Monday, October 24, 2011

The Game of Catch Up

Hey everyone!
Hope everything is good back home, where ever you are. It feels like a tone has happened that I need to catch you up on.

October 11- A Canadian Thanksgiving. Apparently Canadians celebrate their Thanksgiving at the beginning of October and think it;s silly to wait til the end of November. Lucky for us Americans, the Stiles cooked us a traditional Canadian Thanksgiving. (It looks EXACTLY like an American one) Turkey, cranberry sauce, yams, the works. I actually had yams this year and they were SO good. Grandma, I'm SO sorry I never had your yams before. I was truly missing out.

There, I think you're all caught up. Last night the Stiles made their famous enchiladas for us. They are my favorite. (ps I think I've gained some weight since arriving in Kosice).

This past week we had some contacting focuses. We had a lot of fun and really wore ourselves out finding specific people to teach. Not a whole lot of immediate success though... :( On Saturday we bussed out to a little village outside of Kosice where there is ONE church that EVERYONE (except for one Jehovah's Witness family) attends throughout the week. Elder Zabriskie and I got a lot of hard rejections, a few nice people, but no one was really willing to learn more. Elder Williams usually does not get rejections ALL day.... But Elder Tenney and Hicken found a couple people that invited them back. We talked to a lot of people and left a lot of info about us. So they at least know who we are. No effort is wasted, right? I'm sure the village got the "Mormon talk" in church yesterday at church. Its unfortunate that the only info they hear about is that we're all polygamists and a big cult. "Vy ste sekta!" I love when they actually ask about the things they hear about us. A different feeling just enters the conversation. A light pops into their eyes when they hear that everything, EVERYTHING, they heard about us was way off base. I hate to consider my work as "planting seeds" but some days you plant and other days you REAP. Right?

We're all excited for you call Emily! Here are some guesses so far from other missionaries: Elder Nichol and Wilcox: Budapest Hungary, Elder Zabriskie: South Korea, Elder Tenney: Albania, Elder Hicken: Taiwan, Me: Vancouver Canada. Uvidime!!

I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week! Can anyone else believe we're getting to the end of October? We have an exciting week with a Meet the Mormons presentation and a Halloween party! Tesim sa!

Starsi Williams

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

P-day on Tueday?

Hello everyone,

Apparently I forgot to mention last week that our p-day was moved to Tuesday this week because we had a conference in Zilina yesterday.

Elder Zabriskie and I had a stellar week this week. It was "Our Week" and we stretched ourselves to speak 100 hours of Slovak and develop some Christlike attributes. I'm excited to carry the energy over to this week!

Shout outs:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!! 51! Whew! I gave a talk on "Love" that Sunday and I gave you a shout out for the branch. They love you, and I love you!
Congrats Carter Sorenson on the marriage not to long ago. I'm a little hurt I never heard about the engagement, but what can you do. (thank you Sis. Halbert for relaying that tidbit of info:) All the best!
ps I got a bunch of letters from the conference, (catherine, no worries, I got your typed letter:) But know that you can continue sending letters to my Kosice address. I get them faster. Only packages need to be sent to the mission home in Prague. And as far as packages go I like Doritos and music ;)

Our people are doing great. The new converts are getting ready for the temple trip this weekend. Everyone is SO excited! They are going to grow so much as a result.
We've recently found some new young people that we're excited about meeting this week. More on them later, too soon to tell.

The conference was fantastic (as always) and it was amazing to me that President, the APs and the ZLs all hit the nail on the head in terms of what I felt I needed to hear. The work is definitely inspired.
Among other things, President shared a story that I think is worth repeating. It's one about coincidences (or, how he puts it, an instance where God wants to remain anonymous) and I LOVE stories about coincidences. I'll tell it like he did, because it made sense that way:
There are 4 major players in the story.
1) The mission President in the London South Mission. President Irwin has served as a counselor in that mission for 7 years under 3 presidents. He happens to be very good friends with this President. Put him on the shelf, we'll get back to him.
2) one young man from Malaysia who speaks Malaysian, Chinese and English. A little over two years ago he put in his papers to serve a mission. He got called to serve in the London South Mission speaking Chinese. He's visa work was delayed and the missionary department shifted his date back several weeks. When his visa for England finally ar5rived it was for 25 months, not the usual 24. Put him on the back burner, we'll get back to him.
3) Sister Anderson (remember her from the MTC days??) had spent the last 5 years studying Mandarin Chinese in high school and later at BYU. She was a little confused and a little disappointed that she was called to a Czech speaking mission, not a Chinese one. But she's put in all of her effort to learn Czech. She just got transferred to Prague, leaving a city she feel in love with. Put her to the side. We'll come back to her.
and finally
4) a young man from China who moved to Prague to help at his parents restaurant. He speaks no English and no Czech. Just Mandarin Chinese.

Who's put all the pieces together yet?

The young man from China was working in the restaurant and he wanted to learn English. Someone told him that if he wants to learn English, go to the Mormons. (We have free classes everywhere.) The young guy goes to English where he meets Sister Anderson. She knows just enough Chinese to talk to him, get to know him and put him at ease. Over time they give him Chinese church materials. He becomes obsessed and asks for more and more. The Sisters don't know what to do with him, as they can't really teach him. President Irwin hears about it, and knowing the London South mission has Chinese speaking missionaries, decides to call his friend in London. That Mission President has a home way out in the country. Away from the city and mission office. Enter the missionary from Malaysia. He had a meeting with his President at his house. He was nearing his 2 year mark, but he was meeting with his President because he just felt that he should stay til the end of his visa, one extra month. He said he didn't know why, but thought he should. Cue President Irwin's phone call. They decide that this Elder from Malaysia would "meet" with this guy from China via Skype. Over the next couple weeks they met over skype where this young man learned and was able to communicate and bear his testimony to people who understood him. When the Elder's visa was up after 4 weeks after the initial meeting his Mom came from Malaysia to pick him up and they stopped in Prague where the Elder baptized this young man from China last Saturday.
I love coincidences.

We're doing good, working hard and trying to wrap our heads around how quickly this transfer has flown by. The entire district is terrified of transfers- we don't want to leave. But I know that the Lord will put me where he needs me. I just have to work hard and be willing to do His will. Then the miracles happen.

I love you all!
elder williams

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Conference Just for Me :)

To those who read Adam's blog....I am sorry I did not post the last two weeks...our computer was being difficult and I didn't get back in and post them right away....all is here now. Sorry!! Thanks for reading, supporting him, and thinking about the people in Slovakia!

Hey everyone!!!
It was conference weekend for us here in Kosice and it was definitely a boost that I needed. It's amazing, really. I tell people everyday, literally everyday that living prophets walk the earth and we just heard from them. They truly are inspired leaders and it felt like they were speaking to me. Almost the entire active branch came to watch conference. We had an English room for the missionaries and a Czech room for the members. (Slovak is still a little hazy for me. And Czech? forget it.) They LOVED it. Esp. our new members. It was def a good experience for them. Coupled with my reading of the Book of Mormon I feel like I have some added strength to keep on pushing and keep working hard. I know that the Lord truly loves me and he gives me help that I need.
This past week was the start of "Outrageous October". In an effort to boost our faith and our depleted teaching pools we're having some special weeks. Last week was all about conference and living prophets. We found some cool people with focusing on that and we're excited to meet with them this week. This week it's "Our Week". We're focusing on developing some Christlike Attributes and our Slovak. I'm def. excited to see the effects a good dedicated week like this will do for us personally as missionaries and then the affect it will undoubtedly have on Kosice.

I am SO pumped for Emily! Let the countdown begin! Missionaries here ask me all the time how the process is for the papers and they will all be excited to hear that it's almost here!!

I love you all so much, sorry this email is so brief, but know that I am ok and that I love you!

Elder Williams

3.Octobra 2011

Hello everyone!
This has been a quick week! (Seeing as I just emailed) Not much to report, sadly. I always feel bad when I have nothing exciting or nothing long to send you. I imagine that my emails are the highlight of your week and you cannot wait til the next one. And throughout the week I'm all you ever talk about. If that is not the case, please don't ruin the fantasy.

This morning we had the first church sponsored marathon in Kosice!! Attendance: 7 Distance: Maybe 3 miles, max. Yesterday was the Kosice marathon, the 2nd oldest marathon in the world (right behind Boston). And because it was on Sunday Ivett couldn't run in it. So we ran with her this morning. At the end Lenka made a little medallion for her and we sang We are the Champions and the end. This whole running thing is great, despite the running. ;) But I'm looking forward to doing something different next week.

Saturday night was Biele Noc (White Night) where the whole town gets ready for the marathon. The park had an interesting light exhibit. I would love to come back to Kosice during the marathon season. The city is full of festivities that I really can't take apart in as a missionary. Mostly because they all start after 9..... Yea, we're getting ready for bed then.

Our "people" here are doing pretty well. Still reading and praying about the Book of the Mormon and our two dates are still slated for their baptisms. Have I ever said that it's an exciting time to be in Kosice? I literally never want to leave this city.

As a mission we have been reading from the Book of Mormon 10 pages a day and marking whenever we see references to the atonement. We were all given clean books and pencils to do our marking and it has been a great experience. I always knew that the BofM had some pretty powerful passages about the atonement and helped us understand what it means for us, but as I have been reading with the purpose to find those other smaller references to the atonement I've discovered that it is littered with references to Christ and his sacrifice. There really is no argument that the BofM testifies of Christ. We've been at it for about 2 weeks now and should all finish together in a couple weeks. This challenge came at the perfect time, I had just lost my scriptures (I think I left them at a bus stop! :( ) and then I got a new Book of Mormon! But I really miss a bible dictionary etc. I'll be ordering some new scriptures, so no worries parents.

Other then that, Elder Zabriskie and I are doing well. He embarrasses me sometimes when he refuses to eat. (Sister Zabriskie, I'm trying to make sure your son eats! I promise) But he just likes bread and chocolate milk. (I swear, it's like serving with one of my brothers!) We get along great and I'm terrified for transfers. I don't want him to leave me.

I hope everyone is doing well today. I think about you often and you're always in my prays!

Elder Williams

September 26th Sorry About the Wait

But you still have to wait.

We had a crazy pday (nothing goes right for us) and today was full of meetings. (new baptismal date story!!!) We will have more time to email you tomorrow morning/afternoonish. So talk to you then. Hope the blog readers aren't freaking out. :)

Love you!!

September 27th Your Wait is Over

Hello family! (And other readers! :)

Hope everything is perfect for you. It's been the same ol' same ol' around here in Kosice, meaning INSANE. On Monday we went running with Ivett, one of our members. I'm still sore. Next week president van Dalen is going to organize a mini-marathon for her. She had been training for the Kosice Marathon for months, then she met the missionaries, was baptized and decided that she would not run in the marathon because it is on Sunday. What a testimony. So we're going to organize a mini-marathon for her. After our warm-up run on Monday I am NOT excited for it. I'm not a runner. After our workout we went to Spissky Hrad (pictures to come when we have more time. PROMISE) Which is about an hour and half away. It was my second time there and it really is a sweet castle. We made a new friend on the trip named Alex from Canada. He's been backpacking around Eastern Europe and we he joined us for a little bit of our excursion. Love new friends. There is supposed to be a bus that would take us back to Kosice with plenty of time to email--- but of course, it only runs on Sunday. So we got in a little late and we were booked with meetings the rest of the night. Then yesterday was the same thing, we haven't had a second to catch up. But yesterday Elder Zabriskie and I committed a new investigator to be baptized and he accepted! Nov 5! He's a young guy, about 19 and def. a future missionary! (he doesn't know it yet...) And just hours before Elder Tenney and Hicken committed one of their investigators to baptism and he accepted! Kosice has three baptisms on the line and we're brimming with excitement.

Last Wednesday, the 21, we had "progression training" where I learned how to be a trainer and Elder Zabriskie learned how to call me out. It was a great training opportunity and we watched Elder Holland's MTC devotional talk again that is SO good. I am dying for a transcription of it. I gained so much more out of it the second time around. I realized during the training how much of a blessing it is to be serving with Elder Zabriskie. I am learning more from him everyday. (Here's a secret: HE'S coaching ME on my skolovanie! (declension)) We are a good team and I'm not looking forward to the day when we'll be split up.

Other than that it's been just a good week. Our new members are all excited for a new member temple trip where they'll be doing baptisms for the dead. The missionaries couldn't be more pleased. When we fix our eye to the temple, man, there ain't nothing that will stop us. Yesterday we had FHE with them at the Stiles where we watched Elder Oaks CES Fireside. (Which was fantastic) We committed them all to think of questions they need answer to, to prepare for General Conference and described this fireside as a warm-up. Ivett made the comment afterwards that she received an answer that she had during the fireside. She said that she didn't have to wait for Gen. Conf! I am still amazed at the spiritual growth these converts are making. It's been a ton of work, worry and prayers, but the dividends are definitely paying off.

Our Porac story continues: On Saturday President van Dalen took us to the little village, much faster, but still an hour and half. The same crowd wasn't there. Just the main guy, Vladimir, his wife, grandma and a cousin from Zvolen who was taught by the missionaries there. She already has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, ect. Vladimir explained the Book of Mormon was really difficult to understand but he liked what he was hearing. He is going to England to work there for a couple of weeks so we will go back up there when he returns. His parents are working there and as far as I understand it are members. So maybe they can help explain some things and share their testimony. We're taking it slow with them because they are so isolated, but we're confident that things will turn up with them, especially after we get the Book of Mormon in Slovak. So more on that later!

Thank you for you love an support everyone! I think and pray about you all everyday!

s Laskou,
Starsi Williams