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!!