Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Week Seven - Counting Down to Belem!

Tom says he's already been out for 49 days and I immediately thought "Is that all?!"  This is a great, long e-mail and it sounds like they are really getting anxious to get out in the mission field.  Very exciting for all of them!

Ola! Minha Familia e Amigos!

    I hope eveyone is doing good, and not worrying about me or missing me too much! Things are starting to get a little exciting here. Everyone in my district is anxious to leave the MTC and head to the field. They all say they are ready, but I still don't think I am. Some say they feel like they have been in the MTC for half their mission already and are just dying to get out.
    We have about two weeks left until we leave and next week we are actually going to go proselyting, which makes me nervous but a little excited. One of the counselors to the branch president tolds about a fear he had when he was on his mission, being rejected when asking the golden question `Will you read the Book of Mormon?` or something like that. He told the mission president about this and he asked him `who was the greatest missionary of all time?` and he told him Jesus Christ. He then asked `was he rejected?` and he answered back, yes. Then the mission president told him `now go get rejected.` A few of the other districts that have been here a little longer than we have went out proselyting the other day and said that they were rejected a lot and it was kind of like a wake up call. They also said they were very nervous about speaking to people in busy areas where people are constantly moving, heading off to work, until one of the instructors of the MTC that went with them showed them how to do it by just stepping right in front of someone and asking to talk for a minute. I think after hearing these I am a little less nervous about it, but I am probably going to have to experience it for myself to gain some confidence.
     Last week two apostles came to speak to us, Elder Anderson and Elder Ballard, which was really cool, and I also got to shake their hands, which was also really cool. They both gave really good talks and it was definitely a priviledge to be able to listen to them.
     Also, after having rain everyday for almost two weeks straight, we got a pretty big leak in our ceiling. We came up to our room after gym and noticed a big puddle in the middle of our room. So we were moved to the opposite side of the building with a new and much better view. It is not a good view of Sao Paulo, but I think it is more of what I pictured Brazil, in general, to look like.
     A bunch of missionaries left for the field today and the MTC seems a lot emptier, now. Some of them had flights out at 3 or 4 in the morning. Ugh! that sounds rough, and I thought waking up at 5.30 in the morning to go to the temple was bad. Hopefully the flight to Belem isnt that early. Anyways, there were a lot of missionaries that were complete characters that really made the MTC feel... more alive and a little bit more fun, that left this morning. One of them, Elder Goodrich, always had something to say or a story to tell, and they always got us laughing, but he has done so much before leaving for his mission, it kind of made me feel a little under-accomplished, so I decided to get some ideas down of what I want to do when I return. I won't tell you now, but maybe a little bit before my mission ends so you can start preparing for it. There was another one, Elder Ganoe, who would always act like a grandfather, with really bad memory and knees shaking all the time. Some people called him Grandpa Ganoe, but the stories he made up, on the spot, were always so funny! He had me crackin' up every time.
   My companion got an instructor to put a bunch of music on his ipod, and she put some Pirates of the Caribbean music on it, and we have been listening to it a ton. Im going to miss music so much out in the field, it might be the hardest thing I have to give up.
    Questions to answer! yes they celebrate valentines day. Yes I think I need more vitamins, I haven't looked for them very hard, I might check today though. I did receive letters from Joan and the young woman, thank you very much for those, I appreciate it a lot. They didnt give me a reason as to why I cant take pictures in front of the temple but I still have some so dont worry, youll get some eventually. Keep up the hard work Em and David! yucandoeee! Toby! youre such a naughty dog! I do have soap and shampoo, dont have to worry about that. I havent tried using american money but I really doubt you can. I think you can exchange money at the front desk though so its okay. I am writing in my journal everyday. I think this is day 49 of the MTC. they dont take a whole page
anymore but I still write. I did get a hair cut here, yessiree, and it looked okay. I think he cut me up a little with the straight razor but Im okay. I think I should go back before I leave the MTC but I dont want to!
    Thats all I have to say for today. Tell Gary Hatch that I will have a scripture picked out next week. Im out of time now so I have to go. I love you and miss you all muito muito! and cant wait to email home again! TchauTchau!

Love Elder Williams

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Week Six - Thingymabobers!

 This e-mail cracked a lot of people up!  It's kind of short :(... but still so nice to hear from him!

 Hello Everyone!

    I don´t have much to say about this last week. It was pretty average. But I did start running a mile every day (16 laps around the mini-track we have here), and I bike for about 10 kilometers, which I think is just under 5 miles I think, on the workout bike thingymabobers. With only three weeks left until I leave for the mission field I thought I should start getting my legs more prepared. I leave on the 14th of February, by the way. Tomorrow, we will have a general authority speaking to us, here in the MTC, Elder Anderson, which should be really cool. Last week, I was going to send a picture home through Mr. Cheney´s of me in front of the temple, but one of the MTC workers asked to see my camera, noticed the pictures, and said that I should not have pictures of the temple, or I should at least not show anyone, so I will just hold on to them until I get out to the field and then I will send them. I can´t send pictures through costco because I can´t go to any website other than lds.org, mormon.org or the ldsmail site. But I sent a picture of me with the MTC president and his wife last week, which looked weird, but I couldn´t tell it looked weird on the camera so I didn´t know until after I printed it out, and some pictures of flowers for em to paint, but if you didn´t get them I will try again next week.
    I guess I will start trying some beans, one of the elders in my district said  they have a good amount of protein in them and I should start eating them. I did not receive a package with beef jerkey in it, sorry :( I can´t really think of anything I need from home. I am well supplied here so things are good. I am glad to hear church ball is going good this year. Hopefully you guys get further than we did last year/two years ago, I can´t remember, when Landon couldn´t play because of an injury. And that's awesome that Dad got called to stake athletics, let me know what he does now when he figures it out.
    The microfiber towel works good, not having any problems with it, but I need to remember to send it through the wash because it doesn´t smell too good right now. I might ask for another one when I get to the field. Shirts are coming out of the drier just fine, and I ran out of time so I gotta go. I´m being kicked out :(. I was slow today I will answer more questions next week. BYE!

Love Elder Williams

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Week Five - Basketball, Beans and Hot Dogs...


    I´m so glad to finally e-mail again. Everyone loves p-day, and so do I, best day of the week. I did receive letters last week from the family, grandma and grandpa Williams, and sister peterson (be sure to thank her for that), and it was so nice to hear from you, what everyone said definitely lifted my spirits up, and Em´s letter made me laugh out loud a little bit :). This past week was much better because I finally got your letters and I finally taught a lesson to one of my instructor in Portuguese, although I still couldn´t understand what he said, but I spoke to him in Portuguese! and that's all that matters.
    I found out something cool about my evening instructor too. Sister Jardim was taught by a missionary from the Lunquist familly, who I think are or were in our stake, but he wasn´t baptized by him because her parents wouldn´t let her get baptized until she was 18. She showed us her photo album of her mission and one of the pictures in there was of the Lunquist family, and I noticed the younger brother, Jason, who I went to highschool with, and the father, who I think... reffed our church ball games. Just something interesting I thought I would share with y´all.
    Congratulations Emmy! for the internship. I am very excited and happy for you! I took some photos of some stuffs outside the temple today, and myself for mommy, that you could paint (you don´t have to paint me, unless you want to :)). I will try to get the people at Mr. Cheny´s to e-mail them to you today, because I´m quite sure they do that kind of stuff for missionaries. If you like them but need a better angle or something, let me know and I will try again next week.
    And that's awesome David that you are doing baptisms for the dead so much. It´s a great commitment to keep, so start going once a month or so when you are done with the initial 6 weeks and once a week is too difficult to do because you are such a busy guy! :) Here at the MTC we get to go to the temple every Tuesday and it is definitely a blessing to be able to do what we do in the temple for those who are unable to do so. And keep up on baseball, don´t quit like the other kid. I understand it is difficult but you can do it, you are a strong person! I remember the day I arrived to the MTC, the first thing we did was go to lunch. I looked at the food (food is a challenge to me as you know.....) and just thought "there´s no way I´m going to survive," but things got better and as I prayed, the challenges became easier. Now trying new food isn´t a big deal anymore, and I definitely have a different mindset now than I did when I arrived.
    Okay, Q&A time!
#1 yes we get to play sports. We can play basketball or volleyball, some days I do both but I mostly choose basquete (basketball, pronounced bas ketch, just thought I would share that with you), on Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri, and Saturday. It is usually fun playing games, and I have received a few compliments for my mad skills, but when people start trying to do trick shots or dunk the ball it gets annoying, but that doesn´t happen often.
#2 yes I am eating new things. I can eat chicken in almost all forms now. I tried a taco a couple weeks ago and it was pretty good. I have had two full hot dogs, but I still hate them. I am eating rice every time it is served, which is almost always lunch and dinner, but I decided I don´t like beans and will never eat beans again... Sometimes the beef is okay but it is usually served with gravy or something on it so I avoid it, and the pork is okay too. I tried some meat balls, which were okay, and some pasta, which was more okay, and that is all I can think of for now, which is okay.... :).
#3 yes I am nervous. I heard someone today say that since next week is their last, they will go out proselyting instead of relaxing and getting ready for the next day, on their p-day and I just kinda shivered at the thought, hah! But I am sure I will be at least partly ready by that time, since I still have about 4 and a half weeks in the MTC.
#4 warts look fantastic, in the sense that they are pretty much gone because warts don´t ever look fantastic. The zyclara stuff, from the dermatologist, worked extremely well, but I am almost out. Any new ones that popped up were gone in a couple days. I will ask the MTC doctor if he can get me some, and if he can´t I will tell you if I need some next week. And I also received the liquid wart remover so thank you for that!
    Well that´s all folks! I love you all and miss you a lot, and can´t wait to hear from you again next p-day. Be safe this week and I will write again next week. And a few pictures should come today, through Mr. Cheny´s and if they don´t just wait a little while longer. I will get pictures home! I PROMISE!!! Love y´all. Tchau!

Elder Williams

Friday, January 13, 2012

One Month Down.... Twenty Three to Go!

We made it through one whole month of Tom being away on his mission!  That’s a milestone for us, and a blink of an eye for most people.  I have to admit, it has not gone by quickly, or not as quickly as I would prefer.  We are, however, adjusting and getting used to him being so far away.  We have settled in to a new routine that is a little different.  There is a void in our family, though and that weekly e-mail is not quite filling it the same way as if he were here.  Don’t get me wrong… we love, love, love the e-mails and completely look forward to the next one each week.  Even Em and David get really excited when the e-mail finally comes.  I really do miss coming home from work each day and just knowing Tom would be there, usually in the living room, playing video games with Toby on his lap!  The thing that makes it all OK though,  is thinking about what he is doing and knowing he is learning, growing, maturing and just becoming a more worldly person.  It’s like a co-worker of mine told me the other day…. when you think about a person or “kid” Tom’s age going out on a limb and dedicating himself to something so much bigger than himself, you just have to be a little awed!  In today’s culture where we tend to spoil our kids, protect them, take care of them much, much longer all of the time, to think of a 19 year old wanting to do something like this is pretty amazing.  We are really proud of him and will continue to cheer him on and will look forward to those e-mails on Tuesdays! Hey… 1 month down and only 23 to go!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Week Four - Tom's MTC Schedule

Hello Everyone!
I´m glad to finally hear from you guys again today, on this nice, but wet, p-day. Just so you know, about the p-day picture and me not in p-day clothes, we are not allowed to go outside the MTC without missionary clothes, and I don´t think we can go anywhere other than the gym or the floor we sleep on in p-day clothes, but that doesn´t bother me. I´m glad to hear that the jazz are doing as good as usual... So oregano oil is distilled from oregano and i guess it helps a lot with sore throats. You put one drop on your tongue and swallow it and it is supposed to cure it really quickly, but it hurts like crazy. The elder who has it, elder Barton, got some Brazilians to take it and I don´t think any of them handled it well at all. It was pretty funny.
I´m not sure if I already told you, but we can´t send pictures through e-mail so I will have to print them out and send them to you next p-day through regular mail, or I think I can get the people at Mr. Cheney´s to scan and send them for me. I will try that first, next week. And poor Toby :(
So this past week was a bit of a roller coaster. There were times I felt good about my progress and confident about teaching lessons to our instructors, but then there were times where I felt I made no progress and my confidence was killed... Portuguese can be so confusing! but hopefully this next week will be better. We are in class from 1-4:30 with our first instructor, then we have dinner for a half our, followed by an hour of preparation/free time, and back to class from 6-9:30. Then we go to bed. But during our hour of free time after dinner, my district usually just talks/has story time and a couple days ago, they predicted everyone´s future callings in the church, which was pretty funny. One of them is going to be inactive (hah!), another is going to be the mission pres. of north karea, my companion is going to be like a permanent, expert, scout master. They decided I was going to be a patriarch! which came to a surprise to me, because everyone seems so much more... in tune with the spirit than I do, but that would be pretty cool if I did become one! On Sundays, besides church, we usually have a devotional, a speaker who usually doesn´t speak English so we have a translator most of the time. This week was the MTC presidents last week and he´s speaking one more time tonight, I think. I´ll try to get a picture of me with him and send it home. Him and his wife were very nice.
We have not been anywhere outside of the MTC except for the immediate area outside and the temple. Some missionaries are getting really sick of the MTC but i´m still okay here. I´m not sure if time is flying by or dragging along, it kinda seems like both. I have to go now though, sorry :( TCHAU!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Week Three - Happy New Year!

Here is Tom's third e-mail home.  The same day we received this, we also received an e-mail from Mr. Cheney's saying Tom had picked up his package and they sent us pictures of him and his companion, Elder Fox!  This really, really made my day to see my sweet, smiling son!  And to know he finally got something we sent.  Sounds like he has plenty to eat, though and doesn't want me to send any more.  I e-mailed him back and told him to share with everyone!  It is just like Joan told me... your whole week revolves around hearing from your son and I start counting down the days to the next e-mail as soon as we get one!  I think the oregano he is talking about might be oregano oil... I read on-line that it is used for a lot of medicinal purposes, but should always be very diluted with olive oil or another oil because of it's potency and it can be very hot. Sounds like they had some fun with it, anyway.... boys!  

Feliz Ano Novo, Everybody!
Thanks for the snacks mom! but I don’t think you need to send any more because the food here is just fine and there is plenty of it, and I don’t know what I will do with it all, especially the big box of cereal, since I have just over a month left in the MTC and my suitcase can’t weigh more than 44 lbs when I fly to Belem. I am going to try to eat it all before I leave but I might just share it with my roommates. About the roommate, Elder Taylor, with the small tree, it was only about a foot tall and because he is going to Curitiba, and not Belem he doesn’t have anywhere near as strict a weight limit on his bags and he was also able to bring three suitcases with him, so he is nowhere near as restricted as those of us going to Belem which is 7 out of 11 of us in the district.
But this week has been pretty crazy. My district decided that everyone needed to try a drop of oregano, so I did and holy smokes that was painful, and I only had one drop! I was choking and even had a couple tears drop, it was that bad. A couple weeks ago my companion tried 4 drops, and the other day an elder in my district decided he wanted to beat his record, so he tried 5 and was actually crying and said that he couldn’t breathe because it hurt too much. Well my companion would not stand for that so he took 6 drops of oregano so he could keep the record and he ended up puking... luckily he made it to the bathroom in time though.
So I have been using my camera a little and have taken a few pictures, but I will try to get more by next week and send them to you. Missionaries are not supposed to take cameras with them outside of the MTC but I might be able to sneak a pic of me in front of the temple next week. We do have a view outside our window but we can only see the opposite side of the MTC, but the window out the hallway has a nice view of the city, which I did take some pictures of and I will send next week. New Years Eve was awesome because you could see fireworks all over the city and by the time they were done you could only see like a mile out of the window because there was so much smoke, but I did not get any good pictures of the fireworks. I tried taking a video for like 15 seconds but you can’t really see any fireworks in it. We sleep on the top floor of the building so we have a nice view, but they don’t let us use elevators so we have to walk up 7 stories of stairs multiple times a day, which is okay because it is nice preparation for the walking we will be doing in Belem. But I will definitely have pictures for you soon. Though, we can’t send them through email so it may take a few weeks for them to get to you.
About laundry, there is washing and drying machines here which weren’t too hard to figure out but one of my instructors, Irm(brother) Mauro, is from Belem and said that washing and drying machines aren’t common so I am probably going to have to figure out how to hand wash my clothes and how to iron them at some point here at the MTC. Hopefully there will be someone nice enough there to do it for me *crosses fingers*.
Well that is all I can think of for now. I can’t wait to receive your letters and to e-mail you again next week. I love you and miss you all very much and I will keep you updated as much as I can. Also, let me know how the jazz do this season... just tell me if they win or lose their games every week, the games should start soon, right?... Okay, Tchau!!
Love Elder Williams