Monday, May 23, 2011

Jamie's Pictures May 23, 2011

This is our district. 3 hermanas & 2 elders. It's fun!

Us before the baptisms.

Jamie's Letter May 23, 2011

Hi Mom :)
How are you? I'm doing great. Richie is going to Mongolia??? What?!?! While I'm not completely sure, I have a suspicion that Mongolian is a tad bit different than Spanish...or English. He'll be awesome!

To answer your questions-
-We live in a nice room above some nice Catholic people. We have 2 bed frames with mattresses and a mattress on the floor that Hna Cruz uses. (We fought for the mattress on the floor, and she won).
-We do have warmer water. All of the rooms that the missionaries use have an electric shower head water heater thingamajigger. (Not quite sure how to translate that work into Spanish :) Anywho, this also means that if we touch the shower head while we're showering, we get a little shock...I may or may not be talking from experience. But yes, we have warm water!
-Yep, we still have a pensionista (the hermana that fixes our food). Everyone in the mission has one, and if I'm not mistaken, all the missionaries in Peru do as well. They are slowly trying to get rid of that. Right now the ZL's make breakfast and dinner for themselves, which is something that I would like. But whatever.
-I haven't heard from Hna Lopez since I left for Lima (I called her the night before to get the number of the AP's, but I only talked to her for 3 minutes). I want to meet up with her in Chiclayo one of these Mondays to have ice cream, but we'll see if that happens. I've heard through the grapevine that she's doing okay though.

This week has been good. We're still adjusting to working in a trio. It's a lot harder than being in a trio in the MTC, I think. But it's good. I feel like sometimes I'm a lot of the strength in our companionship, yet I have SO many things that I need to work on. We're still working, too, on improving our teaching. A lot of the people we've taught in this past week, we've talked about faith, repentance, and baptism, but not a whole lot about the restoration, which I think is key. There are a gajillion churches, and they all talk about these things. We need to explain why our Church is different. And that's something we're working on. But I'm learning a lot from my companions too. They're great.

We had 2 baptisms this week-Alicia and Jessica. They're friends, and I guess they just randomly decided to check out the church one day, and they really liked what they heard. So the missionaries met with them, and they agreed to be baptized. And then there were some problems to overcome, but I'm not quite sure what they were...anywho, then we came along and baptized them! Now if we could just keep finding people to be baptized...

We've been praying and fasting a lot that we could find the people here in La Cria that are ready for the Gospel. I'm used to teaching Catholic people that don't have a whole lot of knowledge about the church, so when we have people that have talked to the missionaries in the past, and know who we are, it kind of throws us off. In our zone meeting last week though we talked about Alma 8, where he went to preach to the...I-can't-remember-ites, and the first time it didn't work. So he left, but the Lord told him to return, which he did, but he did it a different way. So that's what I'm doing right now. I'm looking for the "other way" into this city. I think it has a lot to do with referrals from the members.

On my list of things that I wish I had from the US:
-Scrapbooking tape-it's just perfect for everything. And refill or two.
-Bug Repellent-the mosquitos in my new area are nasty. Seriously. My legs are horrifically ugly, even when I do use repellent.
-Fun stickers
-Anything else that you wish to send a poor American missionary in Peru :)

I'm also attaching pictures on this email too. So here is what they are-
Today we went to Chongoyape-it's about an hour away from La Cria where our DL, Elder Ruiz and his companion, Elder Karl are. This is our district! 3 hermanas and 2 elders. It's fun. Elder Karl is from Farmington, and he entered the MTC the same day as me. Except I didn't meet him until I was here. He went to the CCM after 3 weeks. Oh well. I needed to be in the MTC for 9 weeks, and I'm so glad I that I was. I can see how the Lord has prepared me to be here in Peru through that experience. Anywho-P-Day. We went exploring, and these were some cool pictures that we took (the first and second one).
The third picture is a picture of us before the baptisms.

Well, I'm gonna call this a letter. I know the Gospel is true! I love you!!
Hna Williams

Monday, May 16, 2011

Jamie's Pictures May 15, 2011

The Baptism of Yarida

Me & my wonderful companions!

Me in front of the river where we baptized Yarida.

Saying good-bye to the people in Monsefu.

Me. Wanna know where I am?

Yes, that's right!

In front of the temple. In Lima.

Awesome! I think so.

Everyone that went to Lima:

Elders Quijibir, Chacon, Campuzano, Chavez, Me!, and Hna Rodriguez.

All foreigners here in Peru :)

My companions on the first day.

Jamie's Letter May 15, 2011

My dearest family-
Wow. Has it really only been a week since I talked to you? Since I found out I was being changed? It has been a ridiculously insane week. Another week full of firsts!

-I had my first baptism in La Cria. In a river. Yes, that's right. A real river. (There wasn't any water in the church to fill the font, so the river was our next, well, really our only option.) A young girl named Yarida was baptized. She's 9, and her family are members-less active, but they were really happy that she was baptized. They're working on coming back to church.

-I went to Lima this week. Yeah, Lima. As in Lima Peru. Which is not in my mission. I found out Wednesday night that I needed to go to Lima to get my "tarjeta de extranjeria." Basically it's my card that says that I get to stay in Peru as a stranger. Or something. So Thursday morning, we woke up at 5:30, I finished putting my stuff together, and we left at 6:30 to be in Chiclayo at 7:30 (we're about an hour away from Chiclayo-1 1/2 hours from Monsefu). My companions left me in Chiclayo, where another hermana, another and I rode the bus for 3 hours to get to Piura. Once we were in Piura, we ate lunch, then went to the airport, where we traveled in a plane for about 30 minutes to Tumbes (which is north-and Lima is south). After people got off and other people got on, we headed south for Lima. 1 1/2 later, we were in Lima. We got to Lima about 7:30 in the evening. It was exhausting, but good. We spent the night in a hotel in La Molina. The next morning, we headed out to...I don't know. Immigrations, perhaps? The place where we needed to go to get our cards. And we were there until 1:30. It reminded me of the DMV :) Highlight of the trip-we got to visit the temple! We didn't have time to do a session ;( but I finally got to visit the Lima Temple! It was so good to just be on temple grounds again. I'm sad that it'll be another year before I get the chance to go again, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to go. Highlight number 2 of the trip-we got to go to the Distribution Center! There, I stocked up on videos and pictures that I have also wanted, but haven't been able to get yet. It was worth the trip to Lima for that. Later that night, we flew back to Piura, spent the night in Piura, and Saturday morning, traveled back to Chiclayo where I found my companions. I was back in La Cria at 12:30-ish, Saturday afternoon.

Because of all this travel, I haven't felt like I've had the opportunity to do a whole lot of work in my area. But I have been able to teach lessons in my companionship. Working in a trio is much different than working with just 2 people. Hna Cruz is really good-she kind of reminds me of my friend Rachel from high school :) Hna Chamorro is more shy, but she has a great love for the people. And then there's me. I would be lying if I said I didn't miss Hna Lopez and Monsefu, but I just keep remembering that the Lord put me here for a reason. I remember all of the other things that I have done in my life-that at the beginning, I didn't like, I didn't want to do, but after I got used to things, I was so grateful that I did them (going on a mission comes to mind :) We did get to play volleyball today as a zone, which made me happy :)

Cool experience for the week though-when I was on the plane, a man got on in Tumbes, and sat next to me. I asked him if he was from Tumbes, which he said he was. I asked him if he had listened to missionaries before. He told me he had listened to everyone, that he wanted to know what really was the truth. We ended up talking the whole hour and a half from Tumbes to Lima about the Gospel. He is ready for the Gospel-the elders in Tumbes just need to find him. I gave him a Book of Mormon, and he was really grateful. He said it was like our sword-not to destroy, but to build up, our weapon. Armor of God, anyone? It was really amazing to help someone who is so ready for the Gospel. For the first time in my mission, I had a desire to go to Tumbes (it has a reputation for being ridiculously hot all year long). I left him 4 different chapters in the Book of Mormon that answered different questions that he had. This was a really cool experience for me. Hopefully the elders can find him. I'm going to send them his address for them to visit him. I just love missionary work!!! It's the best! :)

Food, we eat chicken and rice a lot, potatos too. They like to fry things here, especially bananas. They're okay, but I like unfried bananas better. The children here play a lot outside. They are entertained very easily. They're sweet though.

Random thought of the day-one year ago today I made the decision to serve a mission. I am so incredibly grateful that I made that choice to serve. This has blessed my life like no other, and I'm so excited to still have a whole 'nother year to work. The missions are going to split at the end of this cambio. I am hoping to stay in mission Chiclayo, but, as we found out last cambio, sometimes what Hna Williams feels isn't what the Lord wants. I'll just keep trusting in Him, and I know it will be for the best.

Thank you for all of your love and support. I love you all so much!! I know the Gospel is true!
Hna Williams

Monday, May 9, 2011

Jamie's Pictures May 9, 2011

My zone! I'm gonna miss these elderes/hermanas!

My district! Elder Nicaragua, Elder Chub (his first name is Jaime-cool!)
Hna Lopez, ME! Elder Maravi, and Elder Deocher.
I had a great district!!

Jamie's Letter May 9, 2011

Well, the results are in!! And.....I was completely wrong!! I think the Lord decided to throw us for a loop :) So I'm leaving my Monsefu. My new area is called La Cria, and is in Polmalca. It's not too far away from here, still part of Chiclayo. But wait! There's more! Remember how I spent 2/3 of my MTC time in a trio? Well, I think that was definite preparation for the next 6 weeks of my life. Because I'm in a trio! One of my companions is Hermana Cruz. She's in my zone right now, so I know her. She's from Santa Cruz, Bolivia. She has about a year in the mission. My other companion is Hermana Chamorro. This will be her 3rd transfer-she only has one transfer less than me. I don't really know her, but I guess I will soon! This will be a good experience. From what I could tell, teaching in a trio is very different than being in a companionship. It has it's pros and cons. I'm gonna miss being here though. I didn't realize how much I loved it here until they told me I was leaving. Hna Lopez will stay here, and her companion will be Hermana Sutta (she was in our zone for the first 2 transfers-she's awesome). I will miss Hna Lopez a lot though. She really is so amazing. I've learned so much from her.

So now, what we're gonna do-we're gonna finish up here, and then I'll go around and say goodbye to everyone. Afterwards, we'll go to our apartment and I'll pack up my bags. Then tomorrow morning, I'll go to my new area. and start to work again. It feels weird. I'm just gonna keep trusting in the Lord, and remembering that His thoughts are not my thoughts, and that if he put me in a trio again, it's because He knows that I can do it with His help. From what I've heard about my new area, it's really small. They call it "mini-Utah" because everyone there are members more or less. That's great! Because I'm from Utah! People have also said that it's really pretty though. We'll see if that's true, and if so, maybe I'll send some pictures next week! :)

It was so good to talk to you yesterday! I loved hearing your voices! Although I will admit that it was kind of weird, because it was like I was home-ish. Which is not my life right now. Because my life has changed so drastically in the past 6 months, it seems weird to think that things are still happening, normal things, back at home. But it was still good. I'm sad I didn't get the chance to talk to Cameron, but maybe we can figure something out for Christmas. It sounds like you had a great Mothers Day though! Mother's Day here is huge. We didn't have that many people attend church. Everyone was leaving for Mothers Day. Whatever. Hopefully in this next week though more people can come. I guess we'll see though. Well, I won't. But Hna Lopez will :)

Richie is getting ready to go on a mission? Wow! And what is this that Jordan is saying that Kristalyn is going to Washington D.C.?? Someone keep me updated on family life :) It really is the best experience though. I've thought a lot this week about your question. What experiences have I had that would encourage youth to serve missions? I haven't come up with anything concrete. Well, some of the things that I have experienced is an overwhelming love for people. For my companion, for my investigators, for random people on the street. If you really want to experience the love that the Lord has for every single person, serve a mission. My mission has changed me, has improved me so much. I love love love reading the scriptures now. I can't imagine my life anymore without the scriptures. Also, to see the change in people. To watch them change, to see a light in their eyes that wasn't there before. It's something marvelous. It's hard to describe though. Really, we talk about missions so much in the church, but words can never describe appropriately the experiences, the feelings that we feel here. I don't know that this is much of an answer. I'll keep thinking throughout this next week though.

Oh-they changed secretaries in the office, so if you're going to send me a package, I think you'll need a different name. I'm not exactly sure who it is just yet, but I'll let you know when I find out.

Other, temperature is in celcius, but people here don't really talk about the temperature in numbers. It's either hot or cold. That's about it. Snow? What is that? I'm pretty sure it'll be a while before I see snow again :)

It sounds like things are going good for you. Thank you so much for your support and your love. I love you so much and I know that this Gospel is true! I don't have any doubt about it! I love the Book of Mormon. It has the exact answers I need, the advice and counsel that I need when I need it. I know that Christ lives, and that it is through His Atonement that we can become better, we can be healed. It is incredible.
Well, I love you so much!
Hna Williams

Monday, May 2, 2011

Jamie's Letter May 2, 2011

Dearest Familia :)
How are you? How is life? From what I can tell, life is just great!
Thank you so much for the pictures from the wedding! Emily is just beautiful! (And Taylor is too ;) I'm so glad that you got to go to their wedding. Know that I was thinking about them that whole morning! Kinda funny-Saturday morning we went to help plant trees in a town called Reque-where our district leader works. So while Emily and Taylor were getting married, I was in my jeans, getting dirty and sweaty. It was awesome!

Questions...I did get my package. On Thursday, we had a conference for all of the hermanas in the mission in Piura, so it was easy for me to just go and pick up the package, but for future reference, yeah, put Elder Butler's name (and my name too) on basically everything. Until I tell you to change it.(Thank you!!)

As for when I'm going to call, I'm not exactly sure. Probably sometime in the evening-ish. Mother's Day in Guatemala is the 10th of May, so I'll be the only one calling home between the two of us. I'll try to call the home phone first, but if Cameron's calling the home phone, I'll try one of your cell phones. It's so weird to think that I'll actually get to talk to you on Sunday. Wow! (I'll have to brush up my English a little bit :) I think right now you are one hour behind me. And phone cards are pretty cheap here, so don't worry too much about it :)

This week has been really good. We've still had our struggles, but I feel good about the work that we've been doing. Right now the progression of our investigators is slow, but what is important is that they are progressing. We might not be here to see the fruits of our labors, but knowing that we've helped to plant a seed or put some water or sun on someone's faith makes us feel good.

One thing I've learned in the past week or so is how much I need to rely on the Lord. In Ether 12:27, it says something like "If men come unto me, I will show unto them their weaknesses." I've thought that's so interesting, that when we come to the Lord, it's in that moment that he shows us what we are lacking. I think coming on a mission is a HUGE way to "come unto the Lord." I've definitely been shown my weaknesses. But the Lord doesn't stop there. He shows us our weaknesses, but then if we continue to exercise faith in him, He will turn those weaknesses into strengths. And I'm totally in the process of that.

One experience we had this week really helped me to see how we can have our weaknesses turned into strengths too. It was Wed morning, I think. We had worked the whole morning, but we still had about 20 minutes before lunch, and we didn't have anyone left in our agenda to visit. So we went to make contacts in the park. While we were in the park, we had 2 men with ties and briefcases come up to us (which is more rare than normal in Monsefu-men with ties and briefcases). They were salesmen for some pharmaseutical...something. Anywho, they had an education. They started asking us where we worked, and we explained that we were missionaries-the whole shpeil. They started to ask us about our beliefs-what was the doctrine of Christ, are we saved by works, faith or both, do we need to be baptized again if we were baptized Catholic first-questions like that. They weren't attacking-they were genuine questions-but at the same time it was still somewhat intimidating. But it was interesting to see that as I mentally, consciously, decided to trust the Lord, that he could put the words in my mouth that I needed, I could feel the Spirit. I spoke the words that I needed when I needed them. It was cool though because when we finished talking to them, they said "Congratulations-you know what you believe, and you explained things really clearly." It was such a testimony to me of the power of trusting in the Lord and in the Spirit. This is one of my weaknesses, to trust in myself and my lack of ability rather than in the Lord. I've learned this on the mission. And I've also learned that He really will turn my weaknesses into my strengths when I have faith in Him, and trust in Him.

Anywho, that's basically how I'm growing right now. We have transfers next Monday, and we're 95% sure that Hna Lopez is going to leave, and that I'm going to stay. I've told Hna Choto that she should come be companions with me :) We'll see. The Lord knows what's best though! :) So next week I'll let you know what all is going on with me. Hna Lopez really is the best. We've been together for 4 1/2 months. As companions, you go through so much together-things that only you two understand, and that for us has really helped us to bond and have unity in our companionship.

You asked about the Book of Mormon. I LOVE The Book of Mormon! Really, I've never read it like I've read it on the mission. In the morning, in my personal study, I choose a "pick'me up scripture"-a scripture that I write in my agenda and during the day, when I'm feeling down, I think of that scripture. It really is so cool to think of. The answers are so clear. I love being able to answer people's questions with The Book of Mormon. It gives me the strength that I need to continue to work. I love love love love it!!! Even though I've read it before, there are always things that I have never found before! It really is wonderful.

Well, I think I'm gonna call this a letter. Good luck to Laura in your AP Tests! Pray before you take them, and read your scriptures too D&C 130:18-19, I think! (The Scripture mastery). I'll be praying for you too! Thank you for all of your love and support for me. Tomorrow, I hit 6 months in the mission! I can't believe I only have a year left! GAH!! Time flies by so quickly! Keep praying for me and for the missionaries at home too-they need your prayers too (pray for them specifically by name, if you know who they are-that's one thing we're asking the members here to do for us to hopefully get them more excited about missionary work).

I love you all so much! Talk to you on Sunday!
Hna Williams