Monday, October 28, 2013

Week Twenty Four - PTKD - Post Tramatic Knocking Disorder!

Downtown Dallas!
Buenos dias mi queridos familia y amigos!
     Welp.  This week was just a typical week for the most part.  It was actually kind of rough, being the last week of the transfer and all.  It seemed like a terribly long week, but it's over now, I survived, and hear I am!  Not much success this week.  One day we had a lesson with an old Mexican man, and quickly realized he was homeless, drunk, and not all there in the head.  As we departed he sang us a song at the top of his lungs, and then another song, and then he started tearing up, so we left.  Poqueto rado, verdad?  Later that night we had a lesson with a man named Martin.  He is the sweetest old man I've ever met.  He likes us a lot, but he too was drunk and doesn't seem to be all there mentally; and he too sang us a song.  There are some funny people here in Dallas! 
    So I think I might have already told you this, but the mission focus for the month has been new investigators, so lately we have been knocking more than normal.  In the past, I have never had any real problems knocking.  We have had our run-ins with some mean, ornery, old people, but it has never effected me that much.  I didn't mind knocking, and I was fairly confident in doing it.  This week we knocked on a door, and it was my turn to take the lead.  A bratty, middle aged Hispanic looking lady came to the door, but it turns out she was born and raised in Texas, and spoke English perfectly and only a little bit of Spanish.  She asked "what do you want?" and because I was in my Spanish speaking mind, I froze.  I froze and I spit out something stupid, she got even more bratty, and I froze more!  She told me my approach was unprofessional, and by then I was just frozen solid.  I had no idea what to say, so I just looked at Elder Crockett and hoped he would take over.  And he did, thank goodness.  But I felt like such a fool!!!  And now I have PTKD- Post Tramatic Knocking Disorder.  I felt like I could never again knock another door.  I felt like I couldn't be a missionary any more!  And now, every time we knock and an English speaker answers, I freeze!  I don't know what to say.  I don't know how to contact in English!   Elder Crockett has always said that he is grateful he was called to serve in Spanish, because they are just nicer and overall more accepting.  I never really agreed with that.  I didn't disagree, but I didn't agree.  Now I know exactly what he means.  Americans are mean!  But I'm still knockin!
    Last week in my email to President Durrant I told him that I was nervous around him and I hoped to get over that and form a good friendship with him.  He responded and told me to invite him to lunch...  What have I gotten myself into?  I can't go to lunch with such a righteous man!  But I gotta do it. I'm just going to need a few weeks to work up the courage!  I'll let you know how it goes.  Haha!
   We received transfer calls Saturday night and I'm gonna be sticking around for another one here in Lakewood.  The Crockett-Williams chapter has come to an end.  Tomorrow he goes to Greenville and I will pick up my new companion, Elder Haskell.  I've met him before, but I don't really know him at all.  He's from I think Salem, Utah and has been out for 10 months.  He seems like a good missionary that is happy to be here.  I'm excited!  Three months is a long time to spend with someone, but at the same time, it feels like we've only been together for one transfer!  I never thought I'd say this when I first met him, but I might actually miss the kid!  I've come to love him, and we are great friends now.  Despite that, we were both more than ready for a change, and if we had to suffer through another one together we'd probably kill each other!  So I'm looking forward to the change and I am determined to make this transfer the best one yet!  

-I got my clothes and snacks on Thursday.  Thank you!  I got a slip in the mailbox telling me where to go.  It was quite the bike ride there, and when I saw that it was two big boxes, I wondered how on earth I was gonna get it home!   But I found a way.  And I've been enjoying my sweats and snacks ever since!  I got Em's letter tambien.  Muchisimos gracias! 

Ugh.  Serving a mission is such an adventure.  It's unexplainable.  I love it.  And I love you all.  Pray.  Love.  and Vaya con Dios!

Elder D. Williams 

This is Robert and Pilar Derkowski.  Hands down the most interesting couple I've ever met.  Pilar speaks not a lick of English, and Robert speaks the most broken Spanish I've ever heard.  She doesn't look happy in this picture, but she's the sweetest, happiest Hispanic lady I've ever met.  She feeds us monthly, and she makes an entire buffet for us every time!  This time she made hamburgers, chicken fried steaks, chicken legs and chicken wings, rice, pasta, muffins and artichoke!   Little bit of an awkward pic, but I'm a missionary!  

Week Ninety Eight - Adjusting to a Quiet Companion!

Bom Dia family!

        Então, my first week with my new companion was... okay. My companion, E. Sales, is from Paraná which is one state west of São Paulo. He´s got about 9 months in the mish and he´s my first companion that is less talkative than me, or so it seems after the first week with him. All of my companions have been very chatty until now so it´s a bit different with him as my companion. At least it gives me the chance to talk more, and you know, develop my conversing skills (which still aren´t great, but are improving). My companion reminds me a lot of myself during my first year of the mish, and it kind of bothers my. I guess I now know what it was like for my companions, being my companions (it´s quite annoying). But this week was uneventful, I think nothing happened so I don´t have much to say... and I´ve been feeling quite exhausted lately.... Pois é, a little from now my last month in the mish begins.... it went by so quick.... but it´s time to be ending anyways.
Do they celebrate Halloween in Brazil?  I probably asked you that before, but can't remember. Nope, they know what it is and at times they have a little Halloween party, but going from door to door asking for candy, they don´t do that. But there might be a ward Halloween party this next month, quem sabe.
Do you have that member's address?  I would be happy to send them the stuff you e-mailed about. já respondi.
Have you ever had to take any pills while you were there, like for Malaria?  Dad and I have to get prescriptions for Malaria pills and take them while we are there and for about a week after we get home. The only pills we are given are vitamins, which I don´t have anymore, but I don´t think I need them.
Are there more mosquitoes and bugs where you are now than there was in the city? There aren´t a lot of mosquitoes here but I think there are more flies, which is annoying.
How's your toe that almost got broken?  I hope it healed ok! My toe is fine, thank you.
Have you heard from the Mission Pres. secretary, yet?  I emailed this past week, but they haven't replied. still nothing.

Pics.... I ain´t got new pics, forgot to take some of the house. Next week you´ll get some.

But I guess that´s all. With the end arriving I feel like I´ve already said it all. But I just want to let you know that I love ya´ll and miss ya´ll like louco.Thanks for all your love and support that you show every week (thanks for writing to me Dad!) Have uma semana excelente. Until o próximo! Tchau!

Love Elder R. Williams

Week Twenty Three - The Kindness of Members, Debates and Disagreements!

David standing right where Pres. Kennedy was shot.

David and his friend Mike.

David his Zone Leader, Elder Rodriguez, who was going home.

Texas skies!

More Texas skies!

David and Elder Crockett just messing around!

Elder Crockett and David with their good friend David in downtown Dallas. 
Buenos Dias mis amigos! 
When I read your email the first time through I thought you said you and dad were going to get your Brazil "shoRts" tomorrow.  I thought "what the heck are Brazil shorts?!  I want some!"  And then I thought more about it and decided that Brazil shorts are probably speedos.  No thank you!  Well, anyway, I had a pretty decent week.  It's been fairly cold and rainy here and I kinda love it.  It is so nice being able to work without sweating like crazy!  We have gone from months of hiding in the shade as much as possible to now trying to be in the sun as much as possible!  The week was fairly eventful.  No real miracles, but it certainly wasn't boring.  But when is missionary boring?  NEVER!  
   Friday we had interviews with President Durrant.  Mine was short and sweet.  It went a little something like this:
Pres: "how are things?"  Me: "Great!"  Pres: "anything we need to talk about?"  Me: "nope!"  Pres:  "good.  keep it up!"  Me: "will do!"  And that's it.  After the interview I thought of a few things that we could have discussed, but I was just too nervous I couldn't think straight!  I don't know why I am so intimidated by him.  I have no reason to be!  He is the kindest, most loving guy I've ever met, but I just can't help it!  Hopefully that will pass with time and we can form that friendship that I hope to have with him. 
   The other day we helped Paul, a guy in the ward, move some furniture from his neighbors place to his new place.  His neighbors apartment was the most wretched place I have ever set foot!  It was a zoo in their!!  It reeked of dog, cat, parakeet, rooster, and urine!  There was bird food everywhere, as well as digested bird food I guess you could call it.  Elder Crockett was very frustrated because that kinda stuff isn't really our responsibility, technically it's the home teachers that should be helping him with that.  There are a few certain people in this ward that rely on missionaries way too much and think we can come help them with anything any time!  Elder Crockett is fed up.  But I try to be happy to serve.  Sometimes that's difficult to do though when working in places such as that one. 
   One cold night this week Elder Crockett was kind enough to lend me one of his black coats, so we both had one on.  We knocked on a random door and a Hispanic lady answered the door, and as we were trying to make small talk with her she just looked absolutely terrified.  After a few minutes we realized we had to clarify to her that we were just missionaries, and the policia that came to deport her.  Once we did that it looked like the weight of the world was lifted off her shoulders and she let us in and we had a good lesson.  Haha!  I'm sure that will happen again.
   I don't know what it was about this week but we had a few run ins with some very confrontational people.  We met a morena at service, a super strong believer that asked if she could pray for us.  So we took hands and she said a prayer for what seemed to be 10 minutes long.  She basically asked that God would show us that us Mormons are wrong.  Then Elder Crockett got into a bit of a friendly debate with her.  It went nowhere.  Another day we were downtown, and a moreno approached us, and started blabbering on about nothing.  We listened and debated for about 45 minutes, then tempers started flaring and he left before it got out of hand.  The next day we were at the same spot downtown, and the same moreno came up and started talking to us again.  It wasn't even talking with us, it was talking at us.  We couldn't get him to shut up or leave us alone!  Normally, with people like that, I just sit back and don't say a word and let my companion duke it out.  For one, they probably handle it a lot better than I could, and two, we aren't supposed to bash so I just hope they can say their piece and leave.  But with this dude, I got mad.  I couldn't keep my mouth shut.  So I shared some pretty colorful words with him, he didn't like that, things got out of hand, and now missionaries are no longer allowed at the homeless shelter down town. ... just kidding!  But I did get mad and had to raise my voice a little bit.  What irritates me is that these people come up to us pretending to be all nice and polite and genuinely interested, when all they really want to do is BASH!  Arrrgh!  It is something that I will just have to learn to do will with and avoid as much as possible.  Because it does us absolutely no good.
   We had some good member dinners this week.  We haven't been too well fed this month by members, but one night we ate with the Williams Family!  Wasn't quite like home, but they were nice people and we had French Toast.  Probably the first time I've eaten anything with syrup and 5 months!  Mmmm it was delicioso.  Brother Williams is a ceramics and wood working expert.  You and Em would have loved to see some of the stuff he's made!  He had some ginormo pots that he said took him 80-90 hours!  Maybe someday you guys could get on his level.  He also told us a story from his mission about a companion he had that wanted to hold his hand every time he went to the bathroom.  He turned out to be gay.  Made me realize that I've been pretty lucky so far!  Last night we had dinner with the Dunford Family.  The cool thing about dinner was that we had an Iranian German brother join us.  He came from Germany to Texas for business, Brother Dunford met him for the first time that morning at church and invited him to dinner.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a beautiful thing.  Nowhere else would that ever happen!  But because of the membership in the church Brother Dunford and Brother Hashkeno had an immediate bond and he was able to join us for dinner while feeling completely welcome and comfortable.  It was pretty stinkin neat. 
   Well, we had 3 investigators come to church yesterday.  I felt bad for them because translation was bad, the translating device thingy ma bobbers weren't working well, and they didn't seem to enjoy it much.  But the Primary Program was yesterday and I have faith that the Spirit was enough!  Dealing with Spanish investigators in an English ward and translation is a real pain.  
   This coming Saturday is transfer calls, and there is a very good chance that the Crockett-Williams Chapter will come to an end.  While I am still hoping for change, I might actually miss the kid!  We have come a long way.  Hopefully I have some news for y'all next week!  
--we did get the pizza Monday.  MUCHISIMOS GRACIAS!  
--I recieved two letter this week, one from madre and one from Cindy Nielsen. Thank you!  I will respond soon.
--no service projects lately, just volunteering at the food pantry Tues and wed afternoons. 
--Spanish is improving.  Now that I've finished reading the Book of Mormon I just do two solid hours of language study.  Still got a long way to go though.  I read the talk in english, then Spanish, look up words I don't know, and then listen to the talk while reading along in the Liahona with it, and then just listen to it. I think it is helping! 
--most apartments seem to have speakers or a sound system, so I don have something with which I can listen to my ipod for now.  I don't think I will need that baby speaker, but I guess it wouldn't hurt to hold on to it.
Welp.  That's my week.  I'm a missionary.  And if I said I loved it I'd be telling the absolute TRUTH!  I love y'all.  I miss y'all.  I will pray for uncle Ken as well as the rest of you.  I always do.  Que le vayan con Dios!  
con amor bastante que vosotros no pueden imaginar,
            Elder Williams

Week Ninety Seven - New Companion and Last Transfer Done!

Tom in Obidos by the boats.

Tom and his second to last companion at church.

Welcome to Obidos!

Welcome to Obidos!

Gud mornin!

     hello family and all that might be reading (I think everyone must be kind of bored with my e-mails by now, and I am too, don´t have much to say). Welp... my week was okay. The transfer was Tuesday but my companion, which was going to be transferred to Belém, ended up staying until Friday and that night only got a boat ride to Santarém. They had a change in plans and now he´s serving in the area that I was before coming to Orximiná, and being that Oriximiná was no longer his area, he didn´t want to do much work in the days that he was still here, so we pretty much visited members and hung out at the church a lot.... Friday night we got the boat, he went to Santarém, but I stopped in Obidos which is on the way, to stay with an Elder there, who´s companion was also transferred, and there, we both waited for our companions until last night (or early this morning). 2 o´clock in the morning we had to wake up to get the boat back to Oriximiná with my companion and now... I´m here. I liked my last companion a lot, he was a lot of fun and the members here liked him a lot too. But I have to end my mission with another. But that´s about it for the week....
Do you have a new companion, yet?  If so, tell us where he's from and what he's like. My new companion is Elder Sales (Sa-les), he´s from Paraná which is in southern Brazil (so he´s Brazilian, clearly... duuuh). He´s one of my shorter companions but he looks fortinho(a little strong). He´s got 9 months in the mission, he seems like a worker from what I´ve seen but don´t know for sure, I saw him for the first time at 2 in the morning. I´ll have to tell you more about him next week.
Is there just one ward where you are?  I have looked at Oriximina on Google Earth and it looks like a pretty small town. yup, just one
Do you mostly just walk to get around or do you still take buses sometimes? no buses, it´s all on foot.
How has your suit held up?  I noticed in one of the last pictures you sent, you had it on and I hadn't seen you wearing your suit jacket for the whole time you have been down there (in pictures anyway).  Do you think you might want a new suit for Christmas? I don´t think I need a new suit, I think it just needs to go to the dry cleaners....
Do you have any idea of the date that you'll go back to Belem?  I sure hope you are there by the time we get there! I asked the secretary just now and am waiting for an answer.... espera aí!

welcome to Obidos! and a pic of.... me close to some boats and a pic of my companion and I at church...

Well... that´s all for today, if the secretaries answer me while I´m still here, I´ll let you know when I go to Belém. If not... Tchau I love you all have a great week... again... Tchau!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week Twenty Two - Learning About Yourself and Cooling Off in Dallas!

Buenos dias mi querido familia!
        Welp.  Another week in the books.  I am happy to hear that Em had a happy birthday, and she saved my later until the day of!  Of course it lasted more than just one day. It always does with her!  But I guess you could say she deserves it.  Wise Guys Comedy Club?  Is that in Orem where I used to live?  There was a Wise guys there.  I only went there twice.  Once for an improv show put on by the improv club at UVU.  It was awful.  Probably the least funny thing I have ever seen.  Plus one of the larger men on stage had a plumber's crack the whole time.  And the other time I went was for a free awkward back massage.  After that I realized that nothing worthwhile comes out of Wise Guys.   I hope all is well with Uncle Ken.  I will be praying for him. 
        My week was just a typical week as a servant of the Lord.  The mission focus for the month is new investigators, so we did a little more contacting than normal.  Finding new investigators isn't too hard here.  The hard part is getting people to keep their commitments.  Some people just drive me bonkers!  Nobody wants to keep their word, or even tell just tell us the truth.  We could save so much time and effort if people would just politely tell us that they aren't interested, rather than being too nice and timid to say no.  But we found quite a few new people this week that I have high hopes for.  We met a kid named Jose the other day.  He is an 18 year old, miserable, punk kid that doesn't believe in God.  His god is the devil.  Eso no tiene sentido para mi!  What a sad life it would be to live without a belief in a loving Heavenly Father.  Without a belief in a Savior that can walk by your side and help you through every challenge of your life.  And I told him that too!  "You must live a sad life."  And he openly admitted that he wasn't happy.  I just wish I could smack some sense into these fools!  We left him with a Book of Mormon.  Will he ever read it?  Probably less likely than more.  But we gave him that chance.  I keep wishing that in situations like that the spirit will lead me to say something that will just knock him off his feet and realize how silly he is being.  Sadly, it never goes that way.  I honestly didn't know what to tell him, but hopefully something I said stuck out to him.  
       You learn a lot about yourself on a mission.  A lot of things that you wish you didn't have to learn.  A lot of things you wish you didn't know about yourself.  But when you spend 6 entire weeks with someone, they are going to notice your weaknesses and imperfections.  And when you spend 12 entire weeks with someone, their gonna point them out for you!  The other night Elder Crockett gave me some constructive criticism.  I didn't like it.  It was hard to take, especially coming from Elder Crockett for some reason.  It wasn't hard because I disagreed with him, but nobody likes to hear they mess up.  I truly will take what he said to heart.  Apparently I come off as stern and short with people in lessons.  I have now been told by three different missionaries that I need to smile more.  My whole life I've been told I need to smile more!!!  Well guess what, by the end of my mission, YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO SMACK A SMILE OFF MY FACE!!!!  I am getting tired of messing up, and failing, and falling.  It is very discouraging.  Wouldn't it be nice to be perfect?  However, it was said more than once in Conference that falling is a part of mortality.  Everybody falls; it is nearly unavoidable!   But as President Uchtdorf says, "GET UP, YOU CAN DO IT NOW."  I love that guy.  I will continue getting up for the rest of my life.  And every time I do, I will get up a taller and better man.  I have gotten up, and I'm still chuggin' along on the path to perfection.  God gives us weakness that we might be humble.  I get humbled everyday!  PATIENCE truly is a virtue.  HUMILITY most definitely is a virtue.  I've got work to do.  I am weak, and I could not do this without heavenly help. You know, it's a good thing missions are two years long.  If they were any shorter, God probably would not be done molding me into the man I need to be.  The mission is a process.  A long and frustrating one, but one that is 100% worth it.  I can already bear testimony of that. 
          I finished reading the Book of Mormon this morning.  Boy did that feel good!  What an amazing book that is!  Sadly I did not know until now.  But I don't think I will ever any other book for the rest of my life.  Scriptures have really come to life for me in these short 5 months.  I wish it could have happened much sooner in life for me.  I love the Libro de Mormon.  I love the Gospel taught in it.  and I love sharing that Gospel!  
-no mail or packages this week, but I will most definitely keep an eye out for a gma Halloween package.  She is such a sweetheart!  
-staedtler's is a brand of pen. Or maybe it's shraeder?  I don't know!   It's actually the brand you got me for my birthday.  And I use those every morning!  But it doesn't really matter.  Pens are pens I guess.  I just like pens! 
-it's raining today!  The last few days have been dark and grey and it feels great.  It's supposed to cool down a lot this week too.  Boy, even though I love it when I'm not sweating outside, gloomy weather sure does make me gloomy as a missionary.  weather seems to effect my mood a lot more than it used to. 
-allergies were pretty much just a one day thing for me.  I've felt great lately!  
-exercise....usually consists more of laying on the floor more than anything.  This last week I was really bad with exercise, but it's a new week, and I actually had a pretty good work out this morning.  Elder Crockett sleeps.  He is always worried about what I say about him in my emails, because he thinks his mom might see this bc Joan knows his mom.  He tells me that his family MUST think he is a perfect missionary.  That's silly to me.  If you want your family to think you are the perfect missionary, than be a perfect missionary!  
Well, every week I have experiences and see things that help me see how blessed I have been.  I am so thankful to be from Utah and I miss everything about it.  EVERYTHING!  I am thankful for the family I have.  There is nothing better on this planet than a happy family, and that is what we have!  My heart fills with more and more gratitude every day I am away from home.  But I am happy to be here, I know I am where I am supposed to be, and I am forever grateful for this opportunity!  My love for y'all is bigger than the whole world, moon, and sun combined!  I sent a couple things home on Friday.  There is a great letter inside that I think you will enjoy.  The dude said it should get there manana.   But duty calls.  Until next week!  
con amor,

                       Elder Williams 

Week Ninety Six - Finishing Out in Oriximina and Hosting a BBQ!

A sign that says "read the bible while there's still time!"

Natasha's baptism.

Tom and a weird doll at a members house.

Mayk's baptism.

Good morning once again my family.

        About my week, it was good. It was the last week of the transfer and my last one begins tomorrow. Sunday afternoon we learned that Oiximiná will, in fact, be my last area but my companion will be transferred, but we don´t know where to yet because plane tickets are really expensive right now and we also don´t know who will have the privilege of being my last companion. For my companion´s farewell we´re going to have a small bbq at our place. This week, we had 2 baptisms, one on Saturday and the other yesterday. Saturday night was Natasha´s baptism. She said that when we first started teaching her, she dreamed several times that she was being baptized by us, and just took that as the sign that she needed to be baptized. And yesterday was Mayk´s baptism. He´s been taught by us for about 2 months now, he was just having a hard time going to church because hes a very occupied person. But he was baptized and confirmed yesterday. But for being the last week of my companion, it was pretty laid back with lots of fun, saying "tchau" to tudo mundo. But that´s about all this week.
Are transfers coming up this week?  Do you know if you are staying or going somewhere else, yet? next week, I´m staying, hooray!

How are your new boots working out?fine

When we come in November, will Brazil be going into their Summer?  Does it rain more in their Summer or their Winter? In Belém it rains pretty much every day, but in Santarém, it should be summer, or maybe winter will be starting up (and it rains a lot in winter)

What kind of birthday cake did you get to eat? carrot cake with chocolate frosting... it´s weird, don´t like it much.

Do you have any ideas of what you want for Christmas? nope!

Natasha´s baptism, Mayk´s baptism, a sign that says "read the bible while there´s still time," and a weird doll at a members house! Legal!

But.... I love you all and miss you, have a great week. Happy birthday Em (sorry I forgot last week).... I guess I should already wish you a happy Halloween and Thanksgiving.... HAPPY HALLOWEEN AND THANKSGIVING! okay, Tchau!!

Love Elder R. Williams

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week Twenty One - Amigos Finally and a Pull Up Bar!

Elder Crockett and David at the church for conference.

David hangin' out waiting for an investigator that didn't show.

Happy Monday!
       It's weird, I think it's safe to say that typically Mondays are the most hated day of the week by the majority of people.  NOT AS A MISSIONARY!  I literally smile from ear to ear all day.  Tengo GOZO en mi alma hoy!!!   So first off, I did get your package, and I am terribly sorry for spacing on that last week and causing you a bunch of stress and worry.  I thought it was old news and I had already told you about it!  But thank you, everything in there was exactly what I needed.  The flask is perfect.  You are the best!  Secondly, congrats cousin Ryan!  I am so happy for him.  I was thinking about all my cousins the other day.  I really wish I would have read their emails and followed them when they served.  Even Tom too for that matter.  I could have had such a better idea of what a mission was and how to prepare.  I am thankful for their diligent examples to the baby in the family.  FELIZ CUMPLIANOS EMILEE EN VIERNES!  I hope you still have a letter to open that day.  Enjoy your big day!  I laughed at the missionaries coming over.  Hearing stuff like that is so different now as a missionary.  I can relate!  Did they just come over to share a message or did you have them over for dinner?  I'm glad Toby got some company!  Squirrels are everywhere here, Toby would go absolutely bonkers!  Weather here lately has been just splendid.  I could probably live in Texas if it was October year round!  Saturday was my first day in Texas where I actually thought about putting a jacket on. I didn't necessarily need one, but it was dark and grey and windy with some misty rain.  It was very refreshing! 
   On to my week.  This week was pretty stinkin fantastico!  Elder Crockett and I are starting to get along really well.  We are actually becoming amigos!  He has a very serious girlfriend that he is planning on marrying as soon as he gets back.  Her birthday is actually on Thursday.  I am going to write her a letter telling her how great Ellder Crockett is, and then I'm going to tell her not to marry him until may so I can be Elder Crockett's best man.  Just kidding, we aren't that good of friends, but I am going to tell her to wait so I can come to their wedding!  When Elder Crockett is in a good mood, he is lots of fun.  The only thing is that up until now, he was rarely in a good mood.  So we are really gellin right now.  He gave me a haircut the other day.  It's not the best, but it was free and I am at least presentable. 
    We helped a guy named Bobby move the other day.  You can't serve in Lakewood without becoming friends with Bobby.  He has been a member his whole life, but you wouldn't guess it when you look at him.  He has big earrings and a lip ring, and he wears a fedora to church on Sundays.  He has multiple personality disorder and he always tells us that we don't want to meet Fred, who is apparently his "evil" personality.  He is an interesting guy to say the least, but of course we were happy to help him.  He likes the missionaries. 
      We had dinner with Mike Rivas the other night.  He is a member, ward missionary, with a long and dark history in the Navy.  He is another interesting fella, but he too loves the missionaries.  He lives in a little hut type a thing in the back of someones house.  It's a neat little place!  He bought us Chinese.  The whole time we were eating I was eying a pull up bar in the corner; one of those you put in a door frame.  I knew he was too old to use it, so I asked him if he did, and he didn't, so he gave it to me!  Exactly what I was hoping for all along.  Score!  Then on the way home from his place, a very strange guy stopped me and asked for a Mormon Bible.  In return he gave me his preferred book of scripture, the Bhagavad Gita.  I love collecting treasures like that!   He lives in a Hindu temple, had a buzzed head with a few long ones on top, and had meditation beads in his hand with a funny little sack over his hand.  Too odd and too into his religion to take the time to try to set anything up with him, but he's got the Book he needs, and I'll let the Lord take care of the rest.  The people you meet in Dallas... haha! 
     So I'm in a really difficult area right now, for Spanish elders at least.  I've been talking around, and it seems like Lakewood is an area that missionaries come to, not having high expectations, and with that attitude that they just need to suffer through their time here and pray they don't stay here too long.  It's difficult because it is an English ward.  We have multiple investigators tell us that they would come if they could actually understand what is being said.  Sometimes it feels like I'm working toward a lost cause here!  So Elder Crockett has turned our focus to less actives and English speaking Hispanics.  We aren't having much success with that either.  People just don't want to keep their commitments!  They don't want to put in the effort needed to get their own personal answer.  It is very frustrating, but we did find this kid a couple weeks back named Luis.  He is 20, plays college soccer, and is already about to graduate college somehow.  He is different than anyone I've ever talked to here.  The first time we met him we asked him to read a chapter in the Book of Mormon before we came back.  We went back a week later and he actually read!  Not only that, but he had even started to mark verses with a highlighter!!!  He asked us to come over every Thursday.  He is golden!  The hard part is that he leaves town every weekend for soccer, but soccer will be over soon and then he can start coming to church!  I have very high hopes for this man and I can see him going somewhere.  He needs your prayers!  Luis Moren. 
    The highlight of my week was, of course, General Conference!  I have been looking forward to that weekend for months it seems and it went by so fast, it's already over!  I was really excited for it, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.   It made me kinda homesick actually.  Watching conference at home on the couch with my Padre is much better, and then going to Priesthood session with the same guy, and then going out to eat with all my amigos in the ward.  Or something like that.  What did you do for conference pops??  I hope y'all watched it!  Even though it just made me miss home, I still loved it.  For the first time in my life I spent 10 attentive hours watching General Conference.  No naps! We watched it at the stake center in the chapel.  I almost had to watch in Spanish due to sound issues, but thank goodness it got fixed and I could watch in English.  There were like 8 other missionaries there, and just a few members.  But it was a nice break and I learned tons.  I wrote down 6 questions prior to conference that I wanted to be answered by the speakers, and they were all answered!  I have no doubt that those men are inspired men of God.  There is no corruption in the leadership of the church.  How could anyone watch a guy like Monson, Eyring, or Uchtdorf speak at conference and have any question that they are leaders of the true Church of God!??  Those guys are nearly inhuman!  President Uchtdorf is a life changer when he speaks!  He gives the best pep talks, and I think if we could get the whole world to watch his first talk in the Saturday morning session, the whole world would be converted to Mormonism!  I LOVE CONFERENCE.  I love the leaders of this church.   It was a good break, got to rest up physically and be spiritually edified at the same time.  But now it's back to the grind!  Oh, and I saw McKay and a few other young men from the stake in the Priesthood session choir.  How neat! 
      Thanks again for Tom's and Ely's emails.  Ely's make mine seem boring! Hahaha! But I enjoy them both greatly.  
-no packages or letters this week. 
-there is a mail station at the apartment where everyone gets their mail, but we all have our own little mailbox.  
-I have not yet had to speak in church yet, and I would imagine that is very rare in this ward, just because this ward is pretty strong and they always have speakers.  
-Sundays typically consist of a PEC meeting at 7:30, church from 9-12, then lunch, and then we hit the road, go to any planned appointments we have, stop by people we know, and find nuevos investigadores.   After 1 oclock it's just like any other day. 
- thanks for the quote.  It's so true!  One of my biggest fears is having regrets at the end of my mission.  but all you can do is work hard!  I've been trying to find a journal type notebook with thick paper, so I can write quotes and stuff in with a sharpie.  So if you come across one, send it to me! 
-I put a little more thought into Christmas over the week.  Here is my Christmas list:
 _photo album
 _an nice English scripture quad with my name on it. 
 _CD's, maybe of Vocal Point, Alex Boye, idk!  Missionary appropriate music, but not choir music.  Individual artists that sing positive, happy music.   Or I could send my ipod home and you could put some new stuff on there.   Tell me what you think would be easier. 
 _Pens.  I think I'm addicted to pens.  I like sharpie pens or staedtlers for my journal writing.  Maybe a nice matching pen and pencil so I can look professional with them in my pocket.  But not so nice that I don't even want to use them! 
 _a Polaroid camera.  I met this missionary, Elder Kevin Helaman Walter, a man that I have the utmost respect for, that has a Polaroid camera and it makes it look like he served 30 years ago!  It is the neatest thing I have ever seen.   I'm hoping you can find a cheap one, maybe on ebay or something.  I'd imagine they are pretty hard to find, so that is something you don't need to worry about to much.  But I just thought it would be super neat to have one! 
Mother, just know that I am a missionary, and part of being a missionary is being conservative and sacrificing.  I don't need any of this stuff for Christmas.  I don't need anything for Christmas really.  I will be happy with anything you send to me!  These are nothing more than ideas. 
       Well, I had a magnificent week, and I think I will make this next one even better.  Y'all make sure Em has a great birthday, and give Toby loves for me.  I love you and miss you all, more than words can describe.  I pray every night that God will let you know how much I love and miss you.  Enjoy the blessed lives that we have.  Recognize the Lord's hand in our every day lives.  Hasta luego!  
   con amor,

              Elder Williams 

Week Ninety Five - Conference and Breaking Eggs!

Bom dia família!

       So... about my week.... it was good... 2 investigators had birthdays this week, so we got to eat some cake which was yummy. One of them is demanding a present from me because      I´m American and a little from now I´m going away and she thinks I´m rich. Everyone thinks the Americans are rich... sometimes I say I am but usually I just say I´m poor. I watched someone break an egg on the head of the birthday boy (my companion, safado).....(my companion broke the egg on Mike´s head (our investigator)).... (I should´ve broken an egg on his head for his birthday too, but it´s too late now).....( on my companion´s head).....(and on mike´s). General Conference was okay. We watched it at the church, but they didn´t have it in English and I kind of fall sleep while watching it in Portuguese. The missionaries from Obidos came to watch here because they can´t watch it there and I stayed with the peruano(?.... how is someone from Peru called?) for a few hours. He´s ending his first transfer after this week. I think he pretends to understand more than he actually does, but that´s normal. Unfortunately we didn´t have a baptism this week but maybe we´ll have 2 this next one. In short... things are okay here, I´m trucking along, my companion is a little tired of the area and just wants to get out of here. He´s suffered a bit here, almost every week he´s sick. This past week, he woke up with a pain in his back, we went to the doctors, they thought it was a problem with his kidney (I was thinking kidney stones or even cancer), he had an ultrasound(?) and they couldn´t find anything wrong with him so he´s just going to take medicine por enquanto.
Where did you watch conference?  Do you watch it in Portuguese or translated? at church, in Portuguese

Did you buy some boots last week?  If you did, are they working out ok? yup, tudo bem.

Do you want me to bring you a swimming suit when we come?  Dad was wondering if you could get released down there so you could actually go swimming while we are there.... I think I can get released while I´m here still. I´ve seen it once, a missionary just had a short talk with his bishop on the phone and at the end he could take his name tag off, but it might´ve been because only his mom came to visit. Bring my swimming suit and if I can´t, tudo bem. But you can forget about my converse, just bring my tom´s and maybe my church shoes that I left there.

In your pictures, it looks like you have a huge fanny pack on - is that what it is?.... it´s a bag... that I wear at my side because it feels weird on my behind and also it doesn´t shut, the zipper broke. I used to use straps over the shoulder but they broke and I began carrying it with my hands but it got really annoying. It´s the same bag I´ve been using since the 6 month mark of my mish.

Are there lots of restaurants in Santarem? yes there are restaurants, not really fancy ones but lots of Brazilian BBQ, mmmmmmm muito bom.

Pics, I will send in another e-mail. But I love you all and miss you all. Have a great week, stay safe. Don´t be countin the days just yet, just the weeks (7). Tchau!

Elder R. Williams

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Week Twenty - Elder Family Tree and Connections to Home!

So this is a family tree I guess you could call it.  He trained him who trained him who trained him who trained me.  I am a descendant of some great missionaries!

Buenos dias mis amores! 
    Boy does it feel good to be here again!  I had a fairly decent week, can't complain.  It was definitely much faster than the last one!   It's Elder Crockett's birthday today!  Elder Crockett was sick for a few days.  That slowed us down quite a bit.  He doesn't know if it was a cold, sinus infection, or just really bad allergies.  Apparently allergies are pretty bad here this time of year, which doesn't make sense to me because it's fall, and you would think that everything would be dying, nothing growing.  But even I had some pretty intense allergies this week!  Only for one day though, and then I took a pull and I was mucho mejor.  But the weather is amazing right now!  I've been worried because when you talk to people from Texas about winter, they say it is bitter cold and miserable.  But last night I talked to some peeps from Utah about it and they say winter is amazing and their favorite time of year!  I should have known...haha! 
     Happy Birthday Grandpa!  and Congrats to Ryan and his nueva esposa!  Did they get married in the temple?  I actually met someone in the ward this week that went to Alta high school.  So I asked him if he knew the Hinton's, and he actually grew up next to them, hanging out with Ryan!  !  His name is Brock Hansen.   He has befriended a Spanish guy named Manuel that wants to be baptized, so we had a lesson with him at Brother Hansen's house.  With the help of Brother Hansen, Manuel should be baptized in no time!  Bro Hansen is awesome.  He served in Venezuela, played football at BYU, married a BYU cheerleader, and they are practically the dream couple.  He is a very admirable guy.  It's obvious that he was a good missionary and his mission changed him.  He is incredibly loving, genuine, and just has this spirit about him that is enjoyable to be around.  Ryan Packard I believe serves in the young men's with him.  I know who Ryan Packard is, but I've never talked to him. And I don't know who the Reece's are.  We had dinner this week with the Hoppers.  I actually met Brother Hopper in the mtc.  He was a teacher there.  When I met him in the mtc he asked "where ya serving Elder?"  and I told him "Dallas Texas!" and then he said "no way I'm moving out there in a couple months."  Never thought I would see him again, but my first Sunday here in Lakewood was his first Sunday here in Lakewood!   He is a great guy.   So yeah, it's a SMALL WORLD!  
       On Tuesday we had a meeting with all the missionaries in the stake, along with the Stake President and Brother Romney, an ex mission president that I think I've talked about before.  After the meeting we had an awesome lunch that Sister Romney had prepared for us.  It is tradition for missionaries to sing to people that cook for us. We sang her "Called to Serve" and "Army of Helaman".  There is just something about a bunch of missionaries singing for someone like that.  The spirit was muy fuerte and she started crying, and it almost made me cry!  I couldn't help but think about my mommy!   Love you! 
       On Friday we had a specialized training, where I got to see a bunch of my amigos again.  That is where the picture was taken of the Elder Tree.  It was a grand time and I learned a lot.  Sister Durrant gave a training on obedience.  She shared a story of her father that fell away from the church, and the negative impact it had on the rest of her family.  Others suffer when we aren't obedient.  People miss out on opportunities when we aren't obedient.  It was a very different view on obedience and it is definitely something I will remember.  She also talked about abrazando la oportunidad que tenemos de ser misioneros!  Learning to "hug" this opportunity we have to be missionaries.  If we can learn to hug, embrace, and cherish every minute we have as missionaries, how much more could we get out of these short two years?! 
-no packages this week, but I did receive a couple old letters that have been stuck in GP.  One from Cindy Nelson and one from "the Phantom"?  A mystery person in the ward that doesn't want to tell me who they are.  But thanks Cindy and whoever else you are!
-I've just been trying to be more conservative with my money.  It helps because Elder Crockett goes broke about half way through the month, and it's easy not to spend money when your companion doesn't have any money to spend. 
-I'm still trying to get to the post office, but I don't know where it is and it is probably too far away to bike to, and the English Elders don't really help us out with rides much anymore since the argument.  But I'm still going to try to send it home this week.
-for Christmas I think I want a photo album of pictures.   Family, the pups, maybe some cool pics of tommyboy on his mission, and just memories.  I would prefer an actual photo album but if you can do it electronically and it would be easier, then that will work too.   but that's all I can think of right now. 
-our first week together here in Lakewood we did tons of knocking, only because Elder Crockett's last companion was in his last 6 weeks and he didn't want to work, so they didn't.  But we don't do much knocking now.  We don't get any referrals because the ward is English.  We just have certain people we visit weekly, and on the way to appointments we stop and talk to people that are outside. 
-thanks for sending me Tom's and Ely's emails.  I was laughing out loud reading Ely's! 
-I love the picture of Toby!  There are millions of dogs here in Texas, and we see lots of puppies.  We go visit this guy named Hebert every once in a while and every time we enter the gate this big brown puppy comes running up to us and wants to play.  It's pretty dirty, and I get the feeling it doesn't get much attention, but it is always so excited to see us!  It is big and clumsy and I wish I could just take it to the dog park down town and play fetch!  I MISS MY PUPPY! 
Well,  I think that's the shortest email I've sent you my entire mission!  But that's all I've got.  Not a very eventful week.  But yo necesito ir.  Hasta la proxima semana!  Love y'all and miss y'all.  Thanks for all ya do for me!!!
 Con mucho amor,
              Elder Williams 

This is a picture that was taken my last week in Grand Prairie.  Alma Sanchez and Ramon.  They are divorced but still live together.  Their first Sunday at church was my last Sunday in Grand Prairie.  I saw Elder Sheffer on Friday and he told me that Alma was just BAPTIZED! 
   So one night in GP I decided to go down a street that we hadn't been down before, where we found Ramon outside.  He told us a story how he threw a brick through this kids windshield because he was sick of him speeding down the street.  He told us he wasn't too interested in our message, but Alma might be.  So of course, we stopped by a few days later and we were able to talk with Alma.  She told us she was baptized when she was young in Mexico, but had been active for over 40 years.  But it is common for records in mexico to either be done wrong or not properly recorded, so often times people need to get rebaptized.  So she did! 
    Elder Sheffer found out more of her story after we left.  One day she was walking, a ways from her house, and she saw us but was too scared to say anything.  So she went home and prayed to have another chance to talk with missionaries.  Sure enough, she did.  Elder Sheffer said her testimony at her baptism was incredible.  She reminds me of a Mexican Grandma Colleen.  Even though I couldn't understand her, she was just the sweetest lil' old lady, she was always  happy and giggling, and she insisted that we drink her lemonade. 
     The Lord answers prayers, and he will lead us to the elect and ready.  I don't even care that I wasn't able to see her baptism, I am just so happy and excited for her!  This shows me that the impact of your mission on others is practically immeasurable!  I may have never found out that someone I found and taught was baptized.  All we can do is plant the seed and give them the opportunity to accept and live the Gospel, and the Lord will take care of the rest. 

Week Ninety Four - Broken Shoes and Another Baptism!

Tom, Ariele, Debora, Elder Tobias and Janderson, the ward mission leader.  

Tom and Elder Tobias eating lunch at a convert's home.

Tom and a recent convert's mother washing dishes.

Tom and Elder Tobias waiting at the church.

Bom Dia!
    Holy smokes, tu é doido, é? How long until Toby can sleep in my lap again?! (Not too long). But... my week was good here. The new shoes I bought... já era. I was running around a little with them at church and the bottom was just glued on so it pretty much.... broke (shoes brake?), so I returned them, got some others but probably won´t use them, they are ugly.... maybe on sundays. Today I´m probably going to buy some boots. We had one more baptism. Debora was baptized. She started going to church 2 weeks ago every night to sing in the choir, with a friend of hers that is a member. She liked it a lot, started to received the lessons and she was baptized, rapidão. Unfortunately, we don´t have anyone to be baptized this next week. But who knows maybe another miracle will show up. And september is officialy over, another one bites the dust. But beyond that, the week was pretty uneventful. About my shoe with a hole in it, some look at it as a sign of a worker but others think it just means that he walked a lot.... so..... o que que tem? Congratulations to Ryan and Amanda for the marriage. Congratulations to Grandpa Rollie for the birthday. Lets work hard to make it until the next 10!
   The plan! Maybe instead of 2 days in santarém, we can get a boat to Oriximiná and spend one day there too. That way dad can get his boat ride up the river and I can go swimming at iripixi(? these indian names are confusing) the place where we baptized but were not able to go swimming. There is a boat that goes from Santarém to Oriximiná in about 4 hours and it´s 40 reais, about 20 bucks. If it´s really expensive, all this traveling and stuffs, I can pay for myself.
I am going to try to go out and meet with a counselor at SLCC this week.  Are there any classes you are really interested in or want me to check into? More art... spanish... sociology... are there classes to learn instruments like piano or guitar? that´d be cool.

When is the next transfer for you? on the 15th I think.

Are you hoping to stay put or would you like to go somewhere else for your last transfer? For me right now.... anything goes. I´m thinking I´ll stay because my companion is causing a little bit of confusion in the ward. He´s already talked to Pres.about it and he said he´ll probably be leaving this next transfer.

Any letters or packages last week?  I have a feeling probably no because you are so far away from everything -sorry! I think I´ll receive a letter or 2 this next week. 3 packages and some letters arrived to our LD in obidos, and he´ll be coming here to watch general conference.

How are you liking your other pair of glasses?  Are you used to them?  I think they look really good on you! I like my glasses a lot. A lot of people ask to try them on (muita moça) and say that I must be pretty close to blind.... but... next question.

What is your apartment like?  You need to send us some pictures! Okay. So... it´s an elongated(?).... okay how can I explain it.... You enter a gate... you walk a bit and pass 2 doors and at the end you arrive to ours. You enter... you look straight ahead and there is my desk, all perfect and neat, but sometimes there is some sort of doodoo because lots of spiders like to live on the ceiling. You look to the left, and you see my companions desk, all bagunçada because he´s brazilian, with pics of his girlfriend. He´s super tranque (misses her a lot), and has been dying to receive her letters. You enter the next room, which is our kitchen, with our room to the left and the bathroom too. To the right.... a wall.... and that´s our house pretty much. I´ll be sure to take pics of it.

Do you ever cook anything in your apartment?  What? I like to kooc patties and eggs. Sometimes I make miojo (noodles) and put cut up hot dog in it. Mom you need to teach me to cook more stuff when I get home.

Pics... usually I don´t have space in the e-mail to send some, so I have to send another e-mail with them. So I love you all and miss you. Have a great week. Enjoy fall for me ( I love fall... and winter... and spring...... and summer too.... oohhh the changing of seasons how I miss you so....). TCHAU!

Love Elder R. Williams

Debora´s baptsim, from left to right: Me, Ariele (the friend that introduced her, Debora, to the church), Debora, E. Tobias, and Janderson, the fubeca Ward mission leader who for once did something (interviewed Debora for the baptism) because the Bishop wasn´t able to and he didn´t have counselors. A pic of us eating lunch at a recent converts place and of me and the recent converts mom washing dishes, and a pic of my companion and I at the church waiting for the baptismal candidate to arrive. Okay? 
Love Elder R. Williams