Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Week Eleven - I Understand THAT.....

 This e-mail never came on Monday, but I went in and stole it from Tom's account Monday night..... I think his one hour time limit may have cut him off before he could sent it.  It's a funny, funny e-mail and I knew Tom had a good sense of humor, but it seems to be really coming out in his e-mails home.  I was so relieved to find this.... being a mom, of course I imagined the worst all day when his e-mail didn't come. 

Hello Everyone!

      I am glad to hear that everyone is still doing good. Things here are pretty good too. Last week we had a baptism, well two, but only one was one of our investigators. His name is Rafael, he´s pretty cool. I think he´s been seeing the missionaries before I arrived, which is why he was baptized the second week I was here, but it was cool to be able to teach him. I´m not sure how much of what i said he understood and I didn´t understand anything he said, for the most part, but it was still cool and he´s a great guy.
     But this past week was a little difficult. We met two people that showed interest in the church, and we taught them a little, but when we asked them to pray to know the truth, they say they don´t feel anything special so they will just continue to go to their church. And there was another person who I thought had some interest because he even helped us teach his mother a little bit but when my companion called to see if we can come over and asked for him, my companion is told he is not home and when asked who was calling he said a soccer buddy, and after he said that, they said "oh, okay, I will get him..." So we don´t have a whole lot of people to teach right now. We´ve pretty much just been walking around this last week. But my companion said that for his first 2 months of the mission, he didn´t have any baptisms and had very few people to teach, so they just walked around most of the time, so I feel a little bit better but when the mission president is pretty much demanding one baptism a week and 250 per month, it gets stressful.
     Anyways im not having any trouble trying new food. The food at the members house is usually good. I´ve been told that I am very white, a lot, and when they ask me something and I don´t understand, they say "he understands nothing..." and I´m like... "I understood that..." (I don’t actually say it) so it’s hard and a little embarrassing, but whatever... The members are all really nice and willing to help. Some of them speak slower if I ask them to, sometimes my companion says what they are trying to, because I understand him much more than anyone else, and sometimes they just give up trying to talk to me. :/
    The area that I am in isn´t very nice looking. A lot of people just throw their trash on the street and the garbage trucks come by and have to shovel what they can and pick the rest up with gloves on. And a lot of times the dogs are always digging into the trash looking for food. There are a lot of cats and dogs around here that seem to be without owners, but I don´t know for sure, and many of them are not very healthy looking, they have cuts and scratches, and are limping a little bit. Its pretty sad to have to see that every day.
     Elder Funk was in Provo for 8 weeks, came to Brazil for his 9th when he got his visa.
 And yeah, I will at least see the other missionaries of my district serving in Belém (the state of Pará) with me, but the others are all serving in other  states, 2 in Curitiba, 2 in Belo Horizante, and 1 in Teresena.
    Good to hear David is really enjoying his senior year, and that he is doing stuff with Landon more. Try to do stuff with all your friends and don´t stop talking to any of them. I had some friends that I wish I still talked to after high school, and now that I don´t I really regret it. :/ Anyways, Toby is soo funny. :) I love you TOBY!  DON´T YOU DARE change my room! DON´T YOU DARE!... just kidding, that’s cool, grandma and grandpa can use my room, I don´t care. :) It is better than what happened to Elder Fox´s room. They changed his into an office, permanently. Haha, that sucks, but I don´t think he minds too much. His ward also split and his family is part of the ward that he knows no one in, lol... I hope that doesn´t happen to us. Changing David´s room is neat. It´s going to be weird coming home to a different house, well, a little different. Enjoy the snow for me! por favor!!

  I have not been given any pills for malaria, but I have had some weird dreams. But dreams are unimportant and I don´t have much more time...
      I have had a small cough since moving into the apartment. It doesn´t bother me though and its nothing to worry about. I´m guessing it is from swallowing some of the water when I brush my teeth. My companion said I don´t need clean water to brush my teeth, so I´m trusting him. I have 3 super small warts that don´t seem to be going anywhere right now, not getting bigger or smaller. Hopefully the stuff I have will clear them up.

  My companion is from Bahia and he´s been in the field for about a year and three months now. He doesn´t speak English but he uses Portuguese words I understand all the time and speaks slow enough for me to understand.

  I am feeling a little better about the language. There are some things people say that I don´t even have to think about to understand, but for the most part they need to repeat themselves once or twice.
  The weather is okay. I think it has rained every day so far, at least a little bit, and it does get pretty hot. I am usually sweating before we even leave the house. But I was told that right now in Belém, it is winter, and it rains everyday during the winter. But in the summer, the sun beats down on you for about 2 weeks and then rains a little bit. Should be interesting... and sweaty.
  Well I am not sunburned yet, but I am a little darker. I don´t think i need to worry about getting burned much now but I will still wear sunblock.
  According to Brazil Belém mission rules, we cannot wear sunglasses. Maybe if it starts bothering me and becomes a problem I can talk to the mish prez about it.
  Largest meal of the day is lunch, yes, which is why we go to the members houses everyday for lunch.
  I have cereal, toast, and homemade cheese pizza for breakfast and dinner. I will get my companion to teach me how to make some eggs and easy to cook chicken though, so don´t worry.
  I don´t think I had to leave anything at the MTC, no problems there. I think the luggage weight restriction comes into play when transferred to one of the smaller zones, so I am good for now.
I will send pictures home next week, I think I figured out how. I don´t have a lot of time right now to do it, sorry! :/
We have a washing machine but no dryer. We can only hang them up to dry. I ironed for the first time though! pretty neat...
There are a bunch of cyber cafe´s around the area. Anyways I need to go. I love you all and miss you all a bunch. And I´m praying for you all. Have a good week.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Week Ten - Finally in Belem!

 Wow!  I can't tell you how long it seemed since we got his last e-mail!  Talk about time dragging!  We got a wonderful surprise this morning and finally got Tom's first e-mail from Belem.  It sounds like he likes it there and likes his companion, which is a huge relief!  And, he's still eating beans - such a funny kid!  We are so proud of him and all of the new things he is being brave about trying and doing.  This is going to be a great adventure!

Hello Everyone!
     I hope everyone is still doing good, staying safe, not having any problems, and not missing me too much! Monday is P-day out here in the field so that is when you should start expecting e-mails now. Since I wasn´t able to e-mail last week I have a lot to say, so I hope I can remember it all.
     In the last week of the MTC we had an Elder, from Provo, join us, Elder Funk, and he was really cool. He instantly got a long with everyone and he is just a really nice guy with a very strong testimony. All the Brazilians laugh at his name because Funk, in Brazil, is a not so good type of music that is kinda inappropriate, and they told him if he was going to Rio de Janeiro, which he is not, he would receive a lot of attention. Pretty funny what a name can do. The night before my district and I left for the mission field was special. We all said good bye, one last time, and a lot of uplifting thoughts about each other were shared. I am kinda missing my district out here in the field. They were all such cool people, and I felt like I already knew all of them within the first 5 minutes of meeting them.
     Anyways, the flight to Belém was okay. We got up at 4 in the morning, left for the airport at 4:45, and were on our way at about 7. We first flew to Brasilia, which looked really cool. You could see lots of trees out in the distance and a bunch of high rises popping out of them in all directions. We then left for Belém at about 10 or so and arrived somewhere between 12 and 1 I think. I didn´t get a window seat on either flight, but thats okay because I think it was cloudy the whole way there so you couldn´t see anything anyways.
     Belém is pretty cool though. I think I like it a little more than São Paulo. It is nice to finally be out of the MTC. When we arrived, we first went to the Mission President´s home, which is the 18th floor of a super nice hotel. You could see all of belém and the jungle across the river from there. We had lunch there, which was... okay. I tried some lasagna(?), but I didn´t like it much. The ice cream was good though. After lunch, we went to the church office of Belém, had our interview with the president, and learned where in the state of Pará we would serve. My MTC companion, Elder Fox, and one of my roommates, Elder De la Cruz, are serving in cities about 10 hours up the river, so the get to take a nice long boat ride. Another, Elder Hoch, is serving in Macapá, which is even closer to the equator than Belém. Elder Kaufman is serving in the outskirts of Belém, called Helama, I think, where they have two main, cement roads, and the rest are dirt. And Elder Shaw and I are serving within the city of Belém.
     After we found out where we are serving, we met our new companions, Elder Reis, who is really cool and very helpful. We went back to the President´s place, had a small presentation, some really good cake, and left for our apartments. Ours is tiny. It is the second floor of an old lady´s house. You go up some steep stairs to the first room, our study room, with a super thin hall, that only one person can fit through at a time, going straight back, with 3 small rooms on the right and a teeny tiny kitchen at the end. The place is small, but its nice and I kinda like it.
     Belém has a number of high rises in the center but I think I am serving on the south end of the city, close to the river, and it is mostly just small, kinda run down houses. The people here are nice and willing to talk. We have lunch at member´s houses and it is usually pretty good, they have stuff I can eat. I am trying to eat a lot more stuff now. I don´t like all of it, especially the beans, but I am eating it.
    I did receive the letters from you guys and the valentine´s day package. Thank you very much for those, I really enjoyed the letters and the candy! :) I did not receive anything from Grandma and Grandpa Pratt through Mr. Cheyney´s, sorry :(, so yeah, see if they can send it to the mission home here.
    Glad to hear David is doing better and thats awesome that he got to meet Thurl. He´s soooo tall!! And its also awesome that you guys only had one loss in church ball this season! good job guys! I don´t think I know who David´s friend is, that just left for his mission, but where he is going sounds really cool.
    Thanks for the news. Sad to hear about Whitney Houston. Cool to hear that Dad sold the van and burb. I hope you made some good money off of it. It´s also kinda sad too, though. I´m going to miss takin´ the burb to St. George. Thanks for offering to send more stuff. I think I can find all that I need down here, so don´t worry about sending stuff from home. Thanks for the tip on the powder stuffs. I haven´t even started using the stuff I have yet but I will remember what you said. Also some other good news: I now have an hour to e-mail instead of a half hour!! Isn´t that just great? And pictures... I can´t go to any site on the web other than myldsmail, so I don´t think I can send them through the Costco thing, but I will ask my companion what he does to send pictures home and try to get them to you next week.
    I love you all and miss you a lot!!! I can´t wait to e-mail you guys again! I am praying for all of you! Have a great week everyone! TCHAU!!
                                  Love Elder Williams

Prom 2012

Cottonwood's Junior Prom was Saturday, February 18th at the State Capitol.  David went with Sierra Woolston and had a really good time.  Since they always make a full day of it, they started out by driving clear up to Soldier Summit to go tubing - David said it wasn't worth the long drive, but they had fun.  Then they went to dinner at Market Street Broiler, which he said was really good and reminded him of being on a ship.  They went to the dance and then went bowling after that.  It's his last big, formal dance before he graduates, so I was really glad he went.  He went with his good friends Landon and Andrew and a few others from that crowd and really had a lot of fun.  Good times!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Week Eight - Let Loose On the Streets of Sao Paulo!

I am getting nervous that Tom is going to be leaving the safety of the MTC and heading out to the real world.  I kind of had a tough week, really missing him a lot, but at the same time, we are excited for him to move on to some new adventures. 

Bom Dia Familia e Amigos!

      This past week went up and down a lot. We got a new instructor because our afternoon one, Irmão Maurício, left for a vacation. Trying to teach the new one was really frustrating, because she acts as an athiest when we teach her and we are just kind of clueless as to how to approach the lessons... Anyways, yesterday was our first day of proselyting and it went okay.  My companion gave out one Book of Mormon but we didn´t have any luck after that. Within 5 minutes of walking out the MTC my companion talked to a kid, probably about 18 or 19 years old, and asked him if he wanted the Book of Mormon and would read it. He accepted but there were a lot of moments of awkward silence because my companion couldn´t think of what to say. But at least we got him to accept the Book of Mormon. The next guy he tried talking to was standing next to his car and instantly said he had to go to work. And the last guy, my companion asked how he was. He said he was okay but it was very hot out and he was sweating pretty bad. My companion couldn´t think of anything to say so I tried talking to him and he had a lot to say... and I didn´t understand any of it. I could only understand him because of the hand motions he made while talking... The language is going to be the biggest stumbling block for the longest time and I´m not really looking forward to it. Anyways, I asked him if he talked to the missionaries before and if he had a book of mormon, he said yes then said he had to go, end of story. We go proselyting on monday again but we get to go down town, and I heard its a lot easier because more people are willing to listen and will accept a Book of Mormon, while outside the MTC, people have been asked to read one every week since the MTC was built.

     The district had a pretty cool experience on Friday night. Our instructor was unable to teach us that night so we were just told to study "the role of the holy ghost in conversion" and share what we learned with eachother and we also all shared personal experiences, and it was a very cool and spiritual experience. I told them how I was struggling after the second week and did not feel qualified to be teaching people, and my confidence was really low, but I prayed about it and within the week I received letters from you guys and from G&G Williams, and they all had some very encouraging things written in them and made me feel about 100 times better... So muito muito obrigado for the letters!

     I had a cinnamon roll today from Mr. Cheyney´s and some french fries last week from some other place, and they were sooo good....yeah. Anyways, I´m kinda glad to be leaving the MTC now. São Paulo was cool and all but its not my kind of city. I just kinda feel bad for the missionaries who spend 10 weeks in the MTC and then take a 20 minute bus ride to serve in São Paulo south. I´m sure they don´t mind but I´m glad I am going somewhere else.

 I´m glad you had the missionaries over! Invite them again soon so they can share more messages with you!  I´m sorry to hear about basketball David, but it sounds like you can still play baseball, sort of, and I hope it doesn´t become a big problem for you! Good luck on the baseball team this season! EM! You should go hunting on the runways again! that sounds like fun! but next time use the shot gun and shoot at the ground or something, if nothing else. :)
 I would talk more about the elders in my district but I am really low on time, so if I get a chance next week, hopefully I won´t have much of a time limit, and I will talk about them, because they are all really good friends and I feel like I already knew all of them when I first met them, or they remind me of someone I know.
I am eating some beans. I put a little on the rice almost everytime, as long as I am feeling up to it. I don´t like it much but as long as I have a lot of rice and a little bit of beans, I can manage.
I am not sure if I can have an I-pod in the field. Maybe my mission president will allow it but I will have to find out later.
In the mornings we study for about 2 and a half ours, then we have gym and after that we use the computers to practice portuguese, but I just watch mormon messages or the "I´m a mormon" videos.
6 missionaries in my district going to Belém with me. Not sure about the other district I arrived to the MTC with though.
I am not sure about how much my bag weighs right now... I am going to have to pack a lot of stuff in the shoulder bag I have. I am hoping I will be under though... hoping.. Anyways, I was going to ask if you could update me a little bit on the news, maybe some national and international stuff. I heard Kim Jong il or whatever his name is died... I also heard Romney is in the lead for the presidential race. And I heard what happened about the Susan Powell story which is very sad. Hopefully if you share some news it will be better.
                      I think the scripture I will choose that Gary Hatch can use on the plaque or whatever is Alma 29:9... I think thats the one. I read it a couple of days ago and really liked it so I will use that one. Anyways I need to go now, but I feel like there  is something else I need to say... I will try to remember it next time. I will talk to you all again when I am in the field!!!! OOOOH that is exciting! :) Tchau everybody, I love you and miss you and can´t wait to email home again.
                                                    Love Elder Williams