Room check in Motupe. This city has a famous landmark, the
It is amazing how being a mother of several children prepares a Mission president's wife to do this. Between me and my five children, we have experienced almost everything. When it gets to a point where I have exhausted very resource and the missionary is still not well, I have an Area Medical Adviser that I can consult with in Lima. These missionaries are experienced doctors from the United States and they are fabulous! I would not have survived without them. I have also learned a lot through experience. I have learned about stomach infections, parasites, worms, fleas, constipation and many other fun and interesting things. It is amazing how much easier it is now that I have had almost two years experience. It still can be very stressful at times knowing that I am responsible for the health of missionaries and their lives when they are really sick. I have felt the Lord's guidance on many occasions and I know that he cares about the well being of each of His servants.
Saying good bye to a wonderful missionary!
Another large responsibility I have is overseeing the Companionship Language Program. Every missionary in the world who does not speak English has been asked to learn it in the mission field. These missionaries have the help of the North American Elders - it is actually required. I interview each Latin missionary about their progress in English every three months. I give them encouragement and incentives to help them along the way. I give them a monthly writing and speaking assignment and they report their progress to me each week through an email. A few months ago only a few missionaries were really making any effort to study English in our mission and now almost every Latin Elder is making an effort. It has been amazing to see the culture in our mission change from one of not studying English to studying English.
Ward Cultural Dance Activity
I also spend a lot of time studying the scriptures and the Spanish language, when I have time, and writing talks and presentations. Writing a talk in Spanish takes a lot more time than it does in English, but it has gotten easier. We give a lot of talks! Especially in Stake Conferences. Mark and I do a lot of things together like attending district meetings, inspecting rooms, and holding the many meetings that are required. When we have leadership council each month, I am responsible for training the Hermana Sister Leaders in our Mission. It is interesting to me that I am training sister missionaries when I never served a mission, but I have found my experience as a leader has prepared me well to train them how to be effective leaders. I have also learned a lot through my study of Preach my Gospel and the Missionary Handbook. I also go work and teach with sister missionaries occasionally.
Mark and I at a Viewpoint overlooking the
Pyramids of Tucume.
The other thing I do is make a lot of cookies. We just finished interviewing all 150 missionaries the beginning of April, so I made over 300 cookies. It is a lot of work, but it is something the missionaries really look forward to. I am still a homemaker too! It is important to keep my husband well fed and happy. When I have extra time, it makes me very happy to serve my husband by making his favorite foods and dishes. I am also a sounding board for my husband when he is making changes. We plan and schedule everything together including multi-zone conferences, interviews, trips, and other meetings. Pretty much I do what my husband asks me to do. Each mission is different and each wife is different. Some have more health problems and some have a lot of children with them in the mission field, so what they are able to do is much different than what I can do. It is really an individual thing.
Of course, I also make meals when misionaries come and go with the help of Edna and I train pensionistas, which is a lot of work. We train them every six months. The things I do are so varied. I like that every day and every week is different. And there is always plenty to do. I like, also, that it gets better and more fun every week. I am assuming that I will be able to just sail smoothly through and enjoy the last year!
Mark had the privilege of baptizing a 22 year old girl, Stephanie,
who looks much younger than that. She even has a baby!
When we hold interviews, I interview every missionary in the mission, just like my husband does. There are many wives who are not in a position to do this, but my situation allows me to do it. It is so much work, but always a choice, rewarding experience. We just finished interviewing all of our missionaries the beginning of April and they say the most amazing things. This time I recorded all of their words of wisdom so that I can remember them. A few of my favorite quotes are:
"Whenever things are tough and I feel down, I always find the comfort I need in the scriptures."
"If we are humble, obedient and doing the Lord's will, He can make us into what he wants us to become."
"I have always remembered the multi-zone conference when you taught us to search the scriptures diligently and since then I have always done it."
"I feel that when we watch and listen to General Conference, it's like we are up in the heavens, but then when it ends, we have to come back down to earth and to reality." (I love this; my feelings exactly. I am always sad when Conference is over.)
"I came to this mission to eat Hermana Williams cookies!"
"I love the message in the monthly newsletter. It always helps me so much."
Mark and I take turns writing a message each month. I don't think I have ever heard one other missionary comment about it. That one comment made it all worth it! If I know it is helping one missionary, then I can keep doing it! I have each of the Latin missionaries read a scripture to me in English. When I handed my scriptures to this same Elder, he began to thumb through them and he said, "Wow, I'm holding Hermana Williams scriptures!" They are so cute!
We have one small missionary (in size) who has a disability. He limps a little when he walks. I always worry about him and wonder how he is able to keep up and walk 5-6 miles a day. In his interview, I simply asked him, "Is missionary work hard for you?" His answer: "It's not easy, but it's not impossible." I thought his words were profound and I understood why he has been able to do this. I felt strengthened by his attitude. If we could all remember this, that when things are tough, nothing is impossible with the help of our Savior Jesus Christ. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. I have thought about and pondered this scripture more than any other in the mission field. I even memorized it in Spanish: "Todo lo puedo en Cristo que me fortalece." It has given me so much comfort and encouragement. It is something we always need to remember.
A quote that has really helped me is by Neal A. Maxwell. He said, "The dues of discipleship are high indeed, and how much we can take so often determines how much we then can give." I put this quote on my wall and read it and pondered it almost every day the first year of my mission. It helped me to keep going at times when I was not sure that I could.
Our "garden" with new table and chairs. We had a garden
breakfast this weekend. It was so nice. The weather is
much better and really nice right now.
I "still" love my husband!!
Rocks! Enough said!
They have been making these forms for the cement for a
My sister Deb and my brother-in-law Troy were able to come visit us for a few days. It was really fun having them here. They loved our house and said it was like a resort! We talked a lot, visited the pyramids and had a picnic at the beach. They attended a Stake Conference with us also. They enjoyed seeing the Buhos (owls) in our neighborhood. Troy especially seemed to enjoy this. Everywhere we went, he found Buho souvenirs, so now I have a small collection of them! Deb kept busy worrying about all the stray dogs. She had to check and make sure they were healthy and not starving. We were just relieved there were not many cats or she really would have had a nervous breakdown! We taught them to play Brian and Megan's card game, Nine Hole, and had to stay up until 1:00 am one night so that Troy could keep trying to win. He finally did the very last round we played the night before they left. It was a relief for all of us. It was really fun to have them here and we were sad when they left. If anyone else would like to come, they gave us great reviews on the food and the accommodations!
Out to eat at the preppy place!
Fun day at the beach!
"The Comfort of Jesus"
Deb is a Sudoku Champion. We got her a
wooden Sudoku game for her birthday and she
got to work on it right away.
Since posting my last blog, we have learned that the owls in our neighborhood are not baby owls, even though they are very small. They are full grown and are called "Burrowing Owls." That is why they hung our in the field behind our house in holes they dug under the sidewalk rather than being in nests or trees. It has been interesting to watch them. They have moved on to bigger and better things. We see them around the neighborhood but not in the field anymore. They really like some bags of rock that have been in the park for several weeks now.
View from our apartment where we used to live.
We went on a trip to Jaen to do interviews, visit rooms and visit a ward there. Our trip to Jaen was one of the most fun I can remember in a while. I have finally lost my fear of speaking Spanish and am communicating a lot better, so I feel like I can interact and be part of the conversation. Before, I was like a little fly on the wall, just listening and observing, but not really a part of anything. It was hard sometimes and not very fun at all. But it is much better now. We decided to take all the missionaries in the Jaen Zone out to eat at a burger/ice cream place and they were so excited! It is called Sabor y Miel (Flavor and Honey) and is our favorite place to eat in Jaen. Elder Pacherres told me on the way there, that all of the missionaries had been extremely happy and excited all day because they knew they got to eat out together that night. It takes so little to make these missionaries happy. They sacrifice so much all the time. It is fun to do these little things for them.
Beautiful scenes on the trip to Jaen.
Los Assistentes! We love them!
A fun dinner in Jaen with the Zone.
I had the most beautiful experience teaching with two Hermana Leaders the other night. We went to visit a family that has been through a tragedy and has suffered much. We taught three women of three generations; a daughter of 25 years, a mother and a grandmother. The mother's husband was murdered 7 months ago. She lost her husband and her daughter lost her Father. It has been extremely painful for them. They have struggled with feelings of anger and hate and have had to learn to forgive. What a wonderful experience to talk about the plan of salvation with them and to feel the spirit of hope that has come into their lives because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was able to share my feelings about my marriage and the temple. I told them that my husband and I know that our marriage is for eternity and that it is the most important thing to us. I told them of the peace I feel in the temple and the love I feel for my husband every time I go there. When I finished they all said, "How beautiful!"
This experience made me think of the words of Abinadi when he said: "And O how beautiful upon the mountains were their (the prophets') feet!
"And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace.
"And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and forever!
"And behold, I say unto you, this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth peace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people:" (Mosiah 15:15-18)
This gospel is a message of peace. I bore my testimony to these sweet sisters that the gospel is true and that every blessing is possible because Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. I assured them that He knows their pain and that He will be there to succor them. If only every person on the earth knew this, then everyone could have this peace "which passeth understanding." This is the best thing that a Mission President's wife has the privilege to do: To be a missionary and a representative of Jesus Christ and bear testimony of Him.