Monday, July 26, 2010

Billy's Homecoming Information

Billy will be speaking at church in Virginia on August 8th at 9:00AM.

Kingstowne Ward
5911 Franconia Road
Alexandria, Virginia 22310

Billy will also be speaking at church in Salt Lake City on August 22nd at 1:10PM.

Mt. Olympus 1st Ward
4635 S. Lanark Road (3315 E. 4635 S.)
Salt Lake City, Utah 84124

Billy is excited to see all of his friends and family! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


What a wonderful night as we sat around the family room awaiting Billy’s phone call. We had the speaker phone hooked up and every time the phone rang, we all jumped. We were fortunate to have Billy’s grandparents with us, they just happened to be in town for a business meeting. The phone call came in about 7:40 in the evening and to hear Billy on the other end, with such excitement, brought tears to my eyes. It was actually 5:00 am the following morning for Billy. He talked to us for about an hour and stopped just for a minute to wake up his companion. They were due to catch a plane back to Bangalore after visiting Goa. They had visited Goa to go on splits with the District Leaders.

His spirits were high and he was excited to tell us about four baptisms that took place last week and four more that are scheduled for next week. The Elders feel very blessed as they have baptized 32 people since January. Their numbers are higher than this time last year for Bangalore. Last year, in the area of Bangalore, there were 50 baptisms for the years. The Elders are all working very hard to make up for the fact that there hasn’t been any new missionaries assigned to India for about a year. The Government is not approving visas. The Mission President has pulled some Elders to work in the Mission home due to the fact that the missionary couples have all left because their visa’s have expired.

Billy’s companion is Elder Briggs, and he speaks very highly of him. Elder Briggs got an infection and had temporarily lost his hearing in both ears. He has regained hearing in one of his ears. Billy said that Elder Briggs can’t hear when others talk to him, he is only able to hear Billy. How blessed he is to have a companion that talks so loud. Elder Briggs and Billy worked with the Elders in the zone and they were able to find a total of 116 new investigators. Twenty five of those were found by Elder Briggs and Bill. By the end of May they hope to have eight baptisms.

Billy said that the deaf community has really grown in their Branch. He baptized the first couple in February and what a thrill it was to see their father baptize his children several weeks later. Several of their friends have since started investigating the church. Billy holds a class twice a week and has over 40 members are in attendance to teach sign language to the members of the Branch as well as other Elders so they will continue to communicate with the deaf community. There are two of his students that have done so well that they are able to help Bill translate in church. It has not been easy to teach the deaf because there is no formal training with sign language in India, so those who are deaf make up their own form of language, so at times this presents some problems.

At a District Leaders council, where all the district leaders meet with the Zone leaders and make goals for the upcoming month. They discussed the importance of getting investigators to a sacrament meeting. As they were talking, Bill remembered the time when he was in the 6th grade and how his teacher would encourage the students not to be “no zero heroes”! He presented this idea to the other Elders and they loved the idea, so they established the “NO ZERO HERO”. The Elders got so excited that they all showed up with new investigators. The zone had over 40 investigators that week and that is the highest it has ever been. That was only two days after they had discussed it.

Bill said that he is a little sad that this is the last phone call home. He said that it seems like just when he knows what he is doing, it is time to leave. If he could extend his mission, he would. He loves India and the people of India and has loved serving the Lord. He will stay strong and finish strong. He has registered for classes at BYU and has put a lot of thought into his future. Bill’s release date is August 2 and he would like to have his homecoming on Sunday, August 8th, which will be his 21st birthday.

The Elders that were arrested, were released after four days. They are now working in the Mission office because the government would like President Nichols to turn over their passports and if that happens, the Elders would be unable to leave India.

In March, they had Zone Conference, it was a wonderful experience. Elder Perkins, Quorum of the Seventy, and his wife visited the mission and it was nice to receive training from them. Elder Perkins told Bill that he knew his dad and he asked if he was the son of Bill Nixon, the Stake President in Virginia. He told Bill that he met his dad several times in Hong Kong. What a small world. Bill was suppose to conduct and he was very nervous, especially when you have a General Authority slap you on the knee and say, “Let’s get going”.

Bill in his own words:

I don’t think I could ever repay the Lord for what he has done for me. I came on my mission to serve the Lord, but I fell like I have received more blessings then I deserve. I am confident the Lord could do this work by himself, but he sent us so we can learn and grow from our own experience. If anyone would consider the mission as a sacrifice, they are ignorant of what the Lord is calling them to do. I feel like I am in the Mormon Battalion. I thought I could come to fight, but I have realized that I have come to learn. As I read the Scriptures in the Book of Luke, it hit home to me. Those who look to save their lives, lose them, but those who lose their lives will find them. I have discovered who I am, who I want to be. I understand more about the gospel and the Lord’s plan then I ever thought I would. I felt like these past two years have been constructing the foundation for my entire life. I am so grateful for the gospel and I am so grateful for the blessings Heavenly Father has given me.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

“The Perfect Storm” (From February 26th)

It all started when I got hit in the head with a coconut. As Elder Briggs and I made our way down the road trying to catch an auto to take us to our next appointment, I felt as if a brick fell from the sky and hit me in the head. I turned to look behind me to see if my companion caught hold of what had happened. His eyes were wide opened as he explained to me that a dried coconut had fallen from the tree and nailed me in the center of my head, before breaking into two pieces. My head throbbed for a couple of minutes, but that was just the beginning of the headache that I was about to be put through.

We found an auto that would take us to the church to pick up a member who was going to come with us to our appointment. As soon as we picked up the member my phone rang. “Elder Nixon, this is Elder Sakamaki, right now we are in trouble with an irate Hindu man who is calling the police on us. I called Elder Satyadi and Elder Ludlow to come and help us; we are behind Indi Joe’s Restaurant.” Before even having time to listen further, I hung up the phone. I called the two Elders who they called for help and told them they are not allowed to go there, they were to report to the Mission Office as soon as possible and call me when they get there. Then I called President Nichols and told him what was happening in a 20 second summary. I called back the distressed Elder’s, and with a very calm voice I said, “Elder listen very carefully, get your companion’s attention and tell him to ‘run’. Both of you run as fast as you can. When you get away from the angry man, find an auto and go directly to the mission office. There, the Elders will wait for you and I will be awaiting your phone call from the office.”

We continued on our way to our appointment, when I got a call from the Elder’s who were in trouble. When I answered, I heard yelling and people screaming, “Get off the phone!” Through the loud noise I heard “Elder Nixon, things did not work out, we are in back of the police car!” The phone died, and my heart sank. I pulled the auto drivers left shoulder hard pulling the auto out of traffic and off to the side of the road. I jumped out of the auto thinking that is not time to react, but to act. I immediately called President Nichols who was in Sri Lanka for a couple’s conference and told him what had happened. President Nichols agreed to get a hold of an attorney to meet the Elder’s down at the jail. However the problem was that we did not know what police station they were going to. I agreed to find out where they were going. I sent a text message to the captive Elders, inquiring as to which Police station they were heading for. I said a small prayer in my heart and attempted a half-dozen calls to the Elders who were in the police car. Finally one connected, “Indiranagar,” when again the phone call was disconnected, this time it would be the last we would hear from those two.

I called to follow-up with President as to which police station they were at and President explained that he had sent the attorney. Both of us were optimistic as to thinking that we would get the Elders out that night. I was assigned to notify all the Branch Presidents, the District President, and all the Elders of what was going on. Then I got a call I was not ready for, “Elder Nixon, this Elder Fabrizio. I won’t be able to make it the baptism tonight, I am so sick I cannot get out of bed.” Elder Fabrizio is our District Leader and our Branch was holding a baptism service for two people this evening. While I was notifying all these people, I was franticly flagging down an auto to go and pick up the necessary items for the baptismal service.

When I contacted everyone, I followed up with President and informed him that everyone was contacted. When we arrived at Elder Fabrizio’s apartment, I could tell that he needed to meet with a doctor. I arranged for a member to take him to the hospital to get checked out. Then I raced back to the church to prepare for the service. It was a very spiritual service, and it was a blessing to see John Issac, the deaf brother I baptized, baptize his own daughter. I also had the opportunity to baptize a man by the name of Naveen. However, I was in and out of the service and on the phone, not only with President Nichols, but also with the member who had taken Elder Fabizio to the doctors. When the Baptism came to a close we were informed that Elder Fabrizio was doing great, that he was back at his apartment and was given medicine to take. President Nichols informed me that the Elders should be getting out that night. Everything was going to work out.

As we went home, I felt that we should stay at Elder Fabrizio’s to make sure that he was doing okay and that he would be alright through the night. When we got to Elder Fabrizio’s, we ordered some biryani from the shop next to his apartment. While we were waiting for the food, President Nichols called. “Elder’s we have a problem, the Elder’s that are in jail will not be released tonight. The complaint was going to dropped and everything was going to work out, until a government official who found out about all this, forced the complaining party to follow through with the complaint. It looks like they will be moved to central jail tomorrow and we will pick up with all of this on Monday when the police office opens again.” President told us that he was going to catch an airplane back on Monday from Sri Lanka and he would like us to meet him in his office at 11am Monday.

Sunday was a great day. Elder Fabrizio did not make it to church, but both people who were baptized the night before were confirmed. Sign language class was held after church and we had a great turnout. Over 40 people came to learn sign Language. We then went to go see Jenny, the girl who we had to emergency cancel on because of the circumstances on Saturday. We went to PEC and the branch President agreed to make a list of all the part members in the branch, so we could go teach all the members family members who are not members of the church. That night Elder Briggs and I went to follow-up with an investigator who we had found that week, and it was a great follow-up. They had kept their commitment to read and they had questions for us. We taught them a little more about the apostasy and then we spoke a little about eternal families. We went home that night pretty happy with how that day turned out.

Monday we met with President Nichols and discussed the situation with the Elders in jail. The story came out about what had happened. One of the Elders had listen to my counsel and ran, while the other did not because he thought he could talk his way out of the situation. The other Elder got away and realized that his companion was not going to run, so he had to go back to get his companion, and by that time it was too late. A group of angry people had formed which restricted them from running again and the police showed up in time for the two Elders to get thrown in back of the police car. President Nichols was pretty upset that the Elder did not listen to the counsel, if both Elders would have run, they would both have made it out okay. What a lesson! We need to always listen to our leaders. Apparently that Elder understands that he made a mistake because he has told the attorney countless times, “Please tell President Nichols I am sorry!” President Nichols was hopeful that they would be released on Monday night. He had us prepare an agenda for a Bangalore Zone Conference where the Elders would receive future guidance and hear the testimonies and story of these two Elders. This meeting would be held the day after they are released. He also had us go and gather some of the Elder’s things to take to the mission office, so the Elders who are in jail could stay with President a few nights after their release.

That evening we were informed that the Elders would have to stay another night in Jail. Elder Briggs and I went to bed optimistic that everything would work out. Well, that night at 1am I got a call. “Elder Nixon, this is Fabrizio, I am so sick and my chest hurts very badly.” I told Fabrizio to wait at his apartment and we would come pick him up and take him the hospital. I woke up Elder Briggs and told him to get his clothes on. I called Sister Nichols and told her that I was taking Elder Fabrizio to the hospital. We ran to the main road to catch an auto to Elder Fabrizios apartment and then on to the hospital. When we got him the auto he looked horrible. As we were half way there I heard a scream “Elder Nixon, are we almost there I can’t feel my limbs and I can’t move my hands.” Right as we made it the hospital I sprinted up the emergency ramp and demanded that the security guard get a wheelchair. I ran the chair down the ramp and put Fabrizio in it and ran him into the Emergency room. The doctors threw him on the bed and began to give him IVs to treat him. I went to the front desk and admitted him into the hospital. I called Sister Nichols and informed her of what was going on. I sent Elder Briggs back to the apartment with Elder John to sleep. I sat next to Elder Fabrizio the entire night and did whatever I could to help him. It was hard as he groaned in pain, but I am so grateful I was there to help support him. He finally got a little sleep, but as for me I did not sleep at all that night.

The next morning (Tuesday) the results came back and come to find out he had a very serious case of food poisoning. He was going to have to stay in the hospital for one more day. I arranged for Elder Briggs to come stay with him from 1pm to 8pm while I took Elder John to go to some teaching appointments. Going on no sleep, we went and taught some very powerful lessons. That night we returned to the hospital and I sent Elder Briggs with Elder John back to the apartment to go get some sleep, and again I stayed the night with Elder Fabrizio. That night I was informed by President Nichols that the Elders went to court and the proposal was rejected by the jury. They told them that they have two options, come with a different proposal or give up their passports to insure that the Elders stay and don’t jump bail. Well there is no way that would happen so they agreed to rewrite the proposal. Needless to say the Elders are in jail for another night. Sister Nichols called me to follow-up on Elder Fabrizio, and I explained to her that he was doing great. She told me something that meant a lot to me, she said, “Elder Nixon you have had to deal with the Perfect Storm. I am so happy because I feel that you handled things very well. I am very happy that you were there because I do not know how another Elder would have reacted in a serious situation like this one, you did exactly what needed to be done and I don’t think anyone could have done a better job.”

It was last night, as I lay down on the hospital floor, I just reflected on these past couple of days and was filled with so much gratitude. President Nichols on the phone said, “Elder Nixon this is preparing you to be a mission President someday.” How blessed am I for the experiences my Heavenly Father has given me. Not once did I think, “Why me?” Not once did I get caught up in negativity or get discouraged. There is no reason to ever get discouraged. This is true, the Gospel is real, and that counsel to Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail is a principle we often overlook, all of our challenges are for our own learning. It makes me sad to think people complain because of all their problems and all there sufferings. Elder Holland beautifully illustrates how the path of discipleship requires us to take a step or two in the garden. When you have problems, welcome to the path of apostles and prophets, welcome to true discipleship where the Savior knows a thing or two about a “cross too heavy to bear” and a “cup too heavy to drink”. Salvation is not a cheap experience, and it is my testimony that everything is given to us for our own learning and to help us grow and mold us into what Heavenly Father needs us to become. I am so grateful for this week’s experience. I have received several confirmations that this is where the Lord needed me at this time. Believe me when I say that I know that this is the Lord’s work and that his hand is directly in this work. I am so grateful for this Gospel and the blessing I have to be part of a rich heritage of Proclaiming the Gospel. Nothing changes: “Mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calamity may defame, but the truth will go forth nobly, boldly and independent, until it has penetrated every continent, visited every climb, swept every nation, and sounded in every ear, until the purpose of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done!”

I woke up this morning full of energy. Today Elder Fabrizio was released from the hospital and I am optimistic that the Elders will get out of jail tonight. I came straight from the hospital to this computer to let you know that this is the Lord’s work and I am so happy to be a part of it. There is nowhere I would rather be than here in the service of my God.

Elder William L. Nixon