Monday, November 19, 2012

4th Grade

So I'm going to be an elementary school teacher.  No surprises there.  I think I've wanted to be a teacher since I was in Kindergarten.  The idea of being able to control my classmates made me power hungry! Mwahahaha!  Okay, not really.  Anywho, now that I am getting oh so close to realizing my life dream, I've decided I should spend more time in the schools and seeing if this really is what my life dream is...or if I should change it.  In order to accomplish this, I've spent some time in a 4th grade classroom.  It's awesome!  The kids say some of the funniest things sometimes!  Here are just a few that have made me smile in the past couple of days:

STUDENT:  "[Teacher], where are you going for Thanksgiving?"
TEACHER:  "I'm just going to Spanish Fork this year."
STUDENT:  "That's boring!  You should go somewhere exciting.  You should go to Nebraska!!!"

I love the fact that exciting to this child is Nebraska.  Not New York, not California, not any myriad of foreign countries.  Nebraska.  Who knows?  Maybe it is more exciting than I thought!

Here's another good one that was centered around my love life, or lack thereof:

TEACHER:  "When you're done with your test, go hand it to Mrs. Williams.  I mean, Miss Williams.  She's not married yet."
STUDENT 1:  "WHAT?!?!  What do you mean she's not married?!  She's so pretty and she's an awesome teacher!  Why aren't you married yet?"
Why? Trust me girl, I wanna know the same thing!
STUDENT 2:  "Maybe she doesn't want to be married yet."
STUDENT 1:  "Don't be silly.  Everyone wants to get married.  I don't want Miss Williams to be lonely.    Miss Williams, you should talk to my mom.  She hooks everybody up!  She just needs to know your personality!  What's your personality like?"
My personality?  Um..........
STUDENT 2:  "Miss Williams can find someone for herself.  She doesn't need your mom to find someone for her."
STUDENT 1:  "My mom is really good at it.  Just tell me what your personality is and I'll have her hook you up!"
Um...well, maybe once I figure out my personality I'll get back to you on that...
TEACHER: (smiling) "Okay, let's leave Miss Williams alone and get back to work."

Well, at least I know I can rely on my students to hook me up if nothing else works out!  Even though being a teacher is ridiculously stressful, can you see why I'm excited to teach?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

10-Day Long Thanksgiving Break!!!

It's Thanksgiving!!!  Well, actually, it's next week.  But I decided that I'm officially done with classes until after Thanksgiving Break.  "How?" you ask?  Let me explain.  No wait, there is too much.  Let me summarize:

This whole semester I have not had classes on Fridays.  Awesome.
Next week, we only have classes on Monday and Tuesday.  Except, BYU has this thing where they think they are all powerful and can change the days of the week (Haha! Silly BYU...although this year I'm not complaining!).
So on Tuesday, they've told use to go to our Friday classes.  Which, for me, equals NO CLASS!!

"But Jamie, what about Monday?  Don't you still have class?" Technically...yes.  I have normally have 3 classes on Mondays.  However, 2 of them just decided to have us do a few things online rather than actually going to class.  Good thing I have internet at home!  And then the last class?  Well, to be honest, I'm just gonna skip it.  I've gone every other day this semester.  So I'm giving myself permission to miss this one class.

And I'm technically done for Thanksgiving Break right now!! As of this very moment, the next class that I will attend here on BYU campus will be on Monday, Nov 26.

Awesome?  You bet.

Now back to hurry and get my homework done fast so I won't have homework to do when I actually go home tomorrow....

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


So I don't have much time before my next class (such is my life).  But I decided I should give an update or two on my life...



Okay, so there really isn't much to be updated.  I'm still in school, doing lots of homework, and (my favorite part!) visiting classrooms.  I decided that being in the teacher education program here at BYU is kind of like being in the MTC.  You learn about what you are going to be doing and how you have to do it.  (And yes, there is the good amount of spirituality mixed in with our classes, which is really nice.  I like being able to talk about relying on the Spirit to discern the needs of my students, because honestly, we've gotta do it.)  Then will come the day when they stick us out in the classroom.  I'll have some idea of what I'm supposed to do.  Sometimes what I'm supposed to do is how things are really done.  Sometimes, it's crazier than that.

I do really have the best major though.  As exhausting as it is I wouldn't change it for anything.  (Except, maybe a family of my own...but that's still a long ways away.)

Now it's back to the books....

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Heart Overflowing

Well, General Conference has started, and the past 2 hours have changed my life.  Specifically, the announcement of 2 new temples-one in Tuscan Arizona, and one in
Arequipa, PERÚ!!!
Although I served my mission in Chiclayo, which is up north, I developed such a love for the Peruvian people.  I am so incredibly grateful that the Lord saw it fit to put yet another temple in my beautiful country of Perú.  I still am anxiously waiting for the construction of the Trujillo temple, and I know it will be such a blessing to my friends living in Chiclayo and Piura.  Likewise, the temple in Arequipa will be such a blessing to missionaries and other members that have to travel so far to attend the Lima temple.  

BUT...that's not all.

President Monson just announced that the minimum missionary age has been lowered.  Elders can now leave at 18, and sisters can leave at 19!!!  Which means, my sister, who turns 19 in March, could very easily leave on a mission next summer (if, in fact, that turns out to be the course she decides to take with her life).  I do know that she will be thinking about it.  This is going to provide so many wonderful opportunities for so many people.  My mission changed my life.  It shaped how I think, how I love, how I learn.  I will be forever grateful for the chance that I had to serve a mission, and would love it if my sister also got that experience, if that is in God's plan for her.  And just maybe two years, we could have another picture like this...
Except Laura would have the name tag, and the look of 2 days without sleep :)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Temples :)

One of my favorite Mormon Messages is about the temple celebration/dedication in El Salvador that happened Aug 21, 2011.  I watch it probably once or twice a week.  (It might help a little bit that it's in Spanish...)  But seriously, I love seeing the youth and watching them realize the marvelous blessings that come from the temple.  It is incredible to see their devotion to the Lord and how they have made the temple such a huge goal in their lives.

This makes me so incredibly grateful for the temples that are so close to me here in Utah.  On my mission, I was the furthest away that I have ever been from a temple in my life.  The record was 18 hours, when I served in Jaén (or 24 hours, if you count our P-Day trip to Kuelap).  Soon though, there will be a temple closer to my wonderful Peruvian Saints.  In 2008 President Monson announced that they would be building a temple in Trujillo, about 3 hours south of Chiclayo.  They broke ground for it while I was in Tumán over a year ago (Sept 15, 2011 to be exact.)  To my knowledge, they haven't officially started construction on it yet, but I hope they will soon.  It is going to be a beautiful place, just like every other temple.  Except this one will be in Trujillo :)

Trujillo Perú Mormon Temple

This is what the temple in Trujillo will look like one day.  I love it.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Gringa from a Small Utah Town with a Latino Culture Influence

For my multicultural education class, we have to create a diorama explaining ourselves culturally using 3 artifacts.  I just thought I would share these with you and let you know a little more about my life.
 My first artifact is a BYU Football Pez dispenser.  Some might think this is a slightly odd choice for something to represent me, but I feel that is can describe much of who I am.  BYU football has been a big part of my life.  I have lived in Utah County since I was born, and I grew up attending BYU football games.  I remember counting down until football season started each year and just being so excited to see my boys out on the playing field.  It truly is a thrilling experience to see your team play to the best of their abilities.
BYU football is also something that makes me think of family.  My grandparents are huge BYU fans as well, passing their love of BYU down to their children, and their children passing that love to me, my siblings, and my cousins.  My grandparents always bought season tickets to the games.  About a year and a half ago, my grandpa passed away.  His instructions to my grandma were to always buy season tickets as long as there was money available.  BYU football, for me, is a family experience.
Of course, BYU represents more than just football to me now.  After working hard in high school, I was accepted to BYU, the university where I had wanted to attend since elementary school.  This university has changed and shaped my life to make me who I am today.  Without BYU, I know I would be a totally different person.

 My second artifact is my name tag from my mission.  I was privileged to be able to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  As such, I spent 18 months serving in northern Perú, in the Chiclayo mission.  This experience changed my life.  It shaped my life by showing me how amazing people really are.  I learned more about myself as a person and as a member of the Church.  I got to meet wonderful people and some not-so wonderful people.  I learned from all of them about the beauty that life has to offer as well as the heartache and frustration that comes along when wrong choices are made.  I discovered a love for the Latino culture as a whole which is something that I treasure today.  Because of my mission, I know it will influence who I am as a teacher.  I have become much more aware of multicultural education.  I have a strong desire to help these kids who have to learn English as a second language succeed.  Learning another language is not easy.  It takes time, patience, and effort.  I understand to some effect what these children are going through.

My last artifact is my hymnbook from my mission.  This captures many different aspects of my own personal culture.  I love music.  I have been playing the piano since I was 5 years old.  When I was a young girl I pleaded with my mom to teach me how to play the piano.  Finally, when we were able to buy a piano, she began to give me lessons.  I loved playing the piano.  I did not always love to practice.  But eventually I was able to practice enough to the point where I could sit down and sight read almost any piece placed in front of me.  My love for music grew.  It was something very prominent in the lives of both of my parents.  I have been able to feel of the power that music can bring.  While I was on my mission, I had the chance to play the piano during Sacrament meeting in all of my areas where they would have otherwise had no one to play.  The Spirit can be brought in so strongly when a righteous song is played and heard.  I even helped to teach a little bit to some of the younger children there so that they could one day play the piano in their own wards. 
I also love this artifact because it is my Spanish hymnbook.  Spanish has become a part of my life.  I love the hymns in Spanish.  My favorite song is one that we actually don’t have in English.  It’s called Placentero Nos Es Trabajar, which, translated means “It is a Pleasure for us to work.”  It captures the joy that is felt when one truly is dedicated to the work of the Lord.  My hymnbook, if you notice, is also very worn out.  I used it so much in lessons and during church. It truly represents a part of who I am today.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Still Bleeding True Blue!

When I was packing to leave on my mission, it said to bring a t-shirt for gym clothes.  So I did.  I brought one.  It was a shirt I actually got for free 3 years ago.  I got it because I decided to donate blood.  It was the first and only time I have done it in my life.  But from that experience I got a shirt that has gone with me to all ends of the earth and back. 

 (And by ends of the earth I mean Peru!)  

Remember this shirt???
Well, here is a look back at some of my awesome P-Days with my awesome "I Bleed True Blue" shirt!

Starting from the beginning....
 I was in Monsefú for this pic! My trainer, Hna Lopez and I, got the same hats, for only 5 soles!  (That's like 2 bucks.  Score!)
 Notice how my shirt still is quite blue.  
And then watch how it fades over time...
I'm giving Hna Choto a piggyback ride after teaching our Latino companions how to play kick ball, which is an awesome American pastime, and now an awesome Peruvian missionary P-Day activity :)

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures with me and my shirt in my second area, La Cria. 
But I did wear it...I think.  Moving on...


So we had an awesome P-day as a zone where we went to see the place where they dug up what is called "El Señor de Sipan"  (Think Emperor's New Groove sort of dealio.)
Yes, that is an awkward picture of me.  
At the end of the museum place, they had a bunch of artifacts we could play with (they were probably replicas, but still cool).  
So I'm being cool and pretending to drink out of an ancient water bottle :)
After the museum, we got to walk around and actually see where they found the tombs of the Señor de Sipan.  And we ran across a tree that looked like a bridge.  So, what do 14 missionaries do when they come across something like that?  They take a picture on it. 

And then....they jump off it.
  I think it's a pretty epic picture of Eld Ruiz and Eld Karl.  Notice me, in the shirt, off watching the crazy elders jump off the tree :)

Of course, I waited around until everyone had jumped off or climbed down.  Then I gave my camera to my companion, Hna Machuca, and she some how ended up taking this epic picture of me.  I think it's amazing, with the sepia and the just looks awesome!

Afterwards, I took a picture of the awesome earrings that I bought there.
It was the first time I had worn dangly earrings since I started my mission. 
But don't worry, I didn't go tracting with them :)
And the shirt was just as awesome as ever.

Then, about a month and a half later,
 I found out I was being transferred out of Tumán.  
So, on my last P-Day in Tumán, of course I had to take some epic pictures...and yes, wear my shirt.

This is what the chapel looked like in Tumán.  It was a house that we met in.  I grew to love it.
I saw "grew" because the first couple of weeks I had a headache after church.
Just imagine listening to people speaking into a microphone while in a cement room with cement floors, walls and ceilings.  
Does that make anyone else's head hurt??
 But I really did grow to love it, and I cried when I found out I was leaving it.  

(P.S.-So Tumán is an actual ward...the reason they don't really have a chapel is that there is a huge sugar factory that owns pretty much all of Tumán and for some reason or another the Church can't buy land there yet.  They would have to rent it, but I'm pretty sure the Church doesn't want to build a chapel on rented land.  Or something like that.  So in the meantime, we have our "home chapel")

Back to my last I got transferred at the beginning of October, and my birthday is at the end of October.  But, I didn't want to not celebrate my birthday with people I knew and loved, so I made myself a cake and we celebrated my birthday!  

In true Peruvian style, 
I got a raw egg smashed on my head and my cake smashed in my face.  
It was okay though, because it was also Eld Ruiz's birthday, 
and I got to smash the egg on his head. SO FUN!!!

I only got a little bit of egg on my shirt!  
You shoulda seen the other guy though...his shirt was a mess!
After I got cleaned up, we went to go play volleyball at the church.  Yarek wanted to play, but he's 3.  And the rest of us...are older than 3.  So while it wasn't my turn to play, I played ball with him.  
I love this picture :)

I ended up being transferred to Guadalupe 
where my True Blue shirt invariably followed me.
One of our first P-Days was a trip to Pacasmayo, where I was truly introduced to the ocean for the first time in my life.  I loved it!
There was a pile of rocks, so of course my companion, Hna Westman, and I had to take Ariel pictures!
While this isn't a complete replica of an Ariel picture, I think it turned out super well!  I told Hna Westman she had to make sure I didn't look fat or weird at all....I think she did a spectacular job!
We tried to take a zone picture at a little cave at the kind of works, but you end up with some crazy pictures...
(and I think an elder or two is missing....)

Fast forward to another P-Day...
visiting another site similar to the Señor de Sipan in Guadalupe.
Again, I think some of the zone is missing...
Still rockin the shirt though!

Now to my last area...

My first P-Day there we went to visit a fun little recreational place.  
They had a lot of animals... a monkey.  Who we named Teancum.
He really liked my water bottle.  
And it kind of freaked me out.  
So I know this isn't me.  But I thought this was an awesome picture.  And I don't think it was one that I had sent home.  Notice the monkey... 
Gotta love it!
Later that day, we found a goose boat.  Also awesome.  
Now just compare the color of our shirts.  Both are BYU shirts. 
 Yet they are different colors...
Shows you what 18 months in the Peru will do to your clothes!
I had some pretty rock awesome days with my shirt.  
And the memories were just too precious...
so unlike a lot of my other missionary clothing, 
I brought my shirt home with me.  

Today, Sept 8, 2012...BYU game against Weber State. 
Still sportin the shirt!  I had to! 
After the game, I got a picture with my dad, whom I love.  He is great.  
And my little sister Emily, whom I also love.

And my "I Bleed True Blue" BYU shirt.  Which will stay with me for a while, bringing back memories and making new ones for years to come.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back to School

Here I am.  I'm back at BYU!  The Fall 2012 semester started yesterday, and MAN there were a lot of people scrambling around!  My life has been forever changed by the fact that I decided to serve a mission.  And I'm feeling the effects of said choice.

I'm taking a bunch of elementary education classes.  Don't ask me which ones, I don't really know. All I know is that I have to take them to graduate, and I know I have to be in this room at this time.  Because my classes are more or less in the major, they are smaller.  And generally full of sophomore/junior girls.  As we get to know each other, they figure out that I graduated high school in 2007.
Yes.  I did in fact start my freshman year at BYU 

I served a mission.  So it's okay :)  Gotta love the look they give me before I throw in the mission part.  At least I can do that here at BYU.  I think that might be a little harder to explain if I were to attend a different university outside of Utah.  It's fun though.  I hear them talking all the time about the classes that I took to get into the program...and yes, I took those like 3 and 4 years ago.  Although today, I did realize that this is my last time ever starting a fall semester with classes on BYU campus before I get my undergrad.  This time next year, I will be getting my classroom ready.  Can you say AWESOME?!?!?

But of course, that also means I'm going to be super busy.  Heck, right now I'm taking 18 credits.  And I've done a mission, which means I'm totally a pro at planning now :)

Overall, I'm in for a great semester/year.  It'll be crazy, but hey-I've lived in a foreign country for 18 months.  I can do this.

And for the record, I love being able to raise my hand when the professors ask who the returned missionaries are.  It's the best.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dare to Stand Alone

Oh my word!  This week has been so incredibly full of the Spirit!  I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the chance that I had to be a youth counselor for our stake's youth conference this year.

So, rewind to about 2 days after I got back from my mission.  Some of my best friends, Jennifer, Rachael, and Ammon all came and kidnapped me to go practice a song for some youth conference kick off fireside.  They explained how the stake wanted to create an EFY experience for this year's youth conference, up to the point where they even had the counselors from the YSA group.  They asked if I would be around for the 12-14 of July.  I knew I had school going on, but it sounded so awesome, and I wanted to do it!  I knew it would be worth it.

So, two months and a bunch of meetings later, here I was!  At youth conference!  Bright and early Wednesday morning, I was up, heading to the church to prepare for the 12 or so girls that I was going to be in charge of over the next three days.  I was sporting an awesome red t-shirt, with our theme on the front and a cool word collage on the back.

(*Disclaimer:  This isn't the back of my shirt.  If I am right, I think it's the back of Rachael's shirt, but since all of the shirts look the same, you get the picture.  Literally :)

My group was group #1 and our color was dark pink, so I held up the little sign that I made for them to come and find me, and they slowly trickled in.  As soon as I had all 12 of my girls, we ate a little breakfast, and then played a couple of games.

Me and my girls started off playing a little Ninja!  I love it :)

We had a little devotional about choices and making youth conference a good experience.  I loved testifying of the truths of the Gospel to my girls. I was able to really strengthen my own testimony as I did so.  Then we headed inside to kick off youth conference with everyone!

The theme was Dare to Stand Alone based off of President Monson's talk from the Oct 2011 Priesthood session.

This was the poster that was created and hung up in all of the different buildings.

 We started off by watching the Mormon Message that was recently put out using his talk.

Watch it!  It's great!

Then all of the youth counselor girls sang "Dare to Do Right" from the Primary book.  Over the past week, I have learned to absolutely LOVE this song!  I had never really listened to the second verse before, but once I paid attention to the words, it gave me chills!  Here are the words:

Dare to do right! Dare to be true!
You have a work that no other can do;
Do it so bravely, so kindly, so well,
Angels will hasten the story to tell.

Dare, dare, dare to do right;
Dare, dare dare to be true,
Dare to be true,
Dare to be true.

Dare to do right! Dare to be true! 
Other men's failures can never save you.
Stand by your conscience, your honor, your faith;
Stand like a hero and battle till death!

Dare, dare, dare to do right;
Dare, dare dare to be true,
Dare to be true,
Dare to be true.

After listening to the Jenny Phillips version, we decided to adapt that to how we wanted to sing it.  It wasn't exactly the same, but it was similar (if you click on the link, it takes you to a bunch of clips from her Primary CD for this year, so just listen for a little bit and soon you'll hear Dare to do Right.)  I loved playing the piano while my beautiful sisters sang.

Rachael, Tosha, Shay, Shelly, Serena, and Jennifer.

I think that the song and the movie really helped to set the tone for Youth Conference.  I was able to feel the Spirit so strongly during all of this, testifying to me that what we were singing and watching was true.  

One of the amazing things about EFY is all of the amazing speakers that come, and our youth conference was no different.  We had the privilege of listening to many different speakers and learning so much from them and from their experiences.  Our first guest speaker was Meg Johnson.

Isn't she beautiful?!

She was paralyzed about 8 years ago after falling off a cliff in St. George.  And now she's a motivational speaker, which is great!  She was so funny and cute!  She talked about the theme of our youth conference, "Dare to Stand Alone," and pointed out that it was pretty interesting that they asked someone who couldn't stand if she wanted do (and I'm sure she does) to come and speak about standing alone.  

She told us about her experience and how she became paralyzed, but she also told us about some moments in her life when she had to stand alone.  One thing she mentioned that I really liked was that the most important commandment is the one that you are having the hardest time keeping.  Whoa!  Throw that into perspective!  (I believe she was quoting someone...I just can't remember who...)  It really was great.  She was funny and brought the Spirit into our youth conference. I remember looking down the row at my 12 girls and seeing them watch her and listen to her, and write stuff down in their journals!  (At least, I hope they were taking notes and not playing tic-tac-toe!)  I think they were able to feel of her sincerity and testimony.  It was the best way I can think of to start off our youth conference.

*Other Disclaimer:  Almost all of these pictures were taken by our Youth Conference photographer, Sister Gee.  Just wanted to give credit where it is due :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Visiting Teachers!

Finally!!! For the first time in 2 years, I HAVE VISITING TEACHERS!!!! Wahoo!!!
They came and visited my roommate and I today.  It was just fun to sit down and chat for a little bit, to know that these girls care enough to stop by and say hi.

It reminded me of my mission, where we are like 100% visiting teachers 100% of the time.  Sometimes the members would joke around with us and say "well, you guys (meaning the missionaries) haven't visited me for a long time, so I'm gonna go inactive."  I would always respond with "Well, none of you have come to visit us, so we're gonna go inactive!"  As in, you should have people visiting you.  It's great for the missionaries to visit you, but you are not their primary responsibility.  They kind of chuckled a little, but didn't really say more.  But I am pleased to say that I still feel active in the Gospel after 2 years of not having visiting teachers.  (Granted, 18 months of that time was spent on the mission :)  

I am really excited to have visiting teachers though and to be a visiting teacher.  They are so important to helping the sisters in the church.  It definitely is an inspired program, and I love it.

Small and Simple Things

I still have tiny little habits from the mission I don't think I've gotten rid of yet.  For example, yesterday I used my big red backpack that I used on my mission.  Oftentimes I would just sling it over my right shoulder, and then when I got tired, I would put it around my left arm, carrying as a backpack should be carried.  While I was on my mission though, when I would do that, the backpack strap would always get put over my name tag.  So I just got used to adjusting my name tag so people could see that I was actually "Hermana Williams" and not just "Hermana Willi."

So yesterday, as I put my backpack on, without thinking, I went to adjust my name tag.  But it wasn't there!  And then I remembered that I don't wear a missionary name tag anymore.  Sad day!

Even though it's been almost 2 months since I've been home, I still have little habits.  They make me miss my mission.  I miss Peru.  I miss Spanish.  I miss all of my wonderful friends.  But one day I'll see them again.  And it will be maravilloso.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Okay, we were really only seperated for a little bit.  So turns out, Ilarene is having a baby!  Which means, BABY SHOWER!!!  Amberly was so good to put it all together, make yummy food (thanks to pinterest!) and be an amazing hostess.  It was so nice too, because our friend Aimee was able to come.  She's been in law school in Chicago for the past year, and I hadn't seen her since my mission farewell. So it was so fun to catch up on life (and be grateful that I'm not going into law school.)  Of course, it was great seeing Ilarene, all cute and pregnant.  She'll be popping soon! It was just so interesting how each one of our lives have kind of taken different paths, but they are all what has been just perfect for us.  We definitely missed other friends too, like Michelle and Erin, but they were certainly there in spirit!

P.S.-so I chopped my hair for the first time since I got back from my mission.  Actually (and I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this), I hadn't cut my hair since I was in the MTC.  So my hair had gone like 18 months without a good haircut (I didn't really trust anyone with my hair in Peru).  So anywho, here you can kind of see it.  It's not as short as it was when I chopped it in the MTC, but it definitely is a lot shorter than I'm used to!  I quite like it.  

Funny-ish story.  So there's a huge fire that has been burning in Eagle Mountain/Saratoga Springs for the past 3-4 days I think...  (people target practicing with exploding  The unfunny part is that they've had to evacuate a lot of people from SS/EM (thankfully my family/neighborhood is safe).  So I went to Great Clips to get my hair cut, but they were closed because of the evacuation, even though they weren't in the evacuation zone.  So I went down to Fantastics Sams in SS, and found another guy that had done the same thing!  Okay, like I said, not really that funny.  Just interesting.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Other Side

For the last 18 months, I have had the opportunity to talk to people about the Gospel, about my beliefs, about the Church, along with helping people to improve their relationship with God.  Throughout the course of my mission we taught several hundreds of investigators.  But this week, it was my turn to be the investigator.

Tuesday, there was a knock on our door.  The Jehovah's Witnesses had come to visit us.  They were two really cute girls from San Diego, probably about 21 years old.  I had had several encounters with Jehovah's Witnesses on my mission, so I was somewhat intrigued by what they had to say.  They quickly shared a scripture from Psalms with us and then left us a book called What the Bible Really Teaches.  I had seen/skimmed through it in Spanish in Peru.  It's the same in English.  While I really appreciate what these young women were trying to do in helping other people, my heart ached for them, because they are missing parts of the Gospel (parts that are essential for every child of God, aka everyone!)  But I was nice and listened like a good investigator, because, hey, I've been there.

The next day, I was on the receiving end again. But this time, the missionaries were at Temple Square.  We had our weekly temple trip and this week we headed up to the Salt Lake Temple, which was AMAZING!!!! You could really feel the Spirit in the temple.  Afterwards, we wandered around City Creek (because I hadn't been there since I got back from my mission), and then headed back to Temple Square to look around.  As we entered into the South Visitor's Center, a sister missionary from Mongolia approached us.  We introduced ourselves, told her that we had just come to the temple, and then just looking around.  She talked to us a little bit about our missions as well, about some of the awesome things about the mission but some of the hard things as well.  She then told me that she felt like she wanted to share a scripture from The Book of Mormon with me.  As I read the scripture in Moroni 10:10-12, I really felt like those words were speaking to me.  I knew it was talking about gifts of the Spirit, but I had never really felt that any of those particular ones applied to me.  But as I read, I could feel the Spirit, and I realized that the Lord was answering one of my prayers.  She also told me that she was sure that I touched the lives of many people on my mission (which is something that Satan tries to make me doubt a lot). She left each of us with an individual commitment (like an awesome missionary does!), and we said goodbye.   But I was so grateful for this sister missionary, who the Lord sent all the way over to the states from Mongolia, and for her inspired words meant for me.  Just talking to her for those 10 minutes on Wednesday made my week, and she probably has no idea.  That left me pondering on my own mission, and made me think about how many people I may have touched that I have no idea about.  I hope to one day see the fruits of my labors.

Missionary work is awesome.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pony Express Days

So each year Eagle Mountain has it's "Pony Express Days."  It has everything from a demolition derby to a carnival to a movie in the park...pretty much everything.  Including a parade.  It was held last Saturday, and I went with my family.  I obviously missed last year's parade due to the fact that I was being a missionary down in Peru!  But the year before, I had an interesting experience at the parade, which I though about quite a bit this year.

Pony Express Days parade-first weekend in June 2010.  About 2 weeks earlier I had made the decision to serve a mission, and had started up my papers.  I honestly had no idea where I was going to go.  But I knew I was doing what the Lord wanted me to do, and that made me happy.

As we're at the parade, we see lots of things pass by, floats, princesses, marching bands, cub scouts, everything.  I'm just sitting there, innocently watching the parade when the Latino ward here in Eagle Mountain walks by.  All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I feel this overwhelming love for these people.  It was enough to make me start to tear up (and I don't cry easily).  In that moment, I felt like the Lord was preparing me to go and serve these people.  I felt I was going to go on a Spanish speaking mission.  I didn't tell anyone at the time about my feeling though, just in case I got called to Russia or something, and it turned out I was wrong.  But I wasn't! :)

When I opened my call about a month and a half later, and read the words "...assigned to labor in the Perú Piura mission," those feelings came back.  I felt so good about my mission call, even though I had no idea where it was (no worries though-shortly thereafter I started freaking out about learning Spanish, going to another country, etc.).  I felt that the Lord was helping me to love these people.  And I do.  I think the thing I miss most about being a missionary is the people.  I love them.  And I have since even before my mission :)

Thursday, May 31, 2012


There are a lot of things that have helped me in my transition to normal peoplehood.  One of those things is the temple.  I didn't get the chance to attend the temple at all when I was in Peru, and it definitely was one of those things that I missed a lot.  The peace that you find in the temple is amazing, and I love it.

The other thing is friends.  My amazing friends.  Like Erin, Ilarene, and Beth, who have been with me through the twists and turns of college/BYU/life.  I've gone through so much with these girls, laughing together, crying together, shopping together, heck, living together :)  Then there are my friends from my home ward, like Emily, Jennifer, Rachael, and Ammon.  I've known these guys since I was 12.  They've been with me through the awkwardness of teenage years, girls camp, youth conference, YM/YW activities, the zits, dating, you name it.  I love all of these people so much.  

So....when you put friends together in a temple, it is just an amazing experience.  

Me, Jennifer, Ammon, and Rachael in front of the Draper Temple

Sometimes you gotta be a little silly and try not to fall over :)

So we decided as a group of friends we wanted to go to the temple each week.  Correction: They were already going each week.  I just decided I wanted to join them.  Ammon and I are both endowed, but Rachael and Jennifer are not.  So what we decided to do is Ammon and I would do a session while Jennifer and Rachael would travel to different temples doing baptisms.  On Wednesday, they went to Oquirrh Mountain first, then Jordan River, and ended up at Draper, where we ended up getting out about the same time!  Perfect!

I really can't say enough about how much I love the temple.  I missed it so much on my mission.  I think that almost made me more trunky than anything :)  (In fact, I specifically remember a conversation with my district leader where he told us that we shouldn't talk about the temple because it was making him trunky!  Silly elders....  :)  It really is such a blessing to be able to live close to a temple (or close to like 8 temples in my case).  

Another blessing that we have as young adults is Institute, which I've also grown to love.  It's good to have that extra lesson, extra time to focus on gospel doctrines and just dive into the scriptures.  Recently we've been doing the "Doctrines of the Gospel" class, and we've been talking about the Plan of Salvation.  I learned more about the fall, Adam and Eve, the it's been amazing.  I love the scripture in Moses 5:11 where Eve is basically describing the blessings that have come to them by the Fall.  Maybe it's just because she's actually talking, but I love it.  On my mission, there were people who would say that Adam and Eve committed such a terrible thing by partaking of the fruit, but with our knowledge of the Plan we realize it brought forth many blessings as well.  It definitely was a challenge sometimes, helping people understand the Fall better, but as they came to understand that, they understood better the need for the Atonement.  Which is always incredible.  

So recap: 
Gospel of Jesus Christ=blessing

Wow!  Just a few of the many blessings I have in my life :)

P.S.-Todavia extraño Español/castellano.  Y extraño Perú.  Por si acaso.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Oh to be a Pioneer...

And no, I'm not talking in the sense that my high school mascot was a pioneer.  (Thank you Lehi High.)

Tonight, while everyone was watching the eclipse, I was at a Jenny Phillips fireside that happened to be held in our old stake center (our stake split while I was on my mission, and our ward was part of the new stake).  As I sat there listening to the music, I began to think of all of the memories I had had in the building.  One that came to my mind was the time when President Hinckley came to dedicate that building.  In June 2002 our stake had the privilege of having our prophet dedicate our stake center.  It definitely was an experience I will never forget.  I remember one thing he said in his talk-that Eagle Mountain would become a sort of "training ground" if you will for the future leaders of the church.  Kind of like pioneers.  I thought about how over the past 10 years I really have had the chance to be a pioneer (in a way much more influential than wearing purple and white at high school football games).

I grew up as one of the oldest youth in our ward.  There were a couple of other girls a little older than me, but for the most part, we were the oldest.  I didn't really have other youth to look up to, at least in the leaving on a mission sort of sense.  It wasn't until June 2009 that our ward really sent out it's first missionary.  I had the privilege to be the first single sister missionary from the Eagle Mountain 4th Ward.  (Heck, even when I started my papers in my BYU ward, my bishop was brand new, and I was the first missionary he helped out to do papers and everything!)

But the "first" opportunities didn't only happen to me here.  About 4 months into my mission, we received word that in July 2011 they would be splitting the Perú Piura mission and would create the Perú Chiclayo Mission.  As things turned out, I because the first American sister missionary in that newly formed mission.  As I was training, I had the chance to be the one of the first sisters in two particular areas that hadn't seen sisters for years (in Tumán and Guadalupe).  On my mission, almost everyone there is a pioneer for their family.  In the areas that I served, the church had been there for at most 25 years.  There were a few second generation members, (a little girl that belonged to the third generation was born while I was Guadalupe) but other than that, pretty  much everyone were converts.

As we think about pioneers, we think of the people who crossed the plains, who suffered from pain and hunger, just for something they believed in.  But a pioneer is someone who leads the way.  I think in our own way, everyone is a pioneer.  I feel so blessed for the opportunity that I have had to be a pioneer in the Gospel, both at home and on my mission. Perhaps I'm not suffering persecutions, but I hope that I can lead the way, that my example can have a positive influences on others who would otherwise be lost.  It is such a beautiful experience.

So even though my high school football team only won one game the whole 3 years I was there, and that I our school colors were purple and white, and there's a giant "L" on the football field, because of the Gospel, I can say that I am proud to be a pioneer.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Companions and Canneries

Yesterday, as I was being crafty in my room, the bishop came over to ask me if I could volunteer at the Lindon Cannery today from 12-4.  Well, after evaluating my exceptionally busy schedule (watch Megamind with Emily, scrapbook, read, eat lunch....) I decided I could squeeze in 4 hours to see what this whole cannery business was about.  Mind you I have no idea how to can anything.

But it turns out, knowledge of canning wasn't necessary!  You see, attached to the cannery is what is called "The Bishop's Storehouse."  According to, "[they] distribute commodities to the poor and needy as requested by bishops. Bishops' storehouses also provide meaningful service opportunities for those receiving assistance and for those desiring to serve missions or to volunteer."  It's a store, except the people who go there have certain needs, and don't pay for their food in that moment with money.  But, it's still a store, with shelves that need stocking, and everything.  The funny thing is though is that you see a bunch of service missionaries.  People with black name tags.  Like the one I used to wear (except mine is in Spanish.  But it's just as cool).  And as I saw so many nametags, I think I began to believe that I was wearing my nametag again.  I mean, we did service as missionaries, and that's what I was doing.  Serving!  And the awesome part was, I even had a companion!  Another sister from my ward, Jennilyn, also came to help out.  So we spent about 2 1/2 hours restocking shelves, and then the last 1 1/2 hours putting rolls of toliet paper in plastic bags.  

But...for the first 2 hours, I subconsciously felt like I couldn't leave Jennilyn's side. As we walked back into the storeroom to get things to restock shelves, as we came back...she was always within my sight and hearing.  She was my companion, and I had to stay with her.  So I did.  But I didn't even realize I was feeling that way until about halfway through!  It probably was the closest I've felt to being on the mission again, you know, if something happens to your companion, you freak and you don't do anything else until you find her again. Because having your companion with you is SO incredibly important.  They dedicate a whole section of the Missionary Handbook to it.  So coming home, adjusting to NOT having a companion...well, it's just that: an adjustment.  I told Jennilyn about how I felt that she was my companion, and we laughed about it.  Silly RMs :D   

Anywho, helping out at the bishop's storehouse was pretty fun.  It was really neat too to see how there is so much help for those who need it, and really, how the church is organized perfectly to do it.  I remember on the mission having people tell us how well-organized our church was.  I then took the opportunity to testify to them that it is because this church was not organized by a man.  It was organized by Christ.  Therefore, it is perfect.  And each time I said that, I felt the Spirit testify in my heart that it was true.  Isn't it wonderful? :)  

Well, looks like it's back to living my life without a companion...oish.  Maybe I'll make my sister sleep in my room tonight....

Monday, May 14, 2012

My Homecoming

Some of My Family

Here are a couple of pictures of some of the people that came to my homecoming yesterday.  I should've taken more pictures with other people, but at least we have these ones-thanks Grandma!

My cousin Robbie, his cute wife Cammie, and me :) 
My Grandma French and me-she came all the way from Canada to see me.  Love her!  
Emily, Me, my dad, my mom, Grandma, and Laura
Only Elder Williams is missing, but we got to talk to him, so that was happy!!!
Yay for family!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Life of an RM

So I know it feels like my blog had kind of ended, coming home, but I started know, how many blessings and experiences that I had on my mission have influenced my life?  Quite a few, actually.  So I think I might just keep this blog going some, reflecting on the post-life of a sister missionary.

Today, I gave my homecoming talk.  It was actually quite a good experience, even though it was the first time I had given a talk in English for 18  months.  There were 3 youth that bore testimonies, a talk from another brother in the ward, a song from the Primary (seeing as it's Mother's Day), and then...20 minutes, all to myself.

The theme for my talk had been the Primary theme for this month.  "I Choose the Right when I am Baptized and Confirmed" which was actually pretty great, because I mean, that's what missionaries do!  Help people choose the right!  In fact, as we recited each week in district meeting, our purpose is to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end."  I decided to share a couple of stories from my mission, illustrating the different principles and ordinances, like helping Blanca to come to church and how that helped her increase her faith in Christ, and how Brenda was able to repent, be baptized, and use the gift of the Holy Ghost in her life.  Then comes enduring to the end...unfortunately there wasn't a whole lot of time left, so I just read a scripture in 3 Nephi 15:9, and then talked a little about just a few of the things I had learned from my mission....

  • God loves ALL of His children (myself included!)
  • I don't need to be perfect to help someone else out.
  • God answer prayers-my prayers, investigators' prayers, members' prayers...everyone is heard by our Heavenly Father.
  • The scriptures hold the answer to EVERYTHING!
  • The Spirit is the most important person in missionary work.
  • The Bible and the Book of Mormon testify of each other, and both are TRUE!
  • The ways I want to raise my children, and how I don't want to raise my children.
  • How to love random people that I had never before met.
  • How to start talking to strangers on the street.
  • And most importantly, how Jesus Christ is my Savior, the center of everything.  Without Him, I am nothing.  I can do nothing.  But with Him, I can do everything.  I can be who He wants me to be.
My mission was amazing.  Incredible.  Ridiculously difficult, but ridiculously full of miracles.  I'm sure that the blessing will just keep on coming.  Now it's onto the next, work....potential future know, the whole shabang.  Me encanta la vida :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Returned with Honor
Jamie is Home

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Jamie's flight comes in Tuesday May 1 at 12:42 pm.  Delta flight 983  in terminal 2.  

Jamie will report her mission on May 13th, at 11am in our church building 4588 N Eagle Mountain Blvd

Hey!  Wow!  Another crazy week in missionary world here in Peru.  So, to answer your questions...yeah, I think I'll be coming into Salt Lake with one or two other elders, but there are about 10 of us leaving the mission.  So we'll all fly down to Lima together, and then go our separate ways from there.  I'm not quite sure which day I get home, but I'll let you know as soon as I get this figured out.  The thing is that in the past, the missionaries have left the mission Monday afternoon to go to Lima.  I'm imagining that this time it will be the same.  The elders in the office....well, gotta love them (I still maintain my position that the office would run a lot smoother with sisters in it...but they have a lot to learn there I guess.)  Really, you can do whatever you want for dinner.  Just not rice.  (I do understand that there will be rice in my cafe rio, but it will be mixed in with a bunch of stuff).  Although I must admit it seems totally normal for me to have a portion of rice along with a bbq steak!  I'm in the process of giving away stuff, buying stuff, etc.  I'm thinking of leaving a bit of my clothing here.  I've given a lot of my clothes to Hna Rocha, which is actually perfect because she likes my clothes and the majority of them fit them a lot better than her own clothes  (She's lost quite a bit of weight since she came on the mission, but her clothes are still the same, so even though she's lost weight, you can't really tell.  But I'm helping her to change that.  It's perfect!)  That's exciting for Laura!  So Emily will start living at home alone even sooner!  Wow!  That'll be fun!  (Make sure the stake knows that I'm returning from the Peru Chiclayo Mission and not from the Piura mission-that would just be good.) 
Well, this week was kind of tough.  Blanca didn't end up getting baptized :(  She was feeling too much pressure, apparently, but since she's shy she didn't tell us, and her dad told us for her.  But they still came to church.  There's something there...we haven't figured out what it is yet, but well, we'll keep praying, and we believe in miracles, no?  Actually I think everything I've done on my mission has been a miracle.  That I've learned Spanish?  Definite miracle. That I've gotten over my fear to talk to random people? Miracle (doesn't mean that I'm a huge fan of it though, but I can do it!) Seeing people change their lives completely when nothing else has worked? Miracle.
People keep asking me what I'm gonna do when I get back.  Well, after hugging everyone and probably crying a little, going to cafe rio.  After that...I'm not so sure.  I do know that the day after I'm released I want to go to the temple, si o si!  I miss the temple so much.  It'll be amazing to go again, and to feel of the peace again.  I had an interview with President this week, and he actually helped me a lot to feel better about things.  It's interesting, because when I left Guadalupe, I remember thinking that if I were to end my mission right then, I would feel content with myself about the work that I did.  And yeah, these last 12 weeks have been rough, but I am.  I'm just gonna give it my all this week.  Because starting next week, I take off my plaque, and I become just Jamie again.  How odd. 
Well, I'm thinking this is probably the last time I'll write you a weekly email.  I will find a way to contact you, whether I email you or someone from the office emails you or calls you or something to let you know exactly what is going on on what day.  But know that I have such a strong testimony of this Gospel.  I know it is the truth with all of my heart.  My testimony has only grown.  It has been tested and tried in so many different ways, but it's been incredible to feel how it has grown.  I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, and it is because of his Atonement that we have the Gospel.  It's amazing, really, it is, to think how one act that one person did 2000 years ago changed everyone's lives! I know it has changed mine.
Well, I think I've gotta go.  It's late.  (But I have some rock awesome pictures to show you of Gocta when I get back!)  I love you all so much, and I really am excited to see you again.  Love you!!!!!!
Hermana Williams

Monday, April 16, 2012

Jamie's Letter April 15, 2012

Hey mom. And dad. And everyone else that I love :D
So this week has been better. I still have struggled, but I think part of it is like the ultimate trials and stuff before I go home. Thank you for your prayers. I still need them. I actually don't know how we found Pantera and Blanca. Hna Captain and Hna Machuca found them somehow, and taught and baptized Pantera's other 2 daughters, Lady and Luisa the saturday before I got there. But I have seen them change, become happier since I have started teaching them. My companion has been helping me out a lot too to be more optimistic. Really, I've just felt super overwhelmed. I am feeling better though. We did find out that Pantera and Blanca aren't a couple, which was something that has been bugging us for a while...we've been fighting with the ward if they were or weren't a couple. Blanca has a baptismal date for this Saturday, but I don't know if she feels ready or not. We'll try to keep helping her, and hopefully I can see one baptism before I leave Jaèn. If not, I'll still leave with the satifaction of knowing that I helped people come to a knowledge of the truth.
We taught Sunday School yesterday in church. We talked about revelation. Honestly, I feel that sometimes the members are stuck in a routine. It was good for me too. Just that sometimes, like in Sunday School, some people start arguing about doctrine (in this case it was if the Lord would send someone else to tell the prophet that he was wrong, and that he needed to be better...don't think so). Oh, question, so I know we make a covenant when we are baptized, but do we make specific covenants when we receive the gift of the holy ghost? I haven't read anything specific, but the bishop was talking about that the other day.
Congrats to Julie and Joanie! So many babies! That's exciting though :) Sounds like you're doing good at getting life all figured out for me. Thanks for doing that! I'm excited to be able to start classes and stuff again. PSYCH!!! That'll be fun to watch again :) So, just in case you wanted to know, I want Cafe Rio when I get back. Everyone is asking me what I'm gonna do when I first get back. I tell them that I'm going to eat a pork burrito or a pork salad. They then laugh at me, because for them, burritos are little donkeys. Anywho, let me know next week what more or less your plans are then for the 1st of May. Sounds like everyone is doing pretty good. I'm gonna keep on working hard, I'm praying for all of you too. Even though it is hard, I love being a missionary. It has been an incredible experience to share the Gospel with so many people, even when they don't understand and don't change, because I have changed. Thank you for all of your love and support. I love you all so much!
Hermana Williams

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Jamie's Letter April 9, 2012

Hello everyone!

So this week, the "e" on this kyboard is having issus, so if somthing looks like it should hav an "e" but it doesn't, use your imagination and add it yourslf!

Congrats on the pageant Laura!!! And why doesn't anyone tell me what her talent was? I wanna know how cool it was! I loved doing it! It's a lot of fun, and a great experince. Who would've thought we become a somewhat pageant family? (Okay, just me and my sister, but still! Cool beans!) And that's nice that grandma was able to be thre with you guys too. I'm excited to see her when I get back.

So I havn't been able to talk to Presidnte. He didn't nd up coming up hre to Jaen, so I'm still pretty clueless about what is going on. And the office elders...well, sometimes they do stuff. I think they should put hermanas in th offic. Everything would run a lot mor efficiently, I think. But whatver. I guess the elders need to learn something on their missions. For all I know though I could be staying anothr change (which I don't think so...Laura would kill me!). My back, well, it still hurts somtimes, but other times it's good. I haven't really been taking anything, becuse it just treats the symptoms. I think I'll just surviv until I come hom, yeah?

Ush...this week. Well, it's been good. It's been "semana santa" which is where they all celebrate thursday and friday as easter, and they do it....DRINKING!!! and SMOKING!!!! I'm pretty annoyed by it. I pretty much am sick of it. But hey, what can I do about it? Just teach them the gospl (whn thy're sober of course) and then see if they hav the desir to change. Which some of them do. And it's amazing whn they do actually chang. It's bn kind of hard too because I feel vry much without a whol lot of energy. I blame it on complting 17 months in the mission.

Then there are our investigators. We have Pantera and his "adopted" daughter Blanca, who is 18. She's got a baptismal date for the 21. Except everyone in ward council told me that they are actually living togther. Ever since I started visiting them, I always thought that they had a daddy-daughter relationship, as Blanca's real little sister Luisa and Pantera's real daughter Lady live with them too. It was something that I had heard before, a rumor, but I didn't believe. Because they act like a father and a daughter. When she cam hom late with Lady, he got after them a little. But the ward tell me that thy are actually boyfriend girlfrind sort of a deal. Yesterday during ward council, it made me mad. Not necesarrily mad at any of thm, but at myself. That I could really be fooled for so long about somthing so trivial. If it is true. But if it's not true, imagin, a new convrt, coming into th church, with everyon talking bhind their back that he and the young girl that he's helped to raise are living together. Either way, I think I was madder yesteray than I have been in my whol mission. And then if it is true, I lose confidence in myself to discern the Spirit. Either way, it sucks.

But other than that, I'm doing well. Just trying to enjoy th littl bit of tim that I supposdely have left. It doesn't feel like I'll be home soon. I'm sorry this email isn't the happiest. Somtimes missionary work is hard. Actually, a lot of the time it's hard. But hey, I do what I can, and I try to give all of me, even though it really isn't much anymore. But I guess even if I could give verything, I'd be an improfitabl serveant, lik King Ben taught us. I'm thankful for this chance tht I do have to learn though. It is great. Thanks for all of your prayers. They're amazing. Love you!
Hermana WIlliams