Sunday, October 5, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love this school. The bells play hymns.

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

There's snow on the mountains again!

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

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

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

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

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


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


Hermana Willis


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you all! :)

Hermana Willis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AND the perfect way to end an email!

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

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

Hermana Willis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hermana Willis


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hermana Willis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

...guess what happened...


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy birthday Ben and Jess! I LOFF YOU!

Hermana Willis

Aug 19th: Transfers - leaving edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hermana Willis

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

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

Aug 11th: Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord

LONGEST, WORST WEEK EVER. Glad that's over.

There are a few of my favorite lines from The Battle Hymn of the Republic. I love that song. Try to find them! :) (It's a challenge because my emails are so darn long!)

I've been in a bit of a rut this week, emotionally/mentally. We're Facebook missionaries, so were on Facebook almost daily. I generally try not to look at the things that can be distracting, but with everything going on with Russia and Israel (two desperate events, not meant to be mushed together in the same topic) I found myself so upset over it all the other day. I couldn't tear my eyes from the images of hopeless faces and distraught families. I couldn't stop myself from reading that a father said about his daughter (of probably 8 or 9 years) "She always dreams about the bombs." The looks on the faces of these people were so sincerely heavy and sorrowful. It was painful to look at. Of course, my mind ran away with itself and I concocted a million plans on how I could help these people, and essentially create world peace. (If you just thought of Miss Congeniality, PLEASE give me a high five when next we meet). My mind gets drowned in the unacceptable amount of bad there is in the world, and it can't get around it.

But my companion and I have been talking about the second coming a lot these past couple weeks. We do a family home evening with our branch mission leader and families we work with every Monday night, and there are a couple women who have a lot of questions about the second coming. Last week we started a lesson series. Last week we taught about the signs of the second coming. Today we're going to talk about the actual coming of the Savior. When I found myself overwhelmed with the negativity in the world, I remembered that just before the Savior comes, everything is going to get really really bad. It wasn't really a comforting thought, but it did ease my mind a bit. I don't know about you, but I'm ready for it. I would love for this nonsense to be put to an end and live under the rule of the Prince of Peace. I prefer Him to any ruler; whether they be black or white, male or female, Mormon or Muslim. I'd much prefer the Savior.

He knows what He's doing, I guess. I still wish there was something I could do to help console the wounded spirits or repair the broken hearts. All I can do right now is pray. That'll have to do, for now.

"As he died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on."

Now on a lighter note... My Heavenly Father loves me so so SO much. Every single time I have a bad day, He makes it rain. My companion told me "I feel like you control the weather... Stop it!" It was a big big Florida like storm last Monday. Crazy lightnings and everything. I rode my bike through huge puddles and got soaking wet on the way home. It was such a tender mercy.

Tuesday though... I couldn't sleep in past 4am. I arose feeling mega nauseated, with a headache. Later in the afternoon someone we're working with had a breakdown and wouldn't talk to us, and almost smoked. Dinner was awkward (with a super Mormon family I thought only existed in Mormon movies). We did have a good short lesson, then we went to do piano lessons with one of the returning members... At 9pm, we walked out of the chapel to get on our bikes and go home, but that wasn't an option. Some hooligan had thieved our bicycles. They were both gone. So we went home and talked to our landlady who said to report it to the police. While we waited for the officer to show up my companion and I were eating ice cream... Then he came and we gave him all the information we could about our bikes. He said he felt confident that they would find them, but we're kind of impatient.

Next day, companion and I felt so miserable, we made arepas for breakfast, with pepper jack cheese. There still are some good things in this world.

So we walked for two days, miserably. Then I asked one of the members to pick up Ana Morla's bike from AF, and my companion is borrowing the neighbor's bike. We're on bikes again, but my companion is still anxiously awaiting hers. Her bike was nice :(

Random story time: There were people speaking a Scandinavian language in Deseret Book. I thought it was Swedish, just because that's the only Scandinavian language I'm somewhat familiar with. It. Was. So. Cool. I need more languages in my life!

We're going to the Jordan River temple on Wednesday night. I'm so excited! We'll be doing a session in Spanish again, and I can't wait! :) Doing it in Spanish is always more fun.

Sooo... When coming home time rolls around, I'm going to need to save a few dollars fast, because I need to be back by APRIL. A returning member we're working with is going through the temple in April and she asked me to be her escort! So OF COURSE I said yes. I just need to find work for two months sufficient to save enough to fly back... Haha Temp agencies will be my friends, I guess!

"Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer him; be jubilant my feet!"

Well, I think that's all I've got to report for this week. Next week is transfers, so we'll see what happens. I've been here for 6 months, so I may leave, but you never know! You'll all find out next week when I do.

I love you all a bunch, and I hope you're all safe and well. Be good, and don't do anything I wouldn't do! :)

P.s. Thanks for those pictures dad! They're great!

Hermana Willis

Aug 4th: Happy August!

Good morning beauties!

So last Tuesday we went to a sister's house because... well, long story. So while we cannot watch children like babysitting, I DID get to read to these two adorable kids while the mom was doing things around the house. I was reading Book of Mormon stories in Spanish to them. We read TEN chapters. It was awesome. It made me want kids... But THEN...

Have you ever heard people say babysitting/nannying is the best birth control? Yeah, it's only true for some people. For me, I just want kids even more after spending time with them. So like taking care of children is a good birth control, serving a mission is great marriage control as well! For some people. Let me explain...

I realized that while the mission is surely the very best marriage preparation like they all say, for some of us it's also a great marriage prevention! Remember me? "I'm going to get married and have a billion babies!" Sound familiar? Well people change on the mission, right? Hahaha I still want a billion babies, but living with another person is HARD, and I'm frequently reminded that I've always wanted to live alone with a dog for a time. This isn't anything against my companion or past companions, it's just dang hard living with a person (any person) you didn't grow up with. I could live with my siblings forever and ever, but living with someone ELSE? That's crazy talk. I've never been so sure I don't want to get married in my life (mostly because I've never not wanted to get married). And although I don't want to, I know I'm going to have to. I have to in order to have a billion kids! It's an important prerequisite.

So yeah... You don't have to worry about me rushing into anything serious when I get home. I'm going to be in a very committed relationship with my education. School is my boyfriend.

Well ANYWAY, that same day (Tuesday) earlier we had sent in our supplies list, and I told my companion to throw a French Book of Mormon in there. I don't know why. In my mind I was just going to go into my collection of BoMs to read, but Heavenly Father had other plans... This will be important later on in my email.

So still Tuesday. We were riding our bikes down the street and this car honked at us and turned around to talk to us. It was a young couple and they had just moved in like a week or two ago, and they wanted to give us their information and offer their assistance in whatever way they could. So I was thinking "Ok, they're nice... But we get this practically everyday. Everybody wants to help the missionaries. You know how you can help us? ALL we want is for you to find someone for us to teach. That's how you can help us." So we talk to them a little, and it turns out the wife served in Russia, and the husband is FROM Russia! So I freaked out inside and decided I HAD to say something in Russian before they drove off. So my companion and I were embarrassingly matching, and the wife noticed. She said "You two are so cute with your matching clothes..." So my companion was like "aw thanks, it was an accident" and I just looked at them and said "Spaciba..." as they were driving away. I couldn't see the Russian man's response, but the wife freaked out and yelled something in Russian. I think it might have been something like "NO WAY!" by her voice and facial expression. HELLO, they're so cool. Best thing in the world.

Wednesday night after dinner we were riding our bikes towards a lesson we were thinking to have, but we rode right through the church parking lot where we were supposed to go for a ward blitz that we forgot about. #divineintervention So we split up, and I went with an older sister. She was really quiet and it was almost uncomfortable how inexpressive she was. I thought she was mad and didn't want to be there. So we went and contacted some less active families and came back. It turns out everybody else hadn't finished yet and were running way behind, so we sat there and talked. We talked for about an 1 1/2 hours. In that time I learned she was a recent widow (which explains the quietness) and travels with her daughter. We talked about travel, languages, family, the gospel, school, BYU specifically, and everything else under the sun. She started to open up and she SMILED, and she LAUGHED. I was so excited to see expressions! I could tell it had been awhile since she had pleasant company. She even told me "You have a nice way about you."

She told me about a trip to France she has planned with her daughter for next year and how she wishes she remembered French from high school. I asked her if she wanted a BoM in French, and she started making excuses as to why she wouldn't be able to read it. I told her about my Spanish learning experience with it, and she opened up to the idea. She was hesitant still, but we kept talking about it. I told her she could also listen to conference talks in French to improve her accent, and to sharpen her ear. She said she might do that too. When my companion finally got back I had told this sister that I had ordered a French Book of Mormon not knowing why, and if she wanted it it was hers. She said she'd like that. She was about to drive away, but she rolled down her window and said "So when you get the Book of Mormon in French, give me a call. And I hope you get into BYU. If you do and you need a place to live, you can come stay with me, I've got a nice guest room." WHOA. I felt like Heavenly Father put me with her because He knew she needed a little boost. She is such a cool lady, and I'm so glad I got to get to know her instead of just having the "grumpy lady" impression. And now I have a friend AND a potential place to stay! Hahaha It was a really cool experience.

So my very favorite returning member has been asking me to give her piano lessons. I always told her I could, but she said it was up to me when. So she kept asking me and I kept saying it was up to her, so we never got ANYWHERE. So she said to me "Seriously Sister Willis. Are you ever going to give me piano lessons?" So I was like "Ok, she's serious about this." And we set two appointments to start. We went to the chapel and I taught her some basic beginner theory and we started with just the right hand on a really easy song in the simplified hymns. She picked it up really fast, I was really impressed! I gave her some theory homework (since she can't practice too much because she has no piano). I had a million flashbacks about when I was so grumpy at piano lessons because I didn't understand the importance of theory, and I thought it was hard. THANK YOU Sister Shirley, for making me learn it. I really appreciate it now :)
P.s. Piano lessons are so fun. I'm totally doing this later on in life.

So this same sister was looking into getting a used piano, and I told her it might need to be tuned. She asked me if I knew how, and I thought to myself "Is it really that hard if you have the tools?" Sooo... There's a TINY chance that I might be learning how to tune a piano... I'm a Jack of all trades!

She and her husband just got an apartment this weekend, but it was GROSS. The person before didn't clean it when they left and wasn't very clean while living there, so we came over and NUKED the place. It's so cute now. We bought them a picture of the SLC temple (because that's where they're going to be sealed next June. SO EXCITED!) and gave them a family proclamation and they already have them up on the walls. GAH, so cute.

MIRACLE: We had dropped an investigator that we started teaching when I first got here. We assigned the branch missionaries to keep annoying him/inviting him to things. GUESS WHAT. He came to sacrament meeting with his son FOR THE FIRST TIME. I can't tell you how many times we knocked on his door at 8:45 and he was barely waking up, and he told us "Yeah, I'll be there in 20 minutes" and never showed. There was even a day when THREE people passed by his house and he still didn't come. THIS is a testimony to you all that this kind of work really is work for the members. An invitation coming from missionaries can just seem annoying. When it comes from a friend, IT WORKS. BE MEMBER MISSIONARIES. It's the ONLYway to do it.

Every time someone asks me about how we found Maria's family (the family who just got baptized) I get to tell them about Hermana Salvador. She was persistent in her invitations to Maria, and after months of seeing no fruit but staying persistent, Maria finally accepted an invitation to an activity. From there, she accepted us missionaries, then later her whole familyaccepted baptism! People always say "Oh yeah, that's the best way to do it!" when I tell them that story. I always respond "No, it's the ONLY way to do it." It will not work if the members aren't a big part of it. It's not members work, and it's not missionaries' work. It's The Lord's work, and at baptism we took upon ourselves His name, making this also OUR work. SO DO IT. You signed up for it.

Anyway, Pathways (BYU-Idaho's program) is being introduced to Orem, and we had a big presentation on it for the third hour of church. One of the younger recently reactivated members is going to do it! I'm so excited for him. He had told me once about how he hated school and didn't have plans for college, but this program is so cool! It's perfect for those who need to ease into it, and wouldn't be able to jump in with both feet. INSPIRED PROGRAM!

Anyway, I'm going to stop BLABBING and do some grocery shopping. And I just realized that when I send pictures with the iPad, the captions don't come with them, so I'm going to try doing it a little differently. We'll see. Haha

I LOVE YOU! Be good lovelies!

Hermana Willis

Monday, July 28, 2014

Update: Pictures!

Just a little conglomeration of all the pictures Elisa has sent over the past couple weeks. Some had captions and some didn't, so just enjoy the visual journey through Hermana Willis' current adventures :)


Almost AUGUST?!

Holy cow, this summer is flying by... pero FAST.

DEAR MOM, I can't wait to share a car with you when I get home... ;) hehehe

And Tanner is so so so cute. I just miss him so much!

Spiritual story time! Friday I had a big "everything makes sense" moment. It all started with thinking about my family...

I've been thinking about how much I really really really love being with my family. I sometimes get sad at the thought of our frequent family interactions being "over." I won't be able to go to the movies with all 7 of my siblings and my parents, probably ever again. Or dinner, when we all guess how much the check is. Or when we put salt in Adam's root beer, or when mom throws water on Ben. I won't be able to draw Jack-o-lanterns and vote on facial features with my whole family. My whole entire family might never go camping together again. Who's going to help mom eat all of her Peterbrooke's chocolate on Valentines day and her anniversary? What about Disney World trips? We'll always be siblings, but we won't be fighting over TV remotes, bathrooms, food, etc. We'll always be in contact and see each other, but it's not the same when there's even one missing. You take any one of my siblings out of the equation and it's not the same. I need them all!

I know my parents will ALWAYS be my parents, but it still makes me sad knowing that I have to be a big kid now, and I won't always be able to go into dad's room where he's fiercely typing away on his computer to interrupt and ask him about something, or watch Grimm or some other tv show we both love together. Or I won't always be able go into one of the living rooms and find mom surrounded with books and papers and talk to her. I may never again be able to go into mom's room where she is yet again surrounded with books and talk to her on her bed until I fall asleep, like I've always loved doing. Or I can't go to the granary with her like I did as a kid.

Although it makes me sad knowing my family is growing apart, I heard this quote about how the greatest joy we can have is joy in our posterity. That's been sticking to my little brain a lot. Does that mean I'm going to love my own family as much as I love my parents and siblings? I would ask someone who now has children, but nobody's childhood, upbringing, or siblings compared to the ones my parents provided me. Will I receive even greater joy from bearing and raising my own children than I have from living and growing up with my parents' family? It's hard to wrap my mind around, since I can't imagine greater joy than my family that I have now. Heavenly Father really knew what he was doing when he made families a part of the plan of salvation.

Siblings, will all of you please commit to be in the temple with me when I'm married? PLEASE?!

This love I feel for my siblings and parents seems too big for my body... I can't describe it, because there are no words sufficient. However, it isn't even slightly comparable to the love the Savior had and has for us. He literally suffered and died so that we would be able to come back to him. I imagine not having my family around in this life, and what I would do to keep them. That's probably sort of what Jesus Christ felt when He said "Here am I, send Me." I wonder if He felt this desperation, wanting so badly to do it so that He could be assured that we would all have the option of coming home. Sometimes I feel that way when I thinking of seeing my whole family in the temple. A sense of desperation. I know I can't make anybody do anything, but I want to do all I can to make it possible.

I feel like one of the things I've gained on the mission is a small small taste of how Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ feel for us. A desperation to be together. Can you imagine how Heavenly Father feels when one of His children decides the things of this world (that don't last) are more important than coming back home? Can you imagine how Christ feels when someone thinks they can't come back, even after all He did? So. Much. Desperation. Holy cow.

My companion was asleep when I was writing this. She woke up and I was still typing. She asked what I was writing about, and I told her it was just something I remembered. I said it, then thought about what I said. All of these things and feelings I was REMEMBERING. The veil is only as thick as you make it, people.

Now on a worldly note... Did you know we're a classy family?! I never thought we were particularly classy... I always knew my mom was raised by the classiest woman on earth so she's classy, and my dad the corporate business man obviously has class, but I never thought as a whole we were a classy family. Well, last week we ate with a family, and when we left I said to my companion "I just felt like I was with my family. They're so hilarious. I love that family so much..." Blah blah blah. She said something about how they're really nice but they're too classy for her. REALLY? Wow. They really are almost identical to my family, with the outrageous witticisms and sarcasm and everything. WE'RE CLASSY, YOU GUYS! :D

Family rant over. Sorry about that, I just really really love you! :)

Saturday night we called an investigator because she was moving in with a member, but she said she didn't move in yet because she's sick. So we ran around collecting things to bring to her, and nearly two hours later we brought her some things (all natural, baby!). When we got there she had her Book of Mormon next to her. I asked her if she'd been reading it, and she said she had been when we called. WHOA. Mira, this woman has not kept any commitments yet, UNTIL NOW! Woot woot!

We had 20 lesson this week, which is the highest we've had since we've been companions. We were both really excited to see some improvement! :)

I made arepas last Monday, and tostones also this week. I'm going to love making random Hispanic countries' food for my family one day. But I'll test them all on you when I get back :)

So that race? Yeah nobody had a clue what was going on... So we were supposed to be doing service by helping direct human traffic (oooo, that sounds bad), and see told to wear pros clothes. So we rebelled a little bit (just kidding, we were given permiso) and we walked the race in pros clothes with my favorite Lilly and her mom and daughter. It was awesome. We all set a goal to run it next year. Barz! (Ben, do you know what "Barz" is?)

PRESIDENT INTERVIEWS TOMORROW! Shoot, this is the highlight of my LIFE. I love my mission president so much. He's a boss.

I love you all a whole whole bunch!

Hermana Willis

Happy 1 Year! :)

So I reach one year this week. PSYCHO. I probably won't post something cute on Facebook, because I'll likely forget. So here's me recognizing it publicly. Hahah I'm doing the temple to temple 5k on my year mark.
SO stoked! :)


Last Monday we went to Rancho Market. It's so MEXICAN. I love it.

We went to Natural Apothecary and I fell in love with it. So cool!

Also, Heavenly Father is SO cool. I was feeling like poooo, and then we got a call from the ZL's and THEY WERE ON EXCHANGES! So Elder Trusty was in the area, who is my BRO. So I promptly asked for a
blessing. Y-E-S. So I got a bossly blessing and felt better. Score.

We got dumped this week... but we fixed it! There's a returning member who decided it was just too hard, and her family was not doing ok with her returning to the church, so she said thanks for all we've done to
help her, but she's going to stop. Then we went and ran errands with her, all the while preaching to her. Then we ate lunch with her and convinced her she was wrong, and now she's progressing again :)

So my companion was once companions with my MTC companion. Hna Lopez taught her how to make pupusas. Sooooo my companion taught me how to make pupusas! The first time we did them with the family who got baptized. Then a few days later we made them for an investigator who hadn't made dinner. We invited the recent convert, and she was a PERFECT fellowshipper. It was awesome. They both opened right up and she bore all kinds of testimony. They even had a connection: the recent convert worked with the investigator's son (who is in prison). Anyway, they bonded. It was awesome. Later, I'm going to make arepas. Now I miss my favorite Morevia from SF, and Emma Abzueta. LES QUIERO!

Aubergine & Company: GO! It's an adorable restaurant across the street from our area and it's delicious. Mediterranean salad bar, with a juice bar, AND an acai berry bowl bar. Please, if you're ever in Orem,
go there.


Anyway, I love you all!!

Hermana Willis

Happy birthday/anniversary!


Y'all are the best parents and Luke I've ever had :) :)

Dad, thank you for calling me a skinny Spanish/Russian/confused missionary. I appreciate that. It's just... With the way I was standing and turned and the angle and everything, my torso looks elongated... I appreciate the compliment though! :)
Speaking of Russian... We're going to the next World Cup in Russia, right?! Hahaha Sorry... Serving with Hispanics I always hear the most up to date information on the World Cup.

We went and did service two mornings in a row for a festival at as Scera Park. It was a colonial thing, and mom would have died. So cute!

Then I was so tired from working in the sun, I fell asleep in a lesson or two. THAT HAPPENS WAY TOO OFTEN. Can someone tell me how to not be so tired in lessons? Because falling asleep in lessons is really not an ok thing to do. And studies, and sacrament meeting, and principios, and relief society... I have a problem.

Once, a kid lied to us so my companion told him liars go to hell. His friend told us we can't say that word because we're teachers at heaven school. So now we substitute it with telestial kingdom. The other day I was talking about something and I said "Aaaalllll of the telestial kingdom broke loose!" Man, it was funny.

The parade was so much fun! The entire mission was there, and I got to see my very favorite missionaries. Such a beautiful reunion. Hahah

Saw Adam and Morganne, and gave them hugs :) Well, I saw them once but they were too far back in the crowd to see me. Then they ran to another side and I gave them hugs. THEN Adam ran up to me about a block down and took pictures. Hahaha So technically, I saw them three times.

Saw Jeff Williams and ALMOST gave him a hug. Hahaha And I realized I was so excited to see Jeff and meet Kara, I DIDNT FLIP OUT OVER THE KIDS! Ay, mi madre... Well, I had almost been lost by the mission, and I didn't want that to happen. Hahah Did he send you the picture? I want to see it!

So on Saturday I went back to Eagle Mountain. SO MUCH NOSTALGIA! We had dinner with the Johnsons, then went to the baptism of the man I technically never got to teach. I got to see all of the members, and although I was a newbie missionary and it was a year ago, they all still remembered me :) I sang a so with Hna Córdova (Where love is, there god is also<---in Spanish). We got to see one of the families I love. Do you remember when I was preparing Thasgiving dinner with a family and the man called dad, and we also found out the son served with Adam? Them. I love them. We surprised them. It was awesome :)
My temporary companion was Hna Córdova, and while we were with is family, we realized both of our companions had our areas phones. We were off the charts... So crazy. Hahaha

The baptism was a man I'd only met once was one of the most spiritual baptisms I've ever been at. I can't count the amount of times we went and knocked on his door. Now he's baptized! So cool.

Anyway, I've felt pretty sick this week. Not too well... And this heat is killing me. 6 more weeks of this! Woot woot! Oh, p.s. That's transfer call information! I'm staying here, going on 6 months, and I Hna Wright is staying with me.

So I love you all, and hope you had a lovely Independence Day, and anniversary, and birthdays! Enjoy this most eventful month! :D

Hermana Willis

Happy Fourth of July!!!

HAPPY AMERICA DAY THIS WEEK! We will be walking in the parade on the 4th, but we can't stop and greet people, so when I see you Adam and Morganne, I'll just wave like a psycho :) Then that night we're watching Frozen. YESSS!! Man, I'm so stoked. 😃 Hahaha

A BABY?!? Holy mother of pearl, I'm going to die. Looks like I'm not leaving FL until after a baby is born! I VOTE ANOTHER BOY! Let's name him Hercules!! Jess, thank you for the BEST homecoming gift ever. Due date please? I'm going to buy him a BYU onesie :)

Also... HAPPY BIRTHDAY TANNER! Somebody put a birthday video of him on Facebook, prease :) I MISS THAT CHEEKY LITTLE RASCAL!! Sooooooo much.

My mission is so international. There's English and Spanish missionaries obviously. Then there's a Portuguese companionship, two Asian companionships (not necessarily Asian missionaries they're just assigned to that work for awhile), and a Poly companionship (again, it's not the missionaries themselves who are Poly, it's the assignment). This is also one of the most versatile missions in the world. We've got people from all over the world! It makes me so full of happy feelings, knowing there are so many languages in my mission.

Whenever there's someone around me who speaks a language I don't speak, I have to learn the basics. I now know a few basic phrases in Swedish. Hahaha When I was serving around the German elders, I was polishing up my German. When Elder Sellers was here (he went to Brazil) I was practicing Portuguese words and the accent. Even when I was with Hna Abellan, I was learning some Catalan words. SO FUN! #learnallthelanguages

Luke, keep an eye out for an Elder Parker Bingham. He's coming to you, and you're going to train him! We had dinner with his family about 2 weeks ago.

Not quite a year in and I'm trashing some of my clothes... :( Looks like a trip to Old Navy for some tshirts! -_- (Code for "I hate spending money.") hahaha

Time flies by when you're a missionary whether your having fun or not. But chances are, you are having fun. This was the fastest week of my whole life. The mission is literally a blasted roller coaster. Fast and crazy. I go through just about every emotional extreme at least twice a day. If I have a mood disorder after the mission, I'm sorry. 😔 Hahaha

I want to be a mom: birthday party edition. We were helping our ex-WML's wife prepare for her daughter's birthday party. We've been helping her for a long time... But it's so worth it! I just think parties are so fun. Preparing food, creating decorations, etc. I love it. I miss doing that. I love preparing for parties and decorating for events. I would love to have a baby shower sometime soon. Ahem. Jess, will you wait for me to come home to do the baby shower? I get home the first week of February. Or can we do another baby shower when I get back? I just don't want to miss out!! Hahahaha

So we got one referral, but we ended up teaching the whole family, and we now have 4 new investigators. One of them is ready for baptism and is half way done with the BoM (they've all had missionaries before), one has serious arthritis and anemia and sometimes can't move, one doesn't want to be ready for baptism yet, and one was just confirmed catholic the day we met her. The first lesson with them was the most powerful lesson I've ever been in though. It was insane how powerful the spirit was. They shared some amazing experiences with us, and everything in their lives is directing them towards baptism and on, they just have to recognize that. Holy smokes.

ADAM, you little nugget! I can't believe you signed up to feed the elders! I was so jealous. And the best part is, that was the night we didn't have a dinner. Hahah If the elders had told me, I probably would have made them ask if y'all could feed us too. I probably would have been reprimanded later though, so never mind. Hahaha They said you still haven't gotten silly yet. STOP HOLDING BACK, YOU BUCKET HEAD! Sing them fruit cocktail! Hahaha

Anyway, last night my companion and I left the phone downstairs when we were doing numbers, so the DL and ZL's were calling like crazy. Right when we got down stairs the other elders (as seen in the picture with Adam) we're calling. I answered and they told me they were about to come and check on us because nobody could get in contact with us. OOPS!! Hahah I felt so bad. We fixed it all though. Not leaving this phone anywhere! Haha

Anywho, I hope you all have a lovely Fourth of July week! God bless America! 😀🇺🇸

I love youuuu!!

Hermana Willis

"Teach him to deny himself. Teach him to say no." Robert E Lee

Just a fun little quote for you. I liked it. You're welcome :)

Dear dad, for Father's Day (well on Monday night) I ate a super spicy tamale for you. And guess what! I ate it all with no problem, while these Mexican men all around me were CRYING. Enserio. So we're definitely related, you and I. Hahaha

OH, let me tell you the worst moment of this week (exaggeration). We were having a rough afternoon and we rode our bikes by an investigators house. While we were riding by, we saw the J-Dubs leaving their house. But it's ok, we were about to drop him anyway.

Remember how Utah is 60x more bipolar than Florida? Cold hard RAIN, and degrees in the 40's IN JUNE. Go home, Utah. You're drunk. Also, please live the word of wisdom from now on.

Being a mom: food poisoning edition. Wednesday afternoon, we got a text from the elders telling us they wouldn't be able to come to our meeting with the stake president because they both got food poisoning (the elders who Adam knows who live just a few houses down). I went to my next door neighbor who is also a witch doctor and then my companion and I brought over a grocery bag full of stuff. I felt like a momma of a couple teenage boys. It as awesome. "Take the charcoal capsules. Try eating a LITTLE bit of applesauce or a banana. Sip on that Gatorade I gave you. SLOWLY. Rub the essential oil on your stomach in a clockwise motion. Do you want some peppermint tea? Have you been eating? Are you hydrated? KEEP DRINKING WATER. I don't care if you've been throwing it up for 15 hours. Is there a water bottle right next to you? Are you drinking it? Stop talking, take a sip." Hahahahaha I turned into the crazy protective mother over these boys. Poor kids. Somebody's gotta do it though! And I'm more than glad to. I love being a momma! :) Hahaha

STORY TIME: Once upon a time my mission president called during dinner and I flipped out when I saw it after we left. He left a message about how there was a letter, something about Sister Willis working with Henry. I still was confused, and was anxiously waiting his call back. We were in a meeting with our stake president when he called back. I wasn't about to miss it, so I excused myself and answered). President McCune told me he'd received a letter from someone in a stake in Orem. It was from the brother who introduced Henry to us. He was in almost every lesson, and really loves Henry. So he wrote a letter about how highly he thought about Hna Abellan and myself. He said "we are confident in the qualification, testimonies, and training of these two young sisters" and a bunch of stuff like "thanks for keeping such amazing missionaries like these sisters." I had been having the worst day in the world, and that was a cherry on a newly encountered ice cream sundae after walking with a rain cloud over your head for a day. I was crying like a little baby. Thanks Hno Luke for the letter, and thank you President for sharing it with me!

I was feeling really unwell Saturday afternoon, so I watched some of my favorite I'm a Mormon videos of international people. Some of my favorites are the Parisian linguist mother of 7 (my #1 favorite), the Italian bee-keeper and architect who never stops smiling, the Persian Britt who teaches her children Farsi, the blind French-Swiss chocolate hunter (this one is one of my very favorites. He's so funny!), the Russian musician, the trilingual (English, Spanish, French) family, the Austrian concert manager, the Frenchman/opera singer, and the American mother who supports 27 orphanages in Bulgaria. Go take a look :) (Oh, and there's this one too!

When I was watching the one about the opera singer, I closed my eyes and pretended I was watching an opera. I'd never felt so relaxed in the mission. I never realized how much I loved opera. IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL! Go and take a listen for me! :)

Saturday after watching the I'm a Mormon videos, I was sitting getting our supplies list ready for our DL, and got a phone call from Hna Córdova. So she got a call from the Eagle Mountain sisters. She said that someone I'd spent 4 1/2 months trying to teach IS GETTING BAPTIZED! He asked the sisters in EM to invite all of the missionaries that ever tried to contact him. Even my ZL who was trained there ALMOST TWO YEARS AGO is invited. He said thank you to all the missionaries who never gave up on him. BOOYAH! That's me!! :)

So we have 3 investigators with a baptism date (July 5th). During sacrament meeting when they announced the closing hymn, Maria the mother leaned over to my companion and said "Anoche estabamos leyendo sobre la barra de hierro." WHAT! She's amazing. She went from just listening to us because she enjoyed the company to reading the Book of Mormon and praying with her two sons every night. I love this family so much. They're amazing.

So July 5th is going to be a day filled with baptisms! We're hoping another investigator will accept to be baptized that same day. I could potentially see 5 baptisms that day. SO MUCH LOVE!

So now that I've ended the email on a spiritual note, let me ruin that. So on July 4th, Sister McCune always approves a movie for us to watch (we can't be out because some elders will surely play with fireworks, which we cannot do). DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE MOVIE IS? Let me tell you... WE ARE WATCHING FROZEN. Holy cow, I'm so stoked. Anyway, I just wanted to leave you on that note. ;)

I LOVE YOU ALL! Please be good, and don't lose Jacob's puppy ever again! :)