Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Just to let you all know!! I had a wonderful birthday here in the azores!!! The American members took real good care of me! I had 2 different birthday cakes at different members houses and I have been full all weekend!! I don't think I will ever eat again haha!!!
Well, I have news for you guys. There will only be one elder that is staying in our tight group of 4 on the island and that will be my comp Elder Wiseman!!! He will also be the only American in the house, funny huh? Two African elders are coming over and one from Belgium!!! Elder Wilder will be branch president in Angra on the other side of the island, and me and Kessler will be flying back to the continent to work. He will be a financial secretary and I am going to serve in Vasco DeGama with Elder Banks!!! Im excited. I think Vasco DeGama is part of Lisbon and its down by the big Rio Tejo!! So I've been going through some mixed feelings right now!!! I was really shocked to hear I would be leaving, but it will be good and I'm glad to go wherever the Lord wants me!!! I'll miss these members so much!! I have made some really good friendships here on this island and it will be really hard to leave, but I will never forget them. So tonight I bid my goodbyes to them and tomorrow me and Elder Kessler get on the plane and leave. So I will send you guys my new address next week when I get it!!!
It will also be a little tough because we are finally coming around with our investigator Nelson!! He actually has a desire to come to church now and he reads the Book of Mormon every night!! He told me on Sunday that Saturday night, he had a friend over and Nelson was reading to his kid outloud, and when he finished, his friend overheard and said "wo, read that again" and he did and the friend said "I like that" and they read another chapter and he said "I like that, how can I get one?" So Nelson took him to church on Sunday and he really enjoyed the testimonies!! We will be going by his house this week, well, not we, but Wiseman and his comp. So I'll be praying for him. We were going to mark Nelson for the 18th, so I'll be praying for him!!!
Testimony meeting was great!! The branch president, President Eves' brother and his wife are vistiting for a while and they don't speak a lick of Portuguese but they wanted to share their testimonies to the congregation so they went up and pointed at me to translate!! It was actually a really cool experience!! Their testimonies were very strong and I was able to help translate that message to our branch!! Nelson loved the meetings!!!
So thats how the work is, and I hope it continues and I hope this branch grows. I will really miss these people!!
Random story of the week, it's summer now, so the bull fights in the streets have started everywhere especially on the weekends. Well, I was walking with my comp to our next appointment and we turned the corner and there was a HUGE crowd in the street!! I thought "hmmm, must be a bull fight" but I couldn't see the bull and there were a bunch of children in the street so I could see they had not yet let the bull out of the box. Well, me and Wiseman were just kind of pushing our way through people when we ran into the Praia Elder's investigator's children. They yelled "ELDERS" and gave us a big hug like they usually do, when one of them looked at us and laughed and said "Elders, what are you doing in the street, are you going to run with the bull?" After she said that, I looked behind me and noticed that none of those children were in the street anymore and that it was just a bunch of guys getting ready to mess with this bull. Immediatley after, I heard one firework go off, which means they let the bull out and out runs this huge massive bull!!! So me and wiseman hurried and got out of the street and climbed up on someone's yard so we didn't get slaughtered by the beast. But we were trapped after that because the only way we could leave the bull fight was to get on the street and go to a backstreet where there wasn't the bull fight. So, when the bull was really far off, we got down and went to our next appointment!!! These bull fights are CRAZY!!!!
Well, thats about all I have for you guys this week!!! I hope you all have an amazing week!! I love you all. You're the best family ever!! I'll be leaving my family here on the island and I don't know if I'll ever see them again, but I know I always have you guys!! I love you all so much!!! Talk to ya next week!!!
Elder Willes

This week was a pretty good week. Me and Elder Wiseman got a lot of work done this week and we have seen a lot of progression when it comes to getting new investigators. We are still in the same boat with the baptisms. I feel we are very very close with Nelson and Maria though, they are just waiting for an answer to their prayers about the Book of Mormon. I think we are going to talk about what an answer could be like with them. They both say that they feel good when they read it and that they believe it is true. In reality, this is an answer in and of itself. Anyways, i really want to see them baptized before i leave the Island and its possible that i could leave during the next transfers on june 7th, so, we are really praying and working hard with them.
Weather has finally shaped up here. The clouds have dissapeared and finally we are seeing the sun shine island weather. So weather wise, things are going great on the island, and i think that it is also helping people to be a lot more happy and acceptive surprisingly enough!!!
Well, this could very well be my last week. Personally, i hope that it isnºt. Work is really tough here, but i still donºt want to leave. I have so much friends here and i love the people!! But then again, that is what i said about my first area and then i got adjusted to the people here. So i think that is just how the mission works, so ill be happy with wherever Heavenly Father assigns me to go!!!!
Well, a new american family moved in recently and we had the opportunity to go and visit them this past week. The husband is a recent convert. Very recent. He was baptized right before they moved to this island with the air force. So, we are going to reteach them the missionary lessons. We are going over every friday, and they will feed us deliscious american food and then afterwards, we teach them a lesson. We went last wednesday and Bro lujan let us try on his sweet pilot helmet, so thats what we are doing in the attatched photo!!!
Well, time is shorter than usual on the internet today because we are leaving early to do some service to a member family, so i am super sorry for the super short email, but i think i have told you just about everything new. Oh and the island is partying right now until the end of the summer. Huge festivals and stuff, its pretty crazy!!!
Anyways. I love you all so much and i miss you all like crazy!!! You guys are the best. LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Willes

Well, another great week has passed by out on the azores, however, i canºt believe how fast time is flying by!! Itºs pretty trippy!!! I almost wish it would slow down, im really enjoying being here on the azores!!!
Well, we have gotten around to inviting more people to be baptized and talking about baptism. we had a lesson with our investigator maria on wednesday and we talked about baptism. She told us that she still hasnºt got a certain answer about the book of mormon, but she loves reading it and she feels "good" or the spirit every time she reads it. So we told her to keep reading and praying and have patience and to realize that the answer isnºt always a huge thing, but it could also be these "good feelings" Then we asked her if when she knew that the book of mormon was true, if she would act on that answer and follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized and she told us that she had already been baptized as a kid. So we focused on how the Gospel was restored through Joseph Smith and that is why the Book of Mormon is so important. By the time we left, i felt she understood and she told us, "lets hope i get an answer this week" so we are really praying for her. She is so close!!!
With Nelson, we got him to come to church again and it was really good. We had the branch presidentºs brother over to visit and his family, they will be here for 2 months, but he spoke in english and Elder Wilder Translated for the branch. He talked about his experiences in the war in Iraq and related a certain experience when they were attacked to being prepared Spiritually. Nelson was apart of the portuguese military once so that was right up his alley. When i asked him how he liked it he said that he loved it!!! So that was great for him. He mumbled something about baptism as well that i didnºt catch and i was about to ask him what he said after sacrament, but i was bombarded with everyone and he left. So we will go back tonight and see what he said and talk to him. We are really praying for him as well. Those are our two main people right now.
Well, some of the american families are starting to move, but thankfully, there are new families coming into the military branch.
This week was pretty fun, it was full of activities. On Thursday, we had a primary activity that was centerd around health and the word of wisdom. Sister eves taught a really cool lesson and then she turned the time over to us elders, so we took the kids outside and ran a bunch of relay races with them. It was a lot of fun. we also taught them how to do some cool exercises. so it went really well.
On saturday, we had an integration night with the portuguese branch. It was super fun and successful. The members showed up and we had a barbeque and just played games and talked with each other. Me and the elders were throwing a football and the portuguese kids were interested so we all played keep away and such. it was just a really fun night which i thought was definitley worth while, because i think it made people want to come to church the next day, or have a desire. Anyways, it was really great.
Work wise, i think thats about all the update. As usual, me and Elder Wiseman are always trying to find new investigators, so the knocking and asking goes on. But its great. Im loving the mission so much. I canºt believe transfers are on the 7th. I hope i stay for one more, it will be really hard to leave a lot of the people here because i have established so much friendships, but im excited for whatever happens.
Well, i love you all so much. thank you all for everything. I canºt wait to hear from you guys again. Have a great week. Tchau!!!
Elder Willes

This week was pretty good!! The focus of this week was getting new investigators!! We also had interviews with president torgan which went really well, but it made the week a little bit crazy. The assitants had to sleep at our house and they went on divisions with us for about two days!!! The interviews went really good though!! As always, we learned a ton and it was good to see president Torgan again for the second time since ive been out here on these islands haha. But it was a really good and uplifting meeting. Well, we finally got around to trying to get one of our investigators marked this week named nelson. About a 33 year old guy that lives alone and has a kid that he can see on the weekends. We had tried to mark him for baptism in the past, but he wouldnºt listen telling us that he had already been baptized and didnºt need to be baptized again. Well, when we came around to it last monday at his house, once i asked him, he got a big goofey grin on his face and just sat there flipping me off. I was a little annoyed. He gave me the same excuse, that he had already been baptized. I decided to keep trying though so i told him to bear with me. I was like "i know you have already been baptized, youve told me a thousand times, just bear with me hear" well, we shared the scripture with him i think in acts 19, where paul rebaptizes a bunch of people because they didnºt have the gift of the Holy Ghost. So we shared that with him and that got him thinking, and by the end of the lesson, his mood had changed completley, so what we did is we told him to read the intro to the book of mormon one more time and pray about itºs truth, then to pray about if baptism was really right for him and he told us that he would do it. We could tell that he was really thinking about how he didnºt have the gift of the Holy Ghost. We passed him by a couple of days later and he told us that his prayer went good and that he felt good, but he had felt better before. He still doesnºt want to get baptized because even though he knows the book of mormon is true and believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet, he thinks that all churches are right because they talk about God. I donºt think he fully understands the restoration, so next time we go back there, that will be our main focus. We are going to reteach the restoration.
Other than him, we met some really cool new investigators this last week. 2 of them, a mother and a daughter are practicing catholics and they told us that they felt good when we spoke to them. They said the way we teach them is different than when the Pastor or whatever speaks at her church. We told her that she was feeling the spirit, so we have some high hopes for some of these knew people!!!
I gave another talk in the portuguese branch yesterday. It went pretty good. It was on "using and bettering our talents." This upcoming week should be pretty interesting. On thursday, we have a primary activity that will be on "the word of wisdom" or really just healthy living. Sister Eves will talk to the kids about what to eat thats healthy and whatnot and maybe bring some healthy snacks, and then me and the other 3 Elders are in charge of the excercise part, so we are probably going to have them do like relay races and push up contests and what not. Maybe play some catch or some soccer. It will be fun. Then on Saturday, we have integration night where all the members come and just do fun activities with each other to get to know one another a little bit better!! So it will be a lot of fun. And once again, we are praying that we can finally mark someone for baptism this week. The work continues to go on!!
I will finish the new testament on Friday for the first time reading all the way through. I have really enjoyed it and i have learned so much more. After that we will be reading the pearl of great price which shouldnºt take long to finish at all. All the while making sure to read the Book of Mormon as well daily. After i finish the pearl of great price, the only standard work that i wonºt have read will be the old testament, which i started in cacem and got to 1st chronicols, so about half way done, and when i have time again, i will continue and finish the old testament as well. Thats one of my goals is to have read all the standard works by the time i come home!! Im learning so much, its great!!!
Well, thats about it this week on my side!!! I appreciate all of your emails. i love hearing from you guys and hearing about what goes on at home!! I hope all continues to go well for you guys. I keep you in my prayers every day. I love you all so much. Canºt wait to talk to you all next week!! Tchau!!!!!
Elder Willes

Hey guys!!!
It was so good to talk to you all!!!! That was so amazing. I hope i am in an area that allows me to skype during Christmas!!! It was so good to see all of your faces and hear your voices!! Me and the other elders were talking last night and we said its a good thing its pday today because after we all talked with our families, that's like the only thing we could think about!! So thank you so much for talking with me.
So its really rainy in Brigham huh? Welcome to my world ha. It is currently raining outside and its very annoying because we were going to play soccer today and maybe throw a football at the beach. But no problem, we will probably just have another intense dart gun war inside our house. But yeah, the weather is crazy here. I always loved the rain before i came to the island of Terceira, and not i despise it hahaha.
Anyways, i think i told you all yesterday how things are going work wise. We are still trying to mark those few people for baptism and it is a very long process. We need to get them to church but sometimes they can be such slackers. I didnºt mention however that on Saturday, me and Elder Wiseman pretty much knocked doors all day and we had a surprising amount of success. We also passed some people by that we only had talked to once that said we could come back that didnºt seem to interested, but we passed them by on saturday and we found some people that seem pretty elect. So we have a number of new investigators to work with now as well as those ones that are so close!!! Yay!!!
Right now, in scripture study, i am currently reading in 1st timothy!!!I Its going great!!! I should be finishing the new testament on the 20th according to this study schedule. I love it, im learning new things every day!!!
Well, i apologize that this email is so much shorter than usual, but we talked so much last night and it was so great that that's really about all i can think of to say right now. haha. Thank you all so much. You guys are the best family!! I love you all so much and im so grateful for you. I cant wait to talk to ya next week!! Tchau!! Bejinhos, Bracos, Adeus!!!!
Elder Willes