Sunday, December 21, 2014

Week Eighty Two - Transfers and Leaving Garland!

P-Day emailing crew!

Distrito el Garland Espanol!

Zone Christmas picture!

The best zone, ever!!

All is well here in Garland, and today is my last day in Garland!  Last night we received transfer calls and they told me to pack my bags and be at the transfer chapel tomorrow!  I have no idea where I am going or who my new companion.  The anticipation is killing me!  I am quite excited.  Elder Berardy is pretty bummed I am leaving, and I am sad we only had 5 weeks together.  It always seems to be the shortest time spent with the best companions.  I guess that is just the way the cookie crumbles.  It will be good experience for Elder Berardy to take over this area.  Super ready for whatever is to come!
Two of our investigators received their answers to the Book of Mormon this week!  Maria and Patricia Garcia, who I have mentioned before, are the only two in their family that have really been reading.  Patricia is the daughter and she tells us that every time she reads, she feels really happy.  Then there is Maria, the mother, who has been the most hardheaded and stubborn of them all.  She told us that she woke up at 1:00 in the morning with a desire to read the Book of Mormon.  So she went into the closet, and for the first time she actually prayed before reading.  She was having a hard time focusing, so she started reading aloud, and a warm and peaceful sensation came over her that she had never felt before.  And what was that sensation?  The Spirit, of course!  She has really softened and opened up, and it is awesome!  It just goes to show that God wants to give us an answer, we just have to do our part first!  Now she tells us that every time she prays, she sees a vision of a little red brick house that is isolated from a little pueblito, and she wants me to tell her what it means.  I wish I knew!  I am a little worried to leave them, because for some reason they absolutely love me, and it is almost as if Elder Berardy is not even there when we go over there.  But I have confidence in Elder Berardy!  I just love to see the Spirit work on people and soften their hearts. 
This week I finished reading El Libro de Mormon.  I sure do love that book!  
We got cussed out by a homeless borracho the other night, who was playing his guitar outside a laundry mat.  He was really looking for a fight.  As he walked away he yelled to us:  "BATMAN. IS. HERE!"  And I am quite sure he was referring to himself.  It makes me really sad to see people like that.  
Last night we had a good time delivering as many Christmas baggies as we could.  People really liked them!  We still have a few left, but we will hand them out tonight.  Really great idea and I appreciate them!
-I got the 12 days of Christmas letters.  Thank you!
And that's my week!  Or at least all that is worth mentioning.  Thanks for the update.  Know that I love you all and pray for you all!  I am praying for a White Christmas for you!  I love Christmas!  I love being a missionary!  Sometimes it is a bit of a grind, but it is for a good cause and the Lord makes it well worth it!  May we all remember Jesus Christ during this special time of year, discovering more, accepting more fully, and sharing it with all those that we love!  I have a testimony of Jesus Christ and it brings a smile to my face and joy to my soul to be able to share it with Texas every day!
Elder Williams

Week Eighty One - Raking Leaves and Sharing 'He is the Gift'!

Elder Berardy and Elder Williams eating helotes!
David, Cindy and a puppy!

Elder Williams and Elder Crockett survey their work!

That's a lot of leaves!

Providing service!

Hello Family!  

Thanks for the updates.  Happy to hear that all is well!  
Unfortunately, I have very little to tell you about this past week.  It was a decent week, but nothing special.  We are teaching quite a bit, but it has been difficult to get any commitment out of anyone.  It is quite frustrating, but that's missionary work!  We raked lots of leaves this week during the early, slower hours of the day for some investigators and less active members.  We just showed up and started raking, and everybody really appreciated it.  Serving feels good!  
Right now, I believe all the missionaries in the world are sharing a card and a 3 minute video called "He is the Gift".  Not sure if you have seen it, but it you haven't, you need to check it out!  We are sharing it with everybody we can right now, and I love it!  It is short and simple, yet so powerful.  And it's for everybody!  It really brings the Spirit into the homes that we visit.  Share the Gift!
I was not aware of Elder Powell, but I am not the least bit surprised.  He is a solid missionary.  The English AP's are in our zone.  They normally come and play sports for a bit, but yes they are usually crazy busy.  I am far from AP quality, and I probably couldn't handle all that responsibility anyway!
We got the pizza as well as the package from Frances.  THANK YOU!
We are going to get all the Christmas bags out this week, because it could be mine and Elder Berardy's last week together!  The Spanish is great!
I've only found a package at our door once or twice.  They almost always go to the office.  I am quite sure UPS never leaves at the door.  Idk!

Sorry for the short email.  I will make up for it with a few pictures!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Week Eighty - A White Thanksgiving, Service, Hymns and The Fridge Magnet!

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!  And....nice socks!

Greetings Family and Friends!

   It sure does bring a smile to my face to hear about your week and adventures with the dogs!  I can only imagine the fun it would be with Sherman and Toby in St. George.  I miss those two pups!  Thanks for the pics too.  Is that Rachel?!  The first thought that came to my mind was that Rachel was some random chick that was Christopher's girlfriend!  She sure has grown up!  Everyone else looks the same.  That blue looks really good on Tom.  Glad to hear that Thanksgiving was spent happily together with family!

   Elder Berardy and I had a pretty good week.  The weather was actually pretty good and quite pleasant for the majority of the week, until today.  Thanksgiving went well for us.  We started the day off with service, cleaning up the yard of a member that is overcoming cancer.  A few of the brethren were there, but the four of us Elders did most of the work.  But it was fun!  We cut down trees.  Then we went to another hermano's house to scoop up dog poop and mow the lawn.  Nobody had cleaned up that backyard for who knows how long!?  Poop. EVERYWHERE!  It made me grateful for a dad that understands the importance of regular poop-scooping.  Love you, Dad!  In the evening we had two dinners to go to, both with Hispanic families, Morales and Serrano families. But the food was surprisingly white!  So it was pretty typical.  At the Serrano's, Hna Serrano told me that she had an ex sister missionary that served in Garland come and cook the food so us missionaries could have a traditional "white" Thanksgiving, because she doesn't know how to cook turkey and stuffing and all that stuff.  I told her that every Thanksgiving that I have had and will ever have has been a traditional "white" Thanksgiving, and she took away my last chance to have a Mexican Thanksgiving.  Oh well!  We were well fed and had a good time.  
Angelica had a mild heart-attack the other day!  But she got to the hospital soon enough, so all is well.  But it was a bit of a scare. 
   So we almost went on a double date to Starbucks this week.  We contacted this girl the other day, and we set up an appointment with her for another day.  She didn't want to do it at her house, because her parents probably wouldn't like us too much.  So we asked her where she wanted to meet up, and she chose Starbucks of all places.  She also said she was going to bring a friend, but her friend bailed last minute.  It was funny because the first thing she said to us when we got to Starbucks was "I just read online that you guys don't drink coffee...we can leave if you don't feel comfortable."  But it was no big deal, so we just talked about the Restoration in Starbucks, surrounded by worldly coffee drinkers.  We were sitting at a table by the line, and in line next to us was this rich looking man with a bow tie, and he kept looking back at us, and we could tell he wanted to say something to us. Once he got his coffee, he turned around to us and told us that we should be teaching out of the Bible and not talking about Joseph Smith.  He said some other things, but that was the gist of it.  I just said "alright thank you sir" over and over again until he left.  I feel like we handled it pretty well, stayed cool on the outside, but you better believe my heart was pumping and my blood was boiling on the inside.  It just amazes me how many people feel like they need to go out of their way to degrade us and beat us down.  But it's okay!  I can handle it.  After that, it was terribly awkward, but it was kind of good.  Gabby, the girl we were talking to, had sympathy for us and was just like "you poor boys, that probably happens all the time, I'm so sorry".  So the lesson was a little rough, but she was super kind, and it took guts for her to go to Starbucks by herself to meet up with two weird guys that she doesn't even know.  So props to her!  We are supposed to teach her again tonight.
   Remember the picture of that family we had dinner with?  We are still teaching them.  They absolutely love when we come over, but it has been hard to have real spiritual, focused lessons with them.  They are just all over the place!  So this week, we decided to start our lesson off with Elder Berardy and I singing a hymn.  I have never really done that before, but I wish I would have been doing it all along.  We sang "I am a Child of God" and they loved it.  It even brought tears to Patricia's eyes!  And now we can't go over there without them asking us to sing a song.  I know we are not really that good, and I know that music is powerful and invites the spirit.  It has really made a difference in our lessons!
   We witnessed a miracle this week.  A couple of weeks ago I lost one of my name tags, the magnet one with the clippy thingy to put on jackets.  We looked for it for a while, but I just gave up and ordered a new one.  But I did pray that God would help me find it.  Then the other day, we were just walking down the sidewalk, and by this point, I had entirely given up and forgotten about my name tag.  But something caught my eye, and it was the clip that my name tag was attached to!  But there was no name tag in sight.  So we decided to knock on the door closest to where we found it, and a lady answered, and I asked if she had it, and she smiled and said "hold on".  Turns out they have been using my name tag as a fridge magnet for the past two weeks!!!  Super funny.  Absolute miracle.  God loves me and he does answer prayers!  Who knows, maybe this lady is our next baptism.  We got her phone number, and hopefully we can teach her this week.  How cool of a conversion story would that be?!
   Last night, the Serranos had us over for dinner again, along with the other elders, Angelica, and the two other coolest families in the ward. After we ate, we had a big family home evening and played lots of games and it was an absolute blast!  Hispanic members of the Church sure do know how to have a good time.  It's nights like that that just make my heart swell with love and joy!  It was really good for Angelica too to see a family home evening and have fun with the members.  I love real, whole-hearted fun after a classic family home evening.  Nothing better.

-I got all the packages.  Thank you!
-Pizza on Thursday for lunch, 1:00 would be great!

Love you all!  

elder Williams

Week Seventy Nine - Feeling Grateful!!

Greetings Family and Friends!  

I don't know what to tell y'all about our week. It was decent, but quite uneventful too. Nothing crazy or exciting or special. It wasn't freezing cold, and some times I didn't even need my jacket! So that was pleasant, but I think this week it's going to get cold again. So that's not too exciting, but we'll survive. Elder Berardy is from Hawaii, you know?  So he like SPAM, because that's what they eat in Hawaii, you know?  So this week I ate SPAM for the first time ever!  And it was actually really good.  Not sure what it is exactly, but I don't know why SPAM has such a bad rep?  Probably because people aren't sure what exactly it is, but oh well!  Elder Berardy got pooped on by a bird this week, so that was pretty funny.  We have a small handful of investigators right now, but we are spending a lot of time trying to find new investigators and searching for those elect, but we didn't have too much luck with that this past week. But this week is a new week and we have high hopes and expectations!  
So this Thursday is el Dia de Pavo, as it is called in the Hispanic culture. THANKSGIVING! We got a couple of dinner invitations from a couple of different families in the branch.  Not sure where exactly we will go, but hopefully both options will work out!  But in this email, because I have so little to tell you about my week, I would like to express my gratitude for my family and friends and blessings and everything that makes my life great.  Coming on a mission has really opened my eyes to how blessed I have been and how great I have always had it.  We spend a lot of time with A and her daughter, D, the two that were recently baptized.  A is the sweetest lady, and she is trying so hard to embrace the gospel and make it a part of her life and the life of her family.  She just left her abusive husband last month, and now she lives with her daughter and her two sons that are 13 and 19.  Her sons are real chumps, they don't do anything but work, play video games, beg for money from their mom, and team up against their mom and sister and make fun of them.  They are both miserable, sad, angry people.  They want nothing to do with us and try to avoid talking with us at almost all costs.  But this past Wednesday, we had dinner with A, and she made her sons eat at the table with us.  To see the way they treat their mom made Elder Berardy and I furious and almost sick.  It wasn't quite bad enough to the point where we needed to say something, but it made me very sad to see that.  That's not what a family should be!  Families should love and support and inspire one another, and enjoy and cherish the time the moments they have to spend together.  I know that they can be hard to do in the moment at times, but right now that has never seemed so easy!  This experience with A and her family made me think about my family, and the family I want to have in the future.  I also thought about other families that I admire, and how it feels in their home.  Throughout my mission I have been in some very pathetic and sad homes, but I have also been in some incredible homes where their is much love and the Spirit is felt strongly.  President Monson said that "love is the essence of the gospel".  I truly believe that there is nothing on the planet that can bring so much love and peace and unity into the home the way the restored gospel can.  And I have that gospel in my life!  And I have a happy, united and blessed family!  And for that reason I am content and grateful.  There are some days when I am just so full of gratitude that I can hardly keep myself from dancing and screaming and making an absolute fool of myself!  It feels good to be grateful.  We all have more than we realize to be grateful for.  So mom, dad, Tom, Em, grandmas and grandpas, aunts, uncles, and cousins, the Little Cottonwood 5th ward, and freinds and every body else  - THANK YOU!  My life has been filled with great people that have done more for me than they realize!  I hope and pray that everybody has a great week and a happy happy Thanksgiving with bulging tummies and hearts full of gratitude!  

Elder Williams