Monday, May 23, 2011

It's Monday already?


How has everyone been this week? My week has been crazy busy, but per usual, it was a good week! We started off with a closing ceremony with our Humanitarian Couple, the Stiles (who are the BEST) on Tuesday. They did a project for a shelter in Michalovice that takes care of pretty much everyone. The homeless, the handicapped, and orphans. The ceremony was their way of thanking us for the work we did. They did a dancing presentation that was so much fun to watch! Then they fed us SO much food. I was full until Thursday.
The week kinda took a turn for the worse when Elder Walker got sick Wednesday afternoon. Thursday he and his companion, Elder Milot had to go to Bratislava for Visa work. We had a conference in Brno on Sunday so they stayed there on Saturday-but Walker got sick again so they went all the way back to Kosice instead. So they spent about 5 days out of their area unable to work. But they managed to find one new investigator and speak 100 hours of Slovak. I am so proud of my district!
The District conference in Brno was so good! Even if it meant that I was on a train for 9 hours on Sunday. (and 6 the day before...I'm not kidding, Kosice is out there) An Area Authority from Italy spoke about the Rome Temple and the absolute miracle that only two years has passed between the announcement and the ground breaking. Impossible to do in Rome for a compound that large. The members of Italy, he said, believed that they would have a temple of their own. One day. He expected to wait 15 years for an announcement. The Saints in Italy were willing to wait patiently. But he said that when the Lord decides to do something, He does it. Hnd He decided that the Italians were ready for a temple. Now. We have to decide whether or not we will be in a position to be ready, willing, and waiting to help. He descibed the work like a train with the doors open and most of us are milling around thinking we have all the time to get on. He told us that the engines are running and the doors are begining to close. GET ON! It really got me excited because I have been thinking about my area and it really feels that we have so much time before the work really progresses. But one day it is just going to hit us, and we will be ready to find those that the Lord has prepared. I have an inkling that I'll see that happen, but maybe that is just wishful thinking.
This week we have specialized training in Zlina, I'm looking forward to it. Some new things to think about for District Meetings. :)

So what is with all the weddings for the Bird family?? I believe I already sent a shout out/congrats to Matthew, but I had no idea that Michelle got engaged! Wahoo! That is so exciting. I kind of feel bad for the twins though. Their family has changed so much since they left! lol But I guess I will come home to just Aaron..... Lucky him.

Hope everyone has a great week! Talk to you later,

Starsi Williams

Monday, May 16, 2011


This week I spent about 15 hours on a train. That pretty much sums up my week. We had a District Leader training in Brno that was fantastic! And to top off the great training I saw Sister Bartholomew! It seems that I can never see my two Czech sisters together, only separately. She is doing really well and it was a lot of fun to see her. Anyways, I really got a lot out of the training that I'm looking forward in applying. I realized that there is SO much that goes into being a DL that really made me wonder, "Why me?" It will definitely give me a good opportunity to learn and grow I guess. So far I love it. I just get excited thinking about and planning district meetings and our weekly call-ins. I regret not taking advantage of them as a normal missionary. I definitely took both of those things for granted. I tried to apply the things we learned in DM to my work, and I mostly thought call-ins were a waste of time. But now I desperately hope that my missionaries get as much as they can out of DM and recognize the chance they have to bring up concerns and really discuss their area with someone that really cares during call-ins. (Note for the lost: call-ins are every Sunday night where we report what happened that week. ex: how many lessons taught, what the missionaries have been doing to bring others closer to Christ, talk about concerns, etc). My old trainer, Elder Bodily, is the new Zone Leader as of last transfer, and he calls me so that I can report my district's activities. It's been kind of fun working with him in a new way.
Elder Stansfield and I have been working really hard to find this family that we want to bring into the church. We've been doing some serious contacting and tracting. So far we haven't been seeing the results we want to see. But we have been working on some goals that we have real control over, mainly SOL (Speaking Our Language). We actively spoke 70 hours of Slovak this week--which is more than I have ever spoken on my mission. The other area in Kosice spoke 101! I am so proud of my district. We are really trying to show the Lord that we are unified in a purpose and willing to work hard so that He can trust us enough to send the elect our way.
Some shout outs (of course): Congrats to "Brother" Fish-previously known as "Elder"-for getting a job at the MTC. That's a real way to ensure a legacy in a mission. And to Elder Meredith for being a champ. (Elder Durrant requested a special shout out for him) He's being a great trainee for Elder Durrant, I hope I get to serve with him.
We got an interesting email today from the mission home, apparently the Czech Republic changed a customs law regarding packages. If it exceeds $28 worth of stuff they will detain it at the post office and you have to pick it up with a passport. This a problem as I am 12 hours away from Prague. The Mission Home will have a power of attorney to pick up anything that might be there for us, but they are asking that we tell people at home not to send more then $28 worth of stuff. (Which shouldn't be a problem, I'm not worth $28 anyway :)
I would be ungrateful if I didn't say thank you to the Woods for a perfect Easter package! And to Julie for the b-day package. The Woods got me some Doritos, which are ALWAYS good, and some other fun treats, and Julie got me a sweet tie-very festive. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!
Besides all that, it's been a little quiet in Kosice. Hoping it's just the calm before the storm. This will be a crazy week, with a "closing ceremony" for a service project the church did east of Kosice and a District Conference, back in Brno this weekend, should be fun!

Have fun this week and try to stay out of the heat you Arizonans! (Yesterday it was 11 degrees celcius :)

Starsi Williams

Thursday, May 5, 2011

That Was A Doozy

Well everyone, another transfer and another move! I'm all the way over in Košice today! As a District leader! What?!?!? But we'll get to that....

The past week and a half was good. I had a great birthday, thank you SO much for the birthday wishes! Can you believe I'm 22 now? I was able to go on a little excursion for my b-day actually. Elder Walker needed to go to Brno for an interview with President Irwin, his companion had to go to Vienna for visa stuff so he asked if I could go with him. (Tri-ships are great in that there is always an extra person) It was a kind of nice to do something a little different- and I was able to run into Elder Meiling and Sister Anderson from the MTC days! The Brno zone was having a training that day. An Elder there is from Germany so I was able to get my letter translated! Turns out it is a member who might be moving to Trencin and he wanted more information about the branch. Kind of random. It was definitely fun to see the Czech missionaries. Everyone was a little confused why/how I showed up. Sister Anderson immediately started asking about Elder Bacon and Nichol and told me (in her own way of course) that we had better be following our white handbook and that we better not be disobedient because "President has high expectations and plans for the 3 of you". What do you say to that? So I saluted and said, "Yes maám!'' I told my companions what she said, that we really need to raise our work to the next level if we want to reach those expectations set for us. But for the most part I managed to forget about what she said and keep going. Lesson: always listen to Sister Anderson.
The next day I had another exchange with my district leader, Elder Doxey. It was really a fantastic day. Some really great meetings and we were able to find some cool new people to teach. He went back home today so I spent the whole day talking to him and asking him questions about this and that, you know, how I can be a better missionary. I always love exchanges with older companions because I always come away learning something.
The end of the week has been kind of tough for us in terms of missionary work. Peter, our semi-homeless member, has been trying to get a job and I literally sat in front of a computer for about 3 hours with him trying to get a resume worked out. Despite all of his odd jobs and lack of "real" experience he came out with a pretty good looking resume. One of our members has been in contact with a company to try and hire him. The branch in Bratislava has really started to get together and try to come up with some solutions for Peter. It's been great to see.
It is an extremely exciting time in Bratislava right now. Besides having PERFECT weather, which has made people so much more willing to stop and talk to us, Slovakia is holding the World Hockey Cup. Who knew there was such a thing?? I didn't. Hockey is everywhere right now. There is definitely an energy in the air. The fans are coming from all over Europe. So far my favorite are the Finns. They have no shame in dressing up as their mascot (who might be a super hero) in support of their country. I vowed to get a picture with some of them but I've been transferred.
Which brings us to the past Monday when we got our "transfer call". We were sitting around the table eating dinner giving our final guesses where Elder Nichol would move to. We knew he would leave, he's already been here for 6 months. Then President himself calls. I manage to snag the phone first and answer it. He says, ''Elder Williams, would you like to know your transfer??" And then our phone dies! Just goes out. So we jump up and freak out a little bit. Lots of yelling, lots of jumping, etc etc. So we get the phone working again, call President back and he tells me that I am moving to Kosice and then adds, as the District Leader. Its on speaker phone and Elder Nichols mouth drops. He then asks to talk to Nichol who is then told that he is moving to Zlina, also as a district leader. At this point Elder Bacon does NOT want the phone. But President tells him not to worry, that he is staying in Bratislava as a normal missionary. We go to bed that night and Elder Nichol and I just could not get to sleep. There are so many things that District Leaders do that I just didn't think I could do. Holding District Meetings once a week, doing exchanges with other missionaries, helping missionaries pass off their language levels, etc etc. But it's been a couple of days and after a sit-down/training time with Elder Doxey who gave us everything he knew, I feel ready and excited for this new chapter of my mission. I am in a fantastic district, all older missionaries, so I am excited at how much I will learn. But what made me feel SO much better is when I learned that Elder Durrant, a missionary who JUST finished his first two months in the mission, is training a new missionary this transfer. he hasn't slept all week. But he is definitely up for the task.
My new companion, Elder Stansfield, spent last transfer in Brno and won't be here for another hour. Kosice is way out in the boonies. It took me 5 hours on the fastest train to get here from Bratislava. I just hope I don't have to leave anytime soon. I really don't know much about him as I've never served around him, but updates on the district will come.
Talk to you all on Monday!!

Starsi Williams

ps And I will talk to you on the phone on Sunday family!! Has time flown, or what?