Way Better than Boot Camp

Well I’m 8 days into my mission! I’ve been in the MTC since the 10th, and we leave on the 23rd, next Tuesday. The missionaries in my district are all really anxious to get to their missions. My district has 5 Sisters and 4 Elders, and I love each of them! Seriously, I have an incredible district, and the absolute BEST companion. My companion’s name is Elder Hohneke (Ha-neh-key), and I’m excited to send a picture of the two of us, but that will have to wait! We are both going to the West Virginia Charleston mission, along with Elders Shepherd and Cagle, and Sisters Wines and Holden from my district. Sisters Pitt and Savage are going to the Jamaica Kingston mission (Hayley!!!!) and Sister Benson is going to Vancouver, Canada.

When we are having a spiritual discussion or studying together as a district, the the Spirit is SO strong, and it is absolutely incredible every time. The testimonies of these missionaries are so amazing. Elder Shepherd is 18 years old and is a very proper, often goofy, ridiculously well-prepared missionary. When he speaks, I honestly can’t believe he is 18, but then he starts dancing and singing camp songs, ha ha. Elder Cagle, his companion, is a riot. He was totally quiet when he first arrived, but after about three days he came out of his shell and we haven’t stopped laughing since.

The days are difficult here, the MTC schedule is not easy to keep, especially since the length of our stay has been shortened. We still have all the material we need to learn, along with everything we need to accomplish before we head to the mission, but it’s all crammed into 11 days instead of 18. But we press forward! One of the most motivating scriptures since I’ve arrived has been the words of Joseph Smith in D&C 122:22, "Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!"

I know I’m in the right place. I feel it every day. There is an incredible power in missionary work, and I am SO excited to move forward in this cause. I absolutely love "Preach My Gospel", and I can’t wait to get to the mission and to really have time in the mornings to dive into it and the Book of Mormon. Man I’m getting so pumped right now just thinking about it! I love this work, I love the scriptures, and I love my Savior! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!

One of the things we get to do here is to teach lessons to and visit with members and non-members who play the role of investigators/inactive members. This is the BEST part of my day, every day. (P.S. For those of you who are preparing to serve a mission, I have two bits of advice: 1. Learn to LOVE the Book of Mormon, 2. Learn to LOVE role playing!) We have taught three investigators so far. Adrian is a widower with four children who loves Jesus Christ, and has been a strong Christian all his life. Robert is a–very opinionated–elderly man whose wife passed away, who has served as a branch president, a missionary 6 times, and who stopped attending church because he had polio in his youth and is feeling the effects again. Carlos is a man from Peru who recently reconnected with a friend from college who joined the church. His friend said "This church is the best! You should join!", so he called the missionaries! Again, all of these are simply roles, but we prepare, pray for, and teach these people with all the heart that we would a real investigator. It has been absolutely amazing.

And FINALLY, I want to tell you about my companion, Elder Hohneke. Elder Hohneke has the most loving and compassionate heart of anyone I have ever met. He loves everyone, and he tells them, and treats them with kindness. He is very mature, and is the greatest calming influence on me here. As many of you know, I can get a little… upset sometimes. He is patient with me and helps me overcome my struggles. We complement each other in ways that only the Lord could have known, and I am SO grateful to have him here, and to be able to be here for him. One thing I have become sure of during my time here is that the Lord knows who each person needs as a companion. Each of the companionships in my district is so perfect for each other.

I love it here. I truly do. But I can’t wait to get to West Virginia.

As a final note, if anyone wants to send me anything while I’m here (I leave the morning of the 23rd), my addres is:

Elder Benjamin Caleb Williams
MTC Mailbox # 68
WV-CHAR 0423
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

For those of you who were not aware, you can send me letters (basically emails) through www.DearElder.com (either for free, or for the price of postage, I’m not sure which), which will be delivered to me the next day as a letter. I would be so happy to hear from you! I love you all and I hope and pray that you are well!

All my heart,
Elder Williams