Well, this certainly has been a week of ups and downs. But overall it's been up :) I am very grateful to President Chipman that I got the opportunity to talk to you. It was really good for me. I'm excited to here more about the funeral, the celebration of Grandpa's life. I have been doing pretty well. The members here found out, and they have been very kind to me. After church on Sunday I had many of them give me big hugs and wish me peace. I had one hermano tell me how greatful he was that I was here on a mission, and that I was a great example to the members here. I know that I am where I am supposed to be. It made me feel better, knowing that I have a little family here in Peru to physically give me the hugs that I can't receive from you. I know that Grandpa is happy, and that he lived a good life. When the members asked me if he was a member, I was so happy to be able to reply that "yes, he was. He was faithful until the end." So much of the missionary I am is because of him. I am so proud to have his name, and to be able to represent him and the rest of our family to the people of Peru.
My other happiness-on Sunday, Daniel was baptized! I am so happy for him! He's the only member of the Church in his family, so we're really trying to work with the other members here to reach out to him. After his baptism, he looked so happy. He was just smiling. He bore his testimony, saying that there weren't words to describe how he felt, and that he knew that the Church is true. It was so cool!! It was cool to me too to see that through some of my efforts, I was able to help someone come unto Christ, through baptism. He'll be confirmed in Church on Sunday, and I'm sure that will be another awesome experience.
Today has been a good p-day too. This morning, we got together with our zone. I asked my zone leaders if they could give me a blessing, mainly because I'm congested some, and because of this, Hna Lopez insists that I rest. I feel bad resting though, because I want to work! But she told me that if I don't rest a little bit now, I'll have to rest for a long time later on. And I just felt like I could use a little bit of extra divine help. I asked Elder Wilding, from Texas, to give me the blessing, in English. He's been in Peru for a long time...16 months, I think? Anywho, he had a little bit of a hard time remembering the words in English, and the words were kind of choppy throughout the whole blessing, but I felt the Spirit so strong. I felt like I was doing what I needed to be doing, and that even though the words weren't anything spectacular, the strength that came from the blessing was going to be. It was a great experience for me. I am so grateful for the priesthood in my life.
We're still working on helping investigators to church. On Sunday, we had 6 investigators show up-most of them didn't have baptismal dates, and the investigators that do have baptismal dates didn't show...we have some work to do, but I know that the Lord will help us.
Well, this letter is a lot shorter than all of the other ones I've sent, but I just want to thank you for your prayers and support. I love you so much. This Gospel is true! Give everyone my love this weekend. Hna Williams
In the last letter I sent Jamie I asked some questions. Here are the questions I asked and then she answers them in her letter. 1. How much time does your mission president allow on p-day to use the computer? 2. So what is the money called that they use in Peru and what is the value campared to the US dollar? 3. Do you and Hna Lopez live near stores? Have you done any shopping on p-days? If so what sort of things did you get? 4. How do you get your monthly money? 5. Do you cook any of your own meals? 6. How are your shoes holding up? 7. Do you feel your Spanish is improving daily? 8. In the picture of you and Hna Lopez you have some sort of bags over your shoulders. Do you use those instead of a backpack? 9. How did you enjoy Emily's letter? 10. How are you doing teaching piano?
Hello Familia :) ¿Como estan? Life here in Peru is great, hot, tiring, wonderful, exhausting...basically the life of a missionary. First, I'll start by answering your questions. 1-I get an hour on P-day to email, which is nice. 2-Here we use "soles." I'm not exactly sure of the exact value, but I think it's about 2.75 soles to the dollar. 3-The way a "store" here is is different from what I'm used to at home. Basically people just have items for sale in the front of their house. I think I'll be able to get the things that I need. There also is a big market in Chiclayo, (which is actually where I'm at right now. Monsefu doesn't have electricity right now, and I'm not quite sure why). It's like Pony Express Days times 100. We did a little shopping at the market today, (I got a really cute hat! I'll send a picture probably next week, because I just bought it, and I don't want to expose to the world here that I have a nice camera...) For the most part though I just make do with what I have. 4-Well, from what I understand, at the beginning of the month, I'll go with my zone to withdraw money from the bank. SInce I arrived at the beginning of the month though, I think they just gave me my monthly allowance. It's almost February though, so I'm sure I'll be taking out more money soon. 5-I have not done any cooking since we got here. We have someone, a member, who provides all of our meals for us. (She gets paid for it.) She's our pensionista. (I think...) So I've eaten a lot of chicken and rice. A lot. I really am loving the candy and chocolate I brought with me, although I think I saw something that looks like Smarties that I think I want to try. If so, I will be in heaven :) I've also eaten more jello here than I ever did in Utah. Kinda funny. 6-My shoes are holding up fairly well. In the MTC, I hardly ever wore my tracting shoes, but here, they are all that I've worn. I think they can make the rest of the 16 month journey :) 7-Well, I feel like my Spanish is improving. Some days are better than others. At this point, I feel like I can say what I need to say for the most part. Now I'm working on really trying to understand what people say to me. 8-The bags were actually ones that we just used for that p-day. I use my backpack for the rest of the time, which is good, becuse I need the space. 9-I loved Emily's letter. Her letters always make me smile because she includes silly quotes.
Well, as far as my teaching piano and english go, we had our first class on Saturday. We'll do them once a week on saturday nights. (piano first, then english). I felt like I did okay. It was a little hard to teach piano-right now we're just working on learning music, the notes, and staff. There were about 15 people who came to learn piano. The names of the notes in Spanish are Do for C, Re for D, Mi for E, and so on. I also need to figure out what the names of the rhythms are. I think a quarter note is called a negro, and a half note is a blanco. I need to try and figure that out more. I'm sure we can get the simplified course down here. I'll talk to Hna Lopez and see what she thinks, if we can order it online or something.
I got Cameron's emails and I was so so so happy to read them! I sent you a letter (a real live letter) with a letter for Cameron for you to forward onto him wherever he is. I'm not quite sure how long mail takes here. I guess we'll find out though! I'm glad people are enjoying my letters too :)
Apparently there is a tradition here in Peru that from Jan 20 to Feb 20, you can throw water on any person and any time, and it is totally acceptable. Weird. I've gotten wet a couple of times. It's great...ish. Anywho, I feel like this week has gone by pretty fast. We've taught a lot. Right now, our most-progressing investigator is a young man named Daniel. He's 21. He has friends that are members, and we met him through them. He's been to church for the past two weeks, and as we've taught him, he likes what he hears. We're hoping that he'll be baptized this Saturday. He still needs to gain a testimony of prophets-that Joseph Smith was a prophet and restored this church, and that Pres Monson is our prophet today. But we're working with him. He says that he believes that the Book of Mormon is true, and that he trusts us. He says he wants to be baptized, which is so cool!
Our investigators are...sort of progressing. It's frustrating, because here, everybody is willing to let us talk about God and Jesus Christ and the word of God. But not very many people want to take action. Our biggest problem right now is getting people to attend church. We had 23 new investigators this past week, and between them and our other investigators, only 1 (Daniel) attended Sacrament Meeting. A lot of people say they have to work (this kind of work is selling stuff along side the road and in markets). We're trying to help people have the faith that they need to realize that if they keep the commandments and attend church, God is going to bless them. It's a process.
We did have a cool experience last Tuesday though. Tuesday was a funny day. We had district and zone meetings in the morning, where we talked about using the BOM more in our lessons. So as we left, I was so pumped to share the Book of Mormon with people. We started going our appts in the afternoon, around 2:30. Appt after appt that we had scheduled fell through. No one that we had scheduled in our planners was home, or they were busy. It was such a downer. We started tracting, knocking doors, but nobody wanted to talk to us. They were either too busy, or Catholic, or both. Then we knocked on another door, and an older man in his sixties let us in. He called in his daughter and her family, and they listened as we started to teach about the restoration. As we began to teach more, using scriptures, we explained how we needed a restoration of truth, and how we need a prophet on the earth today. They began to feel the Spirit stronger. They felt the truth. It was so cool to find a family. They said they want to be baptized, but we haven't been able to meet with them since, because of...well, I'm not exactly sure why, but we're going to try and find them. It was a cool reminder to me that as I do the work, I might get door after door slammed in my face, but that just means I'm one door closer to finding the person that will need the truth, and let me in.
Well, I'm going to wrap this letter up. This gospel is true. I testify of that. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support for me. I love you! Hna Williams
Hello! I was so happy to hear from you. I've been wondering about Cameron's departure into the MTC all week. I hope he's doing okay.
As far as I go, life here in Peru is great! I'm taller than everyone, and very very white (that's in the process of changing though.) I even had one investigator tell me that I looked like a barbie...I don't think so.
My talk and lesson went well. In the MTC, we had to write a 5 minute talk (in spanish) each week, so I just adjusted one of the talks that I had and I had Hna Lopez help me fix it. The members I think understand too that I'm still learning Spanish. I read a lot of scriptures in my talks too because the scriptures speak Spanish way better than I can.
Right now, as far as investigators go, we have...some. I'm not exactly sure how many. We were teaching some sisters-Silvia is 18, and has a little daughter who is 6 months old. She is married, but I guess she and her husband are separated. We were also teaching her little sister, who is 9. Her name is Yuleydi, and I love her so much!! But I guess their dad doesn't want us teaching them, because "we're Catholic." Of course. Everyone here is Catholic, it feels like. But that's okay! I think because of that people are a lot more willing to let us talk about religion, and about God and Jesus Christ. Anywho, technically, their dad can't tell us that we can't teach Silvia, so we're going to go back to their house tomorrow and see if we can continue to teach them. I hope so. Silvia needs some light in her eyes. She always seems so sad when we first visit her.
We also have another woman named Imma. She's about 52 years old, and she actually lives pretty close to us. We found her because we walked past her store, and her dad (who is about 80, and reminds me of Grandpa Williams) stopped us because he recognized us as missionaries. I'm not sure if he's a member or not...a lot of the time I nod my head and say yes to the things people say...the life of total complete Spanish. Anyhow, we had our first lesson with her, and we taught about the restoration. It was cool. Hna Lopez and I both stopped talking, and the Spirit bore witness to her that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that Pres Monson is a prophet today. She said she would be baptized on Jan 23 but she didn't come to Church yesterday because she was out of town. So I think we're going to shoot for the 30th. We're actually going to go visit her once we're done on the computers here :)
Life here is great. I'm learning to like some of the food (some of the food is great and others is...not so much). My Spanish is...improving. A lot of the times Hna Lopez will have to explain a conversation to me after it was over. I'm getting better though. I want to start to be able to teach more, and not just say a sentance or two from my testimony when Hna Lopez looks at me, but I guess that's where the whole concept of patience comes in. At this point, I can't really picture myself being fluent, but I know it will come. Thank you for all of your prayers on my behalf. I love hearing about your lives, and I hope all is well at home. I love this church. I know that it's true. Stay Strong! Hna Williams
Wow. I can't believe that I'm actually here. This is such a different place than any other place I've ever been before. To answer your question, I think Interpol was just something I needed to do to make sure that I was good to go to be in Peru for the next 18 months. They fingerprinted me, and looked at my teeth...hm. Whatever. After I left the CCM in Peru, I went back to the airport to catch a flight to Piura. While I was waiting to board my plane, I started talking to a mom and her 3 children in my broken Spanish. She lives in Piura, which was great. I talked to them a little bit about the Gospel, but I wasn't exactly sure what to say. I had never really done this before. After we got off the plane, she asked me what chapel I attended. I didn't know, but I had seen my mission President and his wife waiting for me, so I told her to come with me. I asked her if she wanted to go, and she said yes! It was really cool. My companion, who was also there, started talking to them. She doesn't live in my area, so we took done her address, and gave the elders in that area her contact info. I hope things work for them!
Anywho, my companion was there at the airport to meet me as well. She is amazing. Her name is Hna Lopez, and she's from Guatemala. She's been out on the mission for 10 months so far. She doesn't really understand English, which is good for me, because that means I have to learn Spanish...but at the same time I miss English. Oh well. I'll learn one day. I had dinner that night with Pres Chipman and his wife, and Hna Lopez. Apparently they only allow 4 North American Hermanas in this mission at one time (and I'm not exactly sure who "they" is). I do feel pretty blessed to be here in this mission though. There are 3 North Americans in my zone-me and 2 other elders. I try to speak Spanish all the time though. I think it's better for me.
So on Friday afternoon, I finally made it to my first area. I'm in a subarb, if you will, of the city Chiclayo, in a town called Monsefu. There's a branch here of probably 100 members. They are good people, and I'm excited to work with them, even though I can barely understand them. Going to chuch on Sunday was so good for me. It reminded me that no matter where I go, there will always be the gospel in my life, always constant. Everything else here is different, but the church is still the same. I played the piano in church on Sunday. They have a piano in their chapel-it's a little out of tune, but it's still a piano. Everyone loved it. No one here can play the piano. The branch pres asked me to teach some people in the branch how to play the piano. I said that I would. The only music I have though is the hymnbook. If you have any ideas on how I can do this, you should share them with me. In RS on Sunday, they asked me to teach the sisters a hymn that they didn't know called the "La Santa Cena" in Spanish (I can't remember which song that is in English. It's one of the sacrament hymns though). I sang the first verse through for them, and then we all sang it together. I guess that is something they do each week. I've also had a couple of branch members ask me to teach an English class. I've heard that that is a good way to find investigators, but again, I'm not exactly sure how to do it. RIght now, I feel like those are really my 2 biggest assets-English and music. One day I'll speak Spanish. Oh-and I get to teach Gospel Principles next week. And speak in Church. In what language? Oh yeah. Not English. Good thing I have a great companion and the Lord to help me.
The food is pretty good. I've had more carbs in the past 4 days than I'm pretty sure I've had in my life, between all the rice, bread, and potatoes. We walked almost everywhere though, so hopefully they even each other out. There are a couple of things that I don't really like-they have this drink-a type of juice-...I think it might be made from corn...I'm not sure. It tasted like medicine. They have it a lot here, though, so I guess I'll work on getting used to it. We have our own little apt above one of the member's homes. It's old. The bathroom is probably the worst part, but I'm fine with it. There isn't a toilet seat (just the toilet part), and sometimes the toilet doesn't flush, so we have to pour water down to help it flush. My showers since Friday have consisted of me pouring water on myself (the water is a little cooler than room temperture) and then washing myself and then rinsing off again. I wash my hair every other day, basically using the same method. It sort of works. Oh well. I'm surviving. The weather here is pretty nice too. It's summer time (yeah, like 80-90 degrees outside! I love it!). It does get a little cool at night (like maybe into the high 60s). However, everyone thinks that it's super cold. I wear my sweater at night, but mostly just because my companion doesn't want me to get sick. I humor her :) Most of the people here live in concrete hut things. Many people have dirt floors that have just been packed down. Others have concrete. We have tile in our apt, which I think is nice. There are dogs wandering everywhere. Probably shouldn't bring Laura and Emily here...they would probably cry. There are certain areas too that smell like feed lot in Canada and worse...but I love it. I'm pretty sure that I'm the only American in Monsefu too. Because I spend my entire day looking at people who have beautiful brown skin, I sometimes forget that I'm so white. I'll wash my hands and remember "oh yeah! I have white skin!" It's good though. This has been so hard, but I love it.
Anywho, about the gospel. The reason I'm in this place. My comp and I are both new to this area, so we're trying to start up our pool of investigators. It has seemed kind of slow for the past couple of days. Everyone here is Catholic too. Almost are just say they are Catholic though, because that is what they have been taught. We have taught about baptism to a couple of people, and all of them said they were baptized-when they were niños, and they had water splashed on their head. I think that will be a fun problem to conquer...oh well. Most people are very willing to listen to our message. They agree with us most of the time about the need to have faith in Jesus Christ and that we are all children of God. We haven't taught as many actual lessons yet, but we have a busy schedule for this next week. We've contacted a lot of people and given them pamphlets centered on one of the first 3 lessons in PMG. Probably one of my favorite investigators right now is a 75-year-old woman. Her name is Rosa (we have 3 or 4 investigators named Rosa...). She's had a tough life. She's had 15 children, 5 of them have died, she can't read...and I think she had some other struggles that I didn't understand. Most of the time she was talking to us she looked right at me. In most of our lessons, people talk to Hna Lopez, because she can speak Spanish. But she was talking to me. I wasn't sure what was going on, but my heart went out to this poor old woman. We're also teaching her daughter Yolanda that lives with her. I think the gospel could bless their lives so much.
Well, I'm going to try and see if I can send some pictures, so I'll be done with this email for now. I love you so much. The Gospel has to be true. There is no way I would be here if it wasn't. Absolutely no way. But I do love it. Love, Hna Williams
¡Hola! I'm in Peru! It hasn't really hit me yet. Let me just tell you some about my trip, since I last talked to you. So I ended up on a flight to Atlanta with...one of the elders-Elder Stanfield. The other elder was talking too long on the phone, and it was kind of just a mess, the doors closed before he could get on...I hope he's doing okay. I still managed to survive with only one elder. I sat next to a big black guy on the plane. He was pretty cool. He looked at me like I was crazy though when he found out that I was going to Peru for 18 months and that I wasn't going to see my family for a long time. We talked a little bit, and I gave him a pass along card. He seemed really grateful for that.
Also, on the plane to Atlanta, the flight attendants were walking down the aisle, offering menus to people who wanted to buy something more than the complimentary snacks. I wasn't going to take one, but then she told me that another gentleman was going to buy me and my friend (Eld Stanfield) something. It was kind of crazy. It was only because we were missionaries, which I thought was pretty cool.
We arrived in Atlanta with about an hour to spare before our plane to Lima was supposed to depart. The guy that I talked to on the plane was from Atlanta, so he helped us find our gate quickly, which was nice, because after the other elder missed our flight, we became kind of paranoid, and we wanted to make sure that we weren't stranded in Atlanta. We made it on okay, and soon began our 6 hour flight to Lima. I got on the plane thinking, "oh this will be nice-I bet there are a lot of people who can speak Spanish well, and maybe I can practice my Spanish some on the plane." The next thing I know, I'm being surrounded by a bunch of old Japanese women who are all part of some tour group. So much for Español. That's okay though!! After many hours of sitting and sitting and sitting some more, we finally landed in South America. In Peru. In Lima. As in, I'm further away from home than I have ever been in my life. As in, where I'm going to spend the next 16 months of my life. CRAZY!!! We made it through customs, found everybody, and eventually made it the CCM here in La Molina around 3 in the morning (1 in the morning, Utah time). I was exhausted. So I got ready for bed, and slept, and dreamt that Cafe Rio had made it down to Lima, and that I was eating Cafe Rio...It was a nice dream, until I woke up.
So this morning, I woke up, got showered, dressed (the bathrooms are nice too, btw-definitely nicer than the "dorm style" bathrooms in the Provo MTC. I do miss the MTC though. I miss being there, with my elders and my hermanas. But I know it's time for me to go out into the field. This morning, actually, a couple of people here asked if I wanted to stay in the CCM for a little while longer to practice my Spanish...I said that I would rather just go to my mission. At this point, I'm going to learn Spanish no matter what, and I would just rather do it out in the field, teaching people, than stay in the CCM longer. They said that was fine-I later explained that I had been in the MTC for 9 weeks already, and they understood.
Oh-so you know how Peru is a foreign country and I didn't think that there was really anyone here that I knew? Well, while I was waiting to go to Interpol to get the okay to stay in Peru, one of the counselors of the CCM Presidency came out, and it was Dr. Slingerland!! He's here at the CCM! I asked him if he was a pediatrician in Provo, and he said yes, and I told him that I was pretty sure that he was my doctor-I think I've changed just a little bit since I was 7, so he asked who my parents were, and I told him, and then he remembered me! He asked where I was going and everything. I just thought that was cool, and you'd want to know that.
So basically, I feel like I know zero Spanish. Well, maybe not zero, but pretty close. When North Americans speak Spanish, I can understand them. I can understand Peruvians if they talk slow...and that's unusual. So mostly I catch a word or two, and I try to respond in Spanish...I've already made some mistakes, and gotten some funny looks. I'm excited to do that more!
I'm so glad that I got to talk to you yesterday. That made me happy to hear your voices. I'm excited to go to Piura (it should only be an hour long flight, which will be nice and easy compared to my flights yesterday). Because I'm not staying here, I don't really have a schedule of what I am supposed to do today, so the president here gave me permission to email you. I'm not sure when I'll be able to email you again-I imagine it will be sometime soon though. I just want to get to my mission! Until then, I get to study a lot-which I'm actually pretty excited for.
Well, I've gotta go. But I love you all so much! The church is true! Love, Hermana Williams
Merry Christmas/Happy New Years now HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMILY!!!! How is everyone? I'm glad you are able to be down to Cedar City right now. I'm gonna try to make this email make some sense...
Christmas was great! It definitely was different than ones that I'm used to, but it was one that I'll always remember. On Christmas Eve, we had a devotional where the MTC presidency spoke. It was good. The highlight though was definitely getting to watch Mr. Krueger's Christmas afterwards. They had a bag of popcorn for everyone too!! That was so much fun. I had forgotten how much I loved that movie. Afterwards, we went back to our residence halls. I opened my pajamas, and I loved them! So cute! I'll have to send pictures! I don't know if I"ll get pictures printed off before I leave, but I'll try and see what I can do. The bookstore is closed today (I don't know why...they were open Christmas Eve). We had a sleepover with the other hnas in our zone in our room. We pulled mattresses in and they slept on our floor. I loved it! We had so much fun until 10:15, when we had to be quiet, and then we partied it up silently until 10:30. I know! I was afraid that Santa might not come because we had stayed up so late.
Christmas morning was good. We had a tiny little Christmas tree made of cardboard that we put our presents around. We sat there in our pajamas and opened our Christmas presents. I love them! Thank you so much for all of your presents! I'm hoping that I"ll be able to take them all to Peru, but I probably will end up sending some back. I'm not quite sure what I'll send yet. We'll have to see what I can take/what I need. I'll spend a lot of Monday and Tuesday packing. I'll send you my flight plans, but right now I'm on Delta flight 1912 to Atlanta. My flight leaves at 11:01 am on Jan 5th. We leave Atlanta for Lima at 5:15 (so my layover isn't very long at all)...and I'm supposed to get to Lima at 11:55 pm, Lima time (whatever time that is here....probably like almost 10 here). From there, I'm not exactly sure what will happen. I've heard that I'll spend the night at the Peru MTC and then fly to my mission the next day. I'm so excited to get to my mission.
Anywho, random tangent. Back to Christmas! After we opened all our presents, we went to the MTC Talent show. It was pretty epic. It was 2 1/2 hour show, so it was kind of long, but it was a lot of fun. Then we had Christmas dinner (which was pretty much the same as Thanksgiving dinner). Afterwards, we had a devotional, where Elder Russell M Nelson came and spoke to us. It was really good. Then we went back and had sack dinner in our residence halls (which meant that I ate more of my goodies than the cold gross turkey sandwich that had been sitting out for 2 hours...) Then we had a fireside, where they had 2 men reenact the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It was really fun! It was a different day than one that I'm used to, but I loved it.
I'm glad you can be there for Grandpa. I love that we have this gospel, and that we know that this isn't the end. I've been teaching about the Plan of Salvation all the time here. I know that there is life after death, and that because we have taken advantage of the blessings of the temple, we will be able to see each other again. That's so comforting.
So my Spanish is coming along fairly well. I feel like I'm to the point where I can understand MTC Spanish and carry on a conversation in Espanol. I love it. It is such an awesome language. And I know that Lord has been helping me so much, I know. That's the only way I know that I've learned so much Spanish so quickly. If I'm talking to a native spanish speaker though, I'm not quite as confident. I'll probably be extremely humbled when I get to Peru. I'm so grateful for the time that I've been able to spend here. I haven't heard of anyone else whose mission is in Peru not going to the Peru MTC. I know that I'm supposed to be here right now, and that this is where the Lord needs me. And I love it. I love the people I've gotten to know here. 2 of my elders, Eld Harris & Eld Wolfe, leave for North Carolina on Monday. The rest of my elders are probably being reassigned to somewhere in Utah/Idaho/Colorado. They are supposed to go to Mexico, but they don't have their visas yet. I'm excited for all of us to head out and teach the Gospel. It's awesome.
I love this Gospel. And I'll talk to you on Wednesday!!! I love you! Hermana Williams