Sunday, March 15, 2015

Week Ninety Five - Busiest Wackiest Week of My Mission!

Elder Denos!

Elder Vang!

Elder Stewart (ZL companion), Elder Duce and David!

This past week was CRAZY!  Very very busy with lots going on.  It may have been the busiest wackiest week of my mission.  For the first time in nearly two years I got more than two days behind in my journal writing - I was five days behind at one point!  But don't worry, I am caught up now : )  So I'll try to tell you as much as I can remember, and have time for!
TUESDAY was Elder Denos's cumpleanos, as well as the Follow-Up Training meeting.  We had to be at the chapel by 10 for the meeting, so on our way we stopped at the Garland Cafe for a birthday breakfast.  Dad would really like the Garland Cafe.  Follow-Up Training is the meeting held about halfway through the transfer for all trainers and their trainees.  At this meeting we receive training from President and Sister Taylor, along with the Assistants, we talk about how everybody is doing and feeling, share testimonies, and then, for the highlight of the meeting, we complain about each other!  I think I might have told you about this the last time I attended this meeting with Elder Alkonis, but at one point we split up and the trainers go with the assistants to another room, and the trainees stay with President and Sister Taylor, and we vent about our companions, the assistants and President and Sister Taylor write down what we say, we come back together, and the thoughts and complaints are shared anonymously.  This way, you can express what you are afraid to tell your companion to the face, and you can receive some constructive criticism without any hurt feelings!  What usually happens is the trainers just want to say what they love about their companions and get done in 10 minutes, and all the trainees are crying and take a half hour.  Maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but it's something like that.  Missions are tough!  Another highlight of the meeting that really touched me was when President and Sister Taylor talked about families, and how God takes care of missionary families.  It wasn't planned, but it turned into a testimony meeting, and missionaries were just sharing all these amazing blessings and miracles, along with difficulties, that have been seen in their families as they have been serving.  It was very spiritual and powerful.  The following scriptures were shared:
D&C 31:1 Thomas, my son, blessed are you because of your faith in my work. 2 Behold, you have had many afflictions because of your family; nevertheless, I will bless you and your family, yea, your little ones; and the day cometh that they will believe and know the truth and be one with you in my church. 3 Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come; and your tongue shall be loosed, and you shall declare glad tidings of great joy unto this generation. 4 You shall declare the things which have been revealed to my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun. You shall begin to preach from this time forth, yea, to reap in the field which is white already to be burned. 5 Therefore, thrust in your sickle with all your soul, and your sins are forgiven you, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your back, for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Wherefore, your family shall live. 6 Behold, verily I say unto you, go from them only for a little time, and declare my word, and I will prepare a place for them.
D&C 100:
1    Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my friends Sidney and Joseph, your families are well; they are in mine hands, and I will do with them as seemeth me good; for in me there is all power.
I love love love these verses, and I have no doubt that God takes care of His missionary families! 
So that was a 6 hour meeting, and it was lots of fun!  We then went to dinner, where the members fed us and bought Elder Denos a single slice of cake....and he didn't share.... That night was a little hectic because we had to do another one of those exchanges that involves 4 companionship's.  Missionary Leadership Council was the following day, but due to icey weather that was expected Wednesday morning, we were asked to make the drive Tuesday night, and spend the night in the Assistants' apartment.  So Elder Stewart and I got to their apartment at 10:00, and slept in an apartment full of elders.  It was strange being their again, because I hadn't been there since my very first night in Dallas.  But this time I got a bed!  And a real blanket!  But that night was when the tickle in the throat began....
WEDNESDAY morning we got up super early to go play basketball.  I woke up with a killer sore throat, and all day long it was excruciatingly painful to swallow.  It was possibly the worst sore throat of my life!  Nevertheless, MLC started at 10:00 at the mission home again.  That place is like heaven on earth!  Especially compared to the places we spend most of our time in Garland.  It is so clean, smells fresh, and there is just a lovely spirit felt in that home.  That meeting lasted 7 hours, and it was jam-packed full of the Spirit and inspiration.  We did something really neat through a website called Relative Finder, and it told me that I am a fourth cousin twice removed to President Taylor!  And out of everyone in the Texas Dallas Mission, he is my closest relative.  But for the majority of the meeting we talked about the need to become "MIGHTY" in all aspects of the work.  President Taylor is really good at finding words in the scriptures that most of us skim over and give no thought to, and he makes them so significant and brings on a whole new meeting.  I think everybody at that meeting left feeling a little crumby, yet motivated to do so much more and work so much harder!  
It rained literally all day that day, and by the time we got on our way back to our areas, the rain was turning to ice, and we were asked to get off the roads and into the nearest missionary apartment asap.  So I spent another night away from my baby, and slept on the couch at Elder Stewart's and Elder Gile's apartment.  My throat was still bothering me, and I was spiritually drained and exhausted from the meeting, so I fell asleep at 8:30.
THURSDAY we were not allowed to drive for the first half of the day, which worked out for us because Elder Stewart and I were able to prepare a zone meeting for the next day.  In the afternoon I was finally reunited with Elder Denos, and we were able to get some work done and teach a few lessons.  My sore throat had not yet gone away.
FRIDAY we had a zone meeting, and our job was to basically relay all that was discussed and taught in MLC.  We sat in a circle and had a council and it went really well.  For dinner that night, a member took us to a place called WingStop.  From a missionary standpoint, it is a very worldly place.  Ginormo TVs with sports and sports and sports, loud music, and filled with all the cool, young and hip kids with fine clothing.  Some times I want to be cool, young and hip again, but there is a time and place for everything.  While WingStop may be the place, now is not the time!  Randy Farmer came out with us again that night, and it was a much better experience.  I was still sick, but my throat wasn't hurting quite so bad.  
SATURDAY was almost a normal day, until I lost my voice, starting around lunch time.  It progressively got worse and worse, until I could hardly do anything but whisper!  My throat didn't really hurt by that point, it was just frustrating and exhausting to try to teach lessons like that.  We shared the Restoration DVD a few times that day, and got into a heated debate with a lesbian about homosexuality.  It is a very difficult subject to address. 
SUNDAY we were an hour late to church, because nobody told us about daylight savings!  So that was a little embarrassing.  And then, to add to it, my voice was at it's worst, and people thought it was funny so they were bugging me and trying to get me to talk.  Argh!  That night we did another Elder jumble, and a bunch of us were separated from our companions, because I had to go to Mesquite to start another District Building activity.  Lots of District Buildings have been cancelled because of the weather, and they want to finish them all up this week, so we had to fit one in that started Sunday night and went most of the day yesterday.  Sunday night we had a council meeting, and I slept at random apartment again on the couch.  
MONDAY (yesterday) I was in a town called Seagoville for the day, on an exchange with Elder Vang.  We had no plans, no lessons, and nobody to really visit, so we contacted in lavandarias for 5 straight hours.  My voice was better than it was Saturday and Sunday, but it was still at about a level 4 strength.  I couldn't yell, sing, or talk very loud, so it took a lot of effort to get people to hear me.  It did not stop raining that entire day, so all that made for a long day.  But Elder Vang is a great kid, and we had lots of fun!  It's funny because that area - Mesquite and Seagoville and around there - is the most depressing area for me.  I feel like I would be miserable if I ever had to serve there.  And the reason is because I have never been there when it is not dark, grey, glum and rainy.  And I've been there 5 or 6 times!  So now I have this idea in my head that it is never not raining in that part of the world, and I don't like going there.  

-Rosalba is a different Rosalba than the one you know.
-My voice is starting to come back, but I can't sing or yell yet.  Oh how I wish I could sing already! 

Well, that might be the longest email ever written.  Hope you enjoyed it!  Thanks for the update!  It makes me happy to know that there are some good elders in our stake!  I hope everybody gets feeling better.  Mother, enjoy your week in Palm Springs and take pictures!  I really enjoyed the pictures you sent me, you have no idea!  Have a superb week!

Love you to Kolob and back!  

Elder Williams          

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