Sunday, September 25, 2016


"There is no middle ground. You either believe and know it's true, or you don't. 
I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to share this life changing message with others and take part 
in the battle for the literal salvation of souls." 

Elder Shakespear and Elder Willes

Elders Elton and Willes on the temple walk. Elder Elton is going to Scotland and Ireland speaking Mandarin.

Hey everyone! This week has been super busy, but overall a great week. I will start off with some sad news. Yes, a choir of missionaries from the MTC are going to sing at one of the sessions of General Conference in a couple of weeks. No, I wasn't chosen to be in the choir. Super sad. I wanted to go so bad. Its all good though. Life goes on. :) I am super happy and grateful that I still get to watch Conference and hear from modern day prophets and apostles! 

This week has been super busy. My district, my class, got new teachers - Brother Wadsworth, Brother Taylor, and Ou Lao Shi (haha I don't know his English name). They are all awesome. They all have been a blessing and have taught me a TON. Because we have new teachers, these three teachers are all our new "investigators." It has been really fun teaching these new investigators and developing my teaching skills. [Mom note: Brother Wadsworth is actually a distant relative of Nate's and also served in the same mission as Nate's older brother Will.]

We had our first lesson with Ou Di Xiong. It was great. I love it when I can feel the Spirit in a lesson. It is such an awesome feeling. Friday mornings we always do service which is awesome. We also had our first lesson with Tan Di Xiong (Brother Taylor) and that was a pretty good lesson. He asks pretty difficult questions at times, but it is good practice for me. Our first lesson with Wei Kai (Brother Wadsworth) was a good one. We invited him to pray about Jesus Christ, God, and Christ's Atonement and he said that he would! These experiences are preparing me for those in Riverside. I know it.

This week, on Saturday, I counted my one month mark as a missionary!!!!! Holy cow I couldn't believe it. Time is really strange in the MTC. It's hard to explain but I am happy to say that I have completed my first month :) We taught about the Book of Mormon and the importance of it at TRC. The Book of Mormon is ESSENTIAL to one's conversion, and I am grateful I get to share that. :) TRC is the best. 

Saturday night, right as we were headed back to our residence, me, Elder Cline, and Elder Shakespear heard the BYU football game. "WELCOME BACK TO THE FIELD YOUR BYU COUGARS." It was kinda sad and weird. But Sunday was awesome, as always. The talks and lessons were focused on repentance. I made it another Sunday without being asked to speak in sacrament meeting! I am sure I will speak soon though. :) Sunday night's devotional was given by President and Sister Mehrs. They are a district president in the MTC and gave really great messages. I got to sit by my good pal Elder Jordan Lewis, a friend from home.

Elder Lewis and Elder Willes

A group of missionaries in the MTC all from Woods Cross High School

Monday was another day full of teaching, studying, and more class. I love the time we get to have for personal study. I learn so much from the scriptures and PMG, conference talks and mormon messages. Tuesday night's devotional was by President L. Whitney Clayton, who is in the Presidency of the Seventy, and his wife. It was awesome. He talked about how there is no middle ground. You either believe and know it's true, or you don't. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to share this life changing message with others and take part in the battle for the literal salvation of souls. 

We got to go to the temple this morning. I always love that :)

Thank you so much everyone for all of your love and support. Miss you all hope you have a great week!

Elder Willes

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Week 4

"It was a night I won't forget. I'm not gonna lie, when we were singing, I literally couldn't stop crying. 
I felt the Spirit so strong and I felt so grateful that I was able to have that opportunity to 
witness something so cool and powerful." 

"This might be the most legendary picture I've taken since I got here. I love my Chinese friends so much."

This has been an awesome week. Another week down here. I have almost been on my mission for a month and I am 1/2 way through my time at the MTC :) Yes mom, I am still sick. It is hard for me to get better because I don't sleep well here.

Elder Willes and Elder Shakespear

Thursday we had yet another lesson with Li Feng. Elder Shakespear and I have been teaching a ton lately. It is very good practice and I can't wait to actually teach someone in Riverside :) We taught Li Feng about The Restoration and the Book of Mormon. At the end of the lesson, we asked him to read from the introduction of The Book of Mormon and pray about it. Li Feng has been progressing very well, and he tends to follow through on almost all of the commitment invitations we give him which is great!  [*MOM NOTE: When Nathan teaches investigators at the MTC, generally those are his teachers posing as investigators.]

After our service on Friday morning we had a lesson with Zheng Xian Sheng. Elder Shakespear and I also taught Zheng Xian Sheng about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon but he had many more questions about the doctrine. We were able to follow the Spirit and answer his questions and it was so cool :) When we came out of the lesson, we were so happy because we could communicate, for the most part, and understand what he was saying. I am so thankful for how blessed I  have been in learning the Chinese language. Friday night we had another lesson with Li Feng, and we taught him about the Plan of Salvation. This lesson was kind of difficult, because there are so many words to know for the Plan of Salvation. We did the best we could, and we decided to take more time teaching this great stuff to Li Feng on Saturday, so he can understand it better. 

Saturday was such a memorable day. In the morning we had TRC and we had a lesson with a lady from China. We taught her about prayer and the importance of prayer in our everyday lives, because it allows us to communicate with Heavenly Father. It was so awesome! For our 2nd lesson at TRC, there weren't enough "recent converts" to be taught so they asked Elder Shakespear and I to be taught as "recent converts" for other missionaries to teach! That was fun. 

That night was so special. Elder Shakespear and I were able to go to Mamoo and Boppy's zone meeting. Whenever missionaries are departing and leaving for their missions, Mamoo and Boppy have a special zone meeting. They had made special arrangements with my Branch President so that Elder Shakespear and I could come because Mamoo and Boppy were being released from their callings here at the MTC. They have, I think, 8 different languages in their zone. As districts, the missionaries all go up and recite the First Vision in their mission language. They also all sing hymns in their mission languages. It was a night I won't forget. I'm not gonna lie, when we were singing, I literally couldn't stop crying. I felt the Spirit so strong and I felt so grateful that I was able to have that opportunity to witness something so cool and powerful. 

I love Sundays here. I taught Priesthood which was really cool! I taught about having faith in Jesus Christ, and how we can better develop our faith. Sunday night's devotional was given by Elder M. Russell Ballard :) He said that his talk wasn't necessarily clear before he started and that he was basically just going to speak as the Spirit prompted him. It was a huge testimony builder to me of always being willing to follow the Spirit. 

Yesterday we had 23 Mandarin speaking missionaries leave  for their missions at about 4:00 a.m. Our zone is much smaller now but we are gonna have new missionaries coming in soon. Most of the missionaries in my zone are going to Taiwan. Others are going to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Scotland, Ireland, California, New York, and the sister in my district is going to Hawaii. 

We had our last lesson with Li Feng, and we taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is "moving" back to China which means that our district will be getting new teachers :( I am kinda bummed. My teachers were awesome. 

3 APOSTLES IN A ROW!!! Yep, Tuesday night's devotional was given by Elder Quentin L. Cook :) 3 in a row - that has gotta be some sort of record here. I am so thankful for the opportunity I have had to hear apostles of the Lord speak to me here at the MTC. Elder Cook shared with us the 4 loves in missionary work. Loving your companion, the people, your mission president, and the Lord. It was so cool. 

I am so thankful for the opportunity and privilege to serve. I have learned so much throughout my time here and my testimony has gotten stronger. Doctrine and Covenants 20 taught me a lot this week about Christ and all that he went through. I would really encourage everyone to read it. Verses 17-31 are so powerful. Jesus Christ suffered through everything for us. There is nothing unfair in life that the Atonement of Christ doesn't cover. Love you all and have a great week!! 

Elder Willes

Elder Bennett (a friend from home) left for Madagascar this week

Elder Willes and Elder Brown (a friend from California going to Thailand)

Brother Tuttle with Elder Willes. "He is in our Branch Presidency. I love him."

Elder Willes with Elder Olsen (a missionary from my zone that left this week)

Elder Willes and Elder Boud (a missionary from my zone who left for Singapore this week)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Week 3
September 7, 2016

"Repentance brings greater faith." I cant wait to share it with the people of California! It is so awesome 
to have the opportunity to help people change and invite them to come unto Christ.

Elder Willes, Elder King and Elder Bennett (all friends from home - temple walk)

I officially am 1/3 of the way done with my MTC experience! I have learned so much and my testimony has definitely been strengthened since I first got here 3 weeks ago. Here are a few bits from my last week.

On Thursday I had my second lesson with Li Feng. I pretty much teach him every day now which is such a blessing for me. I taught him about the Book of Mormon and committed him to pray about it. It was a super cool experience and the spirit was definitely there during the lesson. We were also able to teach some new incoming missionaries about the concept of "how to share scriptures with your investigators." I was terrible at teaching the class all in Chinese but I hope they could kinda understand and I think they learned how to do this. 

Friday we had service in the morning and then it was Murph Day again!!! We also played zone kickball which was fun. That night I had another lesson with Li Feng. I taught him about prophets and he asked a question and I needed to explain General Conference. It was scary but the Lord is blessing me and the Holy Ghost helped me get my point across. 

Saturday we had our first TRC. TRC is where we go and teach two 15-20 minute lessons to people that are either recent converts, or act like recent converts. I taught two different lessons both on the importance of the Book of Mormon and I was so happy with how they went. I loved it. After TRC I had yet another lesson with my investigator. This time, I taught with my former companions/roommates (I'll tell you more about that in a second) Elder Nelson and Elder Holderness. It was a great lesson about the Restoration and Joseph Smith. 

Elder Shakespear and Elder Willes

Sunday was crazy! We had branch counsel meeting in the morning and a morning devotional where we were able to hear from members of the MTC Presidency. Right after this meeting, President Newell (my Branch President) comes up to me and said, "We have decided to make a change. This is your new companion." He then introduces me to Elder Shakespear!!! He is from Smithfield, Utah and has been here one week less than me. He is going to Taiwan and although we still don't go to class together, we get to plan, study, and teach together which is so awesome. He is very obedient and works hard on his Chinese. So me and my new companion went to Priesthood and then on to Sacrament meeting. It was the BEST! Chad Lewis, a former BYU football player and NFL player, a friend of Uncle Dan's who I've met before, spoke to all of us. He shared many cool experiences from his mission (he served in Taiwan and spoke Chinese too) and it was the coolest thing ever. He also shared some amazing stories about his football career and bringing people to the Gospel through sports. After the devotional, Chad Lewis took all of the Mandarin speaking missionaries in the back and met all of us all, gave some advice, and took a picture with us!! He is such a cool guy. 

Monday was our (Elder Shakespear and I) first experience teaching together. It was great! We taught about the Atonement and the Spirit was definitely in the lesson, which is so important. 

We also had another lesson with Li Feng. We have been teaching a ton lately, which is super good. We taught him a "review lesson" to make sure he was understanding the concepts that we have already taught him. Li Feng didn't really have any questions, which means that we are teaching clearly!! 

Last night's devotional Elder D. Todd Christofferson came and spoke with us!!!! My first MTC speaker from the Quorum of the 12. :) It was amazing. He taught so simply and clearly about repentance. One thing he said that really stood out to me is, "Repentance brings greater faith." I cant wait to share it with the people of California! It is so awesome to have the opportunity to help people change and invite them to come unto Christ.

This morning we got to go to the temple which was so great as always. 

To appease my mom I'm answering a few of her questions. I am technically still a solo missionary because I continue to go to class alone still.
Love you all have a great week!! 

Elder Willes


Week 2
Wednesday, August 31, 2016

"I am so grateful to wear Jesus Christ's name on my chest everyday and represent Him."

"Craziest thing ever! I found a missionary at the devotional with the same last name - WILLES - said and spelled the same way!!!! It was crazy. He is going to Hungary, I think, which is why his name tag is backwards."
Wow. Another week down here in the MTC. I truly have learned and grown so much through my experiences here. Being able to serve the Lord is such a blessing and I am so grateful for all of the love and support that I have received. Here is my week :) 

Thursday was so funny. Because the Mandarin speaking missionaries are in the MTC for 9 weeks, we celebrate with a little "Christmas" on the 25th of every month. It's just a little something to break up the routine because we are here for so long. Our entire zone gets together and celebrates. We all do a secret Santa, sing Christmas carols (out of the hymn book, of course), and an elder in our zone even made a Christmas tree to put all of the secret Santa gifts under. It was a pretty exciting and fun day. It was also a good day because I had my 5th and final lesson with my investigator Li Xiao. I taught him about the Atonement and it was such a great lesson. Teaching investigators in the MTC is awesome.

Elder Willes and Elder Council (same MTC zone)

Elder Willes and Elder Cline at the Chinese Christmas Celebration. They are friends from home
and Elder Cline is going to Taiwan.

On Friday morning we were able to do service at another residence building in the MTC (this is a weekly thing...for us it is every Friday). Service time is awesome, I really do love it. After service it was "Murph Day." Every Friday after service, for our exercise time, our zone gets together and they all Murph. The Murph is a intense cross fit workout that consists of a 1 mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats, and then you have to run another 1 mile to complete it. It is super funny because some elders try for like 5 minutes and then quit because it is so hard. I gave it my all, and in this my second week here, I completed it!!!! It was so hard and I am still sore haha but I was pretty proud of myself. The rest of the day consisted of a lot of class and lots and lots of Chinese. 

Saturday was another day full of studying, class, and more Zhongwen (Chinese). My zone leaders interviewed me and they are super awesome. Their names are Elder Hansen and Elder Jones, both going to Taiwan. They are great guys. Elder Hansen went to East and Elder Jones went to Davis.  

Elder Willes with one of his Zone Leaders, Elder Hansen. He is such an awesome guy.

My second Sunday in the MTC was so good; Sunday's always are. Our meetings at church were focused on Chapter 4 of Preach My Gospel - "Recognizing The Spirit." Learning to recognizing the spirit is important as a missionary and for those who you may teach. Luckily I wasn't called up to speak during sacrament meeting, but I had the opportunity to pass the sacrament in sacrament meeting and that was very special :) Sunday night's devotional was given by W. Tracy Watson. He works as the Director of the Missionary Department. He spoke to us about the new District (a training video) and even brought up 2 sisters from the new District 3 (who are already home) and one of their investigators that was baptized! It was awesome. As a zone we also watched "The Testaments"..... all in Chinese. I could actually sometimes pick out what was being said which was a good accomplishment for me. Elder Maynes, from the Presidency of the Seventy, came this week for the Tuesday night devotional. He and his wife Sister Maynes shared their heart-felt testimonies. They both talked about how we can best help our investigators and Sister Maynes shared her conversion story. 

Monday was another day full of class and studying and Chinese. The daily schedule here is a pretty demanding schedule of learning. A lot for my brain to take in sometimes. Sometimes the smallest things here become so memorable because they are different. For example, on Monday for dinner I had SUBWAY. Oh my hahaha I was so happy to have some nice Subway here. The food in the MTC is ... ehhhh okay.

Yesterday I had my first lesson with a new "investigator," Li Feng. I taught him about God, Jesus Christ, and prayer. I even got him committed to be baptized in the first lesson! I hardly use any of my Chinese notes or new vocab words in my lessons now, and try to just go off what I know. The gift of tongues is so real and I am so grateful for all of the progress I've made with the language. It is hard and at times discouraging but slowly I can see small improvements. I now have the missionary purpose memorized in Chinese. I can have a basic conversation or lesson with someone. I can read out of the Book of Mormon, pray, and bear my testimony all in Chinese. 

This morning we went to the temple. I love it there. My Chinese is really coming along and I am so grateful to wear Jesus Christ's name on my chest everyday and represent him. Thanks for all of the updates, love, treats and notes, prayers and support. I can really really your prayers. 

Love you all so much and have a good week! 

Wei Zhang Lao (Don't know how to do tones on this computer) or Elder Willes
(MOM NOTE: This basically translates to Elder Wei, which is Elder Willes' Chinese given name. Elder Wei was also Will's (Nate's older brother) Chinese given name as a missionary. Nate said he was hoping to receive the same Elder Wei as his Chinese given name as a missionary. When I asked if he requested Elder Wei, Nate told me no but that it had been given to him and how happy he was that he could share this name with his brother. 

Elder Willes with two elders from his zone - Elder Siggard and Holdaway.
They are both going to Arcadia, CA speaking Mandarin.

A selfie with one of my good buddies in the MTC Elder Nelson and Elder Kaufusi on the temple walk.

Elder Willes with teachers at the MTC who are also friends of his older brother.
Above with Brother Wadsworth and below with Brother Elg

Elder Willes and Elder Madsen (a friend from home who is also going to be
serving in California in a neighboring mission)