Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dad, don't read the first paragraph.

We haven't cleaned out apartment in two weeks. Hahaha I mean, we tidy up and stuff, but the sink was full of dishes, and the garbage can was full, so was the recycling bin. And when I was washing the dishes, I thought of dad. Cleaning just reminds me of dad, all the time. So dad, forget you ever read this paragraph. It won't happen again.

Now. On to real matters. It's transfer call day, and we still have not heard anything. We usually get calls between 7-9, and it's ELEVEN O'CLOCK. Soooo... I don't know if they forgot about us, or... what. My comp said if it's after 10, it's President who will call, and if it's President, that means somebody is STL or opening an area. I'M PRAYING IT'S FOR MY COMPANION. I'm not ready for leadership or opening an area... Anyway, I'm literally feeling sick to my stomach. Like, the most nauseous I've been in awhile (and the nausea is keeping up). The wait is killing me. I'm nearly certain one of us is leaving, and I really just want to know WHO. They made changes to the districts and zones, so the district where I currently am will be two sets of sisters and one of elders (and to be honest... I don't like serving with a lot of sisters.) The Zone is smaller now, too. it's only Eagle Mountain and Saratoga. They're making so many changes, I have no idea what to expect. I just want to KNOW already! Oh gosh, I feel like I'm going to throw up.

Dad, that video of Kaleb... WHAT THE HAY? His voice is so deep! He sounds like Luke!! And he looks like he's slimming down :) We went to see one of the LA families we've been working with (who we hadn't seen for about a month), and in the middle of visiting, she looks at me and said "Hermana, bajaste pesos?" So I was just like "Um... I don't know... but thank you!" Hahah Maybe it's this sickness I have (that apparently isn't really anything... I spoke to the mission nurse and she basically just told me to eat my vegetables and take an iron pill) is making me lose weight? Is it bad that I hope the sickness hangs around so it can keep working it's magic on this ol' cuerpo of mine? ;) Hahahahah

So that kid that's serving in Kansas and leaves this week? Jonathan? I love his family so much. Enserio. We went over there last night to say bye to him before he reports on Wednesday. We got pictures, buuuut I forgot my camera at home, so next week you'll have TWICE as many pictures as this week! xD Fun, right? :) But when we were there, another family was there, and the girl (13 years old, maybe?) started singing that cup song from Pitch Perfect. So I ran in with a cup, sat down by her brother, and while she was singing, I started doing the cup game. Her little brother FREAKED OUT, ran into the kitchen, grabbed a cup and he was like "LET'S DO THIS!" Hahahaha It was the funniest things in the world. I love it. I have a video of it, so one day you'll see. Even though my face looks weird through the whole video... Anyway, it was a blast.

Hey mom! Guess who plays the piano for RS, and potentially sacrament in the branch? SHO MIMO. SOMEBODY told the RS president I play (I was about to volunteer when she asked me... haha) so I'm playing now (if I'm staying...)

Dad... A man from Argentina gave a talk yesterday, and the WHOLE time he was speaking, I was studying his accent. I want to speak like an Argentina. So from my studies, you obviously speak with "y" and "ll" as SH. And "j" and "g" (<--when it's soft) are a hard H sound, kind of like a cat's hiss? And when an S is at the end (and sometimes the middle) of the word, drop it (within reason, obviously). Like, "el epiritu santo"? That's what I gathered. And when Luke comes home, we should pick him up! I need to go to Argentina, so I can learn how to speak Vos. Unless I serve with a Dominicana or Argentina! I've got my hopes that one day I can serve with an Argentina... That would make my life. I think there's one sister from Argentina, actually. HOPEFUL :)

I can't think of anything else... if I get transferred, you'll have to look on my FB to see when I change me location, because it's 11:30 and they still haven't called, so...

I LOVE YOU ALL! A whole lot. Like, for real.

PS: Transfer calls! I'm staying in the area, my companion is going to Orem and is going to be STL. BUT MY NEW COMPANION... Her name is Hermana Córdova! Bahahaha! So close to Luke's mission! Hahaha I love it! She's from California aaaand that's all I know.

So... that is all.

I love you, goodbye :)

Hermana Willis

I've only got one picture from my iPad, so here it is. And wouldn't you know it, it's me con la bandera de Argentina! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I can't feel my fingers...

THIS WEEK MAKES 3 MONTHS. That means I only have 14 months left. Does that blow the mind of anybody else? Or just mine? Yeah, I only get a 17 month mission... But in two months, I'll only have a year left! O.o I don't know how I feel about it.

I have a confession to make... I've been listening to Christmas music all week. BUT IN MY DEFENSE, time on a mission flies by, so if I don't start listening to it now, by the time Thanksgiving comes, I'll feel like I didn't get to listen to it at all! So I'm enjoying it while I can. Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Dino... Aaahhhh. They do Christmas carols the best!

Saturday the ward had a HUMONGOUS yard sale at the church to raise funds for the three missionaries they have going out within the next 3 months. GUESS HOW SUCCESSFUL THIS WAS. It was $1,000 successful! There's still A LOT of stuff, and they're doing another one this week, so that's way cool :) We were there helping out all morning. I got a little sunburn on my nose, that I just realized :) Hahah

We went to a ward chili cook-off (we had dinner with one of WML's, but he didn't realize it was the ward dinner, so we just sat with them :). IT WAS AWESOME. Everything was decorated like autumn, and I was in heaven. I'll send some pictures of that :)

Just for your information, I'm slowly getting sicker and sicker, I feel. I'm eating and drinking sufficiently, but I'm still getting worse. I'm shaky and dizzy all the time, headaches and nausea are not only persistent, but worsening. I feel exhausted to the point of tears sometimes... I don't know. I just feel awful. We came home early last night (my companion is feeling it a little bit too) and I went straight to sleep. We both feel like we're dying. We took a 3 hour nap between a meeting and church, then came home and I went to sleep at 8:30. But I still woke up feeling like a zombie. The sleep was great, I just wish I could do it all the time. I DON'T WANT TO DIE.

Last night I got to meet Sheri Dew. She came to the building where our branch meets, and did a devotional for City Center. It was amazing. Of course, I forgot to bring my notebook, so I had to take notes on the iPad. I hate doing that :( But I am grateful that I DID have the iPad to take notes! These iPads are really neat to have, but at the same time I'm not a fan. The area book/planner app is just so much work, and quite confusing. I like using paper planners... But the mission is trying to wean off of the paper planners and just use the iPads. We'll see how that goes.

Anyway, I wasn't awake this week. It was really weird. So sorry my email is short (in comparison to my other emails...) ;) My emails are never truly short though... Hahaha I'll send y'all some pictures to play with now.

Luke, I'm sending you an email about things to remember/MTC advice. I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU'RE LEAVING THIS WEEK.

I love you all a lot, and miss y'all like crazy.

Hermana Willis

Cooper and me. This is my landlord's grandkid. SO DARLING, this one.

Elder Stevenson drew a picture of me. How sweet. -_-

More fun with the Dushane kids :)

One thing the iPads are good for... Keeping kids entertained while my companion eats :) (I had already eaten...)

Zone activity. Always a fun time :)

At the temple as a district :)

So a bunch of us missionaries were standing there, and they put this mirror right in front of us. THIS MEANS PICTURE TIME! Hahahaha

Missionary fundraiser! The kid in the red reports to the MTC on the 30th for the Kansas Wichita mission. WOOT WOOT! :)

Me, at the chili cook-off. Cutest thing :)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hi, I'm a missionary!

Email: 10/14/2013

Hey mom and dad, remember everything I was telling you about? Forget it. I decided I was over it. And dad, your email? It hit the spot just right! I'm not going to worry about it. I got a blessing on Tuesday, and the Elder who was giving it said some super cool things (and I didn't tell him ANY of my concerns, just asked him for a blessing). One thing that he said that I thought was super cool. He said that I will have the "will power to focus, and you will not miss your family so much." Did you know that even with us on Facebook, being able to see everybody's fun pictures of Jacksonville, the city I love so much, I DON'T MISS IT. Well, I miss it, but it's not a mind-crippling missing it. I think "Aw, I love that place." Not "I wish I was there RIGHT NOW." I'm so excited. President McCune is the best. I just love him. I expressed some of my concerns yesterday in interviews, and poof! They're hardly concerns now! Hahaha But dad, that little addition to your email didn't help... I miss Winn Dixie A LOT! Hahaha Go shopping at WD, and find somebody you remember me working with, tell them Elisabeth misses them, and ask them to spread the message to anybody who knew me. Prease and shank you! :)

Now, back to real life. We had another area seventy come this week. It was the Central Stake's stake conference (the Stake President that we live with). He and his wife were staying with our landlord's, so we got to come help Sister Johnson clean the house (like DEEP CLEAN. It reminded me of you, dad :) We polished the piano, cleaned the ceiling fan blades, wiped down the blinds, and everything else. It was fun :)

Sweet sweet loving tender mommy, I loved your brutal email :) And just so you know... I'm still being pampered... I'M IN THE UTAH PROVO MISSION, HELLOOOO. Hahahahahaha Aaaand my poor poor hair isn't adjusting to the water. But guess what! It just so happens that one of the WML's wives sells DoTerra!! So, I asked her if I could order a bottle of the serum through her. SO, yes my hair will be back to normal :) :) Mostly. That's just a fun fact I thought I'd share.

Two things; both sad, but both I saw coming:

1) I asked President if I could see Luke before he went into the MTC, and he said no. Well, he explained it in a loving manner why he wouldn't say yes, but long story short, he said no. I figured as much, but I couldn't let Luke come to Provo without asking!

2) I wasn't accepted to BYU. I don't know why I felt I should apply now, but I'm glad I did. So now I don't feel like I'm coming right back after my mission. Being in the place I had planned to come right back to was distracting! I was always seeing something and thinking "Ok, when I come back, I'll do that/go there/whatever." Now I think "Ok, maybe when I come back in 3-4 years I'll rediscover that." But now I don't have to worry about it :) I'll just go there for Grad school. ANYWAY, THAT'S ENOUGH THINKING ABOUT THAT.

SO! We went shopping again. I got boots! They were $40 at target, and my conscious wouldn't let me spend $80 on boots when I still had tights, scarves, hats, gloves, etc. to buy. The boots keep my legs warm, but I'll have to get some thermal socks because my little toesies are cold (as always. I have the cold feet of an old man!) <---sorry for that. Aka-awkward... :) But listen to this... I WAS IN TARGET. I was also simultaneously in heaven. I miss Target so much! Then, we went to Khol's. UM HELLO HOME! I was looking through the Vera Wang section and was reminded of the times when I was home, and I would look through her collection and wish I was rich or that Vera Wang wasn't so daggum expensive! Hahah THEN! GET. THIS... We went to eat lunch. GUESS WHERE WE WENT.

WE WENT TO CHICK-FIL-A. I felt like I had just spent a day shopping in Jacksonville, and stopped by to grab some lunch. WHY? Because I only ever eat CFA in Jacksonville. Hahah It was like a bite of HOME. I was in heaven.

Oh yeah, how about I got a letter from Jessica Epperson and almost exploded with love and excitement. And that 1D sticker? I'm going to frame it... Hahahaha Just kidding :) I love her so much. Also, I got an email from aunt Lara! So if I don't have time to respond to hers, somebody let her know how much I LOVE her and appreciated her super sweet email. I sure do miss them all! And my island family! I love them all so much. Basically, anybody I've ever known and didn't hate, I MISS YOU AND LOVE YOU :) Just kidding, I don't hate people ;) I had a dream about uncle Kevin the other day! But he was a youngin. But Lanie was still in it. It was weird. I don't remember what happened in it, but then it made me miss them! And unkie Telfy-welfy? I miss him times a bazillion. Also my sweeeet grandparents! Tell grandmother and granddaddy I'm going to respond to the letter they wrote me, and I miss them, prease! :)

WHEN TANNER BEGINS SPEAKING, RECORD IT AND SEND IT TO ME. Also, teach him to say "Elisabeth is my favorite aunt." Then send that to me too :)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDDADDY! I miss you so so so much! There's a street in Provo called Bulldog and I think of you every time I'm in Provo. I'll get a picture of it for you :)

Anywho, I love you all dearly and stuff... My companion and I are matching. so I'll send photos of us trying to figure out what to wear last night. So fun :)

Dad, you're the bomb. Mom, you're my favorite mommy I've ever had :)

Luke! If you have Tommy Williams, Ryan Wilkes, or Matt Bell, tell them their favorite student is your sister :) I think they all teach advanced Spanish, so brush up on your Spanish so they pull you into a higher class! :) Hahahah I'm going to write you a long letter of advice and love before you leave. LOOK FORWARD TO THAT.

I love you all so so so so much! :)

Hermana Willis

 I found these... "pants?" at Target. I just thought they were worth a picture :)

Wearing the scarf Nate Livsey MADE and sent me! I LOVE IT! :)

I am Batman. Missionaries are kind of like super heroes, right? ;)

Our landlords got new couches, and they also had their son's couches while he's working on his basement, SO we got ALL OF THE COUCHES in our basement right now. It's like a big slumber party ALL THE TIME. I love it. Hahah :)

We got to help out in Primary... I WAS IN HEAVEN! I felt RIGHT at home :)


But it's cold... so matching AND warm! :)

Our Zone picture. Pardon the blurriness :'(

Our landlord's grandkids and daughter in law made us cookies. DARLING! :)

Us with Elder Leavitt and his wife (right) and our WONDERFUL landlords (middle).


Email: 10/7/2013

Don't judge my bad typing or spellling. My fingers are freezing, so typing isn't my strong point right now.

I SAW SNOW. My goodness, I saw snow! It was a light fall, but it was awesome. We woke up on Friday, I showered, I went outside to see how cold it was, aaand.... it was cloudy, and the ground at the bottom of the stairs (where I was) was wet, but it was quiet. It was quiet, so it wasn't raining... but it was wet, so water was coming from somewhere... I look up the stairs and see things falling. SO I RAN BACK INSIDE AND YELLED "SISTER, IT'S FREAKING SNOWING" at my companion. I ran out in a t-shirt and capris. I didn't care that I was freezing. It was SNOWING! But It was very light, and the sun was coming out, so it would all melt. I'll send you a multitude of pictures! I'm really nervous now, about driving in it... Uh-oh... That could be bad!

So guess what. I went to General Conference. I'm sure you got that from my last week's message. Hahah We woke up on Saturday and I was like excited out of my mind. We got ready, picked up a sister in Saratoga, and went to Lehi. We missed the first session because we were traveling. We got to Lehi, waited like AN HOUR for the train (our ZL's told us to be there ridiculously early...), then we hopped on the train and I was in heaven! I love trains. It was really short, but I looooved it. I want to go on a long train ride... One day! So we got to SLC, and my companion and I went to explore Temple Square. That was where I encountered MY SISTER! Did you know that I miss my whole family a whole crap-ton? Because I miss you all sooooo much. So I got pictures with her, and to my shame, one of the first things I said to her after freak-out-hugging was "Did you get me a ring in Ireland?" Yeah. I'm dumb. How about "Hi sister, I love you so much! I hope you had a wonderful time in Europe! I've missed you so much! I'm so glad I can see youuuu!! NOW WHEREARE MY PRESENTS." THAT is how I should have done it. Hahahahahahahaha JUST KIDDING. But she bought me a freaking Claddagh ring FROM REAL LIFE IRELAND. Did you know how cool she is? Because if you didn't know how cool she was, her taste in gifts speaks pretty loudly. So I had a Claddagh ring (you can google it. It's cute.) but I left it at work once, and I never saw it again. I missed it SOOOO bad. And I got here and I missed it even more. Material things, I know, but I LOVED that ring. It was ALMOST as sad as when I lost the flower ring Adam bought in Argentina. That still almost makes me cry... I miss that ring so much :( ANYWAY, yes. So my finger is not lonely anymore! And she bought me a book of MUSTACHES in London?! Hello! She knows me so well!!! Aaaaaand she brought me my coat, so I now have TWO coats. This winter can't stop me now! >:) Also, I asked her why she didn't send me my socks... the Christmas ones I bought with Jess. She said she gave it to dad to put in the box. So? The only possible answers to this mystery is.... either dad forgot to put them in the box... OR someone with a soft spot in their heart for Christmas socks with fuzzy balls and jingle bells broke into my box, completely disregarded the +$100 purse that was in the box, and STOLE MY CHRISTMAS SOCKS. What is this world coming to?! Oh well, I'll live, even if me feet won't ;)

Oh yeah, back to G. Conference. So I was there. Sitting waaaay close to the front on the floor seats. Buuut I was all the way to the left (if you're looking to the podium), so I got to see the back, and side of the speakers heads for two hours! <3 LIES. ONE HOUR AND FIFTY MINUTES. Did you notice that a lot of the sessions were short 10-15 minutes? I kind of felt robbbed of a talk that could have changed my life... I DEMAND ANOTHER SESSION! Juust kidding ;) I LOVED all of the talks on family, and gender rolls. I LOVED it. And all of the talks on everything else? I loved those too! :) But sometimes I get distracted by Australian accents and flies, and I sometimes will have to go back and read some talks... Hahahaha My landlords (who we were watching the Sunday sessions with) HATES flies, and so do I (now that they're EVERYWHERE), so we were all going crazy! I would have been swatting around like a crazy person until the offender was DEAD! But I'm a bit crazy, so that's just me. :)

This week was way slow. We basically knocked the doors of people we're trying to contact and nobody answered. Our appointments canceled. So that was like a cherry on a crap-sundae. Delicious. I'm not in such a foul mood now, but these past couple of weeks I've been residing in Oscar the Grouch's garbage can. It has been my place of residence many a time, so I was just revisiting. I hate it there! But I feel a little bit better now. I'm going to ask for a blessing, and President interviews are coming up, so I'll talk to him. Dad, I'm hydrated, I promise. I'm taking a B complex vitamin. It's not the climate or altitude change, I've adjusted. I'm just being a baby. This too will pass, though.

LUKE LEAVES SO SOOOONNN!! I'm going to go crazy. He's such a stud. He's going to explode Argentina with his Willis power. Keep it up, pretty boy!

Now, the time is far spent, there is little remaining.. PICTURE TIME!

Love you all a whole bunch!

Hermana Willis

Day 1 of iPads :)

Family dinner on Sunday. I LOVE THIS FAMILY.

Would you believe me if I told you this wasn't posed? Like... my face? Because it was totally on accident, AND I LOVE IT. Hahaha

Provo temple!

On the map in the mission office... THERE'S ME!

With Courtney! Love you sissy!

I saw Jordan Wheeler! :)

I SAW FABI!!!!! :D

Howdy do!

Email: 9/30/2013

Hi family. I'm dead. Sorry for the sad news, but it's true. I'm just sluggish like you couldn't believe. So yes. And we've been getting home too late for me to write in my journal at all this week, so I'm sincerely apologetic that I can't give you a rundown of the week. Haha But anyway... let me begin from memory.

I'M GOING TO GENERAL CONFERENCE ON SATURDAY. Afternoon session. And would you like to guess how we're traveling to SLC? Well, no. I'm just going to tell you. WE'RE TRAVELING ON TRAAAACKS! I'm going to ride on a train. Please explode in excitement with me :) So I'm so incredibly stoked. Saturday morning we're going to our landlord's daughter's house for breakfast and then we're watching the first session with them. Our landlord's children are my favorite people. I can't wait to be friends with them. Haha Their other daughter was staying at the house this weekend, so we got to talk with her a lot at dinner last night. She's awesome. We talked a lot about her past pregnancy, so I was like in heaven. Birth stories are my favorite! Sorry if that's weird for anyone... I was so excited. I kept asking questions and she would talk about things and I would know what she was saying because hello... that's my major! I was so happy. I just love their whole family (our landlord's). All of them! They're the best. Oh, then on Sunday night (conference), we're going to eat dinner with them and their entire family is going to be there. This will be like 50 people. It's going to be a blast!

Also hi dad... I've felt slightly prompted to submit my BYU application while I'm out here. President McCune completed the ecclesiastical endorsement, so whenever you give me the ok I'm going to pay the $35 fee and submit away. Also, my mission card wasn't working when I was buying groceries the past little while so I used a bit of the money you put on my card. So we're going winter clothes shopping today and I've got about $100 on the card. Sooo I hope that'll be enough! I don't have to spend money on a coat, so I should be ok.

Adam, when you came home from Michigan, you had a lot of Christian rock cd's, and if I remember correctly you had a lot of Phil Wickham. Soooooo, if you know where to locate those, could you send me some? He's my favorite. My companion has a few of his songs, and I'm just dying for more. He has some of the most inspiring music I've ever heard. I love it.

We had a Spanish speaking missionary meeting, which was AWESOME. I had a hamburger from the BYU creamery (who knew it was a crogery store/ice cream shop/burger joint?! It's the cutest little place!!) I love Provo. We went to the temple that morning. We went to the one in Provo this time. HELLO! I've always loved the Provo temple, but inside it's SO indescribably beautiful. I didn't expect it to be so incredibly darling! I just expected it to be pretty like all of the other temples. But this one is now one of my very favorites. For real. It's amazing.

The Elders got some apples from members (there are A LOT of apple/pear/pumpkin/everything trees/plants. Some belonging to people, some not!) But they had so many, so I took some from them! Or, they gave me some. However you want to say it...

So here's the deal where the work is concerned... We got to see President McCune at a multi-stake leadership training by Elder Terry (area 70, I believe) and I guess he thinks I've been depressed or something because he kept telling me "It's going to work out. Some areas you'll be working non-stop, and in some areas you'll have to build and prepare it for the next missionaries down the road." This, I already knew. But let me explain why I don't mention all of our investigators in my email... We're down to two. We have a family who still isn't coming to church and won't get married (but otherwise progressing), and we have this one man who we can't ever get an appointment with. We have a lot of less active families we're working with, but only one that's really progressing. So I would talk about the work we're doing, but it would make my email really short... Haha We're working though!

So! HOW ABOUT THIS WEATHER, HUH? This week it'll be in the 70's during the warm parts of the day, but last week it was freezing during all parts of the day. Soooo yes. The Elders got snow where they live (right by the mountain) but we just got really really cold. Haha There's still a little bit of snow on the mountains! My lanta, I'm going to die. THERMAL EVERYTHING!!

Our first day as a branch was the sweetest, most darling thing ever. It's bigger than the branch we had going in our ward. Just a little bit bigger than we had when we had a lot. I'm so excited about it! And we have the best WML! His family is one of my favorites. He's the one who pressured me into eating the chile de arbol. They're great.

Family history is one of my new favorite things. Did you know someone traced our family line all the way back to God (on grandmother's side)? Because I found it. And also, Elder Stevenson and I are related! So fun. Hahaha After I found my link all the way back, he wanted to see if he could too. Well, when he found the name Evildoer (I remembered it from when I was looking), we found the same person who was in my line! Then he was able to trace his all the way back to God, too. Anyway, I'm in love with FH work, and I can't wait to come home and get Uncle Darren to teach me his ways! G-ma's side hardly goes back at all, and I want to get to the bottom of that! Soooo... that's going to happen in 2015.

I think that's all I have this week, so get ready for a flood of pictures, because it's a-comin'!

Love love love!

Hermana Willis

With Elder Terry!

My lovely lovely MTC district. I for real love these kids to death!

ONE TIME I GOT THREE LETTERS AT THE SAME TIME! Hello heaven!! THANK YOU: Rachel Polley, Grandparents, and Elder Romney! I LOVE SNAIL-MAIL LETTERS! :)

This happened in real life.

Frozen garden... COLD.

I'm cold and I look like a boy... :/

"And the winter is coming up fast, ready to kill!"

Email: 9/23/2013

Ok, sorry for the Les Mis quote, but I've been waiting my entire two months of my mission to use that, and it's FINALLY getting cold so I can use it! :) Everybody is saying it's so weird that it's getting cold so early. It normally doesn't get this cold until late October, but it's in the 50-60 degrees. During the afternoon it gets up into the 70's, but for the most part it's chilly. HELLO I LOVE IT. But I know I'm going to die... OH HEY! One of the less active women we're working with GAVE ME A GOAT!! She said it's the coat she used her first winter here in Utah, and it kept her plenty warm (she's from a warm part of California). So I can cross that off of my things to buy! Which is good, because I'm straight broke. But hey, this money I saved on buying a coat means I can buy nicer boots, more tights, sweaters, scarves, thermal garments, hats, ear warmers, nose warmers, everything else warmers... I'm going to die...

So yes, I have a coat. Great news. NOW FOR SOME FREAKING STORY TIME!! So we were in the East Elder's area, and we needed to give them something, so we stopped by the family's house they were at. They invited us in, we talked with the family a little bit, and BOOM. The mother is the family lived in Orange Park when she was an itsy bitsy child! So she said she'd ask her mom if she knew any Willis'. Sooooo........ about a week passes by and we find ourselves meeting the Elders at their house again. She tells me "Hey, I talked to my mom, and she said she did know a Willis family in Orange Park!" So I got SO EXCITED, and then when she said these next words I almost died... "Guy and Roberta?" "THOSE ARE MY GRANDPARENTS!!!" I may have yelled right at her, but whatever I was excited!!! She told me that grandma and grandpa were the ones who introduced them TO THE CHURCH. So try to wrap your head around this... My grandparents introduced this woman's family to the church. So she's here in Eagle Mountain with a son on a mission in Costa Rica because of MY grandparents! My heart almost exploded all over their living room. I love my geandparents a whole lot, and to hear that I'm in the home of this family BECAUSE OF THEM... Boom. JUST BOOM. Also, she said that when grandma died, one of the kids wrote to her mom and told her (Brenda/Barbara Blake?) I imagine that was you dad... I don't know why, it just sounds like something you would do. Hah So yes. SO COOL.

This week was Stake Conference, and GUESS WHO I SAW. TONY FISH! Do you remember Elder Fish?! Well, whatever. I was standing by the translation area where the members of the branch were going to be sitting, and I was looking around. I look not even three rows away and see this dude who looks incredibly familiar. I'm pretty sure he looked at me at the same time and thought the same thing (except I'm not a dude, obvi), because I heard him say "What the..." as he turned back to me. SO I got to see him, his wife and baby. MY GRACIOUS, WHAT A CUTE BABY. For real. But how psycho crazy! He lives just up the road from us! Well, up the road and down a ways, but still. We walk through his neighborhood frequently! Whaaat?! So neat.

So. I've been thinking a lot about Elder John Telford. Just about how awesome he is, and about how I wouldn't likely be on a mission without him. And then meeting this family who came into the church because of grandma and grandpa, that was just icing on the cake. Sooo, I wrote him a letter. I wrote a letter to Elder Telford. I just love this person so much! But he's not alive, so I sent it to you, dad. Don't cry. No, whatever you're going to cry no matter what I say. Haha I just want to MEET HIM! But I can wait until the next life, I guess. Also, dad can you send me the story about Margret (I don't remember her name... I think it was Margret...) The one who had a problem with her hands and couldn't do anything, but she read the bible, turning the pages with her crippled hands. Then she read James 5:14-15 , saw the Elders, asked them for a blessing, then the next day her mom woke up to the sound of her making breakfast (as in... her hands were better.) I want the real story, because the story from my memory is... well, it just sounds silly. Hah I love that story though!

So hey, remember how one of the ZL's is from France? Well not the other ZL is from SWITZERLAND. Holy moley I'm going to die. I'm surrounded by awesome accents and a multitude of different languages!! Will somebody ask Bro. Mitchell where he served? This Elder is from northern Switzerland... I don't remember where exactly. But yes. So fun. Seriously. I can't handle all of these languages and accents. This combined with the winter is for real going to kill me to death! Bahaha

The Spanish branch (yes, it's just is Spanish speakers!) is coming along quite nicely :) In real life I prefer to have church early (like 9am early. You know!), but on the mission I prefer it later. I like it at 1, so I don't know how it'll be going to church at 3... When we have church at 1 we have all morning to do studies and eat breakfast and have regular morning schedule (for the most part), but now it's going to be weird... Hmmm... We're going to be visiting members and people when they're (hopefully) getting ready for church. Hahaha Awkward... And guess what! WE ALMOST MET OUR GOALS FOR LAST WEEK! I was so excited. We have to walk a lot for the rest of this month (because we got miles taken away), and I thought walking would hold us back since we won't be able to cover as much ground as quickly, but it's had the opposite effect! We're having more lessons, and BETTER lessons too. My Spanish is coming along, too. Now that Hna. Hernandez is MAKING me speak... hahaha So the work is moving, I'm moving (I love walking!), my Spanish is moving... This week was A LOT better than last week. Hopefully it keeps moving up! :)

But hey! Mom! On last Monday I said "I need to get a B-complex vitamin" because I was seriously always in a bad mood. Like I want to kill everyone (um, not really). Then I got your email. WIN! I'm going to get a multivitamin when I have more money (October). And mom, I think you're right about the headaches. I'm not used to all of this processed food, and especially the MSG's. Mmmm. MSG's... xP But it's ok. Taking the B vitamin is helping me not hate everyone, it's helping my nausea, AND I think it's helping my headaches too! Or maybe that's just in my head. But now I have another problem. SLEEP. I slept like NONE last night. Sad. I just lay there... then when I wake up I felt like I wasn't asleep at all. Then I yawn at everybody all day (rude!) So that's a problem... When I use lavender, it does help a little bit, but I don't want to depend on things to make me sleep. What will I do when I run out of lavender? Hahah I'm drinking loads of water, dad. Quit sweating over that. Hahaha I think I tend to adjust to climate changes smoothly. I've been here 2 months and am just NOW starting to get headaches, nausea, etc. I don't think it's because of the climate change. And I never ever get nose bleeds :) Luke might have a problem with that when he comes to the MTC. Is he going to be here for 6 weeks, or is he going to try to get into intermediate Spanish? I'M GOING TO DIE, knowing he's in Provo and I'm only like 30-45 minutes away. Baah! But I won't really die. I'm just being dramatic.

HOW ABOUT LUKE. YOU REPORT ONE MONTH FROM TODAY. AND TOMORROW IS MY 2 MONTH MARK. Say whaaaat?! Golly. Time is flying now. At first I thought it was taking forever, but after I finished my first transfer, it's flying by. We're already done with the first week in the new transfer?! My lanta...

I have pictures for you! Like always :) So let me get those to you...

Love you all a whole ton!

Hermana Willis :)

I slipped in mud... OH! I forgot to tell you! We flooded our apartment :) I threw these shoes in the washer and we left (a-walking) for our appointments. We came home 2 hours and 15 minutes later and the washing machine was still just running water. Of course our landlords were out of town, so we called their daughter and her husband (who live just down the street) and they came over. They pulled up the carpet and got out the shop-vac(?). They ended up staying with us cleaning up until 11:30pm. Schnikeys! And we had to wake up at 5 the next morning for the temple... Yaaayyyy :) But they're the best ever. They helped us clean everything up, AND saved the carpet. I would have just thrown a towel on it and hoped it dried. But they know how to deal with floods (basements flood often, I hear?) so they knew what to do! Yay! Barney family to the rescue! :)

These shoes... x(

Our carpet... That's what's up!

At the temple!

The night before Elder Ramos was transferred!

This is my eye... I don't know if you remember what it looks like, so here you go. I like this picture. It focused on my glasses... I'm in love with my glasses! :)

Last night we went to visit a less active family after our dinner appointment. They're from DR (I just love Dominicans... so much). So we came right as they were finishing cooking dinner. We were talking, and they eventually made us eat with them (remember, we had just come from dinner!) So we ate with them, (almost exploded). SO GOOD. Seriously, Dominican food is the bomb! But then while we were talking to the husband, the wife was scrambling around the house, filling a grocery bag with food. Bahaha I LOVE them. She sent us home with all of this food. She kept asking us "Do you like this? Do you like this?" And she'd just keep filling the bag. Bahahaha I love love love this family!

Hasta veeeerr!!

Email: 9/16/2013

Ok. SO yesterday was crazy psycho. We started off missing our ward meeting because the Elders told us we didn't need to come, then when we got there... EVERYBODY from two stakes was there. Actually, I think it was the three stake presidents. So, I was like "OH MY GOSH I'M SO EXCITED BECAUSE I KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON." Hna. Hernandez and I were supposed to speak, but we didn't. YOU KNOW WHY?!? Well, let me tell you. So. Church begins... ward business: half the ward is released from their callings. Stake business... LET'S GO: So. THE WARD WAS DIVIDED. So we're going to have a branch in City Center (my area), and soon (December/January) we'll have our own building (well, not to ourselves, but we won't have to share with 3 other wards). The Branch President was EXACTLY who I thought it would be, and I am seriously SO STOKED. I can't get over it. But all during sacrament meeting, I was crying like a freaking baby. I even had a handkerchief. I was wiping away most of my makeup, and my little nosey was crying too. Sorry, I don't know why I felt like adding that. Gross. But everybody was crying and I was crying, and oh my lanta we don't have church until THREE IN THE AFTERNOON... 3pm. That means we won't get out of church until 6pm. Aw heck. My lanta...

But yes, then after church we went to the Romero's for dinner. Jonathan Romero was OPENING HIS MISSION CALL after we ate, so we were all freaking out. Then, I looked at my watch and said "OH MY GOSH, MY BROTHER PROBABLY ALREADY OPENED HIS CALL!!!" So Cathy (cutest girl ever, I freaking love her to pieces) is like "CAN I CALL YOUR FAMILY PLEASE?" I thought it was totally and completely against the rules, so I was like "Heck no, you crazy!" But Elder Hernandez (former AP) said it was ok, so after a lot of prodding, they got me to give Cathy dad's number. So she called and told him to say hello (not ok. But she didn't know...) and dad told her where Luke is going and when. When they told me, I basically covered my face and started crying. Holy crap. ARGENTINA. So, that's crazy... I can't believe it. Are the Krasno's going to pick him up at the airport? Is he going to the Argentina MTC? SO MANY QUESTIONS!! I can't wait to hear him speak Castellano. One of my favorite families (the Trafferi's) are from Cordoba. Hna. Trafferi still has family there, so when we go to their house I'll ask her about them :) :) :) :) LUKE IS GOING TO BE THE CUTEST MISSIONARY EVER.

Oh yeah, and Jonathan ^ is going to the Kansas, Wichata mission, Spanish speaking. So stoked! He's going to be the coolest little missionary ever. He leaves Oct. 30th. SO EXCITING.

Oh, we had molé. Aaaaand it's the most delicious thing ever. Chocolate chicken? Yes please! For real, delish delish delish!

This week was... uneventful at best. Just slow. And I've been waking up every morning with splitting headaches, and feeling nauseous (just like before). Mosquitoes are ridiculous here, and my poor legs can't stand anymore scratching. So physically I'm miserable right now. I just don't feel good. And the work is really slow right now (but with the new branch, it should pick up). So I'm just bummed. And pooped. And tired. And irritated. I'm just not doing awesome right now. Yesterday was a great day, and I needed that. But we're back. Hopefully the work can pick up and I won't be distracted by my physical ailments. I'm going to buy garlic pills and take those endlessly so the mosquitoes don't love me so much. But my headaches and nausea... I don't know what to do about that. Pooooop.

I'm trying to think about more to tell you, buuuuut I'm at a loss. So I think I'll fill the void with pictures. I'm sorry in advanced for the annoying 50 separate emails containing only 2 pictures each... So so sorry...

P.s. I'm not getting transferred, but we just lost our car for awhile (because we have a humongous area and went over miles.) Soooo, I have no idea what we're going to do. Just a cherry on top of this phenomenal week, I guess :}

So anyway... pictures.

I love you all so so so much!

P.p.s. I got an email from the Romneys. I love them so much! I was so stoked to get that! They're just the best!


Hermana Willis

Waterballoon volleyball. Zone activity!

Soda rockets. SO COOL. This was the only picture I got that actually had the bottle flying.

Rugby! This was the second before Elder Stevenson ran straight into me. Oops. (But look at Elder Allal's face! Bahaha xD)

Elder Stevenson bought me a jump rope (long story). But he had to make it mission appropriate, obviously.

I love these kids!

Hna. Hernandez, Jonathan, and me. MINUTES BEFORE HE OPENED HIS CALL.

Good mornting!

Email: 9/9/2013

So I forgot my journal today, so you won't have a day-by-day email, so let's just go by my memory (craaaap)! :) Hahah

SO! Next week is going to be CRAAAZY. Next Sunday, I mean. Two reasons I cannot disclose... But one of those I can give a hint. The Stake President is coming to our really big (hint) Sacrament on Sunday and is making a big big announcement. UH, YEAH. I'm freaking excited! (I know what the announcement is, but I can't tell you yet ;)) Also, I'm speaking. I totally went in a different direction than I thought. One of the quotes in the thing you sent me (dad) from Russell M. Nelson caught my eye and has been on my mind since then. So, I'm going to talk about the BoM, it's importance, it's role in conversion, why we should share it, and the story about how President Benson said to RMN that he was worried that the members weren't utilizing the BoM nearly as much as they should, didn't appreciate it, and were under the "condemnation of God" (D&C 84:57). I'm basically going to call them all to repentance and demand that they share the gospel all the time. I thought I'd take the tender approach... Hahahaha

Also, HOW ABOUT I LOVE STAKE COORDINATION MEETINGS. I already explained how we coordinate with wards and stakes, yes? I hope so, because I don't feel like doing it right now. But yes... We missed one of our meetings, but the second meeting (we only cover 2 stakes) WAS AMAZING. There were EIGHT men there. Ward mission leaders, a high counselor, and the 1st counselor of the stake presidency. Normally, they're just like "Sorry Sisters, we don't have any referrals for you" or something like that always followed by "If there's anything you need from us, let us know." But this week? Nope. Totes opposite. "Sisters, I have two referrals for you!" "Sisters, when do you not have dinner? I want to have you over." "Sisters, I live two houses from a family you're trying to teach, let me know if you want me to help." "Sisters, let me get your number so I can call you when I have something for you." The high counselor, at the end of the meeting, said "I was thinking about the structure of a missionary's life. They make and try to meet goals. We want a set of missionaries for our own stake, so what do we have to do? Our one stake has to be producing at least 25 lessons for the Elders (the standard of excellence for the UPM is 30 lessons a week). Let's make a goal to provide the Elders with 25 lessons a week, just from our stake." So, they divided up the amount each ward needs to produce, and then the 1st counselor in the stake presidency turned to us and said "How many lessons do you want from us?" So I stammered a little but, then he asked "What is your goal for lessons in a week?" "Well, the standard of excellence is 30, but we're having trouble meeting our personal goal, which isn't quite over 10." So he said "10? Well, we want to get you up to the standard of excellence, but how about we start with providing you with 12 or 13 lessons a week? That'll be our stake's goal." MY HEART ALMOST EXPLODED. The members here are work SO hard to help us in the work. We're still having a hard time having lessons. We spend most of our days trying to contact less active/part member families. But I have been able to see the work begin to pick up here.

Thursday was ZTM, and after that we did exchanges. Hna. Hernandez went to Saratoga with Hna. Sablan, and Hna. Vandenbark came here with me. So, I was the "big kid" who knew the area. I was ok with that, and I got to practice my Spanish a lot more (I tend to let Hna. Hernandez take the wheel unless she makes me speak... x() The whole day was wonderful. We saw so many miracles that day! I finally started teaching on Facebook (MILAGRO! Most of the time, I just like and share positive uplifting things.) We FINALLY contacted a few families that we've been trying to contact THE ENTIRE TRANSFER, and that was also the day we had the wonderful stake correlation. Also, we had a bomb lesson with a less active that night too.

Oh! We went to a dinner with the Elders at a member's house (one of my favorite families!) and when we started desert (watermelon: and of course, chile. You just can't eat watermelon with Mexicans without chile!) they made me try it. So it was weird... I'll have to get used to it. Then they started talking about spicy... I like spicy, so when the Hno. pointed to the thing of peppers (chile de arbol) on the wall and told me to eat one, at first I didn't want to, but then I did. I was the first to eat it, and either I'm a beast and can handle anything or I got a weak pepper, because other than having a tickle in my throat and burning gums, it wasn't that bad. Then, Elder Hernandez had one. The kid was crying! Then Elder Ramos... I think he almost passed out. Then Hna. Hernandez... she cried for like 10 minutes. So either I'm more Hispanic than all of them, or I got a weak pepper. I like to think I'm more Hispanic than them :)

I've been thinking a lot about school, and other than your lovely angry... I mean smiling faces, I miss school the most. I just LOVE having class to go to, and homework, and tests... I need to remember this feeling when I go home. Hahah But I think about my favorite semester (Spring-2011) I was taking College Algebra and Biology w/ lab. I was working in the morning, and in the afternoons, and sometimes on the weekends or weekday nights I'd work my 2nd job. I would go from work to home for breakfast, I'd go for a run, go to school, go from school back to work, and either come home and do homework or go to my other job. THAT WAS MY FAVORITE SEMESTER. I was reading an old journal entry and I really miss being busy. I know I'll love it when we get busy around here, but we're not and I'm about to go crazy. I love this place, I just wish we had more to do. But yes. One of the things I miss the most is school.

Also, I TERRIBLY miss not being informed about world affairs and politics. Someone was talking about Syria, and I didn't have a clue what was going on. I know I don't really need to concern myself with that right now while I'm in the mission, but I couldn't help but think "If I was more informed on this subject, whose side would I be on?" I see FB posts about it, and I terribly want to know what's going on, but I don't want to waste that time set apart for teaching, to look up world affairs. But I miss that, too. And being alone. I love my companion (a lot), but I terribly miss being alone. I know that'll change in about 17 months though. Hah

Mom, I was literally rolling on the ground groaning "Oh my gooooooshhhhh I'm going to diee!" when I was reading your letter. And Luke?! EMAIL ME, ASAP. Tell me ALL. You can't leave a little "P.s." and NOT EXPLAIN YOURSELF. Now, do so. Explain yourself.

It's President Johnson's birthday tomorrow (landlord), and in the past I found out that he loves pecan pies. So guess what I'm buying at Walmart today! And guess who's getting my pecan pie! :) I'm so excited. I'm so sad that I'm going to miss Thanksgiving this year. Christmas is wonderful, and I love it to death, but our Thanksgiving tradition has a bigger place in my heart!

OH YEAH, so I got the package! I almost died with excitement when Pres. Johnson called and told me it was FINALLY HERE! EVERYTHING I asked for was in there! Except for my socks... I hate myself for being so needy, but I would absolutely adore you forever if someone could send me my Christmas socks (the ones I bought with Jess at Kmart) and the empty capsules.

BUT YEAH, ANYWAY... ENOUGH OF ME BEING A NEEDY BABY... Thank you so much for the box! I cannot wait to read dad's talk and the one Courtney sent me. Yaaay! And I LITERALLY almost cried when in Kaleb's letter he told me they got rid of the X-Box. I seriously almost cried. Like... tears. Real life tears. PROUD SISTER MOMENT! <3 Mom, your letter made me so so so happy. I love how the second I leave, everybody's lives gets all better. Sorry for bringing the wrath of Satan upon the family right before I left... That's awkward, I guess. I walk onto the plane and *whoosh* everybody's happy again. "Wow, I'm so glad she's finally gone!" a sibling says. Is that how it happened?? Hahah He sure didn't want me to go on a mission! So now he left you guys alone and he's trying to distract me with thoughts of school and politics. What a punk! Anyway... LET ME SEND YOU SOME PICTURES :)

P.s. When I fill up this thumb drive, I'm going to send it to you. (Did I already tell you this?) Then, you can see ALL of the pictures, and watch the videos that I cannot send! :)

So yes, I love you a whole whole whole whole bunch! Transfer calls are next Sunday (also a big deal). I'm pretty certain my companion and I are both staying, but I'll let you know what happens. I'll fill you in on all the drama of transfers next week! :)


Hermana Willis :)

P-day in the park :)

Elder Stevenson eating a cookie off of our car. We bought each other Oreos, but he stuck one on our car. So we made him eat it off. Sicko.

I drew the deathly hallows in the carpet during companionship study... I'm dedicated... Hahaha

Chile de arbol :)

Hernandez and I waiting for the rain to let up so we can go eat dinner. IT HAILED! I haven't seen rain like that (even in Florida) in awhile! :)

Hna. Hernadez... Don't ask.

Me and my favorite people in the WORLD :)