Monday, December 24, 2012

Week Fifty Four - Christmas Call Home

My cute Tommy in a hat!

The streets.....

Elder Shaw, Elder Kaufman and Tom at the mission Christmas party.

Hi Family!
          Wow what a complicated week!.... what more can I say? I guess since while talk tomorrow, I don´t have anything else to say. Just some pics. Me, Elder Shaw, and Elder Kaufman, at the mission Christmas party, after one year in the mission. A pic of what our area looks like, basically. And a pic of me and an ugly hat.... I don´t like hats.
Anyways, tomorrow, I will probably try to talk to you around 7 o´clock here. I don´t know what time that would be there. But if worse comes to worse, I will call home and pay the family that lended the phone, later. I guess it´s just that this week.
I love you all. Merry Christmas, have a great week, enjoy all your new toys!
Love Elder R. Williams

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Celebrating Tom's One Year Mark at Texas de Brazil

Em and Dave enjoying the food.

David looking unhappy that I'm taking his picture.

David and I enjoying a great meal!

On December 13th, it was exactly one year from when we took Tom to the airport to leave on his mission.  So, to celebrate the one year mark, we went to City Creek and had dinner at Texas de Brazil.  We also walked over to Temple Square and looked at the lights.  It was a fun night and we all wished that Tom could be with us.  The next time we have Brazilian food, I think he will be with us!

Week Fifty Three - Goiabada and Acai with Sugar!

Goiabada and cream - love the tie in the background!

Acai and sugar.

Tommy with purple teeth!

Hello my Family!!!
       This week was more or less again... this area is being a little bit difficult. A lot of people here don´t want anything at all. We´re knocking on a lot of doors at the moment but getting little success.... but I think that´s normal when it comes to knocking on doors. But while knocking on doors we found a less active family, we talked a little and the father wants that we baptize his 2 kids, Joseph and Maria (9 and 8 years old), because right now he is unable to. He had some rough experiences and is in the middle of something being resolved, but I just don´t really feel like sharing much of his story. But still, most of the people here just don´t want anything. Anyways, the week was still okay, more or less. Oh, maybe you haven´t heard yet, I passed the one year mark, which is pretty awesome. I guess it´s all down hill from here... I´m not sure how I feel about that... but unfortunately, I can´t do anything about it. Pics!        The first is my one year anniversary special snack. It is goiabada or something like that with cream milk, or something like that, with noodles in the back there, of course. The second is açai, probably the worst tasting fruit, but with a lot of sugar, it´s quite amazing. And the last is me, after eating my açai, with purplish teeth. Q&A Did you get the big Christmas package I sent and was that the one that you had to pay money to get? The one I payed for has a bunch of Christmas presents in it, I think it´s that one. I only opened the ties, I promise! Any other packages from anyone this past week? I got a package from the Frandsens, and G&G Pratt. Muito Obrigado meus amados queridos!
Do you know your plans for on Christmas day, yet? No not yet. I have no idea what I´ll be doing on Christmas. It seems like a strange day to go out proselyting, and our Christmas mission party is this Wednesday... hmmm I´m stumped.
Do you know your plans for calling home, yet? I think it will be Skye! GET READY! DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO AND WE´LL CLOSE UP THE PLANS NEXT P-DAY!
What did you do, if anything, to celebrate your one year mark? Just had a special snack.... didn´t feel like doing much else.
Did you get the Christmas tree I sent? oooooooh a christmas tree, eh? no I have´nt received it.
Did you get all of the letters and cards I sent?ooooooh Christmas cards, eh? no I haven´t received them.
Anyways, I love you all have a great week. I´ll e-mail yas on Christmas eve and talk to yas the day after, tá? tá! I loooooooove youuuuu, ooooooh I´m so excited for Christmas!
Love Elder R. Williams

Monday, December 10, 2012

Week Fifty Two - One Year Mark!!

Picture off of FB, Tom and his companion after a baptism.

Love the thumbs up sign!

Tom chopping down some trees.

Tom playing the bass - first picture without missionary clothes on!
This week, on Thursday, December 13th, Tom will have been on his mission for one whole year!  Sometimes, I wondered if that day would ever come.  It's been a strange year.  Dave said the other night that when he thinks about that day that we took Tom to the airport and said goodbye, it seems like an eternity ago.  But, when he looks back on the entire year, it has flown by.  I feel the same way.  In some ways, it has been a long, long year - missing Tom every day.  Missing him to the point of tears on some days and on other days, just knowing he is growing, maturing and doing what he wants to do so being happy for him.  We can now start counting down to the day he comes home.  365 days from this coming Thursday!  I am sure the year will fly by for us, but I have a feeling it will go even faster for Tom.  He will probably start wishing time would slow down and start feeling like he's not ready to come home - seems to happen to most missionaries.  I am looking forward to this year and to all of the adventures we'll get to hear about.  I will still live for Mondays to get that e-mail and will just have to be patient until he comes home!  
    I´m short on time. This week was okay.... more or less. We´re just working with a bunch of people that need to get married that don´t want to get married, so progress is slow this week. Thanks for reminding me I hit the one year mark (like I could ever forget). Congrats to Nick on his mission call. The day you leave will come faster than you know it.
Did you get any packages this past week? Please tell me you got my big package and if you did, you better not have opened any presents! Did you get any of the other packages from me? There are two small ones besides the big one. Any packages from anyone else? I got a package from G&G Williams. Muito obrigado, love ya´ll!

Are you going to do anything for your one year mark? Don't missionaries usually burn something? I don´t know right now, maybe I´ll burn a tie, not sure....

Did you like the cookies that I sent from Mr. Cheney's? Dad said to tell you that he wishes he could bring you a cinnamon roll! cookies were awesome!

Have you heard anything about calling home, yet? no will get the info this week.

Are you dreaming in Portuguese, yet? I heard that's how you know you really know the language. It sounds like you are doing great with the language and maybe are having a hard time with English, sometimes? I´m not dreaming much but I´m quite sure I´ve dreamed in Portuguese numerous times.

Dad wants to know if you have to teach your companion the ropes? Are you pretty much in charge? no, he´s pretty much got it down. Maybe I´ll have more control when and if I actually train, but right now, he can have it....
Anyways, pics this week are of me and a bass guitar I found and me cutting a tree... I think...
Anyways.... anyways.... I love you all have a great week as you celebrate my one year mark. Stay safe. Thanks for everything you do for me and send me. I know the church is true!!!!
Love Elder R. Williams

Monday, December 3, 2012

Week Fifty One - New Area, New Companion!

Tom, his companion, Malena and her daughter, Ynara.

View out of Tom's new apartment.

Tom and his new companion, Elder Rosa.
Week fifty one..... only one week away from week fifty two!  I can't believe it will be a year next week and we can finally start counting down!  The year has gone fast in some ways and slow in others.  I think Tom has mixed emotions about how fast time is flying.  He's on to a new area, a new companion and more adjusting....just another day in the life of a missionary!
Hello Fam Fam!

               My week here was okay. My companion´s okay. His name is Elder J. Rosa, he´s from Rio Grande do Sul. He´s only got about 6 months in the mission, but he´s a good missionary, and he´s enthused to work. My area is okay.... what more can I say. Oh! it started raining again everyday. It´s kind of nice but annoying at the same time. It´s incredible to think I´ve already got about 1 year in the mission, and by this time next year I´ll be home. My trainer, Elder Reis, returned home this past week. His mission ended and wow it passed fast. When I met him he had just a year and 2 months, and now he´s home sleeping. Anyways, to get to my new area, I just took a boat back to Belém and about an hour taxi ride. Paracurí is actually really close to my second area, Castanheira, only about 20 minutes away. Today I´m going to go get my Christmas package, and I think I´ll spoil Christmas by opening it early.
    Pics! My new companion! The view out of the window of our house, our baptism before leaving the Vila dos Cabanos (Malena and her daughter Ynara)
Did you get any packages, and if you did, what did you get and who from? The only package I received is the one I have to pay for, but maybe I´ll receive another tomorrow.

Is your new companion from Brazil?  What's his name?  Do you like him?
His name is Elder J. Rosa, he´s from Rio Grande do Sul, yes I like him, and I already said all this... anyways.

How is your new apartment?  Do you have a pillow?! It´s cool. It´s 3 floors up, it´s got a nice view... it´s clean and has 2 bathrooms. ++++++++! and yes  I have a pillow. 

Where do you exchange money?  I noticed you have used your card for a few small things, which is fine, but I was wondering if you got cash or just charged the card when buying something.
Generally, the grocery stores have ATMs that I can get money from. I almost never charge at the cash register.

Do you know anything about calling home for Christmas, yet? No, but I think we´ll start searching this week. I´ll let you know on the next P-day!

Well that´s all I have to say for this week. I love you all and miss you all demais! Have a great week and stay safe. And I´ll see you all 1 YEAR FROM NOW! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGUUUUUUUUUUAAAAAAAA! Tchau Tchau!

Love Elder R. Williams

Monday, November 26, 2012

Week Fifty - Transfer to Paracuri!

Tom driving a boat with 100's of cars on it!  Love this pic!
Good Morning Loved Ones!
     Glad to hear everyone is good, that Thanksgiving was good, that you all had a good week. EEEESH! Eu vou ter muito saudade neste proximo mês! This past week was good. We had a wedding here in the area. The first couple I taught that got married, so that´s pretty cool, and after the wedding, the wife and her daughter were baptized, and in the next week, the husband and son should get baptized, I hope, but unfortunately I won´t be here to see it. I received the news yesterday morning that I will be transferred, which I´m not too excited about. I didn´t realize how good I had it here, and now I´m leaving. :/ My next area is called Paracurí, which is back in Belém. I didn´t really want to return back to Belém, and I´ve already served in Paracurí once. We had a companion exchange one time a few months ago. I went to Paracurí while one of the missionaries of the dupla there went to my area. The area was okay, but it didn´t seem very lively... but I don´t know how to explain it better than that... Anyways, I have to continue on. Egua I don´t feel like saying much more! Christmas has come, I´m being transferred!, I have to leave everything behind, again! Being a missionary is difficult...
Any packages this past week?  I am really hoping you get the first one I sent in the next week - you'll see why! I received cookies from Mr. Cheyneys, but it ain´t my cinnamon roll! I want a cinnamon roll now!, but thanks for the cookies, whoever sent them. Also, a package arrived at the mission office for me, but the post office is holding it until I pay 320 reais, I think (160 bucks more or less) or they send it back. I´ll go ahead and pay it, don´t worry when a lot of cash is taken out of my account this week, but you have to send smaller packages I think. I´ll get more deets today, because I´m going to the mission office. Anyways...

How are your shoes holding up?  If you need new ones, can you buy them down there?  Do they have the kind of shoes you need?  Let me know.... My shoes are fine, they should last a few more months, and there are shoes that I can buy here, so don´t worry about shoes.

If you are getting taller, are your pants long enough?  I hate the thought of your pants being too short! My pants seem to be fine still, thanks for worrying.

Where do you go to get haircuts?  Your hair always looks good in your pictures! There´s a bunch of barbershops here, but I haven´t got my hair cut since I arrived in this area. In my previous area, a member always cut it for free, lucky me... but don´t worry... thanks for worrying....

Do you need me to send you a jump/pen drive? that would be cool, I accept!
Just one pic this week, I´m out of time. It´s me, driving a boat, but not just any boat. The kind of boat that carries 100s of cars. (I hope I didn´t already send this pic)
Anyways, I love you all, Have a good safe week, and enjoy 1 last Christmas without me, and the next one I´ll be home! YEAH YEAH!
Love Elder Williams

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Week Forty Nine - Getting Ready for Christmas!

Picture posted on facebook by Carla.  

No pictures this week, but I found this picture of Tom and his companion on facebook, so I added it to this week's post.  I am wondering if this is from when he and his companion acted in a ward play?  Guess I'll have to ask him!

     EGUA! this is annoying. I got a kid here to fix my pen drive,and while he was fixing it, I bought another pen drive. I tried to put some pics on the new one and the same thing that happened to the old one happened to this one, saying I need to insert a disc  to use it... but meu amigo ends up getting the other one to work again. I try using the old one today, and it ends up saying the same thing, "insert disc...." GAAAAHHHH, WHAT LUCK! friggin frustrating!
     Anyways, this week was okay.... but now I can´t remember anything because there is so much frustration in my brain.... This week we had an exposition of the church at the park, which went well I guess. We gave away a bunch of Books of Mormon and Teachings of the Prophets. Some people showed some interest, others were a little mad that the Mormon missionaries talked to them... but whatev. Wow, it´s the last week of the transfer already. Every single one just passes faster and faster. I think when I arrived in the mission field, I looked at everything on a daily, maybe hourly, basis, but now, the transfers are just flying by! hrmmm... what more can I say?
    Can you believe it´s thanksgiving already? I´m quite sure Thanksgiving isn´t celebrated here. People here are already getting ready for Christmas. It´s weird, lots of Christmas lights but no snow. NATAL CHEGOU! Hey! good idea about the party! I think I´ll do that too! Should be easy, and awesome. I´ll probably eat a loooot of pork and beef! Hmmmm, soo good! Thanks for Justin´s info, I´ll be sure to right him today. Don´t worry Justin! A letter´s coming buddy! Egua! Only 6 months left! Eeeesh the mission passes too fast. And all that other stuff is interesting, moving on!
 Grandpa wants to know what "Equa" means because you say it a lot in your e-mails.  He tried to look it up and translate, but got something like a female horse, which he doesn't think that's what it means. Egua, in fact, does mean female horse, but it is used here as "wow!" or "gosh dangit" or "frick" or "holy moly".... I promise it is not palavrão (swear word).... where I´m serving at least....

Do you know if you'll be able to Skype on Christmas when you call home?  If you find out you can, let me know asap so I can get a camera.  We can't wait to talk to you, again! I´m not sure... I might be transferred this next week, so I´ll wait until after the 27th to see what to do for Christmas.

Any packages or letters this past week and if so, from who?  I mailed you another small package this past week with mostly some letters and than a couple, small gifts that didn't make it into your big Christmas package. No, but that´s okay, you´re e-mails are good enough for now.

What season is it down there, now?  I figure the weather probably isn't much different but someone asked me about the season the other day and I didn't know. The weather is the same. Very hot, lots of sweat, but I think it will start raining soon.

Does Brazil do a holiday like our Thanksgiving?  I am sure you won't be too bummed to miss it, as I never got the feeling it was your favorite holiday. I´m not sure. Thanksgiving in Portuguese is "dia de ação de graça," or day of action of grace... or something like that. Search it up on the net...
Okay, that´s all. I forgot my camera, sorry!. I love you all and will miss you a bunch, especially in this next month, mas eu preciso continuar firme! Have a safe week and enjoy Thanksgiving. Gotta go now Tchau Tchau!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Week Forty Eight - Fourth Zone Conference

Tom, his companion and Cleide at her baptism.

"The church of the Brothers: The Bible, All of the Bible, nothing but the Bible."

It sounds to me like Tom learned a valuable life lesson this past week about people.  Sometimes, the kindness you receive from strangers has nothing to do with their religion or lack of, for that matter. It's their humanity that guides how they treat people in some cases.  I hope it's a lesson that stays with him forever.  So proud of this amazing kid!
Hello Fam Fam!
     Egua! those pictures of snow make me sooooooo jealous. But I must continue.... in the place closest to the inferno... So my week was pretty interesting. Tuesday we had a zone conference, and wow those 3 months from the last one passed fast. There´s only 4 zone conferences in the year. My first was the day after I arrived in the mission field, and this past one was the last of the year! EEESH it passes fast! At the zone conference I saw Elder Hoch and Elder Kaufman. Elder Hoch looks 5 years older already, and Elder Kaufman is about the same... but he says I´m getting taller which is cool.
     We had some pretty interesting experiences this week. We tried talking to one woman, who was taught by my companion and another missionary some days before, and she told us that we were deceived, the Joseph Smith is a liar, that the Book of Mormon comes from the Devil, and that my companion and I are going to perish in the last day.... O_O. Egua! Eu não acho que tive senimentos tão ruins na minha missão até escutar aquela mulher! (I don´t know why I had to say that in portuguese, it just kind of makes more sense to me right now. you can Google translate that though -"I do not think I've had such bad feelings in my mission to listen to that woman!" ) I heard, but I don´t know for a fact, that she burned the Book of Mormon we gave her.... Eeeesh, that´s going to be held against her in the last day.
    Yesterday, my companion and I were walking and walking and walking, we had a few appointments fall, and a man at the front of his house stops us, asks if we wanted some water, lets us in and we end up talking to him and a few others that were there for almost 2 hours I think. It was funny, because all of them were drinking and smoking, and the oldest woman there was screaming while watching a soccer game the whole time. Every time someone scored (3 times because it´s just soccer) she yells GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLL!! while everyone else was interested in learning about "Os Mórmons." Just a funny experience.... kindness shown from people that aren´t really religious and rudeness from the people that claim to follow Christ. (I´m not saying that all are like that, just in these cases this past week)
     Anyways, we had another baptism. A woman of about 34 years of age, Cleide. She actually brought some amigas dela that we are going to try to start teaching, which is cool. I talked in sacrament meeting for only the third time in my mission, the other day. I think I´m getting better. I was not as anxious or nervous this time. So that was my week! Did you like it? I did.
       Pics: The first is our baptism this week. The next one is a pic of a church. "The church of the Brothers: The Bible, All of the Bible, nothing but the Bible." Funny. The next is the zone conference and after that is a pic of the river at about 6 or 6:30 in the morning.
What do you like to eat at the barbeque places?  Are they kind of like Cafe Rio with barbeque pork, chicken and beef?

Did you hear anything about our presidential elections in Brazil?  Does anyone talk about our president? I just heard that Obama won... but that doesn´t matter because I´m in Brazil"

How many missionaries are living in your apartment...please send some pictures! Just 2 duplas, me and my companion and one other companionship. But I already chose the pics for this week, sorry.

Did you do anything to celebrate your companion's one year mark?  Don't missionaries burn something, like a tie or a shirt? Just the 10 baptisms in one day.

Any packages or letters this past week?  If so, from who, so I can let them know.  I hope you get my first Christmas package pretty soon..... nope but that´s okay thanks anyways!
okay I gots ta go! Tchau! I love you all!

Love Elder R. Williams

Week Forty Seven - White Saturday!

Hello!      This week was pretty good. We had a little activity called "White Saturday," which is when you have all the missionaries of the zone (6 duplas here) baptize in the same chapel. We 10 baptisms in total. My companion and I only baptized one person, and we didn´t have a confirmed baptism until the day of, so we were running backwards a little this week. At the baptism, we sang that primary song "quando eu for batizado" (when I am baptized, but I´m not sure if that´s the title in English) and "que manhã maravilhosa" (that marvelous morning, again I forgot the name in English). It was really cool. President and Sister Scisci were there, and sister Scisci said she cried while hearing it. How spiritual are we, nè? (probably not so much) Anyways, that´s about it for this week, unfortunately. Oh, some exciting news! My companion hit his 1 year mark! Wooohooo! Me next! Me next! Me next!.... continuing on.
        Interesting news to hear that someone was called to a 3 year mission. A few months ago, one of my companions asked me if I would serve a 3 year mission if I were called. It´s a tough decision, but I think I would. And that´s even more interesting that he got to call President Monson´s office. Hrmmmmmmm.... Nate´s costume is pretty awesome, but I´m drawing a blank on Macklemoore, too. Hey! Give me updates every week about the jazz games por favor! Egua! Only one more season and the first few games of the next and it´s all over for me. Scary.
Dad wants to know if you are teaching anyone or have any investigators? Yes we are teaching people. "Nothing happens in the missionary work until you find people to teach," and I´m definitely not doing nothing, although I have heard that many missionaries are slacking off. FUBEKAS! We taught 2 people who have gone to the church a number of times, but we just found out at church yesterday that they aren´t members. And they both accepted a baptismal date this Saturday, which is really exciting.

Do you have an oven, microwave or both? and a stove!

Are there any little bakeries in your area and if so, do you ever go to them? yes there are, but rarely do I buy from them.

Andy has asked me a couple of times if you have gotten his e-mails -- can you reply to him when you get one, just so he knows it went through? Yeah I received an e-mail from him a week or 2 ago, don´t remember very well. Sorry I forgot to mention that. It was great to hear from him and that he and everyone else is doing well.

Have you been out to eat at any restaurants in your new area and if so, what kind of restaurant was it? There are a lot of churrascarias here (BBQ), and I´m loving it. But we don´t there too often.

Do you have a washer and dryer where you are now? Just a washer, but we don´t need dryers here. I don´t think anyone in the state of Pará uses a dryer.

Any packages or letters this past week and if so, who from? Nothing yet, but it´s almost Christmas, já, and I´m as excited as relampago!....

Well that´s all for this week. I´m feeling a little too lazy to search pics to send him because it´s completely out of order and I don´t know what I´ve already sent home, but next week, first thing I´ll do is send about a bajillion pics home, tá? tá! I love you all and am glad that you are all safe, and that he hurricane hasn´t hit Utah yet! Have a great week and forget about MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!e!E1E11E!E1E1!e1!

Love Elder Williams

Monday, October 29, 2012

Week Forty Six - Sword Envy!

View on Tom's street.

View out of his window.

Elder Mendonca's sheath and sword.

Bom Dia! Que belo saco de milho você tem!
     Well, as usual, hope you had a really good week last week! I was glad to hear about your new companion and that you think he will be a good missionary to be with yo.... oh wait... I´m just repeating what you said. That´s weird. Anyways, my week was okay. My companion´s pretty funny. He likes to talk a lot. He has about a billion and one stories to tell. And he´s usually pretty blunt with with people we teach. But he´s a good missionary, has lots of experiences, and should help me out a lot. Unfortunately I don´t have a lot of news this week. Not a lot is going on here, Ma!
         Thanks for the picture of the mountains. Looks cool. Hearing about that hurricane is unfortunate, but it hasn´t affected anything here.  Funny to hear about Elio in the Air Force. Good Luck! If it´s anything like the mission, it should pass quick and be a good experience. Egua time is passing fast. It´s already almost Christmas, you already sent me my package. Justin´s almost in the last quarter of his mission, já! Frick, this is weird!
      Anyways, pics this week are assim: Elder Mendonças sheath and sword. Egua I´m jealous. If you see me take out about 500 bucks from my account, it´s because I bought a sword. The next one is the view of our street outside the window, and the next is a view out the window of the chapel on the third floor.
  Do they celebrate Halloween in Brazil?  If they do, does everyone dress up like they do here? I think they do, but it doesn´t seem very popular. I´ve only seen a billboard that says there will be a party in the forest on the first instead of 31st anyways, I haven´t seen much about Halloween here.

Have you had any bad weather there - maybe could be from that hurricane headed our way. Nothing here. I think the daily rain should start up again this next month.

Is there anything you need that I could have Grandma send in her Christmas package to you?  How are you on deodorant and sunscreen? Deodorant don´t need, nor sunscreen. Oh I have an idea. Cinnamon(?) rolls. I think if you send the kind you have to cook in the oven, I can learn... but send some microwavable ones just in case. UMMMM CINNAMON!

Is the beach you sent a picture of on the banks of the Amazon? I don´t really have a clue. I think I need to look up where I´m at on Google maps.

Any packages or letters this past week?  If so, who from? zero letters from my good friend, no one... But that´s okay, my mission is almost over já. 
Anyways, that´s my life so far. Thanks for everything you do for me at home. Thank you for your love and support. The church is true, I love you, em nome de Jesus Cristo, Amém!
Love Elder Williams

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Em Turns Twenty Four - Happy Birthday!

Em and Davey at Brio!

New Tom's!!

Em opening presents.

Birthday dinner at Spaghetti Factory.

Em blowing out the candles, with Rachel.
On Thursday, October 11th, my first born and only daughter turned twenty four years old!  Happy Birthday, Em!  I remember the day she was born, like it was yesterday!  It was a beautiful day and still felt just like Summer.  I was told by my doctor to call a phone number on Monday morning to tell them I was supposed to come in to the hospital for an induction.  When I called the number, they told me they were completely full and didn't have one room open.  I was devastated and remember I went back to bed in tears.  Dave went off to work and about a half hour later, my doctor called wondering where I was.  I guess he had accidentally given me the phone number to Holy Cross instead of LDS Hospital and he wanted me to get up there right away.  So, the day started out pretty chaotically, to say the least!  I was in labor all day, after they hooked me up to the Pitosun and Em finally arrived around 8:30pm that night during a World Series game on the TV in my room.  I had been sure that I was having a boy, so when they told me it was a girl, I was in shock!  She was so incredibly cute and I remember Dave and I taking her home from the hospital and then looking at each other while she was sleeping and wondering "what do we do now?"  

There is just nothing like the experience of having your first child.  It's scary and incredible at the same time!  It's amazing that we apparently have instincts that help both the child and us survive.  It's funny how in some ways it seems like a lifetime ago that she came into my life and it other ways it seems like just the other day.  I can't imagine life without my daughter.  She has become my best friend and the person I would do anything for.  At twenty four, she has become all and more than I could have ever wished for her. I am so proud of her!

Em had to work on her birthday (part of being an adult, apparently), but when she got home, we all went to dinner at Brio at Fashion Place Mall.  It was really fun to have the four of us there, but we all were wishing Tom could be there, too.  After dinner, we went home and she opened her presents.  The next night, she went to dinner with friends and then on Sunday, we celebrated with my family at Spaghetti Factory.  It was a four day birthday, but I think she had fun.  She was complaining about feeling old and not wanting to get older than 24!  Oh, to be 24 again!  I know the feeling, though, that you get to a point where you just want to stop time, but you can't - you just have to accept it!

Week Forty Five - Assistant to the Assistant to the President!

Tom, his companion and Jean.

The beach, which Tom cannot enjoy :(

Tom and Elder Puffer watching conference.

Alo Mamãe, Papai, meu irmão e minha irmã!

           Well my week was pretty good! I met my new companion, Elder Munhós. He´s from the south of Brazil, I forget which state. He hits one year in the mission this next month. I´m still the zone leader´s companion, which I hope changes after this transfer. Elder Munhós actually trained Elder Hoch, an mtc buddy, which is cool. He doesn´t show a lot of emotion, but he seems like a good missionary, and a hard worker. Before the mission he was drafted into the army here in Brazil and says he wants to return after his mission. But this week I actually had 2 companions, the second was Elder Cavalheiro, one of the president´s assistants. The assistants arrived Wednesday night and stayed at our place. Six missionaries in one home is kind of annoying, but anyways, they ended up dividing my companion and I, one assistant went with my companion, the other with me. I now have an idea of what it takes to be an assistant in the mission, which doesn´t seem easy. Anyways, it was a great learning experience, and I think it will help a lot, because I have a better idea of what I can change and where I can improve.
         But that´s about all that happened this week. So yeah, kind of short. But I´m glad to hear everyone´s week went well! The increase in missionaries is cool to hear, good luck President Monson!
The first is of me, my companion, and Jean, the kid that left for his mission just over a week ago. The next is me watching general conference with my roommate, Elder Puffer. He just started his second to last transfer this week. A picture of the beach, which I can´t enjoy. And a little family home evening we had at a members place.
What is your new companion's name?
Elder Munhós!
Where is he from and does he speak English at all?
Some place close to Santa Catarina, and no he doesn´t speak English, at all
How are you feeling - are you healthy?
I´m feeling fine, no problems here.
Where do you go to e-mail each week in your new area?
A cyber/lan house close to the park, here in the vila
Any packages or letters this week and if so, who from?
I received a letter from one of my teachers in the MTC, Irmã Korth. It was really cool to hear from here.... what more can I say?

Anyways, I think that´s all for now. I love you all, stay safe, let me in on some more news outside of home too please.... what more can I say? Tchau!

Love Elder Assistant to the assistant of the president!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Week Forty Four - Strange Dreams!

Cool Family Home Evening.

Tom waiting for lunch and dying in the heat!

Hello Mom, Dad, Em, David, and whoever else might be reading!
      I´m glad to hear everyone´s week was good, and without problems, except for maybe a chewed up shoe, but that´s okay, Toby´s worth a chewed up shoe, right David? Enjoy the weather for me, send more pics, and it´s nice to hear that everyone is not dead on the couch without me... that was something I was worried about.... well... not really.......... Anyways, the house looks great! Maybe you can send a pic of the changes to my room. Is it red still? I was able to watch conference in English, thankfully. Watching anything in Portuguese is still difficult, and I usually just doze off.
      But yeah, my week was okay. A funny story rapidinho! I´m starting to do some really weird things in my dreams. One night, Elder Mendonça heard me saying "Thelma, Selma, Belma, Telma," or something like that, and after I sit up on my bed not doing anything.... and I start saying "A sala está vazia! (the room is empty)" and I grab my companions arm telling him "A sala está vazia!" and he starts thinking we´re being robbed! Egua! my dreams are weird! And I have no idea what I´m dreaming!
        Anyways!On Monday we went to Elder Mendonça´s previous area, Ananindeua, so that he could say goodbye to at least a few people. President Scisci didn´t allow, originally, anyone that is ending their mission to visit previous areas, because a lot of missionaries in past transfers abused the privilege and got lazy in their last transfers, not doing anything. So, my companion was very upset about that, and talked to presidente, and he let him visit one area. So we took about an hour and a half bus ride to get there, going over some really cool bridges, unfortunately not getting any pictures, but I got to say hi to Elder Shaw, my air plane buddy, again! He´s already a zone leader and a missionary super powerful! We ended up missing the bus to return to our area, and stayed the night at Elder Shaw´s place. His birthday was Tuesday, the big Vinte years old! PARA-BENS ELDER SHAW!
      This past week was Elder Mendonça´s last as a missionary. He gave his testimony for the last time in sacrament meeting and after, when he sat down next to me, he started crying :/ He´s not happy to be leaving the mission. His conditions aren´t great at home and it´s difficult for him to let go of everything he has here. He went to Belém today, will buy some things, have his interview with presidente, and tomorrow at about 4 a.m. he returns home. I liked my time with Elder Mendonça. He was a great missionary, and maybe my best companion. He worked hard, didn´t slack off, we had 6 baptisms together, one yesterday, and now it´s all over for him and I have to continue here in the Vila. The transfer is tomorrow, my new companion is Elder Munhós, and he will be Zone Leader, so I´m still the companion of the zone leader, which is cool I guess. I think he trained Elder Hoch, a buddy from the MTC. But yeah, it was kind of sad to see Elder Mendonça go, and now I´m kind of dreading my last few days in the mission. But I can´t stop now, gots to continue!
      Pics! The first is of me dying in the heat, waiting for lunch to arrive. A friend of Elder Mendonça´s in his previous area. He´s preparing himself to go to the United States to do that foreign exchange student thingy, which is cool. One is of a Family Home Evening activity we had, which was cool too.
When does your companion go home? Tomorrow :(

Any packages or letters this past week?  If so, from who? no

What is Blizzcon news? World of Warcraft!

Do you visit with families with little kids and is there something I could send you to give to them?  Do kids down there like Disney? Not a whole lot, but if you want to send some Disney stickers or something I wouldn´t complain.

Do you know of any other American missionaries in your area?  If you do, where are they from? Elder Puffer, is from Clinton UT, and a new Elder will arrive tomorrow, Elder LeCompt, is from Texas, I think.
Okay, that´s it for today. Bye-bye! I love you all, have a great week, especially you, tober tobers Toby!
Love Elder Williams

Week Forty Three - On My Journey to Belem!


      Tudo bem? que bom! Well my week was pretty interesting. Tuesday, a man died in the neighboring backyard of a member´s house, at 3 a.m. We went there to have lunch with him and he told us a little about what happened. Apperantly he was shot, and tried to run through some backyards to get away, and ended up dying in the neighbors backyard. I didn´t see a whole lot, just his face planted in the sand, which is a sad sight... anyways, I won´t dwell on it. There was a small farewell on friday for Jean, who leaves for his mission on wednesday to Paraiba I think its called. He´s really cool. He plays basketball with us a lot, including today, and he speaks English! He says he wants to live in Delaware, in the USA and he doesn´t feel much like a brazilian, which is kind of funny. At his farewell, his mom and older sister both said a little something and ended up crying, which reminded me of the day I left for the MTC, which is already sooo long ago! So yeah, that was a nice little spiritual experience.
     We didn´t have a baptism this week which is unfortunate because it ends the 42 straight weeks of baptism here in the Vila, but that´s honestly not that important to me. But how was General Conference!? Was that cool or what? That news from President Monson was cool. It was just as exciting as receiving Blizzcon news! (wow). I really liked President Uchtdorf´s talk about regrets and all that, I`m hoping I don´t end up having much more in this life, and Elder Holland´s talk and his little interpretation of how the discussion between Christ and Peter might´ve went, a little after deciding to be fishermen again (after Christ´s deat hand resurrection). There were some reeeeaaally good talks this time. If you didn´t watch it you missed out! BIG TIME! But anyways, today Elder Mendonça and I are going to visit one of his past areas, since this week is his last, and he´s probably going to buy some stuff in Ver-o-Peso to take home with him. It´s kind of strange being companions with someone that is going home. This next week might not be very productive...
                But HEY! HAPPY BIRTHDAY EM!!!! Pai d´egua! 24 years old.... What more can I say? Oh, your letter is coming! Just be patient! I´m glad to hear you are still serving the missionsaries! Is it different missionaries every time, maybe one new one to the area and one old one, maybe both new, or maye the same ones from last time? And it´s cool that David talking with them and maybe getting some practice. If you ever have to explain polygamy, use Jacob 2:24-30 with emphasis on verse 30. Anyways... Glad to hear G-ma Pratt is melhorando (improving). Relax Grandma!
Are those houses in the picture you took in your new area or if not, where are they? I think they are houses on the banks of the river, on my journey to Belém.

Where were you going on that boat in the picture you sent? That is a picture of me, on my journey to Belém

Cindy and Andy are wondering if you got any letters from them, yet? Yes, I did get a letter from them, on my journey to Belém, thank you soooo much! It was very nice to hear from them.

Any packages this week and if so, who from? On my journey to Belém, I received a package from G&G Pratt, on my journey to Belém.... Thank you so much, the goodies were excellent! Fantastico!

Dad wants to know what kind of garments you want us to send you and the size.  Do you like the mesh ones?  Are they better in the heat? I don´t like the mesh kind much and the nylon (I think I am using) is doing well. The size.... your guess is as good as mine... on my journey to Belém.

Anyways, I forgot the cord to plug the camera into the computer today, so no pics. But I still love you and wish the best for alls y´alls lá em casa. Have a great week. Have a super awesome 24th EM! Have a belo tranquilo day at the park Toby! And that´s all!

Love Elder Williams!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Week Forty Two - Basketball and Boats

Houses on the trip from Belem.

The boat from Belem.

Tom on the boat from Belem.

Hello Family!
    Glad to hear things are good and the weather is getting better. Ugh, I miss change in seasons. Anyways, my week was okay. I baptized another 8 year old.... yipeee! The young men watched the Avengers in the chapel a few nights ago. I didn´t watch it but I did see a little of the behind the scenes stuff. Egua it looks cool! But, but, but! I have to wait. Some days during the week, we get up at 5:50 to play basketball for an hour at the church, which is always fun. We did it today and I´m exhausted now. We taught a guy this past week the plan of salvation. His sister is a member and her husband to, but they´re not really doing much to help him get baptized, which is kind of annoying. "you have to take it slow with him, maybe one visit during the week." Egua! he´s never going to get baptized at that rate.
       Anyways, when we taught the plan of salvation, we tried to make it as specific and detailed as possible to let him know that God really has a plan, that is not just "baptized, sleep on the clouds, not baptized, cooked in an oven for eternity," but we will all be judged according to EVERYTHING that we did here, and only the people that keep ALL the commandments of God (go to church every Sunday, Em, and stop drinking coffee.... Mom) will have eternal life! I think he actually started to reflect on it, but still did not go to church, DA´GOMMIT!
    So yeah that was my week. Agora, my response to your e-mail. I am almost 90% sure that Vila dos Cabanos is north east of Belém. The boat that we got only goes south, but the road goes north east. When I arrived, I thought the sun was setting in the north. Egua! that was confusing. Don´t worry about sending music. My pen drive screwed itself up somehow. When I try to open it on the computer it says a disc needs to be inserted and I have no options to do anything with it. Sheesh I wanna feel that fall air so bad right now! And that´s high-larry-us that Toby´s day is ruined when he doesn´t go to the park. Man I miss that dog! Anyways, the sad news is very unfortunate to hear. I had a few classes with Brock Butler in high school and he was always very cheery, happy, and friendly, and it´s horrible to hear that he passed away. I didn´t know him very well, but we talked a few times in class and he was a very cool person. Sad news is sad...
You said you got a package last week.... who was it from?  When we send stuff, we are always wondering if you get it or not. The package was from home. It had the letter from David and Landon in it. Mmmm can´t wait for the next one.

Are you still eating rice and beans?  Are they different from area to area? Rice and beans for every day, the more you eat the more... you know the rest, and no, they are the same... everywhere....

We are wondering what "Bible bashing" is that you talked about in your last e-mail. Debating with the bible. "The bible says this!" "No no no, you´re wrong! here it says this!" yeah, that kind of stuff.

How are your shoes holding up? Fine!

If I send new shirts for Christmas and garments, how many do you need? 3 or 4 of each

How's the language coming for you?  Seems like you haven't been too frustrated about it, so hopefully it's easy for you now! I haven´t been practicing much during this transfer. Zone leaders don´t have a whole lot of time, but I think it´s going fine. I usually understand what is said... more or less.
Some houses along the river. A boat... with many cars! ooooOOOooo!  Look! I´m on that boat!
So that´s all for now. I love you all have a nice day and a nice week. Stay safe, be health, make smart choices. Em! you´re birthday letter is coming! but it might be a little late, tá bom? tá! tchau!
Love Elder R. Williams

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Girl's Trip - San Francisco!

The entrance to China Town.

Em at the entrance to China Town.

Em in front of the Heart in Union Square.

Me in front of the same heart.

So, Emilee was supposed to get rewarded for graduating from college, along with David for graduating high school, with a trip.  I booked a trip to Hawaii months before their graduations for this past August.  But then, she ended up getting a job!  That meant she couldn't take any time off work until sometime in December, and therefore, there would be no trip for her!  Then, David decided he would rather go hike The Subway in Zions, than hang around on a beach in Hawaii with his boring and old parents.  The trip to Hawaii was cancelled (which didn't totally break my heart since airfare was looking like about a thousand a person).  David and Dave went off to the Subway and Emilee decided we at least owed her a trip, if only a quick one over a weekend.  I talked her into waiting for Labor Day weekend and she decided she wanted to go to San Francisco, so that's what we did. 

It was actually our second trip to SF and we had so much fun the first time we went, it was a no-brainer to do it again.  I booked the flights and the hotel - the Hilton in downtown SF, where we had stayed the last time.  We left on Friday night, right after Em got off work.  Our flight was delayed an hour, which is exactly what happened the last time, because of fog or weather in SF.  We finally got there at around seven in the evening and took a cab to our hotel.

The hotel had been remodeled and we had a really nice room that there was an extremely long walk to get to.  As soon as we got there, we headed off to get a late dinner and ended up at a little cafe over by Union Square.  It was actually where we ended up getting breakfast each morning and it reminded us of the cafes in Spain, so that was kind of cool.  We basically did three things.... walked, shopped and ate!  Saturday, we spent the entire day shopping or making that first pass of all the stores Em wanted to look in.  Then, she thinks about everything she's seen and we go back later to buy what she decides she wants - that's just how most women shop - it's a process.  We hit all the major stores, one of the big malls, where we had lunch, and then eventually headed back to Union Square where we waited about an hour and a half for dinner at Cheesecake.  It was so good, as usual, so worth the wait.  The next day, we bought tickets for a Hop On Hop Off bus and headed to Fisherman's Warf.  We had lunch there and bought chocolate, of course!  The weather was perfect in about the low 70's and the fog always burned off mid-morning, but rolled back in at night.

While on the bus, we learned a lot about San Francisco, its history and peculiarities.  It's really a beautiful city with a diverse population.  Everyone seemed incredibly nice and helpful in the stores and restaurants.  We both really love it there and can't wait to go back.  I would love to go back with Dave and David, although I'm not sure what they'll do while we shop!  Both times we have been we have had a ton of fun and have created some wonderful mother/daughter memories.  I can't imagine anything I would rather do than spend time with my fun daughter!

Week Forty One - More Baptisms

Mural in Ver-O-Peso
Hello minha querida familia!

Egua! I received a lot of mail this week. I received a package with lots of goodies, which was awesome, a letter from Dad, G&G Williams, my amigão serving in Teresinha Brazil, Elder Petersen, my other amigão David and his amigão Landon L. I really liked the short story that Grandma W. sent me, about a man that translated the BoM to Afrikana or something like that. Just more proof that the BoM truly is ancient records of an ancient people, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that the Church of Jesus Christ is the only  true church in all the world. About a month ago, I read a book called the Day of Defense. It´s about 2 missionaries bible bashing with a bunch of pastors of other religions. It´s really interesting. Everything that these pastors had to say against "the Mormons" was countered with the Bible, and after reading it I just want to Bible bash with tudo mundo. Egua! I need to study the Bible. There is a missionary here that found proof of temple presidents in the Bible, but I forget where. How random is that!

         Anyways... this past week was okay. I baptized another 8 year old.... I guess that´s my duty here, to baptize 8 and 10 year olds. However, it´s still baptism and a soul saved! Wooh HIGH 5! We taught some people that don´t understand anything or want to know the truth. They won´t even ask God in a simple prayer if our message is true because "my pastor said my church is true..." Egua! Everyone says their church is true... frustrating demais! So yeah, that was my week.
          In response to your e-mail, no we didn´t watch the Brigham City temple Dedication. I think general conference is the only thing that is broadcasted world wide. Glad to hear Grandma´s surgery went well and she´s okay. Glad to hear that Dad is such a good nephew, and I hope Uncle Ken gets better soon. I have not heard anything about a postal strike, here. Vila dos Cabanos is kind of in the middle of nowhere, I think, so I won´t hear a lot about anything. Congrats Emmy! you were promoted né? That´s awesome. It´s cool to make people jealous, is it not? Don´t worry about the bad attitude of others. Just remember what the card mom sent me says. "Ancient wisdom tells us that a good attitude can´t solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth it...." or something like that, hehe! I bet you´re makin´ bank now, huh?
 1)I will try to send you some music, but I need to know what format you can listen to?  What do you have to listen to music on?  MP3, i pod, just a computer..... I just wasn't sure what exactly to send you.... sorry! The music I have now, on a pen drive, is in mp3 format. A lot of missionaries have these little speaker boxs that you can put a pen drive in, so I just use that.

2)How are your warts?  Did you go through all of that prescription medication I sent you a while back?
I don´t have any big ones anymore, but I have a few super small ones. Maybe you can send me that wart freezer suff.

3)Did you watch the Brigham City Temple dedication?

4)Did you get any packages or letters last week?
yeah, dude!

Pictures aren´t working very well, I will try to send them in another e-mail. This one here is a painting of a street on a wall, in Ver-o-peso. pretty cool, huh?

Anyways! I love you all and miss you. Thank you for your support and prayers. Have a good week. Tchau!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Week Forty - Frustration and Eating Aligator!

Statue of Jesus calming the storm.

Tom in front of the Valverde.

The coastline....

Hi Family!
      Egua! this week was a little difficult. We had another baptism but we almost didn´t teach anyone the entire week. The most lessons we had per day is 2 when we should be having 5 or so. The people we are teaching just don´t have interest in anything. Ugh, this is frustrating. When I arrive to one of the best areas of the mission, things start to get worse. For some reason it was hard to stay focused on the work. I thought a lot about home and all that I´m missing. I know that I probably can´t do much at home that would be better for me than what I can do here, but I don´t feel like I´m making much more progress....
         Anyways, not a lot happened this week. My companion and I talked about how many missionaries begin to get lazy in their last transfers. Elder Mendonça said that almost all missionaries he has seen in their last transfer don´t do anything. There were 2 missionaries that were in the house I´m in now, this past transfer, which was their last, and they did not do anything, and it was probably the worst case of lazy missionaries my companion has seen. I´m only hoping right now that I don´t end up like that, because when the work gets a little sucky, it´s hard to stay motivated :/ I´m a little sick of writing in my journal because I just seem to be writing the same thing over and over again. "We taught so and so, the lesson went well, we walked a lot, church was cool, but I didn´t listen to anything..... I should scratch that...." and the same thing with e-mail... hrmmm I need something new, something to excite me....
        But yeah, what do I want for Christmas? Ties.... Cheetos.... maybe some new shirts and garments.... some of those little colored mints that look like mini Hershey kisses.... pictures of the family, and of some cool new stuff at home..... a puppy..... yeah, só isso.
1)What is going on with Elder Fox?  Is he going home for good or just temporary? He is leaving Brazil for good. He did something before the mission and never confessed it. It has been bothering him here, prayed about, and decided he should go home. He said he wants to continue his mission but wont be able to here because of the visa.

2)What do you do each day as the companion to the zone leader?  Is it different than before?
It´s not very different. My companion is constantly receiving calls, when we´re walking or teaching, so I try to talk a little to the people while we´re waiting. But I haven´t had to do anything special yet.

3)Is the food any different in your new area or do people kind of eat the same things?  Do you still go to member's homes for lunch each day?
There have been some things added to the usual meal. I think i´m going to eat a lot more fish, and yesterday I ate aligator, which wasn´t very good. I didn´t like it. One guy says the next time we eat at his house, we will have snake. Egua! thats cool. A newbie here, Elder Baldwin ate chameleon this past week and he had to go to the hospital that night, haha.... that makes me a little nervous.

4)Any packages or letters this past week?
no but that´s okay....

Pictures this week: me in front of a boat, a cathedral,  a stretch of the coast, more or less, and a statue of Jesus calming the storm. Cool, huh?
      So that was my week. Egua! 9 months away from home now, that´s pretty cool. Okay, tchau! Love you all, stay safe, get well soon G-ma Pratt!

Love Elder R. Williams