Hermana Lundy Willes

Hermana Lundy Willes

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

This week was a little rough!

Well, this week was a little rough! Almost all our investigators fell through and we're going to have to start from scratch this week! But, that's ok because I know that we can find new people to teach!

We did have one really awesome experience.  On viernes we fasted to find new people to teach and we honestly had a miracle! We were walking in the street and this taxi stopped next to us and this man said "Hermanas, what happened? you never came to my house!" I just figured it was some creepy man saying things to us like usual and I kept walking.  But my companion stopped because she recognized him! He was with is family in car and we had contacted them a few weeks ago and then went to their house to follow up but they hadn't been there! When we told him that he was like "ok, come tomorrow at four!" We were going to go to their house yesterday and so we called them and they answered and said "Hermanas, we're so sorry we went out shopping and we aren't home! But we'll call you this week when we have time!" So we're praying something will happen with their family! 

This email is super short, but this week I hit four months! So crazy! Time is flying by! This cambio is almost over! I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve, because I'm truly coming to know my Savior.  I am beginning to understand his infinite love for us and I know He is always there for us, to carry our burdens with us and to change us, to make us better.  I'm so grateful to be one of His servants and to be able to stand as a witness of Him.  


Hermana Willes

Monday, April 21, 2014

I've officially had my first baptism!

Well I’ve officially had my first baptism! It was a little stressful, but it happened! Daniel is a seventeen year old boy who has been coming to the church for about five years, but never was baptized.  His best friend, who is the only member in his family, gave us the reference and we taught him.  His friend assisted at all the charlas and it was sooo nice, because his friend was there to encourage him and support him.  Members make all the difference!  His friend, Johan, baptized him.   It was a little stressful because we probably should’ve filled the font a little higher and so he had to do it three times.  But, the last time he went completely under! He’s great and I love teaching him, because I always feel the spirit so strongly.

Our family de oro isn’t de oro.  They keep saying they are going to go to church, but then don’t go to church.  But, we’re working with them and we’re hoping that when we give them a new baptismal date they will be able to keep it.

We’re teaching this one couple who are sooooo great.  After the first time we taught them Hermana Cladera and I were pretty sure they thought we were from the Catholic church or Evanglists.  So, yesterday when we taught them we tried to emphasize the differences.  It was so awesome because I extended the compromiso to pray and ask God if Jose Smith is really a profeta of God and if the Book of Mormon is true.  And the dad, (Luciano) said "of course! Anything that is the word of Christ I will do!” They're great.

One super funny thing.  So, on my ipod I have the BYU Vocal Point hymns collection.  And Hermana Cladera loves loves Nearer My God to Thee.  So when we are walking en las calles she always has me teach her the words.  And she has knows the words in English to a Child’s Prayer.  We probably look a little nuts, singing English hymns, but I love it!

Down here the actual day of Easter isn’t that big.  What is big is Friday, because the Catholics don’t eat any meat for the whole week and on Friday they eat fish.  I sent mom a picture, but we got to our cook’s house and she was just frying fish for us to eat.  I was like "what, we really are just going to eat it while the eyeball is staring at me and I have to pick bones out? Alright!"  I don’t ever want to eat fish after my mission, but it could’ve been worse! I’m adjusting a lot better to the food.  I just grit my teeth and eat it and it’s getting easier.  It doesn’t make me sick, just tastes weird.

The mission is great and I’m so grateful to be serving down here.  Last night we had a lesson with a member who is the only member in her family and is submitting her papers.  We read doctrina y convenios cuatro with her and it served as such a reminder to me as to what a great cause I’m engaged in! Missions are the best and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else! Love you all!

Hermana Willes

Hermana Willes, Hermana Cladera, Daniel, Johan and a ward member

Hermana Willes and her "fish"

Monday, April 14, 2014

We have a baptism this week, my first!

Last week, after I wrote Sarah that I had Dengue my companion was like "Hermana Willes, she’s going to tell your mom and then your mom is going to be so worried about you! Have Hermana Willard tell her everything is alright!” haha :) So, sorry about that! I had Dengue, but down here it is like the common cold.  Mostly, it just makes you super tired and your whole body hurts.  So, I basically didn’t have my brain at all when I wrote last week! But, I rested and am feeling a whole lot better, so no worries!

First off, thanks to everyone who has sent me packages! Wendy, Marianne, Mamoo, and Tami! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Mom, when I got the package with the candles and the cereal (thank you, thank you, thank you for everything in that package, it was absolutely wonderful) my companion was like "Hermana Willes, I want your mom.  Your mom es tan buena!"  I especially loved it because I had Dengue!  Every week lately my zone leaders have packages for me and today my zone leader said "Hermana Willes, the pouch really is just the pouch of Hermana Willes!" So thank you so much to everyone, it really does mean so much to me!

This week was awesome!  We had a zone conference, with our zone and my old zone, so I got to see everyone! It was awesome! We talked about repentance and President Willard asked me to bear my testimony! During the conference, we talked about the importance of learning English for the latinos, so I bore my testimony in Spanish and then a latino elder bore his testimony in English! It served as such a reminder that the most important language is the language of the spirit.  My companion and I have been practicing English in the calles (streets), and it’s actually been really fun.  She was teasing me, though, because I would just start speaking in Spanish without realizing it and she would say "In English, in English!" And then I would say something in English, but then switch back into Spanish.  Especially when I talk about the gospel, it`s hard to speak in English because everything I teach about the gospel is in Spanish.  I'm so grateful to be serving down here and see the Lord work His miracle with the gift of tongues everyday!

We also had a conference just for the Hermanas on Friday and it was awesome! I got to see Hermana Adams, which is always a plus! In the conference, Hermana Willard talked about her mission and then told us that if we wake up everyday with the idea that today is going to be the best day, there is very little that can make us unhappy.  She is so awesome and so is President Willard!

My companion and I are working super hard right now.  We have eleven people with a baptismal date.  I love love love my companion because we both just want to work with all we have! We have this one family that is del oro (golden)! They have a son that is about eleven and he is incredible.  Everytime we teach them he has questions and he always asks us to come back the next day.  He’s awesome!

We have a baptism this week, my first! I’m so stoked! His name is Daniel and he’s 16.  The other day we were teaching him and the spirit was so strong.  He’s been going to the capital (church) for five years, but hasn’t been baptized.  He knows it’s true, but he lacks confidence that he knows it’s true.  The other night we taught him and we, along with a member, and all bore our testimonies of Joseph Smith and the Restoration.  The spirit was so strong and I can’t wait for Saturday!

This area is great, the work is really progressing and I just love being a missionary! The church is true and the book of mormon really has the power of God.  I’m starting Alma in Spanish and my testimony has been strenghtened so much, because I feel the same spirit when I read it in Spanish that I do when I read it in English! It really is the work of God, no matter what language!
Love you all! Hurrah for Israel!

Hermana Willes

Being a missionary is awesome!

This past week Lundy has had Dengue Fever.  She was sick on her pday, but managed this short email.   This week, we did receive in the mail, an envelope of letters from Lundy, including one for "everyone."  So, I've typed it up and included it after her email.  

First off, shoutouts to Marianne, Mamoo, and Tami Minnick for the packages! You guys are awesome!
Conference was awesome! All in English except for the first session on Sunday! It was so fun to cram with all the gringos into a little room and hear the voices of the prophets! All of the talks were so inspired and uplifting! 

This week I had a really cool experience.  We went to teach a menos activo and he was telling us his situation and my companion was looking at me and I just kept thinking "Lundy, you really need to speak.  Just open your mouth.”  So, I just started talking and gave him a bit of a wasca and I felt the spirit so strongly.  As we kept teaching the lesson, I realized I had only partly understood the situation when I spoke but the Lord gave me the words I needed to say and what he needed to hear! After, when I told my companion that I hadn’t fully understood everything she was like “Really? I thought you understood perfectly! Everything you said was perfect!" I can truly testify the gift of tongues is real and the Lord does gives us the words we need! 

This week was great as always and being a missionary is awesome! I’m grateful to be down here building the Lord´s kingdom, poco a poco! Love you all! 

Hermana Willes

Her Letter.....

So, there's never enough time to say all I want to say in my emails and we are trapped in our house for 3 days for Carnival.  So, I finally have time to write some letters!  We only get to mail letters once in a blue moon since we have to leave our zone to do so, but I’m going to try to mail a letter home whenever we do.

First off, I love and miss you all a ton.  I pray for each one of you everyday and am constantly overcome with gratitude for being blessed to have you as my family.  I thank Heavenly Father everyday that I get to have you all forever.

I just wanted to share a few things I’ve learned from being down here and that have impacted me the most.

First, people in America are so blessed.  What is considered poor in America is still better than the average Bolivian, sometimes just for the reason that is it America.  In America, there are paved roads, sanitary grocery stores, and plumbing that is actually good.  That was something that I really struggled with when I got down here, because the people’s lives are so hard and I couldn’t help but think, “How is this ok?  How is it that these people’s lives are so hard, that they all have know death, health problems, hunger, and they live in conditions that people from the states wouldn’t believe and then people in the states have so much?  And not only do people in the states have so much material wise, but they are blessed with health, education, and spiritual blessings as well such as temples, prophets, and air conditioned church building!  These people sacrifice so much for things that we take for granted, such as going to the temple or even going to a ward activity.  I’ve always believed that, while on paper life isn’t fair, we are all given trials that are equally hard for us based on our weakness.  But, compared to these people, my life and the lives of almost everyone I know are a trip to Disneyland.  How can Heavenly Father give me all these blessings when these people deserve it so much more than I do?  I really struggled with this, especially after my first week of teaching.  I remember teaching this one recent convert who lives in one of the worst houses. It is a shack with a roof (it barely passes for a roof) and ten people live in it.  The room is the size of Sarah’s room.  There were a billion flies and we were sitting on broken chairs and it was a dirt floor and we were teaching her about how God loves her and how if she goes to church the Lord will bless her.  And, to be honest (I’m ashamed to admit this) at the moment I remember thinking “I wouldn’t blame this woman if she didn’t believe us, if she even slightly resented us.  If the roles were reversed and I was her, sitting in my shack with children tugging at me and some gringa from Utah was telling me God loved me and that He would bless me for making yet another sacrifice in my life, I don’t think I would believe it or like it.  I would want evidence because so far in my life the blessings had been pretty scarce.  Obviously, I forgot for a moment the joy that the gospel brings and that Heavenly Father blesses everyone, but in different ways.  I’ve thought a lot about it and come to two conclusions.  The first is that because we have been blessed so much, we have more responsibility.  Not only to help them and impart as much of our own substance as we can to those in need, but to make the most of all that we have been given.  We have temples all around us, so we must put them to use.  We get to hear the actual voice of the prophets during general conference, so we must listen and actually apply their teachings.  We have amazing education systems, so we should actually go to class and learn.  (Not a day goes by down here that I don’t regret every time I skipped class) I don’t mean to sound preachy, but I just can’t explain enough how blessed we are and I know I took so much for granted before my mission.  The second conclusion I have come to is that God is really just.  What these people lack in material blessings, they have in spiritual blessings.  They are more in tune to the spirit and the Lord often sends them dreams and other manifestations.  And, they have faith to move mountains.  I personally believe and hope that when judgment comes they will be judged more leniently because of all they had to endure.  I will personally vouch that they all deserve this, because they do.  Not that I even have to worry, because Heavenly Father loves them a billion times more than I do and He is both just and merciful. 

The second thing I’ve learned is that the gospel really does change people’s lives and Heavenly Father does bless the faithful.  You can always tell who has been converted because they are different.  The culture down here is one of laziness to a ridiculous level, but the members are different.  They are hard working, keep their houses clean and do what the Lord asks of them.  They stand in stark contrast to the general population.  They have jobs and they actually go to work.  They do things on top of their jobs, like fulfilling their calling.  Their days are more than just sitting at home.  And, the Lord blesses them for their dedication and faithfulness.  Members always have nicer houses, better jobs, and more opportunities.  I’ve always known the Lord blesses us when we follow the commandments and serve Him, but I think in the states it’s harder to see.  But down here it is so much clearer.  The Lord has promised to bless us when we keep covenants and commandments and He keeps his promise with every member around the world. 

The last thing I’ll share is that the gospel really is the only way we can have joy.  I know before my mission it was so easy for me to get caught up in the world—what new movie was coming out or making sure my clothes were the style.  But, those things don’t bring lasting joy.  It is only through the gospel that we can have our families forever, live with Heavenly Father again, and reach our full potential.  I’ve come to understand the vision of the tree of life and how partaking of the fruit can fill our souls with joy.  Because the gospel is joy!  It’s glorious and everyone should feel the joy I feel from having the gospel in my life.  Once we partake of the fruit, it’s so easy to live the gospel because nothing else compares.  I love this gospel so much and know it’s true with all my heart.  I thank Heavenly Father everyday for the opportunity I have to serve the people of Bolivia.  The Church is true!  The Book of Mormon is true and Jesus Christ did atone and die for all of us, so that through his atonement we can receive eternal life.  I personally can’t wait for the day when I can touch the nail prints in His body and weep as I thank Him for His sacrifice.  I hope to be able to look Him in the eyes and tell Him I served Him with all my heart, might, mind and strength all my life as an expression of my gratitude and testimony.

I love you all.  Keep being awesome!  I miss you, but I love being here and building the kingdom down here.  It’s the best time to be a missionary!  Hurrah for Israel!


Hermana Willes

Hermana Willes and her zone with Elder Grow

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I'm Learning to Put the Lord's Will Before My Own

So cambios happened and I have a new area! It was a little tough to leave, especially because I didn't get the chance to say goodbye to anyone.  I cried and cried when I said goodbye to my Latinas!  They were such angels and I just love them so much.  But, the Lord knows what He's doing and, most importantly, through this I'm learning to put the Lord`s will before my own.

In my new area I live with a gringa, Sister Zapata, and she is awesome! It's a whole new world having another gringa around! We started speaking in English and I was like "this is weird, I don't know how to handle this!" But, it's super funny because in the middle of our sentences we'll just switch into Spanish without realizing it.

My new companion is Hermana Cladera and she's from La Paz, Bolivia and I know I'm going to learn a lot from her!  She's been out for casi nine months and I'm the fifth gringa she's trained.  She's a leader of the Hermanas, so I have to learn our area super fast because she has to go on intercambios (I don`t know what that is called in English) and I'll have to lead our area.  She's super great and I've already learned so much from her.  She has dengue right now, so we haven't left the house all week!  Lots of studying.  The district leader called us yesterday to get our numbers and he was like "Hermana Willes, what did you study today?"  Haha! It has been nice to just rest, especially with having to adjust to a new area!

The family we live with all plays tennis, so that's fun! I always am like, "ahhhh I just want to play with you! Come to the states after and we'll play!"

Dad, that's so cool about the missionaries.  (Steve attended church in Switzerland this past week and told Lundy about two missionaries who shared their testimonies) I actually shared my testimony yesterday in sacrament, so I could've been doing it at the same time! I'm in a new ward and the bishop had us stand up and invited us to share our testimonies.  I was super nervous too, but one of our recent converts wanted to go up and she was super nervous.  I just took a deep breath and reminded myself that I'm a missionary. I have to be the example. So we both went up and I just bore my super simple testimony in Spanish and then she bore hers.  This might sound weird, but it`s an experience that taught me so much.  I'm so grateful the Lord allowed me to be an instrument in His hands and help this girl, Vanessa, to share her testimony.

So that is pretty much all I have to tell from this week, sorry it's a little short on the spiritual side.  But, the church is true and the Lord love us soo much.  My testimony of His love grows everday, both through His evidences of love for me and everyone down here.  We truly never walk alone.  

Hurrah for Israel!

Hermana Willes