Monday, January 30, 2012

Week of 1/23-29/2012

This week has been a good week. We have been teaching a lot and had a a couple of baptisms.  We found a few new people too.  We have been focusing on those we are currently teaching and how we can help them progress and find their needs.  It has worked out well.
This month our mission baptized 175! It’s so great!  For the month of February we are projecting 42 baptisms in our zone alone.  There are 8 other zones.  I love sharing the gospel.  This week I have learned though that numbers are really nothing.  The baptismal number is only important when you think of how many people you are helping to come unto Christ.  Plus baptism isn't all, I want to help people get to the Temple to be able to be sealed to their families forever, and the only way they can do that is through baptism.

Although the rest of this week wasn't too eventful, we had a great week.  We have everything set up for the 2 more baptisms this week, and we, as a companionship are baptizing 5 this month and going to try to get 3 more!  We can do it too, I know we can. 

Yesterday we got to one of our lessons and she had the flu so she cancelled.  I was thinking of what we could do.  I had a prompting to go to a specific ward, and I didn’t know why.  We currently don’t have any investigators there, but I felt like we needed to go there though and watch this presentation about member missionary work.  When we got there we found out why.  A man came up to me, "Elders! I have a girl here who wants to be baptized.  Come lets go talk to her."  It turns out his daughter has been bringing her friend to church with her the past few weeks and teaching her about the gospel.  She now wants to learn from us and to be baptized.  This week we are meeting with her and she will be baptized in Feb. I know it!  I was so happy that I followed that prompting to go there and have the opportunity to meet her.

Elder Willis

Monday, January 23, 2012

More pictures of Brian on his mission

I pulled some pictures from his mission website. 

Arriving at his mission

New missionsaries

November Zone Conference

 2011Christmas Conference

Utah Salt Lake City South Mission (Very top left)

This week: In the life of a missionary

This week was a good week, we had some good lessons.  We have been working with this guy to help him quit smoking.  He wants to work towards the temple, so we are helping him quit smoking and then to get married and then baptized.  Hopefully we can get them married and baptized all in the same week.  He has tried everything to quit in the past so we were thinking what could help him?  We offered a blessing and then I also told him I would get him a Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD so when he was in a bind he could pop that in and listen to it to help him through the hard times.

We also found a few people this week that we are going to start teaching.  This boy lives with his grandparents and has been going to church forever.   He bore his testimony last month and the members we heard from said it was amazing and almost made them cry.  We stopped by his home and he said "Yeah I would love to learn.  Can my dad come too?" Score! This week we will start teaching him hopefully! :) I love when things just work out because you’re doing the things the Lord would have you do.

We have 3 kids getting baptized this Saturday and hopefully 1 more.  It will be great! We also have 4 more on date for February already so we will be having a good month, I know it.

If you don't expect a miracle then one won’t happen, you have to have faith to know it will and work hard to get it.  I know this is true and I know in our own lives we have to rely on the Lord for everything, he has given us everything in our lives why wouldn't he provide for us when we asked him to help us in our time of need?

I know that sharing the gospel with others it will help our testimony grow and also to help share what blesses our lives with others.  As we look to those around us to help them, share with them about it and it will bless their lives. 

I love you guys.

Elder Willis

Monday, January 16, 2012

Stayin' Put

This week was great!  I got a new companion.  His name is Elder Mariner.  He is from Samoa and is so cool!  He has been out 13 months and is a pretty sweet companion.  I no longer have the Portuguese assignment but still have my 3 stakes.  It is snowing now and we are supposed to get 2 to 4 inches by 5pm today (Monday) and then by 11pm it is supposed to drop down to 1 degrees with wind chill down to 15 below!  Good thing I will be inside.

So this week we worked on finding investigators.  We are trying to find as many new investigators that we can.  We want to be able to share the gospel with an abundance of people and not have anyone left out.  We are doing a pretty good job and we are tracking a little bit more.  I like this because it forces me to open up a little more, talk to people, and forces me to not be scared.   There isn’t a difference really between contacting a referral and tracting but for some reason when tracting I freeze up a little more.  This week we found 2 new investigators and also put 2 more on date.  So we should have 5 or 6 baptisms before the end of January.  :) Woohoo!  However, it isn't about the baptism though, it’s about helping them to make that promise with God that they will live by his teachings and do as he asks of them and in return, God promises to forgive us for our sins and be able to live eternally. 

Our new investigator Bella, I think I told you about her last week, she is 12 and has been going to church with her cousin who comes up from Provo every Sunday to take her to church.  She is so cool! We asked her to be baptized and she said yes and then her cousin said he didn't know when because her parents have to approve too since they aren't members.  We have another lesson with her tonight.

This week while tracting I learned why you don't want to come across people who just want to bash our religion.  It isn’t fun.  This lady asked us to come in because she said she wasn't a member but believed in what we taught so she paid tithing.  Ironic, I didn't fully believe her though, but I wanted to.  She had us come in and talked for like half an hour going around in circles and didn’t believe anything we told her.  She said that the day before she was on a plane and prayed and asked for some help in her life because of everything that was going on and I said "Well maybe that's why God sent us to you" and she told us no "you just go knock on everyone's door." I said "Well yes, but you were the 3rd door we knocked on." She still didn’t believe me and told me that "I don't believe in that kind of thing it wasn't fate that you knocked on my door it was because I live the 3rd door in on this building."  She had some major concerns, including telling me that I didn't pray very often because I paused in the middle of it for like 4 seconds to think of how I wanted to phrase my next sentence.  She was not the elect that we as missionaries are looking for and she isn't ready to receive the gospel into her own life. 

Saturday we had a great lesson with this girl who told us when she knew it was true she would be baptized.  We taught her about faith and how she can plant a seed in her heart and what she has to do to help it to grow and she was very receptive to what we had to say.  She will be baptized in February I just know it.

If you get a chance, go and read this link to Brad Wilcox’s “His Grace Is Sufficient.”  It is a really good speech.  I got a lot out of it and really enjoyed it.

Well I love you guys, and hope you are doing well.

Elder Willis

Monday, January 9, 2012

Starting to pick up the pace again.

This week has been so amazing!  We got a lot of work done.  Last week Elder Sullins and I had found a few people to teach and this week we went and started teaching 2 of the kids.  They are so ready to be baptized and are so excited, we just have to wait for their parents to be ready for them also. 
We had some good lessons this week and it was cool to see people want to change their life.  We have a couple who isn’t parried but have 3 kids together.  They technically have been living together for 12 years, but each time they are going to get married something happens, and now they just haven’t been thinking about it for the past few years.  For him to be able to be baptized though, they need to get married.  So we told President Miller, our mission president, about it and he told us we need to tell them they need to get married and set a date.  We were nervous and thought it might not go so well, we were wrong.  They said, "Yeah we do, we will think of a date."  Amazing how the spirit will guide us!  It is exciting, they are deciding on a date and going to tell us this week.  One step closer to his baptism.  :)

Transfers coming up this Wednesday.

I hope all is well with you at home!

Love you guys,
Elder Willis


Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was a great week!  We went on an exchange on Friday.  So Elder Sullins and I stayed in my area and we got work done.  We had such a slow day so we were early for dinner.  We decided to stop by the ward mission leader in that ward because I hadn’t seen him in like 2 months.  We get to his door and I was like “huh” his house is empty.  We knock anyways and the guy painting answered the door and says they moved 3 weeks earlier.  I thought that was strange that he moved and no one told us so we went to talk to bishop.  He told us it was true and that no one had been called yet, this made me a little confused and sad.  I asked the bishop who we could stop by to could share the gospel with.  He was a goldmine for investigators!  He gave us 6 names and told us to stop by the primary president for more because kids were inviting their friends to come with them in that ward and there was a lot in the Christmas pageant who hadn't been baptized.  So we were like OKAY!  We decided the next morning we were going to contact them and we got 2 return appointments with families.  One family the cousin comes up from BYU every Sunday to bring his cousins to church.  The two girls would love us to come teach them.  And mom and dad aren’t members either and we start teaching them tomorrow!  Then there is another family where mom is a less active member but we heard she is a return missionary.  The dad grew up in the church but is less active now also.  They have 3 kids that come to church also and dad told us “yeah you can come back and teach them they would love that.”  I was so excited!  Missionary work truly does start in primary, kids aren’t shy to invite their friends to come with them to church, and I don’t know why it is hard for adults.  I still have a few more to contact because they haven’t been home yet but it should be a good week and a great start to a New Year. 

On Saturday night we had Elder Russell M. Nelson come and speak to our mission.  His wife and he are so inspired it’s crazy.   Sister Nelson told us a good way to fall asleep is to count and alphabetize your blessings, naming one for each letter of the alphabet.  Starting with Atonement, Baptism, Confirmation, and so on.  It works, and you go to sleep in such a good mood!  Elder Russell M. Nelson is such a cool guy he should have a book written about him.  He was a Thoracic Surgeon before becoming an Apostle in the church.  He was the pioneer of open heart surgery.  Before him they thought that if you touched a beating heart it would stop and the person would die, he proved them wrong.  He invented the heart-lung machine that bypasses your heart during surgery and so on.  Sister Nelson asked us to think about what we don't see happen in our lives when we don't follow the spirit.  In other words, what are you making not happen in your life when you don’t follow a prompting.   She also said 2 things happen in life.
1) You will be asked to do something that will seem illogical by the spirit to test your faith.
2) You will be asked to do something you don't know how to do, and at that time you have to be able to rely on the Lord for guidance and help. 
Elder Nelson told us that you have to show faith to have things shown unto you; just like Joshua and the Israelites when they needed to cross a river at flood time and they were told that they would be able to cross on dry land.  They didn’t know what to do but when they put a foot in the water they stepped onto dry ground.  He also told us that God asks people to do things that are hard, and he asks people who seem like they wouldn’t be able to do it, to do it.  So he calls the seemingly impossible to make it possible.  Crazy huh?  He also said that being a missionary is just preparation to go among your own people and share the gospel with your friends. That's so true!   
Yesterday we had a baptism for the girl who grew up Buddhist.  She was so excited!  The spirit was so strong and we had so much support from her singles ward.  I loved it, I wasn’t sure how many would show up considering that it was New Year’s Day and people being out of town or busy but we got a good size group!  She thanked us so much and was thankful that we didn’t give up on her. 

Well that’s my week, it was amazing!  I love and miss you.  I hope you all are doing well and being blessed.

Elder Willis