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