Sunday, April 13, 2014

Week Forty Seven - "McKinney Madness"!

Buenos dias!
   Tom went on a date?!  Em set a date?!!  Y'all are still making bowls and plates?!!!  Dad's already fixed the fence?!!  Mom watched conference?!  Gosh I've got a great family : ) 
   Everything is just great here in McKinney.  We had a good, productive week topped off with 10 joyous hours of General Conference.  I am very happy to y'all watched and enjoyed as well.  I feel bad for those people that miss out on Conference.  Those men really did reveal to us the secrets of God!  Conference Sunday evening is always a sad time.  You look forward to Conference for so long, and then it finally comes, and it is gone before you know it!  I couldn't get enough of that stuff!  But I do look forward to being able to read and study and apply the words that will soon come in the Church magazines.  Thank you, Mom, for accepting and acting on my invitation and listening to Conference. 
   McKinney did in fact get hit by some crazy weather this week.  The worst of it hit the surrounding cities, but there was tornado warning alarms going off, as well as marble sized hail.  It was insane!  I had never seen anything like it!  It was fun, but my watch got wet and now only works off and on.  Are watches fixable from water damage?
   Tatiana, our golden investigator, amazed us once again this week.  We asked her to read a chapter in the Book of Mormon before we came back again.  When we came back, she had read the chapter three times and marked up nearly the entire chapter with a highlighter.  She came prepared with questions.  When we asked her if it would be too much for her to read two chapters in the Book of Mormon as well as a pamphlet before we came back again, she answered with a "claro que no!" (of course not!)  She is eager to learn and already believes the Book of Mormon is true!  There are only two problems: she works on Sundays, and because she is here with a visa and speaks no English, her options are very limited on where she can work.  She also returns home to Mexico in about a month.  I don't know how we are going to do it, but we are praying for a miracle!
   For the month of April, our zone is competing in what we call "McKinney Madness", where everyday of the month we are competing against someone else in the zone for the most contacts, most lessons, most service hours, or some other aspect of the work.  At the end of the month, we are seeded in a bracket according to our month long season record, and the winner gets a trip to the temple.  That probably doesn't make much sense, but it is lots of fun and gets everybody's competitive juices flowing.  The other day we competed against the Hermanas in our branch for "Line in the Water Time", which is the amount of hours you spend in the day outside, being a real missionary, doing missionary things like teaching, knocking, contacting, and serving.  You do not get line in the water time for studies, eating, time spent with members, or any other activities that take away from the productivity of the work.  Well, as always, the hermanas are good missionaries that always win stuff like this and seem to have better numbers than us.  So we were determined to beat them, and we knew that they were going to do their best to keep there line in the water as much of the day as possible to beat us.  At the end of the day, we had our line in the water for 12 hours.  I think a typical day in our mission is 7 or 8.  The hermanas had 10.5 hours.  However, we did not report our time at the end of the day to the Zone Leaders before they sent out the text message to announce the winners.  So the text message said that they won.  So we immediately called the zone leaders to clear that up, and they said good job, you outworked the hermanas.  So we took that as a win!  This morning, we received a text message from the zone leaders with the standings after week 1, and the hermanas were in first place with an undefeated record!  And we had one more loss than we should have!  "Bologna!" was the first thing that came to my mind.  We called the zone leaders to correct their mistake, and they said they gave the win to the hermanas because we didn't report numbers on time.  So Elder Malpartida and I are quite upset right now.  We play the hermanas twice more this month, and we are determined not only to beat them but CRUSH them!  We are trying to think of ways to sabotage them and keep them from doing missionary work.  Alright, maybe we wouldn't go that far, because that wouldn't be too Christlike.  But!  WE. WILL. BEAT. THE HERMANAS OF THE MCKINNEY 6 SPANISH BRANCH. 
I don't know how much of that made sense, but I explained it as best I could.         

-Don't worry about the toys.  I think we will be able to find enough at dollar stores when we need them.  Thanks for checking though.
-No packages or mail yet.  Elder Haskell told me I got a package back in Lakewood a while back from the Hintons I believe?  It was in the post office in Dallas, he asked them to forward it, and I never got it.  He went back to the post office to see if it was still their, and it wasn't it.  Just thought I would let ya know.  I don't know what can be done about that though. 
-We watched conference at the stake center.  Usually it's just missionaries in the church buildings for Conference, so I am guessing most members have the BYU channel or just watch it online.
-We did hear about President Durrant's new assignment.  He sent a text to everyone right before the Saturday afternoon session, telling us to pay special attention to the releasings and callings.  Nobody knew why, but we figured something important was going to happen!  So that is very exciting, and now I definitely have to go to lunch with him!  We have interviews coming up soon, so I was already planning on inviting him to lunch then. 
-All of my attire is holding up just fine.  I am determined to go my whole mission with only what I have now.  Members have been kind enough to sew shirts and pants for me when necessary, but that hasn't been too often.  All is well! 
That's all for this week.  Thank you for your help with the plan of salvation project.  I am excited to see how it turns out! 
Love and miss y'all.  Have a great week! 
Elder Williams

Week Forty Six - A New Car and a Homecoming!

The new Corolla!
My dear and precious family and friends,
I miss you!  I am so grateful for the love and support and prayers I receive from you all.  I could not do this without you!  A picture of Toby was exactly what I needed this morning.  Did you take a picture of the fallen tree?  That is loco!  Must have been a vicious storm. 
I had a very good week.  I got my first sunburn of the year!  We had a really cool storm the other night.  The lightning was lighting up the sky almost constantly with all of its flashes!  I had never seen anything quite like it.  I had wild hog for dinner one night.  We got a new car!  The Malibu reached it's mile limit, so the Church is going to sell it and they gave us a brand spankin' new 2014 Toyata Corolla.  I love the smell of a new car.  It's probably the nicest vehicle I have ever driven.  Maybe.  I mean, it's just a Corolla, but it is so new and runs so smoothly and even has a  back up camera!  I am too spoiled. 
   We went to the homecoming party for David Mondragon on Tuesday.  It was lots of fun!  It didn't make me trunky one bit!  He is a super nice kid, served a diligent mission, and is converted to the restored gospel.  It is neat to see the difference between him and his brother.  His brother is a year or two younger than him.  I don't know him too well, but he seems to be quite the punk, has a trashy girlfriend, he's a grouch, and wastes his time catching and torturing squirrels and rabbits.  Because I had never met David, I just imagined him to be like his brother, not a very focused missionary, and serving for the wrong reasons.  Boy was I wrong!  David is mature beyond his age, happy, kind and genuine, focused on the important things in life, and just has his purpose figured out.  Missions really can turn boys to MEN.  Many of his family members said they would consider joining the Church more seriously once he got home, so we are hoping he can help get them to the waters.  We are excited to work with him!
   We helped a random family move the other night.  It was late and dark, and they seemed to be in a rush.  They said they were moving to start over.  There plan was to just head South, not knowing where they are going to live yet, or how they are going to find work.  Gutsy!  They were obviously stressed and greatly appreciated our help.  We offered to say a prayer with them before we left.  The parents started crying during the prayer.  They expressed extreme gratitude.  We gave them our number and let them know how the Church can help them.  I will never see them again, but who knows where that can go.  Serving feels good. 
   One of our investigators right now is Tatiana Fierro.  She is in her late 20's, and living with her aunt, who is a member of the Church.  She is probably my most favorite investigator ever.  After coming to Church once, she told her aunt she would have to be an idiot to not be a Mormon.  She is always happy and laughing, very straight forward, enjoyable to be around, and best of all, she is smart.  She gets it.  We ask her the same questions we ask everybody that nobody ever gets, and she answers them with ease in a way as if she was telling us "pfff...that was a stupid question".  She reads and understands the Book of Mormon.  We never find people like that!  We have only had two lessons with her so far, because she works a lot, but she is getting great member support and progressing well.  I love it!
   Another one of our investigators right now is Elizabeth Gallegos, as well as her husband.  They are coming along well too.  They do their homework assignments that we leave them, and they enjoy having us over.  Elizabeth and her seven year-old son came to church yesterday for the first time, and they liked it!  The third hour lesson was about pornography, which isn't necessarily the best first time church lesson, and that worried me a little bit.  But she has young kids, so hopefully she found it helpful!  When she introduced herself to everyone, she expressed desires to come back, be accepted, and receive help in growing her faith.  BooYa! 
   We explained to Wally what General Conference was this week, and his response was:  "okay, so it's pretty much like the Super Bowl for Mormons?"  Exactly!  But Conference is even better than the super bowl!  And we get it not once but TWICE a year!  We then watched one of President Uchtdorf's talks from last conference with him.  Wally thought he looked like an ESPN sports broadcaster, but he enjoyed it and agreed with everything he said.  We haven't handed Wally over to the English elders yet, but we are hoping to introduce them to each other sometime this week, and we can all watch a session of Conference together. 
   I have never been more excited for General Conference in all my life.  For me, it has gone from 8 hours of sleeping on the couch to the highlight of the month!  I hope everyone will take advantage of the Mormon Super Bowl this coming weekend, and we can all have an uplifting, inspiring, edifying experience.  That we can be sensitive to the Spirit, hear what we need to hear, and have our testimonies strengthened by the words of prophets and apostles of God! 
Mother, I would like to lovingly invite you to watch at least one session of conference with your husband, and pray before that you will be able to hear something that you need to hear.  I promise that if you do so, you will gain something from it and not regret it.  Emilee, you are not off the hook.  I extend the same invitation to you.  Love you both!

-David only went to Houston I am guessing because of citizenship issues, or he is not yet legal.  It is common.  We have lots of Hispanic missionaries in our mission that lived in Houston or another part of Texas before coming here.
-Lately I have just been eating cereal.  Every once in a while, Elder Malpartida will cook up enough eggs and hot dog to share, but it's mostly cereal. 
-The stinky oils seem to be doing something.  It is not gone yet, but it is looking better.


Elder Williams