Saturday, November 28, 2015


Our beautiful chapel

Hello everyone and Happy Thanksgiving from Taiwan. Lots to feel grateful for. Wow this week was incredible. I am sitting here emailing home at this little internet cafe feeling so blessed for the opportunity I have to be a missionary. Unfortunately there won't be any turkey and mashed potatoes here so eat lots of amazing Thanksgiving food for me. :) 

We are working hard and the Lord keeps blessing us. This week we met with Brother Chen2 who is less active. We had a powerful lesson with him on the Sacrament and for the first time in years he decided to come to church! He looked super shuai4 in a suit, white shirt, and tie at sacrament meeting on Sunday. It was truly a blessing. 

Elder Seamons, Brother Chen2 and Elder Willes

Our investigators are doing really well and we have lots of investigators we are working with right now. One of our investigators, Grace, is incredible and so ready for the Gospel. She hasn't been to church yet because she works. We had a very bold and powerful lesson with her where we felt like we needed to invite and encourage Grace to quit her job so she could come to church. She is praying about it. She did talk to her boss and committed to coming to church next week so that is super exciting! She has a baptismal date set for 12/25/15 and I think she will make it. I am praying she has a great experience at church and feels the strength she can gain by being there each week. 

This week I went on exchanges with a new missionary, Elder Puzey. We were out contacting and felt prompted to bike down this road we had never been on before. We met a cute family with a 3 year old and a baby while they were out buying dinner. We shared with them all about being an eternal family. We showed this family our family pictures and a picture of Christ and taught them that through Christ we can be with our families forever! We met with them again on Saturday and they came to church on Sunday! It was such a miracle. Seeing that family at church made my whole day. They don't live in our area so the Sisters are going to keep meeting with them. 

Elder Puzey and Elder Willes

The Lin family who we met and came to church

I love going to church in Taiwan and I will miss it. It is unique. This week at church some crazy things that happened. In the middle of Sacrament Meeting a random lady walks into the chapel and sits down by me. I look over at her and in her purse is a cat. I repeat, a straight up orange cat, just chillin on her lap. It was crazy. The Bishop decided to just let it be because she wasn't a member. After Sacrament Meeting all the kids were petting the cat. To make it crazier, as Sacrament Meeting was ending, two less active little girls (big miracle by the way) show up and in their little bag they have a little dog. So there was a cat and dog at church. Crazy. The joke in our apartment right now is, "You've cat to be kitten me." Haha

Thanks to everyone for the prayers on behalf of our less active blitz this week. It went great. I made little cards for the 80 less active members we went to find and visit. We saw big results. We had 8 members go out with us and all 8 missionaries serving in our ward went out with a member and found about 10 less actives each! So cool. About 20 minutes before we left one of the members cancelled. Elder Seamons and I prayed and both thought of a member and called him and he was able to come! Brother Zhang1 saved the day! I went out with Brother Zhang1 and we were biking all over the city to find these people. It was so hard and tiring but so worth it. We ran into one of the less active members we went to visit in the parking lot and taught him right there. Then we went out to the boonies. It was seriously like a 30-40 minute bike ride and visited a former Relief Society President. She let us in and we had a really cool lesson with her and she committed to come to church this next week! Incredible. In total we found about 15 new less active members we can start meeting with which is huge! It continues to rain here in Yilan but the Lord continues to pour out blessings as well. :)

Lastly, we took our two recent converts to the temple; Hanny and Huang2 Shi4 Neng2 DX. Our bus got caught in traffic so we were worried that we were going to be late but we made it! We ran from the MRT all the way to the temple. It was awesome. 

At the temple with our recent converts

I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary and for my supportive and loving family. A missionary told me six months ago, "The last six months of your mission is when the Lord molds you from a boy to a man." I feel like I've learned so much lately and I am so so grateful to serve the Lord and be a part of His team. I know Jesus Christ lives and loves us all! I'm so grateful He died for us so we can have eternal life. Love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Willes 

Our district went to the beach for p-day last week. It was so great!

These women only speak Taiwanese - not Mandarin, Chinese

Saturday, November 21, 2015


 "Being in the service of the Taiwanese people has been the happiest time of my life.  I love every minute of it." 

Hello from Yilan, Taiwan!

Wow this week was a crazy busy one for sure. The Lord just kept pouring out a fountain of miracles on us. It was nuts. We worked our hearts out and literally, prepared and ready people just kept falling into our laps on the street. This week we found 14 new investigators on the street and taught over 30 lessons. 

This is my lucky new jacket. When we went to buy it we found 2 new investigators!

This work has been so fun with Elder Seamons. We both work our very hardest every day to bring others to Christ, serve, and help them feel of God's love. It's been such a blast. 

The biggest miracle of the week was Zhang1 DX, Ken, got baptized! It was a wonderful baptism. The missionaries all sang a musical number, "I Need Thee Every Hour." Seeing someone get baptized is one of the greatest joys as a missionary. It just makes you feel so grateful to be a missionary and you know that the Lord can change people's hearts. As I've seen many people go from not knowing who God is at all, to wanting to be one of His disciples, it is one of the coolest things ever. I am so blessed to be a missionary. (Alma 26:2-3) When we reflect on the blessings the Lord gives us the spirit is so strong in our lives!

Elder Willes, Zhang1 DX, and Elder Seamons


At Zhang1 DX's baptism our Bishop gave a talk about a question he has been pondering. "If you could have a saying or word that would pass down to your kids and go on for generations as a family, what would it be?" The Bishop said after pondering this, he decided on, "Be humble." I think that is really cool. I loved it. Being humble helps us have more charity, be diligent, and be more obedient. The spirit can work through us more fully if we are humble. This reminded me of a quote that President Uchtdorf said, "We don't discover humility by thinking less of ourselves, we discover humility by thinking less ABOUT ourselves." Being in the service of the Taiwanese people has been the happiest time of my life. I love every minute of it. 

While we were out finding this week we prayed for this one guy and asked him how he felt after we had prayed. He felt the spirit so strong and said his body felt like he was on fire! It reminded me of the hymn, The Spirit of God like a fire is burning. Awesome. He became one of our new investigators. 

Grace and Sister Lin2 are two of our other investigators. Both of these women have Sabbath Day issues but both have baptismal dates set for Christmas Day. Isn't that a great Christmas present? We are praying for miracles with them that they will be able to keep the Sabbath Day holy. They are so so sincere. 

We are praying really hard that all these 14 new investigator we have found will stick and that we can help them progress. I'm thinking this week will be a week with lots of set lessons and sharing lots of lessons about the Restoration! 

Our ward has 4 companionships of missionaries in it and we have about 100 active members in our ward. Our ward has really struggled with finding less active members and helping less active members come to church. So this week we are having a less active blitz as a district. Each missionary, all 8 of us, will go out with a member and go finding and visit about 20 less active members. We hope to visit about 150 less active members. This is going down next Sunday so we are super stoked about it! Please keep these members in your prayers that their hearts will be softened and that we can have a bunch of them join us for church! We are all super excited!!

Also this week one of our recent converts, Huang2 DX, got his temple recommend and we are taking him to the temple. We are so excited about that. It should be a great week! Looking forward to it. 

Alma 7:23 "And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive." 

This has been my ponderize scripture for the week. I love being a missionary and I know the Church is true! Love you all!

Elder Willes

Elder Seamons and Elder Willes doing volunteer service at the local hospital

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


"Guess what? I moved! This past week in the office we were preparing for transfers all week and in the process President Jergensen told me he wanted me to go to Yilan and be a District Leader. It was bitter-sweet. But to be honest, more sweet than bitter. I am so pumped to be here to Yilan and get to work!

We had 2 lessons on the street this week when in the middle of the lesson members drove by and saw us and stopped. Stopped to help us by bearing their testimonies and sharing why they were baptized. It was so powerful. That kind of stuff just doesn't happen very often. It was incredible.

Elder Huntsman and Elder Willes

Hello from beautiful Yilan, Taiwan! Such a unique place here. Yilan is on the Northeastern coast of the island so we are "going to the beach" next p-day so that should be exciting. 

Guess what? I moved! This past week in the office we were preparing for transfers all week and in the process President Jergensen told me he wanted me to go to Yilan and be a District Leader. It was bitter sweet. But to be honest, more sweet than bitter. I am so pumped to be here in Yilan and get to work! 

[Mom note about Yilan: Yilan is well-known as a historical center for some of the many aboriginal peoples whose diversity has come to be synonymous with Taiwan. Geographically, Yilan County is characterized by rolling mountains, rocky seaside and heavy, relentless rain.]

Our district is pretty big. We have 4 companionships in the district and 2 of those companionships are training new missionaries. My companion is Elder Seamons from Draper, Utah. He knows Sarah so that is cool. He graduated in 2014, did a year at BYU, and then came out on his mission. Elder Seamons is on his 3rd transfer here in Taiwan. He is great! His Chinese is good and he is an exceptional missionary! I got here to Yilan on Friday and we hit the pavement hard and fast. Lots of finding, teaching, visiting recent converts and less active members, and it has been incredible. We have seen so many cool miracles on the street these last couple of days. 

Elder Seamons and Elder Willes - teaching

On Saturday we were finding and we knocked into a family that Elder Seamons had talked to before and they let us in to teach a lesson. This family has a 10 year old son, Barry. We shared a lesson very simply on Jesus Christ and how the Gospel blesses families. They are a pretty firm in their traditional Buddhist beliefs but the spirit touched their hearts and they committed to come to church the next day! BOOM. Sunday rolls around and this family of 3 shows up at church. That was so exciting! Wow so cool. When we actually believe miracles can happen God really will help us and we will see these  miracles every day. It was really special!

We also have a really great investigator, Brother Zhang1! Really cool guy. He is really tall for Taiwan, probably like 6'3". He is progressing really well and had his baptismal interview this week and is getting baptized this coming Saturday. We are so excited for him.  Brother Zhang1 has a big desire to be baptized. 

We had 2 lessons on the street this week when in the middle of the lesson members drove by and saw us and stopped. Stopped to help us by bearing their testimonies and sharing why they were baptized. It was so powerful. That kind of stuff just doesn't happen very often. It was incredible. 

In the past 3 days, Elder Seamons and I have taught 17 lessons. That also doesn't happen very often. The reason I share this is because when we believe, and work our tails off, then God will bless us. We need to go the extra mile every day to become instruments in His hands. 

Last night was probably the biggest miracle of the week for me. Yesterday (Sunday) I woke up not feeling well at all. Very sore throat, groggy, headache, stuffy nose, etc. I knew it was going be a long day especially when I was not feeling well at all, but I was gonna fight through it the best I could! It indeed was a longer day but church was incredible. The ward here is awesome and the stake here in East Taipei is splitting in early December! After our very full day on Sunday, we were out finding that night and I just felt like I had pulled an all-nighter. There was literally no energy in me. After about 2 hours of  finding with very little success, we sat down to take a little breather, and we said a prayer. As I was praying on this little bench I remembered when Brigham Young went out for one of his missions he literally was so sick he couldn't stand but he still gave every ounce of his energy to shout hosanna and preach the gospel. Many of the early church leaders were like him. After my prayer I felt just a little ounce of energy and got up to work. The very next lady we talked to, in a little alley, we were able to teach her a very powerful lesson. Wang2 JM believes in God, has had a very hard life, and her 2 kids are pretty unstable. She knew that the Lord had sent us to meet her. We will be visiting her again this next week. A really special experience. 

Sometimes we think we are giving every thing we have but if we go just a little bit further to serve the Lord with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength, then God will bless us. Wow! Being a missionary is just the best. I have learned so much and I am so pumped to keep working my hardest and giving my all with Elder Seamons. I miss you all and love you all! Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Willes 

Monday, November 2, 2015


Hello everyone. This was a great week!

Our investigator Sister Zheng4 is improving a lot! She came to church last Sunday and is doing awesome! We shared the Word of Wisdom and Tithing with her and she is willing and ready for it all. I am really excited and feel great about her being able to meet her baptismal date of November 28th. She is so cool. Sister Zheng4 is 24 years old and told us that ever since she starting meeting with us and learning about the Savior her life has just become more and more happy. Keep praying for her.

We had a very successful Mission Leadership Council this last week. The theme/focus for the month in our mission is the Sabbath Day. Elder Huntsman and I went all out in our preparations for our training portions. We skyped with and met with about 10-15 recent converts and had them share with us how they developed a testimony of the Sabbath Day. We also were able to skype former Elder Darger and our former mission mom, Sister Day! I hope that all the information that we gathered and relayed will somehow help the members of the Church here in Taiwan. Hopefully as missionaries we can help move these saints forward. It was really good! We are excited to see some results with getting our investigators and less active members back to Sacrament meeting. So important. As a side note, our mission this past month had a total of around 47 baptisms which is double what is was 2 months ago. So our focus at the last MLC which was focused on baptism, was a huge success for us!

Elder Huntsman and Elder Willes with President and Sister Day

A funny story. Last night we got home and there was a bat in one of the other elder's shoes. A flying bat! We came in and it flew out and was flapping wildly around our apartment. We were all screaming like little girls. Haha it was crazy. We tried to wack it for about 20 minutes but it always dodged us. It finally just flew out of our apartment. I am still alive and well! 

Enjoying p-day at a local doughnut shop

Reflecting...I've been doing it. I don't really know why, but all week I've just had this feeling and prompting I should share a little more about the trials and hard parts of missionary work. My mission has literally meant the world to me and it has been the most rewarding experience ever. I cannot express my gratitude for this amazing 2 years however it is definitely like a roller coaster with many ups and many downs.

There are so many stresses that have been hard on me as a missionary.
First just being so tired all the time. It is hard. Literally every day is so taxing. You work and work and somehow your body finds the reserve to work some more then you may face the stress and heartache such as tons of people who have initial interest in the Gospel but choose not to act and eventually lose interest. Or investigators, or less actives, that for various reasons don't come to church or keep the commandments. And in some cases when your recent converts even leave the path you may feel so sad and hopeless. Sometimes when I get home, after very long days, I feel saddened and sometimes discouraged by people rejecting this message I am here to share. My mission truly has been the hardest thing I've ever done.

The reason I share this with you is we all will have trials in our lives. We all have these times of ups and downs. And unfortunately sometimes when we are experiencing the downs (and even sometimes the ups) we forget about all the things the Lord has blessed us with. Sometimes we forget to acknowledge during the downs that the Lord is still always with us. He never leaves our side. Two years ago, on January 22nd, 2014 when I first went into the MTC, I never in a million years would have thought I could ever read or write Chinese. I seriously doubted I would ever be able to speak Chinese. But through God I have been able to do all those things! Alma 26:12 through the Lord we can do all things! 

Yea, know that am nothingas to my strength am weak; therefore will not boast of myself, but will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all thingsyea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever. Alma 26:12
I have learned on my mission that it is important to see the rainbow and sunshine of every single day. Everything happens for a for a reason and this week I was reminded of something super important when I read D&C 122:7-9. Everything we experience is for our gain. We can't control our situations but we can control our attitude in those situations.
V.8 "The son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than He?" I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ. He understands everything that we experience. There have been countless times on my mission where He has picked me up when I'm down. There have been many times when the Savior has given me a glimmer of hope through the scriptures, prayer, or church. I know He is there for all of us and I hope we all can choose to put Him first in our lives so we can feel and know that He is our best friend and Savior. D&C123:17, D&C 121:7-8

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and this really is the best two years of my life. I've never been happier and I'm so grateful for every day. I gotta keep making every single day count!

Love you all! Have a great week!
Elder Willes