Wednesday, April 30, 2014


"This is the hardest thing I've ever done, but the most rewarding!"

The LDS chapel in XinZhu and Elder Willes in his rain gear

Great week here in Taiwan! :) This week was filled with miracles, spiritual experiences and fun things. Our last p-day (10 days ago) we went to the beach!  6 of us Elders rode our bikes 25 minutes to the beach and threw a football, frisbee, and just hung out.  It was super nice and great to be able to get our minds off the mission stresses for a bit. Also, I will be sending lots of pictures this week so I'm super excited for that! 

Elder Willes on the beach in Taiwan on p-day
We went to the temple today. So great. Everything was in English.  So spiritual and it reminded me of the MTC with a huge group of missionaries going to the temple.  Super cool to go to the temple here in Taiwan and it is an experience I will never forget for the rest of my life.

Today was very hectic. We were supposed to be to the temple at 7:50 a.m. and we live about an hour and a half away.  Our alarm didn't go off so we woke up about 6:00 a.m. We hurried and threw clothes on and left for the temple. Then we left our cell phone on the bus in Taipei so we had to go to all these train stations to try and find it. Thankfully they found it and we are going to retrieve that tonight. We made it to the temple on time and were in there for about 4 hours doing just about everything. We were planning on going to Taipei 101 but we had no time so we just came back to XinZhu. The temple is such a great place. 

We had a lesson with one of our less actives today and we watched this awesome movie on temples and set a goal for him this summer to go through the temple!  He is going to talk to the Bishop this Sunday to start getting prepared!  Awesome, spiritual experience!  His name is Cai4 Di4Xiong1.

Elder Willes with Elder Senkans on an exchange

On Monday, we went on splits with the zone leaders.  Elder Senkans came with me in XinZhu and Elder Westover went to Zhudong with Elder Gibson. Elder Senkans is a great missionary. He is from Latvia and speaks Latvian, English, and Chinese. He said his home mission is Adam's mission so that is way cool! His dad met the missionaries and read the Book of Mormon and was converted and now his whole family are members and his dad actually translated the Book of Mormon into Latvian. A boss!  He has been out about a year and a half and has great Chinese. The last two weeks we haven't found any new investigators but Elder Senkans and I found two new investigators!  Ivy is one and the other lives in Taipei so we referred him to the Taipei Elders. So awesome. Also, Elder Westover found a new investigator yesterday so we are really seeing the blessings of patience. Patience, trust, and some more patience.

Elder Senkans and Elder Willes with Brother and Sister Yu who are expecting a mission call
Last week all the trainees and trainers went to Taipei for training. I got to see Elder Dexter, Elder Dethloff, Elder Hughes, and Sister Smith all again. That was super exciting and they are all doing really great. :) If you haven't seen the videos about Taiwan on they are on the front page so go check them out :)

Miracles: Zhou1 Chang2En1 is getting BAPTIZED!  This Saturday! We met with him last Monday and he confirmed his testimony to us. Such a strong testimony for a 13 year old kid. He is super tall too haha almost my height! He had his baptismal interview this week and passed with flying colors so his baptismal service is this Saturday night. I am so blessed to have met him. Elder Westover has been teaching him for about 5 or 6 months and now he is finally getting baptized. This Saturday will be a special one for sure!  Another miracle: Elder Senkans and I invited Habip to read a part of the Book of Mormon, ponder, and pray and ask God if what we have taught is true. The spirit was really strong. We woke up the next morning to a pleasant surprise.  Habip had texted us at 3:00 a.m. saying he did what we asked of him. He thanked us for allowing him to have a spiritual experience and "feel Jesus Christ." We were super excited! :) He has some Word of Wisdom stuff that we are going to try and help him take care of and hopefully he will be getting baptized by the end of May. Another miracle: Elder Westover and I set a baptismal date with Shi2 Di4Xiong1 for the 24th of May!  Such a blessing.  We asked him and he said "Yes, I need to be baptized." Such a touching moment. Elder Westover and I were singing hymns all the way home. Sui2Jie3Mei4 continues to improve and is coming to church for the first time this week!  Also, Lee Jie3 Mei4 and her son came to church again. They love coming to church! They are really busy so we haven't met with them again since our first visit but they always come to church.  The other Lee Jia1 Ting2 has been busy and tough getting a hold of.

McDonald's in Taiwan

Ice cream Taiwanese style.  Tons of fruit and shaved ice.  Delicious!
Our ward members are great.  They are always willing to drop anything to Pei2Ke4 (accompany) us to our lessons.  They are amazing.  I am so blessed to be a missionary.  I love this experience with all my heart.  It is what everyone says: It is the hardest thing I've ever done, but the most rewarding.

Mom, I got the birthday boxes.  Sorry I couldn't wait to open them! There is awesome stuff in there. :)  Love you!!!  Also, I got some birthday cards this week. I haven't opened them yet but thank you all!

Elder Willes with a living turtle that was just "chillin' in our chapel."

Much love,
Elder Willes

A few of the links Elder Willes references in his letter.

Elder Holland in Asia.

What working in Taiwan looks like.

Also, it is not too late to send off a quick birthday card to Elder Willes.  Letters are like solid gold to missionaries!

Monday, April 21, 2014


Hello! Well, I just finished eating some pig intestines. Yikes that stuff is....ewwww!   I got most of it down though!  I also had clams this week. Not too bad. Pretty good actually.

This week has been full of ups and downs. We had a tough week of finding and weren't able to find any new investigators. We taught some good people though. We had lessons with Tu Jia1 Ting2 as well as Yang2 Jia1 ting2 which is actually Lee3 Jia1 Ting2 instead.  It is so great teaching cute families. The mom from the Tu family came to church. Her husband doesn't have any interest and her son is so, so. We are trying to find friends to go and invite him to church next week which is pretty exciting. Lee3 Jia1 Ting2 is great. They have two cute little girls and their parents are great. The dad is Buddhist and the mom doesn't have a religion. We taught them the first lesson and talked about the Book of Mormon. We invited them to pray as a family and start reading the Book of Mormon. Both these families are really busy but we hope to be able to meet with them this coming week.

All the missionaries from our zone (about 50) got together with the Mission President in Zhu Bai (I think) and Elder and Sister Wilson from the Area Seventy.  They spent all day teaching us how to use the Book of Mormon in our teaching. We read Chapter 1 of 1st Nephi and broke each verse down.  Those verses have so much to do with the Restoration of the Gospel.  This is a challenge for Nate and Jake: Read 1st Nephi Chapter 1 together and talk about each verse and how it relates to the Restoration.  So cool! Truly remarkable how many parallels there are!  Also, we were told to prepare a 3 minute talk and a memorized scripture in English on repentance. They picked four random missionaries to speak and of course I was one of them haha. It was good though. The scripture I shared was Mosiah 4:3. It is great!  The Spirit was strong that day and we were all motivated to use the BoM in every single contact. I also met Sister Peay (Kyle's cousin) She is in our zone and we talked for 5 minutes. It was cool making that connection.

We had a tough week with investigators at church. No investigators except for the mom from Tu Jia1 Ting2 family came to church. They were all super busy with tests and other things. We are excited for the upcoming week. We are hoping to have about 5 or 6 investigators at church. We also watched this video about how to better involve the ward. Elder Westover and I had this great idea to do a huge, BBQ tailgate and do it with the 3 wards in our district.  Just have everyone bring food and "tailgate" at our church parking lot. Super excited. We are hoping to plan and stuff and have the event the beginning of June. The goal is to have our ward members bring tons of friends and then us missionaries do the job and preach the word :). We think it will be really great and will help encourage ward members to invite friends. We need our ward members as missionaries.  We need them to accompany us to our lessons. We need them to invite people and befriend our investigators. Elder Westover and I are blessed to be a part of a great ward.

A few really spiritual experiences happened this week. One night I was going through a list of our former investigators and there is one who I felt like we should visit. He was apparently really, really close to baptism about 2 1/2 months ago and then decided he didn't want to be baptized because he couldn't quit cha2 (tea).  So, we visited him and he opened the door and invited us in. He was in hospital clothing and a tube was in his throat. He told us through hand signals (he can't talk) that he has throat cancer and they took muscles from his thighs and put them in his throat. He can't talk, can't eat, and can barely move. We were heart broken but we asked if we could give him a priesthood blessing. He first said a prayer in his mind and the Spirit was so strong even though we were just sitting there in silence. Then Elder Westover and I gave him a blessing. The Spirit was so strong. We are praying he will start relying on the Lord to get through this trial. We are going to go visit him on Wednesday. His name is Ye4 Di4Xiong1. 

We also gave two other blessings. One to Sui2 Jie3 Mei4 and a less active's kid. (The mom was crying and really touched and took us straight to her friend's restaurant and bought us fried rice.)  Both have been sick. Sui2 has Parkinson's disease and her body is in ok condition. These were both really cool experiences. 

Our district had two baptisms this week that we went to. The Sisters and the other set of Elders. Really special. All us missionaries sang Abide With Me Tis Eventide at the service. It was special. Seeing how happy these 2 new converts were was remarkable. We are excited for our other investigators to have these same blessings. 

Shi2 Di4Xiong1 had tests this week so we met with him once and are meeting again later this week. Habip and his wife are slowly coming along. We invited them to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know it's true. They have a great desire. They both came to the baptismal service which was great! Cheng2 En1 we are worried about. He didn't come to church and we hope we are meeting with him tonight and talk about his baptism.

This week definitely had its ups and downs but Im so grateful Im serving here in XinZhu and have great faith for each and everyone of our investigators. Mom the Easter pics were great :) Dad thanks for the random facts especially the weather updates.  Elder Westover and I love them. Nate looking buff!! Way to be blessing the Sacrament. Jake you are turning into a man too! What's goin on? Also nice work with passing the Sacrament again :) Love you all so much! I am so blessed I have such a great family. Have a great week everyone! Doing great here! Can't believe in a week I've been here a month. Woahhhhh

Elder Willes

Monday, April 14, 2014


Sorry for the delay in sending my email again. We went to get some food at an all you can eat buffet of meat and ice cream. :) So delicious! Dad that's sweet the Gophers won the NIT. Crazy that baseball is already starting and Mom we got the package 2 weeks ago and ate everything. :) Thanks so much! You are the best.

The meat buffet - put your meat in a hot pot and cook it
Anyway to answer some questions. We have English class at our chapel. We watched all sessions of General Conference. There was our whole district, which is 10 missionaries, in a little room watching all of the sessions in English. So grateful for that. It was so great hearing people called of God speak to us! It was my favorite Conference without a doubt. Hard not to get emotional seeing all of those faithful Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center full all the way to the top. So awesome! We all stood up and sung with the choir and congregation which was cool as well.  Also, I could have sworn I saw Liza Pugsley and the Palmers singing in the choir before the Sunday session? Was that for real? If that was them that is way cool! 

Conference was the best. I learned so much and felt the spirit so strong. Super cool seeing Elder Aidukaitis and Elder Zwick speak. They both spoke to us at the MTC just a few weeks ago so that was awesome. Also the music director, Brother Eggett, is the MTC choir director. So that was cool seeing him lead some choirs. Some of my favorite talks were President Eyring when he talked about heroes and the Priesthood. That was great. Also President Uchtdorf when he talked about gratitude.That was really humbling for me. Missions are hard and it made me sit back and be grateful for everything I have. A very awesome supportive family who I love so dearly, as well as extended family, great friends whose examples are outstanding, a great trainer who loves me and is very hard-working and obedient, and a great ward to help us build up the Kingdom of God here in XinZhu. I also loved Elder Holland's talk on Saturday. I love that man. He is so bold and he speaks so strongly. When he said he is more sure this gospel is true than more sure that he was standing there and the congregation was listening, wow that was so awesome. Conference was great! Went by so fast and I wish it was longer.  I thought about the fam at home playing some Conference bingo and watching together. You all are so great. :)
This week was great. We had two lessons with less actives who ended up coming and watching general conference. It was great seeing them come to listen to the words of our living Prophet of God. There was probably about 40-50 people that came to watch Conference. Also we had some miracles this week. Two days ago we were knocking doors and we met a lady and her 13 year old son. They said we could come back and teach them the next day. We taught the first lesson and they committed to come to church next Sunday so that is very exciting! Her husband doesn't want to meet with us but he doesn't oppose them meeting with us. So we are excited for Tu2Jia1Ting2. Also, we have a lesson this coming Sunday with a family of four. We met the mom on the street and shared pictures of our families and how the Gospel has blessed our families so much. She was touched but she didn't know if her husband was willing to meet. She said we could call him and we finally got a hold of him and he said we could meet with them next Sunday so we are excited for this opportunity as well. :) That family is the Yang2Jia1Ting2 family. They seem really special.
We had exchanges this past week. I went to another area for a day and a half with Elder Clark. He is a stud with great Chinese. We got three new investigators during that exchange so that was cool! His area is known as the "golden area" with prepared people all over. We are excited for him and his companion who work in that area. We had lessons this week with Sui2Jie3Mei4 and Shi2Di4Xiong1. They are both great. We are trying to get them to pray and read every night. We are praying that they will start keeping commitments and pray and read in order to feel the Holy Ghost. We are excited for them!  Thank you so much for your prayers on our investigators behalf. Mom, Dad, Nate and Jake that means so much to Elder Westover and I. We feel the love and we are doing our best to help them come unto Christ. Cheng2En1 is progressing great. He is a great example and seems pretty set for his May 3rd baptismal date. He is such a great example. He came to conference too which is great. We are just continuing to read the BoM with him to increase his testimony. Stoked for him!
Random things: I had pig's blood this week which was interesting and not too gross actually. Getting used to the food here which is good. Lots of weird meats with rice, vegetables, and fruit. We enjoy Costco muffins almost daily haha. I also fell off my bike this week. I was waving to this guy and just biffed it. Didn't hurt at all but it was a little embarrassing. ;) People always tell me I look like Brad Pitt. Elder Westover and I think it's hilarious.

Elder Willes making Zhuabing - "awesome tortilla things"
Anyway that's about it for this week. We are working hard and so excited for what the future is going to hold. Our Turkish investigator, Habip, is coming along great too. He's been reading the Book of Mormon and praying every night and we've seen how happy he is when he hears about Jesus Christ and the restored gospel. He said he and his wife want to visit us in a few years in America so you might get to meet them. :)  Great, great people.
The people here are awesome. The language is coming along. I've been taking phone calls now so that's interesting. I am on Lesson 2 (in PMG) on Phase 1 so that's good. Thank you all so much for the prayers and support. Jake way to be looking like a stud the first day you pass the Sacrament! Nate way to be blessing the Sacrament and looking all muscular! Dad thanks for all the interesting Taiwan updates. Elder Westover and I love them. Mom thanks for all the pictures. Awesome you got to meet Sister Smith's mom!  I love you all so much and miss you.  I am so blessed to have a great family who are all great examples to me.

Elder Westover and Elder Willes
Mom could you maybe send the piano sheet music via email for Come, Come Ye Saints by Paul Cardell? Elder Westover and I want to try and make an arrangement and sing and play it in Sacrament Meeting. :) That would be so awesome! Thanks so much! Love you all and have a great week!

Monday, April 7, 2014


First off, I just want to thank everyone for all of the emails I received this week. I appreciate them so much! I can feel everyone's love and prayers every single day. This week we saw many miracles that you will hear about shortly. :)  Zao3 an1! Sorry for the delay in sending my email today. We went to Costco after studying this morning.  We had a member who was willing to take us.

Elder Willes' apartment in XinZhu
This week was my first English class. One of the pamphlets we give out on the street is for a free English class which we have every Wednesday night.  It was great. Probably about 50 people came. Their English is all pretty good, but it is funny to hear everyone speak. It probably sounds similar to when I speak Chinese. 
This week I had some nice tofu. Not stinky tofu, but regular tofu. Ewww, so nasty! Mom and Dad I think you need make some tofu for Nate and Jake to try. :) They will love it ha ha. We also went to McDonald's this week. So good. It's like one of the most expensive places to eat here. A 6 piece nugget combo is 3$. Everything else is just a little bit less around 2$ for noodles, rice, etc. We eat a bunch of random stuff.  I don't even know what it is sometimes or how to describe it.  But the food is pretty good. Lots of rice with random things on top of it. We did indeed go to Costco today and we had some pizza and got tons of Costco muffins. We also got Zhua bing which is my favorite food here. It is like Chinese tortillas. We put eggs or meat inside of them. They are delicious.

Elder Willes and Elder Westover with those huge bears at Costco.  
OK, now for the interesting stuff. We had some awesome miracles this week! We have an investigator named Habip. He is from Turkey and he is great. He has been learning English on his own as well as Chinese. His English is good enough to get around but his Chinese is struggling. He moved to Taiwan around a year ago to marry his wife who is Taiwanese. They met online. They are awesome. We had a great lesson with both of them this week. Habip told us how he gets goosebumps when we talk about the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ. He then told us he had a dream of him being baptized ahhhh so cool! We are hoping he will get baptized in the next 3-5 weeks. He is Muslim, but really loves our message and feels the spirit. His wife is very busy with work so she hasn't been able to come to church yet, but we gave her a Chinese Book of Mormon and she has been reading. Habip came to church though! It was great. :) Such a blessing seeing him have a desire to follow Jesus Christ. Please keep him in your prayers.
Another investigator is Cheng2En1. He is a 13 year old boy and he kinda reminds me of you Jake because your ages are similar.  He is a big boy. Probably like 5'9". Really random for someone to be that tall in Taiwan. He is great though. His family is all less active, but he really wants to get baptized. We are helping him prepare to be baptized on May 3rd. We have been reading the Book of Mormon with him and families in the ward together. We are helping him build a desire to serve a mission in the future! He was also at church! With shorts and a t-shirt on.  He is great.
Lastly is Shi2Di4Xiong1. He's really great. His dad is a convert to the church, but he passed away in February. Before his dad died, he gave Shi2Di4Xiong1 a Book of Mormon and a Bible to read. Shi2Di4Xiong1 has a great desire to learn about all of the christian churches, and has a belief that God exists and that Jesus is the Christ. We have been really working on teaching him from reading the BoM. He also fed us Tepanyaki this week. Sooooo good. We went to the restaurant and we had steak, rice, random vegetables, etc and he payed for it. Shi2Di4Xiong1 was also at church. 

Church was so cool!! Seeing Cheng2En1 sitting with all of the youth. Habip was sitting next to Elder Westover who was translating the meeting for him. I sat next to Shi2Di4Xiong1 and taught him about the sacrament and told him about fast and testimony meeting. Such a cool sight to see. The Lord really blessed us this week. I also got called up to bear my testimony. So that was really cool. Elder Westover and I have great faith and hope that through the Spirit we can make great things happen in this area. We are excited for what the future holds.
The rain isn't too bad. We get drenched, but we both got rain gear so we are good. :) Lots of people reject us here, but we try our best to talk to everyone. Mom thanks for all the advice about talking to everyone. Really meant a lot. We are doing our best to give as many people as we can the opportunity to hear the message of the Restored Gospel.

Elder Westover and Elder Willes biking in Taiwan
Some things I took for granted in America. Reading signs and ordering food. They are so much harder here, so whenever you see billboards, signs, or order food be grateful! 
Nate, Elder Westover and I think you are coming to Taiwan on your mish :) buckle up buddy! Dad, thanks for updates on XinZhu. Interesting stuff. The weather update was great! Looks like we will expect some more rain. Anyway things are great here in XinZhu. Thank you all so much for the love and support. Mom, Dad, Nate, Jake love you guys! Have an awesome week!  Just know I am doing awesome and love you all!
Elder Willes
Oh what is the conversion for pounds and KG? We have a scale in our apt that is KG.