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

Monday, September 10, 2012

Week Thirty Nine - Lots of Baptisms and The Hammock Experience!

The bus stop in his area in Belem.

The inside of a bus - thanks Tommy!

The church Tom attended in Belem.

A cathedral in Ver-O-Peso.
Week thirty nine (WOW!) That's one week from forty weeks, which is 12 weeks from a year - that is so cool!! I am relieved to hear that Tom is in his new area and that he likes it!  His e-mail came really late today, so I had another one of those days where I think the worst - I guess all moms do that.  I am sure Tom is in for a lot of great experiences being with the ZL of his area!

Hello Williams Family!
              I hopes everyone had a good week na semana passada. My week was pretty slow but it was good. My new companion is cool. Elder Mendonça is from Rio de Janeiro. He´s got a lot of time in the mission, já. He gets to return home this next month. I´m his last companion, so I´m gonna be the one to kill him (missionary term, not literally!) This past week was good. It was also a little wacky because I ended up staying an extra day(Tuesday) in Castanheira in a group of 3, Elder Rocha, Elder Ojeda and I, which was interesting. Elder Ojeda has just about the strongest Portuguese accent I´ve ever heard, almost as if he´s Argentina (which he is). It was reeeeeeaallyy difficult to understand him, but he´s cool. But I´m glad to have finally left. The last transfer was definitely not one of the best. My companion and I both waited to see what the other would do, and it was not very productive. But this next transfer should be super good. 
      Tuesday night was the first time I slept in a hammock, which was awful. I had the hardest time sleeping, and a little after I finally get to sleep, someones alarm went off and woke me up. I didn´t want to try going to sleep in the hammock again so I tried putting it on the floor, which was even more uncomfortable, so I set the hammock back up and try to go to sleep. I woke up with a headache, some pain in my back and my legs. That was awful, never again will I sleep on a hammock. Wednesday morning I had to catch a bus to the area of our zone leaders while carrying my suitcase around, which was unbelievably annoying, because we were unable to get a taxi, and that night I got my first boat ride in Brazil, which was only about an hour long, but at night, so I didn´t get any pics. But now, I am in one of the best areas of the mission with baptisms pretty much weekly. Like I said, the area is called Vila dos Cabanos, and it´s quite big, so there are actually three duplas working in the area, Elder Mendonça and I, Elder Puffer and Rivieira, and Elder and Sister Matos, a missionary couple. The members here are cool. One of them says I look like President Scisci, so she calls me Elder Scisci, which is kind of funny and a little annoying. The area is super tranquilo. There´s not nearly as much music constantly blasting out of everyone´s house. This week we already had 2 baptisms. Weekly baptisms are super important to Elder Mendonça because they´ve been having baptisms weekly for 39 weeks now. So one boy, 12 years old, decided to be baptized Saturday evening, about an hour before the baptism of the other, Blenda, who is 15 years old. I also gave my second talk in Portuguese yesterday, which kinda sucked. My voice is too low to talk in a microphone. It´s extremely weird to hear my voice.
         Anyways, today, we took another boat ride to go to the mission office. I wasn´t planning on going because my companion and the other ZL were planning on going alone, but I guess the mish pres thinks its better if I stick with my companion, the ZL, when he goes, which is almost every week. So I´m here in the office, writing my e-mail, speaking with Elder Fox. Unfortunately, he has to go home. He´s been here for 15 days waiting to get a plane ticket to go home, which sucks. He´s pretty much dying here. But yeah, my e-mail is quite long already.
Where is your companion from and how long has he been out?
Rio de Janeiro, 23 months
Do you like the new town you are in as much as Belem?
Yeah I like it a lot. It is a looooot better than the other 2 areas I´ve already been in.
Are there nice beaches close by like it looks like there is on Google Maps?
I haven´t seen any beaches yet.
Where did you get that watch you are wearing in all of your pictures?  I thought you wouldn't wear a wrist watch!
My companion, Elder Rocha, gave it to me. Funny thing, I think in my third transfer, I traded that pocket watch for a shirt from another Elder in my zone, worst friggin trade in my life (almost), so Elder Rocha gave me a watch, which he received from an Elder that already returned home, which he received from an Elder that entered the mission field just a few weeks before me. Kind of funny.... but on Wednesday, I forgot it in the staff house, where the missionaries that are leaving stay.
Is the weather the same as it was in the area you came from?
I think its a little bit hotter, and it didn´t rain during the day at all this past week, so just a little different.... just a little.
Did you take your pillow with you?
I left my pillow for Elder Rocha´s new companion, but we have plenty of pillow´s in our new house, which is awesome. We have one of those electric shower heads, so if I want I can take a hot shower, and we have a washer that works which is even more awesome.
1. The view from the bus stop when we went to ver-o-peso Monday.
2. What the inside of the bus looks like.
3. The capela that I went to every Sunday morning at 8:30.
4. A cathedral, lá em ver-o-peso.
Cool, huh?
Okay that´s my week. I love you all. Have a good week and be careful. I know the church is true, that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and his son Jesus Christ and restored the fulness of the truth!
Tchau Tchau!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Week Thirty Eight - Transfer to Vila dos Cabanos!

Tom looking like Casper!

Claudia, Maria and Tommy!

Tom by the bus.
Tom looking very excited about eating noodles!

I love how each of Tom's e-mails have a little more Portuguese in them every week!  I think he sounds really upbeat and positive - probably excited for a change of scenery.  Can't wait to hear how it all went next week.  
Hi-ya guys!!!
       HOLY FRIGGIN MOLY!.... is what I would say if what I thought would come to pass came to pass.... almost did.... that left me really nervous! This past week was good, I never found me card, but I have one more that I started filling up with pics today. I´m about an hour and a half bus ride away from my area again. We had to come here to Ver-o-peso so Elder Rocha could see the eye doctor again. I think the doctor said today that his left eye is a goner and he has to use glasses so that his left eye doesn´t harm his right... kind of weird... and unfortunate. This past week, a woman we were teaching decided to be baptized next week. The first time we taught her and 2 other woman in the house, I thought it was just about the biggest waste of time. But the next week she went to church, said she felt super good, she went again yesterday, said she felt even better, and now she will be baptized, which is awesome.  And the thing that I thought would come to pass but didn´t come to pass, but almost did.... The transfer is over, probably the fastest 6 weeks of my life. Saturday night we return home in hopes of news of the transfer, but we get nothing. Sunday morning, we get ready for church, receive a call from our DL, Elder K-man, I will be transferred to a zone called Vila dos Cabanos, which is a nice boat ride away from here for I don´t know how much time, and my new companion will be Elder Mandonça. I ask my companion who he is to find out he´s the zone leader of the zone Barcareina, where my last companion, Elder Inácio, went. "My companion is a zone leader?" I ask, Elder Rocha says "I guess so..." Estranho........... a few minutes later I receive a call from the assistants to the president saying I need to call the president at 10:40.... "What the heck is going on..." I say to myself. So in this moment, I´m thinking I was already called to be zone leader which is estranho demais....DEMAIS! So I´m nervous, wondering whats going on, thinking I´m already going to be zone leader, which I don´t want... I call the president 10:40, he says my companion will be zone leader, but I will be a normal companion.... wheewww, that´s relieving. But he said I will have to help him because he will be super busy, being, I think, the only zone leader of the zone. So yeah, that´s the big news. Bacana, né?
            Anyways, yeah that is a huge bummer that I lost my card... never did find it :/ It´s great that people are asking about me. Unfortunately, I don´t remember a whole lot about home, so I have no idea who Jenny Anderson is. But that doesn´t matter, I´M IN BRAZIL!!! Enjoy your last year of school before the mish david! Enjoy San Fran Mommy and Emmy! Enjoy your weekend alone Papai!.... oh wait.... I think that all already happened.... Did you enjoy it!!? good.
Do you not take your camera with you when you go to e-mail on P-days?  Can you get pictures of stuff on your P-days like the streets, stores, your apartment.  We would love to see where you live! I´´ll do that today, seeing that it´s my last here in Castanheira
Any packages or letters last week? no
Do you need new shoes, yet?  Can you use your Visa card to buys some if you do need them? I can buy shoes here if I need them. Don´t worry about me mom, I´m a grown up now! That speaks portuguese! and english!
The first is of Elder Matos, an ex-missionary of curto-prazo (one transfer missionary more or less) in our ward, Elder Harris, he returns to the states tomorrow, lucky guy!, Elder Brito, ex-missionary of curto-prazo starting tomorrow. He lives in my new area. Elder Rocha, my companion of this last transfer. And Gasparzinho (casper the friendly ghost)! The next is of me eating some sketchy looking noodles made by Carla and Samara, the recent converts. The next is of me and 2 members of the ward. Claudia, and her sister Maria. They´re pretty cool. I will probably get more pics with members today. And the last is me at the side of the bus we got today. Jardim Europa or Garden Europe/Europe Garden. Cool, huh?
So yeah that was my week. OH I also bore testimony in the fast and testimony meeting for the first time ever, yesterday. Making progress, now, are we? Para bens Elder Williams! Okay, love you all, have a great week. Tchau Tchau!

Elder Gasparzinho!

Week Thirty Seven - Lost Camera Card - Bummer!

Hi family!

       I´m glad to hear everyone is good at home, Toby´s okay and not lost forever, David´s enjoying school, and it´s just peace and quiet at home. But I bet Toby is awfully bored with no one at home now. This week was okay, until today. We had another zone conference in which an area 70 of Brazil spoke to us, which was cool, and I have now seen all the elders of my district that came to Belém. Elder Hoch has puffy cheeks now which is funny to see. It reminds me of me, when I had me wisdom teeth removed. We had lunch one day with a woman that speaks English, but she talks so formally, it´s quite funny. Yesterday, we had 4 visitors at church. One of them said she liked it a lot, it was very different, she felt very welcomed and..... hopefully she goes next week. And today, we took an hour and a half bus ride to my first area again, so Elder Rocha could see an eye doctor, because he is having problems with his eyes. His right eye is fine, but his left is half way blind. So we arrive here to find that the doctor won´t be here until Wednesday. Well that sucks. So, we decided we´d stay here for half of the day, maybe take some pictures, buy some cool things, but first :E-MAIL! I start typing me e-mail, I get my camera out, look for the memory card that I put in my little missionary guide book only to find that somehow.... it fell out....... GOSH DANGIT!!!!! So, I lost my card, and now I´m not happy at all.......GAAAAAAAHHHHH!
            Anyways.... just Q&A today
If you are getting fat (which I am sure you couldn't possibly be), how are your pants fitting?  Are they still long enough? my pants are doing fine thanks, no problems yet. But they say thank you for worrying about them.

Did you get your PIN # OK in that e-mail I sent?  Have you used your credit card lately? I did get it, thank you very much. I think I will use it to buy new shirts. Mine are not looking good. I think they are rusting.... if it´s possible for shirts to rust.

How are your socks holding up?  I am still looking for ideas of things to send in your Christmas package, so let me know if you could use some new socks pretty soon? My socks are turning purple. I think it´d be a good idea to send more.

Have you heard from Justin or Taylor?  I left a ton of messages for Justin's mom because she wanted your address, but she never called me back. I have not heard nada :/ 

Anyways, I´m upset now. I´m going to go cry on the bus ride home.... Tchau! I love you all, don´t worry about me because I´m fine. 1 more week of the transfer and I think I go to another area.... I´m kind of hoping so, I´m a little sick of this area. Yesterday, we just decided to ask the people with less interest in our message "Is our visit worth it?" they say no and we say Tchau! So we kind of have to start over again. Wish me luck! Tchau!.....Tchau!!!!........TCHAAAAAAAUUUU!

Elder Lose your card!