Sunday, May 11, 2014

Week Fifty One - Gladys Knight and Kicked Out of the Gas Station!

Hey Fam,

We had a good, busy week here that just flew by!  I'm not sick anymore.  The weather has been on the verge of almost too hot pretty much all week.  I start sweating just thinking about another summer in Texas!  I'm scared, but I will survive.  Elder Packham and I are getting along just fine, and we worked hard competing in the championship for McKinney Madness all week against las Hermanas in the branch.  Monday we got kicked out of a gas station parking lot for contacting so many people.  Elder Packham and I were quite proud to be able to write that in our journals that night.  The winner gets a trip to the temple, and second place gets to go to Top Golf for an afternoon.  It ended yesterday, but we still haven't heard who won yet.... They might make us wait until interviews on Friday to find out.  I would prefer a trip to the temple, but smacking some golf balls doesn't sound half bad either.  I'll let you know on Mother's day!  Not quite sure what the plan is for skype on Sunday yet.  We had a few members offer to have us over, so it will happen.  Don't worry. 
   The highlight of the week would have to be Saturday night.  I'm sure most people are aware that Gladys Knight is a member of the Church.  Some of you have probably heard about her and her SUV choir that have been touring the country for years.  Well, they came to Dallas this weekend!  And we got to go!!  And it was EPIC!!!  She has been set apart by somebody pretty high up there to be a missionary as she performs and shares her experience and testimony of the Church.  All missionaries and members were encouraged to bring nonmembers and investigators to the event.  Unfortunately, we had a hard time getting Hispanics to come to an English event with Gladys Knight.  "WHO?" was the response of every Hispanic we talked to.  So we took a soon-to-be-future-missionary-member with us. The music was incredible, there was good humor, and super spiritual.  But the most impressive part was her testimony.  Gladys Knight is a truly converted woman with a powerful and undeniable testimony.  She's probably the coolest chick in the church.  She's hilarious!  What she said about the Church was perfect for nonmembers to hear.  She even put a good word in for the missionaries!  She said we are cute, so neat with our white shirts and ties, and that it is nice to see some kids that actually wear their pants up where they are supposed to be.  She let everybody know that knocking doors is dangerous these days, which I don't think a lot of people realize or acknowledge or appreciate.  It was an unforgettable night, and I can only imagine the kind of missionary success that she has brought to the Church.  I have no doubt that their performance is inspired.  The Church is brilliant.  I love Gladys Knight!  
On top of the thrilling performance by Gladys and her choir, I got to see a bunch of my mission buddies!  Every single one of my old companions were there.  The mission is great.
   Other than that, we had a typical week full of hard work.  Not too much success as far as getting people close to baptism, but that will come.

-Yes I knew it was Elder Haskell's birthday.  When I saw him Saturday, he asked me if I knew what Sunday was, and I didn't know, and I didn't remember until he acted super upset that I didn't know.  He is a character.  He is constantly telling people that he would beat me up all the time, even though anybody that looks at the two of us would easily know that it was the other way around.  
-I could use some stamps, but other than that, I haven't thought of anything else and I don't really need anything else.  I am set on pens too.  Just call it good with whatever you've got so far! 
-Nope, never hear from Jess.  I called him when I first got to McKinney, and he said he would come take us to breakfast when he got back in town, but I never heard from him again. 
-We have interviews this Friday with President and I am going to invite him to lunch then!  

-Tom:  I don't think there are any recently returned missionaries that are good at dating, especially those guys that serve in some foreign country.  From what I've heard, those guys come back freaks!  So just give it a little time and go on as many dates as you can!  Oh, and have a HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  I put a special little something in the mail for you today that you should get soon......

-Dad:  I gave David Mondragon your phone number.  He left for LDS BC on Saturday and is looking for work.  He already has job offers, so you are probably just a last resort.  Just wanted to give you a heads up, and I hope that's okay! 

All is well!  Love and miss everybody!  See you Sunday!  

Elder Williams

Week Fifty - Singing Bruno Mars to the Sisters!

David and 'the most G car you ever did see!'

Elder Packham at the library.

Sister Christopherson and Sister Wyss - David's childhood friend!


   I had a good week.  It was kind of tough because I was a little sick and super tired, more than normal.  That made the week seem long, but I survived!  I was probably tired because I was sick, but I've got my fingers crossed for a growth spurt!  
   For McKinney Madness this week, there were a few contacting days, where you just count how many people you try to talk to about the gospel.  We found the best gas station to get a lot of contacts at, where tons of Mexicans go to get there beer.  It is always an interesting experience when we go there, talking with so many people.  People are funny, rude, friendly, miserable, scared of missionaries, and some are just pathetic.  Being a missionary is such an adventure!  
   We had a couple of intense lessons with Wally this week.  He really enjoyed Church, and he got emotional a couple of times in our lessons when he talked about how much he respected the family aspect of our church.  Wally is going through some family problems right now and he just needs the gospel!  He, just like the majority of people we talk to, throws up a red flag every time we mention Joseph Smith.  He just doesn't get it and won't accept it.  But if people don't understand the fact that Joseph Smith was a prophet  called of God, then the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is just like any other church out there with a slice or two of the pizza, started by some random chump who thinks he had it right.  Joseph Smith did not start his own church; rather God called him to restore His Church, His authority, and the fullness of Gospel so that His children could once again enjoy the whole pizza!  I am grateful for the knowledge and testimony that I have of Joseph Smith.  I know that he was no chump but a tool in the Lord's hands to get the Restoration rolling.  And because of him, we can all participate in the Restoration and enjoy the fullness of this precious gospel! 
   I saw Sister Wyss on Tuesday!  The English and Spanish districts in the area have district meetings at the same place and same time.  I only got to say hi and shake her hand real quick because we were in the middle of an activity as she was leaving.  But we normally do emails at the same place, but for some reason they haven't come the last two weeks.  I don't know Sister Christopherson too well, but from the little contact I have had with her, I do know she is super happy and funny and dedicated to the work!  Funny story:  in my last week with Elder Malpartida, before Sister Wyss got here, we were in the car driving to an appointment and I was singing a Bruno Mars song at the top of my lungs.  Then we both heard these little, tiny, high pitched voices yelling "ELDERS!  ELDERRSS!  ELLDEERRRRRSSS!", as if they were coming from sister missionaries shrunken down to ant size in our cup holder.  Turns out that the voices were coming from our phone in the cup holder, and Elder Malpartida had accidentally called Sister Christopherson and her companion, and they heard me sing the whole song!  It was a little embarrassing, but what can you do?  By now I'm guessing Sister Wyss knows about that and they probably laugh about it all the time.  Life goes on. 

-I already bought the shoes
-How much does a GPS cost?
-We helped a member stain his fence this week, but we definitely don't do two hours of service a day.  We do four hours a week, tops.  I definitely wouldn't mind doing more though!  
-Weather has been good.  It's getting hot and I am starting to sweat.  We only had one big storm this week that came through yesterday morning, and then it was 90 for the rest of the day.  I'm scared for summer!  
-Yes my watch dried out and is working fine now. 

Emilee:  I would like to participate in your wedding dress selection.  Fill a brother in with some pics!  As a missionary, the spirit is with me intensely, and I could probably be a huge  help with decisions like this. 

 I think that will do it for this week.  Much love.

Elder Williams

Week Forty Nine - Easter and Staying in McKinney!

David getting a little exercise!

Peach out!  Last night with Elder Malpartida.

The three amigos!  David with Elder Adams and Elder Powell!

David with Elder Malpartida at transfers.

A little door knocking on Easter Sunday in the rain!

Buenos dias mi querido familia y amigos!

   I hope that everybody had a great Easter Sunday yesterday and spent some time thinking about our wonderful Savior.  Dad, it sounds like you were treated quite well this weekend, and I pray that you had the best day of your life yesterday.  Easter Sunday and a birthday in the same day?!  That is almost too much to handle!  I am happy to hear that all is well at home.  
   I had another good week here in McKinney.  Tuesday morning we went to the chapel for transfers.  That is always a fun yet scary experience.  Unfortunately, I did not see Sister Wyss.  I don't know if she had already left the building or was just hiding in the heard of missionaries there.  But I did get to see all my mission buddies, including Elder Adams, who I haven't seen for the last 8 months!  He has been out East for nearly his whole mission, and out East is practically it's own mission.  Elder Powell and Elder Sheffer are now companions, which is funny.  They are going to make a fierce companionship!  I said goodbye to Elder Malpartida and met Elder Packham for the first time.  
   Elder Packham is from Oregon and he is 20 years old.  He started his mission in Garland and was there for three months before coming to McKinney with me.  In high school he played football, wrestled, ran track, and was the valedictorian of his class.  My second valedictorian companion!  He went to BYU Idaho for a year, worked for a little bit, and then came here.  He is a good kid.  Definitely more diligent and responsible than my last companion, and he has some strengths in areas where I have weaknesses, and the same applies for the other way; so I think we will be able to help each other out a lot to be even better missionaries than we already are.  His Spanish has a long way to go.  It feels good being the one with the better Spanish and correcting the other one, but at the same time, it's rough teaching with someone that struggles so much with their Spanish.  He reminds me of my early days in the mission when Spanish seemed impossible to figure out, and let me just say I am soooo glad I am past that point! 
   Well, Monday we discovered the devastating news that Tatiana has returned back to Mexico.  The best investigator of my whole mission just up and walked out of my life with no warning, no phone call, no goodbye, no nothing.  She told us to come over on Monday to teach her English, and she was already gone.  Heartbroken I was.  I called her from her aunts phone to give her a hard time, and she said she is going to try to come back in early June with her kids, so there is still hope!  Hopefully I will still be here by then and she will have a different job and she will be able to come to church and be baptized and sealed to her children in the temple a year later and find a faithful Priesthood holder to marry in the temple and live happily ever after for eternity.  But you never know.  Pero tengo fe!  
   We have made lots of progress in this past week with another family, the Bastidas.  It is a family of a single mother with four children between the ages of 5 and 13.  They are neighbors with the Franco Family, who are probably the coolest members of the branch.  This week we got the Bastidas to eat dinner at the Franco home and develop a friendship, they came to the Primary Easter party on Saturday and met nearly everybody in the branch, we had a good lesson with them, and I beat Mario, the 13 year old, and all his friends in a game of basketball.  Mario likes us and we are becoming good friends.  We even almost got all the kids to come to church on Sunday!  So close, but next week for sure.  
   Wally works on Sundays, so getting him to come to church has not really been an option in his eyes, until yesterday.  He had Easter Sunday off, and he came to the English ward and we sat through a sacrament meeting with him.  He stands out like a sore thumb in the chapel, and I'm quite sure I could smell alcohol on him, but he came to church!  And he enjoyed it!  The third speaker of the meeting was incredible and exactly what Wally needed.  For the first time he admitted that he feels like he is missing something in life and searching to find something to fill it.  He also said he is working on getting a Monday-Friday schedule rather than the Sunday-Thursday schedule that he has now, and when he does, he said he would be more than willing to come again.  Wally is progressing!  He also let each of us pick out a tie to keep from his collection.  Amo corbatas  : D
   Yesterday we knocked on the door of these two super cool brothers, 15 and 18 years of age.  The 15 year old was super nice and surprisingly let us in immediately.  They have good LDS friends, they were open and understanding our message, and I could easily see these two kids being great missionaries.  The lesson was going super well, until.............. their parents got home....  Once their parents came in, their dad said they already have all the information they need, and pretty much told us to wrap it up and get out.  You could tell the brothers were embarrassed and kind of upset with their dad, and they were very apologetic.  It was a tough and awkward situation, but if you think their anti-Mormon dad is going to stop us from talking to them again, you had better guess again.   
   This past week, in preparation for Easter Sunday, I believe all missionaries have been invited to, where possible, share a brief video made by the Church with everybody we possibly can.  It is a video about the Savior called "Because of Him".  I probably watched it over 30 times in 5 days.  It is amazing, and if you haven't seen it yet, WATCH IT!  I can feel the Spirit every time I watch it.  I have seen the Spirit touch those that we have watched it with.  It really inspires me to learn more about the life and Atonement of Jesus Christ, to become more like him, come closer to him, and increase my love and faith in Him.  I am grateful for and have a testimony of my Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and I know that great things are possible "because of Him".  I know that He lives and this is His church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  

-I talked Elder Malpartida into letting me use his GPS until he absolutely needs it back.  His current companion has one, so he doesn't need his right now.  So we can hold off on the GPS for now.  
-I got the Easter package and the Plan of Salvation pieces are PERFECT!  Better than I could have imagined them up myself.  Than you so much, Mom and Em, for the time you put into those.  They will help me out greatly!  I have been enjoying the treats, including the cookies, as well as some delicious english muffins for the last few days.  Thank you Mom and Grandma!  yes, I got the pills, thank you
-Easter Sunday was just like any other day, with the exception of a big lamb dinner with a kind family in the branch. I don't think I like lamb too much.  

In what area is Sister Wyss and who is her companion?  

I think that is it.  That was my week and I am excited for another one to come.  Love and miss you all!

Elder Williams

Week Forty Eight - Transfers, New Companion and Beating the Hermanas!

Dear family and friends,

I had a great week here in McKinney.  We stayed busy, taught a lot of lessons, had investigators at church, and time is flying!   
   Transfer calls were Saturday night.  Elder Malpartida absolutely LOVES McKinney and wants to serve the rest of his mission here.  For weeks, missionaries, members, and I have been giving him a hard time because it only made sense that his time in McKinney would be up at the end of this transfer.  He said he had been praying and fasting for the last three weeks that he would stay in McKinney.  When we received our call, he was devastated to hear that he was being moved to Carrolton.  I am staying in McKinney and my new companion is Elder Packham.  He has about 3 months in the field, and that is all I know about him.  I pick him up tomorrow morning and I am stoked!  I love Elder Malpartida, but he is a real handful.  I am most excited about staying in McKinney.  I figured I would, but it was a relief when we finally got that call.  Many missionaries that serve in McKinney early on in their mission often request to end their mission here because it is so great, and it has happened more than once.  I love McKinney!  My address will stay the same for at least the next 6 weeks.
   We went undefeated in McKinney Madness this week, and we now have the best record in the zone!  When we were against the Hermanas this week, the competition for the day was to see who could teach the most of the 42 concepts in Preach My Gospel.  As missionaries, there is a total of 42 concepts we teach; everything from the Restoration to the Law of Chastity.  I felt confident that we could beat the Hermanas by teaching 30 or so concepts, but Elder Malpartida was determined to teach all 42.  It was 8:45 in the evening when we still had to teach 9 concepts:  All of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Fasting, Tithing, and the dreaded law of Chastity.  With 15 minutes of the day left, we had nobody to teach.  So we found a 14 year old kid sitting on some stairs that was waiting for his friends to pick him up.  We quickly taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and then my companion asked him if he had ever heard of Tithing.  He hadn't, so we taught him Tithing.  Then my companion asked him if he had ever heard of Fasting.  He hadn't, so we taught him Fasting.  Then my companion asked him if he had ever heard the word Chastity.  He hadn't, and Elder Malpartida just looked at me like he expected me to teach the whole thing, but instead I made him teach the whole thing.  I felt bad for the kid, he was probably super weirded out, but he offered us a bottle of water, he told us we could come back, and we taught all 42 concepts!  We beat the Hermanas with ease.  It was a fun day!
   We taught Tatiana the Plan of Salvation this week and it went really well.  We invited her to be baptized, and she said she had to study more.  She is very intellectual, and she wants to be 100% sure about what she is doing; so she will probably take a little more time than we were hoping for, but I have no doubts that she will one day be baptized.  During the lesson, she started asking us about commandments.  The three main commandments we teach are Tithing, the Word of Wisdom, and the Law of Chastity; and we have a pamphlet for each of those three.  So  before we left Tatiana's, I pulled out those three pamphlets, leaned over to Elder Malpartida, and asked him which one we should give her as her homework assignment.  She ripped all three out of my hand and told us she would choose which one she would read, and then decided she would read all three!  Plus a chapter in the Book of Mormon!  She just keeps getting better and better.  If only she could come to church!  Tatiana will soon be a faithful daughter in the kingdom.  
-I did not receive anything from Tricia during Christmas time.
-I will probably see Rachel tomorrow at transfers!

I think that's about it.  All is well here in McKinney.  I am happy.  The work is going fairly well.  I pray that y'all will have the best week of your life, and enjoy your Easter weekend.  
Dad, HAPPY BIRTHDAY on Sunday!  Love you all!

Elder Williams