Monday, October 31, 2011

Jamie's Letter Oct 31, 2011


So I guess y'all wanna hear about my birthday :) It was good. It was one that I definitely won't forget. Well, we woke up, ate breakfast, and then we spent the whole morning trying to plan over a bunch of noise that was going on in the Plaza de Armas. But it was good. Hna Risso and Hna Machuca both called me, and it absolutely made my day! Then we went to eat lunch. It was good! I sent pics of what Gema and Neal "made" for me. Hna Kelly also made me a cake, which was really good. It was just the cake part, but in my opinion, that's better than the frosting here. Then we took my cake back to our room, we went and bought ice cream, oreos, and a milky way (it cost 3 soles, so it wasn't too bad) and then we had a "chick flick afternoon" by watching Legacy on our little dvd player that now all of the missionaries have to watch instructional dvds (but don't worry-since it's a church movie, we can watch it too). It was great. Then we went to the cemetary. It was actually pretty cool. Their cemetaries here are different than the other cemetaries in the states. They have a bunch of cement cubbies, that are all above ground, and they just kind of slide the coffin in there, and they close it with a slab of cement. I was thinking that it would be really interesting to see how the resurrection works, a bunch of people trying to break out of cement walls, but then I remembered that we put people in the ground, and somehow they are going to come up out of the ground...the resurrection will be a pretty awesome event, I think.

In the cemetary, we gave talks about the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation. It was actually really cool. I love feeling like the Spirit is just putting words into my mouth. Because I'm pretty sure that he does that a lot, actually. It's so cool to see how the Spirit works.

After our talks, we went, tried to talk to a few people, but soon it got late, and we went to eat. We went out to eat, chicken and fries. It was overall, I think, a pretty succesful birthday. I hope you enjoyed the pictures I sent!

I'm still waiting on the packages, maybe next week they'll come? We'll see. They've at least made it to Peru though which is the longest part.

So the highlight of my week has been our one investigator, Brenda. She's really trying to turn her life around. She's had problems with almost every aspect of the word of wisdom throughout her life. Right now she's just trying to quit smoking. The other stuff isn't a huge problem now. But on Thursday we gave her the pamphlet about the word of wisdom, and when we went back Saturday, she said that she loved it! She went to go smoke, but the something told her to go and pick up the word of wisdom book and start reading it. At first it didn't really grab her attention, but something told her to keep on reading. And she did. And as she read, she really started to like it. She said it just made sense, that her body is a temple, and that she really should treat it with respect. She's down to a cigarette every 2 or 3 days now and she's trying to do better. She has a little 9 year old girl too, and she's wanting to quit for her too. I love the gospel!! And then we invited her to church on Sunday. She said she was going to try and go, but she wasn't going to promise it. But we told her there were classes for her daughter, and this gave her more of an incentive to come. So we were there, Sunday morning, waiting for them, and they didn't come and didn't come. Finally, at the end of Sacrament meeting, we saw them outside the door! I just about cried! Afterwards we went to Gospel principles, and it was a good experience too! The teacher said just what she needed to hear, and he didn't even know it! Brenda participated in the lesson and everything too. She said she loved it. Then we had our 5th Sunday lesson, which included the branch president talking half the time about not taking things that you find in the chapel that aren't yours, and tithing settlement. I think for Brenda the first class was more interesting. But she said she loved it all. And she just really feels good! She's amazing. We just need to keep working with her, helping her and her daughter to really feel at home here, and see the blessings that the gospel will bring in her life.

Well, that was basically the happiness of my week. I love being a missionary! It really doesn't seem like I gave my farwell talk a year ago, that I've been gone for a year. But I love it. Every moment that's been hard has just helped strenghten my testimony even more. I love you all so much! I know that the church is true!
Hna Williams

Monday, October 24, 2011

Jamie's Pictures Oct 24, 2011

My district.

We hiked up a mountain today where there was a big Christ at the top,

and a bunch of Incan ruins.

It was actually pretty cool, and my body is exhausted.

We decided to take a picture of just our heads.

We're silly missionaries....

This is my room.

It's a little messy, but I was chillin after we got back from hiking,

and so I got stuff out to write letters.

But this is where I sleep/study now.

I thought you might like to see that.

That's all.

Jamie's Letter Oct 24, 2011

Why hello English world (except I've spoken more english here than in any other of my areas, so it really isn't that foreign). How are you? It sounds like you all are doing good. I'm doing good too!!

First off, um...questions...I haven't gotten my packages yet. I think they'll come...soon? I hope. Probably next week. Or maybe tomorrow. But the ZLs didn't say anything about them today, so I'm guessing it'll probably come next week. As for my birthday (23...WHAT!!!) well, here, specifically in Guadalupe, October 28 is a huge day for them. Apparently, in the Peru-Chile war there were a bunch of Chileans here, but something happened, and 3 Peruvian shoemakers were martyred, but they helped Peru out in some way(I'm not quite sure who won the was a long time ago). Anywho, all of Guadalupe will be celebrating my birthday for that, and plus, it the day of "SeƱors de los Milagros" here in Peru, (Lord of the miracles) and they celebrate that too...Right now for my birthday we have planned to do our weekly planning in the morning. Then in the afternoon we're going to go to the cemetary. No really. Apparently about 6 years a woman who was really faithful in the church but the only member in her family died. And here, there have some sort of ceremony even years after their families have died. Anywho, because she wasn't Catholic, her family didn't do all of the Catholic stuff for her, but they still have their traditions. And they've invited the members of the church to this ceremony thing. The branch president at first wasn't going to say anything, but then he thought it would be a good opportunity to find new investigators, so he asked me to give a 20 minute talk about the Plan of Salvation, and my companion to give a 5 minute talk on the Atonement. After we're done at the cemetary, I'm not quite sure what else we'll do. Maybe have a little party in our pensionista's house with her family :)
This week has actually been pretty cool. On wednesday, I had the first opportunity in my life to give away a copy of "The Book of Mormon." No really. Okay, so the second day we were here, we went downstairs to the pharmacy to buy some toothpaste and stuff. While we were there, a little girl said we were "gringas" which happens a whole lot, and her mom asked if we spoke English, which we also get a lot. When we said yes, her mom started talking in English! Like, good, American, english! Turns out she's lived in California since she was 6, and like 10 years ago moved here to Peru...because...well, I'm not really sure what the reason is. The majority of her kids are still in the states, and their teenagers now. Anywho, we started talking in English to her, and she gave us her number to call, and she told us to stop by and visit her. She also told us that she's really been searching for God in her life too lately. Perfect! Anyways, we called her a couple of times, but it didn't really work out what we planned. Finally, we told her we would go to her house (which was actually in the neighboring town, about 10 minutes away by car) to talk to her. And we did, and it was...great! She talked a lot to us first. She just lives in the middle of nowhere with her daughter who's 9. Her name is Brenda. Anywho, she told us basically her life story, and how she really wanted help. We gave her a copy of The Book of Mormon that I had bought a couple of months ago, and we read through the introduction. She said she really liked how it says to read it and then ask God, because then we aren't forcing them to believe it. The thing with her is that she doesn't think like a Peruvian, which is actually kind of refreshing (because everyone here talks about how God is always with us, how Jesus died for us, and that's about it, and sometimes I feel like the people just don't get it). But she recognizes that her lifestyle is wrong, and that she is far from God, and she wants to change that! She told us that she's gonna be a hard one to change, but we told her we were gonna help her. It was cool to try and teach in English. And really, when we needed to talk in English, we could. I think the Lord really helped us, that he put us here to help her (3 north american sisters in the mission, and 2 are here in Guadalupe-the other is in Monsefu, just starting out like I did!)

Anywho, the other thing that I wanted to share with you was about my studies. So I'm still memorizing The Living Christ, which is SO cool! And I decided to start reading Jesus the Christ, which is also WAY cool! And it's been really cool to see, even in the past week, how my thoughts have been more turned towards the Savior. And as I have done that, I have had such a greater desire to share the Gospel with the people here. There are so many people here who know that Christ died to save them from sin, but they don't realize that that means they can repent, that their life here can be better, that they can change! And I just want everyone to feel how happy the Gospel can make them! Even though we haven't been seeing too much success, I feel as if the Lord is blessing us.

Well my family, I think that's about it for this week. Happy happy birthday, from all of you to me,
You wish it was your birthday, so you could be like me!
Happy happy birthday, may all my dreams come true,
You wish it was your birthday, so you could party too. Hey!

I love you all so much!
Hermana Williams

Monday, October 17, 2011

Jamie's Pictures Oct 17, 2011

Today we went to Pacasmayo, another town here in our district.

And they live next to the ocean. As in the Pacific Ocean.

As in, if you were to go directly west for a long time

you'd run into Australia or something like that.

It was the first time I actually had seen the ocean

(I saw it in the plane from Piura to Lima, but that doesn't count.)

And I think this is a cool picture of me!!!

The ocean! Can you say cool?

(haha! I'm punny...)

Me with our pensionista's son, Neal.
And I've decided my second son is going to be like him.
(my first son is going to be like Jared, Hna Amelia's son, a complete terror. But I still love him!)
He's 3 years old and he's darling.
Every time we come he gives us a hug and a kiss, and shakes our hand.

Jamie's Letter Oct 17, 2011

Hi :)
Well, here I am, another Monday in the wonderful life of a missionary here in Peru. Um...answers...Oh yeah. So my zone leader told me that 2 packages came in Chiclayo for me, but I have to sign a paper now giving the elder in the office complete control of my documents to be able to pick them up, and then he'll send them here to Chepen, where my ZLs are, and then they'll give them to me. I imagine that it'll still be like...another week or two before I get the packages now. I did get the letter from girls camp, finally, the last P-Day I had in Pomalca (I think the zone leaders finally "remembered" to give us our mail, because I was leaving...). I didn't have a whole lot of time to read it then, but I have read it since, and I love it :) And I also got your birthday card last week. And you want to start knowing about classes I need to take and where I want to live??? Um...I'm just gonna live here in Peru, k? No, um, maybe you could talk to Ilarene and Erin and see if they could help you. I trust y'alls judgment. Just as long as I can have a warm shower, without having to worry about electrocuting myself, I think I'll be good. Anything will be better than here :) I would like a place a little more south west of campus, since I think most of my classes will be in the mckay building. And preferrably not a place where a whole bunch of freshmen go right after their freshman year...but yeah. I trust you guys.

Wow. It sounds likes things are going...well, at home? I'm not really worrying a whole lot about how things are right now. I'm not sure if that's a super good thing, (like maybe I'm in denial) but I don't think so. I think the Lord is really blessing me to not worry too much about things. I told Hna Westman about everything that our family had gone through (from grandpa passing away in Jan, Aunt JaNae's cancer, your cancer, Cameron's lovely little car wreck, even Abu dying...) but even though all of these things have happened, I really am not worried about our family. I know the Lord is taking care of us.

Well this week has been good. We've been working more on getting to know the people in the ward, and also the less active people. When we visit less active members, it really is such a good way to do missionary work. We can help them come back to church, and they almost always have family members that aren't members. Right now we have a family that is coming back to church. They came yesterday for the third week in a row, and they have a little 9 year old girl that hasn't been baptized (the mom is named Jemmy (pronounced-Jamie) and the dad is Jimmy). We asked her if she would like to be baptized. Right now her baptismal date is for Oct 29 :) Awesome, no?

It's been good to be with Hna Westman. She's helped to remind me of a lot of things that I learned in the MTC. And I can relate to the language problem, although she is doing so much better than I was in my second week. We've really been trying to focus on listening more to the Spirit, and teaching to the needs of our investigators. It's really cool to listen to the Spirit :) I feel like I'm still learning how to do that, but I'm certainly a whole lot better than I a year ago.

I'm also working on memorizing "El Cristo Viviente." Let me tell you that it is so cool! I've learned that I really do love memorizing scriptures, because it's so easy to use in lessons, even when we contact people in the streets. And I can always feel the Spirit when I'm thinking about the words I've memorized. I don't think it'll be too hard to learn it in English!

Well, I gotta go! I love you!
Hna Williams

Jamie's Pictures Oct 10, 2011

My new zone-part of it. We "hiked" to see the virgen of Gudalupe that protects our city.

Look at all of the white people!

My new companion!

All of the people that came to say good-bye to me in Tuman!
How I'm gonna miss them!

The sisters that had cambios!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Jamie's letter Oct 10, 2011

Hey mommy! And daddy, and Cameron, and Laura and Emily and everyone else whom I love.

So, just so you know, when I get back, I'm now gonna have to work ridiculously hard! Remember how I'm gonna have to work to go to Guatemala, Paraguay, and Peru? Well, now I'm also gonna have to pay for the gas to drive to Midvale! Yep! I've got a North American, Utahn, companion! But I'll tell you a little bit more about her in a bit.

Well, I'm now in an area called Guadalupe. It's about an hour an a half away from Chiclayo, so going there is much of an option. I have to admit that this makes me sad-but I'm hoping that I'll end my mission in Chiclayo. (End of my mission?!?! What?!?!) We're living on the third story above a pharmacy. I like it. It reminds me of BYU. We have a nice view of what's called the Plaza de Armas. It's the central park of Guadalupe. Apparently there are about 39,000 people here. I'm in a branch, but it's only a branch because it's in a district. We're all working to help the district become a stake, and then they'll become a ward. Because it's the strongest place I feel like I've served. When the sacrament started, there were about 50-60 people there (as opposed to my other areas, that start the sacrament with 20-30, and another 30 enter after the sacrament). It is starting to warm up. Guadalupe is more in a valley, so it feels more like May at home. In Chiclayo it was getting hot. But it still gets pretty cool here at night.

Well, in Tuman I didn't use much of my musical skills, but that will change a whole lot here! Let me tell you a little bit about my companion. Her name is Hermana Westman. From Midvale, she's the youngest of 6 kids. She can speak Spanish a lot better than I could when I first got here. But she also likes music! And can sing! We've sung a little bit-she does soprano and I've done alto! I haven't sung alto since...I don't know when! And that's just my companionship. Now for my district. My district consists of us, the zone leaders (Eld Derocher-who was my ZL in Monsefu) and our district leader-Eld Bassett (who just got done being AP). He's from...I can't remember, Utah, and he's training Eld Harrop, from Layton. Yes, I am now in a zone of 5 north americans and 1 latino! That's unusual for me! Eld Bassett can sing too! Our district meetings are much more musical.

And in our zone-remember how when we had the musical fireside I played the piano with an Elder Despain? Well, he's in my zone now! I'm excited! Tomorrow we're gonna have our meetings in his chapel, and he says there's a piano! So yeah, in total, we're a zone of 10 people, 6 of whom are north americans. Which means I speak and hear much more english than I've heard since I left the mtc!

This change has been kind of hard on me. I loved being in Pomalca/Tuman so much! When I said goodbye to Hna Amelia, I cried. I cried when I said goodbye to Hna Machuca. When Hna Westman went to have her interview with Pdte Risso, Hna Risso asked me how I was doing, and I cried some more. (I didn't want my new comp to think that I wasn't excited to work with her...). I probably cried about the same amount as when I left you guys to come on the mission. And if I cried like this when I left one area, how in the world am I going to come home? I still have hope to see Hna Amelia again before I leave, and it's almost certain I'll see Hna Machuca again at some point! But when I leave Peru to come home? I don't know if I'll be able to do that...But the Lord still takes good care of me. My pensionista reminds me a little bit of Hna Amelia, and I do enjoy being here in my area. There were elders here before, so I'm basically doing the same thing that I did in Tuman. Wow how Pres. trusts me.

Responses to your other questions-the smarties were fine, I like them, if you want to send more, I won't complain :) Cute headband? Hm...brown, or cream, or maybe black. Something neutral, not too outlandish :) I'm not sure of my exact release date, but I'm pretty sure it will be around April 30-May 1-2 ish. Around that time. I'll probably get the conference liahona, but like always, if you want to send me another, I won't complain! That and I want an Oct ensign about the book of mormon in english, yes?

Well, I wish I had more time to write, but it looks like I'm running out of time. I love you so much, and I know that the Gospel is true!! Keep working hard!
Hna Williams

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Jamie's Pictures Oct 3, 2011

Our zone after a fun p-day!

Me playing with Yarek (basically it is "Jared")
Hna Amelia's son. I love this little boy.
He is a terror, but I love him anyways and I'm gonna miss him tons!

So there's a tradition here in Peru when it is your birthday,
you get part of your cake smashed in your face, and
someone breaks an egg over your head.
Since I wanted to celebrate my birthday with people I know & love,
we made my cake & everything today, and pretended like it was my birthday.
This is the result :)

Me with my cake that I made! Everyone LOVED it!
And it was SO easy. I forgot that to make a cake can be so easy!
(The mix & everything were in Jamie's birthday package from home.)

This is our chapel in Tuman! Maybe one day they will have a real chapel!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jamie's Letter Oct 3, 2011

Hello my dear family! How are you?

Okay, first off, can I just say that conference was AMAZING?!?!? I have never gotten SO much out of conference ever before in my life! I'm ready for the Liahona to come, so that I can study all of the talks all over again! I listened to it all in Spanish-and I and the american elders agree the Pres Monson is SO much funnier in English. You just lose some of his wittiness in the translation. For this, all of my companions need to learn English :)
(I also think it's funny that conference doesn't wait for anyone-not even the prophet!)

I pretty much started crying when the said that they were going to build another temple in Provo, or, well, remodel. I'm not sure exactly what they are going to do. But it was so cool! Another elder in my zone, Eld Wilde, was also super stoked! The other missionaries don't quite get understand the meaning of it, but seriously-I pretty much didn't listen to the talk that followed because I was so excited! I got to see all of the sessions (well, minus priesthood). I watched a little bit of the Relief Society conference-the talk by Pres Uchtdorf (which, btw, was fantastic!) and the songs! I loved seeing people that I know!! We also watched something about how the perpetual education fund is helping people here. And that really is what Peru looks like. It really is such a help to the people here. So many of the people here don't even know how to read or write. Their children leave their studies at 12, 13, 14 to go work to help support their's an ugly cycle. But it's good to know that the Church is helping those that want to change.

We went to Pomalca to see the Conference. I love that chapel. I love this place so much. I'm going to miss it...with that said, yes, I have transfers. I'm gonna go, finish packing all of my stuff (probably give some of it away) say goodbye to people that I absolutely love, and then go to the institute building tomorrow to meet my new companion! I'm training again! And I think I'm opening a new area! With the new mission, they're doing transfers in a different way. They tell us if we're going or staying, and then everyone meets in the institute building, and they tell us where we are going, who is our companion, and so on. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to train a north american. I'll no longer be the only north american sister in the mission! We'll see how well I can teach Spanish...But if the Lord has called me to do this, He'll help me. I really am going to miss everyone though. Especially Hna Amelia. She has been such a wonderful mom, sister, friend, everything here in the mission. I cried a little bit, and I'm sure I'm gonna cry much more when I actually have to say goodbye to her and her family. But I know that these changes are for the best.

In other things, I've decided to memorize "The Living Christ" (Well, really, I'm going to memorize "El Cristo Viviente"). I've looked at it, and I can divide it into 12 paragraphs or parts. Not super long. We have now 12 weeks until Christmas, and I've decided that this will be my Christmas gift to the Savior this year. I read in the Liahona from Sept 2010 about a mom who helped her young kids memorize The Living Christ, and the blessings they received from that, and I wanted to do the same. And then Eld Scott talked about the blessings of memorizing the scriptures, and that strengthened my decision even more. I'm so excited to have a better relationship with my Savior.

They opened my package in front of me, but everything was there. It hadn't been opened before. I opened the CD-thank you! I decided to wait until my birthday to open the shirts...I mean, the other presents! ;) And I made my cake today. Because I'm going to be transferred, and I wanted to have a birthday celebration with people I knew and loved (and I still have egg in my hair-I'm thinking I'm going to bring this tradition home with me! Beware on your birthdays!)

It sounds like you all are doing alright. I want you to know that I love you so much, and that I feel your prayers here. Everyday is a challenge, but it's good because without challenges we wouldn't grow. I know this is what the Lord wants me to do, and I want to serve Him because I love him. I know that the Lord really does answer our prayers, (which, btw, can I just say I like this idea of praying and then finding a little bit of money? I'm gonna have to try it out sometime!! ;)

I love you!!
Hermana Williams