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