Hermana Lundy Willes

Hermana Lundy Willes

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Everybody Panic!

I get a Latin companion tomorrow.  Everybody panic!

No, but for real I'm stoked! I think it will really help me learn Spanish and it also means I'm just two weeks away from being back in the motherland! 

So, on Saturday, we went proselyting again! This time we focused on sharing our message, not selling it.  It was amazing.  Seriously.  We committed four people to go to church and got their references.  To the last woman, we gave a Book of Mormon and it was awesome.  We handed it to her and then bore our testimonies of it and of how she was a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves her so much.  She looked touched. Hopefully, it planted a seed! All four of them were like "you guys are so beautiful, that's so awesome that you are teaching about Jesus Christ."  Honestly, that´s one of my favorite things about South America.  Everyone believes in God and Jesus Christ.  It makes teaching a lot easier, especially when you don´t know Spanish like at all.

Today all the older gringos and latins left again.  Hermana Adams and I bawled, because the gringos above us were awesome and we loved them so much.  One of the cool things about the CCM is that, because it is so small, you become like family. It's such a blessing, because you have a huge support system when a latin is talking to you and you´re sitting there like "Um, I understand two of the twenty words you just said, let me take ten years to construct an answer.”  Usually like ten gringos will be in a huge group trying to talk to one latin.  It's a little ridiculous, but that´s learning a language for ya!

Today we went to the temple, I'm going to send some pictures! Rumor is there is a new temple video? I can't wait to see it in seventeen months! 

I’m really sad Hermana Adams and I won't be companions anymore. We’ve grown really close and I know that we have a friendship I will cherish my whole life.  The gospel has a way of bringing people together because no matter how different your background or personality is, you have the same core beliefs and, if you're living it right, the same number one priority.
I’ve been reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish and English.  It's amazing to me how like 99.5% of the scriptures apply to missionary work, either by talking about a blessing, giving a promise, or calling people to missionary work.  My testimony of the Book of Mormon has grown so much.  Sometimes I just wish I could stand on a street corner and give one to every person because I know it will change their life forever and that it’s true! 

I can't believe I've been out for a month already! Time has flown! It seems like just yesterday I was boarding a plane and saying goodbye to English for 18 months.  I've learned so much in my time here and I can't wait to get out in the field and share the gospel with every Bolivian I meet.  The gospel is true and there is no greater joy in the world than knowing that! I'm so grateful for it and the opportunity I have to build the Lord´s kingdom on the earth! 

Hurrah for Israel!

Hermana Willes

Hermana Willes...

Hermana  Adams and Hermana Willes...

Hermana Willes and Hermana Adams 
get to visit to the Bogota, Columbia Temple...

The Bogota, Columbia Temple
I'm a little jealous seeing those palm trees...

The "Cougar Club" in Bogota, Columbia...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

T minus 5 days until I'm Latin!

The Bogota MTC Is set up to accommodate the mostly latin population of missionaries that come there and are only there for two weeks.  The North Americans that come are there for 6 weeks.  For the first 4 of those weeks, they have a North American Companion.  Then, for the final two weeks, they are paired with a Latin companion and put in an entirely Latin district.  Next Wednesday, Lundy will be at four weeks, so she and Hermana Adams will be split and put with Latin companions and in all Latin districts.  Talk about your Spanish Immersion!

I get a latin companion in five days! I'm kinda nervous, but I know it will be really helpful for me because I understand spanish, I just struggle to remember the words and this will force me to speak it!  Where did the time go? But really it needs to hurry up because I JUST WANT TO BE IN BOLIVIA.

Not much happened this week, just classes and stuff.  I was the tribute on Sunday, so that was fun.  I had to speak on obedience.  Pretty sure it was like two minutes long. But, my cute brazilian hermana, Hermana Victorino, was so sweet after and said "You did so good! My little girl is all grown up. I understood everything!"  So, hopefully, it wasn't that bad.

The spanish is coming, but it still can be frustrating at times.  I´ve decided someday I'm going to have a serious talk with the geniuses who built the tower of Babel and caused the Lord to confound their language.  Turns out actions have consequences.  My life would be so much easier if everyone spoke the same language.  No... But in all seriousness, it´s hard.  My teaching in spanish is coming and most of all I can testify, which is the most important thing!  The spirit is really the real teacher, so as long as I'm giving it my all He'll do the real work! 

Abby, congrats on the braces! They look awesome on you!

The food is waayyy better, they were remodeling the kitchen and now it´s done and we have actual cooks, so no more fish heads!

My district is awesome, have I talked about them yet? One of them reminds me of Connor Nelson, he's awesome!  Hermana Adams is an amazing person.   I've learned a lot from her and I really have come to love her.  We only got one new American sister and she's older, but I like her a lot.  Her name is Hermana Smith and she's from Arizona.  Her companion is a girl from Brazil.  She´s hilarious!  I'm serving with amazing people here, hermanas and elders.  I consider it a privilege to serve with them.  Missions are great!

I can´t believe we have seventy missionaries out [from the Draper South Mountain Stake], that´s incredible! 

Give everyone hugs from me and tell them I love them! Go eat pizza for me, I would kill for Dominos or Brick Oven! 

My testimony has grown so much and I've learned so much.  Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming, because the gospel is so vast and I feel like there is so much I don't know how to explain or have the strongest testimony of.  But, when it comes down to it, I know the Book of Mormon is the truest book on earth and that Joseph Smith restored the gospel to the earth.  And, at the end of the day, sometimes that has to be enough, if that makes sense.  Sorry this email was so scattered, the internet keeps going down and we don´t know how long we have! 

Hermana Willes

P.S. I've loved getting emails from Jobubs....oh wait.....

A picture of the entire group at the Bogota Columbia MTC. 
 You can see...not many North Americans...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Spanglish and Goodbyes

This email is probably going to be all over the place.  I think and speak in this weird spanglish and I was up all last night helping sisters pack. So bear with me.

First off, awesome job on the talk Will! You're going to be an amazing missionary! Gama, Mamoo, and Boppy thank you so much for your emails! Sorry I haven't had time to respond yet.  But I appreciate them so much and love reading them! Mamoo, I'm crossing my fingers the rumors are true because we are watching a devotional tonight! 

These past few days have been amazing, but really emotional.  Proselyting was awesome but exhausting! And we only went for two hours! We got five references and placed a book of mormon and two pamphlets.  Some of them I don't think fully understood what we were saying and just gave us information because we were two gringas and they wanted to be nice.  We got the cold shoulder a lot and it was hard because people would be like well I'm catholic so we believe the same things you do and because our language is still so limited it was hard to convey the difference between the Catholic church and the gospel! Definitely a learning experience! There was one woman that was awesome though.  We saw her at a bus stop and I was like "Hermana, we need to go talk to her."  She was sitting with her daughter and she had tears in her eyes.  The spirit completely took over and we told her about how families can be together forever and gave her a pamphlet on the restoration.  When we walked away we were both like "We have no idea what just happened but we had to have planted a seed or something."  It was awesome!

Besides proselyting, we also have investigators we teach, who are our teachers impersonating investigators from their missions.  Our investigator was named Claudio and we had to teach him the law of chastity twice.  That was super fun.  Sometimes I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing because our teacher, Hermano Herrera, is so funny and would make up the craziest problems for us to help our investigator with. Both our teachers are such examples and I've learned so much from them and they speak english so well!

Saturday night before we all went to bed all the missionaries crowded into a classroom and sang called to serve in spanish at the top of our lungs.  I wish you all could have seen it.  We all had huge grins on our faces and the spirit was unreal.  The power when we all get together is unlike anything I've ever felt.  We truly are like Helaman's army.

Sunday we had an area seventy come speak to us, Elder Carmacho I think is how it's spelled.  He did an amazing job.  He talked about how we have covenanted to live the law of consecration and part of doing that is giving everything we have to the Lord by being obedient and learning how to sacrifice.  He also told a story that I loved. When he was a mission president in South America he had a missionary come into his office with tears streaming down his face.  The missionary said  "President, no one understands me.  And I don't understand anyone.  But I've realized that whenever I pray, the Lord always understands me."  All of us north american missionaries were especially touched because we felt like he was telling the story of our lives.  But I know that its true.  And I know the gift of tongues is real.  The other day I was sitting in class and I just suddenly understood everything the teacher was saying in Spanish. Speaking is still hard for me, but I know I have been blessed with the gift of understanding and everyday I'm improving!

This morning we said goodbye to all our latinos and some north american missionaries.  It was really hard. I've come to love them all so much and even though I've only known them for two weeks, I feel like I've known them for years! The gospel brings people together in such an incredible way.  One of the hermanas, Hermana Arias, and I had a really special bond. I know we knew each other in the pre mortal existence and I loved her soooooo much.  Saying goodbye to her was really hard, we were both really emotional.  She was such an example to me and always brightened my day and made me feel so loved. 

Tonight we get a whole new district of north americans! Two new american sisters! I'M SO STOKED! We'll have over ninety missionaries in the CCM!

Sorry I can't send pictures today, we don't have our cameras.  My next Pday is next friday, which feels like years away! But I promise I'll send some them! Love and miss you all so much but I don't ever want to come home! I love being a missionary and knowing I get to share the gospel with people! The church is true! 

Hermana Willes

Friday, January 10, 2014

Hurrah for Israel!

Can you believe it's been over a week?! It's true what they say, the days are long but the weeks fly by! So lets start with the most important thing, the food.  Its a hit or a miss.  Usually a miss.  One time they fed us fish heads that were just fried, eyeballs and all.  I dry heaved a little.  Rice and potatoes are going to get me through.  Lunch and dinner are always rice, potatoes, and meat.  Breakfast is some weird egg thing that isn't eggs and uncooked sausage.  Thank goodness for breakfast bread.  They did give us the best breakfast one morning though, cereal with yogurt instead of milk.  It's amazing! You should all try it. 

The Spanish is coming, slowly though.  Sometimes I feel like if i sat in a room for forty years and only studied Spanish then maybe I would be fluent and then other times I open my mouth and it just comes out and I'm convoked I'm already fluent.  It's an emotional roller coaster.   

Sundays are my favorite days.  Except for sacrament meetings because they give everyone a topic to prepare a talk on the night before and then call you up in sacrament hunger games style.  Talk about stressful.  But the rest of the day is in English! I love English so much. I know I'm here to learn Spanish and I´m learning to love it, but I'm so grateful I know English. It's the language of the restoration and I can read the actual words Joseph Smith translated.  I can also hear the prophet's actual voices and know what they sound like. Don't worry, I'm focused on Spanish, but that's just something I've come to be grateful for.  Also, on Sundays, President Dyer teaches us for like three hours.  It's amazing.  I feel like I'm sitting at the feet of an apostle.  He's so smart and both he and Hermana Dyer are just good, solid people.  I love them so much!  

We went to the temple this week and it was so awesome! The night before we had a meeting about the temple.  Something President Dyer said stuck with me "Whenever a temple goes up it is literally a beacon of light going up for all the world to see".  Well, the Bogota temple is just like a beacon of light.  I could have stayed there forever.  I did the session with one headphone of English and the other listening to Spanish.  They just dub the voices over.    

I love love love all the Hermanas here.  I fit in perfectly with the Latinas and we just laugh and laugh all day.  We have amazing spiritual experiences. Every night as a room the six of us pray together.  The first night we did it we were all having a pretty tough time.  By the end of the prayer we were all in tears.  The spirit was so strong.  We all hugged and now it´s a nightly ritual.  Last night we all sang As Sisters in Zion together, the new missionary verses (so glad I brought those), in our room together. Hermana Adams and I taught them the words in English.  I'm tearing up right now just thinking about it.  Words cannot convey how much I love them.  Even though communication is sometimes hard, we understand each other because we all have testimonies and are here to share the gospel!  

Sorry this email was so short, but I want to share one more experience. The first couple days were really frustrating because I was super concentrated on learning the language and I kinda neglected the gospel aspect a little.   But when I slowed down and realized I wasn't going to learn the language in a day and started focusing more on the gospel, I realized something.   As long as I follow the spirit and teach the way the Lord would have me do, the spirit will do the rest and it won't matter how bad my Spanish is.  I can testify the gift of tongues is real and tomorrow I am gonna need it because we're going proselyting! Wish me luck!  

I love the gospel and missions.  Hurrah for Israel!   

Hermana Willes

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The First of Many

Sorry this will be super short because we only have fifteen minutes to write! Im just sending it to mom and she can forward it to everyone. 
I met up with the other missionaries in both atlanta and salt lake.  Three other missionaries are going to my mission, Hermana Adams, Elder Zollinger, and Elder Robison.  I already love them and am so happy I get to serve with them.  Hermana Adams is from payson (you creeps) (teasing us because we told her in our email that we stalked Facebook to see if we could find a Hope Adams that was leaving on a mission the same day as her.  And we found her :) and she is my companion.  WE ARE THE ONLY NORTH AMERICAN SISTERS HERE.  All the other hermanas are from venezula and dont speak any english! Turns out I did learn something from all those years in spanish, because I can kinda communicate with them.  Hm. Adams doesnt know a single word in spanish so its up to me to figure things out.  It makes me feel smart, so thats fun.  
The MTC here is super strict so I am only allowed to take pictures on my pday and they took our ipods and candy.  When we do take pictures Ill make sure to email them to you as fast as I can. Also we arent allowed to sit by the elders during meals, which makes me kinda sad but its a small price to pay for the awesome feeling here.  I LOVE all the missionaries, especially the latin ones.  They are so patient and helpful and just laugh at me when I make mistakes, which is every sentence.  Pres. and Sis. Dyer are awesome! Ive already learned so much from them and theyre from California, so I dont think they are related to Aaron.   
Its so beautiful here! When I stepped off the plane I felt right at home because it has the same feel as both Bolivia and Peru! I LOVE SOUTH AMERICA! 
Funny story already: they give us water bottles and today at lunch I was in line to get soup and I DROPPED MY WATER IN THE SOUP.  That all the missionaries eat out of.  Everyone just kinda stared at me and then they were started calling me hermana gringa.  I would be the person to do that!  
Anyways, I love you all and miss you so much.  It was really hard to say goodbye and last night was pretty tough and slightly overwhelming but I read your letters and felt so much better! Im glad new years was fun, Joseph better not have kissed any girls! Dad thanks for your email, it was so sweet! Im about to go get my nametag and have my first spanish class! Wish me luck! Hurray for Israel!  
Hermana Willes 
P.S. Sorry for all the grammar mistakes the keyboard is in spanish and wont let me put apostrophes in.  Dont worry Im painfully aware of them!