Monday, July 29, 2013

Week Eleven - Furious Encounter and You Can't Judge a Person By Their Socks!

Elder Sheffer in his chair.....

Elder Sheffer, Bishop Ankle Socks and Elder Williams!

Hola mi familia! 
This week has flown by!  I've almost got my first transfer in the field under my belt.  That's loco!  Time really does fly by when you look back. 
    Last week I forgot to tell you about my exchange with Elder Hammond, where I went to his area for a day and night, and his companion came to GP for a day and a night.  It was interesting to work with a different missionary in a different area.  I think we have exchanges once every transfer, an opportunity to learn from other missionaries and see how they approach the work.  Elder Hammond is an interesting missionary to say the least.  He was in the mtc with my companion, Elder Sheffer, and I was shocked at how different they are.  Elder Sheffer is soooo much further ahead than him.  In Spanish and just being a missionary in general.  I could talk more fluidly than Elder Hammond!  Which isn't saying much.  And I know you can't compare missionaries to missionaries, bc everyone is going to progress at their own rate.  But it just showed me that it isn't just going to come.  If you work hard and get comfortable with being uncomfortable, trusting in the Lord, you are going to grow much faster.  So that transfer motivated me to work harder, so in 3 months I can be like Elder Sheffer, amazing missionaries with my Spanish for how long I have been out, rather than being like Elder Hammond who still has no confidence in his Spanish or teaching abilities.
    Monday I had another memorable experience.  I won't give details, bc that would take a while, but basically a member pulled up behind me, demanded to talk to me, and ripped me a new one for being too far away from my companion on our bikes.  Yes, maybe we were a little too far apart in some people's opinions.  But what I had a hard time with was her reaction.  She was absolutely FURIOUS that we were too far apart on our bikes.  She yelled at me for 10 minutes.  I couldn't understand why she was so mad and she couldn't just say "hey, don't you think you and your companion should stay a little closer together?" but she was furious and it was a joke.  I couldn't believe it.  I have always been no good at thinking of things to say right in the moment, and I really admire people that can do that and really wish I had that skill sometimes. but in the moment I didn't really say anything.  After the fact, however, I thought of so many things I should have said and I really just wanted to let her have it and make her feel like the 8 year old girl throwing a fit over something so ridiculous like she was.  But I didn't.  Not only because I couldn't think of what to say in the moment, but because I shouldn't.  I'm a missionary.  I have two years to be nothing but friendly and act like the Savior, no matter how people treat me.  But you know sometimes I really just want to give people a piece of my mind!  Just let them know how I REALLY feel.  but that's going to have to wait a couple years.
    So that was a good start to the week!  But other than that, it was a pretty typical week.  We stayed busy for the most part, had a couple rough, slower days, but it was a good week.  Last night we were in a lesson with someone named Dios Dado, which literally translates to "God Given". weir huh?!  But he was really nice and interested in what we do as missionaries.  During that lesson the thought came to me; "you know Elder Williams, this is pretty fun".  Talking to people and teaching the gospel really is fun!  Even if it is in Spanish and I can't understand much, it's fun!  There are parts of the work that are not fun, of course, but when I can really fulfill my purpose and share the gospel with someone, this is fun! 
   Elder Sheffer and I are starting to have a lot of fun together. He is hilarious!  The first few weeks I didn't like him much, personality wise.  He has a weird sense of humor and I never found it funny until now.  His jokes are smart and make you think, but we are like best friends now!  The other day he made a quesadilla with spicy pepperjack cheese, jalepenos, spicy Louisiana bbq sauce, and some super spicy "combustion" powder.  Every single thing on there was spicy, and I just thought that was unheard of!  He is a flippin  strange kid, but we sure do have a good time.  I really hope we get another transfer together, which I think we will. 
   Our bishop here of the Spanish ward is white, he served a Spanish speaking mission in SLC ironically.  He wears ankle socks to church, and up until yesterday I never thought I could respect a bishop that wears ankle socks to church.  Up until yesterday, I really didn't like him for multiple reasons.  In our Sunday morning meetings with him, he just makes us feel like we are doing a bad job and nothing else.  He doesn't help at all it seems like.  I just don't get that loving, goofy, caring vibe from him that I can from the boss bishop of LC5th, Bishop Wonnacott.  But yesterday bishop Weenig gave us a ride to dinner and we just got to talk as people, or former missionary to current missionary, in English, and it completely changed my view of him. He is a good guy, you can tell he was an awesome missionary, and he is  a good bishop that knows what he is doing.  Maybe not as good as Bishop Wonnacott, but he gets the job done. 
I have been emailing Elder Lambert the last couple weeks, he didn't say anything about his brother, but good for him!  Oh and I read Tom's emails too.  I really wish I would have done that for his entire mission, I very much enjoy them. 
I'm fine with Jeff sharing parts of my emails with other peeps, of course!  I'm just curious to know what parts?  I really didn't think I had written anything worth sharing, but that makes me feel pretty good haha.  
That's awesome to hear about Christopher.  That sounds like an awesome experience and I am super excited for him! 
Haven't gotten the shoes or any other package yet.  But I'll check today.
P days we do laundry first thing, then ride to the library to email, then get a ride from a member to Walmart to get groceries, then come back to the apt. and clean a wee bit, and relax.  If we weren't on bikes we would probably do a little bit more, but after a week of biking, we really just enjoy a day of rest.  I usually try to take a nap, but I have only actually fallen asleep once.  It's weird, I don't think i'm going to be able to take naps.  I just lay there and my mind runs tooo much and I just feel like I shouldn't be napping, no matter how tired I am.  But p day ends at 6 and we get out and hit the pavement! 
We wear missionary clothes whenever we are out in public, no exceptions. But there are some English elders here that we see at the library and they don't follow that rule.  But one of them also flipped us off one time, so we are kinda confused about them. 
Grand Prairie is different but not drastically.  I don't know how to explain.  It's just another town!
We haven't had to speak yet in sacrament meeting, but i'm sure it's coming! 
I don't think the gift cards would be against the rules, but there really aren't any chain restaurants here that I can think of.  Not only that, but Elder Sheffer doesn't like to take too much time to eat when we don't have to, so we just go to places like subway, bk, mcD's, or try places they don't have back home.  So gift cards probably wouldn't do much for us. 
Double check my address, it's 2304 for the apartment number.
Welp.  I'm out of time.  I hope I got everything without too many typos.  I love emailing.  I want to apologize for my first few emails from the field.  I realized a week or two ago that I was just being a baby!  Now I just want to get out there and have the best experiences that I can so I can share them with you every Monday! 
I love you all and you are a big motivation for me.  Family is a gift from God, and you are the best gift I have in my life that I cherish more and more every day.  Hasta la proxima lunes! 
Elder Williams

Week Eighty Five - Arrived in Oriximana and A Baptism!

Tom relaxing by a pool!

Tom, Elder Tobias at first baptism in Oriximina!

Hello Family!

       So I´m here, in Oriximiná (Oreesheemeenah), and it´s a pretty cool place. All the roads are pavemented so I don´t have to walk in the sand anymore. The members are cool, like always. There´s a family here that Elder Fox taught and baptized. They were hard core universalists (A igreja universal/the universal church or something like that), so I´ve heard some pretty funny stories about him while I´m here, fubeca Elder Fox! I think I was received well here.... anyways.... We had a baptism. 2 girls were saying the whole week "I don´t know if i´ll get baptized this week..." and one wanted the Elder that was here before me to baptize her, Elder Ashby, but that wasn´t exactly possible so she chose me for some reason... maybe it´s because my companion is annoying.... or because I´m American... maybe I because I´m blonde.... I don´t know... but nossa the baptism and confirmation was a cunfusion pra caramba. She arrived there Saturday night, but we couldn't start because there was a wedding going on in the church of some less active members... so she was upset about that, and she already said she wouldn't be able to go to church the next day so she almost wasn´t confirmed because the bishop didn´t want to confirm her except in sacrament meeting, but being the last week of the month, our zone leaders were pushing to have her confirmed this week, the stake counselor spoke to our bishop, I spoke to the bishop, nossa very annoying.... But we did it, we did it we did it, yay!.... But like.... that´s all I have to say for this week. Oh, hey! When you come here in November.... you should also buy plane tickets to Santarém, my favorite city of Pará... I already said that but you didn´t say anything so I said it again.... let´s go to Santarém!... hey about taking instruments again.... Elder Robertson, meu amigão said we´re going to start a band together. LET´S DO IT!
How was the boat ride?  Was it actually 10 hours? It was cold... no one told me that it gets cold on the boat ride at night... Yes it was about 10 hours and I could´t see much because it was night, but it was cool.

How big of a boat were you on? It´s a 3 story boat... nossa carrying my suitcase up 3 stories was annoying!

What's your new area like?  Do you have a nice apartment? The house is nice, the area is cool. It´s a lot more hilly. Going to where we work most is pretty much uphill the whole way.

Who is your new companion and where is he from?  How long out? Elder Tobias, from Maceol, 7 months in the mish.

How much do you miss Em? (that came from her, not me :)) Nossa! Emilee, sinto tua falta pra caramba, estou morrendo sem você aqui. É difícil, sabia? How long Senhor, eu tenho que ficar longe da minha irmã?!?!?! 4 more months.

Do you still eat lunch everyday at member's houses? We ate lunch at home 2. Apparently the RS president never gives us lunch, but everyday, except p-day, we have lunch marked at a members place.

Some pics! The baptism of Andrea, me at the side of a pool, relaxing, me on top of the boat waiting to leave to my new area, and I think me relaxing in the hammock...  i don´t remember. And one foto won´t be sent home because the e-mail is too big... okay... 2....

But that´s all for this week, I´m late for my appointment, I should be sleeping right now. I love you all, hope you have a great week. Miss you bunches and exactly (more or less) 4 months from now I´ll see you again. Tchau Tchau!

Love Elder R. Williams

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

David's Letter Home With....Pictures!!

On Friday, July 19th, we received a letter in the mail from David and his camera card.  He had mentioned that he would probably send it home in one of his e-mails.  So, this totally made my day and the letter and the pictures are great!  Mostly all taken in the MTC - I am just so happy he used his camera, a lot!  So, here's the letter and the pictures:


I just love you all and miss you like crazy!  So here is the memory card to my camera and a little photo guide to some pictures you might scratch your head at.

-WHITE BOARD DRAWING:  this is a picture that Elder Adams and I drew in the MTC Main Campus.  It's a game we would play all too often as a district where we just take turns drawing one line at a time and it eventually turns into a masterpiece such as this!

-BIG GROUP IN FRONT OF THE TEMPLE: our Zone!  But our Zone changed nearly every week w/ districts leaving and new ones coming in every week.

-ME IN A REALLY SMALL SHIRT: this is Elder Adams' shirt.  His mom sent it to him and it was super small and he was going to throw it away.  But it was a cool shirt so I took it off his hands.

-MAP PIC OF ME PICKING SOME CHICK'S NOSE: all the Spanish Speaking Dallas Mission missionaries in our zone.

-SHOE BOX PICS - we kept all of our books in shoe boxes.  This was the night we said goodbye to our -MTC main campus classroom, because the next day we moved to the West Campus.

-DESK PIC: My desk for 5 weeks in our MTC bedroom.

-BED PIC: where I slept for 5 weeks at the MTC!


-RANDOM CLOSE-UP OF RANDOM KID - this is Elder Adams friend, Elder Sorenson, who left for Canada the next day.  We are probably going to be good friends after the mission.
-WRITING IN THE CEILING: Elder Powell and I had a unique room in the MTC.  Somehow we found this in the ceiling; tons of elders that have stayed in that room signed it.  WEIRD! 

-BUS - the bus pic ride from MTC Main to MTC West. The kid standing up i the back is Elder Adams. The other kid is a goofy looking one that just conquered cancer, Elder Powell (another one) that I have lots of respect for.

-KITCHEN CABINET - I warned you about this pic in one of my e-mails.  West Campus rooms had kitchens and Elder Powell lived in the same apartments for a semester, so he knew about this.  I would try to get in there every night for like 5 nights straight before I finally got it.  Every time I tried I would get super claustrophobic and spaz out and panic, but I finally got it!  Such a great Kodak Moment.

-RANDOM CHICK THAT YOU PROBABLY DON'T RECOGNIZE - I think this is my second cousin.  Rob and Julie's niece that we met at Mike's wedding.  We thought this would be a pic that they would like, so show them please!


-THE DISTRICT - w/ Hermana Pinto, one of our 2 main MTC teachers.  She was cool and called me "Word of the Day" bc I would always make words up in lessons when I didn't know the word I wanted.  

-Adams and Biggs on the bus that goes from West to the Temple to Main.

-Elder Powell y Yo on the mismo bus.

-THE DISTRICT - w/ Hermano Zuzunaga.  He is from Peru and probably changed my life more than anyone else in the MTC.  He is the most pure hearted man I've ever met.  Everyone in our district thinks he is going to be a general authority someday.  

-BROKEN LIGHT BULB - this was in our classroom at West Campus.  Elder Adams always talked about how cool it would be to break one of these lightbulbs that were just laying around.  Then we pretended to smack two together, or we tried to pretend, but we accidentally did.  Oops!

-My seat at the World Wide Mission Broadcast.  Front and Center baby!  Jeffrey R. Holland sat in that first chair just over my shoulder, and the rest of them right next to him!

-ELDER ADAMS & I ON BALCONY - this is outside the pool house "cafeteria" at West Campus. We did a tie tried.  Elder Powell is photobombing.

-Elder Williams and Elder Williams - another Elder Williams in our zone who is going to Houston.  Gonna be a killer missionary!

-Elder Powell y Yo right before boarding the plane.  We did a tie trad, too, wearing each others in this pic.

-The shell of a ginormo bug on the wall.  I've never seen something like that before!  Bugs are quite large here and I've already had to have Elder Sheffer kill a cucaracha in our bano.

- TEMPLE PICS - this is the family we took to the temple to motivate them to have a temple marriage.  It went sooo well!  But now, the guy changed his mind and doesn't want to get baptized or married!  But we are still working on them!  They are super nice and Javier is really funny, even though I can't understand him.  They fed us 3 times in my first two weeks here haha!  I'm hoping to have more pictures w/ them same family at the same place a year from now when they get married for real.  
The other missionary in these pics is Elder Sheffer, as you probably could have guessed.  He kinda reminds me of Tom in some ways.  He is doing a great job of showing me the ropes and what missionary work really is.  

-Just some beautiful GP scenery!  Haha!

That's all, but I am going to try to have at least one new picture a week that I can send home via email.  I hope you enjoy them all!
Take care Fam!  Stay righteous and keep taking good care of my baby!  

Love ya!

con much amor,
Elder D.C. Williams