Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Email day!!!!

Steven says that they are learning at the MTC at an accellerated pace.  It is awesome!  Elder Bednar came and spoke to them the other evening and he gave out over 200 phones to all the missionaries.  He said, "I know what you are thinking!  Don't you DARE call home!"  They were given to the missionaries so they could text him questions that they wanted him to answer.  How awesome is that!?  Technology shared by an Apostle of The Lord!  Steven said that it was awesome to be taught by an Apostle.  

Most of the elders in Steven's district have gotten the flu bug that is going around at the MTC.  Luckily he hasn't.  Steven is a hand washer and I am sure that is helping him not get the illness!

Here is a photo of his district he sent.  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Provo Temple

It is COLD and snowy in Provo, Utah.  Williams Choro (Elder Williams) loves it!  He and his companions got to go and walk around the temple grounds on their p-day.  The temple is closed until January 6....so he is excited that it will open before he leaves for Japan so he can attend a session in it.  He says that he is ready to go to Japan!  The "food is starting to repeat itself here at the MTC". He says that he loves the crinkle cookies though because they remind him of home and when we make them. That is the Williams in him!  It's all about the food! ;) He will be heading to Japan in no time!  He is sending home a video of him sharing his testimony in Japanese.  I know it will make me cry!  Happy tears!

Merry Christmas from the MTC!

Here is a photo of Steven's district in the MTC.  The elder behind Steven to his right is his companion, Elder Moulton.....from Texas.  Steven says that he is very respectful and kind and feels humbled to be his companion.  What more could a mother ask for?!  One of Steven's teachers in the MTC sent us an email and included this photo.  She says that he is doing a great job learning the language and tries to do better every day.  She shares that he is a great example to all those around him.  She is grateful to us for sending our son on a mission.  

Christmas was a difficult day for Steven, but I am sure he kept busy and enjoyed the visit from General Authorities.  He did not get to call home due to the number of missionaries in the MTC.....over 2,000!  They each got 20 minutes to email home throughout the day.  Steven took the time of 5:30 am (Provo time).  That is 4:30 am here....so needless to say we were not able to email back to him.  We did email back and forth on Tuesday though....his p- day.....until Jan. 3, then Thursday becomes his p-day.  It is great to feel of his spirit and feel his testimony growing each day!  

Steven shared that the two shirts that turned pink in the wash were cleansed miraculously.  When he got up the next morning he noticed that they were both white again???  Prayers are answered!

In the Doctrine and Covenants 4:3 we read....Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work.

I found this...."We all owe a debt of gratitude to the missionaries that brought the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to someone in our family tree.  The desire to serve God is for past, present, and future missionaries, who are willing to wear the badge that identifies them as a defender of the faith.  Truth is treasured in this quote: In this family we serve missions."

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Notice....no sister missionaries in this district!  Steven says that they are bummed about that....but are getting along just fine.  Also, no elders from Utah in this district. They say that that is a first!  The elder to Steven's left, just in front of him is Elder Bills from Idaho.  He shares a room with Steven and Elder Moulton and the elder behind Steven on his left is Elder Schuh and he is from Brazil. He is Elder Bills comp.  Steven shares that they all get along great!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Email is awesome!

We were able to receive email from Steven this last Tuesday.  It is his preparation day on Tuesdays.  He says that he is having an "awesome" time in the M.T.C. He uses a lot of Japanese words in his emails and sometimes it is hard to understand, but he says that they have totally immersed him in the language and it is making it so much easier for him to learn.  On his first day the teachers spoke to all the missionaries in Japanese.  He said that they spoke so fast it was hard to keep up with them.  He loved it though.  He and his companion (doryo) are teaching an investigator (kyodosha) in Japanese (nihongo).  He loves it!  I was so afraid that he would be so home sick, but he is being kept so busy that he doesn't have time to think of being sick.  The very last thing I told him when he left my arms at the M.T.C. was "Get to work and love it!"  He is doing just that!  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The elder who helped Steven and a small glimpse of the missionaries on the curb.

Elder Williams at the Mission Training Center

Watch out MTC! Elder Williams is here!

Well, today was the day that no mother is ever prepared for!  Elder Williams entered the MTC.  I pondered on the story of Hannah in the Old Testament.  How she prayed and prayed for a son.  She was blessed with Samuel and had promised to give him to The Lord, to serve Him all the days of his life.  After Samuel was weaned, Hannah courageously and with great faith took her only son to the temple and handed him to Eli to serve The Lord.  She only saw him once a year.  I thought how difficult that must have been for Hannah!  But!  The great blessings she received while Samuel was in the service of The Lord!  She had many more children.  She had great joy and praised The Lord.  Hannah is my hero!

When we pulled up to the MTC yesterday there were no less than 200 elders and sisters lined up along the sidewalk.  They had special tags on that said HOST.  As cars pulled up to the curb an elder (or sister) would walk up to the car with smiles, faith, excitement and love to great the new arrival.  It was amazing!  I began to bawl at that sight.  The elder who greeted Steven told us he was going to Finland.   He could tell I was struggling to keep my composure and took the camera out of my hand and said, "Let me take some pictures for you!"  As you can see in the picture, I didn't want to let go of Steven AND I was crying!  He then collected Steven's luggage and I hugged Steven.  The elder came over and said, "Mom, he is going to love it here.  He will be an awesome missionary!"  I began to cry hysterically.  He and Steven walked down the sidewalk to enter the MTC and the elder turned to wave good bye and told Steven to do the same.  Steven had a great big smile as he waved. We pulled away and I cried and cried.  I cannot wait until his first email or letter!  I am not counting the days.....but I have been able to mark off two days on the calendar so far!!!  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Salt Lake City

Here we are spending a couple of days as a family in Salt Lake City.  It is beautiful.  It has been snowing and with Temple Square all lit up for Christmas it is lovely.  We have met so many missionaries all around the city.  They have shared stories and experiences with Steven and how their missions are wonderful.  It calms my heart.  They all welcome him to the work and have helped him to feel accepted and loved already.  It is awesome.  

Tomorrow he reports to the MTC at 1 pm.  We are stopping to visit with Sister McKnight for a bit before he enters.  She lives 15 minutes from the MTC.  He is excited to see her.

Steven and Steve went through a session in the Salt Lake Temple today while Sheri and I shopped and shopped.  This new mall here in SLC is awesome!

Elder Williams is ready to serve!  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Here it is!

Today we head out for Utah!  Last night Steven was set apart by President Merrill.  It was very special.  We had an open house for Steven on Friday.  It was nice.  It started to snow and when people started showing up, the power went out.  It was fun to sit in the candle lite and visit.  Thank you to all family and friends who show love and support to our family!  It makes it so much easier to send him out into the world!

As a mom I am feeling quite emotional.  Although, I have to say that this last week I have felt a lot of peace.  I know this is the right thing and my little boy will be kept safe.  President Merrill asked Steven to share with our family what serving a mission means to him.  It was very humbling to hear my son share the feelings of his heart.  Words cannot be spoken that could help one understand the spirit and testimony that was in that room last night.  All were in tears.....even Sheri!  All I can share is that Elder Williams is ready to serve and love the children of God in Japan!

The snow was very special to Steven.  He has been praying that it would snow before he left.  He shared that he felt Grandma Fox telling him that all was going to be ok and that she was very proud of him when it started to snow.  When we took Grandma back to Plymouth, Utah for burial....it snowed.  When we had her funeral here in Grass Valley it began to freakishly snow just before the funeral and stopped after it was over.  Then the snow came the day before Steven was to leave for his adventure!  Grandma Fox loved the snow and would watch Steven and Sheri play in it for hours.  She would even sometimes pray for a little snow.  It reminded her of her home growing up in Plymouth.  Snow is a bit of heaven for the Williams family.  

Life is good!  Farewell, Elder Williams.  Our two years has begun and what a wonderful two years it will be!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Steven after he received his endowments at the Sacramento Temple. November 16, 2013

Time has flown!

Today was Steven's last Sunday home.  He is excited, a little nervous, but ready.  The missionaries came over last night and gave him great advise and shared their testimonies with him.  It comforted him and ME! Saturday evening he will be set apart as a missionary.   

Life has been absolutely crazy in our family. Steve's mother, Coleen passed away 2 weeks ago.  Steve tore his rotator cuff and bicep and will be having surgery as soon as we get home from Utah.  He can no longer do the paper route, so after 10 years of waking at 3 am we will be retiring and actually get some sleep!  With all the craziness, we sit down  as a family and count our blessings.  We do indeed see the hand of The Lord directing our lives and blessing us with blessings unimaginable.  How greatful we are for the gospel in our lives! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

One month left!

One month from today Steven will be in the MTC!  Everything is done, purchased, talks given, ordered, copied, completed and ready to go.  Well, one thing left.....attending the temple this Saturday.  What a wonderful day that will be!  

I read an email today that all missionaries in the Phillipines are accounted for and safe!  I began to sob. How grateful I am that our Heavenly Father watches over His servants!  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Steven's Mission President


Kazuhiko and Tazuki Tashiro Yamashita 
The Mission President in the Japan Nagoya Mission is Kazuhiko Yamashita, 59, and Tazuko Tashiro Yamashita, six children, Tokyo 1st Ward, Tokyo Japan South Stake (English).

Elder Yamashita serves in the First Quorum of the Seventy and as a member of the Asia North Area Presidency. He is a former Area Seventy, counselor in a mission presidency, stake president, stake mission president, high councilor, and bishop. Retired university professor. Born in Tokyo, Japan, to Kiyoshi Yamashita and Sadae Nakazawa.

Sister Yamashita is a former stake Relief Society and Primary president, ward Primary president, counselor in a ward Relief Society presidency, welfare Church-service missionary, and stake missionary. Born in Miyazaki, Japan, to Kazuo Hazeyama and Aki Tasharo 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Well, "Go!" isn't here yet.  Some days we cannot believe how fast time is going, then others it seems to be going so slow.  I enjoy every minute though.  I posted a photo of the back of our van.  We have had so many write congratulations on it, honk and give thumbs up, yell congratulations.  It is amazing!  Steven has had countless opportunities to share where he is going and why.  Many in our little town know us one way or another and we cannot go anywhere and not have someone ask about his mission.  The tire place, the Dollar Store, Raleys, the gas station, the library...that was who we talked to about it just yesterday.  Today it has been CORE Placer, the foot doctor, and a lady at Grocery Outlet. It is cool though.  I told Steven to keep track in his journal!  It will be good practice when he has to fill out his reports every day on his mission!

He is all healed from his surgeries and now working on getting his legs ready for a lot of bike riding.  

It is Sheri's birthday today and he keeps reminding her that he won't be here for her next birthday, or the next!  She just tells him....that's ok.  I get your bedroom!  I don't know what she means by that, but it quieted him down.  They will miss teasing each other a lot!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wisdom gone....

Steven got his wisdom teeth removed on Friday.  Steve took a video of how he was when he came to. I chose NOT to share it.  I explained to the nurse that usually Steven is quite reserved!  We all had a good laugh.  He is doing well.  He is allergic to many pain medications  and the one he was prescribed was no different, so he is handling the pain with just Tylenol.  He is a trooper!  He looks forward to sleeping in his own bed tonight.  He has had to be propped up on the couch the last couple of nights and didn't sleep very well.  He is all fixed up to head on his mission now!  He is grateful this week is over with.  Next week he has his interviews to finish up his Eagle project.  We aren't sure if there will be time for him to actually be presented with it before his mission, but hope so.  He has been very busy the last 4 weeks!  Tomorrow is only 1 month since he got his call and it feels like 6 months!!  Today our family just all relaxed.  He is recuperating, Sheri and mom have the flu and Steve is getting caught up on some much needed sleep!  It was nice to take time for our family to heal!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Steven's toes are ready to serve!

Steven had his toes worked on today.  They are ready now for all the walking and bike riding he will be doing.  Well,  in a few days they will be ready. He says they are quite tender right now.  Friday is the big day to have his wisdom teeth removed!  Friday is the last thing to get done. 

 We are learning so many new things. He was instructed to go on to Family Search and create and print his fan chart to bring on his mission.  If you haven't done that for yourself yet, you need to.  It is awesome.

Here is a tame picture of his toes.  Dad took pictures as the doctor was doing the procedures.  I didn't think they would be very good to include! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Post from Mission President

Today, once again, was an exciting day for Steven.  He got a letter from President Kazuhiko Yamashita, his Mission President. Yes, you will recognize him from General Confernce! He told him a lot about Japan and that Mt. Fuji and Nagano are in his mission boundaries.  Also that Steven's mission will be a biking mission, so he will need to purchase a bike once he arrives in Japan.  They said....DO NOT purchase a bike used from a previous missionary. Purchase a new one!  Also, that the bike shops will want to sell you a bike that is too small, so be sure to get the right size so you don't injure your legs or knees.  He explained that they want to sell M bikes, but many need L or XL, so don't hesitate to say no and get a larger one.  So....Steven is trying to learn in Japanese "No.  I need a bike that is bigger". It was awesome to see the postmark "Japon" (yes, Japon) on his letter and to see the Japanese writing on the inside.  It is wonderful!

We checked the map....if Steven gets to attend the Tokyo Temple, he will go right past the Nagano Alps and past Mt. Fuji!  I look forward to some awesome pictures.  My father was a career navy man and he spent time in Japan.  He said it was the most beautiful place on earth and had always hoped to take his family there.  I look forward to Steven seeing Japan through his grandfather's eyes as he reflects on those things that brought joy to my father when he was there.  We are working hard to save, save so when it is time for Steven to come home we can go to Japan to greet him.  We are all so excited about the service Steven will be doing.  One of the questions that his mission president asked him was, "Why do you want to serve a mission"?  Steven turned to me and said that that was hard for him to answer because there aren't words that can describe how he feels about serving.  I told him to listen to his heart.  He said, "I want to serve because I am so grateful every minute of the day for all the wonderful blessings my Heavenly Father gives me.  Serving is one very small way I feel I can just begin to thank Him for all He and His Son, Jesus Christ, has done and continues to do for me".

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Almost ready to travel!

Well, Steven is all current on his vaccines as of today.  He also received his passport in the mail.  Next is his Visa.  This is all new to us, so every time he gets something in the mail we get excited all over again.  Next week he has his "surgeries"..... He isn't excited about that at all though.  But they will be over and no more infected ingrown toenails and no more wisdom teeth!  Hang in there, Steven!  It is so amazing to me how every little thing that needs to be done before he leaves has been so easy and completed so quickly.  It is also wonderful to share all of this excitement with others.  We were in the UPS Store the other morning getting pictures taken for his Visa.  The lady who helped us a week earlier with his passport photos walked in.  She stopped and looked at us and said, "This is so odd!  I was just thinking about you and what you are going to be doing in Japan."  We had a little chat and the workers there are so excited for Steven.  I look forward to mailing his packages from there and keeping them posted on his mission!  We met another lady today who gave him his last vaccine and she was so interested about his going to Japan.  We have the words "Steven Williams Jr has been called to the Japan Nagoya Mission!" on the back window of our van.  When we travel anywhere we have to watch our behavior when people honk at us!  We have had so many honk and give us a thumbs up.  On the freeway in Sacramento the other day we kept wondering why the car next to us was honking!  We looked over and they were all smiles and thumbs up.  It is awesome!  Life is wonderful when you have a child preparing to serve a mission!  There are so many fun and exciting adventures!!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

It is here today!!

At about 5 pm this evening Steven went out to get the mail.  Our mailman was about 4 hours late today.  All of a sudden I heard a loud scream and "My call is here!!"  I think Steven flew across the street to get into the house!  We all gathered together in the living room and he anxiously opened the letter.  He read the first couple of lines, then broke down as he read....Japan Nagoya Mission.  He continued to read the entire letter.  Steven has been praying just to be called, but in his heart he has wanted to serve in Japan.  He will report to the MTC in Provo on December 11, 2013. I figure, one Christmas in the MTC, one Christmas in Japan, then the next Christmas at home!  I can handle that!  We are so proud of him.  He is so excited and ready to serve.  What a great example he is to me.  Next week will be full of haircut, passport, flu shot....  Steven keeps saying, "This feels so surreal". This is what he has been waiting for all of his life!  It is here.  Where has all the time gone?  But it is wonderful and he is ready and mom is happy.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Maybe today?

We are still awaiting Steven's call. Should be here this week! It is a great lesson in patience for him!  He keeps asking if we can't call the post office and tell them to hurry up the mail.  ;). It will come!  As I contemplate his service I would share with him what M. Russell Ballard has said, "Ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His children. Go throughout the day with your heart full of faith and love. stay focused. Your spiritual sensitivities will be enlarged and you will discover opportunities to serve that you never before realized were possible. The Spirit will guide you, and you will be able to discern those in need of a particular service that only you may be able to give."  

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Steven received an email from the Missionary Department.  His missionary number is 410,974.  That number may mean absolutely nothing to anyone else in the world, but to Steven it is a very special number!  He had it memorized as soon as he read it. 

 He is lifting weights, running, and bicycling to be prepared for his mission.  He is a motivation to the whole family!  Today I watched him walk down the sidewalk at church and I felt the thrill of being a missionary mom.  It is a great feeling.  The gospel is true.  I am so grateful that we have children who want to serve their Heavenly Father and strive each day to be more like Him and His Son, Jesus Christ.  For Family Home Evenings (a night set aside for families to be together and learn about the gospel and have fun together) we are enjoying Steven and Sheri teaching missionary discussions to us.  We usually end up laughing hysterically for one reason or another, but it is great to watch them share their testimonies with us in their own ways.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Answer the phone!

This morning I was doing house work and the phone rang.  I really didn't want to answer it because I was in the middle of something, but I felt, "Answer the phone now."  So I picked it up.  I heard, "This is Dr. Heron (sp?).  I am the doctor for the MTC.  I am calling in regards to Steven.  I said, "This is his mom!"  Then we preceded to talk about a health issue of Steven's.  I explained that it was all taken care of and he told me that he was so happy to hear that.  He told me that he would send Steven's papers right to the First Presidency at that moment.  Isn't technology amazing!! He said, "Congratulations, mom.  Your son will receive his mission call any day."  I ran outside, as Steven was out cutting down some trees for me. I told Steven who I had just talked to and what was said and he hooted and hollered. It is all beginning to feel real!  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Still waiting....

Steven received word today that his call should be here by the end of August!  He is thrilled. As he is waiting he loves to play with our Malamute, Mattie.  She loves him so much.  We got her two years ago.  She was raised with pugs, so she thinks she is a small dog. She will not jump over a fence that is 2 feet tall because she thinks she is too small....even though she could just walk over it.  She has a hard time jumping out of the van because she thinks it is such a far drop.  It is sometimes hilarious.  On very rare occasions she gets to come inside and will jump right up on Sheri's lap, just like a little dog, not realizing she is crushing Sheri!  To her, Steven is her big toy.  She sees him and she comes running ready to play!  She is only 125 pounds and stands 6' tall.  Every day Steven comes in from playing with her and says, "I sure am going to miss her."  I think she will miss him more!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

You may notice that if you forget to key in the jr after stevenwilliams or if you use another search engine than Google, you come up with someone other than our missionary to be!  It is Steve Williams, AKA Dr. Death.  He is a wrestler from years back.  We were laughing about that and Steven was a bit concerned that that definition would come up under his name.  I think at first he thought it was a little cool though! :)  We decided that Steven could be the opposite....Dr. Life....After all, he will be sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He will be sharing about eternal life and families being together forever!  Also, if you don't already know of his plans for his future, after his mission he plans on studying to be a heart surgeon.  That is indeed synonymous with LIFE!  I am reading the book "House of Learning" by M. Richard and Kathleen H. Walker. In it they quote Elder Gerald Lund...."the condition of our hearts directly affects our sensitivity to spiritual things. Let us make it a part of our everyday striving to open our hearts to the Spirit. Since we are the guardians of our hearts, we can choose to do so".  Steven is a great example of that, opening his heart to the Spirit.  There was some misunderstanding and he was told that his papers could not be sent in until his 18th birthday, Nov. 8.  He said that when he was told that he wanted to cry.  He had planned for this time....120 days before his birthday to submit his papers since the announcement in General Conference last October.  But, he said that after he sat there for a minute the Spirit touched him and he knew that he would be serving a mission and that it was in the Lord's hands and only He knew when and where he needed to be called.  So, he felt peace after the initial shock.  But, it has all been resolved and his papers have been submitted.  May we open our hearts and allow them to be touched by the precious things of life, even by the Spirit!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Papers on the way!!

Steven's papers are on their way!  He had to change his availability date to November 26 so there would be time for him to be ordained an Elder and receive his endowments.  He was excited about that because that is my and Steve's 30th wedding anniversary.  We may be spending our 30th in Provo, Utah!  We may know where he is called to very shortly!  Steven is on cloud nine!  Mom is weepy, but excited.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Steven is in with the Stake President right now. He is so happy and excited. I thought I would share the photo of him and Grandma Fox because he often stops in his tracks and says, " I sure wish Grandma was here to participate in all of this too."  I assure him that she is. She was so excited for him to choose to serve a mission. She didn't put up any Christmas decorations last year because she knew it would be Steven's last Christmas before he was gone. She didn't want to think about him being away. She said she would put her tree up in June and we would celebrate up till he left. Little did we know it would be her last Christmas with us too. We have put up a Christmas tree in honor and remembrance of Grandma Fox and it will be up until Steven returns home from his mission. Grandma is pleased and excited for Steven, I know. I am sure she is hoping he goes to Scotland!  :) 

Steven and Grandma Fox in front of the Salt Lake Temple

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Today is just a regular day....cleaning house, doing laundry, etc.  Steven is very excited to see the Stake President on Sunday afternoon.  His papers are all complete, ready to go.  Last night we went and saw Pacific Rim.  Steven said, "Hey, if I am called to Tokyo, maybe I will see some of those buildings!"  Tokyo!?!  That seems so very far away.  He has the "I'll go where you want me to go" attitude though.  It's great!

Love you Steven! and Sheri, too!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Well, here we are!  Just days before Steven turns in his mission papers to the Stake President.  He is so very excited!  He asked the other day if it was o.k. for him to pray that his papers come back in a week.  I told him that he could, but that mom might not.  I am very excited for him, just very nervous to have him go out into the world.  His excitement is contagious though.  I see it in his smile every time he mentions his mission.

Today he was watching for the mailman.  He said, "O.k. mom.  The mailman shows up at 10:30.  I will be waiting by the window every day at 10:30 watching for him, then run out to get the mail".  He says that he will run in and open his call as soon as he gets it.  I told him, "Oh no you won't.  You need to call dad and wait for him to come home first."  He wasn't very excited about that.  He has a list of people he will be visiting, calling or emailing to tell them about his call.

I have been reflecting on his younger years as all of this excitement is unfolding.  What a wonderful little boy he was.  I remember sitting in his room with him while he played and watching how he took such great care in stacking his blocks, or racing his cars.  He was always very focused on what he was doing.  Then when his sister came along he focused on her and he always took great care of her.  Often at church, or at school he would be given a treat.  He would always ask for another for his sister.  If he couldn't get another, he would save HIS treat and give it to his sister when he got home.  To this day he still does that.  He came home from the trek the other day.  His sister had to come home early because of heat stroke.  As I walked into the living room he was taking out of his pocket a baggie of cookies.  He handed them to his sister and said, "I saved these for you."  He is a great big brother.  He is a great son.  Not a day has gone by that he hasn't told his sister that he loves her.  He also tells her often that she is a great little sister.  One day I hope Sheri realizes how much her big brother loves her.

Our exciting journey into "a son serving a mission" is beginning.  I am grateful for the Spirit touching our hearts knowing that this is the right thing.  There are so very many people that ask about Steven's mission.  We go to the grocery store and they ask if her has received his call, to the doctor, to school, to church, to Kuk Sool Won.  Everywhere we go we are asked about his mission.  What a great way to start....sharing the Gospel with everyone around you BEFORE you leave!

I love you, Steven.