Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hio! :)

Howdy do, family? I love you guys a whole bunch, did ya know? Well I do. Whether or not you write me. BUT YOU DID THIS WEEK! And I was busting up laughing that Tanner is still petrified when he sees uncle Darren. Seriously, the rest of the missionaries thought I was crazy. Hah Just kidding, they hardly noticed I was laughing like an idiot. I often do, they're used to it ;)

So! After I emailed y'all last week, we went to see a cave. I was all super excited to see this cave, and then we got to the mountain. It was like the Y hike, but more rocks, at times much steeper, and it was BLAZING HOT. So I was sweating like a Willis (gross), and Hna Hernandez and I stopped to sit under a tree to rest, but then we eventually made it to the tippy top of the mountain. Or just under the tippy top. Hah The cave was... a deep hole in the ground... It wasn't even worth going inside. But I'm wrong! Some Elders did, and one found a machete. Say what? Yes. A machete. (kid History voice: I have a machete. Hahahaha) Then we were all POOPED so we went to get some SNOW CONES! And guess what... Missionaries eat free! So I got a "Spiderman," and my tongue turned purple. I also got a brain freeze and almost went into a sugar coma. Enserio. I had a master headache, wanted to die, was sick to my stomach, and... wanted to die. So maybe I'll get a small instead of a small-medium next time. Hah

THEN IT WAS TEMPLE TIME. Always the best days of the month, when we go to the Temple. Frill. I love it. We woke up way early, stopped by the Elders' place to borrow E. Stevenson's GPS, then we went! We did a session with her trainer and her companions, and a friend who was serving here before. It was wonderful. Then we went out to lunch... We had Chinese with a bunch of Elders and the sisters. That was loads of fun. ONE OF THEM TOLD ME I LOOKED JUST LIKE MANDY MOORE. I wanted to hug him, but I couldn't... But seriously. I've never seen him before, and I haven't seen him since then, but he said he's going to call me Sister Moore from now on. GOLD!

THEN! We came home, and met the Elders at the church. They wanted to cook lunch for us for Hna. Hernandez' birthday! :} These kids are the best of the best, I love them. So we had a well balanced meal, chicken and macaroni and cheese. Hahah So we had two lunches and almost exploded. Hahah

Then we went to Facebook. Now, when my companion and I left... I left my watch. When we arrived home, I realized I didn't have it, and RIGHT as I have this realization, Hna. Hernandez says "Sister Willis, Elder Stevenson says your watch is really loud..." So I groan/yell "Nooooo!" Because if he has it, I'm never getting it back. He'd admired my watch from day one. So, I'm yelling at him over the phone, and I (SO STUPIDLY) say "If you won't give me back my watch, then I get yours!" So... to this day... I am wearing a man's watch. Uhg. But I'll get it back eventually. Hahaha Sheesh, I could punch a kid. Not really. I'm not actually mad at all, I just miss my watch. Oh, and the next day? I was hoping to get it back at Facebook... He went on splits with the ZL's. OF COURSE.

I'm sorry all of my paragraphs are all beginning with "then"...

Did you know that we have chicken and rice almost every night? Hahaha It makes me laugh. It's tasty every time, but seriously... almost every time. Haha

Have I told you all how much I ADORE the members and leadership here? Seriously, I just want to have a humongous group hug and everybody in all of Eagle Mountain is required to attend. We went to one of our Stake missionary coordination meetings (yes, all of the ward mission leaders in a particular stake meet with the missionaries for weekly coordination. Cool, right?) But this time, it was ward mission leaders, bishopbrics, AND the Stake presidency. Uh yeah. It was an incredible meeting. He invited Hna. and I to come introduce ourselves and share our testimony. They were all like "Boy do we have work for you to do!" Which is great news, because that's what I want to doooo!! They're doing something amazing in the stake. The bishopbrics and stake presidency are going out and meeting with EVERYBODY. Not members, less actives, but they're going down neighbordhoods and literally talking with everybody. They're basically doing the tracting for us! The first Tuesday of the month, they do our tracting for us. And they shared experiences from this, and the outcome is AMAZING. I'm so excited!

Friday: Hna. Hernandez and I had DTM training (training the district), so we were told to do it on a specific chapter of PMG, or pray about it. We decided to do a general conference talk. I found a good one, but when we watched it, TWICE, we still didn't feel inspired. Well, my beautiful wonderful landlords had some of the sessions of conference on DVD, so we were able to look all over that session, and we landed on one from Jeffrey R. Holland. DUH. So we felt super inspired by this talk (no surprise), and we taught a bomb lesson/training, thanks to JRH. What a stud.

It was raining ALL DAY. Who was in heaven? I was. I may love the dry weather (lack of humidity) but I'VE MISSED THE RAIN! After DTM, we went to Village Pizza, the wonderful place with the best crust ever, where we're allowed to eat free once a week. So we go there, which is the bomb. I was sitting next to Elder Allal. Now listen here... He's from France. Did you know that EVERYTHING sounds funnier in a French accent? Because every time he opens his mouth, everybody starts laughing. Seriously, a hilarious kid.

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha! FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER!

SO. Friday night dinner. We went to a Chilean family's house for dinner. DO YOU KNOW WHAT WE HAD?! WE HAD COMPLETOS!!!!!! I was laughing the whole time. They probably thought I was crazy. "BUT! if you buy 4 completos... is only 4 dollars. BUT! if you buy 5 completos... is only 5 dollars."

"BUT! if you buy THIRTEEN completos... is only 13 dollars."

So there's that... I can't stop thinking about funny Youtube videos... THEN! One of the kids came in... His name is Nico. He is the very vision of Kaleb when he was 8. Seriously seriously seriously, SUCH a funny kid. But just wait, there's more... His younger brother is named Ignacio. Do you know what they call him? THEY CALL HIM NACHO. I guess that's a common nickname for Ignacio, but still. I was laughing. The whole night. Not just at these things, but the family was hilarious too, and I want to be their best friends forever... LOVE THEM.

Saturday we did service. We were helping a nonmember family move (they have a ton of member friends though). So we were there with a million members and ward mission leaders. That was fun. Then we ate too much pizza with them. Then we went to pick flowers! Oh boy. Down the gravel road towards the mink farms, there are like a billion yellow flowers (like underdeveloped sunflowers), and she had this brilliant idea. Her novio will be a year in October (he reported the same day David did!), but by then the flowers will be way beyond dead, so she wanted to do this super adorable thing with the flowers... pictures will come.

Then! We went to one of the ward mission leaders' homes for dinner (we have 3 WMLs in our Spanish ward). That family is amazing, and I'm seriously head over heels in love with their house. Hah But listen... they have a son named Noah. His middle name is Joseph. His name is Noah Joseph. Now say that name in Spanish. Noé José. NO WAY JOSÉ. BAHAHAHAHAHA! I will NEVER get over that! They did that on purpose... :)

Now. Today is P-day. I cut Hna. Hernandez' hair after we cleaned the house. Did you know I brought my shears? Well I did. I trimmed my hair, and trimmer hers. So she was sitting on a stool in the backyard, and I was snipping away at her hair, like I do... Then I realize the backyard fence isn't that tall. The Johnson's son and daughter in law live behind their house, across the fence. They can see over it, and I can see over it. Their daughter in law went to cosmetology school. While that is wonderful and dandy... I was terrified that she was going to see me cutting her hair and start talking to me about it. "Oh, you cut hair too?" "Uh... no. I just... ok yes I do, but I didn't go to school. DON'T JUDGE MY WORK, PLEASE." That's what I was afraid of. But she just waved out the window, so I was safe :)

After shopping and stuff, we're going to make lunch for the district and eat it in our backyard. PICNIC TIME! Pres. Johnson even gave us a watermelon! We're bidding adieu to summer. September is almost here, and it'll be cooling down right quick! (P.s. Dad, I'm going to need to buy a coat and boots soon. And more sweaters. I'll keep you posted.)

I love love love love you all, and I hope you can understand the explosion of love that I'm meaning to send to you virtually. Seriously.

With explosions of love,

Hna. Willis

P.s. THANK you for sending my things. I'm so seriously excited to receive that package! Did you send me cookies? Because you should, next time you send me something. Just kidding, I'm probably getting humongous enough as it is. I am in a car, after all... (P.p.s. For Christmas, be sure to send whatever it is you'll send way early, because the mail gets SO backed up. Can you imagine? I would hate to work in a post office during that time of year...) And somebody tell Kenneth Boshell I'm excited to receive that box too! I haven't gotten anything in the mail but David's letter. BUT THAT'S OK. I love you all anyway. I know y'all are busy :) Love love love!

Now... time for pictures :)

T AMO! This is what my compa was doing for her novio. Que cute :)

Hna. Hernandez and myself... with our comparable Gatorades :)

Taking selfies on Elder Stevenson's camera. His camera is legit. Too legit to quit!

On our way up the mountain to find the cave! (E. Stevenson, Hna. Hernandez, and obviously me... Don't mind my rooster hair...)

Posing, on our way down the mountain. (Me, E. Stevenson, and Hna. Hernandez)

Same people, on our way down the mountain.

Snow cones!

This was from Birthday lunch. Elder Hernandez feeding Elder Ramos, like he's an animal. Bahahaha I love these kids!

Birthday lunch with the district :)

I'm sending this doodle to Sara. I know she'll love it!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Best. Week. Ever. So far!

Ok y'all... I'm getting ALL of the forwarded emails from dad, the emails from Sara/Courtney, and all of the pictures, but I'm getting none that simply tell me WHAT IS GOING ON AT HOME. Can I please see my siblings, and nieces/nephews? Can I please be told of the goings on in my home?? I want to hear about it! Luke got his AA AND Eagle Scout?! What an over achiever! And tell him he has to email/call like every single day to get an appointment with the stake president. He's a busy man!

Now. About me. Let me begin with my first P-day. HELLO. I love my district so much, and we got to go on adventures, almost all of us together! So fun. We started out exploring (NOT exploding) the abandoned house. Pictures attached :) That was fun. The basement stank like death, and it was really just nasty. But fun for pictures! :) Then we went to see historic things, which I will send you pictures of and explain with the pictures. We went to an old cemetery and when we were trying to take a group picture, Hna. Hernandez put the phone on the back of the car. So we all pile into the car and drive off. We stop to take a picture of a sign (will be included), and what?! No phone? WHERE IS IT?! We're backtracking steps, and then someone remembers... SHE LEFT IT ON THE CAR. It was in the middle of the road, just outside the cemetery. But on my way back to the cemetery to look for the phone, I ran over it... BUT IT'S STILL GOOD :) Then we went to Saratoga to see the lake. So pretty! And we failed at jumping pictures (any surprise? Nope.)

We went home, got ready for our lesson (!!!!!), we get there... his brother answers the door and says that the kid we were going to teach and his mom had just left. Que the freak? My teensy weensy heart was broken. So we went and visited with member families (most of what we're doing right now), then we plan and sleep. The pictures show how really fun the day was... Words don't do it justice. Neither do pictures, but they do a better job!

We had a lesson with the a family out in the mink farms. They were being taught by the Elders before, but we got there, and the woman didn't want to get married. SO, I had the beautiful idea of having a lesson with them on the family proclamation! It was perfect. I think they both understand why it's important that they're married, and the importance of the family. BUT, they didn't show up to church on Sunday. Saaaaaad day x(

Zone conference was the bomb. 6 hours of drinking from a fire hose (just an expression). The stake presidents and relief society presidents were invited, and we got to talk with them about how to work with them. It was AWESOME. I love them. All of them. There's an Elder here from Tallahassee. Go Noles! After ZC, we went to the post office in Lehi (half an hour away from home?) I bought some stamps (dad, I spent $10.60-something on my debit card, at the post office, just btdubs.) Elder Stevenson decorated my seat in the car. Pictures to follow. It was very Christ oriented... Hahah

Oh, Courtney. Pupusas. Legit ones. DELISH!

We went to Kneaders on Thursday, and the French toast is better than I remember! Then we went to the temple. GAH. Do you know how much I love the temple? Well, I love it to death. And we get to go again Wednesday morning, because it's Hna. Hernandez' birthday! Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BENJAMIN WILLISSSSSS!! You old fart, I love you and hope your birthday is faaaabulous! I don't have your email, or I'd send you a personal message. I hope this will suffice :) Also, Jess! Your birthday happens before my next P-day, so to you too. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I looove you (shhh, we don't have a squishy relationship, so keep that on the DL)!

Oh, ok... Fun story time! DTM (district training meeting) was Friday. I had the white handbook thought... Ever since he laid eyes on my car, Elder Stevenson has been asking to drive it (also Elder Hernandez, but not half as much). So before my serious white handbook thought, I shared a snippet from the white handbook about not driving any car that is assigned to another missionary. Hah! It was so funny. But everybody still asks to drive the car. Then we went to Village Pizza (we get to eat free once a week, so we go there for district lunch every Friday after DTM). Delicious pizza... but we ended up playing many games of "Never have I ever." You really learn a lot about people that way! Hahah So much fun. Then we went back to the chapel for planning.

Ok. So we went to do planning, but before planning we were visiting with the Elders for like 10 minutes... In those 10 minutes, Hna. Hernandez took the back of the Spanish Elders' phone (ours was damaged when I ran it over, and doesn't quite fit on the phone anymore). So we give them ours. Elder Hernandez didn't like that very much. So before they left, they pulled one of the fuzes in our car. We were trying to leave for Facebook, but the car wouldn't start. So I'm having a heart attack, and I go get the Elders. Elder Stevenson is looking under the hood, and Hna. Hernandez has the Spanish Elders on the phone (because we're sure they did something.) (Rewind... before planning, Elder Stevenson was playing in the drivers seat, and he popped the hood. We couldn't get it to shut, so we just left it down, but not shut.) So We're yelling at Elder Hernandez, telling him to tell us what he did. We know Elder Stevenson knows what he did (they were telling secrets earlier), then I ask Elder Jamison (DL) if I can punch Elder Stevenson. He said yes! And all of a sudden, Elder Stevenson knows how to fix it! Hahah So we finally get our car to work, and go to Facebook, which is just wild. The Spanish Elders found the nursery, and brought toys into the Family History Center, where we were doing Facebook. Baby dolls are freaking creepy... They were riding Elders Jamison and Stevenson's bikes around like kids, and it was just a silly time. But we all refocused and did work. Hahahah

MILAGRO! We went to dinner, and we stayed there way too long. We were half an hour to our appointment (to visit with a member). Oh no, what ever will we do! So we go to apologize to the sister, but nobody answered the door. As we were about to put a note on the door, someone walks up. IT'S THE INACTIVE DAUGHTER OF WHO WE WERE GOING TO SEE. We really wanted to see her, but we made an appointment with her mom, thinking she was her. Aco-taco... Anyway. She invites us in, and we talk while she drinks mate (she's from Argentina! Mendoza, I think). She opens up a lot, and later we share a message on the Atonement with her. She's going through a divorce and is having a really hard time, so it was the perfect message for her. We were all crying. Hah But I was just amazed that although we were late, we had a great lesson with her! If we had been on time, she would have come in and seen us talking to her mom, and just completely dismissed any thought of talking with us. BUT, because we were late (no, we're not going to make it a habit), we were able to catch her at the perfect time.

After that, we went visiting families, and we found an amazing family that I just adore. The parents are a younger couple who are just hilarious, and the kids are THE BOMB. I love them. Then, we got home. As we were walking downstairs, I said to Hna. Hernandez "I feel like we haven't seen the Johnson's (land lords) in a long time. I miss them." Then, as we were doing our nightly planning, Pres. Johnson calls us to see if we're home. He said they had a surprise for us. We run up stairs to find them playing a boardgame with their grandson. He gestures to the small things of Hagendaas (yeah I have no idea how to spell that) Pineapple Coconut ice cream. They keep buying it for us (IT'S LITERALLY THE BEST STUFF EVER). And they had homemade caramel popcorn and cave us a big bowl of it. They're really just the sweetest people on the planet! Oh, Courtney! Melt marshmallows into the caramel when you make caramel popcorn! IT'S DIVINE.

Oh! THERE WAS A MUD RUN! Saturday morning, Elders Jamison and Stevenson were volunteering at a mud run called "Muddy Cruddy." I think it was like a family type thing, because I went to look at the obstacles, and they were... less intimidating than the Rugged Maniac. Haha But still, it made me to happy that there was one just down the road from my house! The Elders ran it! Elder Stevenson did it in his pros. clothes. Dumb. Hahaha But we went to the Anderson's house to help dig holes for their fence. I had a blister pop before I even realized I had blisters! Ouch. But it only took us 1 1/2 hours, so that's good :)

OH, MOMMY! The water here is disgusting. It tastes weird, and it makes my hair feel oily... So I spent the last week dissatisfied with my hair. Then! I put baking soda in my shampoo and my hair is SO clean, it makes me so so so happy! I love the miracle that is baking soda :) And with this dry air, I don't have to blow it dry all the time! I went to sleep with wet hair last night and it was so clean and soft in the morning, not oily and nasty like it would be in Florida. I love this place :) (And about the water... I just don't drink it. I'm buying a case of water bottles to last until we get a refrigerator. It's not a big deal, I wasn't complaining!)

Hahahahahaha Sunday... We woke up like normal, did studying, then got a text from the Spanish Elders saying the correlation meeting was canceled. So, we ended up laying on the floor and looking at my MTC pictures, and all of Hna. Hernandez' mission pictures. We fell asleep, and woke up at 12:30. That just barely gave us enough time to burn our mouths and stain our skirts with chimichangas, and walk into Sacrament meeting at 1:03. FAIL. Haha

Church was good, but none of the less actives or investigators came :'( But we'll work with them!

OH! I GOT A LETTER FROM DAVID FREY! I almost tore the sucker right open to read it! I LOVE REAL LIFE MAIL! And I LOVE FOREIGN LETTERS! Hahaha I was so excited to hear from him. I had got a couple emails from him before I left, but since I've been here I had nothing. But a LETTER, all the way from ARMENIA. Yeeeeesssssssssss. So i wrote him back and I'm going to write Sara, too. A real life letter. I'm sure they're even less frequent for them because they're on the other side of the planet.

Well, last week we didn't have time to see the caves, so we're doing that today. We're going to see the caves, and Elder Ramos said he knows where some petroglyphs are! Say whaaaat? I'm so excited!

OH AND HOW ABOUT THAT SARAH MOSS!!! She's going to TEAR PANAMA UP! (In a good way!) Hopefully she can get into advanced Spanish (I'm certain she can, it's totally not hard) and she can get to there ASAP. When does she report?

Courtney, is there any way you still have my iPhone? And is there any way you could somehow get into it and change the password on my Gmail account? Because I seriously can't remember it for the life of me, and I NEED to get into it to see if I can find Sister Moss' mission song she emailed to me many moons ago. I really really want it.

FUN FACT: I saw a humming bird for the first time in my life! That was neat.

Courtney, could you send me my denim shirt? Also, all of the skirts I left (the pencil skirts)? I'm sorry I keep adding things... But seriuosly. Everything I left at home, just go ahead and include it because I'll be asking for it eventually.

OH AND COURTNEY, SERIOUSLY IMPORTANT!!! Tehehe... Could you get me all of the Disney music ever created in English and Spanish before you off to England? Because I would seriously kiss you if you could do that... :) And EFY, if you can... PREASE AND SHANK YOU!

UMMMMMMMM....... I don't think I have anything else to fill y'all in on... I'm sorry I write so much. I'm sure y'all are tired of hearing from me. Is the message you're trying to send by not responding to my emails? It's totally ok, I understand. Don't even worry about it. I'm so focused I hardly even notice.........

Just kidding, you're totally fine. Seriously. It was sarcasm (which is totally not accepted in Alaska... if you ever go there... keep that in mind). (I think I might have broken Elder Ramos. When he goes home to Alaska, they're all going to shun him. I've been counseling him on how to be sarcastic, and he's making a lot of progress, so... he might not have friends when he returns... Oops!)

But yes, I love you all oodles and oodles!

OH YEAH, DAD! Elder Stevenson is from Maryland! We looked it up, and he said Cheverly is only a hop, skip, and a jump from where he's from! Fun fact!

Now really, I'm done. I'm going to EXPLODE your email with messages containing only two photos (it drives me crazy too...)


Hermana Willis

Just fail....

 Elders Ramos and Hernandez, showing us how it's done... x(

Elder Stevenson and Elder Ramos, REALLY showing us how it's done... Whatever...

All of us (minus the Eagle Mountain West English Elders, and Elder Jamison, Elder Stevenson's companion.)

Jumping for joy at the temple! :)

Elders Hernandez and Ramos playing with nursery toys... xD

Caramel popcorn and ice cream... What a dream (and a pathway to diabetes... ;)

This is president Johnson making us omelets on Saturday morning. LOVE THEM!!

Service! :)

And I love collecting tumbleweeds :)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hi hello, my name is Hermana Willis and I'm in love with the Utah Provo Mission!

Do you know what my favorite thing ever is? Coming to the Family History center to do emails, logging in, and having NO emails from my parents. It's seriously the best thing in the world. Hahahaha Just kidding, I love you guys :)

I got an email from the bishop, which was awesome. I miss everyone back home, but I'm seriously so in love with this place, I almost never get trunky! Oh, how sweet are these mountains!

MY FIRST AREA: Eagle Mountain! It's on the west side of Provo, sort of... The Spanish area was just split (used to be 5 stakes covered by one set of Spanish Elders (and non Spanish work by two sets of Elders) but they split it and the Spanish Elders have 3 stakes, and Hna. Hernandez and I have the Eagle Mountain West stake and City Center stake. The work was a little slow, since we're technically opening the area, but now that we've visited some members, and gotten to know the area, I can see the work beginning to pick up! We've got one appointment every day this week! (Lie: Monday-Thursday we have an appointment, and Saturday we're doing service for a less active member). But it's awesome.

We live in the basement of the City Center stake president and his wife. THEY ARE SERIOUSLY THE BEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. They not only are letting us live in their (BEAUTIFUL) basement, but they keep giving us stuff! They constantly come downstairs and hang up pictures for us, and give us food. They're always inviting us to dinner (this week we had no dinner appointments), and they're nothing but a humongous blessing. They're the best. And Pres. Johnson (stake president) is such a goof ball, it reminds me of home!

The members are AMAZING. My bishop is from ARGENTINA! OK?! I almost died. He's awesome! (and not just because he's from Argentina, he's just generally AWESOME.) All of the leaders (relief society, primary, priesthood, young women, etc) are all phenomenal. I love them. They're such a big help! The Spanish ward is almost twice as big as our home ward. Say whaaat? It's awesome. We went up and introduced ourselves in Sacrament meeting/shared our testimonies, and when I said I'd only been in the mission field 5 days, everybody was like "WAIT STOP. You've been out of the mission field for 5 days and you speak Spanish as well as we do!" They were all shock-ed and amaz-ed. Everybody is always like "My word, you speak Spanish like a pro!" That's always nice to hear :)

The weather here is ridiculous, and I love it. I wake up to 60-something degree weather, it gets up to about 90 during the day, but it's dry to it's really not that bad AT ALL. By the end of the transfer (mid/late-September) it'll be getting cold! And in that transfer, it should start snowing! AH! I'm going to die. But I'm so excited!! I'm in the middle of nowhere, so it's all fields, mountains, hills, and to sum it all up: BEAUTY. I love it. AND ALSO HORSES, I can't forget the horses! They're beautiful. :)

Oh yeah, I'm a Facebook missionary. So funny! Don't you think so, mom?? xD Hahah So the rules are, we use FB to teach lessons to people either back at home, or really anyone in the world. But, I don't have anybody to teach, so I just share gospel related things. NO TALKING TO ME. I haven't been very good at that, but fo rill. I'm not supposed to be using it to communicate with family. And to those who FB messaged me, I wrote you a letter! When I find a post office, I'll send them to you! There's no post office in my area. or my district. I think the closest one is in Lehi (half an hour away?) But that's all fine and dandy. You'll all just have to wait :)

So there's this Elder... (STOP! IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK!) Luke. This is for you. The other Elders who serve in this area are Elder Hernandez and Elder Ramos. Elder Ramos is from Alaska... AND LOOKS/TALKS/MAKES FACIAL EXPRESSIONS JUST LIKE OLAN ROGERS. I feel bad, because EVERY time he speaks, I try not to laugh. But seriously, they're the same person. He's always smiling/giggling or something, but he's NEVER sarcastic. That's the only thing he's not like him in. I always think he's joking, he just likes to smile. So confusing. But hey, I work close with Olan Roger's doppelganger (spelling?!) Just thought you'd love that.

Oh hey! We're in a car! Because we have such a wide open area, we have a car. AND A FANCY ONE AT THAT. I don't know the year, but it's a new Ford Fusion. Mmm! It's either 2013 or 2014. But we're the first missionaries to have it, so it's BRAND-SPANKING-NEW. It's so beautiful. Remember how I wanted to be on a bike? I'd take this car over daily exercise any day.

Sad news: My medium suitcase? Weeellll I may have put all of my heavy things inside it, and one of the wheels decided to split. Pictures to follow :( But other than that, they're holding up quite nicely :) Except maybe I have too much stuff... But whatever. I still love them :)

OH YEAH! Before I left the MTC (like 3 hours before) I had my MTC district leader give me a blessing. HOLY MOLY. It was so cool. Here's some things that were mentioned:
-these 18 months will be your most special 18 months of your life (wow)
-the experience you have will help prepare you to be the best mother, wife, and teacher you can be (YES!)
-ALWAYS remember the Atonement, and use it
-missionaries look up to you. You will be a leader. The Lord has given you the gift to lead (SCARY)
-council to always be ready (also kind of scary)
-your feet will be strong (I love that!)
-you will find answers and strength in the scriptures (my Pat. blessing says something like that TWICE, so I'm beginning to get the message. Always go to the scriptures!)

Those were just a few highlights of the blessing that I thought you'd like to know about. Elder Palomares (DL) seriously was able to say everything I needed to hear, and even things I didn't know I needed to hear! it was awesome. I cried like a baby. (Duh).

So. We're in the middle of nowhere (sorry this email is hopping around so much). Out, way way out, half an hour down a gravel road, there are these mink farms. Minks are comparable to ferrets, and they raise them for their skins. So there are a good amount of Hispanics who live out there by the farms. Well, we have a lesson out there on Tuesday! :) I love the family. They've been taught by the missionaries before, but they agreed to meet with us :) Yay yay yay :)

Umm... Remember how I constantly send you all a list of things I need? Weeellllll... I need someone to send my my pencil skirts. It's incredibly windy, and my flowy skirts are just a pain. I don't want to stand like Merilyn Monroe all the time! It's not missionary-like! But yes, if someone could help me with that, it would be magical. Also, my white Vera Wang bag? It's humongous and would be a big help. Just put my temple things in a bag in my crates? Thanks a bazillion!

Milagro: We were contacting less-actives, previous investigators one day last week, and had little to no success finding people at home. It was about 5, and we were planning on going home for dinner. Hna. Hernandez asked me if I wanted to wait until 5:30 for dinner and try a few more houses, and I said let's do a couple more houses. WELL, the next house we went to... one of the kids opened the door, and we saw the mother in the kitchen, working frantically. She saw us and said "Pasen! Pasen!" So we came inside, and she begged us to help her cook. She was last minute asked to cook food for a wedding that was in two hours. So we stayed and helped her cook, peeling potatoes, cooking onions, etc. We were there for two hours, and had to go to a couple correlation meetings, but she invited us over for dinner on Wednesday. COURTNEY: PUPUSAS. Her mom (from El Salvador) is coming to help cook them, so I'm going to have real life, legit, pupusas. Don't hate me :) But I just loved that. We were led by the Spirit to go to just one more house, and we were able to find her in her time of need, just in time to help her cook all of the food in time for the wedding. She was so so so grateful. I love them!

Someone once said "If you can make it to Sunday in the MTC, you're golden." Well, I am here to tell you all, THEY LIE. Or at least for me, that wasn't the case. The MTC flew by with little problems (except for breaking down because of the language, but I got over that in a day). I loved the MTC, and I miss it! Here's the truth: if you can make it to your first Sunday in the mission field, you'll make it. The first week was weird, and borderline uncomfortable, just because I didn't know anybody or even where I was! But by Sunday, I felt comfortable with the area, and comfortable with the people. And with all of the praises I've been getting, I'm becoming comfortable with the language! (I understand 95% of what is said. The 5% is when somebody's talking to me (which is the worst time to not know what they're saying...))

So hey... I don't care what anybody says (except for Kaleb Bedenbaugh and Aaron Moss)... The Utah Provo mission is the best in the world. I love it, and every day I see little ways that make sense of why I was sent here. The Lord sure does love me a lot to send me here!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Elder Holland, when he was speaking to the Barcelona mission (Marcos?) said something along the lines of "Missionaries are sent to the United States to become men and women. Missionaries are sent to Europe to become general authorities (or something like that.) Well, one of the Elders in my district asked Hno. Williams (substitute MTC teacher who served in the UPM) what it's like. He said "Well, be prepared to be treated like a general authority." Oh yeah, NO PRESSURE. hahah That made me think of Eddie Ardacock, always telling me I'll be the first woman general authority. Well, I guess they think I am anyway! Hahahah And something President McCune (I love him, he's one of the coolest people to walk the earth) said at our first night was this "You must have done something terribly right in the pre-mortal life to be sent to the Utah Provo mission." BOOM. I love it here. It really is the best mission ever. He also said "We are not here to just baptize. We are here to build the kingdom."

Oh yes. And my date change didn't change my return date... I'll be home before next Christmas. WHATS?! WHATS DOES IT SAYS?! Yeah. I was jipped a whole month :/ But hey mommy, I'll only miss one Christmas and one birthday. That'll bring a smile to your purdy face :)

I love writing you all novels, but I need to go with my companion and explore an abandoned house and it's basement, old cemetery, and museum. I have no flashlight, so the basement will be fun (because it's pitch black).

Oh! And I get to go to the temple on Ben's birthday! It's also Hna. Hernandez' birthday, so we're going to the Mt. Timpanogos temple! I heard things were new, so I am WAY stoked to see! Send me pictures! I want to see Tanner Dean!

Loooove you all so so so much!

Hermana Elisabeth Willis
85 N 600 E
Provo, UT

MTC: Elder Ashton drew this!

MTC: Hno. Williams loved us the best out of any class he's ever had. That's what that says, right? :) Hahah He snuck into our classroom when we weren't there and left us a message before we all left.

Hna. Hernandez crying because she's cutting onions (when we were helping cook for the wedding)

My car!

Our nametags (Hna. Hernandez studies photography, so this was her idea...)

My poor suitcase :(

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tomorrow is the BIG day!!! :)

The food is really just mass produced, so I'm just not used to it. I finally felt like a regular sized human on Sunday(fast Sunday). My poor body really needed a rest from this food. Hahahaha It's all more... artificial than I'm used to. But it's all good, my next meal will be in the mission home!! President McCune and his wife will be picking us up at4:45! I'm kind of freaking out. And don't you fret! I love writing in my journal. Every day runs together (like I could never have imagined), so it's the only way I can tell what day is what, and I can't keep track of the date and day of the week by writing in my journal. I find my myself constantly asking my companions "What day is it?" Hahahaha I love the MTC, and I'm really sad to leave. I know if I had to be here for a few more weeks, I wouldn't feel this way, so I'm glad I can escape while I still love it :)

So I've had one consistent teacher, and lots of substitutes. Hno. Wilkes was our first teacher, and our real assigned teacher. We had 5 substitutes throughout the past two weeks, and then finally, our other assigned teacher, Hna. Casares, got home from her honeymoon/wedding trip, and she was able to teach us our last class. SHE IS AMAZING. I just love her to a thousand pieces. I wish she could have been our teacher for longer, but I also love all of our substitutes, so I'm glad I got to get to know them, too. One of our substitutes, Hno. Williams served in Provo! Aaaaand he knows Kaleb Bedenbaugh. TINY ITSY BITSY WORLD, I tell you!

My contacts hate me. Like... despise me. I'm wearing them more often to try and get used to them, and finally yesterday, I was able to wear them all day without using eye drops every 30 minutes. Haha The eye doctor said they were the most moisturizing, but I was talking to one of my subs, Hno. Bell, and he said I should try a different kind. Different kinds work well for different people. So I'll probably try another kind when I get into the field. But I love my glasses. And I love being able to see with this new prescription. It's like a whole new world! Hahaha

I have a thousand pictures to send, but these MTC computers don't like my camera, so I'm going to have to upload them to my USB thumbdrive and send it to you guys in a week. Feel free to post them on facebook or email them to people. AND, Elder Taylor, from Colonia Juarez (explained in my written letter soon to arrive) and I got a picture. I want you to send it to the Romney's, and show them how tiny this world is! Hahah Also, tell someone to tell Braden that I said best wishes, and I know he'll do great!

I saw CORY BRADLEY! I almost attack hugged the snot out of him, but I mainteined my cool (mostly... Ok no I didn't, I just didn't hug him). I almost had a heart attack. Hahah We got a picture together, which is also coming soon. He loves his companions/roomies, and seems to be loving it here! He also told me his mom's doing well, which was so good to hear. I've been thinking about her lately. I also saw Connor Brannen, Jordan Gold, Chelsea Aniel (like everyday. We're on a super similar schedule), and two kids from institute that I can't remember the names of. So fun :)

Yeah, I was all super stressed and bummed about the language, but it's seriously been coming so much easier! It's amazing the things that can happen when you don't rely on "the arm of the flesh," and " in the Lord." (...somewhere in 1 Nephi 4. STUDY THE SNOT OF THAT CHAPTER. It's my favorite.) I'm going to try and get a picture of just me for my plaque, but it'll still be another week until I get y'all any pictures. Sorry :}

The temple is down for construction, but I so get to go a bit in my mission, so I am SERIOUSLY SO EXCITED! I miss it so much!

Mom, I'm actually not having any phone withdrawals, or facebook even! Sometimes I look at a picture I take and think "Oh man, I'd Instagram that picture if I could!" but nothins that's distracting. We stay on campus all the time (except for the one time I went on splits with some sisters in my zone because they both had dentist/dr appointments). But I don't mind it. I can see the Y mountain, and every time I do, I do a little happy dance inside, because I LOVE UTAH. This MTC experience has been VERY helpful in preparing me, but I still can't help but feel like it's an "EFY" type thing. I know I'll feel more like a missionary when I'm actually out there doing the work, but right now I feel like I'm in "loading" mode. BUT IT WILL ONLY BE A FEW MORE HOURS UNTIL I'M OUT OF HERE. Oh my.

In the TRC is where we practice teaching "investigators." Sometimes they're real investigators, but sometimes they're just members acting. We never got a real investigator, but in the MTC Mission Conference on Sunday, the MTC president told us about a Korean woman who got baptized last week because of the missionaries who taught her in the TRC. She was there and shared her testimony/experience in Korean (with a translator), and then in broken English. It was AMAZING. I can't wait to do that.

I'm happy. Don't worry about me. Tell me how everybody is! Ben and Jess? Grandparents? EVERYBODY?

Anyhow, I'm out of time. I hope you enjoyed this novel. I don't know who did it, but one of my parents gave me the "incredibly long winded" gene. Thanks for that...

Hermana Elisabeth Willis

Advanced Spanish district with substitute teacher Hermano Bell on the last day at the MTC!