Monday, February 21, 2011

Work on the Azores....pretty tough

Hey guys. Our time is limited today because we only get 35 minutes before this internet cafe closes for lunch uggggg Stupid Séstas!!! But things are going pretty good here on the island. We have been finding new people to teach slowly, but surely. The island is a little bit different than my last area. I have a lot more responsibility in the ward. But as far as the actual missionary work goes, its quite a bit harder here just because its so Catholic and the population is very tiny. Anyway, yesterday was a pretty good Sunday. I stayed busy with a talk in Sacrament meeting on top of teaching primary. We taught them about when the vendors were selling in the temple and Jesus drove them out. It was a good lesson to teach these kids in particular because we hit the principle of respect very hard. They behaved a lot better until I made a huge mistake at the end. I had brought a candy bar to a girl in our class because she had a birthday and the whole class flipped out and started fighting and screaming for it, completely forgetting the lesson I gave about respect hahaha. Anyway, we are kind of worried about the Portuguese branch here. Once all the American families leave, if we can't find any good worthy priesthood holders, the brach is most likely going to close down. So we are really focusing on bringing families into the church right now, especially families with a father that can be a priesthood holder.
The week went pretty well. We knock a lot of doors here and the doors are spread out pretty far apart, so we walk our faces off here, but its good. Some random news is now we have started finding big fat nasty cockroaches in our house. Yipee. You guys all know how much I love cockroaches. Elder Levitre was too scared to stomp on one the other night so he put it in a plastic bag and stuck it in the microwave. EWwwwwww gross. Other news, this is kind of disturbing and really sad, but there is a village in our area called Santa Rita and this is pretty much the Ghetto of the island. Really poor, and a lot of not so good things go on there. Well, we were going to pass an investigator that lived there that I still haven't met. He is about a 40 year old African guy that supposedly is really nice and cool. It would have been my first time meeting him. Well, we knocked on the door and no one answered. We didn't think too much of it so we just left. A little bit later that day we were told by other investigators that he made a big story on the news. Poor guy was murdered inside his house and dragged down the street and tossed over into the ocean. I feel really sorry for him. Thats just not right. He had told a member that he had planned on going to church on Sunday too. They still haven't found his body apparently. Needless to say, I think me and Elder Dalton are going to kind of avoid that area during the night hours.
Baptism wise, we are still working with Pedro. Pedro is super cool, and he is doing everything he needs too, he is just being lazy. We are also working with a man named Carlos. He is having a rough time here on the island. He calls it the "Island of lies" haha. I don't know why, but he seems pretty elect. We just have to get him to stop smoking. He has been online dating some Brazilean member for over 5 years now, so that has been rough on him still not meeting her.
Well, the work goes on, and I'm really loving it here. I really miss you guys. I love you all so much. Im so thankful for this Gospel and for the amazing family I have. Keep it real guys. I love you all.
Elder Willes

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hey how are you all doing?? Another great week out here on the Azores!!!! It is super beautiful out here. This last week, we have taken our work to an area a little bit new to both of us. Its about an hour bus ride away from our house and pretty much on the other side of the island!!! Its totally worth the ride though because we are finding a ton more people to teach there than we are in Lajes. Lajes has been super tough on us. Almost all the houses we go to, the people are either never home, or they come to the door and when they see we are Mormon missionaries, they shoo us off like we are dogs or something. SUPER SUPER Catholic here. I thought the continent was bad, but compared to the islands, the continent is nothing. The area we have been working in is called Biscoitos though and it is going a lot better than the little village of Lajes. It is also really beautiful there. The bus ride is all along the coast and you can see MASSIVE waves crashing up against the cliffs here. Biscoitos is also right on the coast in an area with a lot more mountains, so I'll send you guys some pictures of it. But yeah, all is going great. We found a number of new investigators and we are working with them. We are super close to baptism with a kid named Pedro and a man named Carlos. Last night, for Sunday dinner, all four of us Elders went over to Pedro's house because it was his brothers birthday and his mom cooked us all up a ridiculous amount of spaghetti and like 5 different cakes. It was a lot of fun.
Primary is CRAZY!!!!!!! The kids are little demons at times, but the weird thing is, I'm actually really enjoying my calling!!! Its rough at times because the kids are always screaming and its like they are all jacked up on sugar, but that's why I have Elder Dalton. Elder Dalton is totally the law in that class. He will flat out take a kid out of class and find their parents if they don't behave, so that's a big help. I really like the kids in my class though. They are crazy, but great kids.
The Americans are still treating us super nice. last Tuesday, a family called the Tatros had us over for dinner and they sent us home with probably 5 huge sacks full of American food and products that they got on the base, so it was awesome. We got the hook up, and Elder Dalton says that they always give us good stuff like that!!!
But yeah, the island is really beautiful. I'm so thankful to be here and I'm even more thankful to be doing the Lords work here. I love this church and I know it is true without a doubt. I'm so thankful for all of you guys and the amazing family that you are!!!! I hope everything is going well for you. I love you all. Tchau Tchau.
Elder Willes

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ah...the beautiful Azore Islands!!!

Oh this week has been great!! Quite the change, but really great. In fact, a huge change. The Azores are the complete opposite from Cacem. It is so weird to hear peace and quiet everywhere instead of cars and trains and people constantly. Very different.
Well, just so you all know, I am on the Island of Terceira. Super cool Island. Me and Elder Kessler (my trainer in the mission) slept over in the office on Monday night and early the next morning, we caught our plane and it was only about a good 2 and a half hour plane ride. The office elders were late getting us there so we barely caught our plane with only minutes to spare, but it was good, at least we caught it right!!!!
Well, the Azores are in the middle of the ocean, so just so you guys know, we are now only 6 hours ahead of you instead of 7.
When we got off the plane, I met my new companion Elder Colby Dalton, and he was waiting with Elder Levitre. Elder Dalton is really cool. He is from North Ogden and went to Weber and played hockey in high school (just like Kelly) ha. But he is a really great missionary and we have been working really hard.
The island of Terceira is beautiful. So So So so green here. And its so great to see mountains again. There are some good sized mountains in the middle of the island. It is very rural here. There seems to be forest everywhere on the inside of the island and when there is not forest, there are fields full of horses and cows, and yes, it does smell a little bit like Tremonton. haha. The houses here are ridiculous. I have never seen so many purple orange and pink houses in my life. It looks like Disney's Toon Town ha. Elder Levitre said something very funny but true, he said, the island of Terceira is like Toon Town meets the Shire meets Hawaii hahaha. Its very true though. Its absolutely beautiful here.
The climate is amazing. Its a little bit more humid here, but the good news is, its so much warmer than Portugal was. I can totally walk around outside during the day with just short sleeves and not get cold until night. Then I'll wear a light jacket.
We have the best house in the mission...3 stories tall and great appliances. We have a dryer as well. That's crazy because most people in Portugal have to hang their clothes up on a clothes line. Great house. And the house is about a 15 second walk to the beach. Me and Elder Kessler have been running on the beach every morning to the sunrise for exercises. We have a balcony outside that has a great view of the ocean. I have attached some pictures from our balcony of the ocean.
So far, the work has been tough. Right now we don't have too many investigators, but we have been busting our buns to find some. We are working with 2 guys right now for baptism. Pedro and Carlos. They are both so close, but while we work with them, our hunt continues for the elect that are ready to hear the gospel because we know they are out there.
There are 2 branches in our area... an American branch and a Portuguese branch. We are on the island with the American airbase, and so we get to associate with them. We actually ate with Americans last night!!! Wow its so different. I love it though. Apparently the Americans feed us a lot more here than the Portuguese. Anyway, usually we will go to just the Portuguese branch because that is where most of our investigators are, plus I have a calling there. I got news for you guys. By going on a mission, I didn't leave my primary calling behind, it just followed me over here. hahah. That's right, I'm the primary teacher... ages 8 to 12. It was crazy. I was a little nervous because the first thing Elder Dalton told me about my calling was "Those kids are little demons" ha it is true in a sense. I was crammed in a small class with about 11 kids all screaming. Elder Dalton helps me of course. He is the law in that class. He takes kids to their parents when they won't behave haha. It was good though, yesterday I taught them about baptism and spoke a lot about Jesus's baptism. Like back at home we give them candy when they are good too. I'm going to love it. Oh I also showed them the picture of our primary class in Brigham when we watched the Prince of Egypt. They loved it.
Well, that's about all for this week. I'm running out of time, but I have the address for you guys. Its:
Elder Coulton Willes
Rua Do Hospital N17
9760 Praia Da Vitória
Terceira, Azores
I love you guys. I will talk to you all next week. Tchau
Elder Willes