Monday, January 31, 2011

Goodbye to beautiful Cacem and many friends....

First of all, I have to tell you guys about transfers. I want to say that I just barely got my transfer call and I'll tell you that I'm getting transferred. I'm very excited but I'm also very sad to be leaving my friendships here in Cacem!!! It will be hard to leave and I'll be saying some good byes to all the members. But now I'll tell you where I'm going and the reason my hands are shaking with excitement and anxiety. I'M BEING TRANSFERRED TO THE AZORES!!!!! I'll be going to the area Lajes in the Azores, and that's not all. I'll be living in a house with two other elders besides me and my comp and they are Elder Levitre who was in the MTC with me, and Elder Kessler, my trainer. My new comp is named Elder Dalton. I don't know him yet, but I hear he is very cool. I should be receiving another call here in a little bit and I think tonight I'll be sleeping at the office. Tomorrow morning I will get on the plane and head out to the islands. Guys, I'm so excited and nervous!!!! AHhhhhhhhh!!
Ok, if that isn't news enough for you guys, listen to this. Earlier this week, we had a zone conference and Elder Causse of the Quorum of the Seventy came and talked to us. He is from France and he told us that starting July 1st, the Portugal Lisbon mission and the Portugal Porto mission will be combined into one mission. That's right. Now we can be companions with others in the other mission and the whole country is in our mission. We can be sent to anywhere in the north or the south now and we have another island in our mission that's more south called the island of Madeira. We are all so excited!!! Big things happening in the mission right now and we are seeing miracles left and right.
Now for the bad news. This week, we had been working with Manuela on smoking and she had set her self on stopping. She was doing so great and she was ready for baptism but when we spoke to her about the simple law of tithing, she got all upset and said that she doesn't think that that law could be from God. Well, she got discouraged because of it and started smoking again. SHE IS BEING SO DIFFICULT AHHHHHHH!!!!! Oh well though. I know that she will be baptized. I can feel it, but I just don't know when she will. I wish I could see it, but it will happen.
Well that's the news. I just want all of you to know how much I love you. I have been blessed with the best family. I know this Gospel is true with all my heart and soul. I have been blessed and prospered by the Lord so much here in the mission and I pray and feel that you guys are receiving similar blessings. I love you all. I will give you guys my new address next week ok. Tchau. Ate logo.

Elder Willes

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Maybe the last week in beloved Cacem

Hey fam!!!!!
It was so good to get all of your emails!!! I got emails from almost everyone this week!! That's what I like to see!!! I'm really glad the package FINALLY came!! Wow it took long enough geez. I hope everyone liked what they got. Its not much at all but its just something to let you guys know I'm thinking about ya!!! I hope everything is going great back at home!!!!
No new baptisms this week, we are working hard though. As a matter of fact, this morning we got a phone call from Manuela and she flat out said that she had smoked her last cigarette, that she had no more left and that she wasn't going to buy anymore. Its so great. We prayed after that phone call and both of us felt like she could be baptized on the 30th which would be so great because its my last Sunday here in the beloved ward of Cacem. Her son also told her that when she is baptized, he wants to be baptized on the same day. So everyone plan on 2 more baptisms this next weekend. We will be working and praying like crazy for her.
Wow, I can't believe transfers are in a week. This transfer passed by TOO FAST. Time is ridiculous here on the mission. I am a little bit reluctant about leaving this area. I really love the people here, especially the members. I have made strong friendships with so many of them and its going to be really tough leaving and going to a completely different area and starting anew. It will be hard, but change is good, right? I have a little name book that I have been writing all the members full names down in so that when I finish my mission, I can look them all up and stay in contact with them!!!
Other random news for this last week, well, we had a noite de integracao (integration night) on Saturday!!! It was super fun. Not as many people showed up as we would have liked, but it was our first one and there should be a lot more people showing up next week. It is pretty much a night that we take where the members gather and we as missionaries can bring investigators and we pretty much just get to know each other better. It is a lot of fun. We start out with a spiritual message and then the rest of the time is just games. Me and Elder Stanley were in charge of the games. We played Mafia. I don't know if any of you guys have ever played it, but it was a first for the ward and we had a ton of fun. We also played a game called cat and mouse and we had to use our ties to tie knots. It was kind of like a race. It was a ton of fun.
The members have been super nice to us. We have been having meal appointments like crazy... blessings from the Lord. The other day we ate with our former bishop and had spaghetti with tuna. I know it sounds gross, but it was AMAZING. Afterwards, we ate sopa de geletina or jello soup. I can honestly say it was my first time eating a jello soup hahaha. but it was surprisingly great!!!
Well the work is going good. Right now we are currently working with a guy named Angelo who is married to a girl in his home land of Sri Lanka. She will move here to live with him next year, but he has been cheating on her and flat out committing adultery with another girl here in Portugal. He feels terrible and me and Elder Stanley are really helping him out. He is trying to set things straight right now and we plan on baptizing him. Wow, it makes me so grateful for this gospel. I will never have to go through anything like that. Makes me so thankful for all of you and the great family that we are.
Well, last pday we ended up playing basketball with our buddy Gihan. It was fun. And last night we cooked spaghetti for a member family and I took some pictures of it for you guys. I hope you enjoy.
It has been so good hearing from all of you!!! I love you guys so much. I miss you all like crazy, but I'm loving the mission field. Its a big roller coaster ride right now. I'm so thankful for all of you and I know without a doubt that this Gospel is true. I'll talk to yall next week. Tchau!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another Splendid week!!!!!!!! I don't know if I told you guys last week, but last Sunday, we met a girl named Kenia who is super elect!!! We taught her for the first time on Sunday and she told us that she wanted to be baptized. Well, we worked with her all week and sure enough, by Sunday, she was baptized. It was so awesome, we had an amazing baptism yesterday. The spirit was so strong and everything worked out great. The only problem was apparently the font water was super hot!!!, so when Kenia came up out of the water, she was pretty much panicking and gasping for air. It was pretty crazy!!! All the little primary kids were like "o que o que?" She is going to be a great member though. She has had some real difficulties in her life and now the church is taking her in!!! I'm very happy for her and I know her Savior is happy for her. I have included some photos of her baptism with the email.!!!
Other than that, we had 25 lessons taught this week which I think is a record for us!!! Everything has just been running really smooth. We have been getting references and new investigators and we are always staying busy!!! As for Manuela, she wants to get baptized this next weekend and she is SO CLOSE to stopping smoking. We have been working with her really hard. Oh, also cool news... her 12 year old son, Rodrigue, told her the other night after we finished teaching her that he wanted to be baptized as well and he wants to be baptized on the same day as her!!!! WE are so excited. We just have to keep praying for her and hope that she can overcome smoking. She is so close!!!
We also have a few other investigators we are working with towards baptism!!! This transfer has been very successful. It feels like the last two transfers were a lot of preparing people for baptism and finding the elect and this transfer almost feels like now we can just gather in all our labors. Poor Elder Carter. ha. he got jipped. Things are going great though. Other random things that happened this week, well, our whole day Saturday was wasted because me and Elder Stanley were hurrying to catch a train back to Massama and in our hurry we got on one of the few trains that doesn't stop at every stop, but goes straight to the heart of Lisbon. I was a little worried as I noticed we weren't slowing down to stop at the Massama train station but as we sped right past. We ended up in Sete Rios and we had to wait for a train back. Good week though.
People we want to baptize this week. Angelo, Manuela and Rodrigue!!! I'll be praying hard for them. Thank you all for your letters and emails. I love you guys so much. I'll keep you in my prayers everyday. Until next time!!!!

Elder Willes

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hello again!!!!!
It's so good to get everyone's emails again!! I miss you all a ton!!!!!
This last week has been great!! We have still been working hard and we have quite a number of people marked to be baptized!! Cool huh? These are who we have marked: Tania at the end of the month, Maria in 2 weeks, Joao at the end of the month, Manuela at the end of the month, Ezikiel in one week, and a girl named Kenia next Sunday. Get this... yesterday, we went to church and one of the members brought a friend of hers named Kenia. It was her first time ever coming to our church, but she really liked it. The member that brought her introduced her to us and said that we could pass by later that night. So, later that night, we passed by and spoke with her and taught her the first lesson. She told us that she really liked our church so we started talking about baptism. We just threw it out there. She agreed to be baptized and we felt we needed to do it next Sunday. She is now marked to be baptized. This is going to be a really busy week with her, considering she still needs to learn 2 more lessons and the commandments, but we both know that this is one of those girls that has already been prepared by the lord to be baptized before she even met us!!! Really cool huh? The members are going to think we are crazy baptizing her so fast, but we know what we felt and it feels right. Wow, first day we meet her and she is already marked for baptism. It's a miracle!!!!!!!! Keep her in your prayers as well.
As for other investigators, we had a really spiritual lesson with Manuela about smoking. It was cool because at the beginning of the lesson she was angry because she thought that it was dumb that God wouldn't accept her into his church and into his kingdom just because of some cigarettes, but at the end of the lesson her opinion had totally changed and she was determined to try and stop again. Well, when we showed up two days later, she told us that the day previous, she went out to smoke and her cigarette was disgusting to her and she couldn't do it. So now, she thinks that smoking is nasty and she has stopped and she is still going strong. We are praying she keeps this up. Wow, little miracles huh? As for everyone else, they are coming along pretty well, we are still working with the marriages and such.
So last Monday was our zone pday and it was a blast!!! We went to Sintra and we didn't quite make it up to the palace on top of the highest peak, but we were able to get up to the castle wall right next to the palace. It was AMAZING!!!! I have included some pictures of it for you!! Anyways, we had to hike up to the peak and about half way up, me and Elder Stanley decided to take it off trail and we just hiked straight up the mountain. It was sick. Anyway, all of a sudden, I looked up and saw a Portuguese flag. There we were at the castle wall. We couldn't find the opening so we just rock climbed over it. Needless to say, we got the weirdest looks from the tourists.
Today, I woke up at 5:30 in the morning. Today and tomorrow we are doing things for our visas over here for our residence in the country, so I'm in Lisbon again. and I have to do the same thing tomorrow. It's all good though. It was really cool to see all the Elders from my old MTC district. It was like a flippin' family reunion. haha. So thats whats going on here for the weekly update of the mission. I miss you all so much. I've been blessed with the best family. You guys rock. I love you all. Ate proximo semana ta bem? fixe!!! Tchau Tchau!!!

Elder Willes

Monday, January 3, 2011

This last week was a great week!!!!!!! Ah you guys won't believe it, but guess what? We had yet another baptism yesterday!!! It was so amazing!! It was a little 8 year old boy from Brazil named Vitor. His mom is a member and his dad is not yet, but we are planning on baptizing him this month. It didn't count in the mission records as an actual number because of his age and his mom is a member. But it counted in the best book of all, the book of life right?? It was SPECTACULAR. I was able to do his baptism and I felt so much love for him!! He is a really great kid!!! I have included a picture of the baptism down below!!!
So how was everyone's New Years? Ours was awesome!!!!! Our ward threw a ward party that started at 9:30 and went to who knows when, but it was really crazy and fun. We got permission from President Torgan to stay up late with our ward at the party. Needless to say, right now I am REALLY tired. I'm still trying to recover. We stayed there until 2 in the morning and I still don't think it was close to being done but we decided we had best leave. Yeah try waking up at 7 the next morning haha. It was tough stuff, but the party was all worth it!! There was a lot of food and tons of music and everyone just went CRAZY because of the New Year. New Years is really big here!!! So what did you guys do? Was there the usual New Years Eve family get together and party? I was thinking about you guys. I hope your holidays were amazing!!! Yes Mom, I have set New Years resolutions as well and one of mine is the same as yours. Lose some weight. hahaha. I have gained a bit the last 2 transfers with Elder Carter and here in the holidays, so its time for me to get back in the program. As for important things, we were asked to set a personal goal of how many baptisms we would have the year of 2011, I'm feeling really good about 32 baptisms, but I still haven't prayed to confirm it!!! We'll see though.
Well, everything else in the mission is going really well. Elder Stanley is a really solid missionary, I'm really blessed to have him as a companion. Right now we are working with a woman named Manuela that wants to get baptized, but can't stop smoking!!! Yesterday we fasted with her, we would go 24 hours without food or water if she could go 24 hours without smoking and so far she hasn't smoked another cigarette. Keep her in your prayers. We gave her a blessing and everything is looking great!!!!!~
I would like to hear some of your new years resolutions!!! Once again, thank you everyone for the gifts!! You guys are the best!! I was so glad to hear all of your voices on Christmas. It was really funny, as I was talking to you guys, I was pacing back and forth because I was excited and the office elders stood off in the distance and watched me. Elder Stanley pulled out his camera and filmed me and he was like "yup, this is my new companion" hahaha. it was funny. Obviously I miss you all.
I'm bummed you guys still haven't received the package. I'm hoping it gets there soon.
Oh today is the first pday of the month and me and Elder Stanley are going to the palace of Pena in Sintra on top of the mountain. I'm really excited. I'll take lots of pictures for you guys.
Well, that's whats on the weekly update. Everything is going GREAT!!! I miss you guys a ton but I'm loving my mission so much!!!!!
I'm so thankful that we are all a part of this gospel. Its funny I kind of took that for granted before I came out here. But now that I'm here I know how important the Gospel is for me. I love my Savior with all my heart and I know that He lives. I'm so grateful for all of you and I love you and miss you!!! Well, until next time eh??? Tchau Tchau!!!

Elder Willes