Monday, September 28, 2015


"I know the Lord has sent me to Taiwan for a reason. Every day that I am here I see more and more 
reasons and blessings. As members of His Church we are all called of God wherever we are. 
So go get to work wherever you are!"

Well this week was super hectic and super busy but we made it through and I'm still alive! I am being blessed to be able to keep this pace. I am super excited to be with my new companion Elder Huntsman. He's from Salt Lake City and graduated from Highland High School in 2014. He is such a great guy. He is the grandson of John Huntsman. He came on Island last October (left on his mission in July of 2014). He came out with my first trainee Elder Jensen. Elder Huntsman and I both have been working really hard and have a huge desire to improve and be better. Right now we are working on a temple pamphlet to help all recent converts get to the temple within a month after they are baptized. We are also including in the  pamphlet, family history information and how to do it so our recent converts can take family names to the temple! We are excited about that. 

This week we had planned to hold a transfer meeting but we postponed this because the big group of missionaries coming from the states again have visa delays. We hope these missionaries will make it to Taiwan next week and then we will have our mission transfers. We did get 3 new missionaries this week so that was exciting. Elder (Thomas) Jensen is training again, so I now have 2 grandsons! One of my "grandsons" is a native from Taiwan so that's pretty cool. 

Elder Jensen, Elder Dong (from southern Taiwan), and Elder Willes
3 generations of missionaries

On Monday I got to go on exchanges with the other Elder (Caden) Jensen who I served with in Ban3Qiao2. That was really cool. It was fun to be back. We had some great lessons together and we were able to sing all the songs we wrote together. One big blessing that the Lord continues to bless me with on my mission is the lasting friendships with members, investigators, recent converts, companions, other missionaries, and your mission president(s). It's incredible how close you can get to the people here when your main focus is on them. I love the Taiwanese people. I love all the people I've served with. I am really grateful that I've learned so much from each and every one of my companions. 

Elder Huntsman and I had a really awesome lesson with our less active Guo1 DX who we have been meeting with. He is changing. The light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is coming back into his life. 2-3 months ago he was so bitter and unhappy. He is so much happier now. His burdens are literally being lightened. He has been sick and asked us to give him a priesthood blessing. I was able to give him a blessing. So neat to see how much God cares about every person. He is coming to church on Sunday and we are really excited about him! He's changing his life. 

Our recent convert Chen2 JM is incredible! She keeps referring her friends to us, who we meet with and teach a lesson to, and then promptly refer them to the missionaries where they live. One of these friends is getting baptized today. Elder Tan is baptizing her so that is really cool! 

Our investigator pool is picking up. Whenever we have even a minute of free time we are trying our best to talk to everyone and are trying to find more people to teach. Our investigator Sister Zheng4 is doing great and is progressing! She should be coming to church again this Sunday so that's pretty cool. We are just hoping our other new investigators will stick and not slip through the cracks. 

There were 2 scriptures that stuck out to me this week. The first is in 1 Nephi 6:4 

 For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved.
Nephi's whole intent and motivation was to bring people to Jesus Christ. I love that. That is my purpose as a missionary too. 

The other scripture that really caught my attention this week is D&C 100:4. 

 Therefore, I, the Lord, have suffered you to come unto this place; for thus it was expedient in me for the salvation of souls.

I know the Lord has sent me to Taiwan for a reason. Every day I am here I see more and more reasons and blessings. As members of His Church we are all called of God wherever we are. So go get to work wherever you are! Love that one too. 

I know I say this every week, but I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve a mission and become more like Jesus Christ. These last few years have blessed my life so much. It's hard to put it all in words! I love this work and know it is true. 

Love you all! Good luck to Sarah! I know you will be a great missionary! Nicaragua is lucky to have you.

Have a great week. 

Elder Willes

Mid-Autumn Festival is this week. Lots and lots of food and moon cakes will be eaten. (Moon cakes are small pastries filled with things like beans, duck eggs, or seeds).

A mom note...Another very large typhoon, Typhoon Dujan, hit Taiwan today.  All missionaries are accounted for and safe.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


"We were out contacting and we found this couple. They didn't seem interested at first. But as we kept testifying, their interest little by little started increasing. We taught them about eternal families and God's plan for us. We asked if we could pray for them. They said yes. We asked what we could pray for. They were silent and wouldn't talk to us but we kept asking them. Finally the mom broke down and told us their little boy had just passed away a few months ago. They were so sad. We prayed for them and talked to them about hope. 
Hope through the Savior. Hope through the Plan. It was so special. 

I am so grateful that God lets His servants, and in many cases these are young missionaries, 
have these incredible, life-changing experiences. Truly The Best 2 Years!"

YuSen Liu (from Hsinchu) with Elder Willes outside the Taipei Temple 
Jerry Chiang, a young member from Hsinchu, an area Elder Willes previously served in.  Jerry saw Elder Willes this week when he went to the Taipei Temple.  He and YuSen Liu (pictured above) came and visited us in Utah this summer.  What a pleasure to know these awesome young men!

Beautiful Hualian, Taiwan


Everyday here in Taiwan is such a joy. I have a new companion. His name is Elder Huntsman. He's a stud. He and I and Elder Stewart are in a tri-panionship until this upcoming Friday when Elder Stewart moves out and will have a couple of transfers out in the field. I'm really grateful I've had the past 3 transfers to work with Elder Stewart. It's been a big blessing and such a blast. So much fun working with him. Love that guy. 

Elder Huntsman, Elder Stewart and Elder Willes

Elder Huntsman, Elder Stewart and Elder Willes - our first meal with all 3 of us

This week on Monday we went to visit a new and recent convert who moved into our ward. She brought a friend, Liu2 JM, and she became our new investigator. Liu2 JM is super prepared for the Gospel. We are meeting with some amazing people. Sister Lin came to church. She is awesome. Progressing well. We have some other investigators and we are just trying to find the time to meet with them. As crazy as that sounds finding the time to help them like I would like to is really difficult. I wish for more hours in the day. We are working really hard though and I feel like all these investigators have pretty good potential. 

We saw some crazy cool miracles this week. We had 3 additional Outdoor Zone Conferences this week. It was super tiring and a lot of traveling but so great. We went to Hualian and hiked up Taroko Gorge and had training on being positive, the Mandarin Chinese language, and becoming a disciple of Christ. It is so beautiful in Hualian. We left Taipei for Hualian at 
3:00 AM, had 9 people (the Office Zone) in the van, and left to drive back at 9:00 PM. It was a very long but great day. 

Elder Stewart, Elder Huntsman and I, were out contacting one night. I accidentally almost bumped this girl (Taipei traffic is indescribable) while on my bike so of course I started talking to her. She was so so cool. She's in her early 20's. Sister Zhong. A really really awesome girl. She has lived a hard life. Her friends and family haven't really supported her. She's struggling financially, and she's just lost in life. We asked her if we could pray for her. She said YES! She told us 4 things she hoped we would pray for. 

1. Better group of friends to better influence her life
2. Better family relationships
3. Direction in life
4. A testimony of God 

I was amazed at her super sincere desires. The people in Taiwan inspire me every day. We prayed for her and had a powerful lesson with her. The Spirit was so strong. We taught her that Jesus Christ is our powerful and very personal supporter and we each can and must rely on Him. I think it was cool how God led us to her and we were able to share the beginnings of the Gospel with her and strengthen her. It also made me so grateful that I have a great group of friends, a wonderful family, direction in my life, and a personal relationship with God. The gospel is so perfect! Sister Zhong is set up to meet with us next week! 

At one of our Zone Conferences this week Elder Huntsman and I decided to literally say hi to everyone we saw while hiking. We said hi to a lady and she asked us if we were Christians. We told her we were Christ's representatives. She told us she wanted to be baptized! We told her our purpose is to invite and help her do this! It was a crazy cool miracle. So way up in the mountains we taught this lady a lesson, gave her a Book of Mormon, and set a baptismal date for her. Sister Huang2! We then referred her to Elder Green in Xin Dian. She's incredible. 

The last really cool miracle happened last night. I was on exchanges with Elder Dethloff. We were out contacting and we found this couple. They didn't seem interested at first. But as we kept testifying, their interest little by little started increasing. We taught them about eternal families and God's plan for us. We asked if we could pray for them. They said yes. We asked what we could pray for. They were silent and wouldn't talk to us but we kept asking them. Finally the mom broke down and told us their little boy had just passed away a few months ago. They were so sad. They want a family and are not sure if she can have any more children because of some health complications. We prayed for them and taught them about where their son is. We showed the "Because of Him" video and talked to them about hope. Hope through the Savior. Hope through the Plan. It was so special. In that brief half and hour I felt the spirit so strongly and know that Heavenly Father's plan is perfect and real.

Elder Willes and Elder Dethloff 

Wow so cool that BYU is off to a hot start. Tanner Miracle Mangum is a boss! I hope they play well this week against UCLA. Go Cougars!

I am so grateful that God lets His servants, and in many cases these are young missionaries, have these incredible, life-changing experiences. Truly The Best 2 Years! Congrats Nate on getting that Eagle!!!! That's my boyyyy. Congrats to Jeff. My cousins are dropping like flies. Love you all! I really appreciate the support and prayers. 

Elder Willes

I saw my recent convert, Sister Xu3, in the MRT station.  Cool!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


My favorite scripture in the Book of Mormon is Moroni 7:33. 
"And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power 
to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me." 
For those of us serving in Taiwan, really immersing in and learning Chinese 
is expedient for us. God knows we can do it! And the cool thing is we actually can.

Hello from Taiwan!  Wow my mission really is the best thing ever! It is also hard and very tiring but I love every moment of it and am learning a lot each day! 

This was a great week. We are working with our investigator Sister Lin2. She is great. 60 years old and golden. Our pace of lessons with her is slow because her religious background is very limited so we are just keeping it simple. She is coming to church for the 1st time tomorrow so that is super exciting! Please continue to pray for her.

This week we started our Outdoor Zone Conferences. Zone by Zone we hike all day in the mountains. We hiked to the top of YangMing Shan and stopped on the way up, at the top and on our way back down, for trainings. It has been such a blast. Elder Stewart and I have had the opportunity of training on the importance of this awesome Chinese language and the gift of tongues. It has been going really well. My favorite scripture in the Book of Mormon is Moroni 7:33 "And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me." For those of us serving in Taiwan really immersing in and learning Chinese is expedient for us. God knows we can do it! And the cool thing is we actually can. Isn't that amazing that all these kids are learning to speak Mandarin Chinese and yet with the Lord's help and with lots of diligence, hard work, and faith, this is possible. 

Elder Willes and Elder Stewart

There is a sister missionary in our mission who is a native from Taiwan and has great English. When she was asked why she had a desire to learn English she said, "Because I want to listen to and understand the words of President Monson." I thought that was so cool! The gift of tongues is real. There are missionaries all over the world speaking hundreds of different languages that are not their own. So sweet! All of the trainings from Zone Conferences have been super spiritual and so much fun. Serving with so many awesome missionaries creates this bond that is hard for me to explain. I am just so happy to be on the Lord's errand! 

Elder Jensen and Elder Willes (a happy reunion-William was Elder Jensen's trainer)

Elder Hughes and Elder Willes (buddies from BYU)

On Monday we had an awesome miracle! I was on exchanges in another area with Elder Ure. We were waiting at their chapel for an investigator. All of the sudden this lady gets out of a car and walks up to our chapel. I greet her and invite her into the chapel. She accepts. I thought she was the investigator we were waiting for but it turns out it was just some random lady who really wanted to come see our chapel. It was so cool! She was with her 4 year old son. She shared with us that she has been abused and mistreated by her family and that her family completely opposes her going to church. She told me that she has always had a "pull" to go to church. Elder Ure and I sang for her her. She was crying, feeling the spirit, and it was cool to really see the Love of Christ comfort this lady. We taught her the Restoration and about the Book of Mormon. We gave her a Book of Mormon and I even had the chance to give her a priesthood blessing. It was so cool. I don't know if her husband will let her come to church but I'm grateful that God led her to us that night. I won't forget it!

Our recent convert Sister Wang gave a talk at the new member fireside last week. She shared a scripture 1 Nephi 21:14 "...The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me--but he will show that he hath not." Sister Wang shared how sometimes we forget that God is watching over us but He always shows us He won't. He loves us! I thought that was super cool! 

We are also meeting with Brother Guo1 who is trying come back to church. He is slowly changing. Keep him in your prayers! He's such a good guy. 

We also had another cool miracle on exchanges with Elder Pincock in my area. We were contacting on our way home. It was pretty late, we saw this lady and felt prompted that we should go talk to her! It turns out she is from Japan and can't speak a lick of English and very minimal Chinese. I only know 2 sentences in Japanese so after that we didn't really know how to teach her. I remembered that back at the mission office we had a copy of the Book of Mormon in Japanese but we were super short on time. We somehow "asked" her to run back with us to the mission office. So the 3 of us ran back to the mission office and got her a Book of Mormon in Japanese. We used the scriptures to teach her about who God is. How Jesus Christ is His son and loves us so much. We were using lots of hand signals and gestures and simple, simple, simple Chinese. But it was so cool because she started understanding us! The spirit was touching her heart. She even said a prayer in Japanese! We asked her how she felt? She didn't know how to express herself so I told her to answer in Japanese and that we would understand. She answered. Even though I didn't exactly understand her words I felt so strongly that when she prayed she had had a very special experience. It was so cool! We gave her that Book of Mormon and referred her to missionaries in Japan in 2 weeks when she goes home! 

The Church is true! Love you all. Thanks so much for the prayers and support. Y'all are awesome. Go Cougars!! 

Elder Willes

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Early morning exercising on the East Coast. Priceless!

This week just flew by! 

Last Sunday we saw some big miracles in our area! Guo1 DX, the LA we've been meeting with, finally came to church! That was super exciting for us and for him. We also have some new investigators Zheng4 JM and Hong2 DX. They both came to church and are referrals who are progressing well. We are excited to continue helping and teaching them. So things are picking up in our area! Our other LA, Sun1 JM, is progressing well and coming to church every week now. We are helping her prepare to go to the temple. 

I could sum this week up with - traveling. Elder Stewart and I only had 1 day together this week and and I spent over 20 hours traveling around our mission this week. It was pretty tiring but tons of fun and lots of awesome missionary work. On Tuesday we went down to the East Coast in Hualian for exchanges there. I went with Elder Johnson the ZL. It was a great exchange. Elder Johnson is a great Elder and a fireball. He loves the work so much! On Wednesday we took a train to Taidong and went on exchanges there too. I went with Elder Nielson who is another great Elder. We went finding and saw so many miracles. President Jergensen has been teaching us all a formula --- Faith + Diligence + Obedience = the power to perform miracles. So cool as we went out and met so many prepared people. We knocked into this one aboriginal lady and taught her the whole Restoration in 10 minutes and that was really cool! She set up another time to meet next week. 

We also met a cool mom on this little dirt road and starting teaching about Eternal Families. She told us she really wanted an eternal family but thought it wasn't possible. She thought it is too good to be true. We started teaching her about Jesus Christ and what He's done for us so that we all can have the opportunity to be with our families forever. It was so cool. She said her first prayer ever and wow the spirit was so strong. She seems really excited to meet with the Tai2 Dong1 Elders next week! Super exciting. 

Thursday we got to take our recent converts Wang2 JM and Chen2 JM to the temple again. They love it. It is such a huge blessing to have a temple in our mission. Can't imagine serving in a mission where there isn't a temple. Wow I am so blessed! 

I ran into Brother Wu2 at the temple.  We taught and baptized he and his son awhile ago. They were  sealed in the temple last week. Wahoo!

Yesterday I went on an exchange with Elder Rasmussen. President Jergensen was in Hong Kong and we had to pick him up from the airport so Elder Rasmussen and I only had about 15 minutes to find in his area. So we went hard and started buzzing around and talking to anyone we saw. We saw a couple driving on their scooter and we flagged them down like someone in NYC flags down a taxi. You know what is crazy? They stopped and we taught this young couple about God. It was super cool. They really wanted to learn more so we set them up to meet with Elder Rasmussen and his companion tomorrow! So exciting when you see people making changes in their lives. 

Yesterday President also wanted us to check out some possible outdoor zone conference locations. So we went hiking a little bit yesterday that was a blast. On the top of this mountain we ate lunch with 50 Buddhist monks. It was an amazing immersion of culture.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tired. I'm super tired but I am pressing on in this great cause. I guess the biggest thing I learned this week was how much I love my mission. I love it so much. My mission has changed my life so much. I am so so grateful for Jesus Christ and everything He has done for me. He's our captain and shepherd. If we learn to listen to His voice we will truly be led. Nate, Jake, Mom and Dad you are the best. So grateful for each and every one of you. Keep up the good work! 

Love you all!

Go Cougars!

Elder Willes

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Pig's Blood Cake

Elder Willes with his "loaner" bike

Wow this week was incredible!

This week our mission held a tsunami or a blitz!  (I forgot to tell you this was happening last week.) A tsunami or blitz is when we send a group of 20-30 missionaries to one Zone to go knocking and street contacting all day every day for a week to help find new investigators and build up the teaching pool in a Zone. 

So we prayed about missionaries and selected 30 (including Elder Stewart and I) to go to ZhuNan to participate in this tsunami. We held a mini transfer meeting before, received our temporary companions, traveled to ZhuNan, and went at it! My temporary companion was Elder Kennedy. We were together all week in ZhuNan (Northern Taiwan). The whole mission rallied around us and prayed and fasted for all of us and we saw so many miracles. Holy cow it was crazy! 

Elder Kennedy and Elder Willes

The week was tiring but awesome. From Monday at 11:00 a.m. we were contacting literally all day until 9:00 p.m. on Friday night. It was hard at times, hot and pouring rain lots of the time, but man it was such a blast. Being a missionary and sharing the Gospel is the absolute best ever!

That tsunami life

Lots of missionaries crammed in a small apartment

Saw some of the coolest miracles from my entire mission this week! 

Monday when we first got there, about 10 members were there to greet us and to let us rent their bikes. That was really nice of them. Elder Kennedy and I were literally out in the boonies in a really rural part of the city. We had no clue where to go. We knelt by the side of the road and said a prayer. Through the spirit we both felt so comforted knowing the week was going to go well! We ended up heading down this little alley knocking doors. We knocked into this family and WOW they were great. We met a grandma, her daughter, and their house keeper from Indonesia. They let us in and we shared a message about eternal families, and prayed for them. We also showed them the Because He Lives video and gave them a Book of Mormon! The mom told us, "I am going to read this entire book!!" We asked her, "why??" She said, "Because I want to have a testimony and feel more of what I felt when you taught me." It was incredible! We set them up for more lessons and that started off the week of miracles! A new investigating family!

Elder Kennedy and I had so many spiritual lessons on the street this week. So awesome. We taught 18 lessons and found 15 new investigators! We even gave out 13 copies of the Book of Mormon! Incredible!

There was this one day and we were out in the pouring rain and we kept getting rejected and rejected and rejected. But we weren't down about it! We started talking to this 50+ year old lady who had her 2 grand-kids with her. We were talking with her while on our bikes and asked her to pull over on her scooter. We started getting to know her and were teaching her. I looked at her and she had a tear in her eye. I asked her what was wrong? Then she started bawling. She told us she had been watching us for about 10 minutes as we were getting rejected and rejected and she felt bad because she knew what we were doing was right. We felt prompted to ask her about her family. She told us her husband passed away 3 years ago and that she and her 2 grand kids (ages 10 and 8) really missed him. We started teaching her the Plan of Salvation and taught her some of the principles found in Alma 40- that we through Christ can be with our families forever and that Christ brings resurrection to all men. The grandma looked at me and asked, "Can I really can see my husband again?" We were so happy to tell her yes! Indeed you can! Her cute grand kids each said their first prayer and prayed for an eternal family and how grateful they were that they can be with their grandpa again. The spirit was so strong. We met with this family later on in the week and now the Tou2 Fen4 sisters are meeting with them! One of the coolest things ever. Elder Kennedy and I looked at each other and asked, "Did that really just happen?" Haha so pumped!

One day this week in the pouring rain my loaner bike tire popped. We were in such a rural place without shops and we didn't know where the bike shop was. We finally found the bike shop and the worker there, who wasn't the nicest dude ever, wouldn't fix my bike for some reason. We decided again, to not let this bother us. We would go on foot. The first lady we talked to after that was super nice and we gave her a Book of Mormon. When she saw that my bike tire had popped she said, "We need to fix this!" So she immediately called her husband and he raced over with a car and said, "We know a bike shop about 15 minutes away. We will take you there and fix your bike for you." They drove us to this bike shop and fixed my bike tire, brakes, and my pedal for me! And they bought us Coke to top it off! Nicest family ever. They are Buddhist but we gave them a Book of Mormon. This family took over an hour to help us. He told me, "God watches and knows what we are doing. We all need to do good in the world." They said they would meet with us another day! Through these experiences and many experiences I've had on my mission the scripture D&C 84:88 has taken on new meaning! The Taiwanese people are angels!

"Whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be 
on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, 
and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." Doctrine and Covenants 84:88

In the car headed to the bike shop

There was also a girl sitting in a car. I knocked on the window and said hi to her. I don't know why I said this but I said, "How are you?? Happy birthday!!!" Her jaw dropped. She asked me how I knew that it was her birthday? She showed me her Facebook and it really was her birthday!! Haha it was crazy! We sang for her and told her we were God's messengers and missionaries and she told us she would meet with us another day. 

In total from the tsunami efforts (15 companionships) we taught 227 lessons, received 106 new investigators, 34 of those investigators set baptismal dates, and gave out 153 copies of the Book of Mormon.

The lesson I learned this week: God is a God of Miracles. If we have faith and ACT on that faith He will help us. That is when true conversion can take place for each of us. True conversion requires our action. God will give us the power to see miracles and help them happen.  I don't know how we had the energy to keep going, but we did. I literally felt this week that Jesus Christ was walking by our sides.

I love this work! It was a really great week here in Taiwan! I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Willes