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 :(

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