Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas time at the mission Presidents home.

this is an excerpt from Elder Bradshaw, He is also in the Harare mission and they all got together and did some work at an orphanage.  Written to his Mother...

(For any other Zimbabwe Mom's I added a small part of Ryan's letter from his morning.  I thought he did a good job explaining a little of what their Christmas in Harare was like.)

"Harare has been crazy sweet. Lots of people have been asking me about the logistics of getting 96 missionaries, 16 couples, and presidents family to Harare. Let me just say that only in the best mission on earth could this happen. Only with obedient missionaries and a mission president that trust his missionaries could this happen. The Church has a headquarters in Harare which is a chapel, mission offices, and a mission transfer house (plus the site of the future Zimbabwe Temple according to Pres. Hinckley and other apostles). About 50 missionaries slept at the transfer house and the floor of the chapel. I gave up my bed in the transfer house in favor of the hard floor of the chapel because president came and slept in the chapel with us. He kept us up all night telling stories and scaring us all with transfer predictions. The other missionaries slept in the various other missionary houses in Harare.

Friday afternoon we went to a hospital in Harare. The mission is adopting the hospital this year to help them along. We spent the day giving out toys to children in the childrens wing, cleaning outside, and giving out hygine kits to mothers who gave birth that day. Elder Jensen and I helped a mama to her car after she had just given birth that morning. We found her careing all her own lugage out becuase there wasn't enough room in the hospital for her to stay any longer. I am glad that we got to go assist. I am even more glad that the United States has modern health care."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

photo My what beautiful people!

letter Dec. 19 2011

Hello Family and friends!
It was great to hear form the ones of you that emailed me/ sent letters (the others of you who didn't know who you are. . . =P) but it is all good because I had plenty to read today. Now for the news.
This last week has been great. I am now making a list of the different things I have seen that are cool (animal wise) in my PMG. This week I saw 3 chameleons and 3 giant snails. (pictures to follow)
This week was not very scary like last week (no dangerous experiences). But if you want to know what things look like, check out satellite view on google maps of Mutare, Zimbabwe. The scenery here is quite beautiful, and reminds me of a game I have played (far cry) good game by the way. It is nice to know that home is such a green place (I do think of this place as home now, for the next 2 years at least)
We had a great baptism this week, and a great Christmas party afterwards (I won't need to eat the rest of the week now =P). 4 people were baptized, and 3 are already confirmed. Names are according to the attached picture(left to right) Wonder, Tinashe, Leonard, Advice (with me and my comp, Elder Hayes).
Leonard and Wonder are going to be powerful priesthood holders, and between the 4 of them, the will increase our average church attendance by 10%
I can't wait to teach them all the more in depth RC lessons. It has been great to see the changes in their lives so far. As some of them have stumbled on their way to baptism, crazily enough, it is their non-member friends who have been seeing the change in their lives who 'slap them upside the head' and say "what are you doing?"

As I said, I have seen 3 chameleons this week and 3 GIANT snails (one as long as my whole hand, wrist to fingertips). 
now onto the questions which have been asked (answers in bold)


1 Have any of the members there had the opportunity to go to the Temple?
yes. Our old Branch pres. is sealed with his wife, and many other members have been. They occasionally do a temple trip (get a comby arranged to take them to the Jo-burg temple for a day or 2) 
2 How far is it
 to the nearest Temple there?
in Johanessburg. about- 1100 km, so 14 hour drive

3 Do they have such a thing as Santa Claus there?
I honestly don't know for sure, but I don't believe so

What other wild animals have you run into?
there are lizards everywhere, all small, mostly 2 breeds. A skink, most common. And something similar to a bearded dragon, almost as common (both are everywhere). In Mutare, there isn't much wildlife other than lizards and. . . you guessed it. ANTS freaking cow, people. These ants are big. Some are as long as half my pinky (so maybe close to an inch) and their pincers are big and strong. I let a tiny one (much less size than these) bite me and it actually drew a little blood and stung a bit. I have been told that the big ones hurt like a mother, and I have no doubt that if enough swarmed someone, they could eat them. They are also really hard to kill (for ants) and stink really badly when they die.
Have any moments where you're like "Nathan would have said that!!"
Not that pop out. Most people here don't talk like us =/. The missionaries I live with have come to call it an 'Elder Williams' whenever I (or someone else on accident) says something extremely literally or just opposite of how it's meant. (I do this without thinking, but am getting better at not doing it =P)
ex. do you know what blows me away? *a shotgun
ex 2. This is stupid. *no, that is a chair
Have any moments where you're like "I've been there before"
not really
Do you wish that it snowed where you are?
No. the people would probably die of fright if they saw snow in their areas. 
Does it rain quite a bit?
When it rains, it RAINS. like, jack loads of water. We don't know what a rain storm is in Utah =P
If it does how does it smell?
The rain is fairly dirty, and leaves dirt on my coat (Yes, I sadly brought a coat instead of just a rain jacket, I thought I brought the one that separates but I guess not. =/ It weighs like a gajillion pounds) It smells fairly bad, but not horrible. (but we live near Sakubva river, nicknamed "poop river" so it is understandable about the smell)
What's the biggest challenge you've had so far?
probably getting used to not believing hardly anything people tell you. We even have kids readily lie to us. It seems to be bred into them to tell people "what they want to hear" even from birth.
Did you know that mice will eat the brains out of dead mice?
Did you go "Wow, that's gross"
Did you think "wow, that's gross" when I told you a members cat ate the heads off of all of it's kittens right before I got to Zim? It's name is Foofie. =P
Seen any spiders?
Gladly, almost none. (Except in the baptismal font a few weeks ago)
Did you jump into your partners arms like scooby doo and shaggy?
If it wasn't in water, and my comp not next to me, I would have. But the spider did grab onto the broom I was using to pick it up. Scared the crap out of me. I thought it was going to crawl up the broom and eat me =P (it was about 1.5 inches in diameter, legs extended so decently sized)
Where are your companions from? I don't think you've said anything about that.
My Comp, Elder Hayes, is from Arizona (near Phoenix). E. Toomer, is from Utah, and Elder Sefatsa is from near Jo-burg South Africa.
What's the spiciest food you've had there?
When I made Chicken curry the first time. Apparently, the people here like spicy food about as much as most of my family. It sucks. For sure, when I get married, my wife and all my kids will be cultured into LOVING spicy food, so I don't have to make food as mild as milk water when I cook for them =P. (plus, then I can make out with my wife after eating at subway, you know, where I have them load literally a pound or so of Jalapenos on my sandwich as well as spicy sauce etc. . .)

Th-Th-Th-Th-That's all Folks!
If you have any questions you would like answered, feel free to ask them, (otherwise they probably won't be addressed.)
~Elder Taggart Williams

Remember: Pray always, and look to the Lord. Write often, and live life to it's fullest.

Doubt is the seed of failure. ~Taggart Williams

Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. ~God (D+C 6:36)

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.


yup, it's that big. (and they get bigger. According to wikipedia, as large as 2kgs, or 4.4lbs)

photos of lizards and baptisms

answers. Dec. 19.

I have recently tried the herbal tea here (rooibose) and it is actually pretty good, but I would love a bit of peppermint tea! *hint hint* It is great to hear about the family, and I don't envy you having Chris' kids over for a whole day. I love you all so much
~Elder Williams 

Monday, December 12, 2011


photos dec. 12

dec. 12 what happens if you see a snake

Family and friends,
Holy Crap I'm Alive! I mean, uhhh, greetings from Zimbabwe! (reference anyone? anyone? Nathan? NTAS if you are wondering. . .)

This last week has been mostly average, so this email will be largely the questions, as well as the experience where I ALMOST STEPPED ON A PUFF ADDER!
that's right, last night my companion, Elder Hayes, and I were walking to our last appointment. It was getting dark, and we were walking in time. All of a sudden, *hiss* We jumped back, and right where I was about to step was a baby puff adder (identified by my comp). It was about a foot long, and it's bite is highly venomous (according to my comp, a baby is even worse if it bites because it can't yet control the amount of venom it secretes with it's bites). Puff Adders kill more people a year in Zimbabwe than any other snake. It was a blessing from the Lord that it hissed when it did. As it was though, my comp was the only one who could have been bitten, and the snake would have had a difficult time striking him while being crushed by my foot (as would have happened if it hadn't hissed). If it had tried to bite me, it would have gotten the sole of my shoe, and then its body would have been flattened. I have attached a picture.
My comp didn't want to kill it, (people here stone snakes when they are on roads) so we got a long (don't worry, it was about 3 feet) stick and moved it carefully and safely off of the road AAAND into the ravine (again, reference? *cough* *marshmallow people*).

Last Sunday, we were trying to find people to pick up for church. We found an investigator we haven't seen in a while (he has been out of town). And his father (who we see most every day in that area) had had a stroke on friday. He was presently bed-ridden. We offered a blessing, and we saw him again on tuesday, back to normal, at his post out front. It was great to see! That's right, power of the priesthood there. Four days for a grandpa to recover from a stroke.

We have had many opportunities to give blessings these last few days, and it is always good to be able to help others. We have quite a few people who are ready to be baptized, so hopefully they will be ready for it this Saturday, but the Baptism I am most excited for is the one I only heard about. My cousin Connor was just baptized! I am so proud of him, and I know he is going to make an awesome cub scout!

to append my list of things I want, I would add:
Black forest Gummy Worms, and butterfingers/snickers
=P gotta have mah sweets!

Questions asked asked:
   I was interested to see your list of things you are wanting.
I see you also have a sweet tooth.  That also is a family thing.
Do they not have many sweets there or is it just a different kind?
     Are the people there very vocal in their worship? In North
Carolina the Black people were very enthusiastic when praying
and they would call out "Amen",   " Hallelujah " , "Praise the Lord", etc right while we were praying, which was a little disconcerting . We were almost reluctant to invite them to
Church until we had given them a crash course in proper
LDS  prayer.
Beautiful music is so much a part of the Christmas season and
no doubt you are learning to appreciate good music since you
can't listen to the other kind right now (Ha Ha) Do you have a
cassette player and do you have adequate CD's to listen to?
     Another do you take a shower? Is that little
butane burner all you have for a cookstove?  Do you have an
iron or is everything just drip and dry? Are you in an apartment
or in your own little house?  Do you sleep on regular beds?
 How did the chicken curry turn out?  dad made curry beef stew tonight and mmmm just hit the spot for my sick body.  What have you been studying lately?  Any ah ha moments?

-The sweets here are not very good, and are generally just solid, untasty sugar stuff. Not the nice tasting sugar/gummy stuff we have in the US. I honestly eat no sweets here, so it is nice to have a little chocolate or gummy-ness to eat every now and again.
-The people here are similar to that, when it comes to praying, but not as much. You can always tell someone who is either Matzi baba or Ex-Matzi baba because while praying, (only the men pray) they wave their hands up and down alot. Afterwards, everyone claps as well. As far as yelling halleluiah, not as common, but singing is very popular here. The people love their songs. It is nice as we are walking because we can always hear the Matzi babas singing, beating drums etc in what is considered traditional African tribal music. The reason I say so much about Matzi-babas is because they always worship outside and on mountains, and these are very prevalent in the very hilly region of Sakubva (mostly the outskirts, where we travel between areas by usually).
-Music is one thing I love so much, and really miss having my music to hear, but it isn't that bad. I am working on memorizing more hymns, and that is going well. One of our invesitigators who is making such great strides (Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity etc.) apparently plays piano well. Hopefully after he is baptized he can become the branch pianist. (We always sing A-Capella, and slightly off-key =P I guess these guys didn't have choir class all through school like we do. . .) As for me personally, I have a cd-player and some good CDs. However, for some reason, the batteries I brought from the US (all new and unused) died quickly. I don't know why, but one pair didn't even last more than 2 hours of use. I will try the batteries made here, but my comp says they don't work well. It makes you appreciate something so common as an ipod!
-The butane stove is only for when we don't have power; some nights, we have it starting at 7ish, others not until 10pm. It is inconsistent, and sometimes we have power go on and off all night. For a shower, we have a normal shower head, in one of the bathrooms, so showering is nice and easy.
-We have a flat for 4 missionaries, and we hand wash all of our clothes. It is drip dry, and we have an iron (which I never have to use, because my wrinkle free clothes stay surprisingly wrinkle free. . . it is way nice). Our beds are normal type, though not quite a tempurpedic mattress. My tempurpedic pillow, however, is heavenly. I brought my pillow and blanket from home, and it was the best decision after going on a mission.  =P good stuff, eh?
-I have made chicken curry twice now, and it was delicious both times. The first time I used only hot curry powder, and the other two elders in the flat said it was way too hot (WHY? WHY? WHY?). So I had to make it less spicy the second time (using mild curry powder, which in comparison tasted not near as good, and mild enough to give to a baby still developing in the womb). I must honestly say, when I get married, if my wife doesn't like spicy food, I will help her learn to love spicy food.
-No super A-ha moments, but I have recently been studying the Books of 1/2 Nephi, Daniel, Isaiah, and Jesus the Christ. I will soon be studying also the books of revelations, Job, and a few others. I love it all, and it is great to read about others who have lots of Dreams. In a blessing I had in the MTC, I was told that I would be led by the spirit as Nephi of old, and I am seeing this much already.

I love you all, and think of you often. I will be calling home on Christmas, so I will be able to talk to some of you.
love always,
~Elder Taggart Selar Williams

Remember: Pray always, and look to the Lord. Write often, and live life to it's fullest.

Doubt is the seed of failure. ~Taggart Williams

Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. ~God (D+C 6:36)

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dec. 5 list of needs/wants and Taggart's e-mail to share.

Hello family and friends!
I regret to inform you all that you aren't sending me much to read! I mean, really. I have like 6 books I can read out here, my only dynamic reading material is these emails, and I only get like 3 pages worth! Have no fear, I am not in danger of getting trunky (wanting to pack my bags and head home); I know this is where I need to be, and it is for sure where I want to be right now (I mean, for crying out loud, I am in AFRICA!!!!). So please, tell me what's up in your lives. I know it will benefit you to reflect back on the week and talk at least a little about it, and I so LOVE hearing from you. Yes, even YOU. So just take 15 minutes; I know at least half of you are going to waste more than 15 minutes a day doing something at least somewhat menial and pointless, so take one of those blocks of time and write me a little bit. I have more questions to answer now, but less material to read, so write me please. =P

This week has been fairly slow. People we thought were ready to be baptized are not wanting to even go to church (again, we have people avoiding us when we say we are going to pick them up). It almost seems worthless to go the 30 minutes into our area to get them. But there are a few that are making good progress and will hopefully have the real desire to be baptized. Christmas is coming up, and I will get to call home. I am not sure how the event will work out, but it is doubtless going to be a fun event here in the mission if for no other reason (That is, if the present plan is approved); but regardless of any shortcomings, this holiday season is going to be a good one (we are even having a baptism on my birthday, oh joy!).

I have come to a nice realization, which has come to help in the last day, and I am certain will continue to be beneficial. I would council you all to try and learn from this: Life works best when we pray before we need help, with literally everything. (Novel idea, I know. Something that makes sense, but if you want to pretend that you do it for everything, go ahead. I know I don't) If we ask for something to happen before we see whether or not it turned out how we want it, and even before we begin the task, I promise that things will work out better. Even if something is a sure thing, don't be so prideful as to not ask for God's help because it is a 'sure thing'. Yesterday, as we were walking around picking people up, (I had this happen 3 times yesterday) I prayed to be led by the spirit to where we needed to go. In one instance, we found an investigator we didn't know was back in town, who we hadn't seen in 3 weeks. His father had had a stroke on friday, and we were able to give him a blessing, and set up a return appointment. On another occasion, we finally came into contact with an investigator who has been avoiding us, and we were able to figure out what was going on. The third instance, we were trying to get another lesson for the day, and I was led (literally) to an area we hadn't been to, right to a house I hadn't ever seen before. We invited the woman inside to have a lesson, and taught, as I was directed, the Plan of Salvation. As it turns out she has a 2 week old baby who had just gone to sleep (the baby never woke up during the lesson so we were uninterrupted), and the mom seemed very interested in what were were teaching and desirous to work towards being baptized. I hope she keeps up this desire, and that she can make these covenants with God. 

Questions Asked: 
How do they celebrate Christmas in Zimbabwe? Probably not
with Christmas trees.  Are most people there Christian? Do they
belong to a church or what other religions are represented there?
 Do they celebrate Christmas there?  Is it something done in the whole town or just in individual homes?
What has shocked you the most about the people, land, etc.?
What is your favorite thing about the people?
Is Christmas a big deal to them?
What holidays do you know of that they do that we don't?

Christmas hasn't hit yet, and the only prep I see is things everywhere that say "Christmas" and such. I don't know how it is they celebrate, but there are no Evergreen trees here so I can guarantee that they don't use them. This area is largely Christian, and here in Mutare (you guys should Google map it in satellite view, I live in Chikanga, and work in Sakubva) there is a sect called Matzi Baba which has many different congregations each with many many prophets (definite fulfillment of prophesies of false prophets).

There are no Pedestrian rights here in Zim, and they drive on the left side of the road. People think white skin means you are stupid (I have had people try to sell me a single potato for $1!!!). There are a large amount of trees in some areas, and almost none in others (I mean in living areas to be specific.) My favorite thing about the people is their family feel in the community. I know of no existing holidays which would be different than what there is in the US, but they don't do thanksgiving as a specific holiday.
A full and unabridged list of things I am currently in want of, and in no limited supply (except for certain items which will be quite obvious: no I don't need 13 potato peelers)
(They don't have these things here for some reason =/)
Potato peeler
York Peppermint patties
Oatmeal Creme Pies
Stephen's Hot chocolate (Mint Truffle)
Peppermint tea (ahhh yea!)
Various other sweets which are delightsome to the taste
Marshmallows (just a single large bag will be sufficient)

thanks all, love you tons!
~Elder Williams

for any who for some reason don't have my email address, it is:
If you want to send a letter, there are instructions that my sister posted on Facebook.
Remember: Pray always, and look to the Lord. Write often, and live life to it's fullest.

Doubt is the seed of failure. ~Taggart Williams

Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. ~God (D+C 6:36)

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.