Monday, October 29, 2012

Next to the Last Week in the MTC

Mi Familia,

The weeks are flying by!  I can't believe that next week is my last here at the MTC! WOW!  I'm so excited to get to Mexico and start teaching the people there. I am so blessed to be here at this time and in this place.  It was real nice being out in the world and seeing the world.  I was really pretty surprised to see that the elections are still going on (because I already voted by absentee), that people wear clothes with name tags and that some people us less than celestial, gospel-like words.  It was nice to be there (in Dallas) and to remember my purpose as a missionary.

Believe it or not, going to Dallas wasn't the only great experience I has this week.  On Sunday we has Brother and Sister Roach come speak to us.  They did something in a devotional that I have never seen before.  They spoke as a tag team!  One of them would start a topic and as they changed to a different subject, the other would step in.  It was so different!  I liked it a lot and i learned a lot, but this is what i found was most important:  "There are no small rules"  and "We need to decide once to be obedient."  I feel like someone will always mention obedience to us missionaries at some point i our devotionals but that just means it's way important, not only for us but for everyone, every where.
Another experience this week that was extraordinary was a lesson we were taught on Monday.  It was about teaching people for understanding.  Before this point, I thought that Elder Souza and I were pretty great teachers.  Now I know that I have a ton to learn.  Hermano Lloyd was teaching us and the most important thing he kept telling us was to "Ask inspired questions." What does that mean?  It means that we put ourselves in the shoes of our investigator and consider what they know.  We try to understand what they need most in their life then we "turn to Heaven" searching for the divine help they need.

We got to practice this way of teaching. Doing so was the most powerful spiritual experience I've had here.  I've never relied so heavily on promptings of the spirit, and doing so blessed me tremendously. 

I was reading some scriptures in the temple today and I came across Alma 31.  It talks about the Zoramites and their vain, repetitive prayers but the parts I like best were from verse 30 to the end of the chapter.  Sometimes what he says in those scriptures is exactly how I feel. 

Seeing as this is my last week here, and I really don't know how good Mexico's postal service is, this may or may not be the last time you hear from me (in my handwriting)  for a while. I just want you to know how much I love you all,  You are my favorite people in the world and I'm grateful for every moment I've had to spend with you, the good and the less good.  I pray for you all the time and can feel your prayers for me.

Les amo,
Elder Ben Williams

Friday, October 26, 2012

On the Outside

This was one of the fastest, weirdest, best weeks here at the MTC. I'm sure you could probably guess why. Being outside the MTC for any span of time is strange and exciting. Being in Dallas for two days was almost overwhelming....
That's mainly what I'm going to talk about because....well it was the biggest change here in the mission since...well since forever. I met Elders Storm and Christensen in the travel office here at about 10 am on Tuesday morning and we drove all the way to the Salt Lake City Airport with this big Samoan man who was from Australia and had just moved to the states a short time in the past. He was cracking jokes and just smiling and laughing the whole way there. When we got to the airport, we were almost like celebrities. Everyone was waving at us and asking us where we were going and everything and it was so exciting =) people offered to pay for our food and were generally just super kind to us. On the plane ride to Denver we really didn't have the chance to share the gospel cause well almost everyone was Mormon. That first flight was where Sister Jana Thorley stopped me and took my picture with her phone and reminded me of who she was. I cannot believe she recognized me! its been nearly ten years since i last saw her! I'm so grateful for her and her picture taking because guess who forgot his camera at home.... anyway we flew all the way to Dallas with her and her daughter and then we parted ways and started looking for our ride to wherever we would be staying because really, we had no clue. A man named President Manion, the first president in the mission presidency in Fort Worth picked us up and took us to his home where we spent the night.
   I really don't have much time but I have so much to say so if you don't mind I'm just gonna give some quick details before the event that i really want to talk about. we went to the Mexican consulate and got our Visas
 (that place was like a Mexican DMV just so you have an idea). I found out i can understand and speak sufficiently.....sometimes.... We went on a "tour" of Texas and drove past this place called the Gaylord Texan (sounds weird). its a resort and it is humongous! they have a firework show inside the building every night! We also visited the Dallas Temple. we weren't able to go inside cause they are cleaning the place but it was so beautiful. That temple is humongous! it is shaped a little bit like the Vegas temple and that reminded me of home. after that we went to the Dallas airport and after talking to one of Mat Winn's cousins(crazy who you meet in the airport!) we boarded our plane for Denver.
This was the best part. I sat next to a woman that i know only as Kim. She is a Cornerstone Christian and she has 4 kids and 13 grand-kids (CRAZY!). She is an operator of heavy machinery and that is what Denver had in store for her. She is incredible. I talked to her for the entire plane ride over, talking about the prophets and the Book of  Mormon and the Atonement and just everything. And she just drank it in! she said that she totally believed that God lives and loves her and that everything in her life is from him. She told me her sister in law is a Mormon and she has gone to church with her and has a Book of Mormon at her House next to her bible(much to her father's chagrin) and that because i talked to her, she definitely wanted to read it more. I shared a lot of my favorite scriptures in the book of Mormon with her and i felt like she was just eating it up. I also gave here a card and told her to look up the words of a modern day prophet online and she said she would. I have no idea what is going to happen because of this experience in her life but I know it changed mine. Talking to her gave me the courage i needed to talk to other people and i know i won't hesitate to talk to anyone in the future because of her. What a great woman. Pray for her to accept the gospel, if that is our Heavenly Father's plan for her.
  Recounting that story just makes me so happy ! we got to Denver and were on that plane for like 3 hours because it was snowing so much the plane had to be de-iced. i talked to a man on that ride too but it was a lot different then my experience with Kim. He is from Idaho, and is retired. He used to be an elementary school teacher. now he does in-services for schools all over the country. He was a family history fanatic and had a book he was reading about his ancestors and had tons of stories about his people. It was good just to listen to him for a while.
  We finally got back to the MTC at like 12 am and i was so beyond exhausted. So yeah that is all.
I do have a request though. I'd like to write people on their birthdays so if you could send me you name and birthday that would be great. you can expect to hear from me somewhere around that date if you write me.
Love you all!
Elder Ben Williams

Monday, October 22, 2012

I've Learned....

Dear Fam,

What a beautiful work we live in!  I love this place so much!  I can't believe how blessed i am to be here in the MTC.  At this time.  It is one of my greatest blessings.  I can't wait to see what it's like in Mexico!  Every day my excitement grows and I am about to burst with love of the gospel and well everything!!  It was a great week, as every week here is ( great that is)  & as always I learned tone.  Before I talk about my week, I just wanna recap a little of what I learned. 
From a video in workshop I learned: "Without a goal, life is pointless."  I need to se daily, weekly, eternal etc. goals.  If i do I will be able to see my personal growth 7 also the blessings of the Lord.  I'm glad i learned that.
I also applied the knowledge that going through the motions of church work does not allow growth.  I have to do things because I know they will help me grow to know my Savior.
I mentioned that Elder Bowen came Tuesday night.  He is a powerful , passionate speaker.  The most important thing I learned or that I felt applied most to me is this" Open your mouth. do not be afraid, be bold!I learned that when we have faith the spirit will guide and even if we don't see the result then & there, at least we will have done our part.
That really struck me as a missionary.  I need to play my part in bringing sheep back to the told.  That was a powerful experience for me.
I love that I can see how to change and that he is providing a way to do what he has asked. I am changing the way I read the scriptures and it help my study become a ton more effective.  First I pray, asking questions that I need answers to.  Then I search, both by topic and in my daily chapter reading, for answers to my main question.  I stop and ponder each verse to see how it applies to my life.  this is the pattern I've developed and it help so  much with getting into the scriptures.  My challenge to you is to find a pattern for yourself ::) Good luck.

I think about you all a lot. Everyday, something reminds me of each of you, my family, individually.  I'm so grateful that ours will be an eternal family if we follow god's commandments. I love you all so much and pray for you all the time.  I hope to hear from you soon!

Te Amo!
Elder Ben Williams

P.S.  Before I leave I'd like to receive a letter written in your handwriting with your testimony in it!  That would be the best gift ever:)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Email for week of Oct 19th

To my Beloved Family,
   What a week! Can you believe that in a little over Two weeks I will be in Mexico? Woohoo! I'm so excited. I love it here at the MTC and all but it isn't "the real deal" you know? Anyway, learned a ton this week but before that i have some people to thank. Grandma Brown thank you for your letter and also for your prayers. I hope you are healing quickly and you can expect a letter from me this week. To all my Williams cousins who wrote me messages and sent pictures to me, Thank You! I love your pictures and your wonderful messages. I will try to write you all at least a little today... but i'm not sure how much i'll actually be able to finish so maybe next week you (in Janel's mailbox) will receive notes from me. I love you all so much and can't tell you how much it means to have you all right me. Its really nice for me =)
  This was a weird week. Elder Souza was gone on Wednesday in Vegas. I have never felt so weird. It was like i was constantly missing something and i had to remind myself that Elder Souza was gone. It was just kinda awkward all day. I had to tag along with other members of my district and i felt useless. But he came back yesterday and now i'm all good. I think. Big news! I'm flying to Dallas Texas next week on tuesday to get my visa! Finally! For a while there i was a little worried i would be reassigned or something. I'm really excited to fly and talk to actual nonmembers and hopefully share what i know about the Gospel with them. I'm also kind of excited just to be in the outside world. I know it is gonna be beyond weird to go from my sheltered existence here at the MTC to the "real world", but i know it will be great. (Does anyone know if i can take a razor on the airplane?)
    In other news i ran my fastest ever mile this week (5:49) and Elder Bowen came and Spoke to us on Tuesday. He had so many great things to say that i can't write them down but i will send in my letter a little about what i got from his talk. I really feel like my time to write emails is short here in the MTC I know I will have more time in the field but right now I feel as if my emails are really discombobulated and confusing and i'm sorry about that. hopefully my letters home make a little more sense. I just wanna end with one of the most significant things i learned this week. Hermano Lloyd told us that sometimes we have to limit how much we help  others. We cannot take from them the opportunity to grow.... That was powerful to me, especially because a lot of the time i just want to give people what i know but i know they have to learn it for themselves. that was a powerful lesson for me.

 I pray all is well in the outside world and I love you tons!
Hope to hear from you soon
Elder Ben Williams

Friday, October 12, 2012

"That is some alarm you've got there!"

Elder Williams with Elders Anderson & Madsen 
Elder Madsen had an alarm that we all used to wake up to.  Well obviously he is no longer here so we've had to evolve to use my alarm, which by be the loudest alarm I've ever heard.  any way, I'm' on the top bunk so in order to get the alarm I have to jump out of bed and hit it.  Seeing as it's my alarm, when 6:15 hit the next day I went to get the alarm.  Before i was out of bed I heard a loud CLANG! and then felt Elder Souza's head under my feet.  He told me later "When I heard that alarm, I jumped up and banged my head on the bar of the bunk, just about knocking myslf out.  Then as I was reaching for that alarm, I got kicked in the face.  That is some alarm you've got there!"  Maybe that disn't too funny.  But is was funny here at the MTC.  Well that's all folks! Hope to hear from ya soon!

This is me "squatting" Elder Souza.

This is what i look like as Elder Souza fireman carries me up three flights of stairs every gym time!

Incredible Responsibility.

Dear Fam!

I say a lot in the emails but I love writing letters, it is helpful to get my feelings on paper. We taught a lesson Wednesday night. We felt the spirit testify of the true the entire way thorugh.  We shared scriptures that seemed to clear up questions and taught well.  It wasn't just us though.  I really think the spirit was speaking through us. That was humbling.

Remember I said we have devotionals on Tuesday and then have District testimony meetings after? Well Elder Bednar said a lot of good stuff.  But it was his what his wife said that sparked this thought:
" What does being Mormon mean to me?"
I was thinking about that while I was listening to Elder Bednar and after.  In testimony meeting I heard myself say: "This is the only true church on this earth."  Yea well a lot of people have said that "but think about it!  We are possessors of the whole truth, the most light in this world. And we have the divine responsibility to share it.

Later that week Hermano Lloyd had us read D&C 18:10-11 " Remember the aworth of bsouls is great in the sight of God;   For, behold, the Lord your aRedeemer suffered bdeath in the flesh; wherefore he csuffered the dpain of all men, that all men might repent and ecome unto him.    

 That is the price! The life of a divine being even Jesus the Christ.  That is why missionary work is so important.  It is our responsibility to make sure that the greatest gift ever given isn't wasted. The antonment is that incredible gift.  It is my job as a missionary and your job as a member of the church to make sure this gift is used.  

I know now why I am out here. To do the will of God and bring others to eternal joy in and through christ. What an incredible. responsibility.

Conference @ the MTC

  So much  happened this week, I'm really not sure where to start... Conference basically blew my mind. So much spiritual gold. I hope you found at least one thing that you were looking for. I know I did. I felt at times the Speaker was speaking directly to me, but it wasn't what they said that got me most. its what I personally felt. Wow. I thought Sunday couldn't possibly get better. Then Chad Lewis spoke to us that night. CHAD LEWIS!!!! members of the lakes stake will remember when he spoke at our youth conference a while ago. What and incredible experience. He is so humble and was really good at connecting with us 19 year old boys. 
 But his visit was completely and utterly trumped by the speaker Tuesday night(ps don't know if i told you this but we have devotional every tuesday night and a member of the 70 or some other person will speak to us. its always really great) Guess who our speaker was. Elder David A. Bednar. I wish you could have been there to feel the Spirit as he walked in with his wife and everyone silently stood out of respect. He brought with him a greater Spirit of peace than i've felt in that building ever before, and that is saying something because as i've said before, the Spirit here is always strong. He reviewed conference with us and gave us a way to make it more meaningful in three steps. Doctrine. Invitation. Blessings. As you reread the Talks of this Monumental Conference, Listen to the Spirit and try to Pick out these three things and apply what you feel to your own life. I was blown away by him. 
 After tuesday devotional we always have a testimony meeting as a district. The Spirit from that incredible Meeting carried into that solemn assembly. I love the feeling of brotherhood here. 
 Speaking of brothers, Two of the members of our district left for the Colombian MTC Wednesday. It came as a surprise to all of us and especially to Elders Madsen and Anderson. They were technically supposed to leave two week ago but that had some problem with visas which has apparently been cleared up completely. I am so excited for them. Keep them in your prayers.Many of the members of my district have been flying places for a day to Get their visas. Yesterday Elders Farrow and Balli Went to Boise to get there's and Guess who is Going to VEGAS!!!!! if you guessed are probably wrong. Elder Souza and Elder Farrell are going to Vegas this coming week to get there Visas. I am the only one in the District that has yet to receive a travel plan to get a Visa. But it will come... I hope... 
I feel that some people think that being in the MTC is hard and truthfully some days are. but overall, this is the best time of my life. if any of you 18 your old men(or soon to be 19 year old women) are apprehensive about serving here is my advice: PRAY! Pray sincerely to know if this (the mission and specifically serving now rather than later) is the right thing to do. I know that if you listen to the voice of His Holy Spirit you will receive an answer. 
I love you all and pray for you. Good luck with everything! 
Elder Ben Williams

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Conference Thoughts Continued

This letter (not email) was written after conference (October 6&7,2012).

Wow! What a historic day for missionary service!  In case you missed it young men can now go on a mission at 18 and young women can serve at 19!!  For any of you thinking about serving, DO IT!  Get your papers in ASAP and get serving!  Any of my feminine friends who have the desire to serve, pray and ask if its right and then go for it.  I know some of you (my friends male and female) are struggling with what you want to do with your future.  Some of you wonder what you will do with the next year. Might I suggest missionary service as an incredible option!  I promise you won't regret it.

Whew! That was a lot.  I don't know about you but I feel as if today I was spiritually fed to the point of bursting.  So much of the teachings of God's messengers can be applied in my our lives. I challenge you to pick things that struck you and to act on them.  Just do it!!!

Sunday, What a spiritual feast!  I feel like because I was looking for answers, I found them in the words of the prophets and God's chosen servants.  I feel like there is so much I can apply but I've narrowed my list to 6 things I've heard that were specific to me:

1. Act immediately on promptings of the spirit.
2. Be exactly obedient to God's laws
3. Be faithful and eliminate things that stop faith
4.Love everyone but especially the Lord God
5.Submit to the will of the father
6.Be converted to Christ and never turn back.
I hope all of you will apply the things you believe were meant specifically for you to hear.  I love you all!  Gotta listen to Chad Lewis now!  Talk/write you soon1
                                Elder Ben Williams

Saturday, October 6, 2012

MTC photos

                                                                          The District

                                                             Elder Williams and Elder Souza

                                                          Elders Grant and Williams

Friday, October 5, 2012

Today Marks One Month in the MTC

Hey Fam!

Today marks on entire month in the MTC!  That is insane!  Time is flying by and I have the feeling it isn't gonna slow down any time soon.  I'm learning lots, growing lots, thinking lots....a lot of "lots" Oh well.

Lots happened this week.  Lots happens every week (OK seriously I think I have a problem with the word "lots")  Fast Sunday is the first item on the list.  Elder Souza fasted for missionary type stuff, like learning the language, having the spirit more abundantly with us, and for our investigators to keep their commitments.  It really wasn't that hard to fast here.  In fact, I think this may have been the easiest 24 hour fast I've ever done. The speakers(and movie) that we listened to fed us spiritually to the point of bursting.  First and foremost there was the song. Some guy sang a solo. He had an incredible boice but what really got to me were the words.  O Lord My Redeemer is the name of the song.  Look it up.  It is beyond incredible.
The speakers said a lot but this is the most powerful thing that stuck out to me the most wasn't exactly something they said.
One of the speakers said something like "The Lord is preparing people in your mission for you to teach." I immediately thought, "someone (or more than one) is waiting for me to teach them.  Someone in Leon is waiting for me"  I was floored.  I can't wait to get out there to find out who needs to hear what I have to say.
We listened to a talk by Elder Holland on Sunday as well.  He said that missionaries need to make the mission "part of their soul." He said that both the good and the bad can mold us into better more converted disciples of Christ.  Another thing he said was, "The way to salvation is through Gethsemane." We have to struggle (physically, spiritually, emotionally) if we truly want the Lord to save us.  WOW!
I get the feeling that I need to tell you, despite what it may seem in some of my letters, some days are so hard!  We were in one teaching situation and we thought it was going really well until "Andres" answered his cell phone right in the middle of the lesson.  I was shocked, astounded and ever a little angry.  How could anyone be so rude?! We went back to our classroom and I was beyond discouraged.  I started wondering what I was doing here.  I felt like I was wasting my time.
Then my comp just asked if I was ok.  I don't know why but that simple gesture lifted my spirits but it did.  I started turning my thoughts outward thinking of the true reason I chose to serve a mission.  To serve the Lord through service to others.
One of the most significant happenings of this week occurred that same night. I was praying, asking forgiveness for my selfishness and bad attitude.  I was also giving thanks for each on of you (my loving fam) by name.  As I got to Josh, I immediately thought also of Sarah Annie.  I felt compelled to thank the Lord for her, specifically for her presence in my life.  I can almost feel her love at times. and that specific moment of prayer was on of them. How grateful I am that we will have the opportunity to be with her (and the little brother) in the next life.

anyway, those were a few of the happenings of the week.  Typical week in Paradise :)
thanks for the package, I love the clothes!  It is so nice not to be formal for a short span of time.  (I love the jeans!  Whose are they! oh Ben's :)) I alos loved the cookies and treats but most of all I loved the notes!  I love hearing from you all.  I also love to get photos :)  Hopw you all are well and enjoying life and the blessings we have!

Love, your Brother, Son, Friend, Elder,
Elder Ben Williams

Monday, October 1, 2012


My week started off with the Bountiful Temple dedication. It was truly incredible. I feel as though everytime I tuly listen to an apostle of the Lord I learn something that applies to me. As they were dedicating the temple I had the thought that my body is a temple. In order to have the Spirit of the Lord more abundantly, I need to dedicate myself to him. In order to do his work, I need to turn myself over to Him to allow him to work through me. I hope that makes sense.
Elder Golden of the Seventy spoke to us and spoke a little about Faith. He said that in order to increase our faith, we must increase our personal righteousness. That was pretty powerful. Then we listened to a talk by Elder Bednar. Look it up. It was an Answer to the question, "How do I Know if its the Spirit or Just me" the Answer? QUIT WORRYING ABOUT IT. Try to find  the talk, it was powerful. He gave it here at the MTC.
I was humbled yet again this week. Everyone in my district is ridiculously smart. way smarter than I can ever hope to be. Its humbling to be surrounded by such inteligent people, a little scary even...
Wonderful experience this week. Elder Souza and I taught the most powerful lesson yet to our investigator. It wasn't us talking. I wasn't even sure exactly what we said. She told us afterwards that she couldn't really understand us. It was the powerful spirit we had with us that compelled her to come closer to Christ. Elder Souza said, "That felt real. I felt as though we were speaking to a real investigater." Wow. That is all I can say.
Couple funny things happened this week. One was Elder Souza's back problem... that really isn't funny. But when you have ice stuffed in the back of your church clothes and half of the bag is sticking out so it looked like he had a rabbit's tail, that is kinda hilarious. Mostly cause he was so embarassed by it.
Over the past couple weeks, I've come to realize something else; everything is funnier in Spanish. Mostly cause half the time I don't understand what was said. That is like the best thing ever. The jokes my district has are all ridiculous, yet we find them so hilarious. We may or may not be loosing our sense of humor and trying to find it in simpler things. I like that though.

Viva Mexico!
Elder Ben Williams