Sunday, January 25, 2015

Week Eighty Seven - Visiting Lakewood And Learning Not To Judge!

The bike life in Garland! 

My sword of truth!

Howdy y'all!

What a great week we had!  We had lots of lessons, found some good people, and enjoyed ourselves in this great work.  We met with the stake president yesterday to report on the missionary efforts in the Dallas East Stake, and he is awesome!  He is so humble and loving and kind and aware of all those around him.  He is a real leader.  I love meeting good people! We did a couple of exchanges, and it was fun and interesting.  For one of those I went back to Lakewood with a super young missionary.  It was sort of nice to see some familiar scenes and faces, but it sure made me glad to be past that stage - young in the mission, clueless, and in Lakewood.  The other exchange was with a missionary that has a bit of a reputation through out the mission, and is difficult to get along with.  But I can survive 24 hours with just about anyone!  And we actually had a very successful, busy day.  I've learned on my mission that judging people is bad.  We should always take the time to get to know people, and look for the good in them before we make assumptions.  It's easy to love someone once you get to know them.  For the most part, people are great! The exchanges did, however, make me grateful for the companion that I do have now. Elder Keller is down to his last two weeks... and he's still been pretty easy on me.  He is a great example to me of enduring to the end.  He is funny and such a great missionary!  We work really well together. 

-I got the co2 detector and it is plugged in and working!  Thanks!
-the sweaters are nice.  I'm not much of a sweater guy, I just feel like it's too much to wear over a shirt and tie, and then it limits the access I have to my shirt pocket, which is very crucial as a missionary.  But, I do wear them from time to time.
-the last three days have been absolutely splendid!  65 degrees and sunny!  Not sure how long it's going to stay like that though.
-In my smoothies I put oj, greek yogurt, a mix of frozen fruit, spinach, and lost of all, celery.  The celery actually adds a very strong flavor, not good, not bad, but I need it!  

All is well.  I love you all and appreciate all that you do for me!  Do me a favor and have the best week of your life! 

Elder Williams   

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Week Eighty Six - More Bugs and Planking!

Lunch at McDonald's on Christmas Day!

Planking competition!  The sister closest to the camera, Elder Powell and Elder Hill won!

   First off, thanks for the updates!  Elder Keller was fine without a heated blanket.  The kid's a freak!  He doesn't get cold!  It's been in the 30 degree range all weak, and he rides around on his bike comfortably, dressed for 50 degree weather!  So he has been fine.  The heat is back on, I'm over the cold, taking vitamins, and making smoothies, happy and healthy!  A JEEP?!  I would be perfectly happy with a jeep!  Mother, why must you be so difficult?  Just give in already!   
   Despite the cold weather, we had a really good week here.  We worked hard and had some good things happen.  We have an investigator named Quedin.  He is from Guatemala, 23 years old.  He came to church yesterday and started to get involved with the young single adults in the ward.  It was great to see the members befriend him!  He told us that he had a dream that he was a missionary.; and dreams for Hispanics are not just dreams, they are revelation!  Hispanics just have that gift.  So we are quite confident that he is going to get baptized.  We are really pushing for the 31st of this month, so Elder Keller can have a baptism the last week of his mission, but Quedin thinks he needs to learn a lot more first.  He is so ready though!  So we will see what happens.  Just keep him in your prayers!  Quedin Giron.
   The highlight of our week was Wednesday when we got to go to MLC - Mission Leadership Council.  I have heard for a long time now how great that meeting is, and it's true!  Once a month, all the zone leaders and sister training leaders and assistants get together for an 8 hour meeting at the mission home to brainstorm, counsel, and discuss the needs of the mission with President and Sister Taylor.  And the best part about it is that the meeting is interrupted by a quality, delicious, home-cooked American lunch, thanks to Sister Taylor.  She really knows what she is doing in the kitchen!  And I don't get those kinds of meals too often!  But anyway, at this meeting, because of the new year, we talked about visions, goals, and plans for 2015.  2015 is going to be a BIG year!  As we went through the power point presentation that contained these things, I was really blown away by it all.  President and Sister Taylor have really put all their heart, mind, might and strength into this mission.  I have no doubt that they are inspired and lead by the Lord.  We also learned there that Elder Russell M. Nelson is coming to visit us at the end of the month!  That is a big deal!  And it is all because he has a grand daughter in the mission that has been praying that he would come to the TDM.  It's going to be amazing!!!!!!!  So it was a pretty great meeting, and I am grateful for the privilege I had to attend. Oh yeah, and then we ended the meeting with a competition between a few missionaries to see who could hold an ab plank longest.  I got nominated to participate.  I really didn't want to, because I feared I would lose to one of the sister missionaries.  And I did!  A little philipino sister that had never done an ab plank before in her life almost beat everybody!  Not fair.  I'm out of shape and I don't like it! 
   The other night we found a cockroach infestation behind our refrigerator.  I don't know what was worse - finding the cockroaches or the bedbugs.  But either way, I am really fed up with Texas and just miss Utah.  Never did I have to deal with either one of those back home!  

-heat was off because of a furnace problem or something like that, but we got it fixed.
-the Febreeze and other air fresheners do help quite a bit.
-I don't need you to send me anything right now.  Thanks though!
-We usually get the bike for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  This car share is a real pain and we are all fed up with it.

That's all I've got for ya this week.  But I do have a question that I've been meaning to ask for a few weeks now, but I have just been forgetting:  what did everyone get for Christmas?!  Have a great week!  I miss you all and I want you to know that I love you to Kolob and back!

Elder Williams 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Week Eighty Five - Happy New Year!!


It is good to hear that all is well there for ya, and that you had a happy new year and everyone is healthy!  Because I am not.  I have had a cold for about five days now, and it has been super annoying because we have had way too much to do, constantly meeting new people and talking people, and no time to slow down or rest.  I am still quite congested, but I think I am starting to get better now.  Almost everyone got hit by the cold this week! It was also cold and wet and rainy nearly all week, and we had no heating in our apartment for quite a while.  That heated blanket saved me!  So it was a bit of a rough week, but we tried our best to make the most of it. 
One of the nicer parts of the week was when we went to the Settle's home.  Elder Packham and his companion live with the Settle's, and missionaries have been living with them for years. They are the sweetest old couple you ever could meet, and they just love missionaries and love having them in their home.  We had to go there to use their computer to send in a report.  It was a bit frustrating because Sister Settle wouldn't leave us alone; she's always got stories to share and pictures to show and food to eat.  The nice part, and the funny part, was when she gave us a back and scalp massage.  I could see in Elder Keller's face that he wasn't sure what to think or say or do, but it felt too good so he just went with it.  It sure made me feel at home.  Sister Settle is too adorable. 
Another frustrating part of the week was when we were knocking some doors, and we got invited in by these two, young punks, that really just wanted to bash and badmouth the Mormons. Elder Keller and I kept our cool, but we sure wanted to give them a beating.  It's after things like that when I am more grateful than ever for the testimony that I have of the Restored Gospel.  I love to share it, teach it, and defend it.  It truly is a privilege that I will always treasure!  

-never found grandma's package : (  I think lots of peeps had packages that didn't turn up.
-New year's eve and new year's day were pretty much just regular days.
-I have not yet used the bullet because I have not yet been able to buy fruit!  but today I will buy some today so I can use it. I will try to just use the mission card for fruit and stuff.
-we have a baptismal date for the 31st, but it isn't super solid yet.  Our area is struggling a bit... but we are working on it!  

I love the start of a new year.  It just feels so fresh and rejuvenating!  2015 is going to be a stellar year!  
Thanks for the updates.  Have a superb week! 
 I love you all to Kolob and back!

Elder Williams 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas Skype Call With David

Elder Keller and Elder Williams!

New companions - Elder Keller and Elder Williams!

Davey giving his mom the 'thumbs up' sign!

Elder Keller and David at Rosalba's house on Christmas Day for Skyping home!

Well, we finished our last missionary Skype call, ever, on Christmas day!  Whew!!  What a relief that is!  Don't get me's not that I don't absolutely love talking to my sons almost in person.  It is just extremely emotional to see them and to hear their voice when you are so used to just communicating with them through e-mails and letters.  We got to talk to David for about an hour and a half and he looked and sounded great!  He loves his new job and his new companion, Elder Keller.  He is looking forward to new challenges and new experiences.  I just couldn't be any more proud of this guy!  He has grown and matured in so many ways.  We are really looking forward to counting down the next four months to when he arrives back in Salt Lake City on April 29th!  Love this boy!!

Week Eighty Four - Merry Christmas and Skyping!

Got up at 6, hurried and showered and got dressed, and had to rush through opening presents. 

Howdy Y'all!

It is so good to hear from you and it was so nice to see everyone's face on Thursday!  I loved it!  But, I'm not going not going to lie; it was hard afterwards.  I have never felt satisfied after skyping.  It just doesn't fill me up!  So I am happy and grateful to be able to say that we don't have to do that again!  Mom - I am sorry to hear that you have been feeling down lately.  But it is just four short months more.  Hang in there!  Also, I'm glad to hear that you went to Mike's homecoming.  He sent me an email today.  I love that kid!  It's nice to hear an update about all the cousins.  Life hasn't slowed down for anybody it seems.  So much has changed!  Let my cousins know that I love them all too! 
  Elder Keller and I had a busy week.  Elder Keller is great.  I admire him because he knows who he is, he's not trying to impress anyone, he knows which way he faces, and he just gets the job done.  We get along really well!  In some ways he reminds me of Jared Heldt.  Is that kid home yet?  
  Tuesday we went to the temple, and it was just what we needed! Both Christmas Eve and Christmas day were crazy busy.  Almost too busy to enjoy!  We did some carrolling, had a zone meeting, talked with the fam, and ate way too many tamales.  Christmas came and went in the blink of an eye!  It was fun, but Christmas is a stressful time of year, even for missionaries!  So it is nice to put it behind us and be moving on to 2015!
  Christmas day we started reading the Book of Mormon together as a mission and we are going to read it all in 40 days!  The whole mission will be heavenly focused on the Book of Mormon at the start of 2015, and starting January 1st, we are launch an initiative that is going to flood Dallas with the Book of Mormon!  It is going to be pretty neat.  I love that Book!  
  The work here in Casa Linda is alright.  A lot of our investigators are part member families that missionaries have been working with for a long time, and they just don't seem to be going anywhere.  We have a few that are coming along, but the work is kind of slow.  Being a zone leader also takes a little bit away from the work.  I feel like we are constantly planning and trying to keep track of things and contacting missionaries and sending messages and all that good stuff.  I don't know if my plate has ever been so full!  But I like it.  Being busy feels good!

-I never found out who the Myers were, and I seem to have lost the box that had their address on it.  So unfortunately, we may never know!  But I thank them : )
-Grandma's package still hasn't been found.  I'm going to call the Assistants again today. 
-the shirts are perfect!  
-Dad's Christmas card was hilarious!  How did you do that?  It looked like you just glued Toby on there over another dog, but it was on there so good that I wasn't sure.  

-1209 Winifred dr. apt. # 24
     Garland, TX 75041                             my address!

  I want to thank everybody who sent me Christmas cards and presents. Because of y'all, my Christmas was great and filled with love!  I am so grateful for all those who have supported me on my mission.  You really do make my day and make things easier.  THANK YOU! 
  Well, I think that is all I have for this week.  Life is good and I am ready for the new year!  I hope y'all have a great week and a happy start to the new year!!  Stay out of trouble, and don't do anything I wouldn't do!  Love you to Kolob and back! 

Elder Williams 

Week Eighty Three - Saying Goodbye and a New Companion!

Familia Castaneda!
This is Hno Flores, he was baptized like three years ago.  He is super kind and humble and loves missionaries.  He would always ask us to pray for him and this woman he was courting.  Hilarious!

Cards from an investigator!

Cards and presents from investigators!
Ashley Gonzalez - cutest convert ever!

La Familia Ascencio! -One of my most favorite families in the branch!  Hno Ascencio insisted that I hold his baby Jesus with him...
Juanny, Evelyn, and Danny - Cutest, most well behaved, best kids ever!
La Familia Garcia - my other favorite family in the branch!

Transfer meeting!

I finally had an excuse to throw up the "hang loose" sign!  Elder Berardy is a real stud that knows how to have a good time.  So grateful that I got to be his companion.  I'm gonna miss the kid!  

Seasons Greetings to all my most favorite people!

Well, this past week was quite eventful with some exciting changes and lots going on!  
MONDAY was a crazy busy day, first trying to pack everything up.  It was then that I realized that I have accumulated way too much junk throughout my mission.  At transfers I was almost embarrassed for people to see my mountain of belongings! I really going to have to do something about that. In the evening we frantically zoomed around on our bikes, trying to say goodbye to as many as I could.  It is amazing how close you can come to people and how much you can love them after just four short months of serving around them.  I don't know if I would say it was hard to say goodbye, but it was definitely bitter sweet, and I was so soo sooo grateful for the privilege I had had to get to know these people, serve them, and form friendships.  I love those guys!  It is after days like that Monday that make me sure that I will miss being a missionary.  There is just nothing like it!
TUESDAY was another great and memorable day as the whole entire mission got together for a breakfast, special musical numbers, Christmas hymns and celebrations, and TRANSFERS!  It was a long meeting, and they made us wait until the very end of the meeting to find out where we were going and who our new companions were going to be, so the rest of the meeting before that was a little hard to enjoy with the suspense and all. But we made it to the end of the meeting, and I am now a zone leader in the Casa Linda ward with Elder Keller!  Elder Keller is your typical farm boy from Logan, Utah.  He is arguably the strongest missionary in the whole TDM, and will probably play college football after his mission.  And he goes home in just 6 weeks!  I was hoping I'd be able to escape without ever having to send a missionary home, but the time has finally come.  But Elder Keller is a great missionary, focused, and claims he doesn't even want to go home!  So this shouldn't be too bad. Casa Linda is a good sized Spanish ward. My whole mission I have met people from Casa Linda, and I have always told them jokingly that one day I would be in Casa Linda, and here I am!  So yesterday I saw lots of familiar faces at Church.  I could not be happier with the changes!  
At the transfer meeting I said goodbye to some great friends, and the first of all my companions went home - Elder Haskell.  After the meeting he gave me a big hug and started crying on my shoulder.  It was one of the sweetest, saddest things I ever did see.  Elder Haskell really is a best friend and you had better go to his homecoming! 
     The rest of the week I just kind of followed Elder Keller around and tried to get a feel for the area.  Change is hard and uncomfortably, but it has been really good so far.  SATURDAY we, along with a handful of other missionaries, went to help out Jess Johnson with organizing the clothes he is going to donate to the VA hospitals in the area, just like we did last year.  It was weird going to that place again, because I haven't been there for an entire year and it literally felt like I was there just a month or two ago.  My "golden year" has pretty much come to an end and I can not believe it! La vida misional es absolutamente LOCA! 

It sounds like y'all had a great week and I appreciate you sharing it with me.  I love to hear about life in the 801!  I love the picture of Toby.  He looked a little skeptical about the coat, but I'd imagine he was just too excited to go to the park to care.  I love that pup!  Thank you for feeding the missionaries.  I would kill to eat with a family like mine!  I miss you all dearly and I cannot wait to Skype in a few days!  We will probably be skyping around 1 or 2:00 my time.  
I sincerely wish you all a very merry Christmas!  My the light and spirit of Christ fill your lives to make it a very special Christmas for all!  


Elder Williams