Monday, December 27, 2010

Daisy's Baptism....

It was so awesome to talk to you guys during Christmas. It was really funny. While I was talking on the phone, the office elders got their cameras out and started filming me because I was pacing back and forth outside because I was so excited and I didn't even know it haha.!!! They showed me after and I looked like a goon. It was so great to hear from all of you though. I'm so grateful for the packages I received, but my best present this Christmas (besides the baptism) by far was hearing from you guys!!!!
So great news, yesterday the baptism pulled through and it was really amazing!!!! It was a really hard week for the mission overall though. We were one of 4 baptisms for the entire week, so president isn't too happy I hear, but the good news is the baptism was amazing yesterday!!! I have included some pictures of the baptism on the bottom and the other picture is of the Ben Fica soccer stadium from the office Elders window!!!
That's cool you're getting a new primary class!! Do you miss the old class? I sure do!!! I love children haha. You should see some of the children here in our mission. They are so funny. some of them remind me of my 4 favorite nephews haha.!!!
Other than Daisy, we are hoping to have at least three baptisms this next week!! I know the goals are really high, but we have been seeing miracles. We hope to baptize a kid named Vitor, a girl named Vanise, and a guy named Joao!!! I'm so excited!! Elder Stanley is solid man, he has such a desire and we are going to do some great work here.
I really miss you!!! It was so good to hear your voice on Christmas!! Sorry I don't have much to tell you that I didn't already on the phone, but know that things are going great!!!!! Thank you so much for everything!!! Ate proximo. Te-Amo.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Coulton Got To Be An Angel Of The Lord!!!

Ok here is the great news!!! I'm staying in my area for yet another transfer. After I am done with this one, I will have been in my first area for 6 months. I really love it. My next companion is named Elder Stanley!!! Apparently he is coming straight from the office so he must be a great elder. I hear he composes his own music on the piano!!!! Thats a cool little random fact. Anyway, I'm really excited to meet him!!! I'm also really excited to stay in my area. The only sad news is Elder Carter is leaving to go home now!!! We said a lot of goodbyes yesterday. It was really sad, as we left Deritson's house, he was crying and he even called us at 4 in the morning!!! But he is going to the Madrid temple with the ward today and this week, so he will have a good time!!! I'll miss him though, he was a great friend to me and a great elder!!!
As for Daisy, she told us she really wants to be baptized, so thank goodness I'm here to witness it. I think it will only be a matter of 1 or 2 weeks now!!! She is elect!!! I'm grateful to my Heavenly Father to be here yet another transfer.
I have been enjoying my presents so much!!! Thank you!! They bring a lot of joy into the house. I only read that paper after each present so its a surprise to me. As for the packages, I have recieved all 3 of yours and Grandma's, but I have not yet recieved the ones from the siblings. No worries though, I'm sure it will all work out!!! Tell me when you get your package k?
OK so on Christmas Day, I will be at President Martin's house, our stake president. He says that he needs to get us a number that you guys can call us from and so when he gets that this week we will have to send ya an email with the number. If however for some reason you don't recieve it, you can get a calling card and call the number that I sent to Dad, it is our cell phone number.!!!!! I'm so excited to talk to you guys!!!!! Besides being able to share the Gospel here, that will be my most cherished present this Christmas!!! Well, I really have to hurry!!! I once again have emails from the whole family!! Ha I love you so much!!! You've been such an amazing mother. Merry Christmas mama!!! I love ya!!!
Elder Willes

Monday, November 29, 2010

Another great week has passed on!!! We are going to try to commit a girl named Daisy to baptism hopefully this next week and we are teaching another new investigator this week named Diamontinho, which means little diamond ha!!! He is really cool!!! We are still working with the investigators that need to be married. We found an easy way that they could get married through the Cape Verdian embassy that's a lot easier so hopefully we can hurry and get them married then we will have a lot more baptisms!! other than that, we have just been finding new investigators and teaching them!!! The work is going great!! I'm loving the mission right now!!! I'd say the biggest problem though is our investigators commit to coming to church but then they flake out on us, so we are still working on that!!!
This last week was fun!! I'm sure you know that we had a little Thanksgiving feast with Deritson's family and Aroldo!!! It was a lot of fun!! E. Carter cooked corn bread stuffing and we bought chicken from Pingo Doce and there was bread and cake and juice!!!! The food turned out great!! I'll try to email you a picture of the feast!! Only problem with that day is that we had two more eating appointments that day!! One was with a member from Sri Lanka who fed us really spicey food!! I ate a pepper and almost died ahahaha!! She fed us a ton and we had yet ANOTHER eating appointment right after that~!!! We were so full that on the way home, Elder Carter vomited in the street and I almost did as well. Yes we were that full!!! ha it was crazy!!!!
It sounds like getting ready for Christmas has been a lot of fun back at home!!! That's awesome!!! You're the coolest mom ever to be sending me all of those packages!! Ha! I'm very very excited to get them!!! It feels like Christmas here!!! Wow!!!! It's already SOOOOO cold!!! It feels like a Utah winter here I can't believe Portugal doesn't receive snow!! It rains a ton and the days it doesn't rain, it is windy and the wind goes right through you!! So it definitely feels like Christmas!! Ha
I'm very excited for Christmas this year!!! There is no better way to celebrate Christmas than to share the news that the Savior bore!!! I hope that people are extra receptive during this holiday season!!! I'm always thinking and praying about you!!! I'm so grateful for you and your love and support!! Thank you so much!! I love you!! Until next week!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hey how are things!!! Its great to hear from you once again!! It sounds like your Thanksgiving was a blast and judging from the pictures I got emailed to me it was!!! We won't really celebrate Thanksgiving here, actually, I take that back. I just remembered, on Saturday, me and Elder Carter are going to put a small little feast together at the church for 2 families in our ward. One family is the family that feeds us every week on Saturday. They are the Santos. And the other is Deritson and his parents. They want to try American food, so we will do our best ha!! It will be fun!!! So I finally got my camera card and I'm sending my pictures home to you guys today, so be expecting those soon I hope!!!!
Life is going great here in Portugal. We haven't gotten any baptisms since Francine, but we have been finding new investigators. The biggest problem we have right now is that people really want to be baptized and they have a testimony but they can't because they are living in couples and they aren't married, so we are waiting on 6 investigators to get married before we can baptize them!! It takes a lot of patience, but its good to encourage them and strengthen their testimonies!!!! This week was a lot of door knocking because so many of our appointments fell through, but it was good because we found a new family!!! This family has 10 people living in one house and they are so cool!!! They are from Cape Verde and so far they seem receptive!! Its going great!! I have high hopes for them too!!!
Wow!!! I really want to hear this "Scarlet Dawn", that is so so so cool!!!! They are actually like a singing group!! I'm so proud of my sisters. They have all my support. I know they will be great, I remember when they sang for a funeral and it was amazing!!!
I'm really sorry to hear about Elder Bell!!! I remember he had a REALLY hard time waking up in the MTC!! A really hard time, but he never slept during the day. It sounds like whatever it is has just gotten worse. That's unfortunate, I'll keep him in my prayers!!!!
So how is weight watchers?? I can still cheer for you even here in Portugal. Its probably going to be next to impossible now that its holiday season though ha. But after wards I'll be cheering you on the whole way. I pray about you every night!!!
Well, all is well here!!! I hope all is going great for you guys. I miss you all so much. I'm so thankful for you!!! You're the worlds best mother!!! I love you so much!! I'll be thinking about you a lot this Thanksgiving holiday!! I'm so thankful for you and my whole family!!! I'm so lucky to be a part of this family! I'm especially thankful for this Gospel. I know it is true now more than ever and I'm grateful you raised me in the Gospel. I know my Savior lives and I love him with all my heart!!! I love you!!! Tchau Tchau!! Ate Proximo!!

Elder Willes

Monday, November 15, 2010

Work is going forward...

Hey!!! Another great week!!! I'm so glad to get your email and hear that everything is going well!!! This week has been great!! Nothing spectacular, but we are moving forward in the work!!!! Yesterday we taught three new investigators from an evangelical church!!! They are so cool. It is a mom named Ismerelda and her two daughters, Ezer and Joana!! They are very receptive and they like us a lot!!! We taught a great first lesson with them and talked about Joseph Smith and bore our testimonies about the Book of Mormon!! We told them about prayer and how it is such a blessing because we can express anything we want to in a prayer!! It was interesting because I said the closing prayer for us and about halfway through my prayer, Ismerelda started saying "amen" randomly. It threw me off so much!! It took me a while to realize that she was just saying it because she liked what I said and agreed with me!! They are a very cool family!! High hopes for them!! Other than that, our week has really been quite normal!! We have just been working everyday!! A lot of people have been flaking out on us this last week. ya know, saying they'll be home and then they aren't!! It happens almost more times than I can count, so its pretty annoying, but it doesn't stop us from working!!! Mission life is going great and I am so blessed by the Lord!!!
So about the 12 days of Christmas!!!!! That is awesome!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much!! I'm very excited for it!! Your the best mom ever! Ha my companion is going to be so jealous!! Oh so my companion, Elder Carter actually goes home on the 21st!! 3 days before Christmas!! How crazy is that? What a time to go home!! Its going to be sad to see him leave the mission! We are great friends. So yeah, transfers are about 3 days before Christmas which kind of makes things difficult but its OK everything will work out!!!
Can you believe Thanksgiving is in 9 days!!!! Wow!!! that's so crazy!! I didn't even see it coming. They don't celebrate it here, but the members know what it is and they were asking us about it yesterday!!! Ha. Oh before I forget!!! Could you please please please in the next email tell me everyone in our families birthdays!!! I know Dad and Eric's are within the next 10 days!!!
That's cool that the Phantom of the Opera was good!!! When Elder Kessler was my companion we listened to the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack and I really started to like that music. That's so cool that the school did it!!! I definitely would have tried to be in that one!!
Well, I'd best get going, but I love you so much!!!! Being on the mission has helped me realize how much I have to be grateful for and I'm soooo thankful that I am a part of this family and that we have all been blessed with the Gospel!!! I'm so grateful to be here in Portugal and for the support you give me!!! I know this Gospel is true and I know that Jesus Christ is our loving Savior!!! I love you momma!!! Until next time!! Tchau!!

Elder Willes

Monday, November 8, 2010

Staying Put!!!!

I have great news!!!! I'm staying here in Cacem for yet another transfer.!!! I have more great news!!! Elder Carter is still my companion. Nothing changed this transfer, and I'm actually very happy. I wasn't ready to leave Cacem. I really love it here. The office Elders told Elder Carter that we were one of the few Elders that no one moved and that the president really trusts us. So the pressure is on for more baptisms!!!! ha!!! Anyway, all is good here. So just keep sending stuff to the same address!! I still haven't received your music card or camera card yet. But I'm keeping my eyes pealed. Speaking of, president has been getting a lot more strict on the music rules. Apparently there has been Elders here and there that have been listening to all the popular radio music, so president had to draw a line. Its almost only church and Motab now. That's right, no more soundtracks for me. I was sort of disappointed, but I know it comes from the Lord, so I haven't had any problems obeying it!!!
So I think I'll write a letter to you and the Primary this week. Speaking of, I don't think you've ever told me where Brian is going on his mission. Where is he going??
The weather here is starting to turn cold. It is misting today. The air is super wet and everyone is wearing coats around. So at least it feels like Christmas, haha. If you send a Christmas package, make sure it is sent with plenty of time, or you could just send it to the office to be safe and I'd receive it at their Christmas program. Transfers are like 3 days before Christmas, just so ya know.
Wow!!!!! That's really cool that the High School is doing Phantom of the opera!!!! Me and E Kessler would always listen to that soundtrack and I really liked the music, so its cool to think the school is doing it. Tell me how it goes!!!!
Well, this week was just busy work. No more baptisms yet, but I'm loving every minute of my mission. I love representing my savior and being his example here in Portugal. My testimony has been growing immensely here!!!! I'm so thankful for you and your example to me. I miss you so much. I'm glad to hear everything is going well at home. I can't wait to hear from you again. Tell Everyone I say hi!!!!
Love ya!!

Elder Willes

Monday, November 1, 2010

Looking at Cacem area....upcoming transfers.....

OK I have to apologize for emailing so late, but today was our zone pday and we left first thing right after our studies!! We went to the city of Lindavelha by bus and then had to wait forever for the bus home when we were done!! So we didn't get back near as early!!! It was fun though, we went to a big old mall and ate and hung out!!!
I love hearing about your Halloween!!!!!WOW That Halloween sounds like it was a party. I thought about you all a lot this Halloween weekend and what you all were doing back at home!!! In Portugal people really don't even celebrate Halloween. I didn't see one costume or trick or treaters!!! It was different but me and Elder Carter still had fun thanks to the Halloween decorations that you sent us, and we wore our necklaces a bit today!!!!! We took some pictures of the decorations you sent us and we had a lot of fun with it, so you will have to see how it went!!! Its really cool to hear that your Halloween went well!!! It sounds like it was the ultimate party!! I can only imagine what the Willes house looked like!!!
This week was really normal, but good nevertheless. I'm sure I told you about Francine last week. Well, her baptism went really well!!!! She was so excited and she had a lot of members and friends there to support her. She decided to go to another ward than ours, but we don't really care just as long as she was baptized. It was a really happy night. I have a lot of baptism pictures on this memory card that you will have to see. Other than the baptism, we just visited and taught and tried to find other investigators. The main focus of this last week was on Francine and getting her ready for baptism!!!
Hmmmm What do i want for Christmas!!! That's a tough question. I'm doing really well here in Cacem, but I do have a really random request. Could I maybe have some whitening strips for my teeth. Surprisingly a lot of Elders have them here and they work. Um besides that maybe just some treats. Ha I don't need much right now!! You can be creative but you are the most creative mom of anybody that I've ever known so I know you can do it!!
Yes just so you know, our next transfers are on the 9th. Can you believe it!!! I can't believe how fast time is flying!!! It honestly seems like yesterday that this transfer started I CANNOT BELIEVE IT!!! Time has never flown by this fast!!! So if you have anything to send this week like a letter and you don't think it will get here before the 9th, just hold onto it until I know because I have a strong hunch that I will be transferred this transfer!!! It's going to be tough when I get transferred. This area feels like my home!! But I think all areas will feel like that!!
WOW I cannot believe that Taco Time burned down!!!!!!! I loved that place. It was honestly one of my favorite places to eat in Brigham City!!! Do you know if they are going to rebuild it? I hope so!!!!
Speaking of, how is the temple coming??? What does it look like right now?? I can't wait to see it. What a blessing it is to have a temple where we live!!!
Well, I'm going to go now, but I want you to know I'm thinking about you!!!! I love you and miss you so much!!! I have been so blessed to have you as a mother!!! Until next time when we will know whats going on with transfers. Have a great week!!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Deritson was baptized!!!

Its so great to hear from you!!! This week was great, except I have bad news, Deritson wasn't baptized!! Just kidding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!! He was baptized yesterday and it was such an amazing day!! You should have seen him!!! He was so excited to be baptized!!!! Me and Elder Carter bought him a 2 dollar tie at the Chinese store and he was so excited!!! I didn't baptize him but as long as he is baptized I'm perfectly happy!! When the baptism was over he said he couldn't stop smiling and that he would never miss a day of church!!! Immediately after he came up out of the water his dad turned to me and firmly shook my hand and his friend did so as well. Everyone there had such a big smile on their face and Deritson gave me and E Carter a big hug!!! He is such a great kid!!!!
We are also going to have another baptism on Saturday too!!! How cool is that!!!!!!! Me, E. Carter and the two zone leaders have been teaming up in teaching her the lessons because she is in their area a lot but she will be a member of our ward!!! We have only two lessons to teach her and she already has a testimony and has committed to baptism!! E. Barreiros will do the baptism and then she will be confirmed in our church the next day!!! Her name is Francinee and she is from Brazil!!! She is so cool, ha she said its sad that we get transferred so much so she is going to get us all presents at the next transfer. She has a strong testimony and is ready to be baptized. I'm so excited!! Its amazing to see how the Lord has already prepared people for us!!!
So I received your candy package!!!! Thank you so much!!! It was delicious. I ate it probably faster than I should have!!! You don't need to worry about my diet here!!! Me and Elder Carter have started sharing groceries now and we each pay half and get the same groceries so its all good, and plus, we are fed by the members at least 3 times a week!
That's awesome to hear about the singing group!!!!! That really is cool!! I'm very thankful you had me take voice lessons even though I was very ungrateful at the time!!!! E Carter is a pretty good singer and the other night Deritson's family wanted us to sing for them so we sang them a hymn!!! It went very well!!!
Well, everything is going great here in Portugal!!!! The work is rapidly increasing!!! I love it so much!!!! The mission is truly such a great time!! I have a stronger testimony of this Gospel now than I ever have before!!! I'm so grateful for it and I'm so grateful for you!!! I love ya Momma!!!!!

Love Elder Willes

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hey how is everything??? Everything is going great here in Portugal!! This week was a great one but it had its disappointments as well. As you know, we were trying to get Deritson and his family baptized on Sunday. Well it started great. We committed them on Tuesday and they said yes and they were all ready and excited. However, when we talked to them on Thursday, we learned that Deritsons parents aren't married and their papers are back in Cape Verde, so we have to wait a while for them to get married. I probably won't get to see them get baptized, but I know they will. The good news is that their son, Deritson, will be baptized on the 24th of October and he is very excited!!!! We are so excited for him. We are close to Joao's marriage too, and then he can get baptized. Things are going great!!! I truly have been blessed by the Lord to be here in Portugal while the work is growing so much!!!!!
So on Christmas, I guess we can use the cell phone and talk for however long!! It will be here sooner than I know!!! I can't believe how fast time is flying!!! Can you believe it? 4 months!!! Wow!!!!
That's awesome to hear about Matt's farewell!!! Its cool to think that almost all of my friends are doing the same work that I'm doing!!! The Lords work!! Best work there is!!!!
Oh I have to thank you for the package!!! I loved it!! We are going to decorate our room with Halloween and the Monday after Halloween, is our zone pday and me and Elder Carter are going to be wearing our necklaces!!! haha so thank you so much!!!! Also!!!! I loved those pictures that you sent me!!! I have been showing them to my investigators!!! When I showed them to Deritson's parents, they were commenting on how beautiful they were. I have been bragging about my family hahaha!!!!
I sent you guys a package on Wednesday so be watching for that!!! Its just some small stuff from Sintra!!!!
Well, I have to hurry again!!! But you know my letters are longer and better!!! I'm so thankful for you and your love and support while I've been here!!! Its helped me so much!!! I'm loving my mission!! Jashon Bishop was right!! Its not too much of a sacrifice, it really is a privilege to be here!!! I love this Gospel, and I love you. I miss you so much. Tell me how everything goes.
Entao, ate proximo.

Elder Willes

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Baptisms on the horizon!!!

It's great to get another email from you!!! I love hearing about all that goes on at home with the family!!!
This week was a good week, we got a couple of new investigators that we taught the first lesson to!!!! So we are getting more numbers there!!! We are committing Derrikson and his family to baptism this week. I have really good feelings about it!! We took him to see a baptism with us in another area and he thought it was really cool and you could tell he wanted to be baptized. A sister came up to him and randomly asked him if he was getting baptized on Sunday and he said "No, but next Sunday I will". I was really excited when he said that because we haven't even committed him yet!!!!! Their family is so cool. During our last visit, me and Elder Carter took family pictures to show them because they are so curious about our lives. So I showed them the pictures of us at Cabellas!!!! ha. They liked them a lot!!!!!
Weather wise, this week was ridiculous. It has finally started raining here in Portugal and when I say raining, I mean RAINING!!!! It's not like Utah where it rains for an hour and stops. It has been raining here for the past 4 days straight without much clear sky at all!!!! It was ridiculous. Our area is really hilly too, so me and Elder Carter were literally walking up stream. The sidewalks had rivers flowing down them. The rain finally stopped, but I guess it's good to get me ready for the winter here haha. So last Pday, we went to Sintra and it was beautiful. It's amazing there!!!! I took lots of pictures of it so you guys can see!!!! At the bottom of the mountain, there is a really old tourist town with a bunch of souvenir shops and when you look up, a castle wall and the palace tower above the town on the top of the mountain. It's amazing. I bought you guys some stuff that I'll send home in a package too, so be looking for it!!!!
The work is going great here though!!! I'm a lot better of a missionary now than I was when I first got here too so that's good. I'm progressing everyday!!!! I know it is because of the Savior. I have really learned to put my trust in him through prayer. I'm so thankful for this Gospel and my family!!! I have been blessed SO much in my life. I love you so much and I miss you. Everything is going great though!!! Keep up the emails, I love hearing what happens at home even though I don't have time to comment about it on the computer, but I love getting the emails. Love ya momma.
Elder Willes

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hey Momma!!!!
Conference was great wasn't it!!!! Can you believe we are getting a TEMPLE in Lisbon Portugal!!!!! How cool is that!!!! and also one in Indianapolis!!!! Ah we are really lucky!!!
This week was a good week but challenging too. As you know, I have a new companion named Elder Carter. He is really cool by the way. We get along really well. But since he is new to the area, I had to take charge for a week and kind of take matters into my own hands. This is intimidating for a greeny such as myself, but I think I learned more this week than I have previously because of it!!!! Elder Carter has already caught on and we are working hard!!! We only have one more lesson to teach our Cape Verdian family and then we can prepare them for baptism!!! I'm so excited. I hope everything works with them.
Elder Carter is an amazing cook. His food is like a flippin' world class chef. It is great. Apparently his dad caters for weddings and parties and stuff so he is a really good cook. I'm super lucky ha!!! He is a great missionary too!! It's going to be a great transfer!!!!
My favorite talk was probably the prophet's talk about gratitude. He mentioned that even in our toughest times, we can have gratitude and when we do this, we will realize how blessed we truly are and have joy. He also said that often times, we take for granted the people that mean the most to us. When he said that I thought of you and the family. It's crazy. Being on the other side of the world on my own for two years really helps me realize just how much I love you and how much you mean to me!!! So I really liked that talk!!!! The only session of conference we didn't get to see was the morning one on Saturday. We had to travel about an hour to watch conference at the stake center, but it was great. The cool thing is, the missionaries were able to hear it in English in the Relief Society room. We actually watched the Sunday sessions live and me and Elder Carter didn't get home until one in the morning. It was worth it though!!!!!
I'm really glad to hear that you guys got my pictures!!! It's about time. As you can see, Portugal is beautiful. I love it here! Yes I also got your letter and I sent a letter back to you!!! Tell me when you get it. You didn't send me a second one did you? if so, I haven't yet received it, but I will soon!!!! OH and about that fish. Yes we actually ate it, and it was good except for there were little bones all through out the skin so you had to spit the bones out like sunflower seeds or they would stab your gums haha.
That's crazy to hear about Elder Bell!!! Wow, I didn't know that!!! I'm really sorry about your knee. I hope it gets better fast. Oh just so you know, it's zone pday today and I think we are going to beautiful Sintra. I'm so excited!!!!!
Well I have to hurry and wrap up. I love you mom!!!!! Your such a blessing and I'm so grateful to be a part of this family and a part of the only true Gospel. Until next time
Elder Willes

Monday, September 27, 2010

Catia got baptized!!!!

Ok I'll start off with the news.
I just finished your letter today with every detail in it and I'm about to send it home, but just so you know, I sent my pictures home too. They should be there very soon. Ok so I didn't get transferred so you can just write to the same address. Elder Kessler is going to Lisbon, and I have a companion named Elder Carter. I hope he is a good companion. We will see tomorrow. Now for the bad news. Last Monday, me and Elder Kessler ate some chestnuts from a street vendor, and they were poisoned or something. The next day, I threw up 4 times and Elder Kessler threw up 3 times. So we were in bed for both Tuesday and Wednesday. It was crazy. But on Thursday, we were ready to get up and work and our work paid off because yesterday, we baptized Catia!!!!!!!!!!!! It was so awesome and the Spirit was so strong. We are still working on Derrikson and his family, but they definitely seem way interested and they are moving right along. So the work is going great!!!!!
Hahaha that's really funny that you didn't know about the phone. I can't believe I forgot to tell you. Yes, each companionship gets to carry a cell phone and it makes it really easy to set up appointments and such!! Its very convenient.
About the music!!! yeah we listen to music everyday and we use my speaker!!!! It works so great!!! If you could, could you send some Disney music over? like from the show Brother Bear, and Lion King, and Mulan and such!! I know it sounds ridiculous, but Elder Kessler did that and it was a great idea!!!
So, yesterday was our stake conference, and the primary sang for the opening hymn!! They sang the song that goes "a long time ago in a beautiful place, children were gathered around Jesus" It reminded me of primary. I miss it a lot. The whole time I sat there and sang to myself the words in English while they sang!!! It was so cool!! The people in the stake of Oeires are all so loving and kind. In Utah it's like everyone is a Mormon so it's not such a big deal when you get together for stake conference ya know? But in Portugal, it's like every single member loves each other and everyone is friends with each other. It's really a great feeling!!!
I'm sending a 6 page letter in detail about my mission and the questions you asked in your letter, but until then, I have to keep being vague. I'm so glad to hear about things at home though!!!! That's awesome Karter plays soccer now!! I can't wait to play with him. And it's great to hear you're back in Weight Watchers. Never give up!!! You can do it!! We are going to run the Peach Days race as a family when I get back!! How cool would that be!! Just so you know, I think the beginning of my mission was the chubbiest I've ever been because of the MTC, but now, I have to wear my belt a hole tighter than I had to even at home. Haha I'm turning into a scrawny guy from all this walking!!!
Well I better go!! But my letter and pictures should get there soon. I'm so grateful to have you as my mom!! It's such a blessing!! I love you and I love our family!!! I'm thankful to be here doing the Lord's work. The Lord has been so good to me in my life. I'm not really sure why, but He has, and the mission is the least I can do for Him. I know He lives. I love you!!!!
Elder Willes

Friday, September 24, 2010

More baptisms coming up!!!

This last week has been great!!! Just so you know, I haven't gotten your letter yet, but I'm sure I'll get it very soon. I did however get the camera card, and I am ready to send it back to you!!! We had our first zone meeting this week and we got all our mail. I got to see a bunch of my MTC buddies so it was really cool. This week has been really great!!!! We committed our new investigator, named Catia, to be baptized on the 26th of September!!! She is golden. She said yes and as long as she comes to church on Sunday, we can baptize her that day!!! We also have a family of 3 that we are teaching and they are golden too. The mom is named Antonia, the dad is named Joaquim, and the son is named Derrikson. He is about Caitlin's age. They are from Angola and they are awesome. Derrikson is really into our message. He came to church with us on Sunday and we are going to commit him to be baptized on the 26th as well. I hope he says yes. Speaking of, the 26th is the last Sunday of the transfer. That's right... transfers are on the 28th and we figure out who is being transferred the day before so I'll let you know!!! The work is going great here though!!! I'm really enjoying it and I'm growing so much closer to the Lord everyday!!!! I love this gospel with all of my heart and I'm so blessed to be a part of this family!!!
I'm sorry to hear about your eyes!! That's no fun at all. It means a lot that you still emailed me though!!! I love getting your emails despite the limited time I have. Now I can write letters though so that's good!!! It's good to hear that everyone is getting ready for Halloween back at home. Unfortunately, the Elders here said that Halloween isn't really a big deal over here in Portugal, so I'll miss that.. ha. The trees are different here. They stay green but they are really weird. They are either palm trees, or super tall skinny trees with long lanky branches that hang down... so no fall colors, but it is beautiful here!!!!
Oh, just so you know, I spent from my account for the first time today. I took 40 Euros out of the ATM and got 2 ties and a Portugal soccer jersey. I have about 5 euros left from that. I don't remember how much one Euro is worth, but I know it's really close to a dollar. I hope it doesn't charge me when I go to the ATM. Apparently almost every place here doesn't take my card... ha. I'm really glad to hear that Grandloot is getting better. Tell her I love her and I'm praying for her. I love you all so much!!! You're everything to me. I pray for you all everyday. I can't wait to get your letter and finally start sending letters. I love you momma. Everything is going great here.

Love your son, Elder Willes

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm so glad to hear that Peach Days was good. It sounds like it was the good ol' regular Peach Days to me. I would say I miss the candy and donuts, but we get fed so much sugar here I'm going to die!!!! ahahahaha. Anyway, it's so good to hear from you. I'm really sorry about Grandma. I pray for her every night as well as everyone else, so I hope she gets feeling better.
Well, I thought I'd let you know we didn't have any more baptisms this week, which is a bummer, but we are doing really well I think. We are trying to get about 4 of our investigators to commit to baptism. We also received 4 new investigators on
Saturday... a Brazilean girl and a small Cabo Verdian family. They seem golden, so me and Elder Kessler are really excited to teach them. We taught them the first lesson and they accepted everything about it.
Early this week, me and Elder Kessler were walking past the church, when this kid ran up to us asking us to help get his soccer ball out of the tree. So we decided we would help him!! First we tried climbing it, but that didn't work, so then we started throwing pine cones at it and after about 10 or 15 minutes of throwing pine cones, I finally got the soccer ball down. The kid started jumping and shouting and screaming for joy and laughing. He ran up to me and gave me a huge hug and thanked me. It was something so simple, but it made me feel great. We also helped out our donor this week. We woke up one morning and we cut down a tree for her that was taking over her yard and we hauled it off to the garbage. It was a lot of fun and she even rewarded us with lunch!!!! mmmmm!!! cod fish and potato chips. The people love fish here. So that was our little service for the week. Other than that, most of the rest of the week was spent knocking doors. Me and Elder Kessler are trying to find new investigators to teach so we have taken to knocking doors. It's tough because almost every time you are rejected by knocking doors. Elder Kessler also has me do the talking at every other door which is tough at first but I'm getting a lot better. The language is improving slowly but surely. I can understand most of what people say now as long as they don't mumble. The mission is going really well. We haven't had a baptism since the first week, but when we do get a baptism, there are going to be a lot because we are preparing a lot of people.
I'm so grateful I can be serving the Lord. I love this Gospel and the Lord has blessed me with so much. I'm so grateful for the wonderful mother you are and the amazing family I have. It is such a blessing to me. I know my savior lives and this truly is His work. I'm so happy I can share this joy with everyone. I love you and miss you so much. I pray for you always.
Elder Willes
P.S. I have a lot of pictures that I have labeled descriptions for on a piece of paper. Zone conference is this Wednesday so I should get that card. Then I can send them home to you.

- Show quoted text -

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

OK so I asked Elder Kessler about the whole mail to the direct address thing and he said to just ignore that and that it makes everything harder. hmmmm I don't know! But you got the address to the mission home right? He said that it makes it harder to write because transfers are every 6 weeks and so you have to tell everyone your different address every time you move. But I think it would be a little bit faster, but we don't know the address right now and we aren't at home so I will check it and write it down, then I will send it to you next week!!!!
That's crazy to hear about the photo shoot.. I miss those they sound like so much fun!!! That's terrible that it was that hot though. It doesn't get that hot here, but I sweat my guts out because we walk all day long and it's a bit more humid!! ha.
Well, today is zone p day, and we were going to go check out the palace at Sintra, but I think the zone is going to some cool monument in Lisbon instead. It should still be really cool and I'll take lots of pictures. I think we might go to Sintra next time.
Well, this week was pretty good, kind of disappointing though, we had this one lady named Mariana ready for baptism, we had the interview with her and everything and she agreed. Get this, she had never learned how to read or write, but she had to sign her name for the baptismal form and she was really nervous, but she signed it anyways and just sort of scribbled. The amazing thing is it actually said her name. So we felt really good about it and we had her scheduled to be baptized on Sunday but about half way through the week she chickened out. She is having real issues because she was baptized into 2 churches before and she is like"I can't be baptized 3 times." We aren't giving up on her though. We are also trying to mark several others for baptism. Aida, Aneta, and Mariana right now. The work is going great. I'm a little bit more of a help to my companion now because I can understand a little bit better and contribute more to the lessons.
As for other interesting things, as far as random goes, it was a week full of random things. For example, we were sitting waiting for our train on Thursday, and some guy walks up to us and holds a cross in front of our face and points at us, kisses his cross, and walks away. It was really weird haha. And another day, we were sitting on a bench teaching a guy about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, when out of the clear blue, he sticks his finger in Elder Kessler's ear and starts trying to clean out his ears.
hmmm well we are really staying busy. A sad thing is that one of our investigators beat his wife last night and now she is in the hospital. I think we might stop by tonight and see how he is doing. Definitely not good.
So that's pretty much how this week has been. haha. But I love hearing how things are back home!!! I'm so glad to hear Caitlin is liking high school. Good for her. Thanks for working on the scrapbook page for me. I bet it is amazing!!! Yes I took some pictures at the airport for you!! ha also on the plane too. I love hearing about all the parties and such back home!! Thank you so much for the e mail. I will send you my current address next week.
Well I've got to rap it up. I love you mom. You've done everything for me, you're the best. I'm so thankful I live in such an amazing family. I'm so grateful for this gospel!! I grow closer to it every day and I can feel the savior's love in my life. I pray for you all everyday. I love you.
Elder Coulton Willes

Monday, August 30, 2010

Another baptism coming up this next week?

It's so good to hear from everyone!!! It is awesome to know that things are going good back home!! Things are going great here in Portugal. I'm understanding the people a little bit better and we have a decent amount of investigators to teach!! It's a lot of work but also a lot of fun!!! This week has been great, no more baptisms, but we are trying to get one of our investigators ready for baptism right now!! Her name is Mariana. Yesterday I gave a talk in church. If you thought giving a talk in sacrament meeting back at home is hard, try giving one in a language you don't know very well. Ha. Just kidding. It went great! I spoke on having faith in Jesus Christ. So this week we might baptize Mariana in the ocean because she wants to go to the ocean so bad. So that should be a really awesome experience!!!!! The mission is great!! I've never been so reliant on the Lord before and it has already changed me into such a better person!!
Anyway, the mission is really great!! I love walking everywhere and getting to know people and sharing the Gospel with them and helping them be happier. I don't think there is anything more satisfying than seeing the joy in someone else that you helped. So next week is our first P day of the month and we can actually go out of our area so me and Elder Kessler might go to that big palace at Sintra!!! Cool huh? I'll take lots of pictures!!!!
I only have an hour on the computer just so you know, but when I get letters I'll make them longer!! I forgot to tell you happy anniversary!! I hope it was amazing!!!!
That's so crazy that Caitlin goes to high school now!! I'm sure she'll fit in great!! High school can be tough sometimes but she has some really great friends that will be with her. Plus all that really matters is the amazing family she is apart of. That's something I wish I would have understood better when I was in high school.
Yes I know Elder Da Silva. He is such a cool guy. We were really bummed when he couldn't go over to Portugal with us because of his visa. But yeah, he will be serving in the Azores!!!!!
I'm sorry to hear about Grandma. I hope she is OK. I pray for all of you at least twice a day out here. Will you do me a favor and tell her I love her!! I don't hear from her too much!! Oh and could you also please tell Natalie I say happy birthday!!!! I'm terrible with remembering things but could you please e mail me everyone's birthday in the family!!!! hahahaha!!!! I'll put the dates in my calendar!!
Well I have to go now but I want you to know how much I love you and our family!!! Being out here on my mission has really helped me realize how much I love all of you and am grateful for you. I have never been closer to the Lord. I love the mission because it makes me realize my own weakness and humble myself to rely on the Lord through prayer. The Gospel is number one in my life right now and I plan on keeping it that way forever more. I wish it had been number one priority all throughout school as well. I'm so glad I can be here on my mission and I'm so thankful for you mom!! I don't know where I would be today without you. I don't know how I could have made it on a mission. I'm thankful for everything our family sacrificed to get me here. I love you so much. You're the best. Go team Willes!!!!!!

Love Elder Willes

Monday, August 23, 2010

Already 2 Baptisms in the first area!!!!

Dear momma!!!!!
So I have to let you know that Portugal is amazing!! The Lord has really blessed me so far and I'll tell you why!!! So right after I emailed you, I had my interview and I figured out who my trainer was and where I was going!!! My area is in a place called Cacem. It's 20 minutes west of Lisbon and it's right in between Lisbon and Sintra!! That's right, Sintra. The only bummer is my area ends right where Sintra begins!!! It's still really cool though!! When we go up on higher ground, we can see the palace on top of the hill and everywhere around it with the ocean the other direction!!!! It's beautiful!!! So now for the biggest blessing so far!!!! Guess how many baptisms we have had so far? Not one, but TWO!!!! Yes two baptisms. My trainer is awesome and he was working really hard on these investigators for 6 weeks before I came in and I came in and he baptized them 2 days later!!! It was a wonderful experience. The Spirit was strong!!!! We baptized a Cape Verdian girl named Daniela on Saturday, and then we baptized a girl named Elizabete on Sunday after church!!!! It was so amazing!!!! The members here are really cool. Our ward has around 100 members in it and me and Elder Kessler have quite a bit of investigators we are working with for baptism. The Bishop lives in a place called Mira Sintra. It's right on the edge of Sintra. Anyways, we went to visit him so he could meet me on Friday, and he asked me if I would bear my testimony in church on Sunday, so I said I would!!!! Well my Portuguese is still not that great yet so I probably sounded like an idiot and probably said a couple of stupid things, but I'm thankful for the experience. The people speak super fast and mumble here so it's really hard to understand what they are saying. But when I can respond and carry on a conversation, I feel pretty special!! Ha. Elder Kessler says it takes several weeks before you start understanding everything that they are saying so pretty much I just bear my testimony and help him out!!!! I love it here though!!!!!SOOOOOO much better than the MTC. Just so you know, our p day is on Monday. We bought some groceries today but that's pretty much it. We live in a members house and she does our laundry for us!!! How sweet is that? OH and I only get letters once every 3 weeks, so keep sending those, but I will email you every week!!! I don't have much time but I want you to know I'm loving it here!!! It's amazing!! I love you and I'm so thankful our family is strong in the gospel. Keep the emails coming. Let me know how things go!!!! I'll tell you about this next weeks adventures on Monday. I love you.
Love Elder Willes

Sunday, August 22, 2010

He made it...He's there in Portugal!!!!

Ok, so I don't have much time, but I wanted to tell you I made it safe! I'm here in the mission office and I have just a little bit of time!! Wow!!!!!! Lisbon is absolutely amazing!!!! The weather feels so much better than Utah and it is huge here. The city is massive. My interview is in a couple of minutes and I get to figure out where my first area is!!!! I'm sooooooooooooooooooo excited. President and Sister Torgan are amazing!!! They are going to be such great mission presidents!!!!! I have to apologize for not calling in France. I tried but it was sooooooo confusing!!!! Anyways, I just barely got here safe!!! I'm so excited!!!!! soooooooo excited to be here. I love you both sooo much!!!!! I look forward to writing you and telling you about my experiences!! Well, until then. Ate logo. Eu amo voces.

Elder Willes

Sunday, August 15, 2010

On Tuesday, It's Up Up and Away!!!

Hey every body:)!! So this is my last email at the MTC!!! Can you believe that? I can't believe how fast time flew by here!! It seems like it was only yesterday that I was dropped off and now I'm leaving at 5a.m on Tuesday morning!! I'm so EXCITED!! As for the language, I've improved a lot lately in the past couple of weeks. When I got here, I never would have imagined myself bearing my testimony or praying in Portuguese. Now we can have conversations in Portuguese!! We probably sound terrible, but we can do it!! Me and Elder Bell have been walking around the campus and bearing our testimony to other elders in Portuguese. It has been a lot of fun and has really improved our language skills I think!! Best way to improve in the language is to speak it. So what we would do, is one of us will bear our testimony in Portuguese, and the other one will translate in English!! It's a lot of fun and we switch off every other time:) Funny story about the language though. The other day, me and Elder Bell were teaching a lesson in Portuguese to two other elders that were pretending to be investigators! Well I started saying the opening prayer, and while I was saying the prayer, I accidentally said "Por favor abancoa estes pecadores", which means please bless these sinners. I meant to say "Por favor abancoa estes pesquisadores" which means please bless these investigators. It was hilarious. Elder Bell was trying not to laugh, and the funniest part was the elders we were teaching were newer elders than us, so they had no idea what I said. Anyways, I'm sure that stuff like that is going to happen in Portugal, but it's all part of the learning process!!!
So for those that don't know, we got our travel plans last week!! We are flying from the Salt Lake Airport to Chicago. In Chicago, we have a 4 hour layover. Then we fly from Chicago to Paris France!!!! We have a 5 hour layover in Paris, and then we finally get to fly into Lisbon!!! I'm so excited!! We are leaving the MTC at about 5 a.m. on Tuesday. Only 3 full days left here at the MTC!!! I'm very excited!!
So our district has a goal. At either the Salt Lake or the Chicago airport, we are going to try and place at least one Book of Mormon!! I bought a 2 dollar Book of Mormon at the bookstore and wrote my testimony on the front page. Then I marked a paragraph in the introduction to the Book of Mormon and I also marked Moroni 10: 3-5. I hope we can give them away!! It's going to be so different when we get out there in the real world!! I'm very excited though!! Not that I don't love the MTC, but I'm so ready to leave it and talk to all kinds of people!!
Well, I love you all. Thank you for being the best family ever!!!! I keep all of you in my thoughts and in my prayers everyday. Just so everybody knows, after Monday, my new address for letters will be:
Elder Coulton Willes
Portugal Lisbon Mission
Apt. 40054
1500- Lisbon
So write to me there after Monday... that's the mission home. They'll send it to wherever my area is!!
I love you all and miss you so much!! Keep the letters coming and let me know how everything is!! Here is my testimony in Portuguese. I will probably misspell nearly all of the words, but most of you won't even know it, so it doesn't matter:)!!!;)
Eu sei que este igreja e verdadeiro. Eu sei que este evangelho e o evangelho de Jesus Cristo. Jesus Cristo e nosso salvador. Ele morreu para nos. altra vez a expiacao de Jesus Cristo, nossa familia podem viver sempre tempo em eternidad. nos podemos ter uma familia eternal. Eus sei que Joseph Smith fui Chamou de Deus. Joseph Smith fui uma profeta verdadeiro. Eu sei que o Livro de Mormon e a Palavra de Deus e se nos vivemos e obedicemos os palavras de Deus, nos podemos ter vida eterna. eu sei minha missao e o trabalho de Deus. Eu sou grato por este oportunidade. Eu amo Todos voces.
Love you all.
Elder Coulton Willes

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hey every one!!!
Wow it seems like it was yesterday that I was on here typing up my last email!! Time flies!! Well the countdown is coming to an end, only about 11 more days until we head out to Portugal! I'm so excited!!:) It's going to take me a while to get used to everything over there and I probably won't even understand what the people over there are saying for a while, but I'm so excited!! Not that I don't just LOVE the MTC, but I'm ready to get over to Portugal:)
Well, this last week was great!! Same schedule we have as always!! This last week our district has been trying to speak as much Portuguese as we possibly can. It's crunch time here at the MTC, so we are all trying really hard to get the language down and everything! This next week, me and Elder Bell are going to make it a goal that we teach at least 3 lessons in Portuguese a day so yesterday during planning, we spent a lot of our time walking around the building trying to find other elders to teach. Then we would pencil them into our schedules. It was funny, I told Elder Bell that we should just pretend that the carpeted hallways are cobblestoned streets of Portugal so we felt a little more like missionaries. We even knocked on some classroom doors;) Hmmm well, as for our weekly teaching activity yesterday, we were teaching someone who had just lost a family member, so it was pretty tough, not to mention the TEACHING IT IN PORTUGUESE part. It went pretty well though! We taught him the Plan of Salvation and how through it, he can see that lost family member again. We also talked about the atonement of Jesus Christ to him and I shared John 3:16. After the lesson, he told us we did good and the only thing we should work on was to not worry so much about the language as we were. It was pretty comforting to hear that, I was surprised because he said he understood everything I said:) wow:) ha.
Hosting was so great!!! It was so much fun!!! (Don't worry, I didn't scare any missionaries off). It was great though, they had a quick little training course for us. Then we got to go to lunch early, which is always a good thing. Then after that we went to our assigned stations. It was a lot of fun. Our group would stand at a station and when a car would pull up, two of us would walk up to it. One missionary would greet the family and ask where they were from, and the other missionary would greet the new elder and help him with his bags, then lead him to where he needs to go. After that, you have to hustle back to your station! It was a lot of fun. I did my best to be friendly and comfort the new elder and family I was assigned to, however, he didn't need it. This Elder was very independent. Kind of interesting to watch the parents. You can tell they are trying as hard as they can to act like they are completely happy and fine that they are dropping their son off. Yet when they finally do, most of them would get tears in their eyes and they would hurry and put their sunglasses back on so that we couldn't see. When they talked, you could tell they had lost it. It reminded me of the day I was dropped off. It seems so long ago yet at the same time like it was only yesterday. Oh and I saw Devin Jackman's mom drive past. It was so funny, she yelled to me "Elder Willes, you go find my son and comfort him. We wanted to have you as our host dangit." ha. It was great. So hosting was awesome, and the great news is WE GET TO DO IT AGAIN NEXT WEEK!!! yeah!!
Well, my time is running short again, but just so you all know, everything is going great here. I hope everything is great for you guys as well. I pray for you all every night and every morning. I love you all. Here is my testimony in Portuguese.
Eu sei que este evangelho e verdadeiro. Eu sei que Jesus Cristo e nosso salvador. Jesus Cristo morreu para nos, Jesus Cristo sofremente a expiecao para nossos pecados. Eu amo meu salvador. Eu amo todos voces! sou grato que nos estamos uma familia em o evangelho de Jesus Cristo. Eu sei que Deus e nosso Pai Celestial e ele tem um plano para nos, ele tem um plano para nossa familia que nos podemos voltar a sua presenca. Eu sei que Joseph Smith fui uma profeta verdadeiro. Eu sei que Thomas S. Monson e uma profeta verdadeiro tam bem. Eu amo minha familia.
I love you all so much, you're the best!!! Only one more email for you while I'm here at the MTC!!!
Take care!
Elder Coulton Willes

Friday, July 30, 2010

How has everybody been??:) It's so good to finally be able to email back to you guys. Life is going good here at the MTC. I can't believe how fast it's going though. Can you believe I have less than 3 weeks before I head over to Portugal?:) I'm so excited. Yesterday we got one of our teachers off topic and started asking every question about Portugal that you can think of and she was so happy to tell us. This sister has only been off of her mission to Lisbon for 3 months now so everything is still fresh in her mind and she was really excited to tell us about it. It made our whole district really anxious and excited to leave:) ha.
Well, Elder Bell and I have been getting tons of time in at the T.E to practice teaching. I'm really glad we are because I have become so much more comfortable with teaching people than I was when I first got here, and our teaching has improved so much. Yesterday was our weekly TRC where we go in and teach one of the teachers. Yesterday, we had to pretend like we were at a store and we were asking the "store clerk" tons of questions about the price, clothing, and accessories. After that, we were asked to share a brief message with him and tell him who we are and what we do. Then, we walked out of the room, turned around, pretended it was his house, and knocked on the door. When he let us in, we taught him the first lesson in Portuguese. I still struggle with Portuguese so it was a little tough for me, but when we were done and receiving feedback, he told us that we both did a great job and he could understand us:) so that really helped out:)
Well we moved into our new classroom about a week ago. It's a lot bigger and we have super nice rolly chairs that are padded. No skylights though:( To be honest it's a little depressing because there are no windows in this room. Our last classroom had a perfect window that had a great view of the temple. But it's ok because our new room is so much bigger and nicer. It's just missing a window that's all. Speaking of the temple, me and my district finally get to go to the temple today:) cool huh?:) They are finally done cleaning it or doing whatever they did. We are leaving in about an hour and a half!! I'm really excited.
Oh... so you know how when you dropped me off at the MTC and there was a bunch of missionaries standing on the curb waiting to help me with my bags and such? They are called hosts, and lucky for my district, we get to be hosts this week YAY!!!!! ha. I'm so excited. Now I can finally witness all those new missionaries coming in, without actually being one. I'll be the biggest comfort that I can to them. Our district thought it would be funny to put our hand on the new missionarie's shoulder and say "Leave while you still can" right as the family was getting back in the car...hahaha. We aren't going to do that though, that would be very rude... (though it would be kind of fun to see their reaction.) I walked past a crying mother on my way to gym earlier this week as she was dropping her son off. It made me realize how tough the first day was and I was tempted to put my hand on her shoulder and say "Don't worry, my mom is recovering, you can too:)" hahaha. That day seemed like yesterday that I was dropped off here and here I am, already starting to get ready to leave to Portugal.
Well once again my time here is limited, but I want you all to know how thankful I am to have you as my family. It's very interesting...being here at the MTC for almost two months really helped me to realize how much I love you all. I am truly blessed to be a part of our family. I love you all SO much and I miss every one of you like CRAZY!!!! You are always in my heart and in my mind ALWAYS!!! I want you all to know that I have a strong testimony of this gospel. This gospel is the most amazing thing on this earth, and I don't know where we would be today without it!! I'm starting to realize that my mission isn't going to be a walk in the park. These next two years are going to be very tough but so glorious at the same time. If a mission weren't tough, it wouldn't be worth it. I feel so honored to represent my savior Jesus Christ. After everything that Christ had to suffer because of me, and all the love He has, I feel that a mission is a great way to show him that I am thankful for him. I will work my best to represent Him. He truly is our Savior and I'll bear anything for him.
Well I love you all SO much. I miss you and I love to hear from you in your letters. Keep writing them please:)
Elder Willes
P.S. Dad, just so you don't have a heart attack and in case you didn't know already, I got the debit card:)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ola Minha Familia,
How is everyone doing this week??:) Thank you all so much for your letters and packages!! It's so exciting to get those. Well life is going great here at the MTC!! I can't believe it's already been a week since I was last on here writing you all another email. But here I am again. Time flies so fast!!! Less than a month until I leave for Portugal, a MONTH!! That is so crazy, I can't believe it. Well, pretty much just another great week at the MTC. Nothing particularly new happened this last week unfortunately, but it's all good:) Oh so my district get's a new classroom today!!! Everyone is so excited because like a said before, our district has 14 Elders in it and we were all crammed in pretty much the smallest classroom at the MTC. Well we finally get to change rooms and we get a much larger room on the top floor with skylights and such in it. Really comfortable chairs, tons of space. It's the real deal:) So we get to spend some of our P-day moving up there. So as of a week from now, we will finally be able to go through the Provo Temple. That's super exciting because we have all been here for over a month and have only been able to go on temple grounds for pictures. They will finally be done cleaning it by next week and we will be able to go on our P-day. Our first time through as a district!!
So yesterday was our first time teaching a legit Portuguese lesson in the TRC. We had to pretend like we were at dinner, so we needed to know how to talk about that. Then while we were eating we were supposed to share a brief message with the lady we were eating with. Then we pretend like we leave and then come to teach her a lesson the next day. So we walked out of the door, pretended it was the next day, turned around, and knocked on the door again. Then we went in and taught her about the Restoration in Portuguese. Thank goodness my companion, Elder Bell, was with me. He had taken 7 years of Spanish throughout school and Portuguese is pretty similar to Spanish. When all else would fail, he would just through a bunch of Spanish words out there and we would hope that they were the same in Portuguese. It went pretty well though. It was weird, I didn't feel ready at all before we went in but I found that I could surprisingly say and talk about a lot more than I thought I could in Portuguese. Our lesson went really well. Other than that, we are just doing our usual T.E's, teaching at least 2 lessons a day and having at least one workshop. Then of course we have our classes and our personal and companion study time.
Oh so this might be my last week as a district leader. In our leadership meeting, President Aidukaitis told us that they were going to try and give each district the opportunity to have at least 3 district leaders here at the MTC. So that gives each one about 3 weeks to be a district leader. Ha that's how it works isn't it? When I finally get used to being a district leader, they are going to kick me out;) haha. But it's been great!! I learned a lot about leadership and that will definitely come in handy later on in the mission field.
Oh.. I'm glad you guys got my pictures! Sorry they're kind of random, but random is the best we have here at the MTC;) hahaha. The district is doing great. It feels like our language is finally getting better and we are all getting ton's of opportunities to teach and learn!
Oh this is random, but I just thought i would tell you, there was another district in our zone, that had a computer in their classroom and it didn't have a lock on it for some reason. So one of the elder's got online and went on his Facebook in the middle of his study time. Yeah, not the brightest idea. Well I guess someone from the branch presidency walked in and caught him and the whole district was around him. So yeah, he is pretty much in big trouble. I heard that they are going to get a talking to from President Aidukaitis. I would seriously hate to be in their shoes.
Well my time is running out. So there is your weekly rundown on the MTC. Once again, thank you all so much for the love and support. Keep those letters coming:) I love you all:)
tchau ( guess ive been spelling it chao all this time and that is wrong:/)
-Elder Coulton Willes

Friday, July 16, 2010

5th letter...and halfway through the MTC experience

Ola Minha familia? Como Vao? Eu Amo Todos Voces!!!!
Well I hope everyone is doing great!! I'm doing great here at the MTC! Not much of anything new has happened here. Once you get settled into the schedule, it doesn't really change much!! But I have really been enjoying myself!! I see people I know all the time!! I run into Elder Vellinga probably every other day, and yesterday I saw Elder Jennings. It was his second day here!! How exciting!! Well the language is getting better and better. It's still not that great, but I have definitely learned a lot more than I used to know so I can't complain about that!! As district leader, I helped us come up with a goal as a district that would help us be more diligent with the language so that we can learn faster. We have decided that we are going to take Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of every week, and speak absolutely nothing but Portuguese!!! We call them English fasts and whenever someone asks us a question that we don't know how to answer, or talk to us and we don't know how to respond, we have to look at them and say "Nos estamos jejuar de Ingles" which means "we are fasting from English" haha its crazy. During this fast, if you want to speak English, you must first walk up to the wall and press your nose against the wall while speaking English!! If, however, you are caught speaking English without your nose on the wall, I put a mark for every word down by the name in a notebook and when we get back to our residence halls, I go around and (try to) make the elders do 5 push-ups for every English word they spoke!! It's absolutely hilarious because I myself am pretty terrible at it. Two nights ago, I had to do 130 Push ups!!! It was incredibly hard!!
Me and Elder Bell have signed up for a program called the TE. Not exactly sure what it stands for but it's really cool and helpful. It's a place where you can go and teach lessons to teachers that are pretending to be investigators!! You don't even need to teach a lesson, sometimes you can just go in and do a workshop. They are very helpful. Elder Bell and I have signed up so we are teaching at least 2 lessons a day!! We also have progressing investigators now!! It's really cool. Next week we signed up to teach a teacher named Brother Campbell. This guy is so cool but he told us that the investigator he pretends to be is extremely tough to teach. We read his story and the investigator he pretends to be is a war veteran who stepped on a land mine and is paralyzed from the waist down. He pretends to be in a wheel chair. Brother Campbell has told us that he has made some missionaries cry before so I guess we'll find out how this goes. Wish us luck!! hahahahha.
Well, I'm loving it here!! My district is so tight, and I don't think there has been any major contentions in our district once. My testimony continues to grow!! The other day I was thinking and I realized that these next two years are some of the most important years of my whole life!! It was an overwhelming feeling! It hit me so hard CRAZY!!! I have never really thought about my mission like that before. But I'm so excited. I want to be in Portugal right now but at the same time I know I'm not anywhere close to ready. I can't believe I'm half way done with my MTC experience!! Unbelievable!! The first two days were probably the longest days of my life but once I got used to it, everything started speeding up!! Time meshes together here. I don't really know how to explain it, but here I am, emailing you on another P-day and it seriously feels like last P-day was yesterday. No joke. Time flies by so fast. I think it is because I'm constantly busy here and there is always something I can be doing.
Well I better go. Stupid computer only gives me 30 minutes. But I love you all. Thank you for being the coolest family ever.
-Elder Coulton Willes

Friday, July 9, 2010

4th letter...time is flying by so fast!!!!

Hey!!! How is everyone doing? Good I hope!! Thank you so much for the letters!! I love getting letters and since I'm the district leader, I know the combination so i can get them whenever I want as long as it's not during a class:) The MTC is going super great!! Just so everyone knows, I was able to hear Elder Oaks speak at a devotional last week!! It was really great. I don't know if I told you about it in my last email or not.
Well the 4th of July was really fun!! It wasn't quite how it is back at home but it was still really enjoyable! We had a patriotic devotional Saturday the 3rd, and it talked about how important the Independence of this country was for the restoration of the gospel! It was really very interesting! After the devotional, they let all of us missionaries go out onto the front parking lot and watch the fireworks that were going on at the Stadium of Fire just down the street from the MTC!! It was really great! Everyone would just bust out singing patriotic songs here and there! I think every single one of us misses our music;) Other than that, everything else has been going good as well!! Yesterday was our day to go to the TRC. The TRC is a place where we as missionaries go and speak to teachers and teach them lessons. The teachers pretend to be investigators so it gets a little exciting. The first 10 minutes of it we are supposed to spend getting to know our investigator but we have to speak Portuguese, so it's pretty tough. Then after the first 10 minutes, we are allowed to speak English, but we have to teach them a lesson. So me and Elder Bell had confidence before we went, we had practiced the language and studied lesson 2 ( the lesson we were supposed to teach on the plan of salvation). However, much to our dismay when we got there, the teacher we were assigned to teach was a Brazilian convert and spoke ridiculously fast Portuguese. I'm sure it was hilarious for her to listen to us try and utter out words. So that was pretty rough... but wait, it gets better!!! After the language part, we could finally speak English so I was pretty relieved. Well, it turns out that the investigator she was pretending to be believed in reincarnation, and didn't believe in God, or that Jesus Christ could save the world from sin. It was tough tough tough trying to teach her. But I think we handled it well because at the end of the lesson, she said although it's hard for her to believe, it gave her a good feeling and she wanted to hear more. After we were done, she told us that she was assigned to be the most challenging investigator to teach in the TRC that day!!! Lucky us huh?;)
Everything else is going really well!! I learn something new everyday, both in the language, and in the doctrine. I love it here. I can feel the spirit everyday. I'm not going to lie, it's hard work learning the language and teaching these lessons. But it makes it all more worth it. Time here is really weird. I can't explain it. The days seem really long but the weeks fly past in the blink of an eye. It seriously feels like yesterday was my first day and I've been here for almost a month now... almost half way done with the MTC. I'm so excited to get over to Portugal, but at the same time, it reminds me of how much more I have to learn in so little of time!!! Crazy crazy crazy how much more I have to learn!! But it's all part of the experience!!:) I started re-reading the Book of Mormon when I first got here. I am in Alma Chapter 8 right now, 10 pages a night is my goal. I should be able to finish it again before I head over to Portugal. I have also started reading 10 pages a night in the New Testament as well!!! I'm loving it!! OH and the temple opens back up in about two weeks, so I'm pretty excited about that!! I can finally go to the temple with my district!! Well I better finish up considering we have such a ridiculously short amount of time on the computer to email!! But I love you all. Thanks for being such an awesome family!!! I love getting letters so keep the letters coming:)
Chao, Tem um bom semana. Eu amo voces.
Elder Coulton Willes

Saturday, July 3, 2010

3rd Letter...He's a DL :)

Ok just briefly!! I apologize to those that i didn't get letters to this week!!! I had to write everyone that wrote me back so if you want a letter you have to send one back to me first;) mwah hah ha!!! Well, the MTC is going great, me and Elder Bell are getting better and better at teaching so that's good. My testimony is growing everyday and I'm learning the language. It's still really tough!! But me and Elder Bell have started reading 2 chapters a night in our Portuguese Book of Mormons. It's hilarious because we don't know what in the world is going on, but we show our faith and do it anyway. Just so everyone knows I have been called to be our district leader!! I'm a little overwhelmed I guess because I have no clue what my responsibilities are going to be but my first meeting is on Sunday the 4th so we will see how that goes:) I'm learning fast! We have signed up for teachers that pretend to be progressing investigators, so that's going to help a lot!! As for everything else, the food is was ok until Elder Walter found a moth in his salad yesterday at lunch!! That pretty much does away with the salads for me. I'm pretty sick of the food but I guess it keeps me alive haha. Dorm life is pretty sweet, though we have to keep it pretty reverent, we still have our good times. Last night, our whole floor ate chips and dip and blew up balloons for the 4th of July! hahah it was pretty fun. We all figured there is no way we are going to be celebrating the 4th so we threw our own little thing!! Oh I was going to tell everyone... there is a new website coming out on July 10th called Everyone should get a profile for it. I guess it's kind of like Facebook. You create a profile, customize it, and I guess you can put pictures and stuff on it. There is a place where you can write your testimony, and you can chat with other people online!!! It's supposedly very cool and they are going to let us create our own profiles here at the MTC!!! So everyone get a profile when it comes out!!!:) Once again, I apologize to those that didn't get letters. Keep in mind that P-day is ridiculously crazy when it comes to writing letters so if you want one, you gotta write one:) If you don't get a letter from me, it either means that something happened to it in the mail or I didn't get a letter from you! Oh and Daddy!!!!! I don't know how to send my camera's memory card home or when to send it home so whenever you want me to, just tell me how and when and I will!!! Well time is limited on this computer!! I better get off but I would love to hear from you all:) You can either e-mail me here or send a letter to me:) A letter would probably be a bit easier considering I only have 30 minutes to e mail:/ but I love you all so much and I miss you all!! Thank you for being such an awesome family:) Keep in touch:) and Happy 4th of July:) Love ya :D -With much love, Elder Coulton Willes!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

2nd Letter,,,Wow...he's lovin' it...

Ola familia!!!! Como vai? Tudo bem? Hello family, i miss you all so much!! how is everything back home? whats new? Well life at the MTC is going pretty good!!!! im finally starting to learn some of the language!!! It's great here! I'm finally used to it and my testimony is growing everyday!! I'm being pushed out of my comfort zone but not enough to totally freak me out! Kind of funny, i had to give a talk in church on Sunday!! they chose 2 missionaries in a branch full of 117 missionaries and i happened to be one of the two! so i had the wonderful pleasure of giving a talk for two weeks in a row! it's all good though because i was prepared and it actually turned out quite nice!:) Yesterday our district worked on contacting people in Portuguese. It was really tough but i think we are already getting down the whole introducing ourselves and bearing testimony! After that, we had to practice teaching investigators. We could talk in English but it was still somewhat hard!! we weren't given much time to prepare but me and Elder Bell just went in and did our best. It was a 35 minute lesson and we weren't very organized. We kind of jumped all over the place from topic to topic but we did bear our testimonies and that was good. At least now we know what to work on! Well on another subject, our room looks fantastic now! Me, Elder Bell, Elder Edwards and Elder Thredgold decided we needed to decorate our room a little bit so we went to the bookstore and bought pretty much almost every Book of Mormon story picture there was. They were huge too!! so we took them back to the room and hung them up on the wall in chronological order in a spiral shape with a picture of Christ at the center!! It looks awesome, it covers the whole back wall:D Oh so i guess the Prophet and tons of general authorities have been here this week! it's been really exciting here! there is a devotional tonight and our district decided we were going to skip dinner so we could get good seats! One of the general authorities will be speaking to us but we don't know who yet. So the MTC has been going really good!! no health problems because of the food yet!! our teachers are awesome, my testimony is growing, and I'm learning some crazy Portuguese!! I really miss all of you but I'm finally used to the MTC. We are respectful and try to always invite the spirit but we have a lot of fun too;) I hope everything is going well back home! thank you so much for the package!! that was so awesome. Today was our first official P-day, it's been going really well!! I just barely got back from a temple walk. Since the temple is closed, our district decided to go up to the temple and take pictures during the time we would have been in a temple session! it was really fun. I am really enjoying it here and i can't wait to get out into the field and bring people the gospel!! Woooo:) I miss you and love you all. Keep me updated with everything through your letters! Chao! Eu amo Voces...... Elder Coulton Willes

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The very first letter....what a relief!!!

hello papa and mama,
I miss you both so much. How is everything going at home? Well i just wanted to let you know that everything is going great at the MTC. I just recieved the rest of my shirts in a package today and i also recieved the cookies, so thank you very much lemon!!! The MTC has been great. At first, i was like a deer in the headlights and i just didn't know what to think, i was uncertain and i was pretty much freaking out. The second day was a little bit better but it was still kinda hard. The third day was quite enjoyable, i am already getting used to the MTC life. We haven't learned too much of the language yet but id say it's going good so far:) Mostly we have been focusing on caring for the investigator and making connections with them.
Really good news though!! Our district is full of elders going to the same mission, Portugal lisbon. Not a single elder is going anywhere else. It is a huge district too, there are 14 elders in my district and we are all already really good friends!!! My companion and i get along really well, his name is Elder Chase Bell. Lemon i think you talked to his mom on missionary moms. My other two roomates are also really cool guys. Their names are Elder Thredgold and Elder Edwards. We all get along great and we are good friends already. My teachers are awsome!!!! we have 3 teachers and they are all very young. well... i don't know what to think about the food here. It's not the most delicious food but at the same time it's not too bad either:) haha.
Today has been a great day so far!! from 7 to 830 our district did personal study time and then ate breakfast. Then from about 9 until 1 we practiced teaching as companions. We have these 2 elders in our branch that should be in brazil right now but are stuck here because of visa problems, and what we did is we had those 2 elders go into a classroom and pretend to be investigators. Each of our companionships would then take turns knocking on the door, going in the class, and teaching the investigator for 10 minutes. I feel really confident because me and elder Bell had an organized lesson and we thought both of the elders could feel the spirit. We also took time to just visit and get to know them before we started teaching. First we would establish what their relationship was with God and then we would teach them from there!! It was really great. So everything at the MTC is going great:) I think im going to enjoy it here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

This is it....

One last hug and he's off...God speed Elder Willes...

Grabbing the last few moments with Coulton...

Only minutes to go before the last hug and goodbye for 2 years...Such a very big blessing and yet, so difficult.

Fish Face....

Uncle Coulton loves his little nephews. He was telling them all about the fishies...he is going to really be missed by those little boys.

Everybody loved Mr. Moose...

Happy times with Mr. Moose...