January 5th 2011 - July 25, 2012
Hermana Williams is on her way home to Beaverton, Oregon.

Monday, July 23, 2012

ya se acaba!

Wow!  I can't believe that this is the last p-day ever!  Craziness!  And I have to stick out the whole day in a skirt because I have my interview with president today!  Oh well, haha!  It has been such an incredible experience here in California.  There are not even words enough to describe how I'm feeling.  Everyone keeps asking me and I don't even know what to answer!  One of the ward members found out I was leaving this week (I've been trying to avoid telling people), and made me bear my testimony in sacrament meeting.  I don't mind sharing my testimony, but then everyone found out I was leaving, which I was trying to avoid as much as possible.  It was good though.  After church, one of the ward members invited us over for dinner, and had invited over like the entire ward as well and made it kind of a surprise good-bye dinner thing.  I felt pretty awkward, but loved at the same time.  It was wonderful when some of the sisters in the ward came up and thanked me for the example I had given to the youth in the ward.   I had never even considered that before, but I'm glad that someone thought I was doing some good here, haha!  It is hard to say goodbye to these amazing people, but at the same time, I am really excited for them to get to know another awesome missionary and learn all kinds of new things.
When they asked me to give my testimony, it got me thinking about all kinds of different things.  What on earth am I supposed to say?  There are words enough to fill the entire meeting every Sunday for a month, but it was only supposed to be a short thing.  I ended up feeling kind of inspired to talk about the way that Heavenly Father has lead and guided me in my life.  He has taken me to places I never would have gone on my own, and taught me things I never would have thought to learn.  I was able to strongly testify to everyone that He has a specific plan for every single one of us, and He will help us along the way.  All we have to do is pray and ask, then be willing to act.
I'm sorry I'm not super wordy today.  It's a bit hard to put my thoughts into words when I'm not done processing the feelings yet.  The center of everything right now is just that I am so happy!!!  Tengo gozo en mi alma hoy!  I love that song in Spanish!  This church is true, the Gospel is real and it is the most important thing ever.  I am so blessed to have been able to share it for so long here in California!  What an amazing experience!!!  I'm excited because tonight we have some good lessons scheduled!  We were also able to find a lot of new people to teach in this last week, so I am very pleased to have been able to help some people start on their path to happiness.  Last night we went to say goodbye to one of the families we've been teaching.  They have come soooooo far from when we first started teaching them.  As I said bye, they just kept telling me, "don't worry, we'll keep listening!  This is the right path for us and we're going to stay!"  Wow!!!  I am so excited for them that I might explode!
Well, you should all go camping with us so we can catch up this weekend!  YAY!
Love from Cali!
~Hermana Williams

PS from Mom: Kimberly will be speaking in the Murrayhill Ward at 1:00 pm on Sunday, July 29th.  Feel free to come join us.  Thank you so much for all your support, letters, and prayers.  This has been an amazing experience for all of us.  Maybe we should persuade Hermana Williams to keep blogging so we can be a part of some of the rest of her adventures as she figures out where to go from here.  May the Lord be with you, this day and always!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Planners from Hermana Williams' mission (pics)

la ultima semana!

My last companion, Hermana Hansen, decorated the planner I’m using this transfer for me!  I turned the page for today and have a large insert that says, THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!  We’re down to 10 days!  AHH!  It has gone by so quickly I can’t even believe it.  Crazy!

It was a good week!  We had a super interesting experience with our investigator.  He had a baptismal date for this coming Sunday, but then he cancelled all our appointments all week long.  Finally, we were able to see him on Saturday and he came to our meeting in the park without his Book of Mormon or anything!  We asked him about it and he kind of looked at us and said “that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”  Oh NO!  Basically, he can’t get over the fact that we keep Sunday as the Sabbath Day.  The Bible specifically states the 7th day, and he thinks we’re intentionally breaking a commandment because of the traditions of men.  We talked a LOT about what the commandment really is, and how Jesus Christ changed the laws from being physical symbolic actions to spiritual ones, but he doesn’t like that very much.  I am so grateful for my understanding of the fulfillment of the Mosaic Law, because it helped me resolve in my own head the questions he was asking us.  He didn’t want to agree, so we just ended up praying in our minds and then inviting him to ask God about it.  He had never asked God if the Book of Mormon was true or if the church was true or if it was ok to go to church on Sunday, so we told him to give it a go and let us know what happens.  I have faith that he’ll get an answer!  I ended up praying and doing my own study on the Sabbath Day and learned that the Sabbath Day is Sat and the Lord’s Day is Sunday, and that the early church ended up combining the worship into one day instead of two.   Interesting!  The Doctrine and Covenants gives some further explanations.  I am so grateful for modern revelation and a prophet who can help us understand the fullness of the Gospel.  It hit me really hard that the true church in all of its fullness cannot exist on earth unless there is a prophet of God around too.  The Bible itself is not enough (which we can see from the bajillion other churches who can’t agree on what it’s trying to say).  Oh, the funny part was that the investigator told us we were breaking the “thou shalt not worship graven images” commandment by celebrating the Sabbath on Sunday. He said we are inadvertently worshiping the sun…  But really?  In our ward we go to church on Domingo!  He doesn’t even speak that much English.  So yeah… hopefully he prays.  My companion got the chance to bear a strong testimony to him.  She was kind of heart broken (that first drop can be hard on a missionary), but her faith grew because of it!

Blessings of the week:
- we made a goal one day of having two lessons with a member present.  All the members we were going to bring cancelled, but throughout the day we were teaching lessons and realized that there was a member there already who we didn’t know beforehand!  Cool! 
-Also, a woman came to church last Sunday who we had been looking for for a long time!  We finally got her address and set an appointment.  When we went for the appointment, she wasn’t there (boo!), so we talked to this guy sitting on the stairs next door.  We ended up teaching him the whole first lesson and giving him a Book of Mormon.  He wasn’t super interested until he saw the book and recognized it!  He was like “hey I have one of those!”  So we were able to set a return appointment!  Just as we were walking away, the woman we had come to see comes walking up the street, so we got to meet with her too! It was perfect timing!
-Last Sunday while we were on the way to church, we got a call from a man whose number was saved in the phone, but whom we had never met before.  He asked specifically for me, but I was driving, so I couldn’t answer. My comp didn’t understand too much on the phone in Spanish so she told him I’d call back.  I did, but he never answered.  Later that week, a sister from the ward called us asking for his number, saying it was the man who called you last Sunday who you were supposed to call back.  We were super confused!  Well, we finally figured out that the sister from church had contacted this guy on the bus whom the sisters here had been teaching over a year ago.   She had him call us right on the spot!  We eventually got in touch with him and set an appointment!  Cool!

Well, you should all send me letters since it’s my last week!!!! J J J
27310 Sara St #103
Canyon Country, CA 91387

~Hermana Williams

Monday, July 9, 2012

Welcome to July!

July sure came in with a bang here in Santa Clarita!  It’s been a great week!  We started it off with an amazing lesson with one of our investigators.  Turns out Hermana Higley had sneakily been praying for a baptism in the next 2 weeks and in the lesson I felt super strongly that I needed to set a date with this guy for the 22nd.  We’ve invited him to be baptized about a million and a half times, and he doesn’t like being pushed, so we had kind of backed off a little bit.  Thus, I was slightly hesitant to extend another date, but he accepted it!  MILAGRO!  Yay!  So that was cool.

Tuesday afternoon I got sick, AGAIN!  I’m tired of getting sick on the mission.  It took me out for most of the afternoon/evening and then the morning of Wednesday.  Yuck!  Then Wednesday ended up being the 4th of July, so it was just a slow start to the week.  We did have fun on Wednesday night though.  No one had invited us over or anything, so we drove up on top of a hill overlooking the city and watched fireworks for a while.  A lot of people all over Canyon Country were shooting off pretty big ones.  There were LOTS of people on the hill with us, and we were slightly confused why so many people would be up there if there was no big show going on.  We stuck around until about 9, then went home.  Turns out 6 Flags did a big fireworks show we could have seen from the hill, but it didn’t start until about 9:15.  Oh well.  It explained the crowd though.

We got to finally meet our new mission president on Saturday!  He was here for a whole week before we even saw him!  He held a zone conference from 9-3 on Sat here and we got to know the whole family!  He has 3 kids (ages 15, 13, and like 7) who will be living in the mission home!  Super cool!  Basically, he has an incredible vision for the mission and has already jumped right in to making it happen.  I have been so blessed with amazing mission presidents.  His wife is super cool too!  The wife and the 13 year old daughter kind of remind me of Corina, haha! J  Actually they remind me a lot of Corina.  Se llaman la familia Hall.

Well, my comp and I spent too much time getting pictures off of each others’ cameras and emailing President Hall for the first time (I figured it needed to be good), so I don’t have much time here.   Sorry! Just know the church is true and life is amazing and that we need to find the purpose in everything we do!  And the Book of Mormon is the BEST!  Read it :)

~Hermana Williams

Monday, July 2, 2012

More happy smile pictures!

Hna Higley, Jennifer Roldano (awesome member!) and ME!

(Sorry I wasn't able to rotate this pic - Mom Williams) -- Me and Sister Martin (the Mission President's wife)

Me with my hijas! Hna Hansen (actually hijastra but I love her like an hija), Hna Quick & Hna Higley

1 Heart - 1 Mind - B1

Week 4 already?  Sheesh!
I’m not really sure how that happened?

0144 Hermana Higley, Jennifer Roldano (awesome member!) and ME!
0081 Me and Sister Martin (the Mission President's wife)
0085 Me with my hijas!  Hermana Hansen (actually hijastra but I love her like an hija), Hermana Quick, and Hermana Higley 
It was a fantastic week this week!  We had some really awesome trainings we got to go to!  Since it was President Martin’s last week in the mission, he did a training for everyone that he usually gives only to the departing missionaries.  He has been REALLY successful in his business life, so he taught all of us how to be successful in a career!  It was actually a really cool presentation that he gives to MBA students and professional companies and stuff.  I learned a lot, even though I’m not planning on going into professional business…  It was quite interesting!  I also really enjoyed getting to see a lot of the other missionaries!   Lots of good friends!  I probably took a million pictures with people, haha!  Oh, president also talked to us for quite a while on how to find a spouse… J  It was kind of funny to watch as he and his wife went over a lot of important qualities we should look for, and ways to know if someone is right for us.  You could tell that a good number of people were thinking specifically of someone they know back home to see if they measure up!

Besides that training, probably the coolest thing ever that happened this week took place on Friday.  We have district meeting in the same building as our zone, and the elders in the zone cover some really rich areas!  This stake (Valencia) is kind of super prominent and crazy wealthy.  It turns out that some of the elders managed to get some really amazing people to stop by and say hello!  They were none other than Alex Boye (from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir) and Marvin Perkins, two super prominent African American members of the church.  My companion and I were not intending to stay after and talk to them, but as they walked in, Brother Perkins said something about taking our testimonies to a new level, so we decided to go see what was up.  Plus… he asked my companion to carry something in for him, so we couldn’t really leave, haha!  Turns out he is a rather prominent researcher and presenter in the church on the issues of Blacks and Mormons!  He put up a screen, opened up his laptop, and gave a personalized presentation to about 15 of us missionaries on the issues of skin color, doctrines of equality, curses, the LDS priesthood, and basically the whole issue of the church having racism problems.  It blew my mind!  He used a TON of scriptures from the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants to prove to us that God loves everyone equally and has never set anyone apart because of their skin color.  One of the things I had never realized before was that the terms “black” and “white” in relation to our race, didn’t exist when the Bible or Book of Mormon were written, they come from a more modern theory.  So, whenever the scriptures say black or white, they have absolutely nothing to do with the physical appearance!  They are actually a Hebrew idiom having to do with the spiritual and emotional state.  I don’t know why I never learned all this stuff before, but I’m super glad that I did this week!  Bro Perkins gave us each a sheet of a bajillion scripture references to study, plus a DVD called Blacks in the Scriptures, which explains his whole presentation.  It was really incredible!  THEN, Alex Boye stepped in and shared “a little something.”  He talked about his mission and the things he learned during and after.  His biggest idea was that we need to each have a “first vision,” or a spiritual experience for ourselves that will give us the strength to take on whatever may come our way.  I can’t explain it really, but it was super powerful!  He talked to us about how our missions need to be such powerful experiences that we cry or explode with joy every time we talk about them… he looked right at me and I was definitely crying about how incredible this experience has been for me.  Then, he sang us a song J.  They actually stayed with us longer than intended, and were commenting about how they were running late for Alex to sing the National Anthem for Mormon Night with the Dodgers.  President Uchtdorf and others were going to be there!  But they said that helping us to understand was one of the most important things they could ever do.  It was just a super powerful experience and I was really impacted by it!  Like a LOT!  My mind is set in action to learn and study a lot of other really significant things in my life and in the church doctrine.  It was also cool because my companion and I were the only woman there, and we felt very special, I guess.  It was good.  I am no longer allowed to call people black or white, because really, we are all different shades of brown!  Though… I am a shade of brown REALLY close to white, haha!

Yeah.  My life has been changed.  I think my companion thinks I’m crazy because people keep talking about missions ending (with president leaving and such), and I keep crying, which is annoying for me because I really hate crying.  But my feelings about this mission are super strong and super deep in my heart.  At the end of president’s training we all sang God be with you till we meet again, and maybe 1/3 of the people in the room couldn’t even sing because of how strong the spirit was there.  I had to shut my eyes because looking at people just turned on the water works!  Plus, it was the last time I was going to see a lot of those missionaries for a really long time.  Ay.

Well, sorry to get all sentimental on you!
Hope you have an incredible week!  I sure will!
~Hermana Williams

Monday, June 25, 2012

no hay pretexto! [Google Translate: there is no excuse!]

What an amazing week!!!!!!  Seriously!  It has been so incredible!

First off, we got to go to the temple!  It was my third time in my whole mission, so it was a really special experience!  We were there with a lot of missionaries, but ended up being the only sisters there, which was interesting and special.  The temple president spoke to us before going in and explained some things that really made me think.  When we left, I was just thinking and thinking and thinking.  Over the course of the week I’ve learned a lot about what my role as a woman is, why this life is so important, and a little bit more of what my divine potential is!  I’m slightly spiritually exhausted!  We almost didn’t get to go to the temple at all because we had asked a member to drive 6 of us down to LA and they agreed a week in advance.  All was well and confirmed, but then like 10 minutes before departure time, our ride called to let us know that his mom had taken the minivan to girls camp and he only had a car with4 seats instead of 6!  OH NO!  We semi-frantically called around and some other missionaries managed to pick us up on their way out!  Phew.

Last week when my companion and I were doing our weekly planning session, we were talking about some goals we wanted to set.  I asked her if there were any other goals she wanted to work on for the week, and she came up with a brilliant idea!  We made a goal together to do a special act of service for someone specific every single day of the week!  Our first day, which was last Monday, we made a loaf of banana bread for the missionaries who are assistants to the president.  We intended on leaving it anonymously for them, but there were at the office when we showed up, so we just gave it to them.  They were so surprised and so happy!!!  Hermana Higley and I were pretty much super happy as well to see them so happy!  We chose them because they work so hard and do so much for all of us.  Other days during the week we made cookies for people, delivered cards/notes, made a whole meal for one of the members (she LOVES American food, but doesn’t know how to make it), and my personal favorite, we made horchata for the whole zone for a combined district meeting on Friday!  We actually made it from scratch with rice and cinnamon and stuff, and it turned out so good!  Everyone was really happy that day!  I guess most of our service had to do with food, but people tend to like food, so it’s ok!  We just ran around like crazy people baking, cooking, writing notes, studying, teaching lessons, and just plain being happy all week!  Every single night this past week Hermana Higley and I have laid in our beds and just said “what an awesome day!”  And at the end of the week, “what an awesome week!”  I’m planning on feeling that way about the rest of the transfer!   A Happy song just popped into my head from girls camp way back when: “happiness runs in a circular motion!”  haha!

Ok, so another SUPER awesome part of the week was our lesson with the family Paez!  They have a 20 year old son who recently got baptized after like 6 years of messing up his life.  He just barely moved home and is changing a ton.  Because of that, we have started talking to the parents!  They are a very Catholic couple, but have never really been religious.  The wife resars (Spanglish, sorry), and they go to church on holidays, but that’s about it.  In normal circumstances, they would be some of those people who just close the door in our faces.  BUT, because of the changes they saw in their son, they were willing to at least listen to us for a few minutes.  They made the mistake of loving my cute companion for her beginning Spanish, so we keep going J  We have been teaching them once a week for like maybe 2 months now, but they hadn’t really listened super well.  The dad is reading the Book of Mormon, but he doesn’t pray.  The mom isn’t reading and didn’t really want to know about our church.  Last week (I think I wrote about it), we managed to get them to think pretty hard about where their church came from.  I think it really impacted them because this week they were really focused and tuned in to what we were saying.  We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, endure to the end) and they were very thoughtful.   When we asked the dad what he thought the Holy Ghost was, he said he really had NO idea exactly what it’s purpose was.  We explained a little bit, then out of nowhere, the mom jumps in and very directly asks us “what is it that you want from us?” (in Spanish of course!)  I chuckled a little and let my companion answer.  She told her nicely that we want her to understand and to act on spiritual promptings.   Then the mom says “so you want us to get baptized?”  We were like… “well, yeah!”  (sorry, this story is long… but it’s so good!).  The dad then tells us “well… we have never felt what you’ve been talking about.  We don’t understand those feelings…”  I asked him if he wanted to feel that, and he thought really hard, then told me “you can’t just fabricate experiences with the Holy Ghost, they just come whenever.”  I looked at him right in the eye and told him that no, you cannot fabricate the experience, BUT, you can invite it.  The thought had never occurred to him that he could do something to invite the spirit into his life.   The mom just looks at us and says, “well, I guess we’ll have to go to church on Sunday.  It’s at 11 right?”  I just about died!!!!  This family was about as anti-Protestant as Mexican Catholics can get, and they committed themselves to come to church!  AND THEY CAME!  I gave a talk about their question from the lesson and the spirit was SO STRONG!  At the end of our lesson the mom went to the back room and brought me back a bag.  She had noticed that the straps had ripped off of mine, there were some big holes, and stuff was barely staying inside (I was praying it would last just one more month!).  She just told me, “will you be offended if I give you this new bag?”  I seriously cried!  I haven’t been so happy in a LONG time!  What a HUGE miracle we had with this family this week!  Being a missionary is the BEST!

Like I said, I gave a talk in church on Sunday!  I had used a direct quote from that lesson and talked about how our very bodies were designed so that the Holy Ghost could reside within us!  We have to have personal spiritual experience, become converted, then share what we feel with others!  It was good!  Maybe I’ll just save it to give again in a few more weeks!  J  One of the other elders spoke about each missionary in the ward and how we are here to work hard and how we need their help in finding people.  An English missionary actually came in and sang a special musical number (which was AMAZING!).  So, it was a really good sacrament meeting!   The spirit was strong!
Well there is so much more to say, but no more time!  I just have to say that being happy is the best and this Gospel is the best way to be happy!
Have a great week!
~Hermana Williams