Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jamie's Pictures April 25, 2011

Me & Veronica before her baptism.

Everyone that came out (well stayed after) the baptism.
The sister in the middle with the headband is one of our investigators,
Tania! She's Amazing!

Hna Lopez, Me, Veronica, her sister Katty (who was baptized inMarch)
Elder Chub (he baptized Veronica), and his companion, our district leader
Elder Nicaragua.

So we went to clean the font Saturday night because it had been....
almost 1 month since our last baptism, and we hadn't cleaned the font,
I'm not sure why. Anywho, it was just us & we couldn't get the water to drain,
so we drained it the old fashioned way... we took buckets & drained the water ourselves!
Anywho, I took my shoes off because I didn't want them to get wet. Yep!
We finally got the water drained and the font ready for Sunday, during RS... :)
The things we do for the salvation of the childre of God:)

Hna Lopez, Hna Chipman, & Me after our epic trip to the museum.
I just love them both.

Last week we went to a museum of ancient history about Peru.

Emporer's New Grove, anyone? :)

Jamie's Letter April 25, 2011

Hello my dearest mother! :) (And everyone else too)

This week has been one of our rougher weeks. I'm not exactly sure why, but it just feels like we've been trying to work hard but time just keeps flying by, like we're trying to grasp it to hold onto time, but it just keeps going by faster. Despite all this, we have been able to see miracles :) Yesterday, we had the baptism of a young girl named Veronica. Her older sister, Katty, was baptized in March. Veronica came to church last week, and we invited her to be baptized this week and she accepted. She was really sure about her decision too. After she was baptized, Katty and Veronica shared their testimonies with the people that were there. Katty started crying, but she said that she knew that this was true. Veronica also said that she knew this was true. She said that before we came and started visiting them, she didn't have much confidence in the "word of God" but she's learned more to trust in God since we've started visiting her. It was so good for me to hear that, because I have wondered if I'm reaching people sometimes. I just need to have more confidence in the Lord though, and trust that He can touch His children through me.

We also had the opportunity to change companions for one day. Hna Catu, another sister in our zone, came to Monsefu, and Hna Lopez went to her area with her companion, Hna Cruz. Hna Catu has the same amount of time in the mission that I do, so because this is my area, it meant that I was the senior companion. It was a good experience. I realized that I have so much more to improve on. She helped me too, to see different ways that I can teach. (I also made Oreo Amazing Balls for a FHE that we had with a family-basically crunch up oreos, mix in cream cheese, and then roll into balls, and pour melted chocolate over them-a recipe from one of my friend Megan from BYU. Everyone loved them!)

We had a good experience on Saturday. One of our investigators named Rosa (we have multiple investigators named Rosa) really wants to learn how to read music. So we started doing our piano classes again-especially for her. I brought the music book you sent me. It's great! Anywho, we just did the basics, but it was good. She was happy with the little bit she learned. We also wanted to have a lesson with her, and invite her to be baptized. After we were done, she wanted to listen to me play, so I played around some. She loved it. I suggested that we sing a hymn to, and we sang the song Secret Prayer. Afterwards, we talked about the words, how prayer is important in our lives, and how we can develop our faith through prayer. Faith leads to repentance, and we read the words to "More Holiness Give me" -the first verse. Hna Lopez then talked about the 3rd verse, how we can have purity through baptism. We invited her to be baptized. She said she wanted to learn more, but that she could definitely set this as a goal. The Spirit was so strong though! I love music so much! And the hymns are wonderful! :)

Easter easter easter...well, it was a little bit different than in the United States :) It seemed like everyone here celebrates Good Friday, and Sunday isn't quite as big of a deal. It's kind of sad, because they had big parties or whatnot to celebrate the crucifixion of Christ. Sunday, the day of the Resurrection, was more normal. Personally, I'd like to remember the day of the Resurrection more. Friday, we had an activity in the church for everyone, and it was pretty much all day. At the beginning, we spent some time reflecting on the Atonement of Christ, and what that means to us. It was nice. They also had lunch for everyone, and then afterwards, the members played volleyball. We can't play with them :( Oh well. It was fun anyhow! We did learn however, that one of our best investigators, Tania, is conviviente (the Spanish word for "living-together") It broke our hearts because she is progressing, and wanting to learn more about the gospel, but she can't have a baptismal date until she accepts a day to get married... (my Spanish isn't translating into English very well right now). She doesn't know this yet. She came to Veronica's baptism with her 2 daughters because she wanted to see what a baptism in the Church is like. I have faith that she'll be baptized. I'm just not sure when.

I'm so grateful for this chance that I have to be a missionary. The Atonement is essencial to everything we do. Without the Atonement, nothing we do in the Church really means anything. My testimony of the Atonement has grown so much since I left home almost 6 months ago. I love ALma 7:11-13. It is one of my favorite scriptures. It brings me so much peace to know that I'm not alone. That I do have my best friend in Christ who knows exactly how I feel 100% of the time. It's so wonderful. I know that Christ lives. I know that he is aware of me, and that he loves me, and I love to share this knowledge with the people I meet.

Take care :)
Hna Williams

Monday, April 18, 2011

Jamie's letter April 18, 2011

Okay, so this week has been good. We've been working hard, and the Lord is definitely blessing us. One of my highlights was being able to finally attend Sacrament meeting yesterday for the first time in...3 weeks, more or less. It was so good to be able to take the Sacrament again. I didn't realize how much I needed the peace that the Sacrament brings until afterwards. We also had a good number of investigators show up, which is always a blessing. We found this one family that we've been working with. One of their daughters, Rosa, (24) attended with us yesterday, and she said that she felt such peace and tranquility. She also wants to learn to play the piano, so I'm thinking we're going to start up the classes again. She really is awesome, and her family is too.

Kelly was confirmed yesterday too, which was a great blessing. We visited her Saturday, and her little boy has been sick. She told us that she would have to take him to the doctor at 8:30 in the morning, because it was first come first serve sort of deal. We were sad, because that meant she wouldn't be confirmed for another week. We talked to her about faith though, and if she showed her faith to the Lord by coming to church first, even if it was just for Sacrament, she would be blessed, as would the health of her son. She told us that this was true, and she showed up all on her own with her two boys. Her blessing was really beautiful too.

On Thursday morning, we had the opportunity to have the Stake Relief Society president come with us to visit people. She has so much love for the people here. Really, I want to be like her when I grow up :) With every sister that we visited, she knew exactly what to say, even though she didn't know their different situations. We went with one hermana, Rosario, who is the sister of Hna Ceferina (one of our recent converts) who is going to be baptized in an Evangelico church soon (this church gives us problems some times...but we continue to have patience). We talked about the healing power of the Atonement, and the blessings that we have received through the Gospel. And by we, I mean mostly the RS Pres, Hna Gina. Really though, she was amazing. The Spirit was so strong. We all knelt down and asked Rosario to offer the prayer. She started, but she was crying, and couldn't do it. Hna Lopez finished for her, and it was something so powerful. I felt the Spirit so strongly. I'm so grateful for the wonderful sisters that I'm with, for the wonderful spirit that they bring.

Easter here I think is a bit more of a bigger deal than back at home. They celebrate "semana santa" (holy week) on Thursday and Friday. They don't have classes or anything. I think the Catholic church has extra masses or something (but I'm not sure). We're having a branch activity this Friday from 10 in the morning until sometime in the afternoon. The elders quorum is going to to make lunch for us (which in reality, means we're going to help, because the elder's quorum consists of...4 or 5 people). But I think it will be fun. We have a baptism for next Sunday, which I think will be really good. A young girl named Veronica. Her sister is Katty, another recent convert. I'm seeing more and more the blessings of the Lord in my life here. The first couple of weeks of this transfer were kind of weird. It felt hard to get momentum to work, with Hna Lopez being sick for a little bit, and then with the Conference and the elections, it's been hard, but I feel like we're going to be blessed for our efforts.

Why do I love being a missionary? Alma 26:2-5 (-ish) and Alma 29:9-10 I think are good reasons why I love being a missionary :)
There are so many reasons. I love the people I've met. The other missionaries, the people here in the branch, our investigators, recent converts. It's so satisfying to hear something like "I was having a bad day, but when you showed up, I just felt peace." And to know that it is because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we have that really can help people change. I can also feel the change inside of me. I know that this has made me a better person, a better teacher, and will be such a blessing to so many people.

I haven't gotten your package yet, although I did get a package from Erin and J.J. From what I've heard, it's not unusual to have a package get lost. Keep sending them though. I'll get the majority of them. And the ones that I don't get, well, hopefully other people can enjoy them...

I know that the church is true. I think I say this every week, but I'm so grateful for the chance that I have to be a missionary here, in Peru. It is hard, but the blessings are so worth it. I love you all!
Hna Williams

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jamie's Pictures April 11, 2011

Me with some of the members outside the Stake Center for Conference.

Me in front of a big sign that says "Chiclayo"...

Jamie's Letter April 11, 2011

Hello my dearest mommy :)
I'm glad to find that nothing drastic has changed in your lives. We're doing well. Hna Lopez is much better. We haven't ever really figured out what happened. President says it's more likely that she fainted rather than having a seizure (what do I know? All I knew was that my companion needed help). He says it's more likely that she has something wrong in her stomach or something that is causing nausea. I'm not exactly sure. She's been fine the past couple of days though.

We normally get on internet anywhere from 3-5 in the afternoon. It just depends on what we have going on in the day. I got conference downloaded onto my mp3. I've been listening to them while I get ready in the morning. It's great to know exactly what was said. I love it!!

As far as training in the MTC for facing confrontation, basically they say that when people want to fight, don't fight back. Just bear your testimony, and leave. And that's basically what we did. It was still really frustrating though. Oh well. It's a part of the mission. If the Gospel weren't true we wouldn't have this opposition. The opposition just strengthens my testimony. And Satan thought he was going to weaken me....Hah!! Take that! :)

I still haven't heard from Emily DeWeese....I miss my dear friend. :(

This week has been kinda rough for us. Friday, we went and visited 4 of our progressing investigators, and they all told us that they "couldn't" be baptized. It was a really tough day. Fortunately, Heavenly Father answers our prayers and sent us the comfort that we needed. It was good. We did indeed get rain on Saturday night. It was a lot too. Hna Lopez loved it, because it reminded her of her home in Guatemala, where it rains quite frequently. However, the houses here in Peru aren't really built with rain in mind. We had a nice little rainstorm in our bathroom because of this, and we are afraid to turn the light on. Also, because of this, our phone has stopped working. Hopefully they can get it fixed today. I don't like having to use a payphone in the street. But that's life here.

So because of their Presidential elections, we couldn't leave to proselyte Saturday afternoon or yesterday at all. Hna Lopez and I have basically been going crazy. We've read, studied, drawn pictures, taken ridiculous's been great. And then today, we didn't do anything with our zone, so it was another day spent in our room. We did watch Legacy yesterday though in the house of the member that lives beneath us. That was fun to watch something that's so familiar to me. Kelly should be confirmed next week though, which is exciting!!

Because of so many different things that have happened in the past month or so, we haven't been able to have the English/piano classes. We'll start them again on Saturday (if people remember to come...). I'll definitely use the piano course though. If not here, I know I can use it in other places. Speaking of piano, I would love it if someone could make a copy of Piano Fantasy by William Joseph and send it to me (just fold it up and stick it in a couple of envelopes like a letter). I played my mad angry song for some of the elders and sisters in my district last P-Day and they absolutely loved it! And of course I had a blast too!

Well, let's see your questions.
1-What makes Hna Lopez great? I could write a whole novel on why she is amazing. I think one of the things that impresses me the most about her is her desire to serve. She pretty much forces people to let her serve them. There have been so many times after we're done eating with a member "Let me help you! We can wash dishes!" "No, Hermana! Don't worry about it!" "No, let us help you!" "No, don't worry about it!" "No, we're going to help you!" And she gathers up the dishes, and follows the member to the sink and starts to wash the dishes. She is such an example to me in this. She also has such a strong testimony of the Gospel. Really, I love her so much. I feel so blessed to have been able to be her companion for 3 cambios (transfers). She hasn't been companions this long with anyone else. She really is just so special. Other people can see that too. I wasn't kidding when I said I could write a novel. But I'll stop here for now.
2-Well, everytime I explain about the prophet Joseph Smith, my testimony grows. Especially when someone has heard something about him before. I've had people ask me "And what about ...uh...Smith? From your church?" It gives me great joy to explain about who he was, and the wonderful things he was able to do as the Prophet of the Restoration.
3-This week we found a young mom named Roxana. She is 23, has 2 little girls, her husband left her, (she got married at 14) doesn't have money to buy anything...basically she needs the Gospel desperately in her life (unfortunately, she also was one of the 4 people that told us she wouldn't be baptized-she's Catholic and has her baptism...) But we've helped her wash clothes and dishes. She was telling us that the way people wash clothes here is probably different than the way we do it in our countries. I didn't mention that we have a washing machine and a dryer in our house, and that washing clothes at home is so simple compared to washing them all by hand and then hanging them up to dry...We really have been blessed with so much. There are people here with so little compared to us. But the thing that is amazing is that the Gospel is the same. Heavenly Father loves everyone equally, and He is totally and completely aware of everyone and their circumstances. We're also going to have the RS sisters help us with her too. The Gospel is amazing!!

Well, I think this is about as good as it's gonna get. I love you all so much! Stay strong!
Hna Williams

Monday, April 4, 2011

Jamie's Letter April 4, 2011

Hello my dear family! How are you? Did you enjoy Conference? I know I sure did!

So this week has had its ups and downs, like any other week. This week was more up and more down though. On Friday, we had the wonderful opportunity to defend the Book of Mormon. We went to go and visit one of our investigators, Vilma. She's 35, lives with her dad because she isn't married (that's Latino culture, I guess. The girls live with their parents until they get married.) She likes to listen to us, but she really is confused about the truth. She wants to know what is true. We've visited her multiple times. I love her so much, and I want her to feel the wonderfulness of the Gospel. She attends an Evanglelist church in Chiclayo with her dad. Anywho, we went to visit her again. We started talking about The Living Christ. One of the things that the Living Christ says is the Christ is the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament and the Messiah of the New Testament. She thinks that Jehovah is God, and that Christ is the son of Jehovah. That was fun trying to explain to her how they were different. While we were doing this, her sister-in-law came in and started telling us that we were saying that God was the son of Christ or something...basically it was confusing, and once she left, we apologized to Vilma if we confused her. It was frustrating...But wait, it gets better!

Soon afterwards, her dad came home. The Book of Mormon was there on the table with us, and he come over, picked it up, and started thumbing through the pages, scowling some. "Oh joy..." I was thinking. He left, but as we were wrapping up our lesson, he came back with his bible in hand. We asked if Vilma had any questions, and her dad said "I have a little small question...Does the Book of Mormon give an account of the creation? Where are Adam and Eve in the Book of Mormon? Where is Noah, Abraham, in the Book of Mormon? (At this point I though 'well, if you really want, I'll show you, but I don't think you want to know.') And where is Joseph Smith in the Bible? The Book of Mormon doesn't say anything about them, so really, what is more valuable?" Hna Lopez asked him if he had read the Book of Mormon cover to cover, to which he responded no, only parts, but then he started go off on The Book of Mormon again. Everytime one of us would try to say something, he would just cut us off and start talking about how the Bible is the word of God and yeah. It was so frustrating. We just left, saying that we KNEW that The Book of Mormon was true. It was hard, because we didn't have the Spirit with us, and he had the spirit of contention. And it was hard too, because I really love Hna Vilma. I want to her to read the Book of Mormon. But with the influence of her dad, it's going to be so hard for her. Anywho, we'll see how things go.

But of course, with everything there is an equal and opposite reaction. General Conference was SO good. Let me tell you about General Conference for me :) They were showing all the sessions of conference in our stake center in Chiclayo, and so Saturday morning, we packed up our stuff and headed into town. We got there, and started to listen to the Spanish! But it was good. My Spanish is good enough now that I felt okay listening to the talks in Spanish. I was able to understand mostly about what they were talking about. (However, I am currently putting conference in English on my mp3, so now I can listen to them and know exactly what was said!) My notes from conference are in Spanglish. It's a great language :)

After the first session, we went with Hna Choto and her companion, Hna Medal (from Nicaragua) to their pensionista to eat. It was good! Afterwards, we returned to the Stake Center where we continued to watch the afternoon session, which was also so good! We spent the night in Chiclayo with Hna Choto and Hna Medal. We were able to go on splits-I went with Hna Choto and Hna Lopez went with Hna Medal. It was really good for me to watch how other people teach. And Hna Choto is just amazing (and I may or may not have spoken more English this weekend than I have since I got here...) We were really able to connect this weekend, and she helped me learn a lot.

Sunday morning, we went to conference again. The Sunday Morning session is the session that most people attend. There were probably only 30, maybe 40 people at all of the other sessions, but the sunday morning session was like Stake Conference. We didn't have very many investigators come (it's hard when we aren't there to pick them up or remind them in the morning) but we did have some recent converts come, which was so good. We were SO happy to see them there! And I just loved Pres Monson's talk about temples. That's exciting too, that Canada will have another temple! I miss the temple so much. I'm so glad that I was able to go as often as I could before my mission, because I'm pretty sure it will be another 13 months before I go to the temple. One day the people here in Chiclayo will have a temple, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done before then. There are still so many people we need to find.

After the Sunday morning session, we went and had lunch with the Stake President. He's a young man, about 35, with a cute wife and 2 cute kids. They live in the richer part of town, and their house (okay, well, it was more like an apartment) was SO nice! And the lunch was pretty much the best food I've tasted here, I think. I'm not exactly sure what it was, but I loved it :) It was fun to get to know him and his family a little bit better. We asked him if there was anything he needed in Monsefu, and he told us that we need more Priesthood, which is so true. We're doing good to have 10 Melchezidek priesthood holders in Sacrament meeting. It's so hard, because so many people have been baptized here, but there are so many people inactive. So that's going to be our goal for this cambio, is to increase the number of Priesthood holders in the branch. We have a lot of work to do, but we know that the Lord will bless us. We've see miracles here, and we will continue to see miracles, because we are in the service of God. Isn't it awesome!?!

Well, I'm gonna call this a letter. I know that the Gospel is true. I know that we have a living prophet on the earth at this time, and that when we study his words, we really will grow closer to God. I know with all my heart that The Book of Mormon is true. I love it so much!! I know that Jospeh Smith was a prophet of God, called to restore the Church in this time. I know that God lives, that Jesus Christ is my Savior, and that the Atonement is real.

I love you! Stay strong!
Hermana Williams