Friday, May 31, 2013

Week Two - Singing Hymns (3!!!) and Livin' it Up in the MTC!

        Only week two in the MTC, but I get the feeling that David is completely in his element!  He still sounds so excited about it all and very happy.  I know that he is soaking it all in and appreciating every moment.  He has seen how fast it all flies by, watching Tom these past eighteen months.  The thing that struck me, after getting this letter and after seeing a few of the e-mails exchanged between Tom and David, is how these missions may be bringing my two sons back together and closer than they have been in a lot of years.  When they were small, they were best friends.  Then, the teenage years separated them by different interests and outlooks on things.  It has been hard to watch all of these years.  But, now they are communicating, helping each other and showing an amazing amount of love and respect for each other.  It really warms my heart to watch it all happen!  Who knew?!
Hola Familia!
I have been looking forward to this hour all week and I love to hear from you!  I have been getting your dearelders, it's nice to get something to read every night.  but don't feel obligated to send one every night haha I get some from other peeops as well.  Em!  I got your dearelder, it was muy commico, made me chuckle!  Send me another one telling me about Oregon!  Mom, thanks for sending me tom's email through dearelder, I think that is a good idea and it will help me to read his emails every week!  It is good to hear from a veteran.  We email, just little short ones, but he is a spiritual giant and I think I can learn a lot from him.  He shows me I've got a long way to go and he is a great example to me! 
          Sounds like Landon's farewell was great, not surprised.  He comes in next week!   I can't wait!  I got a letter from him last night, along with one from elder Heldt, and I've been working on a good letter for LL for quite sometime now.  I see Elder Orgill pretty much every meal and we talk all the time.  He is the only one i see regularly.  But I do see a few others from time to time.  I eat with my zone, my district in particular, bc I love them!  But it is not required to eat with them.  Elder Adams and I cry from laughing so hard probably at least once a do.  We have too good of a time sometimes, and it might get in the way of us doing our job a little bit, but it is good to have someone that can lighten the mood when necessary.  I get along great with my companion.  He is so humble and willing to help me with the language and he is constantly teaching me things.  I could not complain one bit about him.   
       I don't know what to tell you about this week.  It is all becoming very repetitive, all the days run together, I can't remember what happened when!  and I forget a lot of things.  But I will tell you about the devotionals.  Every Sunday and Tuesday night we have a Fireside/Devotional for the whole mtc.  Sunday firesides are usually light with a funny speaker.  they don't really get deep into any doctrinal stuff, but they motivate us, give us advice, and make us laugh.  Which is exactly what we need after a long week!  Tuesday devotionals are when the big time speakers come, usually from the 70, but every once in a while an apostle will come.  And i heard that Apostles usually come in June bc that is when the new mission presidents come here to be trained.  So i am keeping my fingers crossed for next week!  But so far we have heard from Elder Zwick and Elder Nash for Tues devotionals.  Those guys are brilliant, dig deep into the doctrine and teach us things we  couldn't learn any where else.  But, my most favorite part about these meetings is the singing.  The first thing we do once everyone is seated is sing 3 hymns!  3!!!  And they are good hymns too, hymns with some oomph and pzazz.  It is so powerful when the entire mtc sings and it brings a strong spirit to the meetings.  Then we usually sing three more throughout the meeting.  I love it! 
       Spanish is coming along.  I can pray in Spanish!  And with the help of one of my teachers, I realized that if I just take some time to think about what I want to say in Spanish, and have faith that what I am going to say is correct, it usually is.  It isn't pretty, it is very broken, but it's enough to get across what I want to say.  If I do this rather than taking the easy way out by having Elder Powell tell the investigator what I am thinking, the lessons go quite alright.  A principle that I learned last night, if we just do the best we can possible do, the Lord will make up for the rest.  So I just say what I can and pray that the spirit will tell them things that I can't.  I still get muy muy frustrated though!  It seems like my teachers are already speaking at 100 mph, and I understand very little haha!  But it is only getting easier, and I love it more and more every day.
       We don't exercise much, 50 min a day, but I usually don't do much cuz I don't want to get sweaty and have to shower.  We played basketball the first day, but haven't since then.  We usually play 4square bc that isn't too demanding.  But we have played softball and kickball, every once in a while we go to the weight room.  But there are "mtc recess duties" everywhere to keep games from getting too intense.  What we can do is so limited here as far as exercise goes.  They treat us like first graders at recess.  But I am fine with it, and if that is the way the Lord wants it, than I will obey. 
      I got the camera, I am going to try to attach a few pics, but idk how haha so I'll try to figure it out.  Because I have so little time, please try to let people know that I will do my best to write them back, but it might take a while!  I hope I answered all your q's and filled you in on my life enough! 
Also, Tom sent me a story, I want to print it off but I don't think I can do that here.  So I am going to try to send it to you, and I would appreciate it if you could send it to me in a dearelder or something, Thanks! 
Love and miss you all, I pray for you to know that every night.  Life is good!  I am muy muy feliz and doing all I can to live it up!   Hasta proxima semana!!!!(until next week) hehehe

Monday, May 27, 2013

Week Seventy Six - Some Want a Little and Some Want a Little More.....

Hello Family!

       To start off, my week was okay. We were running backwards to try to get a baptism, but the girl decided she didn´t want to be baptized. Nossa! my companion was upset. He tries really hard to get a baptism every week and it´s being a little difficult right now. There was only one visitor at church this week, that we aren´t even teaching yet, a members sister that we aren´t teaching yet. Everyone else was occupied or we weren´t able to talk with them this week. It was kind of annoying. But we´re looking a lot for new people to teach, talking to more people in the street, but that too is kind of annoying because a lot of people just say "já aceitei Jesus!" (I already accepted Jesus....) But I´m trying! But anyways, this week was kind of uneventful. We found some people that don´t want anything, some that want little and some that want a little more. Ugh... estou sentindo cansaço.... muito cansaço..... MAS NÃO SE PREOCUPE!
      Nossa! it must be strange at home with only one man in the house.... How´s it feel to be the man of the house Dad? not that you don´t already know how it is.... Send pics of oregon, EM! Hey mom! don´t worry bout us missionaries. We have so many angels protecting us and so many people praying for us, we almost don´t deserve it.... But sounds like your week was good.
Did you get David's email that I forwarded to you? No I didn´t, but David sent me an e-mail, says he´s doing good but really frustrated with the language. But send me his e-mails please.

Do you want me to keep sending David's e-mails?  Do you have time to read them? Yes please and yes I do!

Is there anything you need me to send, besides glasses cleaner? There´s a member here who served a mission some years ago and his companions always received beef jerkey. He asked if I could ask you guys to send him some beef jerkey. I´m thinking that you can send me some beef jerkey now and I can share it with him if I´m not transferred (if I am I can still send some jerkey) but if I am transferred I`ll get his address and you can send him some jerkey. Also, on the site of the chuch, they sell some mini preach my gospels in portuguese for about 4 bucks I think, but to buy one and send it to Brazil is very very expensive (100 reais/50 bucks mais ou menos), and some (3) missionaries here want a mini preach my gospel in portuguese. I was thinking maybe you guys could buy these 3, have them sent home and when you receive them, send them to the missionaries here in a small package. If 
it´s possible, just send a portuguese mini preach my gospel to Elder Mendes, Sister Viera dos Santos, and Sister de Lima, with the same mission address you use to send me stuffs. Pode ser? (can it be?)

Can you send more pictures?  One a week is just not doin' it for me :)! I´ll try to send more, but I´m not taking a lot of pics..... I´m just too lazy.... but if you really want, I´ll try harder. But you REALLY have to want it....

Are you still riding buses quite often in your area?  I don't know if I told you, but we had to buy David a bike and send it to his area.  He'll be primarily riding a bike everywhere. Yes I´m riding onibus just about every day. My companion doesn´t like walking much and we are always at the furthest point of our area at the end of the day, and walking back to our house takes more than an hour, so many many many onibuses!

I would send pics but this computer isn´t loading them very well.... save it for next week, sorry! But I love you all, have a great week and stay safe. Pray for David! (to have muito muito muito paciencia!) Tchau Tchau!

Love Elder R. Williams!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Week One - Oh My Heck!

David's first e-mail home!  Normally, with Tom's e-mails, I clean up the spelling and capitalization a little bit.  But with this first e-mail from David..... I am not even going to try!  I think the craziness of this e-mail pretty clearly illustrates how he is feeling - super excited, super overwhelmed, stressed, but loving it!  He sounds happy, which is nice to hear.  We actually got a package from David the Tuesday after he left and it was his broken camera.  We also got a short letter from him letting us know he was settled in, who his companion was, his companion's parent's e-mail address and that was about it.  I am excited to start hearing from him each week and hopefully, now that he has a camera that is working, he will start sending some pictures home!

Hola familia! 
I can't believe I'm in the MTC, it's finally here!   I have so much to tell you, and i'm really panicing cuz i only have a certain amount of time!!!  so i will do my best.
      My companion is Elder Powell, from Gilbert, Arizona.  He is my age, got a year done at byu, and we are a lot alike.  he likes sports and neither of us are real talkers.  neither of us are apposed to talking, but we just aren't the types that always have something to say. although he does like to tell stories.  I've heard about a time when he got arrested by the entire Gilbert police force for throwing water balloons, the time he had surgery on his bum, and all about his semi gf from byu.  we still  have a lot of quiet time, but we get along just fine and he is easy to love.  we have a room to ourselfves too, which is pretty rare here i guess.  we are on mtc grounds, not byu housing.   My district is very small.  Only five of us, all elders!   Elder Leavitt, who is a bfg, is from Idaho, went to byu, and is just a big sweetheart!  Elder Biggs, also from Idaho, went byui, and he is little and in the same boat as me, we understand 0 spanish!  Elder Adams, from St. George, went to byu, is our District Leader and he is awesome.  He looks exactly like LL.  doesn't act like him or talk like him, but they look very similar, it's freaky weird crazy!  He is someone i probably would have been friends with if we went to hs together, he is really funny.  Our district is small so we are all super close already and will form great friendships in the next 5 weeks! 
Our teacher is Hermano Zuzunaga, and the only word i have ever heard him say in english is "okay".  it is ALL spanish from him and it gets super frustrating.  but he is a great teacher, takes the time to know how we are feeling, and i think his teaching will get me a long way.  We taught our first "investigator" on friday.  it isn't a real investigater, but it is as real as it can get without it being real.  oh, ;and it was in SPANISH!  it was an absolute trainwreck!!!!!!!!  i couln't say anything, my companion blanked, we couldn't understand her, and it could not have gone any worse.  i was sooo mad afterward.  "WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT TO ME???!!!???" is all i could think.  We have taught her two more times since then, and they have gotten slightly better.  I feel bad though cuz i pretty much rely on elder powell the whole time.  i still can't understand her, i have no idea what's goinig on, and the only thing i can do is ask her to read a scripture or something out of the pamphlet.  i stress about our lessons all day long, and it is such a relief to just get it out of the way. 
Spanish is so frustrating.  we are either studying or learning spanish.  all day long.  sometimes i feel like breaking something cuz i just can't understand!  and i feel like everyone else in my district is ahead of me..  but looking back on this last week, i have learned quite about.  not as much as i would like, but there is improvement.  i just try to remind myself to have patience and know that it is a long process.   that is hard to do though when they expect us to be able to teach lessons already! 
       the Elders in our zone that have been here for only a few weeks more than me are extremely helpful.  they are my age yet they seem soo much older than me!   they gave us a lot of advice the first few days, and just told us to make it to sunday.  Sunday is when we get to rest our minds for a bit.  still a super busy day, but we just don't have to think so hard, just listen.  and they were right, sunday was exactly what i needed!
the branch presidency is great to.  they are so knowledgable, they have been where we are, and provide a lot of love to us.  the president is President Swenson.  First impression he comes off as intimidating, but he is the nicest guy and i feel like i've known him for years already.  last night we had a meeting and he shook my hand, slapped me on the neck, and called me a "handsome little bugger".  all the people here are positive and supportive and loving.
the food is pretty bad, but the good thing is that they have so much variety that i can ususally find something that will hold me over to the next meal.   the Elders in our zone that have been here a while told us that "it's not a matter of IF you poop your pants here in the mtc, but WHEN."  that sums up the food here.  the cafeteria is a lot of fun though!  i see so many people i know:  Elder Orgill pretty much every day, and i've seen elder durrant, elder metcalf, sister henshaw, sister swindler, elder player, sister bloomfield, and so many other people from hs and uvu.  i actually saw elder ostler, elder pinegar, and elder hanks one after another as i was on my way to come email.  they just got here today and i am so excited for them! 
      life in the mtc is tough.  long, busy, overwhelming, frustrating days.  there have been multiple times when i wonder if i can really do this, but the day always ends on a good note and that keeps me going.  plus, there have been too many people to count that have been here in my exact situation, and they made it.  so i am hanging in there, and for the most part, i really am enjoying it!  we study constantly.  Eat.  Sleep. Study.  with a little bit of super intense four square every couple days.  but it is a lot different than school.  School is often boring, i'm not interested in the subject, just there for the grade, and i alwyas did the bare minimum to get that grade..  here in the mtc, i have never thunk so hard and for so long in my life!  while it does get hard to focus after a while, usually after lunch about an hour into class, i don't get bored.  I am sincerely interested in what is being taught, and i need what is being taught.   so by the end of the day my brain is absolutely fried!  constantly translating and writing and trying to remember scriptures!  it's too much!  sometimes i think that, but i know that god doesn't give commandments that cannot be fulfilled.  he only expects me to do my best, and that is what i am doing. 
    Thank you so much for the bday stuff!   i didn't have much of a bday, my district sang to me and got me some candy, but that is it.  i opened my stuff at the end of the day and i loved it all!  haven't use my cantine corbata yet but i can't wait to try it out!  the post its and tabs and little notebooks will be very handy.  that pen and pencil is dolceeee!(sweet)  they are so nice i don't even want to use them, i just want to look at them haha.  Em, thanks for the card.  i very much enjoyed it and i loved the quote in there.  i love quotes period!  keep 'em coming por favour, i write them in my journal.  Thanks you so much for all of that, i had a great bday! 
I'm about out of time.  this has been the most stressful time i've ever had on a computer.  i typed as fast as i could, sorry about the poor grammar and typos haha but i had so much to tell you!  i hope i got it all, and next time i'll mix in more spanish. 
    idk if you have looked into dear elder yet, but you should.  they are emails but they hand deliver them to missionaries every day.  my companion gets like six a day.  but this way i can read your emails before i get into the computer lab, and then use all my time to send emails!  i've gotten two already, so it shouldn't be hard.  just a suggeestion.  hope all is well!  I love you and i miss you and i need someone to tell toby hi for me.  I'm doing fantastico and i know you are too!  until next week.  Adios!!!!!

           Elder Williams 

May 15, 2013 - The Hardest Day!

Well, for the second time in less than two years, we said goodbye to one of our sons because he is going on a two year LDS Church mission.  Wow - very hard - in fact, much harder than I had anticipated it being!  Early on, when David first started getting things together to put his mission request in, I was thinking "Hey, this won't be that hard because I have done it once and know what to expect!"  Plus, he had been away most weeks, down at UVU and was only home on the weekends.  So, I felt we were kind of already eased into David being away.  I was actually, in some ways, anxious for him to go because that meant he would get back sooner!  Well, I am here to tell anyone out there with more than one child that will serve a mission - it's NOT any easier to send one off than another!  Even Emilee was dreading having him go and being an only child for six months.  Plus, she and David get along well and he definitely livens things up at our house whenever he is around!  He sings (loudly and not just in the shower), always has funny stories to tell, and makes a lot of noise..... just brings life to things in general, which is what we are all going to miss!  But, after about four months of spending most free waking minutes either buying stuff and checking things off lists, the time had come for David to actually go and the reality of it all set in about Monday.  I started just crying for no apparent reason, every time I even thought about having to tell him goodbye.  Dave was feeling the same way - we were struggling.  This thing that we almost were anticipating was now upon us and we weren't happy about it!

The day before David left, he had a really special visit from his cousin, Drew, who was unable to come to David's farewell because he wasn't feeling well.  He and David sat out on the deck for about an hour just chatting.  David was getting some excellent advice from Drew, a returned missionary, who served in Juarez, Mexico - not an easy mission, to say the least.  I asked David, after Drew left, what was the best thing Drew told him that he thought would help him the most.  He said that Drew spoke about humility and not chasing the missionary advancement "ladder".  He told him the more you chase it, the more it will elude you.  That led us to talk about qualities of great leaders and I told him that, from my experience, the best leaders I have been around were the people who probably wanted it the very least and the worst leaders I have been around were the ones that wanted it the most - funny how that works.  I think it comes down to that humility thing.  People who are naturally humble, don't try to be perfect and can laugh at themselves can sometimes make incredible leaders when given the opportunity to lead. Having compassion and caring about how people feel is also an important component to leadership.  I think David understands this, he has a lot of these traits and it will serve him well if he does get the opportunity to lead while in the mission field.

The day came, May 15th and David still needed to pack!  I got up a little early and got ready so I could help him.  We packed his two suitcases with everything he needed and I think the kitchen sink!  It all fit easily into his two new suitcases that he got for his birthday.  We wrote things down for him and made copies of stuff, loaded his backpack and then he got dressed in his suit - what a handsome kid!  He decided he wanted to go to lunch at the Cafe Rio in Orem, so we loaded his suitcases in the car.  He went back in the house without us and I am pretty sure it was to say goodbye to his beloved Toby!  I think he even quickly straightened his room!  We headed to Orem, I missed the exit, we doubled back and made the long drive to Cafe Rio - we were running out of time.  Cafe Rio was, of course, packed and we waited in a long line, then quickly ate lunch and headed back to the Provo Temple.  We drove through the beautiful streets on the BYU campus and got to the Temple parking lot just in time to take a few pictures.  We then headed over to the MTC to drop him off at the curb.  There were tons of cars, dropping off missionaries and I was surprised at how beautiful the grounds were and the buildings.  I think I had envisioned some type of institutional looking building with iron bars on the windows, or something.  We pulled up along the curb and an Elder came over to greet David.  He asked him where he was going and told him he will love learning Spanish.  He then grabbed one of David's suitcases and started heading up the sidewalk!  We quickly gave David one more hug and a kiss and then he grabbed his other suitcase and followed...... and that was it!  Just like when we dropped Tom off and saw him go through security, after we left to come home I felt relieved and and a sense of calm that I hadn't felt in months.  Maybe it's God's hand or maybe it's just the hardness of saying goodbye is finally over.  He was happy to get going and to finally be a missionary!  And, you know what.... if he's happy, then I am happy!  Yes, Dave, Em and I will miss him... every day.  But, it's our sacrifice, to go along with his sacrifice of giving up two years of his life, in the prime of his youth, to serve.  To serve his church and his God, his beliefs and his convictions.  I just couldn't be more proud of this kid!

Drew and David!

Such handsome boys!

David and Em!

Dave, David and Em!

Dad, David and Mom!

Proud parents of this kid!

Em, David and Mom at the Provo Temple!

Father and son!

David and Mom!

There goes my baby!  ;(

May 12, 2013 - David's Farewell and Mother's Day!

May, 12, 2013 was a pretty busy day for us!  Not only was it Mother's Day, we also had David's farewell and Tom got to Skype from Brazil!  David was preparing his talk right up until about the time he had to get dressed to leave for church!  He does better under pressure, he claims, but I am the same way so he must get it from me.  David gave a fantastic farewell talk where he spoke, and was brutally honest, about his feelings during the past year about school, getting ready to be a missionary, getting his call to Dallas Texas and about his fears, worries and self doubts for the two years coming up.  He paid a beautiful tribute to me, his mom, by telling everyone how much I do for him and how I am selfless when it comes to my three kids.  He had me and every other mother in the chapel in tears, numerous times throughout his talk.  He showed an immense amount of humility, emotion and humbleness and Dave and I were incredibly proud of him because that couldn't have been very easy!  We are in awe of the amazing young man he has become and he just has a hard time seeing himself the way others see him.  I know that there are people in the Texas Dallas mission that will have their lives blessed by spending time with David.  He has a big heart and he is one of the kindest people I know!  I know he will have trying times - while learning a new language, being so far from home, being totally independent, but I know that he has all of the ability, skill and perseverance to grow from everything he experiences and to come home just that much more amazing.  I am so, so excited for him and while yes, I will miss him immensely, I know that part of being a parent is being unselfish when it comes to what your kids want and sometimes we make sacrifices that aren't easy while going through them, but are rewarding in the long run.  Can't wait to see the son I love with all my heart, come home two years older and wiser!  It was truly a Mother's Day that I will never forget!

David, Em, Chris, Blaine and Susan enjoying the deck!

Par-tiers on the patio!

Lex, Landon, Brayden and Eli!  Good friends!

Giving Grandma Mart a hug!

The three amigos!  Brayden, David and Landon!

Good friends, Brayden, Ariel and David!

Aunt Tricia and cousins, Jeff and Brad!

Teri, Clay and David!

Grandpa Rollie, David and Uncle Ken!

Grandpa Rolly, David and Grandma Colleen!

David and best room mate/buddy Zach!

David and Grandpa Bryant and Grandma Marta!

David and "little" sister, Em!

David and Momma!

A full house of wonderful neighborhood friends!

Hannah, Chris, David, Rachel and Topher!

David's Bucket List

Before going on his mission, David had a few things he wanted to do - primarily - go have some fun and maybe do some things he had never done before!  From the day he got out of school until the day he left for the MTC, he packed in a fair number of, what I would call, adventures - that's my boy!  David has always been a thrill seeker and has never shied away from anything that could lead to potential fun.  So, this post is to document just a couple of adventures David had while we were in Mexico.  Besides these, he made great use of his time before his mission by doing a lot of spending time with good friends, rock climbing (indoors with Jen) and also took in a few good movies for the last time for two whole years!  David loves to do anything physical and anything that involves friends.  I am glad he got to have some fun before getting down to some serious work for a long, long time!

David and Dave spent about a half day on a snorkeling excursion in Banderas Bay, which is the bay the Puerto Vallarta sits on.  There's a huge old hunk of rock that sits in the middle of the water and it's almost like an island.  They went out on a boat with a bunch of other people and got to snorkel around this big rock. They had a great time and even saw a mamma whale and her calf surface a few times, fairly close.  The next day, we went up into the Sierra Madres on a zip line excursion.  There were eleven different zip lines that criss-crossed a canyon and were very high off the ground.  Our zip line guides were very nice and really funny, which made the whole experience very enjoyable.  They even let David hang upside down on one zip line, with one of the guides going with him.  It was a lot of fun and just something you don't get to do everyday.  I am glad he got to do this before he left - it will be a great memory for us!

David, snorkeling in Banderas Bay!

The big rock with a hole in the middle.

David..... looking happy!

David zip-lining across a canyon in the Sierra Madres.

Had to try it upside down, of course!
And Dave tried it, too!

Across the river!

David on a burro getting back up the mountain.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Week Sevety Five - Broken Glasses and Sickness...

Tom has less than 200 days left in his mission!  I am so excited for us, but feel bad that he is probably not wishing it to pass as quickly as we are.  He was sick this past week for only the second time that I remember him writing about.  That's pretty good, considering he is in a foreign country and so far from home. 

Hi Mom, Dad, Em, and.... wait.... David´s not there anymore! Gah!
         Nossa! Sounds like the week was just rough for everyone. My week was okay... more or less. My glasses broke. I guess it´s time to use my other ones. Nossa, my glasses were dirty. It´s a wonder I don´t get sick very often.... or no wonder, using glasses like those. That being said, I got sick this week... don´t know why. From Thursday to Friday I woke up several times during the night (and I never wake up during the night) feeling a little strange. Pretty much any little sound woke me up, when I usually just sleep like a log. But 6:30 arrived, didn´t feel well and immediately went to the bathroom, where I ended up throwing up. I went to sleep again because I wasn´t feeling good still and a few hours later, after taking a shower and getting ready I did it again. So I stayed home half of the day, not feeling well, and we left at about 5 to go work a little bit. That interrupted pretty much everything and we weren´t able to do much. But I felt much better the next day and didn´t have any more problems. But the rest of the week was uneventful. My companion and I ran a lot to try to reach 20 lessons taught to investigators in the week and we searched for a lot of new investigators but few people were able to go to church this week. But the family that went last week, went again yesterday and we´ll have a family home evening tonight with them at a members place... it should be good and hopefully they´ll make the decision to marry and get baptized soon. Marriage with Brazilians is difficult. Very few people are married here but everyone lives together. They´ve all got children, we tell them they are breaking a commandment of God, and that they need to marry, they´ve all been together for years now, but they´re all afraid of signing a paper that says they´re legally married. "Right now isn´t the right moment," they say.... it´s quite annoying...but we´ll see.
         We found a girl who was taught a few years ago by sisters. We were talking to her sister, who also was taught, trying to remind her of the word of wisdom, and her sister came out of nowhere and helped her sister remember. We asked her who she was, if she remembered the missionaries that taught her and her visits in the church, and if she still has the desire to be baptized (she was going to be baptized before but something went wrong in the baptismal interview) and she said yes, she still wants to be baptized, so we´re going to work with her this week, she just has a small problem with alcoholic drinks..... But yeah... that was my week more or less.... hrmmm, not much happened....
        But I´m glad to hear your week went well, even though it may have been a little hard. David´s mission will bring muitas felicidades to everyone. And just know that it´s the fastest 2 years of everyone´s life. Carrying on!
When did you get made the district leader?  I don't remember you telling us about that before. Sorry, I guess I forgot to tell you. I am 3 weeks into my second transfer ( of six weeks) as district leader... so... in March. It was kind of annoying. I was in Belém at that time and 2 district leaders of the zone had ended their missions and went home, the other was moved up to zone leader. 2 new district leaders had arrived the day I went to Belém and the last one, I guess Pres. Scisci was up in the air trying to choose, because I didn´t learn that I was district leader until about a week after being in Belém... so it was kind of weird...
What do you have to do as a district leader?  Are you enjoying it? As a district leader, I give... they´re called treinamentos in Portuguese but, to call it "training" in English is a little weird, but yeah it´s training, that I give every Tuesday to 2 other missionary duplas, one is the sisters that share the Santarem area with me and my companion, Sister Viera dos Santos and Sister de Lima, and the other is a companionship that lives with the zone leaders in an area called Pérola (Pearl), Elder Teles and Elder L. Oliveira (I´m the only American in my district),  so I usually stay up until midnight on Mondays thinking of things to say to my district. I also interview the elders and sisters of my district and I call them every night to see how they are doing if they are having problems and if they will have a baptism at the end of the week. Oh, I also interview the baptismal candidates, which can be a little annoying because sometimes I have to interview kids that don´t remember much about what they were taught.
 What is Santerem like?  Is it a big city, mostly residential, both?  Do you like it better than being in Belem? It´s not a BIG city, but it´s a good size. It´s mostly residential. There are some cruise ships that pass by sometimes, so there´s a bit of tourism here. Of the entire zone, I think my area is the only one in which most of the streets are pavement-ed. All the others just have dirt roads, pretty much. It´s a lot calmer than Belém, not everyone sits in front of giant speakers with the music blasting while at the same time, somehow having a conversation, while drinking beer, just a few people do that here, and yes I do like it more than Belém.
Do you still live with another set of missionaries or did you end up moving? Yes, we still live with other missionaries. We live with Elder Paiva (still) and Elder Neres (still), but with my new companion Elder Mendes.
What is your favorite thing to eat in Brazil? Nossa! that´s difficult. Everyday I eat rice, beans, and some sort of meat... I think I just like meat in general now.... Bisteca (don´t know the name in English) maybe is my favorite....

But I think that´s all for this week. I love you all, stay safe and be happy because we´re serving missions but I`m coming home in 6 months woooohoooo! Don´t cry too much mom!

Love Elder R. Williams

Friday, May 17, 2013

Last Family Fling - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

      For our last trip before David left on his mission, we decided to go to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!  We had never been there, before, but had heard good things about it and it looked beautiful in the pictures.  We flew out super early on a Saturday morning, stopped in Denver and then got there around three in the afternoon.  The resort we stayed at was right on the beach, with two pools, three restaurants and a little market.  The people at the resort and everywhere we went were incredibly friendly and helpful!  The scenery was spectacular and it was pretty much paradise for a week!  We ate soup at the Mexican restaurant at our resort almost everyday and the food was really good.  We took a tour of the city, which included tequila tasting and lunch on Monday.  Then David and Dave went snorkeling for about half a day and had a lot of fun.  Then the next day we went on eleven zip lines up in the mountains which included riding a burro up a mountainside at the end!  We had plenty of time to enjoy the beach and just relax, read and nap. It was a bit strange being on a family trip without Tom, and David seemed a little distracted with his impending mission on his mind.  I am glad we went, though and we will definitely go back when we can all be together again!  

Em and Davey in front of the big rock in the ocean.

Mom and Davey.

Davey, Dad and Em.

Night of the Iguana location.

Dave with some new friends!

Em and David at the Malecon (boardwalk).

Hot seat at the Malecon!

We're listening!

Sun worshiping on the Malecon!

Last day at breakfast.

Last day at breakfast.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Week Seventy Four - Skyping on Mother's Day!

Tom playing volleyball, going up for a spike!
Hi Family!

     Wow, seeing your faces again was so awesome. WOW! The time between Christmas and now passed sooo fast! And the time between now and when I come home will past even faster! Mom! Chora não! (don´t cry)! I´ll be home sooo fast you´ll be begging that I return to the mission! Hey sorry I wasn´t able to talk more. Yesterday we had lunch at a members place and immediately after the sisters used Skype on the computer of the future son-in-law of this member, and they did it without any problems, and we waited there the whole time, about 3 hours. When my companion tried to use it, no one in his family was online. So we went outside, used a phone booth to call his family, tell them to get online, and we went to this future son-in-laws home, about a 20 minute walk away, and when we arrived there, the internet pretty much didn´t work. So my companion tried for about an hour and a half and was only able to wish his mom a happy mother´s day and say hello rapidão to a few peeps. After his few tries we decided to return to the other members house because it worked so well there, but she wasn´t home so we went to the neighbors place, but the internet didn´t work so well like it did in the first place. So that´s probably why the connection was bad. I wasn´t really thinking of much to say, I was just happy to see everyone at home. I guess I should´ve thought more about you guys there, but.... it´s too late now. But like I said, 6 more months and we can see each other in person again! But can´t talk about that yet, I still got work to do.

    But my week was okay. We were going to have a baptism, but the person who was going to get baptized said she traveled to stay with her father, in another city, and a little later we discovered, through a member, that she just doesn´t want to get baptized anymore and it seems like there´re some people trying to interrupt the baptism, but I also think it´s part of the her own desires. She doesn´t have a testimony of the church yet and I think she just wanted to get baptized because she knows she needs to be (and has never been baptized yet), so any baptism in any church will do for her, but we know otherwise!. But my companion is not a quitter and he´s very persistent/insistent (I forgot if there´s a difference or if they mean the same thing, but whatev), so we´re going to keep trying with her. We took a family to church with us this week. They said they liked it and we´re going to try to have a family home evening with them and a member family tonight. 

     My time as a district leader is going okay. I usually have to give some sort of training on tuesdays so I stay awake a little late on Monday nights, thinking of what to teach, but if I pray about it I usually get an idea and that idea doesn´t leave my mind, so I know I should teach it. But so far, my mission is going well. I´ll be sure to write letters to everyone, being that my last 6 months of the mission are just about to start. Egua, i´ve been really lazy when it comes to writing letters, and for that I apologize. Right now I just want to say I´m grateful for the opportunity I had to talk to you at home yesterday. Grandma´s new hair-do looks awesome, Grandpa is looking young enough to basketball again. I didn´t see Grandma and Grandpa Pratt, but I assume the same thing. A few last words to David, before leaving to his mission: DON´T GO!!! WWAAAAAHHHH! (jk) I just want to wish you the best of luck. I know you will love your mission and speaking another language. Strive as much as possible to learn it and I´ll be learning it too while you´re gone, it´s a promise! Convert yourself to the gospel, David. Make the book of Mormon an instrument in your hands. You´ll never convert someone beyond your own conversion. So be diligent, be humble, have patience, love everyone you meet, and show the world you are a representative of Jesus Christ. Give all your heart, might, mind and strength and don´t let down for even a minute during any day of your mission. Don´t be afraid of doing anything. Accept any challenge with courage and enthusiasm. It passes unbelievably fast, so enjoy it and forget about everything else. I know you´ll be a great defender of the truth, David, and a blessing to everyone that you encounter. I´ll be sure to write to you a lot while you´re out. I love you and I´ll see you 2 years from now! 


Cindy Nielsen sent you a letter a while back, but she is worried she didn't put enough postage on it.  Did you get a letter from her? Yes! I did, thank you Cindy Nielsen, and to Andy too, for the e-mails.

Did you get a birthday card and letter from Dad? Yes I did, and 3 letters from sister Peterson (muito obrigado for keeping me in the loop) a letter from G&G Williams and Pratt, muito obrigado, também. And a birthday card from Bob Esponja! Obrigado Bob Esponja! (and to my family, Mom Dad Em and David! I know you told Bob Esponja to do that! I KNOW IT!)

Could you see us while we were Skyping?  We could see you pretty well, but it seemed dark where you were....Did you see Toby and Sherm? Yeah I could see you all just fine. It should be even better in person right!? I don´t think it will be all laggy and pixelated... I hope...

Do you realize you have a Brazilian accent?  It's not super strong, but it's there and we love it!! So I´ve heard....

A pic!

It´s me playing Volleyball going up for a spike. NOSSA! GUERREIRO EU SOU! It reminds me of that pic.... of me... playing tennis.... I´m crazy!

Okay, that´s all. I love you all at home and miss you all so much. I know the church is true and the gospel can change lives if we just strive to live it. I know the lack of David´s presence will be hard at home, probably hardest for Toby, but it will pass fast, and there is nothing better that David could do than spread the good news of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, the most important message on earth! Again, I love you all. Have a great week! 

Love Elder R. Williams

Monday, May 6, 2013

Week Seventy Three - Happy Birthday Tom!

This week, Tom will turn 21 years old!  It's his second birthday away from home and it better be the last!  We are so proud of him and each week can see how he is growing and maturing.  We will be thinking of him on Wednesday and hoping he has a great day!

Tom and Elder Mendes at Brenda's baptism.
Hi Family!
        Nossa! you got your hands on an iguana! (I think) Egua I´m jealous. I´ve already seen some iguanas here in Santarém but they were up in the trees. I´ll get my hands on one of them one day before I go! The sisters that share the area with us here found an iguana in their house this past week. They thought it was a snake because they could only see it´s tail and it was wrapped around a piece of wood like a snake wraps itself around things. But I`m really short on time, I was looking at past e-mails with past pictures for nostalgia purposes. Wow time passes fast. My week was okay. We had another baptism. Brenda, Evalyn´s (the girl baptized last week) sister. And this past Sunday was the first time I did the confirmation. Wow, I waited a long time to do that, and it went a little rough. I don´t feel so inspired by the spirit to say things at the moment. But I´ll be sure to try again and hopefully the inspiration comes and the fear goes away. Anyways.... We had pizza one night with our recent convert and her family and 2 other girls in the ward... nossa! girls just cleave to my previous companion. But with a new companion it should be different. My companion´s name is Elder Mendes, he´s from Hortlandia, which is a neighboring city of campinas in the state of São Paulo. He´s pretty cool. He´s big and black and likes to joke around a lot and doesn´t like silence, so if no one is saying anything, he tries to get me talking.... but it must be a challenge...
Is your new companion from Brazil and are you getting along with him, OK? Yes, he´s very kind and funny and likes to talk a lot.

Did you ever break in that new pair of shoes or are you wearing your old shoes still?  I read a mom's e-mail that said her son bought some Brazilian army boots and is wearing those - funny! She said he had worn out three pair of shoes, after 18 months there. No, I`m not using those new shoes much. I got my nicer shoes fixed, I`m thinking about throwing out my original boots (já era) and if I have to I´ll buy some others, because the ones I already bought are still really uncomfortable.
How has the weather been there?  A lot of rain or is it the dry season, now? SNOW! no jk (in my dreams), but it usually rains in the morning and stops at lunch.
Any birthday present purchases, yet?  Don't forget! I´ll buy some stuff.... I don´t know when, but before I come home, that´s for sure.... But I already have an awesome idea of what to buy here in Santarém (sun baked fish that looks like a statue! NOSSA!)
Pic this week. Brenda´s Baptism, her sister and my new companion.

 Love Elder R. Williams

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Week Seventy Two - Evalyn's Baptism!

The baptism of Evalyn!
Hi Family Williams!

     Nossa! you guys are in Mexico without me!? Is it the same place that you and dad went to a few years ago? About the honey roll things in my b-day package, yes they were good. Uma delicia! I´m glad to hear that Beau made a visit to yas, and is doing well and gave David some advice. About mother´s day, I´m not thinking about it much yet. It will probably have to be in the afternoon, because we have Sunday meetings here in the morning, and I don´t think I´m going to be able to Skype.
     But anyways, this week was okay. We had a baptism (3 in the ward because the sisters had 2 others). Evalyn was baptized this week. I baptized her and another person from the sisters and my companion baptized the last one. This next week Evalyn´s sister will probably be baptized and the week after I think their mother and maybe one more sister. Unfortunately, the baptisms were on Sunday and someone from the stake was there and didn´t allow the confirmation, so we have to wait one more week to confirm them and to confer the holy ghost, and my zone leader was not happy about that at the end of the day. Eu apanhei pa carumba (not sure if I said that right). Anyways, the transfer ended this week. Only 5 more 6 week periods (transfers) and my mission ends. Wow it passes fast. I will be staying in the area, Santarém, my companion will be transferred to a place that is even more in the middle of nowhere than here, but he should do well there, and my new companion is Elder Mendes, I think. He too has little time in the mission. It should be interesting to see what happens this next transfer.
I was confused by your second e-mail last week…. I thought the memory card I sent was for your camera.  Is that what you were talking about?  And, I am not sure how to get you more music – do you think e-mailing you the music files would work?  Let me know…. You sent me a little memory card type thing I think for my camera, but I found out that the cellphones we use here also read the card. So I already received a bunch of music from another missionary, but I would like some more Josh Groban music among other things.... I think you can send music through e-mail just fine without any problems.

Did you get any packages or letters this past week, if so, who from? no

Did you hear back from your mission president, yet?  I keep hearing about how they are discouraging parents from picking up their missionaries in certain missions.  Another mom said she was trying to find out the same thing and was getting conflicting information.  Just let me know if you happen to find out anything. Yes I heard from him finally. I sent an e-mail to him talking about some of my preoccupations(?) or worries, so he responded and at the end said that you guys can come and that it is best to come the weekend before I return home, like on Friday or Saturday and I think you can even participate in the dinner that the missionaries of my group will have with president Scisci. So if I use my brain right, I leave Brazil on the 26th of November, it should be a Tuesday, go back a few days.... let me calculate here..... shut up I´m thinking!.... oh not you guys............. on the 22nd or 23rd of November... I´ll let you guys decide this time. Anything goes for me.
Pic of the baptism of Evalyn!

That´s all for this week. I love you all. Have a great week. Stay safe in Mexico!
Until the next week!

Love Elder R. Williams