Monday, August 25, 2014



"I knew that Heavenly Father has a plan for these two missionaries and 
that they are in a better place now.  ...Seeing all of us unite in worship and turn to God for help, half-way across the world, was incredible."

This one was a week I will always remember. I will just start with the sad news that everyone has heard of. We lost two of our brothers this week. It has definitely been hard on all of us missionaries. It's been all over the news in Taiwan and people will ask us about it on the street. 

Elder Thredgold is one transfer younger than me and was in the MTC with me. We used to play basketball together. Elder Xiong1 is also a great missionary.  I met him once. When I first heard the news I was devastated. A member told us. It was really hard for me.  I was scared and I felt lonely. That was a very hard day of doing missionary work. We got home that evening and started our planning session and when I prayed I just felt so much better.  I knew that Heavenly Father has a plan for these two missionaries and that they are in a better place now.  Elder Nelson showed me an incredible scripture this week in Doctrine & Covenants 138:57 that really touched my heart. I encourage you all to read it.

"I beheld that the faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel of repentance and redemption, through the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead."  Doctrine and Covenants 138:57
The next day was Sunday and we went to the morning sacrament meeting because we had two investigators that only could go in the morning. Andy Huang2 Di4 Xiong1 and Ace! That was exciting! After the opening hymn a lady goes up and says the opening prayer. She said one of the most powerful prayers I've ever heard. Probably like a 10 minute prayer. She asked the Lord to bless these two missionary families. 
The spirit hit me so strong.  I couldn't hold in the tears. Seeing all of us, brothers and sisters, unite in worship and turn to God for help halfway across the world was incredible. I cried the whole sacrament meeting because the spirit was so strong.  Also, the young men and young women in Taiwan got together for a huge activity this week. So, all the youth bore testimony in sacrament meeting and their testimonies are so strong!  The closing hymn was my favorite song here.  In Taiwan everyone loves the hymn, Truth Reflects Upon our Senses. 
I probably felt the spirit in that sacrament meeting more than ever before. The spirit really comforted me and made me feel so grateful for the Plan of Salvation. Such a blessing.  Alma 22:14 was also a great scripture I came across this week. So grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ!! 
Our investigator Andy Huang2 Di4 Xiong1 has progressed a ton!  He was going to get baptized this next week, but he works on Sunday.  Elder Nelson and I feel that we want him to stop working on Sunday before he gets baptized. He really wants to get baptized though!! He's met with missionaries for 4 months but lately his desire has really improved.  He has quit drinking tea, is in 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon, etc.
On the left is our member Mike.  I told you about him last week.  He reminds me of Uncle Steve.  On the right is Andy Huang2 Di4 Xiong1.  He is preparing for baptism.  Pray that he will have the courage and desire to find a new job this week.  He is holding a scripture list we made for him..specific scriptures to read each day.
Brian unfortunately doesn't want to meet with us anymore. I just think it was a lack of desire! He felt the spirit though and will get another chance in the future! We are going to call him this week!
Ace! This 20 year old kid is awesome! Works at the airport. Pulled him over on the street and he came to church! Liked it a lot. He's really busy but seems awesome.
A weird little fox thing.  The owner told us not to get to close to it or it would attack us.  Crazy stuff!

The tallest guy I've seen in Taiwan.  He told me he couldn't dunk a basketball.

Batman...on the ceiling of a restaurant

A new city being built in our area 
This week I had the chance to go on exchanges with Elder Hopper my "grandpa!" Haha he is my missionary grandpa because he trained my "dad" (trainer) Elder Westover! So that was really cool! He is a great missionary. We biked up a HUGE hill and that was pretty intense. He is on transfer 14 and is a great missionary!

Elder Hopper and I drinking some orange juice.  He is a great missionary. 
This week we saw lots of success. Our investigator Betty Liu2 Jie3 Mei4 who has met with missionaries for a long time came to church for the first time! She absolutely loved it! We are excited for her! We also had a less active bring a friend to church! 
We had 25 lessons this week as a companionship and set 4 new baptismal dates. We had a great week and the Lord blessed us a ton. We have more people we are working with now and we hope they can all stick and progress towards baptism.
We got drenched working in the rain this week.  I think my tie weighed 10 pounds.

Elder Willes and Elder Nelson wet but happy 
While we were finding this week we were walking around and we felt like we should talk to this guy sitting on a bench. We talked to him and then his friend showed up and they had great interest. We had a lesson with them and hope to meet with them this week. Miracles happen every day. Qi2J2 mei3tian1 hui4 chu1xian4. 
This week has made me really grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ who gave His life for us. I've been overwhelmed with gratitude. The Plan of Salvation is wonderful. Our apartment is good and safe here! Our ward mission leader came and inspected it and we have a really safe apartment.  Lovin' this work. Hurrah for Israel!!
Elder Willes with his ward mission leader.  "He's a beast."  Came over to inspect their apartment. 
Alma 26:12 "Yea I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."
Elder Willes
Wei2 Zhang3 Lao3

We all deeply feel the loss of these sweet missionaries and our most fervent prayers go to their families at this difficult time.  I found a quote last week that I loved from President Monson.  I almost sent it to William last week but felt like he needed it another time.  It took on a whole new meaning this week when I did send it. It expresses my most sincere become better than what we were...with stronger testimonies than we had before.  Marianne

"...There are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve and when we may be tested to our limits.  However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were---better than what we were, more understanding than what we were, more empathetic than what we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before." 
Thomas S. Monson October 2013

Monday, August 18, 2014


"I feel a great responsibility to magnify my calling and work the hardest I can, even when I am super tired."


Another good week here!  We worked our tails off this week and I sweated like crazy.  It's still super humid and hot here, but yes it has been cooling down a little bit. 

This week we went on exchanges with our district leader.  I went with Elder Tsai4.  He is Taiwanese.  It was cool because it was my first time doing missionary work with a Taiwanese missionary.  He is great. Taught me so much. These Taiwanese missionaries sacrifice so much. Elder Tsai4 and his sister are the only members in their family. His family doesn't write him too much either. It just makes me so grateful for the support system I have back at home.  It means so much to me.  Elder Tsai also bought me ice cream and made me breakfast. He is great!

Elder Tsai4 and I eating some peach ice-cream

Out working in a rainstorm and getting soaked 

The Chen2 Family.  They are recent converts of about a month.  The daughter loves to play the piano so I gave her my Chinese hymn book so she can start learning to play the hymns. :)  They are a really special family!

Things with the comp Elder Nelson are great. We have a great relationship and have a lot of laughs together. We are enjoying this work together and never have any arguments, which is really great in a companionship. This week I read a lot and learned a lot from the Book of Mormon. In 2 Nephi Chapter 4 I loved reading about Nephi and his example. I love how he forgives himself and fully trusts in God. It really hit me hard. Just knowing that making mistakes and having weaknesses is part of Heavenly Father's plan. We just need to trust God, and do our part to improve. It really opened up my eyes. 

Also, we have a really cool member, Mike, who Elder Nelson found the week before I got here. He has been a member for 10 years, but moved to Zhong1 Li4 about 5 or 6 years ago. He didn't know where the church was so he went less active. He saw the missionaries and flagged them down. They invited him to come back and gave him the address and he has been coming every week ever since! He helps us Pei2 Ke4 with lessons all the time. He is getting the Melchizedek Priesthood in about a month and a half and should be going to the temple next year!  Super super cool!  Miracles like that are found all the time here on a mission. 

This week we also went on splits with two 18 year old priests from our ward. They both have submitted their mission papers and are waiting for their calls. They went out finding with us for a few hours. They were both really nervous, but loved it! I went out with a kid named David. He actually went to BYU Idaho last year. He was scared at first, but by the end he even started approaching people!  When we were about to finish we decided to say a prayer and see if there was one more person we needed to talk to. The 2nd person we talked to after that had a huge pit bull, but he was so nice!  We taught him a lesson and gave him a Book of Mormon. It was really great. Heavenly Father really does answer all of our prayers. 

David is on my right and Lin2 Guan4 You 4 is on Elder Nelson's left

Our investigator pool is still small, but we had 3 investigators come to church!  Brian is doing great! He still won't set a baptismal date, but we had a really spiritual lesson and shared the plan of salvation. He loved it. He loves singing but is really tone deaf.  It is awesome hearing him sing at church.  He came again on Sunday so that was great! Also our investigator Andy Huang2 Di4 Xiong1 came as well!  He has a baptismal date for 8/30. He needs to change his job and stop drinking tea for that to happen. He has met with missionaries for about 4 months. He came to church for the 2nd time and loved it!  And then an eternal investigator (over 5 years an investigator) Wei4 Yan4 came to church. She can't get baptized though because her husband won't let her. 

Out for a steak dinner with a member 

Anyway this week should be another great one as well!  We have a lot more set ups that we hope will become progressing investigators. We met a really awesome kid last night his name is Ace. He is like 21 and is really cool. I just pulled him over at a traffic light. We had a lesson with him. He really has good interest!  We hope to meet with him this week.

Dragon Fruit - It is delicious!

I love being a missionary. I feel a great responsibility to magnify my calling and work the hardest I can, even when I am super tired haha. Elder Nelson and I are excited for the progress of the area as well as the people we are starting to work with.  Love you all!  Enjoy the last week of summer while it lasts. :)

Elder Willes

Monday, August 11, 2014



"I love finding!  A lot of missionaries don't like contacting on the street because it's hard, but I love it.  It's a great challenge and I love boldly telling people that this is the only true church on the earth."

This one was a good week. Filled with challenges and trials, but we were able to see some pretty cool miracles this week.

Eat Fresh
Elder Willes looks like his week was filled with challenges and trials.
We have a recent convert family who is so great. I will try and get a picture with them this week.  The Chen2 Family got baptized the week before I got here. They had us over for lunch last week and we had sushi, clam chowder, pumpkin soup, and tons of fancy food haha. They are great.  They have a cute 10 year old daughter and the dad already has the Aaronic Priesthood and blessed the sacrament this week!

We found this long field on our way biking out to the  Chen2 Family's house.  They are recent converts.
We also went on exchanges with the zone leaders this week.  Elder Nelson went with Elder Westover :(  [William's trainer] and  I went over to Tao2 Yuan2 with Elder Clyde and that was fun. We had a cool service opportunity where Elder Clyde and I went to a nursing home with lots of old people.  We talk to them and sing hymns for them. The youngest person in there had to be like 80 years old. Haha they were all super old. It was really cool though being able to make people's day. Service opportunities don't often come in Taiwan. 

We also had a weird experience. Elder Nelson and I were talking and undoing the locks on our bikes one day and this lady was walking by us and it looked like she was intently listening to what we were saying and trying to understand English.  So I asked her if she spoke English. She did speak decent English. We told her about our English class and she was really interested. Then she starts rattling off about how she really wants to marry a foreigner and that is what she hopes for. Haha it was really weird so we were just like well have a great day!  Bizarre. A mission is filled with funny stuff like that all the time. 

We were also looking for a house where a former investigator lived and we got lost.  This really nice guy took us to the right road. It took him like 30 minutes to lead us back to where we were supposed to be. Then he gave us a bag of fruit. He didn't have interest in the gospel, but he was really nice. It's cool seeing the light of Christ in people even though they might not know it is the light of Christ. 

This week we found 4 new investigators.  3 of them are ok. They have decent interest, but it will be a process. One of them is great though!  His name is Brian Ye4 Di4 Xiong1. He was a referral from English and we met with him and first asked him what his expectations were of meeting with us. He said he wanted to learn English. We were like ohhh boy. But we stayed with the plan and taught a great lesson on the restoration. His countenance changed as the lesson went on. He started asking great questions. When we shared about the apostasy he asked, "How are we supposed to receive direction if we don't have a prophet today?" We then told him that Heavenly Father has called a prophet in these latter-days. We then invited him to read Alma 40 in the Book of Mormon. He did and loves the Book of Mormon already!  He came to church on Sunday too!!  He brought tea with him but he loved church. I asked him after how he liked it and he said he loved it and learned a lot.  We also had 3 less actives at church so that was great. One of them sat by Brian in sacrament meeting and Guan1 Xin1 cared for him. It was so great! I was so grateful that he was able to come, because these last 2 weeks have been hard. 
'This is like a straight up American Mall.  We eat here sometimes.  We are actually ending our p-day a little bit early because we have 4 set ups tonight!  We are really excited and optimistic for this week.'

We have a lot more potentials that we are setting up to meet with this week. We are actually ending our  p-day a little bit early because we have 4 set ups tonight!  We are meeting with a family tonight; the Xie4 Family so that will be great. As well as a girl named Sun and a guy named Liu2 Di4 Xiong1. We are really excited and optimistic for this week.  Just pray that we will be able to know what to share with all of these potential investigators and that they will be touched by the spirit. 

One thing I've learned on my mission is that everything is according to Heavenly Father's will. Through patience and diligence He will ALWAYS bless us. That is a shi4shi2 (fact). 

Elder Nelson is great. We have a great relationship. He is a really humble missionary and really reminds me of Josh Cardell from the Africa trip. He says really humble prayers and is a righteous guy. It's cool being from he same graduating class as him. I love him!

There is also a lady in our ward that reminds me of you mom! Their family is great. They have a son who is serving a mission in Scotland! She gave a talk this week and gave lots of shout outs to us missionaries because they remind her of her son serving. They are a great family! They have another son who has his papers in right now and is waiting. Then an 11 year old son. They all speak really good English. They remind me of our family. Mom, Dad, Nate, Jake you are awesome! 

Last week I read a little bit about William Willes who I am named after.  He is a great missionary.  A really good example.  I was touched by the spirit as I read about his faith, experiences, trials and how he relied on the Lord in those trials. 

I love D&C 42:6 spreading the good word with the sound of a trump. I love finding. A lot of missionaries don't like contacting on the street because it's hard, but I love it. It's a great challenge and I love boldly telling people that this is the only true church on the earth. We see miracles every day through finding. Plant lots of seeds. It's crazy to think the church in Taiwan is only 65 years old. The members here are so great! This is the Lord's work. I sleep it, live it, and love it. Sorry for the rambling, I just am loving it out here! In my personal reading I came across 1 Nephi 22:5 about the Lord being our shepherd. I love that scripture! He's just waiting for all of us to take action and come unto Him. 

Sorry for the long email this week. Have a great week everyone. 

"This work is true. It makes sense. It feels right and will allow us to be able to gain eternal salvation 
with our families."


Elder Willes
Wei2 Zhang3 Lao3

Monday, August 4, 2014




 "I always remind myself we only have 2 years to serve and an eternity to think about how we did. 
Keep pushing.  Keep going.  The Lord WILL bless us."

Our investigator Shi2 Di4 Xiong1 took Elder Marchant and I out for Japanese food our last day together.

Our investigator Shi2 Di4 Xiong1

The coolest member out there. - Thomas Chen.
XinZhu District

I'm all packed and ready to go.
This week was a bit of a slower week. I was pretty stressed having to pack all of my stuff and leave my birth place (my first area). The week ended great though with Habib's wife, Chen2 Ya3 Yi4, getting baptized! It was really special. Elder Marchant and I and the sisters have pretty much both been teaching her so all of us were really happy to see her baptized. Habib was also able to skype the Turkish missionaries again for his new member lessons. That was cool. The whole ward pretty much came to the baptism. They all LOVE Habib and Chen Ya3 Yi4. Habib dunked her like a boss! We taught him the prayer (in English) and he practiced over and over for like an hour before the baptism. He went in the water and said it perfectly! She was super scared of water but he was able to get her down! It was really cool. To end the baptism the whole ward sang I Am a Child of God. That is Habib's and Chen2 Ya3 Yi's favorite song. Then she went up and shared her testimony. She talked a lot about how her goal in life is to endure to the end.  I was like what?? Super special night. 

Our brother Habib.  He is so great!

The following pictures were sent to Elder Willes' mom from Habib.  This one pictures
Habib giving Elder Willes a hug for his mom.

Bishop Huang2 and his wife.  The Bishop in XinZhu.  They are awesome!

We headed into Taipei.  Since Elder Marchant is training he was in meetings all day. So I spent the day with Elder Kattleman and Elder Bastian. They both have been here 2 years and were leaving that transfer meeting. So their last time doing full-time missionary work in Taiwan was with me.  Their example were great! They loved everyone on the street and we spread the good word for hours on end. That night we stayed with other missionaries in an apartment (7 total missionaries with only 4 beds).  We slept on the floor with all the cockroaches so that was a little creepy, but we survived.

Got to see Elder Dethloff and Elder Hughes at the transfer meeting. Elder Hughes is training now! Crazy stuff. Elder Dethloff is now in a tripanionship. Elder Marchant was called to train Elder Nixon who I used to play basketball with at BYU so that was pretty cool. At the transfer meeting my picture came up on the screen and showed I was going to the Tao3 Yan3 Zone Zhong1 Li4 with Elder Nelson who ironically was sitting right next to me. We gave each other a big old hug. I'm super excited because my zone leader is my trainer Elder Westover!! So I will see him at zone meeting tomorrow!

Zhongli is a large city and is about a 20 minute drive from XinZhu.  The 2 cities are pretty similar.  Zhongli is near TaoYan.  It looks exactly the same as XinZhu.  The things that are different is that this apartment in Zhongli is really nice, there are more American restaurants and the subway is here.  We also have a huge sogo mall outside of our apartment.

Elder Nelson and Elder Marchant

Elder Nelson is from Delta, Utah. Our area just baptized a great family, the Chen2 family.  A member referral. That is really great. We don't really have many investigators. We have 2 people that we hope to meet with this week. We met last Saturday with a guy from West Africa, O. He is a super smart guy and knows a lot about the Bible. It was a really interesting lesson. He is Muslim and wouldn't really listen to us. He was just trying to Bible bash. Bizarre. 

Some graffiti we found while "finding."  This area is HUGE.  My bike isn't here yet so we are walking.
My bike is being shipped by train.

This area is a lot like Xin1 Zhu2 my last area. It is an industrial area. Cha1bie3 (differences) are this place has a big sogo mall and movie theater outside our apartment. It also has some American food places.  We have a ping pong table in our apartment complex. 

A 4-story McDonald's in Zhongli.

This place is sweet.  It is a big apartment.  Elder Nelson keeps it really clean.
We both have our own refrigerator and freezer.

Last P-day I got to try a cool new food: Sha1Yu2 SHARK! haha it was delicious. Tastes just like chicken. 

"SHARK...looks and tastes just like chicken."
On Sunday we went to church and the ward was so nice to me. They were all coming up to me and welcoming me to the ward. We actually have 3 white guys in our ward. One is Brother Bell from England. Another is an older guy who I haven't met yet. The last is an RM who is now married to a Chinese woman and lives here now. He actually blessed his newborn baby in sacrament meeting. It was cool! He also translates for the other two. I had the chance to bear my testimony to the ward. It was cool. I could feel the spirit. I shared 3 Nephi 15:9 always look unto Christ. I felt really comforted knowing that even though it was hard leaving it will be a great new experience and I've already met a lot of really cool members so far. I'm excited to keep finding the prepared people. You gotta plant the crop before you can harvest so that's exactly what we are going to do! 

I came across another great scripture this week. Alma 30:44. Scriptures can help us feel Heavenly Father's love for us. I love the Book of Mormon so much and learn so much from it everyday. I always remind myself we only have 2 years to serve and an eternity to think about how we did. Keep pushing. Keep going. The Lord WILL bless us.  Love you all! 
Have an amazing week!

Elder Willes