Monday, June 30, 2014


"Another crazy week halfway across the world on a little island called Taiwan. "

This week had to be the most up and down week of my mission. Elder Marchant and I faced a lot of trials that were hard to face, but we were able to overcome and see some cool miracles.

It is kinda hard with the transition of companions, because he is the senior companion, but I know all the people we work with, and where we go so we have had to rely on the spirit and trust each other to get things done effectively. Elder Marchant and I have great unity. It has been such a blessing to have such great teaching unity with someone I've only been with for a week. We have a ton of fun together and both love this work.
Trials this week: Our phone gave out on us. I don't even know why but we were without a phone again for a day. We were able to fix that. Also our toilet didn't flush and so we had to call a plumber to come fix it. Also, for some reason Elder Marchant's bike hasn't gotten here yet so he has had to use the extra bike which has a completely flat tire. Two days ago a member gave us a bike we could borrow so it's been a little better. Also, in English class we had a student who got mad at us because we were playing a game that helped them practice their English, but he didn't think it was effective for learning English. He just walked out of the class. Super bizarre and weird little trials.

Elder Willes and Elder Marchant with the loaner bike and helmet

The big unfortunate circumstance we are in is with Shi2 Di4 Xiong1. We went and met with him and everything seemed good. We told him about his baptismal interview (tomorrow) and he seemed good. But he called a member who he is friends with and told him he was under the impression we thought his dian4 (work place) was dirty and got really offended. So he told our member he doesn't want to meet with missionaries anymore at all... We went and tried to visit him and he usually is super friendly but when we got there the vibe was weird. He told us he didn't have time and just like left. We don't really know what happened because we never said anything about his work place being dirty. It has been really sad. Our member friend is going to visit him today and see what's going on, but as of right now Shi2 Di4 Xiong1 won't talk to us. It has been really hard on me because I've taught him from day 1 since I've been in Taiwan. I know Heavenly Father has a plan for him. We are just trusting God will work a miracle and that we will be able to get him to look at the big picture and remember his faith in Christ. So we will see with that situation!
Huang2 Di4 Xiong1... He is awesome. He has almost completely quit smoking. Smoking about 2 cigarettes a day which is a huge improvement. He came to all 3 hours of church yesterday and is such a prepared soul. Other than smoking he is ready for baptism. He left for the army today though so we don't know when he comes back. We are just going to stay in contact with him and hope he can come back every few weeks. I know he will get baptized one day. He has great faith, he might just need some more time to quit smoking. We got him on the quit smoking program [that Mamoo and Boppy recommended] and that has helped.
Huang2 Di4 Xiong with Elder Willes and Elder Marchant.  "He is our awesome investigator! He is truly awesome. He loves 3 Nephi Chapter 11 when Christ comes and appears to the Nephites. He says it's marvelous. He also sent us a text in English this week that said: "I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." Haha he is such a stud!"

Our other investigators are all about the same. Yan2 and Lin2, the couple we met with, they are good, step by step getting better.  Cherry was busy and we weren't able to meet with her. Chang2 Ding3 we are meeting with tonight which is super exciting! He is one we are excited about.
This week we went to our ward mission leader's wedding reception.  Haha it totally reminded me of America. There were musical numbers (a little band playing John Schmidt stuff) and American music. It was cool because we got to talk to a lot of his friends about the gospel and plant some seeds. All the missionaries in our district sang I Know That My Redeemer Lives at the wedding reception and that was cool. There were so many people there at least a few hundred.
The bike ride out to the wedding reception in Zhubei.  Super Pretty!

The most exciting thing about this week is a mom and 2 cute kids (ages 11 and 8) we met and then set them up for an appointment. They seem really good! The mom's English name is Kelly and her kids are awesome. We taught them the Plan of Salvation. We are going to meet with them again this week. We feel so excited for them and have a really cool family in the ward with kids the same age who is going to start meeting with us and this family.
Our goal this week is to harvest the vineyard. We have 9 investigators with baptismal dates. They all are slowly improving, but we want them to take leaps of faith and put their trust in God. We are excited about them all. (Sui2 Jie3 Mei4 is the same. Still hasn't come to church but has such great faith!)
Habib also got the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday which was awesome. The ward absolutely loves him.  A member is going shopping with him this week to buy him church clothes. Habib is great. Such a blessing. We woke up one morning to a text from him sending us a scripture that we should go read. 1 Nephi 15:11 Trust God and He WILL bless, help, lift, and strengthen us. This work is awesome. Being a Taiwan, Taipei missionary is such a cool thing to say. Things are hard, but we are thrusting in our sickle with all our might so we can be made effective instruments in the Lord's hands. 

This chicken is soooooo good.

Love you all! Have an amazing week!

Monday, June 23, 2014


 "Being a missionary truly is remarkable. I learn everyday what a privilege it really is."
Elder Willes and Elder Bennion neighbors and friends from home.  They've been friends for 10 years and are more like brothers.  "Such a sweet reunion!"  They haven't seen each other since April 2013 when Elder Bennion left for Taiwan

This week was another great one! Started out with our last FHE with Elder Westover. It was a great meeting and we had a testimony meeting. Our investigator Huang2 Di4 Xiong1 and our recent convert Habib bore their testimonies and it was really cool. We had transfers this week. Elder Westover and I headed to Taipei for the big transfer meeting. I walked in the chapel and Elder Bennion was right there. Gave him a big old hug! So awesome seeing him! Best reunion!  We hugged forever.  Haha he's such a stud and is training now. It was also good seeing Elder Hughes, Elder Dexter, and others. Elder Dethloff wasn't there. He lives so far away and he wasn't moving so he just stayed in his area. Anyway it was weird seeing the new trainees and knowing exactly what they were going through. The first trainee's trainer was Elder Bennion. That was cool.
Elder Willes (right) with his new companion Elder Marchant

My new companion is Elder Marchant. [NOTE FROM MARIANNE:  The craziest thing is my name maiden name is Marchant. Maybe these guys are related. We will have to find out.]  He is from South Ogden and graduated from Bonneville High School and went to Weber State for a little bit too. He's super cool. He's been out a little over a year. He's really funny and fun to be around, but more importantly he's willing to work and we've already seen some cool miracles together. Our first night we went out finding and found 3 new investigators. A teenage boy that we haven't met with since and a boyfriend and girlfriend. Their names are Lin2 Jie3 Mei4 and Yan2 Di4 Xiong1. They are great, we met with them again the next day and taught the Plan of Salvation. It was really cool and the spirit was there. They have a desire to learn and have a baptismal date for 8/4/14.
This week I also had a hotpot that consisted of a bunch of random fish, meat and vegetables. I also ate pumpkin and pig ear haha. Not horrible. As for new eats much of it I can't really tell you what I eat because I don't really know what the stuff is. It's really random stuff.

Our investigators are doing good. Shi2 Di4 Xiong1 had a test on Sunday so he couldn't come to church, but he still is looking good for 7/5/14. Keep him in your prayers that he can give up tea and coffee before then. Also, that he can develop better relationships with the ward.
Cherry is doing great. We taught her the Word of Wisdom and Thomas helped us Pei2 Ke4 (accompany lesson) and she committed to living it. It was cool! She really is prepared for the gospel. We just need to stress the importance of church and strengthen her testimony.
We met with Sui2 Jie3 Mei4 again this week. During her closing prayer she started crying while praying about her family (mom has cancer and just had surgery) and the spirit was so strong. She has such a strong testimony. She said she could come to church next week so that is really exciting!!
The Lee Family doesn't live in our area so we referred them to the sisters who say they are super awesome! So that is good news :)
Elder Willes with Habib (a recent convert) and his wife Yiyi (over William's left shoulder) and Huang2 Di4 Xiong1 (an investigator - bottom left corner) who will be leaving soon for his military service 

Huang2 Di4 Xiong1 is getting ready leave for dang1 bing1 (the army) so he can't get baptized but he's great. He came to all 3 hours of church. We hope he can quit smoking and start preparing for baptism.

Huang2 Di4 Xiong1 and Elder Willes
Chen2 Ya3 Yi4 and Habib moved just out of our area so that is why the sisters are teaching her now.

Elder Marchant, Elder Willes at Hong2 Di4 Xiong1's baptism
The last and best miracle was with Hong2 Di4 Xiong1. He is the guy who I pulled up to on a random road two months ago. I started talking to him and asked if I could talk to him on the side of the road about Christ. He pulled over and we taught him a little of the message of the restoration and taught him about prayer. It was really cool. He didn't live in our area so we referred him to the sisters and they taught him and he got baptized yesterday!! It was really awesome. The WML [Ward Mission Leader] asked me to give a talk at the baptism so I gave a talk on Baptism which was a cool experience. And then the young men (about 4 of them) and Elder Marchant and I sang a musical number called Glorious. "It's like a symphony. Just keep listening." It was so fun. The spirit was so strong. 

Our mission has a motto right now called Team Jesus! All of us missionaries are on the same team: testifying of Christ. So when we meet awesome people who don't live in our area that's ok because we are still helping them come unto Christ. It was awesome seeing Hong2 Di4 Xiong1 (the guy right next to me in the pic) get baptized. The Lord is working mighty miracles among the children of men. Lovin' the work!
Elder Willes at a place they go and offer service and help with "smashing stuff."

Mom, Dad, Nate, and Jake keep working on those Christlike attributes. [Elder Willes issued us a big challenge last week.]  Pray to develop them. Search the scriptures and PMG [Preach My Gospel] and I know you can and will develop these qualities. I'm working on faith and I've already seen my faith grow and the influence of Christ in my life grow. I've also become more bold inviting random people on the street to be baptized.
Being a missionary truly is remarkable. I learn everyday what a privilege it really is.
Love you all! You are in my prayers.
Elder Willes

Monday, June 16, 2014


Brother and Sister You2 with Elder Willes and Elder Westover.  They are heading out on their mission to the Taipei Temple. They are such a great couple and example in our ward!

Another great week. There were many miracles we saw this week. It started out with zone meeting which was super cool. President and Sister Day were there as well as Cai4 Hui4Zhang3 (our Stake President). It was really cool and the spirit was really strong. There was one thing that happened this week that was rough. We were at the school exercising one morning and our phone got stolen. We set it down right by us but when we were done the phone was gone. Someone stole it and it has been really hard to contact our investigators this week but we still had a great week!
We had lunch with Thomas this week. He bought us steak and it was soooo good. It was really cool hearing about him meeting you all! He loves you all so much! He had such nice things to say. He also showed me all of your videos. Thank you! It was good to see you all :)
I ate yellow watermelon this week. It's regular watermelon but it is yellow.  It is super super good.  Haha sorry that was random. We also went to Shi2 Di4 Xiong1's work place and they had a huge TV with the World Cup on.  He asked us to stay and watch it with him but we were like sorry we have a rule and we can't. It was hard not too.
Yesterday at church the miracles were present. Shi2 Di4 Xiong1 finally came to church! It was so cool! He loved it and said he felt really really peaceful and happy. He has a baptismal date for 7/5/14 and is looking like he is going to be able to reach that date. We are working with him and the ward to develop some relationships so he can have lots of members helping him with his conversion process. Also Zhou1 Chang2 En1 came to church, but his little brother slept in and we didn't get to meet with him and but we will try again this week. I still can't believe a 13 year old recent convert and how much he can influence with his family. He is so great! 

At FHE with Habip and his wife Yayi

Also Habip and his wife came to church! The Sisters are meeting with his wife and she is progressing towards baptism next month which is really exciting! In sunday school Elder Westover said, "translate for Habip" so I translated all of sunday school for Habip and it was super cool! I don't think I did too bad. Translating is really hard though but it was fun!  Also, we had 4 less actives at church which was really really exciting! We are working with less actives to prepare priesthood holders to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. It's an exciting time to be a missionary and one of the Lord's representatives.
Last night we visited our investigator Cherry. We met her 3 weeks ago on the street but lately she has been too busy to meet with us. Last night we were able to teach her the first lesson. She is super golden! The spirit was really strong. A funny moment: When I was sharing the first vision, midway through she stopped me and said I was speaking like a poet which apparently is a pretty good compliment!  Haha I said thank you and then I started over so she would understand. After we shared the first vision she asked, "How can I know these things are true?" She is such a prepared soul! We shared how praying about it, specifically the Book of Mormon, she will know that these things are true. We shared the remarkable promise in Moroni 10:4-5 and invited her last night to pray if these things are true and we are excited to follow up with her. Elder Westover and I have a really good feeling about her and feel she is going to get baptized! She has a baptismal date set for 7/12/14 so please keep her in your prayers :)  Huang2 Di4 Xiong1 [starts his mandatory military service soon] we feel like isn't ready right now. We are just going to read the Book of Mormon with him and try to help him quit smoking before he leaves for the army. He will get baptized in the future! He is super great.
Also this week a girl in our stake got her mission call and we were able to watch her open it. She got called to Korea! Isn't that crazy?? She is going to learn Korean. Super super cool.
The work is moving forward. It doesn't matter what goes on in the world. God's work will press on and we are seeing miracles every day. We also found a cute little family. We prayed right before we would find a couple. Right after this prayer they were the first people we talked to and we have them set up for this coming weekend! Lee3 Jia1 Ting2 (family) They seem really great!  A mission is such a cool experience and one I'm treasuring right now. I am so excited for Nate and Jake to have this experience. Happy Father's Day to everyone out there! Specifically you dad! I love so much and am so grateful for your example. Love you! Keep tearing up the golf course haha

I also just want to tell you how grateful I've been to work with Elder Westover. He's such a boss. Such a great trainer and I've loved my time with him. Such a blessing! 
Have a great week everyone!
Elder Willes

Monday, June 9, 2014


Elder Willes and Elder Westover
"Elder Westover was pretty good for not having much golf experience."

Hello everyone! Another good week here in Xin1Zhu2. First off, congrats to Joni on her baptism last week :) Wish I could have been there! Awesome you got to meet Thomas and his wife. They are so great! Glad they could have a good time. Thanks for welcoming them!

Jake and Nate with Thomas and Mary Chen

Thomas and Mary Chen are members in Taiwan who are in the ward William is currently serving in.  They were recently sealed in the Taipei Temple.  Thomas is an enormous help to the missionaries.  Thomas brought us an amazing video of Elder Willes taken a few days before we met them.  Both are converts to the church and the only members in their families.  Thomas has been a member for 18 years and learned about the gospel for 1 year before being baptized.  Mary Chen was baptized 1 month after the missionaries found her at a stop light while she was on her scooter.  She said she had been waiting and waiting for someone to talk with her about Jesus Christ.  We feel so lucky to have made these new friends.  We are so very grateful!

Today, p-day we went golfing! A member took us to the driving range. Not gonna lie I still hit it pretty well. Haha the workers were trying to fix Elder Westover and my swings but we had no clue what they were saying so we were just like OK! It was so fun. The member (who took us) and I had multiple short game competitions (to the flags etc). Wu3 Ba1 Ba was a super good golfer. That is the member. He was really great at golfing and super consistent. Dad heard you shot a 49 this week! Way to be! Nate and Jake I hear you are improving too. But I will still take you on in a few summers :)

The golf driving range in Taiwan
"So fun." 
This week we had sort of a downer week with our investigators. A lot of our investigators just aren't progressing and Shi2 Di4 Xiong1 and Huang2 Di4 Xiong1 both didn't come to church. Shi2 DX has a new baptismal date in July. Also Huang2 Di4 Xiong1 we don't know if he is going to get baptized because he is still smoking and he enters the army in 3 weeks. We have a goal to find new and prepared investigators this week so please pray for us that the spirit may guide us in finding those prepared people.
This week we had 2 pretty cool (funny experiences). One was when I was on exchanges with Elder Illu. We saw a couple moving a bunch of things from one house to the other. We asked if we could help and they said we could. That is super rare here.  People don't let you serve them. But it was a cool experience. We carried a bunch of wood and stuff for like 15 minutes. We then talked a little bit about the gospel. They didn't really accept our message but we feel like we planted seeds for future missionaries! The other is super funny.  Elder Illu was on the phone so I just started talking to this random college kid and he said he was about to go to a choir/singing performance. I asked if I could hear his voice and he just started singing to me.  His voice was really good. It was just funny because he sang a full song to Elder Illu and I.  It was hilarious.
Anyway, probably the coolest thing that happened this week was with Zhou1 Chang2 En1. He came again early to church in his white shirt and tie. He was ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood this week! So he passed the sacrament for the first time. It was really cool watching him do it and he says he really likes it. He is such a stud. A 13 year old kid who every week comes to church by himself? Unreal! He brought his 12 year old brother too! (Zhou1 Chang2 Ding3) He told us he wants to hear the missionary lessons like his brother so we are going to meet with him this week! We are super Excited. Chang2 En1 and his example is really having a strong influence on his family. Really cool to watch.
Habip is still doing super good. Coming to church and just being great! Love that man!
You remember the You2 Ba ba and You2 Jie3 Mei4 they sent a picture to you of me and Elder Senkins with them? They had their missionary farewell last night. It was a Sunday night testimony meeting and brunch kind of thing. I had duck and that was pretty good! Anyway they are going on their mission to Taipei at the temple! They are super excited. Such a spiritual meeting. Their testimonies are so strong. Such great examples. The people here are great. 

Just like Moroni 7:48 says when we are serving we can be filled with God's love. The BoM is so awesome! I'm in Ether now. I feel so peaceful when I read the BoM. The stresses of a missionary sweep away when I read. 

If you could pray for Sister Hammer. She is a sister in our zone (district) who got hit by a car while riding her bike. She broke her collarbone and had to go home. She is in Utah now. Just keep her in your thoughts and prayers.  Elder Westover and I got our packages and my big one came! Thanks so much. The food is super tasty. Loved the Ensigns! 

Anyway I hope you all have a great week! Love you all so much. Mom, you're the best. Love you :) Jake have fun at camp! Nate and Dad keep being studs.
83,000+ are hastening the work of salvation right now! Pretty cool thought!
Elder Willes

Monday, June 2, 2014


Habip was baptized!!!

Another amazing week here in Taiwan. The baptism happened. It was so wonderful. The picture: Habip is right next to me and Habip's wife is next to him. The guy next to her is our member who performed the ordinance. They've built a great relationship and made Habip feel right at home. The baptism was so special. I said the opening prayer and then introduced Habip from the pulpit. I spoke in Chinese and then Elder Westover translated into English for Habip. Really cool. Seeing him go under the water was picture perfect. Elder Westover and I didn't care we were going to get soaked when he came out of that font so we gave him the biggest bear hug ever. It was so incredible. Habip said he felt like he was flying. Then this cute little girl did a violin solo. So, so cute. We then had a member give a talk and it was super funny because he did his talk in English for Habip and Elder Westover was at the pulpit translating the talk into Chinese for the congregation. Haha super funny just because it was switched from language to language. Habip bore such a sweet testimony. He is so strong in the faith. 2 weeks with no smoking and doing great. We are going to show him the website Mamoo and Boppy sent to me to keep helping him. 

After, Habip was just bawling. He just said he was so happy. It was so incredible. The spirit was so strong, and I wish you all could have seen it. His confirmation on Sunday was just as good. Another member confirmed him.  Our member typed up the blessing in English so Habip could understand it. The spirit was so strong. I can't believe how blessed I am to be in Taiwan serving the Lord and second baptizing a TURKISH man IN Taiwan?? Haha so crazy, but so incredible. This church can bless anyone!
Apart from that, this week nothing crazy happened. No other investigators at church. Still working hard with 
Shi2 Di4 Xiong1 and Huang2 Di4 Xiong1. We had to drop Sui2 Jie3 Mei4. So sad. It's OK she will get baptized one day.
This week we went on splits. Elder Nasman came to xin1zhu2 with me.  He is from Finland. Crazy huh? It was really good. We had 6 other lessons which was really cool!
Haven't started Phase 2 in language! They haven't sent it to me yet but I should be getting it pretty soon I hope.
So blessed to have Elder Westover! I know I say that so often but he has helped me so much. He is so obedient and firm in the faith. We only have 3 weeks left together and we are going to make the most of it. We hope to have a few more baptisms together so please pray for Shi2 Di4Xiong1 and Huang2 Di4Xiong. They both are struggling with WoW [Word of Wisdom] but both have great desires and faith. They are our only progressing investigators right now.
We met a mom too! She said we could come back and teach her and her kids. Her husband has no interest but she seems great. We sang for her and the spirit was definitely there. 

Today for P-Day we went to the dragon boat festival. Super cool! All these dragon boat races. Really incredible and super fun! I will send a picture.
The Dragon Boat Festival
It was super cool and there were so many people there.

Zhou1 Chang2 En1 wore a white shirt on Sunday! He looked super shuai (good).
Lastly, I have really been working on prayers. In Preach My Gospel, President Hinckley gives a quote of how when we pray we shouldn't just order groceries and then be done. We have to intently pray. That's what I've been focusing on. It's helped me feel the spirit more abundantly. A mission is super hard...getting rejected all day.  But it is so rewarding as it was seeing Habip enter into the waters of baptism. I love this work. Nate and Jake have an awesome summer :) You two deserve it! Mom and Dad love you both so much! Megan good luck! Have a great week everyone!
Elder Willes