Monday, October 24, 2016


"Funny thing, since people need translation, for third hour of church, we go to Relief Society!! 
Hahaha it was pretty funny just us Elders chillin' in Relief Society translating. That was fun!"

Elder Willes with his new companions Elder Yang and Elder Warren

Holy cow! Where do I even start? I finally made it to California. I love it here. I left the MTC on Tuesday, October 18th, at 3:50 a.m. and arrived in California at about 9:30 a.m. Seeing my bro was a highlight and got me pumped and ready to go. When I landed and got my bags there was no one there at the airport to pick me up. It was crazy! I was so scared and just sat there for like 15 minutes wondering what I was going to do. The AP's arrived and got me so no worries :) They took me straight to the mission office, and I met my companions there - Elder Warren (from Sandy, UT) and Elder Yang (from China). They are so awesome! Elder Warren actually goes home tomorrow and so Elder Zeng (he is also from China) will be training me and I will also be companions with Elder Yang, and we will all serve in a trio. I also met with President Mullen my Mission President. He is awesome. I love him. Riverside came up clutch and we had dinner my first night here with a really nice member family... The Chubbicks. We also taught a lesson about the restoration with a RC family, the Li Family. I love them. They are the best! 

The Li Family - I love this family. They are so good and kind to the missionaries.

Every Wednesday and Friday we have an English class. On Wednesday, after our district meeting and studies in the afternoon, we had our first English class. Sadly there wasn't any Chinese people there. :( The Jiang's, another member family in our ward, fed us some good Chinese food. The food here is pretty great. We shared a short message about prophets with them and went finding at the local park that night. 

On Thursday we went to the University of California Riverside (UCR). There are tons of Chinese people walking around... It is so awesome!! We walked around campus, and talked with a bunch of people and had lunch at the Institute building there. We had a weekly planning session, ate dinner at this Mexican place, On the Border... It was sooooo good :) I also met the Bishop... Bishop Louden. He is a great guy!! 

We have a couple of investigators that we are teaching. The Ning Family, The Zhu family, Grace (a referral) and a couple others I haven't met yet. The Ning's came to church yesterday!!! It was awesome but they just moved and are now saying that they don't know if they can meet in their current house because they are renting. We will have to find another place to meet. Please pray for them! 

Friday Elder Warren and I went to UCR for the whole day. We talked to a ton of people and met this cool guy named Patrick. We thought he was Chinese and turns out he wasn't haha but we talked with him for a while. He has a Christian background and we were able to say a prayer with him on campus and said he wanted to keep meeting! We referred him to the other Elders. Then we had English class again. 3 people came - 2 from Taiwan and 1 potential investigator from China, Tang Cheng. We have an appointment scheduled with him this week! 

Elder Willes and Elder Warren

Saturday was another really busy day. I love the busy days. We had a "blitz" in the morning, where all the missionaries from our zone go to a certain area and get referrals to help the area. We found 2 really awesome referrals for the Elders in that area. We talked with one guy who used to be in a bunch of gangs in LA and felt like he needed to move to Riverside and change his life around. It was a really cool experience. Saturday night we had a dinner appointment with the Ding Family; another family in our ward. :) They fed us some traditional Chinese food, including some nice DUCK FEET. I had to eat two of them... It was alright. Pretty weird but a good experience! 

Sunday was the best. One Sunday a month, all the Chinese members come together and have a Sacrament meeting all in Chinese. It was so cool. About 20 people were there, and Elder Warren gave a talk, and I bore my testimony in Chinese at the end. It was awesome and I felt the Spirit really strong :) We then went to Gospel Doctrine class, I sat by Ning Di Xiong. He is awesome. I hope he gets baptized. Funny thing, since people need translation, for third hour of church, we go to Relief Society!! Hahaha it was pretty funny just us Elders chillin' in Relief Society translating. That was fun. 

Elders Willes, Warren and Yang

Our apartment is in Eastvale, CA. The members here are so awesome. I love them!! The weather is so sick. It is literally hot and I love it so much. I got my bike but we are also mostly in a car. The language is really hard... I get frustrated sometimes but am working really hard. That is so sad about Brother Jensen and Sister Slater. I am praying for those families. The Plan brings us a lot of peace knowing this is not the end. I'm glad I get to share this with others.

This week has been crazy busy, and so tiring, but I am so happy to be here. I am excited to keep progressing every day. Love you all have a great week!

Elder Willes

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


CALI BOUND! Let's Go!!!

"As I think back on my time at the MTC I feel really accomplished and that I am about to complete one of the hardest things i have ever done. My time here hasn't been easy, but I have loved every second of it." 

Another Legendary Picture
Brother Xiao who is the 1st Counselor in our Branch Presidency.
Brother Xiao is from China and is the coolest guy. 

Hello everyone! :) This week has been awesome. My travel plans came this past week!!! I leave Tuesday morning, the 18th (mom note: TODAY). I report to the MTC travel office at 3:50 am. My flight leaves for Ontario, CA at about 8:50. Haha I am the only missionary in my travel group but it is going to be so awesome I am so excited!!!! Also, this last week I got my Chinese tags, Now I'm ready.

This week has gone by so fast, and I was really busy. We have taught so many lessons and had so much fun. Let me tell you a little bit how it went down!! Wednesday night Elder Shakespear and I gave a tour to all of the new missionaries in our zone. We got 8 new missionaries. They are great. We met all of them, had a little meeting, conducted a mock companionship inventory for them, and gave them a tour of the MTC. It was funny reliving the memories that I had just 8 weeks ago :)

Teaching, teaching, teaching. That's what we've been doing. We've had lessons with Liu Di Xiong and one with Wei Kai. and with Ou DX. We have been teaching a lot on the Word of Wisdom lately. Some of our investigators have problems with giving up tea, and so we are trying to work those out. Wei Kai also said he would try and commit to live it, despite his problem with alcohol. We have also been practicing our teaching on the principle of keeping the Sabbath Day holy. I am ready to get to California and try to help someone make real changes.

Elder Willes' last day at the MTC

Friday morning we got up and did service. I have one more service opportunity this coming Friday! I am kinda sad though. I really do love service. On Saturday night Elder Shakespear and I interviewed all of the district leaders, that was pretty great too. Being zone leaders is a lot of new responsibility, but we love it so much and are both so grateful for the opportunity to serve our zone. 

Sunday was awesome! As usual :) Elder Shakespear and I blessed the Sacrament in Chinese! It was a super cool experience. It was also Fast Sunday. I promised myself last month that I would get up and bear my testimony this month. I was pretty scared but the Spirit was prompting me so I got and and did it. I am so thankful I did. It was great!  We grow through sharing and speaking those words aloud. Sunday night's devotional was President Heaton, who is one of the guys in charge at the MTC. He spoke all about repentance, and how repentance is one of the biggest gifts that Heavenly Father has given us. I loved it! 

Monday we had another Skype TRC, I love those :) We Skyped a guy from Taiwan and taught him about Christ, His Atonement, and Christlike attributes. It was awesome. At the end of the lesson, we sang a hymn for him and it was my first experience singing during a lesson. I loved it and I love how easily I can feel the Spirit through music. 

Yesterday was so cool. ELDER BEDNAR came and spoke to us!!! He taught us the importance of re-studying General Conference. So I'm gonna do that. One thing Elder Bednar shared is that Conference topics are not assigned, and common themes emerge through the Spirit and power of Heaven. I loved that. General Authorities are some of our best examples of following the Spirit. 

Well everyone, I can't believe I leave in about 5 days. Crazy and so exciting :) Love you all have a great week!!

[Mom note: At 4:00 a.m. today William popped out of bed and raced to the train station. Will bought a Front Runner ticket and found his brother, Elder Wei (the 2nd) - Nathan, sitting on the upper level waiting for the train to take him to the airport. They visited for a few short minutes, Elder Willes shared his testimony in Mandarin and Will jumped off the train before it left Provo. And just like that Nate is off to spread the good news to the people of Riverside.
Elder Nathan Willes takes with him our hearts and prayers and love. Go teach peace my sweet son.]

Elder Willes

Saturday, October 8, 2016


NI HAO - again

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him 
to declare his word among his people that they might have everlasting life." 3 Nephi 5:13

Another great week here in the MTC! This past week Elder Shakespear and I were called as the new Zone Leaders. We are excited for the opportunity and are working hard to improve our zone. Tonight Elder Shakespear and I welcome 8 new missionaries :) As zone leaders, we get to welcome them, get to know them, give them a tour of the MTC, and conduct a companionship inventory. Super exciting :)

This week was pretty solid. We have taught a lot of lessons this week. We have been working hard on companionship unity during lessons, and we are really starting to see the benefits. Monday night we had another Skype TRC. We skyped this older lady from Taiwan. Her name is Wu Jie Mei and it skyping and teaching her was so awesome. At the end of the TRC, I felt prompted to invite Wu Jie Mei to read The Book of Mormon with her family, every day. She thanked us, and said that she really needed a reminder to do that. It was cool. 

Saturday and Sunday were full of General Conference, which was a great blessing :) 

Sister Burton, the General Relief Society President, gave the Tuesday night devotional. It was awesome. She shared the scripture:

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people  that they might have everlasting life." 3 Nephi 5:13 This scripture truly sums up my feelings about my missionary purpose. So awesome. 

General Conference was incredible. Before my mission, I really didn't have the best attitude about General Conference and I definitely took for granted the blessing of hearing from modern day apostles ad prophets. This time around, I made a change. I took tons of notes on every talk and there were so many awesome things I learned. I just want to share a few highlights of a few things I learned. 

#1- I loved Robert D. Hales talk. I love how he talked about how if we love the Savior more, will we suffer less? Jesus Christ gave up his life for us, so that we can be happy. What a blessing that is. Another thing that stuck out was "We love Him, because He loved us first." The Savior's love is infinite, and it reaches everyone. The Savior has an enduring love and He is our caretaker. 

#2- I also loved Elder Uceda's talk, and the story he told about the Inca Bridge where he almost fell off, and the missionary stayed behind because he followed a prompting. While on a mission it is really important to listen to the spirit, so that you can follow promptings and teach to the needs of your investigators. 

#3- Elder Yamashita "Be ambitious for Christ." I loved that.

#4- Elder Eyring's talk in Priesthood session was amazing. When he talked about the "Priesthood Journey" and how we can help others develop faith and confidence in priesthood Service. I felt the spirit really strong.

#5- Russell M. Nelson's talk about joy was so good to hear. During His Atonement, Christ focused on joy. I think that is so amazing. We can follow in His example that when we go through trials, learn to suffer with joy. We will be blessed beyond belief for that.

General Conference was so special. I am so grateful for everything that I learned and it was incredible watching it in a big room with about 2000 other missionaries; all 2000 of us united in purpose and in spirit. Super cool.

Love you all have a great week!!

Elder Willes 

Elder Lewis and Elder Willes - friends from home - after watching a session of General Conference


Week 6

"We abandoned our entire lesson plan, and just taught to his needs. 
The Spirit was really strong and we came out of the lesson SO HAPPY."

Elder Willes and Elder Fakatou who is from Great Britain and has the coolest accent ever

Hey everyone! This week has been pretty good. I have learned a lot this week. I love how I can learn and grow and become a better missionary and person each and every day. I am officially 2/3 of the way done with my time at the MTC. Time has really flown by and I will be in California in less than 3 weeks from today!!!!!!

MTC haircuts. You've heard the horror stories. Last p-day we got haircuts. It is quite the adventure but I must say but they did a good job. 

Elder Willes and Elder Gouttier who is one of our Zone Leaders. Elder Gouttier is from France.

Elder Cline, Elder Lewis and Elder Willes - Buddies from home

We've been teaching a lot. It is good practice. I love it. We invited Ou Di Xiong at the end of the lesson to read the story about Enos and it was so awesome. We also had lessons with Liu Di Xiong and Wei Kai (our other two teachers/investigators). We have been teaching them both about the Plan of Salvation and it has been a good learning experience, teaching the Plan all in Chinese. I love it. I love the Plan. I love teaching in Chinese. Our lesson with Wei Kai was such a memorable experience. We abandoned our entire lesson plan, and just taught to his needs. The Spirit was really strong and we came out of the lesson SO HAPPY. We have been teaching a lot recently, about twice a day. Elder Shakespear and I have really grown together as a companionship and we have gotten better at following the Spirit. Teaching is so great :) 

Saturday we had TRC again. We taught how we can each receive answers to our prayers. It was so great. We only taught once again because there weren't enough volunteers but TRC is incredible. On Monday we had our first "Skype TRC." We skype someone from either China or Taiwan, and teach them a lesson. We skyped with this lady from Taiwan, and taught her about prayer. It was kinda hard to understand her but I was smiling the whole time and just loving it. We asked really good questions about prayer that got her to think and feel the Spirit I hope.  

Sunday was awesome, the topic for this week was baptism. My companion taught Priesthood and he did a really great job! Sunday night's devotional was by Stephen Allen, who works in the Missionary Department. I loved his talk. He did a survey and asked missionaries to stand up when he asked certain questions. It's kinda hard to explain but was cool. We also got to watch 17 Miracles!! Elder Schweitzer of the Seventy taught us at the Tuesday night devotional about commandments and the importance of keeping the commandments. Devotionals here are awesome. I feel the spirit every time and can learn how to be better. It is such a blessing to be at the MTC and hear from General Authorities every single week! I am also way pumped for General Conference. 

This morning we went to the temple again. Such a great experience and always a highlight. Love you all and hope everyone has a great week!!

Elder Cline, Elder Ballard and Elder Willes - Buddies from home

Elder Willes