Monday, July 28, 2014

Week Sixty Three - Calling 911 and Perspective!

This past week, our basement flooded because of sprinkler system problems.  It's happened before and I told David about it in my e-mail.  I also mentioned that I have just been reminding myself that my problems may seem frustrating, but they are not nearly as big as the problems that some people are dealing with, which gave me some perspective on the whole thing.  At least we are all well and nobody is injured or sick.  So, that's why he talks about perspective at the end of his e-mail.....

Happy Monday!  

We had another super busy, successful week.  We did member splits every night of this past week.  A few times we even had three members with us so we could split up and go three different directions and get much more done.  I've never put so much thought and effort into planning!  Organizing to meet with so many members and then coming up with plans for the night for three different companionships is not easy.  Elder Patton doesn't know the area or the members, so he can't help much.  And Elder Packham is just incredibly indecisive and doesn't like to make decisions, so he just kind of floats.  Sometimes I feel like my brain is going to explode, but I like it.  It feels good to have my brain busy and running so much.  All is going well!  
   We had five investigators at church yesterday, which was a huge blessing.  For the past month or so we have only had one, so that was nice.  We prayed extra hard for the Lord to bring investigators to church!  The chapel yesterday was the most full I had ever seen it for the Spanish branch.  Investigators, less actives, and new families that the stake president has invited to attend the Spanish branch.  We are growing! 
   For the first time in my life I had to call 911 this week!  I was with a youth member and we were driving down the street on the ghetto side of McKinney when we passed a woman kind of laying in/leaning up against the curb (not a normal position).  Her head was severely  bleeding.  And I mean SEVERELY.  I at first thought she had been shot in the head!  As we approached her, I could see that she didn't have a bullet in her head, but she had the biggest gash above her eye that I had ever seen in real life.  I'm talkin BIG and yucky!  She claimed she was just walking to fast in her boots and got dizzy and fell, but that was hard to buy.  Things were just not adding up.  She wanted us to walk her to her aunts house around the corner, and she did not want me to call the police, but I did.  Some professionals quickly showed up, and we were pretty much heroes!  Not really, but it was some excitement for the week.

-Papusas are basically a thick, fried, stuffed tortilla, or a thin and flat roll, with meat and cheese in them.  Super yummy!  
-This pass Monday we played volleyball with a bunch of missionaries, and it was super fun!  Basketball we play probably every three or four weeks, but I get tired quick.  Volleyball is nice because it is not so physically demanding.  This Thursday the branch is going to start a weekly soccer night, so if we get investigators there, we will probably go play.  
-I'm not even half way done with the journal I have right now, so I won't need another one for another two months at least.  
-One pair of shoes is getting pretty beat up.  I am thinking about getting a new pair for Sunday/meeting shoes, and then using the Sunday/meeting shoes that I have now for work shoes.  But that is only if I can some I like and for a real good deal.  But I'm surviving just fine with what I have now.  
-The trio will most likely be just for this transfer, so three more weeks!  

I'm sorry to hear about the flood.  I can't imagine how big of a hassle that is.  It makes me frustrated just to hear about it!  So I understand your frustration.  But I like your attitude and what you said about perspective.  President Taylor taught us something neat about perspective.  While Joseph Smith was in Liberty Jail, he wrote Doctrine and Covenants sections 121, 122, and 123.  If you read the first three verses in 121, and then jump to the last verse in 123, you can see an incredible change of perspective in Joseph Smith. Check it out!  President Taylor and leaders of the Church have talked about the importance of having an eternal perspective and the grand difference that that can make in our lives.  It's all in the perspective!  
Thanks for the email and the update.  Good to hear from everybody!  I hope y'all have a better week and enjoy life.  I love and miss everybody!  

Elder Williams   

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Week Sixty Two - In a Trio and Lots of Teaching!

​A super authentic Salvadorian restaurant we found with super yummy papusas!   

Howdy y'all!

   We had another great week here.  We are crazy busy right now and I love it!  We always have something to do, with people to visit and teach.  The days are coming and going like never before!
   The big news and big change for the week is that they sent another missionary here to McKinney to help us out with the work.  We are in a trio!  The other Elders in our district were Elder Patton(DL) and Elder Bowden.  Elder Bowden was sent home in the first week of the transfer for personal issues, and after a week in Garland, we talked the AP's into sending Elder Patton to McKinney to help us out.  I've always wanted to be in a trio!  And the best part about it is that Elder Patton is actually cool!  He has good Spanish.  He is from Roy, Utah and he played baseball in high school.  We have lots in common and the three of us all get along really well.  This is going to make my fifth transfer in one area, and third transfer with the same companion, so much easier!  
   Our branch president is President Garcia.  He is in his early 30's and quite successful.  He is very intelligent and professional and on top of things.  Like on top of things more than anyone I've ever met before.  He could be very good at making people feel stupid if he wanted to, but he is too loving so he doesn't.  However, even then he has made me feel pretty foolish more than once.  Sometimes he makes suggestions to us in a way that says "why haven't you thought of this before?' and then I'm like "duh!  why haven't I thought of that yet?" Now that there are no hermanas and three elders, he is expecting and asking a lot of us.  It is overwhelming and stressful, but it is good for us.  It is good to be stretched and pushed.  
   We have lots of investigators right now.  Almost too many to keep track of.  But out of those, I'd say only a few have real potential.  
-Manuel is an older man from El Salvador who lives with a few friends.  He has come to a baptism, a wedding, and church four times now.  Yesterday was the first time that we got him to stay for all three hours.  He is starting to get some friends in the branch, I got some participation out of him as I was teaching the gospel principles class, and he is coming along well.  
-Lizeth and Augustin are a young and unmarried couple with a baby boy.  Every member of Lizeth's family has been baptized into the Church within the last year, and she sincerely wants to be baptized as well.  All that is holding her back is marriage and commitment. Augustin comes from a super Catholic family.  He listens, but as of right now, has no intentions of getting baptized.  We got them to commit to going to court and getting married legally, and tomorrow we are going over there with Presidente Garcia to really get them to commit, and he can help them out with the process.  
-We are teaching an atheist right now named German.  He is 22 and sings professional opera.  This guy is the next Josh Groban!  German is very different from any other atheist that I have met.  He is a very deep and logical thinker with a surprisingly open mind.  He is very honest with us and told us that the chances of us converting him are very slim.  But I believe in miracles!  I believe in the power of the Book of Mormon and the Spirit of God.  So as long as he lets us come back, we aren't giving up on him.  His mom is very nice. She told us that she loves missionaries and thinks we are all almost perfect.  In her mind, the only thing that would make us more perfect is if we had coffee breath....yuck! 
   There are some crazy people out there, but these are just a few of the peeps that we are dealing with right now.

-I got the CD's super quick!  Wednesday.  They were exactly what I wanted!  Thank you!  I thought of another one you could send me if you can find it for cheap.  Marcela Gandara: Mas que un anhelo and/or El Mismo Cielo.  
-I am eating well, thank goodness!
-Elder Packham cooks eggs, but that is about it.  I really don't cook anything.
-Don't worry about gift cards.  I'm good!  And I'd rather just use my debit card wherever I want to if I ever need to.
-If grandma really wants to send me a package,  just some healthy and filling snacks will do.  I can't think of anything that I need right now though.  

It's good to hear from home!  All is more than well here and you do not need worry about me. Thank you for all the support and love! 
Have a great week and I love and miss everybody!  

Elder Williams   

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Week Sixty One - Super Busy, Super Focused and Super Happy!

Another great week is in the books.  We were busy trying to contact all of the hermanas investigators that they handed over to us.  It was difficult and frustrating, but we have almost met them all.  Some are crazy, some look promising, and others are very fond of the hermanas and want nothing to do with us.  But, what can we do?!  Hopefully with time the Lord will bless us with opportunities to win their hearts.  We are feeling the pressure with so much to do.  It is overwhelming, but Elder Packham and I have faith that as we are diligent and do all we can in our power, the Lord will guide us in this work and make all things possible!  
   Saturday was a packed day with interviews and a wedding.  My interview with President Taylor was fairly short and simple.  He just asked me a few questions to get to know me.  At the end of the interview he said he wishes he had shoulders like mine.  I told him "maybe in the resurrection".  Just kidding, he said "maybe in the resurrection", but I wish I would have thought of that!  President Taylor is great.  He is a walking quad of scriptures.  He is incredibly reverent and spiritual.  I have already learned so much from him!  I've decided that probably all mission presidents are incredible people.  It just amazes me how many good, quality people there are in the world that are worthy and capable of leading a mission, or a stake, or a ward/branch, let alone the whole Church!  I have come to love and appreciate meeting converted, pure-hearted people in the Church.  I know the Lord puts them in my path to teach me.  I know that we all have a great and divine potential to reach, and the only way to reach it is through the restored gospel!   

-I feel goood! 
-I am just about to finish the Alive vitamins you sent me, but I still haven't touched the 150 gummies, so I think I am good. 
-the mission is running low on Spanish hermanas.  McKinney is one of the least dense hispanic areas where there are spanish missionaries, so they were just needed more in other areas.   
-the only thing that I don't have that I think would be nice is some good Spanish music.  Not a necessity, but it would be nice.    

Elder Packham and I are super busy, super focused, and super happy.  We are quite different from each other, but we have become good friends and all is well.  I feel grateful this day for everything.  I cannot even begin to name all the things I am grateful for.  I know that God lives and loves us and desires to bless us.  I can see that every day.  EVERYTHING ties back to obedience to what he expects of us.  I can see that every day as well.  I love to learn and to serve.  I love the Gospel and the Church.  The Church is just brilliant and I have no doubts that all aspects of it are guided by the wisest one of all.  


con amor, 
                      Elder Williams

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Week Sixty - Meeting the Taylors and Menudo!

David and his friend, Lilo!

Howdy y'all!  

   That is so awesome that you got to meet the Durrants!  and Elder Haskell's mom!  I am really glad you went and enjoyed it.  We met President and Sister Taylor on Saturday and they are just as incredible!  President Durrant and President Taylor are similar, yet very different.  It will be interesting to see how the mission changes with him.  At the meeting, we took about an hour for everyone to shake hands with President and Sister Taylor.  I was really impressed to see the genuine love that they had for every missionary that they met.  They just barely met us!  The amount of love they have is nearly inhuman.  I was very impressed and touched by it.  I've never seen anybody more excited about their calling.  They are going to be great leaders of the mission, and I can't wait to get to know them and learn more from them!  
   There was a baptism in Lakewood on Saturday for a lady named Marie, but unfortunately I was not able to go due to the meeting with the Taylors.  Elder Haskell and I found Marie in December and started teaching her.  She is a good friend of a less active member.  She was always very quiet and timid with us, but she was diligent in going to church, and she got baptized when she knew she was ready.  I'm so excited and happy for her!  I'm learning more and more all the time that conversion takes time.  As missionaries we often want to rush things and expect people to get baptized within a month or two from when they first started to learn.  While it is possible that somebody can be converted and ready for baptism in a month or two, it is rare and not fair to expect of people.  Conversion is a process and takes time.  The people that stick around after being baptized and stay faithful are those that took their time, took it seriously, and were sure of themselves.  Being a missionaries takes patience, understanding to put yourself in the shoes of an investigator, and trust in the Lord that He has a time for everyone.  
   I was able to go an entire year in Texas without being fed menudo.  I have always dreaded the day when I arrive at a member's house for dinner, and they put a bowl of menudo infront of me.  I have heard lots about menudo.  Very rarely do I hear anything good about it.  Members joke and tease about menudo a lot, trying to scare us by telling us that we are having menudo.  It's like everybody knows that nobody like menudo.  I don't get it!  But that dreaded day finally came on Tuesday.  Hermana Mondragon told us we were having menudo, and I prayed she was kidding like the rest of the people that had told me that before.  She wasn't.  I didn't like it.  Could it have been mental more than anything?  Maybe.  But I had to eat it and hope I don't have to face it again!  
   I was kind of sick for a few days this week.  I don't know what was wrong with me, but I had a headache and felt kind of like I had just gotten off of a spinny ride at Lagoon, I had no appetite, and I was really sore, especially my neck.  A member told me that I might have a virus in my stomach, and suggested I just take a lot of vitamin C.  So I did, and I feel almost all better today!  So that made it difficult to work, but we had an okay week. The fourth of July was far from anything special, just a regular day with the exception of a couple of member bbq's.  
   Transfer calls came late Saturday night.  I'm staying with Elder Packham here in McKinney.  The only change is that they took Hermanas out of the branch, and we are taking over their area.  So our area pretty much just tripled in size, and we now cover two entire stakes.  It is going to be difficult at first, getting to know their area and their investigators, but I am okay with that.  I was disappointed at first.  I was really ready and hoping for a change in area and companion, but at least we got some sort of change.  I won't have any problems surviving 6 more weeks in McKinney with Elder Packham.  We just got a bunch more on our plate, and we should be super busy now!

-the Spanish is good and not really a problem anymore.  I feel very comfortable teaching and talking to people in Spanish.  
-yeah people are crazy about the world cup here.  Maybe not as crazy as they are in south America and England, but everybody watches it.  I've never had any desire at all to watch soccer until now.  Is Tom following and watching Brazil?
   yesterday we had a really good lesson with an ex-pro soccer player from Mexico.  He is young and cool and humble and genuine.  I have a good feeling about him.  

That's my week.  Love and miss you!  Until next time!  

Elder D. Williams  

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Week Fifty Nine - Another Baptism and Dinner With Pres. Durrant!

We went to a member’s house for dinner out in the country and their dog, Tex, didn’t hesitate one second to come say hi to us!

David and L at her baptism.

L's baptism with her family.

Elder Packham, L and David at her baptism.

Coolest.  Table.  Ever.

President Durrant says Hi!

Trying to get a frisbee out of the river, that wasn't even his!

Hey Fam!

We had a good week here in the Texas heat.  
Last Monday afternoon, we received a phone call from President Durrant.  He invited us to go to the temple with him on Tuesday with a few other missionaries, followed by dinner.  So we did.  We had no idea who the "other missionaries" were, but when we arrived we quickly realized that it was all of the missionaries who are going home next week.  Haha!  There weren't too many, but Elder Packham and I felt a little bit out of place.  We went to Spring Creek BBQ for dinner.  I got to talk to President Durrant a little bit at dinner, but not too much.  Everybody loves him, but I've heard that the one problem that some missionaries have with him is that he is too professional, all business, and not very social or personal.  I'd say that is true, but I don't really have a problem with that.  Maybe mission presidents are encouraged to be that way.  But "lunch" just really wasn't what I was expecting.  But it finally happened!  And it was a good experience.  The temple and BBQ are always good!        
   We had another baptism!  L, the younger sister of J, entered the waters on Saturday, and I had the privilege of baptizing her.  It was a sweet feeling.  She has finally opened up to us.  Following the baptism, we went to their home for a party, lunch, and some cake.  Her and all her little cousins were begging me to stay all day and jump on the trampoline with them.  I told them we had 10 minutes, and when the 10 minutes was up, I had about 10 kids gang up on me on the trampoline and try to hold me down.  My camera was in my pocket, and they broke it!  But only temporarily; my companion fixed it.  It was funny.  Kids are funny.  
-Pizza arrived right on time on Thursday.  I convinced Elder Packham that I had no idea where it came from and it was completely out of the blue.  I could tell he was thinking really hard on who could have sent it, so I finally told him at the end of the day.  But the pizza was great.  Thanks Mommy!  
-This is the last week of transfers, so we should be receiving transfer calls this Saturday night.  I've got four transfers here in McKinney already, which is typically the max in one area, so I'm guessing I'm out of here next week.  But at the same time, I heard that the AP's were entirely in charge of transfers this time because of the mission president swap, and apparently they didn't make too many changes.  So we will see!  
-We have interviews with President and Sister Taylor on Saturday.  It should be interesting, but I'm excited!
-I think it has been in the low 90's mostly.  I guess it has been pretty mild so far in comparison to other summers.  
-Yup Sister Wyss is sitting right behind right now!  But we don't talk too much, and we rarely see each other outside of Monday's.  

-All I ever here about from home is you and your pottery!  You and Em could probably teach your own class by now.  Y'all should send me a mug that I can put on my desk and put my pens and pencils in!  A big mug.  
-Send my congratulations to my cousins on the babies!  And send me pictures when you can!  

Where is Em's and David's house?  

Thanks for the quote, I llllliiiike it!  

I think that's about all that's worth sharing this week.  Thanks for the update, I love hearing about how well things are at home!   Have a great week and a safe and explosive 4th of July!   Love and miss you all!  

Elder Williams