Santiago Chile

Santiago Chile

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 3, 2016 - This is not the end

Hola familia y amigos,

This will be my last letter to you all as a full time missionary. I would like to tell you all about how last week went.

On Wednesday night, I received a call from President telling me that I had to work harder. He said that he expected me to find more people teach than I was finding and he felt that my effort wasnt typical of what it had previously been during the mission. I will admit that it was becoming more difficult to me to focus on the work, but I was still working, and when he told me that, I felt a flame lit underneath my seat that couldn't keep me still. 

The next day I was on an interchange with Elder Chancay. I was in his sector, and we did contacts all the day long. We did 52 contacts from 11:30 am to 9:30 at night. It was rough, and not one single person let us in.

It was the same in my sector the rest of the week. Lots of contacts and a lot of failed appointments with no one letting us in. I can honestly say I had never seen a week so deceptional in my mission. A lot of work with little results.

We did find a couple of new investigators, Soledad, Suzana, and Karina. We found them knocking doors and talking with people in the street and they are all very nice.  Soledad looks really interested in what we have to teach her. Karina is very interested in helping her two autistic sons know more about Christ through the organization of the Primary in the Church.

We had a lot of appointments that fell through, even on Saturday and Sunday which are our best days to work.

Yesterday we saw the fruits of all of that work from last week when we found 5 new investigators, and we did divisions with members, and we found a less active family that wants to baptized their 9-year-old daughter. We feel more than blessed, because we also found out that there is now an active Haitian family in our ward that can help us teach other Haitians about the gospel, which unlocked a huge potential of future baptisms in this ward. The sector has never been better, and this is my last week.

I bore my testimony on Sunday, and it was normal until I arrived at a statement that made my cry like a child: "I know that this church is true". When I said it, it all just hit me. Every blister, foot pain, slammed door, insult, cold wind, heavy rain, and sunburn stood there with me as the price I had paid for that testimony. I have felt the Spirit so strongly here, I have seen so many lives change and so many miracles happen. I have stepped so many times in faith and knelt so many times in humility and repentance that I cannot return to my home as the same person I was. I am a convert of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am what I helped others become. I am not close to perfection, but I know that the Lord is close to me. I know that He will always sustain me as He has for the past two years. I love Him so much. I will serve Him until the day I die. This is His church and His gospel. I share this testimony with you all along with a feeling of gratitude that I have for your prayers, letters, packages, and examples throughout these past two years and throughout the course of my life. Thank you all and I share this testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Elder Williams

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April 26, 2016 - Cold Mornings

Hola familia y amigos,

This week has reminded me of the beginning of my mission. I forgot that here in Santiago during the spring it gets really cold in the morning and then hot during the afternoon. The houses aren't heated so the temperature inside is just about what it is outside. Ooh its chilly in the morning!

On Wednesday we got to teach Juan and Maria. They are an older married couple. Juan is pretty Catholic, and Maria is Catholic but has a lot of questions about the Church and she wants to learn everything. She has little time and we can only teach her every other week, but she really wants us to visit her.

On Thursday, we were able to teach Johana and Felipe Godoy. They are both recent converts that haven't gone to church in a while. After two years as a missionary, I still don't understand why people can be so enthused about going to church and then stop going so rapidly. Retention is a very serious job we have here in Santiago Norte, and we are hoping that the reactivation of these converts will help them take the gospel to their friends and family that are not members.

On Friday, I got to go on an interchange with the assistants. I was with Elder Simmons from Star, Idaho. It was interesting because Elder Simmons is legally blind, so I had to help him cross the street and make sure that he didn't run into anything, but he is an amazing missionary that does a great job talking with the people!

On Saturday, we got to teach Henry again. It was an awesome lesson because the Stake President lives on the same street as him and the Sake President came with us! Henry really enjoyed the visit. He doesn't quite feel ready to go to church because he is just starting to learn about us. He`s relatively shy when he is around other people, so it is going to be a challenge to help him come to church.

We also taught all of our Haitian investigators Saturday night. The Haitians are really worked hard here in Chile and taken advantage of. They work a lot and only have Saturday afternoon and Sunday to rest and do all of their things, but even like that they let us visit them and teach them the gospel.

On Sunday, David, Hertz, and Ernest (3 Haitians) and Jaime (a Chilean) came to church. Jaime is a friend of a member. He stayed the second hour to hear the classes and he really liked the class. We scheduled an appointment with him for that night, but he wasn't there...things happen.

We got to teach Valentina and her family. Valentina is a recent convert here in this sector. Her parents aren't members because her father has a drinking problem, but he said he really wanted to stop drinking and get baptized, so we are going to see if he can really stop drinking. Valentina`s father`s name is Mauricio, so we will need some prayers for him.

We also got to teach a new investigator named Robinson. He is Chilean. We actually contacted his wife the other day, and when we stopped by to see if she was there, he let us in and heard our message. He was really interested in it, and he allowed us to visit him again. He had a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon, so we will see how it goes.

Yesterday, we got to teach a new investigator named Karina. She is from Peru, and she has two little boys that are autisitic. She really wants to know what she can do to help her boys grow up believing in God and protected from such a bad world. She accepted our invitation to go to church and bring her kids to Primary.

We also got to teach Antonio. He is a Peruano from Chimbote. He is doing really well and he accepted a baptismal date for the end of May. It is really fun and interesting scheduling a baptismal date knowing that you aren't going to be there.

Today we cleaned the house and had a huge taco lunch with the other missionaries from the zone.

I would like to bare my testimony this week about the importance of scripture study. I know that scripture power is something real. I sang songs about it in Primary, but now I feel that song of redeeming love inside of me. I know that if we really study the scriptures like we would study for a finals exam, we will learn the secrets of heaven and we will feel the Spirit more fully in our lives.


Elder Williams

Sunday, April 24, 2016

April 19, 2016 - Contacts in the Rain

Hola familia y amigos,

Not too sure about what headlines make their way to the USA from Chile but this weekend was super crazy. there were record rains that left down town  Santiago flooded with water. Everything is alright now, but it was crazy. Also, on Saturday and Sunday, the water of all of the Santiago region was cut because of problems in the mountains. Luckily we had water stored away for a rainy day (: it was funny though. no one had water and it was raining a ton outside!

This week went great. We got to teach a recent convert and his non member wife. Bernabè and Lela are really awesome, and Lela would get baptized if she could only stop smoking. We are going to try to help her do that, so prayers are needed this way.

On Thursday, we did some visa paperwork and licensing stuff. We were in the city hall of Santiago and we waited for 2 hours and nothing happened, so we just left and went to work, and planned to do it another day.

We were able to teach Karen and Leonela. They were two references from some members in our ward. Leonela and her deaf sister, Karen invited us over with their member friends (Leroy and Tamara) so we could teach them. It went okay. There were some fussy kids in the lesson, so it was tough to keep it controlled. Sometimes I wonder if the children really are of the kingdom of God...

We also got to teach Claudia and her family with the help of Efraìn. Claudia is less active and her two children: Angela and Jeremìas aren't baptized. It was nice to teach them with Efraìn because Claudia has cancer and so does Efraìn. Actually, Efraìn`s cancer is terminal so Claudia was really impressed that he came to with us to teach her. They committed to going to church

We also taught Alexis this week. We taught him about the word of wisdom. He also smokes and we are helping him quit. He also committed to go to church.

On Friday I got to do an interchange with Elder Pimentel. He is from Rio de Janeiro Brazil. He is new in the mission and doesn't speak a lot of Spanish. We had a great day and we were able to teach Pablo and Aurora. They are old investigators that have a lot of doubts about Joseph Smith and the Book ofM ormon. We are really trying to help them feel through the Spirit that the Book of Mormon is true. The Book of Mormon can appear so strange if someone doesn't have that testimony from God that it is true.

On Saturday, we taught our Haitan friends. All of our pamphlets and books arrived in French so now we can really start teaching. Saturday morning we taught Henry. We taught him last week, and we thought he was drunk, but now when we taught him he was really receptive and wasn't drunk. He is a father that is about 50 years old and has been really stressed because of his work that he is now looking for more peace. We were able to teach him Monday night as well. he said that if he feels this is true he will get baptized. I love it when people say that because that is where the real missionary work begins.

On Sunday, no one went to church. We went to pick up investigators in the rain and no one wanted to come with us. The Bishop told me last minute that he needed some to give a talk, so he asked me to do it. It came out alright. It made me think back to my Easter Island days when I gave a talk almost once a month.

Yesterday, we were able to teach Marcelo. He is a man we contacted last week that is passing through some hard family times. He is also 50 years old and is very nice. He let us in right away and he is also trying to see if the Book of Mormon is true. 

This morning, I went to a session in the temple for the first time in about a year and a half. It was excellent! I learned so much. I love the peace the temple brings. I also got to participate in proxy sealings in the temple (as one of the children) it was an awesome experience and it made me appreciate the dedication of my parents to the Lord and His Gospel. The faith of my parents blessed me automatically and I am so thankful for having been born unto them. thanks Mom and Dad!


Elder Williams

Sunday, April 17, 2016

April 12, 2016 - So hard to say goodbye

Hola familia y amigos,

This week was so crazy!!! Seriously tons of things have happened.

On Wednesday we were in a zone conference all day with the President. We talked about area`s plan to increase Sabbath Day worship, temple attendance, and self sufficiency. A the end of zone conferences they always let the missionaries that go home give their testimonies. After seeing two years worth of zone conferences it was finally my turn to do it and say goodbye to the mission. Don't worry, I said goodbye but I keep working like I arrived in Chile yesterday.

On Thursday we spent a good chunk of the day doing all of my visa paperwork and procedures. That meant waiting in a lot of lines and talking with people from different parts of the world. We always run into other missionaries and other gringos there and its fun to talk with them.

That night we got to teach angel and Claudia and Jeremias. They are a family. Claudia is a member of the Church but her two children, Angela and Jeremias aren't members. Claudia has cancer so usually they have to take care of her and they aren't able to go to church but we are working to see if they can switch off who goes which Sunday so they can attend church and get baptized.

On Friday I went on an intercambio with Elder Arce. He`s the same Elder Arce that was in the same ward as me in Quilicura. Iit was awesome to be with him again. He was working really hard and we were able to receive a lot of references from the members.

On Saturday we worked a ton. We taught Jimmy, Adler, and David. they are all Haitians. They all live in different houses and we teach them in Spanglish.T hey have a lot of faith and want to go to church.

We also received a lot of references from the members. The members are really stepping it up here in San Pablo. They are really helping with the work.

On Sunday we had Jimmy, Jimmy`s cousin, and David at church. One member invited a friend named Jaime to church and the non member husband of a member came. We had 5 at church. It was interesting to go to the ward because neither my companion nor I knew anyone! 

After church we taught Antonio. He is an investigator from Peru. He believes that the church is true and is open to baptism so we are going to help him go to church next week.

Yesterday we got to do a fun service project to help some old investigators. We destroyed a floor. We took out a wooden floor with crow bars and hammers and saws. It was a mejor stress reliever. After that we taught Pablo and Aurora. They told us that they had thought about joining the church but then ran into a lot of things on the internet, so now they aren't too sure. It's going to be a big struggle with them, but I know they will find the truth.

This morning we played soccer with the zone. Americans against Latins. They creamed us....but we did get a couple of goals on them.

When I said goodbye to the mission of Wednesday I really realized how much I have come to know the Savior during my mission. I gained a testimony of the divinity of the Restoration of the Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ before the mission, but it is here that I have really learned that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. I feel so honored to represent Him and a little confused that He would extend that calling to me. I am excited to work very hard until the last day of my mission because that is what Christ did.


Elder Williams

April 5, 2016 - La Conferencia General

Hola familia y amigos!

This week was insane!!!!! There were so many things we had to do this week and it ended with General Conference, so it was awesome!

On Wednesday we had a leadership meeting with all of the zone leaders together. It was fun to eat lunch with them because the zone leaders are almost all from my group or people that I have met during the mission. We talked about the area initiatives that are going on that focus on the temple, the Sabbath Day, and self sufficiency.

That night we met with a member of the stake presidency who is in charge of missionary work. We are now in the process of planning a Stake missionary work activity.

On Thursday we had district class. There are two new missionaries in our zone. A Chilean from Temuco and a Brazilian Elder. Elder Pimentel, from Brazil, doesn't speak a lot of Spanish, so it was a fun time trying to communicate with him.

Our sector is really big!!! It's huge! We walked a lot and we tried to hunt down the investigators from here, but we didn't have a lot of success, but we found a new investigator named Alexis who is really awesome!

On Saturday and Sunday we had General Conference. I really loved Elder Bednar`s talk about baptism and the reception of the Holy Ghost. That is really going to help us explain the importance of baptism. I also loved Elder Nelson`s talk about power in the Priesthood. It was a great conference weekend. The first half of the afternoon session on Sunday I didn't understand too well because we were watching it in French with some Haitian investigators.

Yesterday we also had a great day. We are working hard here in San Pablo and we are excited to help the members of our zone work with enthusiasm and love of the work!


Elder Williams

March 29, 2016 - San Pablo

Hola familia y amigos,

Well, this is my last change and it is starting off with a bang. They changed me. I am now a zone leader in San Pablo. I am in a sector named lo Prado. My companion is Elder Andersen from Gilbert, Arizona. We were both changed so this sector got white washed. There is so much to do here, and it looks like I won't have even 1 second to think about the house (just like it should be).

This past week we worked a lot. On Thursday, we found a less active family. They are the Huertas family. They were really nice. They have a daughter named Genesis who is 18 who isn't baptized. The family is really interesting because they used to go to church but about 15 years ago they stopped going and now the mom goes to a Pentecostal church. Not sure how that happened but they were really receptive and want to return, but are going to need some real help to do it.

On Friday, we taught Hugo and Lorena. They committed to going to church this Sunday. They are doing well. We lent them our dvd`s about the Restoration and they loved them. They want to go to church but I think they still are afraid about not knowing many members of the church. 

We also taught Pilar and her family in a family home evening we had with them. It was really nice and without really knowing it was kind of a going away party.
Pilar and her family

On Saturday, we found a new young man named Benjamin that served a mission for the Catholic Church for a week. When we knocked his door he let us in right away. He said "it was really lame when people didn't let me in, do you want to come in?"

On Sunday, we taught the Alberto family. They committed to a baptismal date, but it looks like they are going to have some problems because the grandmother of the family is going to visit from Peru and she is a Seventh Day Adventist and isn't too big on her daughter listening to the Mormons...I`ll be praying for Elder Barillas and for them.

On Sunday we also helped Gabriel, a new investigator, come to church. He is really shy but he liked it a lot, and he also accepted a baptismal date.

I said goodbye to a lot of people (the pictures of that are found in the photos email I sent).

I'm excited to be here in lo Prado. It's going to be an adventure. I'm really going to miss Elder Barillas. I love him a lot, and I know he`s stressing a little bit about leading the sector, but I know he`ll do just fine.

That`s it for this week. I am excited for this new opportunity to serve new people and new missionaries, and I will endure to the end!


Elder Williams                                                                                                       

March 22, 2016 - Lucky number 7

Hola familia y amigos

There are no changes this week because this week is a 7 week transfer. The extension of the MTC time has made us spend one more week in this change.

On Wednesday, we didn't enter a single house. We contacted the whole day and set up appointments with other people. On our way home we were a little tired and without hope after being rejected more than 20 times that day, but as we were walking to our house a guy got out of his car and shouted "Hey, you guys, come and teach me about Jesus". We at first thought he was drunk, but when we talked with him he told us that he never had time to hear the missionaries and he was sitting in his car waiting for someone and thought, "you know what, I'm going to hear what they have to say". His name was Pablo, he lives in another mission, so we taught him there in the street and sent the reference to Santiago west. It looks like there are people that do want to hear us but you have to look the whole day for them.

On Thursday, we taught Nelson and Katia. They are older investigators. They are a lot more willing to do commitments now. We shared with them the new video the Church has done for Easter.

On Saturday, we found a new Peruvian family. They were really interested and it was awesome because they committed to reading the Book of Mormon and we asked them why and they said. "because we want to know if all of this is true"! I love it when people understand the message.

We also taught Gabriel. He is a young guy we found. He read the chapter we left with him and we taught him the Plan of Salvation. He loved it. He had so many questions, and we are really happy with how he is progressing. He looks happier every time we visit him.

On Saturday night we were invited to the adult session of stake conference. An Area Seventy from Argentina came and taught us about the importance of working with the young men and women from the stake.

On Sunday we had stake conference. We were waiting for 3 investigators to come and no one showed up and President Videla was there. We did all we could but no one came..

That afternoon we taught a lot of people including a part member family that is from Peru. The dad has the priesthood and his wife doesn't know much about the Church but is really willing to investigate. 

Yesterday we taught the Murillos Caceres family. They told us that they want to get baptized, but with all of the family drama that they are going through they cant do it right now.It's the same problem with Christian, too many family problems.

I know that the gospel blesses families. My parents taught it to me and look where I am. I know that families based upon the principles of the Gospel are more like to achieve true happiness in this life than any other means.


Elder Williams