Monday, December 26, 2011

Follow the promptings...

What a slow week. We did a lot of work with helping to find people to help fellowship investigators and to help us get things done but all of our investigators decide that this week was too busy for them and that they needed to cancel or to reschedule for another time after the holidays.  It was so sad.
This week though I had a cool inspirational testimony builder.  So we have this lady we know, who was less active and now is back in church every week and has a calling.  Her 2 daughters are not members and neither is her husband but all 3 of them sort of investigate the church.  We go over once or twice a week to teach them and read scriptures with them.  Every day we do she asks us if we found a bunk bed for her.  She asked us a few weeks ago to help her find one because her 4 year old and her 10 year old share a bed that sits on the ground.  We totally slacked off on it every week and forgot. 
The other day we were having dinner with this really nice family.  We shared a scripture and were talking about faith and how we can build our own.  Somehow the thought kind of popped into my mind to ask if they had a bunk bed.  I ignored it and kept teaching because I thought that wasn't the right time.  Apparently Elder Gomes got the same thought but he decided to ask!  They didn't have one... but they said Deseret Industries (DI) might.  It was the day before Christmas Eve and they thought that it might have closed already.  They called and DI was open and had one.  The family thought it was a reasonable price and wanted to go buy it for the family if we would bring it to them in our truck.  The family wanted it to be an anonymous gift.  They told us that they had been looking for a family that they could help out this time of year and be generous.  I thought that this family was so nice to a family they don't even know!  Well, we get to DI and she spent $600 on a brand new bunk bed, mattresses and new sheets for this family.  I was so grateful for their generosity and we continually thanked them because she wouldn't let us keep asking around so she didn't have to pay so much.  She told us it was no problem.  When we dropped off the bunk bed the family was over joyous with our find for them and they said it made their Christmas because they didn't have a lot to give the kids.  Their little 4 year old boy was jumping around the house yelling "I get my own BED! I get my own BED!" It was so cute.  I realized that day that Christmas time really is when people open their hearts to others and want to give to those in need.  I also know that the spirit prompted us to ask for the bed, and when we did we were blessed for following that prompting.

Christmas was great.  We had a wonderful evening on Christmas Eve with our area missionaries and the mission President.  We were each given a nice bag with a couple of ties in them, 4-5 gift cards to stores and restaurants in our area, a Tide to go pen and a few other  small things.  These were all donated by members in our mission, we are extremely grateful for this mission.  We received our letters from our parents and we got to choose to watch either "Polar Express" or "It's a Wonderful Life."  I chose Polar Express. :) 

Thank you to all of you who sent me a card or a little something.  I appreciate it so much.  It has helped me a great deal to know I have so much support at home.  I wish I could write you each a letter personally back but I don't have time. :(

Elder Willis

We were able to talk with Brian Christmas morning!  He sounds wonderful.  He has been truly blessed on his mission and watched over by many of the various ward members they come in contact with.  He was scheduled to have 2 brunches and ward member homes, an early dinner at the mission presidents home and a dinner with another family that evening.  All those meals along with the stops they made with other families during the day.  He and Elder Gomes were quite full and sent home with lots of food.  

It was hard not to have him home this year for the holidays but we know he is doing what he should be at this time in his life.  He had been given permission to visit the Walter's home on Christmas day.  Since they just moved from up here to Utah, and in his mission area, we were very excited that he would get to see someone he knew during this first Christmas away from home.  We are so blessed with the friends we have.

Many thanks to the Walters family for opening up their home to Brian and his companion! And a special thanks to Michelle for giving him a mother's hug that I wasn't able to this year.

Becki and Brian

Monday, December 19, 2011

So very exciting!

So this past week has been pretty swell.  We found a few new investigators.

I have this cool story, 6 months ago missionaries were teaching this family.  The mom was less active the daughters were not members and dad was not interested at all.  They taught lessons out on their front lawn because he didn’t like them being there.  Now the mom has a calling in primary and both daughters are being taught discussions when I got here.  Last week we went to teach them and found out one that daughter wasn’t home and one was sick so we thought we were just going to teach mom but were we wrong! The dad was like “hold on guys and I will join you” and sat in the lesson with us and told us to come back again!  I know the Lord prepares people and he does it in his own time and works with them!  He had some good questions and we definitely made him think when we asked him what he thought his purpose in life was.  He was funny though, he told us he didn’t want to commit to anything yet till he knows more and thinks because church always happens to be in the middle of football.

Another extremely cool story from this week is that last week we were told that a General Authority was coming to speak in this one ward so we should show up.  We were bummed because we had to teach a primary lesson at that time, but we made it happen, like always.  We showed up half way through sacrament meeting and lo and behold it was not a general authority... but an Apostle!  L. Tom Perry was in the ward! Wooo whoo! So we were excited.  Afterwards, we got to talk to him!  And then he taught Priesthood.  He was good.  One thing that really stuck with me that he said was that the reason we have so many people in the church who go less active and don’t become elders is because the Aaronic priesthood leaders don't teach the blessings of holding it well enough.  If they taught the blessings of it and taught the importance and power of it then people as young as 13 and 14 would be striving mightily to uphold their duties to be able to be worthy of it.  I thought that was bold and powerful. 

So this week it has been so cold, but we have been getting work done and have 2 new people we are teaching tonight, I am excited for that.  Christmas is in 6 days and I have mixed emotions about that. 

I love and miss you guys!

Elder Willis

Brian sent home some pictures of where he is living right now.  He and his companion have an apartment in the home of a member in their area.

Their little Christmas tree

The living room
 The office for studying

The bedroom.  I am curious if he cleaned his side and made his bed for the benefit of the picture.  :)

We are very excited to hear from him on Christmas Day.  We are especially thankful for our friends, the Walters.  Brian has received permission from his mission President to stop by and see them on Christmas Day.  It has been a emotional holiday season witout him here and knowing he will feel the love of good friends that day will make it that much better for our family. 
We hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!  We also want those to know that have posted comments here and on Facebook, we include them in our weekly letters to Brian so he knows how much support he has from home.
We feel so blessed with the family and friends we have and especially for having the church and Savior in our lives each day.  We hope you and your family are feeling his blessings at this time of year and all the year through.

Brian and Becki and Zack

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sick, Temple, Tours and Ice Cream!

This week was a slower week again.  I learned this week how miserable it is to be a sick missionary.  You can’t do anything!  On Friday I felt fine in the morning.  Then around 10 I started feeling iffy, then around noon it went down hill.  I don’t know if it was food poisoning from the night before or if it was a one day thing or what but it was bad.  I was in bed all day with different missionaries watching me at different times while my companion did his best to make all of our appointments.  I felt so bad, and it wasn’t fun for either of us.

Other than that though my week was good.  I got to go to the Salt Lake Temple on Thursday. I got to get a little tour of a back room.  Then we got a tour of the church museum which was interesting and more interesting is the fact that I had never done it before and it was across the street from me for a while when I lived at LDSBC. Then we got to go to the church office building for lunch which was paid for, for us and we feasted.  Then we got to take a tour to the top of the office building to the 26th floor and look our the observation deck.  It was so sweet! 

I also spoke in church yesterday, which was exciting.  I was sort of nervous.  There was an Elder who is getting ready to leave on Wednesday and had his farewell.  He is Tongan so it was packed, including the entire gym.  I had 1 investigator there though and 2 less active families we are teaching there also, which is good.  I spoke on missionary work and how it was such an amazing experience to get to work with members here, whether they are active and we work with them to fellowship people or to get referrals or that they are less active and need help coming back or any sort of problem.  This week I have been trying to find people around us that really need a little extra love or help this holiday season.  That’s what missionaries do right?  I encourage all of you reading this to try and do the same, surely there is someone who needs you and if you pray about it I know you will find someone or the Lord will put someone in your path if you open your heart.  Lift those around you up, and as you do they will lift you up as well.  I know that it will be hard this time of year to get all the things done you need to and to help those that need it most but as you try to do it I know you will be blessed for your efforts and help to do the Lords work.

One cool family I saw this week is so nice to us.  Last weekend we met him and he told us to come over whenever we wanted because he would give us food or ice cream or whatever we needed.  We though,t well we are in the area, he said ice cream and he might have a referral for us so lets go there and see what happens.  We think ice cream like he is going to give us a scoop in a bowl or something.  We were wrong.  We get there and he and his 2 kids bring us downstairs to his theater room, coolest room ever!  They have a projector with a pull down screen out of the wall, Ping pong table, and a little kitchen!  He pulls out like 9 different flavors of ice cream asked us if we want a banana split or milk shake or malt or scoops or what!  He has two restaurant style milk shake machines and a pop corn machine too!  He was so nice to us!  He told us to come back whenever we had one of the "wow its a long day I just need a milk shake" kind of moods.  Which as missionaries we don’t want to go there too much unless we have a need but still I love this guy already.  He told us to come by on Christmas too! :) Families here are so nice and always care about missionaries, or maybe it is just more noticeable when you have more members.  He ended up giving us a referral though too so it worked out perfect.

Well I love you guys, and miss all of you!  It will be hard to make it through this first holiday season without you but as I do, I know each of us will be blessed. 

Elder Willis

Monday, December 5, 2011

District Leader companion and door shut on us...

This has been a rough week, we had 10 lessons and then a few with less active members but still not like 2 weeks ago.  We are also struggling to find God's Elect children that we can teach.  We found no new investigators this week and I feel like we should have.  We are going to strive this week to find more and to work as hard as we can.  So I didn’t get transferred!   Elder Gomes though became District Leader, which means I am a District Leader companion.  I don’t quite know what that entails right now other than to help him plan our district meeting and teach our district.  I know it means I will be going on a lot of exchanges with the elders in our district and with the zone leaders.  It’s more work but I feel like as a companionship we can handle it.  We also have a new elder in our district he in newer than I am, woohoo!  He is really great though and went to culinary school before he came out so he cooks pretty well. 

This week we have gone to so many Christmas parties, we went to 2 on Friday, 2 on Saturday and to a wedding reception.  We got fed well this weekend.  I am having so much fun too. 

We went tracking this week, and I got my first door slammed into our face.  She was like hold on one sec, and then when she opened the door she looked at us and said "I TOLD YOU GUYS NEVER TO COME HERE AGAIN DON’T YOU EVER LISTEN?! NOW DON’T COME BACK!" and slammed the door.  It was sad.  We walked away and kept knocking but we got this prompting to go back and to knock again to say sorry and that we will make sure no one knocks again.  I was a little nervous to follow this prompting, but we did and rang her door bell.  She didn’t answer the door that time though.

Yesterday we went to the Portuguese Ward, and I had to sit with the headphones and have the translator talk to me because I didn’t understand anyone’s testimony except the little boy who bore it in English J  but that was our only one.  We taught primary and that was really enjoyable and then we taught a combines relief society and elders quorum.  It was so cool!  We went to them and they each had a new Book of Mormon and a marking pencil.  We taught a scripture chain of frequently asked questions by BYU non members and had each member mark that scripture and then write the next scripture in the column and then kept going.  At the end we had them write their testimony in the front cover and the reference to the first scripture.  They did this for us as missionaries to hand out in the community.  That would be a cool idea for our missionaries in our ward.  It was cool because it’s the time of year to share with others what has blessed our lives and that can really help!

A testimony builder I had this week was that one of our investigators, Lori, who grew up with no belief in God.  She grew up with Buddhist beliefs but didn't practice it, and she is a nurse at a hospital.  She told us about how when she is having a rough day at work she goes to the serenity room and prays she gets a calm feeling and the rest of her day goes smoothly.  She told us that "I think that is that Holy Spirit you were talking about" and she recognizes the Holy Ghost in her life! I am so glad she knows!!! It’s so cool to watch her progress and change.  So last Sunday she told us she would be baptized when she is ready but not yet.  This week we got a text message from her saying she wants to be baptized on Christmas or New Years day.  I was so excited because that's huge for her. I am so excited for her baptism too that will be the coolest present to give, a truly White Christmas.

Well I love you all and hope you’re doing well.  I would love to hear from you if you want to write me! If I find time I will write you back.

Elder Willis

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


If you'd like to mail Elder Willis a letter of encouragement or Christmas card his address is

Elder Brian Willis
Utah SLC South Mission
8060 South 615 East
Sandy, UT 84070

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 28, 2011

I was adopted this week!

So this week was quite fun!  Tuesday we were out contacting a few referrals we got on the previous Saturday that we hadn't been able to get a hold of yet, and we saw this teenage boy.  We talked to him and he was excited to see us. I asked his name and he said it was Blake.  He told us of his Grandma who recently had a heart attack and was living with them. He told us to come see his grandma because she had read the Book of Mormon 98 times!  Well ok the story gets better… we get there and she says her name is Sister Rawlings and she has been on 3 missions and that when she was 30 The Book of Mormon came to her in a dream and that No One can tell her it isn't true because she knows for a fact it is.  She is so kind and says that she is living with her daughter and her kids till she gets better.  She told us her daughter’s last name and I thought to myself that I had heard it before.  I look in the back of my planner where I have the referral list and in it I have written down her name and next to it, less active.  I know that the Lord put them in our path on Tuesday because they need us that much.  I felt bad for not being able to have the time to contact them any earlier and wished I had.  Sister Rawlings said she loved us and wanted us to come back whenever we could, she told me that I should call her Grandma Rawlings because she wanted to adopt me, so now I call her grandma.  Another great grandma to add to my list of already amazing ones. 

So the story gets better too! We go back on Friday and find out that Blake has an incredible story to tell, but his mom tells us because he wasn't there.  We had just stopped by to tell her that we got someone to bring her the sacrament that next Sunday.  So his mom told us that he had anxiety and that he used to fall into temptation and used to go to parties and sneak out and drink and stuff, and that one day 4 months ago he was at a party and called her and told her he was coming home (he had told her from the beginning that he was at a friends watching a movie).  She said ok and asked if he needed to be picked up and he said no but she needed to open the apartment gate when he buzzed in.  When they got to the gate and she didn't answer the gate the driver got inpatient and turned around and left.  Blake was starting to have a panic attack and said he needed to get out but the driver wouldn't pull over, so he hopped out the door of the moving car and hit his head on the ground and was in a coma for 2 days.  The doctors said he wouldn't survive and wouldn't be alive very long even if he did pull through.  Now he is alive and well and turning his life around.  He found new friends and doesn't do any of that anymore, he sees what happened as a life changing moment and realized that his friends were going no where and that he didn't want to be around them anymore when they made bad choices.  He is doing great now.  We are planning on going back and are going to be there to support him along the way.  I love this kid, we gave him hugs before we left and he had a smile on his face knowing he made 2 new friends. 

Thanksgiving was good too!  Although I was in a food coma for the next day and a half because I had dinner at 3 houses, way too much food!  But it was good, I missed spending time with the family but I know that you guys had a good one at home. 

We had 2 baptisms this weekend, and one of them I confirmed her a member of the church, it was a cool experience!  I love all the people here and getting to teach them about the Gospel. 

I hope you are all doing well at home! :) I miss you guys and am excited to see what happens this week. 

Elder Willis

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Baptisms November 19

Short but Sweet

So this week
has been a full week. We taught 18 lessons with members present! :) And
then 3 lessons to recent converts and less active. That’s 21
lessons! We had 5 baptisms! One of
which I baptized.
So in this long week I accomplished a lot. We started teaching
girl. Her names Alicia, she loves learning about the gospel and has been
going to church for a few months. She is getting baptized this
weekend. We are also planning on another baptism this weekend. Last night we got a call from someone in a
ward that said they had a child who wanted to be baptized because they couldn’t
find her records. It is sad that they lost them, but it’s all good.
We taught a lot this week but nothing seems to stand out to me other than me
getting to baptize Aaliyah. She was sooo happy! :) I also got to do
an exchange on Saturday and go with Elder Armstrong and Sullins. They are
so funny and fun to work with. Elder Gomes went to the temple so I was
with them.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Long Days...Short weeks - Nov 14th

Wow it is already Monday.  It seems like this last week flew by.  But that’s what happens I guess when you teach a bunch of lessons.  This past week we taught 14 lessons with members present.  1 less than last week but we taught a few lessons to kids who were 7 or 8 that we don’t get to count cause they are in a family who is active in the church, so in all we taught more lessons than last week.  We didn’t have a baptism this weekend but next weekend we have a family of 3 and then another family of 2! YAYYYY!!!! That’s 5 baptisms!  I counted up last night how many lessons I have taught over the 3 weeks I have been here and its around 51.... crazy!! 

We were able to teach the investigator we met last week in a sacrament meeting.  It was great!  She understood what missionaries did and what our purpose was.  I asked her if she would be baptized and she said “Yes” without hesitation.  Then I asked her if she would prepare herself for Nov. 26th and she was surprised I said a date so quick, but she said yes!  Whoo hoo!  I'm so excited! 

On Wednesday we had dinner at this family’s house and they reminded me so much of you guys!  The wife was just like you mom! So kind and the dad is funny like dad!  It was nice to meet them.  Then on Thursday we had dinner at a couple’s house who just got back 3 or 4 months ago from serving a senior mission.  He was a mission president, I got nervous!  Then we asked if there was a time we could have our companionship study at their house so we could do some Role-Plays of teaching lessons with them and they said yes anytime they would love it!  That’s going to be my secret weapon to becoming a fabulous missionary, everyone in our mission will wonder how we got so good!  Elder Gomes said that he reminded him of our mission president, which is good because then we will be the best teachers in our mission!  Then Friday I had dinner at the Metcalfs! They moved from Seattle like 10 years ago!  They used to live by UW!  Crazy!  They know the Nelson's too!!!!! We talked about Luke and then because she is good friends with Julie Nelson, so she said she was going to email her and tell her about meeting me!

We started teaching this boy who is 7 this week, his names Peyton.  He is autistic also.  The Lord keeps putting them in my path!  And he is so funny!  He knows so much about church already but learns better in a quiet 1 on 1 environment so we are teaching him so he can be baptized either next month or in January for his birthday.  Here they do it differently since they have so many kids that get baptized each month.  The stake holds one day a month where the kids who will be baptized that month all do it on Saturday morning together one after another. 

Last week they started playing Christmas Music on Tuesday the 1st of November here!!!! :) It is great because they play it all day everyday on this radio station so we listen to it all the time in the car.  I am on a hunt today for Eggnog!  That’s my goal at the store today to find! I love Christmas time!  And it’s not even Thanksgiving yet.

This week we were on our way to our Zone Conference with about 1/4 of the missionaries in our mission.  We were stopped at a red light, and a lady rear ended us.  We were stopped for a good 30 seconds.  Luckily she only hit our trailer hitch and left a tiny scrape on one side of our bumper.  She felt bad but it was broad day light out!  We didn't get hurt though which is good!  It felt like she stepped on the break but not hard enough so she just hit us going maybe 5 to 10 miles an hour.  I was frustrated though because our mission vehicle guy wasn't answering his phone and so we got her info and left because we were going to be late and we called our District leaders and they told the Zone leaders who told the President.  So he asked us if we were ok in front of everyone!  I was embarrassed even though it wasn't our fault at all.  Utah Drivers... J

This week flew by and it’s weird to think I have been gone 6, almost 7 weeks.  That’s so fast!  I love and miss you guys.  I think about you all the time and hope you’re doing well.


Elder Willis

Quote of the week:  Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning to dance in the rain!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Oct 31 - Nov 6

So this week has been a full week.  We taught 15 lessons with members present, that’s 6 away from the standard of excellence in PMG (Preach My Gospel).  Each week we get closer and closer to that goal.  We also had a baptism for Sammy, he is 10 and such a smart little boy! We also have 6 investigators with baptism dates and 10 of our investigators were at church!!!! This area is incredible!!!  We had a goal of having 7 investigators that were progressing towards baptism, and we currently have 8! YAY!

So this week had a mission conference on Halloween.  Elder Alan came and talked to us! He gave a good talk to us!  He told us about how we can always teach more lessons and better lessons, so true!  We need to be Preach My Gospel Missionaries so that we can teach with the Spirit.  Everything anyone could ever really ask, there in an answer in that book, its crazy but so true! 

We taught the autistic boy again this week and it was so cool! He is smart and remembers like everything we tell him!! It’s so neat to watch how the Lord prepares his children.

We have an investigator who grew up Buddhist and she didn’t believe in God or Jesus or anything.  She had no concept of the Bible or anything.  She is dating a return missionary and we taught her this week.  Elder Gomes told me to be prepared because she asks really deep questions that he usually doesn’t have an answer too and that he has to rely on a scripture or something.  She did ask deep questions but I told her my best answer followed by a scripture and I bore my testimony a few times on different things and she was like... wow that makes sense.  She works at a hospital.  I don’t know what she does but she said she often goes to the serenity room and prays during her shift when she gets a second and it ALWAYS makes her feel calm and have a peaceful and a smoother rest of the day.  We talked about the Holy Ghost and how if she is baptized she gets that gift and she said "Oh that must be what I feel."  YES!  I just shouted it in my mind though and was like yeah you’re so right.

We also have another investigator.  He is 16 and is Filipino.  He is like me, Filipino mom and white dad! :)  He believed in what we said and wanted to learn more, when we got him to the baptism of another one of our investigators he said he knew what he was doing was right and wanted to be baptized!  It was so incredible!  Every day I find something new that puts a smile on my face!  

The other day we had a district meeting and one of the sisters gave me a quote I thought about all week. "If you always do what you always have done. Then you always get what you always have got." I thought about it all week as I try to improve myself to become a better missionary and help others to learn about God and Jesus Christ.  I love getting to serve the Lord and help bring others unto him. 

Another thing I got from someone bearing their testimony yesterday in sacrament meeting was "Sometimes when it rains it pours. And in that time of need you’ve got to have a umbrella to rely on"  That’s not exactly what she said, it’s what I put together in my mind though and thought about.  It is so true though, when something small goes wrong it seems that everything else falls apart then and that’s the time you need to be able to rely on your Father in Heaven for that comfort when no one else is there to help you.

Yesterday we went to 4 sacrament meetings.  Then we got a text that said there was an investigator at another ward so we hurried over there.  We sat there and got up and bore our testimonies.  After sacrament meeting we were talking with members and she came up to us.  This is what she said to me "Hi, I'm an investigator, I haven’t taken any lessons but want to meet with you."  I was like WHOA!  Ok, let’s go!  Her boyfriend is on a mission but she wants to get married in the temple when he gets home so if she gets baptized by the end of the year then she will have been a member for a year by the time he gets home so she can be married then! YAY!

Things just keep working out.

I Love all of you and hope you have a good week!

Remember, if you always do what you have always done then you always get what you have always got.  Life changer right there.

Much Love,

Elder Willis

Monday, October 31, 2011

October 24-30

The baptism this week for Sione was amazing!  We had 2 investigators go and you could just feel how much he was loved when he was being baptized.  One of the investigators told us he wanted to be baptized, he just had to talk to his parents first.

 We had the parents of who he is living with and trying to adopt him baptize him.  They are more likely to stay active if he is baptized by a fellowshipper.

 So the last week has been a busy one!  We taught 13 lessons this week with members present.  That’s good for us!  Last week we taught 9 and this week we are planning for 18 to 20.  People seem to keep finding us.  I think that’s a sign that we are being good and obedient missionaries and doing everything we can.   We had a few more lessons planned than 13 but a few of them fell through.   We also went to a members house this week.  The son who lives there is a return missionary.  He gave me the coolest tie!  Speaking of ties I want to see if grandma McKinney could try and knit me a tie for Christmas!!

We taught a little boy this week, his name was Alex.  He is 11 and autistic. I think it is very exciting how the Lord prepared me for him because my companion has no idea how to teach him and I used to work with autistic kids at the pool and teach them to swim.  Alex is so receptive to it! I LOVE it!  He is so smart and gets everything we teach him as long as I keep the activities changing for him and don’t drag one thing on too long.  He is very visual and loves pictures and things he can touch so we did this thing with nails where you try to get 6 nails to balance on one nail that is in a bottle cap.  He couldn’t do it but I couldn’t even do it till I was shown that you have to do this trick and make it look like a house balancing on it.

On Wednesday, we had language training at the mission office and that was cool.  I was with a bunch of missionaries who spoke Spanish because there was no Portuguese class and my companion was in the English as a 2nd language class.  It was still fun though.  That night we taught a lady who’s name was Aline and she is Brazilian so we brought a RM with us who taught with Elder Gomes.   It was weird because Ii understood maybe 5 words and she understood everything they talked about.  She understands English but speaks Portuguese and understands that better.  At the end of the lesson they told me to bear my testimony to her in English... I asked what on and they told me anything.  I bore it on the Book of Mormon and how it can help us overcome any struggle we have in life.  The spirit was so strong.  When we left and were in the car they told me how amazing it was because it was just what she needed to hear.  She told them during the lesson (in Portuguese so I didn’t know she said it) that her husband passed away 2 years ago because of suicide.  She said that she grew up Catholic and even went to a Convent for a while to become a Nun and decided that wasn’t for her.  But it was amazing how I knew what to say when I didn’t know what was going on. 

We have 6 people with baptism dates this month and plan to have at least 8 by the end of this week or next.  So this week also I had a cool experience.  We were trying to find something to do the last hour of the night but we couldn’t so we decided to go visit the stake president in the CottonWood Heights stake.  We got there and were there for 4 or 5 min before he got a phone call from his son who said that his friend needed a blessing.  She was in her late 20's and had a baby who was just diagnosed with cancer.  So we got to give her a blessing.  I know that God put us in the right place at the right time because we really had no need to go over to his house other than to tell him something small that we could have over the phone.  She was so thankful.

The language is coming along alright.  I am not trying to hard to learn it anymore because I feel like once my companion is transferred they will give it to someone who speaks it more fluently even though there is only 5 or 6 people in our mission that speak it.

We eat at a members house every night so that is great!!

"When the world turns inward, turn yourself outward and love those around you" quote of the week.

Elder Willis

Monday, October 24, 2011

Week one in the field

So this week has been long so far.  Last Wednesday we got on a bus at 6am.  Then we got dropped off in Sandy.  We met the President and his wife.  They are such amazing people.  I love them already. 

So the first missionary I met... was the one who's blog I followed. Weird!  Like actual first.  He thought it was cool though.    We got to go to the Draper Temple and see the view of the valley where you can see 3 temples.  It’s really beautiful.  We were told to set a goal for how many baptisms we wanted to personally convert, mine is 120 by the end of my mission.  It’s kind of a lot but I know I can do it.  I met my first companion and his name is Elder Gomes (Go-mmmm-'s not to be mistaken for Gomez).  He is from West Africa in Cape Verte.  He is funny.  It’s kind of frustrating sometimes about me not knowing things but I try my best.  Oh yeah... and I'm learning Portuguese.  He speaks it fluently and we are over a Portuguese Ward.  There is one in Taylorsville.  So when we teach lessons in Portuguese... I sit and smile and nod.  It’s kind of funny.

On Thursday we had such a good day.  This 13 year old boy names Sione (who is Tongan. See-own-ay).  He told us he wanted to be baptized!  He is being baptized on Sunday.  One down.  He reminds me of Zack, because he plays football and is tan.

On Friday we taught a less active family, we watched a movie with them and I could feel the spirit so strong with them as we talked about it after it was so neat! We also went to follow up on a referral of someone who went onto and asked the missionaries to stop by.  We knocked and she asked us to come in, throughout the conversation she asked when her and her daughter could be baptized!!  I am so thankful the Lord is preparing all these people for us.  It was so perfect. 

Saturday I started learning some Portuguese.  I can read it pretty well like pronouncing it and stuff it’s like a mix between a fake Spanish accent and a french one…or so I think. Elder Gomes tells me I am doing good.  We taught 3 lessons that day, we had 5 scheduled but one rescheduled and one just wasn’t home.  One of them we taught was a man named Sam.  He was very Chinese and very Catholic. He doesn’t understand about Joseph Smith or what we try to teach him about Joseph.  But we brought a member in the ward named Matt with us.  He is 16 years old and a junior in high school.  He bore his testimony, it was so cool!  2 of our 3 lessons were in Portuguese so I didn’t understand much but I smiled and nodded and played along. 

We get fed pretty well here, the first night we had soup then the next night steak and then the next night was a chicken dish thing.  It was good though.  Overall I am having fun and I do actually like my companion.  He is so funny most of the time and his accent makes me smile.

Oh yeah and since my companion is from Africa, and we have the Brazilian ward that covers most of our mission we have a car and only I am allowed to drive it!! :)  So no bike or walking for me any time soon.  That’s good and bad…but we have a Chevy truck.  It was scary at first but now it’s all good. :)  I am loving it.

My P-day is on Mondays.  Please write letters.  I love hearing from family, home and everyone.

Love Elder Willis

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Leaving MTC tomorrow

So this week has flown by! It was cool!  I feel so prepared and excited to leave.  We just got back from the temple!!   We did initiatories and then gave service in the laundry room for an hour!  Did you know you could do that?  It was really fun and we all felt so blessed we were doing such a good thing!  Yesterday was our last day of class and it was sad to say goodbye to our teachers. I got pictures taken with them so I could send them home when I get out in the field.

Thanks for the package! I felt so loved when I was sitting in class and got summoned to the mail room because the sister working there couldn’t lift it out of the bin that the mailman brought in.  Thanks so much for the scarf mom! I will wear that one!   And the cupcakes!!  Everyone loved them, well the people I shared them with…haha. 

My whole district is going with me to our mission so tomorrow there will be 6 of us that will be going into the Salt Lake South mission plus a few Spanish speaking ones we haven’t met yet.  I am not at the MTC long enough to do the phones for the people. 

There are lots of Elders that I have met that are here from either the Spokane area or southern Washington.  There is one elder going to the Everett, WA Mission I met today when doing laundry at 6am!!!!!! His name was Elder H..... I don’t remember but I remember it started with an H.  He leaves the MTC Nov. 10th I think.  Look for him, if you see him feed him well, he was really nice!  I’ve seen a few I knew from school but not that many.  I feel like I have been here at the MTC for like 2 months, its crazy when you wake up at 6-6:30am and don’t go to bed until 10:30pm. 

I am so glad whenever I hear from you guys in emails or letters. I love it! :)

I leave for the field tomorrow so that means letters should either get sent to our mission home or to my email. The MTC won’t forward them.

Love you all so much!
Elder Willis

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Times flying fast and I'm almost out of the MTC!

So this week has been a fun week here at the MTC!! Its my last full week here and time has flown by. I got to go to the Provo Temple this morning and we got to be proxys for children being sealed to their parents. What a beautiful experience.

It snowed for like half an hour October 6th! It was funny to see everyone from warm states get excited, I thought they better get used to it. We had a speaker on Sunday night that spoke about tithing. He was interesting, my favorite point he made was that even as missionaries we pay tithing. We give 10 of our 20 year old life to the Lord. I thought that was really cool to think about. After the speakers we watched the Joseph Smith video... it is the same one they play in the South Visitors Center in Salt Lake. It was amazing to watch I really enjoyed it and getting to take a break from thinking about our daily tasks. I also thought it was cool that as missionaries we are like Joseph Smith living simple lives and getting to share the gospel.

During the day when we have spare time we love to sit in our class and watch videos! All the stories are cool because we learn how we can inspire our "investigators" and make them want to learn more. I watched Luke & Sam Nelson's video the other day and showed it to my district. They found it really cool that I knew the two kids in the video. I am so excited to get into the field next week, I look forward to it each day knowing I'm so close.

Here at the MTC the days feel like weeks, but the weeks fly by like days. The other day I looked out the window and it was kind of over cast and I thought it was like 7:30... I looked at my watch and it was only 1:30. It was weird. The rest of the day we get to nap, and get hair cuts. It should be a good day.

Elder Tui Maunei and Elder Daniel.

Elder Stuart, "wisest most powerful Elder on the 4th floor." He dresses like this every night. It's kind of funny.

Elder Willis

Utah SLC South Mission

8060 South 615 East

Sandy, UT 84070

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Week 1

Week one –
Brian arrived at the MTC on Wednesday Sept 28th.  Colby Anderson dropped him off.  Colby had to be back to class at BYU so Brian called the MTC and asked if he could check in early.  Here are a couple pictures of him upon arrival.

We have been anxiously awaiting an email from him.  We weren’t sure which day would be his Personal Day (P-Day).  This day is set aside for the missionaries to write letters and do laundry or shopping that may need to be done.  Brian’s day is Tuesday!  We got a short email from him this morning telling us he loved us and that he would send a longer letter later today around 12:30-1pm our time.  I went home during lunch so Brian and I could read the letter together.  I have tried to cut and paste what he randomly wrote so it is more cohesive.

The foods good and it’s like a buffet, every meal, all day! They shove so much food into us and it’s kind of decent. The food can be good if you want to think of it as good, it’s all a personal decision is what I was told.  We have a tree here, it smells like orange cream soda!

I am having so much fun!!!  I have been busy the whole time since I got here.  We were teaching lessons to role playing investigators on the 2nd day.  Yesterday it was so cool, my companion and I were teaching a lesson and I kept getting this prompting "Helaman 5:12.... Helaman 5:12" so during our lesson I flipped there and read it quickly and was like "" so I knew right then I needed to change directions of our lesson with the investigator and teach her about faith and how to pray.  By the end of the lesson she was kneeling in prayer with us asking if what we were saying was true and that Heavenly Father would give her a prompting to know what we had to say was true and that he sent us there to teach her.  It was amazing!!!!!  The spirit is so strong here also!  It’s so cool, I feel like I am on a spiritual high like after Youth conference but it continues every day.  I love my roommates!  My companion is Elder Gordon, he is cool and caring and a really cool guy who always has neat random church facts to share!  Then there is Elder Tuimaunei, he is from Hawaii and very inspirational! And there is also Elder Daniel, he is one of my favorites here, we get along so well and click.  We think a lot alike too and its so cool to see that the Lord really does know who you need at specific times in your life to get you by.  I don’t know if I could last here without people that I was around all the time and I didn’t get along really super well with at least one of them.  I love it here!!

Elder Willis

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

On his way - Sept 28, 2011

Brian flew out yesterday to Salt Lake City for the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, UT.  He checks in today so he spent his last evening with Colby and Amber Anderson and Aubrey Hansen.  They had dinner and brought Brian to Target to get the last minute items he couldn't fit into his luggage and didn't want to mail down. 

It was a very sad but happy day for the Willis family at home.  There will be a hole in our home and lives for the next 2 years  We will miss him greatly every day.  We know in our hearts that he is doing a great thing by choosing to go on his mission and serving the Lord and his church for the next 2 years.   He will be giving people and their families the opportunity to spend their lives and all eternity together.  Something that I am so very blessed to have with Brian, Brian and Zack.  

We are waiting for his final call before he enters into the MTC.  Once he enters, we won't be able to speak with him until Christmas.  Some friends and family members who aren't members of the church wonder why we can only talk to him twice a year.  He will be very busy on his mission and will need to stay focused on the work he is doing for our Lord.  We can keep in touch by email and letters.  By Brian's sacrifice for just 2 years of his life, he is able to give eternity to families that he meets and baptizes.  We are very thankful for his willingness and enthusiasm to serve.  He is a great example for his brother Zack.

We will use this blog over the next couple years to post parts of letters and pictures that Brian send home.  Please visit often as we would love to share this experience with our family and friends.  

If you would like to send Brian a message of encouragement while he is at the MTC for the next 3 weeks, you may do so by going to  Click on "Write a Letter", in the drop down box in "Letter Selection" choose Provo MTC then click on "Write a Missionary".  Fill in the boxes (MTC box #: 209, Missionary code: UT-SLCS 1019 and Esimated Departure Date: 10/19/11) then scroll down to write your letter.  Letters are printed out weekly and given to the missionaries.