Monday, April 22, 2013

Week Seventy One - Zone Conference

Zone Conference, April 2013, Santerem, Brazil.

Tom leaving Belem after his visa renewal trip - 2:00am!

Hello Family!

       Nossa! What sad news in the states.... the bad news just keeps coming doesn´t it. But Utah is okay still, right? I´m glad I´m from the Mormon state. And congratulations to Andy for running a friggin marathon! Wow! I hope to do that some day. But my week was okay. We had a zone conference with President Scisci. We had the opportunity to hear him and Sister Scisci, and the assistants. One assistant talked a lot about our attitudes.... it´s all written down but I´m not remembering much of it right now.... but it was good to hear because I´m generally not an optimistic person, so I think I needed that. The rest of the week we just taught and walked.... but the people that we are teaching all seem to be showing a lot of interest in the church. 2 of them went to church yesterday, we would´ve had more but it rained a lot and very hard yesterday. But the 2 that went said they liked the church a lot. My companion gave a talk in sacrament meeting and one of our visitors said she saw a light behind my companion as he bore his testimony. She asked why he was shining and if he had a light behind him and I´m just like.... "I didn´t see nothing..."........ so  my companion must be a pretty miraculous person.... anyways.... I´m hungry and it´s affecting my brain, so nothing else is coming to mind. I think we´ll eat lasagna for lunch at a member´s place today and we´ll play basketball a little later with some elders of the zone.
Did you meet with your mission president this past week?  What did you find out about us coming to pick you up? Nope, we just had a zone conference and he returned to Belém right after, and he hasn´t replied to my e-mail yet either.... so I´m thinking to just forget about it and we can visit Belém next year maybe....

If we come, would we come to Belem?  That's where Joan thinks you will go back to when you are done. Yes, if you come, you´d come to Belém.

Did you buy anything for your birthday, yet?  If so, what did you buy? I bought a shirt and a necklace thingy... but I haven´t gotten a good start yet... just wait for it...

Any packages or letters this past week?  If so, who from? Yes, I got my b-day package. Muito Obrigado Mãe! Lego é bacana demais! And the snacks were delish!

The zone conference with Pres. Scisci and me on the airplane waiting to return to Santarém at 2 in the morning.

And that´s all for this week. I love you all and hope you´re all well. One week down, how many more to go? Less than 52, I know that much. Anyways, Tchau!

Love Elder R. Williams

 One more thing mom! I figured out what those things you sent me are for (holy smokes I´m slow). You know, the memory card and adapter for cellphones or something like that. So I´m using that now, and I´d like you to send me more music again... Josh Groban, Pirates, Lord of the Rings, maybe some more Disney music.... Thanks! Any questions, just ask!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Week Seventy - Another Baptism and Birthdays!

Tom playing some volley ball!

Baptism of Simara while Tom was in Belem.

Baptism of Rafaela, Tom, his companion and the sisters in the ward. 

Hello Family!

       First things first, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! (5 days from now) Nossa! Here comes the Birthday streak. Oh and what´s this?! HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDPA AND GRANDMA PRATT! (if it´s before the next p-day) And I think after that it´s me, right! EGUA! the second birthday in the mission is already chegando! Anyways, my week was good. The Lord blessed me with another baptism, since I wasn´t hear to see the other one. Rafaela was baptized Saturday night and confirmed the next day. Anyways.... I´m late, so I´ll just say congrats to Landon Lambert! Have fun in Arizona! If you get a companion from another country, try to learn his language... anyways.... yeah.
Pic 1. some peeps and I after a game of volley ball. It was fun....... The next is the baptism of Simara, the woman that was baptized while I was away, her son, my companion and his companion. Pic 3. is Rafaela´s baptism, me, my companion, the sisters of the ward, Sister de Lima and Sister Viera dos Santos, and my companions companion again.

Everyone wants to know what kind of Subway sandwich you had at the airport!  And.... if you think Subway is good, just wait till we take you to Blimpie when you get home! I think it was pepperoni with the normal salad stuff and mustard... mmmmm mustard is better than I thought too!

Grandma Marta gave me $100 to put into your account for your birthday.  I want to pay for whatever you want to buy and send home from Brazil - so.... have you done any shopping lately?  You need to get busy, buddy! Okay! I´ll try to buy some stuff today! Thanks Grandma!

You need to let me know, when you talk to your mission president this week, if he is ok with us coming down there to pick you up.  I can start working on visas, but eventually we need to know where you are going to be when you finish in November so we can arrange for a hotel.  So, try to make sure it's OK with your president.  I hear some mission presidents discourage it. I think I´ll talk to him this week... I think.... maybe Wednesday.

Is there anything you need me to send?  I promise, no more snacks!  If you need sunscreen, deodorant, toothpaste... anything you can't get down there, just let me know. I think I´m good for now. I don´t live in the middle of the jungle where almost nothing arrives here..... more or less...

How did the Visa renewal go?  Did you go to the police station there?  Was it scary at all? No, it wasn´t scary. it was normal. They just scanned my thumbs, took a picture, measured my height. I think I´m 6 ft now..... I think... I hope.

Can you please send some pictures?!  We've had quite the dry spell lately... but totally understand!  Just do what you can, but we love getting pictures of you! The pics are there, you´re welcome!

Okay gotta go. I love you all have a great week. Happy birthday denovo to everyone who had or will have a birthday this week, especially Papa. 
Love Elder R. Williams

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Party! A Little Bit of Texas for David!!

The spread and everyone digs in!

Lisa, Joan, Sam and Kate get plates of wonderful food!

Kate, Dave and David.

Lisa's incredible buttermilk and pecan pies!

Grandma, Em and David load up their plates!

Fried pickles and chile rellenos from the Fosters!

Nate and David enjoying dinner!

The flag of Texas!

Andy, Mike and David having a chat. 

Landon and Jeff enjoying the company!

Grandpa, Grandma and Kayleen.

Emilee and David, John in the background!

Reggie, Kate, Cindy, Joan and Lisa deep in conversation!

Sam and Reggie, just hangin' out!

John, Em, David, Dave, Mike, David and Jeff.
On Saturday, April 13th, we had a Texas dinner party at our house for David!  It was the idea of our wonderful neighbors, Andy and Cindy Nielsen!  Andy served his mission in Houston Texas and Cindy served hers in Louisiana, close to where David's mission goes on the eastern part.  The Ferrington's lived in Austin while they were in college and our neighbor, Kris Brower, grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana.  The Fosters also lived in Texas for quite a few years before they moved to Utah and really loved it.  So, the idea was to have everyone bring a traditional dish that is commonly found in Texas.  The food was fantastic!  We had beef brisket, cooked all day, that Andy and Cindy brought.  Joan brought a delicious corn salad with avocados, tomatoes and a honey mustard dressing.  The Fosters completely outdid themselves and brought buttermilk pies, pecan pies, chile rellenos and fried pickles (which were incredibly good - who knew?!)  Kris cooked up a batch of black eye peas and corn bread muffins and sent them over with Andy and Cindy.  Kayleen and John brought seven layer dip and chips.  Grandma Marta made banana pudding, which was a huge hit!  I made oven-baked fried chicken and queso cheese dip.  Everyone came and enjoyed incredible food and David got to see what he's in for down in Texas.  He loves good food and enjoyed all of it!  

Once again, I am completely humbled by the generosity and thoughtfulness of our incredible friends!  They are truly the most amazing people on the planet and come up with the greatest ideas on how to give these missionaries a proper send off!  I can't imagine where we would be today without these friendships.  As we grow older and our children grow up, it is so comforting to know that we have such amazing friends in our neighborhood.  I only hope that we can be as good of friends to them as they are to us!  Love them all!

Week Sixty Nine - Headed Back to Santerem!

Tom is down to eight months left in the mission field!  That makes me absolutely ecstatic!  I have a feeling Tom may be feeling a little different about that!  I am so proud of this kid and how he just goes with the flow, never complaining - that's just Tom!  It's funny how, as your children grow into adults, they exhibit such admirable characteristics that you long to be more like them! I see that with all three of my children - they are my heroes!!
Hello Family Williams!

          My week was okay, despite being in Belém for another week and not being able to work in my actual area. This past week I worked with Elder Cardozo and Elder Scavello, again, in their area. They had a baptism, so congrats to them. But the week was a little bit drawn out, so it´s good news that I return to my area today, on another red eye flight (that´s what they call it right?). Other good news! Simara, a woman that I was teaching in Santarém, before coming to Belém to renew my visa and getting stuck here, was baptized! Woohoo, baptism! I can´t really say much more about it. I just heard from a sister that is serving in the same ward that the batismo foi lindo! (it was beautiful) So I´m really happy to hear that. But that´s about all the news I have.

Pics! pics... again!

What have you been doing all week in Belem? Missionary work. One day, all the missionaries of the Belém Zone went to the area of some sisters to make contacts for them, to help them find new peeps to teach, which went well. Talking to people in the street is easy now.... I just don´t have much will to do it everyday yet. We had a companion exchange one day, and Elder de Lima, the district leader of E. Scavello and Cardozo went to work with us for the day and Cardozo went to his area. Elder de Lima did something really cool, that I hope one day I have the courage to do. He stood up at the front of the bus and told everyone that we are missionaries of the Church of  the Jesus Christ, and that we have an important message that they need to hear. Elder de Lima was trained by Elder Anderson, who was the one of the presidents assistants when I arrived in the mission field, and I´ve heard a lot of cool things about him, so he´s like my missionary hero at the moment and I hope one day I become as courageous as he was (but I better do it fast, I´ve only got about 8 months left in the mission). 
Did you meet with your mission president and did you find out more about your release date? No, not yet. I think the interviews with the president will be on the 16th or 17th of this month, and he still hasn´t responded to the e-mail (but that´s okay because he has the e-mails of about 130 missionaries to read every p-day). And the release date is still 26th of November I think....

Do you still think you want us to try to come pick you up?  If yes, I need to start working on visas for me and Dad. Yes, I do. My mind is set. Come here now! (or 8 months from now).

Where did you watch conference?  What did you think about the announcement of a new temple in Brazil? I watched conference in the chapel of my first area, Arsenal. I got to see some of the peeps from my first area. Most of them didn´t remember my name, but recognized the face. It was interesting to see them and some of the changes that have happened. The kids all look bigger, some families have new babies. It was cool.

What have you been doing about clothes for this past week and a half - are you somewhere with a washer? yes there is a washer here, and a drier (the first i´ve seen since arriving in the field) but it´s horrible, it doesn´t dry anything. So yeah, I´ve just been using the same clothes everyday, but that ends tomorrow.

But okay, that´s all for this week. I love you all. Stay safe. Have a great week. Até o próximo!

Love Elder R. Williams

Monday, April 1, 2013

Week Sixty Eight - Stuck in Belem!

Hello Family!

        I hope you are all well and safe. I´m okay here. I´m in Belém still. We ran into a problem here with my visa. I came to Belém to renew my visa, I guess it only has a duration of a year or so, but I thought it would only take about a day or 2, so I brought no extra clothes with me, and very few supplies. So I arrived here, went to the mission office and the secretaries tell me that I probably won´t be returning to my area until the next Tuesday (tomorrow) because the police station or the guys there or whatever.... are only dealing with visas on Mondays and Tuesdays. Nossa! what luck I have. So we went there on Wednesday, I think, to try and set an appointment, but we learned that Monday (today) and Tuesday (tomorrow) are completely booked, so I will have to wait until the next Monday or Tuesday to renew my visa, staying here one more week, with pretty much nothing. So that kind of sucks.... a lot... My companion has been working alone this whole past week, relying entirely on the members, and if there are no members that can help him, he as to work with other missionaries in there area. But I´m almost certain that we´ll still have a baptism this next Saturday.... but I won´t be there to see it..
      On Tuesday I watched a bunch of missionaries go home because their 2 years was up. My second companion in the field, Elder Inácio, was one of them. The time sure does pass fast. The other Elder Williams was one of them, too, so I will now be Elder Williams instead of R. Williams. I went to the airport to await the arrival of another Elder´s mom, who came to visit Belém, and while we waited, we ate a subway sandwich. Nossa! It was so delicious. I really had no idea what I was missing during my first 19 years of life..... And the rest of the week I just worked a little with the Elders that live in the mission home, in their area, which is a little boring. I learned that a family (a husband and wife that have 3 daughters but they are too young to be baptized) that I taught a little before leaving from my previous area, Paracurí, was baptized in this past transfer, so I´m happy to hear that. But that´s about it for this week.
Did you find anything out abut your Visa's expiration date?  Release date? I learned that the expiration date is Dec. 14th, or so I was told, I don´t know for sure about that... but I think it´s right. My release date in November 26th, so there´s time to make a visit.

Did you get any packages in Belem?  If so, what and from who?  Did you finally get your soccer jersey I sent? Yes I received my packages, one from G&G Pratt, muito obrigado! and the valentine´s package you sent, and the jersey. Muito Obrigado! But I don´t think I want any more packages with treats in them. I think I´ve had enough. But who knows, maybe I won´t be saying that 2 months from here.

Did you do anything special for Easter? Nope! Nada!

Aunt Nancy wanted me to ask if you ever got the puzzle they sent you for Christmas or the journal and letter that Drew sent?  She said that Drew usually doesn't do things like that so it sounds like it was pretty special that he would write you and send you something.  If you can write them to thank them, that would really be nice.  Let me know if you need their address. Yes I did receive them (Nossa! I´m slow), and yes send me their address. I´ll be sure to write thank you note.

Where did you stay when you went back to Belem?  Hopefully, it was someplace nice! The mission home is pretty nice, compared to the other houses of the mission, but it´s not like a hotel or anything....

What's the story about the pop can you sent home?  Does it really say Jesus on the can and is that a popular drink down there?  Funny story.... Dad put the can on the mantle over the fireplace and Friday, he noticed it was gone.  He asked me, David and Em if we did something with it and we all said no.  So he asked Grandma if she had seen it and she said yes, she threw it away!  She thought someone had just left an empty pop can laying around.  Luckily, it was still just in the indoors garbage can and she went and got it out of the garbage! Grandma! Almost threw away my souveneir(sp?), did you!? Why I oughta! (I´m joking!) There´s no story to the can. It just looks cool and has a funny name, Guaraná Jesus! and not a very good flavor. It tastes like cherry cough syrup.

Any more thoughts about us coming to pick you up? I think I changed my mind and want you to come here, but I´m still waiting for an answer from pres. Scisci. I think interviews with him are coming up. If he doesn't say anything in the e-mail, I´ll ask him in the interview.

Pics! No pics again! because I left the cable that connects the camera to the computer in Santarém, sorry! Congrats to Mike and his eternal companion! That´s all for today, have a great week. I love you all and miss you tons. Tchau Tchau!

Love Elder Williams