Wednesday, September 14, 2016


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)

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