Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jamie's Pictures from March 5, 2012

Some of the ruins, some of the view
This is a cool pic of me at Kuelap last week.
Me in front of the cool LOTR thing. Really. Awesome.
Isn't this place beautiful?
Me. On my floor in the hospital room. This is where I slept the second night. Fun, eh?

Jamie's Letter March 26, 2012

Hey yall! (I'll pull an Elder Cameron Williams there!) Sounds like life at home is pretty busy! I had no idea they even made a hunger games movie! That'll be cool to see-add it to my trunky list! Mwahaha!!

Well, here I am, at the beginning of the end of my mission! The Lord heard my prayers and he gave me a Latina companion to finish my mission!! My companion is Hermana Rocha, and she's from Uruguay! (I showed her a picture of Taylor from Emily and Taylors wedding, and she says she recognizes him! Like I think he served in a branch in her stake/district. Anywho, that's cool.) My Spanish has definitely improved even more over the past week, which makes me happy. I want to talk to you guys in Spanish, thinking that I'm talking in English! She's really good, and we get along pretty well. I have been very blessed to have good companions. She's shorter than I am, and a little "gordita" (it's okay to say that in Spanish, don't worry) which is nice, because I think I'm gonna be able to leave some of my clothes with her. She's also really good at just talking to random people, which has been one of my weaknesses for all of my mission.

I've been thinking some about money, and the future. Really, at this point, I know what I feel like I need to do, but I really have no idea how I'm going to do it. Sometimes I think I'm kind of crazy (locura, in Spanish), but as I was flipping through the scriptures, I came across my favorite scripture, Alma 37:6-7, which says, "you may think this is foolishness (but in Spanish, it uses the word locura, which was exactly what I was thinking!) in me...but by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. I feel like more than ever I just need to trust in the Lord, that as long as I am doing what I feel is right, He will help me. For example, I just barely clicked to submit an application for another scholarship at BYU-in the education department. Maybe the Lord will bless me to be able to get another half scholarship. That would be so nice. Then I wouldn't have to pay any tuition! But we'll see!

That's too bad about Uncle Mike and their family. That's gotta be rough. At least they have Jordan at home with them now. They'll definitely be in my prayers, as well as Sean. Let me know how he's doing.

This week has been intersting, as usual. This week we had our fast/testimony meeting. It's my last fast Sunday in the mission. Next fast sunday I'll be home. Weird? Very muchly so. It was mostly spiritual, only with a little bit of apostasy, but it came from children, so it was cute more than anything... a little 10 year old girl said "I know Joseph Smith died for us, and that the Catholic books are true." It makes more sense in Spanish why she said the thing about the Catholic books. I'll explain it when I get home. Although I did take the chance to bear my testimony, which always strengthens it. We also had a menos activa come to church yesterday for the first time in who knows how long. We've been visiting her pretty often, and she finally came! It made me so happy to be able to see her there!

Can you believe that it's almost time for General Conference!? I feel like it has come SO fast! I always love this time, because I can teach people about prophets, and then tell them that "hey! We're actually gonna get to listen to our prophet soon! Why don't you come listen?!" There are also rumors floating around that there will be a session or two in English for the American missionaries. But at this point, it doesn't really matter to me. I'm fine listening in Spanish or in English, especially if we have investigators with us. I think I will be able to find answers in this general conference, like always. It really is just a spiritual feast! And this time, I won't have to wait 3 months to get the English conference ensign! It should be coming out just a little bit after i get home!

We're still working with our investigators, trying to help them progress. We're also trying to help the ward progress. I told them that my goal is that they have a nursury by the time I leave. We'll see if that works or not. It can be frustrating at times, but it just makes me so appreciative of the people back home that actually do their callings. So go and thank the nursury leaders in our ward for me this week, okay?

Oh-and tell Erin that I've become a pro at managing my time, and that I will definitely be able to find time to talk to her, and that I love her, and then also tell Ilarene that I'm still super excited for her, and that I love her too. And all of my friends. Tell them that I love them, okay? Because I do. And I love my family too. You guys seriously are the best. I am SO incredibly blessed to have your support. Really, it helps me so much!

Well, I think I have to call this an email. But know that I know that this is the truth, and there is nothing else that makes me so happy!!
hermana Williams

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Jamie's Letter March 29, 2012

Hello my dear family. Here I am again, at the end of another week in the mission field. Today officially starts the last transfer of my mission. Does that seem weird to anyone else? Well, yesterday, we found out who had changes. I'm staying here, and Hna Captain is leaving. I want her to go to Cajamarca to be companions with Hna Westman. I think they would be awesome together!

I am doing better now. I'm not sure why I have just felt very odd in this week. I think it might be a culmination of feelings. Thanks for your words of support and encouragement though. I really need it. I was talking to Hna Captain about how I was feeling, and she told me about how we sometimes give ourselves a lot of high expectations, especially about how RMs should be. And then sometimes we get too worried that we aren't what we expected, but if we've done our best, we're who the Lord needs us to be. She asked me if I felt like my best had improved since I came on the mission-and it definitely has. Just remember the girl that went into the MTC, and then went to Monsefu, I gave my best, but since then my best has gotten better. And I suppose it will always be that way, won't it.

It sounds like you all have a busy life going on up there. I guess soon I will be joining you again, won't I? I've been thinking about what I was gonna do all week. I was really blessed to have a companion in my same major, at the same university, at the time I needed to make this decision, because I was able to talk it over with her, and she encouraged me to just do the first option. So I guess I'll be going to school for...well, for a long time. I don't know how I'm gonna do it, but that's what I said when I made the decision to go on a mission too. I guess it just comes down to trusting in the Lord. I didn't really feel like I should choose one over the other, (although I did pray about it), so I figured to just choose one. And I think I definitely picked the hardest one with the biggest workload, but I guess if I can be a missionary, I can do that too, right? It was cool though because as I was thinking about it, I thought "well, to take 18 credits in fall, and to work (hopefully) 20 hours a week, plus have a calling...I'll have to plan my time REALLY well..." and then I remembered "Oh yeah! I'm a missionary! I know how to plan my days really well now!" (not that I didn't before, I've just become a pro on my mission!) And I started to realize how the skills I've gained on my mission are going to help me afterwards. I'm sure this is only the beginning too.

Well, in missionary news this week, we're still working with a family that was a referral from a member. They came to church for the second time yesterday. They're understand things really well, and progressing really well too. They have a baptismal date for April 7, so hopefully we can help them get ready for that. Actually, hopefully they can get an answer and recognize their answer before then. We're also still working with Pantera, (or Panther, in English). His uncle is the stake patriarch and yesterday he came to speak in our ward (Pantera came to church). His uncle told him that he was just waiting for his nephew to tell him when he was going to baptize him. Pantera says he'll be baptized...someday. He just hasn't told us when though. But I think it will be sooner rather than later. It is cool though to teach these people, to feel the spirit working through you to touch the lives of others. To have a random scripture pop into your head, and not remember exactly what it says, but then to share it anyways and to feel it was just what that person needed...wonderful!

How is Marchelle doing? I hope she's doing better. The Priesthood is such a wonderful blessing. I'm so glad to have grown up with the Priesthood in my home, for such an awesome dad who honored his priesthood. It's just amazing, and I love being able to share my testimony of the priesthood with people here-especially the less-active members. Priesthood blessings are powerful, even though the words might not be anything spectacular, the power that we get from them is amazing.

Well, during this week then I'll get my last companion, and hopefully you guys should be getting my itinerary soon. Whenever the office sends it to you. But I'm sure it's all bought and everything. Mom, if you wanna try to get me registered for summer classes you can, or if something happens and you can't, I'll see about what I can do next monday. But if you can do it, do it. And see if you can talk to the el ed dept and see what classes I'll need to sign up for for fall. Oh! And tell Erin and Ilarene that I had the idea that Ilarene should just move into Erin's old apartment a long time ago, and that I love that even though we're a bajillion miles apart, they can still read my mind, and I'm excited because that means I won't have to redecorate the baby's room (that is, unless Ilarene doesn't like it, in which case I will still help her out!).

Well, the computer is telling me that I only have 2 minutes left. Thank you though for being amazing, for loving me, and for supporting me. I know I've told you before but it really means so much to me to have such an awesome family and to have such awesome friends. Keep on being amazing, oh! And get ready for Gen Conference! It's the best!

I love you!
Hermana Williams

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Jamie's Letter March 12, 2012

Hello fam!
(ojust so you know, the o on this keyboard likes to pop randomly into words, so if there is an o that doesn't belong in a word, just ignore it).

This has honestly been one of the oddest changes in my mission. It seems like every week we have some different sort of adventure (be it breaking sinks or sleeping in hospitalsO). Well, are you ready for this weeks adventure? It actually starts last week, the sunday before we went to Kuelap. I was reaching into my suitcase to grab the card game blink you had sent me mom, to play on the way. I pulled out a letter from hna Westman, and it looked all chewed along the edge...what the? I showed it to my companion, and we awed over what could have possibly eaten my letter! We searched and found little brown balls that definitely was not chocolate! (thanks to my comp for that description!) We cleaned out everything, but we didn't find the little critter that could have eaten my letter! We cleaned up, and figured that the culprit had vanished. Yesterday, before church, I went to my suitcase yet again to eat some pizza flavor crackers, when I saw that they too had been eaten (packaging and everything) by....something! We become much more concerned now. It looked like the culprit had returned to the scene of the crime. Even worse was when I found a reeses pb cup from the package the Allen's had sent me half eaten!! What?! Eating my peanut butter cups? Someone has to pay! We moved my medium sized suitcase. Nothing. Just more not-chocolate balls. More evidence. I then peaked behind my suitcase, which was in the corner of our room. A TAIL!!! Suffice it to say there was a scream or two that left my mouth. That then freaked out my companion! Then, using the boxes we had in our room, we built a little cage around my suitcase, stood up on our chairs (hna captain with a broom) and we slowly began oto move my suitcase away from the wall. 6 inches later, the hairy little beast ran out from his hiding place, provoking these two missionaries to scream bloody murder. It realized it was trapped. Unfortuately, like all cages, ours had its weakness too. It found it, and JUMPED over the smaller box, and ran out of our room (there was bout 4 ionches of space between the bottom o fthe door and the floor.) There's nothing like an adrenaline rush to get you ready for church! We have since fortified our room and hopefully the furry little creature (which we named Korihor) won't return. Our neighbors have a cat...mwahaha!

oSo now for a little more uplifting experience from this week. So oothios week we had zone conference, which is my last zone conference for my mission! Gah! I think the best part of it though for me was being able to talk to pres Risso afterwards. I had just been feeling kind of depressed lately. Really, I just didn't feel too happy, I felt like IO was missing something. But I was able to talk to him, and ohe helped me to see the good that I was doing. Which I still don't feel like is a lot, but I'm doing better now. I think part of it was that I see that I'm close to finishing my mission, and I'm starting to wonder if I've done all that I needed to. I used to have dreams a like a year ago that I would go home without doing everything I should have, and i just felt horrible when I woke up. Pres helped me to understand that we do our best, and then we leave, and tell the Lord "well, I did my best." Afterwards, I just tried to change my perspective too, and really just trust in the Lord. I think that is sometimes one of my weaknesses, is really trusting my life ion the Lord's hands. But the mission has definitely given me the chance to work on that. (Oh, and it's looking like I'll probably get home May 1 like around noon'ish or somethiong. That's what Pres Risso told me!)

Church was good yesterday (well, as far as our investigators go!) We had Pantera, our big short body builder come, which made us happy! And another family that we've started teaching came too! There are so many people who are startiong to progress! I just hope they keep progressing! Hna Captain and I were praying the whole time though that what the members say wouldn't offend them. That all of the children who are running around because the sister in charge of the nursury doesn't want to be there won't distract them. It feels like the members here are stuck in a routine. They've lost their excitedness for othe gospel. So I guess iof I have one piece of advioce for this week it would be to not get stuck in the routine. Like in Pres Uchtdorfs talk to the RS in Sept. Don't forget the Why of the gospel. It is so important, but the people here have forgotten it, and we have no idea how to help them. But we'll just keep working, doing what we do. We probably won't be able to change the ward. But we can change a few opeople, and well, D&C 18:15-16, right? Thta's what got me to ocome on a mission (well, one of my very many promptings to serve!)

Well, I gotta run, but I love you tons! Keep on working hard!
Hermana Williams

Friday, March 9, 2012

Jamie's Letter March 6, 2012

Hello everyone! So, it's true. You didn't get to talk to me yesterday. That's because we went to this really cool place called Kuelap, that's about 6 hours away from here. So we woke up at 4 in the morning, and we drove for 6 hours to Kuelap. We were there for about 4 hours, and then we drove 6 hours back. It was definitely worth it though! We ended up getting back here at like 9 at night, so I'm writing today! I'll try to send you pictures-Hna Captain took a BUNCH (seriously like 250) and I'll try to kife them from her so that I can send you a couple. It was so cool though-it's this ancient ruins place, and it was on top of a mountain. It looked like something from Lord of the Rings. Seriously, so beuatiful! So that's where I was yesterday.

So I just got your email about registering for classes. I don't remember them doing it that late in the year, but that's good to know that I won't have to worry about it for a while. I'll try to figure out what would be the best thing to do as far as registering goes, because the classes that I have to register for aren't going to be that high in demand. But keep trying to figure out what to do, and it's good to know we've got a couple of weeks to get this figured out. I like your dream about me coming home. I don't think I'll cut my hair, but maybe. Actually, I found out I could sell my hair here, if I wanted, and I betcha I could probably sell it for more because it's naturally brown and not black like the majority of hair here. We'll see. Sounds like work is keeping you busy. Hopefully you're not too exhausted!

Oh! I got a letter from Pres Johnson today, but they had had it sent to Piura, back in January. You should tell them that my mission changed, and give them my new address, even though at this point I don't know that they could send me too much more mail, but it would be good to tell them. It was good though. And I got a little package from the Allens. Tell them thanks for me, k?! Oh, and say hi to Ammon for me. Because he comes home....tomorrow. Crazy!!!!

So this week has been just as crazy as last week. Last Monday, Hermana Captain wasn't feeling good at all. She had a lot of pain in her stomach. So they took her to the hospital, and she ended up staying there for 3 days. Which meant her companion got to sleep there in the hospital for 2 nights. Let me describe the hospital room a little bit. So you walk in, and the floor is tile. There is one bed, a little night stand, and 2 plastic lawn chairs. My companion (being so tall) takes up pretty much the entire bed. Which means my options are a plastic lawn chair or the tile floor. Well, I had my pillow with me, so I just layed down on the floor, and tried to sleep. Around 2 in the morning the zone leaders (who also were staying the night with us, but in the waiting room, just in case we needed anything) came in and asked me if I wanted a sheet. Well, it's better than nothing. The next night, I was a little bit smarter and brought a blanket to sleep on. The floor was still hard though. It goes without saying that I was very grateful to sleep in my own bed the next night. (A little Corner G and the Rub for ya there!)

While Hna Captain was in the hospital during the day, I had one of the laurels in the other ward be my companion, so at least I could go out and work, which was nice. Hna Captain is doing a lot better now, after IVs, shots, and everything. Turns out she had a parasite, or ghiardia (sp?) something like that. Oh the joys of being a missionary! I'm fine though, don't worry!

So other cool stories from this week...hm...well, I've found that the more time I have in my mission, the bolder I become. I just get so sick and tired sometimes of listening to the same stuff over and over and over again. So this week, we were visiting a member, and his son-in-law came in to visit. He's from a pentecostal church in Chiclayo, and very firm in his church. We had a good conversation though. He asked us when we were converted-"I don't know that I am totally converted yet," I said. That threw him for a loop :) Then we explained that conversion was an ongoing process, and then told him that yes, my family are members, so I was raised in the church, which was his real question. He told us he went to so many different churches, and they all talk about God so they must all be good. Well, yes, they are good, they talk about God. But why are there so many churches then? They all teach things slightly differently! And he even said that. But he said that God created all of the different churches, and he puts us in the church where he knows we'll do the most good. I asked him if he had any knowledge about our church. He said he had conversed some with his father-in-law. "Oh, so then you know that we claim to be the only true church on the face of the earth then, right?" He kind of stammered, smiled, and was like "there's where our doctrine is different." He then told us that there wasn't just one church that was true, that everyone who believed in Christ was part of the true church. He told us he belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ. His church just wasn't called that. Then no, you don't belong to the Church of Jesus Christ. You belong to the Pentecostal Church. It sounds kind of harsh, but it's true. It was a good conversation though. I love the Gospel because it is true. I loved Eld Callisters talk from conference. The Book of Mormon is either true, or it isn't. There is no in between. It's not just a good book, for what it claims to be. It's the word of God. It was a good conversation. I don't know if anything will come of it on his end, but I know conversations like that alway strengthen my own testimony. Maybe that's why the Lord allows us to have conversations and everything like that.

As far as our ward goes, we're still struggling to help the members. They need so much help but they won't really let us help them! And there are little bits of apostasy floating around too (like that girls who aren't married by the time they're 21 have to go on missions....) But, like we always tell our investigators/less actives, we don't go to church for the members. We go because we want to serve the Lord. We're not perfect. We're all trying to do better. Hna Captain and I did get the chance to use our elementary ed skills on Sunday, when they let the Primary out on time to go run around outside and play until the adults were done like 20 minutes later. Normally they run around, well, like children, without supervision. But we started playing games with them that we had learned in PE, simple, but effective, so they weren't punching each other. It was fun! Then we cleaned the chapel. I think all of this is teaching me, more than anything, how to serve in my callings when I get done with my mission, and I'm just a member again. I'm definitely learning a lot. On Sunday, we did spend pretty much the whole afternoon helping the YW Pres plan her New Beginnings. She's pregnant, still in the first trimester, and she's been kind of sick lately. This is where her counselors would help her, but they don't. So we turned into her counselors, and we helped her plan out her New Beginnings for next week. It actually made me feel better though, that we can help out our ward.

Well, I think I'm calling this a letter. It feels like I'm going through a lot, but I know the Lord is just helping me to prepare to be who I need to be. Thank you for all of your love and support. I know this Gospel is true with all of my heart! Have a wonderful week and I'll definitely write you on Monday!!!

Hermana Williams