Monday, February 21, 2011

Baptism Pictures Feb 20, 2011

Me, Rosa, Laura, Hna Lopez with our "sisters".
Rosa and Laura, already to be baptized.

Me with Laura and Rosa after their baptism.
They were so happy!

The members that came out to the baptism with Rosa and Laura.
And Elder Torrez.

All of us together! Yah!

Jamie's Letter Feb 21,2011

Dear familia-
Stake Conference was really good. Pres and Hna Chipman came out and spoke to us. Pres Chipman gave a wonderful talk about the Atonement of Christ and about the prayers that he offered on the cross. It was so good (And the best part-I understood his Spanish! I love listening to the Spanish of other Americans...I understand it so much better!) It was similar to ours, except rather than special musical numbers, we all just sang songs in the middle. I'm glad things are going well at home.

The big news of my life this week is that we had 2 baptisms yesterday! Remember how last week I told you we had a bunch of young women we were teaching? Well two of them, (sisters), decided to be baptized yesterday. It's actually a fun little story. So about 2 weeks ago, Hna Lopez and I went tracting, knocking doors in an area of Monsefu that we had never been before. We knocked on the door, and a young woman answered. We told her who we were, and she said that her parents weren't home then. So we made an appointment to come back and teach them when her family was home. Well, we went, and found her mom and dad, and all of her brothers and sisters. (Oh-her name is Laura. Isn't that awesome!?) She's the oldest of 7 children. Her dad had to leave for work, but we taught Laura, Rosa, and their mom Maria about the Restoration. They really liked what they heard. We made an appointment to return-and invited them to church. And they came!! When we came back to teach them, we talked about baptism (this appt was last Tuesday). We invited them to be baptized, and Laura and Rosa said yes. Maria said she needed to talk to her husband. So we planned to have family home evening in their home on Thursday, where we would ask for the permission of their dad, (their mom already gave us permission). When we got there on thursday, Maria said her husband was home, but he didn't want to talk to us, because he is Catholic. Hna Lopez asked if we could just talk to him for 5 minutes, and he agreed. He came out, and he started asking us questions about the need for his daughters to be baptized again. We started to explain the Restoration, and what was supposed to be 5 minutes turned into 90 as we taught this family about the restoration, and the need for baptism by proper authority. The Spirit was so strong, and I knew the dad (Luis) felt the Spirit. We knelt down (on a dirt floor) and asked him to pray. It was such a wonderful prayer. He said that he was confused, and that he wanted to be a good example and leader of his home. It was amazing. He also said (other miracle for the week) that he knew that working on Sundays wasn't good-that it is good to work for 6 days and have 1 day for the Lord!

After this, we asked if he would give permission to his daughters to be baptized. He asked them if this was what they wanted. Laura said yes, and then Rosa said yes. Laura is so good. She is so strong. Anyhow, he gave us permission, and we have another appointment to meet with him and his family tomorrow! Hopefully the family can be baptized (they have a little baby with the chubbiest cheeks I have ever seen. I definitely am going to try and get a picture to send to you. :)

Anywho, they had their interviews on Saturday, and they both passed, and we almost ready to be baptized-they just needed to come to Stake Conference the next day. But then I guess something happened to their mom (She was sick or something) and Rosa had to stay home, so we weren't sure if we were going to baptize her or not. Laura came to the conference though. She loves the hymns and had a good time. When we went to go pick up Laura, Rosa was at their grandma's house. We weren't sure if Rosa was going to be baptized or not. Eventually, Laura and Hna Lopez went to pick up Rosa from her grandma's, and they were ready to be baptized.

We had to have our district leaders and our zone leaders come out to the baptism, because we had no other priesthood there. The branch president was at a fireside with the YSA, and for some reason his counselors weren't there...Our district leader, Elder Torrez, baptized them, and 2 other elders were the witnesses. We only have 11 members of the branch with the Melchezidek priesthood that regularly attend church. It really is sad. This is another trial of this area-getting members to love the converts. But we're really going to try to work with the members more, to help the members understand that the converts need a friend, need to feel welcome and support. It's so frustrating sometimes (but, I love that I'm frustrated with missionary work...kind of weird, but true!)

Anywho, after the baptism, Laura told Rosa that it was a good thing she (Rosa) came, otherwise she would have been baptized alone! It really was a great experience. We have a lot of work to do, but we have the Lord with us, and things will be okay. I thought it was cool that I baptized my sister :) (And Hna Lopez has a sister named Rosa, so it worked out perfectly!) We baptized our sisters! :)

On another note, I finally got the letter from Laura (my sister in the US) that she wrote to me on Dearelder...Jan 29. I got a bunch of letters today. Another American elder in the district was "upset" when I got a bunch of letters and there was nothing for him. He told me to wait for 2 more months, and then nobody would send me anything :) Good thing I have awesome friends and family! I also finally got letters from Erin for the first time-it was great! One of them was a little eaten up though... :( And tell Ilarene that I'm getting her dearelders and I'm loving those too (She said she was a little paranoid that I wasn't getting them. Don't worry. I am! Just 3 weeks after you write them :)

I know the Gospel is true. I know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us, and that the Gospel has been restored on the earth in this time through our prophet, Joseph Smith. I know Pres Monson is a prophet. Missionary work is awesome! I love you all! :)

Hermana Williams

Monday, February 14, 2011

Jamie's Pictures Feb 14, 2011

So it's been ridiculously hot here. It doesn't really cool off at nights either.
It's probably 80 degrees at night. We tried opening the window, but it didn't have a screen, so we made one with the mosquito nets that don't fit on our beds! It helped a little but not much.

My first district. Hna Lopez, Me, Elder Torrez, Elder Wilding, Elder Baca, Elder Diaz.

Jamie's Letter Feb 14, 2011

Hello my dearest familia!
¿Como estan?

And Happy Valentines Day too. I love you all so so much!
Life here is good. I officially finished my first transfer yesterday. I'm not the youngest in the mission anymore! It's crazy to think that 6 weeks have already flown by. The days go by so so fast here. I have a lot of work to do, and not much time to do it. I'm staying here in Monsefu with Hermana Lopez for now. I didn't think I would get changed my first transfer, and I didn't. I'm glad. I love our investigators here, and Hna Lopez really is amazing. I'm going to be so sad when we do have to change. But for now, I will enjoy having an awesome companion.

As far as mail goes, I got a couple of dearelders from Ilarene and Laura, a letter/pictures from Wendi Christensen, and the Christmas card from Amber and Jason. It's been good though. I'm really glad that we have the time every week to email, so I know what all is going on (more or less) in your lives :)

This week has been pretty normal. We had the baptismal interviews for our family (Feliberto and Kelly) on Saturday, in hopes that they would be baptized on Sunday. Our district leader spent an hour with Hno Feliberto. Afterwards, Elder Torrez told us that he is totally ready to baptized...except that he wants to learn more. We were kind of bummed about that, but we're going to keep working with them. I am know they are going to be baptized...I'm just not sure when. I think Hno Feliberto is scared that after he is baptized he'll mess up big time or something. We talked some about repentance and the wonderful gift that that is in this time. We also are having to work some with his wife, Hna Kelly. She likes church, and feeling good, but I don't think she is too excited to change her traditions. Tradition is a huge thing here. You are Catholic because everyone in your entire family is Catholic and it is so hard to change something for the better. But that's just one of the trials of this area. Anywho, I think she will be baptized with her husband. He has such a desire to follow the commandments of God, and we're hoping that he can help Hna Kelly feel more of that. I really am hoping though that I'll be able to send you pictures of their baptism soon!

We also have a couple of other investigators come to church on Sunday that we're working with. A lot of girls in Young Womens. But we're hoping to be able to teach their families too. Because I really want people to be able to experience the blessings that come from having a family that has been to the temple. I love showing pictures of you to my investigators. It's the best! I love being able to explain about the power of having a family that have all made the decision to be baptized and follow Jesus Christ. It really is great.

We have our stake conference this Sunday. I'm excited for it, even though it will all be in Spanish. My Spanish is progressing. We were talking to Elder Wilding today, and he said that he was really impressed with my Spanish after only 6 weeks in the mission. I know that the Lord is helping me. I'm still working to understand everyone, but it will come with time.

Well, I'm just about out of time. But I want you to know that I love you so much, and that I am praying for you. I'm am loving life as a missionary more and more each day. It's amazing how quickly time flies by when you dedicate everything you have to the Lord. I know this is the Lord's work. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that Pres Monson is a prophet today. Thank you for all of your prayers for me and Cameron. I love you!
Hna Williams

Monday, February 7, 2011

Jamie's Letter Feb 7, 2011

Dear familia
Well, it sounds like everyone has had kind of a crazy week. I'm glad things went well for the funeral. Grandpa is an amazing person, and I'm grateful for all of the details. I missed being with you on Saturday. I was at an activity for one of the stakes in Chiclayo. I got to meet one of the other American hermanas, Hna Choto, from California. She was so good to me. I think it was because she's been exactly in my same position-wanting to teach about the gospel but not having the words to do it. Anyhow, she asked me if I missed my family. Normally I'm not homesick, I don't feel like I miss you or dwell on the fact that I do miss you, but at that time when all the family was gathered together, it was a little hard for me. But I know that this is exactly what grandpa wants me to be doing, and that made it a little easier (I explained this all to her, in English-I love that language! :) Spanish is coming along well though. I understand a little bit more every week. I still have a lot to learn, but I have a great companion who helps me with a lot.

This week was definitely a week of miracles. We've been working with one invesigator, Kelly since the very first day I got here in Monsefu. She is 30 and has 2 little boys. She is also married (which is a big thing around here for us...we don't have to teach law of chastity 50 bajillion times!!!) Her husband was away for work though. He works in what is called the "pesca." From what I understand, it's basically fishing big time. He's away for 3 months at a time. Anywho, every time we would teach Kelly, she would agree with the things we were teaching her, but when we would invite her to be baptized, she would always say she needed to talk to her husband-which is true. But it was frustrating for us because he wasn't around, and they could only talk on the phone, and I would imagine that it is a little difficult for an investigator to talk about baptism and it's significance over the phone. We kept encouraging her to come to church, but for one reason or another, she didn't come. 2 weeks ago, though, her husband (Feliberto) came home, and from what I can understand, he's home for the next couple of months. Anyhow, we found him and started talking to him about the gospel. He was very receptive to the things we taught. On Thursday, we had a lesson with them, and the Branch Pres. came with us. It was great-and it was so good to have the support of the president.

On Friday, we went over to their house to cook for them (and by "we" I mean Hna Lopez-although I did help to chop up onions and carrots). It was a meal from Guatemala, because that's what Hna Lopez knows how to cook. It was really good. Afterwards, we taught them about the Plan of Salvation, and I told them about Grandpa, and about how it was difficult, sometimes, to not be with my family, especially right now. But because I have a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, I know that I will see Grandpa again, and I know that it will be a wonderful reunion.

Sunday was the big test though (it always is) to see if they would come to church. They said they would come, but they also said they would come last week and they didn't. But we told them that we'd stop by their house at 8:30 to remind them about church. So that's what we did. We walked to their house and knocked on the door, hoping that they would come with us, that they wouldn't have some excuse as to why they couldn't come. But nobody answered. One of their neighbors told us that they had all left. I didn't want to let myself hope that they had gone to church on their own, because I didn't want to be let down when they didn't show up. We started walking to church afterwards. As we got closer to the church, Hna Lopez grabbed my arm and said "The family! They came!" Turns out they had thought that the meetings started at 8, but when they got there and the chapel was closed, they left, and then came back at 8:45! By themselves!! And they looked so good too!! Better than I've ever seen them! And they felt the Spirit too. When Hno Feliberto was introducing his family in Sunday School, he said "I've never been inside the house of the Lord before." And he's Catholic!! We're hoping that they will be baptized next week. We've set this goal with them. They seemed a little hesitant, but we told them it was a goal, and we could change it if we needed to. It was so wonderful. I love them!

Life as a missionary is great. We have our ups and downs, but I know that this is where I am supposed to be. I know the Gospel is true, and that we can be a family for forever because of the temples. I am so greatful for temples in this world. I love missionary work :)
Hna Williams

Jamie's Pictures Feb 7, 2011

Us with the whole family - Hna Lopez, me, Kelly
Feliberto, and their two sons Juan and John.
Me with Hna Kelly and her youngest, Juan.

Me cutting up vegetables for our lunch - look I can cook!