Monday, December 28, 2015

I Broke My Record!

I hope everyone had a FABULOUS Christmas because I sure did! I was actually a little sick here on Christmas day...but don't you worry it didn't stop us from having a baptism! :) We had a baptism the week before too! Nicaragua is just the promised land!

So the title of my email is "I broke my record" because this week I broke one of my records I have held near and dear to my heart. In college I would always brag to my roommates about how I haven't thrown up since the 6th grade..well.........i threw up on Christmas! Or the day before...Here Christmas is the 24th :) It was actually really funny because my comp was taking pictures with some girls in our barrio and I was like uh oh...and just let out my tamale from lunch on the side of the road. Yay Christmas! But God is so good because the next day I felt well enough to skype my family. And isn't my family just so beautiful? It felt really weird to be on this side of the computer. But I loved it!

So funny moment of the week!!!!... We went to our recent convert´s house, Melvin and we were teaching him and his daughter who got baptized a week ago, and during the lesson (that we were teaching outside) their drunk neighbor comes to the little gate and starts walking through. Melvin quickly starts wagging his finger at this drunk guy and is like "NO!"... but then the drunk guy was like, "hang on.. i have to do something." and walked right on through the gate and through our lesson and into the outdoor shower... and started showering. BAHAHAHA we all started dying since this poor man was so drunk. The funniest part was that after we started the lesson up again we heard a bang from the shower and we all look over and the CURTAIN HAD FALLEN!!! We all died laughing as for a brief moment saw this man showering!!! HAHAHAHAHA! Nicaragua is the best.

I LOVE being a missionary so much and I'm so blessed. Thanks to everyone who has written me letters. I got them all before Christmas. THANK YOU!

Until next week!

-- 

Hermana Willes



Melvin and his daughter

Liliana was baptized on Christmas

At our recent convert's house, Celeste.
This is their traditional clothes for dances.

Headed to the branch Christmas party...
and bringing a table from home! :)

Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Photos from the Christmas Mission Conference

Hermana Willy and Hermana Wally
Love this companionship!!

Hermana Willes with President and Sister Collado

Having some fun!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Jimmy's Baptism

This week we had another baptism!! WOHOO! I am so blessed. Our investigator Jimmy from New York was baptized and I was just so happy for him. He was supposed to be baptized this coming week but we had a meeting this week where we watched Meet the Mormons (I felt so lazy watching a movie) and afterwards He said, So what if I want to get baptized this Saturday? And Wally and I were SO happy but he didn’t actually decide until Saturday at 4. We threw together a baptism in an hour! Yay for Nicaragua! :) And the best part was afterwards Jimmy asked us how to become a missionary!!! Sadly, he is too old, but we were both so happy he asked :). There is no better feeling to know that you have really been an instrument in the hands of Christ. I have dreamed of this my entire life and now I will be able to have someone in the States that I can watch grow in the gospel. Such a tender mercy from the Lord.

We have a latina in the house now, Hermana Marquez, and she is the cutest. She is so patient with my spanish and I love her so much. Today we talked for over and hour and I was like WOW that was all in Spanish! haha slowly but surely.

I hope everyone has a great Christmas! I won’t be emailing next week because i get to SKYPE and bawl my eyes out when I see my beautiful family! Woohoo! I am so excited. Also, my cousin William comes home this week so YAY congrats Willes fam! Go have a party! I am so proud of you Will and the example you have been. You have fought a good fight and I can only imagine how proud everyone is of you. Have a great first Christmas home!

--
Hermana Willes


Baptism of Jimmy Cruz

Beautiful Nicaragua

Out doing Missionary work!

Subway in Managua!  President Collado is the bomb!


Just a little personal study!


Monday, December 7, 2015

I Can't Believe My First Transfer is Over

Another great week has happened here in Nicaragua! We found out changes last night and looks like I have another 8 weeks in Ocotal with my sweet Hermana Wally! I am so excited and over the moon about it. :)

This week we had another baptism so I can officially say that I’ve had a baptized every week my first transfer! So crazy. It truly was a miracle. We were at her house Thursday and we asked what day she wanted to get baptized (we have been pushing it back for a couple weeks now) and she said, Well how about this Satuday? And we said Of course! :) It was such a blessing.

This week we went to Esteli for a multizone meeting and it was so inspirational. President Collado talked about the miracle of the 5 loaves and 2 fishes and compared it to how we only have a little to offer the Lord, but if we have faith and trust in Him, He will turn that into miracles. I have already seen that on my mission so many times.

I LOVE being a missionary so much and can't believe my first transfer is over. So crazy! Yesterday I realized how much I love my investigators when I cried on the side of the road because one wouldn't come to church. My heart was broken. I love how I can see these people through the eyes of the Lord and I want to help them with all my heart. The gospel is such an amazing gift from God and it makes me so happy!

Love you all!

-- 

Hermana Willes


Another baptism in the Lagos Family

Woohoo!  Hermana Walborn and I are staying together!

We helped the familia Lagos do their wash this week.
This is what my wrist looked like after!

Hermana Willes listening intently at zone conference

Monday, November 30, 2015

One More Week, One More Baptism!

"This week was so great..yesterday I was leading the music in relief society and one of my first converts in the family that was baptized was just grinning up at me and I was like like wow I am a missionary and I am so full of happiness right now. It was accurate too because we were singing tengo gozo in mi alma hoy! (There is Sunshine in My Soul Today) That song is so much better in spanish. This sister (Karina) is seriously the best. Mom, you would love her. She is so funny because she knows when I understand and when I'm just pretending to understand :) She has two little boys and they are so cute. The kids here are so cute!!!"       --part of her email to me (Lisa)--just love it!!

Five people baptized in three weeks! Woohoo! I love Central America :) I really have been so blessed. This week Jose was baptized, the son of Ada (the lady that was baptized last week). This week was so GREAT!!!

Highlights:

Thanksgiving dinner of rice and beans! Sooooo yummy.

Being chased by a drunk man! Yay! Thank goodness for hills so we could run down the other side and He couldn't find us. Definitely impressed with his speed though :) But don't worry mom, I can take any drunk man out because their perception is sooo off.

Teaching Jimmy! Our investigator Jimmy is from NYC and he is visiting his family in Nicaragua. He is amazing. We get to teach in English which is crazy (so fun but also so hard because we need to keep it simple). We taught him to pray this week and in every prayer he says, ¨Help me to know if this is true because I just wanna do what you want me to do and I don´t wanna do anything you don´t want me to do´¨. How precious is that?

We are teaching these super cute girls Juanita and Mariella and we left them with a Book of Mormon the first night we met them (SUPER rare) and when we showed up the next day Juanita was like, I have a question! Turns out she read all of the testimonies and introductions and she asked us what the Urim and Thummim was! haha She is soo pilas. Love her!

Well this week we have changes because President doesn't want anyone in the MTC for Christmas so pray I stay with Hermana Walborn!! I hope everyone had a great thanksgiving!! Love you all!

--
Hermana Willes

Pictures.......

Hermana Willes, Hermana Walborn and Jose

Part of our area

Where we meet for Sacrament Meeting

My favorite people ever! Karina (holding the baby)
and her mom Candida.  This family is temple bound!

Thanksgiving Dinner :)

I love this cute little boy named Harold!

Making chocolate chip cookies latin style--without an oven!

Our cute landlord.  She calls us babydoll!

The first Christmas package arrives!

Thank you Mamoo and Boppy!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Baptism Round Two

This week was so great here in Ocotal! We baptized another hermana named Ada and she is so precious. I have been so lucky to have baptisms my first two weeks. The people here are so amazing and so prepared!

This week some crazy things happened..

1. We were in a drug bust. On Tuesday when we drove to Managua and the police pulled our bus over and we were stopped for like an hour and they arrested this guy. Yay!

2. We were in a car accident. A bike ran into our taxi in Managua. Oops! (No nicas were harmed) (or gringas:)

3. I officially look my worst but receive the most attention I've ever gotten. 

4. SO MANY MIRACLES! We found two people that speak english this week that took us back to their families to teach. Crazy! The both are very cool and one of them actually learned English in Taiwan where my cousin, William, is serving his mission.

I love teaching-- even though it is simple with my spanish-- and focusing on the needs our investigators. The Lord has blessed me so much with a desire to work. Being a missionary is the BEST. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! This week I will be grateful for rice, rice and more rice :)

-- 

Hermana Willes



Hermana Walborn, Hermana Willes and Ada

Monday, November 16, 2015

I Made It!

Mom Note:  We were so excited to get Sarah’s first email from Nicaragua!  Sarah knew one sister in the Nicaragua Managua North Mission—a friend from the BYU dorms that Sarah said was topnotch.  Of course our family prayed that she would get an awesome trainer and in the back of our minds Steve and I thought, “wouldn’t it be awesome if her friend Nancy ended up her trainer??"  But we just thought there was no way—that would be way too much to hope for!  But, the Lord and his tender mercies!  We were excited to find out today in her emails that Nancy is indeed her trainer!  We are so grateful for this tender mercy!  


I am now in the great place of NICARAGUA and I love it so much! My first area is in Ocotal and I LOVE it. It isn't too hot and the people are amazing. My trainer is the one and only Hermana Walborn, who was actually in my relief society presidency at BYU. Such a blessing. She is amazing! It was so good to see her and she has already taught me so much. I live with her and one other companionship right now (all americans) and they are all incredible missionaries. Ocotal is about a 4 hour bus ride from Managua and they opened the area just two transfers ago. Our house is so cute. We only have running water about every other day and it is simple but I love it.  We have church in a little tiny house and it is so great. The food here is AMAZING. Who knew rice could be so good?

ALSO, I HAD FOUR BAPTISMS THIS WEEK! The Lagos family was baptized on Saturday and it was amazing. They were baptized in this little river (the Elders had to dam it so it would be deep enough) and it was such an incredible experience. It was a couple and their two daughters, and I love them so much! I tell them I love them all the time and they just laugh and hug me. (they love me because they get to make fun of how i can't speak spanish) I love them so much!

I've been waiting to be a missionary for so long that this week has been so surreal. I am already in love with the people and want to share the gospel with everyone. Even though I can't communicate I start up conversations anyways :) It's funny because we always will start our lessons with a prayer and my companion has them choose and they always choose me. Always :)

Well, I am safe and alive and loving every minute of being a missionary! I know that the Lord called me here specifically and I love it!  I feel like I’ve found another home.The simple life is the best life.

-- 

Hermana Willes


Hermana Willes and Hermana Walborn
outside the little house they live in

The Lagos family that was baptized on Saturday.
They are seriously so cute!

Where the Lagos family was baptized


Friday, November 6, 2015

I Leave Monday Morning for Nicaragua!

Another week has come and gone here at the MTC and believe it or not it is my last :) I leave Monday morning for the great country of Nicaragua and I am stoked about it. I have loved every second of the MTC and it will be so hard to leave all of the amazing missionaries I have met here, but I am so ready to get to where the Lord needs me! 

Last week we had fast and testimony meeting and I was able to bear my testimony in Spanish! It was simple, but it was true :) We also went to the temple for the last time today and I wept like a little baby. I have been so blessed to live in a place with multiple temples and leaving them feels like leaving a best friend. I have found so much comfort and joy in temples..so now I just get to tell all of the lovely Nicaraguans about them and hopefully one day they will be blessed with one too :)

The days are so repetitive with class here that I don't even know that happened this week. All I know is that I've been waiting for Monday since I was a little girl and I'm in shock that I am finally gonna get out there and preach the good word! I think my favorite thing that I've learned here at the MTC is that the purpose of missionaries is Invite and Help others to Come Unto Christ. I mean what more could you want to do all day?

Monday morning I get to call my family and I am so excited! My companion, Hermana Speas, said the greatest thing this morning as we started packing. She said, "Your family is like the source of water for the earth." That pretty much sums up what will be happening Monday morning when I talk to my family! So many tears, but definitely good tears!

I hope you all have a great week! Love you all and I'll catch you on the flip side!

--

Hermana Willes


Leaving the temple today was so hard--I knew
it was the last time for a long time.

The MTC is such an amazing place. I'm going to cry
leaving all the hermanas and elders here.

My great companion!

In the classroom

Nothing like bundt cake delivered to the MTC.

These signs were posted everywhere in the residence
hallstoday.  Haha!  Literally everywhere!!

Friday, October 30, 2015

We Got our Itinerary!

My district just got our itinerary and WOW we are going crazy. Where has the time gone? One more full week here at the good ole MTC. :)

So last week after I finished writing I had a great P-day and apparently it was so great that we all forgot to set alarms last Saturday! Woops. :) Luckily my comp woke up around 7:30 and we all started panicking (just imagine 5 hermanas panicking...I have to admit I was just laughing the whole time) and somehow we made it to class on time Saturday morning, even though it started at 7:40. God really works miracles sometimes!

OH MY HEAVENS. An Apostle of the Lord came this week and it was incredible! Elder Neil L. Andersen came and spoke to us. I always imagined when I was growing up that I would sing Called to Serve in the MTC but who would have thought it would be in front of an apostle? It was such a cool experience. He talked a lot about sacrifice and how we have each sacrificed something to be here. He also said, "We must give something up to become something better." I loved that so much. It makes me think about what I am willing to give up to become a better person! 


I am so grateful to be a missionary. Even though my first couple weeks in Nicaragua I will only communicate through smiling and waving because I'll have no idea what's going on, I am pumped. I'm realizing more and more that the simple truths of the gospel are the greatest knowledge we can have. I hope you all have a great week and enjoy halloween tomorrow! (I'll be studying the scriptures while everyone is trick or treating..so who is the real winner here?)




Hermana Willes


Flight information?!  What?!
We also found another sister that is going
to our mission!  She just got here this week
though so she will be a transfer behind us!

Cassie!!!
I saw her Wednesday from the window while my comp
was getting ready and I started jumping up and down
and knocking on the window.  When she walked up
the stairs, I ran and we hugged and cried.
Such a blessing to have her here!


The new hermanas in our room. L to R: Me, Hna Rowing
Hna Speas (my comp), Hna Roahner. They are so amazing
and I love them so much. Sweetest girls ever. Hna Rowing
is from Utah and the other two are from California.


The whole zone!


This is Hna Partridge.  She left this week for the NIC
south mission and she is amazing. So wish we were
going to the same mission.


Look who I ran into :)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Officially Hit My Halfway Mark in the MTC!

I have officially hit my halfway mark in the MTC. SO CRAZY. I am so excited to be back in the real world again (its hard to remember that there is an outside world when you are stuck in a classroom the whole day). But I also love the MTC so much and I wish I could rewind and be a newbie once again. (we always laugh at the newbies because the don't know how to open the doors with their keys)

On Sunday our Devotional was given by a man named Chad Lewis. It was awesome! He used to play for BYU. And he brought Taysom Hill! As soon as he said Taysom's name all of the Elders were like "TAYSOM IS HERE" haha. Taysom talked about how even though he's played in cool places and for a lot of people with a lot of exciting moments, none of them compared to the experiences he had as a full time missionary. :) Also at one point Chad Lewis was talking about his mission to Japan and I guess Elder Oaks visited his mission and at one point Elder Oaks said, "Well, I know the Lord loves Asian people because He sure made a lot of them!" That moment was priceless because everyone just lost it.

One funny experience from this week...so we were teaching one of our investigators and we're just talking about how we believe in the Bible and the Book of Mormon and Prophets of Old and all that good stuff. So we're like ok who are some people in the Bible? And Our investigator names a few that we know and then she says, "Pedro!" And Hna Speas and I are like...who the heck is Pedro? So automatically I panic and I'm like oh no she believes in a different bible than we do how am I supposed to explain that? So we just are like "sorry but we don't know Pedro!" WELL come to find out Pedro is Peter in Spanish. We had another moment like that when we were talking about Joseph Smith reading in James because you don't say James with a spanish accent...apparently it changes to Santiago. Oops :)

We got three new hermanas in our room and they are serving in Canada. They are really sweet but we are on different schedules so we won't see them a lot except for the night time. We try to impart as much wisdom as we can during that hour ;)

SO my best friend cassie comes to the MTC this week and even though that doesn't apply to anyone I am STOKED. Also some Birthday shout outs to Uncle Mike, Aunt Wendy, Uncle Matt, and Adam! Hope you all have amazing days.

Love you all and you are all in my prayers!


--

Hermana Willes


The hermanas in our zone. L to R: Me, Hna Speas, Partridge
Playstead, Bushman, and Browning

Our District

One of Mamoo and Boppy's missionaries.  I don't know
 her name, but she's the sweetest ever.  Every time I see
her she says "Hermana Willes, I love you so much!"


I love Hermana Browning!  So hard to say good bye to her!

I love that face! (Lisa's caption:)

Two of my favorite elders!  Elder Marquez is from Brasil
and loves to sing.  He is so cool.  (He left this week).
Elder Chambers leaves this next week and is going to N.Y.
He is hilarious!

Elder Cornell (dark hair) and Elder Peters ((blonde curly).
They left this week for President Franco's mission.