Monday, March 28, 2011

Hello my wonderful family!!!!!!!
I'm very glad to hear that the package arrived!! That didn't take too long. I also sent home my next 600 or so pictures a week ago, so be looking for those, they haven't come yet have they?
This week has been pretty good. We have found a number of new people to teach and we are looking at people who we want to mark for baptism this next week. I feel like we are already teaching some pretty elect people, we just have to follow the spirit to find their needs and do accordingly!!!!!
I'm super excited for General Conference. Its going to be a big weekend this upcoming week. Yes we will be able to see it here on the island. As a matter of fact, the American branch is having a big old potluck lunch before the first session, and we will be able to watch it in English in the church. We as missionaries are all over that. We have been playing some random sessions of previous general conferences on a tiny DVD player in our house during lunch everyday just because we are excited. In one of the talks, it was said that "Satan trembles when he sees even the weakest of saints on their knees." That phrase is flippin' awesome. Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you guys. It really reminds you of how powerful prayer really is. Its great to think that at any moment and in any situation, we can say a prayer to Heavenly Father and He is always listening. I think sometimes we forget or take for granted what a privilege prayer is, at least I do sometimes. So that was good, it really reminded me to pray even more sincerely.
So the Elders of Praia will be having a baptism this week!!!! Yay!!! It is a 14 year old girl named Catarina!! She is super cool. Seeing as how I'm the district leader now, I have the opportunity of conducting her baptismal interview. I'm very excited. It will be my first one. She seems very excited to be baptized!!!!!!
Work is going good. Like I said, right now we are working with what we have and giving it all we've got to find new investigators everyday.
I'm loving my daily personal studies right now. I love reading in the New Testament. There is so much scripture in there that we can use. Every verse is another teaching that we can apply to our lives!! Incredible. Right now I am in Mark chapter nine. I love reading about the Savior's life, ministry,miracles,etc. Super cool.
Elder Kessler left for Lisbon yesterday and he will be coming back on Tuesday morning. He has a leadership meeting, so right now we get to be in a triplet., Elder Wiseman, and Elder Wilder. Its tight. We are going to tear it up these next two days. ha.
Hmmmm random events that happened...Pretty much all four of us wrote the same thing in our journal on Saturday night. Something really random and funny happened to us. The Praia Elders were taking us to a taco stand on the beach that night to introduce us to a lady named Noemiah that lives in our area. We didn't go there to eat, just to talk to her and we got her address and info and she said we could pass by on Thursday. So that was great. Well, as we started to go back to the house, this stray dog walked past me and I just looked at it while I was walking. Well, some lady noticed my attention to it and immediately started talking to me and the other Elders. Let me tell you, this lady and her husband, were hammered drunk. Like worse than I've ever seen anyone before. Anyway, she started talking to us and we told her who we were and what we do. Well, we found out that she was American. She was speaking to us in English as well. Well, it was almost impossible to teach her anything. Soon after we introduced ourselves, she tells us to look at the dog. We were like ok. Elder Kessler said "yeah cool" and looked back up and she freaked out. She was like "NO LOOK AT IT, LOOK AT IT. There's something you idiots don't understand" At this point Elder Wilder is trying super hard not to laugh. Then she starts talking about how that dog is her child. She said "This dog is God, it loves everyone." That is when Elder Wilder lost it and busted up laughing. He ended up walking off and Kessler followed. So it was just me and Wiseman for about a minute more. Well we left our card with them and left. So that's the funny/random event of the week.
Other than that, I think I told you all just about everything. I miss you all so much. Sorry to end this email on the less spiritual side, ha. I should have told that story first. But I love you all and miss you so much. I can't wait to talk to ya next week. Tchau|!!!!!
Elder Willes

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hey guys. It was a pretty good week. I'm still getting used to transfer changes, but its all good. I'm enjoying the transfer changes. The new Elders that came in are super cool and we all get along great. Elder Wilder (Kessler's comp) is a way cool kid, and my comp, (Elder Wiseman) is a really good kid as well.
This last week has been kind of interesting. We have been knocking a lot of doors and trying to find new investigators. Very interesting week. We have met some very interesting people. We met the man on the island who films all the parties and bull fights and what not and he said he had talked with the elders before and he would like to talk to us again. He said he used to have a Book of Mormon but he moved and didn't have one. We felt prompted to give him one, so we did and encouraged him to read it. He was so grateful, that he gave us a DVD of the bullfights hahahahah. What a good guy. We however can't watch it because we don't watch TV on our mission, so I'm thinking in my next package to send home, I am going to send that DVD home to you guys and you can watch it and tell me how it is... hahahha.
Speaking of package, I got you special birthday goers a little something last Monday and sent it home on Tuesday. So you guys be looking for that. I sent it home in Brigham City, but it has things for everyone who has a birthday, so you guys are just going to have to travel to get your gift. ha. sorry. Oh and I also received the package of Skittles and the memory cards. Thank you soooooo much. I really like that Mens Motab. We have been listening to it around the house. I didn't know they sang a Billy Joel song. cool. So yeah I'm going to send my memory card home today hopefully, if not today, then for sure tomorrow. You guys need to prepare yourselves though. This beast has nearly 600 pictures on it so i hope you have a lot of time!!!!
The work is going good. We are finding a number of new investigators so that is good. Starting tomorrow, me and Elder Wiseman are going to speak nothing but Portuguese to each other. That way it will help him to learn the language. It will also help me learn more as well.
This last week, I finished reading all sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. Wow. I really loved it. My faith and my testimony have been strengthened so much during my studies in it. I have learned so much. This past week I have been thinking about how much I've learned in preparation for my mission and during my mission, and I can honestly say that I have learned more and my testimony grew more in this last year, than in my entire life. I love it. Right now, as a mission, we are reading through the New Testament in the Bible. I love reading about the Savior's life. Right now, I am only in Matthew but I am amazed at the Savior's teachings.
Well, things are going good here. I'm learning so much here in the mission. I miss you guys all so much though. I love you all. I feel so lucky to have been born in such a strong and blessed family. I pray for all of you every day. Keep it real!!!! Tchau Tchau!!!!
Elder Willes

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I just thought I'd let you all know, we just got called from President Torgan and Elder Dalton and Levitre will be leaving us to go back to the continent, but me and Elder Kessler will be staying. Elder Kessler is getting a comp named Elder Wilder and this will be the first time that I have a comp that is younger than me. This will only be his third transfer. His name is Elder Wiesman. When president told me he would be coming he said "Espero que vais ajudar-lo com a lingua" (I hope you will help him with the language) hahahaha. So I'm really excited. I have also been moved to district leader. So I skipped senior comp and went right to district leader. I'm really excited. I think I'm going to grow a ton these next couple of transfers.
Elder Willes

Hey guys!!!!
Crazy birthday week this week huh? How did everyone's birthday turn out? I know Noelle's and Mom's isn't until tomorrow, but I'm assuming it was celebrated with everyone else!!! Wow the new Ipad 2 huh? Thats crazy. President Eves here on the island has an Ipad and he was showing us all the crazy stuff they can do. They look really cool. I have only seen two though and they were both Americans that had them.
Well, the mission is going great!!!!!!!!!! I'm proud to say that the baptism went great on Friday!!!! Pedro was super nervous but he was so happy after the baptism, he gave the person that baptized him a big hug and the spirit was there so strong. We are all so proud of him as a branch and all the elders. We told him we were going to get him a shirt that says "vote for pedro" and go around telling people that "pedro offers them his protection." The funny thing is, he actually understood that joke. How he knew about that show in the middle of the ocean on this island, I don't know, but we are great friends with him and he will be such a great example to this branch.
Some sad news. Elder Dalton and Levitre will be leaving us tomorrow. We still don't know where they are going yet because president only told them that they would be leaving at zone conference on Friday, but they will for sure be leaving. So both me and Elder Kessler will be getting new companions and staying here on the island. I'm crossing my fingers and praying. Transfers always make me a little bit nervous. I'll be missing Elder Dalton though. He was such a great companion.
On Friday, we had a district meeting, which is kind of like a stake conference, only for the 2 branches here on the island. The Americans and Portuguese went to the same one, so there had to be a translator, but it was a really great experience. President Torgan spoke there and we had one of the Area 70 from Italy come and speak to us. He is a really great man, full of love, and we could all feel the spirit from him when he spoke!!!
Not much other news though. Right now, we are trying to find new investigators and I'm praying like crazy for guidance from the spirit when I start leading this area. I'm so thankful to be here on this island doing the Lord's work. I'm so thankful for all of you guys. Not a day goes by that I don't think of my wonderful family and how blessed I am to be a part of them. I love you all. I pray for you all everyday. I will be looking forward to next weeks email. Ate Proximo!!!!!!
Elder Willes

Monday, March 7, 2011

I have some great news for you guys!!! This Friday, count on a baptism. That's right. All of our hard work finally payed off!!! We have Pedro marked for baptism this Friday! I'm super excited. He is going to be a great example and priesthood leader in our branch!!! That's pretty much by far the biggest part of my news this week. Other than that, transfers are in a week. Can you believe it??? It feels like I arrived on this island yesterday and its already been almost 6 weeks. Chances are, I'll stay. Usually people stay on the Azores for 3 or 4 transfers, so I think I'm staying, but you never know ha. So Elder Dalton has started going around and bidding farewell to people that we don't visit that much because he pretty much knows for a certainty that he will be leaving. He already has a good 6 months on this island.
As for the branch, yes the bishopric has addressed the smoking issue. That's the sad part. Yesterday, President Eves asked a 15 year old kid in our branch if he knew that the savior wanted him to stop smoking, would he? and the kid answered no. So it is a sad situation, but no one can judge but God. I like what Kenny said about it... that this church itself is a perfect church, Christ's only church on the earth. But the people in the church are far from perfect. As missionaries here, we have tried to reactivate a lot of members that have fallen away because of transgression and they don't feel comfortable going to church so they just straight up quit going, but one of the things we tell them is that church is like a hospital for us. Its not a place where perfect people go, but a place where people who have imperfections go to use the atonement and be spiritually healed. Unfortunately though, we still have a lot who refuse to go back, and a lot have fallen away purely off the example of others they have seen who have fallen away.
But yeah, just to clarify, the military itself won't be transferred off the island, just a lot of the American families are being transferred to other airbases. A surprising amount of the families here have at one time or another been living at Hill Airforce base!!! Cool huh? but anyways, we just hope a lot of members move in to take their place when they leave so we can have a good strong priesthood group in our branch.
Other than this, I don't have much news for you guys. The work continues to go on and my testimony and love for the savior is always increasing!!!! I love you all and miss you so much. I pray for you all everyday. Ill talk to you guys next week. Tchau!!!!!

Elder Willes

Friday, March 4, 2011

Still searching...

Hey guys!!! Great to hear from you again. P-days are fun, but my highlight of pday is by far the emailing.
Well, the island has been going great!!! The work is getting a little bit better here. Yesterday, we had a lesson with Pedro, the kid that we want to baptize, and he is so super close to get baptized. He is obeying all the commandments and he goes to church. The only thing holding him back right now is the example of some of the members in the branch. I'm not going to lie, this Portuguese branch is suffering, and once the Airforce members leave that comprise of most of the priesthood, it will fall. So we are searching for priesthood holders like crazy. But yeah, there are some bad examples in our branch unfortunately. Some of the members will go outside during sacrament meeting and just light up their cigarettes right outside of the church. That really fires me up. Its gotten bad enough that President Eves has gone around and just started randomly interviewing people. It just goes to show you how important it is to be a good example as a member. "a light to the world". But I am thankful for the few strong members in this branch, and all the others, we just have to help them out. But we are working.
We have been working a lot in Biscoitos. Its the other side of the island. Right now, that is our best bet. We have been getting a lot of references over there and having a lot of lessons and I think there are some really elect people over there. I'm really excited. So the work is going great. We are SO CLOSE to a baptism.
As for random news this week. I'm a little bit tired this morning because I was awakened by Elder Levitre last night at about 3 in the morning. The kid flippin' sleep walks. He got up, left his room, came over to ours and started rubbing our closed door. Well it woke me up and me and Elder Dalton were both just staring at the door. I'm not going to lie, it freaked me out. Then the door opens up a crack and closes again and we can hear him going off to other places in the hall. We told him about it this morning and he couldn't stop laughing. hahah. Pretty funny!!
Well, nothing else happened this last week really. It was a good normal week. I'm really loving my mission though. I love this work so much. Nothings better than doing the Lord's work.
And I hate to rub this in you guys's face, but it is starting to get super warm and sunny on this island. I miss my snow, but this weather is amazing. Super warm, green, and sunny. Just think about that while you all are freezing hahaha.
Well, I'm going to end now. I have to download a lot of pictures from my camera to my pen drive today. But I love you all so much. I'm so thankful for the Gospel. I know without a doubt it is true. I'd like to say I was baptized with 8 years of age, but I've been truly converted here in the mission. I love you all. Stay cool. Ate proximo semana!!!!!!! Tchau!!!
Elder Willes