Monday, March 27, 2017

Week 32 - Nashville Providence B

Hey there mi familia!

This week was so cool. There were a lot of very obvious "hand of the lord" moments and even more that were less obvious.

The biggest one happened this last Thursday. We were out tracting around a less active member's house. And we knocked the door right next to his first and yesenia answered and talked with us for a minute. She ended up saying that she was happy where she was at and that her family already had a religion. So we asked her if she knew anyone in need of a message and kept going. 5 houses down we got a text from the other elders asking if we could pick them up on the way to dinner. So we started heading back to the car, which was past yesenia's house. If we hadn't gotten the text we would have probably kept knocking more doors. But on the way back there was this ice cream truck driving right in front of us and as we passed yesenia's house, she was out on the front steps, just standing there. So Elder Bradshaw just asked her if she was waiting for ice cream. She said no and waived us over. So we go over and she tells us that before we knocked her door she was about to take her shoes off and lay down, and after we left she went back to do the same thing. But she said that she couldn't the second time. She said there was something holding her back from doing it and it told her to go back out and listen to what we had to say. And so she headed back outside and that was right when we were passing by. So after she told us all this, we taught the restoration and focused on the Holy Ghost from the last part of the pamphlet and how what she felt was definitely this. We then got her number and a return appointment. We are going back this Wednesday and I am so excited for it! And if everything in this hadn't happened exactly as it did, we wouldn't have seen her standing outside. But god has a plan and he knows exactly what needs to happen to have spiritual experiences for his children. I know that I grew personally from it. It strengthened my testimony that we need to be in the right place at the right time and be able to listen to the spirit to tell us where to go.

And then the next big one. During our daily planning, we were trying to figure out where we needed to knock doors. I felt like we should go knock these apartments in the top part of our area. So we put it in our plans and didn't think much of it. But as we were knocking, the first door to answer us was this super happy woman. As we introduced ourselves, she cut us off after awhile and said that she was a member! But she had just moved her a couple of months ago from New York and a few months before that from Honduras. So we got her the direction to the church and asked if we could come back over tomorrow with some members. She happily said yes and we kept on working. But I thought this experience was so cool, because I know that Heavenly Father guided us to that door so that his child could return to the path. He really does search and care for his lost sheep. And I love that I was able to help him in that search.

And then the temple was it's own special spiritual experience. I always feel so spiritually rejuvenated after. I'm glad we get to go every once in a while.

Anyways other little random things from this week. Saturday was elder Bradshaw's birthday and so we ate lunch at McDonald's as a district and then threw a cake in his face after. It was pretty great.

And yesterday we ate at a member's house and we all of us ate some chili de árbol. My tongue was numb. It was awesome. Haha

Love you all!

🇺🇸Elder Williams🇲🇽

How many elders can you fit in the back seat

Monday, March 20, 2017

Week 31 - Nashville Providence B

This week was another great one. With my changes to praying that I talked about last week I can feel myself changing. My studies are so much better now. I absolutely love it. Before I was just reading the scriptures, but now I feel like I'm really studying. I spent the whole week in just Jacob 3-5. And every time I went back over the same scriptures I would get something different. The way the spirit works is so cool.

One thing that I learned is we can't "look beyond the mark". In Jacob 4:14-18 it talks about the Jews and how they looked beyond the mark.  They looked for things more complicated. The rock (15), Jesus and his gospel, is simple and if we build upon it we won't get lost or confused and we are promised eternal life! The Jews downfall was they asked for things they couldn't understand and that's exactly what they received. God removed his clarity from them because they desired to know things that were unimportant and things they couldn't understand.

Instead of desiring for knowledge that is unimportant, focus on the things that really matter. And always remember, we can't grow faster than our foundation can support (Jacob 5:48) eventually we can have a perfect knowledge of all things, but if we just jump to wanting that right now, we will overcome the strength of our roots and fall.

Anyways, this week we spent a lot of time contacting. We had people on date for next Saturday, but for different reasons, we hadn't been able to come in contact with any of them. And all of our other progressing investigators were disappearing too. But this week we were able to come back in contact with them and teach a few lessons to each. One investigator in particular, Elisabeth Ramirez, we had a great lesson with. We have been focusing on prayer with her, because before she had felt like something was blocking her prayer from getting through the ceiling. She told us that she hadn't been praying, or going to her church. And she could feel the difference. We told her that there is great news, that she can always change, or repent, and start praying again. We then had her say a prayer and committed her to daily prayer.

We are going back over tonight to see how she is doing and hopefully be able to teach her the Book of Mormon. She already knows a little about it because her dad was baptized 20+ years ago, but her mom never let any of the kids learn too much. So she has strong desires to learn, it's just hard to plan for lessons because she never answers texts or calls.

A highlight from the week was seeing Eduardo get baptized. He got married last week and was baptized Saturday. He was taught by Elder brown and Waldo. He has such a simple but strong testimony. It was a blessing to be able to hear it after he was baptized. His whole family got up and shared theirs as well because they didn't get the chance to 3 weeks ago when they were baptized. It was just a spirit packed 30 minutes! I loved it.

We get to go to the temple this Wednesday and I'm so excited! I can't believe it's already been 6 months since the last trip! It will be a nice spiritual battery charge. And general conference is next week too! I'm so excited to see what I can learn, and also I'm excited to see how many times I can see dad. Hopefully it's a new record. :) Love you all and have a great week!


🇺🇸Elder Williams🇲🇽

Farwell Party for Elder Denhalter

Drunk Cowboy

Monday, March 13, 2017

Week 30 - Nashville Providence B - O dios de Israel

First off, we got transfer calls! Elder Bradshaw and I are staying the same! And elder Webster is coming to providence! He will be in Prov a, so we will live together, just not companions. It's going to be a blast. He's actually my zone leader now. And there is a good chance that I will serve in the same ward/district as him for the rest of his mission. He's got 3 transfers left. 

This week has been a good one. It started out pretty of sad with the less active member passing away that I talked about last week. He ended up not having any blood flow to his brain, so the only thing making his body function was the machine. But the really cool part of the week was helping his family members, specifically his son, through it all. We visited the family almost every day and basically taught them the lessons. The son, Dison, is a champ. Every time we met with him, he had questions for us and he was always reading his scriptures in between visits. His goal is to go to the temple for his dad when he can. He's only 16, but he's determined to be worthy of it when the time comes. We were able to give him and his mom blessings and it just really strengthened my testimony of the priesthood. Our Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need in life and through the priesthood we can communicate that to his children. Dison came to mutual this week and they also came to church. They came an hour late, but they hadn't changed their clocks the night before so they came an hour late because of daylight savings. But the ward was super awesome in being really excited to see them back and just being his friend. This was our main focus this week. The best thing about this all is Heavenly Father knows his children perfectly. He knew that this would be hard on them, but he knew they could handle it and that it would draw them nearer unto him. Disan has told us that no matter when, he will come out with us if we ask him to. He really is such a strong kid. I'm blessed to have the opportunity to help him through this trial. 

A big focus I had this week was saying sincere prayers. After watching the face to face by president eyring and Elder holland, I started looking at prayer differently. I imagined I was approaching the literal throne of god. Instead of just rushing into my prayer I spent time in just silence to quiet my thoughts and prepare to speak with Heavenly Father. And after my prayers, I set aside time to receive answers instead of instantly going and doing something else after. I felt a big change in my prayers. They were no longer similar every time. I still was asking for similar things in each prayer, but it was more heartfelt rather than repeated. It also helped change the way elder Bradshaw and I teach prayer to people. Elder Bradshaw had a great idea of praying with our investigators and then afterwards just sitting in silence to let the spirit touch their hearts. It was a simple thing, but I know it has changed the way our investigators see prayer as well. I just love elder Bradshaw, he's a super humble person and he always has the investigators needs in mind. It makes the work so much more enjoyable when we truly put our investigators as our priority 100% of the time. 

We had a ward missionary activity this past Friday and the member turn out was great. We only had two investigators show up out of the four companionships, but I still think it was a success. It allowed the members to share their testimonies of the Book of Mormon and see just how easy it is. Hopefully it helped them to feel more comfortable to share the gospel with their friends.

Yesterday was ward conference and the bishop asked us Saturday morning if we would do a special musical number. So Elder brown and I sang "redeemer of Israel" or "o dios de Israel" with Elder Bradshaw on cello and hermana Hodgson on the piano. I thought it's sounded pretty good for having 20 minutes to practice it together. I got a recording so I'll send that to you. My voice sounds different in it. I'm not sure how to describe it. But I was singing the tenor part, so the one that's going higher is me. Elder Bradshaw and I want to do another one in a few weeks that we have actually practiced. 

We weren't really able to meet with many of our investigators this week. We would set up appointments with them every day and they would always fall through. So met as much as we could with them and spent the rest knocking doors. We are probably going to have to push mark's baptism back because he's been super busy the past couple weeks with work and the new baby. Pray for him to be able to continue progressing in this gospel. He's so humble and ready, he just needs the time. 

I love you all and know that I'm praying for you all. 

🇺🇸Elder Williams🇲🇽

O dios de Isreael

Monday, March 6, 2017

Week 29 - Nashville Providence B - David Archuleta

This week has been an awesome one! Monday night we were working close to our apartment, and I felt prompted that we should go knock an apartment complex that was pretty far away and we were on bikes. Luckily we went because we ended up finding the most golden family! At first the wife, Janet, answered the door with her two kids there. And she told us she lived there solo, so we thought we would have to bring a member over every time. So we got a return appointment for the next day at 2, which we knew was going to be super hard to get a member for. But we remembered there was a new returned missionary in the ward, and he still didn't have a job. I.e. He was free. Haha. But when we got there, her husband was there! And it turned out to be the smoothest sailing and one of the best lessons I've been in. And all we had to do was teach. We showed the picture on the front of the resto pamphlet and Antonio said " that's Jesus, and when he came to the earth he had to fight to establish it. And after he died it disappeared. Where is it now?" We were speechless. And when we taught about prophets, he asked "why are there no prophets today? Why has god left us alone?" We just couldn't believe the questions he was asking. And after we taught about Joseph smith he asked how he can pray to know. We literally couldn't teach the lesson fast enough for them. He then said the prayer and thanked Heavenly Father for opening his eyes to this grand cosa that is happening in the world. It was so cool! And they have a 1 year old daughter who is just the cutest thing on the planet. She just kept bringing me different things from all over the apartment. 

Then Tuesday night we were going to do a practice church tour with one of our members, but they last minute canceled on us. So we were looking for something to do while we waited for our ride, and we found the Spanish young single adults from this area. And you'll never guess who we met! We got to hang out and talk with David Archuleta about his mission and the work here. It was super cool. The other elders got to go out to dinner with him Thursday but we were stuck on exchanges so we couldn't go. It's ok, we'll have another chance. He's a super humble and chill dude.

Wednesday we had zone conference and I felt like I'm finally getting comfortable speaking in front of a bunch of people. Because it felt like my companion and I were the only ones commenting the whole time. And there were three zones there. I also got to see elder Pappin there, and I still love that kid. There's a good chance he could be transferred down to providence this next transfer. Which would be so awesome. OH there was also 5 tornados here that day. We didn't get affected directly, but almost every road we needed to take had huge trees over them. And there was a torrential downpour the whole way. It was really cool. I felt like we were in a movie! 

Thursday we had another exchange, except this time I went with elder brown, who was in my mtc district. It was kind of cool to see both of us knocking doors and speaking a ton of Spanish because I can remember when both of us knew 0. He's still the same person I knew back in the mtc, so I had to pray for a lot of patience, but other than that it was great. 

Saturday we went to the hospital to give a blessing to a less active member. He was the same one that we gave a blessing to the first day I got here. He had gotten a blood clot and it got to his heart and it ended up stopping and he collapsed on his 16 year old son. His brain never died, but it didn't get any oxygen for a few minutes. So they put him in coma to stabilize him. He's still not doing very well, but there is a neurologist going in today to check him out. But the son is a spiritual giant right now. It's so cool. He said right before he went to be he prayed that God would give him a clear sign if everything was going to be ok, and that he didn't want anything else other than his dad back. He said that every time he goes to sleep now, his dad is in it and tells him to stop worrying. He was seriously glowing while he told it. We are going to go back again today and just hang out with him to keep his mind off of the whole situation. 

Love you fam

🇺🇸Elder Williams🇲🇽