Monday, March 26, 2012

Week Fifteen - Like the Indiana Jones Ride!

In my e-mail to Tom this past week, I had told him about a couple of missionary mom e-mails I had read about extreme concerns with dehydration and not drinking enough water.  So, I used a lot of my e-mail to tell him he needed to be sure to drink tons of water!  Of course he didn't tell me if he was or not, but did tell me what they use to get drinking water.  Sounds like he is still doing well, but I think I'll tell him to stay off the buses and out of the taxi's, if he can!

Bom Dia! I hope you all had a good week. This week was okay. Still lots of walking, but everything is good here. Not a lot happened this week and the computer is really bugging me today... Its laggy, I can´t get pictures, and the screen is too small, again, and somehow my companion always gets a computer without any problems.. frustrating. I will try to go to a different place to e-mail next week. Anyways, the first transfers are tomorrow. I´m not being transferred and neither is my companion, but one elder in our house is being replaced, and I think the other elder staying is not too happy about who his new companion is for some reason. Hopefully things work out. We haven´t made a lot of progress with our investigators. One of them is having problems... She cries, a lot. My companion was speaking with her on the phone last night and he asked me to read a scripture to her... and she was crying the whole time... I don´t even know what her problem is... ugh I don´t even know... I don't... even... know... Anyways, she already committed to baptism, hopefully she will keep the commitment. Not much else to say so I will talk about the driving. 
Taking a bus or a van anywhere is crazy. I took a taxi a few times too, and they are also crazy. The taxi driver would try to make a third lane on a one way, 2 lane street, and fit between 2 other cars, and he does this going like 50 miles an hour! The vans are basically taxis but they fit about 7 or 8 people sitting down, and 15 standing up (jk only 14) and there's about a 100 of them all taking the exact same route racing for people to pick up. They go about 50 miles an hour too, around the neighborhood, constantly passing each other. It is basically like the part on the Indiana Jones ride in Disney land when you think you are about to run into another car, but you turn out of the way at the last moment, except a lot faster, or the part when you think the boulder is going to smush you but you drive under it. yeah the vans are exactly like that. And the buses will force their way into a lane, forcing the person next to it to move into a new lane, speed up, or slow down. There's one bend where about a dozen buses come around every minute, and every single one looks like it is going to role. LOOK OUT IS GONNA ROLL! i say but no one understands me because they don´t speak English... Anyways that's all I have to say about the week. 
I would respond more to the e-mail but this computer is not very good, so I will just answer your questions. 
1) yes, my cough is gone, i feel great, thanks for asking. I´m eating pretty good too. One investigator says I look bigger... I just hope its not fat... 
2) the mtc gave everyone a water bottle with a filter in it that lasts for like a year, with an extra filter so I don´t use the bottle I left home with. 
3) no water heaters here, at least in the house I am living in now, so yeah the showers are always cold, but tudo bem! 
4) we went to the police station while at the mtc, did something there that I don't remember, and did something else here in Belém that I don't remember either. something about ID and pictures... whatever. I do carry around some sort of id... that I am supposed to make copies of but have not done that yet... maybe today. 
5) warts are fine thanks! 
6) i have not received another package yet. But we only receive them from district leaders when the district meets on Tuesdays, so maybe tomorrow. 
7) I don´t know it, I will try to get it for next week, sorry. 
Okay, love you all and miss ya, hope you have a good week tchau! 

Love Elder Williams!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Week Fourteen - "Oi! Americano!"

 Week fourteen.... is that all?! It seems like Tom has been gone for a year, at least! It sounds 
like he is still doing fine and eating well, sweating a lot, and probably picking up more and more of the language all of the time. It's funny that so many people use English and that they like our music, or at least the same music we like (I don't know if we can claim Adele.... I think she's British).  I am glad that Tom's companion has an interest in learning some English - hopefully that will help them both. There's just not a day that goes by that my heart doesn't miss this boy, but I am happy for him to have this experience and know that he is maturing and growing up - it's just I wish he didn't have to do it so far away!

       I hope everyone had a good week despite some of the not so good news. This past 
week was pretty exhausting. We did a loooot of walking. We still don´t have a lot of 
people to teach and the ones that we have are quite busy.There's one that we can only 
teach on weekends, and I think she is struggling the most out of our investigators, so 
its difficult to not be able to help her a whole lot. But she is going to church which is 
good. We also met with a family that was taught by missionaries 2 years ago but stopped 
talking with them because they couldn´t keep commitments very well. They went to church 
too and all said they enjoyed it, so hopefully we can get some commitments out of them, 
including baptism. But I guess the good part from all the walking we did is that I no 
longer look down the 10 mile long road (exaggerating) and say "I have to walk 
       But I do think its starting to get hotter here. I was on fire yesterday, ugh so 
hot!. And the showers here seem to get colder every day. Its not a big deal at the end of 
the day when I´ve been out in the sun all day and I don´t know if I am soaked from the 
rain or the sweat, haha... but in the mornings, it wakes me up quick. Yesterday, my 
companion and I worked with Elder Shaw and his companion and one other companionship, 
outside of the church building they go to, inviting people to church. Elder Shaw is still 
doing good but he says that not a lot of people understand what he says when he teaches 
and he doesn´t have a lot of time in the morning to study because they have an 
investigator they can only teach in the mornings, I think. Hopefully things will get 
better for him, quick. I´m glad I don´t have that problem, but sometimes when I teach, 
they can´t hear me... speaking up is difficult when I never  had to before my mission. 
Anyways, it doesn´t happen often and people usually understand me. I´ve even gotten a few 
compliments on my Portuguese. Its kinda funny, sometimes little kids come up to me and 
ask me to speak English to them, and some times people speak English to me, or try to. 
Yesterday I was walking down the street and 3 Brazilians all said "Oi! 
Americano!" completely random. And there was one time, we were sitting in an 
investigators house and outside we heard a person say, out of the blue, "Eu não 
acredito, I don´t believe it" (the same thing in English and Portuguese) and I don´t 
think there were any Norte Americanos around. Hah, its funny, the influence that English 
has here. The song "someone like you" by Adele is hugely popular here, I hear 
it a lot. Anyways, that was my week!
     You want to know more about my companion, eh? Okay! my companions really cool, and 
funny. He is from Salvador, he has 1 year and 3 months in the mission field. He likes to 
joke around a lot, and decided one of our weekly goals should be to be happy (because our 
area is kinda difficult and can be discouraging). I try to teach him a little English and 
he teaches me Portuguese. Some words that he has a hard time remembering are word, ward, 
would, and world. Every time he tries to say world he pronounces it like 
"werlud." Its always a good time teaching each other the language. One thing he 
said about the area we are in now is that he only has 10 baptisms here and he´s been here 
for 5 months, when in other areas he has had 10 baptisms in one month. :( Well I´m glad 
im the one suffering here and not someone else. Just kidding! I'm not suffering, don't 
worry, but yeah things are kinda difficult.
     I will begin writing letters today and I will send the camera card home within the 
next 2 weeks, or I will try to. And yeah, the news this week is not great :/ Sorry to 
hear about Nate. I hope he heals quickly. That really stinks. Breaking his wrist and 
ankle in less than a year. Enjoy those video games, Nate! :) I have some you can borrow, 
just ask David if you want :) I´m also sorry to hear about Carries mom :( she was always 
very nice. Hopefully things get better for them. And that sucks that your phone was 
stolen Davy!... I hope you.. learned... your lesson? Don´t know what else to say about 
that... just don´t be down in the dumps because of it. But Congratulations to Brady and 
Lori and Niki also and the new members of their families. That's really cool! I like the 
names too, good choices :)
    Enjoy baseball this season. Its the last one of the high school days, unfortunately. 
Good luck in Anaheim, I hope you guys do good! And sorry that Emmy can´t go. Don´t get 
too stressed over your 2 jobs. As dad said, all things pass with time. I think that has 
helped me quite a bit these past few months, away from you all.
    Question Answering Time!
1) I did receive a package, with some towels, vitamins, a card, but I think the most 
important and thoughtful part of it was the fruit snacks :) nothing says I love you like 
fruit snacks, so thank you very much!
2)I forgot to bring the camera with me today, sorry no pictures this week, maybe next 
week though. I will try.
3)Rice and beans are fine, I always eat the rice when its available, I try to eat the 
beans every time, but I think its been about every other time. Lunch at the members houses 
is good. lots of meet, especially chicken, but its good. Oh! I learned how to make eggs! 
They are probably not very good alone but smack them on some bread and it is delicious.
4)Have not been to any restaurants, but I don´t need to. I´ve got plenty to eat at the 
house and the members feed me well. Only seen one Mcdonalds but its expensive here so I 
won´t eat there.
5)Lots of bakeries with good bread... mmmmm the bread is good here.
6) Journal, yes....
     Okay gotta go, I love you and can´t wait to speak to you again. The weeks have been 
going by so fast but the days are kinda slow. Anyways love yas and will talk to you again 
next week
Tchau Tchau!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sweetheart's Dance on St. Patrick's Day

Since Cottonwood had to have their Jr. Prom in mid-February, they had their traditional Sweetheart's Dance on St. Patrick's Day - makes sense!  David was asked to the dance by a cute girl named Lexie Gooch.  She picked David up and had on a really pretty, sparkly electric blue dress!  They went to Spaghetti Factory for dinner before the dance and after the dance they went to the Sports Mall.  He had a really good time, but slept until about 1:00pm the next day, so I think he was worn out.  Fun times for his senior year - he is always going and if it's not one thing, it's another.  I hope this year is really memorable for him and that he doesn't look back with any regrets, which some people seem to do.  We have always told our kids to make the most of their high school years, because in so many ways, they can be some of the most fun years of your life.  I think David is doing that and will be able to look back with great memories! 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It's Baseball Time!

It's that wonderful time of year again - baseball time!  It's when we get to sit at games in howling wind, driving rain and sometimes even snow!  Baseball season in Utah is a cue to Mother Nature to bring on the winter we really never had, during the winter, anyway.  Oh well, it is what it is!  Cottonwood's first pre-season game was against the Spanish Fork Dons at Cottonwood.  Every year that David has played, we have faced Spanish Fork at their home field.  So, it was kind of nice to have it at home!  David started and played 2nd base.  He had some really amazing defensive plays, and so did everyone else.  We held our own against the mighty Dons, but in the last couple of innings, they came on strong and scored three runs to pull ahead of us.  Score was 4 to 1 and another loss to Spanish Fork goes in the books.  It was a fun game, though and Sam Richman from Cottonwood even had a home run!  I love these boys - they are the shining example of hard work, discipline, courage and sportsmanship.  They are all good friends and take care of each other, too.  This is David's last year at Cottonwood and it is bitter sweet.  He has had some amazing experiences being part of this team.  He has learned so many life lessons that will help him going forward into the next phase.  We are extremely proud of him and have loved every minute of being able to share it with him.  Here's to David's last year - we hope it's a memorable one for all the best reasons!  And..... Go Colts!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Church Ball Mania!

Well, another church ball season is in the books!  David's team did extremely well this year in the regular season - only one loss to a team they ended up beating two other times.  David played the end of the season with a sprained ankle from Jr. Jazz and could have easily have ended his high school baseball career if he would have re-injured it, but luckily he didn't.  The team really gelled this year and I think they all had a lot of fun!  I don't know of too many other things that elicit more passion, from the players as well as the parents and coaches, than church ball.  It seems to be life or death once the game starts, even though everyone is given the talk at the beginning of the game about going out there and showing good sportsmanship and just having a lot of fun.  Then, they go to battle for forty minutes!  We have seen some really great games and some really great sportsmanship, and we have also witnessed complete meltdowns by players and parents in a high stakes game.  I guess that's what makes it so enjoyable!  The boys made it to the second round of the playoffs and played their hearts out!  The last game was against David's good friend Andrew's team, and with Andrew on the team, we knew they would be tough!  The players exhibited excellent sportsmanship throughout the game.  The refereeing was a little (well, maybe a lot) questionable and that seemed to get the parents and coaches going at each other, a little.  Pretty soon, parents and coaches were yelling at the refs, at each other and all you know what broke loose!  The Bishop from the opponents ward got in Dave's face and accused him of yelling things that he wasn't.  Their coach started mouthing off at our coach and players and acting like he was twelve... anyway, you get the picture.  We ended up loosing the game, but it wasn't for a lack of trying.  I was so proud of our team and how hard they played.  All in all, it was a pretty darn good season, even if it did end a little strangely.  But, that's church ball for you!

Week Thirteen - One Month in the Field!

Happy to hear that my son sounds happy!  He's eating bananas and pears, but no strawberries, oh well.  This e-mail came to me today, so he is getting the hang of the timed e-mail system.  I hope every week things get a little easier for him and seem a little more "normal".  Love these e-mails!

Bom Dia Everybody!
       I hope everyone had a good week! Mine was pretty good. But to start, I do not like THESE COMPUTERS! GAH! so annoying. I had 10 seconds left to send the e-mail home last week but could not find the stinkin send button. The screen was too small and had about a dozen scroll bars. The one I am using now is better. It is bigger and the send button is within view right now, so I don´t have to try and find it when I only have 10 seconds left, again. If you don´t receive an e-mail by about 2 o´clock, check my e-mail account. So yeah this past week was pretty good. We made a companionship exchange for a couple days with some other more experienced elders. I went with Elder Nunes, who has a year and four months in the field, and stayed at his place with him, Elder Shaw, and his companion. Man, their place is small. Makes me happier for what I have now, but I sure do miss the luxuries of home and the slaves that parents have to be sometimes :) hehehe. But yeah, Elder Santos went with my companion to try and help out in our area since we are not having a whole lot of luck. Elder Santos finishes his mission this month. That must be exciting! Its difficult not to think of the end of the mission, even though mine has only just begun. Anyways, Elder Nunes is really cool. He listens to a lot of the same music that I do and he´s fun to talk with. And you can tell Elder Shaw is really happy to be here, serving a mission.
     Not much else happened this past week. We do have some investigators progressing a little. One of them agreed to be baptized, but we need to teach her a bit more and she needs to go to church at least once I think. We were going to take her yesterday, but... we didn´t exactly forget to get her and go to church with her, but to put it simply... we forgot. :( Another investigator agreed to be baptized when she feels she has received an answer to her prayer, that the church is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet, so hopefully she receives one. And there is one family that my companion, Elder Reis has been working with for like the past 3 months that haven´t been making much progress, but 2 people in the family feel that they might have finally received an answer, so I´m really hoping they act on that and choose to be baptized. So yeah, that's our progress on getting people into the church.
     So yeah, things are good here, muito legão. I think its a good idea that you send me another card for the camera and I will send you the one I am using now home. I´m going to try to write letters home, but they will probably be sent one at a time because we can only write letters on p-day and I will send the card home with one of the letters. By the way, thank you to those that sent me letters. I think they were all a little behind but I received a letter from the Nielsons, Sister Peterson, G&G Williams and a package from G&G Pratt through Mr. Cheyneys. So thank you very much. I really appreciate it and am glad to hear things are going good at home. And thanks for all the words of encouragement in the letters and e-mails. They help a lot.
      I am glad to hear that dad wasn´t sick for long and he is good now. Toby! look here Toby! Do something funny!... read that to him will ya? I´m also glad to hear that churchball went okay this season. Ma! Church ball will return so fast ya won´t believe it. And I will only miss one more season of church ball so don´tchya worry about it!
Question Answering Time!
1) no, I have not received the package with vitamins and a towel. Hopefully it gets here soon and there will be some good snacks in it :)
2) I can get fruit. Lots of fruit vendors in Belém. There bananas are so delicious and sweet! Yum, Yum, muito bom! (very good). I had a pear for the first time since Rosie baby-sat me. It was okay but not as good as I remember. Theres also a lot of fruit here that I can never remember the name of. But one good one is called cupuaçu or something like that (the c with the squigly below makes and s sound and all the u´s make the hard u sound... thought I would share that with you). But I have not seen strawberries. I don´t think they have them here. Darn!
3) P-day, P-day, P-day, what do I do on P-day? Last week we played uno! My roommates thought that the only color I knew how to say in Portuguese was red (vermelho) because when you can choose which color you want to play, I would only choose red, but that was because almost all of my cards were red. But I proved them wrong, mwahaha... Azul, Verde, e Amarelho (blue, green, and yellow). Colors in portuguese, BAM! I usually just sleep, sometimes I draw cartoons, but I might start trying to study a bit more... because... I need to study.
4) We can only wear missionary attire outside the house, unless we have a service project, so don´t worry about sending any clothes.
5) The tie in the picture of me in front of the temple, I got for Christmas. The peeps at the MTC gave ties to all the elders. Its a pretty nice tie, wearing it right now. I also bought 2 ties while at the MTC. A green one and an orange one. Pretty good lookin ties, I say, I say, pretty good lookin ties...
         I´m glad to hear you are proud of the fact that I cook a little now... I made some chicken nuggets too, but my list of things I cooked is no where near as grand as the list of food I have eaten. I will send a list home when I write letters to ya´s. But don´t worry about sending more foods and stuffs. If I need something I will ask for it but I am good for now, thank you very much. For my birthday... hrmmmm what do I want for my birthday.... Eu não sei ( I don´t know, Eu is pronounced like the letters A and U put together, não is like now, and sei is like say). Maybe just hugs and kisses and loves through the mail.... and some candy.... and a tie. Anyways, I have 6 minutes left, I will end a little early so I know you receive this e-mail. I love and miss you all and am praying for ya´s! Have a good week and I will talk to you again next week!
Month 1, in the field, over (almost). Success! Over and out!
        Love, Elder Williams.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Week Twelve - Carnival

My handsome son in front of the Sao Paulo Temple
 Once again, I waited and waited for Tom's e-mail, got impatient and went to his in-box 
and there it was as a draft!  He had pictures attached, though, and he still sounds good!
It was so exciting to see pictures of him and to see a smile on his face!  I sure miss this 
boy but I know he is growing like crazy and it makes us so happy for him!   
I will send some pictures to you really quick and try to talk about the mission after. 
The computers are really slow here and take a long time for pictures to load, so I will 
talk a little bout the mission while the pictures load. There's a some flowers you can 
paint if you want Emmy!

      Sorry about last week! I was literally saying goodbye and about to send the e-mail 
home when I ran out of time and was kicked off the computer. Ugh, that ticked me off... I 
thought it would ruin my day but, it was still okay, and I am glad you were able to read 
it and that you enjoyed it. Don´t worry about looking at my emails ma! if you don´t get 
one its probably because this happened again and I give you permission to look.
      So, its hot here. I am usually sweating before we even leave the house. And it 
rains a lot. I don´t think there has been a day where it didn´t rain at least a little 
yet. But when it rains it feels nice, it cools me off a bit, unless its raining really 
hard, then we find a place to stay out of the rain. Things are kind of difficult, here. 
The members of the church are supposed to help us find new investigators and that is what 
my companion is trying to rely on but most people say they don´t have a reference for us. 
My companion says that the area of Belem we are in, Arsenal, is kind of difficult because 
its a bit bigger than other areas, and even one member of the ward here says that the 
other members aren´t very helpful. We are praying for help so hopefully things will get 
better. This past week we did a lot of walking. I think at the beginning of every month 
we have some zone meetings for training at the church every morning for a couple days, 
and the church is like a 20 minute walk away, or 10 minutes if your companion walks as 
fast as he can. Fortunately  he only did it once so it was okay. Lots and lots of 
    The language is coming along okay. I definitely understand more now than when I first 
arrived. I´m not sure if I already said this in my last email, but there are somethings 
people say that I can understand without even having to think about it but others its 
just like..... -.-...... wut? and then they say "He understands nothing," in 
Portuguese of course, and just laugh at me. So its a little embarrassing but it doesn't 
bother me much. Anyways, we have a few people that are showing interest in the church. 
Some people have come up to us and talked to us a bit but most of the time when they do, 
they are a little crazy. After someone talks to us I ask my companion what they said and 
he says "I don´t know, he´s crazy," which has happened a couple of times, so 
its kinda funny.
    Carnival was... I think last week. I don´t think its a huge deal here. There were 
about 100 people walking through the street following a truck with music just blasting, 
and tons of people just set up giant stereos outside their home and have it blasting as 
loud as possible, too. And then there are some cars that just drive around all day with 
speakers set up on top of their car with more music blasting, and a lot of the music they 
play here is Portuguese covers of English pop songs so its kinda annoying, but not that 
carnival is over, there aren't a lot of people blasting their music anymore. But I saw 
one huge truck with HULK SOM (sound) painted on it and the incredible hulk also. Man, 
that was loud. During carnival we didn´t have to stay in the house all day but we did end 
it an hour earlier. My companion says there's lots of thieves during carnival that want 
money to go to where the party is and buy beer.
     Sorry to hear about Dad, I hope you get better soon and I will be praying for you! 
But I am glad you and Em are finding things to do and having fun. Haha, toby is so funny, 
I love hearing about what he´s doing... But I´m glad I don't have to be there to clean up 
the mess he made. And I am glad to hear about Clay and Cooper and Brady, congratulations 
to them! Muito legão (very cool, pronounced lay-gow, like cow but with a g)
    I will now answer your questions really quick.
1) pizza, I just buy some flat bread, some tomato sauce, and some pre sliced cheese. My 
companion did show me how to start the stove (I was nervous!) and I made some chicken. 
I´m going to try to make some scrambled eggs next! Wish me luck!
2) Walking is difficult but getting easier, don´t worry about it!
3) I live with one other companionship, cool guys, and every Tuesday we have a zone 
meeting at the church where we talk about the week and learn a little bit. cool stuff!
4) local super market, lots of stuff to buy, don´t worry about it!
5) shoes are good! don´t worry about it!

Anyways, I love you all and can´t wait to talk to you again. Wish me luck this week and I 
will be praying for yall. Bye!

Elder Williams