Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hello Again, From Trencin

Hey all,
Welp, I survived my first transfer in the country. I am still in Trenčín so the address is still the same. (Hint: That means you can keep the letters coming...) Elder Bodily transfered out to Banska and Elder Taylor will be follow-up training me. (psh, like I even needed training.) Elder Taylor is from Brigham City, UT and so far its been a great match. I told him that we mostly walk everywhere in Trenčín and he said that we will be abandoning the "wicked traditions of our fathers and look into bus passes. We are going to be switching things up in this city." We will be getting along just fine I think. Missionaries in Trenčín have been doing the same thing forever and I have been DYING to do something new. Trenčín will be the city of miracles baby. Gonna make it rain!

Last week was a crazy one. Tuesday we spent part of the afternoon with Zuzka, a member in Zlina who served a mission in San Fran about 8 years ago. Shes great, probably my favorite member- mostly because she says outrageous things. I like outrageous people. That night we went to Olomouc in the Czech Republic and stayed at some Elders apt there. Thursday morning was another train and a metro to Prague. I was blown away at the beauty of Prague when I first arrived in the country, but its breathtaking in the winter with the snow. The morning of the conference was a little talent show, which was fun/strange to see missionaries get a little silly. The ballet number from the Kosice elders was especially memorable, as was the monolouge by the senior Elder Anderson. After the morning session we split into groups and sang in the city. It was pretty cool to be in a namiestie in Prague, during Christmas singing Christmas songs, even though I normally do NOT sing... (look at me, trying new things) We then had lunch and Elder Nichol, Sister Anderson and Sis Bartholomew all sat together like the old MTC days. They are two of the cutest sisters ever. The goodbyes always take forever and Nichol gets sooo annoyed. lol After the lunch we had the conference part of conference where we watched the First Presidency Christmas message and President Irwin spoke to us. I heard some things that I def needed to hear. I just love my Mission President. I did have this weird panic attack halfway through the conference about coming home. What am I going to do? Will I have a job? Where will I go to school? How will I afford law school? Back to Tucson, stay in Phoenix? Am I ever going to get married?? I go into this panic mode sometimes and I hate them. I realize that I do not need to worry about ANY of that at all. But they keep coming up in my dreams. I think I need to look for a therapist soon. As soon as I know enough Slovak..... Any thoughts?

Christmas Eve Bodily and I hung out in Zlina all day and went to Midnight Mass with my district. The Cathedral was gorgeous and had beautiful paintings of the life of Christ on the ceiling. Even though I didnt understand anything it was a nice experience for me to look up and think about the life of the Savior and what it means for me. Whodda thunk a mormon missionary could have a spiritual experience in a Catholic cathedral during midnight mass? Christmas Day was spent mostly in Zlina and it was nice to kinda just chill. I would have liked to have spent the day in my own apartment but we live our lives around the train schedule. It was fun to talk to you all (family, that is) and hear the updates. Thank you, thank you for the Christmas package, loved everything! Thanks also to my Grandma Marilyn for her package, Ill be eating cookies for months, the Laurels of the Highland Groves Ward and the Wood Family. Tabasco sauce? Brillant. They definitely helped make Christmas feel like Christmas but the best is just knowing that people are thinking of me and supporting me way out here. I have so much to be grateful for. Thats for sure. :)

Things are going to start rolling in Trenčín. I am excited for it. Taylor and I will be getting ourselves unified and start on the right foot and just run with it!

I love you all!

Elder Williams

PS I tried to send pictures but it didnt work. :( I dont know why!! Sorry! But know that I'm trying. :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Feliz Navidad

I guess I should say Pekný Vianoce as I ought to be speaking more Slovak.... :)

A thousand aplogies for no update on Monday (I'm sure all of you just look forward for those Monday updates) but because Christmas is this week our p-day was moved to Wednesday so we have time to travel to Prague --- for Christmas!

Last week, if you remember, we were going to help our one lone investigator quit smoking. Well, that didnt turn out so well and we are no longer teaching him. So we are just putting all of our efforts into finding more people to teach! Its funny, a couple weeks ago we had the best week in terms of numbers that Bodily has ever had, and this week we had the worst hes ever seen. Its a good thing I like talking to people....

On Wednesday I went to my first zone conference in Zlina with all of the Slovak Elders. (The entire country of Slovakia is in the same zone!) It was great to meet all of the missionaries Im serving with finally and to have a real interview with my mission president. I love President Irwin, he and I were able to really talk about things that were on my mind and he pretty much told me to get over myself. lol Something I try to remind myself to do everyday.

After the conference Elder Bodily, Bacon, Nichol, Butler and Evans (who, oddly enough, knew my old roommate Victor back in Kentucky, small world. We swapped some Vic stories. Good ol Vic.) anyways, we all left for Bratislava that night because we had to go to VIENNA for our visa work the following morning. Why we had to go to another country for our Visa work was a question that was never answered, something to do with the EU though. We spent the morning and afternoon in Vienna with our attorney, Andrea, and her assistant Miriam. Vienna is such a beautiful city and we all had a blast. A nice little break from Trenčin for sure! The Visa stuff should be fine now and I shouldn't have anymore problems. I think FBI just has to do another background check. Funny thing about my passport that I never noticed is that my birth date is wrong! No one has ever noticed with the exception of the attorney (the Church only hires the best apparently) who told me to not worry about it. So well see if I can sneak past the FBI yet again....

When we got back in Trenčin Bodliy and I planned for our week and talked about how we can apply the things we learned from the Zone Conference. We got pretty pumped up about the rest of the transfer. I brought up my little street display idea again as the APs discussed how that was pretty successful for them in Prague. This has been something that I have been wanting to do for literlly WEEKS, but we weren't sure how well it would work in Trenčin. And Bodily was a little nervous about talking to the "city hall" people about making sure its legit. I wanted to make sure we don't run into any problems with the city. Despite his uneasiness my stubborn my-way-or-Ill-refuse-to-cooperate attitude kicked in and are going to try it out next week. :)

Im also working on being less prideful and learn how to compromise.

Friday we had a full day. We voluntered at an elementary school. We followed the English teacher everywhere and pretty much just sat and asked/answered questions with the kids. It's kinda funny seeing that even though I am thousands of miles away from "normal", people are pretty much the same. Teenage girls are too cool (more like shy?) to talk to you and the boys are fooling around. Teachers all act the same way and just the way the school felt was the same. The teacher we were with is hilarious. Favorite lines of the day: "Girls, why are you so quiet?? Quiet girls never get married you know!" and "Can you "kill" other things? Like can I kill a chicken?" There was a question about whether or not someone used the word "kill" correctly. I just said, "Oh, you can kill anything that's living." (Meet the Parents reference, anyone? kinda sorta?)
We then had our little branch Christmas party, that was a lot of fun. As an activity we put together a little emergency kit that fit into a little matchbox. I had a hard time understanding how and why I would use some of the things in it and was told I was a terrible scout. Do they know me or what?

On Monday Bodily was sick so we took a day off and let him recover. I held my tongue the WHOLE day. I have become incredibly anxious when I am not outside moving. So I wondered around the apartment all day and tried concentrating on reading Ensigns. I did a pretty good job. I discovered that I hate being inside the apartment--I feel like I am wasting my time. I know that we needed to-- if we didn't it could have taken longer for Elder Bodily to recuperate, but I still hated it.

So now we are in Zlina  as part one of the trek to Prague and tonight we will be going to Olomouc and stay with the Elders there. Tomorrow morning we are going to Prague for our Mission wide conference. I am way excited to get with all of the missionaries as well as see my two sister missionaries from the MTC. We'll spend the whole day in Prague. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for Tom Cruise. (word on the street is that he's filming Mission Impossible III there --sounds like my mission right now... lol) On Christmas Eve we'll be spending the night with the Zlina Elders and then back in good ol' Trenčín for Christmas. We have a dinner with a member that night so I don't want anyone feeling sorry for me!

Next week is transfers week so my update will be on Wednesday again!

Elder Williams

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hey Ho!

Hey all,

This was pretty much a hot and cold week. In every way really. We started the week off with temperatures ranging from 0-10 degrees so all the snow melted. Now its back down in the negatives and were covered in snow again. Fantastic.
On our plan we had a busy week with a slew of new people to teach, both Bodily and I were pretty excited about it. However, it seemed that after every meeting we had to drop them. Some dropped us, others we dropped, so it was kinda demoralizing, however, I am determined to keep going and find even more people to teach!

On Friday we were visited by the Zone Leaders for splits. I love splits. Not that I'm dying to get away from Bodily or anything, Its just kinda nice being with someone else for a change. They had a car so we were able to go where ever we wanted to tract! It was SO nice being able to just zip to where we wanted to go! Definitely a luxury  However, I don't think I would have lost 10 pounds with a car. (I know, I'm going to come back looking like a stick!)

This week I've been thinking about my teachers in the MTC. For some reason they have all become a part of my conscious. (scary, right??) For example: sometimes Ill stop myself and think, "Would Bro. Van de Gaf think that I'm wasting time right now?" or "Would Baughman think that was too inappropriate " or, "Would Bro Pugmire think I'm taking myself to seriously and would he make fun of me right now??" or even, "Would Starling think I'm being awkward right now??" I'm terrified of a positive answer to any of those.....

A word on the Slovak language: it seems that every single word in Slovak has about 10 variations to it. They throw on a prefix like po-, pre-, pri-, zo-, etc etc. Our Branch President takes a couple minutes during branch council to teach us Slovak. Everything has gone over my head.

So I'm still struggling with the language so I'm still a normal missionary.

Mom, Alžbeta was SO happy to hear about the Skrlecs and sends her thanks to you and Emily for visiting them. She told the whole branch about them! I told her to write a little history of the branch since they left. She'll give it to me on Tuesday. Can Paul still read Slovak or should we translate it? We'll probably translate it so I can read it :)

Until next week!


ps I'm sorry letters are taking forever, I never realized that missionaries really have ZERO time. But they are coming!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Still warm in Trencin

By all counts this was a pretty successful week. We had weekly planning on Friday and we went over all of the people we are teaching and discussed what we need to do to to allow them to progress further towards baptism. Bodily said that we are teaching more people then he has taught. Im not sure if thats throughout his own mission or just the time hes spent in Trenčin. But we are teaching 8 people right now. I guess thats a good solid number for Slovakia, but I am not happy with it and I intend on doubling it. We taught 10 lessons this past week (which is excellent considering that the week before we were at 2. Yes, 2 lessons in 7 days) Im expecting that number to also increase. I figure if we can expect the miracle we will get the miracle. Right?? We met a couple way cool people this week too that I am looking forward in getting to know. Bodily and I are getting better at working with each other and the members seem to be still excited to help us out. All I need now is better language skills!

I have been studying the attributes of Christ in my personal study and the other day I was on charity. I looked up the word for charity in Slovak, právo láska, which literally means "true love". Pretty cool huh? And that pretty much sums up charity, really. lol

Now that is it getting colder, about -5 C (feel free to do the math, but its cold) people arent out like they used to be. And so we are inside tracting more and more. We have a great Family Home Evening activity to do, and some other interesting things planned to do and show people, but I am pretty convinced that no one will ever let us in. Which is probably my problem-- a lack of faith. (Tomorrow I will be studying faith, so hopefully that will change :p) We did manage to find two of the people we are teaching through tracting-- but one was a "come back again and Ill think about it" and with the other we have an appt to teach the mom at the building tomorrow. But we take what we can get for sure.

Mom, I told Sister Alžbeta you found the Skrlecs and she was so happy! I told her I would give her an update on how they are. And Ill send pictures of the branch when I can. Im not sure how much the branch has changed since they came. Her son is the branch president and we have about 7 active members. But they are some of the strongest members Ive ever met. Its definitely made me thankful to grow up in a regular ward. Imagine having to speak or give a lesson in church every other week! lol

I'm sorry I don't have more to talk about. This week has been pretty normal. I've just been keeping my head down and working. I made a resolution (its never too early to make resolutions, right?) to wear out my companions. Some missionaries are known for some things, they're all good missionaries but you got the "funny one", or the "quiet one", or the "one that speaks really good Slovak", etc etc etc and so I decided that I will be known as the "work horse". The one where when companions are assigned to me they'll know that we won't be wasting any time. But don't wory and think that I'll stress out and exhaust myself by the end of these two years, I am just determined to make the most out of these two short years and leave Slovakia knowing that I "fought a good fight".

Christmas is just around the corner and we bought a little Christmas tree today. A two footer! lol I don't want anymore dismal holidays like this last Thanksgiving.

I just got your email about the Skrlecs, glad you were about to meet them and had so much fun! They seem like great people! Definitely loved by the branch. The ones that never met them have heard stories about them. His family sounds like the regular Slovak Family. Drinking all day over the weekends... Word of Wisdom is a hard thing over here. The mountain range here is the Tatras, ta tas are something different.... lol I will send a better update next week-hopefully with pictures.

Glad to hear everyone is doing fine at home. I'm sure Logan is enjoying the wheels, I miss driving...

I'm sure I am forgetting something, but until next week, čao!

Starši Williams

Monday, November 29, 2010

Castles, the first snow and movie stars?


First up, a thousand apologies for neglecting you last week. Our Pday was moved to Thursday in honor of Thanksgiving and we took the opportunity to visit Bojnice Castle about an hour and half away. Most of the fun things to do in Slovakia likecastles, art museums etc are closed on Monday. Totally unfair. The castle is beautiful, the best of Slovakia I'm told. I got a couple pictures of the outside but my camera died just as we got inside. We took a great walking tour. I didn't understand any of it, of course.... I gathered that it had quite the exciting history though. It was probably the first tour I went on where I didn't ask questions!

After the tour I needed some cash to get home, I had just exhausted my mission funds for the month (I budgeted in dollars, they use Euors here....) so I used my personal card. No big deal. Just 10 Euros. However, the ATM ("bankomat") ate my card. To be more specific, the receipt said that it had "captured" my card. Fantastic. I turned to Bodily and said, "We are going into this bank and getting my card back. Promise to interpret everything I say?" The gal behind the desk said that they didn't accept foreign accounts. Which is ridiculous. Its the largest bank in Slovakia. I think Bodily was a little embarrassed inside the bank when I insisted to see the manager to get this sorted out. The manager said that it took the card because there was no signature and reprimanded me for not signing it. I am positive the card has a signature. Anyway, she said there was absolutely no way that I could get my card that day, strictly against policy. My card would be shipped to Bratislava to the bank's headquarters then shipped to my bank where they would contact me about where to send it. She said it would be faster just to request a new card from my bank. I told them I would no longer use their ATMs for the remainder of my stay in Europe and left. I don't think Bodily translated that for me. So I've been bumming off my companion for the past couple days. Our cards are getting more money on them today so that's a relief. The moral of the story is to always listen to your mother. Heres why: almost two months ago Mom told me to make sure I copy the front and back of all of my cards and send a copy home and keep one. Every pday I forgot and planned to do it the next week. Well, here I am halfway around the world without my debit card and I don't have any of its information. Please don't be mad at me mom.

The rest of my week and a half as been pretty much the same with a couple major confidence boosters. The first was last Saturday. We sat down and talked with this woman Katka. We were having a good lesson and she was taking everything pretty well. Then she stops, looks at me and asks if she knows me. I told her that I had only been in the country for 3 weeks and there was no way she could have met me before. She then asked if I was a Hollywood movie star. Whaaaat?? I thanked her for the compliment (of course I took it as one) Bodily rolled his eyes and continued with the lesson. Then on Monday I had an exchange with Elder Bacon (missionaries sometimes pair up with other missionaries for training purposes. I think its to get away from their companion for a while) You might remember Elder Bacon from the MTC. I thought it was an awful idea and was a little upset that they expected two newcomers to talk to people. Totally lacked the faith. Turns out we had a fantastic time! I was so impressed by our ability to talk to everyone we met and explain who we were. We exchanged telephone numbers with two people and even set up an appointment for the next day! I could hear the words of my old branch president  "Wherefore canst thou doubt!" I was even more impressed by the amount of personal and language growth Elder Bacon has had since arriving in the country.

I felt like a real missionary this week. We stopped to help some older ladies rake leaves. There were three of them out there working and were a little confused why two guys in suits wanted to help. But I had just learned the phrase, "Can we help you?" and was dying to use it. They tried to thank us with a jug of wine. Awkward.... And then yesterday I tried my hand at tortillas. (not sure why that made me feel like a missionary, but it did) I miss tortillas so much. They taste more like scones and so I'm trying to just accept it as a sacrifice that I just have to make for two years.

This morning was the first snow and it was kind of anti climatic. Not sure what I was expecting, but my hatred for the snow is still strong. However, I am warm. I now wear two layers of Underarmor, thermals, and another long shirt. All before I put on my white shirt and tie. Then I have a sweater and my jacket. I would like another coat so that Slovaks stop telling me I'm going to catch a disease. I guess I don't look warm without a big winter coat, but I let them know that I have 6 or 7 layers on and am plenty warm.

I am a little stressed and frustrated (what else is new) but I am happy and healthy and loving Slovakia more and more. Glad to hear Thanksgiving on the beach was a success. I had a frozen pizza.....

Love you!

Oh and thanks for finding the Skrlecs! Alžbeta will be so happy! Ill be sure to let the branch know and send you an update on all of them!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thurs. Nov. 25

I dont have time for an email this week. Our pday was moved to today in honor of Thanksgiving and we are going to a castle. So I willl send a full report this coming Monday. :) Hope everyone had fun for Thanksgiving, so jealous! And send my congrats to the Bucks!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thinking about how I would write my email this week I think I'm going to change things up and make it a little easier to write and easier for you to read (I always have my readers in mind :). (I might have stole this set up from Nicole... :)

Something Missionary: This experience happened a little over a week ago and forgot to mention it last week, so a little catch up: Bodily and I were tracting in a pannelok (I'm never sure how to spell that word, I've seen 3 different spellings...) and after 3 floors of NO ONE answering we decided to just come back another day. On the way out we ran into Mia who was walking her dog. Not wanting to pass anyone up we strike up a conversation with her. She is a very strong Catholic but liked what we were saying. I cant remember exactly what was said but she expressed some concern. I followed up with a testimony about prayer and the blessings of knowing God is our Heavenly Father who wants to help and communicate with us. My grammar was jumbled, I mispronounced the words everywhere but after I finished she said that she felt this overwhelming feeling of warmth and comfort. Through my butchered Slovak the Spirit was able to rearrange the word order and make me sound coherent in her ears. I learned that the most important thing is just opening my mouth and let the words come the best as I can form them, the spirit will do the rest. Nothing came out of that contact, no appointment set up, no numbers exchanged, but it was definitely a miracle. Had we stayed in that pannelok we would have missed her. I would have missed out on that experience and she would have missed out on hearing a testimony and feeling something she, no doubt, needed to hear and feel.

Something Slovak: Last week Bodily and I went to Tesco, which is Europes Walmart. Only its a little nicer and doesn't have the connotation Walmart has in the States... So I guess it's like Target.. Anyways, we went to get a cart and I noticed that all of the carts were chained together and the only way to unlock the chain is to insert a 50 cent or a 1 euro coin into it. This is genius. Here's why: When you are finished with the cart you bring it back to the cart return, put the chain back on and out spits your coin. not returning the cart=not getting your money back. The result is a parking lot clear of carts and there are always carts ready to be used.

Something with the Branch: On Sunday Bodily and I unveiled the Branch Mission Plan with the Branch and got everyone's feedback. While I have NO idea what was said or discussed I could tell that it was a lively discussion and everyone was really excited to participate. We made little cards that had reminders for them to pray for missionary opportunities.  Later I learned that they all talked about experiences they had where the opportunities to share the gospel, BUT they didn't take it. Something we could all relate to. Every week we are going to take 5 minutes before Sunday school and let them share any experiences they had throughout the week. We are really excited to see the plan at work. Hopefully I can see the fruits of it before I have to leave Trenčin.

Questions: Some of you sent me some questions to answer, Ill just answer them all here:
-Whats the food like? HEAVY. But good. They have bread with EVERYTHING. (Its definitely a mission for Logan...)
-Whats your companion like? Bodily is so great. So patient and just wants everyone to hear the gospel. Hes been a great teacher, not much to complain about. :D
-Whats your apartment like? Its pretty small, but works for us. I was actually surprised by how nice it was. I would just make a bigger bathroom. The toilet is in a room literally the size of a small closet.
-Weird Customs? There are mostly just two, take your shoes off at the door of someones house and never EVER put anything on the floor. These two seem conflicting to me. The ground it considered the most filthy place for something. Yet the first thing you do in someones house is take off your shoes. My branch president is always on my case about putting my scriptures on the floor. One day I'll learn.
-Can I knit you a scarf for Christmas? Of course! Good suggestions for any package include: Hot sauce (something like Franks mmm), appropriate music (cant go wrong with Mo-Tab), but I really wouldn't turn anything down.

Until next week, Ahoj!

Starši Williams

Monday, November 8, 2010

Another Day in Slovak Paradise

Remember a little while back when I was still in the MTC and I said I had just experienced my hardest week ever? I wish for those days again.... lol But no worries, I am slowly making progress. Slowly... Sometimes I feel that my progress is not where the Lord expects me to be at. But I feel that He has been patient with me as I've had to rework my personal language goals. I know that the language isn't the MOST important thing to worry about, but I want to talk to Slovaks SO bad!
This past week we had to go to Brno for new missionary training. I was excited to get together with the old crew again and it definitely gave me a reality check on my own progress. Elder Nichol and Bacon are struggling just as much as I am and expressed the same concerns I've been having. I almost felt silly in expecting that they would be masters at the language already. However, the sisters are pretty much fluent, but that didn't come as a surprise. lol Parting was difficult  mostly because I had a 4 hour train ride back to Trenčin. Those train rides are def an adventure. You never know what it will be like. This time we had to stand the entire time. Nie je dobre.
The reality of "actual" missionary work has become clear to me. A lot of frustrating lessons where we have no idea what a particular individual needs or how to teach them clearly so they understand. Finding is also probably the most spirit breaking activity there is. lol But when we find an investigator somehow its all worth it. We found two this past week who are really open to our message and can really benefit from it.
We went back to the store today and I no longer feel like crying there. I guess I've moved past that stage to apathy maybe? I'm still not sure how to measure the value of the Euro yet, but I'm hoping with time I'll get it. Which seems to be a common theme around here. Time, time, time. A friend of mine, (here comes a shoutout:) Julie, sent me a copy of Uchtdorf's talk on patience while I was in the MTC and I've been going back to it again and again... Thanks gf
The branch is great, still small, but we are going to change that. A year ago the branch President made a goal to have 100 people in church in a year. And they are still at 7.... So I am taking a page out of my University Ward's mission plan and do a similar thing here. We are asking the branch to talk about their faith and tell someone about it, (though the website, church, or English class etc) once a week. Then we're asking them to invite one person to church every month. (I would like that to happen every week, but we gotta start small) We're hoping that this will get the members thinking about missionary work and help break down the negative stereotypes people have here about Mormons.
I'm determined to see miracles here in Trenčin. Both in myself, the branch and the city.

Thank you in advance for the Christmas package family! And for everyone's continued support and prayers. When I feel helpless I just think about the support I have and feel lifted up.
I hope everyone is doing well, always great to get the update, thanks Mom. :)

Monday, November 1, 2010


I finally made it to Trencin, ps I cannot figure out this keyboard, no exclaimation points or other forms of puncuation, but just know that I really am excited1 Also every word shows up misspelled, so please excuse the spelling errors....
We finished up in Blava on Friday, we had to get our medical clearances or something. That was quite the experience. The doctor's office was fine and I wondered what the deal was with sociallized-Eastern European medicine. Then we had to go get X-rays done, don§t ask me why, and that was SKETCH. No hospital gowns, instead they give you bath robes and slippers. Gross. But I survived and managed not to get hepatitis  On Friday we weren§t able to get our foreign police work done so we have to go back this week. Not terribly excited about it. Travelling takes up so much of our time.
My MTC district was finally split up for good. Elder Nichol stazed in Blava and Bacon and I got on a train with our companions. I got off at Trencin, and the train station is EXACTLY what I pictured an Eastern Europe train station to look like. Kinda abandoned looking. Loved it. I got a picture that I§ll send eventually. We got to the apartment which is really nice actually. So don§t worry mom about my living situation. There§s a stand up shower and a full kitchen1 Sweet. We then went to the store and I felt like a dumb child. I have no concept of how much a Euro is and everything is in Slovak. In time Ill find what works Im sure. We went again today and I felt like crying.--I feel like crying a lot here. lol
I love it here when we tract or contact, maybe because I cant really say anything.... lol Slovaks are just great. I did run into my first drunk Slovak1 It was about 9 oclock Saturday morning. Fantastic. AND the very first pannelok, aka apartment building, I went tracting in we got escorted out by a very drunk, and very disgruntled man. He actually shoved us into the elevator and went down with us. Okay, these elevators are about the size of a refrigerator. I dont think he even lived there. It was a first for both me and Elder Bodily.
On Sunday I met the branch, its a small group of people but a family from Germany visited and we had an investigator and an inactive show up! Sweet! --ps I found the exclaimation point....--I just love our branch. I introduced myself and bore my testimony. Everyone is really nice and encouraging. One woman asked if I cry at night yet. I responded that Ive been crying night and day. lol Another one, the branch presidents mom got really excited I was from AZ. Her missionaries were from Mesa. Shes been a member for about 20 years now and has lost contact with them. After church we taught two lessons to our two very-slowly-progressing investigators. They both knew a little English so I wasnt completely lost. The language is the hardest part of being here. It seems that my retention is that of a fish. Bodily will quiz me on something and Ill forget it 5 minutes later. Its so discouraging and I feel like an idiot. But Ive been blessed with the most patient and loving companion there is. I cant imagine ever speaking this language but heres hoping itll come.

As far as letter/packages go send packages to the mission home, there someone will always be there to pick them up. Be sure to put the name of the Church on the first line otherwise they wont leave it there. (has to be delivered to the person..) but letters are fine to send to my apartment in Trencin. My address is-

Elder Adam Williams
Kapitana Nalepku 31
911 01
Trenčin, Slovakia

If you could update the blog and facebook that would be great.

I no longer have a time limit for email, and I can print out emails at this cafe, but it costs money, so I just read them. I don§t need anything specific, but thanks. And little pictures of Christ would be great. And the CTR rings would have to be in Czech. But there are not really a lot of kids here to give them too. But I can call the mission home for stuff like that.

I§m glad everyone is doing fine. I love you all and think about everyone often!

Elder Williams

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In Slovakia!

I have arrived in the country safe and sound and LOVING it! :) I'll do what I did for my day at the MTC and try to explain all that has happened in the last 60+ hours...

I left the MTC at 5:00 AM for New York. We had to get up around 3 to get ready and eat. Our flight took off at 8:30 and arrived in New York around 3. During our layover we had out last American meal at Wendy's. A couple ladies walked past us jabbering with each other in Czech. Sister Anderson freaked out. "They were speaking Czech and I didn't catch any of that!" At least we recognized it was Czech, right? I just hope that Slovak is easier... lol From NYwe we had a flight at 5:45 pm for Prague. We finally arrived in Prague at 7:45 Tuesday morning. We met the mission president and his wife at the airport along with the two Assistants to the President (APs). President and Sister Irwin are two of the sweetest people I think I've ever met. The AP's tried to secure a cab and I was amazed with how it was possible for them to communicate in Czech. I felt right at home with them in the Mission Home. We had a little orientation with Elder and Sister
Anderson (they emailed you already); they are the office senior couple-also very sweet. We were able to have a mini interview with President Irwin. He mainly wanted to get to know us personally to see where we should go and who we should be with. We then had a small lunch and then went off to see Prague with the APs, Elder Anderson and Elder Thompson. (ps there are about 7 Andersons in the mission now. lol) Prague is a beautiful city and there are no words that can describe it. Really. I took a ton
of pictures that I'll try to send next week. We saw everything! Or anything that you could see in 6 hours-- and I'm not quite sure what we saw exactly, we had just arrived and was going off of about 6 hours of sleep since Sunday, so I'll have to check my pictures again... At the end of the tour we got to a small namestia- or town square- and the APs put us in groups: Sister Anderson, Elder Bacon in one and I and then Elder Nichol and Sis. Bartholomew in another. Then they said, "Go talk to someone!" We didn't have much success at first, we went for the old ladies as they look much less intimidating. Boy was I wrong. But we shuffled the groups around and we actually got a couple numbers to give to the Prague missionaries. It was a little easier because almost everyone we talked to knew a little English  But we tried to speak a majority of the time in Slovak/Czech. We did that for about 45 minutes and then went to a Czech restaurant. The food here is soooo good, but soooo heavy. Definitely what I needed.

Around 6 we went back to the mission home. That night Elder Bacon, Nichol and I slept in a hotel by the mission home. It was probably the best night sleep I ever had. It was a nice and cozy
hotel- more like an apartment. The tubs are pretty goofy in that they're pretty deep and you don't stand in them. There was also NO hot water. But I'm told it'll be better in Slovakia. ...fingers

We rolled out of bed around 7 (see, best night sleep) and had breakfast with the President, his wife and the Sisters. The APs were back as well as two Sisters that Anderson and Bartholomew are replacing. After that we had another short meeting where we went over the dedicatory prayer of Slovakia and the APs gave us an orientation to the language study program and some other details that we're expected to do here. Everything was really brief. They are going to hold a longer training meeting in Brno next week where we'll get the meat. President Irwing recognizes that we can't take everything (more like anything) in the day of arrival. So I'm excited to see Czech Republic again. We'll also be back in Prague for a Christmas conference. It'll be really nice to see Prague over Christmas as well as the sisters. It's like they’re slowing weaning our district apart....
We then met the trainers and were given our assignments. I'm paired with Elder Bodily and we will be spending this transfer in Trencin! (cue everyone hopping on Wikipedia figuring out where that is and what's so great about it) Elder Bacon is with Elder Fish (I know, weird combo) and they will be in Zilina and then Elder Nichol is with Elder Wilson and they will be in Bratislava.

After the assignments we managed to separate from the sister sans tears (We held up a lot better then with Elder Freeman) and off we went for Blava! This is about 11:30 am. After a couple subways (I just love big cities with the public transportation) we got to the train station and hopped on a 4 hour train ride to Blava. From there another tram/bus and dropped all of our luggage at the church building. In Blava the church building is the first floor of an office building and is pretty nice. From there we went down some sketchy alleys (again, I just love big cities) and got to an internet cafe were I am right now. It is now almost 7 pm. We will be staying in Blava til Friday. So two days (it should be Wednesday, right?) Tomorrow morning we have to get a medical card to use the health system here and we need a physical that requires a return appt. the next day. We also have to do something else with the attorney here-- not sure what it is. For the
past 3 days I have just stood around until someone tells me to do something or go somewhere. It's an efficient system for sure, I don't want to get in the way.

My trainer told me a little bit about what's going on in Trencin. He had to reschedule 6 appointments because of this Bratislava stay. 6!! He told me to prepare for miracles and I told him I expected them :) One of our investigators is a family and some other very promising individuals. He's expecting a baptismal date from one of them soon. We'll see!

I am so happy to finally be in the country! The MTC was an extremely humbling experience and the past 3 days have been an even more humbling experience. Not sure how much lower I can go, but I'm sure I can go much lower. But I know that I just need to get "myself" out of the way so the Lord can work through me.

Well family and friends, just to reiterate, I'm safe and happy and still appreciate and feel your support and prayers. I love you all!!

From Blava with love,
Starsi Williams

ps, Mom can you forward my emails to: and They were in my branch presidency. I forgot to copy President Creer's email address- its in one of my bags- but I'll give you his next week.

MTC to Prague!

Arrival letter from President Irwin

26 October 2010

Dear Brother and Sister Williams,

We have welcomed your son, Elder Adam Gregory Williams, to the Czech Prague mission. We have attached a photo of him with us, which was taken today just after he arrived here in Prague, along with a picture of him with the missionary group that he came with. Elder Williams will bless this mission greatly with his enthusiasm and dedication. We love him and pledge our best efforts in directing his service here.
Your son, Elder Williams, has accepted a call that will change his life and the lives of those with whom he is serving. These first few months will be full of new and challenging experiences, and your support in the form of encouraging and uplifting letters will help him greatly.
Our greatest hope is that each missionary has a positive and growing experience, which will help give him a foundation for a lifetime of service to others. We appreciate the time you have spent raising your son to be such a responsible young man. We thank you for your willingness to share him with us.

With warmest regards,

David R. Irwin
President, Czech Prague Mission

Adam arrived in Prague Monday evening our time-it was Tuesday morning Czech time. They had a busy day Tuesday. The secretary there emailed me and said,

"Elder Williams and the rest of his group are on a Prague walk right now to see some of Prague while they are here. They will get to see the Prague castle and Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, etc. You can put those places into “google” on the internet so you can see how beautiful those sites are. They will be leaving tomorrow to go to Slovakia. Elder Williams is such a kind and loving person. We are sure everyone is going to love him and that he will do a great work in Slovakia."

After the tour they were to go out and speak to people on the street. When Adam called us Monday morning, he spoke his introduction of himself in Slovic-which sounded great to us so we asked what he will say to after he introduces himself and he said he will look at his trainer to take over from there!

So by now, he should be in Slovakia! We shall find out what city he is in and who his companion is when he emails next week...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pictures finally

Elders Nichol, Bacon, Freeman, Meiling, Williams, Sisters Bartholomew, and Anderson

Elder Bacon and me

Our "Band" Picture

Matching tiesSide parts

I dont know what we're doing

I found our Branch President Creer's nametag
This is my impression of him.

Our room--Elder T and T are packing

The district studying hard Sunday morning
Anderson, Nichol, Bacon, Freeman, Bartholomew, Me


We cover a lot of ground

Our classroom

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Last P-day!

Hey Family and Friends!
This is the last email I'll ever send from the MTC!! :) I am so excited about that!
It's been a great week and it started off with my travel plans! We got our itinerary on Wednesday last week!!!! I leave Monday October 25 at 8:44 AM! We have one layover in NYC for two hours and then we arrive in Prague 8:45 AM Tuesday morning! I leave for SLC airport around 5 am so expect a call then. I don't think I'll have time to call in New York. I think I'm going to just buy a calling card at the airport and use that. Any other ideas?
Also, my cough is gone for the most part. Those pills Staci sent (thank her again for me!) really did the trick. It dried me right up! And who woulda thunk that vick vapor rub on the bottom of your feet stops night time coughing? Definitely going to remember that one. Every now and then I feel like I'm coughing some gunk out of my lungs. But I'm drinking plenty of water and trying to be healthy.
We've covered all of our language grammar lessons already and have been reviewing. I've accepted that I really can't learn anything new in a week and the skills I have now will have to make do for my first big day as a "real" missionary. Our teachers have been just telling stories about the mission and what needs to be done to get the work going. A common theme is that the members there just need faith that they're not the only members of the church. It's still an obscure church over there. Only about 50-75 active members. My day looks like a meeting with the Mission President (of course) an orientation, then a walking tour of Prague (SO excited for that!) THEN they bring you to the namestia, or town square, where you go out and contact! In Prague! To REAL people who aren't teachers! To CZECHS!! Uhhh... I hardly know Slovak, let alone Czech! But I'm determined to just go out there and give it my all! Whenever I think about it I get so excited/feel-like-I'm-going-to-throw-up! I'm nervous about meeting my trainer. I know he'll be great. I just hope I don't frustrate him.... lol
Thank you family for the package! And then the cookies! We've all enjoyed them and everyone loved their Halloween goodie bag. Thanks for the long underwear. They've revolutionized my sleeping experience. At least for the first couple nights. Now they've cranked up the heat in the rooms. :( It's like I'm back in AZ. A shout out to Catherine as well for her fabulous package. And to the Wood family. Their letters were particularly encouraging. I am SO lucky and blessed to have so much support back home. It was definitely a good week. :)
Brother Capik, a member of my branch presidency, thanked us as a district on Sunday. He said that we are one of the most unified districts he's ever seen (we do absolutely everything together) and that we are "model missionaries". So don't worry mom, I'm doing a good job. haha
Tomorrow my district was chosen to be "host Missionaries" meaning we have to escort the new missionaries coming in. I'm pretty sure Brandon Larson is coming tomorrow so I'll keep an eye out for him.
Almost out of time, but I've loved the MTC (totally ready to go though). Last week Bishop Edgley gave the devotional. I'm really going to miss all of the devotionals and firesides we have here, they are always so good!
Welp, I'll talk to you on Monday!!!!!
Elder Williams

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Another week here at the MTC. The big highlight is that I have been sicky all week. It started little over a week ago with a voice of an old man who smoked for 40 years. Very attractive I know. And now I have this cough that will not go away. I used all of my de-congestion medication already and have started my second bottle of cough medicine. Geez, I sound like a perscription drug abuser..... I have a feeling that I'm over it though. I hope.

The TRC last week went so well! Elder Bacon and I taught the first lesson IN SLOVAK! It was insane! There were a few times where I had no idea what our investigator was saying, but we managed to pull though it. I wrote out everything that I wanted to say but after just chatting with him (Bryce) and asking him questions we went in a completely different direction but I survived! This week we have to teach the second lesson and the word of wisdom. Again, I'm soooo nervous about it. The second lesson has a lot of specific vocab that I haven't been studying as well as I should... We'll see how it goes on Thursday I guess.I just can't wait for that moment where I just know what everyone is saying and I can really start getting to know and teaching everyone!

I only have two more weeks here at the MTC. I am so ready to leave this place. Elder Nichol made a comment the other day that pretty sums it up, "Elder Williams is just burnt out." Definitely true. However, I'm torn. I'm ready to leave HERE but not so ready to get to Slovakia. I am incredibly excited about leaving so soon but whenever I think about it I feel like I am going to throw up. Haha We now have scheduled in "story time" from each of our teachers when they teach. They get us SO pumped to go.

The other day (same day that I was "burnt out") someone found a CTR ring inside their tater-tot casserole. First of all it was a tater-tot casserole, gross. Second, a ring? grosssss

I really wish I had more exciting things to talk about. Sorry about that. I mostly just sit in a classroom all day or get annoyed by other Elders... Here's hoping that in two weeks time I'll have SO much to say! :)

Love and miss you all!!


ps I haven't gotten the package yet, but thanks so much in advance!

pss: here's a strange request: can you tell the Horlachers I said hi? In church on Sunday I was thinking about the talk Nicole gave at my farewell. I really appreciated what she said about me being an example for going on a mission. It made me feel redeemed a little for being such a poor example to the teachers/deacons for not going for so long. They are such a great family!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Po Slovensky!!

Another P-day down. Only 3 more to go! Yikes!!
The time here has really sped up and last week feels like it really didn't happen. Motivation and diligence really makes time fly by!
The week really took off on Thursday where we had our TRC and had to teach a lesson IN SLOVAK! ("po slovensky") We started out doing our "task" where we had a mock dinner appointment. I, of course, forget every food word so I was pretty lost. Elder Bacon, Nichol and I taught 4 people. One lady, Eva, was from Prague and was here for conference. She is so nice! She served a mission in Mesa so is pretty fluent in English. (Not that I ever heard a word of it) Then we had 2 other RMs from Czech and one from Slovakia. So the Slovak RM was interpreting when we couldn't understand. Czech and Slovak are similar, but they are definitely different languages. Our lesson went so well. I understood most of what was said, but struggled so much in communicating what i wanted to say. It's so frustrating recognizing a need and understanding a question but being unable to answer or help meet that need. One day though...
I hope you all enjoyed General Conference. It was so great! My district managed to stick together for all of the sessions. So far we've never sat apart for a devotional or a meal. We're convinced that we are the closest district. (It helps that we're so small) We had to show up about an hour and half early to get a seat in the Gym. We managed to snag front row seats where the deaf section is (They only have one deaf Elder) and sat in front of a nice tv screen. It felt like home almost. Then when it started half the screen was taken up by an interpreter and the visual and audio was off (Not that that would matter to someone who can't hear...) Sister Bartholomew and I loved it but everyone got so distracted. Needless to say, we didn't sit there again.... Priesthood session was great and Elder Bacon enjoyed himself. He was gone all day so I stuck with elder Freeman and Nichol. It was kinda nice having a day off from Elder Bacon, but I kinda missed my shadow. We all welcomed him back that night with applause. They sounded SO GOOD! All of the sessions of conference was amazing. I love experiencing things as a missionary. I felt that every single talk really applied to me. The counsel I received from those great men and women will really help me out in the field and in life beyond the mission. I just wish I had investigators now! Something that really stuck out to me was Elder Holland's talk. I need to do a better job at recognizing everything that everyone does. From the leaders down to all the "helpers". I loved his comments about his parents and I couldn't help bu think about Mom and Dad. Both of you have done and sacrificed so much so that I could have the life I enjoy. Sometimes, ok, most of the time, it went without thanks but that never deterred you from giving more. I love both of you so much! :)
Something else that was amazing this week was last Friday, Elder Bacon and I have a Teaching Appointment and we had to teach the plan of salvation and tie it into the Law of Tithing. It was such a good lesson and I couldn't help but wish that I was going stateside. I just want to teach people SO bad! I can't wait 6 months or however long it'll take to get this language down! But the best part about this lesson was at the end the teacher told us to really help the investigator understand the Pre-Earth life. She asked if they knew that they had a relationship with God before this life how do you think their prayers and attitude towards God would change? I had always known this concept but it really hit me this time thinking about in a context of prayer. We all knew our Heavenly Father. (He knew us and loved us, and still does of course.) Why wouldn't I want to rekindle that two-way relationship? So cool!
Got your Dear Elder about the package coming soon, thanks in advance! Did you find my check book? It would be great if you could throw that in. And mints! Gum is outlawed here. (What isn't?) And I know I've said this for weeks but pictures coming soon as well as the copy of my wallet stuff you keep bugging me about mom. Also, no worries about the shoes. They just had to be broken in is all. That seems to be a common thing with Eccos.
Thanks all for the letters that keep coming. The support is fantastic and I'm working on responding! :) BTW Morgan, your letter seems to top everything anyone has ever sent!

Love you love you love you!!

Elder Williams

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

co je to za tento tyžden! (What is with this week?!)

Tue, September 28, 2010 2:50:05 PM

It's email time!

Man oh man, what a week. It has probably been the worst week I've had so far. Not sure why. The rest of the district felt that way too. I think we're just tired, scratch that, exhausted. BUT we all talked about it last night during Family Home Evening and we have reevauluated and we're going to try a little harder to get all we can out of this experience. Elder Freeman (from now on to be known as the FHE Master) had an activity for us where we followed the Anti-Lehi-Nephites' example and "buried our swords". Those people gave up their weapons of war and promised to never fight again. Instead they would put their trust in the Lord that He would recognize their sacrifice and bless them. So we each had our own sword, as well as a district sword, and buried it. As a district we decided to bury negativity. We're just going to roll with the punches and make these last 4 weeks (ugh....) the best we've ever had! And personally I'm going to give up judgments on others. It might be too hard for me... but I'll try. lol
Despite the crappy week the past couple days I have managed to find some motivation for getting this language down. As you can see from my new favorite phrase: "čo je to, za" (Cho ye toe za) Meaning "what is with -insert whatever is ticking you off" (I feel like Slovaks would like Jerry Seinfeld. "Whats the deal with....?!" or whatever he says)
We're teaching the first lesson IN SLOVAK on Thursday (which might be the source of this new found motivation) I'm really nervous about it. But I've learned that fasting and praying really works when we feel we're inadequate for the challenges in front of us.
As far as updates goes: Elder Bacon is singing in the Priesthood choir on Saturday for General Conference, so that's pretty cool. I'm jealous I don't get to go to Conference with him but I'll manage to live through it. We also got two new roommates on Wednesday. Elder Truman and Tuimongua are pretty cool -- despite taking all my extra closet and desk space...-- and so far I've really enjoyed rooming with them. They are going to Minnesota and leave a week before me. I'm a little bitter about that....
Hope everyone is doing well at home. Sorry for the short emails, but life just isn't that exciting here at the MTC.

Starši Williams

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Another week in...Paradise?

Dear Family, et al
Hey everyone! It's email time! Yes!

This week, like every other week here, has been a blur. I guess I should start to get used to it. I can't even remember what week this is but I know that I'm almost at the halfway point for my MTC stay. almost...
The District (I really need to come up with a cooler name for us, any suggestions?) has been slowly recovering from the loss of Elder Meiling. But no one has gotten lost or missed a meeting since he left so I guess we're doing better than we thought. We're all getting a little stir crazy just want to get out of here! I'm willing to carry all of my bags to the Salt Lake City Airport tonight and buy my own ticket to Prague. Only 5 more weeks....

This week I'm trying to not stress out so much. Our Branch President chastised us a little for being so worried about our performance. He assured us that we are all doing fine and reminded us that this work is the Lord's and it should be performed with love and patience. And then we watched a talk by Elder Holland titled "Miracle of a Mission" and it really hit home to me how important this is and that I need to be putting my focus on the people. Not the lessons or the language. If I put my efforts in communicating by the spirit the rest will come. One day I'll get it....

I should tell you that I'm still loving it here. I wish I was able to describe the amount of fun I'm having with my district. No matter what it is that we're doing; be it during gym, meal time, or cleaning our classrooms, we are just always in good spirits and enjoying ourselves. Whenever someone is struggling or having a bad day it's great to have 5 other people standing by to lend a hand. I just wish we could all serve together in Slovakia.

Here's a funny story that happened this past week: On either Wednesday or Thursday (they all just blur together) Elder Freeman and Nichol were both called to the front desk during a meal. When they returned, extremely seriously, they said they had talked to President Smith (the President of the MTC) and that they weren't able to tell us what it was about until Sunday. Then they went to talk to some District leaders-still in serious mode. Sister Anderson, Bartholomew, Elder Bacon and I were going CRAZY wanting to know what it was going on. I was convinced that the Prophet or someone was coming and they were going to administer the sacrament to him (It happens sometimes). On Sunday the Sisters, Elder Bacon and I waited for them to get out of their Zone Leader meeting and they stood on the picnic tables to announce that the secret was that there was no secret! They only saw President Smith in the hall. It took us a minute for it to sink in that they were serious that there was really nothing going on. So now the rest of us are trying to come up with something to trick them... (okay, I promise that this story is really funny. I guess you had to be there?) Our new favorite thing to do as a district is come up with the dumbest jokes. So far its Elder Bacon's tie joke. (It's one of those visual jokes that are always super lame)

Oh! Before I forget, I saw Matt Bird (my cousin) at the Temple this morning! How wild is that? He's doing good, working at the MTC actually, but mostly with the senior couples so I won't really see him. But I'll have to keep an eye out for him.

To answer your questions mom (sorry they are a week late) I'm warm enough at night, but I still want that long underwear before I leave for Prague. My p days are on Tuesdays and we don't have a set time to check our email, mostly whenever we get a chance. We tend check it around 3:00-3:30. I don't really need anything right now. Some good food would be nice. I'm starting to see why some people hate the food....

Well, I will write you all again in a week!

Starsi Williams

ps Some people have written me and said to forward thanks to whoever updates the blog, they're liking it. So... THANKS MOM! :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Have You Gone to the Edge Where Miracles Occur?

This arrived today in the mail from Adam. He spoke of sending it a few weeks ago.

This is the story of how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints became recognized as an official religion in Slovakia. Before Czechoslovakia split, the church had an official presence. When the country split in 1993, the Czech Republic maintained the church’s status. Slovakia, however, did not. They had a rule that there must be at least 20,000 members of a church for it to be recognized. Without this recognition, the Church was unable to own land or rent buildings in the Church’s name. Individual members had to own the property rights and rent out the buildings in their names. With less than 200 members, it was difficult to get people who were willing to do that. Instead, meetings were held in the missionaries’ apartment or in members’ homes. Seeing as there were only 3 or 4 active members in a branch, it wasn’t much of a problem.
Around 2004, a lawyer, who served in Slovakia in the mid-90’s, did some research on this law.  He and the mission president made a proposal to the Slovak government that they recognize the Church if they could gain the support of 20,000 native Slovaks. The government agreed and with the blessing of the 1st Presidency the missionaries got to work. (By the time they reached this agreement it was now 2006.) The mission president held a mission conference in Brno in the Czech Republic and presented the plan. Half the missionaries, in the entire mission, would be stationed in Bratislava, Slovakia and take care of all the western cities. The other half would be based in Kosice and take care of the Eastern half. They were led by returned missionaries and native Slovak members. They were required to collect the names, addresses, and the equivalent of a social security number of 20,000 people. In a former communist nation no less! ( many people, especially the older ones, are not trusting of any government dealings and foreigners) The mission had tried hiring a professional signature company consisting of young Slovaks, about the age of us missionaries. In 3 days they collected only a handful of signatures--about a hundred. The mission cancelled that and after the first day that the mission went in to do the work a couple thousand signatures were collected by about 80 missionaries! By the 3rd day, they were well into the teens. The mission president let everyone sleep until 8:00 am and gave them a “day off”. They had been out by 8:00 am and didn’t stop until around 9:00 pm those first three days, so they definitely deserved a rest. By the end of the 5th day over 23,000 signatures were collected! The Czech missionaries went back to Czech Republic and resumed missionary work while those stationed in Slovakia continued to collect signatures. The second week they collected about 10,000 extra signatures. More than enough to cover any mistakes or false entries. The missionaries and members witnessed a miracle. It was answer to many prayers. One member, who is now my teacher here in the MTC, remembers a man there who had fasted every month since the mid-90’s for the church to enjoy the benefits of being recognized. I have no doubt that great faith was required of the members for this miracle to happen. They've received incredible blessings as a result. The church can grow unrestrained, buildings can now be built and stakes can be organized.
How sweet is that? It’s even cooler if you think of what’s happening in Slovakia while reading Alma 23:1-5:

1 Behold, now it came to pass that the king of the Lamanites sent a aproclamation among all his people, that they should not lay their hands on Ammon, or Aaron, or Omner, or Himni, nor either of their brethren who should go forth preaching the word of God, in whatsoever place they should be, in any part of their land.
2 Yea, he sent a decree among them, that they should not lay their hands on them to bind them, or to cast them into prison; neither should they spit upon them, nor smite them, nor cast them out of their asynagogues, nor scourge them; neither should they cast stones at them, but that they should have free access to their houses, and also their temples, and their bsanctuaries.
3 And thus they might go forth and preach the word according to their desires, for the king had been converted unto the Lord, and aall his bhousehold; therefore he sent his proclamation throughout the land unto his people, that the word of God might have no obstruction, but that it might go forth throughout all the land, that his people might be convinced concerning the wicked ctraditions of their fathers, and that they might be convinced that they were all brethren, and that they ought not to murder, nor to plunder, nor to steal, nor to commit adultery, nor to commit any manner of wickedness.
4 And now it came to pass that when the king had sent forth this proclamation, that Aaron and his brethren went forth from acity to city, and from one house of worship to another, establishing churches, and consecrating bpriests and teachers throughout the land among the Lamanites, to preach and to teach the word of God among them; and thus they began to have great success.
5 And athousands were brought to the knowledge of the Lord, yea, thousands were brought to believe in the btraditions of the Nephites; and they were taught the crecords and prophecies which were handed down even to the present time.

I’m just waiting for it all to take off.
Another miracle we just found out about is that the Church just finished its Slovak edition of the Book of Mormon! They have been using the Czech translation. (Many people in Slovakia have no problem reading or listening in Czech, but are not comfortable with the Czech language of scripture Apparently it's strange.) Prophecy is being fulfilled and the Gospel is being taught in one’s own tongue! One day we will have native missionaries serving.

A Note from Adam's mom: A Slovak Book of Mormon is so exciting! I am glad my son will be able to use it! I was worried about that. One thing hindering missionaries is the lack of written material in Slovak. There is also very little online about the church in the Slovak language, so when younger people there who are interested start searching, they don't find much. Hopefully, this will start to change as more native Slovaks and Slovak speakers begin to post more online.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ahoj Rodina

Well another P-day is here and I can't believe I'm pushing 4 weeks. It feels like months already. The monotonous schedule of the MTC has finally set in. I'm ready to just get out of here! I'm trying to stay focused and pay attention in class but everyday around 2:30 I have this overwhelming urge to just run out of the classroom and away from Provo. We've started to repeat meals here and I drown everything in Cholulu sauce to get some kind of flavor. I'm hoping there will be hot sauce readily available in Slovakia. Some of the Elders here are starting to drive me crazy. Sometimes I'm very impressed with them- other times I'm reminded that they are just fresh out of high school. (And I can say that because I'm SOOOOOO much older and mature than than that ;)
Good news! Elder Meiling got his visa a couple days ago (it's actually been sitting on someones desk this entire time. whoops!) and he is en route to Prague as of 5:00 this morning!! He should just be leaving Chicago for London right about now, then Prague. We're very excited that he's able to finally get out here but we're sad that he has to leave us. Hopefully we'll run into him in Prague.
Elder Bacon got sick a couple days ago but has made a whole recovery. He just had a slight fever and a little achy. He went to bed early a couple nights and I made sure he's been drinking plenty of fluids. You can't miss one day here at the MTC. On Sunday all of the Elders in the district wore matching ties- courtesy of Elder Freeman's mom and on Friday we had "missionary part" day where we all parted our hair like old school missionaries. I'll send pictures if I ever get around to the photo developer. That's about as exciting as things get around here.
Tonight we have our Tuesday night devotional where a General Authority comes and speaks. It's my favorite part of being here at the MTC. Last week Lowell Snow and his wife spoke and first off, I want Elder Snow's job. He got his masters in Counseling or something and went on to Law School. He made a career out of legal consultation for companies. Anyways, they spoke to us about choices and how they all lead us somewhere. Pretty basic stuff, but they asked us to really think about what kinds of choices have we, as missionaries, have made that lead us to the MTC and to make sure that those choices were made for the right reasons. After really thinking about it over the week it feels so good to know that I am here primarily because I love the Gospel. And after hearing mission stories from our teachers I can say that I love how the Gospel changes people's lives and I am working hard at honing in on my teaching skills that I may more effectively be able to teach those that want to learn so that their lives and relationships can be better! All of us has to live, and love, the Gospel so well that it's contagious!
Hope everything is good at home and that Dad had a great birthday!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Until next week!

Starši Williams

here are my demands: I need two pieces of sheet music. How Great Thou Art, it has a blue cover and I Stand All Amazed arranged by Spencer Magnum. They should both be around the piano. (duh..) you can just copy it, that way I don't have to worry about it coming back in one piece. Sister Anderson is our Music Coordinator and needs someone to do a musical number during sacrament meeting. Don't worry, no rush. :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Lot of Learning

Hey Family!
Sorry this might be brief- they don't give us a whole lot of time. Which is frustrating, but oh well. Sorry to hear about the cat found in the pool. I guess he (mistakenly) thought he would find a good home with you guys :)
All is well here at the MTC, it's hard to believe that I've ONLY spent two weeks here. It feels like an eternity. Busy busy busy. Our teachers have been sharing stories about their experiences in Slovakia and we have been getting so pumped up as a result. I'll post the one about how the church got recognized (two of them were there when it happened) if I have time at the end, if not, just wait for a letter!
I got your package today, thank you! Just what I needed. And thank you Aaron for not letting my ring get scratched. I'll let you know if there is anything I need. My P-Days are on Tuesdays and it pretty much consists of going to the temple, laundry, and writing to family. I was able to take a nap today, which was SO good.
My past week here has consisted of a lot of workshops and "teaching appointments" or TEs. There we pretty much apply what we've learned in the classroom with "professional investigators". At first I thought the TEs were going to be unrealistic and a waste of time. But they are some of the most nerve racking and best experiences I have had here so far. The teachers are so good and challenge us in so many different ways. They are definitely heavy hitters and I feel like I'll have more luck with the people in Slovakia than at the MTC! Last Thursday we had our first TRC (not sure what it stands for) where we meet with RMs or Native Slovaks and they check on our progress. We have a list of "Missionary Tasks" that we need to get through each week. (Kind of sounds like a video game eh?) last week we had to meet someone and schedule an appointment. ALL IN SLOVAK! Surprisingly I knew more than I thought. The guy I spoke to drove a bus and thought the "park" we ran into each other at was pretty. He doesn't have a family but I managed to schedule an appt for a Saturday at 6:00! Then we had to teach the first lesson, in English, thank goodness. That was nerve racking. But we got through the lesson. I have a love/hate relationship with these appointments. I get so nervous about it, but I come out with the best feedback and everyday Elder Bacon and I get better and better.
There are some Elders that got in last week that are going to the Tempe, AZ mission and the Boise, ID mission! How cool is that! I gave them your names and Grandma and Grandpa. I'm glad that you're doing more "member missionary" work mom. I loved being a ward missionary and I'm sad that Slovakia has so few members for us to work with. They really make all the difference.
Elder Meiling is still here. Not sure what is going on yet. No Visa but he's staying here until it comes. He met with the Branch President today so we'll see. I'm sure you'll find out on his blog. lol
I miss you guys and think about you all the time. But don't worry, I'm not homesick or anything (big surprise, I know). It just feels like I'm in Tucson being my usual busy self. It'll sink in around Christmas time I'm sure. :) I'm working as hard as I can and I'm having a great time with my District. They are seriously the best group of people I have ever met. Elder Nichol and Freeman definitely keep it classy. We pretty much just make fun of the indie kids and the guys that flirt with sister missionaries here. And Sister Anderson keeps us in line. We've grown so close and I'll be sad when we all have to leave.
Keep it fo-rizz-el!
ps get me the address of the grandparents. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One week in...

Hello all!!
I've almost completed my first week here at the MTC and it is fantastic! I love my district more everyday and we are getting along just fine. We do literally everything together. I am the oldest in the group, much to the surprise of the sisters, and we all bring something to the table. I wish I shared their natural enthusiasm about being a missionary. (I'll mail some pictures in a couple days so you can get faces to the names-- we can't transfer pictures from our cameras to the computers. They're built like Fort Knox.) Elder Bacon in my companion and he is the District leader. Then Elder Freeman, who is going to Croatia, and Elder Nichol are the Zone leaders. Elder Meiling is companions with them until he leaves. He really appreciates the thoughts and prayers. He checks on his visa and health status everyday-- still no word. :(

Slovak is HARD! I've spent the past week struggling in my class. I feel like I'm picking up the language slower than everyone else in the entire MTC. My district can already pray and stumble through a testimony in Slovak but nothing seems to stick with me. And what up with verb conjugation??? I'm trying to remember that I am being sent to Slovakia for a reason and that I can learn Slovak.

Some things about the MTC:
-It is FREEZING in Provo. Every time I wake up I feel like I'm frozen solid. I'm sleeping with socks, long sweats and a sweatshirt. I doubt its even in the 50s. Best part is that my teachers have told me that Slovakia is colder than I thought....
-I am so hungry here! They give about 30 minutes for meals. And that's to get your food, eat and clean up. But the food is so good and there is so much of it-if only I had more time. So I might be losing weight rather than gaining it. So much for getting looser pants...
-We are in class ALL day long. I'm probably taking notes 10 to 12 hours a day. I've almost filled an entire notebook! I wish I could say that we just do language but we spend the majority of our time studying Gospel principles or Preach My Gospel or having personal/companionship study. Its frustrating because I feel those are my strong points and I really just want to get immersed in the language. But you can't teach something you don't know or understand, right??

The MTC is such an inspiring place to be. The prayers of literally thousands of our loved ones are felt and lift us up for sure. It's amazing to be around thousands of peers who have the same intentions and goals.

I'm glad Logan is enjoying my clothes but I have a few requests of some things I forgot: My blue striped shorts. They're the Van Huesen brand, a couple extra hangers (4 would be perfect) and throw in a couple extra t-shirts. And a blanket! (remember how cold I am!) I know I'm forgetting something else.... but I'll let you know.

**A note to blog readers and other emailers: I appreciate all of the emails I've received, but I only have 30 minutes to check my mail once a week and can only email family ( I only have 5 minutes left!) So please write me a letter or go on and write me there with an address so I can write you throughout the week!**

Hope all is well and everyone is doing great! How has school been? etc.


(with a minute to spare!)

ps get me the rest of the family's email! Thank you!

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Beginning: Missionary Training Center Provo, Utah

First Letter
August 25,2010

I love the MTC! Before coming here I was terrified about what my experience here would be like. I didn't know the schedule or what it would be like so I was having a lot of anxiety. Would I be able to adjust? Will I be able to learn the laguage or the lessons? After my first day I know that I can! I won't be fluent, or be the perfect teacher, but I will do better than I previously thought...I hope. I promised myself I wouldn't be that missionry who geeks out about the MTC, but oh well-- I love it and I don't care who knows!
So here's the rundown of the day--I'll try to be as specific as possible, per dad's request. I was the first one at the gate waiting to board. and slowly more and more missionaries joined me. I guess a young guy in a suit just screams missionary. There ended up being about 10 Elders and at least one Sister (pretty positive there were two though) Isn't that insane?I didnt know any of them though, except Elder Phelps-Bill Ferrin's nephew. They must have thought I was a loser in high school becaue I didnt know anyone they knew at Highland. But when I told them I graduated in "07 they understood. Hahaha.
The plane ride was a good, uneventful trip. At the airport it was easy enough to find the shuttle to the MTC. We had an interesting shuttle driver who has driven probably thousands of missionaries. He was from South Africa or something.
When we arrived at the MTC we were guided by a host missionary through different stages: getting our name tag, (mine is in Slovak! Ah!) keys,picture taken and our language books. Then we met with the teacher and got a run down on what the next few days would be like. The host that took me through was an Elder going to Russia. They try to learn 20 new vocab words a day. Oh boy... ("I can do this, I can do this" is all I was thinking.) I was dropped off in the Slovak classroom and met my companion and the other Slovak Elder. We three Elders are the first goup of Slovak missionaries since April so our teachers are anxious to teach us. Then all of the new missionaries met with the MTC presidency and their wives (who double as the Relief Society Presidency for the Sisters) There are probably 400 new missionaries from all over the world. And a large group from Japan. After that meeting we met our district. My companion is Elder Bacon. He is from Provo and is very excited about being a missionary. He strives to be where he is supposed to be when he is supposed to be there. So he's a good person to be paired up with. Then there is Elder Nichol from Portland, OR. The three of us are the "Slovak Elders" He is in a tri-companionship with Elder Freeman, who is going to Croatia, and Elder Meiling who is going to Czech. He was supposed to be gone already but has some visa ad health issues. I was told not to worry as it is very easy to get approved for a Slovak visa. (After you jump through the U.S. government hoops) Finally, we have two sisters, Sister Anderson and Sister Bartholomew. Sis. Anderson is from Fruit Heights, UT and Sister Bartholomew is from San Diego.
Today has been a blur, so I am ready for some shut eye. I'll write you all again soon!
P.S. I forgot my Endure to the End ring. I left it on the bathroom sink the morning I left. Plz send it. thanks!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Time to Go: The Airport Goodbye

After a few months of getting the required immunizations, sending in copies of birth certificate and passport, getting FBI clearance and apostilles (we learned what those were), buying lots of white shirts and other needed clothing, saying goodbye to co-workers, and friends, and taking pictures with family, Adam was packed and ready to go. Thanks to everyone who helped him in these efforts and joined in the excitement. It was a wonderful time of preparation.
He successfully left Arizona early August 25th for the MTC in Provo, Utah. For the next nine weeks he will prepare to serve in Slovakia. He has much ahead of him, but he was excited and ready.
There were 8 or 9 other missionaries at the airport also. We talked to a few of them. They were going to Canada, Argentina and New York. There was a nice feeling there with all the families around. It was nice to know Adam had lots of others to be with when he arrived at the MTC.

To view life in the MTC go to

Friday, July 30, 2010

USAO and Reflections.

Today was my last day working at the US Attorney's Office. Those of you that know me well know that I loved my job. The work itself was either monotonous and mind-numbingly easy, or way above my pay grade. (You want me to close the 10+ box Blower case?? ...... all right...)
What made working at that office so fantastic and such an amazing place to be were the folks that worked alongside me. The attorneys and legal assistants all treated me with respect and as a peer rather than some punk kid that really had no idea what he was doing half the time. (seriously)

Now lets talk about the REAL reason I love the USAO.
                          Food.  :)
Whenever someone has a having a birthday or is leaving us we ALWAYS have food. On top of the banquets throughout the year. i.e. Admin Day, the Chili Cook Off, Halloween, Christmas, etc (I learned that there are TONS of excuses to have office parties) And today was no exception. We had a complete smörgåsbord for breakfast, then root beer floats later that day. We were eating all day. And it was glorious!
I had been told again and again while working there that the work I did was appreciated-- even if I thought it didn't make THAT much of a difference. But after reading the DOJ Seal the staff had all signed and the card they gave me, and the numerous emails and the endless visits of people to my cubicle did it really sink in that I had lightened the workload of my co-workers as a student clerk. What a feeling it is to be appreciated! It is so so so important for us to recognize what other people do for us and let our appreciation show. The idea that we always have an affect on other people was reinforced today. It is how we treat those around us and the attitudes we carry that denotes whether that affect is positive or negative. I hoped that I was a positive force for good there, and that I may continue to be one in the future.
I'll miss the friends I made there as I start my new adventure. But who knows, maybe they haven't seen the last of me. ;)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weak Things Made Strong

My roommate was supposed to teach the lesson in Elders Quroum on Sunday, but the night before he remembered that he was going out of town so I, the wonderful roommate that I am, stepped up and offered to sub for him. The lesson was circled around Jeffrey R. Holland's talk "Place No More for the Enemy of my Soul". [A fantastic talk that I highly recommend.]

Here was my train of thought: "I'll be spending the next two years teaching people gospel related things, How could I pass up an oppurtunity to practice?" Right???


After I finished the lesson I felt embarrassed, incompetent, and inadequate at my teaching abilities. It wasn't a bad lesson per say, it was nothing more preparation couldn't fix; I just couldn't shake this feeling of discouragement.


Today I was thinking about the scripture Ether 12:27. In it we learn that the Lord has given us weaknesses that we may learn to be humble. Then, as our faith increases, our weaknesses, whatever they may be, can become our greatest strengths. I have a weakness in teaching. [Rather, I am weak in my studying and preparing for a lesson] But with faith, and a lot of work, I know that my teaching can one day be my strongest attribute.

I look forward to the coming weeks before I enter the MTC. I plan on kicking myself in the butt and mentally prepare to be saturated in both Slovak and the Spirit.

There is definitely a lot of work to be done my friends.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I love blogs

And so begins my Missionary Blog. I'm starting this blog for a myriad of reasons. I've always appreciated the blog because it allows me to keep tabs on someone without putting in any effort (don't judge). Hopefully this will be an easy way for everyone to keep in touch (please notice the contact info on the right). Another reason I decided to start a blog is because I could not find a blog by a missionary from the Czech Prague Mission. [Scratch that, I think I found one with about 3 entries in it] It would have eased a lot of nerves had I read someone else experiences doing the mission thing. And so it will serve as motivation to chronicle the events that will happen while I am "in the field". You see, I am a terrible journal writer, something my mother will attest to, so I need all the motivation I can get to remind me to remember the things that happen.
And girls love guys that blog..... right??