Friday, February 28, 2014


Elder Willes with Elder Hintze (one of the funniest people Elder Willes has ever met)

5 weeks done here!  It's just crazy! Time is flying now.  It feels like just yesterday I was emailing. Awesome that BYU beat Gonzaga! I bet that place was rockin'! Wichita State is #3? That is crazy! Grandma, happy birthday! I love and miss you. Also, thanks Grandma and Grandpa for the package! We ate all the candy and loved it! Thanks so much!  Mitch's parents sent me a package and that was awesome. Thank you Smith family! Thanks for raising a great son. 

Not much is new here at the MTC. On Sunday I taught the lesson in our district meeting on recognizing and understanding the spirit. It was awesome. The spirit was strong and Preach My Gospel has some great insight on how we can have the spirit in our lessons and teach through the spirit. As for our zone we have only two districts right now. Our district (7 of us) and the all guy district (8 Elders) so our sacrament meetings are quite small right now. Our Branch President heard that we get 16 new missionaries next week so that should be exciting. 

Elder Willes with his zone.  Should be growing soon!

One of our favorite P-day activities is welcoming new elders and sisters to the MTC.  Elder Dexter, Elder Warner, and I get a sack lunch and sit on a bench and welcome EVERY new missionary to the MTC and be friendly to them. The first day I was in the MTC I was told "welcome to the MTC" about 50 times from other missionaries and it is pretty awesome so we try and do the same. P-day's we go to the temple, do laundry, study, write letters, and then we have class at night. I love p-days. 

The devotional on Sunday was really cool. The speaker had all of the missionaries stand up who were converts. Probably 1/5 of the missionaries stood up! It was crazy! Then he had all of the missionaries who had been inactive for a period of time stand up. Probably about 1/2 of the missionaries stood up! He asked a few of them questions about why they came back into reactivity. Answers varied from members welcoming, fellowshipping, testimony building experiences, etc. I was shocked to see how many missionaries had been inactive for a period of time. This should be motivation for all of you back home to be great examples to those who are struggling. Love them, fellowship them, and serve them. 

Also, the devotional last night was cool. Elder Snow from the Seventy spoke. He had all the senior couples stand up. He asked if any of them had served multiple missions. Almost all of them had. There was 3 senior couples who had served over 5 missions each, and one couple was serving their 11th mission!  Talk about true faith right there!  Awesome stuff.  Also, Elder Snow talked about the missionaries in the early days of the church. There was one who was called as a missionary to some remote island. He left his wife and 4 daughters only 12 days later to leave on his mission. He traveled by sea and it took 6 months to reach his destination. His companion also passed away on the voyage. When he got there he had to learn Tahitian and ended up baptizing hundreds of people! He was reunited with his family 5 1/2 years later! True faith right there! It makes my sacrifice of being in the MTC 9 weeks seem extremely small. Plus I'm over halfway now! Awesome! 

Chinese is coming along good. We've been working on teaching the Zhi Hui Yu (Word of Wisdom) this week. It truly is extremely important and the blessings we receive from obeying this law are awesome.

Sorry not much to write this week. I'm loving it here at the MTC and am working very hard. Elder Hunsaker heads out this week to Africa. Best of luck to him. 

Elder Willes with Elder Hunsaker one last time before Elder Hunsaker heads out for Africa.
These two missionaries entered the MTC the same day. 

Have a great week everyone. 

It truly is an honor to be one of the Lord's servants!

Elder Willes

Thursday, February 20, 2014


William and his companions outside the Provo Temple.  

I've been here a month?? That is so crazy! Only 5 weeks to go. :) Just so everyone knows I am feeling a lot better! No more sheng bing (sick person)! 

There were a lot of awesome things this week. I was able to memorize the baptismal challenge and use it in a lesson!  It was cool. The Lord has blessed me with memorizing and retaining passages and I'm so grateful for that. 

Here are a few cool stories I want to share this week. Last Saturday I felt prompted to put my consecrated oil in my bag and bring it to class. I didn't know why.  On Monday, Elder Warner wasn't feeling good and asked Elder Dexter and I to give him a blessing. Since I had my oil we were able to promptly give him that blessing :) and he was strengthened and able to help out when we gave our lesson! 

Also, Sunday was just AWESOME! The best day here so far! I said goodbye to
Elder Gnautavai & Elder Pilli as they go off to serve in Canada and Florida. We had a devotional Sunday night. We were all told that President Holland (Elder Holland's son) would be speaking to us. On top of that we heard that it was Sister Holland's (Elder Holland's wife) birthday and that she would be in attendance. Everyone following along?  Anyway, we weren't told that Elder Holland would be there, but we figured he probably would be. The choir was singing Praise to the Man with another choir and we were all excited for that! Then like 10 minutes before the devotional began Elder Holland walks in. I was like WHAT. Everyone just stood up and the spirit was so strong.  It was so cool. Then all the missionaries starting singing happy birthday to Sister Holland.  It was awesome. She loved it. Elder Holland introduced his son, President Holland, who is the President at UVU. Elder Holland said that he was just there to support his son and didn't say much. I thought that was cool. President Holland talked about Joseph Smith. All of the hardships Joseph Smith endured are unreal. He had such great faith. Pres. Holland also talked about how when Martin Harris lost the 116 pages how angry Joseph Smith was with him. He related this story to show we are all human, but that we need to strive to not be angry with anyone on our missions and because of this the Lord will bless us. Joseph Smith wasn't a scholar. He had very little schooling. He could NOT have made up the translation. The way President Holland described this story was so cool and the spirit was so strong! When we sang Praise to the Man the spirit was unreal. I sang with the choir.  After the devotional we watched Legacy which was awesome. Made me so grateful that we live in this dispensation and grateful for Yue Si Si Mi (Joseph Smith).

The other story is about the devotional yesterday (Tuesday)! Sorry I keep talking about these but they are so powerful!  Mamoo and Boppy can testify of that! The speaker was
Elder Perkins of the Seventy and he served in Taiwan and is the former mission president of the Taiwan, Taipei Mission! His daughter is also serving in my mission! I was like are you kidding?? It was soooo cool! He talked about qualities we need to have as missionaries such as patience, love, diligence, virtue, humility, temperance, and charity! I have been struggling with patience this week as well as charity. This talk inspired me to improve not only on those two characteristics, but all of them. I felt like it was exactly what I needed to hear. After the devotional my companions and I went and thanked Elder Perkins for his message. We talked in Chinese with him and that was pretty neat as well.  

I am seriously loving this work. The MTC is awesome and I've learned to not waste a second because we are on the Lord's time. As a companionship we set goals this week which were outside of our comfort zone.  We taught lessons to our "investigators" about the creation,
pre-earth life, keeping the sabbath day holy, and the sacrament. It was hard to learn all that Mandarin vocabulary, but we were able to get our points across. This week has been incredible. I wouldn't choose to be anywhere else.  Not even the Marriott Center Thursday night for the big BYU game. :) My faith in Christ is growing and I've realized I can't do this on my own. I need Him in all things and He is there for me. This week I was released as district leader and that was bitter sweet. I liked leading my district, but Elder Warner has the reigns now. The older district leaves in two days for Taiwan. So now we are the oldest district in our zone!  Crazy!  Also we have a new member in our district Sister Kwan.  She was fast tracked but didn't get her visa so she's with us for awhile. She lived in Taiwan and tells us cool things about our mission!  She's also fluent and bang zhu (helps) us with the language!

Well, I'm out of time. Hope everyone has a great week! Mamoo and Boppy thanks for the McDonalds gift card. I can't wait to use that at the airport in a month. ;) Steve and Lisa thanks for the package! Those donuts were gone in the blink of an eye. Also thanks to the Horgesheimer's for sending me and my comps yummy caramel apples.  I really appreciate the dear elders and emails from everyone. It means so much. Love you all!

Wo ai ni men!

Elder Willes
Wei Zhang Lao

 Not as good as "mom's spaghetti"…but spaghetti

 Elder Willes with Elder Rob Woodall (going to Korea).  Elder Woodall is a friend 
of William's from preschool and from California.  William and Rob haven't seen 
each other in about 15 years.

Elder Willes and Elder Pilli (a friend from BYU) before Elder Pilli left for Florida.  

Friday, February 14, 2014


Elder Willes with his friend Skyler Farnes' parents, who are also preparing to head out this summer on a mission with their family.  Thank you Lindsey for sending this picture!

Well, 3 weeks down and only 6 to go in the MTC. It feels like I've been in here an eternity. I love it here though. This week has been hard because I've been pretty sick all week. Super sore throat, congestion, cough, etc. The doctor gave me some sinus medicine that didn't help. My companions gave me a priesthood blessing, which was awesome. I still didn't feel better though. Sister Hironaka, from our district, was sick this week too and asked me to give her a blessing. I gave her a blessing and she's been feeling much better. :) She also hasn't been receiving much mail so my companions and I decided to pitch in and make her a package. We told the post office to have the package not be from anyone. She was so excited when she got it. She was jumping around.  It was awesome! She still doesn't know who the package was from.  It felt way cool to serve her!

I went to the doctor again after about 5 days of a horrible sore throat and a cold. He swabbed my throat and I didn't have strep throat. Then he did a blood test to see if I had mono. I was like UH OH. Haha luckily I don't have mono either. Just a way bad cold. He gave me an antibiotic two days ago and that has helped a ton. Today I feel much better so no need to worry. :) My companions were awesome this week. They bought me sodas for my throat and brought me a breakfast in bed. They're the best. They bless me and I hope that I can help people out when they're in need. Glad I'm starting to feel better now!

Weekly schedule is like this: We usually have gym first thing in the morning at like 6:40 a.m. I play basketball everyday and it's been a blast even though I didn't go this week because I've been so sick. Then we all go to breakfast. We eat together as a zone which is cool. Then we have like 3 hours in a row with our districts which includes daily planning, personal study, and companionship study from about 9:00 until 12:00. We have additional study from 12:00 until 12:50 and then lunch. We then have class and also teaching our investigators from 1:30 until 5:45. We do language study, (learn new words, practice teaching, new grammar, scripture stuff, etc.), LOTS of Mandarin, then we teach. About 5:45 we get to go to dinner. After dinner we have class again from 6:30-9:30. Class gets long sometimes but all of our teachers (we have 3) are awesome. All of them served in Taiwan and teach way powerful and spiritual lessons. 

We get the mail twice a day. Once after lunch and once after dinner. After lunch is usually the letters that were sent through the mail. The after dinner pick up is generally Dear Elders, packages, other letters, etc. 

We sang in the choir yesterday Jesus Once of Humble Birth. I'm in the tenor section but am not a tenor really. There's not really a place for me in the choir because my voice can't go high but it can't go low enough for the bass section.  So I just try my best with the tenors.  My throat still hurt pretty bad yesterday (Tuesday) so the doctor told me not to sing, but I still wanted to sing at the devotional. So I just kinda whispered the words. I was on the big screen when we sang and people told me it looked like I was singing so that's good :) The spirit is always so strong at the devotionals. Elder Zwick from the Seventy came and talked to us about Hastening the Work. It was awesome. He went in the audience and asked random questions to missionaries and the missionaries would have to answer them on the spot with the microphone.  Elder Zwick asked a question to the elder LITERALLY right next to me.  I was so nervous. It was cool though. He shared a cool scripture in D&C 112:19. I'm not gonna tell you about it. Just go read it!!! :) It's awesome and a huge comfort for missionaries.

The language has continually improved. I memorized the whole first vision in Chinese and we taught that from memory to our investigator this week. It was sooooo cool! Uncle Dan said he memorized the baptismal challenge when he was in the MTC so I've now made it a goal to do that this coming week! 

To everyone who has sent me dear elders, emails, letters, etc. THANK YOU. I love them so much!  It means so much to me and makes my day reading about how everyone is doing. Even though it is hard in here and it is like a battle to get out of bed in the morning so early, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I love it and am loving this work. It's not about baptizing people. It's about helping others (everyone including members) come unto Christ.

Love and miss you family! Have a great week!

Elder Willes

Elder Willes loving some strawberries sent from home

Sad to see these dudes head out.  They are the district right ahead of us.  They all left this week.  The guy in the middle front is going to Los Angeles.  The kid next to me doing hang loose is going to Australia as is Elder Ung who is in the front.  Elder Glatili and Elder McClellan are going to Taiwan, Taipei.  They were great examples and are awesome. All are Mandarin speaking.  They will definitely be missed.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Elder Willes

Well, week number 2 is down! What a week. Sorry this will probably be a bit shorter because I sent some personal emails. I appreciate all the dear elders and emails I got from everyone. :) 
It means a lot to me. 

This week was pretty hectic. We had to go get x-rays at the BYU Health Clinic. It's a requirement for all Taiwanese missionaries. It was pretty cool to walk off campus haha :) We also had to get blood drawn which is always interesting. The language has been picking up tremendously. 
We teach investigators almost everyday and my Chinese is improving. 

I memorized the missionary purpose in Mandarin so that's pretty cool. Both of our "investigators" are our teachers too so that is sort of awkward, but it is good :) They both served in Taiwan, Taijung and teach us a lot. They come every day ready to teach us and we know that is a sacrifice and we are extremely grateful for them. One of my companions was homesick this week and Elder Warner and I gave him a blessing.  That was a way cool experience. He felt God's love for HIM and it was awesome being able to exercise my priesthood. 

On day 10 here, Sunday, I was prompted during sacrament meeting to bear my testimony 
so I did that ALL in Chinese. Such a cool experience. The first thing I said was sorry my Chinese is bad (dui bu qi wo de zhong wen bu hao). My companions also bore testimony and I was very proud of them! I now have the missionary purpose memorized in Mandarin and we say that every morning at 7:00 a.m. as a district. Our district consists of two trios and is awesome. We learn and grow together.  It has been great. One of the districts in our zone heads out this week and it's bitter sweet. They're great examples and I will miss them. All are Mandarin speaking and going to New Zealand, Taiwan, California, and Australia. They are gonna be great! 

The devotionals here have been awesome. The Sunday devotional was so spiritually uplifting. A story was shared about an Elder Lebron. He looked just as thug as his name. He was in a gang and then he was converted. He eventually went on a mission to Argentina and almost went home due to homesickness. The mission president convinced him to stay and gave him a new companion Elder Bills (I think Craig Bills' brother).  They worked hard and baptized like 20 people in a month or something crazy like that. Then the speaker called these elders out of the audience and they came up and bore testimony. They are both RM's and got married in the temple. Such a cool story seeing the blessing of sticking things out and putting faith and trust in the Lord. Sunday night we watched the Joseph Smith movie. The spirit was so strong. Even the big tough Polynesian Elders had tears in their eyes. Joseph Smith endured so much, but continued to have faith in Christ and spread the Gospel. He is a huge example of how we need to share our faith with others. Sunday was such a cool day! 

The Tuesday devotional was awesome as well. Elder & Sister Evans (from the Seventy) came and taught us. Sister Evans shared a cool story. They were serving as Mission President in Japan and she felt hopeless because she couldn't speak Japanese.  She was unable to communicate and help missionaries find people to teach. She prayed and prayed and got an answer that she would help someone come unto Christ. She learned how to say good morning in Japanese and one morning she said that over and over to people on the street hoping an opportunity would arise. One person replied back with his own "good morning." He was fluent in English and was an inactive member of the Church. She got his name and referred him to the missionaries.  They taught him and now he is active. He was also sealed to his deceased wife in the temple. I loved these stories.

Every Sunday we walk to the temple and that is sooooo cool. The temple truly is the house of the Lord. Every p-day we actually go in the temple. I'm going in like 4 hours and am WAY excited :) I encourage everyone to find time to go the temple because of the peace and joy we can feel there. 

Sorry I'm out of time. I sent some personal emails this week (which I'm so grateful for!! I can feel all the love and support). Mom and Dad thanks for everything. I have the testimony I have in large part  because of your examples. Jake and Nate I love hearing from you two! Puts a smile on my face every time I hear from you!! Miss and love you guys! Hope everyone has a great week 
filled with the spirit. 

Elder Willes

 The District

Classroom - a lot of time spent here

The District at "the map"
Heading to Taiwan, Singapore and New York

 Elder Warner 

The district outside the Provo Temple

 Going to Taiwan - Elder Willes, Elder Dexter and Sister Smith

 Missionaries LOVE care packages 

 Elder Willes and his companions Elder Warner and Elder Dexter

The BYU Crew