Sunday, February 2, 2014

Week Thirty Seven - Tender Mercies, Landon's Aunt and Feeling the Spirit!

David and Corrine Packard, the Stake President's wife and aunt of Landon Lambert!
Sunday night, I had an e-mail from Denae Lambert, David's best friends mother.  Her sister, Corrine, who lives in McKinney had run into David at church that morning and had sent her this picture!  Her husband is the stake president.  It's just a small world!  
Greetings family and friends! 
   What a week I had!  So much has changed so quickly and it just feels weird.  But change is good.  I've now got the change of scenery that I was ready for and I am excited to make the most of my time here in McKinney!  McKinney.  I don't know how to describe McKinney.  It's definitely not Lakewood, and it's definitely not Grand Prairie.  There are parts of it that are more country, especially out in Princeton, another city that we cover.  Parts of it are really spread out, parts of it are old and historic houses, parts of it are really new and modern. Down town kind of reminds me of main street, Park City.  There is a little bit of everything here!   It's big, and there is still a lot that I haven't seen yet.  People here are nice.  The Hispanics here seem to have more money, good stable jobs, and normal families.  I am hoping that means they are maybe more intelligent, easier to teach, and more dependable in setting up lessons and keeping their commitments.  We have a decent amount of investigators right now.  A few that I still haven't met, but nobody seems to be really close to baptism.  But that's okay, because right now I have the attitude that I am exactly who everybody needs right now, and I am the one that will spark that fire within them and help them get over that hump of doubt, worry, misunderstanding, and lack of desire. 
   I am serving in a Spanish branch that covers the whole stake boundaries, plus more I believe, and there were 25 or 30 members at church yesterday.  They are great!  Presidente Garcia asked us yesterday if our meal calendar was full, if we had food in our apartment, and if our shoes were holding up.  We get fed 5 times a week, members are willing and wanting to be involved in the work, they give us referrals, they love missionaries!  The branch practically revolves around missionary work.  I was asked to introduce myself and share a brief message/testimony in Sacrament Meeting yesterday.  Could have gone better, but could have gone worse.  It is weird being in an all Spanish church service again, but I could not complain one bit!  So yesterday, after church, we were standing in the hallway talking with the Spanish sister missionaries, and I saw a lady that kind of looked like Denae Lambert, and I knew that the Lambert's had family in the stake because I saw his cousins mission plaque, who is serving in Thailand right now.  So I saw this lady, but I wasn't sure enough to say anything to her.  But sure enough, she came up to us and said something.  Haha!  I think it's funny how long it took for me to cross paths with one of them.  No time at all! 
   Elder Malpartida is great.  He's hilarious.  I cant' think of the word I want to describe him.  He reminds me of a child.  His sense of humor is super super simple, he gets excited over the littlest things, he is easy to please and easy to make laugh.  He is very genuine and has a pure, innocent heart.  The other day I asked him how to say "sexy" in Spanish, and his answer was "Elder Malpartida".  I love him and I don't think we will have any problems getting along.  The only problem that I have with him is that he is the worst, loudest, most consistent snorer I have ever heard.  Every single night I have to yell "ELDER!!!" 6-10 times to wake him up, but it's no use.  He wakes up, very confused, and begins to snore again 20 seconds later.  So between that and sleeping in a new bed, new room, new house that has just thrown me off, I didn't sleep too well this past week.  I am going to try to find some earplugs today.  Any idea where I could do that?  
   We do service once a week here, and it is BINGO with 4 or 5 old people.  It is a blast.
   I had two experiences this week that I think are worth sharing.  The first one happened Saturday at Subway.  We went for lunch.  In front of us were two middle aged men that were brothers.  They ordered like 8 sandwiches, so they felt bad that we had to wait for that.  But we started talking with them, just small talk,  and it turns out that one used to work in the moving business and he loved moving Mormons because he got paid more money to move all of their food storage!  But it was just a nice, friendly talk that never got to a Gospel topic.  Any who, they left and I just went on with ordering my sandwich.  When I got to the cash register to pay, the worker lady told me that my sandwich was already paid for.  Whaaaa?!  Apparently the guy whispered to her to pay for ours with his card.  I was just amazed.  It made my whole day!  The guy was just doing a good deed to do a good deed; without me knowing, didn't give us the chance to thank him, and I probably never will!  I guess I'll just have to pay it forward.  I just love seeing tender mercies of the Lord like that.  You don't see enough of that in today's world.  There really are some good people out there! 
   The other experience happened last night.  We had a lesson with a lady from Honduras, and the Elders had taught her one lesson before I got to McKinney.  Elder Malpartida told me that she was Pentecostal, knew her Bible really well, and talked a lot.  That made me nervous, because I don't know my Bible well!  Nevertheless, we went in there, and talked a lot she did.  It was very frustrating and patience trying to listen to her for so long.  I amazed myself at how well I was able to counter and respond to what she said by using the Bible.  But after a minute, she started talking about fiestas and celebrations during the Biblical times for Jesus, the importance of getting to know and understanding the culture of Jesus Christ and those that lived during that time and in that part of the world, and she said that we all need to learn Hebrew so that we can truly understand the Bible.  It didn't take long for my brain to fry from trying to keep up with her Spanish, and it didn't take long for me to realize that she was talking about unimportant and irrelevant stuff, so I just stopped trying to keep up, and I just waited for her to stop talking so I could share a scripture.  The Spirit helped me to find and prompted me to share 3 Nephi 9:22.  I told her she was complicating things and simply needed to "come unto Christ as a little child", willing to follow Him, keep His commandments, and live His teachings.  She didn't' like that.  The lesson ended up being contentious at times, but the Spirit has never been so obvious in a lesson for me.  I have never felt the Spirit work through me so strongly.  It helped me find multiple scriptures, I bore testimony powerfully and confidently, simply and clearly, and although it was a tough lesson, I felt like I handled it as best I could with the help of the Spirit.  Did we leave with a baptismal date?  Absolutely not.  We actually left kind of on bad terms; we were both fighting for the last word, and after being there for 2 hours I just wanted to get out of there!  So we left her with a Book of Mormon with our names and number in it, told her to call us if she wants.  Many times as a missionary, the only thing you can do is leave them with the ball in their court, and let God do the rest.  But I left there feeling good and satisfied.  Working with the Spirit is fun!  It was a big testimony builder for me, as well as a confidence booster.  I was quite bold and I felt like I laid down the law.  It felt good.
   I have know idea if she will ever pick up that book, but I just want to share my love for the Gospel.  I love it and it really is that simple.  Of course, knowledge and understanding is a good thing, but sometimes it can get in the way.  Alma 37: 44-47 talks about the easiness of the way.  Mosiah 3:19 talks about becoming like a child, as well as many other verses.  God is perfect, fair, and simple.  He is not the author of confusion.  His plan favors US because he loves us that much.  I love the simplicity of the Gospel.  The Gospel gives me hope and helps me along the path to reaching my potential and becoming the man that God needs and expects me to be.  I owe it all to the Gospel.  I love sharing it and am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to do so. 

-We drive a Chevy Malibu I believe.
-Yes there is an Applebee's as well as probably just about anything else.  We cover a big area, so the chances are good.  We have a Golden Corral right next to our apartment....
-Today is miserably terribly bitterly chillingly cold!  The two days before that I needed not a jacket, and the two days before that were like today!  I don't get it. 
-My camera might be broken minorly.  Hopefully it is an easy fix, but I might be sending that home soon, along with some mission memorabilia.
-I could use some cheap, fresh and cleaning smelling candles.  Our apartment smells very strange. 
-I have a wart that has been driving me bonkers.  If you can get a hold of some good stuff to take care of it, that would be greatly appreciated. 
-If possible, I would like you to send me the printed talk called Perfection Pending, by Russel M. Nelson. 

I believe that is it.  Love and miss y'all more and more everyday!  Have a splantastifical week and come closer to the Savior while you're at it!  g2g.  Until next week!
Elder Williams


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