Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Independence Day for Portugal...

Hey guys!!!! First off, I have to apologize that I didn't write to you guys yesterday. Yesterday was 25 de Abril which is Portugal's Independence Day and literally EVERY place was closed!!! It was pretty messed up. I was so anxious to email you guys. So that's why I haven't sent an email until now!!! Sorry!!!!!
Anyway, this last week was a week full of activities. It was a really great week. On Wednesday, we had a Primary Activity that all of us Elders helped out with. While the primary kids watched a video clip of Jesus Christ and decorated easter baskets, me and the other elders went outside and we hid easter eggs for the kids!!! It was really cool. They really liked it. I think it was a bit different for them because the culture is a bit different here, but they really loved it!!!
Oh p.s. I'm staying here for yet a third transfer with the exact same Elders!!! Wow 3 transfers on the island already, wow how time flies!!!
Anyway, oh, last pday was fun!!! The weather was bad, so we all bought dart guns and had a war inside of our apartment. It was sick. Thats the picture you guys see.
Well, on Friday, we showed a film, Finding Faith in Christ, to a older couple . They are Americans. Anyway, it went really good. We could really feel the spirit in this film. At the end, they were both crying and I invited them to church. I was about to leave them a soft baptismal invite, when all the sudden the husband said he refused to move his religion. When I affirmed to him that all we were doing was inviting him to church so that he could see how it was he said, "Oh I see, you invite me to church this time and then next time you ask me to change my religion." Just being a real jerk about it. The sad thing is that his wife wants to go to church and she was really excited when we talked about Christ's baptism, but the husband is being difficult. The other day, we walked past their house, and I saw him lying out cold on the ground. I was terrified he had a stroke or something so I ran over there and started shaking him and talking to him. Well, next thing I know, Elder Wiseman points behind me and his wife is just standing there telling us not to bother and that she had it under control. Apparently he was just drunk out of his mind. I wanted to help him into the house, but he refused just mumbling. Crazy stuff!!!! So my prayers are going out to them.
Saturday was really cool. We worked throughout the day, but right after studies, we were invited over to lunch with a member. It was amazing. It was a full out cooked turkey dinner. Then that night, we had an integration night at the church where all the members come and get to know each other better and we all just played games.
Our Easter Sunday was amazing. We were invited to go over to a really cool American family's house for dinner named the Billmans. They are so cool. They are a really great family, mother, father, and 5 girls haha, at least you guys had at least one boy. It was great though. The food was amazing. I told Brother Billman it was an Easter miracle haha. Then while we were finishing up, they hid easter eggs just for us missionaries, so after we shared a message with them, we went on a quick easter egg hunt. It was so great!!!
Well, I'll let you guys know what happens with those we are trying to mark. I love you all so much and miss you. I hope you all had an amazing Easter!!! Keep me updated!! love you guys.
Elder Willes

Monday, April 18, 2011

Beautiful sunset on the Azores

hoje, eu vou escrever este email em portuguese para que vocĂȘs possem apreder este lingua tam bem, e quando eu volto para casa, todos nos vamos falar portuguese e ninguem vai perceber aquilo que estamos a dizer. Hahahahaha Estou a brincar convosco. tou a brincar!
So how is everyone doing!!! I love getting all your emails!!! It sounds like things are going great back at home!!
This week has been pretty good for us. We have several investigators that we are so close to getting baptized!!! I'm praying with all I've got!! We have a lady named Maria, another lady named Maria, an American named Helena, and a kid named Favio... all people that seem really golden to work with. So I'm praying that we can get them into the waters of baptism!!! We are also finding a bunch of new investigators!!! Last week, me and Elder Wiseman went to a tiny little beach town called Caldeira and knocked almost every door there. It went really well. We actually got quite a number of references and quite a number of new investigators, so we will be working a bit there now. The only problem is the JWs got there before us and so many of these people have the JW version of the Bible, which if you guys don't know, has been changed so much that they aren't allowed to even call it the Bible anymore. So they call it the New World Translation, or something like that. Oh well though. It shouldn't matter. We will just continue to go in there and share with them the truth!!!!!!!!!!!
Life is going great on the mission though!!!!! On Friday, I hit my 10 month mark. I woke up, looked at the date, and couldn't believe it!!!! I cannot believe I have been on the mission for 10 months now. It is unreal and a little bit freaky!!!! Time flies so darn fast!!! This upcoming week is also the last week of transfers. I should be staying. Usually missionaries stay on the island longer than just two transfers, but you never know. Elder Levitre left after two and he was positive that he was staying. Personally, I would really love to stay. I feel like we have worked really hard here and now we might finally see the miracles start happening!!! I have grown a lot here on this island. I have had a lot more responsibility here than I have had yet on my mission.
So Mothers Day is coming up and you guys know what that means. I can talk to y'all again!!!! Just something to think about, a lot of the missionaries here have been using Skype on Christmas and Mothers Day. We can actually use it. And it would be cool to see your guys' faces when we talk. If you guys wanted to do that, we could go over to a members and use their computers or something like that!!! So you guys talk about it and let me know. Wow it seems like just yesterday we talked on Christmas!!!
Wow, I'm super happy for the new Bishopric!!!! Wow, those guys are all so cool. I knew somehow that Brother Vellinga (Bishop Vellinga) would be the new bishop!!!! I totally called it!!!!
Well, that's about all this week. I love you all so much!! I hope you all have a wonderful Easter!!! Ill talk to y'all next week!!!! Tchau!!!
Much love, Elder Willes

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Still seeking for the earnest in heart...

It was a pretty good week this last week. At the beginning of the week, President Torgan challenged every couple in the mission to get 20 new investigators in one week. Well, it was a good challenge, so we set that as our goal and worked our guts out towards it!!!! Although we didn't get quite 20, we got 11 which is more than this area has had in a while for one week. Its going great though!!! We have been meeting some really cool people lately!!! Interesting to see what others believe, the best part though is helping them feel the love Heavenly Father has for them even at a simple door contact when we talk about prayer and say a prayer with them at their door.
As I'm sure you guys all know, the baptism for the Praia Elders happened this last Saturday!!! It went really great!! The spirit there was so strong. I'm so glad I could be a part of it and be there to support her!!! Always a truly amazing experience when someone enters the waters of baptism!!!! I have included a picture down at the bottom of the baptism!!!!
There is one thing I forgot to do in last weeks email, and that is wish Grandpa Joe a Happy Birthday. If you guys could please tell him that for me. Also, that's so awesome that little Jace will be turning 2. I still miss his super long hair though. Thats how I remember Jace ha. I make sure to point out his hair when I show members and investigators the family albums. P.S those family albums really actually do help with the missionary work. A lot of times, when we start talking about God's plan for us and the importance of families in his plan, I will show them the pictures of you guys back at home, and it honestly helps us establish a better relationship with our investigators. They always seem to open up more to us because we are sharing information about ourselves and whatnot. So Thanks for those amazing pictures. If at any time any one of you wants to send me another album, that would be super cool. hahah
So I cannot believe how fast time flies on the mission. It is absolutely unreal, and a little bit scary. In just 5 days, I will reach my 10 month mark. I'm learning to savor my experiences because without a doubt, I won't enjoy any other work near as much as I'm enjoying the Lords work.
This week, we didn't have much time to meet with the people we wanted to mark, but this week we will be working to mark them for baptism. We will be praying a lot and relying on the Lord always!!! Ill let you guys know how that goes next week.
I can't believe we are getting a new bishopric. Thats crazy!!!!!! You guys have to promise me you will go to Bishop Lewis, and Brother Bailey and Brother Thomas and tell them how much I appreciate them. Yeah let me know who the next bishop is though.
Well, thats the big news for this week. I hope you all have a splendid spring break. (random fact, did you guys know the Portuguese kids get 2 weeks off for spring break. Crazy huh?) I can't wait to hear from you all next week. I love you all so much. Ate Proximo. Tchau Tchau!! Bejinhos!!!! Adeus!!! Bye Bye!!!
Elder Willes