Sunday, October 26, 2014

Week Seventy Four - Temple Visit and The Most Interesting Man in Garland!

Kassandra after her baptism!

The most interesting man in Garland!

Lance of the S.S.A. and David!

Just a couple of Elders in Garland!

Texas Sunset!

Dear Family and Friends,

    This week went quite well.  We had some good things happen!  The weather is almost perfect right now.  Some afternoons the sun is still a little too strong, but it is quite pleasant to be outside these days!  Here are a few things that happened this past week:
-On Tuesday, Elder Crockett came with me on an exchange, which I was hoping would be good experience for our companions, because neither one of them can really speak Spanish.  Elder Crockett and I have fun together.  He is really funny when he is happy, he is just hardly ever happy!  But the exchange was a success. 
-Friday we went to the temple with Angelica Huichapa and her daughter, DeeAna, who will be baptized in a couple of weeks.  We did a lap around the temple, then went inside to sit in the lobby.  Angelica was absolutely loving it.  She said she didn't want to leave!  I just love the temple.  Then, to make things even better, as we were leaving the temple, a rich member in his Audi pulled up to us and gave us 20 bucks for dinner.  What a miracle that was because we weren't going to have a dinner that night!  So the trip to the temple was edifying and successful!  
-Saturday we got to go back to McKinney for the baptism of Kassandra Ochoa.  Elder Packham and I found her back in May.  She showed up a half hour late to her baptism!  Unreal.  But she got baptized!  So that was neat to see!  After the baptism, Sister Holm had us over for lunch.  She is just too kind to us!  I don't know if there is anything she loves more than having the Elders at her house to eat.  
-Last night we met the most interesting man in Garland: Lance of the S.S.A (Secret Soldiers of America), some guy that has watched a few too many movies and done a lot of drugs I would imagine.  He told us we are in "GROUND ZERO" for Ebola.  He showed us a video of a UFO and claims that it only lasted 10 minutes on the internet before the government took it off.  So how he had it, I don't know.  He taught us how to take out our enemies with hammer - one hit to the ankle and they are done for.  We talked to him for about a half hour.  He was actually kind of scary!  The picture will explain...
-We have a couple of baptisms coming up in a couple of weeks, both young girls.  DeeAna, whose mom was baptized a few weeks ago, and then Ashley, who is 11 years old.  Her aunt and grandma are both active members in the Church and bring her to Church all the time.  Ashley has lots of energy and is super cute and funny.  At the end of every lesson, she has to turn whatever we taught into a game.  And she is actually pretty good and clever with it!  So she is lots of fun to teach, and she is super excited to get baptized!  

-I will put the art project in the mail today!
-The english elders we have been living with are being forced out this week.
-Training is hard, requires lots of patience, and wears me out!  But Elder Alkonis doesn't make it too hard on me.
-My new shoes are brown.  Goes better with my blue suit!  
-We hear a lot about Ebola.  Mostly jokes though.  However there was a scare at North Garland High School, which is where all the kids in my area go.  I never heard the full story, but I guess it was just a false alarm.  President and Sister Taylor say they are watching it like a hawk and we don't need to worry until they say something or move us.  So I'm not too worried!  

Thanks for the pics and the updates!  I am happy to hear that all is well and everybody is happy.  That was my week.  All is well!  Can't complain!  I appreciate all of the love and support!  I love and miss everybody!  Also, if you haven't sent off my package yet, I could use some cetaphil face lotion.  Thanks!  Bye!

Elder Williams

Week Seventy Three - Meet the Mormons and Lessons From President Taylor!


President Taylor lip-syncing to "I hope they call me on a mission!"

Bautismo de Katelyn Guevara!

David's zone at the Meet the Mormons showing.

Hey Fam!
   We had a pretty eventful week here in Garland.  To start off, we had an epic meeting on Tuesday where the entire mission got together to watch 'MEET THE MORMONS'!  We met up at a chapel in Garland/Dallas for a breakfast, then a hysterical musical number by President and Sister Taylor and the Possey, then an activity and a few trainings before the meeting.  President Taylor gave a great training on the Spirit.  At the last meeting we had, President Taylor pleaded with us to stop beating ourselves up, stop being so hard on ourselves, and stop listening to the discouraging voice of the adversary in our heads.  So this time, he gave a training on the other side of the spectrum, as the Spirit is what encourages and lifts us up to be better and happier people.  Happy people are FULL of the Spirit.  Being around people that are full of the Spirit feels good!  We enjoy listening to General Conference because those men are FULL of the Spirit!  He then explained that the price to pay to be happy, to be successful, to have the Spirit, is OBEDIENCE.  He explained it all in such a simple and understandable way that I have never really thought of before.  One of the many things I have learned on my mission is the importance of the Spirit in our lives.  Before my mission, I never really thought in terms of "is this going to invite the Spirit or distance it?"  President Taylor shared an experience with us from when he was playing basketball at BYU, and right before one of their games, in the locker room, President Ezra Taft Benson came in to give them a pep talk and told them that "the Spirit will be their greatest asset both on and off the court".  I am starting to gain a testimony of that.  I don't doubt it one bit.  We just need to pray the price and obey.  Anyway, then we watched the movie and it was incredible!  I felt weird watching a movie, but it was very interesting and inspiring and touching.  I am proud to be a Mormon.  I love being Mormon!  If you haven't seen it yet, go check it out!  We ended the meeting by singing a series of hymns, and there is an Elder that just got here that is an absolute pro with the organ, so that added some power.  It was probably one of the most spiritually powerful experiences of my life.  "I'm in heaven! I'm in heaven! In the Texas Dallas Mission I'm in heaven!!!"  (a classic song from President Durrant)
   After the meeting I went on an exchange with Elder Adams to his area.  He is a great missionary and it was fun to be working with him again.  I got to go back to McKinney on Saturday for a baptism!  So I got to see some old and familiar faces, and that is always nice!  We have a couple of baptismal dates right now for two young girls, but other than that, we don't have much going on.  We are doing lots of knocking and contacting and it isn't getting us much.  It is frustrating and tiring.  But I am trying to look at it as a trial of my faith, so we will keep pushing on and working hard.  Some prayers would be appreciated.
-If the General Conference Ensign comes out before you send the package, I would love a copy of that in English.  We should get one in English and one in Spanish from the mission office for the companionship, but I would like my own copy.  Also, I  have a jacket/hoody/coat at home that is grey, I think it is Columbia, and it is really soft inside.  I was thinking that it might be nice to have this winter, if you can find it.  Other than that, nothing comes to mind. I'll be happy to receive whatever you send!  
-The socks are nice, but I think they will be better for winter weather. 
-The last few days have been dark and glum and a little cold.  Saturday I had to break out my jacket for the first time in months!  I heard this winter is supposed to be super bad.  I'm scared! 
-The storm had already simmered down by the time we got there, Mother.  Don't worry about it! 
Mom and Em - I have another art project for y'all if you have the time and are feeling up to it.  This one should be less work than the last one.  Can you help me out?
Thank you for the updates and the pictures.  I hope Emilee had a an enjoyable day on Saturday. The girl that was baptized on Saturday was baptized on her birthday, which is Em's Birthday!  Kinda funny.  So I was thinking about you, Em!  Thank you for the support and love and all that you do for me.  I love and miss everybody! 
Elder Williams

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week Seventy Two - Lessons From Conference, the Arboretum and Tornado Warnings!

Elder Truman at the arboretum!

David at the Arboretum!

The arboretum!

Elder Truman and Elder Alkonis at the Arboretum!
The arboretum!

The arboretum!

Elder Truman, David, Elder Meads and Elder Alkonis!

Rims in Texas!

Buenos dias Familia y Amigos!

   So this week was pretty good!  On Monday some members that the zone leaders live with took a bunch of missionaries out to lunch and then to the Dallas Arboretum, a big and super fancy garden in Dallas where you just walk around and enjoy the scenery.  Not exactly what I get excited over, but it was nice and kind of a fun preparation day activity!  The English Elders are still living with us.  They were about to move back to their apartment until they stopped by to do one last bedbug check, and they found more.  So we might be stuck with them for another transfer.  Elder Truman's companion is Elder Walters.  We go home at the same time.  I got to know him pretty well last year about this time when we served near each other.  He is a cool kid and a good missionary.  The four of us get along pretty well.  On Friday we had a zone meeting, and the zone leaders asked me to give a training.  Normally I get excited when we have a zone meeting, because that means we don't have district meeting and I don't have to do anything!  But Elder Adams and Elder Cheathum took that away from me this week.  Giving trainings is definitely not something I enjoy doing, but it went well, and it is good experience for life.  So I'm not complaining.  The highlight of our week was, of course, General Conference!  I learned a lot, had some questions answered, received some good counsel that I am excited to apply into my life, and I was spiritually reenergized with a boost to get me through the next six months!  It is hard to distinguish just one central message or theme of the Conference, because every speaker is answering different prayers of different people in different situations.  But I do know that God spoke to all of us according to what we needed to hear at this time.  Multiple names that I have been praying for lately came to mind during certain talks and I had the thought "hey! this is for _____! I just pray that they are listening right now!"  But the great thing about it is that General Conference talks are so accessible these days that we still have a chance! 
      Here are a few things that stood out to me as I watched General Conference: 
-TRUTH is TRUTH and we should not look for ways around it but trust and support the Brethren, having faith that there counsel comes from the Almighty God of TRUTH.
-We should be saints of INTEGRITY with complete loyalty to the Lord, taking accountability upon ourselves for all we do and are.  
-Stick to and LIVE the FUNDAMENTALS.  In my notes, next to every name that spoke, I put P's and R's and O's every time prayer, scripture study, and obedience were mentioned.  My notes are filled with "PRO"s!  I wrote down a handful of questions before Conference, and I know doubt received answers to some, but at the same time, as I think about certain questions that I wrote down, something tells me that I already know the answer to these questions.  We have been told what we need to do time and time again.  We just need to do it!  

-I did get Em's mug.  She is a pro with this pottery stuff now!  Unfortunately, the handle was broken into three pieces when I got it.  But fortunately, there's super glue!  So I glued it and it is good as new!  Thanks Emmy!
-My feet are a lot better and the prescriptions are really working.  No need for reinforcements.  
-We watched Conference in the chapel and it was absolutely superb!
-There was a pretty nasty storm on Thursday I believe.  We went into a rec center because it was looking like it was about to down poor any minute.  And sure enough, it did.  Then the tornado sirens went off and they told everybody to get in the bathrooms.  I was thinking "oh snap this is serious!"  Luckily the English Elders showed up right then, so we hussled out to the car, and five minutes later when we showed up to Chik-fil-A it was over and that was it.  Last night we woke up to hail hitting the window and some pretty intense thunder, but now it's sunny and just looking like a beautiful day!  So we didn't see anything too serious here in Garland.  

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY MOST FAVORITE SISTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (to be delivered the day of)

Thank you for the updates on everyone!!  I'm super jealous about Jim Gaffigan.  Did he do his hot pocket jokes or was it all something you haven't seen before? That sounds like a super good time!  I love and miss everybody and I am grateful for all the love and support that I receive from everybody back home!  I recently received letters from Dad and Sister Iba.  Thank you!  Your letters truly make my day!  I hope and pray that eveybody has the best week ever!  

Elder Williams

The Prank!

David told us about a prank that the other companionship played on them in their apartment, but didn't give us any detail about what actually happened.  Here's the whole story as told by Elder Meads in his e-mail to his family....boys!!

We pranked the elders in our apartment bad! it ended in a 911 call hahahahahaha. 
So we bought these bathtub crayons and we drew this on the shower wall and put a knife with spaghetti sauce on it in the tub.. we left the front door wide open and moved the beds around in the bedroom! They were freaking out and were like we think someone is in here still... maybe they are in the shower.. we played a long and they were soooo scared and they opened the shower curtain super fast and they gasped and were OH MY GOSH!!!!! one of the elders were cussing they were so scared and mad! hahahahahahaha... elder Williams decided to call 911 and we were like no lets just call some other elders and see if it is a prank and they obviously had no idea about it and so elder Williams calls 911 and we were freaking out and were trying to tell him it was a joke and to hang up! but he wouldn't.. we had to yank the phone from his hands and hang up! they called right back and were trying to figure out what was going on and they came to the house to make sure everything was okay hahahaha.. we washed everything off the bathtub so they wouldnt think we were crazy and everything was all good.... I recorded the whole thing on a recorder i bought! oh too good!

Week Seventy One - Staying in Garland and Excited for Conference!

Elder Alkonis, Angelica and David!

David being disappointed in his 'baby' breakfast burrito....

Greetings Family and Friends!  

   Elder Alkonis and I had our best week yet this past week in Garland!  We taught a lot, we had lots of support from the members, and we had another baptism!  Angelica H. was baptized on Saturday.  She is great, and more baptisms from her family should come soon.  Transfer calls have always come Saturday nights, but this weekend they were postponed until Sunday night, which threw everybody for a loop!  But all the anxiety and excitement was for nothing in the case of Elder Alkonis and I.  We are staying for another one together in Garland!  Not surprised, not excited, but not really disappointed either. Things are going well here, and I get to be outside on a bike during the most beautiful month of the year!  For Texas at least.  Elder Meads and Elder Truman got a change - Elder Meads is going to Plano to be a zone leader, and Elder Truman is getting Elder Walters as his companion.  I served around Elder Walters when I was in Lakewood.  He is a good kid.  Not sure if they are going to live with us again.  I'm hoping they don't, just because four missionaries in one apartment is a lot to handle and it has warn me out!  But at the same time, I'm not going to force them out of the apartment.  So we will just have to wait until tomorrow when Elder Walters gets here.  A member from an English ward took us out to lunch this week to a super nice sea food restaurant.  Aligator tenders, catfish, shrimp, and grits!  I wasn't a big fan of the grits, the catfish wasn't anything special, but the rest super duper yummy!  Some members are just too kind to us.     

GENERAL CONFERENCE WEEKEND!!!  I could not be more excited for Conference!  I hope and pray that everybody prepares themselves spiritually and does all that they can to get the most out of this super weekend!   A member in the branch yesterday shared a funny yet true story, but I didn't catch if it was a personal experience of his or someone he knew, or just a scenario, but I'm sure it happens - 
A member and a nonmember get talking about what they had going on for the upcoming weekend.  The member says that he is going to spend the weekend watching General Conference.  To no surprise, the nonmember has no idea what General Conference is, so it was the perfect missionary opportunity for this member to explain what it is!  He says something along these lines:  "General Conference is a worldwide conference from our Church that happens every six months, where we listen to the prophets and apostles that are God's modern day mouthpieces, and they tell us what God wants us to know in these latter days."  The nonmember was fascinated and said "how neat!  What is it that God told the world at the last conference?"  Now, put yourselves in that situation.  Would you know how to answer that question?  I don't know if I would be able to.  I watched all 10 hours of the last Conference and I enjoyed every minute of it and learned bunches.  For me, I noticed that many of the talks were about the importance of a strong and unshakable testimony in these latter days, and how we can deepen and strengthen our testimony so that we do not fall when tempted.  It makes sense, because the adversary is working harder than ever to pull us away from the Gospel and destroy our lives with the nasty things of the world.  From what I can remember, that is what the "theme" of Conference was for me, but I still don't know if that answers the question very well.  What did God tell the world at Conference?  It is an interesting way to look at Conference, and I would like to invite all those who read this to pay attention during Conference to be able to answer that question when it is over.  What will God tell us through General Conference this weekend?  I would love to hear some responses to that question next week!  

-I can't think of anything I desperately need you to send me right now, other than some garment tops.  The ones I have are getting warn out and a little itchy.  So you can send me what ever you can find in my room.  You shouldn't need to buy me any new ones.  Maybe a jump rope.  I should have one in my gym bag, but I have no idea where that is these days. Other than that, just some yummy treats, not pure candy, and whatever else you want to throw in there!
-The weather is still quite hot most days, low 90's, the sun is still strong but it does feel a little bit more fresh outside, some trees are changing, and we are starting to see a wee little hint of autumn in the air! 
-Biking isn't too bad, physically it is getting easy, I just cannot stand having to be so dependent on people.  That is the worst part about it, and I am not looking forward to another six weeks of that.     

-I will forward you some pictures and a summary of the prank in the eyes of Elder Meads, the brains behind the prank.  He kind of stretched the truth on a few things, but it will do.

-Dad, is Larry that guy that lives where we used the jackhammer to tear apart his back patio?  Happy to hear you are busy! There is nothing better than being busy!  
-Em, did you get my letter?
-Tom, are you in institute?  You should sign up for institute at UVU!  Try to get into Brother Knolton's class, he's hilarious!  I think that is his name, it's something like that at least. 
- Mother, next week I want to hear all about what you learned from our dear prophets and apostles  ; ) 

Thank you for the updates, I love to hear about what is going on at home!  I hope everything goes well for everyone this next week, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers!  
Cuidense y Dios les bendiga!  

Elder Williams