Monday, September 23, 2013

Week Nineteen - A Good Friend and Fall in the Air!

Buenos dias mis amigos! 
Gee wiz I don't know what it was about this week but it seemed long for me too!  Normally the weeks go by super fast.  It goes like this:  Monday goes by way too fast, and then Tues and Wed go by quick to, and then Thurs it's already weekly planning for the next week, and then you just look forward to the next P day, but Fri-Sun always go the slowest.  But this entire week slow!  It was probably because last Monday was the longest, worstest P day of my mission!  Elder Crockett and Elder Munday got in a GRANDE argument in the afternoon that just ruined the rest of the day.  It was probably the most intense argument I've ever sat between.  It was pretty serious.  They kept trying to get me to take sides, but I tried my best to stay neutral.  Because they were both in the wrong in my opinion.  Elder Munday was in a trio with us just for that day, because his companion left to east Texas earlier that day.  And it all started because they both had different ideas on what they wanted to happen that night, but they were both to stubborn to give in and let the other have their way.  So everything just blew up!  It was a long day. 
     Tuesday we had a member come out with us to help teach a lesson, Brother Oswald.  He is super tall, went to Brighton high school, is now going to Baylor I think for a masters program, and he is just a great guy.  He served his mission in Panama so he is one of the best members to bring out with us.  The family we went to teach spoke was a bilingual family, but they weren't there, so we found a Spanish lady to talk to.  She just went off and starting babbling on about something.  It was very embarrassing, because neither Elder Crockett or I could understand her, and we had to rely on Brother Oswald almost entirely. Not only was it embarrassing, but it was discouraging too, especially for Elder Crockett.  I found it more motivating than anything, because his Spanish was really good, and I now want to study and work harder than ever before to be able to speak like he could!  
     The other night we went to the ward chili cook off.  I really don't like big social events like that, especially this time around because I felt like such an outcast as a missionary.  But it was lots of good, free food so I can't complain.  It was the night of the big game, and almost everyone there was wearing their byu gear.  Hahaha!  We have been really well fed lately by members, and I'm now starting to be able to form more of a relationship with ward members here.  I like them more and more all the time!  
     The weather lately has been heavenly!  The sun still beats down on ya quite a bit, but there is a cool refreshing breeze coming in that I just can't get enough of!  Fall is finally creeping in!  We had one ginormo rain storm this week, and we got caught in it on our bikes. But we were quickly able to find shelter and just enjoy watching it.  I've never seen it rain like that before!  
    That's about it for my week.  The work here is kinda slow right now.  We are having a hard time getting our investigators to progress.  NOBODY wants to keep their commitments, or even be home when they say they will be home!   It's very frustrating, but we still have some people with potential. 
-What are the names of Landon's relatives?  I wouldn't be surprised at all if they are in this ward. 
-Do you get Ely's emails?   If so can you forward them to me?   Also, I have not been getting Tom's emails for a while now, but I would really like them!  
-No letters or packages this week. 
-My shoes are holding up well.  I wouldn't say they are comfortable, but they aren't uncomfortable.  They kept my feet really dry in the rainstorm, so they are doing their job! 
-We have heard rumors of ipads coming to this mission not until next November, but that is just from other missionaries.  So who knows!?  And I would imagine facebook comes along with the ipads.  
-For the next package I could probably use my coat, sweaters, sweats and a hoody, and maybe some vitamins.  I feel like I don't eat too healthy here.  Probably not as many fruits and veggies as I should.  But I don't know for sure!  You're right though, I probably won't need any of that until mid to late October. 
-I did get to see lots of my amigos at the meeting two weeks ago.  Everyone seems to be doing good!  Nobodies changed much.  Elder Adams was training already.  Elder Sheffer was training a 24 year old Mexican, so his Spanish has really taken flight.  It was kind of weird to see them all, especially the sisters from the mtc.  It's just super awkward.  I don't know how to talk to sister missionaries!  But that's not something I'm worried about haha. 
-I am hoping to get to the post office some time this week.  I need to send a few things home:  a really nice shoulder bag that someone left in our apt because it is ripped.  It doesn't look too hard to fix though.  So maybe you could take a look at it.  If you can fix it, it's a free bag!  If not, no loss.  Plus, I think soon the church is going to ban backpacks for missionaries and everyone is going to have to use those kind of bags.  I don't know when or how that will be enforced though.  I'm also going to send home a pair of pants that need fixing by one of the pockets.  I could probably try to fix it, but I would rather just have things done right so it will hold up.  One of my friends down at the homeless shelter taught me how to sew a button on a shirt though!  I'm also sending home that speaker you sent me with the ipod.  It hasn't worked since the day I got it, I just haven't had the chance to send it home yet.  I hope you can get something back for it.  If all they can do is replace it, then I'll take it, but there are some speakers at our apartment right now, so if you can just get money back for it then that would be best.   
That's all I've got today.  Todo bien aqui en Lakewood, y me encanta serviendo un mission!   Les extrano y les amo bastante!  Hasta la proxima vez! 
con mucho amor,
            Elder D. Williams

This is our amigo David.  He is 21 and lives at the homeless shelter because he made some mistakes under very bad circumstances, and now he is stuck between a rock and a hard spot and has no choice but to live at a homeless shelter.  He is the one that taught me how to sew a button on a shirt.  He is a less active member, and we visit him usually once a week because he could really use some guidance and he just loves our company.  It is very refreshing to visit with him because for once we feel wanted and appreciated, rather than feeling like we are just being annoying!  He is a great friend. 
This was the night it rained really bad.  I had my white poncho bag, but Elder Crockett didn't, so David ran inside and got us both these ginormo new poncho bags.  I liked my old one more though.



Fun in the River!

A friend of Tom's on Facebook posted these pictures and tagged Tom in them.  I loved them because you can tell they are really having some fun!  Tom looks really happy and healthy, which for me, makes it all seem so worthwhile.  We can tell he has grown up and matured since first getting to Brazil.  So happy that he will always have these great memories with him.  Love it!!

Week Ninety Three - Surprise Baptism!

Tom with a gun!

Tom with a beautiful parrot!

Tom in front of the river.

Tom below a lot of stairs!

Surprise baptism!

Good morning Utah!

        Welp.... to start off, my week went well, it was another quick one, which is excellent. This week we had another baptism, which we weren´t expecting. There are 2 boys that we were teaching. Both of them have already been taught everything, but one needs permission from his father, who won´t allow it, and the other just doesn´t want to be baptized. But there is another kid who comes to church every night to play soccer and hang out with the galeira there, who was taught about 6 or 7 months ago but didn´t have the desire to be baptized until Thursday night. He came up to us at an activity and just said "I want to be baptized...".... MILAGRE! The ward had a 60´s ball dance(?) which we got to see a little of.We were going to stay from 8 to 9 to see if we could talk to peeps and get some addresses but everyone showed up after 9 so it didn´t go very well (for the missionaries, I heard that a lot of peeps went). But at least more people know what the church is like a little better. This week went really well. We taught a lot, found new peeps to teach that seem to have interest in knowing the church (SEEM is the key word). Or we had a lot of luck this week, or the Lord extended his mercy over these 2 fubecas in oriximiná.
       About coming to Alter do chão. IT´s about an hour bus ride from Santarém. I remember seeing a hotel in Alter do chão. Maybe we can spend a day and a night in alter and maybe half of the next day and at night return to Belém. Something like that...
Did you get any new shoes, yet?  Or get yours fixed? I bought some new ones today. They aren´t much for workin or walkin all day but I think they´ll last the last 2 months... I hope....

How much time do you want to spend in Santarem? Just 2 days, maybe 1 and a half in alter and the afternoon in Santarém.

Do you want to go and stay in Altar Do Chao for a night or two? read above

What's the best way to get around down there - should we plan on taking taxis? There are buses, but they are annoying... and hot. Taxis are okay.

Can we use credit cards almost everywhere or can we get Brazilian money from ATM's pretty easily, if we need it? I think you can use credit cards anywhere but it´s also easy to find an ATM.

Elder Hoch's mom says that he told them he could pick them up at the airport - do you think you could come with him? I´m not sure. I will have to see what day they plan on bringing me back to Belém from Santarém (if I stay here which I think I will). If I return to Belém in this next transfer (which I think I won´t), there should be no problem, but if I stay.... who knows (this guy doesn´t)

If there's anyplace specific you want to see or something you want to do, let me know so I can have the travel agent look into it for me. I kind of feel like spending more time in the hotel just resting.... so I think you should decide....

Pics.... some views of the river and the baptism of Vinicius.

But.... I love you all. I miss you all. Congratulations to Ryan and his soon-to-be wife. Congrats to Utah for the win.... Have a great week. Tchau!

Love Elder R. Williams

Monday, September 16, 2013

Week Eighteen - Spanish Sleep Talking and Staying in Lakewood!

A little bit of downtown Dallas.

A giant robot tried to take over Dallas. I'm sure you heard about it on the news. I barely escaped!

The fearless district of 3.

My companion now knows that I have the coolest mom EVER!

The first thing we see every time we leave our apt. TORTURE!

A little bit of the apartment.

Down Town Dallas. I took this picture from a McDonald's super close to our apartment. I thought it would give you a good idea of how close we are to the heart!

Lakewood English and Lakewood Spanish at the Ward building.

Mi querido familia,

MOTHER!!!  What were you thinking?!?!  I can't believe you bought us pizza!  It was one of the few times that we got home after 10, and we had just come from downtown, which is a long straight bike ride so we were dripping in sweat!  I don't know how long he had been waiting or how long you had been talking to him on the phone, but we got it!  Yes, it was nice to hear your voice.  He had his phone on speaker and I heard you say "just tell him that his mom loves him!"  It was so unexpected, I didn't know what to do, or what to think, or what to say!  I loved it but at the same time I didn't.  It made me miss you more than I already did!  I heard my mother's voice!!!   But we definitely enjoyed the pizza, I've missed that stuff!  And like I already said, my companion now knows that I have the coolest mom EVER!  Muchisimos gracias Madre! 

Well apparently one night this week I sleep talked my companions ear off.  He said he had a full on conversation with me, in Spanish, and my Spanish was super good and fluent with a good accent!  He said I wouldn't shut up and in the morning I found him on the couch.  Hahaha!  sorry Elder Crockett

Well, transfer calls came Saturday night.  Lots of missionaries will meet up with other missionaries in the area on call night to wait for their calls together, so we went to the English Elder's place.  For the last two weeks I have been hoping for a change, whether I go or he goes, I thought I was just ready for a change.  But just the other day I started thinking it would be nice to keep things the way they are, then I don't have to start over in a new area, start over with a new companion, I don't have to pack and starve for the first week in a new area, and we can just keep chuggin along. The English Elders got a phone call and Elder Langford is going to Tyler Texas.  We did not get a phone, so I'm staying here for at least one more with Elder Crockett!   Which I am okay with, but it's still kind of a bummer because the days leading up to call night you are just constantly thinking about what's going to happen, what could happen, and the anticipation about kills ya!  So the night was just very anticlimactic, but I'm okay with staying where I am at.  But there are a few small changes.  The other Spanish area that our district leader was in is getting shutdown, so now we are the only Spanish elders here and we have to join an English district, Elder Munday's district.  We aren't too excited about that.  Elder Munday has a VERY strong personality and is difficult to get along with sometimes.  But this transfer should be good.  Elder Crockett and I know we need to make some changes and we are determined to make this transfer better than the last. 

Wednesday, Elder Neil L. Andersen and Elder Tad R. Callister came.  We had to drive to Fortworth.  Between the two missions there were over 500 missionaries there, it was insane!  He probably did visit Elder Lambert's mission too.  I heard his just kind of going from mission to mission right now.  But I got to shake his hand!   They are so different in person, but now more than ever I know that man is a man of God.  He gave us somewhat of a training.  He talked a lot about not comparing yourself to other missionaries, which I am definitely guilty of.  Being in a room with 500 missionaries was very intimidating and I felt so little.  But he talked about the importance of only worrying about improving yourself.  He shared a story about a missionary who he served with, who at the time had only been a member for a year.  He got baptized and went on a mission a year later.  He said this missionary was so much stronger than him spiritually, which he couldn't get because he was raised in the church by very strong member parents.  A future apostle!  Everyone is raised differently, everyone is going to start their mission at a different point, and everyone is going to progress at their own rate.  Elder Andersen said he could never ever imagine himself being an apostle when he was at the missionary age.  That was really interesting to hear.  We are all on the Lord's time, and conversion will come, line upon line, precept upon precept.  Patience is another thing he stressed.  I learned a lot.   I liked it a lot because it wasn't all about missionary work and investigators and all that, but it was personal and more about how to better yourself as a person.  Super neat experience it was. 

Last night we had a missionary fireside for the ward.  We had a decent turn out and I would say it was a success.  Elder Crockett and Elder Munday spoke, as well as our ward mission leaders and the bishop.  I was able to get away with program hander outer and nothing else.   This ward would be one of the best in the mission if only we were English elders.  The ward is awesome, filled with lots of young, super strong members.  Almost everyone here has just graduated from BYU and are now doing internships or going to dental school here.  The members are great, I just hate this ward because everybody is exactly where I want to be!  Back from their mission, finishing up school, starting a career and a family.  I am very jealous at times, but I must endure : )   I know I will never be able to have the life I hope to have until I finish my work here in Dallas. 

-biking is pretty easy now.  It's flat and doesn't seem to be as windy as it was in Grand Prairie.  Elder Crockett isn't a very aggressive biker either, yet he doesn't like it when I pass him.  It's funny, I'll pass him sometimes and he immediately speeds up and gets in front of me without saying a word.  Haha! 
-No packages or letters this week. 
-Spanish is okay.  The start of a new transfer is like a new year.  I have lots of goals and resolutions that are taking effect today!  Improving my Spanish is one of them!  I know we need to speak Spanish as much as possible, but it's just too easy to get away with English here!  It's a very frustrating situation, I just need to learn self discipline. 

The mission life is quite alright.  It is starting to cool down a bit here too, and sometimes there is a refreshing, cool breeze in the air.  Something I could get used to!  But thanks for the quote padre!  It's so true.  I'll add it to my collection.  That quote and some of your comments remind me of a couple of other quotes:

"the comfort zone:  the place is a dreamkiller"  -?

"Your mission will be as you desire it to be.  You can return a new man or return and still be kinda wimpy."
                                                                - President Swenson, my mtc branch president. 

So it's all on me.  I'm determined to make an impact here and I will be satisfied with my mission by the end of this!  I'm going to try to send a couple things home this week, as well as a letter or two.  If you send me a package soon, I could really use an oil flask, you know the ones you can put on a key chain?  I think that's what they are called.  You can find them at Deseret book.  I had no idea missionaries gave so many blessings!  Yesterday I was asked to give a young boy a blessing as he started up the new school year.  I had no idea what to say!  Pero esta bien.  Todo bien!   I hope y'all have una semana magnifica!   Les amo y les extrano bastante!  Hasta la proxima lunes! 

con mucho amor,
             Elder D. Willliams

Week Ninety Two - Replace the Rusty Gears!


Tom giving a photo bomber a dirty look!

Tom, Elder Soares and Elder Tobias!

Good Morning!

       Well.... my week was good, definitely better than the last and passed a lot lot faster. My companion and I did some running last p-day morning and apparently that completely destroyed his legs. So for 2 days he couldn´t even walk and we pretty much stayed at home. He had to toughen it up a little bit to go to Obidos for our district meeting and he even went to the hospital, got an injection in his butt and had to buy some medicine. But...t..... Thursday he was able to work again. Friday night, an investigator invited us to her catholic youth group, to present ourselves. I think the moment we arrived there, the leaders were threatened with our presence, and teaching about the restoration of the gospel just made things super awkward.. They talked about Friday the 13th, because this past Friday was Friday the 13th, and some of the myths and stories about it.... It doesn´t mean anything to me.... but at the end... they prayed Pai nosso, which is the prayer that Jesus said in the bible that the Catholics all repeat together... that was really uncomfortable to me.... but it´s over now. Saturday night we had another baptism, Marcos´s baptism. I don´t think he really wanted to be baptize... actually I know he didn´t.... he tried running from us and lying to us.... but when we found him my companion just sat there.... "let´s go?" and he just went and was baptized....
        Sunday night was the stake conference of Santarém, but it was here in Oriximiná. The stake president came (of course), the mission president came, papai Scisci, the temple president of Manaus came, and Elder Soares, an area 70 from Recife came. The temple pres. spoke about work in the temples and about the attributes of Christ, which was pretty much the same thing that I spoke about in a talk in my 3rd area, so it wasn´t like a super up there good talk, but..... Pes. Scisci talked about the work that should be done by missionaries with the members, and Elder Soares talked about the importance of woman in our lives and why prayers aren´t answered at times (It´s pretty much because we don´t do our part, always). It was cool and I could feel the spirit. I liked  it a lot.
     After stake conference, my companion and I were interviewed by the mish. pres. He talked a little about me being at the end of my mish and for almost being at the end, I need to give even more of myself and can´t be losing time, because the end will come and after the end I won´t be a mish (haha, almost said I won´t be Amish anymore) any more and will have desired to give more of myself. So I´ve gotta replace the rusty gears and get going again....*groan* I think when I get a companion exchange, it will be better... hopefully a newbie with greeny fire.
Didn't you buy some shoes in one of your other areas that you didn't like very much?  Do you still have them? yup I did, they were horrible, i just got blisters using them, and I left them in santarém for whoever wants them.

Is there anyplace in Oriximina that you could buys shoes from? I´m thinking about just buying some dark dark dark sneakers.There was a return missionary in Santarém that did that in his last area. But yeah there are places.

Didn't you take two pairs of shoes with you?  I can't remember..... I took some big ugly boots that probably died early for having to walk through so much water all the time, because in Belém (and Santarém when I arrived) it rained every day.

How are your pants and shirts holding up? I hope they will make it another couple of months! My pants and shirts are fine, no problem there.

Do you miss Emilee more than the last time I asked? Tu é doido, menino! sem dúvida! com certeza!

Em wants to know if you're going to buy a new car when you get home? That´s doubtful.

Marcos´ baptism, a girl that had nothing to do with nothing that just wanted to be in a photo so I just gave a dirty look and the other 2 look to be having an awkward moment and the girl looks doido..., and Elder Soares with 2 future area 70s, Elder R. Williams and Elder Tobias (E. Tobias is very unlikely, but Elder R. Williams.... that cara is getting close.... more or less).

But that´s all. I love you all, have a great week. Wish me luck, don´t be thinking about me too much.... another week bites the dust.

Love Elder R. Williams

Monday, September 9, 2013

Week Seventeen - New Shoes, Terror in McDonald's and Drama!!

David on their very comfy couch!

David taking the garbage out and posing!

David writing in his journal.

David and his favorite plastic bag!  

David making eggs in a pan that everything sticks in - more butter!

David happily writing everything in his journal!

We learn something from everyone who passes through our lives. Some lessons are painful, some are painless. But, all are priceless.


Quote I sent to David because it seemed appropriate for what he's experiencing right now.  

Hola Familia!

Sounds like y'all had a great week!  Pottery seems like it is great mommy-daughter time.  I'm super excited for Christopher!  I have heard great things about the Mexico MTC as well as Chile!  I actually know lots of people that have or are serving there.  Missions are awesome! It must have been weird seeing Allison and her side of the family.  I've seen her maybe 3 times in the last 6 years it seems like!  Hannah and Rachel going to C wood and B ville?   Who knows, but that would be kinda neat if they did.  They aren't too bad of schools haha.  Thanks for the quote.  I love quotes and it is so true!  God put me with Elder Crockett for a reason.  I have something to teach him and I have something to learn from him.  So I just try to make the best of it, although it is difficult at times. 

This week was pretty juicy.  We had two Elders go home!  One in our district, the one I sat next to on the plane ride here; and an English elder kinda in my same area.  It is shocking because President Durrant is known for not sending missionaries home.  I have heard stories of missionaries doing some incredibly stupid things, but rarely does he send missionaries home because he feels that missionaries have a better chance of overcoming their problems or habits or stupidity while on their mission, rather than being home.  But I heard he has sent a total of 12 missionaries home this transfer.  Some missionaries say it is because we have gotten so many more missionaries lately that he can "trim off the fat" and he doesn't need to keep the troublesome elders around anymore.  But that's just an opinion of some elders; who know the truth.  One got sent home because of anxiety issues.  He also got sent home for some other reasons that I probably shouldn't stay.  His companion, came and spent the day with us after he left, so we got to hear the whole story.  He had to have a three way phone call with President Durrant and Tad R. Callister, who is in the Presidency of the 70, to tell them all that has gone on with his companion.  Pretty intense stuff!  Apparently anytime a missionary gets sent home, you have to get permission from somebody as high up as Elder Callister.  The other elder’s story is even crazier.  He has been out for about as long as me, I've only met the kid twice.  He seems really cool, happy to be here, and super good people skills.  But I kept hearing from other missonaries that he doesn't have a testimony.  He is constantly asking deep doctrine questions, expressing his doubts, and he is surprisingly very open about it.  He had to go home because his questions and doubts were actually shaking other missionaries testimonies and making them wonder too.  He went home today, but the last three days he was here he had to spend with the AP's because he couldn't be around other missionaries because he ruins their testimonies.  I feel bad for him, he is sad to go, but at the same time you can't convert someone more than you're converted, and he wasn't converted at all.  Really odd situation.  I don't even know how he got out here in the first place. 

Dave came and picked us up on Saturday to go to lunch.  At the time I was in a trio with Elder Williamson, so I felt bad he bought lunch for all three of us, but he didn't seem to mind.  We went to The Porch and it was sooo tasty.  Biggest, tastiest, messiest burger I've ever eaten in my life!  Easily the nicest meal I will probably ever have on my mission.  Dave and his wife, Roxanne, are super nice, friendly peeps and it was a very enjoybable lunch!  I got the shoes and the journal.  Thank you!  The shoes are good.  Not necessarily what I would have chosen, but they are growing on me.  They are just good, solid work shoes and I know they'll hold up.  And they fit!  The journal is exactly what I needed and asked for.  Ya dun good ma! 

This week at McDonald's I had thee most terrifying experience that I have ever had with a human being...  We were getting dinner with the english elders and there was a dragqueen inside.  He or she or IT looked like the Joker!  His face was white with make up/powder stuff, he had five o'clock shower, lipstick sloppily put on and smeared all around his mouth, a hideous wig and just poorly put together.  It was like a car crash - I didn't want to look but I couldn't help but look!!!   And of course he was checking us out, and he winked at us multiple times.  Then, of course, he came up to us while we were ordering and asked if he could "share some observations".  He called himself a female impressionist and told one of us that we were cute.  I lost my appetite.  I was on edge the rest of the night in fear that we would run into him again somewhere around town.  The thing was clearly psychotic.

I saw a couple puppies the other day and they both reminded me so much of my baby!  Can you just send him here for a week??  I could really use my best friend sometimes to cuddle up at the bottom of my bed.  I want you to tell him that I love him and I will still be his dad when I get back and he better not forget me!   I know you are taking good care of him though.  

This next week is already the last week of the transfer!  It has flown by ridiculously rapido and I am anxious to hear what's happening next transfer.  We won't find out until Saturday though.   Wednesday we have two visitors coming to the Dallas and Fortworth mission:  Neil Anderson and Tad R. Callister.  There is going to be so many missionaries there but I am so stoked!  It will be awesome.  

-last Monday we just played games and I took a nap.  Yes, the school was closed and that is why I had to email on Tuesday. 
-Elder Heldt said they get iPads this month.  I am so jealous!  But I'm sure we will get them in due time.  
-We never eat with members on Mondays or Thursdays.  But we are still not fed every other night. Some weeks it's five times, some it's only once or twice.  
-I got Em's letter the other day but that's it.  Thanks Em!  

Well that's all that I can remember from the week.  It was a pretty good week.  This week will be a good week.  Missions are so weird in a way that I can't explain.  So many things have become real for me that I have never even given much thought to before.  It's tough but I am enjoying it.  I'm happy to be a servant of God and contribute in spreading the word and building the kingdom.  Hopefully next week I will have some big changes to share with you!   Make this week a good one so I can here all about it, and I will do the same.  Love you all and miss you all!  Take care and have fun.  : P

con amor bastante, 
         Elder Williams 

Week Ninety One - Worn Out Shoes and Anxious For the End?

Tom writing in the dirt....thinking about home?

Tom, his companion and Eduardo. 

Good morning my family!

           ................................................................................. My week was okay.... I´ve been feeling quite tired lately..... and my companion too.... he´s only got 9 months in the field though.... he´s gonna die early or end up in the mish office..... This past week was very slow to me.... I feel like I should be ending the 3rd week of the transfer já.... Maybe I´m just getting anxious for the end.... não sei....  but we ran this morning which was as tiring as heck...... we´re going to try to do this everyday now.... but I´ve already said that before and it didn´t end up happening.. This week a bunch of schools of the city had a marching band parade that we got to watch a little. ... we had a baptism. Eduardo was baptized. He´s the one that likes to make fun of my accent a lot. Every time we go to his place we just joke around a lot.... He´s Camila´s brother who was the 2nd person baptized when I arrived here. He received the priesthood yesterday after being confirmed in sacrament meeting. Now he has more authority than the pope! I said that to him and he said "clearly, that guys a liar...." OPA! Careful with those words, you might offend someone.... But... that´s about all that happened this week.

1. I doubt we´re going to receive i-pads and use Facebook here. The missionaries get robbed enough as it is. I was never robbed fortunately.

2. I saw a little sumtin sumtin about Syria the other day, but I have no idea what they were talking about..

3. So, it sounds like you didn't get anything out of that package I sent....did you even get the shoe cleaner wipes? I got nothing.

4. Are your shoes going to hold up another 8 or 9 weeks?  Do they have any holes in them? HAHAHA, oh frick, mom you´re inspired... The heel of my left shoe is almost completely worn down and there´s a hole in it that gets bigger everyday. EGUA! I will..... see if they hold up....

5. What kind of ice cream were you eating in that picture you sent?  Our guess is strawberry, but we aren't sure if they have strawberries down there. yup it was strawberry. I think it´s imported here.

6. What is your favorite fruit that you can get down there? I like jambo and tangerines....

7. Do you have time to read David's e-mails that I forward to you? yes I do.

8. Do you want me and Em to make you anything in our pottery class? :) Make me something really cool, por favor.... And put the rise against symbol on it... 

one of the baptism and the other..... maybe that´s why the week was soooooo slow... I´m tranque até o pó....

Okay then... I´m gonna go now... I love you all, have  a great week... The same thing as last time.....egua..... Hopefully I´ll have better stuff to say next week.... TCHAU!

Love Elder R. Williams

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week Sixteen - Awesome Dinners and The Play!

David's amigos in downtown Dallas!

David in the "BIG" sign!

Future missionary transportation!

David and Elder Munday!
More future missionary transportation - if David could have his way!

Lakewood missionaries at 'The Book of Mormon' play.

David skating on water!

David walking on water - wow!!

bueno BuEnO BUENO!!! 

Como han estado mi familia??!!??  I had a pretty exciting week this week, but first about yours:  sounds like you guys are taking some of the Texas heat!   Apparently this has been a very mild summer for Dallas and not as hot as usual.  That worries me, because I find it to be intensely hot here!  Football has started up again already?!  Mi amigo Andrew emailed me and said he has front row seats in the MUSS this year and he was at the U game.  What an exciting time of year.  For some.  But I'm happy to hear you got to enjoy a day off yesterday and all is todavia bien!  I'm super excited for Christopher!  He's going to love this whole mission thing.  Elder Crockett's mom emailed him and said something about her child her friend that knows me, and I'm guessing that was Joan.  Que bueno! 

Now about my week....  first off, I managed to stay on my bike all week without getting hurt.  However I did get a nail through my tire, of course.   So we had a long walk home that night, and the next day we had a long walk to the bike shop to get a new tube, and then a long walk back.  Turns out I got the wrong kind of tube, so then we had to go back to the bike shop, but that time we got a ride from the English elders thank goodness!  It really would be nice if I had a single clue about anything when it comes to bikes!   But I've learned a little bit. 

Dinners in this ward have been awesome.  Tuesday we had dinner with Bro Dastrupp. His wife was at work, so he came and picked us up, took us to his apartment in dt Dallas, on the 11th floor.  Super nice place and we had Stauffer's lasagna and ice cream and Twinkies.  The best part is that he served in the Provo mission.  It was so neat to hear about all his experiences in places like Moab, St George, and the point of the mountain, places that I have been!  Serving in Utah would be something else!  Later in the week we had dinner with Sister Castro, a less active.  She is the personal assistant/nanny for this crazy rich dude that is apparently building a DisneyWorld in Dallas.  He was out of town so we got to eat at his place haha!  He lives on 12 acres of land and we got a tour in those four wheeler things.  He has a small lake and a river running through his property, tons of nice cars, and a segway!!!  It was a great time.  Makes me want to go into business or something.  I just want money!  but i gotta put that on hold for a while.  We also had dinner with the Romney's, and Bro Romney is an ex mission president that recently got back from serving in the Monterrey Mexico mission.  That was a little intimidating, but they are a super nice family and always so willing to help us out.  On the day we were walking back from the bike shop, we passed this nice taco restaurant and this guy insisted on buying us dinner.  We told him we had an appointment to get to, but he made us take something to go.  He is a part owner of the place and he was super nice, and the only reason why he stopped us was because he recently saw the Book of Mormon play written by the southpark guys and he said he has lots of respect for what we do.  I love meeting people like.  We don't meet them nearly enough, but boy it sure turns my day around. 

Now about that play:  I don't know how much y'all know about it, but it has been here in Dallas for the past week.  Brother Romney got permission from President Durrant for us to go downtown at 10:30 p.m. right when the play gets out to talk to people about what they thought, answer questions, and get some contacts.  We did it like three times.  Boy was that an experience!  So many people, all rich and beautiful, it was very nerve-racking, but it was a good opportunity to practice getting out of my comfort zone.  Some people  just laughed, some made fun, some wanted to argue, some even told us good job because they thought we were in the play, but most wanted nothing to do with us.  It was somewhat of an emotional and mental beat down just getting laughed at and rejected, but they were a select few that were genuinely interested and we got a few peeps info that will hopefully make it all worth it.  Not only that but it gave us a better idea of what the Savior went through when he was rejected nearly his whole life.  Overall I thought it was exciting and kind of fun, but Elder Crockett absolutely hated it.  The picture of the 4 of us Elders in front of the red building is us outside the theater right before the play ended. 

I had the opportunity this week to go to the hospital to give a young boy with appendicitis a blessing.  That was the second time we have been to the hospital to give a blessing, but this time I actually gave the blessing.  It was only my second time ever giving a blessing, the first time being a couple weeks ago.  Neither one of them were really the super strong spiritual experience that I had hoped for.  You hear people tell stories of the Holy Ghost filling their mouths with words and it comes so easily without even having to think.  That wasn't the case for me.  Words didn't "just come" to me.  I didn't feel like there was much power behind the blessings.  But both Elder Crockett and the member we were with said they felt the Spirit very strongly and I did good.  I am thankful for those experiences, because I've gotta learn sooner or later!  I think the biggest things when it comes to blessings are just experience and confidence.  I didn't have either of those, but I'm sure it will come.  It feels really good when people ask us for blessings.  Makes us feel needed.  And we are needed.  I love being able to help and bring comfort to families with a blessing. 

-Spanish is alright.  That's one thing that makes Spanish so easy to learn, because you pronounce every word exactly the way it sounds.  Almost.  But Honestly, I haven't really learned a lot of new Spanish this transfer, just gotten a lot more comfortable saying what I already knew how to say.  It's so easy to become satisfied with what you know and stop expanding your vocabulary and language.  So many missionaries in this mission go home still only knowing subpar Spanish.  I don't want to be one of those elders, but if I keep going the way I am that's what's going to happen!  I have learned this transfer that the senior companion has a HUGE impact on the companionship as a whole. Whoever is in charge definitely sets the tone, and there aren't a lot of junior companions that are strong enough to refrain from following in their senior companion's footsteps.  I learned an interesting statistic from Elder Sheffer a while back:  10% of missionaries are just terrible, no matter who their companion is, they will bring down the companionship.  20% of missionaries are just awesome and will work their buns off no matter who their companion is.  70% of missionaries fall in the middle and conform to whatever their companion does.  My goal is to be in that 20%.  I'd be lying to you if I told you I was right now.  Elder Crockett and I work pretty hard, but every missionary has their own opinion of what obedience is, or exact obedience, and some missionaries spend their entire mission trying to find that line between an exactly obedient missionary and an overly obedient self righteous missionary.  Because there is a fine line.  Nobody likes the self righteously obedient missionaries.  Elder Crockett and I have a different opinion on obedience.  It has made this transfer kind of difficult, and I kinda just wish I could be in charge!  I know I can't make excuses. It may sound like I am blaming him, but I know it's on me, he just makes it a little more difficult.  I've still got a long way to go to be the missionary I want to be. 

-Here in the Texas Dallas Mission we are encouraged to try to do about 10 hours of service a week.  In GP we volunteered at a food pantry and went a few times a week.  Here we serve at a food pantry as well, usually during the early hours of the day when peeps are usually at work.  Every once in a while other service opportunities come up, but that's what we usually do.
-I have not spoken in sacrament meeting yet.  I almost bore my testimony yesterday, but too many members bore testimony and there was no time.  Elder Munday bore his testimony and showed off his British pride by saying that the way he speaks(English accent) is the way we are going to speak in the Celestial Kingdom.  Most people laughed but I wouldn't be surprised if lots were offended.  Haha! 
-We still go to the city a couple times a week, but usually to only one part so there is still lots I haven't seen yet. 
-Riding a bike really isn't too bad.  Yeah I fall a lot, I've had a couple broken tires, but it's okay.  The only hard part is the heat!  I think I would prefer to stay on a bike in the fall/early winter.  It's probably quite enjoyable then. 
-We don't see nearly as many kids here, so I couldn't do much with toys here. 
-Nothing comes to mind other than a journal for the package.  Or maybe some differin face stuff.  But other than that You can surprise me!  But transfers are on the 17th, and I do have a chance of leaving that day, so just be aware of that!  You can get it to me before or after that date, either one.  I have been enjoying grandmas package and already I'm almost done with it!  But thanks again Grandma! 
-We are supposed to be in our apts by 9, or 9:30 if we have a late lesson.  Why do you ask? 
-I will be expecting a call from Dave soon. 
-PICTURES!  I hope your happy!  Just kidding but sorry I haven't been sending pics.  Technology just frustrates me so much I don't even want to bother!  but enjoy : )

Mom, you will never bore me with what is going on at home and family always takes priority over mis amigos!  August was honestly the fastest month of my life.  I can't believe it's September now!  I have come up with an analogy of time in the mission that I will share with you guys next week.  But this seems like it's a long one!   Miss y'all tons.  Love y'all tons.  Thanks for all y'all do and stay righteous! 

con mucho amor,
          Elder D.C. Williams

Monday, September 2, 2013

Week Ninety - Arm Wrestling and a Broken Toe?!

Tom, his companion and some youth standing on a railing!

Tom under a 'ponto do chifre'!

Eating milkshakes!

Tom's toe after accidentally kicking the floor!  Ouch!

Good morning Family,

       So.... about my week.... It was okay. It was the last week of the transfer, we received news about the transfer yesterday at lunch. We learned that this transfer brings no changes to us. I will stay in orixi and my companion also will stay in orixi. I think because of the transfer my companion and I relaxed a little bit and just kind of went... slowly... I also think I almost broke my toe. When we were teaching an investigator we had an arm wrestling mach, and after a little bit of real wrestlin. I tried to trip my companion but ended up kicking the ground. Ouch... but I´m fine now so don´t worry, I only needed 11 stitches in my toe.... (I´M JOKING, IT´S A JOKE DON´T CALL THE MISH PRES!) Can you believe I beat someone in an arm wrestle? For being a stick, I´m gettin pretty strong, né?.... hrmm I really don´t know what else to say.... the mission is pretty normal right now... Oh, we got new assistants. Elder Brac, who is from Argentina and speaks about 5 languages, I think, and Elder Peterson. Elder Peterson has less than a year in the mission and he´s already the assistant. Wow! he must be good!
What exactly was in that package I sent - I am a little curious, now. All they said was that it had a lot of beef jerky.

Are you still using your ipod to listen to music on?  Is the little speaker still working that I sent with it? My companion is always listening to music on his little speaker box so mine is in the mala (suitcase) por enquanto (for now).

Where are you e-mailing from now that you are in Oriximina? A lan house about 15 minutes from our place. Very annoying isso, but it´s the best one in the city.

Are you still eating at members houses pretty much everyday? yup

Have you done any service projects lately? nope

Have you had to speak in sacrament meeting in your new area? I decided to bear my testimony yesterday seeing that I have so few chances to do that now.... I think just one because general conference in october usually takes the place of fast and testimony meeting so the last time will probably be in November.

My companion and I eating milkshakes.... me, my companion and some youth of the ward standing on a railing(?).... my broken toe... and me under the ponto do chifre, I think it´s called. The ponto do chifre means that someone was cheated on.... or something like that...

But the e-mail is short this time, sorry for that. But I still love you, it doesn´t mean that I don´t. I miss you all and I´ll see you all in less than 100 days (84 and a few I think)....(I´m not counting I promise, I´m just super good at math.... more or less). Tchau Tchau!

Love Elder R. Williams