Monday, June 20, 2011

**side note: I started writing January for the date-- can you believe it's the end of June?!**

This week was a good week. They all are really. I guess I should start off where I left off:
The dinner with our new deaf friends was a lot of fun. It was Miška and her friends Zolo and Petr. There was some American, Universal and Slovak sign language going on as well as the rest of the cafe yapping in Slovak, my brain was mush with all the languages! But they are a lot of fun-definitely not interested in the gospel. (They said there are no interpreters at churches. Except the Jehovah's Witnesses, and Slovaks HATE JWs) But we hope to see them at our game nights that we're trying to start up.

Yesterday was Father's Day so happy Father's Day to all you dads! I've been especially lucky to have the dad that I have. Wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him. Love you!

As well as it being Father's Day we had a closing ceremony in a little village outside Kosice. (I always forget these names) It wasn't the usual project we do but we did it because a couple of villages benefited. You can read all about the humanitarian work we do from the Stiles' blog. Good luck finding it, I've never seen it.

The week was a strange one. The Zone Leaders came up for a little exchange so that was a fun switch up. I was back with my old trainer Elder Bodily for the day. At the end we sat and talked about a couple of the issues we've been facing out here in Kosice and I came away from that exchange pumped, ready to change and learn more about my calling as a missionary. :)
Along with the slow weeks we've been having I got some sad news that Junie from the USAO passed away a couple weeks ago now. I figured it was coming having heard about her tumors etc. But it was still a little shock. I read President Monson's talk from last conference and stumbled on another he gave called a couple years ago titled "Mrs Patton-the Story Continues". And I thought how amazing it is to know that this isn't it. That this life, however brief or long, continues on and on. I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father who knows how, and does, help us. That he has sent us prophets to help guide us back to Him. I was only sorry that I never sent another note or another card out to Junie. Maybe it would have made her day. She had a way of always making my day whenever I was not in the mood to be working.

As slow as the week has been we have some investigators that I am kind of excited about. I will get really excited about them when they start coming to church. One girl was born in the Ukraine and is really curious to know more about us and the church. The best part is that coupled with that curiosity is a willingness to try the things out that we've been teaching! She's been on a trip all weekend, but said that she'll make it to church next week. Another guy we're teaching is a person who has more faith in Jesus Christ than me! We're hoping that he'll be able to recognize the need for a prophet and develop more of a desire to know if he is called by Christ. We will see with time....

The week ahead looks like a busy one. We have a little branch activity, an exchange, and a Zone Conference in Brno on the plan! Elder Kerr will be visiting us from Scotland, my dad's old tromping grounds. What's the phrase? "His little footsteps are there!" It'll be good!

Love you all and hope all is well!

Elder Williams

The Stiles blog has great photos of places Adam has been and great description of their work and the sights there. Here is the address--I have also posted it on the side with the other blogs from his mission we are following.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Hope everyone had a good week this week. It's been a long one here, but that's because we spent the entire week in Kosice! YAY for being able to work in our area!

To be honest, this was one of those weeks where really nothing happened. Whenever I talk to my district at the end of the week I ask them (among other things): "In what way has your area improved since last week?" Constant and consistent improvement is something we are trying to achieve here. Something that can be difficult for me as I am neither constant, nor consistent. Anyways, I always ask myself the same questions and I really couldn't see any improvements made. Numbers wise we are the same, if not worse off, as when this transfer first started. I'm getting a little anxious because we have three week left of the transfer and I want my missionaries to see some tangible success so bad. They deserve it. God knows they've been working hard enough. But I realized something last night as I was looking at the needs of my district and the problems we're facing: I'm actually enjoying this. The challenges before me don't seem impossible anymore. When I first arrived I was a little miserable. The MTC had presented challenges that I knew I could handle, but when I got to my first area actually learning this language felt IMPOSSIBLE. Being a missionary was something I didn't think I could be. But now, I know that I can. The language is possible to learn, the work is moving forward and us missionaries are growing emotionally and spiritually.

I'm grateful to be in a district of older missionaries that encourage me to stretch myself and see past my imperfections. During priesthood they made me interpret for Elder Stiles. Something I thought that I could not do. I was amazed at how much I really was understanding. (However, whenever a Brat Herczog speaks I can't understand anything...) But now I'll be translating a lot more for the Stiles. I'm no longer embarrassed at the lack of Slovak I know, I just got pick up where I am and improve.

Some more shout outs: Congrats to Elder Melling! We got your wedding announcement last week. You don't waste anytime do you... 6 months? The Zeny at church were so happy to see your picture, Sestra Budigova even clapped. A shout out also to all the cousins getting married! Matthew, Michelle, ... Nicole??? and then Sheena in January? Man, everyone is wedding crazy, aren't they? I don't want to give anymore wedding shout outs.

So I made some more deaf friends! A couple that lives right across the street from us. We met them on a bus on our way home one night. They don't really know ASL, so we tried our best to communicate. We went back when their daughter was home. She is also deaf but had just gotten back from the USA and so her ASL is really good. She's trying to teach me universal sign. It's weird and I feel silly doing it... But we are meeting them again in a couple hours as part of our p-day. I really don't want to teach them-even though I think they would really like the gospel. I just don't want another member here like Sano, who is only active when a missionary here knows sign language. But we will see. Maybe we can baptize an interpreter... They are really fun and really nice. Elder Stansfield loves sitting and watching us go. I'm amazed I still got it.

I hope everyone is doing well and I'm glad to hear things are good at home. Logan, get a job. Aaron, run fast. Emily, don't date.
Love you all!

Elder Williams

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Trains, Caves and General Authorities

Hello everyone! Sorry the email is a day late. We got our p-day changed this week to today so that we could see a castle and explore some caves. You see, everything in this country is closed on Mondays so we have to change things up if we have something cool on the plan.

We started this week off in Prague- a GREAT way to start any week off really. While it meant being on a train for a total of 18 hours this week, it was so worth it. We stayed in Olomouc Monday night so our travel was thankfully broken up. We stayed with Elder Blair and Elder Rigby, two "way cool" Elders in the Czech Republic that I wish I served around. In Prague we had a conference with Elder Pearson of the Seventy. It was really an amazing experience and I took away SO much from that meeting. He taught us a little about everything. My favorite highlights: :Repentance is for YOU, forgiveness is for everyone else" "People treat you the way you teach them to treat you" "When you choose a negative emotion, the Holy Ghost leaves. Make the decision - Do I want the Spirit or do I want this emotion?" "The Lord doesn't send his elect to those not unified" and my favorite (well, I have tons of favorites) "We need more people sharing miracles and spiritual experiences AFTER their mission, not FROM thier mission" I learned that the purpose of the mission is to make me a better leader, husband, father, and church member. At the end he showed a clip of Elder Holland's January 2011 Mtc devotional about what it means to be a disciple of Christ. I want to get my hands on the whole talk, because I got a whole page of notes from the 10 minutes Elder Pearson showed. We tried to keep the feelings and inspiration we got from that meeting into the work we had this week, but the train ride killed it for me. We didn't get back into Kosice until 5:30, just in time for English class. But this week is a fresh one and I am determined to make it a good one!

The rest of the week went by pretty normally. Elder Stansfield and I had a pretty rough week I think, in terms of meetings getting cancelled and some tiffs in the companionship. The stress of nothing happening was getting to us I think. But we had a good heart to heart and things are back to where they should be. Nothing is worse than being in a non functioning companionship, and nothing is better than a good companionship. And Elder Stansfield and I have a very good thing going. Even if the rest of the transfer goes the way it's been going we have this companionship relationship to be proud of.

Our little excursion today was very nice. The Stiles rented a van and we went to a castle and some caves. The cave was very cool. (I'm begining to realize that after you see one castle, you've pretty much seen them all) There were a ton of school groups at the castle, but we were the only ones at the caves. It was a cool 9.9 (48F) degrees inside. When we got out of the cave it felt like we walked into Jamica. I finally get humity. And I don't like it. It won't been terribly hot outside, but the humity kills me. Luckily, unlike AZ where when you think you can't handle the heat anymore it just gets hotter, here the clouds just pour rain. Literally buckets. 15 minutes later there's not a drop, and you feel SO much better. Yesterday we got caught in this surprise storm-I've attached a picture. I already know I look like a goober, so please, don't remind me.

Shoutouts: Congrats to Ali Hayes for a mission call to Calgary! (have I already sent you a shout out?) I hear it's COLD out there! And of course to Brother Starling. Congrats and good luck to the married life! You're picture and annoucement are now hanging on our wall of fame in the Kosice building, right alongside Van de Graf. :)

I'm glad everyone is doing well. Hows the new job Emily? And I heard about Logan's carmel apple... lol How was your b-day bash?? I'm doing good, eating well, (The Stiles made the BEST steak I've ever had) and staying healthy. :) I'll hear from you all soon!

s laskou

Elder Williams

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May 30

Is is almost June already?? Man, it feels like this month just started.

Hey everyone! Hope everyone is doing well. Per usual, the week was busy and full of missionary work. :)

As I have said before this work in Kosice has been SLOW. But we have been determined to speed it up a little bit. We had a bit of a crazy week again with more travelling. The Stiles, our Humanitarian couple needed some interpreters to help start a couple projects. So we went out with them for a day, and the other Elders went out the next day with them. It was a lot of fun, I love the Stiles, but it felt good to get back in my area and work. On Thursday we had specialized training in Zlina that really helped us put things into perspective. I had a private sit down with President afterwards, going over some concerns I had with the area and I learned how intimately he knows what is going on, what the challenges are, who we are, ect. Even though he is 700 kilometers away in Prague he really knows each one of us missionaries and cares about our success. I came away knowing that we are not forgotten far, far away in Kosice.

On Friday I held a district meeting that I was the most worried about so far. We were ending yet another week with 0s all across the board. I realize that numbers are just numbers, but when all of them are 0s it gets hard to stay motivated. I really prayed and fasted to know what it is that this district needs to do. We decided to change our goals a little bit and talk about things that we can change to make us more effective.
I had an exchange planned that day with Elder Walker, and things started happening. We taught 3 different people, found some new investigators and some exciting potentials. The same things were happening in my area! We ended this week with numbers that this district hasn't seen in a year. The crowning event had to be when the other area here, Elder Walker and Milot, extended a baptismal date to a woman who accepted it. We're all buzzing with excitement with a baptism on the plan. And we're pumped to go out and reach our goals that we set at the beginning. :) I know that when we go forward with faith and continue doing the things that we set out to do that the Lord will either tell us to change, or make things happen. He did both for this district and I am so proud of them.

Today I am shotting off to Prague! To Olomoc tonight, then Prague in the morning. We have a mission conference with Elder Pearson. His son is in the mission and is leaving a little early and so he is coming to pick him up. Because he'll be in the area he asked to speak to all the missionaries again. Elder Pearson already came for a mission tour in October, just before I came, but all of the missionaries haven't stopped talking about that visit. So I am very excited to finally hear the man myself. And to be back in Prague. It is hands down the most gorgeous city in the world. We'll be back out of our area for another 3 days, which is a shame.... I'm looking forward to a full week working in Kosice. But as long as things continue going on this climb I'll be happy.

Hope everything is going fine at home. How was your birthday Logan?? You're 18 now! Holy cow! Did you see that one coming Mom? Did you do anything fun? You probably went to the lake, so yes, you did.
Oh, and pass the word to sis Gardner that I don't know Daniel, the guy in the video. He's in Prague and I am far far away down in Kosice. But I hope to meet him soon!

Hope all is well! Till next week,

Starsi Williams