Sunday, August 21, 2011

No Fear August 15

Hello family! Hope all is well, this has been one of those weeks where I'm kind of glad to be over with. It was the last full week for Elder Bodily and McGowan and they dubbed it "No Fear Week!" (Shark Week aint got nothing on them) They were two big, bold missionaries all week and saw some amazing results. Elder Stansfield and I did our best to be fearless- but we are still pretty timid missionaries. Step by step and we will get there. It really is amazing to see what happens when we hit the streets having no shame in who we are or what we believe. This upcoming week I want to study the way Christ taught and how I can apply that. He was a pretty bold teacher--still is. he had no shame in who he was and what he was called to do. Every week needs to be No Fear Week. Elder McGowan asked that I bring that vision to the rest of the mission- I will do my best.

Everyone in Kosice is doing well. The other Elders each gave a farewell talk in church and Elder Stansfield and I taught Sunday School-kind of a "missionary show", but we will have to do less and less now that we're getting more and more members :) On Saturday we had our Annual Kosice Branch BBQ that was quite a success. About 40 people came. (not bad for an active branch of 6, eh?) It didn't hurt that the Stiles family from England came over to add 6 to our group. It was so nice to have a family at church. We actually had a primary! It was a trip to hear little kids speak in English. I've always thought I just couldn't understand children's Slovak, turns out I just can't understand/hear children. :)

Speaking of kids, thank you Brookie for the update on your sister. Can't wait to see Lewis. He'll be a one year old by the time I get back! Weird....

Here's a story y'all might appreciate. Saturday night Elder Bodily and Elder McGowan left their apartment to grab some things for lunch on Sunday-we were all going to eat together. They come back and unlock the door, but it doesn't open. Uhhh.... They keep trying the lock and it's budging but the bottom of the door isn't opening at all. They spend the next hour and half trying to bust down the door. They try kicking it, body slamming it, even sliding coins under the door as a way to wedge it open or something (I don't get it either....) They prayed (a couple times) and kept at it. They are making all this noise and no one, NO ONE ever comes out of their apartment to see what's going on. They tape a note on their neighbor's door to call them asap. (The plan was to climb over thought the balcony). They finally give me a call around 10:30 to ask if Elder Stansfield and I could pray for them. So we prayed. I thought it was a cool thought that both companionships were uniting in prayer, asking for divine help in getting this door open. No luck. So they call us back to tell us that they are on our way to our apartment. About 11 I get a text saying, "Wrong bus. Long story. Be there soon" Finally at 11:30 they arrive. They told us the story, we laughed and went to bed. It was amazing to me when I thought about it. Here they are, on the other side of the world, 4 days away from seeing their families and on their last Sunday this happens. And despite that, they maintained an attitude that I wish I could have whenever anything goes wrong. While our prayers didn't get them into their apartment it helped us feel that everything would be fine.
The next morning though, presented another problem. Because they had been home writing talks and then ran to the store they were in gym shorts and t shirts. Any other day and it wouldn't be an issue, but we had to get to church and they had NO appropriate clothes with them. Miraculously Elder Bodily fit into one of my suits and Elder McGowan into Elder Stansfield's. Granted, they definitely were not the best fit, but they got away with it. Shoes and all. Elder Bodily didn't even have a nametag so there were two Elder Williams at church :) The Elders gave some good talks, despite having their prepared materials inside the apartment....
After church we went over to the apartment and the landlady was there and a locksmith who, with a crowbar, was trying to get into the corner of that door. Slovaks are serious about security and these doors are solid. The problem was that all along the sides of this door there are pins that jut out when you lock the door and go into hole along the doorjam. One of the pins was stuck down, which was the problem. He left and got a tiny little saw and spent a good 15 minutes sawing away. Finally, after a big mess and a ton of noise we got into the apartment! And throughout this entire ordeal NO ONE ever came out of their apartment. It's no joke when they say Europeans like to keep to themselves.

I'm looking forward to the week ahead. We're absorbing the other area and their investigators/potentials. It will definitely be exciting. district meetings will be interesting with just Elder Stansfield and the Stiles. I'll keep you posted.

Last Tuesday the Stiles fed us, sort of a last supper for Elder Bodily and McGowan. What was on the menu? RIBS! omg... It was amazing. Even better then the first time they cooked us ribs. (That's right, I've had ribs twice on my mission so far) And after that Sister Stiles saved me a piece of the cheesecake she made when I was in Brno. Hands down, some of the best cheesecake I've ever had. Apparently she has a website where she posts all her recipes.

Well, that's about the run down of our week, hope you enjoyed the pictures I sent last week. :) I'll try to take/send more. Wish you all a fantastic week and that school isn't stressing anyone out yet.

Love you all and can't wait to hear from you!
Elder Williams

Monday, August 8, 2011


They say that baptism is central to a missionaries purpose. (It's part of the doctrine of Christ, duh) if so, that means the both areas of the Kosice district are fulfilling their purpose!! :) Both Ivet and Marek were baptized on Saturday!! It was such a beautiful experience and the whole branch really grew together as a result. I'm looking forward to the 27th when we will add another member to the branch!
And yesterday was just another fantastic day. I confirmed Marek a member of the church and let me tell you, the priesthood is a pretty cool thing. I'm so thankful that it's been restored to the earth and that we can enjoy so many blessings as a result. The Kosice branch hit a pretty big milestone. We had more members at church than missionaries! First time that has ever happened, according to anyones memory. And I know that the branch will continue to grow. We had another investigator at church (which as far as the missionaries were concerned, that in of itself was a miracle) and right away our new converts were fellow shipping and even swapped numbers! Look at these members doing missionary work. Couldn't be prouder! It was one of the most powerful fast and testimony meetings I've ever attended and I am amazed at the our pouring of blessings the Lord has given us. Even to such an inadequate missionary that I am.

I think the secret has been getting these investigators integrated into the branch from the get-go. Pretty much from the beginning we told them that they were the future of the Church. True pioneers. And they accepted that reality because they received an answer and they were not going to let anything get in the way. I'm learning so much from their courage and their example.

The week leading up to the baptism has been a pretty rough one for Elder Stansfeild and me. Beside the baptism nothing really happened in our area. We dropped a ton of potentials and a couple meetings fell through. All week I was telling myself to just get to Saturday. We're praying for some miracle this week. It is the last full week for Elder Bodily and Elder McGowan and so we're doing an all-day finding day. We're waking up a little earlier, getting our studies done and getting out the door and going non-stop all day. I am so excited. I haven't worn myself out doing missionary work since Awesome April. It should do the trick at restarting this district.

Thank you all for the continued love and support. We have a lot to do by the end of the transfer. And next week it will be just Elder Stansfield and I in the outpost of Kosice. Upside is that we get all of the Sister Stiles cooking to ourselves!

Love you and miss you all!

Elder Williams

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm a little off my groove today, as I don't have my planner to help me remember what I did this past week. It felt like a loooong one.

As well, today is Elder Bodily's birthday! My trainer is 21 today! Elder Bodily, do you remember when we went bowling and went out for pizza for your birthday??

The districts three baptismal dates (Here on known as "BD"s to protect their identities) have continued to progress and we missionaries have been scheming of ways that we can make them become friends with each other. Operation Friendship started on Tuesday when Elder McGowan and I had an exchange. Elder Bodily and Stansfield met with our baptismal dates (BD1). They taught him about tithing and he accepted everything, no problem (I'm telling you, these people the Lord sent us are amazing). They also penned down a date that works for everyone. The 6th. This coming Saturday! After their meeting Elder McGowan and I met with their first baptismal date (BD2), a young woman who is just so prepared. She is just eager to help and to do things that will bring her closer to God. We had a combined meeting with her and BD1. BD1 helped us teach the plan of salvation. He was such a pro! Sharing testimony and even scriptures! It was so amazing. We decided that we would move BD2 date up to the 6th so that they could be baptized together! (Furthering our sneaky plan to get these people to bond with each other) Then we met with the other date, BD3. This time BD1 and BD2 helped us teach her. We were going over the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what it means for us. At one point Elder McGowan and I just had to sit back and let them talk and share amongst themselves. Then something I didn't expect to happen, Elder McGowan and I shared our favorite passages of the Book of Mormon, (FYI-- I shared 2 Nephi 4:27 to the end:) and then asked if anyone else had a favorite scripture. ALL of them had a verse that they said was their favorite. All 3 of them have been reading the Book of Mormon for less than a month and in BD3's case, about a week, and already they found something that spoke to them. It was such a cool experience and the best 2 and half hours of my mission. It was such a testimony builder for me that the Book of Mormon truly is a book that will bring people closer to their Savior. His hand has been in all of this. Elder McGowan and I ended that session with a prayer of gratitude. We just felt we needed to. We want them to form a solid support system between themselves, independent of missionaries and we're on the way. We had a little game night with them and went bowling together for pday, Operation Friendship is well underway. :)

Today we did have kind of a bombshell, especially after the experience I just described. BD1 told us that his father does NOT want him to be baptized. Right now, we are not exactly sure what will happen. I'm worried that if he doesn't get baptized this week he will never be baptized. He has to respect his family, for sure. But at the same time he has to do what he needs to do. I'm grateful for parents that support me, even when they would have rather I do something different (is that proper English?). We will see what happens with him this weekend. Til then, the other two are on track. One for the 6th and the other for the 27!

It's amazing how difficult this experience of "the mission" has been, and how all of those difficulties melt away into nothing when I consider the miracles that I see everyday. I am slowly growing with more confidence in my my God, that through Him, truly anything is possible.

Except when it comes to cell phones, apparently.
A couple days ago our phones stopped working. We can receive calls, however, we cannot send texts or outgoing calls. It sounds like someone forgot to pay a bill. Whoops. We've been managing without it but today we just got a text from the APs (this is just a Slovak phone problem, the Czechs are fine) saying that it'll be about another week.... so we're going to have buy our own SIM card and buy our own credit. Which definitely makes things interesting... It feels like I am a missionary in the 80s or something ( I guess even the 90s). Setting up meetings and just hoping that they will come having no way of cancelling or confirming...

Thanks for all the updates friends and family! So excited for you Michelle! And I'm glad you had a successful move Catherine. I hope the deathly humidity up in Ames wasn't too bad! As well, congrats to the team at the USAO for a job well done! I was flattered that I was on the thank you list! (Still waiting on that t-shirt from Danny....)

Miss you all and love you more!

Elder Williams