Wednesday, January 29, 2014


L to R Elder Warner (Provo-going to Singapore), Elder Willes, 
and Elder Dexter (Tennessee-going to Taiwan)

 Ni Hao from the MTC. Wow what a week! Well first off my Chinese name is Wei Zhong Lao. The first day was very hectic. It started out when my host took me in to get my books and I was told I was the last missionary to arrive and they had already put the books away. So I didn't receive any supplies until day 2. I went straight to Zhong Wen (Chinese) class and the teacher was only speaking Chinese and I had no clue what he was saying. I met my companion. His name is Elder Dexter. He's from Tennessee. He has 5 years of Chinese experience and speaks the language very well. Then we were told that a missionary was fast-tracking so we were going to be a trio companionship with Elder Warner (going to Singapore, Mandarin speaking) from Provo.  We work well together and that's all that matters.

The days consists of learning Chinese, personal study, companionship study, and other things. The cafeteria food is good and better than I thought. It's a lot like the Cannon Center, but is pretty good. We eat dinner at like 5:30 so we are pretty hungry come night time. I was named district leader on day 2. It was pretty nerve racking. I lead our district in meetings and class. I also have about 3 meetings a week I have to go to. Being a district leader means I'm the mailman haha. I get the mail twice a day and deliver it. I feel bad for the district members when they don't get mail. Receiving mail, packages, dear elders, etc. is honestly the best. Thanks so much for sending the packages and dear elders :) Love you guys.

Our district consists of two trios. Us and 3 sisters. 2 of the sisters are going to New York, Mandarin speaking and one to Taiwan, Taibei. The one going to Taiwan is Sister Smith and she is from Rancho Santa Margarita! Way close to where we used to live apparently?

Anyway the first few days of the MTC were very hard. The language is very difficult and is much harder to understand than it is to speak. We teach an investigator 3 lessons a week all in Chinese. We know he's a fake investigator and an RM who served in Taiwan but it is still a cool experience. We've been improving on the language everyday. I can pray in Chinese, ask questions, bear my testimony, and teach different gospel principles. I've been improving a ton and I give credit to the Lord for that.

The Branch President and his wife, over our zone, are both converts from Taiwan. President & Sister Teng. They are awesome. They said we all have to write a talk each week and 2 missionaries are randomly chosen on Sunday to speak in Sacrament and the talk has to be in Chinese. Luckily I was not chosen this Sunday. Church was really awesome. The congregation consists of our zone which is about 25 elders (zhang lao) and sisters (jie me). The spirit was strong especially while singing hymns in Chinese (which we do everyday). That evening we went to choir practice. Such a spiritual experience. So cool being a part of hundreds of missionaries bearing their testimonies through music. Also that evening there was a devotional. The devotionals are awesome. The spirit is so strong there. The guy that talked taught by the spirit and it was incredible. After Sunday all of my worries and homesickness went away. The spirit, prayer, and the gospel in general has helped me out.

 I have seen plenty of familiar faces here. I saw Sister Horgesheimer within 30 minutes of the drop off. I see Elder Hunsaker about 5 times a day and Elder Dethloff & Hughes everyday. They are companions!! Can you believe that? So lucky. I'm jealous.  I've also seen Elder Gnautavai, Elder Smith (once at the devotional because he lives on west campus), Elder Hegewald, and more BYU friends. We have gym time every day so I've been able to Ball everyday :) It's a good stress reliever. My companions go run on the track while I play basketball with Elder Dethloff, Elder Hughes, and others. It's a lot of fun.

 Last night there was another devotional which was awesome. A member of the Seventy talked about how members can be missionaries and how the baptism success rate improves dramatically if members are present at missionary discussions. It had a huge impact on me. I encourage all of you to to be missionaries at home. Be a friend to everyone, say hi to someone who is lonely, bear your testimony to non members. The spirit is incredibly strong here. We sang Called to Serve as a choir at the devotional as well as I Feel My Savior's Love. The MTC President was crying and everyone felt the spirit so strong. The spirit of this place and missionaries are awesome. Wouldn't rather be anywhere in the world.

 Jake: Keep working hard in school and b-ball!
Nate: Keep working hard in school and baseball :)
Miss you guys and you are huge examples to me. I appreciate the dear elders, all the updates, and emails. Bummer about BYU basketball, but oh well. What really matters is progressing the Lord's work. Keep working hard at improving your testimonies.

 Mom: thanks so much for the packages, letters, emails. I felt pretty special this week :) My companions were pretty jealous of me getting all these dear elders & packages. Miss you and love you.
Dad: Hope big 45 was awesome! Thanks for all the updates and advice. Love it. Love you.

 The work is progressing here and I'm loving it. The church is true! Have a great week. Cant wait to get to Taiwan :)

 Love, Elder Willes  

Elder Willes and Mamoo

Opening up the first package from home 

Elder Willes and Elder Dexter 

Elder Warner and his "fake" companion 

Elder Willes' birthday message to Keith 

Elder Willes and Elder Hunsaker (a childhood friend) 

Elder Willes and Elder Gnautavai 

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