Monday, March 28, 2011

Jamie's Pictures March 28, 2011

The Baptisms of Hna Kelly & Stefanny!! So Pretty!

Everyone!! Elder Torrez bapitzed Kelly & Stefanny (at the request of Hna Kelly) It really was great! My Zone! I really love these people!
My District - Imperio. We basically Rock!

Me with my American Hermanas. Hna Choto, Me, Hna Barlow.

3 of the 4 North American sisters in this mission are in my zone!


Jamie's Letter March 29, 2011

Hola a todos :)

Well, a quick update on life. Hna Lopez is doing fine. She's had some nausea throughout this week, but nothing too serious. We have spent some time in the hospital waiting. I got to watch my first CT Scan on Tuesday. Or Wednesday. I can't remember. It's all kind of a blur. It was relatively uneventful. The results were normal, and now we have pretty pictures of Hna Lopez's brain! :) (We joke that they are filled with flowers, as they have sort of become our logo to draw flowers everywhere :) The doctor said that because everything is normal, she must be missing some sort of substance in her brain, so he prescribed her something to take. We called and talked to President Chipman (who also is a doctor) and he said not to take the pills. He called a doctor up at the U of U to talk about what happened, and he says he thinks she might have some sort of parasite if I remember correctly. Anywho, it means more tests for her, which she is not excited for. She doesn't like hospitals.

I read the letter about Jordan. That kind of scares me, because I think that is more of a possibility for me to contract it too, being here. I'll definitely have to use my bug spray. He'll definitely be in my prayers.

The package I got was the package of music, which I was very very excited for! Thank you so much! I haven't gotten another letter yet, but it's possible that I'll get it Thursday (when we have our meetings for this week). I've heard some about the tsunami in Japan. I haven't seen much coverage of it (understandably) but the people here are praying for those people that have been affected by it. I think there is some risk for earthquakes here (there was a really big one I guess in 2007, quite a bit further south than where I am). I really was excited over brownies too :) I've found a couple of cake mixes, but they cost 10 soles (about 4 dollars) and I haven't felt like I needed to. However, if you want to send me any cake mixes, I'd welcome them :) I actually have a little list of things you can send me. One thing we like to do at FHE's with people is make pancakes-something they aren't used to but are relatively easy to make. I was wondering if you could send me a couple of little bottles of maple to make syrup with to have with them :) Also, a baby Book of Mormon (in English) that I can take with me, some Pilot Pen refils, a contact case or two. And if Laura has time, (or someone) make me some "feliz cumpleaƱos" cards that I can send to the converts when it's their birthday. My thoughts for now :)

Well, this week has had it's ups and downs. Because of Hna Lopez's health, we haven't spent quite as much time working as we would have liked, but I've told her that if she doesn't rest for a little bit now, she'll have to rest for a lot later. Despite all of this though, we defintiely have had many blessings from the Lord. Hna Kelly was baptized on Saturday!! She and a young girl named Stefanny were baptized. It was such a wonderful experience. I kind of can't believe that Kelly was baptized. She was the very very first lesson that I ever taught in the mission field, and now, 3 months later, she's baptized!! (One downside though-she and her baby were sick, so she couldn't come to church for her confirmation...and because of General Conference on the 3rd, and elections on the 10th (when we don't hold meetings) she won't be confirmed until the 17th. But we'll keep working with her).

We also are blessed with other investigators. Hno Cesar, the husband of our Primary President isn't a member (his wife has been a member for probably 15 years, and is one of our best member missionaries), and we've been meeting with him a little bit. He's come to church multiple times. He has expressed a desire to change. One of the things that has impeded his progress is the Word of Wisdom. He doesn't drink at home, but he feels bad to turn down a drink from a friend. This is something else we've been helping him with. Last night, we had a great lesson with him. We started off by asking him how he felt to be a son of God, and he said "I'm happy to know this." Then we asked him what he could do to show his love to God, and he said "Well, be baptized, yes?" We were kind of...yeah!! You should be baptized!! We didn't say that, but we proceeded to have a lesson about baptism, and at the end, we invited him to be baptized on April 16. He was hesitant, saying he would do it someday. We then knelt down, and asked him to pray, specifically, if he needed to be baptized on this day. I could really feel the Spirit, and I was praying so hard for him to feel the answer to his prayer. Afterwards, he said he felt calm, peaceful, something he had never really felt before. We told him that this was the Spirit. We asked him to put the 16th as his goal, and asked him to pray every day this week, and he could give us a final answer on Sunday. He said yes!! I feel really blessed to be able to see the work of so many other missionaries and prayers that have gone before me.

One thing that has been on my mind this week too are transfers (or cambios). I really have not wanted to change at all. I love my companion, my district, my zone, and I really have not wanted to change. This morning, we got together with our zone. Some of the people that I love are leaving, but those in my district are staying, as well as Hna Lopez and I! Han Lopez has never spent more than 2 cambios with one companion-and now we're going to be together for 3 cambios! I'm so excited! Our district leader, Eld Torrez, is also staying. With all of the baptisms in our area, he and his companion have come to Monsefu almost every week, and we've become good friends with them. We're happy with where we are right now, and that we have another 6 weeks to work hard and bring more souls unto Christ.

Well, I think this is my letter for today. I love you all so much! Thank you for all of your prayers in my behalf. The Gospel is true!
Hna Williams

Monday, March 21, 2011

Jamie's Pictures March 21, 2011

Hno Jorge (the member that we live above & the 2nd counselor in the branch presidency) baptized them! Then there is me! Hna Ceferifina, Pedrito, Hna Inma and Hna Lopez!

We didn't have baptismal clothes for Pedrito. His mom got him a white shirt. They borrowed a pair of white pants from a girl in the ward. The pants had ruffles on the bottom. Pres Richard Had the great idea to staple the pants and stuff! It was great!
Me with the family of Katty who was baptized 2 weeks ago.
There is a lizard on the head of the young boy!

Hna Barlow & Hna Choto are so happy to have brownies today!
I was so excited too. They were positively delightful!!

My District. In the back Elde More, Elder Nicaragua, & Elder Castro
and then there's Elder Torrez, Me, Hna Lopez. I'm not sure what it is, but people have a hard time smiling in photos. I promise we're happy!

Jamie's Letter March 21, 2011

Hey!! I didn't get your email last week, but I read it today! I'm glad things are going well, and that Laura had a great birthday! I really love the notes from the family. They made me so happy! And my zone leaders told me today that they have a package for me, and they'll bring it tomorrow to our district meeting. I'm not sure who it is from, but I'll find out tomorrow! We have transfers next week. I'm not looking forward to it. And no, I haven't gotten any letters from Emily DeWeese. How is she doing? I've been thinking about her. Tell her to send me a dear elder if you see her around :) I'm so pumped for General Conference too!! From what I can tell, we are going to watch it at our Stake Center in Chiclayo. I'm not sure if we're going to watch the YW broadcast. I think they might save that for next weekend when everyone is there to watch Conference...I'm not sure how it'll work out. But I do know that I have never looked forward to General Conference so much in my life!!!

Well, so much has happened this week! Let me tell you. No. There is too much. Let me summarize :)
1-I ate guinea pig for the first time yesterday. It tastes like chicken.
2-Hna Kelly (the mom of the family that we've been teaching for a long time) wants to be baptized this Sunday!
3-Hna Lopez had a seizure yesterday.
4-I love love love love being a missionary....
5-I miss black beans!
6-Brownies are amazing!
Okay, I'll tell you more.

This past Tuesday, we went to visit Hna Kelly. She and her husband went out of town for a while, so we didn't see them for about 2 weeks. But they came back, and we have been visiting them two or three times a week. When we go, we normally just read a chapter in the Book of Mormon with them, since they've had all of the lessons, and it's a good opportunity for them to feel the Spirit. When we went on Tuesday, she was alone with her 2 boys. We started helping her help her 3-year-old with his "homework" from school (basically it's preschool). As we were doing this, Kelly asked about the baptisms we had last Sunday. We said they went well. 10 minutes later, she asked about the baptisms again, and told us that she wanted to come, but because she brought Jhon, (her son) she had to go home to feed him. She continuned to put sticker in a book for her son, and as she was doing this, she said nonchalantly "This Sunday or next Sunday, I'm going to be baptized." And kept on working. "WHAT?!?!" I was so sure that I had misheard something, that my Spanish wasn't good, that she was talking about someone else. But no! On Sunday, we had visited them and had read parts of Alma 5 with them, and then we left the chapter for them to read. Kelly was reading the chapter, and then on Monday, she was having a really rough time-her sister is going through some problems right now, and she just feels so bad for her. So Kelly prayed. She said she prayed so hard, and told us the Lord touched her heart, and that she wants to be baptized. She knows that it isn't going to solve everything for her, but she wants to start! Hna Lopez and I were very happy! It was wonderful! We never thought that she would be baptized first-we thought that her husband would be baptized and that she would follow him-but now it's the other way around! Hno Feliberto is ready. The only thing he still struggles with is the Word of Wisdom. He doesn't drink on a regular basis, but a couple times a month, or if someone offers it to him. I think that's what hard, is if someone offers him a drink, he feels bad about saying no. But we're continuing to work with him on this. I know one day he'll be baptized. I don't know if we'll be here to see it, but I know he will be.

Next exciting story:
So since last Tuesday, Hna Lopez hasn't been feeling the best. She has had a bit of nausea, her head hurts occasionaly, but we still work. She's a trooper. Saturday morning though, she threw up a little, and when we told our district leader later that night he got after us for not calling him and telling him sooner, and he told us to call Hna Chipman. So we did. She told her to take Gravol (I'm not sure if it's the same thing here as in the US, but I'd imagine it's similar). So she did. Yesterday, we were at church, everything was going well. Relief Society had just started, but we were in the bathroom. Hna Lopez was about to wash her hands-she had soap in her hand, and we were just kinda joking around. Then she looked at me and said "Hermana Williams, I don't feel good." At first I thought it was just kind of like the rest of the week, but then she began to fall down, and I got scared. I ran to help her fall more gently, and I didn't know what to do. Finally, once I got her situated on the floor (and I'm praying the whole time), I ran to get the Relief Society President, (who was in the middle of conducting RS) and told her to come. She and her daughter came, confused (because I can't speak Spanish and be scared at the same time) but once Hna America (our RS Pres) saw Hna Lopez on the floor, she told her daughter to run and get Pres Richard (our Branch president). He came running in shortly with the elders quorum president, and immediately gave her a blessing. Hna America and I helped Hna Lopez to sit up some. But the time the blessing was over, she was just crying-whereas before she had been shaking. We helped her to stand up slowly, and walked her into the branch pres's office, where I called our zone leaders and Pres Chipman. Pres Chipman told me to take her into Chiclayo to a hospital that could see her. So we did. I definitely like our hospitals better...they want her to see a neurologist, but he wasn't in yesterday, so we went in today, but when we did, he wasn't there and wasn't going to come back for 2 hours. So we're going in to the hospital again tomorrow after our zone meetings to have her have a consultation. She's doing better now. She slept for 2 1/2 hours yesterday, which I think she needed. She's a strong one though. I definitely am so blessed to have her as my companion.

Today, for P-Day, we wanted to do something cool as a zone, and we talked about making lunch in Monsefu (which was actually really exciting, because it costs anywhere from 5-7 soles to go to Chiclayo). And so we did! We decided to make burritos and watch a movie with the members that we live with. They were so good to let us borrow their house. We have 20 missionaries in our zone, and from what I can tell, that's a lot. When we told the members what we wanted to do, they had never heard of burritos before. But they helped us get the things we needed. It was so great to not have rice for lunch. The burritos had black beans on them, and I honestly didn't think I would miss them. But I did!! They don't really use black beans here, and I miss Cafe Rio. It definitely was heavenly. And then Hna Barlow got a brownie mix in her package last week, so we made brownies too, which were amazing!!! I didn't think that I would miss the smell of brownies, but when I smelled the brownies cooking, I remembered that yes, I do miss that! It was so good! I really have a great zone/district. I am so incredibly happy to be here, to be a missionary at this time. I really can't imagine my life any other way right now. I only have 13 1/2 months left! I am pretty much jealous of the elders that get to be here for 2 years. But then again, I still have 13 1/2 months left! I love everything about this place. It is so incredibly different from home, but I love it. We went to visit an inactive family the other day, and they told us that they were really active 2-3 years ago, but then they moved to Lima for 6 months or so, and when they returned, they kind of just stopped going, and no one came to visit them, so they kind of didn't do much. After we shared a message with them though, they said that they felt rejuventated, and that they are going to come back to church this Sunday. That made me so happy!! I love seeing people at church. It just makes me so happy.

Well, this has kind of been a long letter. I hope you enjoyed it though! I love you!
Hna Williams

P.S. The movie we watched was something like "Seach for the treasure" or something...about missionaries who go on a treasure hunt on P-Day or something and find a family...anywho, part of it was filmed in Lehi- at the bakery. That was kind of cool to tell everyone "hey! That's my home!"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Jamie's Letter March 14, 2011

Hello my dear family and friends and anyone/everyone else that I love :)
Happy Pi Day!! How are you? ¿Bien? ¡Bien! This week was really good. We had 3 more baptisms this week (although we only count 2 of them as convert baptisms, because one of them was an 8-year-old). Hna Inma, Ceferina, y Pedro were baptized!
A little bit about each of them:

Inma-We found her the first week we were here in Monsefu. We taught her, and she felt the Spirit strongly, and we invited her to be baptized at the end of January, and she said yes. But then she went out of town for about a month, and we couldn't ever really find her. She came back at the end of February though, and we taught her again, and she came to church on her own, and finally, yesterday, she was baptized! Yay!

Ceferina-She's a sweet tiny lady who has had a hard life. We found her and started teaching her, and invited her to be baptized. She said yes at first, but when we returned, she said she didn't want to be baptized. We asked her if she had prayed about it, and she said no. We asked her to pray right then and there and ask if she needed to be baptized. We did it, and afterwards, she said she felt good about it. She has been excited for this time too. She told her friends and family that she was going to be baptized on March 13. So cute :)

Pedrito-Honestly, I love this kid so much. His mom is a member, and he's grown up in the Church. Apparently in places outside of Utah though, it is customary for the missionaries to teach 8-year-olds too. When Hna Lopez told me we were going to teach him, I was confused. She told me that all the kids need to be taught by the missionaries-they don't count as convert baptisms, but the missionaries help to teach them to prepare them right before their baptism. I told her that if the missionaries in Utah did this, they would never have anytime to teach anyone else. She thought it was weird that I was never taught by the missionaries. Anywho, we spent 30-40 minutes at Pedrito's house every day talking about the lessons. He was so cute. He asked us if we could read the Book of Mormon together, and he was just so excited to be baptized. He was sad when he couldn't be baptized last week with our other baptisms. But yesterday was really special for him :)

We also had the chance to go to the stake celebration of the Relief Society birthday party on Saturday, because Hna Inma came. We can go to the activities of the stake/ward if we have investigators with us. The first part was spiritual, messages about the wonderfulness of RS, and the blessings in the lives of the members since it was established. Afterwards, they moved into the gym where they sang Kareoke. It was so funny! They had so much fun, and I loved watching them.

In the past week, I really have felt so much love for the people here. I have felt so much that this is what I'm supposed to be doing right now, and that this will really have an impact on the rest of my life. Yesterday, in Principles of the Gospel, we were talking about the Scriptures, and Hna Lopez asked me to share an experience where I received help from the scriptures. I shared a little bit about my decision to serve a mission, and how I wasn't sure if I was going to go, or if I was going to stay and study another year-how I made the decision to stay for the next semester, and how I prayed. I told them that after I prayed, I opened up the scriptures, and the first scripture I saw was D & C 18:15-16 (I think). As I read that scripture to them (converts, investigators, people I love) I really felt so incredibly grateful that the Lord has given me this opportunity to help people find the truth. I feel like Ammon, in Alma 26 (I think) who rejoices in the fact that the Lord allowed him to be a missionary, and to help his brethern come to a knowledge of the truth. The Gospel really holds the power to change lives.

So I got your letters today with the pictures and program and the notes from the funeral. The program really is beautiful, and I love the bookmark. I loved reading the messages that everyone wrote me! I love to feel the support from home. Sometimes it really does feel like I'm here alone, but I know that there are so many people back home that love me and that are praying for me. Thanks for doing that for me Mom. I also got notes from the Beehives in our ward. I could feel of their personalities from here :) I also got a couple of dear elders from Erin and my friend Amberly (Ilarene's friend). Basically the elders in my district were really jealous (again).

Well, I'm gonna call this a letter. The Gospel is true. I love sharing it with people. When a lot of time passes and I haven't said anything and contacted anyone, I feel kind of lazy . I know this Gospel is true. I love you all so much!
Hna Williams

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jamie's Birthday Gift for Laura

Baptism March 6, 2011

Me, Stefanie, Kenia, Katty, Hna Lopez

Jamie's Letter March 7, 2011

Hello my familia y amigos. :)
Happy Birthday Laura! (Tomorrow!) Crazy that my little sister is 17. I pretty much can't believe it.

This week was really good! We had 3 baptisms yesterday! It was so good. Katty was baptized yesterday-we found here through a contact with her uncle. She's 18 years old. She reminds me a little bit of me when I was 18. Right now, she is the only member in her family, but we've taught her sister, mom, and grandma before. After her baptism, she started crying, and she said that she felt so good to belong to this church. Later, she told Hna Lopez that all she is missing now is her mom, dad, and sisters to come to church.

We also had the baptisms of 2 sisters-Stefany and Kenia. Stefany is 13 and her sister, Kenia, is 10. They are both so sweet too. Everytime they see us they give us great big hugs. We were afraid for a little while that we wouldn't be able to get the permission for them to be baptized, but their mom gave them permission on Saturday. Kenia was afraid though to be baptized. We had her baptismal interview though, and afterwards, she was telling everyone at the church "I'm going to belong to this church tomorrow!" It was so cute. We also discovered that having a baptismal service right after church means that more members attend, which was really good. We're really trying to get the branch more involved in missionary work. We found Stefany and Kenia because their neighbor, Vanesa, is a member, and she introduced them to us. Missionary work really is so much easier when the members cooperate and help us find people.

The other sisters that were baptized 2 weeks ago are doing so well too. They are both waking up early to go to Seminary in the morning all by themselves, and they are coming to church on their own. They haven't even known the church for a month and are already doing things that most of the world would think is crazy. However, we did find out this week that their parents aren't married. That's a huge problem down here. People will live together their whole lives, raise a family of 7 children, and never get married. We asked them what was impeding their way, and they said that now there really wasn't anything. I think getting married here is a little more difficult than getting married in the United States. Sometimes, they have Mass Marriages, where a bunch of people can get married civilly. So we're looking for one of those so that they can get married and continue to progress. For now though, we're going to keep working with them. I don't know if I'll be here to see them be baptized, but I know that this is just part of my job as a missionary :)

One other cool thing this week was the chance we had to go on "splits" more or less. I went to visit our appointments with the Primary Pres, Hna Andrea (she is amazing!) and Hna Lopez went with one of our investigators, Pilar. Pilar is 15, and she is going to be baptized on the 27th. We've been teaching her for a while, but her mom hasn't given her permission. We had been kind of frustrated and felt like she was telling us more of the things that we wanted to hear, rather than what she really felt. But when she was with Hna Lopez, she bore her testimony and Hna Lopez said it was so strong. Without any prompting from Hna Lopez, Pilar told one of our investigators "I'm Catholic, but I'm going to be baptized on the 27th of March!" She was so excited to tell people to "come visit us in our Church" and she was sad when people didn't want to listen. We're going to keep working with her. :)

While I was with Hna Andrea, we went to go visit our appointments in my planner, but none of them were there. So we starting knocking doors. We found a young man named Edinson. It was hard, because I'm used to starting a lesson with Hna Lopez, but here, I was the missionary, the one who had to start the lesson. The beginning was a little rocky, but once we started talking about prophets, I felt a lot better. Hna Andrea helped me to explain things too. At the end, he said he felt really grateful to us for teaching him the truth.

Well, that's my week in a nutshell. Speaking of nuts, I found Nutella today!! It cost 16 soles, so I probably won't buy it for a while. Maybe for my birthday or something special. I also found legit (Canadian) smarties. They cost 27 soles, so I didn't buy those either :( But they exist here! I was so happy! Also, just for next week, our P-Day is gonna be on Tuesday. Just so you know.

Well, I'm gonna call this a letter for now. I love you all so much! This Gospel is true, and I love it!
Hna Williams

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Jamie's Letter Feb 28, 2011

Hello mom :) And family :)

This week has been good. A lot of different things have happened this week. We've had a lot of ups and downs. One thing we found out is that they are going to split this mission in July. They're going to take parts of the mission in Piura, and parts of the mission in Trujillo, and make a Peru Chiclayo mission. I'm not sure which mission I'll be in, and I probably won't find out until June. But I just thought that would be cool to know.

I had my first zone conference this week! It was great! I became way more excited to be a missionary and to go out and preach the gospel to the wonderful people here in Monsefu. Pres and Hna Chipman were there, and I learned a lot from them. I also played the piano, and they loved it! Afterwards, Hna Chipman told me that she just wants to sit back and listen to me play. She's so sweet. And Pres Chipman is amazing too. I had an interview with him, and he told me he was so grateful that I was here. He told me that the North American sisters always bring a special spirit to the mission. I really am glad to be in this mission.

As far as our investigators go, we have a bunch of people that we are teaching. There are so many people here who are willing to listen and who like the things that we tell them, but when we ask them to leave their traditions, they have a hard hard time. So we're working with this on many different aspects. Laura and Rosa are doing great though. Laura really is such an example and light to her family. We're teaching their parents right now. Their dad, Luis, at the beginning, didn't want to listen to us. But now he tells us that he would be okay if we came over every day! We invited him to be baptized the other day, and he said that he would, but he needs to know more. He tells us that he feels like it is time to make a change. We've answered many of the questions that he has had.

His wife, Maria, is a different story. She didn't ever really finish school, and she isn't very smart when it comes to intellectual things (she's really smart in other areas though-I mean she has had 7 kids. If that doesn't teach you something, I'm not sure what does). We're discovering though that to teach her the gospel, we need to teach much more like a child-smaller words, pictures, etc. She is slowly exercising faith though. We taught them about keeping the sabbath day holy. Hno Luis said it made sense to not work on Sunday, and that he would come to church. Maria said that she was not going to work on Sunday, but she wasn't going to come to church. At this point, we're were happy with that. Defintiely are taking baby steps. She did tell us though that every day before she goes to work, she reads a couple of words from the Proclamation to the World on the Family that we gave them. When she told us that, I just about started to cry. They are such a great family, and I really and hoping that one day they will take the steps necessary to go to the temple. We're trying to help them focus on the temple, and that baptism is only the beginning. It really is great.

We had the fun experience the other day to teach someone who is a really strong Evangelist. His name is Abraham, and he had heard stories about the Mormon Church, and so he invited us in to answer his questions about the Book of Mormon and "Joe Smith." He asked so many questions. He kept telling us that he didn't understand why we needed more than the bible, if the doctrines were the same. I really felt that in this instance, all I had was my testimony. It was crazy. But I learned a lot. We have an appointment with him tomorrow, which I need to study for...We left him a Book of Mormon to read, and told him to read 2 Nefi 29. I also read to him 2 Nefi 33:10-11. It's good stuff.

Well, I think that's about it for now. I love being a missionary. I love it when people tell me that they want to change, or that they want to know which church is true. I feel so sad when people tell me they are going to do something, but then they don't. It frustrates me! But I know that all this is a part of the mission. It isn't easy, but if it were, I wouldn't grow. I know this Gospel is true. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that it has the answers to all of our questions. I know we have a prophet in this time who leads and guides us. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.

I love you!
Hna Williams

P.S.-Today, I'm writing a little bit earlier than before. We're going to play games as a zone in the afternoon today. I hope all is going well at work and everything. On Thursday, I hit my 4-month mark! Crazy!