Many people say that their mission was the best (or the only) possible one for them. I am one of those people for two reasons: Guatemala and President Williams.
Everyone is going to say that the people in their mission were amazing, so I will spare you the irony (we often made fun of them and their backwards way of doing things, yet loving them and making life-long friends). I imagine no matter where I went I would have loved the people.
The reason I think Guat was perfect for me was because it struck the perfect balance of working hard and seeing success. If we worked hard we found people, taught them, sometimes baptized them, and sometimes saw them grow in their testimonies (primero Dios). A friend of mine in Chile baptized pretty much everyone they ran into, while friends in the States and Europe didn’t baptize anyone. I can see myself in Chile being a prideful prig and in France being so frustrated with lack of success that I wouldn’t have been motivated to go out every day. Guat was a perfect balance.
President Williams was only the second president of three year old Guatemala City Central mission. It was formed comprising parts of the Xela (Quetzaltenango) mission with parts of the Guatemala City North and Guatemala City South missions. In the 80′s the Xela mission had a lot of success. And when I say success I mean they were successful in baptizing huge groups of kids in swimming pools, successful in filling out baptismal forms with names from gravesites, and successful in getting girls pregnant.
The first president of our mission, President Morrill, did a fine job of beginning the cleaning up of the mess half our mission was in. It was President Williams’ job to continue and improve.
In our mission there wasn’t a tradition of over-zealous mission presidents who punished us if we got home late or slept during Spanish study (at a multi-zone conference where the area authority was telling us we shouldn’t take naps in the afternoon our president acted surprised because in his mission he always took naps in the afternoon…). This was good for me. I’m a pretty laid back kind of guy and I couldn’t have lived the MTC twice. President Williams lived more by the idea of teaching us correct doctrine (or outlines basic rules) and we governed ourselves. This, of course, backfired a few times with some bad missionaries, but was incredibly beneficial for those of us who prosper in that kind of environment (though from what I understand he became more and more strict after I had left due to too many chambón missionaries).
He had no hard-and-fast rules on music or movies. If we were good, hard-working missionaries he gave us more freedom. He praised us when we did well and made us want to change when we slacked. He was funny only when we were laughing at him, not with him, and he knew it. The man was a scientist, yet a concern for numbers was not apparent. He humbly followed his leaders. He loved missionary work. But I think that the most important thing he did was trust us. He was the perfect leader for me at that time in my life.