to speak spanish and wanted to improve, she warmed up to me haha. dont get me wrong there are still moments when she talks really fast and i cant understand her, or when we're walking in the streets and i cant hear her and i have to just nod and go along with it haha. but its fun to speak completely in spanish now. Im pretty sure we get along and that were friends and we have fun, she loves listening to christmas music and wearing the color black haha. 

valdivia is absolutely beautiful, sunny and hot! we died a couple days this week, im just not used to it and i am honestly not equiped to handle the heat. ive switched from hand warmers to sunscreen. and lots of it. 

theres another set of missionaries hermanas in our ward. Hermana Alonso from ecuador and hermana meready from california. hermana maready likes to speak english with me a lot... so i just try to respond in spanish. we have a lot of fun. its like having three sisters (but we do live in separate houses) 

oh yeah, our house is a little bit bigger now! but the bathroom is still so small i have to sit sideways on the toilet so as to not squish my legs up against the opposite wall haha. 

the ward is really nice, there are about 70 people that assist. we're working a little harder on getting members to come to lessons with us. its hard during vacations. we have two main investigators that ive met so far, Daniel (18) whos super timid and shy but is progressing a lot and Claudia (21) who can speak english (im kind of tired or people speaking english  haha)
the work is a little slow here, but we're gonna change that real fast.
we have the costanera in our sector and a huge bridge that crosses the water and lots of parks. its super fun, but hard because all the people we contact are tourists and we cant visit them. 

ive realized that chileans are a little icy when you first try to talk to them (at least here in the south i dont know about santiago) but if you can gain their trust then they'll open up and be your best friend and its so fun to see them change. chileans love to laugh and have fun and joke around. you really have to relax and have fun with them. i love it. 

its been a little hard this past week, just with the heat and not having a lot of people to teach and ive been pretty homesick for punta arenas. i honestly think im more homesick for punta arenas than for my home in washington, sorry mom and dad. 

but i need to stop complaining and just start working harder. there's a lot to be done here. and a lot of change that i need to make in myself.

im excited for this new opportunity. its kind of hard to be back on square one again with not knowing the people or the area but at least this time i can speak spanish haha. i needed the  change because i realized that even though i loved it there, i wasnt progressing much in punta arenas. now is a pride check and im learning to be humble and follow the spirit and work harder. im grateful for all the blessings and help ive had from the Lord and im excited for all the new people i will meet and amazing things the Lord has in store for me. I know that with faith in Jesus Christ i can do all things. 

love, hermana Williams

Jan 12 - Brownies and Casuelas - no mas!

Hola familia y amigos,

this week i was able to use my baking skills to hasten the work of the Lord. Brownies dont exist here, of if they do they´re not that good. so CHilenos are crazy about brownies and are more than willing to come to an activity or listen to us if we bake them brownies haha. we bakes brownies 6 times this week! 

also, there's a dish here called casuela, its a stew/soup that has chicken, pasta, rice, and potatoes. i like it, but Hermana Jenkins does not and we ate it three times this week for lunch. 

we are done with brownies and casuela. 

this week we spent a lot of time helping the menos activa madaline who broke her leg. we've been cleaning her house, doing chores, and reading the book of mormon with her. last night we came and made her brownies and her husband cookes us cordero, lamb, and we had dinner all together. i dont like lamb very much but i was very grateful to their family. 

theres a new family in our ward that moved from a nother barrio, the familia Burgos. they are super fantastic. the dad is in the stake presidency and the mom is in the presidency for stake young womens, they have three kids. 17, 11 and 4 years old. we ate with them twice this week. the hermana cooks A LOT. too much. i swear, my stomach grew two sizes that day. it was rough. we´ve learned to just not eat breakfast on the days we have lunch with them. but they're great, the parents love to talk and talk a lot so we just get to sit back and relax and stuff ourselves haha. they bought rootbeer for us and we had rootbeer floats for dessert one day, it was super gringo haha. 

on wednesday we got together with our new investigators Daniel (danny) Cristian (Chris) and Juan Pablo. Daniella and Juan came with us and we all played Uno together. we meant to teach them afterwards but they suddenly had to leave for a futbol game, it was lame but it was okay. 

Araceli is in town! she came down to punta arenas for the week to visit and we were able to teach her the first of her lessons of retencion. on friday we had a noche de hogar in the house of daniella where we made more brownies and watched joseph smith prophet of the restoration. Danny and Chris came! Chris had to leave early but danny stayed and watched the movie and actually payed attention and had questions it was awesome. 

the best day this week was Sunday because Blanca finally came to church!!!!! its been like three months since the first time she came! i was so happy! and Nibaldo blessed the sacrament for the first time! i was so proud of him, i was filled with so much joy, it was so wonderful to see that now hes a worthy priesthood holder. 

there were two gringos from mercer island that showed up to church yesterday haha. two tourists who are here to hike torres del paine and dont speak any spanish. they were super nice and it was so fun to talk with them. they only stayed for sacrament meeting but im happy to hear that you got the photo mom. so much fun!

we had lunch with victor and blanca yesterday after church and they invited Juan too. it was super fun, i love all of them so much. 

we found out transfers today.... 
I´m leaving punta arenas and going to Valdivia which is north, more northern than Osorno. My new companion is Hermana Conde and she is from Peru, Hermana Jenkins knows her and she says shes fantastic. My flight leaves wednesday. 
Im excited to go to a different place and be with a Latina but im going to be honest, when i found out my first thought was Victor and Blanca and i just started crying. 
I dont want to leave, there are a lot of people here whom i love with all my heart. 
we had lunch with Nibaldo today and i had to say goodbye to him for what might be the last time in this life. that was hard. he knows my first name now haha, we filmed his reaction, he said that i dont look like a melanie! im going to miss him a lot, hes my best friend. 

we havent told Victor and Blanca yet, we're going to pass by later tonight and tell them in person. i dont want to tell them. 

my time in punta arenas has been the best time of my life. i have been unbelievably blessed by the Lord to have met so many wonderful people. I know that even if i cant see them again in this life, that one day we will all see each other again and we will stand before God the Eternal Father and it will be glorious. 
I know the church is true. i know there is life after death. i know that i can be with the people i love forever. 

love, hermana Williams

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Jan 5 - Feliz Año Nuevo!!!

I think this year was the most boring new year ever haha, we had to be in our house at 9pm. Wednesday we taught Nibaldo and then went to go visit a lot of people who werent home. the thing about Punta Arenas is that a lot of families are just living here during the school year and during christmas time they go live in their houses in the campo. so nobody was home this week. we went to Juans house again and did servicio and made cena with them. they drove us back to our house and then later brought us cena to eat and we made cookies. we went to bed at 11pm and i woke up to the sound of fireworks at midnight. pretty boring hahaha. 

the next day we were walking around knocking doors at 3pm in the afternoon and the streets were absolutely deserted... there werent even any dogs in the streets. it was crazy. we went back to Juans house and made cinnamon rolls with him and his sister Lily. we got in a huge frosting fight and i had frosting all over my hair and clothes and we went to victor and blancas house afterwards like that. we ate cena with them and shared a scripture. 

we found four new people to teach this week! we were walking to Victor and Blancas house and suddenly this man came out from his house and started calling to us in english. we went to talk to him and he said his son speaks english and he wanted us to practice with him. he said "do you want to come inside?" and we said yes!!!!! his son is named Daniel and hes 18 years old, we talked in english for a while and then we were talking about how we are missionaries and he asked us "so what is your message?" perfect!!!! we set up another appointment with him and when we came back we also met his Brother Cristian and his cousin Juan Pablo and they were interested too, they asked us "why do people call you mormons?" perfect!!!! so we explained the book of mormon and the restoration. the next time we came by only Cristian and his girlfriend Ana were there so we taught them and Ana is interested too!!! 

we all got together on saturday morning to play volleyball in our church gym. daniel, chris and ana came to play with us it was so much fun and they loved it. they want to get together again this week with us. Juan came and he is already really good friends with them. im so excited!!! Victor also came to play volleyball with us haha, he just watched and took pictures, like always. 

yesterday we walked a lot. we had to finish verfiying the addresses of a huge list of less active members and it was raining yesterday. we finished the day with victor and blanca and they fed us and served us hot tea. haha we taught them the law of the fast this week so they were all like "oh you´re fasting! are you still fasting? how do you feel? you must be so hungry, you poor things" 
they really are our grandparents haha, they started asking if we had crushes on any of the elders here in punta arenas, we said no but they insisted and started naming off all the elders they knew haha. 

24 days until michael leaves for his mission! wow! good luck shopping!

we got together and ate pizza with Juan and Nibaldo for lunch today.
we're planning on Nibaldo blessing the sacrament this upcoming sunday. 
one week until transfers, im a little nervous. i honestly dont know if im going or leaving. i feel like hermana Jenkins could still do another transfer together.... vamos a ver. victor, blanca and Juan think im leaving.

im having a lot of fun here! i feel so lucky because i get to hang out with my best friends hermana Jenkins, Juan, los elderes, Victor and Blanca and Nibaldo every day! i have been blessed so much here in punta arenas. but i'll go where the Lord wants me to go. 

have a great week!

love, hermana Williams

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Dec 29 - Happy New Year from Chile!

Hola familia y amigos,
I think being able to skype and see my family was the best christmas present ever! i loved every minute of it. I cried a little too much haha. it was so much fun to see everyone and be able to speak spanish. 

the rest of christmas was really fun. after skype calling and drying my tears, victor and blanca served us tres leches cake and gave us our christmas presents, little boxes of perfumes. we sat and talked for a while with them. Blanca disappeared for a little bit and came back with a old dress that she used to wear when she was younger, she gave it to me for christmas haha! it was very sweet of her but its a dress that i would never wear, its green, has a very interesting pattern and shoulder pads.... 

they drove us to Juans house afterwards where we hung out with juan and the elders. we made cinnamon rolls and while they were rising we went outside and played with the water gun again. we hiked out into the real campo and played hide and go seek and tag with the water gun. it was super fun! the campo is so beautiful! we came back to the house, played uno, ate cinnamon rolls, they kind of failed though... and passed a soccor ball around outside. we came home dead tired. 

i cant remember if i mentioned this during skype, but we had secret santa between juan and the elders. i had elder Lopez and hermana Jenkins had Juan and we decorated tee shirts for them that say some of our inside jokes. hermana jenkins recieved a framed photo of the elders from elder marshall and Juan gave me protein powder.... but then came out with the real gift, a scarf and fancy chopsticks (i have no idea why he gave me chopsticks) it was super fun. hermana Jenkins also gave him the water gun... big mistake. 

friday was rough, we were super tired and had the after christmas blues. no one was home or wanted to let us in. we did get to teach victor and blanca and they fed us completos!

saturday we had interviews with presidente. he told me my spanish has improved a lot and is really good now. i think its a matter of comparison because my first interview with him was after one week of being in chile and i couldnt speak spanish at all. but the interview was really great. we had a christmas activity with presidente, we all went to sing and contact people in the plaza again. afterwards we had a dinner all together and played white elephant, it was hilarious. hermana jenkins and i gave away random stuff from our casa that we didnt want anymore. i recieved a nice big tea mug, perfecto and hermana jenkins a little decorated box that was empty haha. 

presidente gave each companionship a box of cookies and a box of chocolate covered cherries. we went home and started eating the cherries... but they tasted really weird, like almost a stinging taste.... we talked to our district leader later and he said that we shouldnt eat the chocolate cherries because they contain 5% alcohol! i guess presidente didnt read the ingredients! haha it was super funny. first time consuming alcohol and its during my mission!

sunday i wasnt feeling very well and neither was hermana jenkins. i think we got sick from being wet and cold on christmas when we played outside. we went home after lunch and i slept for a couple hours and we just hung out in the house. i always thought that being able to have time to just sit in the casa and sleep and do nothing would be so wonderful.... but yesterday was aweful! i was so bored! even though i was writing in my journal and organizing things i felt like i was doing absolutely nothing with my life! the thing about missionary work is that its hard but its fulfilling. 

i hope everyone a wonderful christmas and that you all have a very happy new year. i dont know what our rules for the new year are yet, but Juan invited us to his house again with the elders. 

mom i got the post card from whistler this week! and please tell sister kamikawa and the halls thank you for the letters. and i was thinking, if you are going to send me more of the face topical can you also send me more face wash, that would be fantastic!

i dont want my time here in punta arenas to end!  i love it here so much! i love being a missionary, even though its hard sometimes. i know that its worth it and that this is the greatest work i will do in my life. 

love you all!

love, Hermana Williams