Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sept 29th: Soooo... transfers...

Remember how much I'm in love with this area? A lot?

Well... my time here is up. SIX WEEKS. That's all I got. Dang. I know Heavenly Father has His plans and fun ideas for my life, I just am sad that I won't be here anymore. It's literally almost perfect here. I love it. :(

SO MY BISHOP ISN'T BISHOP ANYMORE?! Well, I guess he's not my bishop anymore, so that's cool. Whoa. And my dad's all up in the bishopric? Nice. That ward will always be the best ward in all the land.

Fun fact: There's an Elder here named Elder Kepo'o. He is the Hawaiian Mormon version of Jheremy. He's so cool. He leaves for Costa Rica today! Just thought you'd like to know that.

Confidence booster!: Last Monday a sister told me every time she sees me I look "business chic." I almost hugged her. Another lady told me I have a beautiful complexion after just meeting me? Another sister told me I'm really driven and ambitious, and she thinks I could be the next president of the United States. People picked a good week to compliment the heck out of me.

I love that I can read the scriptures and LEARN THINGS and be able to APPLY THEM in life! I was awful at that before. Are you ready for something amazing? This was always one of my favorite war stories because of John Bytheway, but I never realized these parts...

Alma 50:3-5, 14 = make your weak things become strong!

Wait Elisabeth, don't you mean Ether 12:27?
No, I mean Alma 50!

Like the Lamanites did, Satan will walk up and think he can get you like he had before. But he's going to be shock-ed and amaz-ed at your spiritual preparations. How great will be his disappointment! :)

These war chapters are FILLED with spiritual nuggets of GOLD. Every time I read, I'm just blown away at how much I learn. IT IS SO BRILLIANT. I cannot wait to meet Moroni and Teancum. They're such dang bosses! I'm going to name one of my sons Teancum. Not really. But just imagine:
Stranger: Where'd your name come from?
My son: Oh, just a book of holy scripture. Teancum was a super boss military leader who totally murdered the bad guys' leader in the night. He also tricked a huge army into attacking them while his other friends took over their city. This is my twin brother, Moroni.

Alma 51:5-6 made me think of the way things were in the US when I "left" (I technically didn't leave, but I left all that political mumbo-jumbo behind). Republicans, liberals, conservative, democrat, independent, non-denominational (hahah). It's all bologna! The question is who considers themselves part of the freemen, and who is part of the kingmen? Alma 50:39 talks about when Pahoran was appointed chief judge and governor, "with an oath and sacred ordinance to judge righteously, and to keep the peace and the freedom of the people, and to grant unto them their sacred privileges to worship the Lord their God,..." What are the two most important thing, ever? God. Our families. The right to raise our families up in God. The right to do so is a sacred privilege. Isn't that beautiful? This doesn't have to do with which political side someone is on, money, ethics, or whatever people claim is most important. It's all about protecting our sacred privilege of worship.

I love this school. The bells play hymns.

Here's a sneak peak into my way of thinking: take a melatonin to help me sleep. Chase it with a cookie. -_-

There's snow on the mountains again!

Saturday I walked aaaalll day in the pouring, freezing rain. It was awesome. I loved it.

Elder Boren (the stake senior missionary couple) makes these little Minions. He gave me this one last night. I LOVE IT.

My knee has been bothering me a little bit, so the nurse put me on a regimen of ibuprofen ALL DAY LONG. Like I'm maxing out on ibuprofen all day. So I've been SUPER nauseated. I decided I'd rather have knee pain than feel super sickly, so I quit that. Haha We'll see how this comes along.

Here's my favorite story I heard someone share in sacrament meeting. LEO TOLSTOY! Yay, Russian literature! :)

Anyway, I'm going to have to start PACKING? Freaking dang it. Oh well. It was wonderful while it lasted.


Have a lovely week, and LISTEN/WATCH GENERAL CONFERENCE! :)


Hermana Willis


I'm a little bit excited... I can't wait!

YO. Next Monday we learn what's happening with transfers AND who's going to general conference! We only go once in the mission now (since there are so many missionaries), but I still have this false hope that I'll be going. Totally illogical thinking. Oh well.

I apologize, I forgot how to chronological-ize things... This email is a mixed up mumbo jumbo of last week+today.

We went to the temple this morning, and it was lovely. I've missed it so much. It's been THREE MONTHS since I last went! Man. I never want to go that long again... But I have to, because the next time we can go is in December... Dang it. My plan's been foiled. But after going from going twice a months to once a quarter, I know I definitely prefer going twice a month. That will be how things are done when I come back. They'll have to kick me out!

Bueno... We then walked to Subway across the street from the Creamery on 9th so my companion could grab a bite to eat, where I saw Zac Atherton! My family likely won't know who he is, but he served in the FJM. That was cool. :)

So last Monday, we went to this place that's like a higher class Taco Bell. We were seated in a booth behind a couple who appeared to be on their first date. This guy was killing it. It's like he was a PRO at first dates (he's probably not had many second ones...) So among the other really arrogant things he said, trying desperately to make himself look good, he told a touching story. He said someone about puppies or little ducklings (or whatever it was) loving bubbles. He described the intensity of cute like this:
"Look, I'm a tough guy. I ride a motorcycle. I usually have a beard. But it even touched my heart! I giggled. I giggled!"
Horchata almost came out my nose.
It was wonderful. He sure has a way with words.

This week has been über slow. Not much to report on. Our teaching pool is diminishing because we baptized our only progressing investigators! Were working on finding. I think some of the former investigators could be promising. :)

So we were in a class where we were talking about the temple dedication and what it means. We sang The Spirit of God, and when we sang "the veil o'er the earth is beginning to burst!" my brain just exploded and I started to cry. DUDE. The veil over the earth is beginning to BURST. IS THAT NOT EXCITING? What an cool blessing to be here when the Lord is getting ready to come.

So we talked about the Hosanna shout. And now I'm fascinated by the word "hosanna." I always thought it was the same as "hallelujah," as in just a word of praise and adoration. It's Hebrew for "save us" or "deliver us." When we're shouting "hosanna" (whole-souled, given to the full limit of our strength, as we're instructed) we're we're begging The Lord to save us. It's something that's done at the entrance of the Savior. When He entered Jerusalem and the people waved palm branches, when He came to the Americas in 3 Nephi 11, in the premortal life when we were presented the plan (and Christ was presented as our Savior), and President Lorenzo Snow said that's how we will greet Him when He comes again; we shout "Save us!" We're asking Him to come. We're inviting in the Second Coming. Hosanna, indeed.

I have something to tell you. It's important, so listen up.

Heavenly Father is as real as the Thai food I ate on Friday. I promise you.

I was having the worst most awful terrible day, and I was upset to the point of nausea (we also went to a Chinese buffet as a district for lunch. And by Chinese buffet, I mean fried meats in fake Chinese sauces. Not a vegetable in sight that wasn't an old garnish). Needless to say, I wasn't feeling at the top of my game. Later in the day went home to do weekly planning and our dinner appointment texted and asked where she could meet us. She was outside with... Thai food. Now for those of you who don't know, Thai is my very favorite, and these past couple of days I've really wanted Thai food. Heavenly Father is the only one in Provo (and I know He's in Provo, I feel Him everyday :)) who knew that about me. He sent me this little token of His love on a tough day as a reminder that He knows what I'm going through, and He knows me. He knows when I'm upset, and He knew Thai food would make me feel better. It's the little things. :)

Saturday we got an email telling us to update our iPads to iOS 8! Do you remember that funny little fact about me? Software updates are like Christmas morning for me! I was so excited.

Mom, Alma 46:40 is your new favorite scripture. I miss going to the granary. I miss healthy things. Thanks, Alma. Haha

Wednesday morning during studies I was reading Mosiah 8. My brain was just screaming out "I WILL TRANSLATE FOR YOU! ...If I knew the language, and if I could get to you..." I just wanted to jump into the book and help. My companion thinks I'm weird. I just know I have a deep deep love for translations. :)

Comparing scriptures in different languages really helps me understand, too. Sunday morning I was reading Alma 48:23 in English, and it says "they were sorry to take up arms against the Lamanites, because they did not delight in the shedding of blood; yea, and this was not all--they were sorry to be the means of sending so many of their brethren out of this world into an eternal world, unprepared to meet their God."

I thought "I wonder how "they were sorry" would translate into Spanish." So I looked it up! In Spanish it says "It burdened them to have to take up arms against the Lamanites, because they did not delight in the shedding of blood; yea, and not only that, but it afflicted them to be the means by which so many of their brethren would be sent from this world to an eternal world, without being prepared to present themselves before God."

In Portuguese it says it made them sad to take up arms, and they lamented to be forced to be the instruments that would send many of their brethren from this world.

Holy cow. Does that not hit you in the heart a little bit more? I'm so glad that direct translation is not possible. Having to dance around differences in languages really helps you to see things in a different way. I love languages, I love inspired translation, and I love the scriptures!

In other news, living in my own apartment has turned me into Ben: the MacGyver of the kitchen. Ice cream made from frozen bananas, 3 times (dulce de leche, strawberry, and peach). Baked apple (also with dulce de leche). All sorts of fun experiments with eggs... The kitchen is fun. And it's especially fun as a missionary. You're tired of eating the same things, you only have an hour, and you only have a few ingredients (some of which might have been in the area longer than you and your companion have), and are unable/too poor to go to the store. It's like an adventure everyday.

I've been trying to end this email for 20 minutes, and I keep typing up a paragraph about being broke and hungry. I obviously need to go grocery shopping and stop trying to end my email wittily.... So on that note...

I LOVE YOU! Enjoy the monumental amount of pictures... I take too many pictures and I talk too much... Dang it.

I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting something important, but whatevs.

Love you all! :)

Hermana Willis

Sept 15th: Alma 14:9 - Don't be stupid

That's just a little something I learned in scripture study this week. :)

So Monday we had one of our final investigator lessons with Addy. We watched President Monson's talk about love being the essence of the gospel. We talked about it, and we asked her if she believed he was a prophet. Her response? With slightly glistening eyes, she looked at us and smiled and said "I have no doubt he's a prophet." BLOWN AWAY. This is the same woman who told had ZERO interest in the gospel 25 days ago... Keep in mind: just because people aren't interested, it doesn't mean they're not prepared or ready. Addy didn't realize she was interested until the spirit told her she needed to be baptized when we invited her. Then everything changed from there. Amazing.

A former investigator who had moved out of the area MOVED BACK! Melanie's 18 and from Ecuador. Well, last week SHE MOVED BACK! So we're preparing for September 27 for her baptism. This month has been filled with harvesting. People keep telling us "You're doing an amazing job!" But we're literally just doing our job in checking off lessons. These people are prepared. We also met her friend who wants to get baptized too! But she lived where Melanie used to live, so we're going to talk to the elders in that area and get them to teach her. 'Tis the season to harvest, I suppose!

September 10th: the first day I turned on the heat. Let it begin! I had to turn on the heat in order to defrost so I could exercise. Dude. It's going to be cold. It's starting early this year. Pray for me.

WEIRDEST THING OF MY LIFE: So when we were teaching Melanie and her friend Tamara on Wednesday, someone knocked on the door. Some guy was asking for someone who lived there. Melanie went back to see if she was there, and he just walked in and shut the door and started talking to us. Melanie came back and said she wasn't home. He saw that we were having a lesson and apologized for interrupting. Then he said "Well, I'll just stay for the lesson!" And walked across the room to move things off the couch so he could sit. Totally weird. Then we went on with the lesson, but I was so baffled at this guy's behavior. He welcomed himself in, and invited himself to stay for the lesson, and moved their things to sit. O.o It turns out, Heavenly Father sent him! I just don't know how... I'm still mind blown at how cool Heavenly Father is. We really wanted a member to be present in that lesson, and he turned out to be able to speak Spanish, and he shared a wonderful testimony of the restoration! ALSO, we learned after the lesson that he speaks Creole. Not French, like the rest of the world, but he speaks Creole. I may or may not have yelled at him out of excitement when he said that. Lesson with, AND he speaks Creole! So he's been an amazing fellowshipper for Stevens AND his brother Pedro, who is working towards baptism with Elder Visconti, an elder from France. This stranger who invited himself into our investigators home was an answer to two prayers, and continues to answer our prayers. I LOVE HELPFUL PEOPLE! :)

Friday night dinner: Food truck roundup! It was awesome. There were about 20 food trucks to choose from. I went with this weird hamburger place. One even had mac & cheese in it! The one I got was called "the nasty." Imagine. I don't think before I speak. This was me ordering my hamburger:
"I'm gonna do the nasty..."
*notices companion, employee, and dinner host holding back chuckles*
*busts up laughing*
Please, choose your wording carefully at this truck. They have dangerously named burgers.

Oh, then Saturday we had dinner with a Chinese man! Well, and his family. His wife is American, but his kids speak English, Spanish, and Chinese! I was in linguistic heaven. I love the diversity of Provo! Mandarin is SO still on my list of languages. The husband asked if I like spicy food, and of course my eyes lit up and I enthusiastically said yes. He brought out this Chinese hot sauce type thing (it was peanuts and cracked pepper in oil I think). It was really good! Then after dinner he asked if we like trying exotic things, so my whole FACE lit up this time and I again enthusiastically said yes. He brought out fruit from China. I LOVE FRUIT! We had dragon eyes, dried lichi (Lai-chee) (like raisins, but GOOD), and dried dragon eyes. So good. And again... they invited me to come live with them. Hahaha They said "If you plan on coming back, you come stay here!" Hahaha How does one respond to so many invitations to live with them? I think that's the fifth invitation. I could just house hop every couple of months... Hahaha I love it when people like me. It makes me feel wonderful. :)

Ok, so Saturday night. Stake conference. The stake center has a big organ with the pipes built into the walls like the tabernacle (but not quite so big). But it still makes a difference! It shook the whole place. It was amazing. I could literally feel the music. Oh, and my talk? Not so amazing. I feel less uncomfortable speaking though! People said they enjoyed it, but I'll never feel like my public speaking is up to where I wish it would be. Oh well! I'll always have something to work on and improve. :)

Sunday! We had regional conference broadcast, and we got to go to the Marriott center! We couldn't contact the investigators who were supposed to come. -_- Then we saw a UTPM RM and he asked if we wanted him to go pick them up. He would he late coming, but he said "It's ok, I know how it is." He really wanted to help. ANGEL! He called and told us after he got there and told us they were sleeping and wouldn't be able to make it. Rats.

Elder Nelson and Elder Scott spoke. President McCune was down sitting with them, and I so badly wanted to go down and use my mission president as an excuse. First of all, I've never met Elder Scott, and I LOVE HIM. Do that would have been awesome. Second, ever since Elder Nelson came to the FJM (when we got to meet him), I've been wanting to ask him what he meant when he said "You've got a lot of work to do!" to Courtney, Sara, and me. I'm sure he won't remember, but I just want to ask! Hahaha

People I saw at the Marriott center: Jarna Knickerbocker! Corbett Williams (Ben!), (the following are UTPM RM's) Prettyman, Olson, and Guzman (<---the one who ran to check on the investigators). So fun. :) I'm still waiting to run into Heather Moss, but it hasn't happened yet. Haha

So Lenin! He had an interview with the bishopric so he can come to the Ogden temple re-dedication, and it was awesome! He asked again how long he has to wait to serve a mission. Hahaha I'M SO EXCITED! He's doing awesome.

We aren't teaching Stevens anymore, now that Elder Visconti and his companion are in the house. They're doing well though! Their WML still keeps us updated, and they're doing great in their ward! :)

Fun fact: food makes me happy. No literally. I don't mean "I enjoy eating food." I mean it literally can effect my mood and happiness.Close to finishing our fast yesterday, I was SO MAD. My companion didn't do anything, but it couldn't talk to her. I was infuriated. Not at any one thing, I was just MAD. Then I started shaking (like hypoglycemia, which I don't have), and she asked if I was ok. She said "If you need to end the fast early we can run home..." I said "Do I *need* to? No. Is it the solution to the problem? Yes..." She was all worried I would pass out, so we went home... Not even 5 minutes after eating, I was laughing and making jokes. Completely different person. My poor companion. She has either no more or two more fast Sundays with me. If she has two.... I need to apologize for my behavior more. Haha I tried to just drink water, but I was still mad as all get out. So back to my original statement. Food makes me happy. Literally. Hahah

We've been able to find so many new investigators this week! I'm really excited about them. Lot of potential! One of them is a part member family, and the husband is from Bosnia! He's lived in the United States for awhile, so his English is perfect, but he speaks four languages. I just want to pick his brain!

Another one is a former investigator, Blanca. We met her 15 year old son, and he seems interested :) Now we just have to work around her schedule to see her, because she works two jobs. There's also a recent convert boy in the ward who's mother we're trying to teach.

From the looks of it, October could be a month of harvesting as well!

Ok, so Addy's baptism and I'll be done.

So I was cool as a cucumber all day. Normally I get nervous about baptisms, because if something is going to go wrong, it'll be right before or during the baptism. I wasn't wracking my brain for things that were forgotten. This Spanish ward was on top of everything! :) So we get there and I realized we'd forgotten the baptism record. Still though, I maintained cucumber status! Amazing. We got a ride to the apartment and came back. We took pictures, and the baptism went smoothly. Addy was so excited to finally be baptized. I STILL wasn't nervous or anxious when I was told I was giving the talk on the Holy Ghost! Man. I can testify strongly of peace being one of the fruits of the spirit. I've never been so at peace while in a stressful situation in my life. And during the introduction of the first hymn, bishop asked me if I would lead the music, so I hopped up there and stole someone's book. Hahahaha It all went well though. It was amazing. The spirit was so strong. Then we went to their house and had tamales. Yes. The perfect way to end a day.

AND the perfect way to end an email!

Really. I am actually very sorry this is such a long email. I'M SO LONG WINDED.

I love you all loads and bunches! Be good, share your toys, and read your scriptures! :)

Hermana Willis

Sept 8th: Not one, but TWO baptisms this week! HALLELUJAH!

FUNNY STORY! Last Monday while walking down the street, two young adult men said to us "Sisters! What's good?" To which I so wittily responded "The gospel!" Their response? "Eeyyy..." Hahahahaha I'm so witty.

In a singles ward a stake high counselor was reading a letter from the stake presidency or something, trying to get people to come to an activity (which isn't hard to do, so I don't know what the extra effort was for), and he choked on his words and giggled a little bit when he said "your... future eternal companion may even be there. Or even the brother, sister, cousin of your future eternal companion..." And he was trying so hard not to laugh when he said it. I was DYING. I was probably the most irreverent missionary they'd ever seen. I was trying so hard not to die laughing. Ayyy, mi madre...

Monday night we went to see Lenin. We talked about the Ten Commandments and keeping the sabbath day holy. We talked about it and we went over any questions he had, and talked about working on Sundays, etc. then he said "Ok, did you want to say anything else? I wanted to tell
you something..." So we let him take the floor and he shared with us an experience he had with the spirit, and how he felt like after that experience he felt really prepared now for baptism. He started crying, and thanking people. Then he stopped and said "Mainly you though. Without offending anybody, out of all of the people who have helped me, you've been the most important. You were like my little angel. When you got here, everything started clicking together and I understood. Then you invited me to baptism, and I finally felt like I really wanted to" or something like that. WHAT?! I was crying like a baby. This kid is amazing. And he thinks I'M and angel?! HE'S AN ANGEL!

I MADE A FUNNY MISTAKE IN SPANISH! I think it's my first time (of it being funny). So we were getting ready to leave Lenin's, and we were planning some baptism things. So I say to him "Quien quiere que se bautice?" And he looked at me funny and said "Pues, yo me bautizo, no?" I just started busting up laughing, then rephrased it and he said "Ooooooohhhhh..." I still think about it and laugh. "So who do you want to get baptized?" Hahahah

Whoa. So now that we talked about something highly spiritual, let me tell you about these tacos I had last week. There's a tiny place hiding behind the big buildings of downtown Provo called Brassas. They even had LENGUA. Mmm. Dad, another hole-in-the-wall place I need to take you to! Family rode trip in April when I need to come back? We can all go to conference! :) OR come pick me up? That could he cool too. Utah in February :) BEAUTIFUL! Your choice. I just need dad to have these tacos...

Fun fact: I spelled "mision" in Spanish, and I found two words in there. "Mi Sion." My Zion. Man, that's cool. And it's kind if legit.

Now... The moment you've all been waiting for... SATURDAY! Baptism day! I literally almost texted everyone involved and said "Happy baptism day!" I'd been awaiting this day for awhile. I was ready for these kids to make that step, and I was ready to stop worrying about event details. Everything went SWIMMINGLY. Well, for Stevens' baptism (his name is Stevens. That's common the Creole spelling of Steven. The last S is silent). There were a lot more people than I had anticipated, especially since we hadn't had contact with Stevens' ward until half way through the week of his baptism! They were in the process of changing EVERYTHING in that ward, so they didn't have a WML, and the bishopric had literally just changed that week prior. It was insane. But we got it all organized, and it all went very well. I was so relieved! :)

Now, Lenin... He's such a trouble maker. Hahahaha We were at the JSB (yes, there's a baptismal font in a BYU building, ON CAMPUS.) waiting for Lenin to show up, and we got a text from his ride/fellowshipper/neighbor/friend saying he was in the shower. This was at 2:40-ish, and the baptism was planned to begin at 3:00. So I was freaking out, and having a minor anxiety attack. Then they finally showed up a little late and we sent them right away to get changed. Haha Little Lenin hugged me twice. Hahaha We may have to explain this hugging thing so he doesn't get offended when I extend my hand as a greeting. Hahaha I didn't freak out though. I was cool as a cucumber. I just appropriate hugged him back. Hahah

I gave the talk on baptism, and to be honest... I thought it was kind of cool. I may be a little prideful, pero I thought it was a pretty good talk. Hahaha I'd had a week to prepare a 5 minute talk on a topic I teach frequently, in the language I feel comfortable teaching in. EASY. Everybody and their PURPLE GRANDMA came up to me and told me I was talking so fast, like a native speaker. Maybe I was talking so fast because I was nervous? I wasn't so super nervous though. I was just trying to finish so I could sit down, probably. No matter how comfortable I am speaking in Spanish, public speaking will never be my #1 favorite thing.

Tender mercy: Homemade Argentine dulce de leche. Our dinner appointment was with an Argentine family. She brought out this jar of dark something and asked us if we wanted it. She said her dad had made it. HOMEMADE?! Yes. And I have been enjoying it thoroughly.

Yo, there's been so many languages in my life this week: Italian, Portuguese, French, Mandarin, Finnish, Swedish, Japanese, German... I was in heaven. Just a fun little snippet for you.

Baptisms pt II: Confirmations
YES!! So we went to Stevens' confirmation. It was amazing. The ward (mostly newly moved in members and all new leadership) just enveloped him in fellowship. EVERYBODY was talking to him. I'd been worried because I've never known anything about his ward, but I felt so at peace leaving him in the hands of this ward. They're amazing. Actually, the WML's younger brother invited Stevens' brother to church without even realizing that he was his brother, and HE CAME! AND there was a girl who had just come from her mission in PARIS, and she is a BOSS at French, and she translated for his brother (Pedro). He said he wants to learn more, so we're going to start teaching him on Tuesday! :)

Then we went to LENIN'S ward. We have been able to be involved with this ward, and I was already in love with this ward. So they do it backwards with RS/Priesthood first, then Sunday school. Because Lenin had to work, so they confirmed him during priesthood. So we were there sitting in the front row of a room filled with no one but men, listening to this BEAUTIFUL confirmation. I was trying not to laugh. I've noticed that's how I express happiness when it gets too big. I end up laughing. But in the prayer was said something about how he can serve a mission if he so chooses to. Afterwards, the bishop asked him to share his testimony. In his testimony he said "Me encantaría servir una misión..." I felt like a proud mom! I've wanted to mention something about serving a mission, but I didn't want to push anything, when he wasn't even a member yet... But I'm glad it came from Heavenly Father and not me. He would make the best missionary.

We're going to go to the temple with both Lenin and Stephen sometime late September/early October. I cannot wait. Enserio. I love going to the temple with new members! It's always the BEST.

So here's the thing... This weekend is the whole universe's stake conference. Saturday night, guess who's speaking... YO. I'm speaking. I hate speaking in English... We'll see how this works out. It's only 8 minutes, so let's pray I don't take up too much time. I tend to ramble when I'm nervous, which is bad since it's in English. I know more words, so rambling is dangerous! But SUNDAY, we'll be in the Marriott center! I'm super excited about that! :)

So Jennafer, our 8 year old investigator, wants to meet the prophet. I so wish I could set that up. I would probably cry my eyes out seeing her talk to the prophet. Come on, were in Utah! There's got to be a way to figure this out. Hahaha

Anyway, I'll let you go now. No need to read my million stories. Hahaha

Thanks for everything, lovelies! Stay good, play fair, and floss your teeth!

Hermana Willis


Happy "get down the Halloween stuff" day! Happy "almost Fall" day!! Enjoy it for me :)

Now mira... I know the church is pushing us to use technology and be a people who USE our resources to share the gospel, pero I've lost so much information because of relying on technology... It's a trial of my faith. I was trying to add our area email to my iPad, and I somehow ended up deleting most of my notes on my iPad. DANG IT. Oh well, I still have a few. I have, however, converted to keeping sticky notes. I'M TURNING INTO MOM! :) But I'm checking things off and throwing them away. It feels god to check things off a list and move on. I rather like sticky notes :) Hahah

OH COURTNEY... When you said whatever about Jeff, I just thought "Is she assuming that just because I'm in Provo, Jeff is in my area?" So sometime last week while we were looking for a fellowshipper, I thought of that and thought "Hmm... I wonder if he IS in this stake!" So I checked, and YES. He sure is. They were in out of town, so they couldn't come to the lesson with us, but WE'RE HAVING DINNER WITH THEM TONIGHT. I'm so excited. I love this adorable little family.

REVELATION: If things go well, most of the investigators we're working with will be able to attend the TEMPLE DEDICATION!

In a lesson the other day I brought up prophets and said before I could even think about it I said "De hecho, en un mes va haber la conferencia general de la iglesia, y vamos a poder escuchar del profeta y los apostoles vivientes!" So we're going to make invitations and start handing them out. GET READY PEOPLE, we gonna hear from the PROPHET!

Addy has been praying by herself, and READING! I can't believe this is the same woman who showed NO interest whatsoever. I'm blown away.

Now, about Lenin. This kid had his baptism interview, and we were all just so super stoked. We showed him a video of the prophet and he said "El habla con mucho poder y autoridad. Habla muy claro. Se siente que hay una rompecabezas y el *psh* pone la ultima pieza." I ALMOST STARTED LAUGHING. When this kid talks about the gospel, I literally almost laugh. That's how happy I am. I smile so big, the next step is laughter, but that's not appropriate in a lesson. Hahaha HE JUST GETS IT. It all just clicks for him. Every time we teach him something, he's on top of it. This kid has been soooo prepared. I CANNOT wait for his baptism. You know why? Because HE CAN'T EITHER. He wants to get baptized so bad. He's like a little ray of light in my life. Such a blessing to know him and be able to witness him receive the gospel. That was probably the cheesiest sentence of my life, pero I'm serious. It's awesome.

Wednesday we went on exchanges, and I was in Springville. We went out to dinner with a family, and we went to the City Art Trolley. It looks like a rundown place, but it's BRILLIANT. It's amazing. Dad, I know you love hole-in-the-wall places. If you ever come to Utah, I'll take you. I had a shrimp po'boy and man... I missed the Island when I had that sandwich. It was good. I miss good seafood... Hahaha

Let me share something with you... Zone Conferences last from 9am-4pm. Friday we get out of our conference, and our ride home canceled on us, so we were scrambling to find a ride to our appointment AT 4. We did find a ride, and we got to the lesson a little bit late, but we had a good lesson. We did a commandments matching game with the 8 year old investigator we have. She's awesome.

Then we forgot we hadn't found a fellowshipper for our 6 o'clock appointment, and we can't teach Stephen alone because there are no women in the home. So we were planning on doing it outside or rescheduling. During dinner, we found out that the husband served in the DR and actually taught a lot of Hatians there. So we asked if we could bother them to accompany us to the lesson and they said yes! So we were sure it was an answer to our prayers, and that long stressful, tiring day would get better from here. Nope. Stephen wasn't able to have us.

So I was super stressed and overwhelmed. Zone Conference was amazing, and I had so much I learned and wanted to apply and I started getting discouraged. SO, I asked the ZL's for a blessing, but they called our DL, and neither of us have a car, so that didn't happen. I was feeling ROUGH. So we finished the day with no other lessons, and went home.

Saturday however... was an unbelievable day. Let me tell you about it.

We went to Spanish Fork for a baptism of Sister Braddy's. Then we had DTM, which was beautiful. We were in charge of a role play (which I normally hate) but it was on having good manners at a dinner appointment, so I was like "Oh heck, I got this." BUt then we found out the ZL's were going to be our dinner hosts... Uh-oh. Elder Palomares is one of our ZL's (he was in the MTC with me), and OF COURSE he would be the wife of the couple. Dang it. So the whole role play was hilarious, and I was doing ok until I started laughing uncontrollably, so much so I started crying. I hadn't laughed that hard in a long time. It was great. Hahaha

We saw one of my favorite less active men with a member of his bishopric, and it went well. He's the funniest old man.

THEN, we finally found someone to teach Stephen with us. A recently recently returned sister missionary. She was JUST what we'd needed. We'd had canceled appointments with Stephen THREE times this week, and it's because we needed HER to be there. He opened up and is really progressing now. Amazing.

Then we had Lenin's baptism interview where he talked about the prophet having the last puzzle piece.

When we were walking home, I really couldn't believe we had such a blessed day.

FUN FACT: China is warming up to us... Teaching online to people in China was still against the law, BUT if you are a CHinese citizen, YOU CAN! So we have a few Elders from China, and this means they can start teaching people online! I CANNOT BELIEVE IT. I'm so excited!

I don't think there's much else to report on... LENIN IS GETTING BAPTIZED THIS WEEK! I'll send pictures. SO excited.

I LOVE YOU ALL! Have a lovely September 1st!

Hermana Willis

Aug 25th: I've got peace like a river...

GOOD DAY, LOVELIES. I'm going to try and go in chronological order,
since SO many things happened this week.

Pero first... Can someone find me the quote from David O. McKay, in
which he says "if you don't want to do something, do it anyway! It
helps build self-control."? I need it, and I can't find it on
I've heard everybody and their mother quote him, but I want to see him
say it before I go around taking peoples' word for it. I need sources

Ok, so last Monday:
Monday night at FHE, we finished the lesson, we said a prayer, then I
asked if we could all take a picture. Before I could even say porque,
half of their faces were white as ghosts. I told them I was leaving on
Wednesday and they all went "Ooh noooo, no me digas..." All dramatic
and Hispanic like... It was so sad and hilarious at the same time.
People were literally sobbing in my arms. That part was not hilarious.
I was so sad to go.

Wednesday morning my landlady gave me the best gift ever, and it made
me CRY. When she was in her twenties, she stitched a picture of a
leafless tree with one flower/leaf/a heart (depending on how you look
at it). I'd told her I loved it MONTHS ago. I came upstairs to pack
some of my food, and she gave it to me in a little gift bag she made.
SHE REMEMBERED that I loved it. I don't know how she remembered. It's
not like she saw it often, it was downstairs in our basement apartment
in a dark corner. She's got a good memory. Man, I cried like a baby.
If anyone is looking for a landlady, I highly recommend her. Hahaha
She's so cool. I love her. She went in the other room to copy down a
recipe for me (I have so many good recipes from her to try when I get
home!) and I heard her holler from the other room "I'm gonna miss you
so much..." Then I cried a little more.

Packing was easier this time around. Thanks Adam, for housing my box
of winter clothes! :) I'll let you know when I need them. Hahah

Transfers: My companion is Hna Braddy. She's from North Carolina, and
KNOWS HARKERS ISLAND! WUT. Yes. I was so excited. We're Provo East
Bilingual! That means teaching in English... I guess The Lord really
qualifies who He calls, because I usually HATE teaching in English,
but it seemed pretty ok even on day one. We also work in the Provo
City Center temple booth! It's cool. We answer questions people have
if they come in. Also we have an apartment, and I'm in love with it.
It's not even a particularly nice apartment. I just love having my own
place. And a sink. And a stove/oven. I got there and cleaned the poop
out of the kitchen. Haha Really, honestly, truly though, I want to end
the mission here. I know I've only been here for like 4 1/2 days, but
I love it. The members pray for us BY NAME everyday. Everybody I met
came up to me and said "So you're Sister Willis! I got an email from
the stake president letting me know there was a change. We've got to
be praying for the right people!" From the stake president to the
nursery leaders, they all pray for us by name. And they're always
saying "Hmm... Who else do I know that you could teach..." It's

I AM SO HAPPY. I love this area. I'm HAPPY! I finally feel like a good
missionary. I finally feel like I'm doing an ok job. There's still
things I wish I could change or do better, but I finally feel good. I
love Provo. So. Much.

Day 1: GET THAT KID ON DATE! We went to a lesson with a 17 y/o kid
from Ecuador. He wants to get baptized (and I don't know why he wasn't
given a baptism date earlier... Haha) So we asked him how he feels
about baptism, and he was just like "Well I know I want to do it, and
I feel like God is really happy with my decision, blah blah, I'm
amazing." Hahaha So we extended a date and he kind of hopped around
it, saying he wants to learn more before he gets baptized. I told him
it's just a goal; something to work towards. Then this awesome
fellowshipper made this analogy that has changed my missionary
teaching forever. If you're playing soccer and you don't have a goal,
nobody's going to progress in the game, and nothing is going to
happen. He just ran along with this analogy, and I was amazed. The
Lenin (investigator) was just like "Ok, yeah. September 6th sounds
And this, my friends, is why we have fellowshippers...

Day 2: We stopped by a chapel (the oldest standing chapel existing in
Provo! It's got fireplaces, a balcony in the chapel, and three
stories. Adorable) and the new RS president of the Spanish ward came
up to us and asked us to come meet this woman who's living with her.
She's not a member, but she wanted us to introduce ourselves to her
and work magic. We talked to her and set up an appointment. I was
really excited to teach her. She didn't seem super interested, but I
still felt really good about the appointment though, and I couldn't
wait. Her name is Addy.

Day 3: We told Lenin he needs permission from his parents to be
baptized, and he said "Oh, well I'm going to talk to them tomorrow,
I'll ask them then!" He seemed totally chill and confident they'd say
yes. He said his mom would probably even be excited for him! What?
AMAZING. His fellowshipper said he hadn't heard anything about it yet,
but he did go to church on Sunday :) We're meeting with him tonight,
so we'll see how it went!

Fun fact: getting people to go to church in Provo is easy as PIE. In
Orem, we had to go to peoples' homes and walk the 2-3 blocks to the
chapel in order to get them there, and even sometimes that didn't
work! Everything is golden here... We invited them to go to church,
and they just DO IT. It's so cool.

Day 4: We taught Addy! Throughout the lesson I felt like the spirit
wasn't getting to her. Even when we did the first vision, still
nothing. I could feel the spirit, but her eyes looked blank, like she
didn't feel anything about these things. Then we invited her to
baptism on September 13th.

...guess what happened...


*I* felt the spirit when invited her to baptism, but I felt like her
eyes had been so blank throughout the lesson, there was no way she
felt the spirit teller she should get baptized. WRONGO. She started
crying and accepted the date! It was AMAZING.

Soooo... Yesterday was my 13 month mark. That means 5 months left.
This isn't right. Time is going faster! I remember when I came into
the mission, Hna Hernandez had 5 months left. When I got Hna Morla she
only had 5 months left, too. When they went home I felt like it went
so super fast. I can only imagine how much faster it's going to go for
me. Yikes!

FUNNER FACT: Brian Kershisnik is in my stake! I WANT TO BE HIS BEST
FRIEND. He is so cool. I met him before a ward counsel meeting, but
didn't tell him I knew who he was. That would be weird. Hahah He's one
of my favorite artists. He's even more of a favorite than James C.
Christiansen! And I love James C. Christiansen... Bro Kershisnik has
got a full beard now, so he's even COOLER. I didn't recognize him at
first. There was a bearded statistics professor at FSCJ with a
Russian-like last name, and he reminds me of him a lot. He has an "I'm
a Mormon" video. It's another one of my favorites.

Surprise! Wednesday morning, the new missionaries were introducing
themselves and there was a sister from Lake City, FL. We had a
Spanish missionary meeting the next day where I saw her and freaked
out. I said "You're from Lake City, right?" She said yes, and I said
"No way, I'm from Jacksonville!" And she said "I know!" Hahaha It
turns out, she's a friend of Sydney's and knows Luke! Her name is
Emily Duren! What what!! So fun.

In our apartment there was an Arabic BoM I found. I added it to my collection :)

Jacob, there's a Caribbean restaurant in Nephi owned by a family from
Trinidad & Tobago. I didn't go. Our stake missionary couple went
though, and they said it was awesome.

Friday night when there was a huge storm, some creepy guy called once
(when I answered it) and two other times (which I did not answer) from
a restricted number. I was freakin out. I called the ZL's and talked
to them about what to do and we just decided to turn off our phone and
we'd call them in the morning if we had missed calls from the creep.
I'm such a scaredy cat. -_-

So there's this big project we're going to be doing in Utah missions
to test it out. ONLY IN SPANISH! They're cards with
questions of the soul on them. They have a link to, where they can be lead to a lesson page that
goes with the question they had. It's going to be awesome. It starts
September 1st. One of the general authorities (I don't remember which)
said "If we can't get Spanish missionary work down in Utah, we won't
be able to get it in any other part of the world." So we're piloting
this program from September to December. It's 1st presidency approved,
and is being driven forward by Elder Nelson and Elder Bednar. I'm
stoked about it. I think it's going to make the work blow up.

So yes. I'm in the best mission on earth, I love the area, and I'm
doing well. I'll write you another novel next week. And next week IT
WILL BE SEPTEMBER! That means only twenty-something days after THAT
until it's OFFICIALLY FALL! Yo. I'm stoked.

Happy birthday Ben and Jess! I LOFF YOU!

Hermana Willis

Aug 19th: Transfers - leaving edition

Transfers! I. Am. Out. WHAT?! Yes. I'm leaving this area. I've been
here 6 months, and I made someone cry when we told them... Dang it.
I'm pretty bummed, but at the same time excited for change. I really
do like change. It's hard, but it keeps things exciting! We'll see how
I survive... I really really love this area. I'm pretty sure when I
come back to Utah, I'll live here. I'll go to the Spanish Branch! I
love it here.

So our high counselor over missionary work said something in our stake
mission coordination meeting yesterday, and it was so cool. He said
"Finding is the key to retention." We always say fellow shippers are
the key, but when should fellow shipping start? BEFORE they even start
listening to missionaries. Their encountering the gospel should be
through their future fellowshipper. THAT is how this is supposed to

Dear mom, I'm getting a motorcycle when I come back... Just a fun
thought to scare you. Love you!

Breaking News: after years of making green smoothies for too many
people in a huge blender, and struggling to adjust the measurements to
make a one person smoothie, I HAVE DONE IT! And I've been doing
everyday for two weeks! I feel so accomplished. Now I don't have to
make myself so full to the point of throwing up! :)

Wednesday night, someone my companion taught went to receive their
endowment in the Jordan River Temple, and we got to go! So much fun. I
just keep adding temples to my "Been in there" list. It was awesome.
We did a session in Spanish, and I amazed myself yet again at the end
with my Spanish skills. Thanks dad, for putting Spanish in my life
when I was a young teenager! Haha

Sometimes I look up the definitions of ingredients on my iPad. I am
disappointed and informed. The. I still buy Takis and ice cream,
because we get transfer calls... Hahaha

Oh yeah, when I called to check my balance in my checking account
(because I'm out of mission money... Oops!) the woman on the phone
started trying to tell me I could get a loan for a car, and according
to my "credit worthiness" right now the interest rate would be 1.3%!!
What?! Dang, dad. Thanks for being so "credit worthy" for me while I'm
gone! Hahaha

So we have a investigator family who has a humongous garden, and we
went over one day and they needed to fill TEN boxes with tomatoes. We
cut a bunch of tomatoes, and it was awesome. I love gardens :)

Thursday we went to Tucano's Brazilian Grill for dinner and it was so
cool. Dad, you'll love it. They said when I come back to live and you
and mom visit me, we'll all go back. Just imagine... They bring
different types of meat TO you. It was in this adorable outdoor mall.
I loved it.

That same night, we were riding our bikes, and someone yelled "Hey
girl, yo momma let you date?" IT WAS HILARIOUS!

Kaleb, our assistant WML wants to change his name to Kaleb.

I love Jesus. My favorite names of Him are Healer, the Great
Physician, and the Prince of Peace. The painting of Jesus at the pool
of Bethesda, and another one of Christ healing a man's sight with mud,
are my two favorite paintings EVER. Just so you know. I really like

The Purge: stupidest thing of my life. The maker of that movie will
probably not get to go to the celestial kingdom because of it. Stupid
teenagers are bringing violence and stupidity to MY city for 12 hours,
and wouldn't you know it, I'm entering the war chapters in Alma. Alma
27:12 says "Don't be in Jacksonville on August 31st." Alma 28:5 is not
a comforting verse either. I think I'll be fasting that day. Maybe the
day before, too. God is greater than the influence of Satan, so I'm
going to combat his influence.

Mom, I can practically hear you say "These are signs of the times.
Things are going to get worse before they get better."

Trying to translate nursery rhymes and children's songs into Spanish
is the most challenging and funniest thing I've ever done.

We ate dinner with a man who studied Russian and linguistics and
worked in the Air Force. I just wanted to pick his brain apart! I will
learn Russian. He's so cool. I will study and learn Russian. I WILL DO

Jim Carey and Jack Black taught me everything I know about facial
expressions. Sometimes my companion laughs herself to tears and asks
me to do it again so she can record me talking. I never do it again
though. Hahaha

So my very favorite returning member IS BEING A MISSIONARY. Her
stepdad's nephew's daughters have been coming to church and really
love it. So yesterday they got assignments in primary, so we had a
first lesson with them AND THEIR MOM. And it was awesome. I was
talking to one of the girls about their assignment, which was to give
the scripture, and she was telling me how she told her friends she was
becoming Mormon. She's so cute!

So I'm going to pack, and repack, and then leave. Dang. And write
thank you cards (thanks for sending them in packages, mom!), and cry
with my favorite people. PEACE OUT!

I hope you're all having a grand old time with my beautiful family!
Tell every one of them that I love them!

And a huge congratulations to Ryan and Katie! Y'all are adorable.

I love you all, and hope you're doing lovely!

Hermana Willis

P.s. I had a dream I was going back to Eagle Mountain. YESSS!! Haha I
would be a-okay with that!

P.p.s. Happy birthday to Ben and Jess soon! I LOFF YOUUU!!