Thursday, February 21, 2013

David Gets His Call! Texas Dallas Spanish Speaking Mission!

Wow!  Were we ever surprised that David's call came on a Wednesday!  With the holiday, and the volume of mission calls being processed, we were sure it wouldn't come until Thursday or Friday, but we were wrong!  Joan checked our mailbox for us while we were at work and it was there.  I called David and he was a little surprised, too, I think!  We let everyone know that he would open his call at 7:30pm.  David came up with his roommate, Zack and we went to dinner at Dask's for Greek food.  

We had a big crowd over to hear David open the call.  The Watkins, Nielsens, Browers, Fosters, Jon Farrington, Grandma and Grandpa Pratt, Grandma Williams on the phone, David's friends Zack, Andrew, Jake, Cory and Sierra. Mike and Lisa Foster came even though they had just dropped off their son, Nick, at the MTC earlier in the day!  David was nervous and excited - like he had been telling us for a while - it's just about one of the biggest surprises you'll ever have in your life!  He had been hoping for a foreign mission, but was well aware of the possibility he would get called to a mission in the states.  We had talked about it a few times and I kept reminding him that it's not about a geographic location and will end up being about the people and the experiences.  Dallas is a lot different than Salt Lake and he'll experience a different culture than he is used to. Also, learning Spanish will be a skill that will help him the rest of his life.  

So, at seven thirty, he opened the envelope and nervously read the letter.  "Dear Elder Williams, You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  You are assigned to labor in the Texas Dallas Mission.  It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 24 months.  You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, May 15, 2013.  You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Spanish language."

The anticipated envelope!

The crowd!

Grandma, David, Jake and Jon.

David, Cory, Jake, Rachel, Joan and Cindy.

David texting someone.

Rachel, Lisa, Cindy, Kris, John, Landon and Mike.

Dave, Sierra, Cory and Grandpa.

Opening the envelope!

Reading the call!

David's friends.

The letter and the map of the Texas Dallas mission!
Surprise!  Texas!  Nobody guessed Texas!  Andy served in Houston, Texas and loved it.  David's cousin, Michael, served in McAllen, Texas and loved it.  I am sure that David will come to love the people of Texas and the state of Texas after serving his mission there for two years.  He will learn to speak Spanish and will come to know and love a new culture of people.  I am sure these experiences will become invaluable for David as he grows and matures.  We are so excited for him to start this new chapter of his life that he has, for so long, anticipated.  David has watched and envied Tom while he has been in Brazil and just can't wait to experience it all for himself.  I am so proud of David and of the fine young man he has grown into.  He is one of the most intelligent, considerate and thoughtful people I know and I know the mission experience will just add to his already amazing personality!  We can't wait to share this journey with you, buddy!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Week Sixty Two - Baptism in Paracuri, Finally!

Carol, Valter, Tom and Bishop Marcio in Paracuri.

Hellooooo Mommy! and whoever else might be reading!
What a quick week... WHAT A QUICK TRANSFER! Acabou já!? Egua! Well, our week here went really well. It was easily the best week I´ve had since I arrived here in Paracurí. We did end up having a baptism, finally!!1 FINALLY! Egua! if we didn´t have a baptism I would not be happy. I would´ve passed through Paracurí without doing anything significant! (because I learned about the transfer yesterday, and I´m already heading out to another part of Pará which is super long from here) But this week was good. We taught and baptized Carol, who is the wife of a member here, Valter. I was thinking it would be difficult for her to follow through with her decision to be baptized, because her father is the pastor of the church Assembly of God and they don´t like Mormons much, but she did it, and now she seems completely converted to the church. It doesn´t seem like she has a testimony of the church yet, but she believes Pres. Tom Monson is a prophet of God, so that was good enough for her to be baptized, but she also comprehends the commandments very well, so I think she´ll stay firme e forte in the church.. Egua! I´ve been praying since the second week of the transfer to have at least one baptism while I´m here in Paracurí and eeesh it was difficult. But this baptism was very satisfying. So.... I know that Pai Celestial answers prayers! EEsh! what a fight.

So that´s the first big news. The other big news is that I´m being transferred já... :( Booooo! And I´m going to a city called Santarém, which is about an hour plane ride and a 15 hour boat ride from here, I think. Our neighbor said it can take up to 4 days to get there from here (I think that´s if you don´t get a plane). So I´m going far far away, and I think receiving any letter or package will be very very slow. I think I´ll be spending maybe 2 days in the staff house, here in Belém, before getting the plane, so maybe I´ll get my valentine´s package before going, but if not, I don´t think I´ll get it until a few months from now. But I was hoping to stay at least one more transfer here in Paracurí. Elder Gonzalez was probably my favorite companion that I´ve had so far, and I´m going to miss him. The funny thing is, for him, in his last area his companion was Elder F. Lopes. Elder Gonzalez came to my area, and in this next transfer, Elder F. Lopes will be taking my place here. So he will be companions with Elder F. Lopes 2 times, which is funny. Anyways, the mission is passing fast, and being that my next area is super far away, I´ll probably spend a good amount of time there, maybe, and I think I´ll only have 2 or 3 more areas in my mission (probably 3). AAAgghhh! está acabando!

But anyways.... Q&A
Did you get any packages or letters this past week - if so, who from? Nope, and I´m not expecting any more for a while, but don´t worry I don´t think I need much more letters. I´m very grateful for all the letters and packages and support and love I have already received, but it won´t kill me if I don´t receive any more of that stuff.

Did you get transferred? If you did, where are you now and do you like your companion? Yes, I´m going to Santarém, I don´t know who my companion is yet, I think they forgot to tell me.

Ok, here's a big question for you to think about - do you want Dad and me to come down there and pick you up when your mission is over? We have been talking about it and at first we were thinking it would be really hard to come down there right before Christmas and that maybe you would just want to hurry and get on a plane and come home for Christmas. Then, we started thinking about how cool it would be to see the area you served in and maybe meet some of the people you have gotten to know. We were thinking we could maybe even make it kind of a short trip, like maybe five or six days, total and then we would be home for Christmas, hopefully. I don't think Em could get off work, so it would just be Dad and I and we can't leave Em home for Christmas alone. It's just hard to decide what to do, so we want you to tell us what you are thinking as far as that goes. Don't feel bad if you just want to come home - we can always try to go back in a year or two. But, if you feel strongly about having us come down, then I probably need to start working on Visas and planning. So, that's the big question for this week!..... hrrmmm! That´s a tough one. I´ll be thinking about it this week, especially while I´m on my long trip to Santarém, and I´ll give an answer next week. okay!? okay....
Pics! Our baptism this week. Carol on the left, her husband Valter, who baptized her, me, my companion in the other photo so that you can know what he looks like, and the bishop, Bishop Marcio.
So I guess that´s it. I´ll get some super cool pics while I´m traveling to my new area. Wish me luck and pray for me. I heard that the trips can be a little risky (piranhas!) I love you all. Have a great week. Stay safe, and I´ll talk to yas some more next week.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Week Sixty One - Argentinian Justin!

Raining in Paracuri.

More rain outside Tom's window.

Christmas party at member's home.
Hello to everyone at home!

       This week was okay. I still don´t have a lot to say. I think I´m just awful at explaining things, and a little bit lazy. Anyways, I think things are still improving here. We´re still teaching people with little interest, but I think with one of them, Cris, the sister of a member here, she´s beginning to show more interest. We´re not really teaching her a lot of the actual lessons that we normally teach, but we are trying to figure out what her problem is, which is difficult. But, we´re getting closer.... So, apparently, this next week we´ll have a baptism. A woman that we weren´t even teaching decided that she wanted to be baptized. She´s the wife of a member here, and the bishop of the ward went to their place yesterday after church, because they didn´t go, and I guess the bishop said some pretty miraculous words and challenged her to be baptized, and it seems as though she accepted. So we´ll be going there to teach her this week. I just hope that everything goes well because she´s bipolar and at times she´s not in a good mood. So wish us luck.
      Anyways, things with my companion are still going well. He´s probably one of my best companions yet. There was one day, we were talking a little, and I was looking at him, and I thought I saw Justin for a moment..... funny... I think Elder Gonzalez is the Argentinian Justin.... but yeah that´s pretty much it for this week...
Did you get the flashlight from Pat Wilkins? Yes, I did! sorry I didn´t mention that. I got the money too, muito obrigado Sister Wilkins! I´ll be sure to write letters to everyone that sent me something, now, rapidinho!

Any packages or letters this past week, if so, who from? I received a letter from Grandma Williams! Muito Obrigado Vavó Williams!

Are you still writing in your journal everyday?  David asked for a journal for Christmas and he has already started writing in it.  He says he has only missed one day since Christmas! I´m trying, but it´s being a little difficult... I´m trying, okay!?

Do you use that Dry Sac that you took with you?  Just wondering if it works or you would recommend one in case David goes to a humid, rainy place. Yeah I still use it. I think it works well, but everyone else here just uses plastic bags, so I wouldn´t worry so much about it.

How do you take water with you each day?  Do you still use a filtered water bottle?  I hope you are drinking plenty of water! No, I usually just ask for water from the members here. But don´t worry I´m drinking bastante!
     So the pics this week are !. The rainstorm we waited in.  A little Christmas party at a members house that live below us. The view (maybe the 2nd and if so sorry) outside of our window.
      Being, maybe, this week my last here in Paracurí, I´ll be sure to take a lot more pics. Okay!? Well that´s about all for this week. Happy Valentine´s day everyone! Have a great week. I love you all, stay safe and I´ll have some better stories next week, maybe baptismo!!!

Love Elder R. Williams

Monday, February 4, 2013

Week Sixty - A Better Week!

Picture taken off of facebook (since Tom won't send any home!)

Hey Guys, whats up!

        So my week was better.  We had a little companion exchange with the assistants of the president. One, Elder Anderson, came to our zone with another, Elder Neres, while the other assistant went to another area. I was companions with Elder Neres for these past few days. He´s pretty cool. He´s super new in the mission, he arrived in the field at the end of November. When he teaches, he sounds like a narrator, which is funny. My companion went with Elder Anderson, and they basically just burned everyone for being so lazy and slow to progress. Elder Neres almost doesn´t say anything, and being that I talk very little, I had to think of questions to ask him while walking, but thinking of questions to ask after the second day was difficult. Anyways. still no baptisms, but I think things are getting better. We´re moving along a little bit faster.
      Hey! January is already over!? I never will have another January in the mission.... that saddens me. Congrats to Landon and Clayton! Egua! Bangkok! EGUA! RUSSIA! You guys will like the mission. What more can I say? OOOH DAVID! I´M EXCITED FOR YOU TOO! I don´t mind waiting if you really want to make me. I´m still trying to write a letter to you but I´m having difficulty thinking of the right thing to say. Just wait a little longer it will come! Hey! I heard this past Sunday was super bowl Sunday! Who won?
Do you eat a lot of Acai?  Some missionary mom's on the Belem facebook page were talking about how much of that their son's eat and how much weight they have put on since starting their mission. I eat it when it is given to me. I ate açai today. We had lunch at someone´s house today and they gave us açai.... mmmmmmmmm bom demais!

Do you think you are still putting on weight? I think not. I stopped at almost 65 kilos and it´s been that way since 6 months in the mission.

Do you know an Elder Hoch?  I think you were in the MTC with him and he looks familiar - like you have sent home pictures with him?  His mom posts a lot of pictures on facebook. Yeah I know him, he was my district leader in the MTC. He´s pretty cool. I miss the elders from my mtc district.

When I send your jersey (probably tomorrow) do you need anything else like toothpaste, sunscreen, etc? Nope, nothing, just that shirt. Hey I bought a box to send stuff home in. I just need to find stuff to buy for yas. Let me know if you want a specific something.

Have you had to buy new shoes, yet?  You better not be wearing holey shoes around! I´m thinking about buying new shoes. But don´t send any, or you´ll get them right back. I´m a big boy now, I can buy my own shoes... while speaking Portuguese!

Okay, that's all for this week. I didn´t bring my camera with me today because I don´t have a lot of new pics to share. I´ll get a pic of my companion and I one day... just wait one more week, okay? Anyways, I love you all. Thanks for all your support and love. OOOOh I can almost start counting the time down on my fingers! Anyways, until next week. Tchau! Tchau! The church (of Jesus Christ) is true!

Elder R. Williams